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I’ve been pondering the Scripture verse of 1 Corinthians 8:5-6. I see the point that you make when you speak of plurality of gods and lords, but I have a tendency to make sure that no Scripture is ever taken out of context. If you read the verses before them (verses 1-4) Paul is talking about idols. So, my curious mind led me to ponder it and reread the passage multiple times. As it were, my final understanding of the passage is that Paul is addressing us that there are many ‘gods and lords’, but he is talking about idols. Though many will think their idols are real, the truth of the matter is that there is one God (Heavenly Father) and one Lord (Jesus the Christ) I am just curious as to your thoughts on if my understanding is incorrect, or what. Thank you for your time!

-Nicholas

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Nicholas,

Paul tends to parenthetically allude to doctrines tangential to his primary thesis. 1 Corinthians is a prime example of this. As Paul builds the case for the resurrection, he drops a passing reference to baptism for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29). Paul is simply not devoting his epistle to this topic, but the saints he’s writing know what he’s referencing so the allusion is profitable. Some two thousand years later, the modern curious disciple searches in vain for more information on this saving ordinance. If we want to understand these parenthetical principles, we must turn to the same Source that taught it to Paul – the Lord himself. Fortunately, we live in a time when a modern seer has seen the meaning behind these passing phrases (see D&C 124, 127, and 128).

Similarly, Paul writes about food cooked as part of a sacrifice to idols. Paul does not say these idols are gods, but that they are “called gods”. He also doesn’t call them “lords” either, but usually uses the term “idol”. Then, as he’s talking about the abundance of so-called gods “in heaven or in the earth” he drops this tangential nugget: “as there be gods many, and lords many”. He relates it back to the mature saints. They know that there is no harm per se in eating this meat offered to idols because they aren’t really gods. They are carved wood and stone. They have no power of themselves. But we should be cautious in eating this meat because there are recent converts of weaker faith who still see them as false “gods” and for their sake the mature saints should abstain. Their cautious avoidance of disloyally worshiping a false god is not unlike the caution exercised by the saints who are aware that there is a whole council of gods and lords, but only One whom we worship. It’s not the main argument, but it is a passing reference understood by disciples who heard Paul speak in person.

Because of the apostasy, great truths like this one and baptism for the dead have become lost to the world and even the Christian world at large. And just as knowledge of the latter has been restored to a modern prophet, so has the former. Joseph Smith taught, “Some say I do not interpret the Scripture the same as they do. They say it (1 Cor. 8:5) means the heathen’s gods. Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many; and that makes a plurality of Gods, in spite of the whims of all men. Without a revelation, I am not going to give them the knowledge of the God of heaven. You know and I testify that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 371).

-Gramps

 

 

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