Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 8:1-13

We have seen that 6:12-20 may be considered an introduction to Paul’s dealing with married life and to his dealing with the eating of sacrifices to idols. Both marriage and eating have been ordained by God. Therefore, concerning marriage and eating we have our freedom. However, we must use these things in God’s way and for God’s purpose, not for our lusts. Furthermore, marriage and eating are related to our physical bodies. Paul says in 6:13 that the body is for the Lord; in 6:15, that our bodies are members of Christ; and in 6:19, that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

As human beings, we are a complete entity composed of spirit, soul, and body. In order for our body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit our entire being—spirit, soul, and body—must be involved. Since we are a whole entity, none of the parts of our being should be separated from the others. On the one hand, it is our bodies that are members of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, our spirit is also involved. For this reason, in the passage where he emphasizes that the body is a member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us that we are one spirit with the Lord (6:17).

In chapter seven Paul comes to the matter of marriage. Married life surely involves our whole being. According to what Paul says in this chapter, we need to be those who are for the Lord, one with Him, submissive to Him, committed to Him, and content in Him with our circumstances. We need to take our circumstances from the Lord and be with Him in every kind of situation. This requires that we exercise our spirit to practice being one spirit with the Lord. This is also to have a life where our bodies are the members of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. If we touch the depths of chapter seven, we shall see that the answers to the questions about marriage consummate in the description of a person who is one with the Lord and who lives in such a way that his entire being is the Lord’s dwelling place. Because his body is a member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit, he will not use it for any purpose other than that ordained by God. Furthermore, he will be submissive to the Lord and to His leading, always remaining in the circumstances arranged by the Lord without initiating any change. He is thus a person who is one with the Lord for His purpose.

In chapter eight Paul deals with our eating, a matter that is even more practical than the matter of married life. We can live without being married, but not without eating. Eating is an absolute necessity. God created us in such a way that we must eat in order to stay alive. This is God’s ordination.

As we proceed from chapter one to chapter eight, we find that Paul’s dealings become more and more practical. The eating mentioned in chapter eight is much more practical than the philosophy referred to in chapter one. Philosophy involves abstract concepts, whereas eating is extremely concrete and practical.

We have seen that in the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians a number of spiritual things are revealed. The principle is the same in the dealing with eating of sacrifices to idols. Three chapters are occupied with this. In these chapters there are a number of important spiritual highlights.

In chapter eight Paul speaks of an eating that is not advisable, pointing out in verses 1 through 3 that such an eating is not according to love that builds up. Verses 4 through 7 indicate that idols are nothing, and verse 8 says that food does not commend us to God. Finally, in verses 9 through 13, Paul speaks about causing weak brothers to stumble.