Food Offered to Idols

Now concerning[a] (A)food offered to idols: we know that (B)“all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” (C)puffs up, (D)but love builds up. (E)If anyone imagines that he knows something, (F)he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, (G)he is known by God.[b]

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that (H)“an idol has no real existence,” and that (I)“there is no God but one.” For although there may be (J)so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet (K)for us there is one God, the Father, (L)from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and (M)one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and (N)through whom we exist.

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, (O)through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and (P)their conscience, being weak, is defiled. (Q)Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care (R)that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block (S)to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[c] in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged,[d] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is (T)destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers[e] and (U)wounding their conscience when it is weak, (V)you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, (W)if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Paul Surrenders His Rights

(X)Am I not free? (Y)Am I not an apostle? (Z)Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? (AA)Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are (AB)the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who would examine me. (AC)Do we not have the right to eat and drink? (AD)Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife,[f] as do the other apostles and (AE)the brothers of the Lord and (AF)Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? (AG)Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? (AH)Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, (AI)“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 (AJ)for our sake, because (AK)the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 (AL)If 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, (AM)we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything (AN)rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that (AO)those 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 (AP)those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But (AQ)I 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 (AR)deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For (AS)necessity 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 (AT)a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching (AU)I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For (AV)though I am free from all, (AW)I have made myself a servant to all, that I might (AX)win more of them. 20 (AY)To 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 (AZ)those outside the law I became (BA)as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but (BB)under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 (BC)To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. (BD)I have become all things to all people, that (BE)by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, (BF)that 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 (BG)the prize? So (BH)run that you may obtain it. 25 Every (BI)athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we (BJ)an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I (BK)do not box as one (BL)beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and (BM)keep it under control,[g] lest after preaching to others (BN)I myself should be (BO)disqualified.


  1. 1 Corinthians 8:1 The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians' letter; see 7:1
  2. 1 Corinthians 8:3 Greek him
  3. 1 Corinthians 8:10 Greek reclining at table
  4. 1 Corinthians 8:10 Or fortified; Greek built up
  5. 1 Corinthians 8:12 Or brothers and sisters
  6. 1 Corinthians 9:5 Greek a sister as wife
  7. 1 Corinthians 9:27 Greek I pummel my body and make it a slave

Prophecy and Tongues

14 (A)Pursue love, and (B)earnestly desire the (C)spiritual gifts, especially that you may (D)prophesy. For (E)one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but (F)even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

Now, brothers,[a] if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some (G)revelation or knowledge or prophecy or (H)teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And (I)if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be (J)speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be (K)a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; (L)I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will (M)sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider[b] say (N)“Amen” to (O)your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, (P)do not be children in your thinking. (Q)Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be (R)mature. 21 (S)In the Law it is written, (T)“By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign[c] not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, (U)will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 (V)the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, (W)falling on his face, he will worship God and (X)declare that God is really among you.

Orderly Worship

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has (Y)a hymn, (Z)a lesson, (AA)a revelation, (AB)a tongue, or (AC)an interpretation. (AD)Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in (AE)a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others (AF)weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, (AG)let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of (AH)confusion but of peace.

As in (AI)all the churches of the saints, 34 (AJ)the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but (AK)should be in submission, as (AL)the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 (AM)If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, (AN)earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 (AO)But all things should be done decently and (AP)in order.


  1. 1 Corinthians 14:6 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 20, 26, 39
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:16 Or of him that is without gifts
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:22 Greek lacks a sign

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