1 Corinthians 8 and 9
The church in Corinth had asked about the eating of food which had been offered before an idol. Picture yourself as a Christian in Corinth, invited to a social banquet in a temple, or seated as a guest in the house of a non-Christian friend, and offered food which had been presented in sacrifice to an idol.
- 8:1-13. Using the knowledge of truth as their sole guide (such truth as is stated in verses 4-6), what decision did the Corinthians come to about eating food offered to idols? Did Paul agree? List the reasons why he also says that in certain circumstances he would abstain from such eating.
- 9:1-27.What basic principle which should govern Christian action does Paul illustrate here from his own conduct? In particular what rights does he show Christian workers to have, and what are his reasons for not using them?
- 8:12. ‘Wound their weak conscience’: note the contrast. What requires tender handling is brutally treated. Cf. 9:22. The ‘weak’:i.e, those whose grasp of Christian truth is feeble, and who are timid in exercising their liberty in Christ. Cf. Rom. 14:1-3.
- 8:13.This declaration is conditional and personal, not absolute and general. The significance of this should not be overlooked. Cf. 10:27-30.
1 Corinthians 10:1-11:1
- 10:1-13.The people of Israel, who came out of Egypt, enjoyed similar privileges to those of Christians. What lessons then can we learn from their failures? Why is the inevitability of temptation no occasion for despair?
- Paul distinguishes between eating in an idol temple (verses 14-22), and eating meats bought in the market, which had been offered before an idol (verses 23-30). Why does he condemn the former, but permit the latter, except in the circumstances of verses 28, 29? What principles does he lay down, in conclusion, to guide Christians in all such matters?
1 Corinthians 11:2-34
This chapter deals with two irregularities in public worship. The first concerns the proper way for women to dress when they take part in public worship. The second concerns unchristian behavior at the social meal, which was the occasion of the observance of the Lord’s Supper.
- What were the arguments that Paul brought forward to insist that in Corinth women should be veiled in public worship? How far are these arguments of permanent validity? Can their application vary where prevailing social customs differ from those of Paul’s day?
- What (according to verses 23-26) is the central significance of the Lord’s Supper? What were the causes of some receiving it unworthily? See verses 17-22 and 27-32. How can we make our reception more worthy?
- Verse 10. ‘Because of the angels’: Christian worship was probably regarded as conducted in their presence and open to their view.
- Verse 10. The veil was both a symbol of authority, reminding the woman that her husband was her head, and also a sign of her modesty and charity, for no respectable woman was seen without one in Corinth at that time.