Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 1 Corinthians 8:4
“Therefore” begins the main discourse of the subject at hand, and yet it is relying on the parenthetical statement he just finished. The thought process thus far goes as follows:
1) Now concerning things offered to idols:
—–a) We know that we all have knowledge.
—–b) Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
—–c) (linked to 1a) If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
—–d) (linked to 1b) But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
2) Therefore…. (after considering 1a-1d)
When the Bible gives a “therefore” it is always important to go back and see what it is there for.
And so to begin his discourse on the subject, he reiterates the first half of verse 1 again by saying, “concerning the eating of things offered to idols.” In essence, “Now that I have explained to you a more important issue which is directly connected to your question, I will now answer your question.” And he does so immediately by saying, “we know that an idol is nothing in the world.”
In this, his direct response is tied to “knowledge” as mentioned in 1a above. Everyone who has called on Christ should intuitively realize that an idol is nothing. It is a part of the creation and has no ability to change the outcome of anything. If something is sacrificed to it, it has no more ability to respond to the sacrifice than does a handful of dirt or a cup of water. Because this so, then the sacrifice has no meaning either. It was a futile gesture to a futile non-god. And this is all the more certain because, “there is no other God but one.” This short phrase was preceded by “and that” which again ties it to 1a – “and that there is no other God but one.”
This is knowledge which every believer should certainly possess because they have rejected all other religious systems and have called on Christ as Lord. If He is Lord, He is God and there is none other. This is knowledge that should be certain. But though understood in some measure by all true believers, it may not have been properly processed by all of them. This will inevitably cause a conflict in them when considering the issue of food sacrificed to idols. When it does, their faith may be challenged. Before addressing this though, Paul will continue to speak concerning “knowledge” for two more verses.
Life application: When reading the Bible, it is a good habit to reconsider what was previously stated when coming to prepositions such as “for,” “and,” “but,” “therefore,” and etc. If the context is still unclear, try mapping it out in a simple manner and re-considering the context. This will often open up the passage to what is intended by the writer.
Glorious Lord God! Today I am overflowing with joy in my heart simply because I know You personally. The world is spiraling into chaos. False religions are taking the upper hand all around us. There is insecurity, trouble, trial, and sadness everywhere… and yet, despite all of this, I have a more definite hope than these things could ever destroy. I have the surety of eternal life because the grave was defeated for me by Christ Jesus. What can man do to me? I am safe, secure, and serene because of Your Gift, my Lord Jesus. Hallelujah and Amen!