Warning From History
Brothers and sisters, I want you to know what happened to our ancestors who were with Moses. They were all under the cloud,* and they all walked through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and they all drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from that spiritual rock that was with them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of those people, so they were killed in the desert.
And these things that happened are examples for us. These examples should stop us from wanting evil things like those people did. Don’t worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people sat down to eat and drink and then got up to have a wild party.” We should not commit sexual sins as some of them did. In one day 23,000 of them died because of their sin. We should not test Christ as some of them did. Because of that, they were killed by snakes. 10 And don’t complain as some of them did. Because they complained, they were killed by the angel that destroys.
11 The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written to be warnings for us. We live in the time that all those past histories were pointing to. 12 So anyone who thinks they are standing strong should be careful that they don’t fall. 13 The only temptations that you have are the same temptations that all people have. But you can trust God. He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation. Then you will be able to endure it.
14 So, my dear friends, stay away from worshiping idols. 15 You are intelligent people. Judge for yourselves the truth of what I say now. 16 The cup of blessing§ that we give thanks for is a sharing in the blood sacrifice of Christ, isn’t it? And the bread that we break is a sharing in the body of Christ, isn’t it? 17 There is one loaf of bread, so we who are many are one body, because we all share in that one loaf.
18 And think about what the people of Israel do. When they eat the sacrifices,* they are united by sharing what was offered on the altar. 19 So, am I saying that sacrifices to idols are the same as those Jewish sacrifices? No, because an idol is nothing, and the things offered to idols are worth nothing. 20 But I am saying that when food is sacrificed to idols, it is an offering to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to share anything with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and then go drink a cup that honors demons. You cannot share a meal at the Lord’s table and then go share a meal that honors demons. 22 Doing that would make the Lord jealous. Do you really want to do that? Do you think we are stronger than he is?
Use Your Freedom for God’s Glory
23 All things are allowed,” you say. But not all things are good. “All things are allowed.” But some things don’t help anyone. 24 Try to do what is good for others, not just what is good for yourselves.
25 Eat any meat that is sold in the meat market. Don’t ask questions about it to see if it is something you think is wrong to eat. 26 You can eat it, “because the earth and everything in it belong to the Lord.”
27 Someone who is not a believer might invite you to eat with them. If you want to go, then eat anything that is put before you. Don’t ask questions to see if it is something you think is wrong to eat. 28 But if someone tells you, “That food was offered to idols,” then don’t eat it. That’s because some people think it is wrong, and it might cause a problem for the person who told you that. 29 I don’t mean that you think it is wrong. But the other person might think it is wrong. That’s the only reason not to eat it. My own freedom should not be judged by what another person thinks. 30 I eat the meal with thankfulness. So I don’t want to be criticized because of something I thank God for.
31 So if you eat, or if you drink, or if you do anything, do it for the glory of God. 32 Never do anything that might make other people do wrong—Jews, non-Jews, or anyone in God’s church. 33 I do the same thing. I try to please everyone in every way. I am not trying to do what is good for me. I am trying to do what is good for the most people so that they can be saved.
* 10:1 cloud The cloud that led and protected the people of Israel on their journey out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and through the wilderness. See Exodus 13:20-22; 14:19, 20. 10:2 baptized See “baptize” in the Word List. Here, Paul seems to mean that what happened to the Jews with Moses can be compared to the baptism of a believer into Christ. 10:7 Quote from Exodus 32:6. 10:9 Christ Some Greek copies say, “the Lord.” § 10:16 cup of blessing The cup of wine that believers in Christ thank God for and drink at the Lord’s Supper. * 10:18 sacrifices Animals killed and offered as gifts to God. 10:22 make the Lord jealous See Deuteronomy 32:16, 17. 10:26 Quote from Psalm 24:1; 50:12; 89:11.