World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

4 Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Select a resource above

On Eating Things Offered to Idols. (a. d. 57.)

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.   5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)   6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

In this passage he shows the vanity of idols: As to the eating of things that have been sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world; or, there is no idol in the world; or, an idol can do nothing in the world: for the form of expression in the original is elliptical. The meaning in the general is, that heathen idols have no divinity in them; and therefore the Old Testament they are commonly called lies and vanities, or lying vanities. They are merely imaginary gods, and many of them no better than imaginary beings; they have no power to pollute the creatures of God, and thereby render them unfit to be eaten by a child or servant of God. Every creature of God is good, if it be received with thanksgiving, 1 Tim. iv. 4. It is not in the power of the vanities of the heathens to change its nature.—And there is no other God but one. Heathen idols are not gods, nor to be owned and respected as gods, for there is no other God but one. Note, the unity of the Godhead is a fundamental principle in Christianity, and in all right religion. The gods of the heathens must be nothing in the world, must have no divinity in them, nothing of real godhead belonging to them; for there is no other God but one. Others may be called gods: There are that are called gods, in heaven and earth, gods many, and lords many; but they are falsely thus called. The heathens had many such, some in heaven and some on earth, celestial deities, that were of highest rank and repute among them, and terrestrial ones, men made into gods, that were to mediate for men with the former, and were deputed by them to preside over earthly affairs. These are in scripture commonly called Baalim. They had gods of higher and lower degree; nay, many in each order: gods many, and lords many; but all titular deities and mediators: so called, but not such in truth. All their divinity and mediation were imagery. For, 1. To us there is but one God, says the apostle, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in or for him. We Christians are better informed; we well know there is but one God, the fountain of being, the author of all things, maker, preserver, and governor of the whole world, of whom and for whom are all things. Not one God to govern one part of mankind, or one rank and order of men, and another to govern another. One God made all, and therefore has power over all. All things are of him, and we, and all things else, are for him. Called the Father here, not in contradistinction to the other persons of the sacred Trinity, and to exclude them from the Godhead, but in contradistinction to all creatures that were made by God, and whose formation is attributed to each of these three in other places of scripture, and not appropriated to the Father alone. God the Father, as Fons et fundamentum Trinitatis—as the first person in the Godhead, and the original of the other two, stands here for the Deity, which yet comprehends all three, the name God being sometimes in scripture ascribed to the Father, kat exochen, or by way of eminency, because he is fons et principiam Deitatis (as Calvin observes), the fountain of the Deity in the other two, they having it by communication from him: so that there is but one God the Father, and yet the Son is God too, but is not another God, the Father, with his Son and Spirit, being the one God, but not without them, or so as to exclude them from the Godhead. 2. There is to us but one Lord, one Mediator between God and men, even Jesus Christ. Not many mediators, as the heathen imagined, but one only, by whom all things were created and do consist, and to whom all our hope and happiness are owing—the man Christ Jesus; but a man in personal union with the divine Word, or God the Son. This very man hath God made both Lord and Christ, Acts ii. 36. Jesus Christ, in his human nature and mediatorial state, has a delegated power, a name given him, though above every name, that at his name every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that he is Lord. And thus he is the only Lord, the only Mediator, that Christians acknowledge, the only person who comes between God and sinners, administers the world's affairs under God, and mediates for men with God. All the lords of this sort among heathens are merely imaginary ones. Note, It is the great privilege of us Christians that we know the true God, and true Mediator between God and man: the true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, John xvii. 3.