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. Chapter 10.

Warning against Idolatry

1 You should understand, my brothers, that our ancestors were all under the pillar of cloud, and all of them passed through the Red Sea; 2 and so they all received baptism into the fellowship of Moses in cloud and sea. 3 They all ate the same supernatural food, and all drank the same supernatural drink; 4 I mean, they all drank from the supernatural rock that accompanied their travels—and that rock was Christ. 5 And yet, most of them were not accepted by God, for the desert was strewn with their corpses.

6 These events happened as symbols to warn us not to set our desires on evil things, as they did. 7 [ Ex.32.6. ] Do not be idolaters, like some of them; as Scripture has it, 'the people sat down to feast and stood up to revel'. 8 Let us not commit fornication, as some of them did?and twenty-three thousand died in one day. 9 Let us not put the power of the Lord [Some witnesses read: of Christ.] to the test, as some of them did?and were destroyed by serpents. 10 Do not grumble against God, as some of them did—and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

11 All these things that happened to them were symbolic, and were recorded for our benefit as a warning. For upon us the fulfilment of the ages has come. 12 If you feel sure that you are standing firm, beware! You may fall. 13 So far you have faced no trial beyond what man can bear. God keeps faith, and he will not allow you to be tested above your powers, but when the test comes he will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it.

14 SO THEN, DEAR FRIENDS,—shun idolatry. 15 I speak to you as men of sense. Form your own judgement on what I say. 16 When we bless 'the cup of blessing', is it not a means of sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread, is it not a means of sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, many as we are, are one body; [Or: For we, many as we are, are one loaf, one body.] for it is one loaf of which we all partake.

18 Look at the Jewish people. Are not those who partake in the sacrificial meal sharers in the altar? 19 What do I imply by this? that an idol is anything but an idol? or food offered to it anything more than food? 20 No: but the sacrifices the heathen offer are offered (in the words of Scripture) 'to demons and to that which is not God'; and I will not have you become partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the Lord's table and the table of demons. 22 Can we defy the Lord? Are we stronger than he?

Do All to the Glory of God

23 'We are free to do anything', you say. Yes, but is everything good for us? 'We are free to do anything', but does everything help the building of the community? 24 Each of you must regard, not his own interests, but the other man's.

25 You may eat anything sold in the meat-market without raising questions of conscience; 26 [ Ps.24.1, Ps.50.12, Ps.89.11. ] for the earth is the Lord's and everything in it.

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you care to go, eat whatever is put before you, without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if somebody says to you, 'This food has been offered in sacrifice', then, out of consideration for him, and for conscience' sake, do not eat it— 29 not your conscience, I mean, but the other man's.

'What?' you say, 'is my freedom to be called in question by another man's conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for eating food over which I have said grace?' 31 Well, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you are doing, do all for the honour of God: 32 give no offence to Jews, or Greeks, or to the church of God. 33 For my part I always try to meet everyone half-way, regarding not my own good but the good of the many, so that they may be saved.

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