What does 1 Corinthians 8:12 mean?
ESV: Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
NIV: When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
NASB: And so, by sinning against the brothers and sisters and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
CSB: Now when you sin like this against brothers and sisters and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ.
NLT: And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.
KJV: But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
NKJV: But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has been building a case for those in Corinth challenging his teaching that they should restrict themselves from eating food they know has been offered to idols. His main objection to them exercising their freedom to eat idol food is that some among them cannot eat food offered to idols with a clear conscience. They simply are not convinced that the idols they once worshiped do not in any way exist (1 Corinthians 8:1–8).

Paul's concern is that if those with stronger consciences eat the food, in view of those with weaker consciences, those who are weaker may decide to eat anyway, and sin against their consciences (Romans 14:23). This is referred to as a "stumbling block," implying that the careless use of one's Christian freedom can tempt less-knowledgeable believers to act without full assurance of faith.

As such, Paul declares that those who carelessly eat—even though the meat is not itself sinful—will be guilty of sin, as well. Specifically, he says they will be guilty of sinning against their brothers and sinning against Christ, who died to save those weaker brothers.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 8:1–13 begins Paul's longer response to the question of attending functions in idol temples or eating food offered to idols. This appears to blend Paul's own statements with references to the Corinthians' own remarks. It seems the Corinthians had previously written to Paul saying they are not ''worshiping'' the idols. They know idols don't really exist and that only God is real. Paul replies that the problem here is not lack of knowledge but lack of love. Some brothers and sisters in Christ cannot eat idol food with clear consciences. Those who are stronger risk leading those who are weaker into sin and, in that way, sinning themselves.
Chapter Summary:
Paul responds to Corinthian objections about restrictions on eating in idol temples, or eating food offered to idols. Those were activities deeply integrated into everyday Corinthian society. Paul agrees that idols are nothing and food is only food. The problem is that some Christians from idol-worshiping backgrounds cannot eat idol food with a clear conscience. To do so is sin, for them. If those with stronger consciences—those who understand the truth better—lead their weaker brothers into sin, they themselves will also be guilty of sinning against their brothers and against Christ.
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 8 begins Paul's response to another issue raised by the Corinthians. Earlier passages dealt with sexuality; this section discusses idolatry and food. Paul agrees that idols don't truly exist and only God is real. The problem is that some of the less-developed Christians aren't convinced of that. For those believers, they violate their consciences by eating idol food. Even if it's misguided, violating one's conscience is a sin (Romans 14:23). If those with stronger consciences lead these weaker brothers and sisters into sin, they will be guilty of sin themselves. Paul continues to balance liberty with care for others over the next chapters.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
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