Dealing with Gray Areas – 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 – Livestream for 4/23/23

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Small Group Guide:

Open with prayer.

Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?

If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Food Offered to Idols

Now concerning[a] food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.[b]

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet 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.

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[c] in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged,[d] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers[e] and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Message Outline:

In this passage of God’s Word we see the Apostle Paul instructing the church in Corinth about a specific issue that they are struggling with: is it ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols? Throughout Paul’s letter to this church, he addresses many issues; some have very clear answers, and others not so much. This particular issue is complex and has many nuances. By taking a look at it though, we can realize how we are to interact with complex issues in our lives that don’t necessarily have a clear right or wrong answer.

Questions to ask yourself (when dealing with others):

  1. Is it a stumbling block to someone around me?

1 Cor. 8:7-13, Luke 17:1-2, Rom. 14:13

  1. Am I puffing myself up, or building others up?

1 Cor. 8:1-2, 14:1-40, Rom. 14:1, 10-12, 1 Pet. 4:10

  1. Am I judging others because of their convictions?

Rom. 14:3-4, 13, Matt. 7:1-5


Questions to ask yourself (when dealing with yourself):


  1. What is the Holy Spirit communicating to me?

Rom. 8:5, 14, Gal. 5:25, John 16:13-15, Ps. 143:10

  1. What is the purpose behind what I’m doing?

1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23, 31, Rom. 12:2, Eph. 5:15-16

  1. Am I being controlled by something?

1 Pet. 5:8, 2 Tim. 1:17, Eph. 5:18

Reflection Questions:

  1. Have you ever heard this passage of Scripture or topic taught on before? What stood out to you?
  2. There are things that Scripture clearly tells us to do and there are things that Scripture clearly tells us not to do. However, there are also gray areas that each one of us have to prayerfully consider whether or not to partake of. Take some time and list out some gray areas. How you react to each one of these gray areas? How do most believers around you react to these gray areas?
  3. As we talked about in the message, there are 2 errors in reacting to gray areas: going too far on the legalistic side or being a freedom crusader. Both of these reactions go too far and fail to address the issue with the complexity and nuances that are discussed in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 and Romans chapter 14. Think about the way that you react to gray areas. Which error are you more likely to make when interacting with others? Which error are you more likely to make when interacting with yourself? Are there any specific issues or circumstances that often causes you to error one of these 2 ways? Why do you think that is?
  4. Of the 3 questions to ask yourself when dealing with others, which one do you have the most difficult time with? why?
  5. Of the 3 questions to ask yourself when dealing with yourself, which one do you have the most difficult time with? why?
  6. How can you help those around you to deal with gray issues in a more Biblical manner?
  7. What is your biggest take away about how this passage affects your life? What do you need to work on? Who can you share this with and ask you to keep you accountable to accomplishing this?

Prayer Time:

Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.

Staying Missional:

Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:

Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?

What’s next?

Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?