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Verse 19. What say I then? This is in the present tense: ti oun fhmi, what do I say? What is my meaning ? What follows from this? Do I mean to say that an idol is anything; that it has a real existence? Does my reasoning lead to that conclusion—and am I to be understood as affirming that an idol is of itself of any consequence? It must be recollected that the Corinthian Christians are introduced by Paul (1 Co 8:4) as saying that they knew that an idol was nothing in the world. Paul did not directly contradict that; but his reasoning had led him to the necessity of calling the propriety of their attending on the feasts of idols in question; and he introduces the matter now by asking these questions, thus leading the mind to it rather than directly affirming it at once. "Am I in this reasoning to be understood as affirming that an idol is anything, or that the meat there offered differs from other meat? No; you know, says Paul, that this is not my meaning. I admit that an idol in itself is nothing: but I do not admit, therefore, that it is right for you to attend in their temples; for though the idol itself—the block of wood or stone—is nothing, yet the offerings are really made to devils; and I would not have you engage in such a service," 1 Co 10:20,21.

That the idol is any thing? That the block of wood or stone is a real living object of worship, to be dreaded or loved? See Barnes "1 Co 8:4".


Or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? Or that the meat which is offered differs from that which is not offered; that the mere act of offering it changes its qualities? I do not admit or suppose this.

{c} 1 Co 8:4

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