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What is a Stumbling Block in the Scriptures?

The question, What is a stumbling block in the scriptures, is asked. According to dictionary.com, stumbling block is defined as a circumstance that causes difficulty or hesitation. Take the word in face value it is sounds like a block that causes someone to stumble. Ideally, a stumbling block is a metaphorical term used to describe something that causes difficulty, obstruction, or interference in one’s path or progress.

It can refer to various situations or things that impede someone’s ability to achieve a goal, make a decision, or move forward. Stumbling blocks can be physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, or even moral in nature.

In a broader sense, a stumbling block can be anything that hinders or complicates a person’s journey, whether it’s a challenging obstacle, a moral dilemma, a personal weakness, or a problematic situation. The concept is often used in discussions about personal development, ethics, and decision-making.

What is a Stumbling Block in the Scriptures?

In the context of scriptures, particularly in the Bible, a stumbling block refers to something that causes a person to sin or turn away from their faith or righteousness. It can be a concept, behavior, or situation that leads someone to falter in their spiritual journey. Stumbling blocks in a biblical sense are closely related to moral or ethical challenges that test a person’s commitment to the Creator’s commandments and principles.

The term “stumbling block” is used in both the Old and New Testament of the Bible, especially in the teachings of the Holy Anointed Son, (the Christ) and the writings of the apostles, to caution believers against causing others to sin or lose their faith.

These causes are known as stumbling blocks. It emphasizes the responsibility of believers to avoid actions or behaviors that might lead others astray. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew, the Anointed Son says, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

(Matthew 18:6, ESV)

In this biblical context, a stumbling block can refer to actions or behaviors that lead others away from their faith or into sinful behavior. Believers are encouraged to be mindful of their actions and attitudes to avoid being stumbling blocks to others and to help fellow believers stay on their spiritual path.

A classic example of a believer causing a stumbling block for another can be found in the New Testament of the Bible, in the context of food sacrificed to idols. This issue is discussed in several passages, notably in 1st Corinthians chapter 8 and 1st Corinthians chapter 10. Here’s a summary of the situation:

In the city of Corinth, there were many temples where meat was sacrificed to pagan idols before being sold in the marketplace. Similar to how today Jewish meat sellers bless or pray over meat and label it “Kosher.” Some Christians in Corinth had no qualms about buying and eating this meat. He knew that idols were not real gods, and the meat itself was just food. They saw no problem with it.

Food as a Stumbling Block

However, other Christians in Corinth were newer in their faith and still struggling with their former pagan beliefs. To them, eating meat sacrificed to idols felt like participating in idol worship, and it troubled their consciences.

So, the situation became a stumbling block. The more mature Christians, who understood the freedom they had in Christ, were eating this meat openly. But their actions caused the weaker, less mature Christians to stumble and perhaps even abandon their faith.

The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in 1st Corinthians chapters 8 and 10. Emphasizing the importance of considering the weaker brother or sister in Christ. He taught that while it was true that idols were nothing and eating the meat itself was not inherently sinful, it was essential for the stronger believers to act with love and compassion, with restraint, especially in the midst of weaker believers.

What is the Best Practice?

They should avoid causing their fellow believer to stumble. The way they can do this is by abstaining from eating this meat in their presence, thus demonstrating care for their spiritual well-being.

Some people will say behaving this way is being fake, that doing such is not being real. The same apostle is quoted saying,

“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Somewhere in society, even believers have become “unapologetically themselves,” which is brave, sincere, and commendable. However, some versions of being “unapologetically you,” are causing others to fall off the bandwagon. The phrase “unapologetic people” typically make after being made aware of the fall of another is, “That’s too bad, but I had to be me!”

They sound like Cain asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper.”

A former meat eater lives with roommates who eat meat still. Every day for dinner, these guys have beefy burgers, steaks, and chicken dripping, even oozing with BBQ sauce. The smell penetrates this vegetarian’s blood and bones. Within a week, he’s back eating meat and everyone’s happy, until he has a heart attack and dies. What could his friends or roommates have done better in this situation?

Was his health situation not their problem?

Were they being unapologetically themselves?

Did their actions cause a stumbling block for their friend who was trying a new lifestyle for his health?

This is what was happening in Corinth but it was not for physical health reasons, it was for spiritual reasons.

Consider Your Brother and Sister…

In this scenario, the more mature believers caused a stumbling block. They do this by not considering the spiritual sensitivity of their fellow believers. This led them into behavior that went against their conscience.

Paul’s teaching underscores the importance of love, empathy, and sensitivity within the community. The community of those who follow the Creator’s Word need to think of each other to avoid causing harm to the faith of the weaker.

Therefore, let us not become stumbling blocks for others. And at the same time, let us all avoid stumbling blocks for ourselves.

Be strong and very courageous in the face of all things.

This was Minister Koko for BSM or BibleStudyMinistry.com and AKOPPI, Abantu Kingdom of Priests Preparatory Institute found at KingdomofPriests.com

We are finding our way back to our Creator!


 

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