The Apostle Paul responds to questions from the Corinthians in his first epistle. Chapter seven addresses concerns about marriage, and chapter eight with eating meat offered to idols. Although idol meat was the question, Paul’s answer leans heavily upon the underlying issue of Christian liberty. Some activities, though not sinful in themselves, should still be avoided because they harm others.
The Corinthians lived in an idolatrous society, and most of the church members were saved out of a pagan background. Much of their former social life involved meals eaten in pagan temples. No wonder, then, that questions relating to idol meat were high on their agenda. Two questions emerge. First, is it right to eat food at home which has been offered to idols, and second, should I refrain from eating at pagan temples? The Apostle Paul addresses both questions.
All Christians know the truth about pagan gods, but knowledge can puff us up, which is why we need a generous dose of Christian love to build others up. Knowledge tends to promote overconfidence in ourselves fueling an inflated estimation of our knowledge. Yes, we know something about pagan gods which our neighbors do not, but none of us knows as much as we ought. Knowledge should make us humble, but often instead expands our pride. There is something more important than knowledge, namely love, which causes us to consider others and their needs, not trumpet our superior understanding. May our knowledge always be seasoned with love.
Read Part 1.
On the topic of racism in America and in American churches, some things are debatable and some things aren’t.
Debatable: how pervasive racism is in American society and Christian churches. Not debatable: the fact that some individuals and groups do misvalue and mistreat people based on their race or ethnic background, even in gospel-preaching churches. Also not debatable: the issue continues to be a hot one in our culture.
Scripture has plenty to say against the thinking and behavior that underlies racism. But we’re not all well taught on the subject, and we’re not all as mindful of it as we ought to be. This article continues a look at biblical reasons to reject racism.
From Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary’s DBSJ 21 (2016); posted with permission.
Paul’s instructions in his first epistle to Timothy are an invaluable resource to believers. They serve as a superb foundation for knowing how the church is to be organized and to function. Paul’s guidelines for overseers and deacons in chapter three are familiar to nearly all Christians as they consider who is qualified to serve in that capacity. The exhortations for Timothy’s life and ministry in chapter four have often been used to challenge both new and experienced church leaders to fulfill the responsibility they have received from God. Paul’s discussion concerning prayer in chapter two is a popular passage, both for church life and in discussions of God’s will in regard to salvation. One’s understanding of the role of women in the church depends heavily on the interpretation of Paul’s teaching in 2:11–15. These concerns make certain passages in 1 Timothy well-known among contemporary believers.