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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 8

Verse 1

1 Corinthians 8:1 . Περὶ οἴδαμεν , as touching we know ) This topic is taken up again at 1 Corinthians 8:4 , when the parenthesis, which follows, has been concluded. ὅτι ) that . This explains the “ we know .” γνῶσιν , knowledge ) The article is not added, [62] ) that he may not concede too much. ἔχομεν , we have ) He speaks in the first person of himself and others, more established in the faith; when speaking more generally, he uses the third, 1 Corinthians 8:7 . Thus we easily reconcile the all [ 1Co 8:1 ] and not in all [ 1Co 8:7 ]. ἡ γνῶσις , knowledge ) without love. [ Although the fundamental doctrines and those most necessary and difficult are spoken of . V. g.] φυσιοῖ , puffeth up ) when a man pleases himself; comp. thinks , 1 Corinthians 8:2 . ἡ δὲ ἀγάπη , but love ) the right use of knowledge , love, towards God, 1 Corinthians 8:3 , and towards our neighbour. οἰκοδομεῖ , edifieth ) when a man pleases his neighbour. Knowledge only says, all things are lawful for me; love adds, but all things do not edify .

[62] Therefore, also, in the Germ. Vers., the article ought to be wanting in this passage. E. B.

Verse 2

1 Corinthians 8:2 . Ἐιδέναι , that he knows ) This has respect to the “ we know ,” 1 Corinthians 8:1 ; it differs from to be acquainted with . [63] τὶ , anything . Paul makes some small concession here; comp. the following clause. οὒπω , not yet ) like a novice. καθὼς , as [in the way that]) namely in the way of love, [taught] by God.

[63] The Latin synonyms are scire and cognoscere. Scire , to know, to be skilful in, chiefly applied to things; cognoscere , to know, to become acquainted with persons or things formerly unknown; however, ἐγνωκέναι is the reading of ABD (A) G f (cognovisse). Εἰδέναι of Rec. Text is supported by Vulg. (scire) Cypr. Hil. ED.

Verse 3

1 Corinthians 8:3 . Τὸν Θεὸν , God ) The love of our neighbour follows the love of God. οὗτος , this same ) who loves . ἔγνωσται ) is known . Active follows passive knowledge, 1 Corinthians 13:12 . In this expression we have an admirable metalepsis [64] he was known, and therefore he hath known, Galatians 4:9 , note. The knowledge is mutual. ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ ) by Him.

[64] See Append. A twofold trope, or figurative use of the same word or phrase.

Verse 4

1 Corinthians 8:4 . Βρώσεως ) He more closely limits the subject proposed at 1 Corinthians 8:1 : as concerning, therefore, the eating , etc. οὐδὲν ) nothing , is the predicate; nothing , the force of which is augmented by the antithetic words, in the world , תהו , 1 Samuel 12:21 , LXX., οὐδεν ; comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 10:19 , note. [A piece of wood or stone and nothing besides. V. g.]

Verse 5

1 Corinthians 8:5 . Λεγόμενοι , that are called ) God is said to be the supremely powerful One. Hence by homonymy [things or persons distinct in nature receiving by analogy the same name], angels who are powerful on account of their spiritual nature, and men who are powerful from being placed in authority, are called gods . ἐν οὐρανῷ , in heaven ) ἐπὶ γῆς , on earth ) The provinces of the gods among the Gentiles were divided into heaven, and earth, along with the sea; but each of these belongs to God. θεοὶ πολλοὶ καὶ κύριοι πολλοὶ , gods many and lords many ) Psalms 136:2-19.136.3 .

Verse 6

1 Corinthians 8:6 . Ἡμῖν ) to us , believers. ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα , of whom are all things ) Therefore, we have one God. τὰ πάντα , all things ) by creation. ἡμεῖς , we ) believers. εἰς αὐτὸν , unto Him ) He is the end for whom believers live. καὶ εἷς , and one ) Christ, the object of divine and religious worship. The apostles also, for the purpose of avoiding the appearance of polytheism, more frequently called Christ Lord, than God, when they wrote to the Gentile churches. Κύριος , Lord ) This appellation comprehends in itself the notion of the Son of God , and therefore also of God , along with the idea of Redeemer. διʼ οὗ , by whom ) The dominion of Christ is hereby proved; by Him all things are of God. διʼ αὐτοῦ , by Him ) We come by Him, εἰς , to the Father.

7. Αλλʼ ) We have γνῶσιν , knowledge; but others have it not in the same degree. τινὲς , some ) an antithesis to all , 1 Corinthians 8:1 . Some, viz. the Jews, holding the idol in abomination; the Greeks regarding it with reverence, 1 Corinthians 10:32 . τοῦ εἰδώλου , of the idol ) They had this feeling, [65] as if the idol were something; or at least as if the thing offered to the idol were polluted thereby. ἓως ἄρτι , until this hour ) when by this time they should have knowledge. ὡς ) as: on this depends the distinction. μολύνεται , is defiled ) a suitable expression, by a metaphor derived from flesh. βρῶμα , food ) used indefinitely, 1 Corinthians 8:13 . ἡμᾶς , us ) having or not having knowledge. οὐ παρίστησι ) neither as regards pleasing Him in the judgment, nor as regards displeasing Him, πρὸς τὸ ὑστερεῖσθαι [so as to be accounted the worse for it]; συνίστημι , I commend; but the word παρίστημι occupies a middle place between a good and a bad sense, as is evident from the Ep. of Athanasius, προς ʼ Αμοῦν , where he makes this periphrasis, φυσική τις ἔκκρισις ἡμᾶς οὐ παραστήσει πρὸς τιμωρίαν . [66] So 1 Corinthians 8:10 , οἰκοδομηθήσεται is used as a word in a middle sense. This is the foundation of lawful power [ liberty , 1Co 8:9 ], ἐξονσίας ; comp. δὲ in the next verse. οὔτε περισσεύομεν οὔτε ὑστερούμεθα , neither are we the better; nor are we the worse ) because in both cases thanksgiving is retained, Romans 14:6 .

[65] Ernesti says, Bibl. th. noviss. T. i., p. 511, that Bengel, along with Heumann, prefers the reading συνηθείᾳ in this verse to the common reading συνειδήσει , and approves of it, but without foundation. Certainly Bengel’s older margin has marked συνηθεία ò with γ , the later with δ ; and the Germ. Vers. has expressly printed συνειδήσει . E. B.

[66] Any natural ejection in the animal functions will not bring us to punishment.

Tisch. prefers συνειδήσει with D (A) G Vulg. both Syr. Versions, and fg . Lachm. reads συνηθείᾳ with AB Memph. ED.

Verse 9

1 Corinthians 8:9 . Ἡ ἐξουσία , lawful power [liberty]) a word frequently used for power and liberty in this discussion, 1 Corinthians 9:1 ; 1 Corinthians 9:4 , etc.: comp. 1 Corinthians 6:12 . ὑμῶν , of yours ) which you so eagerly uphold, 1 Corinthians 8:11 .

Verse 10

1 Corinthians 8:10 . Εἰδωλείῳ ) A word fitted to deter. It is found in 1Ma 1:47 ; 1Ma 1:50 , 1Ma 10:83 .; 3 Esdr . 2:10. οἰκοδομηθήσεται , shall be built up in [ emboldened to ]) An antiphrasis. [67] You ought to have built up your brother in doing good; but you by your example impel him to do evil. [ The force of example is great . V. g.] τὰ εἰδωλόθυτα ἐσθίειν , to eat things offered to idols ) By these very words the horror of the weak man is expressed, who eats notwithstanding.

[67] See Appendix: When words are used to signify the contrary of what is expressed, as here, shall be built up (usually applied to what is good), meaning, shall be impelled to what is bad. ED.

Verse 11

1 Corinthians 8:11 . Ἀπολεῖται , shall perish ) He will lose his faith, and, if he do not recover it, his salvation, Romans 14:23 . [ See, what important results a single action may produce, although externally considered it seemed to be of little consequence . V. g.] διʼ ὃν , for [on account of] whom ) For rather than instead of suits the passage before us; that we may be taught, what we ought to do for the sake of our brethren. ἀπέθανεν , died ) prompted by the love, which thou so very little imitatest.

Verse 12

1 Corinthians 8:12 . Τύπτοντες , striking ) [Engl. V. not so well, wounding ], as the weary cattle are urged on by the lash. Striking is elegantly used, not wounding , for a wound is seen, a stroke is not so discernible. You strike brethren, or make them strike themselves. εἰς Χριστὸν , against Christ ) to whom the brethren are united. The expression, against Christ , in the latter clause bears the chief emphasis; when ye sin , in the former.

Verse 13

1 Corinthians 8:13 . Κρέα , flesh ) In order to avoid with the greater certainty flesh sacrificed to an idol, I would abstain from all kinds of flesh. σκανδαλίσω , I should make to offend ) The person is changed: he just now said, if meat offend .

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 8". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.