1 Corinthians 8:12
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
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(12) When ye sin so.—When you sin in this way—and he explains further what the sin is: “Striking a blow upon their weak consciences”—you sin against Christ. You wound a member of that body which is His. (See Matthew 25:40.)

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.But when ye sin so against the brethren - This is designed further to show the evil of causing others to sin; and hence, the evil which might arise from partaking of the meat offered to idols. The word sin here is to be taken in the sense of "injuring, offending, leading into sin." You violate the law which requires you to love your brethren, and to seek their welfare, and thus you sin against them. Sin is properly against God; but there may be a course of injury pursued against people, or doing them injustice or wrong, and this is sin against them. Christians are bound to do right toward all.

And wound their weak conscience - The word "wound" here (τύπτοντες tuptontes, "smiting, beating") is taken in the sense of injure. Their consciences are ill-informed. They have not the knowledge which you have. And by your conduct they are led further into error, and believe that the idol is something, and is to be honored. They are thus led into sin, and their conscience is more and more perverted, and oppressed more and more with a sense of guilt.

Ye sin against Christ - Because:

(1) Christ has commanded you to love them, and seek their good, and not to lead them into sin, and,

(2) Because they are so intimately united to Christ (see the notes at John 15:1 ff) that to offend them is to offend him; to injure the members is to injure the head; to destroy their souls is to pain his heart and to injure his cause; see the note at Matthew 10:40; compare Luke 10:16.

12. wound their weak conscience—literally, "smite their conscience, being (as yet) in a weak state." It aggravates the cruelty of the act that it is committed on the weak, just as if one were to strike an invalid.

against Christ—on account of the sympathy between Christ and His members (Mt 25:40; Ac 9:4, 5).

But when ye sin so against the brethren: sin is properly against God, for it is a breach of the Divine law; but the violations of that part of the Divine law which concerneth our duty to our neighbour, are called sins against our brethren, that is, sins against God in matters which concern our duty towards our brethren.

And wound their weak conscience; the giving the weak judgments of others, by your examples, an occasion of sin, by venturing upon actions which they think sinful, is that which is here called a beating, or a wounding, their weak consciences, because it is indeed a hurting and defiling of them.

Ye sin against Christ; this the apostle determineth to be a sinning against Christ; both against the law of Christ, concerning loving one another, and against the love of Christ, who, in dying for the weakest believers, hath showed the highest degree of love imaginable to them; whom they are far from following, who will not abate themselves a small matter of liberty, where the use of it this or that way may very probably be an occasion of sin and ruin to their brethren’s souls.

But when ye sin so against the brethren,.... Through sitting at meat in an idol's temple, and thereby violating the new commandment of love; by which saints are obliged to love one another as brethren, and take care to do nothing that may hurt and prejudice one another's peace and comfort, it being an incumbent duty upon them by love to serve one another: and

wound their weak conscience: as before observed: it is contrary to the law of love to wound a brother; it is an aggravation of the sin to wound a weak one; what greater cruelty than to strike or beat, as the word here used signifies, a sick and infirm man? and greater still to strike and wound his conscience than any part of his body; for a wounded spirit is insupportable without divine aid and influence; and what serves most to enhance the crime and guilt is,

ye sin against Christ, who has so loved this weak brother as to die for him; and between whom there is so close an union, as between head and members; and from whence such a sympathy arises, that what is done to or against such a person, Christ takes as done to himself. The Syriac version emphatically adds, "himself".

{8} But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

(8) Another amplification: such offending of our weak brethren, results in the offending of Christ, and therefore do not let these men think that they have to deal only with their brethren.

1 Corinthians 8:12. Οὕτω] When ye sin against the brethren in this way, as described in 1 Corinthians 8:10-11.

καί] and especially.

τύπτοντες] in substance the same thing as μολύνοντες in 1 Corinthians 8:7, only expressed by a different metaphor, which makes the cruelty of the procedure more apparent. What befits a weak conscience is forbearance, not that it should morally receive blows, should be smitten through offence done to it as with a wounding weapon (Hom. Il. xix. 125; Herod, iii. 64; Xen. Cyr. v. 4. 5; Proverbs 26:22), so that now, instead of being but a weak, it becomes a bad conscience.

αὐτῶν] put first because correlative to the εἰς Χριστόν which follows; in the latter is finally concentrated the whole heinousness of the offence.

1 Corinthians 8:12. In such case, not only the weak brother sins by yielding, but the strong who tempted him; and the latter sins directly “against Christ” (for the construction, cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18): “But sinning in this way against the brethren, and inflicting a blow on their conscience while it is weak, you sin against Christ”.—τὴν συνείδησιν ἀσθενοῦσαν, not “their weak conscience” (τὴν ἀσθεν.), but “their conscience weak as it is”: how base to strike the weak!—τύπτω describes as the violent wrong of the injurer, what is a μόλυσμα. and πρόσκομμα (1 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Corinthians 8:9) in its effect upon the injured. A blow on the conscience shocks and deranges it.—For the bearing of such an act on Christ, see Matthew 18:6 ff; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 25:45; also Zechariah 2:8, etc. The principle of union with Christ, which forbids sin against oneself (1 Corinthians 6:15), forbids sin against one’s brother.

12. ye sin against Christ] Cf. St Matthew 25:40; Matthew 25:45. For the reason of this compare St John 17 throughout, as also such passages as Romans 12:5; Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 3:17; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 2:19; and ch. 1 Corinthians 10:17, 1 Corinthians 12:17 of this Epistle, where the indwelling of Christ in the individual believer is taught.

1 Corinthians 8:12. Τύπτοντες, striking) [Engl. V. not so well, wounding], as the weary cattle are urged on by the lash. Striking is elegantly used, not wounding, for a wound is seen, a stroke is not so discernible. You strike brethren, or make them strike themselves.—εἰς Χριστὸν, against Christ) to whom the brethren are united. The expression, against Christ, in the latter clause bears the chief emphasis; when ye sin, in the former.

Verse 12. - And wound their weak conscience; rather, and in smiting their conseience which is weak. "What," asks St. Chrysostom, "can be more ruthless than a man who strikes one who is sick?" Was it not a cowardly exercise of liberty to strike the conscience of the defenceless? It is another form of "defiling" (ver. 7) the conscience, but brings out the cruelty of such conduct. Ye sin against Christ. Because Christ lives and suffers in the persons of the least of his little ones (Matthew 25:40, 45; Romans 12:5, etc.). 1 Corinthians 8:12
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