Thematic Bible




Thematic Bible





Paul [then] looked intently at the Council [i.e., the Jewish supreme court called the "Sanhedrin"] and spoke [in his defense]: "Brothers, I have lived before God with a good conscience all my life."

In doing this [i.e., practicing some of the requirements of the law of Moses], they demonstrate that these requirements are written in their hearts. Their conscience tells them this, and their thoughts alternately accuse them [of wrongdoing], or else endorse them [for doing right]).

Therefore, you must submit [to the authorities], not only because of [the threat of] punishment, but also for the sake of [your] conscience.

However, not every person knows this [truth]. For some people have been so used to an idol all this time that they still think of the idol [as a reality] when eating food that has been sacrificed to it. And their weak conscience becomes polluted. [Note: These people cannot seem to shake off the idea that somehow the idol is real, so feel guilty of wrongdoing when eating food sacrificed to it].

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].

Since we [apostles] know [what it means] to revere the Lord, we try to persuade people [i.e., to accept the Gospel, or to acknowledge our integrity]. But we are [already] known to God, and I hope that you also know us in your hearts [i.e., to have integrity].


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 --- 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"]. If I thank God for what I eat, why should I be criticized for eating something I have [already] thanked Him for? read more.
So, whether you people eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to honor God. Do not [do what could] cause Jews, Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] or the church of God to fall [away from God]. 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.


However, not every person knows this [truth]. For some people have been so used to an idol all this time that they still think of the idol [as a reality] when eating food that has been sacrificed to it. And their weak conscience becomes polluted. [Note: These people cannot seem to shake off the idea that somehow the idol is real, so feel guilty of wrongdoing when eating food sacrificed to it]. But [eating certain] foods will not improve our relationship to God; we are neither any worse off if we do not eat [certain things], nor are we any better off if we do eat them. But pay attention [to this], so that somehow this liberty of yours [i.e., to eat whatever you want to] does not become an occasion over which weak people could fall [away from God]. read more.
For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, who have [correct] knowledge [in this matter], eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged to eat food sacrificed to idols? So, this weak brother, for whose sake Christ died, becomes [spiritually] destroyed, [and all] because of your "knowledge" [i.e., you know that such eating is harmless, but your weak brother does not know this, so he is led into sin by your unloving example]. And in this way, when you sin against the brothers by injuring their weak conscience, you are [actually] sinning against Christ. Therefore, if [eating certain] foods causes my brother to fall away [from God], I will never eat meat again, so I do not cause my brother to fall away.

[We also urge you to] make it your aim to live a quiet life, and to attend to your own business matters, and to work with your hands, as we urged you. [Note: Possibly this exhortation was directed toward the tendency of some people there to neglect ordinary responsibilities in view of an imminent return of Christ]. [Do these things] so that you will live in a proper way in front of outsiders [i.e., non-Christians], and not have [to depend on people for] any needs.


As one who is in [fellowship with] the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that nothing in itself is [ceremonially] unclean. But to the person who considers something [ceremonially] unclean, it then becomes unclean to him. For if your brother is hurt [spiritually] by [your eating a certain] food, you are no longer acting lovingly [toward him]. Do not destroy [spiritually] the person Christ died for by what you eat. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken against [i.e., the exercise of a liberty by the strong to eat anything must not become the occasion of criticism by the weak]. read more.
For God's kingdom is not a matter of what people eat or drink, but [instead, it is a matter] of doing what is right, having peace [of heart] and having [inner] joy, which come from the Holy Spirit. For the person who serves Christ with these qualities is very pleasing to God and wins the approval of people. So then, let us pursue such things that produce peace and things that build one another up [spiritually]. Do not destroy God's work [i.e., someone's life] for the sake of something to eat. All foods are truly clean [ceremonially]; however, it is wrong for a person to eat something when it causes another person to fall [away from God]. [So], it is better [for you] not to eat bread, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything [else] that could cause your brother to fall [away from God]. Therefore, whatever you believe about this matter should be held between you and God. That person is happy who does not condemn himself for practicing something he believes is right. But the person who has doubts about eating [a certain food] is self-condemned if he [goes ahead and] eats it, because his action is not based on faith [i.e., if he lacks the conviction that he is doing what is right]. And whatever is not done with such a conviction is a sin.

I now want to reply to the matter of idolatrous sacrifices [which you wrote to me about]. We know that we all possess knowledge. [Note: This may be a statement posed to Paul by the Corinthians, who seemed quite preoccupied with "knowledge"]. Knowledge [only] makes people arrogant, while love builds them up [spiritually]. If anyone thinks he knows something, he [really] does not know as much as he ought to. But if anyone loves God, that person is known by God. read more.
Now concerning [the matter of] eating foods [once] offered as sacrifices to idols, we know that an idol is [really] nothing in the world [at all], and that there is only one God. For [even] if there were things called "gods," whether in heaven or on earth; [and even if] there were many "gods" and many "lords," yet there is [only] one God to us, [and He is] the Father, from whom all things have come, and for whom we live. And [there is only] one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things have come, and through whom we live. However, not every person knows this [truth]. For some people have been so used to an idol all this time that they still think of the idol [as a reality] when eating food that has been sacrificed to it. And their weak conscience becomes polluted. [Note: These people cannot seem to shake off the idea that somehow the idol is real, so feel guilty of wrongdoing when eating food sacrificed to it]. But [eating certain] foods will not improve our relationship to God; we are neither any worse off if we do not eat [certain things], nor are we any better off if we do eat them. But pay attention [to this], so that somehow this liberty of yours [i.e., to eat whatever you want to] does not become an occasion over which weak people could fall [away from God]. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, who have [correct] knowledge [in this matter], eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged to eat food sacrificed to idols? So, this weak brother, for whose sake Christ died, becomes [spiritually] destroyed, [and all] because of your "knowledge" [i.e., you know that such eating is harmless, but your weak brother does not know this, so he is led into sin by your unloving example]. And in this way, when you sin against the brothers by injuring their weak conscience, you are [actually] sinning against Christ. Therefore, if [eating certain] foods causes my brother to fall away [from God], I will never eat meat again, so I do not cause my brother to fall away.

Therefore, my dearly loved ones, run away from idol worship. I am speaking to you as [I would] to sensible people, [so] judge for yourselves what I am saying. 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? read more.
Inasmuch as there is one loaf of bread that we all share, we who are many make up one body [of believers]. 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]? So, what am I saying? That an animal sacrificed to idols is [really] anything, or that an idol [itself] is anything? [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. 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]. Or, are we [trying to] make the Lord jealous [by doing this]? [Do we think] we are stronger that He is? "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. No one should look out for his own interests [only], but for the interests of others [as well]. 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]. For the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. 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]. 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 --- 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"]. If I thank God for what I eat, why should I be criticized for eating something I have [already] thanked Him for? So, whether you people eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to honor God. Do not [do what could] cause Jews, Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] or the church of God to fall [away from God]. 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.


As one who is in [fellowship with] the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that nothing in itself is [ceremonially] unclean. But to the person who considers something [ceremonially] unclean, it then becomes unclean to him. For if your brother is hurt [spiritually] by [your eating a certain] food, you are no longer acting lovingly [toward him]. Do not destroy [spiritually] the person Christ died for by what you eat. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken against [i.e., the exercise of a liberty by the strong to eat anything must not become the occasion of criticism by the weak]. read more.
For God's kingdom is not a matter of what people eat or drink, but [instead, it is a matter] of doing what is right, having peace [of heart] and having [inner] joy, which come from the Holy Spirit. For the person who serves Christ with these qualities is very pleasing to God and wins the approval of people. So then, let us pursue such things that produce peace and things that build one another up [spiritually]. Do not destroy God's work [i.e., someone's life] for the sake of something to eat. All foods are truly clean [ceremonially]; however, it is wrong for a person to eat something when it causes another person to fall [away from God]. [So], it is better [for you] not to eat bread, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything [else] that could cause your brother to fall [away from God]. Therefore, whatever you believe about this matter should be held between you and God. That person is happy who does not condemn himself for practicing something he believes is right. But the person who has doubts about eating [a certain food] is self-condemned if he [goes ahead and] eats it, because his action is not based on faith [i.e., if he lacks the conviction that he is doing what is right]. And whatever is not done with such a conviction is a sin.

I now want to reply to the matter of idolatrous sacrifices [which you wrote to me about]. We know that we all possess knowledge. [Note: This may be a statement posed to Paul by the Corinthians, who seemed quite preoccupied with "knowledge"]. Knowledge [only] makes people arrogant, while love builds them up [spiritually]. If anyone thinks he knows something, he [really] does not know as much as he ought to. But if anyone loves God, that person is known by God. read more.
Now concerning [the matter of] eating foods [once] offered as sacrifices to idols, we know that an idol is [really] nothing in the world [at all], and that there is only one God. For [even] if there were things called "gods," whether in heaven or on earth; [and even if] there were many "gods" and many "lords," yet there is [only] one God to us, [and He is] the Father, from whom all things have come, and for whom we live. And [there is only] one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things have come, and through whom we live. However, not every person knows this [truth]. For some people have been so used to an idol all this time that they still think of the idol [as a reality] when eating food that has been sacrificed to it. And their weak conscience becomes polluted. [Note: These people cannot seem to shake off the idea that somehow the idol is real, so feel guilty of wrongdoing when eating food sacrificed to it]. But [eating certain] foods will not improve our relationship to God; we are neither any worse off if we do not eat [certain things], nor are we any better off if we do eat them. But pay attention [to this], so that somehow this liberty of yours [i.e., to eat whatever you want to] does not become an occasion over which weak people could fall [away from God]. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, who have [correct] knowledge [in this matter], eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged to eat food sacrificed to idols? So, this weak brother, for whose sake Christ died, becomes [spiritually] destroyed, [and all] because of your "knowledge" [i.e., you know that such eating is harmless, but your weak brother does not know this, so he is led into sin by your unloving example]. And in this way, when you sin against the brothers by injuring their weak conscience, you are [actually] sinning against Christ. Therefore, if [eating certain] foods causes my brother to fall away [from God], I will never eat meat again, so I do not cause my brother to fall away.

Therefore, my dearly loved ones, run away from idol worship. I am speaking to you as [I would] to sensible people, [so] judge for yourselves what I am saying. 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? read more.
Inasmuch as there is one loaf of bread that we all share, we who are many make up one body [of believers]. 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]? So, what am I saying? That an animal sacrificed to idols is [really] anything, or that an idol [itself] is anything? [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. 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]. Or, are we [trying to] make the Lord jealous [by doing this]? [Do we think] we are stronger that He is? "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. No one should look out for his own interests [only], but for the interests of others [as well]. 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]. For the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. 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]. 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 --- 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"]. If I thank God for what I eat, why should I be criticized for eating something I have [already] thanked Him for? So, whether you people eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to honor God. Do not [do what could] cause Jews, Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] or the church of God to fall [away from God]. 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.



I now want to reply to the matter of idolatrous sacrifices [which you wrote to me about]. We know that we all possess knowledge. [Note: This may be a statement posed to Paul by the Corinthians, who seemed quite preoccupied with "knowledge"]. Knowledge [only] makes people arrogant, while love builds them up [spiritually]. If anyone thinks he knows something, he [really] does not know as much as he ought to. But if anyone loves God, that person is known by God. read more.
Now concerning [the matter of] eating foods [once] offered as sacrifices to idols, we know that an idol is [really] nothing in the world [at all], and that there is only one God. For [even] if there were things called "gods," whether in heaven or on earth; [and even if] there were many "gods" and many "lords," yet there is [only] one God to us, [and He is] the Father, from whom all things have come, and for whom we live. And [there is only] one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things have come, and through whom we live. However, not every person knows this [truth]. For some people have been so used to an idol all this time that they still think of the idol [as a reality] when eating food that has been sacrificed to it. And their weak conscience becomes polluted. [Note: These people cannot seem to shake off the idea that somehow the idol is real, so feel guilty of wrongdoing when eating food sacrificed to it]. But [eating certain] foods will not improve our relationship to God; we are neither any worse off if we do not eat [certain things], nor are we any better off if we do eat them. But pay attention [to this], so that somehow this liberty of yours [i.e., to eat whatever you want to] does not become an occasion over which weak people could fall [away from God]. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, who have [correct] knowledge [in this matter], eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged to eat food sacrificed to idols? So, this weak brother, for whose sake Christ died, becomes [spiritually] destroyed, [and all] because of your "knowledge" [i.e., you know that such eating is harmless, but your weak brother does not know this, so he is led into sin by your unloving example]. And in this way, when you sin against the brothers by injuring their weak conscience, you are [actually] sinning against Christ. Therefore, if [eating certain] foods causes my brother to fall away [from God], I will never eat meat again, so I do not cause my brother to fall away.

But why do you [who eat only certain foods] condemn your brother [who feels he can eat anything]? Or, indeed, why do you [i.e., who feels he can eat anything] look down on your brother [i.e., who eats only certain foods]? For all of us will have to stand before the judgment bar of God. For it is written [Isa. 45:23], "As surely as I am the living God, says the Lord, everyone's knee will bow before me, and everyone's mouth will confess to [or, praise] God." So then, every one of us [i.e., including Christians] will have to give an account of himself to God. read more.
So, we should stop judging one another any more. But instead, you people should determine not to put anything in your brother's way [to cause him] to trip or fall [away from God]. As one who is in [fellowship with] the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that nothing in itself is [ceremonially] unclean. But to the person who considers something [ceremonially] unclean, it then becomes unclean to him. For if your brother is hurt [spiritually] by [your eating a certain] food, you are no longer acting lovingly [toward him]. Do not destroy [spiritually] the person Christ died for by what you eat. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken against [i.e., the exercise of a liberty by the strong to eat anything must not become the occasion of criticism by the weak]. For God's kingdom is not a matter of what people eat or drink, but [instead, it is a matter] of doing what is right, having peace [of heart] and having [inner] joy, which come from the Holy Spirit. For the person who serves Christ with these qualities is very pleasing to God and wins the approval of people. So then, let us pursue such things that produce peace and things that build one another up [spiritually]. Do not destroy God's work [i.e., someone's life] for the sake of something to eat. All foods are truly clean [ceremonially]; however, it is wrong for a person to eat something when it causes another person to fall [away from God]. [So], it is better [for you] not to eat bread, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything [else] that could cause your brother to fall [away from God]. Therefore, whatever you believe about this matter should be held between you and God. That person is happy who does not condemn himself for practicing something he believes is right. But the person who has doubts about eating [a certain food] is self-condemned if he [goes ahead and] eats it, because his action is not based on faith [i.e., if he lacks the conviction that he is doing what is right]. And whatever is not done with such a conviction is a sin.

"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. No one should look out for his own interests [only], but for the interests of others [as well]. 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]. read more.
For the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. 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]. 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 --- 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"]. If I thank God for what I eat, why should I be criticized for eating something I have [already] thanked Him for? So, whether you people eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to honor God. Do not [do what could] cause Jews, Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] or the church of God to fall [away from God]. 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.