1 Corinthians 10

Stay away from false gods

1 My friends, I want you to remember something. Remember what happened to our ancestors. They followed Moses many years ago. While they followed Moses, the cloud covered all of them. It covered them to keep them safe. And all of them walked through the Red Sea with dry feet. 2 God baptized all of them in the cloud and in the sea. He baptized them as those people who followed Moses. 3 All our ancestors ate the same spiritual food. 4 All of them drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from the spiritual rock that went with them. And Christ was that rock. 5 But God was not happy with most of them. So, their dead bodies lay everywhere in that land, where there was no water.

6 These things that happened to our ancestors are examples to us. They wanted to do bad things very much. But we must not be like them. We must not want bad things. 7 Nor must we worship false gods, as some of them did. The Bible says:

‘The people sat down to eat and to drink. And they stood up to enjoy themselves. And they danced in front of their false god.’

8 Nor must we ever have sex with anyone who is not our own wife or husband. Some of our grandfathers did that, and so 23,000 of them died in one day. 9 Nor must we get angry with the Lord. We must not ask questions about what he is doing. Some of our grandfathers did that. And so God sent snakes to bite them. And then they died. 10 Nor must you say that God is doing bad things. Some of our grandfathers spoke like that. And so God sent an angel to kill them.

11 All these things that happened to our grandfathers are examples to us. God caused people to write about these things so that we could learn from them. We ourselves must learn to be careful. We are alive today, but the end of all things will come soon. 12 Perhaps you think that you are standing strongly. But be very careful that you do not fall down! 13 Sometimes it will be difficult for you not to do something wrong. Or it will be difficult not to think something wrong. You will have difficulties like this. But they are the same kind of difficulties that every person has. God always does what he has promised to do. Remember this. He will not let any difficulty be too big for you. He does not want you to do anything wrong because of any difficulty. He will make you strong. He will show you a way out of the difficulty. So then you will be able to do what is right.

14 So then, my friends, whom I love, stay away from false gods. Do not worship them. 15 I am saying this to you because you are clever people. You can think clearly about things. You yourselves can decide about what I am saying. You can decide whether it is true. 16 At the Lord's Supper, we remember that Christ died on our behalf. We thank God when we drink the wine from the cup. We want to show that we belong to Christ by his blood. That is why we drink it. We break the bread and then we eat it. We want to show that we belong to Christ by his body. That is why we eat it. 17 We are many people, but all of us eat from one loaf of bread. All of us are one body because we eat from the same loaf.

18 Think about Israel's people. Their priests offer food to God in his Great House, and they eat some of that food themselves. They are part of what is happening there in God's House. They are worshipping God too. 19 But I was speaking about false gods. I do not want you to think that false gods are important. I do not mean that you should think like that. The food that people offer to idols is not important either. 20 But the people who offer food to idols are worshipping demons. They are not worshipping God when they offer food to demons. I do not want you to be part of anything with demons. 21 You cannot drink from the Lord's cup and from the cup of demons. You cannot eat food from the Lord's table and from the table of demons. 22 We will make the Lord angry if we do things like that. He will be angry because we should worship only him. And we are not stronger than the Lord is!

23 Some of you may say: ‘We are free. We can do anything that we want to do!’ But not everything is good for us to do. You may say: ‘We are free to do anything!’ But not everything helps to make us stronger. 24 None of you should think only about the things that matter to you yourselves. Instead, each of you should think about what matters to other people.

25 You can eat anything that people sell in the meat market. You do not need to ask questions about whether that is right or wrong. 26 As it says in the Bible:

‘The earth, and everything in it, is the Lord's.’

27 Perhaps people who do not believe Christ will ask you to eat a meal with them. And perhaps you will decide to go there. Then you should eat whatever food they give to you. You should not ask questions about the food. It does not matter where that food comes from. 28 But someone there may say to you: ‘They offered this food to false gods.’ If someone says that, do not eat the food. Do not eat it, because of the person who told you about it. He may not be sure that it is right to eat that food. And you would not want to cause a problem for that person. 29 It will not matter to you yourself. You are sure about what is right or wrong. But it will matter to a person who is not sure. Perhaps you will say: ‘Why should another person decide what I ought to do? 30 I thank God for my food. So, when I eat that food, nobody else should say bad things against me. Nobody should say that it is wrong for me to eat it.’ 31 But do everything to show how great and how good God is. Even when you eat and drink, do it like that. 32 Do not do anything that might cause difficulties for other people. Do not cause difficulties either for Jews or for people who are not Jews. Do not cause difficulties for God's church. 33 Do what I do. All the time I try to do what everyone thinks is good. I am not doing that to help myself. No, but I am trying to help other people. I hope that God will save many people among them. That is why I live like this.