Contemporary English Version
Don't Worship Idols
1 Friends, I want to remind you that all our ancestors walked under the cloud and went through the sea. 2This was like being baptized and becoming followers of Moses. 3 All of them also ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink, which flowed from the spiritual rock that followed them. That rock was Christ. 5 But most of them did not please God. So they died, and their bodies were scattered all over the desert.
6What happened to them is a warning to keep us from wanting to do the same evil things. 7 They worshiped idols, just as the Scriptures say, “The people sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to dance around.” So don't worship idols. 8 Some of those people did shameful things, and in a single day about 23,000 died. Don't do shameful things as they did. 9 And don't try to test Christ,+ as some of them did and were later bitten by poisonous snakes. 10 Don't even grumble, as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel. 11These things happened to them as a warning to us. All this was written in the Scriptures to teach us who live in these last days.
12Even if you think you can stand up to temptation, be careful not to fall. 13 You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations.
14My friends, you must keep away from idols. 15I am speaking to you as people who have enough sense to know what I am talking about. 16 When we drink from the cup we ask God to bless, isn't that sharing in the blood of Christ? When we eat the bread we break, isn't that sharing in the body of Christ? 17By sharing in the same loaf of bread, we become one body, even though there are many of us.
18 Aren't the people of Israel sharing in the worship when they gather around the altar and eat the sacrifices offered there? 19Am I saying that either the idols or the food sacrificed to them is anything at all? 20 No, I am not! This food is really sacrificed to demons and not to God. I don't want you to have anything to do with demons. 21You cannot drink from the cup of demons and still drink from the Lord's cup. You cannot eat at the table of demons and still eat at the Lord's table. 22 We would make the Lord jealous if we did this. And we are not stronger than the Lord.
Always Honor God
23 Some of you say, “We can do whatever we want to!” But I tell you not everything may be good or helpful. 24We should think about others and not about ourselves. 25However, when you buy meat in the market, go ahead and eat it. Keep your conscience clear by not asking where the meat came from. 26 The Scriptures say, “The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord.”
27If an unbeliever invites you to dinner, and you want to go, then go. Eat whatever you are served. Don't cause a problem for someone's conscience by asking where the food came from. 28-29But if you are told it has been sacrificed to idols, don't cause a problem by eating it. I don't mean a problem for yourself, but for the one who told you. Why should my freedom be limited by someone else's conscience? 30If I give thanks for what I eat, why should anyone accuse me of doing wrong?
31When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God. 32Don't cause problems for Jews or Greeks or anyone else who belongs to God's church. 33I always try to please others instead of myself, in the hope that many of them will be saved.
Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)
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