The issue in question facing the church was whether someone, eating meat sacrificed to an idol, had broken the commandment to not commit idolatry. We have to remember that in the 1st century of the Roman Empire, where Corinth was, every butcher shop in the Empire procured its meat from the temples of the idols and the false pagan gods. There was no meat that had not been first offered to an idol as an animal sacrifice. So this created a dilemma among the formerly pagan believers in Jesus outside of Judea: if we eat meat which has been offered to an idol, are we breaking the commandment, Do not commit idolatry? This is a gray area, a dispute over a doubtful thing (Rom 14:1).
The short answer is, No, idolatry is not being committed, but … are you loving your brother by not putting a stumbling block in front of him? If you do not worship idols because you love God, then you certainly ought to love your brother because you love God – you ought not to put a stumbling block in front of him. Someone can have superior knowledge of the proper application of Torah in all matters, and still violate Torah, if they allow Knowledge rather than Love to determine their decisions. Love is the fulfilling of the Torah!
1 Cor 8
1a) 1 Cor 8:1-3, Knowledge vs. Love:
–1a.1) 1 Cor 8:1a, We have knowledge that we are at liberty to eat meat offered to idols;
–1a.2) 1 Cor 8:1b-2, Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies;
–1a.3) 1 Cor 8:3, True love for God;
central axis) 1 Cor 8:4-6, An idol is nothing for there is no other God but one;
2a) 1 Cor 8:7-13, Knowledge vs. Love:
–2a.1) 1 Cor 8:7-8, Not everyone has that knowledge, so they defile their conscience if they eat;
–2a.2) 1 Cor 8:9-11, Beware lest your knowledge becomes a stumbling block (does not edify);
–2a.3) 1 Cor 8:12-13, True love for your brother is true love for God.
For further reading:
1 corinthians 8, clean and unclean food