Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of I Corinthians Chapter 8
Metaphysically Interpreting I Corinthians 8:1-13
8:1Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth. 8:2If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know; 8:3but if any man loveth God, the same is known by him.
8:4Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one. 8:5For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many; 8:6yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him.
8:7Howbeit there is not in all men that knowledge: but some, being used until now to the idol, eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8:8But food will not commend us to God: neither, if we eat not, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better. 8:9But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak. 8:10For if a man see thee who hast knowledge sitting at meat in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols? 8:11For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 8:12And thus, sinning against the brethren, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, ye sin against Christ. 8:13Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.
September 23, 1928: I Cor. 8:1-13
In today’s lesson Paul was writing a letter to the Christians at Corinth. What was the subject of the letter? Paul had been asked in a letter received from the Corinthian church whether or not one might eat meat, which had first been offered to idols. His letter in today's lesson was a discourse along this line. Corinth formerly had been idolatrous, but had been converted to Christianity.
What was Paul's answer? Paul replied in substance that it depended upon one's mental attitude, or knowledge. If one understands that there is no reality in idols, that they have no power, and that there is but one God, who is through all and in all, he is safe in whatever he does.
Paul says, “Their conscience being weak is defiled.” Explain. Paul teaches that one who understands the truth should be an example in all that he does, to the end that those who are weak shall be strengthened and fortified by his good example; that conscience is really the rule or law for man's acts. Shakespeare says, “Conscience does make cowards of us all”.
Paid teaches that food will not commend us to God. If this be true, is there any virtue in abstaining from animal foods? “God is Spirit.” Man in his spiritual identity is one with God. The union is not broken by material things. However, man's body is the temple of God and should be kept clean and pure, free from the lusts of the flesh. Abstaining from eating flesh food disciplines the mind and refines the body, making it a fit habitation for the higher principles of life. Many Christian metaphysicians, relying upon Jesus’ words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” make few selections and no distinctions in the matter of food, claiming that the power of Spirit in man overcomes all evil of whatever kind.
Does Paul give any warning to these Christian metaphysicians, who feel their spiritual dominion and power over food and drink? In verse 9 Paul writes: “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak.”
What is Paul’s final affirmation? “Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.”
October 2, 1938: I Cor. 8:4-6
How is oneness realized in the New Testament? Through recognizing none but the one God, active as principle in all manifestation. “There is no God but one.” This makes manifestation easy and normal.
June 30, 1935: I Cor. 8:9-13
Explain how the desires of the natural man can be elevated to the spiritual plane, so as to free him from the dominion of sense. Through developing the power of will, until it equals his present understanding, the natural man can re-educate and spiritualize his desires.
What will make actual the ideal of a high standard of temperate living for men in general? The spirit of brotherhood in Christ, when actively expressed, will bring into expression a high standard of actual temperance. The weak will be strengthened by the influence of the strong, beholding in them Christ perfection and power.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 11-09-2013