1 Corinthians Chapter 8 and 9

December 8, 2011

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on 1 Corinthians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

or you can watch it below:

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (NIV)
1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God. 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. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

1 Corinthians 9:1-27 (NIV)
1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8 Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. 15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. 16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it. 19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 8

The doctrinal issue is about food that has been sacrificed to idols. The Corinthians want to know who is right. That is all they care about. In response Paul tell them that approaching any
issue from a standpoint of “superior knowledge” alone is not OK. Why? Because each side of the argument is likely to have at least some grasp on God’s truth. If our focus is on knowledge only, then we have a tendency to develop spiritual pride, that we are better than others “knowledge puffs up”. But none of us has it all figured out (“the man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Cor. 8:2), so when we develop the attitude that we know the truth and we are right, we usually become just like the Pharisees.

Paul tells the Corinthians that in approaching the issue they had gotten off to a wrong start by focusing on knowledge and forgetting LOVE. They forgot to balance in grace and mercy and that all of us are imperfect in our understanding.

How then are we supposed to deal with doctrinal differences. Always start by affirming LOVE. Love is the foundation for transforming lives. In the loving family of God the Holy Spirit works to transform not only understanding, but also our attitudes, values, behaviors, even our personalities.

There are two ways to approach doctrinal disagreement.

Confrontational Approach and Commitment Approach

In the confrontational approach, each side claims to have a better grasp of the truth than the other. This leads to pride, and leads to a close mindedness that doesn’t allow either side to be open to the Spirit for further teaching.

In the Commitment approach, each side affirms its love and acceptance of each other and in humility remains open to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.

When differences are approached in love, there is no retreat from our community to truth. Instead, there is a deep desire to know truth and to grasp it more fully—together.

1 Corinthians 9

You might think that chapter 9 is unrelated to chapter 8. Paul seems to change subjects from meat sacrificed to idols to the rights of an apostle. But he is actually using a personal example to clarify his point in chapter 8.

Paul addresses the attitudes of those who were using their belief in the truth to justify their behavior. They had a right to eat meat if they wanted to. Paul says he had lots of “rights” as an apostle that he chose not to use because of his concern for people.

What should be more important to us as Christians; our rights or our brother’s well being?

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