Acts + Letters Lesson 23 Day 2

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1 Corinthians 8–9 My Answers to BSF Bible Study Questions

Walking in love is more important than being right. (AWLC)

3. Paul shows by example that love is greater than knowledge.

Superior knowledge will always lead an individual into arrogance unless a deliberate effort is made to prevent it. It is true that knowledge gives people an advantage in many ways, but matters of the heart are more important than matters of the head. Character is more beneficial than intellect. If people lose their character in pursuit of knowledge, they are much poorer in the sight of God and of much less benefit to their fellow man. (AWLC)

Background on meat offered to idols

The meat offered on pagan altars was usually divided into three portions. One portion was burnt in honor of the god, one portion was given to the worshipper to take home and eat, and the third portion was given to the priest. If the priest didn’t want to eat his portion, he sold it at the temple restaurant or meat market.

i. The meat served and sold at the temple was generally cheaper. Then, as well as now, people loved a bargain (including Christians).

c. Things offered to idols: The issue raised many questions for the Corinthian Christians: Can we eat meat purchased at the temple meat market? What if we are served meat purchased at the temple meat market when we are guests in someone’s home? Can a Christian eat at the restaurant at the pagan temple? (

The mature believer feels free to eat meat offered to idols, because meat is meat and it’s a provision of God, and idols are nothing. But the immature believer has come from a background of idol worship, so when he sees his brother eating meat, it eggs him on to do it. However, he associates the meat with the idols, and therefore is violating his conscience by eating it. (Alcorn)

Paul answers their questions and points to his example.

—He will not knowingly eat food offered to idols forever if it might confuse a spiritual brother or sister. (v. 8:13)

—Paul is a genuine messenger because he saw Jesus with his own eyes. (v. 9:1)

—The Corinthian believers are living proof that God called him. (v. 9:1)

—Doesn’t exercise his rights by asking the Corinthians to support him (v. 9:1-17)

—Flexible servant who can reach Jews and non-Jews by behaving in such an honorable manner.

—Self-discipline. Like an athlete who runs a race, he subjects his body into obedience so he doesn’t disqualify himself by sinning.

4. Contemporary stumbling blocks

Because Paul addresses such an extreme spiritual temptation—tempting former pagan worshipers to buy meat at a pagan market or to eat meat offered to what they still believe is a real god with power—most of the examples I’ve heard in the past make little sense.

The stumbling block of 1 Corinthians 8 (and Romans 14) is an action, taken by a biblically informed believer, that does not in itself violate any scriptural precept or principle, but which a less knowledgeable or less mature believer might imitate in a way that violates his conscience. (Alcorn)

Paul says the believers can still eat meat from the pagan meat market in some circumstances, but not others. When we wonder about an activity that falls in a gray area, we should consider how it might affect our brother or sister. Let the Holy Spirit be our guide.

5. Paul’s freedom and rights

When Paul mentions those who are weak, it isn’t about being weaker in self-control but weaker in knowledge.

Paul loved others more than he loved himself, so he willingly gave up his rights to reach others.

6. Paul’s consistency and flexibility


“Paul was willing to offend people over the gospel, but he wanted to offend them only over the gospel.” (Guzik)

Paul worked to take care of his own needs as he traveled to share the message.

He didn’t seek honor, wealth, comfort, or to save his life.


All things to all men, that I might by all means save some

“This passage has often been looked to for the idea of ‘accommodation’ in evangelism, that is, of adapting the message to the language and perspective of the recipients. Unfortunately, despite the need for that discussion to be carried on, this passage does not speak directly to it. This has to do with how one lives or behaves among those whom he wishes to evangelize.” (Fee)


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Unless noted, all Scripture from public domain WEB translation.
My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 23 Day 2