1 Corinthians 8:1-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Take Care with Your Liberty
8 Now about food sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge [concerning this]. Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom]. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows and understands anything [of divine matters, without love], he has not yet known as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].
4 In this matter, then, of eating food offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world [it has no real existence], and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, [a]who is the source of all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things [that have been created], and we [believers exist and have life and have been redeemed] through Him.
7 However, not all [believers] have this knowledge. But some, being accustomed [throughout their lives] to [thinking of] the idol until now [as real and living], still eat food [b]as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and because their conscience is weak, it is defiled (guilty, ashamed). 8 Now food will not commend us to God nor bring us close to Him; we are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better if we do eat. 9 Only be careful that this liberty of yours [this power to choose] does not somehow become a stumbling block [that is, a temptation to sin] to the weak [in conscience]. 10 For if someone sees you, a person having [c]knowledge, [d]eating in an idol’s temple, then if he is weak, will he not be encouraged to eat things sacrificed to idols [and violate his own convictions]? 11 For through your knowledge (spiritual maturity) this weak man is ruined [that is, he suffers in his spiritual life], the brother for whom Christ died. 12 And when you sin against the brothers and sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience [by confusing them], you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if [my eating a certain] food causes my brother to stumble (sin), I will not eat [such] meat ever again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.
Paul’s Use of Liberty
9 Am I not free [unrestrained and exempt from any obligation]? Am I not an apostle? Have I not [e]seen Jesus our [risen] Lord [in person]? Are you not [the result and proof of] my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not [considered] an apostle to others, at least I am one to you; for you are the seal and the certificate and the living evidence of my apostleship in the Lord [confirming and authenticating it].
3 This is my defense to those who would put me on trial and interrogate me [concerning my authority as an apostle]: 4 Have we not the right to our food and drink [at the expense of the churches]? 5 Have we not the right to take along with us a believing wife, as do the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas (Peter)? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to stop doing manual labor [in order to support our ministry]? 7 [Consider this:] Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?
8 Do I say these things only from a man’s perspective? Does the Law not endorse the same principles? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain [to keep it from eating the grain].” Is it [only] for oxen that God cares? 10 Or does He speak entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake: The plowman ought to plow [f]in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the harvest. 11 If we have sown [the good seed of] spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share in this rightful claim over you, do not we even more? However, we did not exercise this right, but we put up with everything so that we will not hinder [the spread of] the good news of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who officiate in the sacred services of the temple eat from the temple [offerings of meat and bread] and those who regularly attend the altar have their share from the [offerings brought to the] altar? 14 So also [on the same principle] the Lord directed those who preach the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
15 But I have used none of these privileges, nor am I writing this [to suggest] that any such provision be made for me now. For it would be better for me to die than to have anyone deprive me of my [g]boast [in this matter of financial support]. 16 For if I [merely] preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast about, for I am compelled [that is, absolutely obligated to do it]. Woe to me if I do not preach the good news [of salvation]! 17 For if I do this work [h]of my own free will, then I have a reward; but if it is not of my will [but by God’s choosing], I have been entrusted with a [sacred] stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? [Just this:] that, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge [to everyone], so as not to take advantage of my rights [as a preacher and apostle] in [preaching] the gospel.
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to everyone, so that I may win more [for Christ]. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews [for Christ]; to men under the Law, [I became] as one [i]under the Law, though not being under the Law myself, so that I might win those who are under the Law. 21 To those who are without (outside) the Law, [I became] as one without the Law, though [I am] not without the law of God, but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the [j]weak I became [as the] weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means [in any and every way] save some [by leading them to faith in Jesus Christ]. 23 And I do all this for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings along with you.
24 [k]Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! 25 Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a [l]crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. 26 Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. 27 But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].
Avoid Israel’s Mistakes
10 For I do not want you to be unaware, believers, that our fathers were all under the cloud [in which God’s presence went before them] and they all passed [miraculously and safely] through the [Red] Sea; 2 And all [of them] were baptized into Moses [into his safekeeping as their leader] in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all [of them] ate the same [m]spiritual food; 4 and all [of them] drank the same [n]spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not well-pleased with [o]most of them, for they were scattered along the ground in the wilderness [because their lack of self-control led to disobedience which led to death].
6 Now these things [the warnings and admonitions] took place as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did. 7 Do not be worshipers of handmade gods, as some of them were; just as it is written [in Scripture], “The people sat down to eat and drink [after sacrificing to the [p]golden calf at Horeb], and stood up to play [indulging in immoral activities].” 8 We must not indulge in [nor tolerate] sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell [dead] in a single day! 9 We must not tempt the Lord [that is, test His patience, question His purpose or exploit His goodness], as some of them did—and they were killed by serpents. 10 And do not murmur [in unwarranted discontent], as some of them did—and were destroyed by the [q]destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example and warning [to us]; they were written for our instruction [to admonish and equip us], upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation]. 13 No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].
14 Therefore, my beloved, run [keep far, far away] from [any sort of] idolatry [and that includes loving anything more than God, or participating in anything that leads to sin and enslaves the soul]. 15 I am speaking as to wise and sensible people; judge [carefully and thoughtfully consider] for yourselves what I say. 16 Is the cup of blessing which we bless [at the Lord’s Supper] not a sharing in the blood of Christ? [Indeed it is.] Is the bread which we break not a sharing in the body of Christ? [Indeed it is.] 17 Since there is one bread, we [believers] who are many are [united into] one body; for we all partake of the one bread [which represents the body of Christ]. 18 Consider the people of Israel; are those who eat the sacrifices not partners of the altar [united in their worship of the same God]? [Indeed they are.] 19 What do I mean then? That a thing offered to idols is anything [special or changed simply because it is offered], or that an idol is anything? 20 On the contrary, the things which the Gentiles (pagans) sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons [in effect], and not to God; and I do not want you to become partners with demons [by eating at feasts in pagan temples]. 21 You cannot drink [both] the Lord’s cup and the cup of demons. You cannot share in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons [thereby becoming partners with them]. 22 Do we [really] provoke the Lord to jealousy [when we eat food sacrificed to handmade “gods” at pagan feasts]? Are we [spiritually] stronger than He? [Certainly not! He knows that the idols are nothing. But we deeply [r]offend Him.]
23 All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. 24 Let no one seek [only] his own good, but [also] that of the other person. 25 [Regarding meat offered to idols:] Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking any questions for the sake of your conscience, 26 For the [whole] earth is the Lord’s, and everything that is in it. 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you [to a meal at his home] and you want to go, eat whatever is served to you without asking questions [about its source] for the sake of your conscience. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This meat has been offered in sacrifice to an idol,” do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who told you, and for conscience’s sake— 29 and by conscience I mean for the sake of the other man’s, not yours. For [s]why is my freedom [of choice] judged by another’s conscience [another’s ethics—another’s sense of right and wrong]? 30 If I take my share [of food] with thankfulness, why am I accused because of something for which I give thanks?
31 So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God. 32 Do not offend Jews or Greeks or even the church of God [but live to honor Him]; 33 just as I please everyone in all things [as much as possible adapting myself to the interests of others], not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, so that they [will be open to the message of salvation and] may be saved.
11 Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
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