1 Corinthians 8:10
For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(10) For if any man (i.e., any of the weak brethren) see thee which hast knowledge.—The fact of your being avowedly advanced in the knowledge of the faith will make your example the more dangerous, because more effective.

Sit at meat in the idol’s temple.—Some went so far as to not only eat, but eat in the precincts of the heathen temple. The Apostle being concerned now only with the point of the eating, does not rebuke this practice here, but he does so fully in 1Corinthians 10:14-22. He probably mentions the fact here as an instance in which there could be no salving of his conscience by the heathen convert thinking that it was not certain whence the meat had come.

Be emboldened.—Better, be built up. The people addressed had probably argued that the force of their example would build up others. Yes, says St. Paul, with irony, it will build him up—to do what, being weak, he cannot do without sin.

8:7-13 Eating one kind of food, and abstaining from another, have nothing in them to recommend a person to God. But the apostle cautions against putting a stumbling-block in the way of the weak; lest they be made bold to eat what was offered to the idol, not as common food, but as a sacrifice, and thereby be guilty of idolatry. He who has the Spirit of Christ in him, will love those whom Christ loved so as to die for them. Injuries done to Christians, are done to Christ; but most of all, the entangling them in guilt: wounding their consciences, is wounding him. We should be very tender of doing any thing that may occasion stumbling to others, though it may be innocent in itself. And if we must not endanger other men's souls, how much should we take care not to destroy our own! Let Christians beware of approaching the brink of evil, or the appearance of it, though many do this in public matters, for which perhaps they plead plausibly. Men cannot thus sin against their brethren, without offending Christ, and endangering their own souls.For if any man - Any Christian brother who is ignorant, or anyone who might otherwise become a Christian.

Which hast knowledge - Who are fully informed in regard to the real nature of idol worship. You will be looked up to as an example. You will be presumed to be partaking of this feast in honor of the idol. You will thus encourage him, and he will partake of it with a conscientious regard to the idol.

Sit at meat - Sitting down to an entertainment in the temple of the idol. Feasts were often celebrated, as they are now among the pagan, in honor of idols. Those entertainments were either in the temple of the idol, or at the house of him who gave it.

Shall not the conscience of him which is weak - Of the man who is not fully informed, or who still regards the idol with superstitious feelings; see 1 Corinthians 8:7.

Be emboldened - Margin, "Edified" οἰκοδομηθήσεται oikodomēthēsetai. Confirmed; established. So the word "edify" is commonly used in the New Testament; Acts 9:31; Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11. The sense here is, "Before this he had a superstitious regard for idols. He had the remains of his former feelings and opinions. But he was not established in the belief that an idol was anything; and his superstitious feelings were fast giving way to the better Christian doctrine that they were nothing. But now, by your example, he will be fully confirmed in the belief that an idol is to be regarded with respect and homage. He will see you in the very temple, partaking of a feast in honor of the idol; and he will infer not only that it is right, but that it is a matter of conscience with you, and will follow your example."

10. if any man—being weak.

which hast knowledge—The very knowledge which thou pridest thyself on (1Co 8:1), will lead the weak after thy example to do that against his conscience, which thou doest without any scruple of conscience; namely, to eat meats offered to idols.

conscience of him which is weak—rather, "His conscience, seeing he is weak" [Alford and others].

emboldened—literally, "built up." You ought to have built up your brother in good: but by your example your building him up is the emboldening him to violate his conscience.

Here the apostle showeth how they sinned in eating meat in the idol’s temple, which had been before offered to the idol, admitting the thing in itself lawful, (which indeed it was not), viz. accidentally, by laying a stumblingblock before their brethren, who either were really weak in their knowledge, or, at least, they were looked upon as such. For (saith he) if any see thee, who, they think, hast knowledge, or who boastest of thy knowledge, sit at meat in the idol’s temple, will not he by it be encouraged to do the same, though possibly he judgeth it is not lawful? The word translated emboldened, is the same which is elsewhere often in the New Testament translated edified: it metaphorically signifies to make a progress or proficiency either in good or evil (though this be the only text in the New Testament where it is taken in an ill sense). This the apostle determines sinful; which lets us know the obligation that lieth upon every good Christian, not to use his liberty to the prejudice of others’ souls, by doing any actions which we may do or let alone, which done by us may probably become a snare to them.

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge,.... That is, not any person whatever; not one that has equal knowledge, and can with a good conscience take the same liberty; but one that is weak in the faith, that has not such a clear sight of the doctrine of Christian liberty: if such an one should observe one that is famous for his superior abilities, learning, and knowledge,

sit at meat in the idol's temple; or at table, or at a feast, where, it seem, after the sacrifice was over, a feast was made of what was left, and friends were invited to partake of it; and some such there were in this church, who to show their Christian liberty, and their knowledge of it, would go and sit down at these feasts publicly, looking upon such meats as having nothing different from common food, or what they bought in the markets, or brought up as their own:

shall not the conscience of him that is weak; in knowledge, who is not clearly instructed in the doctrine of Christian liberty, but has some doubts upon his mind whether it is lawful to eat such meats, imagining them to be polluted by the idol: "be emboldened"; Greek for "edified"; that is, induced by such an example, and confirmed by such an instance with boldness, and without fear, to eat those things which are offered to idols, contrary to his light, and knowledge, and conscience; and so upon a reflection on what he has done, wound his weak conscience, destroy his peace, and distress his soul. This the apostle proposes to the consideration of these men of knowledge and liberty, as what might be the case, and which they could not well deny, to dissuade them from the use of their liberty, in all places and times, and under all circumstances; all which ought to be seriously weighed and attended to in this business.

{6} For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

(6) Another plain explication of the same reason, propounding the example of the sitting down at the table in the idol's temple. This thing the Corinthians did wrongly consider among things indifferent, because it is simply forbidden for the circumstance of the place, even though the offence had ceased, as it will be declared in its place.

1 Corinthians 8:10. Τίς] any such weak brother, namely.

τὸν ἔχοντα γνῶσιν] quippe qui cognitionem habes, in significant apposition to σέ. It is just this, which the weaker believer knows respecting the stronger, that leads him astray.

ἐν εἰδωλείῳ κατατκείμενον] Their liberal-mindedness went, it seems, so far that they even reclined at table in idol-temples with those who held the sacrificial feasts there. The absolute prohibition of this abuse of liberty (which follows afterwards in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22) would not have come in suitably here, where the connection of itself naturally led the apostle simply to point out in the way of warning the bearing of such conduct upon the weak.

Instances of the use of εἰδωλεῖον—which does not occur in profane writers—from the LXX. and the Apocrypha, may be seen in Schleusner, Thes. II. p. 246. See also Eustath. a[1357] Od. vi. p. 263. 17. In the Fragm. Soph. 152 (Dind.), the true reading is ἑδώλια.

οἰκοδομηθήσεται] is neither a vox media (Clericus, Elsner, Wolf, al[1358]), nor does it mean impelletur (Castalio, Kypke, Hermann, Stolz, al[1359]) or confirmabitur (Syr[1360], Grotius, Zachariae, Schulz, Billroth), but as always in the N. T.: will be built up, advanced in a Christian frame of mind, so as to eat (εἰς τὸ ἐσθ). To be brought to eat sacrificial flesh while one is weak (ἀσθων. ὄντος, opposite of γνῶσιν ἔχειν), is, as Calvin rightly expresses it, a ruinosa aedificatio, seeing that the foundation which it ought to have, the πίστις, is wanting. We have here, therefore, an ironically significant antiphrasis; without the ἀσθ. ὄντος it might be a case of a real οἰκοδομεῖσθαι; things being as they are, however, it can be so only in appearance, and, in reality, it is the very opposite.[1361] Egregie aedificabitur! The hypothesis (Storr, Opusc. II. p. 275 f.; Rosenmüller, Flatt, comp Neander), that Paul borrows the word from the letter of the Corinthians to him (in which they had said that by partaking of sacrificial flesh people edify the weak), and gives it back to them in an antiphrastic way, cannot be established, and is unnecessary.

[1357] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1358] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1359] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1360] yr. Peschito Syriac

[1361] Wetstein compares with this the passage in Nedarim, f. 40. 1 : “Si dixerint tibi juniores aedifica, et seniores demolire, audi seniores et non audi juniores, quia aedificatio juniorum est demolitio, et demolitio seniorum est aedificatio.”

1 Corinthians 8:10 enforces (γάρ) the above warning.—σὲ τὸν ἔχοντα γνῶσιν “thee, the man that has knowledge” (see 1): the Cor[1262] pretension to superior enlightenment, shown in 1 Corinthians 8:2 f. to be faulty in Christian theory, now discloses its practical mischief. The behaviour of the Christian man of knowledge who “reclines (at table) in an idol’s temple,” is represented as a sort of bravado—a thing done to show his “knowledge,” his complete freedom from superstition about the idol. This act is censured because of its effect upon the mind of others; in 1 Corinthians 10:18-22 it will be condemned on its own account. The form εἰδωλίον (or -εῖον) occurs in the Apocrypha; it follows the formation of Gr[1263] temple names—Ἀπολλωνεῖον, etc.—οὐχὶ ἡ συνείδησις αὐτοῦ, ἀσθενοῦς ὄντος κ.τ.λ.; “will not his conscience, weak as he is, be ‘edified’ unto eating the foods offered to idols?”—not because he is weak (as though overpowered by a stronger mind), but while he is still weak, as under the lingering belief that the idol is “something in the world” (1 Corinthians 8:7): “his verbis exprimitur horror infirmi, tamen edentis” (Bg[1264]).—Thus eating unpersuaded “in his own mind” (Romans 14:5), he sins (Romans 14:23), and therefore “is perishing” (1 Corinthians 8:11). The vb[1265] “edified”—instead of “persuaded” or the like—is used in sad irony (cf. Tert[1266], “ædificatur ad ruinam,” De Prœscr. Hœretic., 3); P. probably takes up the word in this connexion from the Church Letter: the eaters of idolothyta thought their practice “edifying” to less advanced brethren—“edifying, forsooth!—to what end?”

[1262] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1263] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.


[1266]ert. Tertullian.

10. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple] St Paul would seem here to be putting an extreme case. He supposes the more enlightened believer to have carried his views of the non-existence of idols to their utmost possible limits, and to have seated himself in the idol temple, and partaken of the food which to his eyes is as fit for food as any other, if it be partaken of with thanksgiving (ch. 1 Corinthians 10:25-30; 1 Timothy 4:3). He points out the terrible danger such a man runs of inducing others to regard idol-worship as a thing indifferent, to relapse into idolatry and to ruin their souls. Some commentators, supposing it impossible that a Christian could be found in the idol temple, have rendered ‘at an idol sacrifice,’ but the analogy of other similarly formed Greek words confirms the rendering in the text.

1 Corinthians 8:10. Εἰδωλείῳ) A word fitted to deter. It is found in 1Ma 1:47; 1Ma 1:50, 1Ma 10:83.; 3 Esdr. 2:10.—οἰκοδομηθήσεται, shall be built up in [emboldened to]) An antiphrasis.[67] You ought to have built up your brother in doing good; but you by your example impel him to do evil. [The force of example is great.—V. g.]—τὰ εἰδωλόθυτα ἐσθίειν, to eat things offered to idols) By these very words the horror of the weak man is expressed, who eats notwithstanding.

[67] See Appendix: When words are used to signify the contrary of what is expressed, as here, shall be built up (usually applied to what is good), meaning, shall be impelled to what is bad.—ED.

Verse 10. - Sit at meat in the [an] idol's temple. To recline at a banquet in the temple of Poseidon or Aphrodite, especially in such a place as Corinth, was certainly an extravagant assertion of their right to Christian liberty. It was indeed a "bowing in the house of Rimmon" which could hardly fail to be misunderstood. The very word "idoleum" should have warned them. It was a word not used by Gentiles, and invented by believers in the one God, to avoid the use of "temple" (ναὸς) in connection with idols. The Greeks spoke of the "Athenaeum," or "Apolloneum," or "Posideum;" but Jews only of an "idoleum" - a word which (like other Jewish designations of heathen forms of worship) involved a bitter taunt. For the very word eidolon meant a shadowy, fleeting, unreal image. Perhaps the Corinthian Christians might excuse their boldness by pleading that all the most important feasts and social gatherings of the ancients were held in temples (comp. 1 Macc. 1:47 1 Macc. 10:83). Be emboldened; rather, be edified. The expression is a very bold paronomasia. This "edification of ruin" would be all the more likely to ensue because self interest would plead powerfully in the same direction. A little compromise and complicity, a little suppression of opinion and avoidance of antagonism to things evil, a little immoral acquiescence, would have gone very far in those days to save Christians from incessant persecution. Yet no Christian could be "edified" into a more dangerous course than that of defying and defiling his own tender conscience. 1 Corinthians 8:10Idol's temple (εἰδωλείῳ)

Only here in the New Testament. See on Revelation 2:14.

Be emboldened (οἰκοδομηθήσεται)

Lit., be built up. The A.V. misses the irony of the expression. His apparent advance is really detrimental. Calvin remarks: "a ruinous upbuilding."

1 Corinthians 8:10 Interlinear
1 Corinthians 8:10 Parallel Texts

1 Corinthians 8:10 NIV
1 Corinthians 8:10 NLT
1 Corinthians 8:10 ESV
1 Corinthians 8:10 NASB
1 Corinthians 8:10 KJV

1 Corinthians 8:10 Bible Apps
1 Corinthians 8:10 Parallel
1 Corinthians 8:10 Biblia Paralela
1 Corinthians 8:10 Chinese Bible
1 Corinthians 8:10 French Bible
1 Corinthians 8:10 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 Corinthians 8:9
Top of Page
Top of Page