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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,
that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,
and all of them were baptized into Moses in the
cloud and in the sea.
All ate the same spiritual food,
and all drank the same spiritual drink, for
they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, 2 and
the rock was the Christ.
Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for
they were struck down in the desert.
3 These things happened as examples for us, so
that we might not desire evil things, as they did.
And do not become idolaters, as some of them
did, as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up
Let us not indulge in immorality as some of
them did, and twenty-three thousand fell within a single day.
Let us not test Christ 4 as
some of them did, and suffered death by serpents.
Do not grumble as some of them did, and
suffered death by the destroyer.
These things happened to them as an example,
and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the
ages has come. 5
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure
should take care not to fall. 6
No trial has come to you but what is human. God
is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the
trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.
7 Therefore, my beloved, avoid idolatry.
I am speaking as to sensible people; judge for
yourselves what I am saying.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a
participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a
participation in the body of Christ?
Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though
many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
Look at Israel according to the flesh; are not
those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?
So what am I saying? That meat sacrificed to
idols is anything? Or that an idol is anything?
No, I mean that what they sacrifice, (they sacrifice)
to demons, 8 not to God, and I do not want you to become
participants with demons.
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also
the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table
Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger?
Are we stronger than he?
9 "Everything is lawful," but not
everything is beneficial. 10 "Everything is
lawful," but not everything builds up.
No one should seek his own advantage, but that
of his neighbor.
11 Eat anything sold in the market, without
raising questions on grounds of conscience,
for "the earth and its fullness are the
If an unbeliever invites you and you want to
go, eat whatever is placed before you, without raising questions on grounds of
But if someone says to you, "This was
offered in sacrifice," do not eat it on account of the one who called
attention to it and on account of conscience;
I mean not your own conscience, but the
other's. For why should my freedom be determined by someone else's conscience?
If I partake thankfully, why am I reviled for
that over which I give thanks?
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you
do, do everything for the glory of God.
12 Avoid giving offense, whether to Jews or
Greeks or the church of God,
just as I try to please everyone in every way,
not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved.
1 [1-5] Paul embarks unexpectedly
upon a panoramic survey of the events of the Exodus period. The privileges of
Israel in the wilderness are described in terms that apply strictly only to the
realities of the new covenant ("baptism," "spiritual food and
drink"); interpreted in this way they point forward to the Christian experience
(⇒ 1 Cor 10:1-4). But those privileges did not
guarantee God's permanent pleasure (⇒ 1 Cor 10:5).
2  A spiritual rock that followed
them: the Torah speaks only about a rock from which water issued, but rabbinic
legend amplified this into a spring that followed the Israelites throughout
their migration. Paul uses this legend as a literary type: he makes the rock
itself accompany the Israelites, and he gives it a spiritual sense. The rock
was the Christ: in the Old Testament, Yahweh is the Rock of his people (cf Deut
32, Moses' song to Yahweh the Rock). Paul now applies this image to the Christ,
the source of the living water, the true Rock that accompanied Israel, guiding
their experiences in the desert.
3 [6-13] This section explicitates
the typological value of these Old Testament events: the desert experiences of
the Israelites are examples, meant as warnings, to deter us from similar sins
(idolatry, immorality, etc.) and from a similar fate.
4  Christ: to avoid Paul's concept
of Christ present in the wilderness events, some manuscripts read "the
5  Upon whom the end of the ages
has come: it is our period in time toward which past ages have been moving and
in which they arrive at their goal.
6 [12-13] Take care not to fall: the
point of the whole comparison with Israel is to caution against overconfidence,
a sense of complete security (⇒ 1 Cor 10:12). This
warning is immediately balanced by a reassurance, based, however, on God
(⇒ 1 Cor 10:13).
7 [14-22] The warning against
idolatry from ⇒ 1 Cor 10:7 is now repeated
(⇒ 1 Cor 10:14) and explained in terms of the
effect of sacrifices: all sacrifices, Christian (⇒ 1 Cor
10:16-17), Jewish (⇒ 1 Cor 10:18), or
pagan (⇒ 1 Cor 10:20), establish communion. But
communion with Christ is exclusive, incompatible with any other such communion
(⇒ 1 Cor 10:21). Compare the line of reasoning at
⇒ 1 Cor 6:15.
8  To demons: although Jews
denied divinity to pagan gods, they often believed that there was some
nondivine reality behind the idols, such as the dead, or angels, or demons. The
explanation Paul offers in ⇒ 1 Cor 10:20 is drawn
from ⇒ Deut 32:7: the power behind the idols, with
which the pagans commune, consists of demonic powers hostile to God.
[⇒ 10:23-⇒ 11:1] By
way of peroration Paul returns to the opening situation (1 Cor 8) and draws
conclusions based on the intervening considerations (1 Cor 9-10).
10 [23-24] He repeats in the context
of this new problem the slogans of liberty from ⇒ 1 Cor
6:12, with similar qualifications. Liberty is not merely an
individual perfection, nor an end in itself, but is to be used for the common
good. The language of ⇒ 1 Cor 10:24 recalls the
descriptions of Jesus' self-emptying in Phil 2.
11 [25-30] A summary of specific
situations in which the eating of meat sacrificed to idols could present
problems of conscience. Three cases are considered. In the first (the
marketplace, ⇒ 1 Cor 10:25-26) and the second (at table,
⇒ 1 Cor 10:27), there is no need to be concerned
with whether food has passed through a pagan sacrifice or not, for the
principle of ⇒ 1 Cor 8:4-6 still stands, and the
whole creation belongs to the one God. But in the third case
(⇒ 1 Cor 10:28), the situation changes if someone
present explicitly raises the question of the sacrificial origin of the food;
eating in such circumstances may be subject to various interpretations, some of
which could be harmful to individuals. Paul is at pains to insist that the
enlightened Christian conscience need not change its judgment about the
neutrality, even the goodness, of the food in itself (⇒ 1
Cor 10:29-30); yet the total situation is altered to the extent that
others are potentially endangered, and this calls for a different response, for
the sake of others.
[⇒ 10:32-⇒ 11:1] In summary,
the general rule of mutually responsible use of their Christian freedom is
enjoined first negatively (⇒ 1 Cor 10:32), then
positively, as exemplified in Paul (⇒ 1 Cor
10:33), and finally grounded in Christ, the pattern for Paul's
behavior and theirs (⇒ 1 Cor 11:1; cf
⇒ Romans 15:1-3).
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