Food Offered to Idols
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that t“an idol has no real existence,” and that u“there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be vso-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet wfor us there is one God, the Father, xfrom whom are all things and for whom we exist, and yone Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and zthrough whom we exist.
7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, athrough former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and btheir conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 cFood will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care dthat this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block eto the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating2 in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged,3 if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is fdestroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers4 and gwounding their conscience when it is weak, hyou sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, iif food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Paul Surrenders His Rights
9 jAm I not free? kAm I not an apostle? lHave I not seen Jesus our Lord? mAre not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are nthe seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4 oDo we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 pDo we not have the right to take along a believing wife,5 as do the other apostles and qthe brothers of the Lord and rCephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7 sWho serves as a soldier at his own expense? tWho plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, u“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written vfor our sake, because wthe plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 xIf we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?
Nevertheless, ywe have not made use of this right, but we endure anything zrather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that athose who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that bthose who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
15 But cI have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone ddeprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For enecessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with fa stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching gI may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
19 For hthough I am free from all, iI have made myself a servant to all, that I might jwin more of them. 20 kTo the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To lthose outside the law I became mas one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but nunder the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 oTo the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. pI have become all things to all people, that qby all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, rthat I may share with them in its blessings.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives sthe prize? So trun that you may obtain it. 25 Every uathlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we van imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I wdo not box as one xbeating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and ykeep it under control,6 lest after preaching to others zI myself should be adisqualified.
Warning Against Idolatry
10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,7 that our fathers were all under bthe cloud, and all cpassed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and dall ate the same espiritual food, 4 and fall drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for gthey were overthrown8 in the wilderness.
6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as hthey did. 7 iDo not be idolaters jas some of them were; as it is written, k“The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 lWe must not indulge in sexual immorality mas some of them did, and ntwenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ9 to the test, oas some of them did and pwere destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, qas some of them did and rwere destroyed by sthe Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but tthey were written down for our instruction, uon whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore vlet anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. wGod is faithful, and xhe will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
14 Therefore, my beloved, yflee from idolatry. 15 I speak zas to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 aThe cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? bThe bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are cone body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider dthe people of Israel:10 eare not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that fan idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice gthey offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 hYou cannot drink the cup of the Lord and ithe cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and jthe table of demons. 22 kShall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? lAre we stronger than he?
Do All to the Glory of God
23 m“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 nLet no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 oEat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For p“the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, qeat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean ryour conscience, but his. For swhy should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that tfor which I give thanks?
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or uwhatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 vGive no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to wthe church of God, 33 just as xI try to please everyone in everything I do, ynot seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
11 zBe imitators of me, as I am of Christ.