1 Corinthians 10:31–33 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
In the above passage, we see an interesting statement made by the apostle Paul. He is saying that he tries to please everyone in everything he does. To understand what Paul was talking about, we must begin by understanding the context in which it was written.
In this section of scripture (1 Corinthians 10:23 to 11:1), Paul makes some conclusions about eating food offered to idols, beginning in chapter 8. By the time we come to the end of chapter 10, Paul concludes by stating that a Christian’s primary purpose is to “glorify God”. This is the principle believers must live with. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
If this is the case, how can we always please all people in everything we do? Is Paul saying that we should be people pleasers and do whatever to please others even if it is sinful and against scripture? No! Instead, he is talking about neutral matters and not allowing your freedom in Christ to cause someone else to be offended. The overall goal must be to glorify God, which sometimes means sacrificing your freedom to ensure others are not impacted.
In 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, we read, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” Again, Paul is stating that he is willing to set aside his personal preferences so that people can receive the gospel and be transformed by it.To do so, Paul will only do this if it is within God’s law. 1 Corinthians 9:21 says, “To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.”
In contrast, whenever Paul saw that the actions of people were in direct contrast to the gospel, he was not interested in pleasing people at all. An example of this is Galatians 1:8-10, saying, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Likewise, I encourage you in your Christian walk. Sometimes, you may need to sacrifice your personal preferences on neutral matters to win someone to the Lord and for the gospel to work mightily in a believer’s life. On the other hand, if someone goes against the gospel message we have received, then you must stand firm for truth and do not seek the approval of man. In all you do, do it for the glory of God and the extension of His kingdom. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Amen!