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Today's reading: 1 Timothy 4:1-5

Warnings about false teaching run throughout 1 Timothy, and we see that again here in chapter 4. Paul lets Timothy know that he should be aware of and on the lookout for religious people or groups whose teachings are inconsistent with that of Christ, and who place restrictions on certain actions and areas of life. Paul specifically points out problems concerning restrictions on eating and food (which addresses false religions but also reinforces and solidifies a break from Jewish law regarding clean and unclean food) telling Timothy that if God created it, then it's good for us to consume (vs. 4-5).

How often do you think about the freedoms we have because of Christ? What does having "freedom in Christ" mean for you? Tami

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How does Paul's statement of freedom in terms of food restrictions square with the numerous new testament admonitions against eating food sacrificed to idols?

I think fairly often about our freedoms in Christ--freedom from the dominion of sin, and freedom to enjoy the good things of life that He has created and given to us.


In addition to 1 Timothy, Paul addresses freedom with regard to eating food, including food that had been offered to idols, several times in 1 Corinthians. As I read Paul’s instructions in both of these Books, they do not appear to be conflicting.

In 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 he states “’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.”

Then, Paul specifically addresses food that has been offered to idols in 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. In this passage he explains that we have the right to consume this meat, but that we should willingly give up our right and abstain from eating meat offered to idols if it would cause another brother to stumble in his faith.

Finally, 1 Corinthians 10:23-31 also talks about all things being lawful, but again, sets out certain scenarios where we would want to abstain from eating such foods.

If you have access to a study Bible, you may find it helpful to read the notes on these passages, and specifically notes on 1 Corinthians 8, for more explanation.

Thanks for being part of P4 and working through Scriptures with me.

Tami W.

Thanks for the reply. Please let me know if I am carrying this on too long.
In Acts 15:28-29 the apostles are composing a letter to the believers in Antioch saying that they should abstain from things sacrificed to idols. I can see that there is no conflict with Paul's teachings if the council is simply trying to avoid conflict between the Gentiles and the Jews of the area and perhaps it is also a reflection of their new believer status and that they were not ready to understand full freedom in Christ.
However, in Rev 2:20, Jesus calls out the church of Thyatira for eating food sacrificed to idols (and sexual immorality). There's the puzzlement for me.

Hi Lauri,

I went back and took a look at those two passages. See my thoughts below. Hope this is helpful. As I mentioned the other day, I highly recommend getting a Study Bible for your time in the Word. I would also recommend Bible commentaries, and there are some you can access online for no charge. I find both of these helpful as I’m reading and run across passages on which I want clarification.

Revelation 2 has to do with eating food offered to idols as part of a religious event and/or worship. This is different than simply eating food from the marketplace that had been offered to idols and is not acceptable to God.

What we’re reading about in Acts 15, is a dispute taking place between Jewish Christians who were keeping Jewish laws, and who wanted to impose these same restrictions on Gentile believers, and the ministry that was taking place through Paul and Barnabus and churches to Gentile believers.

The study notes in my ESV Study Bible explain the entire situation in detail. Here is part of what the notes say about verses 19-21 that you ask about. The letter to Gentile believers is explained well. As you’ll see, what is explained in the note, aligns with Paul’s writings in 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians.

“James agreed with Peter that they should not trouble the Gentiles with the ritual laws. But he knew that Gentile Christians would have contact with Jewish Christians who still kept the ceremonial provisions, including laws about sacrifices, festivals, unclean foods, and circumcision. He offered a proposal by which Gentile Christians could have fellowship with Jewish Christians and avoid giving unnecessary offense. . . The Gentile Christians should abstain from certain things because ‘in every city’ there are still Jews who observe these ceremonial laws and think them to be important.” (Acts 15:19-21 study notes. The ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2008 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers).


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About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

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This page contains a single entry by Tami W published on March 22, 2016 3:25 AM.

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