SOAP Study - October 23, 2020
1 Corinthians 10:23-33
23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”[a]—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
25 So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[b]
27 If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. 28 (But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. 29 It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?
31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles[c] or the church of God. 33 I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
- What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
- How should this information impact your life?
- What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
- Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.
STAFF SOAP STUDY
Communion, community, connection, accountability, and strength are addressed in the last verses of the tenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. Paul summarizes many of the overarching arguments and Paul reminds the Corinthians of their freedom and their obligation. Paul notes that the Corinthian believers are completely free because of their new identity in Christ. Simultaneously, they are also accountable for the spiritual growth of those who are mired in the struggle to rid themselves of their former pagan identity and practices. As a result, the liberties available to the Corinthians are restricted to some degree by the new believers who are still maturing.
Paul uses the example of the appropriateness of accepting an invitation to dinner while remaining sensitive to potential pitfalls of consuming all the food that is presented. The guest has to be observant of statements that may reveal the host’s limited understanding. Paul uses the example of the host disclosing that the meat being served was sacrificed to an idol. While Paul has indicated repeatedly that believers are free to consume any meat because the meat ultimately belongs to God, Paul also notes that the host’s disclosure may signal a misunderstanding that may confuse the host. The guest should refrain from eating the meat sacrificed to an idol.
Discussions of the source of the food that we consume can seem quite farfetched. Most of us are unaware of the source of the food that we consume. However, the point that Paul is making relates primarily to our accountability for the spiritual journeys of others. While we are free in innumerable ways, we are also connected to the journey of others. Their freedom is connected to our liberties. Paul reminds us to do all things to the glory of God (v. 31). This reminder can sometimes seem to be an unbearable burden. Yet, the vitality of the community is related to the spiritual growth and maturity of each member of the community. With each opportunity there is also an obligation to help others to embrace their new identity in Christ and the freedom that it brings.
O God, remind us that whatever freedoms we enjoy were not the result of our actions. Instead, they represent the sacrifice and love, often of people that we never really knew. Help us to use the gift of freedom to boldly proclaim a truth that liberates us all from the harmful practices of the past that were intended subjugate some of Your children. Let all that we do glorify You. Amen.