1 Corinthians 8:11
And through your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
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(11) And through thy knowledge shall . . .—Better, and by means of thy knowledge the weak one perishesthe brother for whom Christ died. It is not, as in the English version, a question, but it is the expansion and interpretation of the previous statement. There is a great variety of readings in the MSS., but the weight of evidence is in favour of this reading. Christ died for him. The sarcasm passes away in words of solemn and pathetic reproof. You won’t give up your liberty for him. You will indulge yourself, and so prevent Christ’s death being his redemption. A sacrifice of conscience destroys spiritual life.

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.And through thy knowledge - Because you knew that an idol was nothing, and that there could be really no danger of falling into idolatry from partaking of these entertainments. You will thus be the means of deceiving and destroying him. The argument of the apostle here is, that if This was to be the result, the duty of those who had this knowledge was plain.

Shall the weak brother - The uninformed and ignorant Christian. That it means real Christian there can be no doubt. Because:

(1) It is the usual term by which Christians are designated - the endearing name of "brother;" and,

(2) The scope of the passage requires it so to be understood; see the note at Romans 14:20.

Perish - Be destroyed; ruined; lost; see the note at John 10:28. So the word ἀπολεῖται apoleitai properly and usually signifies. The sense is, that the tendency of this course would be to lead the weak brother into sin, to apostasy, and to ruin. But this does not prove that any who were truly converted should apostatize and be lost; for:

(1) There may be a tendency to a thing, and yet that thing may never happen. It may be arrested, and the event not occur.

(2) the warning designed to prevent it may be effectual, and be the means of saving. A man in a canoe floating down the Niagara river may have a tendency to go over the falls; but he may be hailed from the shore, and the hailing may be effectual, and he may be saved. The call to him was designed to save him, and actually had that effect. So it may be in the warnings to Christians.

(3) the apostle does not say that any true Christian would be lost. He puts a question; and affirms that if "one" thing was done, "another might" follow. But this is not affirming that anyone would be lost. So I might say that if the man continued to float on toward the falls of Niagara, he would be destroyed. If one thing was done, the other would be a consequence. But this would be very different from a statement that a man "had actually" gone over the falls, and been lost.

(4) it is elsewhere abundantly proved that no one who has been truly converted will apostatize and be destroyed; see the notes at John 10:28; compare the note at Romans 8:29-30.

For whom Christ died - This is urged as an argument why we should not do anything that would tend to destroy the souls of people. And no stronger argument could be used. The argument is, that we should not do anything that would tend to frustrate the work of Christ, that would render the shedding of his blood vain. The possibility of doing this is urged; and that bare possibility should deter us from a course of conduct that might have this tendency. It is an appeal drawn from the deep and tender love, the sufferings, and the dying groans of the Son of God. If He endured so much to save the soul, assuredly we should not pursue a course that would tend to destroy it. If he denied himself so much to redeem, we should not, assuredly, be so fond of self-gratification as to be unwilling to abandon anything that would tend to destroy.

11. shall … perish—The oldest manuscripts read "perisheth." A single act seemingly unimportant may produce everlasting consequences. The weak brother loses his faith, and if he do not recover it, his salvation [Bengel] (Ro 14:23).

for whom Christ died—and for whose sake we too ought to be willing to die (1Jo 3:16). And yet professing Christians at Corinth virtually tempted their brethren to their damnation, so far were they from sacrificing aught for their salvation. Note here, that it is no argument against the dogma that Christ died for all, even for those who perish, to say that thus He would have died in vain for many. Scripture is our rule, not our suppositions as to consequences. More is involved in redemption than the salvation of man: the character of God as at once just and loving is vindicated even in the case of the lost for they might have been saved, and so even in their case Christ has not died in vain. So the mercies of God's providence are not in vain, though many abuse them. Even the condemned shall manifest God's love in the great day, in that they too had the offer of God's mercy. It shall be the most awful ingredient in their cup that they might have been saved but would not: Christ died to redeem even them.

Through thy knowledge, in this place, is, by occasion of thy knowledge. God hath not given people knowledge that they thereby should be a means to harm and to destroy, but to do good, and to save others; it is a most absurd thing for any to use their knowledge, therefore, to the destruction of others.

Shall the weak brother perish? By perish is here meant, be led into sin, by acting contrary to the judgment of his own conscience; for, (as the apostle saith, Romans 14:23): He that doubteth is damned if he eat, for whatsoever is not of faith, that is, done out of a firm persuasion in the party doing that it is lawful, is sin.

For whom Christ died; though he be weak, yet if he be a true believer, Christ died for him, and there can be nothing more contrary to the duty of a charitable Christian, than to be a means to damn him whom Christ came down from heaven and died for, that he might save him. And through thy knowledge,.... These words contain an aggravation of the sin such persons are guilty of, who are the means, by their example, of ensnaring weak minds, and causing them to stumble and fall, even in some sense so as to perish:

shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? every word almost carries in it an exaggeration of this matter; it is not some slight injury that is done to the person, but even causing him to "perish"; and this is not said of any person, but a "brother", to whom the strongest affection, and strictest regard, should be shown; and a "weak" brother, of whom the greater care should be taken; and therefore it is an instance of cruelty to do damage to such an one, and that not ignorantly, which cannot be pretended, but "through thy knowledge"; not through the true use, but abuse of it: those that have knowledge should know better, and improve it to the edification, and not the destruction of fellow Christians; and all this done in a case of indifference, that might as well be let alone, of which there was no necessity for the doing of it: but what aggravates most of all is, that this affects a person for "whom Christ died"; that he had such a value for as to purchase and redeem with the price of his own blood; and yet these men made so little account of, as by so trifling a thing to risk their good and welfare. Some would from hence conclude the doctrine of universal redemption, that Christ died for all men, even for them that perish; but it should be observed, that the words are put by way of interrogation, and prove no matter of fact, even supposing they could be understood of eternal ruin and destruction; and at most only imply the danger and possibility thereof through offences given, were they not preserved by the power and grace of God through Christ, who died for them, and so will not suffer them to perish; though this is no thanks to them who lay stumblingblocks in their way, and, as much as in them lies, cause them to perish, in this sense: besides, the "perishing" of this weak brother is to be understood of his peace and comfort, and is explained by "defiling" his conscience, 1 Corinthians 8:7 by wounding it, 1 Corinthians 8:12 and making him to offend, 1 Corinthians 8:13 through an imprudent use of Christian liberty in those who had the greater knowledge, and by a participation of things offered unto idols, in an idol's temple, and not of his eternal damnation in hell; which could never enter into the apostle's thought, as to be brought about hereby, as appears from 1 Corinthians 8:8 and so is no proof of Christ's dying for such as perish eternally: for those for whom Christ has died, he has by his death procured such blessings for them, as a justifying righteousness, pardon of sin, peace with God, reconciliation unto him, and eternal salvation, which will for ever secure them from perishing in such sense.

{7} And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

(7) An amplification of the argument taken both of comparison and opposites: You wretched man, he says, pleasing yourself with your knowledge which indeed is not knowledge, for if you had true knowledge, you would not sit down to eat food in an idol's temple. Will you destroy your brother, hardening his weak conscience by this example to do evil, for whose salvation Christ himself has died?

1 Corinthians 8:11. Ἀπόλλυται (“terrificum verbum,” Clarius) γάρ unfolds the meaning of the antiphrastic element of the preceding οἰκοδ., the γάρ introducing the answer (Hartung, I. p. 477; Klotz, a[1363] Devar. p. 240; Baeumlein, Part. p. 72), in which the apostle’s irony loses itself in the deep earnestness which underlies it: he is in truth utterly ruined, etc.

ἀπόλλυται is meant here, as in Romans 14:15, of destruction κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the eternal ἀπώλεια to which a man becomes liable when he falls from the life of faith into that of sin through violation of his conscience. see on Romans 14:15. Billroth, indeed, holds the γάρ here to be quite inexplicable, unless we take ἀπόλλ. simply in the sense of is led astray (but see the critical remarks); while Rückert declares the γάρ utterly useless. Nevertheless, ἀπόλλυται κ.τ.λ[1364] makes it clear and unmistakeable how the case stands with the preceding ΟἸΚΟΔΟΜΗΘ., so that ΓΆΡ is logically correct.

ἘΝ Τῇ Σῇ ΓΝΏΣΕΙ] belongs to ἈΠΟΛΛ.: by means of thy knowledge, so that it, through the use thou hast made of it, has occasioned this destruction. Ἐπί (see the critical remarks) would be: upon thy knowledge, so that it was the ground of what took place.

ὁ ἀδελφ. διʼ ὃν Χ. ἀπ.] a weighty twofold motive for not bringing about such a result. Comp Romans 14:15. The ΔΙʼ ὋΝ Χ. ἈΠ. is frustrated by the ἀπολλ.! Comp 1 Corinthians 8:12. Bengel says well in reference to ΔΙʼ ὍΝ: “ut doceamur, quid nos fratrum causa debeamus.” Respecting διά, comp Romans 4:25.

[1363] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1364] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.1 Corinthians 8:11. “For the weak man [whom you talk of building up!] is being destroyed through thy knowledge—the brother, on whose account Christ died!” (Romans 14:15). This affirms, with terrible emphasis, the issue implied by 1 Corinthians 8:10 : “est ædificatio ruinosa” (Cv[1267]).—ὁ ἀσθενῶν means (more than ὁ ἀσθενής) the man in a continued state of weakness.—ἐν τῇ σῇ γνώσει, “on the ground (or in the sphere) of thy knowledge”; in this atmosphere the weak faith of the other cannot live (cf. ἐν in 1 Corinthians 2:4; Ephesians 4:16, ἐν ἀγάπῃ). His “knowledge” leaves the tempter inexcusable. “Notice the threefold darkness of the picture: there perishes, thy brother, for whom Christ died” (Bt[1268]). Paul appeals to the strongest feelings of a Christian—brotherly love and loyalty to Christ. For the prospective διʼ ὅν, cf. Romans 4:25; Christ’s death is thus frustrated of its dear object (cf. Galatians 2:21) by thy heartless folly!

[1267] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1268] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).11. shall the weak brother perish] Some read, the weak brother is perishing. Cf. Romans 14:15.1 Corinthians 8:11. Ἀπολεῖται, shall perish) He will lose his faith, and, if he do not recover it, his salvation, Romans 14:23. [See, what important results a single action may produce, although externally considered it seemed to be of little consequence.—V. g.]—διʼ ὃν, for [on account of] whom) For rather than instead of suits the passage before us; that we may be taught, what we ought to do for the sake of our brethren.—ἀπέθανεν, died) prompted by the love, which thou so very little imitatest.Verse 11. - Shall the weak brother perish. The fact that he was "weak" constituted a fresh appeal to pity. It made him more emphatically one of "Christ's little ones," and Christ had pronounced a heavy malediction on all who caused such to offend. But if there is this "ruinous edification" upon the trembling and sandy foundation of a weak conscience, what could possibly follow but a gradual destruction? The tense is the present (the praesens futurascens), "and he who is weak, in thy knowledge, is perishing" - "the brother for whose sake Christ died." The order of the original often gives a force to the words, which it is difficult to reproduce, as here. The word "is perishing" becomes very emphatic by being placed first in the sentence. "Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died" (Romans 14:16). Perish; terrificum verbum. Clarius. He could use no word which would more effectually point his warning. Shall the weak brother perish (ἀπόλλυται ὁ ἀσθενῶν)

Not a question, as A.V. The participle "he that is being weak" indicates a continuance of the weakness, and the present tense, is perishing, implies that the process of moral undermining is in progress through the habitual indulgence of the better informed Christian. Rev., he that is weak perisheth.

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