Thursday, March 24, 2022
Twenty-Fifth Day of Great Lent
I Corinthians 8:5-9:23
I Corinthians 8:5-9:23
 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords” —
 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.
 Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
 For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?
 And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.
 Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
 Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.
 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?
 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
 This is my defense to those who would examine me.
 Do we not have the right to our food and drink?
 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?
 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
 Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same?
 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?
 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop.
 If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?
 If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?
 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have any one deprive me of my ground for boasting.
 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.
 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my preaching I may make the gospel free of charge, not making full use of my right in the gospel.
 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.
 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law — though not being myself under the law — that I might win those under the law.
 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law — not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ — that I might win those outside the law.
 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America