The Corinthians are wrestling with whether they can eat meat purchased at the temple markets that has been sacrificed to idols. Paul tells them that there is only one God so food sacrificed to the false gods doesn’t really matter since those gods are nothing.
Some Corinthians have this knowledge so they freely eat the meat with a clear conscience. But other Corinthians do not have this knowledge so eating the meat sacrificed to idols weighs on their conscience. Therefore Paul tells them, ”But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak…But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
Paul is less concerned about the food and more concerned about the Corinthians’ care for one another. He does not want them to be puffed up with their knowledge but to have love for each other.
Paul uses his life as an example to them. He says that he lives in a way to further the gospel no matter the cost to him. Although Paul has the right to be financially supported by the church, he chooses to support himself. Paul says, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel…What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.”
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more…I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”
Paul warns the Corinthians not to become idolaters, sexually immoral, and complainers like the people did in the wilderness with Moses during the Exodus Era – “Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
The Israelites were not unique with their idolatry, sexual sin, and complaining. Paul explains that we ALL suffer from temptations in this lifetime, “but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
(1 Corinthians 8:1-11-1)