1 Corinthians 10:31
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Explanation and Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:31
Honor God with all that you do.
In this passage, Paul is answering a question from the Corinthians about eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. At the time of Paul’s writing, people regularly ate the sacrificial meals of various deities as a way to honor and sanction the divinity of the deity. Eating together was important to network within the community and build friendships. There was enormous social pressure to conform to these social norms. Those that avoided the meals from the public sacrifices were viewed as outcasts by society.
Paul’s focus is not on the food itself as much as how we exercise our Christian liberties. Paul tells us that we should practice godliness in our conduct. First, our conduct should glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Second, we should consider the impact on others before we act (1 Corinthians 10:23-24), including on non-believers and on the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32).
Though it was legal to eat the food offered to the idols, Paul told the Corinthians that it would be the sin of idolatry if they ate the food believing they were honoring any sort of divine presence. Paul said he would personally avoid eating sacrificial offerings altogether if it would avert a fellow Christian from believing in any deity other than the one true God. If what you are doing is causing your fellow Christian to falter into sin, or incorrectly portrays the gospel to the unbeliever, you need to stop doing it (1 Corinthians 8:9).
Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 Corinthians 10:31
#1: “So whether you eat or drink…”
In the context of the passage, this part of the verse refers to eating and drinking what had been sacrificed to idols. The use of “whether” permits us to eat and drink sacrifices in certain circumstances (such as if you denounce that the idol is a deity, 1 Corinthians 8:7-8) and refrains from imposing Mosaic law on us.
#2: “…or whatever you do…”
Paul avoids imposing legalism and instead broadly addresses everything we may do in our lives, within the boundaries of God’s law.
#3: “…do it all for the glory of God.”
All our choices, actions and inactions should be for the praise and honor of God, no matter how small. The focus of our lives should be to put God at the center and to glorify Him. Our God-centered thinking should permeate every area of our lives: how we worship, nourish our bodies, work, play, speak, spend our money and serve the less fortunate (1 Peter 4:11).
Expert Overview of 1 Corinthians
Biblical Translations of 1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.