Difficult Texts

"It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."

The foods referred to in this chapter were not biblically unclean, but were esteemed unclean (verse 14) because they had been used in sacrifice to idols (1 Corinthians 8:1, 13). The wine approved by God is described as "wine in the cluster" (Isaiah 65:8), so both meat and wine were clean of themselves. Though Paul concedes that an idol is "nothing in the world" (1 Corinthians 8:4), and therefore food offered to it is not defiled by being offered, many did not view it that way. They felt the food was contaminated and unfit for Christian consumption. For the sake of such objectors who felt that it was unclean, Paul said it was better not to offend their weak conscience (verse 10) by eating it before them.