1 Corinthians 8. Forum Discussion

Edification and Stumbling Blocks

As we have previously discussed, Corinth was the “sin city” of the Roman Empire. Corinth had many problems including:

  • Fornication
  • Prostitution
  • Adultery
  • Idolatry
  • Improper worship and more.

Here in chapter 8, Paul fixes his attention on the sin of Idolatry.

Idolatry is defined as, “The worship of false gods,” or “The worship of an idol or cult image, being a physical image, such as a statue, or person in place of God.”

Exodus 20:1-4 states:

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 lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul separates the population into two groups:

  1. Those that have the knowledge that, “There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” – 1 Corinthians 8:6
  2. Those that do not have this knowledge.

He then talks about the responsibility of those that have this knowledge towards those that do not.

Paul says, “For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?” – 1 Corinthians 8:10 

If we are doing the very things that non-believers suspect to be wrong, and they see us doing them, we cause them to stumble. Those witnessing our acts will rationalize to themselves that it must be ok since, “Even the Christians are doing it.”

In Paul’s time the example is dining in an idol’s temple, but this could be anything that causes someone to stumble.

What kind of message do we send to others if we who are known Christians curse, drink too much, gossip, fight, lie, steal, etc.?

When people see us committing these acts, they rationalize that it is ok for them to do it also, and we cause them to stumble.

In 1 Corinthians 8:1, Paul writes, “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”

To edify means, “To build up.”

Just as our behavior can cause others to stumble, we can also build them up. We can edify those around us by doing and saying things that are consistent with our faith and avoiding things that are not.

If we are the only people in our office at work that do not curse, that sends a message.

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

Just as our negative behaviors can cause those around us to stumble, our positive behaviors shine a light on our faith and can build others up.

As Jesus said in Mathew 5:16, “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.

We need to always be mindful of the influence our behavior is having on those around us. Are we glorifying God, or are we causing others to stumble?

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 1 Corinthians 9 and how those that proclaim the gospel are to get their living from the gospel. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen



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.