Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols

Now about food sacrificed to idols:(A) We know that “We all possess knowledge.”(B) But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something(C) do not yet know as they ought to know.(D) But whoever loves God is known by God.[a](E)

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:(F) We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world”(G) and that “There is no God but one.”(H) For even if there are so-called gods,(I) whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God,(J) the Father,(K) from whom all things came(L) and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord,(M) Jesus Christ, through whom all things came(N) and through whom we live.

But not everyone possesses this knowledge.(O) Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak,(P) it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God;(Q) we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block(R) to the weak.(S) 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?(T) 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed(U) by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them(V) in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.(W) 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.(X)

Paul’s Rights as an Apostle

Am I not free?(Y) Am I not an apostle?(Z) Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?(AA) Are you not the result of my work in the Lord?(AB) Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal(AC) of my apostleship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink?(AD) Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife(AE) along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers(AF) and Cephas[b]?(AG) Or is it only I and Barnabas(AH) who lack the right to not work for a living?

Who serves as a soldier(AI) at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard(AJ) and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”[c](AK) Is it about oxen that God is concerned?(AL) 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us,(AM) because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.(AN) 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?(AO) 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right.(AP) On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder(AQ) the gospel of Christ.

13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?(AR) 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.(AS)

15 But I have not used any of these rights.(AT) And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast.(AU) 16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach.(AV) Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward;(AW) if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.(AX) 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge,(AY) and so not make full use of my rights(AZ) as a preacher of the gospel.

Paul’s Use of His Freedom

19 Though I am free(BA) and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone,(BB) to win as many as possible.(BC) 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.(BD) To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law),(BE) so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law(BF) (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law),(BG) so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.(BH) I have become all things to all people(BI) so that by all possible means I might save some.(BJ) 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

The Need for Self-Discipline

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?(BK) Run(BL) in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown(BM) that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.(BN) 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly;(BO) I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.(BP) 27 No, I strike a blow to my body(BQ) and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.(BR)

Warnings From Israel’s History

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

Now these things occurred as examples(BZ) to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters,(CA) as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[d](CB) We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.(CC) We should not test Christ,[e](CD) as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.(CE) 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did(CF)—and were killed(CG) by the destroying angel.(CH)

11 These things happened to them as examples(CI) and were written down as warnings for us,(CJ) on whom the culmination of the ages has come.(CK) 12 So, if you think you are standing firm,(CL) be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[f] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;(CM) he will not let you be tempted[g] beyond what you can bear.(CN) But when you are tempted,[h] 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,(CO) flee from idolatry.(CP) 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(CQ) a participation in the body of Christ?(CR) 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body,(CS) for we all share the one loaf.

18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices(CT) participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?(CU) 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons,(CV) 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.(CW) 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy?(CX) Are we stronger than he?(CY)

The Believer’s Freedom

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.(CZ) “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.(DA)

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

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you(DD) 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.(DE) 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom(DF) 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?(DG)

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


  1. 1 Corinthians 8:3 An early manuscript and another ancient witness think they have knowledge do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves truly knows.
  2. 1 Corinthians 9:5 That is, Peter
  3. 1 Corinthians 9:9 Deut. 25:4
  4. 1 Corinthians 10:7 Exodus 32:6
  5. 1 Corinthians 10:9 Some manuscripts test the Lord
  6. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested.
  7. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested.
  8. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested.
  9. 1 Corinthians 10:26 Psalm 24:1

The Weak and the Strong

14 Accept the one whose faith is weak,(A) without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.(B) The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt(C) the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge(D) the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?(E) To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another;(F) another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God;(G) and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone,(H) and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.(I) For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life(J) so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.(K)

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt?(L) For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.(M) 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’(N) says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b](O)

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.(P)

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment(Q) on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.(R) 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself.(S) But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.(T) 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.(U) Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.(V) 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil.(W) 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking,(X) but of righteousness, peace(Y) and joy in the Holy Spirit,(Z) 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.(AA)

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace(AB) and to mutual edification.(AC) 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.(AD) All food is clean,(AE) but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.(AF) 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.(AG)

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn(AH) himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts(AI) is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.[c]

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  1. Romans 14:10 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family; also in verses 13, 15 and 21.
  2. Romans 14:11 Isaiah 45:23
  3. Romans 14:23 Some manuscripts place 16:25-27 here; others after 15:33.

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