1 Corinthians 8:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that "We all possess knowledge." But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

King James Bible
Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

Darby Bible Translation
But concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know, (for we all have knowledge: knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.

World English Bible
Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Young's Literal Translation
And concerning the things sacrificed to idols, we have known that we all have knowledge: knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up;

1 Corinthians 8:1 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

As touching things offered unto idols - This was another subject on which the Corinthians had asked the apostle's advice, and we shall understand the whole of this chapter the better when we consider one fact, viz. That there had long subsisted a controversy between the Karaites and the Traditionists, how far it was lawful to derive any benefit or advantage from things used by the Gentiles. The Karaites were a sect of the Jews who scrupulously held to the letter of the sacred writings, taking this alone for their directory. The Traditionists were those who followed the voice of the elders, interpreting the Divine testimonies by their decisions. From a work of the Karaites, entitled Addereth Eliyahu, Triglandus has extracted the following decisions, which will throw light upon this subject. "It is unlawful to receive any benefit from any kind of heathen worship, or from any thing that has been offered to an idol." - "It is unlawful to buy or sell an idol, and if, by accident, any such thing shall come into thy power, thou shalt derive no emolument from it." - "The animals that are destined and prepared for the worship of idols are universally prohibited; and particularly those which bear the mark of the idol. This should be maintained against the opinion of the Traditionists, who think they may lawfully use these kinds of animals, provided they be not marked with the sign of the idol." Thus far the Karaites; and here we see one strong point of difference between these two sects. The Karaites totally objected to every thing used in idolatrous services: the Traditionists, as the Talmud shows, did generally the same; but it appears that they scrupled not to use any animal employed in idolatrous worship, provided they did not see the sign of the idol on it. Now the sign of the idol must be that placed on the animal previously to its being sacrificed, such as gilded horns and hoofs, consecrated fillets, garlands, etc. And as, after it had been sacrificed, and its flesh exposed for sale in the shambles, it could bear none of these signs, we may take it for granted that the Jews might think it lawful to buy and eat this flesh: this the Karaite would most solemnly scruple. It may be just necessary to state here, that it was customary, after the blood and life of an animal had been offered in sacrifice to an idol, to sell the flesh in the market indiscriminately with that of other animals which had not been sacrificed, but merely killed for common use. Even the less scrupulous Jews, knowing that any particular flesh had been thus offered, would abhor the use of it; and as those who lived among the Gentiles, as the Jews at Corinth, must know that this was a common case, hence they would be generally scrupulous; and those of them that were converted to Christianity would have their scruples increased, and be as rigid on this point as the Karaites themselves. On the other hand, those of the Gentiles who had received the faith of Christ, knowing that an idol was nothing in the world, nor was even a representation of any thing, (for the beings represented by idol images were purely imaginary), made no scruple to buy and eat the flesh as they used to do, though not with the same intention; for when, in their heathen state, they ate the flesh offered to idols, they ate it as a feast with the idol, and were thus supposed to have communion with the idol; which was the grossest idolatry.

From these observations it will at once appear that much misunderstanding and offense must have existed in the Corinthian Church; the converted Jews abominating every thing that they knew had been used in the heathen worship, while the converted Gentiles, for the reasons above assigned, would feel no scruple on the account.

We know that we all have knowledge - I am inclined to think that these are not St. Paul's words, but a quotation from the letter of the Corinthians to him, and a proof of what the apostle says below, knowledge puffeth up; but however the words may be understood as to their origin, they contain a general truth, as they relate to Christians of those times, and may be thus paraphrased; "All we who are converted to God by Christ have sufficient knowledge concerning idols and idol worship; and we know also the liberty which we have through the Gospel, not being bound by Jewish laws, rites, ceremonies, etc.; but many carry their knowledge in this liberty too far, and do what is neither seemly nor convenient, and thus give offense to others."

Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth - This knowledge is very nearly allied to pride; it puffeth up the mind with vain conceit, makes those who have it bold and rash, and renders them careless of the consciences of others. And this knowledge, boasted of by the Corinthians, led them to contemn others; for so the word φυσιοι is understood by some eminent critics.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


1 Corinthians 8:10 For if any man see you which have knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple...

1 Corinthians 10:19-22,28 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing...

Numbers 25:2 And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

Acts 15:10,19,20,29 Now therefore why tempt you God, to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear...

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing...

Revelation 2:14,20 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam...

we are.

1 Corinthians 8:2,4,7,11 And if any man think that he knows any thing, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know...

1 Corinthians 1:5 That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honorable, but we are despised.

1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith...

1 Corinthians 14:20 Brothers, be not children in understanding: however, in malice be you children, but in understanding be men.

1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Romans 14:14,22 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems any thing to be unclean...

Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels...


1 Corinthians 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

1 Corinthians 5:2,6 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you...

1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,

Isaiah 5:21 Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Isaiah 47:10 For you have trusted in your wickedness: you have said, None sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you...

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits...

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Romans 14:3,10 Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him which eats not judge him that eats: for God has received him...


1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal...

Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies...

December the Fourteenth the Sacred Use of Liberty
"Take heed lest this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling-block." --1 CORINTHIANS viii. 8-13. That is a very solemn warning. My liberty may trip someone into bondage. If life were an affair of one my liberty might be wholesome; but it is an affair of many, and my liberty may be destructive to my fellows. I am not only responsible for my life, but for its influence. When a thing has been lived there is still the example to deal with. If orange peel be thrown upon the pavement, that is not the end
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

How those are to be Admonished who do Bad Things Secretly and Good Things Openly, and those who do Contrariwise.
(Admonition 36.) Differently to be admonished are those who do bad things in secret and good things publicly, and those who hide the good things they do, and yet in some things done publicly allow ill to be thought of them. For those who do bad things in secret and good things publicly are to be admonished to consider with what swiftness human judgments flee away, but with what immobility divine judgments endure. They are to be admonished to fix the eyes of their mind on the end of things; since,
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

"And Hereby we do Know that we Know Him, if we Keep his Commandments. "
1 John ii. 3.--"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." This age pretends to much knowledge beyond former ages, knowledge, I say, not only in other natural arts and sciences, but especially in religion. Whether there be any great advancement in other knowledge, and improvement of that which was, to a further extent and clearness, I cannot judge, but I believe there is not much of it in this nation, nor do we so much pretend to it. But, we talk of the enlargements of
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Excursus on the Present Teaching of the Latin and Greek Churches on the Subject.
To set forth the present teaching of the Latin Church upon the subject of images and the cultus which is due them, I cite the decree of the Council of Trent and a passage from the Catechism set forth by the authority of the same synod. (Conc. Trid., Sess. xxv. December 3d and 4th, 1563. [Buckley's Trans.]) The holy synod enjoins on all bishops, and others sustaining the office and charge of teaching that, according to the usage of the Catholic and Apostolic Church received from the primitive times
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

Cross References
Acts 15:20
Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 15:14
I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

1 Corinthians 4:6
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.

1 Corinthians 8:4
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that "An idol is nothing at all in the world" and that "There is no God but one."

1 Corinthians 8:7
But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.

1 Corinthians 8:10
For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol's temple, won't that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?

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