Food offered to idols (1 Cor. 8:10)

“If anyone sees you,

A man of knowledge,

At table

In an idol’s temple,

Might he not be encouraged,

If his conscience is weak,

To eat food

Offered to idols?”

ἐὰν γάρ τις ἴδῃ σὲ τὸν ἔχοντα γνῶσιν ἐν εἰδωλίῳ κατακείμενον, οὐχὶ ἡ συνείδησις αὐτοῦ ἀσθενοῦς ὄντος οἰκοδομηθήσεται εἰς τὸ τὰ εἰδωλόθυτα ἐσθίειν;

Paul said if anyone sees you (ἐὰν γάρ τις ἴδῃ σὲ), a man of knowledge (τὸν ἔχοντα γνῶσιν), eating in an idol’s temple (ἐν εἰδωλίῳ κατακείμενον), might he not (οὐχὶ) be encouraged (οἰκοδομηθήσεται), if his conscience is weak (συνείδησις αὐτοῦ ἀσθενοῦς ὄντος), to eat food offered to idols (εἰς τὸ τὰ εἰδωλόθυτα ἐσθίειν)?  Only the Pauline letters used this word εἰδωλίῳ, that means an idol’s temple or a temple containing idols.  There were banquet areas within the pagan temples.  Paul then asked them a simple question.  Since they were knowledgeable about the way of Christ, if they were eating in a temple for idols, would that not encourage those with a weak conscious to eat food offered to idols?  This was a strange way to say that idol food was useless.  In fact, it would have the opposite effect, since more people might indulge in idol food as they thought that it was okay.  It would be better if they did not put the others in danger, like many of the Jewish people who stayed away from the pagan idol temples.  Would you eat a meal at a pagan temple?

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