Food Offered to Idols
1Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.2Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge;3but anyone who loves God is known by him.4Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.”5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords—6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.7It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.8“Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.10For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols?11So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed.12But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.13Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
Chapter 9The Rights of an Apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?2If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.3This is my defense to those who would examine me.4Do we not have the right to our food and drink?5Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?7Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?8Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same?9For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?10Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop.11If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.13Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar?14In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.15But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be applied in my case. Indeed, I would rather die than that—no one will deprive me of my ground for boasting!16If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.18What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.19For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.20To 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 I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law) so that I might win those outside the law.22To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.24Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.25Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.26So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air;27but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.
Chapter 10Warnings from Israel's History
1I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,3and all ate the same spiritual food,4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.6Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.7Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.”8We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.9We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.10And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.11These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.12So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.13No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.14Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.15I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.18Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar?19What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?20No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.22Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?Do All to the Glory of God
23“All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.24Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.25Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience,26for “the earth and its fullness are the Lord's.”27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.28But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—29I mean the other's conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?30If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.Chapter 111Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.