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. Chapter 8.

Food Offered to Idols

1 NOW ABOUT FOOD consecrated to heathen deities.

Of course we all 'have knowledge', as you say. 2 This 'knowledge' breeds conceit; it is love that builds. 3 If anyone fancies that he knows, he knows nothing yet, in the true sense of knowing. But if a man loves, [Some witnesses read: loves God.] he is acknowledged by God. [Or: he is recognized.]

4 Well then, about eating this consecrated food: of course, as you say, 'a false god has no existence in the real world. There is no god but one.' 5 For indeed, if there be so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords'— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all being comes, towards whom we move; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came to be, and we through him.

7 But not everyone knows this. There are some who have been so accustomed to idolatry [Some witnesses read: in whom the consciousness of the false god is persistent ...] that even now they eat this food with a sense of its heathen consecration, and their conscience, being weak, is polluted by the eating. 8 Certainly food will not bring us into God's presence: if we do not eat, we are none the worse, and if we eat, we are none the better. 9 But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a pitfall for the weak. 10 If a weak character sees you sitting down to a meal in a heathen temple—you, who 'have knowledge'—will not his conscience be emboldened to eat food consecrated to the heathen deity? 11 This 'knowledge' of yours is utter disaster to the weak; the brother for whom Christ died. 12 In thus sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience, [Some witnesses insert: weak as it is.] you sin against Christ. 13 And therefore, if food be the downfall of my brother, I will never eat meat any more, for I will not be the cause of my brother's downfall.

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