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1 Corinthians 8:11

ESV And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.
NIV So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.
NASB For through your knowledge the one who is weak is ruined, the brother or sister for whose sake Christ died.
CSB So the weak person, the brother or sister for whom Christ died, is ruined by your knowledge.
NLT So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed.
KJV And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

What does 1 Corinthians 8:11 mean?

Those in Corinth challenging Paul's restrictions on eating food offered to idols began by pointing to their knowledge. They know the idols are fake gods. They know that God is the only God. Knowing this gives them to freedom to eat idol food. Paul has agreed that idol food, in and of itself, is not evil, just as the false gods are not real. He does not disagree with what the Corinthians know, but he does disagree with the application of their knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:1–6).

The problem is that some Christians do not know what these others know. Referring to them as "weaker," Paul implies they are not convinced the false gods do not exist. They are not clear in their consciences about eating idol food. For them, then, Paul has said, to eat that food is sin. Scripture makes this a strong point: violating one's conscience, alone, is itself a sin (Romans 14:23).

The concern is that if some in Corinth carelessly exercise their right to eat idol food, they will lead "weaker" believers to participate, despite it being against the "weak" person's conscience. This is what Paul meant in verse 9, where he used the term proskomma, referring to something a person might trip over: a "stumbling block."

Unless they consider the conscience of others, the Corinthians risk using knowledge which makes them free to eat in a way that spiritually harms brothers and sisters who do not have that knowledge. They will be "destroyed," taken from the Greek root apollumi, meaning something ruined or lost. This "ruin" is in the sense of sinning by violating their own consciences, not destroyed in the sense of losing their salvation (John 10:28).

Paul reminds the Corinthians, pointedly, that Christ has died for these people who have weak consciences. Is it too much to ask for the Corinthians to skip eating idol food for their sake? Even if the act, itself, is allowed for a Christian, the conscience of a "weaker" believer must be taken into account. That fellow believer needs to be lovingly discipled, and helped to grow into a "strong" conscience, not carelessly exposed to something for which they are unprepared.
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