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What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Paul's cavalier attitude about eating meat at idol temple 


We read in 1 Cor. 8:4-12 Paul's explanation why sometimes when you are eating meat sacrificed to idols at a temple you should refrain from eating such meat. Paul explains that you refrain when another believer might see you doing it who thinks it is wrong to eat such meat. This sight would encourage him to do something against his conscience when the brother does not truly believe it is right to eat such meat, even though you know there is nothing wrong doing so because you know an idol (Paul says) is nothing and what we eat means nothing to God. Listen in on this statement by Paul:

1Cor 8:4-12    “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world & that there is none other God but one...but meat commendeth us not to God: for neither if we eat are we the better, neither if we eat not are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols: & through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren & wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.” ”See Biblegateway - all versions

Obadiah Johnson in his book Pharisee Paul, Apostle or Deceiver? (2014, iBooks) comments astutely about this:

“In 1 Cr 8:4-12, Paul is clearly implying that since there is only one “God”, “an idol is nothing in the world”. He goes on to claim that the meat or food we eat does not bring us closer to Elohim or alienate us from Him. He finally implies that “knowledgeable”believers in Adonai Yahushua have the “liberty” to sit in the idol’s temple eating food sacrificed to the idol as long as “weaker” fellow believers don’t see them doing this!
According to Pharisee Paul, it is wrong to eat foods sacrificed to idols even in the temple of the idols only if the idolater is seen doing this by “weaker” believers. Otherwise, it would be perfectly acceptable? This is clearly condoning what Adonai Yahushua condemns in Revelations 2:14. Why did Pharisee Paul condone the eating of foods offered to idols against the will of our Savior, Adonai Yahushua?”

I had read this First Corinthians passage many times. I used it only to prove Paul permits oneself to eat meat sacrificed to idols if another Christian did not see you eat such food. Paul says otherwise the other Christian would be encouraged to do something that the other thinks is wrong.

However, I did not stop and see the implication that Paul clearly passed over the question of whether it is proper AT ALL to go to a temple of an idol where sacrifices of meats were made and then served apparently for free.

Paul clearly thought nothing wrong about that, nor of eating meat sacrificed to idols there if another believer is certainly not present.

Paul also never suggested another reason to not eat such meat at the idol's temple would be because someone might think you apparently are worshipping a false god. Thus, if they were a nonbeliever they may get the 'wrong' idea that you don't think worship of Yahweh requires you to abstain from worship of gods other than Yahweh!

A Paul defender has obvious multiple problems explaining this passage. More important, I would not want to be Paul justifying this reasoning on judgment day before the Almighty!



NOTE. For an example on how this detail is glossed over in standard Pauline commentaries, see commentary of Cambridge Bible under "Comments" tab to this verse at Biblehub.