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1 Corinthians 8:4

ESV Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”
NIV So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that 'An idol is nothing at all in the world' and that 'There is no God but one.'
NASB Therefore, concerning the eating of food sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing at all in the world, and that there is no God but one.
CSB About eating food sacrificed to idols, then, we know that "an idol is nothing in the world," and that "there is no God but one."
NLT So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God.
KJV As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

What does 1 Corinthians 8:4 mean?

Paul has cited and replied to the Corinthian's own statements (1 Corinthians 7:1; 8:1). Here, once again, it seems he is quoting from the Corinthians' letter to him about the issue of eating food offered to idols. Their knowledge tells them that an idol has no real existence and the one true God is the only God. The believers in Corinth seem to say, "Idols are nothing. They don't exist. As Christians, we know God is the only God. So eating food offering to nothing should be a non-issue."

Paul will agree with their premise that the endless number of idols and gods worshiped by pagan Corinth are not actually gods. He had written to the Galatians that before they came to faith in Christ, they had been slaves to those that are not gods by nature (Galatians 4:8). In that sense, Paul agrees that there is no actual power or substance behind an idol or idolatrous ceremonies.

All Greek life in Corinth included or was touched by idol worship of one kind or another. Every kind of family and civic functions from weddings and funerals to birthday parties and business meetings were held in idol temples where food that had been offered to idols was often served. A restriction on eating food offered or dedicated to an idol created significant problems for the Corinthians.

Beyond that, meat found in the market or the homes of non-Christian friends and family may well be meat once offered to an idol. To refuse to enter idol temples or eat meat that may have been offered to idols meant that a believer would have to withdraw from much of public life.

Possibly motivated by that difficulty, the Corinthians appear to be asking Paul if he really expects them to take such drastic action.
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