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10 For we must never forget, dear brothers, what happened to our people in the wilderness long ago. God guided them by sending a cloud that moved along ahead of them; and he brought them all safely through the waters of the Red Sea. This might be called their “baptism”—baptized both in sea and cloud!—as followers of Moses—their commitment to him as their leader. 3-4 And by a miracle God sent them food to eat and water to drink[a] there in the desert; they drank the water that Christ gave them.* He was there with them as a mighty Rock of spiritual refreshment. Yet after all this most of them did not obey God, and he destroyed them in the wilderness.

From this lesson we are warned that we must not desire evil things as they did, nor worship idols as they did. (The Scriptures tell us, “The people sat down to eat and drink and then got up to dance” in worship of the golden calf.)

Another lesson for us is what happened when some of them sinned with other men’s wives, and 23,000 fell dead in one day. And don’t try the Lord’s patience—they did and died from snake bites. 10 And don’t murmur against God and his dealings with you as some of them did, for that is why God sent his Angel to destroy them.

11 All these things happened to them as examples—as object lessons to us—to warn us against doing the same things; they were written down so that we could read about them and learn from them in these last days as the world nears its end.

12 So be careful. If you are thinking, “Oh, I would never behave like that”—let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin. 13 But remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.

14 So, dear friends, carefully avoid idol worship of every kind.

15 You are intelligent people. Look now and see for yourselves whether what I am about to say is true. 16 When we ask the Lord’s blessing upon our drinking from the cup of wine at the Lord’s Table, this means, doesn’t it, that all who drink it are sharing together the blessing of Christ’s blood? And when we break off pieces of the bread from the loaf to eat there together, this shows that we are sharing together in the benefits of his body. 17 No matter how many of us there are, we all eat from the same loaf, showing that we are all parts of the one body of Christ. 18 And the Jewish people, all who eat the sacrifices, are united by that act.

19 What am I trying to say? Am I saying that the idols to whom the heathen bring sacrifices are really alive and are real gods, and that these sacrifices are of some value? No, not at all. 20 What I am saying is that those who offer food to these idols are united together in sacrificing to demons, certainly not to God. And I don’t want any of you to be partners with demons when you eat the same food, along with the heathen, that has been offered to these idols. 21 You cannot drink from the cup at the Lord’s Table and at Satan’s table, too. You cannot eat bread both at the Lord’s Table and at Satan’s table.

22 What? Are you tempting the Lord to be angry with you? Are you stronger than he is?

23 You are certainly free to eat food offered to idols if you want to; it’s not against God’s laws to eat such meat, but that doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and do it. It may be perfectly legal, but it may not be best and helpful. 24 Don’t think only of yourself. Try to think of the other fellow, too, and what is best for him.

25 Here’s what you should do. Take any meat you want that is sold at the market. Don’t ask whether or not it was offered to idols, lest the answer hurt your conscience. 26 For the earth and every good thing in it belongs to the Lord and is yours to enjoy.

27 If someone who isn’t a Christian asks you out to dinner, go ahead; accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is on the table and don’t ask any questions about it. Then you won’t know whether or not it has been used as a sacrifice to idols, and you won’t risk having a bad conscience over eating it. 28 But if someone warns you that this meat has been offered to idols, then don’t eat it for the sake of the man who told you, and of his conscience. 29 In this case his feeling about it is the important thing, not yours.

But why, you may ask, must I be guided and limited by what someone else thinks? 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why let someone spoil everything just because he thinks I am wrong? 31 Well, I’ll tell you why. It is because you must do everything for the glory of God, even your eating and drinking. 32 So don’t be a stumbling block to anyone, whether they are Jews or Gentiles or Christians. 33 That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do, not doing what I like or what is best for me but what is best for them, so that they may be saved.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 10:3 by a miracle . . . water to drink, implied; literally, “all ate the same supernatural food and drink.” they drank the water that Christ gave them, literally, “they drank of a spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Warnings From Israel’s History

10 For I do not want you to be ignorant(A) of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud(B) and that they all passed through the sea.(C) They were all baptized into(D) Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food(E) and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock(F) that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.(G)

Now these things occurred as examples(H) to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters,(I) as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a](J) We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.(K) We should not test Christ,[b](L) as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.(M) 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did(N)—and were killed(O) by the destroying angel.(P)

11 These things happened to them as examples(Q) and were written down as warnings for us,(R) on whom the culmination of the ages has come.(S) 12 So, if you think you are standing firm,(T) be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;(U) he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear.(V) But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Idol Feasts and the Lord’s Supper

14 Therefore, my dear friends,(W) flee from idolatry.(X) 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break(Y) a participation in the body of Christ?(Z) 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body,(AA) for we all share the one loaf.

18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices(AB) participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?(AC) 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons,(AD) not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.(AE) 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy?(AF) Are we stronger than he?(AG)

The Believer’s Freedom

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.(AH) “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.(AI)

25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,(AJ) 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[f](AK)

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you(AL) without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.(AM) 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom(AN) being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?(AO)

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.(AP) 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble,(AQ) whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God(AR) 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way.(AS) For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many,(AT) so that they may be saved.(AU)

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 10:7 Exodus 32:6
  2. 1 Corinthians 10:9 Some manuscripts test the Lord
  3. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested.
  4. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested.
  5. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested.
  6. 1 Corinthians 10:26 Psalm 24:1
New International Version (NIV)

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