Food Offered To Idols
Most Relevant Verses
Now about food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary. But if one loves God truly [ with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [ recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].read more.
In this matter, then, of eating food offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing (has no real existence) and that there is no God but one. For although there may be so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many of them, both of gods and of lords and masters, Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things and for Whom we [have life], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through and by Whom are all things and through and by Whom we [ourselves exist]. Nevertheless, not all [believers] possess this knowledge. But some, through being all their lives until now accustomed to [thinking of] idols [as real and living], still consider the food [offered to an idol] as that sacrificed to an [actual] god; and their weak consciences become defiled and injured if they eat [it]. Now food [itself] will not cause our acceptance by God nor commend us to Him. Eating [food offered to idols] gives us no advantage; neither do we come short or become any worse if we do not eat [it]. Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. For suppose someone sees you, a man having knowledge [of God, with an intelligent view of this subject and] reclining at table in an idol's temple, might he not be encouraged and emboldened [to violate his own conscientious scruples] if he is weak and uncertain, and eat what [to him] is for the purpose of idol worship? And so by your enlightenment (your knowledge of spiritual things), this weak man is ruined (is lost and perishes) -- "the brother for whom Christ (the Messiah) died! And when you sin against your brethren in this way, wounding and damaging their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if [my eating a] food is a cause of my brother's falling or of hindering [his spiritual advancement], I will not eat [such] flesh forever, lest I cause my brother to be tripped up and fall and to be offended.
Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God). I am speaking as to intelligent (sensible) men. Think over and make up your minds [for yourselves] about what I say. [I appeal to your reason and your discernment in these matters.] The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord's Supper] upon which we ask [God's] blessing, does it not mean [that in drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ (the Messiah)? The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ?read more.
For we [no matter how] numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents]. Consider those [physically] people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners of the altar [united in their worship of the same God]? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is [intrinsically changed by the fact and amounts to] anything or that an idol itself is a [living] thing? No, I am suggesting that what the pagans sacrifice they offer [in effect] to demons (to evil spiritual powers) and not to God [at all]. I do not want you to fellowship and be partners with diabolical spirits [by eating at their feasts]. You cannot drink the Lord's cup and the demons' cup. You cannot partake of the Lord's table and the demons' table. Shall we thus provoke the Lord to jealousy and anger and indignation? Are we stronger than He [that we should defy Him]? All things are legitimate [permissible -- "and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor]. [As to meat offered to idols] eat anything that is sold in the meat market without raising any question or investigating on the grounds of conscientious scruples, For the [whole] earth is the Lord's and everything that is in it. In case one of the unbelievers invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is served to you without examining into its source because of conscientious scruples. But if someone tells you, This has been offered in sacrifice to an idol, do not eat it, out of consideration for the person who informed you, and for conscience's sake -- " I mean for the sake of his conscience, not yours, [do not eat it]. For why should another man's scruples apply to me and my liberty of action be determined by his conscience? If I partake [of my food] with thankfulness, why am I accused and spoken evil of because of that for which I give thanks? So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God. Do not let yourselves be [hindrances by giving] an offense to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God [ do not lead others into sin by your mode of life]; Just as I myself strive to please [to accommodate myself to the opinions, desires, and interests of others, adapting myself to] all men in everything I do, not aiming at or considering my own profit and advantage, but that of the many in order that they may be saved.
But we should send word to them in writing to abstain from and avoid anything that has been polluted by being offered to idols, and all sexual impurity, and [eating meat of animals] that have been strangled, and [tasting of] blood.
That you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from [tasting] blood and from [eating the meat of animals] that have been strangled and from sexual impurity. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell [be strong]!
But with regard to the Gentiles who have believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Christ), we have sent them a letter with our decision that they should keep themselves free from anything that has been sacrificed to idols and from [tasting] blood and [eating the meat of animals] which have been strangled and from all impurity and sexual immorality.
For they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands, even with their idols have they committed adultery [against Me]. And they have also caused their sons, whom they bore to Me, to pass through the fire to their images [as an offering of food] to be devoured [by them].
For when they had slain their children [as offerings] to their idols, then they came the same day into My sanctuary to profane it [by daring to offer sacrifice there also]! And behold, thus have they done in the midst of My house!
And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink [the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb] and rose to sport (to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity).
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people there who are clinging to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to set a trap and a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, [to entice them] to eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and to practice lewdness [giving themselves up to sexual vice].
But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food sacrificed to idols.