1 Corinthians 8:5-8

If after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords),  yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live.  But this knowledge is not shared by all. And some, by being accustomed to idols in former times, eat this food as an idol sacrifice, and their conscience, because it is weak, is defiled.  Now food will not bring us close to God. We are no worse if we do not eat and no better if we do.

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),  yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.  But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.  But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords),  yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.  However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.  But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords.  But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.  However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated.  It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.


The issue on the table is whether to eat food sacrificed to idols, which at a glance isn’t really a practical question today. The entirety of 1 Corinthians 8 is dedicated to this topic, and includes much more than discussion about food specifically. We hear things like: “knowledge puffs up while love builds up” (vs. 1), “whoever loves God is known by God” (vs 3), “An idol is nothing at all in the world” (vs 4), and “there is no God but one” (vs. 4). It is not about food, it’s about the value you place on food – or anything else in this world. By itself, what we eat has no bearing on how much we are loved or known by God. When I lose sight of this and apply “worship worth” to food, it has become an idol in my life. An idol is an idol because we worship it rather than the Father “from whom all things came and for whom we live”.