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Weak and Strong Believers in Christianity: Paul and 1 Corinthians 8:9 Essay

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Updated: Jun 24th, 2022

Introduction

The Bible presents powerful ideas and lessons that Christians can follow to achieve their spiritual goals. This paper relies on 1 Corinthians 8:9 to describe why Paul encourages his readers to avoid relying on their freedom since such a practice can make weaker Christian believers to stumble. The discussion identifies who are weak and strong believers, the meaning of freedom among Christians, the notion of a stumbling block, and how such aspects mean for Christians.

Chapter Context

In the Book of 1 Corinthians 8, Paul provides unique thoughts to guide Christians to examine the question of eating idol food from an informed or purely spiritual standpoint. The chapter describes how and why God is keen to monitor what humans eat and if they do so with some form of conscience. The outstanding message is that the decision to consume idol food would go against one’s consent. In such a situation, a sin would have been committed since God does not embrace such a process or activity. This background forms the basis of Paul’s message to Christian believers. In verse 9, Paul warns Christians that the freedom to pursue their rights and eat whatever they like could make it easier for those who are weak in faith to stumble.

Weak and Strong Believers

From the context of the selected chapter, it is evident that the specific verse indicates that there some believers who could be identified as strong and others weak. The idea of Christian morality becomes the best idea for distinguishing these two types of Christians. The notion indicates that strong believers would be the ones who are aware of God’s requirements and convictions. In such a case, these individuals appreciate the fact that God’s will needs to be done on earth. Using the chapter, strong believers would be aware that eating idol food is a bad practice since the exercise does not glorify God. This notion remains outstanding even when people would acknowledge food cannot be evil or bad. Those who understand that eating idol food is a violation of their conscience would be classified as strong believers.

On the other hand, weak Christians would be those who might lack the conscience regarding what out to be acceptable or not. Such individuals might decide to eat idol food without understanding that such a practice amounts to sin. When strong believers who have the described such a conscience eat idol food, chances are high that their actions could cause other to fall since they will become stumbling blocks. The emerging evidence is that strong Christians who might be engaging in specific actions simply because they have the freedom to do so will not be helping weak believers to achieve their spiritual goals.

Christian Freedom

In the selected verse, Paul is keen to warn Christians who are clear in their own conscience about the dangers of eating idol food. From the work, the Christian reader realizes that Christians have the right to eat what they want. This kind of permission is what Paul identifies as freedom. Such a right would be practiced when individuals choose to exercise their liberties to eat. The same freedom could be applied to a wide range of decisions that Christians are allowed to make in life. However, such a choice or right appears questionable when it fails to guide those who have little conscience or faith to pursue their goals.

Paul tries to attack this kind of freedom since it could become a stumbling block in the path of many emerging Christian believers. Specifically, strong Christians should not capitalize on this right since it could worsen the situation for those who have a less understanding of the scriptures. The ultimate aim should be for believers to avoid decisions and actions that could disorient the goals and spiritual outcomes of persons with developing consciences.

Stumbling Block

The Bible condemns the decision to consume idol food as inappropriate and ungodly. While strong believers will not have committed any specific sin for eating specific foods, Paul is keen to indicate that such a practice could become a stumbling block. The observation is that the freedom of these strong believers could compel persons with weaker consciences to follow in their steps. The concept of a stumbling block is, therefore, evidence since Christians with weaker consciences will have higher chances of tripping while falling. The strong Christians will make it impossible for their weaker colleagues to pursue their religious goals more effectively.

The advice Paul presents is that such Christians should stop eating specific foods even if they have the freedom to do so. This move is appropriate since it will ensure that other Christians do not eventually stumble. The ultimate goal is ensuring that Christians with underdeveloped consciences find meaning in their decisions and follow their respective actions. Without a stumbling block, more emerging Christians while know what is sinful and right and make choices that are acceptable in the eyes of God.

Benefiting or Harming Other Christians

The concept of Christian freedom is one of the recurrent themes in the selected chapter. Paul reveals that such a liberty is outstanding and guides believers to follow their dreams while on earth. The issue of food is notable whereby Paul compares it with this kind of freedom. Specifically, the religious text indicates that humans are free to eat whatever they want. However, God would always be concerned with what His followers eat and the kind of conscience involved. When a person has a clear conscience regarding the sinful nature of eating idol food would be qualified as a strong believer. However, a believer might choose to ignore such a conscience and go ahead to consume the same food. In such a case, such a person would only be harming other Christians by making it impossible for them to know what is the truth and God’s view regarding the nature and validity of eating idol food.

Similarly, a strong Christian who follows his or her conscience would avoid eating idol food by all means. This religious act can benefit other Christians by ensuring that they follow the same action or decision. Consequently, all followers or colleagues of such a strong Christian will benefit by engaging in habits and actions that glorify God. This verse can, therefore, be considered when analyzing and pursuing other religious questions whereby individuals have the freedom to do whatever they please.

Conclusion

The above discussion has utilized 1 Corinthians 8:9 to describe why eating idol food is ungodly and inappropriate since Christians would be doing so against their consciences. While strong Christians have the freedom to eat any kind of food, Paul teaches that not to do so since such a practice could harm other believers who have a weak conscience. Such insights are powerful and capable of guiding more Christians to pursue their religious goals.

Bibliography

Cervantes, Hector. “The Implications of the Resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:12-28).” Diligence: Journal of the Liberty University Online Religion Capstone in Research and Scholarship 1, no. 6 (2016): 1-18.

Ellington, Dustin W. “The Impulse toward the Disadvantaged in the Gospel Preached By Paul: An Analysis of 1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21 and 8:1-11:1.” Scriptura 115, no. 1 (2016): 1-13.

Moses, Robert. “The Tune of Christian Apocalyptic: Paul and John in Concert.” Theology Today 75, no. 1 (2018): 22-36.

Serrano, Carlo A. “The Temple, the Body, and the People: Ancient Metaphors for the Modern Church.” Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership 8, no. 1 (2018): 3-11.

Snyder, Elizabeth. “Biblical Foundations for Nutrition for an Abundant Life.” The Journal of Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning 1, no. 12 (2016): 1-31.

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