1 Corinthians 8 Lesson

Building Others Up


In 1 Corinthians Chapter 8, Paul focuses his attention on a major problem that was occurring in the city of Corinth, idolatry. 

Idolatry is defined as, “The worship of false gods.”

There are clear warnings in the Bible against idolatry, including this scripture taken from the Book of Exodus:

  • “Then God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” – Exodus 20:1-6.

Paul points out that the sin of idolatry not only affects us, but it can also affect those around us that notice our behavior. 

If we, as believers, are doing things that non-believers know are wrong, and they see us doing them, we can cause them to stumble. And if our behavior causes them to stumble, we bear responsibility for that.

Those witnessing our sinful acts can rationalize to themselves that it must be ok since “Even the Christians are doing it.”

This is true for all sins that can cause others to stumble.

As disciples of Jesus, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard and avoid those behaviors that can cause others to sin. 

We need to ask ourselves, what kind of message we are sending to others if we, who are known Christians:

  • Curse,
  • Drink too much,
  • Gossip,
  • Fight,
  • Lie,
  • Steal,
  • And so on.


Our behavior, good or bad, has an influence on the people around us. 

And just as our negative behavior can cause others to stumble, our positive behavior can help build them up. 

We can help those around us to come to Jesus by doing and saying things that are consistent with the teachings of the Bible, and by avoiding things that are not. 

For example, if we are the only people at our jobs that do not curse, that sends a message. 

If we forgo a social gathering because we are committed to attending Bible study, that also sends a message. 

Jesus said:

  • “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” - Mathew 5:16.

We should always be aware of the influence our behavior has on others and do our best to glorify God in all that we do. 


The Bible tells us that God wants us to edify one another and build each other up.  Listed below are four such scriptures:

  1. “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:11,
  2. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” - Ephesians 4:29,
  3. “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouragingone another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” - Hebrews 10:24-25,
  4. “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” – Romans 14:19.


What we say and do has an impact on the people around us. 

Because of this, we need to act wisely and make sure that the influence we are having is a positive one.

The positive influence that we seek to have should not be defined by the world’s values, but by God’s. And the two things that God values the most are:

  1. Loving God will all our heart, mind, and soul,
  2. Loving our neighbor as ourselves.

We all have the ability to build others up and to cause them to stumble. For this reason, we need to act wisely and choose our words carefully.

Instead of complaining, gossiping, or focusing on the negative, we can exhort and encourage one another! 

The Apostle Paul was aware that idolatry was a problem in Corinth, and he challenged the recipients of his letter to help others rise above this form of sin. 

If we take the time to get to know the people around us, and pay attention to their struggles, we will be able to identify ways to encourage them in a similar way.

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following words of encouragement taken from the Book of Proverbs:

  • “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.” -Proverbs 12:25.



I am no longer with my children's father and have since married a devout Christian. Their dad is a proud pagan and my children have in some ways followed his direction. I have began bringing them to church to build a relationship with God and I try to be understanding but it hurts my heart knowing their relationship with this false religion is affecting them. I feel like I am failing them despite trying to bring Jesus into their life. This was a great read and spoke to me. I think I will pray on this more and ask God for guidance on how to continue.


Hang in there, Erin. The best thing we can do for our children's faith is to let them see ours. "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day"


Thank you for this lesson that serves as a reminder for me that I am being watched by others who see what a Christian looks like.


This is so true. This really hit me. I guess I myself have rationalize in Christian things I have seen from other Christians and continue to do it, thus sending a message to those who might know me as their only Christian friend.


This was a great reminder that our Christian life is not only about us...but it is also about being a living example of Christ and showing the world who Christ is...through us.

So then, what representation of Christ am I demonstrating...a good one or a bad one? Am I building up...or tearing down?

Drexel Deal

In 1st Corinthians 4: 16 Paul wrote;
“Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” NKJV.
Then in 1st Corinthians 11: 1 he wrote again;
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” NKJV.
Here’s what I’ve come to appreciate in my Christian walk; a new believer will often imitate a brother or sister in church before they are able to imitate Christ. The way we speak to people and the way we treat others, does it line up with proper Christian behavior? Therefore, we who make up the mature Body of Christ must be walking as Christ did.
We mature Christians must be speaking to others as Christ did, we must be treating people as Christ did; because our actions are often the loudest sermon new believers and unbelievers get to watch. Thus, we could build others up in Christ or we could push them away from our Savior.