Friday 27 February 2015

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

“‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.” (v. 23)

1 Corinthians 10:14-25 Friday 27 February 2015

Psalm: Psalm 118:19-29


Paul has already established (link to Monday's Word in Time)that some knowledgeable and faithful Christians participated incontroversial social gestures because they believed that theycaused little real harm. They knew that idols were not real andtherefore they were happy to share in banquets with idolworshippers. The strong knew that they had no intention ofworshipping idols, and yet Paul still warns them against doing so.Although they may understand and intend the gesture to be empty,their actions could have a wider meaning and interpretation.

Paul is drawing attention to the fact that some social gesturesmay have a significance that is independent of the intentions ofindividuals. He appeals to reason, but his argument is essentiallyone of faith. By referring to the Eucharist, and particularly thesharing of the bread of Christ, he describes how diverse believersfind their unity in one source (Jesus). Such sharing creates a bondbetween all involved. He therefore argues that the absence ofbelief in idols does not negate the bond created between those whoare sharing together. Thus by participating in such occasions thestrong were entering into union with idol-worshippers. They werebinding themselves to relationships in very different communities.Where, then, did they belong?

Paul highlights how sometimes our actions and choices may havewider implications and meaning than we intend. He returns again tothe principle that living faithfully it is not just about what isgood for the individual, but about what is for the benefit andwellbeing of others.

To Ponder

  • Are there times when others may have understood your actions inways very differently from what you intended? What happened?
  • In what ways do you belong to different communities, and how dothese impact on your belonging to the Body of Christ?
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