1For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.2They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.3They all ate the same spiritual food4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.6Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.7Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’ (Ex 32:6)8We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did – and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.9We should not test Christ, as some of them did – and were killed by snakes.10And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.11These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!13No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Idol feasts and the Lord’s Supper
14Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.15I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.16Is 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 a participation in the body of Christ?17Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.18Consider the people of Israel: do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?19Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?20No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.21You 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.22Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
The believer’s freedom
23‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but not everything is constructive.24No-one should seek their own good, but the good of others.25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,26for, ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.’ (Ps 24:1)27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.28But 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.29I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience?30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God –33even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.