Eating Meat Offered To Idols: Corinthian Behavior And Pauline Response In 1 Corinthians 8–10 (A Response to Gordon Fee) -- By: Bruce N. Fisk

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 10:1 (Spring 1989)
Article: Eating Meat Offered To Idols: Corinthian Behavior And Pauline Response In 1 Corinthians 8–10 (A Response to Gordon Fee)
Author: Bruce N. Fisk


Eating Meat Offered To Idols: Corinthian Behavior
And Pauline Response In 1 Corinthians 8–10
(A Response to Gordon Fee)

Bruce N. Fisk

BRIERCREST BIBLE COLLEGE
CARONPORT, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA

I. Introduction

The collocation in 1 Corinthians 8–10 of complex exegetical problems and valuable paraenesis is well known. On the one hand, these chapters demand exegetical acumen; on the other, they deliver a wonderful test case in pauline ethics. Not surprisingly, numerous scholars have risen to the challenge. The publication in 1987 of Gordon Fee’s commentary on 1 Corinthians1 is a case in point, and it affords an important opportunity to examine cherished assumptions and to clear up fuzzy thinking.2 This is because Fee’s understanding of chap. 8 represents an important departure from what we will call the “majority” viewpoint. The extent to which Fee has resolved the major interpretive difficulties and remained true to the text is one of the main questions explored in this paper.3

Ultimately, any interpretation of these chaps. must grapple with at least two crucial issues: (1) the nature and seriousness of the problems in the Corinthian church; and (2) the logic and structure of Paul’s ethical argumentation. A final verdict regarding the success of Fee’s analysis will be determined largely by our own conclusions on these two points; and this can only come after we have carefully examined the evidence. To that task we now turn.

II. Outlining The Majority View Of 1 Corinthians 8–10

The logical place to begin is with a brief summary of a widely held view on these chaps. and on the problems in Corinth they presuppose. According to this view, some in the Corinthian church, because of their knowledge about God and idols (8:1–4, 7, 10–11), do not hesitate to buy and eat food previously used in pagan ritual. Other Christians are weak because they continue to struggle with elements of their former, pagan worldview and cannot eat idol food without violating personal standards of conscience. These weak ones are being pressured to imitate those with knowledge and eat against their own better judgment. Against this backdrop, Paul spells out the danger of being a stumbling block (8:9–13)...

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