1 For I want you to be [fully] aware, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud, and all of them passed [safely] through the [Red] Sea. [Note: This refers to God guiding the Israelites through the desert during the daytime by a cloud moving along above them . See Ex. 13:21-22]. 2 [In doing this] they were all [actually] immersed into [fellowship with] Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 And they all ate the same spiritual food [i.e., the supernatural manna. See Ex. 16:4-5], 4 and drank the same spiritual drink [i.e., water coming from a rock supernaturally. See Ex. 17:6]. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. [Note: Besides actual water, they were refreshed from the spiritual presence of Christ]. 5 However, God was not pleased with the vast majority of them, for their bodies were scattered over the desert [See Num. 14:29ff].
6 Now these events were examples for us, so that we should not have strong desires for evil things like they did. 7 [So], do not worship idols as some of them did, as it is written [Ex. 32:6], "The people sat down to feast and drink, then got up and played." [Note: This refers to the Israelites engaging in an orgy of dancing and sex. See Ex. 32:17-19]. 8 Neither should we commit sexual immorality as some of them did, [with] 23,000 people falling dead in one day. [Note: Num. 25:9 mentions 24,000 people slain, but that number could have included the additional people slain by the judges. See Num. 25:5]. 9 Neither should we put the Lord to a test as some of them did, and were killed by snake bites [See Num. 21:5ff]. 10 Neither should you people complain as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel [See Ex. 12:23?]. 11 Now these events happened to those people as examples [to us], and they were written as warnings to us, to whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. [Note: This refers to past ages concluding with the coming of Christ in that day]. 12 So, the person who thinks he is standing firm [in the faith] should pay attention [to his life], so that he does not fall [away from God]. 13 Every temptation that you have experienced is one that commonly happens to people. But God is dependable and will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability [to cope with it]; [instead] He will provide, along with the temptation, also a way of escaping [it], so you people will be able to endure it.
14 Therefore, my dearly loved ones, run away from idol worship. 15 I am speaking to you as [I would] to sensible people, [so] judge for yourselves what I am saying. 16 Does not the "cup of blessing," which we bless, signify a fellowship with Christ's [physical] blood? [Note: This was the cup used at the close of the Passover meal and was called this because of the prayer of thanksgiving offered for it. Paul refers to such a prayer in connection with its use in the Lord's Supper]. Does not the bread that we break signify a fellowship with Christ's [physical] body? 17 Inasmuch as there is one loaf of bread that we all share, we who are many make up one body [of believers]. 18 Look at the physical nation of Israel; do not their people [i.e., the priests] who eat the [animal] sacrifices have fellowship [with God] in the Altar [service]? 19 So, what am I saying? That an animal sacrificed to idols is [really] anything, or that an idol [itself] is anything? 20 [Certainly not!] But I am saying that the Gentile sacrifices are [really] offered to evil spirits and not to God. And I do not want you to have fellowship with evil spirits. 21 You cannot drink [both] the cup of the Lord and the cup of evil spirits [i.e., and still be acceptable to God]. You cannot share in [both] the Lord's table and the table of evil spirits [and still be acceptable to God]. 22 Or, are we [trying to] make the Lord jealous [by doing this]? [Do we think] we are stronger that He is?
23 "Everything is permissible [to do];" but not everything is profitable [See note at 6:12]. "Everything is permissible [to do];" but not everything builds [people] up. 24 No one should look out for his own interests [only], but for the interests of others [as well].
25 Eat whatever is sold in the [public] meat markets, without asking any questions [about it] for [your] conscience' sake [i.e., do not inquire about the previous use of the food you buy, because you might discover something about it that would make you feel guilty of wrongdoing if you ate it]. 26 For the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. 27 Now if an unbeliever invites you for a meal and you decide to go, eat whatever is set in front of you without asking any questions for [your] conscience' sake [See verse 25]. 28 But if anyone says to you, "This [food] has been offered as a sacrifice [to an idol]," do not eat it, for the sake of the person who pointed this out to you, and for conscience' sake --- 29 that is, for the sake of the other person's conscience, not your own. For why should my freedom [to eat what I want] be judged [as wrong] by another person's conscience? [Note: The questions in this and the following verse may mean, "it is not worth eating questionable things, if doing so would bring criticism from a weak brother"]. 30 If I thank God for what I eat, why should I be criticized for eating something I have [already] thanked Him for?
31 So, whether you people eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to honor God. 32 Do not [do what could] cause Jews, Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] or the church of God to fall [away from God]. 33 For even I myself [try] to please everyone in every way, and not to look out [just] for my own good, but [also] for the good of many people, so that they may be saved.