This chapter raises an interesting question of conduct. The Christians in Corinth were facing the issue of whether or not to eat meat that had been offered to heathen idols. There was nothing wrong with the meat and it was often priced very reasonably. What was the proper attitude for the church?
In his book, Studies in First Corinthians, Dr. M. R. DeHaan sums up Paul’s answer as follows: “The question then is never, Have I a right to do this or that, or is this or that in itself a sin? But the question is, Does my conduct glorify God, and does it help or hinder my testimony, and is it a help or a stumbling block to my weaker brethren? This, then, would at once settle the question of amusements, dress, business practices, and games, and all our Christian privileges. The Lord lays down the rule specifically: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).
“That is the test by which we are to evaluate everything which is of a questionable nature. It is not a matter of legality, but a matter of honestly facing the question, Is this thing which we are doing to the glory of God, and is it a help or hindrance to those round about us?”
Not one of us will have to deal with the question of eating meat that has been offered to idols in heathen temples. That was a question pertaining especially to Paul’s day and to a particular area. But every decision concerning Christian conduct requires the same basic question. Is this thing to the glory of God, and is it a help or hindrance to others?
Facing a decision about conduct? Give it the “stumbling block” test.