Tuesday, 21 October 2014
If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 1 Corinthians 10:27
The previous thought that was given concerned buying meat at the market. About this, we learned that we could “eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake.” When something looks tasty there at the meat market, we should feel no constraints on buying it and enjoying it. The next line of thought concerns an invitation to dinner by a non-believer. The assumption is that this is speaking of a private house or maybe an invite out to dinner at a restaurant, not an idol’s temple (which has already been addressed).
If a non-believer invites us out in such a manner, and if we desire to go, then we are given complete freedom to do so. There is nothing that would forbid a Christian from going out for a meal with a non-believer. While out, we are also given the freedom to “eat whatever is set before you.” It doesn’t matter what has been prepared – all foods are acceptable to be eaten and none are considered “unclean” in and of themselves. This is so plainly clear and explicit that only an intentional twisting of Scripture can come to any other conclusion. But Paul adds on a restriction to the meal. We are to ask “no question for conscience’ sake.” He will explain what this means in the coming verse.
Having noted this, commentators have attempted to insert personal opinions which do not align with Paul’s words here. A couple should be highlighted. Some say that the thought “and you desire to go” is an insert which indicates that Paul was somehow implying that it wasn’t a smart choice, but that it is allowable none-the-less. This requires inserting a presupposition which is not supported by the entire context of the passage. Going back as far as 1 Corinthians 5, we read this –
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
There is absolutely nothing wrong with associating with the unsaved and Paul makes that perfectly clear. A second thought concerning the verse we are analyzing is that of drinking. Some commentators state that because Paul says “eat whatever is set before you,” but fails to mention the word “drink” it implies that Paul was a teetotaler and was indicating that the Christian should not consider imbibing if so offered. This is a complete misuse of Scripture based on a faulty presupposition. Paul has been addressing meats sacrificed to idols and he is continuing along with that thought. “Eating” a meal implies all that the meal includes.
If one doesn’t drink alcohol, then they may refuse what is offered. If one does, there is nothing in Scripture to forbid partaking along with the host. Presuppositions inevitably lead to faulty doctrine and bad analyses of Scripture. It is inappropriate to use personal standards against others when providing Scriptural interpretation. This has nothing to do with “promoting” the drinking of alcohol. Rather, it has to do with promoting a sound interpretation which is consistent with Scripture.
Life application: Presuppositions need to be set aside when analyzing Scripture. If one doesn’t eat certain meats, that is no excuse for imposing that standard on another. If one doesn’t drink alcohol, that is no excuse for attempting to shame others into not drinking it. It is Scripture, given by God, from which we are to derive our doctrine.
Heavenly Father, how often I feel as if I’ve let You down in my daily walk. I carry along with me the thought of things I wish I hadn’t said or done and it puts up a wall in my mind which keeps You out. But because of Jesus, I know the wall is of my own making. You have provided everything necessary for me to always be in fellowship with You. And so help me to remember to leave these burdens behind and to go forward knowing that in Christ I am already forgiven for my many faults. Thank You for this assurance I have because of the cross of Jesus. Amen.