1 Corinthians 10 Commentary


1 CORINTHIANS - PROBLEMS OF A LOCAL CHURCH
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

FROM CHART: Note 2 major divisions:

  • FIRST DIVISION - Chapters 1-6 = Problems of Congregation - Divisions & Depravities
  • SECOND DIVISION - Chapters 7-16 = Personal Problems, Worship Problems

In addition first-century banquets were commonly dedicated to a pagan god or goddess, and all were expected to offer a libation as part of the festivities. Paul urged Christians not to attend. Demonic forces lay behind paganism. One who participates in Christ can hardly join in the worship of demons (1 Cor 10:14–27).

1 Corinthians 10:1  For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;

Zodhiates - But, brothers, I do not want you to ignore the fact that our fathers were all under the visible cloud and all passed through the sea..

Amplified FOR I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, that our forefathers were all under and protected by the cloud [in which God’s Presence went before them], and every one of them passed safely through the [Red] Sea, 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:1 I don't want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:1 Οὐ θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν πάντες ὑπὸ τὴν νεφέλην ἦσαν καὶ πάντες διὰ τῆς θαλάσσης διῆλθον

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:1 And I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:1 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:1 Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea,

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:1 Now I do not want you to fail to comprehend, brothers, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the (Red) Sea.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:1 I want you to be quite certain, brothers, that our ancestors all had the cloud over them and all passed through the sea.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:1 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that all our ancestors who left Egypt were under the cloud, and they all went through the sea.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:1 For it is my desire, my brothers, that you may keep in mind how all our fathers were under the cloud, and they all went through the sea;

Related Passages:

Exodus 13:21-22+ The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Exodus 14:19-20+  The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night. 

Romans 4:11+ and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them,

Galatians 3:27+ For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

  • For I do not want you to be unaware: 1Co 12:1 14:38 Ro 11:21 
  • our: Joh 4:20 Ro 4:11 Ga 3:29 
  • were all under the cloud: Ex 13:21-22 Ex 14:19-20 40:34 Nu 9:15-22 14:14 De 1:33 Ne 9:12,19 Ps 78:14 105:39 
  • and all: Ex 14:19-22,29 Nu 33:8 Jos 4:23 Ne 9:11 Ps 66:6 77:16-20 Ps 78:13,53 106:7-11 114:3-5 136:13-15 Isa 58:11-13 Heb 11:29 Rev 15:2,3 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOSES STRETCHED OUT HIS HAND
Note "The Cloud" in Upper Right "over" Israel
SEE VIDEO REPLAY OF THIS EVENT

DANGER OF DISQUALIFICATION
ILLUSTRATED BY ISRAEL'S EXODUS

Wayne Barber observes that in chapter 10 we "are going to talk about a caution to the strong... the whole context... beginning in chapter 8, is to the strong, those who understand, who have experienced, who have had the high privilege of the things of God. And once we have understood and God has allowed us to experience the Word of God in our Christian walk and we are labeled "the strong," we have a greater responsibility...The responsibility is always heavier upon them. The apostle Paul has been talking about sports (1 Cor 9:24-27) No athlete,who is running to win the prize, wants to be disqualified and taken out of the race. The apostle Paul is saying that the Christian life is like a race from beginning to end. Just like an athlete, no Christian who has experienced the things of God, who understands the Word of God, wants to be taken out of the action and benched. He wants to be where God can use him. He wants to be a vessel through which God can do His work. (cf 2 Ti 2:21+) When an athlete stops making the choices of self-denial, it is at that point he becomes disqualified. But in the Christian life it is the same way. Being saved and experiencing the things of God does not necessarily guarantee you are going to be used of God. In other words, the way you started is the way you continue and finish. That is what Paul is trying to get across in making his comparison of the athlete and the runner. His whole context is to the strong, to those who understand, to those who have experienced the grace of God. He says, “You guys need to understand something. You are about to be disqualified. You are not mixing love with your knowledge, therefore you have become arrogant. That is his whole context back in chapter 8. So he says to all of us who have experienced being used of God, those of us who have experienced the grace of God and the understanding of His Word, “Now listen, you continue to learn the discipline of denying self. It never stops, because if you stop and choose the other way, you will be benched and somebody else will take your place. You are not indispensable. You are dispensable when it comes to being used in the Christian life.” Well, because of this, in chapter 10 Paul brings a caution to the believers, trying to shock them back into reality, and so he brings up the nation of Israel and gives a warning. To those who have experienced (the privileges of God - see their "privileges" in 1 Cor 1:2, 4-5, 7, 9+) look out. Israel was a nation that experienced the privileges of God, but a nation who by their own choosing, chose the way of the flesh rather than the way of God and missed out on all the things that God had prepared for them. Paul says, “Believers, don’t you do the same thing. Learn from Israel.”

Thomas Schreiner - Because of its defection, Israel did not enter the land of promise, so the Corinthians are admonished in order that they will receive the eschatological award on the day of judgment. The section ends with a word of comfort (1 Cor 10:13), reminding believers that God will faithfully keep from apostasy those who belong to him.....The experiences of Israel in the wilderness are correlated with those of believers in Jesus Christ, and the sins of Israel are set forth to admonish believers not to follow the same pattern. Paul explains his aim in verse 11. The experiences of Israel in the wilderness had a typological role, anticipating and pointing forward to the church of Jesus Christ, for the end times have now dawned with Christ’s coming. (TNTC-1 Cor)

Charles Hodge summarizes chapter 10 this way - A continuation of the exhortation to self-denial and caution, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. Express prohibition of joining in the sacrificial feasts of the heathen, 1 Corinthians 10:14-22. Particular directions as to the use of meat sacrificed to idols, 1 Corinthians 10:23-33. At the close of the preceding chapter the apostle had exhorted his readers to self-denial and effort, in order to secure the crown of life. He here enforces that exhortation, by showing how disastrous had been the want of such self-control in the case of the Israelites. They had been highly favored as well as we. They had been miraculously guided by the pillar of cloud; they had been led through the Red Sea; they had been fed with manna from heaven, and with water from the rock; and yet the great majority of them perished, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5. This is a solemn warning to Christians not to give way to temptation, as the Israelites did, 1 Corinthians 10:6. That is, not to be led into idolatry, 1 Corinthians 10:7, nor into fornication, 1 Corinthians 10:8, nor into tempting Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:9, nor into murmuring, 1 Corinthians 10:10. In all these points the experience of the Israelites was a warning to Christians; and therefore those who thought themselves secure should take heed lest they fall, 1 Corinthians 10:11, 1 Corinthians 10:12. God is merciful, and would not suffer them to be too severely tempted, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

David Guzik offers a slightly different thought on the context - 1 Corinthians 10:1KJV Moreover, brethren carries on the subject introduced in 1 Corinthians 8, and continued in chapter 9: what should the Corinthian Christians think and do in regard to meat which has been sacrificed to idols?. In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul established two principles. First, an idol really is nothing, and it was fine for Corinthian Christians who understood this to act according to this knowledge, in regard to themselves. Second, for Christians love is more important than knowledge. So even though I may “know” eating meat sacrificed to an idol is all right for myself, if it causes my brother to stumble, I won’t do it, because it isn’t the loving thing to do. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul showed how important it is for Christians to give up their “rights.” Just as Paul gave up his “right” to be supported by his own preaching of the gospel, so some of the Corinthian Christians must sometimes give up their “right” to eat meat sacrificed to idols, based on the principle of love towards a weaker brother. In the end of chapter 9, Paul showed how a Christian must be willing to give up some things—even “good” things—for the sake of winning the race God has set before us, otherwise we will become disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27+) in the competition of the Christian life. (1 Corinthians 10 Commentary)

Jack Arnold - Apparently some of the Christians at Corinth had become smugly secure in their Christian life. They were abusing their Christian liberties. They had become somewhat careless and reckless in their Christian conduct. Furthermore, they were not very interested in pursuing a life of holiness, so Paul exhorts them to get on with the Christian race lest they be disqualified. Paul uses Israel in I Corinthians 10:1-13 as an illustration of a whole generation which was disqualified from the spiritual race because of godless conduct.

For (gar) is a term of explanation. 1 Cor 10:1KJV reads "moreover" based on the Textus Receptus and a different conjunction (de). Most translations (using the Nestle-Aland) however have gar (instead of de) and this more clearly marks a connection of what follows with the immediately preceding text (and context). So what is Paul explaining in this context? The last two words of the preceding chapter (1 Cor 9:27+) are "adokimos genomai" which translated means to be disqualified. As we discussed in that section, while a few commentators feel disqualified refers to eternal punishment, most writers feel it refers to loss of future rewards and loss of present service for the Lord. Paul moves from the illustration of the Isthmian races to the historical illustration of the nation of Israel when they were rescued from Egypt.

ESV Study Bible on For (gar) - For connects vv. 1–22 to what Paul has been saying about giving up personal rights for the sake of the gospel (chs. 8–9). The example of Israel’s experience in the wilderness should warn the Corinthians of what can happen to people who hear God’s words and see his works but do not come to true faith. 

Robertson - Paul appeals to the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness in confirmation of his statement concerning himself in 9:26f. and as a powerful warning to the Corinthians who may be tempted to flirt with the idolatrous practices of their neighbours.

Paul's warning is real because this is not an an imaginary peril but was an ever present danger in the sin sick city of Corinth, a city which America sadly is looking more and more alike every day (cf Ro 1:32+)!. Do not be deceived beloved. Paul is warning the saints at Corinth and us in the 21st century to not play around with the world system and fleshly desires because if you do, you are risking disqualification from the Christian race!

I do not want you to (present tense - continually) be unaware, brethren - Amplified = "For I do not want you to be ignorant." Why not? This is Paul's heart as their spiritual father (1 Cor 4:15+) in issuing them a sobering warning. He calls them brethren which is his way of affirming them as his members of the same spiritual family (cf Jn 1:12+) or true born again believers. Paul reminds them of a Israel's history to illustrate the ever present danger of disqualification (see Wayne Barber introductory thoughts).  

Swindoll Paul urges that the way forward for the Corinthians begins by looking to the past. He points them specifically to the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt and their experiences as the people of God in the wilderness wanderings. He appealed to this history as an illustration because the believers in Corinth needed to learn the same lesson as the children of Israel: Neither the Israelites of old nor the Corinthians in Paul’s day could blame their failure to follow God’s guidelines on receiving unclear instructions. Both had been privileged to receive the latest and greatest revelations from God in their own days....Paul draws analogies between the Hebrews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt and the Corinthians’ conversion from a life of slavery to sin (10:1-4). Paul employs a common first-century Jewish rhetorical device called “typology,” a term derived from the Greek word typos, which Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11  Grant Osborne distinguishes typology from prophecy and describes its use in the New Testament writing "Typology differs from direct prophecy in that the latter texts [prophecies] are forward-looking and directly predict the New Testament event, while typology is indirect and analogously relates the Old Testament event to the New Testament event. The early Christians (like the Jews) saw all of salvation history . . . as a single continuous event. Therefore events in the past are linked to those in the present, so that God’s mighty deeds like the exodus or the return from exile foreshadow the experiences of God’s present community, the church." By correlating New Testament truths with Old Testament events, Paul reminds the Corinthians of their own miraculous deliverance from their former slavery to sin and of their present life of deliverance. They naturally would have understood how these events foreshadowed their own initiation into the faith, including baptism and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Corinthians)

Related Resources:

Paul's phrase do not want you (ou thelo) is repeated in 1 Cor 10:20 =  "I do not want you to become sharers in demons." "This phrase is a literary technique Paul often used to introduce a conclusion (cf. Ro 1:13; 11:25; 1 Cor. 10:1; 12:1; 2 Cor. 1:8; 1 Th. 4:13)." (Utley) 

Guzik - Paul wrote about the need to finish what God has set before us, and how dangerous it is to refuse to give up something that gets in the way of finishing. Now, he will use Israel’s experience in the Exodus from Egypt to illustrate this principle.

Unaware (not understand, uninformed, ignorant) (50agnoeo from a = not + noeo = perceive, understand) not have information about, to not know, to not understand (Mk 9:32, Lk 9:45), to be unaware of, to not recognize (Ac 13:27), to be ignorant of (to lack information concerning something). Agnoeo conveys the nuance of lacking the ability to understand in He 5:2 and of inexcusable moral/ethical ignorance (even disregard) in Ro 10:3). Agnoeo in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 10:1; 1 Co. 12:1; 1 Co. 14:38; 2 Co. 1:8; 2 Co. 2:11; 2 Co. 6:9;

Brethren (80adelphos from a = denotes unity + delphus = a womb) literally means brother referring to a physical brother or figuratively can refer to a brother in the spiritual sense. Adelphos in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 1:1; 1 Co. 1:10; 1 Co. 1:11; 1 Co. 1:26; 1 Co. 2:1; 1 Co. 3:1; 1 Co. 4:6; 1 Co. 5:11; 1 Co. 6:5; 1 Co. 6:6; 1 Co. 6:8; 1 Co. 7:12; 1 Co. 7:14; 1 Co. 7:15; 1 Co. 7:24; 1 Co. 7:29; 1 Co. 8:11; 1 Co. 8:12; 1 Co. 8:13; 1 Co. 9:5; 1 Co. 10:1; 1 Co. 11:33; 1 Co. 12:1; 1 Co. 14:6; 1 Co. 14:20; 1 Co. 14:26; 1 Co. 14:39; 1 Co. 15:1; 1 Co. 15:6; 1 Co. 15:31; 1 Co. 15:50; 1 Co. 15:58; 1 Co. 16:11; 1 Co. 16:12; 1 Co. 16:15; 1 Co. 16:20; 2 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 1:8; 2 Co. 2:13; 2 Co. 8:1; 2 Co. 8:18; 2 Co. 8:22; 2 Co. 8:23; 2 Co. 9:3; 2 Co. 9:5; 2 Co. 11:9; 2 Co. 12:18; 2 Co. 13:11

That our fathers - Fathers sounds like an unusual phrase to use. While there were clearly some Jewish believers in the church at Corinth, there were also many (probably most) Gentiles. So when Paul says our fathers, he is appealing to the Jewish patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, men who he undoubtedly had taught to the Gentiles. And as his says in Galatians 3:29+ " And if you belong to Christ (A BELIEVER), then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise."  So in that sense the saved Gentiles at Corinth could relate to the fathers in the Old Testament. Paul expands the term fathers (who were not even alive at the time of the Exodus) to include all of the Israelites who came out of Egyptian bondage and passed through the Red Sea. It is important to not misunderstand Paul's use of Israel's exodus from Egypt as a picture of salvation, because that was not the case (most were not truly saved in a spiritual sense), but this was Paul's illustration of how God dealt with Israel and by extension with all men and ultimately it depicts the gracious character of God. 

Zodhiates on our fathers - The congregation in Corinth was a mixed congregation made up of Jews and Gentiles. The Lord Jesus speaks of the Jews as "your fathers," but never "our fathers," as the Apostle Paul did. In a sense, the Israelites were spiritual fathers not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles

Were all under (hupo) the cloud and all passed through the sea- (cf Nu 9:15, 23+, Nu 14:14+; Dt. 1:33; Ps. 78:14+) This cloud is the Shekinah glory cloud. Note the adjectives ALL,is a KEY WORD in 1 Cor 10:1-4, occurring 5 times in the descriptions of the Israelites. Paul's point is that ALL the Israelites experienced the privileges he is describing in verses 1-4. Note that ALL was also used in 1 Cor 9:24+ "ALL run but one receives the prize" and 1 Cor 9:25+ "ALL who compete in the games exercise self-control in ALL things." 

  • all our fathers were under the cloud" (v. 1)
  • "all passed through the sea" (v. 1)
  • "all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (see v. 2)
  • "all did eat the same spiritual meat" (v. 3)
  • "all did drink the same spiritual drink" (v. 4).

Utley has an interesting note - YHWH was with His people during this period of judgment in such intimate and caring ways that the rabbis began to call this the “honeymoon” period between YHWH and Israel.

Zodhiates says were all under the cloud - The verb "were" in the phrase "our fathers were all under the visible cloud" is ḗsan, the imperfect of eimí (1510), to be. This indicates that the children of Israel were under (hupo) the general divine providence of God consequent to their leaving Egypt and during their entire journey.

In Psalm 105:39+ we see God  "spread a cloud for a covering (masak - screen - used most often  for a covering of tabernacle doors; Lxx = speke = a covering, shelter, protection) and fire to illumine by night." The purpose of the covering was to provide shade to Israel from the sun's intense rays, thus providing protection. 

John Phillips comments on Psalm 105:39+ - The Shekinah glory cloud marched ahead of the Hebrews to lead them step by step all the way from Egypt to Canaan. The pillar of fire shed light upon their path by night, the pillar of cloud shaded the camp from the sun's fierce heat by day. Such is the kindness of God! He led His people through terrifying terrain, but He led them in such a way that the worst of their discomforts were alleviated.

John Trapp on Psalm 105:39+ -  God protects, directs, and every way suits the necessities of his people.

Zodhiates - The cloud was God's sign of His accompanying the children of Israel as long as they followed the leadership of Moses. The last words of our Lord to His disciples were, "I am with you always, even unto the consummation of the age. Amen" (Matt. 28:20, a.t). So it was with Israel until they reached their destination.

In Exodus 13:21-22+ we see that the pillar of cloud provided guidance to Israel and the pillar of fire provided protection. Both were constant reminders of God’s glory and presence.

The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud (Septuagint = nephele) by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud (Septuagint = nephele) by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

THOUGHT - Today believers do not have a Shekinah cloud of Glory. Far better we have the living Lord of glory living in our mortal bodies, our bodies, His holy Temple! How often we forget our high and holy privilege in Christ and Christ in us the hope of glory (Col 1:27+). Oh, Lord God grant us amazing grace by Your mighty Spirit to keep Your Temple holy to You. In Jesus' mighty, saving Name. Amen. 

These OT pictures of the cloud of Jehovah describe Yahweh as always with Israel (note the phrase "did not take away the pillar of cloud" indicating that Yahweh's presence was always with them) providing guidance and protection to ALL the people of the nation. The cloud also was used to protect Israel from the Egyptians (Ex 14:19,20+). 

Robertson - The picture is plain enough. The mystic cloud covered the people while the sea rose in walls on each side of them as they marched across. have ἐβαπτισθησαν [ebaptisthēsan] (first aorist passive, were baptized). The immersion was complete for all of them in the sea around them and the cloud over them. Moses was their leader then as Christ is now and so Paul uses εἰς [eis] concerning the relation of the Israelites to Moses as he does of our baptism in relation to Christ (Gal. 3:27).

   O spread Thy covering wings around,
    Till all our wanderings cease,
   And at our Father's loved abode
    Our souls arrive in peace.
-- Philip Doddridge

Cloud (3507) nephele is a diminutive of nephos and thus refers to a small cloud. (Luke 12:54 [cf. 1 Ki 18:44). Nephos is repeatedly associated with appearances of God -- God the Father spoke from a cloud (Mt 17:5, Mark 9:7. Lk 9:35), the Son departed in a cloud (Acts 1:9) and will return in a cloud (Mt 24:30, 26:64, Mk 13:26, 14:62, Lk 21:27, Rev 1:7, cf Rev 14:14-16+), the Son was transfigured  in a cloud (Lk 9:34-35), saints will meet the Son in the clouds (1 Th 4:17).This same word describes the pillar of cloud in the desert which accompanied supernatural appearances and events (1 Cor. 10:1, 2 [Sept: Ex. 13:21, 22]); in connection with Christ (Lk 9:35, "a voice out of the cloud"); at His transfiguration, a luminous cloud (Mt. 17:5; Mk 9:7; Lk 9:34); as receiving Christ up at His ascension (Acts 1:9); as surrounding Him at His Second Coming (Mt 24:30; 26:64; Mk 13:26; 14:62; Lk 21:27; Rev. 1:7; 14:14-16); as surrounding ascending or descending saints or angels (1 Th 4:17; Rev. 10:1; 11:12 [cf. in regard to God in Sept.: Ps. 18:12; 97:2; Isa. 19:1).

Related Resources:


The following table is from Swindoll's Living Insights

THE HEBREWS’ DELIVERANCE
FROM SLAVERY

THE CORINTHIANS’ DELIVERANCE
FROM SIN

Hebrews passed under the cloud, which symbolized the presence of the Holy Spirit among the Israelites (Ex 13:21).

Corinthians entered into the presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling the church as the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16).

Hebrews passed through the Red Sea by a miraculous deliverance from slavery (Ex 14:21-22).

Corinthians passed through the waters of baptism, marking their deliverance from a life of sin (1 Cor. 1:13).

Hebrews were “baptized” into Moses in the cloud and the sea, that is, fully associated with Moses as their spiritual and physical head (Ex 14:31).

Corinthians partook of the Lord’s Supper as a sign of intimate spiritual fellowship with Christ and one another, receiving spiritual blessings (1 Cor. 10:16-17).


Herbert Lockyer on THE CLOUD in the section he entitles "The Two Pillars": (excerpt from All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible)

We read that Solomon cast two massive pillars of brass for the temple (I Kings 7:15), yet in spite of their strength and beauty they perished long ago. Moses, however, tells us of two other pillars, more glorious and powerful than Solomon's, which are indestructible, and which were related to Israel's departure from Egypt.

They took their journey... And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people" (Exod. 13:20-22).

As soon as Pharaoh let the people go, God took over their control and led them forth, not by the shortest way to the desert, which was through the land of the Philistines, but by a circuitous route by the way of the Red Sea. The reason for this long way round was because the strong and warlike Philistines might have frightened the Israelites. "Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt" (Exod. 13:17,18). When they reached the edge of the wilderness they were to wander in for almost forty years, the people received a most spectacular manifestation of God's presence and protection as the above verses show.

The first appearance of the pillar of cloud and of fire came "at Etham in the edge of the wilderness," which fact holds an instructive lesson for our hearts. "As all roads and canals, cities and villages are left behind, and an untried and trackless wilderness lies before the people, then God provides for them the mysterious cloud which never leaves them till the journey is over, and guidance is no longer required." When Christ said unto His disciples, "Go ye into all the world," He also added, "Lo, I am with you always." (Mt 28;20) God never sends us forth on our own charges. Such was His grace that He not only brought His redeemed safely out of Egypt, so that not a hoof was left behind, and then selected the journey for them, but came down, as it were, "in His travelling chariot, to be their Companion through all the vicissitudes of their wilderness journey." Note these aspects—

1. The cloud went before them. What a precious phrase that is, "The Lord went before them." He could not suffer them to go alone. Not only was He to be "a guide, a glory, a defence, to save from every fear," but their abiding companion until the end of their pilgrimage. "God led the people" (Exod. 13:18). Said Jesus, "My sheep... follow Me." If only that redeemed company had lovingly and obediently walked with God, what a triumphant journey from first to last theirs would have been! "With Jehovah in their forefront, no power could have interrupted their onward progress from Egypt to Canaan." Alas! however, tragic delays were experienced, and the journey they could have finished in almost two weeks took them forty years. The cloud, then, symbolized God's presence with His people. "The pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them" (Exod. 14:19, 24, 25; 33:9, 10).

2. The cloud served as a guide for the people. Because God alone knew all the perils of "the great and terrible wilderness," and how incompetent the people were to be their own guides, He went before them, "to lead them in the way." Later on we read that Moses felt he had need of Hobab's "eyes" to direct the host, but his knowledge of the wilderness was not sufficient—only Jehovah was the sufficient guide (Num. 10:31. See Jer. 17:5-7).

3. The cloud was adapted for their necessity. The Israelites marched some part of each day and some part of each night, and thus evaded the full blaze of the sun. In this way a full day's march was completed. So the pillar or cloud having the appearance of light smoke led them by day, and a column of fire gave them light by night (Neh. 9:19). Night journeys are later mentioned (Num. 9:21). Thus the people had at once a signal and a guide. When the cloud moved, the people moved; when it stopped they encamped (Exod. 40:36-38), where it went they followed. As Ellicott comments,

It bore some resemblance to the fire and smoke signals which Generals used when at the head of their armies, and indicates that God had constituted Himself the General-issimo of the host; but it was altogether of a miraculous and abnormal character.

4. The cloud was a shelter for the people. As the people journeyed from Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea, we read that "the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp" (Num. 10:33-36). David says, "[God] spread a cloud for a covering" (Ps. 105:39).

5. The cloud was a defense for the people. When Pharaoh and his armies pursued the Israelites to the sea, and it seemed as if any hope of flight from their enemies was cut off, their murmurings and fears were silenced by Moses, and they came to experience the protection of the cloud, which "removed and went behind them," meaning, between the Israelites and their foes. President Nasser of Egypt vowed some time ago to drive Israel into the sea. This is what Pharaoh would have done had it not been for the cloud which plunged Pharaoh and his men into darkness, yet provided Israel with light by night (Exod. 14:19-20). Before an Egyptian could touch a hair of an Israelite's head, he would have had to have made his way through the Almighty Himself, who is ever between His people and every enemy.

6. The cloud remained until the journey's end. How suggestive is the phrase "He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people" (Exod. 13:22). Does He not promise to guide us continually (Isa. 58:11)? So the cloud remained "throughout all their journeys" (Exod. 40:38. See Num. 9:16; 10:34) and probably disappeared at Abel-shittim (Num. 33:49). For the child of God today the companionable cloud is Christ, who promised that He would never leave nor forsake His own (Heb. 13:5). Throughout the rugged pilgrimage, by day and night, He is the abiding companion, and when at last the valley of the shadow of death is reached, He will still be near, whispering, "Fear no evil,—I am with thee" (Ps. 23).

Concluding our meditation on the cloud of His presence and guidance, we re-echo the sentiment expressed by Professor W. Moorehead that in all the various offices and movements of the Cloud, that which most impresses the reader is the minuteness of God's care for His people, His personal interest in them. Nothing is too small for Him to do for them, nothing too great. He studies their comfort, attends to every detail of their lives and their happiness. He is just as mindful of His children now. "The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matt. 10:30); "He careth for you" (I Pet. 5:7). Over us also He throws the great aegis of His protecting care, and beneath His wings we are safe.

   Forward! be our watchword,
    Steps and voices joined;
   Seek the things before us?
    Not a look behind;
   Burns the fiery pillar
    At our army's head;
   Who shall dream of shrinking,
    By our Captain led.
 

So the cloud remained "throughout all their journeys" (Exod. 40:38. See Num. 9:16; 10:34) and probably disappeared at Abel-shittim (Num. 33:49). For the child of God today the companionable cloud is Christ, who promised that He would never leave nor forsake His own (Heb. 13:5). Throughout the rugged pilgrimage, by day and night, He is the abiding companion, and when at last the valley of the shadow of death is reached, He will still be near, whispering, "Fear no evil,—I am with thee" (Ps. 23).


James Smith - GOD’S PROVISION FOR HIS PILGRIM PEOPLE 1 CORINTHIANS 10:1–4

Paul assures us here twice over (vv. 6, 11) that these things happened unto them as types, or examples unto us, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. We, like them, are pilgrims and strangers on the earth, enjoying great spiritual mercies. They had the “shadows,” we have the realities.

I. The Moving Cloud. “All our fathers were under the cloud” (1 Cor 10:1). The cloud of shelter by day, and of fire by night as their protection and guide (Exod. 13:21).

The cloud was the symbol and evidence of the Divine Presence, in itself a mystery. When it moved they moved. It seemed to move easily, but nothing on earth outside could move it. What a suggestive emblem of the revealed Word of God! They all were under it, and God was in it, and all were baptised into the one name (Moses), their leader and law-giver (1 Cor 10:2). They were infallibly led by the God-created cloud, just as we can be by His unerring Word. To move without the cloud was to go in their own name, wisdom, and strength, which would mean for them confusion and failure. This is what it means for us when we choose our way, and act without His authority. It was because they believed and followed the cloud that they were able to go into the midst of the sea upon dry ground (Exod. 14:22). It is because we have believed and acted on the “Word of the Lord” that we have passed from death into life, from the place of bondage into the liberty of the land of the promises. Keep on believing. Keep your eye on the God-inspired cloud.

II. The Daily Manna. “They did all eat the same spiritual meat” (1 Cor 10:3). “He gave them bread from Heaven to eat” (John 6:31). Those who follow the Word of God will surely be fed by the “Bread of God.” Jesus said: “I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven” (John 6:48–51). The manna, then, is typical of Jesus Christ, who came down from Heaven as “the Bread of Life.” The manna was like Christ in that—

1. IT WAS THE GIFT OF GOD. Of course all bread is God’s gift, whether it comes out of the earth or out of the Heavens; but the wilderness could do nothing by way of producing it. So Christ was God’s gift to a starving world (John 3:16). God knew what the hungry heart of man needed when He gave His Son as “the Bread of Life.”

2. IT WAS SUITED FOR ALL. All alike found it what it pretended to be: something to satisfy the craving of hunger. What Christ has to give is just what all the sons of men need, that which exactly suits them, the forgiveness of sins and grace to help in every time of need. Satisfied with His abundance.

3. IT WAS OFFERED TO ALL. From the youngest to the oldest, without money, without price. The rich and the poor alike needed it. In this offer of Heaven’s bread, God is no respecter of persons, for all have sinned. So Christ as the “Living Bread” from Heaven is offered, in God’s grace, to any man who will eat this bread (John 6:51), promising that he that eateth shall live for ever.

4. IT WAS PERSONALLY USED. “They did all eat the same spiritual meat.” It was not enough to gather and boast of how much they had gotten. To be personally profited there must be a personal appropriation. We may possibly gather much knowledge about Christ, and yet receive little strength and satisfaction from it, if the truth is not assimilated in our own spiritual life. “He that eateth Me shall live by Me” (John 6:47).

III. The Rock that Followed Them. “They drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (v. 4).

1. LIKE CHRIST, THIS ROCK WAS REVEALED BY GOD. It may only have taken God a few moments to show Moses this rock in Horeb, but it took Him over thirty years to show the Rock, Christ; for all the years of His earthly life was an unveiling of His character as the Chosen One. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

2. LIKE CHRIST, THIS ROCK WAS DIVINELY POSSESSED. ‘Behold I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb” (Exod. 17:6). At Christ’s baptism the Holy Spirit rested upon Him. There was to be no mistaking Him as the God-appointed medium of blessing to His trusting people. “God was in Christ seeking to reconcile a wandering world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).

3. LIKE CHRIST, THIS ROCK WAS RICH IN UNREALISED BLESSING. The Israelites might say, “How can any good come out of this rock?” as they said of Christ, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” or, “How can this Man save us?” but it pleased God that in Him should all fulness dwell (Col. 1:19). But they could say later on: “Of His fulness have all we received” (John 1:16).

4. LIKE CHRIST, THIS ROCK MUST BE SMITTEN. “Thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink” (Exod. 17:6). The rock was not smitten for itself, but for the salvation of the people. He was wounded for our transgressions, the rod of God’s judgment fell upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isa. 53).

5. LIKE CHRIST, THE SMITTEN ROCK POURED FORTH ITS HIDDEN TREASURES. “He clave the rock, and gave them drink as out of the great depths” (Psa. 78:15). O wonder of wonders, that from His smitten Son there should come forth streams of redeeming mercies, out of the great depths of God’s eternal purpose. In that day in which Christ was pierced, there was opened a fountain of cleansing for a sinful world. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isa. 55:1).

6. LIKE CHRIST, THIS SPIRITUAL ROCK FOLLOWED THEM. They drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4). This water from the Rock was to them an abiding blessing. It followed them. Something to satisfy all the way. Jesus said “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well, springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). And, “Lo, I am with you, and will never leave you nor forsake you.” He is our Rock, the Rock of our eternal salvation and eternal supply.

1 Corinthians 10:2  and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

Amplified  And each one of them [allowed himself also] to be baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea [they were thus brought under obligation to the Law, to Moses, and to the covenant, consecrated and set apart to the service of God]; 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:2 καὶ πάντες εἰς τὸν Μωϋσῆν ἐβαπτίσθησαν ἐν τῇ νεφέλῃ καὶ ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:2 and all to Moses were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:2 and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:2 Yes, all were identified with Moses by being "baptized" in the cloud and in the sea.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:2 and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:2 In the cloud and in the sea they were all baptised into Moses;

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:2 They were all united with Moses by baptism in the cloud and in the sea.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:2 And they all had baptism from Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

Related Passages:

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

Galatians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

ISRAEL'S IDENTIFICATION
WITH MOSES' LEADERSHIP

And all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea - Note the repetition of ALL meaning ALL without exception. Baptized (baptizoin the context of Israel in the OT conveys the idea not of being dipped in water but of  ALL of Israel being identified with their leader Moses even as believers are identified with Christ (Ro 6:3). While all Israel were baptized into Moses and thus identified with him, ALL Israel was by no means all were saved. While they were saved physically from Egyptian slavery, most of the nation was not saved spiritually. But even though they often chafed at the leadership of Moses, they did identify with him as their leader whom they chose to follow and in so doing they experienced the presence, the protection and the power of God (cf verse 1 all under the cloud and all passed through the sea).

MacDonald - As Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, all the nation of Israel pledged allegiance to Moses at first and recognized him as the divinely appointed savior. 

Zodhiates on baptized - As the Israelites, by allowing themselves to be baptized into Moses, identified themselves with the faith and purposes of that great Old Testament leader, so the term "to be baptized into Christ" has a symbolic meaning to believers of being identified with Christ through faith.

Brian Bell -  Just as we have been “baptized” in to Christ. Gal.3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. In Paul’s day if you wanted to dye a garment a different color, you’d take it to a merchant, & he’d baptize it,…he would “dip it, to change its identity”!

As Barber says "Because of their willingness to obey Moses, they were set free from the penalty and the power and the presence of the Egyptians who had held them captive for 400 years. Just as we are willing to place our trust into Christ, He sets us free from the penalty and the power and the presence of sin. But being set free from those things does not in any way guarantee that we are going to be useable to Him once we become a believer. We are not going to lose our salvation, but we may lose our right to be used. This is what he is saying. Don’t misunderstand. He is not talking about salvation. He is talking about the usability within salvation. Just as Israel turned against God and became disqualified, our experience with Christ does not guarantee that we will be useable to God. It is not just how we start, it is how we finish." 

As used of NT believers baptizo was used to picture the placing of the one who had expressed trust in Christ into union with Him, thereby altering the pre-conversion condition and now a new creation in Christ, as summed up in 2 Cor 5:17 "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

Baptized (907) (baptizo from bapto = cover wholly with a fluid; stain or dip as with dye; used of the smith tempering the red-hot steel, used of dyeing the hair; of a ship that "dipped" = sank) has a literal and a figurative meaning in the NT. The literal meaning is to submerge, to dip or immerse as in water. A study of the 77 NT uses (See below) reveals that most of the uses of baptizo in the Gospels and Acts are associated with literal water baptism

1 Corinthians 10:3  and all ate the same spiritual food 

Amplified  And all [of them] ate the same spiritual (supernaturally given) food, 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food,

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:3 All of them ate the same spiritual food,

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food,

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:3 They all ate the same spiritual food

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:3 καὶ πάντες τὸ αὐτὸ πνευματικὸν βρῶμα ἔφαγον

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:3 and all the same spiritual food did eat,

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:3 and did all eat the same spiritual food;

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:3 They all ate the same spiritual food,

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:3 Indeed, all ate the same spiritual food.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:3 all ate the same spiritual food,

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food,

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:3 All ate the same spiritual food,

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:3 all ate the same spiritual food

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:3 All of them ate the same spiritual food,

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:3 And they all took the same holy food;

Related Passages:

Exodus 16:4+  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.

Exodus 16:15+ When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.

Exodus 16:35+ The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

Numbers 11:31-32+  (THE "SPIRITUAL FOOD" OF QUAIL) Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground. 32 The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.


QUAIL SEASON!

MANNA IN THE MORNING!

DIVINE FALLING FOOD
FOR ISRAEL!

And all ate the same spiritual food - Again ALL Israel experienced this gracious provision from Yahweh as Moses described in Exodus 16 (below). Don't miss this point - Israel NEVER missed a meal for 40 years in the desert! Paul calls the literal manna spiritual food because it was supernatural and was from a spiritual source, God in Heaven. In other words the manna was a literal, physical event that had spiritual implications, certainly another indication of the providence of God to provide for His children. By analogy, God had provided the Corinthians with the bread of heaven, His Son in Whom they were saved, and also the bread of His Word by which they were sustained (most of the Word they had at this time was probably the Old Testament Septuagint version). 

Wayne Barber points out that "It was while Israel was demonstrating a spirit of ungratefulness (Ex 16:1-3) that God chose to give them the manna and the quail in the wilderness (Ex 16:4). Why does he say it was spiritual food? We know it was physical food: it was manna and it was quail. That is physical food. Why does he call it spiritual food? Because Paul is trying to show them it was God supernaturally providing for them the food that they needed, just like in our walk God provides for us supernaturally the things that we need in our spiritual life, the Word and His power, etc....What Paul is pointing to is Exodus 16. 

Exodus 16:12-14+ “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’” 13 So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. 15 When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. 16 “This is what the LORD has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’” 17 The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little.

Hodge has another thought on why refer to it as spiritual food - The manna therefore was spiritual food, in the same sense in which the special gifts of God are called spiritual gifts. That is, it was given by the Spirit. It was not natural food, but food miraculously provided. In the same sense, in the next verse, the water is called spiritual drink, because miraculously produced. In Gal. 4:29, the natural birth of Isaac is said to have been after the Spirit, because due to the special intervention of God. (ED: THAT SEEMS TO BE A REASONABLE CONSIDERATION OF THE MEANING OF '"SPIRITUAL" AND CERTAINLY FITS WITH THE IDEA OF IT BEING SUPERNATURALLY PROVIDED.)

Zodhiates has an interesting explanation of why Paul refers to the OT manna as spiritual food - Man is the only creature in whom God placed His Spirit so that when he eats material food, his spirit should be activated to thank God and acknowledge His provision in abundance and in sufficiency. That is why, we believe, Paul called the food which the Israelites ate in the desert "spiritual."...Only in man did God put His Spirit so that as man enjoys material food, he might thankfully exercise the faculty of the Spirit in recognizing that material blessings come from God. In the sixth chapter of John, after the Lord fed more than five thousand people with the multiplied loaves of bread and fishes, He gave His marvelous teaching, revealing Himself as the bread of life (John 6:35). This discourse of our Lord ought to be studied in conjunction with Paul's message in 1 Corinthians 10:3, 4. When man fell, he lost his relationship with God, but Jesus Christ came to bridge that gap. The Israelites ate the heavenly manna, but failed in their spirits to recognize God as the provider. This would be remedied with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who said, "I am the bread of life: he who comes to Me shall never hunger; and he who believes on Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35). He is our spiritual bread of which we need to partake by believing on Him....Jesus came down from heaven just as the manna was sent down from heaven. He became the spiritual food that fallen man needs so that his spirit can be reconciled to God. The Lord Jesus in John 6:38 said, "I came down from heaven." (In Jn 46-51) The Lord Jesus was, indeed, confirming that the purpose of His incarnation was to become the bread of life which gives eternal life to those who believe....In the same manner, the children of Israel should have understood that, as they partook of the manna from heaven, it was a spiritual experience, for it was provided in a miraculous way by God Himself.....As the children of Israel experienced the descent of their food from heaven, so Christ speaks of Himself as having descended from heaven and being the "bread of life." This "bread" ought not to be thought of only as the physical body of Jesus Christ, but as the pre-existent Christ, the Son of God, Who has always been with the Father, on Whom we are called to believe and to be saved (John 6:35, 46, 48-51). 

Schreiner suggests that "In a sense, they had a meal like the Lord’s Supper in partaking of the manna. Similarly, they, so to speak, drank of Christ in drinking the water in the wilderness, just as believers drink of the cup at the Lord’s Supper." (Ibid)

Spiritual (4152) pneumatikos from pneuma = wind, spirit <> in turn from pneo = to blow) is an adjective which means pertaining to the wind or breath (in classical Greek) then relating to the realm of the spirit referring to the inner, invisible sphere of a human being. As Barclay says "the man who is pneumatikos is the man who is sensitive to the Spirit and whose life is guided by the Spirit." Pneumatikos held a special significance for the Corinthians. Paul, as well as his opponents, contended that some people were more “spiritual” than others. While the opponents believed that such spirituality evidenced itself in the speech or knowledge of a person, Paul showed that true spirituality first and foremost is demonstrated in loving and caring for one’s fellow human being.  Note pneumatikos is a Key Word in 1 Corinthians where it occurs 15 times. - Rom. 1:11; Rom. 7:14; Rom. 15:27; 1 Co. 2:13; 1 Co. 2:15; 1 Co. 3:1; 1 Co. 9:11; 1 Co. 10:3; 1 Co. 10:4; 1 Co. 12:1; 1 Co. 14:1; 1 Co. 14:37; 1 Co. 15:44; 1 Co. 15:46; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 1:3; Eph. 5:19; Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:9; Col. 3:16; 1 Pet. 2:5

1 Corinthians 10:4  and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

Amplified And they all drank the same spiritual (supernaturally given) drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them [produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality], and the Rock was Christ. 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:4 καὶ πάντες τὸ αὐτὸ πνευματικὸν ἔπιον πόμα· ἔπινον γὰρ ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας, ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ Χριστός.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all the same spiritual drink did drink, for they were drinking of a spiritual rock following them, and the rock was the Christ;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:4 Yes, all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them; that rock was Christ.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they drank from the spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:4 and all of them drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from the spiritual rock that went with them, and that rock was Christ.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:4 And the same holy drink: for they all took of the water from the holy rock which came after them: and the rock was Christ.

  • all drank: Ex 17:6 Nu 20:11 Ps 78:15,20 Ps 105:41 Isa 43:20 48:21 Joh 4:10,14 7:37 Rev 22:17 
  • followed them, De 9:21 
  • that Rock: 1Co 11:24-25 Ge 40:12 Ge 41:26 Eze 5:4,5 Da 2:38 Da 7:17 Mt 13:38,39 Mt 26:26-28 Ga 4:25 Col 2:17 Heb 10:1 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Exodus 17:6  “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Numbers 20:8-11+ Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”  9So Moses took the rod from before the LORD, just as He had commanded him; 10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.

Psalm 78:15; 20+  He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths. 20 “Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?”  (See The Smitten Rock! - George Everard, 1885)

Psalm 105:41+  He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. 


Moses Strikes the Rock

DIVINE DESERT DRINK
FOR ISRAEL!

And all drank the same spiritual drink - For the fifth time Paul mentions ALL of Israel received the provision of spiritual drink, which was literal water God miraculously provided in the desert wandering for 40 years.  And just as with spiritual food, the spiritual water describes supernatural water provided by God Who is spirit. It was not spiritual water in the sense of making the Israelites more "spiritual," for their repeated sins against Yahweh (four of which Paul will describe) show the opposite occurred.

For - Term of explanation. Paul explains the nature of their spiritual drink

They were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed (akoloutheo) them - All Israel was drinking spiritual drink from this spiritual rock, not a literal rock! Followed is in the present tense which suggests the spiritual rock was continually going along behind, coming up after Israel throughout their 40 years of wilderness wandering However there is no OT passage which clearly states a literal rock followed Israel for 40 years. The Jews had a legend which said this was the case, but other than this NT passage, there is no OT passage that says a rock actually, literally followed Israel in the desert. The point is that Jehovah had provided for all of the needs of Israel for 40 years after He rescued them out of Egypt. The Messiah was with Israel in their wilderness wanderings as their continual Protector and Sustainer.

THOUGHT - In support of the premise that Christ in some way not specifically stated in Scripture provided water for the nation of Israel from the beginning is that after Moses struck the rock and brought forth water at Horeb (Ex 17:1-3+ = Israel "quarreled...grumbled", Ex 17:6-7+ = Moses struck rock and water came forth), there is no record over the next 39 years of Israel ever needing water and no record of Israel's grumbling that there was no water. However toward the end of the 40 year journey, after most of the first generation had been destroyed in the wilderness, Moses records a second "no water" episode in Nu 20:2+ which prompted the second generation Israelites to contend with Moses (Nu 20:3-5+). Once again God gave instructions on how to bring forth water from a rock, this time by speaking to it. Sadly, in anger Moses struck the rock and while water did come forth, Moses' sin disqualified him from entering the promised land (cf disqualified in 1 Cor 9:27+)! Here's the point - Christ provided water to Israel for most of the 40 year wilderness journey. 

Barber says by the phrase a spiritual rock which followed them Paul at first "seems to allude to a Jewish legend at that time that a physical rock rolled behind the nation of Israel when they went through the wilderness. That is what the rabbi’s would teach. The apostle Paul dismisses that real quickly and shows them it was not a physical rock. That rock, he says, was Christ. Paul says that rock was Christ, definite article, the rock was the Christ. The verb “was” is in the imperfect tense. He says, “And the rock was Christ.” Do you realize that is the same verb used in John 1:1 when it wrote “In the beginning was (imperfect tense) the Word, and the Word was (imperfect tense) with God and the Word was (imperfect tense) God.” What Paul is documenting here is, not only was He in the beginning, He was way back there in Israel. He has always preexisted. The theophany of Christ was back there. The rock they were drinking from was Christ and they couldn’t even see Him. He was supernaturally providing for them water in the wilderness.....Israel had been privileged to experience the power, the presence and the provision of Christ Himself. God had provided for them, but they chose to no longer trust God and as a result, they missed out on all of the blessings God would have given them had they trusted and obeyed Him. That is his point in this illustration - Israel (THE MAJORITY OF THOSE THAT CAME OUT OF EGYPT) became disqualified, "taken out of action" and put on the bench with subsequent grave consequences (SEE NOTES ON 1 Cor 10:5). 

Hodge-  two things are therein plainly taught. First, that the Israelites were constantly supplied in a miraculous manner with water; and secondly, that the source of that supply was Christ. 

MacArthur adds "The Jews had a popular legend, still known and believed by many in Paul’s day, that the actual rock that Moses struck followed Israel throughout her wilderness travels, providing water wherever they went. I believe the apostle may have been alluding to this legend, saying, “Yes, a rock did follow Israel in the wilderness. But it was not a physical rock that provided merely physical water. It was a spiritual rock, the Messiah (the Hebrew term for Christ) Whom you have long awaited, Who was with our fathers even then." (Bolding added)

And the rock (petra) was Christ - Paul explains that the spiritual rock was Christ, which is the Greek word Christos, and is equivalent to the Jewish designation Messiah (messias ). The spiritual rock that followed them in the wilderness was not the physical stones (in Ex 17:6+ and Nu 20:11+). Note that Paul in calling Christ a spiritual rock makes it clear that a literal rock was not following Israel during their 40 years of wandering. 

Israel even had the presence of Jesus Christ with them in the wilderness!
-- David Guzik

Brian Bell - Here’s Jesus’ Pre-incarnate presence - a proof text Jesus couldn’t have been only a man, for it speaks of Him being around a few millennium prior!

ESV Study Bible - Paul is referring to God providing Israel with bread from heaven (“manna,” Exodus 16) and water from a rock. This rock appears both at the beginning of their wanderings in the desert (Ex. 17:1–7+) and near the end (Num. 20:2–13+). Rabbinic exegesis from after Paul’s time surmised that the rock followed the Israelites throughout their wanderings. This understanding of the rock may have been current in Paul’s time. If so, Paul’s claim that the Rock following them was both spiritual and Christ shows that he did not believe that a physical rock traveled with the Israelites, but that Christ (in spiritual form) was ever-present with them: he was there to supply their need for water, and there to judge those who tested him (1 Cor. 10:9). 

MacArthur explains "God used a boulder (petra) to provide water for Israel on one occasion. (IN OTHER WORDS IT THIS WAS NOT A ROCK CONTINUALLY ROLLING BEHIND ISRAEL) But the spiritual rock which followed them throughout their journeys was not that small boulder but the great rock of Christ. That supernatural rock protected and sustained His people and would not allow them to perish. Old Testament believers did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but even during the Exodus they had the sustaining presence of the preexistent Messiah, the preincarnate Christ, caring for and fulfilling the needs of His people. The point of all these affirmations is to recount the privileges of Israel, the assets of her deliverance." (Bolding added)

Rock (4073petra feminine of the masculine noun petros) refers to a massive rock, a massive rock cliff, in essence a large boulder. Vine distinguishes petra as a "mass of rock" from the masculine petros which refers to a detached stone or boulder, including a stone that might be thrown or easily moved. Jesus uses petra to refer to rocky soil in Luke 8:6, 13. NIDNTT writes that in classical Greek "petra means rock, a mass of rock, boulder, and stone as material; it is used as early as Homer for a symbol of firmness (Od. 17, 463), and from the 5th cent. B.C. onwards of hard-heartedness (Aesch., PV 2, 244; Eur., Andromache 537). petros, likewise attested from earliest times, means a (broken off) piece of rock, stone (lithos). A strict distinction of meaning cannot however be maintained: petros can mean, rock, and petra, stone 

Christ (Anointed One) (5547)(Christos from chrio = anoint with oil - 5x in NT - Lk 4:18+, Ac 4:27+, Ac 10:38+, 2Co 1:21, He 1:9+) describes one who has been anointed with oil, one who has been consecrated. Peter declared "God anointed (chrio) Him with the Holy Spirit and with power." (Acts 10:38+) The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus. Christos describes one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. It is used here as the title "Anointed One" and is the Greek synonym for "Messiah (messias)." Christos is used in the Septuagint describing one anointed with holy oil, especially the priests (Lev. 4:5+Lev 4:16+). 

Christos in the Corinthian letters -  1 Co. 1:1; 1 Co. 1:2; 1 Co. 1:3; 1 Co. 1:4; 1 Co. 1:6; 1 Co. 1:7; 1 Co. 1:8; 1 Co. 1:9; 1 Co. 1:10; 1 Co. 1:12; 1 Co. 1:13; 1 Co. 1:17; 1 Co. 1:23; 1 Co. 1:24; 1 Co. 1:30; 1 Co. 2:2; 1 Co. 2:16; 1 Co. 3:1; 1 Co. 3:11; 1 Co. 3:23; 1 Co. 4:1; 1 Co. 4:10; 1 Co. 4:15; 1 Co. 4:17; 1 Co. 5:7; 1 Co. 6:11; 1 Co. 6:15; 1 Co. 7:22; 1 Co. 8:6; 1 Co. 8:11; 1 Co. 8:12; 1 Co. 9:12; 1 Co. 9:21; 1 Co. 10:4; 1 Co. 10:9; 1 Co. 10:16; 1 Co. 11:1; 1 Co. 11:3; 1 Co. 12:12; 1 Co. 12:27; 1 Co. 15:3; 1 Co. 15:12; 1 Co. 15:13; 1 Co. 15:14; 1 Co. 15:15; 1 Co. 15:16; 1 Co. 15:17; 1 Co. 15:18; 1 Co. 15:19; 1 Co. 15:20; 1 Co. 15:22; 1 Co. 15:23; 1 Co. 15:31; 1 Co. 15:57; 1 Co. 16:24;

2 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 1:2; 2 Co. 1:3; 2 Co. 1:5; 2 Co. 1:19; 2 Co. 1:21; 2 Co. 2:10; 2 Co. 2:12; 2 Co. 2:14; 2 Co. 2:15; 2 Co. 2:17; 2 Co. 3:3; 2 Co. 3:4; 2 Co. 3:14; 2 Co. 4:4; 2 Co. 4:5; 2 Co. 4:6; 2 Co. 5:10; 2 Co. 5:14; 2 Co. 5:16; 2 Co. 5:17; 2 Co. 5:18; 2 Co. 5:19; 2 Co. 5:20; 2 Co. 6:15; 2 Co. 8:9; 2 Co. 8:23; 2 Co. 9:13; 2 Co. 10:1; 2 Co. 10:5; 2 Co. 10:7; 2 Co. 10:14; 2 Co. 11:2; 2 Co. 11:3; 2 Co. 11:10; 2 Co. 11:13; 2 Co. 11:23; 2 Co. 12:2; 2 Co. 12:9; 2 Co. 12:10; 2 Co. 12:19; 2 Co. 13:3; 2 Co. 13:5; 2 Co. 13:13

Related Resources:

CHRIST THE ROCK

The metaphor of Christ as a Stone or Rock is intimately woven by the Spirit throughout both the Old and New Testaments and makes for a fascinating and encouraging study

Suggestion: This study would make an edifying series in a Sunday School class and would be very enlightening to those who are not that familiar with the Old Testament. Remember to carefully observe the context to arrive at the most accurate interpretation, interrogating each each "base" verse with questions such as... When does this take place? Where does this take place? What are the circumstances surrounding the use of this metaphor? Who is in the "cast of characters"? Who used the name Rock? What attributes do you discover about the Rock or Stone? How should we apply this truth to our life today -- not Can we? - it is God's Word of Truth and it is ALWAYS applicable to our life. The more relevant question is "Will we allow the Spirit to speak the Word of Truth to our innermost being and respond with unhesitating obedience"?)...here are the Scriptures...and as they say when your delicious meal is served, "Enjoy!"

Genesis 49:24 > Exodus 17:6 > Exodus 33:21 > Numbers 20:11 > Deut 32:4 > 2Samuel 23:3 > Psalm 18:2 > Psalm 18:31 > Psalm 18:46 > Psalm 19:14 > Psalm 27:5 > Psalm 28:1 > Psalm 31:2-3 > Psalm 40:2 > Psalm 42:9 > Psalm 61:2 >Psalm 62:2 >Psalm 62:6-7 >Psalm 71:3 >Psalm 78:16 > Psalm 78:20 > Psalm 78:35 > Psalm 81:16 > Psalm 89:26 > Psalm 92:15 > Psalm 94:22 >Psalm 95:1 >Psalm 105:41 >Psalm 114:8 >Psalm 118:22 >Psalm 144:1 >Isaiah 8:14 > Isaiah 17:10 > Isaiah 26:4 >Isaiah 28:16 >Isaiah 30:29 >Isaiah 32:2 >Isaiah 33:16 >Isaiah 44:8 >Isaiah 48:21 >Isaiah 51:1 > Da 2:34 > Da 2:35, 44, 45, 46 > Hab 1:12 > Zech 4:7 > Mt 7:24,25> Mt 16:18 >Mt 21:42 >Mk 12:10 >Luke 20:17 > Acts 4:11 >Ro 9:32-33 > Acts 4:11 >1Cor 1:23>1Cor 10:4 >Ephesians 2:20 >1Pe 2:4-5, 6, 7, 8 (Which book of the Bible has the most allusions to Rock? Why might that be the case?)


(1) To God Jesus is...

Smitten Stone
Exodus 17:6+, 1Cor 10:4+,
cp John 4:13, 14+

(2) To Israel Messiah is...

Stumbling Stone

1 Peter 2:8+, Romans 9:32+

Romans 9:33 +; 1Cor 1:23+

(3) To the Church the Lord Jesus is...

Cornerstone
1 Peter 2:6+, Eph 2:20+
1Cor 3:10, 11, 12+ (foundation)

(4) To all the Gentile world powers Jesus the King of kings is the...

Stone cut without hands
Da 2:34+

Stone that grows and fills the earth
Da 2:35+, cf Da 2:44, 45+

(5) To Israel at Second coming Messiah is...

Capstone of the corner
Zech 4:7

(6) To unbelievers the Lord Jesus Christ is the...

Crushing Stone of judgment
Mt 21:44


James Smith - THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST. 1 Corinthians 10:4.

The rock in Horeb was a type of Christ, the apostle calls it "that spiritual Rock." From that spiritual Rock we may learn some deep spiritual lessons.

I. That Rock was in a Dry and Barren Place. Horeb means dry or empty. It was in the wilderness, a barren place, and itself, a seemingly hopeless help. Christ was in the world, but the world knew Him not. "When we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isa. 53:2). "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

II. That Rock was a Native of the Desert. It was but one of many, with no apparently outstanding characteristics. Jesus was so like His fellowmen that when He was in a crowd one had to say, "Which is He?" He was born of a woman, and "made in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3).

III. That Rock was Chosen by God. "The rock that I will show thee." The rock to be smitten was appointed by Him. Jesus Christ is the chosen of God. "This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him" (Matt. 3:17).

IV. That Rock was God-Possessed. "Behold I will stand upon the rock" (Exod. 17:6). Here lay the secret of its riches and ability to supply the wants of the thirsty Israelites. God was in Christ. "The Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17).

V. That Rock was Full of Unseen Blessing. A most unlikely place. Can any good come out of a rock? But according to the infinite mercy and fullness of God there were fathomless depths of blessing here. How like the Son of God. "All fullness is in Him" (John 1:14). He says, "If any man thirst let him come unto Me" (John 7:37).

VI. That Rock was Smitten. "Smite the rock." Reminding us of similar words, "Smite the Shepherd" (Zech. 13:7). The rock was smitten by a rod. The rod of judgment fell on Christ. It was smitten not for itself, but for the salvation of the people, sinful and discontented. He suffered for us, the Just for the unjust.

VII. That Rock gave out its Treasures after it was Smitten. Even the smiter could drink of its mercy. The smiting of Jesus with the reed and the spear was the opening of the fountain for sin and uncleanness. Even those smiters could drink of the stream. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). His death was the death of our sins and the life of our souls.

VIII. That Rock Followed Them. "They drank of that spiritual rock which followed them." They shall thirst no more surely, who have such a supply accompanying them day by day in their wilderness wanderings. "The water that I shall give him shall be in him" (John 4:14). The presence of Jesus with us is as a well springing up in the heart. "Lo, I am with you alway" (Matt. 28:20). This spiritual Rock is still following us. Drink ye all of it.


James Smith -  GOD'S PROVISION FOR HIS PILGRIM PEOPLE. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Paul assures us here twice over (vv. 6:11) that these things happened unto them as types, or examples unto us, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. We, like them, are pilgrims and strangers on the earth, enjoying great spiritual mercies. They had the "shadows," we have the realities.

I. The Moving Cloud. "All our fathers were under the cloud" (v. 1).

The cloud of shelter by day, and of fire by night as their protection and guide (Exod. 13:21). The cloud was the symbol and evidence of the Divine Presence, in itself a mystery. When it moved they moved. It seemed to move easily, but nothing on earth outside could move it. What a suggestive emblem of the revealed Word of God! They all were under it, and God was in it, and all were baptized into the one name (Moses), their leader and law-giver (v. 2). They were infallibly led by the God-created cloud, just as we can be by His unerring Word. To move without the cloud was to go in their own name, wisdom, and strength, which would mean for them confusion and failure. This is what it means for us when we choose our way, and act without His authority. It was because they believed and followed the cloud that they were able to go into the midst of the sea upon dry ground (Exod. 14:22). It is because we have believed and acted on the "Word of the Lord" that we have passed from death into life, from the place of bondage into the liberty of the land of the promises. Keep on believing. Keep your eye on the God-inspired cloud.

II. The Daily Manna. "They did all eat the same spiritual meat" (v. 3). "He gave them bread from Heaven to eat" (John 6:31).

Those who follow the Word of God will surely be fed by the "Bread of God." Jesus said: "I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven" (John 6:48-51). The manna, then, is typical of Jesus Christ, who came down from Heaven as "the Bread of Life." The manna was like Christ in that—

1. It was the Gift of God. Of course all bread is God's gift, whether it comes out of the earth or out of the Heavens; but the wilderness could do nothing by way of producing it. So Christ was God's gift to a starving world (John 3:16). God knew what the hungry heart of man needed when He gave His Son as "the Bread of Life."

2. It was Suited for All. All alike found it what it pretended to be: something to satisfy the craving of hunger. What Christ has to give is just what all the sons of men need, that which exactly suits them, the forgiveness of sins and grace to help in every time of need. Satisfied with His abundance.

3. It was Offered to All. From the youngest to the oldest, without money, without price. The rich and the poor alike needed it. In this offer of Heaven's bread, God is no respecter of persons, for all have sinned. So Christ as the "Living Bread" from Heaven is offered, in God's grace, to any man who will eat this bread (John 6:51), promising that he who eats shall live forever.

4. It was Personally Used. "They did all eat the same spiritual meat." It was not enough to gather and boast of how much they had gotten. To be personally profited there must be a personal appropriation. We may possibly gather much knowledge about Christ, and yet receive little strength and satisfaction from it, if the truth is not assimilated in our own spiritual life. "He that eats Me shall live by Me" (John 6:47).

III. The Rock that Followed Them. "They drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ" (v. 4).

1. Like Christ, this Rock was Revealed by God. It may only have taken God a few moments to show Moses this rock in Horeb, but it took Him over thirty years to show the Rock, Christ; for all the years of His earthly life was an unveiling of His character as the Chosen One. "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

2. Like Christ, this Rock was Divinely Possessed. 'Behold I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb" (Exod. 17:6). At Christ's baptism the Holy Spirit rested upon Him. There was to be no mistaking Him as the God-appointed medium of blessing to His trusting people. "God was in Christ seeking to reconcile a wandering world to Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19).

3. Like Christ, this Rock was Rich in Unrealized Blessing. The Israelites might say, "How can any good come out of this rock?" as they said of Christ, "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" or, "How can this Man save us?" but it pleased God that in Him should all fullness dwell (Colossians 1:19). But they could say later on: "Of His fullness have all we received" (John 1:16).

4. Like Christ, this Rock must be Smitten. "You shall smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink" (Exod. 17:6). The rock was not smitten for itself, but for the salvation of the people. He was wounded for our transgressions, the rod of God's judgment fell upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53).

5. Like Christ, the Smitten Rock Poured Forth its Hidden Treasures. "He cleave the rock, and gave them drink as out of the great depths" (Psalm 78:15). O wonder of wonders, that from His smitten Son there should come forth streams of redeeming mercies, out of the great depths of God's eternal purpose. In that day in which Christ was pierced, there was opened a fountain of cleansing for a sinful world. "He, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters" (Isaiah 55:1).

6. Like Christ, this Spiritual Rock followed Them. They drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (v. 4). This water from the Rock was to them an abiding blessing. It followed them. Something to satisfy all the way. Jesus said "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well, springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). And, "Lo, I am with you, and will never leave you nor forsake you." He is our Rock, the Rock of our eternal salvation and eternal supply.


ROCK OF AGES Augustus M. Toplady, 1740–1778 (1 Corinthians 10:1, 3, 4)

This fervent plea for Christ our eternal rock to grant salvation through His sacrifice and to be a place of refuge for the believer is one of the most popular hymns ever written. With strong emotional impact, it proclaims Christ’s atonement on the cross to be the only means of salvation, making man’s tears and efforts to justify himself of no avail. Also it urges us to find consolation and security in Christ our rock—even at the time of death.

Augustus Toplady’s strong and passionate lines were actually written to refute some of the teachings of John and Charles Wesley during a bitter controversy with them concerning Arminianism (which stresses man’s free will) versus John Calvin’s doctrine of election. “Rock of Ages” was the climax to an article that Toplady wrote in The Gospel Magazine in 1776, in which he supported the doctrine of election by arguing that just as England could never pay her national debt, so man through his own efforts could never satisfy the eternal justice of a holy God. Despite the belligerent intent of this text, God has preserved this hymn for more than 200 years to bring blessing to both Arminian and Calvinistic believers around the world.

At the age of 16, as he sat in a barn and listened to the preaching of an uneducated man, Toplady was dramatically converted. Later, he became a powerful and respected minister of the Anglican church. While he was the busy pastor of several churches in England, Augustus Toplady wrote many hymn texts, but few have survived. “Rock of Ages” is the one for which he is known today.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

 

Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace:
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

1 Corinthians 10:5  Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

Amplified  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:5 But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:5 ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν αὐτῶν εὐδόκησεν ὁ θεός, κατεστρώθησαν γὰρ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:5 but in the most of them God was not well pleased, for they were strewn in the wilderness,

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:5 Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:5 But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:5 But with many of them God was not pleased, for they were laid low in the desert.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:5 In spite of this, God was not pleased with most of them, and their corpses were scattered over the desert.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:5 Yet, God was not pleased with most of them, so their dead bodies were scattered over the desert.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:5 But with most of them God was not pleased: for they came to their end in the waste land.

  • Nu 14:11-12,28-35 Nu 26:64,65 Dt 1:34,35 Dt 2:15,16 Ps 78:32-34 Ps 90:1 *title Ps 90:7,8 95:11 106:26 Heb 3:17 Jude 1:5 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 14:11-12+ The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, (COMPARE Dt 1:32, Dt 9:23, Ps 78:22,32, Ps 106:24 - UNBELIEF WAS THEIR "FATAL" SIN!) despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? 12 “I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you (MOSES) into a nation greater and mightier than they.” 

Numbers 14:28-35+ Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. (WITH MOST GOD WAS NOT WELL-PLEASED so) 30‘ Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 ‘Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey–I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. 32 ‘But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33‘Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. 34‘According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. 35‘I, the LORD, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.’” 

Hebrews 3:17+ - And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:18-19+ And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (WHAT EQUATES WITH UNBELIEF?)

DIVINE DISPLEASURE DELIVERS
DIVINE DISCIPLINE & DEATH

Spurgeon - You see, then, dear brethren, that the possession of privileges is not everything. Paul would not have us to be ignorant that all those, who were with Moses in the wilderness, had privileges of a very high order. Did they not all pass through the Red Sea, and so escape from their powerful and cruel foes? Did they not all drink of water which gushed forth from the flinty rock? Were they not all fed with manna from heaven? Yet their privileges did not save them, for while they had the five privileges mentioned in the previous four verses, they fell into the five great sins of which we are about to read; and so, their privileges, instead of being a blessing to them, only increased their condemnation.

Nevertheless (but - alla) - A strong Term of contrast. Remember that a contrast often signals a "change of direction," and here is a tragic turn from God's provisions for Israel (1 Cor 10:1-4) to God's displeasure with Israel. In short this verse begins Paul's sobering warnings to the saints at Corinth!

With most of them -  Note Paul does not say with "some of them," but most of them, most of the nation of Israel that came out of Egypt, Moses recording "your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from 20 years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me." Paul says most but that is an understatement to put it mildly for in fact only 2 who came out of Egypt actually entered the promised land, Joshua and Caleb (cf Nu 14:30+).

Brian Bell - Most of them? - There’s an understatement!  They estimate 3 million left Egypt…How many of this generation entered into the land?…2!!! (Joshua & Caleb) This had to be an eye opener for the Corinthians. All these bodies full of miraculous food-drink, now strewn all over the desert. Not well pleased – They failed to please God! Paul’s point – Having privileges doesn’t guarantee successful living!

Most (pleion) is the comparative adjective from polus which means much or many. Pleion refers to some more or greater in number (or magnitude as in Jn 21:15) Paul used pleion in 1 Cor 9:19 "so that I may win more (pleion)" and again in 1 Cor 15:6 "He appeared to more (pleion) than 500 brethren at one time." (cf all uses in Corinthian letters - 2 Cor 2:6 = "the majority" 2 Cor 4:15 = "to more [pleion] and more people," 2 Cor 9:2 = "stirred up most of them") 

God was (absolutely) not well-pleased -  Amplified = "God was not pleased with the great majority of them." Not is toward the front of the Greek sentence for emphasis! God did not delight in them and thus they incurred not His approval but His disapproval. 

Lesson? Great spiritual privileges are no guarantee one will lead a holy life.

Well-pleased (take pleasure, be well pleased) (2106eudokeo from eu = good + dokeo = thought) from eu = well, good + dokeo = to think) means literally to think well of and so to be well pleased, to take pleasure or delight in (This is the sense in which eudokeo is used in Heb 10:38). The idea is to find satisfaction in something or someone or to view with approval. To delight means to take great pleasure, to give keen enjoyment, to provide a high degree of gratification.

Eudokeo - Mt 3:17; Mt 12:18; Mt 17:5; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22; Lk 12:32; Ro 15:26; Ro 15:27; 1 Co 1:21; 1 Co 10:5; 2 Co 5:8; 2 Co 12:10; Gal 1:15; Col 1:19; 1 Th 2:8; 1 Th 3:1; 2 Th 2:12; Heb 10:6; Heb 10:8; Heb 10:38; 2 Pe 1:17

For (garterm of explanation in this case giving explaining the dire consequences of God's displeasure. In the next verse Paul begins to explain why God was not well-pleased. 

They were laid low in the wilderness - Laid low gives us a striking picture of the desert strewn with corpses that were left unburied! This is the very picture presented in Numbers 14:16+ Moses explaining that "Because the LORD could not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered (Septuagint = katastronnumi) them in the wilderness." For 40 years, the dead bodies of the unbelieving, disobedient ("disobedient" ~ "unbelief" in Heb 3:18-19+) were scattered over the wilderness. Try to picture hundreds of thousands of dead corpses littered and strewn all over the desert. This is not simply a natural death but represents God’s sentence against the unfaithful, rebellious Israelites. The average funeral rate for the forty years was one funeral every thirty seconds. Only two men were allowed to go into the Promised Land after the forty years. Joshua and Caleb were the men that wanted to enter the land when the others did not. Those who disobeyed the Lord and did not follow His will were disqualified.

The average funeral rate for the forty years was one funeral every thirty seconds.

In the context of Paul's warning that the saints at Corinth might be disqualified, Paul teaches that most of Israel was in a sense "disqualified." The warning is clear, for Israel "misused and abused their freedom and their blessings. In self-centeredness and self-will they tried to live on the edge of their liberty, and they fell into temptation and then into sin. Overconfidence was their undoing." (MacArthur)

Godet What a spectacle is that which is called up by the apostle before the eyes of the self-satisfied Corinthians: all those bodies, sated with miraculous food and drink, strewing the soil of the desert!”

ESV Study Bible - Though they had seen many of God’s miracles, only a few had genuine faith...

Hebrews 3:16-19+ For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:2+  For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

John MacArthur makes an interesting statement that "Many of the disqualified Israelites were believers who became unfit for God’s service. They became what Paul elsewhere refers to as vessels of dishonor." (MNTC-1 Cor - bolding mine) While I seldom disagree with MacArthur, my question is where is the Scriptural support that many of the Israelites were genuine believers in Messiah, especially since Paul says with MOST God was not well-pleased? I am not saying that is not a possibility (certainly Moses, Aaron, Mariam, but just wonder where that is clearly stated in Scripture. (If you find a passage supporting the premise that many of the Israelites were saved please send me a message and I will amend this comment. Thank you). 

Laid low (2693)(katastronnumi from kata = down + stronnuo = to spread as coats Mt 21:8) means literally to cover by spreading over with something as by scattering on the ground. To lay low, as if by a hurricane, figuratively to strike down, to annihilate. Figuratively and passive of dead bodies left to lie about over an area. In the Septuagint = Nu 14:16+, Job 12:23. This is the only NT use. 

Rod Mattoon writes that "Paul was reminding all of us with the lessons of the past that doubt, disbelief, and disobedience can lead to disqualification in serving Christ. Opportunities for reaping God's blessings can be lost when we are fretful and faithless. Don't forget Paul's admonition and warning, " But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27)." (Treasures)

Jude explains why the first generation of Israelites was laid low -

Jude 1:5+   Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed (apollumi) those who did not believe (pisteuo).

Comment - Belief that is genuine should issue in obedience as one's general lifestyle. It does not mean we will obey perfectly, but it means the general direction of our life is to obey God and His Word. We will slip and we will fall. Proverbs 24:15 says "For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity." In the case of Israel, the majority did not believe God (they were without faith) and as Hebrews 11:6+ says "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." In short, they missed out on God's reward, the right to enter the Promised Land because they failed to believe in Him and in His promises. 


James Smith - OVERTHROWN BY SIN. 1 Corinthians 10:5-15

They went up out of Egypt a mixed multitude (Numbers 11:4), but not a man of them saw Caleb and Joshua enter into the promised possession (Numbers 26:65) What a warning we have here against secret sin, which leads to backsliding and to final overthrow

I. Who were They that Fell in the Wilderness? They had been—

1. Saved out of Egypt. They passed through the sea, and knew something of the God of Deliverance. They had identified themselves with the ransomed host.

2. Baptized into the Name of the God-appointed leader, acknowledging his authority, and professedly his followers.

3. In Full Communion. They did all eat of the same bread and drank from the same Rock (1 Cor 10:3, 4). What privileges were theirs, but how hollow their profession.

II. Their Failure. It was great, and brought fatal results. "They were overthrown in the wilderness," There fell on one day twenty-three thousand (v. 8). The character of their failure as backsliders may be seen in that they—

1. Displeased God. With many of them God was not well pleased (1 Cor 10:5). God's displeasure may not be apparent for a time, as He is slow to anger, but if not repented of will certainly ripen into judgment.

2. Missing the Mark. The mark was the Land of Promise, but they missed it because of their unbelief (Jude 3). They failed because they lost their faith in God.

3. Premature Death. Every one of them died, we might say, before their time. God was willing to bring them into the "good land," but evil slays the wicked (Psalm 34:21). Those who wander in heart away from God scarcely realize how they are cutting short their lives.

III. The Causes of Failure. They are many, but all have their root in heart-departure from the Living God, by ceasing to honor and obey His Word. Their sins are the sins of many in our own day, who have turned aside in heart from following the Lord.

1. They Lusted after Forbidden Things (1 Cor 10:6). The pleasures of the old unregenerate life are longed for, the bread of God has become stale (Numbers 11:4), God Himself has become unreal.

2. They Worshiped Other Gods (1 Cor 10:7). When any other object is loved and honored more than the Lord our God, then we are idolaters, whether it be our business, our pleasures, our children, or ourselves. "He who loves any one or anything more than Me," says Christ, "is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37, 38).

3. They Indulged in Social Impurity (1 Cor 10:8). This secret, soul-withering sin is without a covering in the eyes of God. "Be sure your sin will find you out."

4. They Murmured at the Providence of God (1 Cor 10:10). They murmured against Moses, against Aaron, against God's method of dealing with them, and became discontented even with the manna from Heaven (Numbers 14:2). When a professing Christian begins to murmur against God's servants, and to criticize and find fault with God's Word and message, be sure that in heart they are estranged from God, if they ever truly knew Him.

IV. The Present Application.

These things are all examples unto us (1 Cor 10:6-11). All sins, secret or open, have still the same effect in separating the soul from fellowship with God, and overthrowing the testimony of the life as a witness to the power of Christ. Discontent with the provision and promises of God is the blighted fruit of a doubting heart. Brethren, let us labor therefore to enter into that "rest of faith," lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (Hebrews 4:11). "You stand by faith; be not high-minded, but fear" (Romans 11:20). "The end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch unto prayer" (1 Peter 4:7).


Table Talk -  False Security 1 CORINTHIANS 10:1–5

But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:5).

Returning to Corinthians today we see Paul turn from an admonition to run to a warning. The Corinthians, like many today, thought they were saved because they had made a profession of faith, because they attended church, because they partook of the Lord’s Supper, and “religious” reasons. But Paul warned them, and us, that outward manifestations and privileges of salvation did not actually save.

Salvation does not mean you make a profession and then live how you want; it means you grow in Christ, persevere in holiness, and crucify the flesh. Obviously, this does not mean that a Christian is perfect; but it does mean that as long as he sits back on his laurels, disinterested in the things of God, sinning freely, refusing to fight the good fight and run the race, he cannot be assured of his salvation. (ED: I WOULD ADD GENUINE SALVATION IS NOT SHOWN BY PERFECTION, BUT IS SHOWN BY DIRECTION....OF ONE'S BEHAVIOR, PREDOMINANTLY GODLY OR UNGODLY)

“The history of the church affords no incident better suited to enforce the necessity of guarding against false security, than that selected by the apostle,” Hodge wrote. “The Israelites doubtless felt as they stood on the other side of the Red Sea, that all danger was over, and that their entrance into the land of promise was secured. They had, however, a journey beset with dangers before them, and perished because they thought there was no need of exertion. So the Corinthians, when brought to the knowledge of the gospel, thought heaven secure. Paul reminds them that they had only entered on the way, and would certainly perish unless they exercised constant self-denial … It is only by constant self-denial and vigilance, that the promised reward can be obtained. This is the lesson the apostle intends to inculcate.” (Charles Hodge - 1 Corinthians 10 Commentary)

Does this “constant self-denial” mean you are continuously in a state of self-denial? Of course not. Again, the Christian life is a struggle, but it is exactly the struggle that makes your life a Christian one. You are constantly seeking to put others first, to obey, even though you are battling remaining sin all the time. The Scriptures are filled with warnings to those who do not persevere in the race, who stray from godliness, who become lazy in their spiritual journey. If we ignore these warnings, we will end up like the Israelites who perished in the desert. They did not lose their salvation because of their negligence, but their negligence proved that they were never saved in the first place. (BOLDING ADDED - ED: AS EXPLAINED IN COMMENTS ON 1 Cor 9:27+, I FEEL DISQUALIFICATION IN THAT CONTEXT DID NOT SIGNIFY ONE WAS NEVER SAVED BUT DID SIGNIFY LOSS OF ABILITY TO SERVE IN THIS LIFE AND LOSS OF REWARDS IN THE ETERNAL LIFE.)

CORAM DEO There is a great tension in the Christian life of “working out your salvation” and relying on God’s grace. Meditate on Php 2:12+ and Php 2:13+. Compare Php 2:12 and Php 2:13. Does Paul explain this paradox of human effort and God’s work? Why not? Pray for the grace to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (ED: See related discussion of "Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible" (100/100))


Related Resources:

1 Corinthians 10:6  Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

Amplified  Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did. 

Wuest Now, these things have been made examples for us to the end that we should not be those who have a passionate craving for evil things as also those had a passionate craving.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates - These things, therefore, became our examples so that we may not be desirous of bad things even as they desired..

NET  1 Corinthians 10:6 These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did,

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:6 ταῦτα δὲ τύποι ἡμῶν ἐγενήθησαν, εἰς τὸ μὴ εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἐπιθυμητὰς κακῶν, καθὼς κἀκεῖνοι ἐπεθύμησαν.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:6 and those things became types of us, for our not passionately desiring evil things, as also these did desire.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:6 These experiences of theirs have become analogies for us to the intent that unlike them, we should not hanker after evil things with intense cravings.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:6 These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these happenings were examples, for our benefit, so that we should never set our hearts, as they did, on evil things;

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:6 These things have become examples for us so that we won't desire what is evil, as they did.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were for an example to us, so that our hearts might not go after evil things, as they did.

  • These: 1Co 10:11 Zep 3:6,7 Heb 4:11 2Pe 2:6 Jude 1:7, 1 Cor 9:9-10
  • Examples, Ro 5:14 Heb 9:24 1Pe 3:21 
  • Craved: Nu 11:4,31-34 Ps 78:27-31 Ps 106:14-15 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 15:4+ For whatever was written in earlier times (aka the Old Testament) was written for our instruction (didaskalia), so that () through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Amplified of Romans 15:4 - For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.

NLT of Romans 15:4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled.

1 Corinthians 9:9-10  For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.

DANGER SIGNAL:
DON'T CRAVE EVIL THINGS

Brian Bell associates this passage with Israel's "Quail Bash" (see below). 

Matthew Henry - The apostle, having recited their privileges, proceeds here to an account of their faults and punishments, their sins and plagues, which are left upon record for an example to us, a warning against the like sins, if we would escape the like punishments. We must not do as they did, lest we suffer as they suffered.

Now these things - What things? This refers to not only the incredible privileges God had bestowed on Israel (in 1 Cor 10:1-4), but also the equally incredible repeated episodes of disobedience which resulted in divine discipline. In essence most of the nation were "disqualified" (cf 1 Cor 9:27+) from entering the promised land. 

Zodhiates - History repeats itself, and he who learns from the past avoids the pitfalls of the present and lays the foundation of the future. "A page of history is worth a volume of logic," Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. declared.

Happened as examples for us - What happened to Israel was not just an example but was given by Paul with the sense of a warning or admonition to us (Paul includes himself with the saints at Corinth and by application clearly all believers of all times). 

Barber on examples for us "refers to not only how God treated them, but how they wrongly responded to Him. In other words, God was constantly providing for them, but they were constantly wrongly responding to Him....You look and see what Israel did wrong and you begin to understand why you might be disqualified at some point in your journey.

Examples (5179) tupos from túpto = strike, smite with repeated strokes) literally refers to a visible mark or impression made by a stroke or blow from an instrument or object. What is left after the stroke or blow is called a print, a figure or an impression. For example, the most famous reference to a literal mark (tupos) is when Thomas doubted Jesus' resurrection from the dead declaring "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint (tupos) of the nails" (John 20:25). (See also ISBE Article) Stated another way tupos properly means a "model" or "pattern" or "mold" into which clay or wax was pressed (or molds into which molten metal for castings was poured), that it might take the figure or exact shape of the mold. Our English word "type" is similar and originally referred to an impression made by a die as that which is struck. In an ethical sense, tupos is a dissuasive (tending to dissuade) example, a pattern of warning or an example to be imitated (Phil 3:17; 1Th 1:7; 2Th 3:9; 1Ti 4:12; Titus 2:7). 

So that - Term of purpose. Paul clearly states the purpose of his review of the tragic history of Israel after they were freed from Egyptian bondage. 

We would not crave evil things (kakos) as they also craved (epithumeo) - I like the NIV which renders it "to keep us from setting our hearts." This "nails it" because the heart of Israel's problem was the problem with their heart! Israel's basic problem was craving evil things. Paul includes himself ("we") as one who needs to pay attention to why most of Israel was "disqualified." And by way of application beloved, WE (modern believers) also are part of that "we". Paul describes where their craving for evil things originated from in Romans 7:18-19+ writing "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil (kakos) that I do not want." So where does the craving of evil things originate? Paul says in my flesh, our fallen flesh inherited from Adam. Clearly the Israelites followed after their fallen flesh (flesh is still present in believers) seeking to please fallen flesh rather than please the exalted God. 

Barber - The word “crave,” epithumeo means to desire something. It is an obsessive desire that controls a person. I use the illustration of an 800 pound parrot that says, “Polly wants a cracker—NOW.” It is that obsessive, driven type desire in your life. Paul says they were driven, they were motivated, they craved evil things....there is a difference in you chasing after sin or sin chasing after you. Israel let chasing after sin become the obsession of their life. It is like a believer who started rightly and down the road becomes arrogant because of what he knows and understands and stops the discipline of denying self. And as a result, instead of going on and knowing more, God just pulls him out of the race and sets him on the bench. Was there ever a time in your life when you loved Jesus more than you do right now? Has there ever been a time when you loved being in the Word of God more than you do right today? Has there ever been a time when you were burdened to pray far greater than anything that has hit you lately? Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Am I going forward or am I going backwards? What’s going on in my life?” Is God using you? Are you the vessel that God can use?

Swindoll Paul starts off by identifying a deep-seated attitude of the heart—lusting after evil. Dissatisfied and ungrateful amid blessings, the Hebrews kept longing to go back to Egypt (Num. 11:4-6). The Corinthians, like many believers, struggled against their former lifestyles, tempted to “go back” to the evil of their past (1 Cor. 6:9-11). (Ibid)

Is Paul referring to a specific OT situation in this passage? I think he is referring to Israel's craving for meat. In Numbers 11 they grumbled and craved meat. God gave them meat and then struck them with a plague because of their grumbling and greed! 

Numbers 11:4-6+  The rabble (MIXED MULTITUDE INCLUDED EGYPTIANS WHO CAME OUT IN EXODUS) who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? 5“We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”

Numbers 11:31-34+ Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground. 32The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague. 34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.

COMMENT - Note that the word for greedy is rendered in the Septuagint with the same word used by Paul in 1 Cor 10:6, the noun epithumetes. This would strongly suggest that this is the episode of craving to which Paul is making reference. This same greedy craving for meat is describe twice in the Psalms...

Psalm 78:18, 27-31+ And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire. ....27 When He rained meat upon them like the dust, Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas,  28 Then He let them fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their dwellings.  29 So they ate and were well filled, And their desire He gave to them.  30 Before they had satisfied their desire, While their food was in their mouths,  31 The anger of God rose against them And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel. 

Psalm 106:13-15+  They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel,  14 But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted (TRIED OR TESTED) God in the desert. 15 So He gave them their request, But sent a wasting disease among them. 

Zodhiates seems to agree with this passage alluding to Israel's "Quail Bash" - It is evident that here in 1 Corinthians 10:6 the verb epethúmēsan, the aorist form of epithuméō, is used to refer to the sinful desire of the Israelites to eat flesh, as recorded in Numbers 11, and to reject the food which God miraculously supplied to satisfy their hunger. This sinful desire of the Israelites is characterized by the Apostle Paul as "bad" (evil) because they complained against the Lord (Num. 11:1)....Wanting a variety of food was not harmful or wicked, but the dissatisfaction of the Israelites with what God had given them was bad, for they complained against Him and His servant Moses.

THOUGHT - Israel made a huge mistake. It is just like a runner. If a runner stops denying himself, if a runner stops the discipline of denying himself, he is going to be disqualified. That is exactly what happens to the Christian and that is exactly what happened to Israel. When you take the very things that you have been saved from and start chasing after them again, look out because you are not going to be usable to God. That’s the key. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean you have lost your salvation. It just simply means you have lost all the joy, all the sense of His presence in your life, all of that until you come back to the cross. You have been disqualified. (Barber)

Craved (1938) (epithumetes from epithumeo) describes one desires something in an inordinate, self-indulgent manner. Only NT use. Lxx - Nu 11:34, Pr 1:22, Ezek 26:12. 

Evil (bad, harm) (2556kakos related word = kakia) is a word which basically denotes a lack of something so that it is "bad" or "not as it ought to be. Kakos means not meeting accepted standards of behavior, and thus worthless, bad or inferior. Kakos then speaks of lack of goodness, of a bad nature. (Note there is some repetition in this discussion, but hopefully this repetition will give you a good sense of the different nuances of this word). One of the more frightening uses of kakos (personal opinion) is in the phrase "inventors of evil" (Ro 1:30).

Craved (coveted, longed for, lusted) (1937)(epithumeo from epí = upon, used intensively + thumos = passion, cf epithumia) means literally to fix the desire upon (object could be good [Mt 13:17, Lk 22:15 used of Jesus] or bad [1Co 10:6]). It means to have a strong desire to do or secure something. To desire greatly. To long for. Note that the preposition epi can express motion toward or upon and thus one lexicon defines it as to set one's heart upon. In sum, epithumeo describes a strong impulse toward something so that one's passions or affections are directed toward some object, thing or person. Epithumeo - 16x in 16v - Matt. 5:28; Matt. 13:17; Lk. 15:16; Lk. 16:21; Lk. 17:22; Lk. 22:15; Acts 20:33; Rom. 7:7; Rom. 13:9; 1 Co. 10:6; Gal. 5:17; 1 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 6:11; Jas. 4:2; 1 Pet. 1:12; Rev. 9:6 

Jack Arnold - Christian, how many times have you said, "I would like to go back and do a few things I did before I became a Christian. I feel so confined. I know it would be sin, but it is fun and God will forgive me.” To take this kind of attitude is to be presumptuous Christian, presuming on the grace of God, and it may disqualify you from the spiritual race. God is displeased and heartbroken when we long to go back into that old life from which Christ delivered us by His own precious blood. Don’t blame God when you give in to your sinful desires. God does not tempt us with evil but we yield to sinful desires. (James 1:13-15+)

1 Corinthians 10:7  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY."

Amplified Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink [the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb] and rose to sport (to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity). 

Wuest Stop becoming idolaters as some of them were, even as it stands written, The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to be giving way to hilarity.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:7 So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play."

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:7 or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, "The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry."

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play."

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:7 μηδὲ εἰδωλολάτραι γίνεσθε καθώς τινες αὐτῶν, ὥσπερ γέγραπται, Ἐκάθισεν ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither become ye idolaters, as certain of them, as it hath been written, 'The people sat down to eat and to drink, and stood up to play;'

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:7 Don't become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither become idolaters as some of them became. The Scripture gives this account: "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they got up to frolic."

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play."

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:7 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 to revel."

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:7 nor are you to worship false gods, as some of them did, as it says in scripture: The people sat down to eat and drink, and afterwards got up to amuse themselves.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:7 So don't worship false gods as some of them did, as Scripture says, "The people sat down to a feast which turned into an orgy."

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:7 Then do not go after false gods, as some of them did; as it is said in the holy Writings, After resting and feasting, the people got up to take their pleasure.

  • be: 1Co 14:20-22 5:11 6:9 8:7 De 9:12,16-21 Ps 106:19,20 1Jn 5:21 
  • The people: Ex 32:6-8,17,19 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Golden Calf
IN WENT THE GOLD AND 
POOF, OUT POPPED THE CALF!

Related Passages: 

Exodus 32:1-8+ (THE SIN OF IDOLATRY) Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (THEY CALLED IT GOD BUT IT WAS ACTUALLY AN IDOL) 5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings (THE SAME OFFERINGS THEY WOULD HAVE GIVEN TO YAHWEH); and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.  7 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 “They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”

COMMENT - They had for so long been around the pagan ceremonies of Egypt that it seemed almost natural to add a pagan practice to true worship. Even Aaron, the first high priest of Israel and next in command under Moses, did not resist when approached by the people with their wicked idea.

Exodus 32:17+ Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.”  But he said, “It is not the sound of the cry of triumph, Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat; But the sound of singing I hear.” 19 It came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.

Exodus 32:25-28+ (THE PUNISHMENT) Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control–for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies– 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27 He said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’”  So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

Exodus 20:4-5+ (THE SIN OF EXODUS 32 WAS CLEARLY FORBIDDEN) “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God (cf Ex 34:13-15+), visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,


THE IDOL MOLOCH

Acts 7:41-43+ (ISRAEL'S IDOLATRY WENT ON FOR ALL 40 YEARS OF THEIR WILDERNESS JOURNEY!)  “At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42 “But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? 43 ‘YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH  (OR HERE) AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA (Rephan), THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’ 

1 Corinthians 5:11+ But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one. (COMPARE PROHIBITION in 1 Cor 10:28+)

OUT OF EGYPT
INTO IDOLATRY!

God was able to get Israel out of Egypt, but could not get Egypt out of Israel.

Paul now gives the 4 major categories of sins that resulted in the disqualification of the Israelites - (1) Idolatry (1 Cor 10:7), (2) Immorality (1 Cor 10:8), (3) Trying God (1 Cor 10:9) and (4) Grumbling or murmuring (1 Cor 10:10). 

Paul has just stated Israel was craving evil things. Now he begins to unveil some of those evil things their fallen flesh was craving beginning with idolatry. As we have discussed previously Corinth was replete with worship of idols so the temptation was everywhere in the city. 

Note - The book of First Corinthians has the major concentration of uses of idols and idolatry in the NT - 4/7 NT uses of idolater (eidololatres), 6/9 NT uses of sacrificed to idols (eidolothuton), and 4/11 NT uses of idol (eidolon)

Spurgeon - That is, to go through those unclean rites and ceremonies before their idols which are here called, “play.” Ah, dear friends, may God keep us from the worship of anything which we can see with our eyes, or hear with our ears! May we never become idolaters! You know, we can very easily make idols of our children; we can make idols of our own persons, we can make idols of our talents, of our respectability, and so forth. But, oh! it matters not what the idol is; it is no more pleasing to God if it be of silver and gold than if it were of the mud of the river. No: “Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them.”

Do not be idolaters, as some of them were - The command is first in the sentence adding emphasis -  Do not be is a command in the present imperative with a negative (see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) calling for the Corinthians (and us) to stop entertaining idolatry, which some of them were apparently doing. As is a term of comparison. Notice that the word idolaters (eidololatres) is derived from the word for IDOL (eidolon) and the word for SERVANT (latris). Latris is from the noun latreia which describes the service that goes with worship. The point is that they did not just "worship." but served. Idolatry inherently includes enslavement. As Zodhiates says "eidololatres is one who bows the knee to an idol, as if it were God, and serves such an idol."  No wonder God hates idolatry, for He wants us to serve only Him! 

Charles Swindoll says that "“An idol is anything that seizes the adoration that belongs to God. It can be a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend, a reputation, a goal…anything that takes Gods seat on the throne of our hearts!”"

Some of them refers to the Israelites, so not all were idolaters. And this command is in the middle voice (reflexive), which means the subject chooses to initiate the action (in this case be an idolater) and participates in the (rotten) fruit of that action. The point is that they (and we) are personally responsible for making this choice and cannot blame it on anyone else. This is especially true if one is a believer - he will be held responsible for his choices. Remember that before one is saved we chased after sin but after salvation sin chases after us! One other point is that while idolaters emphasizes the idea of worship, the fact is that idolatry results in becoming entrapped in servitude to the idol (aka enslavement or bondage, cf Dt 4:19+, Dt 8:19, etc). Here Paul is saying that some of the Corinthians were chasing after the sin of idolatry and that action needed to cease! (And the same applies to our life if we are believers. We have the power to put to death that sin by calling on and depending on the Spirit - Ro 8:13+). 

Arnold - Paul was warning the Corinthians to avoid any type of idolatry, for they were being enticed back into the pagan temples.

Brian Bell has a practical word on idolatry - We all worship! (all humanity are worshipers!)  Peter Kreeft said, “The opposite of Christianity is not atheism but idolatry.” You may worship your mind/intellect; your own experience; scientific rationalism. But everyone has devoted themselves to some idol/god. Idolatry is taking a good thing & elevating it to a God thing.. They are really easy to identify idols in other cultures(H.K., India, Thailand,etc.) but often hard to dial into our own idols. We worship our sports teams, our fav bands, our career’s. Some worship their sexual exploits, their hard bodies, their job, their house. Some worship where they live/neighborhood, their car, their clothing/label. What idols do you need to pull down in your life?

Zodhiates - The Corinthians lived in a predominantly idolatrous environment. Today, as one visits ancient Corinth, two sights are conspicuous. One is the huge Temple of Aphrodite high on a hill overlooking ancient Corinth which is called Acrocorinth. In this temple a thousand prostitutes served as priestesses. The second impressive sight is the remaining columns of a beautiful temple dedicated to Apollo, the god of light, health and healing, music, poetry, prophecy, etc. Only in 1 Corinthians 8:10 is an idol temple (eidōleion [1493]) mentioned. Of the eleven times that word "idol" (eídōlon) occurs, it is found five of those times in Paul's Corinthian epistles (1 Cor. 8:4, 7; 10:19; 12:2; 2 Cor. 6:16). Of the ten times that the phrase "meat sacrificed to idols" (eidōlóthuton)) occurs in the New Testament, six of those times it is found in 1 Corinthians (8:1, 4, 7,10; 10:19, 28). Of the seven times that the word "idolater" (eidōlolátrēs) occurs in the New Testament, it appears four of those times in 1 Corinthians (5:10, 11; 6:9; 10:7). In 1 Corinthians 10:14 Paul denounces idolatry and urges the Corinthians to flee from it. The Corinthians lived in an idolatrous environment.

Barber - So when you think of an idol, folks, don’t just think of a statue somewhere like Nebuchanezzar built. Think of something in your own life that you have taken and put in the place of a living God, something that you bow to, something that takes all your emotion, all your time, all your money, all your energy. It is sucking it right into this. Has that become an idol in your life? It is an idol of your own making, a product of your own imagination.

Idolaters (1496eidololatres from eidolon = idol, image, a phantom or likeness [from eidos = form, appearance, literally that which is seen from eido = to see] + látris = servant, worshiper) (see study of eidololatreia) (See multiple Bible dictionary articles on idolatry) is literally an image worshipper or one who serves idols or images representative of false gods. Idolatry is the worship of something created which is in direct opposition to the worship of the Creator Himself. Ultimately it is placing anything in the place of God, Who alone deserves the right to be number one in our worship. Originally, a physical idol helped visualize the god it represented but later people worshipped the physical object itself (Ro 1:19+; Ro 1:20-21+; Ro 1:22-23+).  Eidololatres - 7x in NT - Notice this is a KEY WORD in 1 Corinthians -  1 Co. 5:10; 1 Co. 5:11; 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 10:7; Eph. 5:5; Rev. 21:8; Rev. 22:15

As it is written Written (grapho) is perfect tense meaning it had been written down in the past (by Moses) and remains on record.

Zodhiates aptly entitles his note on this verse "Idolatry Leads to Sensuality."

THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY - Whatever this means, it clearly was activity which God said indicated that the Israelites had "corrupted themselves" (Ex 32:7+), where corrupted is the Hebrew verb shachath meaning to ruin or decay (Septuagint translates it with anomeo which means to act lawlessly - anomeo used in Dt 4:16, 25 to warn against acting corruptly by making idol images). Israel was fresh out of bondage and immediately succumbed to bondage to their flesh to worship an idol (even while claiming they were worshipping Yahweh!) and in so doing they also fell into idolatry and immorality (see play below). Play almost certainly is a euphemism for sexual activity. Paul's emphasis however in quoting this example is to focus on Israel's idolatry. Exodus 32:28+ describes the reaping of their riotous behavior - "So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about 3000 men of the people fell that day." The message could hardly have failed to hit home to the Corinthians who were surrounded by idolatry and constantly being tempted to commit this sin against God. Paul will drive this point home later writing "No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons." (1 Cor 10:20-21) Any Corinthian believer who reverted to their old ways of worship would not be able to worship the Lord and it likely would result in them being involved in immoral behavior (especially if they "worshipped" in the Temple of Aphrodite with some 1000 priestess whores!) The result Paul implies is that in so doing they would bring dishonor, judgment and disqualification on themselves! 

Anything that takes our first loyalty and allegiance is an idol.
-- John MacArthur

MacArthur - When Christians worship anyone or anything besides God, that is idolatry. Worshiping the virgin Mary, saints, icons, or angels is idolatry. No matter how sincerely they are meant to honor to God, such practices are false worship and are strictly forbidden in Scripture. The first commandment God gave Moses was “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3)....All idols, of course, are not physical. They do not have to be made of wood, stone, or metal. Any concept of God that is not biblical is false, and if believed and followed it becomes an idol. Those who follow a man-made god may claim they worship the God of Scripture, just as the Israelites claimed their calf worship was to the Lord. But no false god has anything in common with the God of the Bible....The sin of idolatry, like every other sin, is of the heart. As God told Ezekiel about the elders of Israel, “These men have set up their idols in their hearts, and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity” (Ezek. 14:3).

Play (3815) (paizo from pais = child)  amuse oneself, dance, "carry on boisterous revelry" (Friberg). Louw-Nida on play in 1 Cor 10:7- The specific reference of paizo in 1 Cor 10:7 is probably to dancing, but some scholars interpret paizo in this context as a euphemism for sex. The Septuagint uses paizo with sexual connotations in Ge 26:8 = "Isaac caressing (Lxx - paizo in present tense) his wife Rebekah." The Septuagint use in Exodus 32:6 is clearly in the context of idolatry (the "golden calf" - Ex 32:4+). And as we see repeatedly in the Old Testament in other passages, immorality is closely linked to idolatry (cf Nu 25:1-3), leaving little doubt that this is the sense this verb is used in 1 Cor 10:7 (Only NT use). 

Uses of paizo in the Septuagint - Gen. 21:9; Gen. 26:8; Exod. 32:6; Jdg. 16:25; 2 Sam. 2:14; 2 Sam. 6:5; 2 Sam. 6:21; 1 Chr. 13:8; 1 Chr. 15:29; Job 41:5; Prov. 26:19; Isa. 3:16; Jer. 15:17; Jer. 30:19; Jer. 31:4; Zech. 8:5

1 Corinthians 10:8  Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

Amplified  We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality as some of them did—and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell dead in a single day! 

Wuest  Neither let us be committing fornication even as certain of them committed fornication, and there fell in one day twenty-three thousand (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:8 And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did--and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:8 μηδὲ πορνεύωμεν, καθώς τινες αὐτῶν ἐπόρνευσαν καὶ ἔπεσαν μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ εἴκοσι τρεῖς χιλιάδες.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:8 neither may we commit whoredom, as certain of them did commit whoredom, and there fell in one day twenty-three thousand;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:8 Let us not commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in a single day 23,000 people fell dead.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:8 Neither should we commit sexual sin as did some of them, and in one day 23,000 fell dead.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:8 Let us not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell within a single day.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:8 Nor, again, are we to fall into sexual immorality; some of them did this, and twenty-three thousand met their downfall in one day.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:8 We shouldn't sin sexually as some of them did. Twenty-three thousand of them died on one day.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:8 Again, let us not give way to the desires of the flesh, as some of them did, of whom twenty-three thousand came to their end in one day.

Related Passages: 

Numbers 25:1-9+  While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. 2 For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel. 4 The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” 5 So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor.”  6 Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. 9 Those who died by the plague were 24,000. (THIS IS THE EPISODE OF BAAL-PEOR - SEE NOTES BELOW FOR MORE DETAIL). 

Psalm 106:28-30+ They joined themselves also to Baal-peor, And ate sacrifices offered to the dead (WORSHIP OF THE DEAD - SEE RELATED DISCUSSION  What does the Bible say about ancestor worship?).  29 Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, And the plague broke out among them.  30 Then Phinehas stood up and interposed, And so the plague was stayed.  31 And it was reckoned to him for righteousness, To all generations forever. 

Revelation 2:14+  ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

THE WARNING AGAINST
IMMORALITY

Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day - Paul's second warning is concerning immorality and he uses the dramatic illustration of Israel's immorality in Numbers 25:1-9 (see above) which resulted in death of 24,000 (23,000 killed one day and the rest who died of the plague for total of 24,000). Don't miss the clear connection with idolatry and immorality in both the passage in Exodus 32 and the passage from Numbers 25. 

Spurgeon - Fornication in God’s people is peculiarly black and filthy. In the ordinary man of the world, it is evil enough; but when a man professes to be a Christian, he must flee from even the very thought of it, and keep himself chaste, for his body is a temple of the Holy Ghost. Oh, may none of us ever come anywhere near to this great evil, but in purity of heart may we walk before our God!

Jack Arnold - Some of the Corinthians were flirting with temple worship and with the temple worship came sexual immorality. Surely, this would invite the judgment of God on them. We Christians live in a sexually corrupt country. America has bowed its knee to the god of sex. If we Christians choose to participate in this evil life style, God will be displeased and may disqualify us from the spiritual race. Are a few moments of pleasure worth this severe discipline?

Barber - Immorality is an idolatrous practice. If a person is immoral, he is idolatrous, period. That is me, that’s you, that’s anybody. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee immorality.” But in 1 Corinthians 10:14 he says, “Flee idolatry.” He uses the term “flee” for those two sins, because they are absolutely linked together. Paul says 23,000 but Nu 25:9 says there were 24,000 total: 23,000 on one day died and another 1,000 died later. So there was no discrepancy. The main thing is that we can see the mixture of immorality and idolatry. Once you get saved, immorality and idolatry and all these things will chase after you. It is a trap already set. There is a difference in you falling into something one time, repenting of it and coming back and a person who craves it and pursues it. There is a big difference. This is what Paul is talking about here. They desired and craved evil things. You say, “Well, I have been at church for years and my Christian life has grown cold and mechanical. I don’t feel anything anymore. I come to church and I don’t even know if I am saved.” Well, to me the answer is simple. Go back and find out what has replaced Jesus Christ in your life. What is it? Is it a ministry? It has happened to a lot of folks and they have fallen because of it. Is it a reputation? What is it that has taken the place of Jesus in your life? (ED: THAT'S YOUR IDOL!)

THOUGHT - Do you know how they catch monkeys? They take a jar that has a thin neck, just big enough for a monkey to get his paw in and they put candy in it. If you have never been to Africa, you don’t realize how monkeys love candy, anything sweet at all. I have had them jump on the car. We have had five and six monkeys on top of the car at one time trying to get them off. One of us was eating some breath mints or whatever it was, but they smelled it. They love candy. They have the jar chained, anchored to something very solid to where the money has to come up and make his own commitment to put his hand inside that jar. Nothing is there other than the candy that is inside of it. Well, when he gets it, he closes his fist and then he can’t get it out because the neck of the jar is fixed to where the paw can get in but it can’t get out if it is clinched. And you know what? It works every time because the monkey is not willing to let go of what his flesh desires and for that reason he has put himself back into captivity. That is what is cramping and killing the church of Jesus Christ today. We won’t turn loose. We forget the verse in the Old Testament, “I will withhold nothing that is good from those that are righteous.” So if He won’t withhold it, why do we cramp ourselves? Why don’t we just put Him back where He belongs?

Act Immorally (4203)(porneuo rom pornos = literally the purchasable one, the one you buy, the harlot, the prostitute) means to prostitute one's body to the lust of another, to give oneself to unlawful sexual intercourse. To commit fornication. Used as a Hebraic sense as a figure of speech to describe one who worships idols rather than the living God. Note in the uses of porneuo in the Septuagint (see below), Israel was pictured as a woman (God's wife - Jer 31:32Isa 54:5) who was unfaithful and like a wife who became a prostitute, figuratively committed acts of immorality against God. However as worship of idols is often associated with literal immorality in Scripture, the OT uses of porneuo surely picture both literal and figurative fornication. Porneuo - 7x in NT - 1 Co. 6:18; 1 Co. 10:8; Rev. 2:14; Rev. 2:20; Rev. 17:2; Rev. 18:3; Rev. 18:9. Uses in the Septuagint - Deut. 23:17; Jdg. 2:15; 1 Chr. 5:25; Ps. 73:27; Ps. 106:39; Jer. 3:6; Jer. 3:7; Jer. 3:8; Ezek. 6:9; Ezek. 16:15; Ezek. 16:34; Ezek. 23:19; Hos. 3:3; Hos. 4:10; Hos. 4:14; Hos. 4:18; Hos. 9:1; Amos 7:17;

Related Resources:


Question -  What was Baal Peor in the Bible?

Answer: Baal Peor, or the Baal of Peor, was a local deity worshiped by the Moabites. When the Israelites, following Moses to the Promised Land, were in the vicinity of Peor, some of them fell into idolatry and worshiped Baal Peor. As a result of their sin, the men of Israel were judged by God.

The story of Baal Peor starts when Balaak, the king of the Moabites, hired Balaam, a prophet-for-hire, to curse Israel. Balaak had seen the progress and might of Israel and was trying to do something that would stop them. Balaam took the money but was unable to curse Israel because the Lord would not allow him to do so. Balaam then met with the king of Moab and went through the motions of receiving a word from God; each time (seven times total) he ended up blessing Israel instead of cursing them (Numbers 23–24). At the time of the third oracle, Balaam and Balaak were observing the Israelite camp from a place called Peor (Numbers 23:28). By the end of the seventh try, Balaak finally got the message that Balaam would not curse Israel for him.

In Numbers 25, we find that the women of Midian began to seduce the men of Israel to sexual sin and to sacrifice to their gods. Since the gods of the pagans were often fertility gods, the “worship” often involved sexual acts. The incident is recorded in Numbers 25:1–3: “While Israel was staying in Shittim (See also What is the significance of Shittim?), the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Midianite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.” As a judgment against the Israelites’ sin, God sent a plague among the people (Nu 25:9).

According to Numbers 31:16+, the women did this on the advice of Balaam. It appears that, since he could not curse Israel, he found another way to fulfill the wishes of Balaak, who was paying him. Balaam knew that, if the Israelite men could be seduced into idol worship, that God Himself would curse them.

The word peor simply means “opening” and is the name of the place (a mountain or a spot on a mountain) from which Balaak and Balaam observed the camp of Israel. The meaning of the word may or may not be significant to the naming of the place. (Perhaps there was a cave opening there or some kind of mountain pass, or perhaps the place was called Peor for some other reason.)

The word baal is simply the word for “lord,” “master,” or “ruler.” Baal became a technical or semi-technical name for the gods of the Canaanites. There was not just one god named Baal, but there were many Baals (many Canaanite “lords”). That is why Numbers 25:3 in the NIV does not use “Baal Peor” as if it were a proper name for a god but uses the term more as a description: “the Baal of Peor,” which could also be translated “the Lord of Peor” or “Lord of the Opening.” Peor might refer to the mountain top from which Balaam and Balaak observed Israel, or it could have something to do with the literal meaning of the word peor (opening), which, in the context of Canaanite worship (and the context of Numbers 25), could have a sexual or scatological connotation. Perhaps the top of the mountain was called Peor because that is where the sexual rites took place.

In any case, Baal Peor is really the Baal of Peor or simply the Lord of Peor, which distinguishes this Baal from all the others. This particular god is referred to again in Numbers 25:5. Then Numbers 25:18 speaks of “the Peor incident,” which sounds like Peor is being used as a place name rather than something based on the meaning of the word.

Deuteronomy 4:3 uses Baal Peor as a place name to refer to the incident recorded in Numbers 25 and in the same verse as a designation for the pagan god. “You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor.” Joshua 22:17 speaks of the “sin of Peor,” and Hosea 9:10 uses Baal Peor to refer to the place where this incident happened: “When they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.” Psalm 106:28 also refers to the Baal of Peor: “They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods.”

So it seems that Peor and Baal Peor are both used as place names to refer to the place where Israel sinned in sexual immorality and in worship of a particular Baal. The Baal in question is referred to as Baal Peor. Perhaps he was already referred to by this name, as he was seen to be in charge of this particular location, or perhaps this is the name that the Israelites gave him after the fact.

In any case, this incident at Baal Peor stands out as the first of many times that Israel fell into immorality and idolatry, and it also serves as a warning to Christians.

The Corinthians would have been particularly susceptible to this kind of temptation, as the city of Corinth was filled with idolatry and sexual immorality. The question of eating at idol temples was debated within the congregation. Although he does not mention Baal Peor by name, Paul refers to that incident in 1 Corinthians 10:8: “We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.” In verses 11–14, Paul goes on to say, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

Many things have changed since Israel’s sin at Baal Peor, but the basic temptations have not. Sexual temptation is ever present in modern societies, and the idols of money, pleasure, fame, and “the good life” also vie to take the place of the One True God in the hearts of many people. Even today, Christians must guard against the sin of Baal Peor.  GotQuestions.org

1 Corinthians 10:9  Nor let us try the Lord (Christos), as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.

Amplified  We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did—and were killed by poisonous serpents; 

Wuest  Neither let us be putting the Lord to an all-out test, trying Him to the utmost, even as certain of them tried Him and by means of snakes were perishing day after day.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:9 And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:9 μηδὲ ἐκπειράζωμεν τὸν Χριστόν, καθώς τινες αὐτῶν ἐπείρασαν καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ὄφεων ἀπώλλυντο.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:9 neither may we tempt the Christ, as also certain of them did tempt, and by the serpents did perish;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us make trial of the Lord, as some of them made trial, and perished by the serpents.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:9 Let us not test Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:9 Nor should we try the patience of the anointed one as some did, and they were destroyed by snakes.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:9 Let us not test Christ as some of them did, and suffered death by serpents.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:9 And we are not to put the Lord to the test; some of them put him to the test, and they were killed by snakes.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:9 We shouldn't put the Lord to the test as some of them did. They were killed by snakes.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:9 And let us not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did, and came to their death by snakes.

  • try: Ex 17:2,7 23:20,21 Nu 21:5 De 6:16 Ps 78:18,56 95:9 106:14 Heb 3:8-11 10:28-30 
  • and were: Nu 21:1-6 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Psalm 78:17-21+  Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert.  18 And in their HEART (NOTE THE SEAT OF THE SIN - IN THEIR HEART!) they put God to the test (Hebrew = nacah/nasah; Septuagint = ekpeirazo the very word Paul uses here in 1 Cor 10:9!)(HOW DID THEY TEST GOD) By asking food according to their desire (TO SATISFY THEIR APPETITE; ESV = FOOD THEY CRAVED).  19 Then they spoke against God; They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?  20 “Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?”  21 Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel, 

Spurgeon on Ps 78:18 - He was not tempted, for he cannot be tempted by any, but they acted in a manner calculated to tempt Him, and it always just to charge that upon men which is the obvious tendency of their conduct. Christ cannot die again, and yet many crucify him afresh, because such would be the legitimate result of their behaviour if its effects were not prevented by other forces. The sinners in the wilderness would have had the Lord change his wise proceedings to humour their whims, hence they are said to tempt him. By asking meat for their lust. Would they have God become purveyor for their greediness? Was there nothing for it but that he must give them whatever their diseased appetites might crave? The sin began in their hearts, but it soon reached their tongues. What they at first silently wished for, they soon loudly demanded with menaces, insinuations, and upbraidings.

Henry Melvill - We know that, although "God cannot be tempted with evil, "he may justly be said to be tempted, whensoever men, by being dissatisfied with his dealings, virtually ask that he will alter those dealings, and proceed in a way more congenial with their feelings. If you reflect a little, you can hardly fail to perceive, that in a very strict sense, this and the like may be said to be a tempting of God. Suppose a man to be discontented with the appointments of Providence; suppose him to murmur and repine at what the Almighty allots him to do or to bear: is he not to be charged with provoking God to change his purpose? and what is this if it be not "tempting" God--a striving to induce him to swerve from his plans, though every one of those plans has been settled by infinite wisdom? Or, again, if any one of us, notwithstanding multiplied proofs of the Divine lovingkindness, doubt or question whether God do indeed love him; of what is he guilty, if not of tempting the Lord, seeing that he solicits God to give additional evidence, as though there were deficiency, and challenges him to fresh demonstrations of what he has already abundantly displayed? This would be called tempting amongst men. If a child were to show by his actions that he doubted or disbelieved the affection of his parents, he would be considered as thereby striving to extort from them fresh proofs of that affection, though they had already done as much as either in justice or in wisdom they ought to have done; this would be a clear tempting of them, and that too in the ordinary sense of the term. In short, unbelief of every kind and degree may be said to be a tempting of God; for not to believe on the evidence which he has seen fit to give, is to tempt him to give more than he has already given--offering our possible assent, if proof were increased, as an inducement to him to go beyond what his wisdom has prescribed... You cannot distrust God, and not accuse him of a want either of power or of goodness; you cannot repine --no, not even in thought--without virtually telling him that his plans are not the best, nor his dispensations the wisest, which might have been appointed in respect of yourselves. So that your fear, or your despondency, or your anxiety in circumstances of perplexity, or of peril, is nothing less than a call upon God to depart from his fixed course, --a suspicion, or rather an assertion, that he might proceed in a manner more worthy of himself, and therefore a challenge to him to alter his dealings, if he would prove that he possesses the attributes which he claims. You may not intend thus to accuse, or provoke God, whenever you murmur; but your murmuring does all this, and cannot fail to do it. You cannot be dissatisfied, without virtually saying that God might order things better; you cannot say that he might order things better, without virtually demanding that he change his course of acting, and give other proofs of his infinite perfections. And thus you tempt him, tempt him even as did the Israelites in the wilderness. 

Numbers 21:4+ Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. 5 (THEY TESTED GOD) The people spoke against God (AND AGAINST CHRIST WHO WAS WITH THEM GIVING THEM FOOD AND WATER) and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” 6 The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived (NOTE - THEY WERE FIRST BITTEN. THEY COULD NOT AVOID THE BITE BY LOOKING, BUT ONLY AVOID THE DEATH BY LOOKING!). (IN Jn 3:14-15+ JESUS ALLUDED TO THIS OT INCIDENT AS A PICTURE OF HIS OFFERING FOR SIN - compare another "look" which saves for eternal death in Isaiah 45:22KJV [Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.], Isa 45:22KJV was the passage the Spirit used to save C H Spurgeon!)


Bronze Serpent on Standard

TRYING THE LORD MAY
COME BACK TO BITE YOU!

Nor let us (present tense - continually) try the Lord (Christos), as some of them did - Amplified = "try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness." Wuest = "Neither let us be putting the Lord to an all-out test, trying Him to the utmost, even as certain of them tried Him " The Greek text actually has Christos  explaining what the NET, NLT, ESV, KJV, CSB, NRSV all translate it as "Christ" instead of "Lord." And it is surely no coincidence that this same verb for try is used to describe the devil tempting the God-Man Jesus in Mt. 4:7+ and Lk. 4:12+. It is as if when we try the Lord we are acting like the devil (or doing his work!) 

We find this sad scene in the book of Numbers where Moses records "The people spoke AGAINST God and Moses (DIRECT FRONTAL VERBAL ASSAULT OF BOTH GOD AND HIS REPRESENTATIVE!), “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we LOATHE (Hebrew = quts = deep emotional reaction issuing in a repulsion of object abhorred; Lxx =  prosochthizo = angry, offended, extremely upset over something someone has done - in this case God and Moses!!!) this MISERABLE food (REFERRING TO GOD'S GRACIOUS PROVISION OF MANNA WHICH ASAPH CALLED "FOOD FROM HEAVEN" Ps 78:24+) .” (Nu 21:5+). Israel's problem was failure to be content with the gracious provision of Jehovah, even having the gall to refer to God's provision as MISERABLE (Hebrew word qeloqel means contemptible, worthless; Lxx = diakenos = quite empty, hollow, worthless, to no purpose)! Woe! I call that trying the LORD to the utmost! Their desire was solely to please themselves with no desire to please the Lord.

Can believers still try God? Absolutely. Ananias and Sapphira tried it, in effect lying that they had given the entire amount of a property sale to God's church and He took both of their lives (Acts 5:3-4, 9+). (Why did God kill Ananias and Sapphira?)

ESV Study Bible - Paul sees Christ as spiritually present with God’s people in OT times (see note on 1 Cor 10:3–4; cf. Jude 5). The Israelites tested Christ (“God” in Nu 21:5) by becoming “impatient” with his provision of water and food.

MacArthur adds that "Many of the Corinthians were pushing their liberty to the limits, to see how much of the flesh they could indulge and how much of the world they could enjoy. They were trying God and risking severe discipline. As some Christians today, they probably said, “This is the age of grace. We are free and God is forgiving. We can’t lose our salvation so why not get everything out of life that we can?”" God’s people have always lived under His grace. Every blessing Israel had, including her being called as God’s special people, was by His grace. She had been delivered from Egypt by God’s grace and she was being sustained and protected by His grace. When she put the Lord to the test, however, she discovered that He had limits which He would not let them cross over without punishment. Some of the Corinthians had gone past that limit and become sick or even died (1 Cor. 11:30).

Jack Arnold -  Some of the Corinthian Christians were testing the Lord with the questionable conduct in doubtful things. They wanted to see how close they could get in libertinism and pagan idol worship without being burned by God. They were in danger of being disqualified. Christians today are constantly testing God, trying to push Him to the limit in patience to see how close to the fire they can get without being disciplined. They see how much sin they can get away with. They play games with God. They test Him in the areas of materialism, worldly attitudes, recreations, sexual morals, church attendance and a thousand other areas. God will only let the Christian go so far before He lowers the boom. Testing God displeases Him, and our testing becomes a basis for disqualification from the spiritual race.

Try (put to the test) (1598ekpeirazo from ek = intensifies + peirazo = to test, tempt) means to test thoroughly, subject to test or proof. To test in order to understand the quality of something, including imperfections, faults or other qualities. Louw-Nida - to try to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting such to thorough and extensive testing Zodhiates adds that "Sinners are said to tempt God (Mt. 4:7; Luke 4:12, Lk 10:25 all previous use ekpeirázō; Acts 5:9 = peirazo; 1 Cor. 10:9), putting Him to the test, refusing to believe Him or His Word until He has manifested His power. (The root verb) Peirázō is predominantly used to try someone in order to show he is not approved of God but reprobate, in the hope that he will break down under the proof. Peirázō is also used for Satan’s solicitations (Matt. 4:1; 1 Cor. 7:5; Rev. 2:10)." Thayer says that try (ekpeirazo) in this passage means "by irreligion and immorality to test the patience or the avenging power of Christ (exalted to God's right hand),"

TDNT  -A rare religious use is for tempting the deity by testing the truth of an oracle. (On tempting God TDNT adds) The OT offers many instances of human tempting of God. In Ex. 17:2 Moses asks why the complaining people are putting God to the test. Num. 14:22 contains God's judgment on those who put him to the proof. To tempt God is to fail to accept his power or his will to save. It is to challenge him in doubt and unbelief. True love of God rules out the testing of God (Dt. 6:16-17 ). The strong tradition that one must not tempt God explains the reasoning of Ahaz in Is. 7:12, although in this case the prohibition does not apply, for God offers a sign.....Tempting God. In 1 Cor. 10:9 Paul uses an OT illustration to back up his warning that believers must not “test” or “challenge” God. Heb. 3:8-9 quotes Ps. 95 to the same effect. In Acts 5:9 Peter accuses Ananias and Sapphira of challenging the Spirit by their deceit, for the Spirit sees all things. In 15:10 Peter warns the assembly not to test God by imposing the law on Gentile believers, for by means of the vision God has shown that their freedom from the law is in accordance with his will.

Ekpeirazo - 4x in the NT - Mt. 4:7; Lk. 4:12; Lk. 10:25; 1 Co. 10:9. Four times in the Septuagint - Deut. 6:16; Deut. 8:2; Deut. 8:16; Ps. 78:18; 

And were destroyed by the serpents - Destroyed in in the imperfect tense indicating that they were perishing day after day, one after another was bitten and died. Scripture does not tell us how many died but it was many not just a few. Moses records "The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died." (Nu 21:6+)

Note that God gave Israel the bronze serpent to look at to be saved from dying after being bitten by the serpent and Jesus used this metaphorical picture of Himself in John 3:14-15+ declaring "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, (Nu 21:8-9+) even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life." The irony of this story is that Israel turned the bronze serpent into an IDOL! Some 730 years later in making reforms in his kingdom, godly King Hezekiah had the bronze serpent destroyed.

He (HEZEKIAH) removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it (AKA IT BECAME AN IDOL!); and it was called Nehushtan ("a mere piece of bronze"--a contemptuous unmasking of what the relic really was). (2 Ki 18:4).  (See What was Nehushtan? | GotQuestions.org)

Destroyed (perished) (622)(apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy) means to destroy utterly but not to cause one to cease to exist eternally. This verb includes the idea of ruin which means to damage the quality or value of something irreparably! This what happened to Israel. The Israelites did "cease to exist" on earth, but they were not annihilated in Sheol. (See Eternal Punishment)

1 Corinthians 10:10  Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

Amplified  Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did—and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). 

Wuest  Stop grumbling, discontentedly complaining, even as certain of them grumbled and kept on being destroyed one after another by the destroyer.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:10 And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:10 And don't grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:10 And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:10 μηδὲ γογγύζετε, καθάπερ τινὲς αὐτῶν ἐγόγγυσαν καὶ ἀπώλοντο ὑπὸ τοῦ ὀλοθρευτοῦ.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:10 neither murmur ye, as also some of them did murmur, and did perish by the destroyer.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:10 Nor should we complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:10 Nor be complainers as were some of them, and they were destroyed by the terminator.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:10 And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:10 Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:10 Never complain; some of them complained, and they were killed by the Destroyer.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:10 Don't complain as some of them did. The angel of death destroyed them.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:10 And do not say evil things against the Lord, as some of them did, and destruction overtook them.

  • grumble: Ex 15:24 Ex 16:2-9 Ex 17:2,3 Nu 14:2-3,27-30 16:41 Ps 106:25 Php 2:14 Jude 1:16 
  • were: Nu 14:37 16:46-49 
  • destroyer: Ex 12:23 2Sa 24:16 1Ch 21:15 2Ch 32:21 Mt 13:39-42 Ac 12:23 2Th 1:7,8 Heb 11:28 Rev 16:1
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Korah Confronts Moses

Related Passages:

Exodus 15:24+  So the people GRUMBLED  at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

Exodus 16:2-9+ (KORAH'S REBELLION) The whole congregation of the sons of Israel GRUMBLED against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. 5 “On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, for He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and what are we, that you grumble against us?” 8 Moses said, “This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your GRUMBLINGS which you GRUMBLE against Him. And what are we? Your GRUMBLINGS are not against us but against the LORD.”  9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, ‘Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your GRUMBLINGS.’”

Numbers 14:2-3+ All the sons of Israel GRUMBLED against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 “Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”

Numbers 14:27-30+ “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are GRUMBLING against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. 28 “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have GRUMBLED against Me. 30‘ Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

Numbers 14:36+  As for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land,
37  even those men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a plague before the LORD.


God Opened the Grave!

Numbers 16:32-35+ (KORAH'S FATE) and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 All Israel who were around them fled at their outcry, for they said, “The earth may swallow us up!” 35 Fire also came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense. 


High Priest Standing Between the Living and the Dead

Numbers 16:41-50+  But on the next day (AFTER KORAH AND OTHER REBELS WERE KILLED) all the congregation of the sons of Israel GRUMBLED against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You are the ones who have caused the death of the LORD’S people (KORAH AND FAMILY ABOVE).” 42 It came about, however, when the congregation had assembled AGAINST (SAME PICTURE IN Ex 16:2 = "AGAINST") Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tent of meeting, and behold, the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.” Then they fell on their faces. 46 Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun!” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken, and ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked. 49 But those who died by the plague were 14,700, besides those who died on account of Korah. 50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the doorway of the tent of meeting, for the plague had been checked.

Related Resource:

Deuteronomy 1:27 and you grumbled in your tents and said, ‘Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us.

Psalm 106:24-26+  Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word,  25 But grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the LORD.  26 Therefore He swore to them That He would cast them down in the wilderness, 

Jude 1:5+  Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

All 18 mentions of grumbling in the OT - Exod. 15:24; Exod. 16:2; Exod. 16:7; Exod. 16:8; Exod. 16:9; Exod. 16:12; Exod. 17:3; Num. 14:2; Num. 14:27; Num. 14:29; Num. 14:36; Num. 16:11; Num. 16:41; Num. 17:5; Num. 17:10; Deut. 1:27; Jos. 9:18; Ps. 106:25; Matt. 20:11; Lk. 5:30; Lk. 15:2; Lk. 19:7; Jn. 6:41; Jn. 6:43; Jn. 6:61; Jn. 7:12; 1 Co. 10:10; Phil. 2:14; Jude 1:16

STRONG WARNING AGAINST
RUMBLING GRUMBLING GRUMBLERS!

"Two sounds accompany the people as they wander in the wilderness: the rumbling of a nation on the march and the grumbling of the people as they complain about the food, water, and leadership." (Daily Walk)

Nor grumble, as some of them did (gogguzo is repeated), and were destroyed (apollumi) by the destroyer - Nor  grumble is not the best translation, for this is a specific command which the NET Bible renders "Do not complain." (gogguzo) in the present imperative with a negative  (see how this is possible below). Stop giving audible expression to unwarranted dissatisfaction! The idea is "Stop grumbling, discontentedly complaining" (Wuest), indicating that some of the saints at Corinth were in the process of murmuring, but Paul does not give us any details regarding what they were grumbling over. 

Why is grumbling such a big deal? When we grumble and complain about our circumstances (our lot in life) we are in effect showing our dissatisfaction against the sovereignty of God (cf Ro 9:19-20+)(as if He was not able to control our situation or circumstance)! Grumbling contains the idea men instead of giving God thanks and showing obedience to Him, set themselves up in effect as judges over God! Woe! So while grumbling seems like a "minor" sin, clearly it is a "major" sin which God takes very seriously.

Complaining dishonors our heavenly Father; contentment glorifies Him.
-- John MacArthur 

MacArthur identifies this example with Korah's rebellion in Numbers 16 (although "the destroyer" is not specifically mentioned) writing - After Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their fellow rebels were destroyed by the Lord (Num. 16:32–35), “all the congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘You are the ones who have caused the death of the Lord’s people’ ” (v. 41). God was so incensed at their complaints about divine justice that He immediately sent a plague that killed 14,700 people. The destroyer was the same angel who had slain the firstborn of the Egyptians before Israel left Egypt (Ex. 12:23), who would kill 70,000 men because of David’s census (2 Sam. 24:15–16), and who, in response to the prayer of Isaiah and Hezekiah, would destroy the entire Assyrian army that was besieging Jerusalem (2 Chr 32:21).

Knofel Staton - Grumbling is a sin just as serious as idol worship, sexual immorality, and having it your way over God’s. Grumbling places a barrier between a person and God. It also drives a wedge between him and the other people against whom he grumbles (I Corinthians).

Brian Bell -  Do you meet life with a whine or a cheer?  We have perfected the art of grumbling! Matter of fact we even can do it when everything is going great! – I’ll show you… Have you ever complained of not having enough room in your closet…because of having so many clothes? Have you ever complained of your freezer being too full to place something in it?

Swindoll In a context of self-seeking schism, the Corinthian Christians, too, tended to complain, grumble, and rebel against those who had been placed in authority over them. (Ibid)

Spurgeon - It is a dreadful habit to get into,— that of complaining against God. Occasional murmuring is doubtless sinful, but habitual murmuring becomes a very great evil. I am afraid that there are some who cavil at God’s providence, and cavil at his Word, till they come to be cavillers and nothing else; and what good is a man who can do nothing else but carp, and cavil, and criticize? O beloved, “neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”

In 1 Cor 11:1+ Paul commands the Corinthians (and us) to "Be (present imperative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." And what was Paul's example? Instead of grumbling, Paul manifested contentment writing

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Php 4:11-13+)

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Gotquestions notes that "while it is not wrong to complain to God, it is wrong to complain about God. Those that did so met the anger of the Lord, as was the case of Moses’ sister Miriam (Numbers 12) and Korah and Dathan (Numbers 16). But note that they spoke against God’s servant and, in doing so, spoke against God Himself." (What does the Bible say about complaining?)

THOUGHT - Amidst the trials of your life, are you groaning or grumbling? How you answer that question reflects whether or not you understand and accept the fact that this earthly sojourn is God's time and means of making you Christlike in preparation for eternity. (Romans 8:28-30)  (Facts of the Matter)

Note why Paul commands the saints at Philippi not to even start grumbling, writring

"Do (present imperative  see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) all things without grumbling or disputing, (WHY? A HIGH AND HOLY PURPOSE) so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (Php 2:14-15+)

COMMENT: Grumbling is so significant because it dims our "light" to the lost world! As noted above, we need the Spirit's enabling power not to grumble (you never grumble do you?)! And in the immediately preceding context Paul describes God's gracious provision writing that "God (HIS HOLY SPIRIT) is (CONTINUALLY ENERGIZING) working in you, giving you the DESIRE (THE "WANT TO" - OUR FLESH DOES NOT "WANT TO!") and the POWER (dunamis - INHERENT POWER TO ACCOMPLISH SUPERNATURALLY WHAT WE CANNOT ACCOMPLISH NATURALLY!)  to do what pleases him (Phi 2:13 NLT+).

Grumble (1111gogguzo means to murmurmutter, make complaining remarks or noises under one's breath. In 1 Co 10:10 it is used with idea of complaint (cf Nu 11:1). Gogguzo is an onomatopoeic word derived from the sound made when murmuring or muttering in a low and indistinct voice with the idea of complaint. In short this word gives us a vivid picture to help us imagine this scene of religious hypocrites making audible expressions of their dissatisfaction with Jesus and His acceptance of a despised tax collector even to the point of willingness to fellowship over a meal with him! Philosophers also warned against grumbling, noting that one ought to accept whatever the gods and Fate would send. Webster's English Dictionary has this note on grumble -  to complain in a low harsh voice and often in a surly manner <workers grumbling about the low wages. Synonyms include croak, grouch, grouse, grunt, murmur, mutter, scold; compare complain, bellyache, crab, fuss, gripe, holler, squawk, whine; groan, moan; complain, kick.  Gene Brooks in the LXX gogguzo is used to describe the murmuring of Israel in the Wilderness (Ex. 15:24; 16:7-12; 17:3; Num 11:1; 14:2, 27-29, 36;16:11, 14; 17:5, 10) and of Israel’s rebellion against God (Ps 59:15; Ps106:25; 1 Cor 10:10). 

Destroyer (3644)(olothreutes from olethros = destruction, death, used in Heb 11:28+ to describe the "destroyer") destroyer; in the NT an angel sent as the agent of divine punishment. Only here in the NT and not found in Septuagint. The related verb olethreuo (not found in the NT) is used in Ex 12:23+ to describe the "destroyer" Another sources says the destroyer is "Perhaps a reference to the angel of destruction whom the rabbis called Mashhith" (Destroying Angel - Wikipedia).

McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Destroyer = (מִשְׁחַית )PM, mashchith', Exodus 12:23; — λοθρευτής, 1 Corinthians 10:10), an exterminator (see Bromel, De angelo exterminatore, Jen. 1685; also in the Thesaur. Theol. philolog. V. T. 1:301 sq.). The Hebrews were accustomed by a figure to speak of any superhuman agency as that of an angel (see George Bush Note on Exodus 3:2); and whenever this had a providential aspect it was attributed to a divine messenger (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Samuel 24:15,"16; Psalms 78:49; Acts 12:23). (See ANGEL). Even Satan's malignity is represented as thus employed (Job 2:6-7). (See also International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Destroyer)

MURMURING AGAINST GOD - Exodus 5:22,23; 16:8,12; Numbers 14:26-37; 17:10,11; Job 15:11-13; 33:12,13; 34:37; Psalm 37:1; 44:9-26; 73:13-22; Ps 78:17-21; Proverbs 19:3; Ecclesiastes 7:10; Jeremiah 15:10; Lamentations 3:39; Malachi 3:14; Luke 10:40; Romans 9:19,20; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:14; James 5:9; Jude 1:16

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - MURMUR  - The Hebrew word ( לוּן , lūn ) denotes the semi-articulated mutterings of disaffected persons. It is used in connection with the complaints of the Israelites in the desert against Yahweh on the one hand, and against Moses and Aaron on the other hand Exodus 16:7-8; Numbers 14:27, Numbers 14:36; Numbers 16:11; Numbers 17:5 . In three places Dt 1:27; Ps 106:25; Isa 29:24 , "murmur" translates a Hebrew word (רגן , rāghan) which suggests the malicious whispering of slander. In the New Testament "murmur" renders two different words, namely, γογγύζω , goggúzō , and ἐμβριμάομαι , embrimáomai . The latter word suggests indignation and fault-finding ( Mark 14:4 the King James Version). The former word (or a compound of it) is generally used in connection with the complainings of the Pharisees and scribes Matthew 20:11; Luke 5:30; Luke 15:2; Luke 19:7 .

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William MacDonald - “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer,” (1 Cor. 10:10)

The Israelites were chronic complainers as they trekked through the desert. They complained about the water supply. They complained about the food supply. They complained about their leaders. When God gave them manna from heaven, they soon grew tired of it and longed for the leeks, onions and garlic of Egypt. Although there were no food markets or shoe stores in the wilderness, God provided an unfailing supply of groceries for forty years, and shoes that never wore out. Yet instead of being grateful for this miraculous provision, the Israelites complained without letup.

Times haven’t changed. Men today complain about the weather: it’s either too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry. They complain about the food, like lumpy gravy or burnt toast. They complain about their work and wages, then about unemployment when they have neither. They find fault with the government and its taxes, at the same time demanding ever-increasing benefits and services. They are unhappy with other people, with their car, with service in the restaurant. They complain about minor pains and aches, and wish they were taller, thinner, better looking. No matter how good God has been to them, they say, “What’s He done for me lately?”

It must be a trial to God to have people like us on His hands. He has been so good to us, providing not only the necessities of life, but luxuries which His own Son did not enjoy when He was here upon earth. We have good food, pure water, comfortable homes, clothes in abundance. We have sight, hearing, appetite, memory and so many other mercies that we take for granted. He has protected us, guided us and sustained us. Best of all, He has given us eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And what thanks does He receive? Too often He hears nothing but a tirade of complaints.

I had a friend in Chicago years ago who had a good answer when asked, “How are you?” He would always reply, “It would be a sin to complain.” I often think of that when tempted to murmur. It’s a sin to complain. The antidote to complaining is thanksgiving. When we remember all that the Lord has done for us, we realize that we have no reason to complain.


Walk Thru the Bible - Good Things

Nor should we complain as some of them did. (1 Cor. 10:10)

I set a platter of chicken down on the table, and before I could sit down, my seven-year-old daughter, Emma, crinkled her nose and said, “Ewww. Do I have to eat that?”
“Yes,” my husband, Dan, replied. “If you’re hungry, that’s what’s for dinner. Your mother is not fixing everyone separate meals.”

Emma and my nine-year-old son, Jack, had been doing a lot of complaining lately, and frankly I was tired of it. They complained about the meals I served, their toys, their clothes, our family rules. So after the kids were in bed, Dan and I talked about how we could teach the kids to stop complaining and be more grateful. We knew the Lord wanted all of us to be grateful for the blessings He has given us.

I began to realize that I did more than my fair share of complaining. I complained about waiting in line at the grocery store, driving a well-used car, my wardrobe, the low speed limit on Clarkson Road. Yet each of these is an example of my heavenly Father’s love and provision—abundant choices at the grocery store, a car that runs, plenty of clothes, and rules for my protection, not to mention a healthy family and many other blessings.

Being a parent to a complaining child can give us a little insight into how God feels when we are ungrateful. In Exodus the Israelites witnessed God perform incredible miracles: the plagues, deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea. Yet they complained. When God sent them manna, they demanded meat. We’re really not much different on most days. And if “His anger burned” against them (Num. 11:1), as ours does at times against ungrateful children, we should know why our calling is to be thankful in all things (Eph. 5:18–20).


Jon Courson -   Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.   I Corinthians 10:10

After being covered by the cloud and provided for by the goodness and graciousness of the Father, as the Israelites were poised to enter the Land of Promise, Moses sent twelve spies to check out the land. And although they returned with reports of its beauty, although they returned with fruit as proof of its productivity, they also returned with reports of Anakim—giants they believed were sure to squish them like bugs should they dare to enter (Numbers 13:26–33). 

But there were two spies who had a different perspective. ‘Don’t rebel against the Lord,’ said Joshua and Caleb. ‘Don’t fear the people of the land for they are our bread’ (Numbers 14:9). I love that! Caleb said, ‘These giants are bread for us. We’ll eat them up. And as a result, we’ll actually be stronger for battle.’ 

Forty years later, it was to an 85-year-old Caleb that Joshua said, ‘We made it, Caleb. Out of the original 3 million, it’s just you and me. Take any territory you want. It’s time to retire.’ But what does Caleb say?

Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. 


J R Miller - "Do not grumble!" 1 Corinthians 10:10

No spirit is more fruitful of discomfort, than that of habitual complaining. It makes misery in him who indulges it—and in those who suffer from contact with it. The complaining man is never happy himself. Indeed, he strives not to be happy, since in whatever circumstances he finds himself—he at once sets about trying to discover something unpleasant. Of course he never seeks in vain; for people find in this world, what they look for. It would not be so bad, if he made only himself miserable—but he succeeds also in imparting more or less of his wretchedness, to all he meets. It is about as poor a use of one's immortal powers, as one can find—to live to grumble and thus add to the unhappiness of others!


A murmuring spirit - from the classic "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" by Jeremiah Burroughs, (1600-1646)

"Why have You brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness? There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!" Numbers 21:5

"How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who murmur against Me?" Numbers 14:27

I am discontented because I have not those things which God has never promised me.
A wicked man wonders that his cross is so much.
A godly man wonders that his cross is not more.
The wicked man knows of no way to get contentment, but to have his possessions raised up to his desires.
But the Christian has another way to contentment, that is, he can bring his desires down to his possessions, and so he attains his contentment.
The world is infinitely deceived in thinking that contentment lies in having more than we already have.
Here lies the bottom and root of all contentment — when there is an evenness and proportion between our hearts and our circumstances. That is why many godly men who are in low position, live more sweet and comfortable lives than those who are richer.
Grace enables believers to see love in the very frown of God's face!
One drop of Divine sweetness will sweeten a great deal of sour affliction.
A thankful heart loves to acknowledge God whenever it has received any mercy.
Oh, that we could but convince men that a murmuring spirit is a greater evil than any affliction, whatever the affliction!

"Do not murmur, as some of them did — and were killed by the destroying angel." 1 Corinthians 10:10


R E Neighbour - “Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured.” (I Cor. 10:10.)

      Stand in thy lot,
      And murmur not;
  What though fierce storms, dark, lower about;
  What though wild foes around thee shout?
  Thy God will surely help thee out
      For He is nigh.
      Whate’er thy lot,
      Still murmur not;
  Trust God, and take what He doth send;
  Sunshine and shadows, He will blend,
  Thou wilt His plan well comprehend
      In yonder sky.

ONE of the sins which hinders the Christian’s race is “murmuring.” It is a sin of sins, and yet, it is most common among saints. Christians murmur at this, and murmur at that, and murmur at everything. Some people seem to have been born with a murmuring bent.
May the Lord help us. When the children of Israel were overthrown in the wilderness, God wrote this memorial: “They murmured.” For this, God was displeased with them.
Murmuring is a child of unbelief and discontent. Therefore, to conquer this foe, we should cultivate faith in God. We should learn to trust Him whatever befalls. In whatsoever state we find ourselves, we must, therewith, be content.
Just as murmuring dishonors the God of all grace, so does faith and praise honor Him, and bring glory to His name. Let us, then, turn our murmurings into praise.
      When murmurs stand ready to grip us,
      Of happiness ready to strip us,
           Our voices in anthems we’ll raise,
           And banish our murmurs with praise.
      When fretfulness seeks to entrap us,
      With garments of grief to enwrap us,
           Just start up a volume of song,
           ’Twill give you the vict’ry along.
“Some of them murmured” and they never entered in. Their bodies were overthrown in the wilderness.
 


Oswald Chambers - Neither murmur ye. —1 Corinthians 10:10

PERHAPS THE MOST SUBTLE FALSE standard of spirituality arises from a selfish adherence to one’s own convictions. A sad history of severities, stunted lives, broken hearts, and distorted visions of God has arisen from not understanding this wrong and warped method of Christian living. 

There is a spiritual sensitiveness which makes one’s own personal convictions the standard of spirituality, and which is more concerned about adherence to these convictions than obedience to the Lord. It is a moment of eternal value when we discover that God does not guide us by abstract principles, but by Jesus Christ our Lord. 

When we worship the holiness of our own convictions instead of our holy Lord, there is an element in human nature that makes us all possible popes and intolerant upholders of our personal views. 


Rumblings

Read: Numbers 16:41-50 
Some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. —1 Corinthians 10:10

How would you feel if today’s newspaper reported that the military had executed 15,000 people? Suppose the victims were not criminals, foreign agitators, or political radicals, but ordinary citizens who were protesting the way their country was being run.

Such a possibility seems unthinkable. Yet in Numbers 16 we read that God responded like that to ancient Israel. He took the lives of 15,000 of His chosen people because they were complaining about the way He was caring for them.

Not long after their miracle-filled deliverance from Egypt, they started dragging their feet. They didn’t like the trouble they were encountering on the way to the Promised Land. They murmured about their leaders, about what God was feeding them, and about the risk involved in moving into the land of Canaan. The people longed for “the good old days,” and their unbelief provoked the righteous indignation of God.

Their kind haven’t died out entirely. They weren’t the last to complain rather than move ahead in faith. How many of us grumble when God doesn’t give us what we want? A wise person wouldn’t be caught dead complaining against God.

The ones who of their lot complain
Displease the Lord and cause Him pain;
But thankful hearts are His delight,
And they find favor in His sight.  
—Bosch

Faith flourishes in the garden of gratitude.

Torrey's Topic
Grumbling or Murmuring

Forbidden 1 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:14

AGAINST

God Proverbs 19:3

The sovereignty of God Romans 9:19,20

The service of God Malachi 3:14

Christ Luke 5:30; 15:2; 19:7; John 6:41-43,52

Ministers of God Exodus 17:3; Numbers 16:41

Disciples of Christ Matthew 7:2; Luke 5:30; 6:2

Unreasonableness of Lamentations 3:39

Tempts God Exodus 17:2

Provokes God Numbers 14:2,11; Deuteronomy 9:8,22

Saints cease from Isaiah 29:23,24

Characteristic of the wicked Jude 1:16

Guilt of encouraging others in Numbers 13:31-33; 14:36,37

Punishment of Numbers 11:1; 14:27-29; 16:45,46; Psalm 106:25,26

Illustrated Matthew 20:11; Luke 15:29,30

Exemplified

Cain Genesis 4:13,14

Moses Exodus 5:22,23

Israelites Exodus 14:11; 15:24; 16:2; 17:2,3; Numbers 11:1-4; 21:5

Aaron, &c Numbers 12:1,2,8

Korah &c Numbers 16:3

Elijah 1 Kings 19:4

Job Job 3:1-26

Jeremiah Jeremiah 20:14-18

Jonah Jonah 4:8,9

Disciples Mark 14:4,5; John 6:61

Pharisees Luke 15:2; 19:7

Jews John 6:41-43

Grecians Acts 6:1


NAVES EXAMPLES OF MURMURING

  • Cain Genesis 4:13,14
  • Rachel Genesis 30:1
  • Moses Exodus 5:22,23; Numbers 11:11-15
  • Israelites Exodus 5:21; 14:11,12; 15:23,24; 16:2,3; 17:2,3; Numbers 11:1-10,33; 14; 16:41; 20:2-5; 21:5,6; Deuteronomy 1:27,28
  • Korah Numbers 16:8-11
  • Job Job 3; 6; 7; 9; 10; 13; 19; 23; 30
  • David 2 Samuel 6:8; Psalm 116:10,11
  • Asaph Psalm 73:3
  • Elijah 1 Kings 19:4,10
  • Solomon Ecclesiastes 2:17,18
  • Hezekiah Isaiah 38:10-18
  • Jeremiah Jeremiah 20:14-18; Lamentations 3
  • Jonah Jonah 4
  • Jews, against Jesus John 6:41-43,52

1 Corinthians 10:11  Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Amplified  Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).

Wuest  Now, these things were happening to them from time to time by way of examples, and they were written for our admonition to whom the ends of the ages have come.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates Now all these things were taking place as examples one after the other to them, and they were recorded for the proper setting of our mind for whom the ends of the ages finally arrived.

NET  1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:11 ταῦτα δὲ τυπικῶς συνέβαινεν ἐκείνοις, ἐγράφη δὲ πρὸς νουθεσίαν ἡμῶν, εἰς οὓς τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων κατήντηκεν.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:11 And all these things as types did happen to those persons, and they were written for our admonition, to whom the end of the ages did come,

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them to be exemplary consequences of behavior; they were recorded for our admonition—for us who have arrived at the end-times of the ages.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:11 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.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were described in writing to be a lesson for us, to whom it has fallen to live in the last days of the ages.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to make them an example for others. These things were written down as a warning for us who are living in the closing days of history.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things were done as an example; and were put down in writing for our teaching, on whom the last days have come.

  • they: 1Co 9:10 Ro 15:4 
  • upon: 1Co 7:29 Php 4:5 Heb 10:25,37 1Jn 2:18 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

AN EXAMPLE FOR
BELIEVERS OF EVERY AGE

Now these things happened (sumbaino = were coming together to form an event) to them as an example - What things? The tragic tales of Israel in their 40 years of wilderness wandering (1 Cor 10:5-10) Happening is in the imperfect tense indicating these things were no isolated slippages into sin but kept happening over and over, again and again! "It refers to the events of the wilderness sojourn as having taken place one after the other, and putting them all together, they become lessons in their totality from which we should learn." (Zodhiates) The word example is at the beginning of the Greek sentence for emphasis -- Paul did not want them to miss the import of these OT examples!

Example is the word tupikos (used only here) and derived from tupos which has the idea of to strike with a blow for the purpose of leaving an impression. As Brian Bell adds this word "Was used for the nail prints in Jesus’ hands (Jn 20:25). It was used for stamping the imprint of the emperor on coins. Like memory foam beds – get up leaves an impression for a while.Thus these wilderness experiences should make a strong, permanent impression on us!   Lk.12:48b+ says "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."  God saw fit to privilege us, we ought to respond w/a gracious spirit  and an obedient heart!"

Spurgeon - The apostle has told us that before, but he tells it to us again, to warn us, by these beacons, lest we come to a similar destruction to that which befell those ancient unbelievers....They were like a ‘book in which we might read our own history in large characters. We see ourselves foreshadowed in them, and we read our happiness or our misery in their behaviour.

And they were written - How sad that some preachers today denigrate the study of the Old Testament (cf Andy Stanley), a false teaching that directly counters Paul's words in this passage! It is as if folks like Stanley are saying "Well yes they were written but they are not really helpful for modern Christian living." (See resources below)

For our instruction - Amplified = "were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction." Instruction (see more below) is teaching, yes, but it has a deeper meaning of conveying an an admonition or warning, exactly the intent of Paul's preceding 4 examples of Israel's sad sins. The noun nouthesia describes "ethical and corrective instruction in regard to belief or behavior." (Friberg). Instruction "is counsel given to persuade a person to change behavior in light of judgment." (MacArthur)

He who fails to learn from spiritual history is doomed to relive it.

Zodhiates adds nouthesia "is any word of encouragement or reproof which leads to correct behavior and results in a proper mind-setting (cf uses in Eph 6:4, Titus 3:10)....The Apostle Paul lets us know that our minds must be set on a path that is pleasing to the Lord and under control. As a little child must learn to control himself, so must we in our Christian walk." We cannot test God and grumble, disregarding His abundant and miraculous care of us, and experience no repercussions. The eternal law of sowing and reaping stated by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 6:7 holds firm: "Be you not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap." One difficulty in fully comprehending this law is that in the physical world it does not always take long to reap the results of that which we sow. If we disobey the law of gravity and decide to test it and throw ourselves from a high place, we shall instantly be injured or even killed. If we touch fire, we shall be burned immediately. But when we disobey the spiritual laws of God, His mercifulness and long-suffering enter into the picture. In His mercy, He postpones the results of our spiritual disobedience. 

Warning (3559) (nouthesia from noutheteo= literally "put in mind" from noús = mind + títhemi = to place or put -- it describes exertion of influence upon nous implying resistance) is any word of encouragement or reproof which leads to correct behavior. It conveys the idea of giving one counsel about avoiding or ceasing an improper course of conduct. Nouthesia can mean advise given concerning dangerous consequences of a happening or action. TDNT writes that the related verb noutheteo…"means “to impart understanding,” “to set right,” “to lay on the heart.” The stress is on influencing not merely the intellect but the will and disposition. The word thus acquires such senses as “to admonish,” “to warn,” “to remind,” and “to correct.” It describes a basic means of education. Philo and Clement of Alexandria speak about God or Christ warning, censuring, and encouraging us in this way. The idea is not that of punishment but of a moral appeal that leads to amendment. In this sense it takes on the meaning “to discipline.” Philosophy, however, does not use it technically for its own work. Nouthesia - 3x in NT - 1 Co. 10:11; Eph. 6:4; Titus 3:10. Paul had used the root verb earlier in 1 Cor 4:14+ = " I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish (noutheteo) you as my beloved (agapetos) children." 

Related Resource:

Zodhiates - Although those events took place many years ago, they are definitely related to our present life and our future destiny. Madame Chiang Kai-shek said, "We live in the present, we dream of the future, but we learn eternal truths from the past." And again, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., declared, "A page of history is worth a volume of logic."

Upon whom the ends (telos) of the ages (aion) have come - We are in the age of grace, the age that will (soon) end when Messiah returns to vindicate His Name and His claim on planet earth and set up His Millennial Kingdom in which His saints will rule with Him. One has to wonder how being "disqualified" in this age (while we are still alive) will impact our enjoyment of His Kingdom and thereafter our enjoyment of eternity. (Just wondering).Have come means "to come down to a meeting (LOVE THIS ONE - THERE IS A "MEETING" COMING, A MEETING IN THE AIR! 1 Th 4:17+ WHEN WE "MEET [apantesis] THE LORD IN THE AIR!" AT THE END OF THIS AGE), to arrive at a goal, to come to." Have come is in the perfect tense indicating it began to come to an end in the past (presumably at the First Coming of Christ which marked the beginning of the "Last Days" - cf Heb. 1:2+) and it is in force or as Zodhiates says "has arrived and is already here." In other words we are now living in the "Last Days."

One source says the end of the ages "In Jewish writing the term means the beginning of redemption or the time of the Messiah’s appearing or “the end,”"

Paul believed he and his readers were living in the Last Days of world history before the breaking in of the Messianic Age

Reformation Study Bible has an interesting note - This statement reflects Paul’s conviction that the coming of Christ inaugurated the “Last Days” (Heb. 1:2+), the time when the great promises of the Old Testament come to pass (cf. 1 Cor 1:20+). By pointing out this theme, Paul helps the Corinthians to realize that the Old Testament events looked forward and applied to them. Moreover, these facts suggest that, given their privileged position, the Corinthians ought to recognize their greater responsibility (cf. Heb. 11:39-40+).

MacArthur on the ends of the agesThe ends of the ages refers to the time of Messiah, the time of redemption, the Last Days of world history before the messianic kingdom comes. We are living in a greatly different age from that of the Hebrews in the wilderness under Moses, but we can learn a valuable lesson from their experience. Like them we can forfeit our blessing, reward, and effectiveness in the Lord’s service if, in overconfidence and presumption, we take our liberties too far and fall into disobedience and continual, unrepentant sin. We will not lose our salvation, but we can easily lose our virtue and our usefulness (contrast those who are useful - 2 Ti 2:21+), and become disqualified in the race of the Christian life.

Have come (2658) (katantao from katá intensifier + antáo = meet) means to come to or to arrive at and literally referred to finishing a journey or arrive at one's destination. It denotes movement towards a goal, the goal in this case being the return of the Redeemer to set up His righteous kingdom. As alluded to above this verb katantao is related to the word for "meeting," apantesis, (apó = from + antáo = to come opposite to, meet face to face), apantesis describing especially a meeting of two who are coming from different directions! (see 1 Th 4:17+)

Related Resource:


Heed The Warning

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1,5-11 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 14-15; Luke 22:21-46

These things . . . were written for our admonition. —1 Corinthians 10:11

In the months following the devastating Asian tsunami of December 2004, an amazing story of survival emerged from Simeulue Island, the closest inhabited land to the epicenter of the earthquake.

A news report said that only 7 of the remote Indonesian island’s 75,000 inhabitants died when 30-foot waves struck just half an hour after the quake. For decades, the people had heard stories told by their grandparents of giant waves that killed thousands on this same island in 1907. So when the ground shook and the sea retreated from the shore, the people recalled their grandparents’ warnings and fled to high ground.

First Corinthians 10 describes a spiritual disaster we can avoid. After the people of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt, they continued to turn away from the Lord. Recounting their recurring self-indulgence and its disastrous results, Paul wrote: “Now these things became our examples . . . . And they were written for our admonition” (vv.6,11). The story of their failure has been preserved so we can avoid the same disaster of disobedience.

If there are warning signs in our lives today, it’s time to run from self-destructive sin to the high ground of God’s forgiving grace.

The Bible is filled with example and teaching
  On how to avoid all the pitfalls of sin;
  And if we will learn from its people and precepts,
  The struggles and battles of life we can win.  
—Hess

A warning heeded is a disaster avoided.


Tell Me The Story

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 63-65; Romans 6

All these things happened to them as examples, and . . . for our admonition. —1 Corinthians 10:11

Now that I have grandkids, I’m back into the classic children’s Bible stories. Wide-eyed stories like David and Goliath, Noah’s ark, and Jonah and the big fish quickly capture a child’s imagination!

But there’s a danger here—not with the stories themselves but rather with our attitude toward them. If we view them simply as kids’ stories, kind of like the Grimm’s Fairy Tales of the Bible, we miss the point.

The stories of the Bible were never meant to be outgrown. There are profound lessons to be learned from the amazing accounts of those who faced giants, floods, and fish!

Hundreds of years after the fact, the apostle Paul explained that the things that happened to Moses and the Israelites as they wandered through the desert “happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition” (1 Cor. 10:11). These stories are about us. They mirror the tensions we face daily as we too seek to apply God’s will and ways to the realities of our lives. They teach us of the treachery of sin, our desperate need to trust God unflinchingly, and the importance of staying faithful and true to Him regardless of what happens.

Don’t ignore the old stories. You might be surprised what God wants to teach you through them.

We learn the blessed Word of God
  To fix it firmly in our heart,
  And when we act upon that Word
  Its truth from us will not depart.
—D. De Haan

Stories from the past can give us pointers for the present.


Real People

Read: Psalm 78:1-8

All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition. —1 Corinthians 10:11

Author Ronald Rood visited a class of second-graders and gave a slide presentation of a Hawaiian volcano. The pictures showed molten lava pouring into the sea and steam rising a mile into the air. The scene was so graphic that the children could almost hear the roar. Rood then passed around a piece of lava for the youngsters to examine. After it was handled by two dozen hands, one little boy brought the rock back to the front. Carefully cradling it in his hand, he exclaimed with wide eyes, “Mr. Rood, it’s still warm!”

That’s the power of imagination! If only the biblical accounts of God’s people would come alive like that to us. The reality expressed in the stories of the Bible needs to take hold of us. Moses, for instance, knew what it was like to feel insecure. The people he led out of Egypt cried hot, salty tears that left streaks on their windblown faces. Their hearts pounded when they were scared. Their heads hurt when they were tired and hungry. The vessels in their necks bulged when they were angry. Their eyes watered when they laughed.

The people of the Bible were real. Let’s ask God to make their experiences come alive to us, so we can learn from their examples (1 Corinthians 10:11).  —MRD II

The stories in the Word of God
  Are there for us to see
  How God has worked in people's lives
  Throughout all history.
—Sper

People from the past can give us pointers for the present.


J I Packer - 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11

The Bible is as truly a people book as it is a God book, and one of the most interesting and fruitful ways of reading it is to study what it has to say about life. In the Bible you meet all sorts of people, some of them the most vital, virile, forthright, fascinating people you can imagine. And as you read their stories, you learn a great deal about the right way to live and the wrong way to live (or the many wrong ways to live)—both the pitfalls of which life is full and the triumphs in God that those who live rightly may experience. The Bible is focused on people: people to whom God spoke, who either did or did not respond, who obeyed or disobeyed, who found life, who missed life, who entered into spiritual triumph, who experienced spiritual disaster. Studying Bible people is a good way to learn how to serve God.


Billy Graham - Learning from Bad Examples 

 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11 NIV 

I find it very encouraging that God included real-life, flesh-and-blood, sinful people in His Word. David committed adultery, Abraham lied about his wife—the list goes on and on. Why are they in the Bible? So we will learn from their wrongdoings.

One lesson is that sin always has consequences. Take David. He was a great leader and a good man in many ways. But over the years he became complacent, and instead of carrying out his responsibilities, he fell into immorality (2 Samuel 11–12).

And consider the tragic consequences of his sin. Not only did the child born of that illicit union die, but David committed other sins—lying, murder—in a vain attempt to cover up his adultery. Furthermore, his influence for good was lost, and his latter years as king were marked by rebellion and tragedy.

God has much to teach us from the examples of His people who failed. But most of all His Word points us to Christ, who alone can forgive us and set our feet on the right path.


David Jeremiah - SCRIPTURE

All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11

It’s easy for Christians to focus solely on reading the New Testament, thinking the Old Testament was only for Israel. But the apostle Paul discounts that notion when he writes that “all Scripture . . . is profitable” (2 Timothy 3:16). And remember: he is referring to the Old Testament since the New Testament was only coming into existence in his day.

A good example of Paul practicing what he preached is in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, which contains warnings for Christians in Corinth from Israel’s history. When we are seeking guidance from God, we can find principles to inform our decisions from all parts of Scripture. Paul warns the Corinthians about idolatry, sexual immorality, testing the Lord, and grumbling by citing instances of the same in Israel’s history. By seeing how swiftly God dealt with Israel in these areas of life, we are warned —and guided —to err on the side of safety. Even the “appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV) should serve as a warning: flee!

If all Scripture is profitable, we will profit from guidance gleaned from all sixty-six books.


Charles Stanley - KEY VERSE: 1 Corinthians 10:11

All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

A major function of the Holy Spirit is to guide God’s children. But too often the leadership of the Spirit is ascribed to methods and sources of which the Father has no part.

In Knowing God, J. I. Packer helps us to understand the fundamental error and make the proper course correction:

Earnest Christians seeking guidance often go wrong about it. They look for a will–o’–the–wisp; they overlook the guidance that is ready to hand, and lay themselves open to all sorts of delusion.

Their basic mistake is to think of guidance as essentially inward prompting by the Holy Spirit, apart from the written Word.

The true way to honor the Holy Spirit as our guide is to honor the Holy Scriptures through which He guides us. The fundamental guidance which God gives to shape our lives … is not a matter of inward promptings apart from the Word but of the pressure on our consciences of the portrayal of God’s character and will in the Word.…
The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them.

    O Lord, I haven’t passed this way before. Guide me this day by Your Holy Spirit. Lead me within the limits set by Your Word. Don’t let me stray beyond them.


H A Ironside - —Num. 10:11, 12.  

The Book of Numbers gives us the account of the wilderness experiences of the children of Israel. It is the book of testing, covering the forty years between Sinai and the entrance into the land of Canaan.

For us as Christians there are many salutary lessons to which our attention is called in the New Testament, where we are told that "all these things happened unto them for ensamples (types): and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor. 10:11). Their many failures are held up as warnings to us, lest we also go astray by unbelief and self-indulgence. The only path of safety is that of implicit obedience to the Word of the living God. To turn aside and follow the path of our personal inclinations is bound to result in failure, dishonor to God, and loss to ourselves. 

It is well to remember that the wilderness was no part of God's purpose for His people, but it was part of His ways with them, to bring them to a realization of their own frailty and the untrustworthiness of their own hearts, in order that they might learn to depend entirely upon Him. 


Who's In The Picture?

Read: 2 Samuel 12:1-15

Nathan said to David, "You are the man!. —2 Samuel 12:7

My daughter came home from school one day with a brain teaser. See if you can figure it out.

Imagine that you are a school bus driver. A red-haired student gets on the bus and begins combing her hair with a green brush. At the next stop two more students get on and say in passing that they like the color of the driver’s new blue cap. As they walk to the rear of the bus, the shorter of the two shouts back, “I wouldn’t let that red-head stay on the bus if I were you. Her brush clashes with your hair!” What color is the bus driver’s hair? Think about it. Remember, you are the bus driver. (Answer: your hair color.)

If you didn’t see yourself in that story until I told you, you’re not alone. King David made a similar mistake with another story. He became furious when a prophet of God told about a rich man who stole a poor man’s pet for his dinner. Yet it became very clear as Nathan bluntly said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7).

We can read the Bible but fail to see ourselves in the picture. We tend to forget that the Bible was “written for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Do you see yourself in the pages of Scripture? How long since you’ve realized how personal these letters from God are to you?

Your heart and conscience cannot safely guide,
    For they are darkened by the sin inside;
    But if you want to have a picture true,
    The Word of God will mirror what is you.
—Hess

The Bible gives us a picture of who we really are


These things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition. —1 Corinthians 10:11

Commercial aircraft carry two flight-data recorders called “black boxes.” One logs the performance and condition of the aircraft in flight, and the other records the conversation of the crew with air-traffic controllers on the ground. These boxes are insulated to protect against extreme temperatures and are fitted with underwater locator beacons that emit sounds to the surface. After an airplane crash, these boxes are retrieved and the data carefully analyzed to determine the cause of the crash. Air safety experts want to learn from past mistakes, among other things, so they won’t be repeated.

As Christians, we too should look at mistakes from the past and learn from them. Paul, for example, alluded to some of the mistakes the Israelites made in their journey from Egypt to Canaan. He wrote that because God was not pleased with them, many died in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:5). Paul went on to explain that “these things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (v.11 NLT).

The inspired Word of God is written for our instruction for living (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Thank You, Lord, for the guidance of Your Word.

For Your holy Book we thank You;
May its message be our guide,
May we understand the wisdom
Of the truth Your laws provide.
—Carter

God’s warnings are to protect us, not to punish us.


A Sense Of History

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 | Bible in a Year: Job 18-20

All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition. —1 Corinthians 10:11

As my wife and I toured the British Museum, we were struck by the history and legacy contained in that massive facility in London. We looked at artifacts that were centuries older than anything found in the United States, reminding me how valuable it is to have a sense of history. History gives us a record of perspective, context, and consequences that can help us make wise choices as we learn from both the successes and failures of those who have gone before us.

Paul also saw the value of embracing the lessons of history. He warned of the destructive nature of bad choices by recounting the story of the children of Israel and their wilderness wanderings—a result of their refusal to trust God and enter the Promised Land (see Num. 14). Then Paul told the believers in Corinth, “All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11).

God has given us the Bible, partly to help us learn from the history of His people. Biblical lessons contain both examples and warnings to guard us against our worst inclinations and to lead us into wiser living. The question is whether we will learn from the lessons of the past or repeat the mistakes of those who came before us.

Lord, teach us from the stories in Your Word. We know You’ve put them there to guide us and give us wisdom. Help us to make obedience out of love for You our purpose. Amen.

Valuable lessons are learned from examining the lives of God’s people who’ve gone before.

1 Corinthians 10:12  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

Amplified  Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].

Wuest  So that he who thinks he stands, let him be taking heed lest he fall. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates So then, let him who thinks he has been standing securely beware lest he fall.

NET  1 Corinthians 10:12 So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:12 ὥστε ὁ δοκῶν ἑστάναι βλεπέτω μὴ πέσῃ.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:12 so that he who is thinking to stand -- let him observe, lest he fall.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:12 So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:12 Consequently, let the one who feels sure of himself see to it that he does not fall.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:12 Everyone, no matter how firmly he thinks he is standing, must be careful he does not fall.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:12 So, people who think they are standing firmly should be careful that they don't fall.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:12 So let him who seems to himself to be safe go in fear of a fall.

  • 1Co 4:6-8 8:2 Pr 16:18 Pr 28:14 Mt 26:33-34,40-41 Ro 11:20 Rev 3:17,18 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE DANGER OF 
BEING PROUD OF GRACE!

Therefore (hoste) is a term of conclusion and is quite strategic in this case. The saints had just been clearly warned about the sins of the nation of Israel and Paul wants his readers to not just hear/read the warnings, but take serious note of the warnings for the sake of their spiritual health (cf Jas 1:22+). As Godet says therefore indicates that this exhortation to watchfulness is the inference to be drawn from the foregoing examples. 

Zodhiates - If that which happened to Israel in the past is a lesson for us, let us pay close attention to this Scripture, for "history is recorded so that we may avoid the errors of the past."

Let him who (present tense - continually) thinks (is of the opinion that) he stands take heed that he does not fall - Thinks is the verb dokeo which Paul had used earlier in 1 Cor 8:2+ warning "If anyone supposes (dokeo) that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know." This is a strong warning to them (and us) against smug complacency regarding their (our) salvation! And remember that Paul has just encouraged the saints to run in such a way that they might win (1 Cor 9:24+). So clearly and logically if we stumble and fall, we are less likely to "win!"

THOUGHT - Over the past 20+ years I have been riding a bike for exercise and, needless to say, I have fallen a number of times, and almost fallen many other times (only to barely catch my balance). Invariably I have been most vulnerable to falling when I was either not moving or just barely moving. Here's the simple point - in our spiritual journey, we are most vulnerable to falling when we are not moving forward! Beloved, if you are not in the Book, in prayer, in community, in accountability (and the list could go on), then YOU ARE VULNERABLE TO FALLING spiritually speaking! (cf Php 3:13-14+). GET MOVING BELOVED! 

Swindoll The word take heed means “to look at something.” Paul is saying, in essence, “If you think that you will avoid the disciplining hand of God’s judgment because of your conversion to Christianity, take a closer look: Realize that you—yes, even you—are liable to the discipline of the holy God.” (Ibid)

Arnold - The Corinthian saints were abusing their Christian liberties because they knew they were eternally secure in Christ. They were cocksure of their position and privileges in Christ, so much so that they were living recklessly. Paul says, “Watch out, lest you fall!” Christian, don’t get complacent and smugly secure or the world, the flesh and the devil will sneak up on you to entice you to sin so you will fall spiritually. The kingdom of darkness (Col 1:13+, Acts 26:18+) is trying to assault you and overcome you so as to discourage and defeat you. The devil would like nothing better than that you should fall and be disqualified (1 Cor 9:27+). You are under attack. You are in a battle (cf 1 Pe 2:11b+). You are running a race that must be won (Heb 12:1-2+, 2 Ti 4:7+). You are fighting a war with a clever and ruthless enemy whose devices are clever and whose strategies are subtle (Eph 6:11-12+). The moment you think you have it made spiritually, you are the target of the fiery darts of Satan (Eph 6:16+). He can trip you and trap you in a thousand different ways. This all may result in disqualification which involves being set on the shelf for service, loosing future rewards or being checked out of this world by physical death! Take heed, Christian, lest you fall!

Stands is in the perfect tense picturing one who has begun in the past to consider he is strong enough to stand and is now in the state of standing (his mindset is abiding). The Amplified adds "who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm" which makes him very vulnerable to temptation and to falling!

THOUGHT - How many times we have all experienced spiritual highs which caused us to let down our guard and/or become self-satisfied and/or prideful and we end up being easily taken down by a "gentle breeze" of passing temptation! (See Collapse after Carmel)

“Confidence: The feeling you have just before you understand the gravity of the situation.”

Why might the Corinthians think they could stand and not fall into temptations which took down the Israelites? As we have seen arrogance and pride were significant sins among the saints at Corinth (cf 1 Cor 4:6, 18, 19+, 1 Cor 5:2+, 1 Cor 8:1+). And as Solomon wrote (and sadly later experienced - 1 Ki 11:1-12) "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling." (Pr 16:18) So clearly many of the saints at Corinth were a "set up" for falling!  And so Paul does not just give them a suggestion, but as their loving spiritual father gives them a serious command to take heed, a command in the present imperative emphasizing that there was never to be moment when they (AND WE) were not on "guard duty" so to speak and in desperate need of depending on the Holy Spirit to obey. As Solomon warned in Proverbs 4:23+ "Watch over your heart with all diligence, (WHY?) for from it flow the springs of life." There are to be no "furloughs" in this incessant spiritual warfare for as Peter said the "(strong, seductive) fleshly lusts (present tense - continually) wage war (strateuomai) against the soul." (1 Peter 2:11+).

Note that the phrase does not fall does not suggest one can lose their salvation. Paul is warning about the danger of falling into sin. If we think we are so secure that we could be comfortable ("safe") in any environment, we need to be cautious, for this type of arrogant attitude can result in falling into sin. One is reminded of a similar warning from our Lord  He gave in the Garden Gethsemane to the three sleeping disciples and especially directed to Peter (who had set himself up thinking he would never fall! He hadn't read Paul's warning! Read Peter's boastful declaration in Mt 26:33-34)....

"Keep watching and praying (both are present imperative  and to obey both commands continually we need to continually depend on the Holy Spirit) that you may not enter into temptation (peirasmos); the spirit is willing (Mt 26:33), but the flesh is weak.” (Mt 26:41+

As Spurgeon says "A man says, "I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall." "I have fervent love," says another, "I can stand, there is no danger of my going astray." He who boasts of grace has little grace to boast of....Our baptism, participation in the Lord's Supper, and other privileges, may make us think ourselves secure, but we must take heed, for far more is needed.

Table Talk - No matter how strong you think you are, no matter how many sins you have overcome in the past, you should not let down your guard, you should never assume that you are beyond temptation. 

In another note Spurgeon says "We also are to take heed lest we fall, especially those of us who think we are standing securely. You have seen how terrible was the fate of those unbelievers in the wilderness, who never entered into Canaan, but left their carcases in the desert; now Paul urges us, with such beacons to warn us, to take heed lest we also fall as they did."

Zodhiates asks "Who does Paul have in mind? He is thinking of the person who considers himself strong enough to sit in the midst of idolaters and enjoy the meat at the idol temple (1 Cor. 8:10), who thinks that he stands so firmly that he can disregard his environment. The Apostle Paul wants us to use our minds, to think carefully, and not to simply suppose that we are well-grounded. We are to make sure of our foundation....The danger is in thinking that one is standing securely and can run the race well that God has set before him, that he is strong enough and does not need to practice or exercise self-control (1 Cor. 9:25). It is as if Paul were saying, Do not run the race if you are running on presumed strength. You will fall during your race and put to shame the name of Christ and His strength which you think you have.....Paul wants us not to simply think that we stand, but to be certain that we do. He who merely thinks he stands may fall, but he who is solidly grounded on the Lord Jesus Christ will not fall.

Larry Richards - These experiences should serve as a warning to those Corinthians who are so sure of their doctrinal correctness. Those who “think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!”Being “right” is no guarantee we won’t sin! 

Swindoll The point of Paul’s typological application (see note above) of the tragic events following the Hebrews’ exodus rang loud and clear. The Corinthians were headed for a similar kind of judgment by the hand of God if they didn’t repent of their own lust, idolatry, immorality, unfaithfulness, and grumbling. In the name of celebrating their liberty from the Law, forgiveness of past, present, and future sins, and their freedom of conscience in Christ, the Corinthians participated in idolatrous practices at the local temples. As Paul explains, this was just one curve on the downward spiral into the pit of demon worship. Believing that their baptism in the Holy Spirit, seal of water baptism, and participation in the grace-giving life of the church provided them an infinite expense account to spend on sin, the Corinthians received a sobering warning from Paul to shock them out of their twisted theology (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Corinthians)

Brian Bell illustrates this verse by asking "Do you think you are an impregnable fortress? Sardis – Rev.3:3 told to “Be watchful.” Sardis was an acropolis, built on a jutting spur of rock, & was impregnable…until Cyrus came along (549bc). He offered a reward to any that could get in. A soldier named Hyeroeades saw a soldier of Sardis accidentally drop his helmet over the edge. When he went down for it, he marked his path. That night he led a band up the cliff by that very path. They found it unguarded – captured the citadel – which was counted too safe!. Take heed Corinthians! Take heed individual believers!

Take heed (look, beware, take care) (991blepo basically means to have sight, to see, to look at, then to observe, to discern, to perceive with the eye, and frequently implies special contemplation (e.g., often in the sense of “keep your eyes open,” or “beware” Seeing with the idea of "seeing to" something = Have your eye on so as to beware of. - to watch, to take heed, to take care. To see with the mind’s eye, to discern mentally, to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing. TDNT says that like horao "blepo also means “to see” with a stronger emphasis on the function of the eye, so that it serves as the opposite of “to be blind.” Blepo It especially stresses the thought of the person who sees. It can also mean “to look at, watch” such as watching a woman with lustful intent (Mt 5:28) or looking at the “speck” in someone else’s eye (Mt 7:3).  In secular Greek blepo was commonly used of bringing a ship to land… think of our life as a "ship of faith" moving through the fog, avoiding the dangerous reefs by keeping our focus on the Lighthouse on the shore.

THOUGHT - Blepo is a KEY VERB in this letter for it is used 7 times (beginning, middle and end of the letter) and every use but one is a command in the present imperative which is calling for their continual attention, and reminding the Corinthians of their need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey. Oh how they need to depend on the Spirit to kill their sin lest it "kill" and disqualify them (cf Ro 8:13+). It is almost as if Paul was giving the church at Corinth a "watchword" to BEWARE! TAKE HEED! Is this not a good "watchword" for every believer of every age? (That is a rhetorical question of course!)

1 Corinthians 1:26+ For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;

1 Corinthians 3:10+  According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.

1 Corinthians 8:9+ But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

1 Corinthians 10:12+ Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

1 Corinthians 10:18+  Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?

1 Corinthians 13:12+  For now we see (present tense) in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 16:10+ Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am.


C H Spurgeon - Devotional - "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."— 1 Corinthians 10:12

It is a curious fact, that there is such a thing as being proud of grace. A man says, "I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall." "I have fervent love," says another, "I can stand, there is no danger of my going astray." He who boasts of grace has little grace to boast of. Some who do this imagine that their graces can keep them, knowing not that the stream must flow constantly from the fountain head, or else the brook will soon be dry. If a continuous stream of oil comes not to the lamp, though it burn brightly to-day, it will smoke to-morrow, and noxious will be its scent.

Take heed that thou gloriest not in thy graces, but let all thy glorying and confidence be in Christ and his strength, for only so canst thou be kept from falling.

  • Be much more in prayer.
  • Spend longer time in holy adoration.
  • Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly.
  • Watch your lives more carefully.
  • Live nearer to God.
  • Take the best examples for your pattern.
  • Let your conversation be redolent of heaven.
  • Let your hearts be perfumed with affection for men's souls.
  • So live that men may take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13+), and have learned of Him; and when that happy day shall come, when He Whom you love shall say, "Come up higher," may it be your happiness to hear Him say, "Thou hast fought a good fight, thou hast finished thy course, and henceforth there is laid up for thee a crown of righteousness which fadeth not away." (2 Ti 4:7-8+) Amen!

On, Christian, with care and caution!

On, with holy fear and trembling! (Php 2:12+)

On, with faith and confidence in Jesus alone, and let your constant petition be, "Uphold me according to thy word." (Heb 1:3+)

He is able (Heb 7:25+), and He Alone , "To keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." (Jude 1:24-25+)

Related Resource:


Don’t Judge - It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances. (Stephen Brown, Christianity Today)


Henry Muller - ON THE DANGER OF FALLING

YOU say, “I am a Christian; I have nothing to fear.” But on what is your confidence founded? Think not that profession is true faith. The word of God says, “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling,” Psa. 2:11; and again, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” Phil. 2:12. He that thinketh he standeth, should take heed lest he fall, 1 Cor. 10:12. Be mindful of your weakness, that you may not be suddenly overtaken of a fault; and let your eye ever be directed to Him who alone can keep you from falling. When you see any one fall, think of your own danger. Fear God, and walk circumspectly, that you may not transgress his word. Try yourself often, whether your heart is right with God, and you are walking in the narrow way. Should you at any time be overtaken by a fault, take heed that you love not the sin, nor continue in it, but go forth with Peter, and weep bitterly; betake yourself again to the blood of the covenant; the blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. And let your prayer ascend unto God with earnestness, that he would graciously increase your faith, and render you more watchful in future, and more simply dependent on him, that he may uphold you with his right hand. Then may you express your confident persuasion, with St. Paul, that nothing shall be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Rom. 8:39.

I will thus endeavour, by his grace, to keep myself; but should I fall, I will not cast away my confidence that God will raise me up again. I will go before him with a broken and a contrite heart, in the name of Jesus, and beseech him, for the sake of his well-beloved Son, to have mercy on me, and pardon my sin. I will not deem myself safe from the fear of evil, till I have fought the good fight, and kept the faith, and finished my course, and shall at length go to receive the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in that day.


Spurgeon - A caution to the presumptuous (from sermon)

“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12

These strong men sometimes will not use the means of grace, and therefore they fall. There are some persons here, who rarely attend a place of worship; they do not profess to be religious; but I am sure they would be astonished if I were to tell them, that I know some professedly religious people who are accepted in some churches as being true children of God, who yet make it a habit of stopping away from the house of God, because they conceive they are so advanced that they do not want it. You smile at such a thing as that. They boast such deep experience within; they have a volume of sweet sermons at home, and they will stop and read them; they need not go to the house of God, for they are fat and flourishing. They conceit themselves that they have received food enough seven years ago to last them the next ten years. They imagine that old food will feed their souls now. These are your presumptuous men. They are not to be found at the Lord’s table, eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ, in the holy emblems of bread and wine. You do not see them in their closets; you do not find them searching the Scriptures with holy curiosity. They think they stand—they shall never be moved; they fancy that means are intended for weaker Christians; and leaving those means, they fall. They will not have the shoe to put upon the foot, and therefore the flint cuts them; they will not put on the armour, and therefore the enemy wounds them—sometimes well-nigh unto death. In this deep quagmire of neglect of the means, many a proud professor has been smothered.


Charles Trumbull -The Christian who is wholly trusting the Lord for victory soon realizes that many Christians about him have not seen the truth of victory, and are not thus trusting Christ.

He may be in close contact with Christians who are older, much farther along in many ways, yet not living in the victory-secret that is so precious to him. And then comes the peril of pride.

Almost without realizing it the Christian who knows Christ as victory can let slip some word criticizing a fellow Christian who is not in on the secret, or a condescending comment on such a one’s mistake or failure. “Holier than thou” is one of the perils of the Victorious Life.

Of course the instant one speaks thus of another, or thinks in his inmost heart thus of another, his victory is gone; he has sinned. And we must recognize this peril if we would be kept from it.

The Christian who is living in victory is in himself no whit better than the carnal Christian who is plainly sinning. The self-nature of the two is identical: hopelessly sinful. The only good thing about the victorious Christian is Christ; and we deserve no credit for Christ: the glory and honor and victory are all His. True victory, therefore, must keep us humble: and it will.


Collapse After Carmel 

 "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."1 Cor. 10:12 

It is the day after the incident at Carmel, the red-letter day in Elijah's life up to now, and he is in full flight, running from a woman! Even at that, it is better to run from Jezebel than after her as in the case of Thyatira (Rev. 2:20), but Elijah has no business heading for the tall timber. 

Collapse so often follows Carmel. Look out after your big day! We worry about breaking down on a dull and tedious stretch but the most dangerous time is right after success. Peter reaches a mountain peak of confession with "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and within a few minutes he is daring to contradict the Lord! And the Lord who said, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee" is compelled within a few minutes to cry, "Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men"! (Matt. 16:16-24). Peter, the spokesman of God, becomes on the same occasion the spokesman of the devil, crashing from mountain peaks of confession to the swamps of contradiction within seven verses! 

Our Lord moved from the high day of baptism to the wilderness of temptation. We are tempted most at our strongest moments. The most dangerous time is not the hour of adversity but of success. You can fall farther from the roof of the house than from the front porch! Collapse may follow fast after Carmel. Watch and pray! (Celebrate Recovery Daily Devotional)


Little Monsters - Nancy DeMoss

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12
 MOST OF US have become so familiar with our sin that we no longer see it for the deadly monster it truly is—more dangerous than wild bears, more destructive than blazing forest fires. Ask Nebuchadnezzar, who lost his mind because he refused to deal with his pride. Ask Samson, who was reduced to a pathetic shred of a man because he never gained control over the lusts of his flesh. Ask Achan, Ananias, and Sapphira, who each lost their lives over “small,” secret sins.

You may never crawl into bed with someone else’s mate, but your heart for God can be just as easily destroyed by allowing jealousy, anger, self-pity, worry, or gluttony to go unchecked in your life.

Nineteenth-century Anglican bishop J. C. Ryle cautioned against being naïve toward sin’s influence and potential: “I fear we do not sufficiently realize the extreme subtlety of our soul’s disease. We are too apt to forget that temptation to sin will rarely present itself to us in its true colours, saying, ‘I am your deadly enemy and I want to ruin you forever in hell.’ Oh, no! Sin comes to us, like Judas, with a kiss, and like Joab, with an outstretched hand and flattering words.”

Are you content to maintain a “certain level of sin” in your life, keeping yourself convinced that you can tame and manage it? Mark it down: there is no such thing as a small sin. Every unconfessed sin is a seed that will inevitably produce a multiplied harvest. As Charles Spurgeon warned, “Those who tolerate sin in what they think to be little things will soon indulge it in greater matters.” Run to the cross; confess any sin the Holy Spirit has convicted you of, and trust Christ to root it out of your life—before the monster begins to outweigh you.

Please, O Lord, may I never bring reproach to Your name by failing to take sin seriously, by clinging to even a single one.


Safeguard against Self-Conceit - Audie Lewis

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 CORINTHIANS 10:12

The danger I am to warn you of, I will now endeavor to describe. A Christian man finds himself for a long time without any remarkable trouble: his children are spared to him, his home is happy, his business extremely prosperous—he has, in fact, all that heart can wish: when he looks round about him, he can say with David, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Psalm 16:6 KJV). Now, the danger is that he should think too highly of these secondary things and should say to himself, “My mountain stands firm; I shall never be moved.” And then, though the man would never dare to put it in words, yet an indistinct feeling creeps over him that there is no need for him to be so watchful as other people; he would be sure not to fall if he were tempted. In fact, he wonders how some of his brethren can live as they do live; he is sure he could not do so. He feels that he could fight with any temptation and come back more than a conqueror. He has grown so strong that he feels himself a Samson. He knows much more now than he used to and thinks himself too old a bird to be caught with chaff, as he might have been some years ago. “Ah!” thinks he, “I am a model Christian.” He does not say as much, but that lurks in his mind. His heart is much hampered with earthly things, and his mind much bloated with self-conceit.


The Predictable Pattern of Relapse

 “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”1 CORINTHIANS 10:12

If we don’t keep our guard up, we can easily fall back into our old self-defeating patterns. This is called relapse. Alcoholics start to drink again, overeaters regain the weight they’ve lost, gamblers return to the casinos, workaholics fill up their schedules again. It’s easy to slip back into old hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Regardless of the issue, the pattern is the same:

  • Phase 1 is complacency. Relapse begins when we get comfortable. We’ve confessed our problems, dealt with them, and made real progress. Then we get comfortable and stop praying about it and working at it. Before we know it, we have become complacent.
  • Phase 2 is confusion. We begin to rationalize and play mental games with ourselves. We say things like “Maybe my problem really wasn’t all that bad. I could have handled it myself.” We forget how bad it used to be. Reality becomes fuzzy and confused.
  • Phase 3 is compromise. Temptation is back. We return to the risky situations that got us into trouble in the first place. Compromise may begin with little things, but it won’t be long before the ground we’ve gained is lost.
  • Phase 4 is catastrophe. In this phase, we actually give in to the old hurts, hang-ups, or habits. Hate, resentment, and old behaviors return. But we need to understand this: The catastrophe is not the relapse. The relapse began in phase 1 with complacency. The catastrophe is simply the end result, the acting-out phase of the pattern.

PRAYER  Father, keep me from complacency and the patterns that could cause me to slip away from you once again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


David Jeremiah - FROZEN IN SIN

[The wicked man] shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. PROVERBS 5:23

The story is told of an eagle perched on a block of ice just above Niagara Falls. The swift current carried the ice and its majestic passenger close to the edge of the great precipice. Other birds warned the eagle of the danger ahead. But their words were unheeded. “I have great and powerful wings,” he boasted. “I can fly from my perch at any time.”

Suddenly the edge of the falls was only a few feet away. The eagle spread his powerful wings to mount up over his impending doom only to discover that his claws had become frozen to the block of ice.

Scripture warns those who think they are immune to sin to be careful! They are on the verge of falling (1 Corinthians 10:12; 1 Timothy 3:6). “I never thought it would happen to me” are words that have hounded many a person until their dying day (Proverbs 5:11–14). Every Christian needs to know that yielding to temptation can happen—and will, unless the instruction of wisdom is embraced.

Wisdom says, “Hear me clearly: the road to immorality is the road to destruction.”


Will anyone ever forget the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast? With the pictures of the destruction still fresh in our minds, the Army Corps of Engineers is working feverishly to shore up the city’s defenses against future hurricanes that are bound to come.

 We can all learn a valuable spiritual lesson from Hurricane Katrina: we can never let down our guard. The Bible puts it this way: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12 NIV). The moment we think we can coast, the moment we stop actively guarding ourselves spiritually, that may be the moment we fall victim to the devil’s schemes.

 The good news is that we can endure tomorrow’s storms if we prepare today. Fasting and prayer, memorizing Scripture, developing God-centered relationships—these are all ways we can reinforce our spiritual defenses. Most importantly, of course, we must renew our dependence on God daily. He is the most important shield and fortress in our lives.

  Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil. PROVERBS 4:26–27 


Oswald Chambers - THERE IS A TENDENCY TO take ourselves too seriously, until we really begin to wonder if God can do anything before we get up in the morning. We act as though He cannot do anything without our help. May God have mercy!

God shows us that a servant of His is not a necessary instrument. Remember how God visibly blessed and led in a certain happening in your past? But after a while, a spell of tribulation came. God laid you aside. Slowly you begin to see that an “instrument” is something that God takes up at His sovereign pleasure and puts down at His will. A “servant” is one who voluntarily chooses what God chooses. The servant chooses to do according to God’s sovereign will. 

God does the shaking of His servants, not the Devil. Why does He shake them? Because they are backslidden? Dear me, no. He shakes them partly to remove the parasites. 

Has God shaken you lately? If so, fear not. He does so because He loves you. 


J I Packer - We are all invalids in God’s hospital. In moral and spiritual terms we are all sick and damaged, diseased and deformed, scarred and sore, lame and lopsided, to a far, far greater extent than we realize. Christians today may imagine themselves to be strong, healthy, and holy when, in fact, they are actually weak, sick, and sinful in ways that are noticeable, not just to their heavenly Father, but also to their fellow believers. Pride and complacency, however, blind us to this reality. We need to realize that the spiritual health we testify to is only partial and relative, a matter of being less sick and less incapacitated now than we were before. Measured by the absolute standard of spiritual health that we see in Jesus Christ, we are all of us no more, just as we are no less, than invalids in process of being cured. (From Rediscovering Holiness)

Under God’s care I am getting better, but I am not yet well.


Henry Blackaby - Victory is indeed a fleeting experience—and that may be especially true of spiritual victories.

You may have held your tongue (victory), but it won’t be long before another rude comment comes your way (temptation). Or you may have controlled your temper (victory), but the next spark could soon ignite a rage (temptation). Thinking about how well you did in a given situation—as opposed to giving thanks for the Spirit’s help—makes you prideful and an easy target for failure.

While you’re busy celebrating success, the enemy can catch you off guard and bring you plummeting down. So praise God for your success. Focusing on Him like that will keep you from letting pride suggest that you’re invincible. 


Some men become proud and insolent because they ride a fine horse, wear a feather in their hat or are dressed in a fine suit of clothes. Who does not see the folly of this? If there be any glory in such things, the glory belongs to the horse, the bird and the tailor. St. Francis de Sales


Collapse After Carmel  - Vance Havner 

"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Cor. 10:12

It is the day after the incident at Carmel, the red-letter day in Elijah's life up to now, and he is in full flight, running from a woman! Even at that, it is better to run from Jezebel than after her as in the case of Thyatira (Rev. 2:20), but Elijah has no business heading for the tall timber.

Collapse so often follows Carmel. Look out after your big day! We worry about breaking down on a dull and tedious stretch but the most dangerous time is right after success. Peter reaches a mountain peak of confession with "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and within a few minutes he is daring to contradict the Lord! And the Lord who said, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee" is compelled within a few minutes to cry, "Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men"! (Matt. 16:16-24). Peter, the spokesman of God, becomes on the same occasion the spokesman of the devil, crashing from mountain peaks of confession to the swamps of contradiction within seven verses!

Our Lord moved from the high day of baptism to the wilderness of temptation. We are tempted most at our strongest moments. The most dangerous time is not the hour of adversity but of success. You can fall farther from the roof of the house than from the front porch! Collapse may follow fast after Carmel. Watch and pray!


Careless About Little Things - Overconfidence, coupled with negligence, can lead to sad consequences. This is the case when a person is so sure of himself that he becomes careless about little things that may pose a threat. I’m thinking, for example, of a stuntman named Bobby Leach. In July, 1911, he went over Niagara Falls in a specially designed steel drum and lived to tell about it. Although he suffered minor injuries, he survived because he recognized the tremendous dangers involved in the feat, and because he had done everything he could to protect himself from harm.

Several years after that incident, while skipping down the street in New Zealand, Bobby Leach slipped on an orange peeling, fell, and badly fractured his leg. He was taken to a hospital where he later died of complications from that fall. He received a greater injury walking down the street than he sustained in going over Niagara. He was not prepared for danger in what he assumed to be a safe situation.

In June 1989 a 19-year-old German named Mathias Rust created quite a stir when he flew a Cessna 172 airplane more than 400 miles into Soviet airspace. Rust’s five-hour trip ended when he landed his plane near the Kremlin in Moscow. Soviet officials then scrambled to find out how a teenager could slip past their air defenses. Apparently radar had picked up the craft, but it was presumed to be a Soviet plane and no attempt was made to identify it. Later, air force jets twice flew around the intruding Cessna, but air defense commanders showed “intolerable unconcern and indecision about cutting short the flight of the violator plane without resorting to combat means,” the investigation concluded. (Today in the Word, June 6, 1992)


Opportune Time - Anyone who travels to Edinburgh, Scotland will find Edinburgh castle a tower of seemingly insurmountable strength. But the truth is that the castle was once actually captured. The fortress had an obvious weak spot which defenders guarded—but because another spot was apparently protected by its steepness and impregnability, no sentries were posted there. At an opportune time, an attacking army sent a small band up that unguarded slope and surprised the garrison into surrender. Where the castle was strong, there it was weak. (Today in the Word, Feb. 89)


Read of King Asa's Sad Example - ASA'S FAITH AND FAILURE. 2 Chronicles 14-16. (scroll down page)


A SLOW LEAK - A frog placed in a pan of slowly heating water doesn't know he's being cooked. The body temperature of this little cold-blooded creature changes to correspond with the temperature of his surroundings, so he is unaware of his danger. Before he realizes that he's in boiling hot water, death overtakes him.
 
In much the same way, Peter's "spiritual crash" didn't just happen; it resulted from a gradual decline. The apostle yielded to circumstances that contributed to his downfall. In the upper room he was overconfident. Then, in the garden, he slept when he should have been praying. Failing to understand his Master's redemptive purpose, he resisted the idea that Jesus would have to suffer and die. As soldiers arrested Jesus, the apostle impulsively drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. Finally, gripped by fear when identified by a maid, he denied the Lord he loved.
 
We shouldn't regard Peter's dramatic denial of Christ as only a foreign, first-century failure. It reflects a trauma known all too well to those of us who have writhed in self-condemnation after being untrue to our Lord. And our failures, like Peter's, usually follow a gradual pattern of decline. That's why we must daily acknowledge our dependence on God and obey His Word. It's the only way to avoid the tragedy of a cold heart that gets us into hot water. —M.R.D.II
 
Collapse in the Christian life is seldom a blowout; it is usually a slow leak. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


Sexual Suicide - David Roper

Warm-up: Proverbs 5:1–23

Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife? Proverbs 5:20

I keep seeing my friends fall. I wonder why they do it? What causes men and women to trash their marriages for a transient affair? Why would we give our strength to others and fill our old age with regret (Proverbs 5:9)?

Perhaps it’s naiveté.

We think we’re invincible, like Samson,
man of giant strength—
[who] pillowed his great head upon
the lap of sin
then rose at length
“not knowing
that his strength was gone.”
—Ruth Bell Graham

Samson was a fool and so are we if we believe that we will never fall. Everyone is temptable; everyone has a price. The key is to know how vulnerable we are and always be on the alert. We’re overthrown because we’re unguarded (1 Corinthians 10:12). “What can we do?” we ask.

We can guard our relationship with God. As the proverb says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). There’s a close relationship between human sexuality and human spirituality; the two are inextricably linked. As Charles Williams noted, “Sensuality and sanctity are so closely intertwined that our motives in some cases can hardly be separated until the tares are gathered out of the wheat by heavenly wit.”

Sexual passion is in some inexplicable way a small representation of our more profound, spiritual passion for God. He alone can gratify that desire. So devotion to Christ serves to satisfy our deepest longings and quell our other lusts. But when our love for Christ is on the wane, we get restless for something more and our resolve in every area begins to weaken.

We can guard our minds against romantic and sexual fantasies. “Our predominant thoughts determine our inevitable actions,” as someone has said. What we think in our hearts is what we eventually do. Most moral failures aren’t blowouts (hardly anyone plans an adulterous affair), but are rather like slow leaks—the result of a thousand small indulgences, the immediate consequences of which are never apparent. The small sins thus prepare us for the Big One. As Alexander Pope remarked,

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs to be seen;
Yet seen too often, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

“But,” you ask, “how can we deal with our erotic thoughts?”

As Philip Melanchthon learned, “Old Adam is much too strong for young Philip!” I agree. Our fantasies are much too strong to subordinate. (ED: MEN READ THAT AGAIN!) Better to re-channel or displace them (SEE EXPULSIVE POWER OF A NEW AFFECTION). Erotic thoughts happen, but they can be controlled. As Luther said, “We cannot keep birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from nesting in our hair!” When sexual fantasies intrude into our minds we have two choices: We can either reinforce them, in which case they will eventually become obsession; or we can sidetrack them into devotion, meditation, and prayer (cf. Philippians 4:8).

We men can give ourselves to being one-woman men. That’s protection for both us and our spouses (cf. Proverbs 5:15–16). As the wise man counseled, we should “rejoice in the wife of [our] youth . . . [and] be captivated by her love” (Proverbs 5:18–19). We can work hard at cultivating intimacy in our marriages—maintaining its romance, rekindling its love and passion. Men who get in trouble usually do so because they’ve let their marriages drift, permitting them to become dull and unfriendly. If that’s so we must woo our wives again, recapture our first love.

All of us—men and women—can watch for infatuations. St. Francis de Sales said,

“We must be on guard against deception in friendships, especially when they are contracted between persons of different sexes, no matter what the pretext may be. Satan often tricks those [who] begin with virtuous love. If they are not very prudent, fond love will first be injected, next sensual love, and then carnal love. . . . [Satan] does this subtly and tries to introduce impurity by insensible degrees” (Introduction to the Devout Life).

It’s not lust but infatuation that causes our fall. Do we think about one person frequently? Do we look for excuses to be with that individual? Do we look forward to appointments with that one? Do we dress a certain way for him or her? Most erotic relationships begin with that subtle attraction. If we find ourselves drawn to another we must go no further, not lunch nor travel nor time alone. When required to meet for business we can do so in the company of others.

We can guard against intimacy with anyone other than our spouses. The secrets of our hearts, our deepest hurts, are reserved for our mates alone. The greatest mistake we can make is to share our inner conflict and marital disappointment with someone of the opposite sex. No other event so radically shifts the nature of a relationship. We suddenly become a lonely person in need of another person’s love.

Occasionally a man will meet a woman who comes after him, as the proverb puts it, dressed for the kill and “with crafty intent” (Proverbs 7:10). And women are endangered by those sexual conquistadors who will tell them anything they want to hear in order to have what they want. We shouldn’t kid ourselves. It’s not because we’re so wonderful that they love us. Such people live to bring others down; they have something to prove to themselves, or they want to see how much we’ll forsake to have them. They’re almost certainly acting out some terrible, inner sickness, or playing out some unresolved conflict with the opposite sex. The best course is to stay away from them! It will do us good now and then to ponder well Proverbs 5 and 7.

We can publicize our home life, talk lovingly of our mates, and surround ourselves with mementos and reminders of our marriages—pictures of our families together. It’s good for us and it’s good for others. It lets them know we cherish our homes.

We can regularly rehearse the consequences of an affair by asking ourselves, “Is it worth throwing away my family and my reputation for this event?”

We gain insight through hindsight, as they say, but foresight is the least expensive way to learn. As Proverbs warns, though “the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; [make no mistake] in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave” (Proverbs 5:3–5). Adultery is suicidal; adulterers kill their own souls.

We can find someone who will hold us accountable—a non-judgmental friend who loves us and who won’t flinch when we’re honest, who will query us with the tough questions and then ask, as Howard Hendricks suggests, “In your answers to any of the above, did you lie?”

And finally, we can ask to be guarded by God every moment of the day (ED: ACTUALLY I MIGHT MAKE THIS THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS - OUR MORNING PRAYER SHOULD INCLUDE Mt 6:13+). We’re never safe. We’re in danger whether young or old; single or married; in the dumps or on a roll. We’ll never be home free until we get Home! Until then, no matter how willing the spirit, the flesh is weak. Jesus warned, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).


James Smith -  THE STEPS IN PETER'S DOWNFALL. Mark 14:29-72.

   " Speak gently to an erring one,
   E'en if a deed of shame be done;
   We see the deed and instant blame,
   But not how hard it is to tame
   A heart of sin that has not died,
   A rebel will unsanctified. "

Backsliding is a process. Eve first saw, then desired, then took, then eat before she gave to Adam. Falling away out of the company and fellowship of Christ is the result of an inward disease preying upon the vitals of our spiritual being. That disease is self-will. Let us follow Peter in his downgrade march step by step. There was—
1. Self-confidence. Peter said, "Although all shall be offended, yet will not I" (v. 29). The "I" here is very self-assertive, comparing himself with the others he believes himself more trustworthy than any. Yet it was written that "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Prov. 28:26). "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).

2. Proud boasting. "If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise" (v. 31). So said they all, but Peter spoke vehemently. Peter was as yet unbelieving and ignorant of his own weakness. Had not the Lord said unto him, "Whither I go ye cannot follow Me now?" (John 13:36). All self-boasting is a contradiction to His Word.

3. Unwatchfulness. He said unto Peter, "Simon, sleepest thou?" (v. 37). Pride and self-confidence are sure to lead to unwatchfulness. It is the consciously weak ones who lean hard. Sleepy souls are easily tempted (v. 38). By his sleep he became insensible to the sufferings of Christ. The next step down is—

4. Ashamedness. "Peter followed Him afar off" (v. 54). Jesus is not so popular now with the multitude. Peter follows; but far enough off as not to be identified with Him. A professing Christian is indeed afar off when he is ashamed of Him and His Word. At this stage the Word of God is neglected, prayer given up, and the company of those who testify for Christ forsaken.

5. Worldliness. "Peter sat with the servants, and wanned himself at the fire" (v. 54). Having fallen out of company with Christ, he now finds his company among those who know him not, and warms himself at the enemy's fire. While the prodigal was spending his all in the far country he was just seeking to warm himself with the coals of the enemy's fire. This is what the backslider is doing in seeking to find pleasure and comfort in the ways and things of the ungodly. A Christian must be cold indeed when he turns to the crackling thorns of worldly delights for heart warmth.

6. Denial. While he was warming himself he was charged with having been with Jesus. But he denied, saying, "I know not" (vs. 67, 68). When a man has gone the length of finding warmth among the Lord's enemies we are prepared for the next sad step—denial. This is often done, if not by lip yet by wicked works. The Lord has uttered a solemn warning to such in Matthew 10:33.

7. Recklessness. "He began to curse and to swear saying, I know not this Man" (v. 71). He had said, "Though all shall be offended, yet will not I," yet he becomes more easily offended than any, and now staggers into the ditch of open profanity. If a backslider be not restored before he goes the length of shameless lip denial the likelihood is that he will soon be found in the ranks of the reckless, the drunken, or some other open sin.

8. Repentance. Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, and when he thought thereon he wept (v. 72). The Lord had not prayed for Judas that his faith fail not, and he went out and hanged himself. It was when the prodigal son thought of his father's house that he said, "I will arise and go to my father." It is usually by some word of Christ that the backslider is brought to think of his ways, and to weep the bitter tears of repentance.

 


Pressing On
If I do not experience something far worse than I yet have done, I shall say the trouble is all in getting started. —Mrs. George (Tamsen E.) Donner, member of the ill-fated Donner party,197in a letter dated June 16, 1846

Every age has its perils, but the greatest peril may be in thinking that the trouble “is all in getting started.” Sometimes the greatest hazards lie ahead.

Noah, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, David, Solomon, Uzziah, and a host of biblical people fell into failure near the end of their days. As the apostle Paul reminds us, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”198

“The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil,” C. S. Lewis wrote.199 And the devil’s finest stratagem is sloth, “that great, sprawling, slug-a-bed sin,” as Dorothy Sayers termed it.

Sloth is a spiritual indifference or apathy that has many causes, but may grow out of the belief that we’ve arrived and have no more ground to gain. Or, that we have little left to give. “Apathy causes one to fall into a deep sleep,” the Wise Man said, and then added, “that soul will go hungry.”200 Ah, there it is: a spiritual torpor that starves our souls. Slow down, we say to ourselves; you’ve given much. Isn’t it time to refrain from further sacrifice? Spare yourself. Why go on reading, studying, pursuing God. Stop this strenuous following after.

No! I say. That is not true. We can never stop growing toward God. Holiness is a dynamic thing, a matter of motion. There is no static balance in the spiritual life. We’re either moving toward God or away from Him.

St. Gregory put it simply: “When the soul does not direct its efforts to higher things . . . it stoops to concern itself with low desires.”201 When we fail to direct our passions toward heavenly things, we fall into ungodly desires. Bitter animosities demean us; irritability, petulance, impatience, and loss of temper degrade our souls.
So we must never let up, for our adversary does not. He is working every moment to plague and blight our final years. We must pursue God and His righteousness with hearty energy to the end of our days. This was Paul’s driving compulsion: “To know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”202 It must be ours as well.

To know Jesus, to experience more of his life-giving power, to patiently bear our portion of His humiliation and suffering, to become like Him in self-sacrificing love—this is the work that must keep us busy to the end of our days.

We’ll not “achieve” the righteousness we seek in this life—that awaits heaven—but you and I must “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [us].”203
So, we must pursue the Lord and His righteousness with all our heart, soul, and mind—with a fierce, unyielding resolve for as many days as He may give us. We must spend time in His presence and choose to do His will. Thus He will fill us with His Spirit and deliver us from the perils that lie ahead.

But he who would be born again indeed,
Must wake his soul unnumbered times a day,
And urge himself to life with holy greed. . .
Submiss and ready to the making will,
Athirst and empty, for God’s breath to fill.
—George MacDonald
 


The Pain Of Falling

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12

There I was, sailing along on my rollerblades, my wife at my side. Suddenly, the wheels on my left boot began to wobble, and a second later I was face down on the asphalt. Just like that, I had a broken finger and some nasty cuts on my face.

This happened a couple of years ago, but the results of that fall are still fresh on my mind. The pain of falling is still with me, making me much more cautious on my rollerblades. Having fallen once, I take every precaution to avoid doing so again.

Falling isn’t good. But for anyone who has stumbled in life, something positive can result—if the fall leads to a more careful way of living.

Paul admonished, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Believers do fall. But when we do, our goal must be to learn from our error and to avoid a second spill.

If you have stumbled along the course of life’s journey, there’s hope. First, ask God for guidance, for He “upholds all who fall” (Ps. 145:14). Next, read the Word and begin to live carefully by its principles—“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).

Have you fallen? Ask God to help you get up and keep from falling again.

We’re thankful, Lord, that when we fall
    We can begin anew
    If humbly we confess our sin,
    Then turn and follow You.
—Sper

When we walk in the Light, we won’t stumble in the darkness.


Confidence In What?

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-12

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12

While walking through a home-improvement store, I saw a man wearing a bright red T-shirt bearing this melancholy message: “Confidence: The feeling you have just before you understand the situation.”

I laughed at this humorous concept, but I also realized that the shirt carried a sane and sound warning. It’s a reminder to all of us who try to get things done through confidence in our own ability or credentials but without consciously trusting in the strength of God. If we think we can accomplish life’s tasks in our own strength, that false confidence will inevitably become our undoing—and we’ll collapse under the weight of our own failings.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this by recalling ancient Israel’s penchant for self-confidence and self-sufficiency. He described everything the Israelites thought they had going for them; then he told how they had turned those benefits into a license to sin and an almost arrogant confidence that would prove to be their undoing.

Paul said their self-confidence should warn us. His conclusion? “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Psalm 118:8 shows us the best way: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man,” or in ourselves. Where is your confidence?

Let all who think that they can stand 
Take heed lest they should fall; 
These words remind us of the truth 
That God is Lord of all.
—Branon 

Confidence in Christ is the right kind of confidence.


Least Powerful People

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 | Bible in a Year: Habakkuk 1-3

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12

An unusual list called The 100 Least Powerful People in the World appeared in the online publication 24/7 Wall St. Among those selected were corporate executives, sports figures, politicians, and celebrities who shared one common characteristic—­they used to be powerful. Some were victims of circumstances, others made poor business decisions, while others lost their influence because of moral failure.

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul draws a somber lesson from Old Testament history. The people Moses led from slavery in Egypt toward freedom in the Promised Land kept turning their backs on God who had delivered them (vv.1-5). Idolatry, immorality, and grumbling were among the things that brought them down (vv.6-10). Paul points to their collapse as an example to us, and sounds this warning: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (v.12).

Every follower of Jesus can stand firm on God’s promise: “He will see to it that every temptation has a way out, so that it will never be impossible for you to bear it” (v.13 Phillips). All of us have power to influence others in their faith. How tragic to squander it by yielding to a temptation that God has empowered us to resist.

Lord, there are temptations to sin everywhere. Help me not to give in. Make me sensitive to see the ways out that You provide. I want my love for You to be real and to encourage others in their faith journey. The best way to escape temptation is to run to God.


Martin Luther - WATCH YOURSELF

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

This passage gives us a very serious warning. It’s meant to restrain the severity of those who don’t help or console those who have fallen into sin. Augustine says, “There is no sin committed by a person which could not also be committed by someone else.” We are always walking on a slippery path. It’s very easy to fall off if we become proud or get out of line. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

David was a holy man, full of faith and of the Spirit of God. He received glorious promises from God and did great things for God. But he fell in such a shameful way. After successfully enduring many trials that God used to test him, and even though he was advanced in age, he was carried away by the passion of youth. If this could happen to such a man as David, how can we ever take for granted our own ability to remain steady? Through this example, God shows us our own weakness so that we will not exalt ourselves but stand in fear. God also shows us his judgment. He finds nothing more intolerable than pride, whether against him or against a brother or sister. So Paul does not uselessly say, “Watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”

Those who have faced temptations know how important this is. Some haven’t, so they don’t understand what Paul is saying, and they lack compassion for those who have fallen.


Angels fell in Heaven, Adam in paradise, Peter in Christ’s presence. Theophilus Polwheile


Spurgeon -  Since the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience that Satan hinders us. If we toil in the field, he seeks to break the plowshare. If we build the wall, he labors to cast down the stones. If we would serve God in suffering or in conflict, everywhere Satan hinders us. He hinders us when we are first coming to Jesus Christ. Fierce conflicts we had with Satan when we first looked to the cross and lived. Now that we are saved, he endeavors to hinder the completeness of our personal character. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).


Moody - TWENTY-FIVE years ago—and for the first five years after I was converted—I used to think that if I were able to stand for twenty years I need fear no fall. But the nearer you get to the Cross the fiercer the battle. Satan aims high. He went amongst the twelve, and singled out the treasurer, Judas Iscariot, and the chief apostle, Peter. Most men who have fallen have done so on the strongest side of their character. I am told that the only side upon which Edinburgh Castle was successfully assailed was where the rocks were steepest, and where the garrison thought themselves secure. If any man thinks that he is strong enough to resist the evil at any one point he needs special watch there, for the tempter comes that way.


Rick Renner -  A True Story To Demonstrate The Danger of 'Cracks' in Your Life  1 Corinthians 10:12 

There is an incredible story from history that demonstrates the danger of "cracks" in your spiritual life. The story comes from the city of Sardis, where one of the seven churches in the book of Revelation was located ( see Revelation 3:1-6). 

The city of Sardis was located very high on top of sheer cliffs that were almost impossible to climb. Because of their city's high and remote location, the residents believed it couldn't be penetrated or taken captive by a foreign enemy. It was this overconfidence that led to the demise of Sardis on more than one occasion.
Because those who lived in Sardis believed they were impenetrable, they felt sure that foreign aggressors couldn't make war on them. As a result, they became proud, cocky, overconfident, lazy, and complacent. As this apathy took over, the residents smugly concluded that there was no other city as secure as theirs. As a result of this haughty attitude, they stopped giving attention to the foundations and walls of their spiraling city. Thus, while the people's pride and overconfidence kept growing stronger and stronger over the years, they failed to notice that the foundations and walls of their city had begun to deteriorate and form massive cracks at the base of the walls.

At first the cracks were small and unnoticeable; but as time progressed, those tiny cracks grew bigger, deeper, and wider. Finally, the gaps in the walls became so wide that a human body could easily  slip through them—but the people didn't even realize that they were no longer secure! Due to the massive fractures in the walls and foundations, it had become very easy for an enemy to climb up the sides of the mountain, slip through the cracks, and march right into the city. Yet the city residents were completely unaware of the problem! 

One night while the city of Sardis was sleeping, an enemy army scaled up the cliffs and slithered through the cracks in the foundations and walls of the city. It took only a few minutes for the enemy soldiers to creep through those fractures and silently make their way up to the top of the city walls. The invading army then settled into military positions with weapons fixed on the main routes of the interior so no one in Sardis could make a move without facing retaliation.

When the residents of Sardis awakened the next morning and ventured out into the streets, they were thrown into a state of panic and shock when they realized that they were surrounded on every side by an enemy force. Enemy forces had infiltrated into their midst before they knew those forces were even near!

Unfortunately, the city of Sardis is like so many of us. We become so busy with life, so tossed about by everyday cares, or perhaps so confident of our own abilities, that we become unaware of our own spiritual need. We go on in life as though we have no need to deal with the foundations of our lives, not realizing that tiny cracks are starting to form.
This kind of negligent thinking is usually accompanied by prayerlessness and insensitivity to the Spirit of God. A Christian who is too busy to get into the Presence of God is a Christian who will soon find himself in trouble, just like the city of Sardis.

This is why the apostle Paul said, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). The word "thinketh" is from the Greek word dokeo, which in this case means to be of the opinion, to reckon, to suppose, or to think, as it is translated here in the King James Version. In this verse, the word dokeo expresses the idea of what a person thinks or supposes about himself. There is nothing here to verify that the individual's opinion is correct; only that it is the prevailing opinion he has regarding himself. In just a moment, you'll see why this is so important for you to understand! 

Next, Paul says, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth...." The word "standeth" comes from the Greek word istemi, which simply means to stand, to stand fast, to stand firm, or to stand upright. But when the words dokeo and istemi are combined together as Paul uses them in this verse, it means, "Wherefore let anyone who has the self-imposed opinion of himself that he is standing strong and firm...." Then Paul adds the next critically important words: "... take heed lest he fall." 

The words "take heed" are from the Greek word blepo, which means to watch, to see, to behold, or to be aware. The Greek tense indicates the need not only to watch, but to be continually watchful. Paul is urging us to live in an uninterrupted state of watchfulness regarding our spiritual lives and the firm stance of faith that we claim to possess! 

Why does he insist that we be so watchful? He goes on to say, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." The word "fall" is pipto, which means to fall. In the New Testament, it is used to depict someone who falls into a terrible predicament or into a worse state than he was in before. It can also depict someone who falls into sin; falls into ruin; or falls into some type of failure. The word pipto that Paul uses in this verse emphatically describes a downfall from a formerly presumed high and haughty position. Therefore, it isn't just a little stumbling that Paul is referring to; it is a downward plummet that causes one to sorrowfully crash!  

 When you put all of this together, First Corinthians 10:12 could be translated:  

 "If anyone has the opinion of himself that he is standing strong and firm, he needs to be continually watchful and always on his guard lest he trip, stumble, and fall from his overconfident position and take a nose-dive downward to a serious crash!" 

We must never become so smug that we fall into complacency. The day we allow that to happen, we are in big trouble! Like the city of Sardis, we may end up with huge cracks we aren't even aware of. That is exactly when the enemy will slip in to take us captive in different areas of our lives. Therefore, we must match our confidence with watchfulness! 

Unfortunately, it appears that the church in Sardis precisely mirrored the city of Sardis. Jesus told them, "... I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and are dead" (Revelation 3:1). At one time the church in Sardis had a great name and a testimony of being spiritually alive and vibrant. But because the believers in that church got too busy and failed to give heed to the foundational things in their lives, cracks began to form spiritually over time. Eventually the devil found a way to slip into that church to ruin its name and influence. Because of spiritual negligence, this church body lost its vitality until Jesus even said it was "dead." 

In Revelations 3:2, Jesus told them, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God." I love this verse, for it alerts us to the fact that it is never too late to do something to fix the problem! Jesus said, "Locate the problem! Find a solution! Strengthen what you have! Do it before it's too late!" 

If you have a part of your life that is broken, cracked, or splintered, there is still hope that it can be restored. It may require emergency care to get it on life support for now, but it can be resuscitated and brought back to life again. Preventative medicine is always better than corrective surgery, so learn to take the right steps to avoid these problems. 

 It may seem like it takes a lot of time to stay watchful and prayerful about your spiritual life, but I assure you that it is less expensive and less painful than it is to crash spiritually and then have to fix things in your life that never had to be broken in the first place! 

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
 Lord, help me stay watchful regarding the condition of my spiritual life! I recognize that sometimes I get too busy and fail to pray, wrongly presuming that I am strong enough to be able to survive in a state of prayerlessness. Especially after what I've read today, I realize that this kind of smugness and pride has always gotten me into trouble. Therefore, I turn from apathy and the wrong kind of confidence, and I turn to the Cross! Please examine my heart and help me identify those areas of my life that need to be fixed or corrected. Once You reveal to me what needs to be changed, please give me the power to apply the needed correction. 
 I pray this in Jesus' name! 

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
 I declare by faith that I am sensitive to the Spirit of God! The Holy Spirit shows me every area of my life that is weak and that needs attention. When the Holy Spirit speaks to me, I am quick to listen and quick to obey. I urgently act to bring correction to every weakness in my  character and my spiritual life where the enemy might try to penetrate. Therefore, the devil has no access to me!  
 I declare this by faith in Jesus' name! 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
1.      Are you aware of any areas in your life that have deteriorated and need attention? It could be your marriage, your finances, your relationships, or a whole host of other vital areas of your life. Are there cracks in any of these areas through which the devil may try to sneak up on you and take you captive?
2.      If your answer is yes, what do you need to do to seal those cracks and strengthen those areas so the devil cannot successfully lay siege to your life?
3.      Can you think of one area in your life that was fractured in the past, but through God's grace is now healed and sealed from any future attacks of the devil? (Sparkling Gems from the Greek)


Greg Laurie - THE SPIRITUAL BATTLEFIELD

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Someone once asked the Charles Finney, “Do you really believe in a literal devil?” Finney responded, “You try opposing him for awhile, and you see if he is literal or not.” If you want to find out if there is a literal devil, then start walking with Jesus Christ and seeking to be in the will of God. You will find just how real he is.

I think that many people, after they have decided to follow Christ, are surprised to find that the Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. It is not a life of ease, but one of conflict, warfare, and opposition. Our choice is simple: will we be victorious or will we be victims on the spiritual battlefield?
It has been said that you can tell a lot about a man by who his enemies are. The same is true for us. We are no longer opposing God, but we now have a new, very powerful foe, and he is described in the Bible as the devil. The devil, of course, is not happy with the fact that he has lost one of his own. He is angry that you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. Now you have become a potential threat to his kingdom as well.

The closer you stay to the Lord, the safer you are, because you stand in the work that Jesus did on the Cross. Don’t try to engage the devil in your own ability, because he can chew you up and spit you out. But if you stand in the Lord and in His power and stay as close to Him as you can, then you will be safe.


Greg Laurie - TEMPTATION’S TIMING

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

History tells us that during World War II, Hitler had an interesting strategy for attacking the various European nations: he always did it on a weekend. Hitler knew the various parliaments would not be in session, making it more difficult to react swiftly to an invasion.

In the same way, the devil will wait for an opportune moment, that decisive time to attack. It may be when our guard is down, when we are not expecting it. It may even come when we think we are the strongest, when we think, “I am doing pretty well spiritually. I think I am really growing. Everything is going great.” Often weaker believers are less vulnerable than stronger ones, because weaker believers recognize their frailty and vulnerability. The Bible says, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

Perhaps recently you have experienced a great blessing in your life. That blessing may involve your family, your career, your ministry, or your personal walk with God. But the enemy wants to rob you of it. Remember, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove, and a voice was heard from heaven from the Father saying, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). The Bible says that after this, Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (see Luke 4:1–14).

Remember, it’s not a sin to be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted. The sin takes place only when we give in to that temptation, when we open the door to it and entertain it. That is why we should flee temptation and never leave a forwarding address.


Greg - Laurie - AFTER THE DOVE

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Often after great victories, some of the most intense challenges and temptations of the Christian life will come our way. I have found that after great blessings in my life, after God works in a powerful way, the devil will be there to challenge it.

Think about it. After God had powerfully worked through Elijah on Mount Carmel, the prophet became so discouraged that he wanted to die. After Jesus was transfigured, He came down from the mountain to find a demon-possessed person waiting for them.

Or recall how Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove and God said, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately after what must have been a glorious, affirming moment, Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
After the dove came the devil.

The devil will always be there to challenge whatever God has done. It may come after church, after God has blessed you and spoken to you. You leave the parking lot and get into a petty argument with a family member—or you’re hit with a heavy-duty temptation.

You wonder how that could happen. But that’s just the devil’s way. He wants to make your life miserable. Most importantly, he wants to steal anything that God has done in your life.

The devil is watching us and he’s looking for vulnerabilities. That is why we need to pray for any person whom we know that God is using. And that is why we need to brace ourselves. The more you step out to be used by the Lord, the more you can expect opposition from the devil.


Greg Laurie - AN OPPORTUNE TIME

Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

In a broad sense, temptation can come to us at any time. Of course, it often happens after times of great blessing. Jesus was tested, or tempted, in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, right after His baptism in the Jordan River when the Spirit of God came upon Him in the form of a dove. After the dove came the devil. After the blessing came the attack. Often after great times of blessing, the enemy will be there, wanting to rob us of what God has done.

Maybe you have experienced a great time of blessing in your life recently. Enjoy it, but keep your guard up. The enemy will be there. He will attack you, and he will tempt you. He waits for the opportune time to confront us, and we are often the most vulnerable when we think we are the strongest.

If you think that weak believers had better be careful, then I have a thought for you: Strong believers had better be careful, too. The Bible says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Many times temptation can come when we’re relaxing. Take David for example. He was tempted when he was up on the rooftop taking a little rest and relaxation, at the time when kings usually go out to battle. He noticed the beautiful Bathsheba as she was bathing on her rooftop, he lowered his guard, and we know the rest of that story.

There is no rest from the spiritual battle. Always keep your guard up, because the moment you think, It won’t hit me here, that is where it will hit you. The enemy is just waiting. He is looking for an opportunity. So keep your armor on.


Joni Erickson Tada - Take Heed

  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 CORINTHIANS 10:12

How many times have you watched someone dive headlong into immorality and thought, Nope, not me; I’d never be caught doing that. Beware. People who view themselves as standing firm are the most susceptible to the most gross type of sin. Upright and obedient Noah stood alone against a carousing, lustful world that drank itself silly. Who would have thought Noah, of all people, would end up drunk? Look at Abraham. He was ready to push obedience to the point of sacrificing his own son. Who would imagine he would be the one to lie straight-faced to government officials? And do it twice! Lot closed his door against the sexual sin in the streets of Sodom, but hardly does he get delivered from the city’s destruction than he falls into incest with his own daughters.

Bold and courageous David was brave enough to go up against Goliath, but later on, he made believe he was a madman because he feared his enemies. Then there’s Elijah. We take him to be a rather brave man as he wielded the sword of God’s vengeance against tens of thousands. But the threat of one woman sent him plummeting into suicidal despair. Finally, there’s Peter. He was part of the Lord’s inner circle, following the footsteps of Jesus closer than anyone. Yet he ended up cursing and denying his Savior.

First Corinthians 10:6–11 cautions us further about the human side of Noah, Lot, David, and Elijah, “These things [are] examples . . . and were written down as warnings for us.” Just when you think you are doing pretty well, you stumble into a sin that seems so out of character. But it’s not. The character of our body is of sin and death (Romans 7:13). Remember, you won’t fall as long as you’re leaning on Jesus.

Lord Jesus, today I stand only in your strength and grace. Keep me from falling into sin as I keep my eye on you.


D Martyn Lloyd-Jones -  A STEADFAST SPIRIT

 Renew a right spirit within me.  PSALM 51:10 

 One characteristic of the Christian is always this:

A profound distrust of self and a realization of the power of God.  

Listen to David: “Create in me a clean heart . . . and renew a right   spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). The Revised Version margin puts it this   way: “Renew a steadfast spirit within me.” 

 You   see, what he was conscious of was his own unsteadiness. Well might   David have felt that. He was a man who had experienced God’s blessing,   and he had known the joy of the Lord; and yet he had fallen into   terrible sins. So he cries out for this renewal and for this reliable   spirit within himself. I make bold to say that every Christian knows   what this means. A Christian is not a man who relies upon himself. It is   only the Christian who knows his own weakness. It takes a Christian to   see the darkness of his own heart and the frailty of his own nature.   There is a type of Christian, I regret to say, who behaves as if he can   do everything. He has had an experience of conversion, and now he is   ready to face hell and the devil and everything. Poor fellow, he will   not go very far before he loses that sense of confidence. “Let him that   thinketh he standeth,” said the apostle Paul to such people, “take heed   lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). No; the Christian is a man who   knows his own weakness, and he is afraid of it. So he prays for a steady   spirit, a reliable spirit. He wants to be a sound man. 


Adrian Rogers - Who may be tempted? We all are subject to temptation. Don’t get the idea that when you get saved you won’t be tempted any more. You will be tempted. You will be bombarded with temptations in the areas of dishonesty, materialism, sex, greed, and pride. Being saved does not make you immune to temptation, and being tempted is not a sin. Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15 KJV).” But be careful that you guard against pride. Remember what 1 Corinthians 10:12 says: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” The proud person tempts the devil to tempt him, and if you are cavalier or careless about sin, I can tell you that you are going to fall.

The person that is in the greatest danger, however, is the person who is trying to fight this temptation in the strength of his own flesh. He thinks, I don’t need to read a book on temptation. I don’t have any problem with temptation. I can overcome it. But without Christ you cannot. God has to make a way of escape for you.

Why doesn’t God just kill the devil? Why doesn’t God just remove all temptation from us? Because that’s not God’s plan for us. God’s plan is not immunity, but victory.


John Flavel - Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.—Romans 11:20

Did the disciples forsake Christ, though they had such strong resolutions never to do it? Then we see that self-confidence is a sin too likely to the best of people. They little thought their hearts would have proved so cowardly when they were tried. “Even if all fall away,” said Peter, “I will not” (Mark 14:29). Good man; he resolved honestly, but he did not know what a feather he would be in the wind of temptation, if God once left him to his own fears.

Little reason have the best of saints to depend on their inherent grace, let their stock be as large as it will. Every merit without the prop of divine preservation is but a weight that tends to a fall. What becomes of the stream if the fountain supply it not? The best people will show themselves but human if God leave them. He who has set them up must also keep them. It is safer to be a humble worm than a proud angel. Adam had more favorable opportunity to maintain his station than any of you. For though he were left to the liberty of his own will and though he was created upright and had no inherent corruption to endanger him, yet he fell.

And shall we be self-confident, after such instances of human frailty! “Do not be arrogant, but be afraid,” when you have considered well the examples of Noah, Lot, David, and Hezekiah, men famous and renowned in their generations who all fell by temptations, and when you would think they had never been better provided to cope with them. Lot fell soon after the Lord had thrust him out of Sodom and his eyes had seen hell, as it were, rained on them out of heaven; Noah, immediately after God’s wonderful preservation of him in the ark when he saw a world of men and women perishing in the floods for their sins; David, after the Lord had settled the kingdom on him, which for sin he took from Saul, and given him rest in his house. Hezekiah was just up from a great sickness in which the Lord wrought a wonderful salvation for him. Did such people and at such times, when one would think no temptations should have prevailed, fall, and fall so dishonorably? Then, “if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

O do not be arrogant, but be afraid.


Cyril Hocking - 2 Chronicles 26:1–23 PRIDE GOES BEFORE … A FALL

KING UZZIAH did what was right as his father had done. But his father, Amaziah, after a good start, had a sad end; see ch. 25. “Be ye followers (imitators) of me”, says Paul, but adds significantly, “even as I also am of Christ”. Whom do we really follow? As long as Uzziah sought the help of God, he prospered. But did he seek the Lord as earnestly as Isaiah?—“With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early”, 26:9. Or was he largely influenced by Zechariah the seer alone?, 2 Chron. 26:5. We need personal conviction and dedication. In his good works, recorded to his credit, Uzziah was marvellously helped till his heart was lifted up with pride.

Knowing Uzziah’s presumptuous sin, we might label him a bad man, but God is generous in His judgment of His people. They “have kept thy word”, said our Lord Jesus of His disciples, whose spokesman denied Him thrice, while they all forsook Him and fled. Are we as kind in judging our brethren as is our Lord whose eyes are as a flame of fire? As to what is right, we must judge in the light of God’s Word. As to others’ motives or overall faithfulness, “judge nothing before the lime, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts”, 1 Cor. 4:5; Luke 6:37.

Yet in the judgment of His people God is impartial. Past good works do not excuse present disobedience. God resists the proud, so judgment falls on Uzziah. In prosperity beware of self-confidence. “I say … to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think”, Rom. 12:3. In his proud and persistent attempt to offer incense, Uzziah was usurping the place of the priests. To claim the privilege of priesthood as well as of kingship is to claim what God has appointed solely for His Son, of whom Melchizedec is a faint foreshadowing, Gen. 14:18; Heb. 7:1–4. We may begin with high ideals and honest endeavour to please God, but if prosperity comes, beware of pride bringing God’s displeasure and maybe public shame. Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall, 1 Cor. 10:12.


Bill Bright - I am sobered by the thought that, having served the Lord for more than 30 exciting, wonderful, fruitful years, I might yet dishonor His name and bring disgrace to His cause. I know what has happened to other brothers and sisters in Christ—some of whom had been Spirit-filled Christian leaders, and I know that I too could fail the Lord if I do not continue to trust and obey Him. Even the apostle Paul lived in reverential fear that he might dishonor the name and cause of our Lord.

“So be careful. If you are thinking, ‘Oh, I would never behave like that,’ let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin. But remember this: The wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible.

“You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for He has promised this and will do what He says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it” (1 Corinthians 10:12, 13).

For many years it has been my prayer, as I pray on the offensive, “Oh, God, if there is a possibility that I may dishonor or disgrace Your name by becoming involved in a moral, financial or any other kind of scandal that would discredit my ministry and nullify my witness for You, I would rather You take my life first before such a thing could happen.”

The Scripture warns all believers that any one of them, too, could fall. No one reaches the place of spiritual maturity or perfection where he can say, “I don’t need the Lord’s help anymore.” The only one who can enable us to live victorious lives is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.


COMPLACENCY VS. COMMITMENT

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:12

We need to make certain our marriages are divorce proof. Pastor/author Chuck Swindoll asks a great question: “Are there any termites in your troth?” One of those termites could be complacency.

First Corinthians 10:12 offers a formidable warning to the one who thinks this infestation of termites can’t reach into his marriage. How many ministers, missionaries and laymen have fallen into affairs and divorce after allowing romantic complacency to settle into their marriages?

We need to resurrect the true meaning of commitment. In this age of lite beer, lite syrup and lite salad dressing, it’s no wonder we exhibit lite commitment, too. But for a Christian, commitment is a sacred vow and promise to God. It’s two people who hang in there during the best and worst of times and who won’t quit. It’s a husband and wife who find working through problems much more rewarding than walking out.

We need to pass on to our children the real definition of commitment while continually exposing the lies that their peers and the media propagate. A person who does not understand his or her ultimate accountability to God has little reason to fulfill a vow or commitment to another human being.

There’s another type of complacency we need to address: We need to fight for other marriages besides our own. A growing number of Christians, upon hearing of the hurt and anguish of their friends, do not reach for their Bibles, but, instead, hastily offer a parachute and say, “Bail out!” Or they simply sit by, saying and doing nothing. They just let it happen. Hey, I understand. When there’s only a slim thread of hope, what are you going to do?

You and I have got to go to the guy who just left his family and tell him it just isn’t going to be that easy. He can’t just walk out on them. And that woman in our Sunday School class? She can’t leave her husband for this other guy and think things will be business as usual. Plead, beg and pray with them. And get them some help.


It has become so commonplace to hear of the misconduct of a respected public figure that even though we may be deeply disappointed, we are hardly surprised. But how should we respond to the news of a moral failure, whether by a prominent pergon or a friend? We might begin by looking at ourselves. A century ago, Oswald Chambers told his students at the Bible Training College in London,

"Always remain alert to the fact that where one man has gone back is exactly where anyone may go back ....Unguarded strength is double weakness."

Chambers' words echo Paul's warning to be aware of our own vulnerability when we see the sins of others. After reviewing the disobedience of the Israelites in the wilderness, Paul urged his readers to learn from those sins so they wouldn't repeat them (1 Corinthians 10:1-11). He focused not on past failings but on present pride when he wrote, "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Co 10:12).

The head shaken in reproach is a common response to public sin. More helpful is the head that nods, "Yes, I am capable of that," then bows in prayer for the one who has fallen and the one who thinks he
stands.  —DM

Blessed Savior, make me humble,
Take away my sinful pride;
In myself I'm sure to stumble,
Help me stay close by your side.
—D. DeHaan

Unguarded strength is double weakness! 
-- Oswald Chambers


Be Careful!

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 19-20; Matthew 18:21-35

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12

Several years ago my wife Carolyn and I were hiking on Mount Rainier in Washington when we came to a swollen, glacial stream. Someone had flattened one side of a log and dropped it across the river to form a crude bridge, but there was no handrail and the log was slippery.

The prospect of walking on the wet log was frightening, and Carolyn didn’t want to cross. But she found the courage, and slowly, carefully she inched her way to the other side.

On the way back we had to walk on the same log, and she did so with the same care. “Are you afraid?” I asked. “Of course,” she replied, “that’s what keeps me safe.” Again, fully aware of the danger, she made her way to safety.

Much of life poses moral danger for us. We should never assume in any situation that we’re incapable of falling. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Given the opportunity and circumstances, any of us are capable of falling into any sin. To believe otherwise is sheer folly.

We must watch and pray and arm ourselves for every occasion by putting our total trust in God (Ephesians 6:13). “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 10:13), and He will give us the strength to keep from falling.

The hand of God protects our way
  When we would do His will;
  And if through danger we must go,
  We know He's with us still.
—D. De Haan

God provides the armor, but we must put it on.
(ED: RELATED RESOURCE - "Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible" 100/100)


When Someone Falls

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12

It has become so commonplace to hear of the misconduct of a respected public figure that even though we may be deeply disappointed, we are hardly surprised. But how should we respond to the news of a moral failure, whether by a prominent person or a friend? We might begin by looking at ourselves. A century ago, Oswald Chambers told his students at the Bible Training College in London,

“Always remain alert to the fact that where one man has gone back is exactly where anyone may go back....Unguarded strength is double weakness.”

Chambers’ words echo Paul’s warning to be aware of our own vulnerability when we see the sins of others. After reviewing the disobedience of the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:1-5), Paul urged his readers to learn from those sins so they wouldn’t repeat them (vv.6-11). He focused not on past failings but on present pride when he wrote, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (v.12).

The head shaken in reproach is a common response to public sin. More helpful is the head that nods, “Yes, I am capable of that,” then bows in prayer for the one who has fallen and the one who thinks he stands.

Blessed Savior, make me humble,
Take away my sinful pride;
In myself I’m sure to stumble,
Help me stay close by Your side.
—D. De Haan

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
—Proverbs 16:18


Orange Peels

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 49-50; Romans 1

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12

Back in 1911, a stuntman named Bobby Leach went over Niagara Falls in a specially designed steel drum—and lived to tell about it. Although he suffered minor injuries, he survived because he recognized the tremendous dangers involved in the feat, and he had done everything he could to protect himself from harm.

Several years later, while walking down a street in New Zealand, Bobby Leach slipped on an orange peel, fell, and badly fractured his leg. He was taken to a hospital where he died of complications from that fall. He received a greater injury walking down the street than he sustained in going over Niagara Falls. He was not prepared for danger in what he assumed to be a safe situation.

Some of the great temptations that roar around us like the rushing waters of Niagara will leave us unharmed, while a small, seemingly insignificant incident may cause our downfall. Why? We simply become careless and do not recognize the potential danger. We mistakenly think we are secure (1 Corinthians 10:12).

We must always be on guard against temptation. A victorious Christian is an alert Christian who watches out even for those little “orange peels.”

Take the name of Jesus ever
  As a shield from every snare;
  If temptations round you gather,
  Breathe that holy name in prayer.
—Baxter

Whenever we fall, it is usually at the point where we think we are strong.


1 CORINTHIANS 10:12 - Several years ago a severe ice storm hit southern lower Michigan, causing great damage to trees. As I surveyed the destruction, I checked the two large white birches in my backyard. One had lost some of its limbs, but its partner had suffered a worse fate. The entire tree had toppled over and was completely uprooted. Why the one and not the other? The answer was simple. Instead of standing straight up, this thirty-five-foot tree had grown at a pronounced angle. So when the heavy ice accumulated on its branches, it fell in the direction it was leaning.  If we don't live in fellowship with the Lord each day, our lives will lean toward some weakness or besetting sin. Then if a crisis comes or if we are caught off guard, we will be unable to resist the pressure of our circumstances. Let's stand tall in the strength of the Lord so it won't happen to us. —D. J. D.

WE NEED GOD'S STRENGTH TO KEEP US TRUE AND STRAIGHT IN EVERYTHING WE DO.

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Amplified  For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and  adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to  a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

Wuest  A testing time or a temptation has not laid hold of you with the result that these have you in their grip, except those to which mankind is continually subject. But God is faithful who will not permit you to be tested nor tempted above that with which you are able to cope, but will, along with the testing time or temptation, also make a way out in order that you may be able to bear up under it. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates Absolutely no testing has overtaken you which does not pertain to mankind, but God is trustworthy who absolutely will not permit you to be tested beyond what you are able to endure, but will, together with the testing, provide the way out. 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:13 No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:13 πειρασμὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ εἴληφεν εἰ μὴ ἀνθρώπινος· πιστὸς δὲ ὁ θεός, ὃς οὐκ ἐάσει ὑμᾶς πειρασθῆναι ὑπὲρ ὃ δύνασθε ἀλλὰ ποιήσει σὺν τῷ πειρασμῷ καὶ τὴν ἔκβασιν τοῦ δύνασθαι ὑπενεγκεῖν.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation hath taken you -- except human; and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, but He will make, with the temptation, also the outlet, for your being able to bear it.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:13 No testing has taken hold of you but what is commonplace for human beings. God is faithful; he will not permit you to be tested above what you are able to withstand. But simultaneously with the test, he will open a way of relief that you may be able to endure it.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:13 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.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:13 None of the trials which have come upon you is more than a human being can stand. You can trust that God will not let you be put to the test beyond your strength, but with any trial will also provide a way out by enabling you to put up with it.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:13 There isn't any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:13 You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go t

  • has: Jer 12:5 Mt 24:21-24 Lu 11:4 22:31,46 2Co 11:23-28 Eph 6:12,13 Heb 11:35-38 12:4 Jas 5:10,11 1Pe 1:6,7 5:8,9 Rev 2:10 3:10 
  • but: 1Co 1:9 De 7:9 Ps 36:5 89:33 Isa 11:5 25:1 49:7 La 3:23 Ho 2:20 1Th 5:24 2Th 3:3 2Ti 2:11-13 Heb 6:18 10:23 11:11 1Pe 4:19 1Jn 1:9 Rev 19:11 
  • who: Ex 3:17 Ps 125:3 Da 3:17 Lu 22:32  Joh 10:28-30 Ro 8:28-39 2Co 1:10 12:8-10 2Ti 4:18 1Pe 1:5 2Pe 2:9 
  • provide: Ge 19:20,21 Ps 124:7 Jer 29:11 Lu 16:26 Ac 27:44 Jas 5:11 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

NOTE: There are a few notes on this page, but there are many more comments at 1 Corinthians 10:13 Commentary

TEMPTATION WILL NOT BE 
MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE

The question that the trials of Israel experienced in 1 Cor 10:5-11 raise the question did the children of Israel experience more than what God could expect them to endure? Paul answers this question in this verse, not only for Israel in the past but for the Corinthian saints in the present! 

John MacArthur makes an excellent point as to why Paul made this statement in the context of just mentioning 4 examples of sins to which the Corinthians were very vulnerable and were likely incessantly tempted to commit (and the same is true of believers today for America is like national "Corinth" so to speak).

Paul’s answer  is that a Christian should recognize that victory is always available, because a believer can never get into temptation that he cannot get out of.

(Absolutely) No temptation (test peirasmos) has overtaken you but such as is common to man - "If our temptations were such as none else had ever endured, and there were no way out of them, we might give up in despair; but it is not so. The Lord will not try us too much, too long, or too often. Grace will bear us through." (Spurgeon) 

Barber - You may be going through a trial. You may be going through something that you feel like nobody could understand. The main tool of the devil is to isolate you to where you think that you are by yourself. Nobody else knows what you are going through. Well, I want you to know from this verse, you need to think again, because you are not going through anything that is not common to all men. There are different degrees and different times, and not every person faces every single temptation, but all men face the same kinds of temptations. Every man and woman alive struggles and falls to the same kinds of temptation. The word for “common” is the word anthropinos, which means that which belongs to man, that which all mankind can relate to. So, whatever it is you are dealing with, there is somebody else already dealing with the very same thing. You are not alone. It is not as if you have been singled out. All of us deal with the same kinds of temptation.

Arnold - The word “temptation” in my opinion could be better translated “testing.” Paul’s encouragement is that our testings are not unique to us, for all men have testings. We are not the only ones going through a particular trial. Others have gone through it or are going through it so they can comfort us in that trial. 

Zodhiates - When the purpose of testing is for us to acquire experience, then God is the author. He is testing us to determine if we can handle greater responsibility. God considers testing necessary, not to lead us into an evil act, but to acquire experience and strength. If you have wondered why God has not entrusted you with greater responsibility, is it possible that you have tried to avoid His testing? Whenever Satan tests us, the word should be translated "tempts," because his purpose is to cause us to fail, to fall into sin. It is never God's desire to tempt us to sin, and for this reason the Lord taught us in His prayer to say, "Lead us not into temptation" (Matt. 6:13+). The word peirasmós here should be translated "testing." Usually we have the wrong perception of the necessity of testing by God. In our prayers we should be honest and confess our aversion to testing. In this life, both Christians and non-Christians come face to face with testings. For the non-Christians, testings become occasions to sin, but for Christians, they become occasions for training (paideia). Sometimes, though, the Christian feels the testings may be too severe and beyond his ability to bear. Paul had Christians in mind when he wrote our verse, "No testing has overtaken you." The "no" is expressed by the absolute negative ou (3756) in connection with the verb "overtaken" (perfect tense  lambano], to take, seize, lay hold of, which has the idea of force or violence). Paul wants us to know that God has not allowed any believer to be tested beyond his ability to bear as His child. Implied also is the sense of surprise. (ED: WE CAN ALL IDENTIFY WITH THE "SURPRISE" ASPECT OF A TEST!)  God recognizes, at all times, that we are only human and cannot endure testing beyond human ability (cf Heb 4:15+).

Temptation (3986) (peirasmos from peirazo = to make trial of, try, tempt, prove in either a good or bad sense) describes first the idea of putting to the test and then refers to the tests or pressures that come in order to discover a person’s nature or the quality of some thing. Peirasmos connotes trouble or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in someone’s life. Trials rightly faced are harmless and in fact beneficial to the saint as Peter (and James 1 explain), but wrongly met become temptations to evil as explained below. Think of yourself as a tube of "spiritual toothpaste". Pressure brings out what's really on the inside! The word came to signify intentional trying w. the purpose of discovering what of good and evil, or power or weakness, was in a person or thing. 

And God is faithful - He is trustworthy. He can be trusted in our test! See Faithfulness of God. In 1 Cor 1:9+ Paul wrote "God is faithful, through Whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." (cf 2 Cor 1:18).

Zodhiates - God never makes a mistake in His testing. He never allows it to be less than we need to encourage our growth nor more than we can bear.

Arnold - Whatever the testing, struggle or trial, we Christians know God is faithful to His promises and character to see us through the trial. We may not always be faithful in the way we handle testing but God is always faithful. God is far more concerned about our spiritual growth than we are.

Who will (absolutely) not allow (permit - eao) you to be tempted (tested - peirazo) beyond what you are able (dunamai- This truth is evidence of God's faithfulness to His children. God may send the test or allow the test, but in either scenario is sovereignly in control of the test. As one has said, the tests God's children experience are "filtered" through His "hands" of love and mercy. 

Zodhiates on not allow you to be tempted - In Acts 16:7+, we find that both verbs peirazo, to test or try, and eao, to permit, are used. Speaking of the Apostle Paul and his companions, Luke says, "After they were come to Mysia, they attempted [imperfect tense of peirázō, to try, to attempt - again and again] to go into Bithynia: and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit (eao) them;  [eíasen, the third person singular aorist active indicative of eáō, to permit]." Here Paul and his companions were trying to spread the Gospel to further areas of Asia. Although this was commendable, we find that the Holy Spirit did not permit them to do so. He placed limitations as to where they were to go and what they were to do. It is good to remember that while God limits the powers of those who would test us, He also places limitations on our own plans, even though we may think that what we are doing brings glory to God. God does not tempt us to sin. As James 1:13, 14+ says, "Let no man say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted of God': for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." That refers to both direct and indirect temptation. God only allows testing to come into our lives in order to strengthen us. A teacher or professor gives tests not only to determine what a person has learned, but to motivate him to deeper study and retention.

Arnold - He will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear. Every trial which comes our way as Christians is somehow in the sovereign will and control of God, and He will not allow that testing to ultimately destroy us. He may through testing bring us to breaking point but He will give grace in time of need. God knows how much testing we can handle and how much we cannot. He uses testings in our lives to develop our faith and Christian character. One of the basic principles of training athletes is to get them to perform beyond their natural capabilities. This is done by applying more and more controlled pressure so the athlete will think he can do more than he can actually do, and before long, he is doing it. This is what God does with us. He allows more and more pressure to be put on us to teach us to trust Him alone so the life of Christ can be manifested in us. He says He will never give us more pressure than we can handle. If you are under some pressure or trial and feel, "I can’t take it one second longer," I have good news for you. Yes you can, for God will not allow you to be tested above your ability to take it.

GOD'S SURE WORD
OF PROMISE

but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it  -  Note it is not "a" way but "the way." The Greek conjunction for with is  sun/syn which speaks of an intimate association. You say so what? The point is that "with" (sun/syn) the temptation "intimately" comes "the way of escape!" It is like a "horse and buggy" arrangement so to speak. God does not allow us to be tested without also "hooking" up the way of escape. The way of escape (ekbasis) describes a going out, as an exit from a house.  Will be able is again dunamai which speaks of inherent ability that allows one to accomplish an end. In other words "The implied meaning is that with every test we pass through, God gives us the ability to emerge victorious, thus we progress in our Christian walk." (Zodhiates)

Zodhiates adds that "every testing that God allows in our lives will have some result, some outcome which is related to the testing. It is to be noted that the word ékbasin in 1 Corinthians 10:13 has the definite article ("the" not "a") in front of it, "But will, together with the testing, provide the way out." He speaks here of the beneficence of every testing that He directs or permits in our lives." The Apostle does not promise that the Lord will spare us from testing and suffering. Every test has its corresponding way out and victory. The Apostle does not promise that the Lord will spare us from testing and suffering. Every test has its corresponding way out and victory. Christ did not suffer because of any sin of His own, but for our sins (2 Cor. 5:21). We, as His disciples, are never saved from suffering, but rejoice in suffering because Christ's strength is manifest in our suffering. If we are faithful to Him, we shall be partakers of His sufferings. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:5 that "The sufferings of Christ abound in us." The Apostle Paul longed to know "the fellowship of His sufferings" (Phil. 3:10). God allows testing and suffering in our lives that we may share with Him in His glory (Rom. 8:17). "Insofar as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice," Peter tells us (1 Pet. 4:13). A sure promise is that "if we endure [hupoménomen {5278}, to abide under, endure, an exact synonym of hupophérō], we shall also reign with Him" (2 Tim. 2:12). Testings are minor in the lives of slothful Christians, but in the lives that God intends to use greatly, He sends great testings.

Play Don Moen's "God Will Make a (the) Way"

Peter Grainger - "Paul has stressed the certainty of God’s judgment, whether on the people of Israel in the wilderness or the Christians in Corinth: anyone can fall. This could cause us to feel despondent—hopeless against temptations too strong for us. Paul responds by saying two things: (1) No Temptation Is Unique. Temptations or tests we face are not unique to us, but the same kind that all human beings face. That should be an encouragement to all of us, especially those who wrestle with secret sins that we are convinced are unique to us. (2) God Is Faithful. The word “way out” is used in the context of an individual or band of men that are encircled by a large force, so that it looks as though they will be overwhelmed. But then they spot a way out, a narrow mountain defile through which they can make an escape. (Learning from the Past).

Zodhiates on endure it - The endurance level of every believer is known only to God, and we are assured that He will never allow us to be tested to the breaking point. Every test purposes to make us more dependable and firm in our faith.

Larry Richards - Don’t think that God’s way out is all that hard to find, either. Paul summed it up in the next verse when he said, “Flee from idolatry.”

Reformation Study Bible note - This well-known verse has provided great encouragement to Christians faced by temptations. At the same time, Paul’s words contain an implicit rebuke. If God keeps us from temptations greater than we can withstand, we cannot plead our temptations as an excuse for sinning. Sin is never a necessity for a believer.


Brian Bell -

[1]  LIFE IS FULL OF TEMPTATIONS! (13a)

2. These are tests designed not to make us fall, but to test us, so we emerge stronger!

3. God will not remove from you the temptation that is common to all, because as Alan Redpath fitly said, “God has no pets!”

4. [2] THERE IS NO NEW TEMPTATION UNDER THE SUN! (13b)

5. They are common – Others have endured, others have come through it!

1. Certain party’s God won’t attend, & I believe one of them is a “Pity Party!”

6. Lightfoot (Bishop of Durham) was riding in a horse & carriage, on a very narrow mountain in Norway. It was so narrow it was only inches from the wheel to the edge. His friend riding w/ him said, “you’d be safer to get out & walk on this stretch.” Lightfoot surveyed the situation & said, “Other carriages have taken this road, Drive on!”

1. Other Christians have gone before you saints, whom were tempted in the same way & in the same things. [In the Greek...suck it up cupcake!] :)

7. [3] YOU ARE ABLE! (13c)

8. Not beyond what you are able - Not a moment longer…not a degree hotter than you can bear! (ED: AND ULTIMATELY WE ARE ABLE BECAUSE HE IS ABLE!)

9. [4] ALWAYS A WAY OUT! (13d)

10. Escape – The idea is an army apparently surrounded, & they’re suddenly seeing an escape route to safety.

11. There is no need to fall to temptations – There is a way out!

12. Check it out...Think of a temptation you’ve fallen to in the past. Wasn’t there an escape route?

13. [5] HE MAKES THE WAY! (13e)

14. Not by surrender –not by retreat – but the way of conquest is in the power of the Grace of God!!! – He enables you!

15. Sometimes the only way is to “run for your life”!…see vs.14.

1. Where should we flee? Into the arms of Jesus!
2. Remember - “When you flee from temptations, be sure you don’t leave a forwarding address behind!”

16. Spurgeon said (paraphrased),

Live for Gods glory, if you do that, no testing can ever shake you! If it glorifies God for me to loose my property, I am no loser. I gave to God my goods years ago! If I am put in prison & have lost my liberty, I am no loser. I gave up my liberty years ago! If you are told you are going to die, you are no loser. For you gave Him your life years ago!

17. Old Indian Legend: Many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow. I will test myself against that mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke. “I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.” “No,” said the youth. “I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.” “Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.” The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and leapt, biting him on the leg. “But you promised...” cried the youth. “You knew what I was when you picked me up.” said the snake as it slithered away.”

Don’t listen to your temptation. It will be very persuasive & have beautiful markings! Don’t listen!


Hundred Years’ War - In 1346, during the Hundred Years’ War, the English army of King Edward III met a French battalion at Crecy, France. The King’s Son, Prince Edward, led one vital division of the British force while Edward III stood nearby with a strong band of soldiers, ready to send relief if he saw the need. Soon after the battle started the prince thought he was in danger, so he sent for help. But the king didn’t come. So young Edward sent another message, pleading for immediate assistance. His father responded by telling the courier, “Go tell my son that I am not so inexperienced a commander as not to know when help is needed, nor so careless a father as not to send it.”


ILLUSTRATION - The Power of 1 Corinthians 10:13 -   In his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause, Franklin Graham wrote that after he committed himself to Christ, he was surprised to find his taste for cigarettes was strong as ever. He determined to quit smoking, but three days later, he awoke with an absolutely overwhelming—almost terrifying—desire for a cigarette. I wanted to smoke so bad that I couldn’t think of anything else. It intensified with each passing minute. Throughout the day, the yearning for a cigarette grabbed me like the jaws of a junkyard dog. He finally shared his struggle with his friend Roy Gustafson. “Roy, I quit smoking, but I don’t think I can hold out. I just don’t think I have the power to say no any longer.”
  “Oh, you don’t, huh?” replied Roy, looking up from a hamburger. “Why don’t you just get down on your knees and tell God He’s a liar?”
  “What? I can’t do that!”
  Roy quoted 1 Corinthians 10:13 to him, then said, “You need to tell God He’s a liar. You claimed that verse and it didn’t work.”
  “I’m not going to call God a liar,” said Franklin. “Besides, I haven’t claimed that verse yet!”
  “You haven’t?” said Roy, sounding shocked. “Why don’t you, then?”
  Franklin did claim that verse. And it did work.


Trying Not To! - “What are you doing, son?” the shopkeeper asked a little boy whose eyes were on a large basket of apples outside the storefront. “Trying to steal one of those apples?” “No sir,” replied the boy. “I’m trying not to.”


John Bennett - GOD’S WAY OF ESCAPE

This promise comes in the midst of an extended discussion about things offered to idols in chapters 8–10. Paul begins by setting forth an important principle, namely the balance between love and knowledge, 1 Cor. 8:1–3. He does not devalue knowledge, but he sets forth the priority of love in our dealings with those who may lack knowledge. How vital this reminder is for us today when dealing with fellow Christians.

In chapter 10 he looks back at the history of the nation of Israel and notes that many of them failed, vv. 1–4. God recorded these examples for our instruction and warning, for, although what we face in our technologically advanced 21st century may be different in style, it is not different in substance from what others faced before us.

What temptation will come your way today? Lust? Doubt? Murmuring? Pride? Anger? Paul warns us that if we think we are strong we are deceiving ourselves, 10:12. We must be on our guard for we are all weak, and must depend on God’s provision for our victory over temptation. There are times when we must flee, 6:18, and there are times when we must stand and fight, Eph. 6:13.

Whatever God permits into our life today, He knows us to be capable of handling. God will not tempt us to sin, but He may permit trials or hardships or deprivations or difficulties to test our faith and to strengthen us. Moses taught the Israelites that while in part their wilderness wanderings were the result of their rebellion and lack of faith, God also used them to teach them humility, to test their sincerity, and to teach them dependence on Him, Deut. 8:2–5.

So, whatever temptation you may face today, be assured that you are able to bear it. You may not feel like it. You may feel weak and inadequate but God’s promise is sure, His protection is strong, and His provision is sufficient. He has provided us with Himself as our Shield, His Spirit as our Comforter, His Son as our Advocate, His word as our resource, and His people as our companions. Claim God’s promise today. There is a way of escape.


A man had a sign on his door which said, “Lead me not into temptation, I can find it for myself.” We can all make that statement. Temptation will make itself known on a daily basis.


Temptation is like the Turkish Delight candy in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. One boy found it irresistible. The more he ate, the more he wanted, but the less he liked it.


Martin Luther said something related to temptations, “You can’t keep the birds from flying overhead, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”


Ancient mythology tells of the sirens’ call (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siren_(mythology) ). They were beautiful sea maidens who enticed a ship to sail close by singing a beautiful song. The ship would then wreck on the rocks. Many a soul has been lured to ruin by what at first seemed beautiful.


Way Out
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape. — 1 Corinthians 10:13

While in London recently, I decided to take the underground train to my destination. So I paid my fare and descended into the depths of London to catch my train. But getting out of the station can be a scary experience for someone who is unfamiliar with the system. If you don’t find the exit, you can quickly get lost in the tunnels. Being alone in a sparsely populated underground tunnel is an unsettling feeling, so believe me, you don’t want to get lost. Needless to say, I was glad when I spotted the sign that says, “WAY OUT” and followed it to safety.

Paul reminds us that when we are vulnerable to falling into sin, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out” (1 Cor. 10:13 niv). It’s easy to assume that God is not with us when we are tempted to sin. But this verse assures us that He is present and not just standing idly by. Rather, He is actively providing a way out so we can endure it. So, the next time you feel tempted, remember that you are not helpless. There is a divinely provided “way out”! Look for the sign, and follow it to safety. — Joe Stowell  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, keep us mindful that Your presence with us in times of temptation means that we need not fall. Give us the desire to seek Your way out so we can know the joy of living a life that is pleasing to You.

God is actively working to keep you from the danger of getting lost in sin.


Struggling With Addiction
God is faithful. —1 Corinthians 10:13
Read: Hebrews 4:14-16
Eric was struggling with an addiction, and he knew it. His friends and family members encouraged him to stop. He agreed that it would be best for his health and relationships, but he felt helpless. When others told him how they had quit their bad habits, he replied, “I’m happy for you, but I can’t seem to stop! I wish I had never been tempted in the first place. I want God to take the desire away right now.”

Immediate deliverance may happen for some, but most face a daily battle. While we don’t always understand why the temptation doesn’t go away, we can turn to God on whatever path we find ourselves. And perhaps that is the most important part of our struggle. We learn to exchange our futile efforts to change for complete dependence on God.

Jesus was tempted also, just as we are, so He understands what we’re feeling (Mark 1:13). He sympathizes with our struggles (Heb. 4:15), and we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (v.16). He also uses others, including trained professionals, to lean on along the way.

Whatever battles we may be facing today, we know this—God loves us much more than we can imagine, and He is faithful to come to our assistance. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

For Further Thought

  • Read Matthew 4:1-11 (see commentary) about how Jesus handled temptations.
  • Also read 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 to learn how He can help us when we are tempted.

We are not tempted because we are evil; we are tempted because we are human.


When we recognize the ugliness of temptations, we will be better able to resist them. Someone wrote, "If only I could see my temptations as I see other people's, they wouldn't be a bit hard to fight. Other people's temptations look so ugly and foolish. But my own temptations come with a rosy light about them so that I don't see how hateful they are until afterward. There are two ways to see temptations in their true colors. One is to pray about them and thus bring them into the clear light of God's presence. The other is to say, `How would this look if someone else yielded to it?" To the one being tempted, enticement to sin may be appealing. But if we yield, we start down a path of self-destruction.
 
In Matthew 4, the first temptation Satan presented to Christ seemed harmless. He tempted Jesus to satisfy His hunger. Then he posed another concerning God's protection. In the third, he openly requested Christ to worship him. But the Savior saw Satan's true intent—to divert Him from going to Calvary and thus prevent Him from paying sin's penalty. Christ met every appeal by quoting the Scriptures. Jesus was saying to Satan, "I am living under the authority of My Father and His Word."
 
If we know God's Word, which is the sword of the Spirit, and understand how to wield it, we too can be victorious over Satan. To resist temptation, we must be strong in the Lord, filled with His Spirit, and quick to recognize the ugliness of sin. —R.W.D.
 
If you want to master temptation, let Christ master you.


YIELD NOT TO TEMPTATION
(Play Hymn)

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
Refrain

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
Refrain

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown;
Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down;
He Who is our Savior our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
Refrain
Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.


Don Fortner - Grace for Today

1. The temptations we suffer have been endured by others before us. ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.’ All of God’s children in this world have had to face the same temptations as we face. They were men of like passions as we are. If they endured them, we should be able to endure them. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, endured the same temptations as we do. Because he was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. It is comforting to me to know that my Savior really does know exactly what I am going through and how I feel. He will never call upon us to endure anything for him that he has not already endured for us.

2. God is faithful to his tempted people. ‘God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ Our God and heavenly Father rules this world with total control. Nothing happens except that which God has ordained for our good and his glory, even our temptations. And God will never allow us to be tempted above measure. In great faithfulness to our souls God graciously protects his own elect. With every temptation, God will give his own grace sufficient to bear it. Or else, he will make for us a way of escape, so that we shall not be consumed by it. He promises: ‘My grace is sufficient for the’ (2 Cor. 12:9).

3. Every true believer will endure and overcome his temptations. Because God is faithful, none of his own elect will ever be destroyed by temptation. We all do fall, from time to time, under the strain of temptation, but we are not consumed, His grace raises us up, strengthens us and preserves us. True faith cannot be destroyed, but only proved and refined by temptation. ‘Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4). ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried [having been proved] he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him’ (James 1:12).


TEMPTATIONS William Gurnall

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

The Devil's dupes. Many have yielded to go a mile with Satan, who never intended to go two. Thus Satan leads poor creatures down into the depths of sin by winding stairs, that let them not see the bottom where they are going.

First, he presents an object that occasions some thoughts, these set the affections on fire, and these fume up into the brain and cloud the understanding, which, being thus disabled, now Satan dares a little more declare himself, and boldly solicit the creature to that it would otherwise have defied. Give no place to Satan! no, not an inch in his first motions! He who is a beggar, and a modest one without doors, will command the house if let in.

The devil teaches sinners to cover foul practices with fair names:
superstition, must be called devotion;
covetousness, must be called thrift;
pride in apparel, must be called keeping up with the times;
looseness, must be called liberty;
and foolishness, must be called mirth.

The Devil's wiles. Satan makes choice of such as have a great name for holiness. None like a live bird, to draw other birds into the net. Abraham tempts his wife to lie: "Say you are my sister." The old prophet leads the man of God out of his way (1 Kings 13).

Under the skirt of Christian liberty, Satan conveys in libertinism; by crying up the Spirit — he decries and vilifies the Scripture; by magnifying faith — he labors to undermine repentance and blow up good works.

If Satan gets into your spirit and defiles it, O, how hard will you find it to stay there? You have already sipped of his broth, and now are more likely to sit down and make your full meal of that, which by tasting has vitiated your palate already!

When you hear one commend another for a wise or good man, and at last come in with a "but" that dashes all, you will easily think he is no friend to the man — but some sly enemy, that by seeming to commend, desires to disgrace the more.

Thus, when you find God represented to you as merciful and gracious — but not to such a great sinner as you; to have power and strength — but not able to save you; you may say, Avaunt, Satan, your speech betrays you.

When the flesh or Satan beg time of you, it is to steal time from you. They put you off prayer at one time, to shut you out at last from prayer at any time.

What day in all the year is inconvenient to Satan? What place or company are you in — that he cannot make a snare for your soul?

Satan knows what order you keep in your house and closet; and though he has not a key to your heart — yet he can stand in the next room to it, and lightly hear what is whispered there. If once he does but smell which way your heart inclines, he knows how to take the hint; if but one door is unbolted, here is advantage enough.

The occasion of temptation. The least passage of your life may prove an occasion of sin to you — at what a little wicket many times a great sin enters! David's eye did but casually alight on Bathsheba, and the good man's foot was presently in the devil's trap! Have you not then need to pray that God would set a guard about your senses wherever you go, and to cry with him, "Keep back my eyes from beholding vanity!"

It should be our care, if we would not yield to the sin — not to walk by, or sit at the door of the occasion — parley not with that in your thoughts, which you mean not to let into your heart. If we mean not to be burnt, let us not walk upon the coals of temptation. You tempt God to allow your locks to be cut, when you are so bold as to lay your head in the lap of a temptation.

Set a strong guard about your outward senses: these are Satan's landing-places, especially the eye and the ear. Take heed what you import at these. Vain discourse seldom passes without leaving some tincture of vanity upon the heart. And for your eye, let it not wander; wanton objects cause wanton thoughts. Job knew his eye and his thoughts were likely to go together, and therefore to secure one — he covenants with the other (Job 31:1).

The handle of Satan's hatchet, with which he lies chopping at the root of the Christian's comfort, is commonly made of the Christian's wood. Satan is but a creature, and cannot work without tools; he can indeed make much of little — but not anything of nothing, as we see in his assaulting of Christ, where he troubled himself to little purpose, because he came and found nothing in Him (John 14:30).

Be sure you are watchful more than ordinary over yourself, in those things where you find yourself weakest and have been oftenest foiled. The weakest part of a city, needs the strongest guard.

The devil would tempt Christ, when he "showed Him all the kingdoms of the world," and promised them all unto Him, if He would "fall down and worship Him." Everyone that by unrighteousness seeks the world's pelf, goes to the devil for it, and worships him in effect. How much better it is to have poverty from God — than riches from the devil! A temptation comes strong, when the way to relief seems to lie through the sin that Satan is wooing to. When one is poor, and Satan comes, "What, will starve rather than step over the hedge, and steal for your supply?" This is enough to put flesh and blood to the stand.

Deliverance from temptation. What says your soul, when God hedges up your way, and keeps you from that sin which Satan has been soliciting for? If on Christ's side, you will rejoice when you are delivered out of a temptation, though it is by falling into an affliction.

Christian, it is ill done of you to make a breach in your holy course, by tampering with any sin; but you will commit a greater offense, if you turn your back on God also when you should humble yourself for your former sin. You have fallen into sin in the day, will you not, therefore, pray at night? Take heed you run not farther into temptation. Now is the time for the devil to set upon you — when the weapon of prayer is out of your hand. The best you can look for, is a storm from God to bring you back again, and the sooner it comes the more merciful He is to you.

"Watch and pray," says our Savior, "that you enter not into temptation" (Matthew 26:41). They, not keeping this pass, gave the enemy, Satan, a fair occasion to come in upon them; and as they were led into temptation by neglect of prayer — so they were rescued and led out of it again by Christ's prayer, which He mercifully laid in beforehand for them: "I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not."

Let this encourage you, O Christian, in your conflict with Satan; the skirmish may be sharp — but it cannot be long. The cloud, while it drops, is rolling over your head, and then comes fair weather, and eternal sunshine of glory!

You cannot be long off your watch — but the devil will hear on it. The devil knew the apostle's sleeping time, and then he desires permission to winnow them (Luke 22). The thief rises — when honest men go to bed. The devil begins to tempt — when saints cease to watch.

The saint's sleeping time — is Satan's tempting time. Every fly dares venture to creep on a sleeping lion. No temptation so weak, but is strong enough to foil a Christian that is napping in carnal security. Samson sleeps — and Delilah cut his locks. Saul sleeps — and the spear is taken away from his very side, and he never the wiser. Noah sleeps — and his graceless son has a fit time to discover his father's nakedness. Eutychus sleeps — nods, and falls from the third loft, and is taken up for dead. The Christian asleep, may soon — lose his spiritual strength, be robbed of his spear, and his nakedness discovered by graceless men, to the shame of his profession. Yes, he may fall from a high loft of profession, so low, into scandalous practices — that others may question whether there is any life of grace in him.

The Christian's safety lies in resisting. All the armor provided is to defend the Christian fighting — none to secure him flying. Stand — and the day is ours; fly, or yield — and all is lost.

1 Corinthians 10:14  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Amplified Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God).

Wuest Wherefore, my beloved ones, be fleeing from the idolatry.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:14 So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:14 Διόπερ, ἀγαπητοί μου, φεύγετε ἀπὸ τῆς εἰδωλολατρίας.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my beloved, flee from the idolatry;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my loved ones, make fast tracks away from idolatry.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, avoid idolatry.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:14 For that reason, my dear friends, have nothing to do with the worship of false gods.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends, get as far away from the worship of false gods as you can.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:14 For this cause, my dear brothers, give no worship to false gods.

  • my: Ro 12:19 2Co 7:1 11:11 12:15,19 Php 4:1 Philemon 1:1 1Pe 2:11 
  • flee: 1Co 10:7,20,21 2Co 6:17 1Jn 5:21 Rev 2:14 13:8 21:8 22:15 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Cor 6:18 - see commentaryFlee (present imperative calling for us to continually depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

1 Timothy 6:11+ But flee (present imperative calling for us to continually depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

2 Timothy 2:22+ (DON'T JUST FLEE THE BAD!)  Now flee (present imperative calling for us to continually depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) from youthful lusts and pursue (present imperative calling for us to continually depend on the Holy Spirit to obey)  righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

1 John 5:21+  Little children, guard (aorist imperative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) yourselves from idols.

Isaiah 48:11  “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another. (IDOLATRY "STEALS" GOD'S GLORY)

Exodus 34:13-15+  “But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 –for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous (qanna), is a jealous (qanna) God–15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice,

Comment - God in His righteous jealous will not tolerate the worship of any other so-called God. This truth alone is a good reason to flee idolatry

Exodus 20:3-6+ “You shall have no other gods before Me.  4“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Deuteronomy 4:14–19, The LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might perform them in the land where you are going over to possess it.  15 “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form (NO IMAGE) on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, 16 (PURPOSE OF NEED TO BE ON GUARD) so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. (EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED IN Romans 1:23- see Romans below) 19 “And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

Revelation 21:8+  “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” 

Revelation 22:15+ Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. 

Comment - Note again the close association of immorality and idolatry. 

FLEE
IDOLATRY!

In 1 Cor 10:14-22 Paul will explain to the Corinthians why the sin of idolatry is so abhorrent to God. 

Therefore - A term of conclusion. Paul has described the example of the Israelites falling quickly into idolatry after deliverance from bondage in Egypt and paying a dear price for their sin. In light of these truths, Paul has a one word conclusion - FLEE! Flee don't flirt! Don't think "I've got this one! I can handle it!" No you cannot handle it. Only the Spirit of the living God can handle it and the first instruction He gives you through Paul is FLEE

My beloved (agapetos) - Agapetos could be translated “divinely loved ones.”  Paul loves them dearly and this manner of address indicates he is speaking gently but firmly as a father to his dear spiritual children in Corinth (cf 1 Cor 4:15+). 

Beloved (27)(agapetos from agapao = to love, agape = unconditional love borne by Spirit - Gal 5:22+) means beloved, dear, very much loved. Agapetos describes the love of another which is called out of the "giver's" heart by preciousness of the recipient of the love (the "beloved'). Agapetos is used only of Christians united (by covenant, the New Covenant) with God and/or with each other in love. Agapetos describes "one who is in a very special relationship with another" and in secular Greek is used mostly of a child, especially an only child to whom all the love of his parents is given (cf use by the Father describing His only Son and Abraham describing his "only son" in Ge 22:2). Beloved is a term of endearment and is someone that you love, and someone you are deeply devoted to. In the context of the New Testament agape love speaks of God’s divine and infinite love, a love that seeks the ultimate spiritual welfare of the one loved. Agapetos in the Corinthian letters - 1 Cor 4:14+; 1 Co. 4:17+; 1 Co. 10:14; 1 Co. 15:58; 2 Co. 7:1; 2 Co. 12:19

Brian Bell quips on the command to Flee from idolatry "I think of a flea that can jump 7” high and 13” forward or some 200x’s its bodies length! (ED: "JUMP LIKE A FLEA" WHEN CONFRONTED WITH IDOLATRY!) 

Flee from idolatry - Flee is not a suggestion but a command in present imperative calling for us to continually depend on the Holy Spirit to obey. This is the second "Flee Command" in this letter, the first being to "Flee Immorality" (also present imperative) (1 Cor 6:18+), which is more than a coincidence. Why do I say that? If you scan the Scriptures, you will find that immorality is often closely linked with idolatry (e.g., in the OT read Nu 25:1-3+  = "When Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to commit sexual immorality with the daughters of Moab. These women invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods; then the people ate and bowed down to their gods.Nu 25:1-2NET, in the NT read Rev 2:20+ = "they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols." ) Idolatry puts something else in place of God and immorality puts self in place of God. Instead of seeking to please God the immoral man or woman in effect worships (commits idolatry) at their own little shrine (their own body) by committing sexual immorality. (See excerpt below)

An idol is anything we love more than Christ.
Idolatry can and will disqualify us!

John MacArthur - Because idolatry is worshiping something other than the true God in the true way, it is the most serious and contaminating of sins. It strikes at the very character of God. Those who worship an idol declare that the Lord is not the only true God and that other “so-called gods” (1 Cor 8:5+) are worthy to share His glory and honor. They testify that the Lord is deficient, that He is not all-wise, all-powerful, and all-sufficient. A Pandora’s box is opened to other loyalties and other moral and spiritual standards. It is not accidental or incidental that the first two of the Ten Commandments are prohibitions that have to do with idolatry. If we do not have the right view of God, nothing else can be in the right perspective....Idolatry includes much more than bowing down or burning incense to a physical image. Idolatry is having any false god—any object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation, sport, or whatever that has one’s primary concern and loyalty or that to any degree decreases one’s trust in and loyalty to the Lord....Idolatry is listed among the vilest sins of the flesh (Gal. 5:19–21), and the Lord makes it clear that no idolater will inherit His kingdom (Rev. 21:8; Rev 22:15).

Spurgeon - I should like to see this verse put over the top of every “sacramental” table in every “church” in England: “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” If this text were properly understood, every crucifix would be broken to pieces, and the altars themselves would be cleared away to make room for what should be there,— the table of the Lord; and we should have no more worship of visible things, which is idolatry. O ye who are the dearly-beloved of God, flee from it! Keep as far from it as ever you can. I remember reading of a man of God who was the rector of a certain parish, and who had in the church a very ancient sad famous painted window of which he was somewhat proud. In the design there was a representation of the Godhead,— the Father was there, and oh, how blasphemous! — he was represented as an aged man; and, one day, this clergyman, who had seen no evil in the window, heard a rustic explaining to a companion that that was the God whom they worshipped. The rector did not deliberate for a moment, but he threw a stone right through that part of the painted window. I suppose that was an offence against the law of man, but certainly it was not against the law of God. He would never have that figure replaced on any account whatever, and I think that he did well: “Dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” Put it out of your sight; do not tamper with it, but hate it with a perfect hatred. In God’s eyes, it is one of the most fearful of sins. He has said, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,” and he will have nothing to come between us and the pure and simple worship of his invisible self.

MacArthur gives multiple forms of Idolatry which I summarize below - for detail click his sermon 1 Corinthians 10:14-15 The Truth About Idolatry

  1.  Libeling the character of God is idolatry
  2. Worshiping the true God in the wrong way is idolatry (As Israel did in Ex 32:1-4+, especially verse 4).
  3. Worshiping any image is idolatry. (cf John 4:24+)
  4. Worshiping angels is idolatry. (cf Col 2:18+, Rev 19:10+)
  5. Worshiping demons is idolatry, and is closely associated with worshiping images, behind which are often demons. (See Rev 9:20+)
  6. Worshiping dead men is idolatry.  (See Ps 106:28-29+ -  Is worship of saints / Mary biblical?)
  7. Supreme loyalty in our heart to anything other than God is idolatry
  8. Covetousness is idolatry (Eph. 5:5+; Col. 3:5+).
  9. Inordinate desire, or lust, is idolatry (Php 3:18-19+)
    Are any of the various worship styles unbiblical? | GotQuestions.org

Flee (escape) (5343)(pheugo) means to flee away in the sense of to take to flight in order to seek safety. To flee in the sense of to escape something, being made safe from danger by eluding or avoiding it (He 11:34+, Mt 3:7, Acts 27:30). To flee in the sense of to avoid, shun (Webster = to avoid deliberately and especially habitually), have nothing to do with (1Co 6:18-commentary). To vanish or disappear (Rev 16:20+, Rev 20:11+). Webster defines flee as to run away often from danger or evil or to hurry toward a place of security. Pheugo is the root of our English word "fugitive" defined as one who escapes from something or someone.

Pheugo - 29v in NT - Mt. 2:13; Mt. 3:7; Mt. 8:33; Mt. 10:23; Mt 23:33; Mt. 24:16; Mt. 26:56; Mk. 5:14; Mk. 13:14; Mk. 14:50; Mk. 14:52; Mk. 16:8; Lk. 3:7; Lk. 8:34; Lk. 21:21; Jn. 10:5; Jn. 10:12; Acts 7:29; Acts 27:30; 1 Co. 6:18; 1 Co. 10:14; 1 Ti 6:11 2 Ti 2:22; Heb. 11:34; Jas. 4:7; Rev. 9:6; Rev. 12:6; Rev. 16:20; Rev. 20:11

Paul describes the pathogenesis of idolatry in Romans 1 and also gives the consequences....

Romans 1:18-32+ - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image (eikon gives us English icon - Is religious iconography considered idolatry?) in the form of corruptible man (IDOLATRY) and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.  24 Therefore God gave them over (paradidomi into the power of) in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  26 For this reason God gave them over (paradidomi)  to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge (they tested God and for them He "failed the test") God any longer, God gave them over (paradidomi) to a depraved (adokimos) mind (nous), to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled (pleroo in the perfect tense = continuing state!) with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God (THEY ARE NOT IGNORANT OF THE TRUTH - THEY SIMPLY DON'T CARE! THEY HAVE NO FEAR OF GOD!), that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.


Steve Gallagher describes "sexual idolatry" writing - Deeply embedded within the heart of man is a spiritual altar. Every human has the capacity—no, the need—to worship. The objects of that worship are the things or persons which have taken the preeminent position of importance in the person’s life. Whatever they may be, they cast their looming shadow over all of the other aspects of his life.

It is this position in the human heart that God demands to occupy. Jesus said as much when He cited Deuteronomy 6:5 as being the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) This intimate relationship with Him was to form the basis of all religion.

Unfortunately, in his fallen spiritual condition, man’s natural tendency is to give that affection to something else. People prostrate themselves before all kinds of things in this earthly life: careers, homes, personal attractiveness, other people, food, entertainment, sports, drugs, etc. Truth be known, most people have acquired several idols. Even churchgoers crowd God into a secondary or even nonexistent position in their lives. Jesus rightly said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

For many, the powerful human drive for sex becomes the overriding passion of life. Kept in its proper place, sex is a marvelous means for a married couple to physically express their love to each other. However, when a person begins to indulge in some form of illicit sexual behavior, this passion can quickly get out of control.

As the neighborhood drug pusher entices someone with free marijuana in order to lead him into hard core drugs, so will Satan subtly lure an unwitting victim into bondage with a few satisfying sexual experiences. Gradually the object of the person’s fantasy—whether it be some particular act (oral sex, orgies, exhibitionism, etc.) or a specific type of person (blonde girl, men, children, etc.)—grows into a monstrous idol which lodges itself within his heart.

Over time this ravenous beast takes over and begins to drive the person’s life. Eventually he loses control of how often, with whom, and under what circumstances he will engage in sex. He has become addicted to the euphoria associated with sexual activity in much the same way others become addicted to the high of alcohol or drugs. Thus, his sexuality and capacity to worship become fused into a corrupted, nearly irresistible drive to worship at the altar of sexual idolatry. (At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry - recommended resource if you are wrestling with this "idol") 


NO OTHER GODS - Greg Laurie

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)

When God gave the Ten Commandments, He began by saying that we should have no other gods before Him.

Idols can be a lot of things. Essentially, an idol could be defined as anyone or anything that takes the place of God in our lives. An idol is any object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation, sport, or whatever has one’s primary concern and loyalty, or that to any degree, decreases one’s trust and loyalty to God.

Alan Redpath defined idolatry this way: “Our god is the person we think is the most precious, for whom we would make the greatest sacrifice, who moves our hearts with the warmest love. He or it is the person who, if we lost him, would leave us desolate.”

This definition really opens up the possibilities doesn’t it? A lot of things could qualify as idols in our lives. It is a true but terrifying fact that a person can attend church every Sunday and still be an idolater.

Is there one thing in your life that, if God asked you for it, you would say, “Absolutely not”? Is there one thing, that if the Lord required it of you, you would say, “Anything but this”? If so, then maybe that thing, that pursuit, or that passion is an idol in your life.

Is there an idol in your heart today? Is there someone or something more precious to you than God Himself? Any person or pursuit that takes the place of God in your life will not satisfy. Let Him be your Lord. Let Him be your God. He will satisfy you.


False Images

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:12-14

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We may find that our imaginations are held captive by an image or ideal that makes demands of us. We may be focused on the image of “the perfect body” and find ourselves swept into compulsive eating disorders, depression, or sexual addictions. We may be focused on the image of “the good life” and find ourselves swept into workaholism, stealing, or lying to try to appease the image we worship. We may have an image of ourselves as “the black sheep of the family” and slavishly live our lives playing out that role.
We don’t talk much about idol worship in our culture, except perhaps when we talk of celebrities. Idolatry can be defined as image worship; it may involve becoming a slave to the ideas an image represents. This is the second commandment: “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods” (Exodus 20:4-5). The apostle Paul warned, “So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols” (1 Corinthians 10:14).
In his protective love, God warns us not to let devotion to an image enslave our lives. The images we worship are more likely to come through television or other media than from an idol carved from stone. But we need to ask ourselves, What are the images and ideas that drive our compulsive behaviors?

 Taking inventory of the things we consider important may alert us to the false gods in our lives.


Greg Laurie -NO OTHER GODS

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)

When God gave the Ten Commandments, He began by saying that we should have no other gods before Him.

Idols can be a lot of things. Essentially, an idol could be defined as anyone or anything that takes the place of God in our lives. An idol is any object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation, sport, or whatever has one’s primary concern and loyalty, or that to any degree, decreases one’s trust and loyalty to God.

Alan Redpath defined idolatry this way: “Our god is the person we think is the most precious, for whom we would make the greatest sacrifice, who moves our hearts with the warmest love. He or it is the person who, if we lost him, would leave us desolate.”

This definition really opens up the possibilities doesn’t it? A lot of things could qualify as idols in our lives. It is a true but terrifying fact that a person can attend church every Sunday and still be an idolater.

Is there one thing in your life that, if God asked you for it, you would say, “Absolutely not”? Is there one thing, that if the Lord required it of you, you would say, “Anything but this”? If so, then maybe that thing, that pursuit, or that passion is an idol in your life.

Is there an idol in your heart today? Is there someone or something more precious to you than God Himself? Any person or pursuit that takes the place of God in your life will not satisfy. Let Him be your Lord. Let Him be your God. He will satisfy you.


Something Else To Serve

My beloved, flee from idolatry. —1 Corinthians 10:14

Today's Scripture: Judges 3:1-11

  • If you were to spend 26 hours a week staring at the same object, what would you call that?
  • If you were so mesmerized by what you saw that you couldn’t tear yourself away from it, what would it become to you?
  • If you let it change the way you think and act, would it be too powerful?
  • If you let this object show and tell you things that you knew were wrong and that God didn’t want you to be involved with, would it be replacing Him?
  • Wouldn’t that be called an idol?

The average American family spends 26 hours a week watching television. It certainly isn’t the only idol we have in our society, but it’s one of the most powerful. Other things that might be displacing our devotion to God are sports, money, work, hobbies, or even other people. Perhaps music or movies or the Internet has captured our devotion.

Idols come in various forms, and they can control our lives. When they do, we need to look again at God’s anger with the Israelites to see what He thinks of idols. They served Baals and Asherahs (Jud. 3:7), and “the anger of the Lord was hot” against them (v.8).

Let’s check our devotion. Have we given our allegiance to anything other than the Almighty God who created us? We should serve nothing but Him. By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The gods of this world are empty and vain,
They cannot give peace to our heart;
The living and true One deserves all our love—
From Him may we never depart.
—DJD

An idol is anything that takes the place of God.


BRIGHT BLUE CRAYONS

Flee from the worship of idols. 1 Corinthians 10:14

THERE WAS ONCE a man who had a son he loved very much. The boy wanted to be an artist, so the father gave him a bright blue crayon. It was the boy’s favorite color. The son cuddled and held the crayon tightly, even taking it to bed with him at night. He loved his bright blue coloring tool. “Someday I’m going to be an artist,” said the boy.

Then one day the father saw the boy talking to the crayon. He had placed it in the center of the desk in his room and stood gazing down at it with admiration. “I so wish I had some paper,” said the boy. “O great blue crayon, please bring me something to write on.” The father was grieved, but he remained silent. Over the days to come the boy stopped talking to his father, but he continued to worship the crayon. “I know that you gave me the skill to be an artist,” he would say, “and someday you’ll bring me some paper. But only when you think I’m ready.”

Weeks went by, but still the father hadn’t heard from his son. All the while he continued to watch from a distance as the boy hugged and cradled his blue crayon. He longed for even a short visit with his beloved son, but his boy was much too busy.

It’s a simple and strange little fable but not as farfetched as you might think. We laugh at the young boy’s antics and wonder how he could be so naìve and ungrateful. But haven’t we all done the same thing?

Years ago I longed to be a writer and prayed for God’s help and guidance. Then my first book was published, and I held it in my hands, admiring my name on the cover. I thanked God for his kindness, but my thoughts were mainly focused on my new career. I used the book to build a résumé and continued to approach publishers. The book became proof of my skill and ability to write, I thought. Surely it would help me procure another contract. “O great and mighty book, please bring me another book to write,” I said, though not in so many words. All the while the Father who gave me the skill in the first place and opened the door for my first book, stood by wondering why I had forgotten him.

Who among us hasn’t cuddled and idolized a bright blue crayon from our Father? Haven’t we all bowed down to a lifeless idol or two, forgetting all about the one who really loves and cares for us? And all the while he sits by watching, wanting desperately to say to us, “I’m the one who provided the crayon. Don’t you think I’d give you some paper too? All you have to do is ask!” (Embracing Eternity - Tim LaHaye)


Warren Wiersbe -  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14

My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God.HOSEA 4:12

In the eyes of God, idolatry is the moral equivalent of adultery and prostitution, just as anger is the moral equivalent of murder (Matt. 5:21–30). God made us in his own image so that we might know him, love him, and serve him, and therefore become more like him. But very early in human history, people began to make gods in their own image and worship idols that could not see them, hear them, or help them. Today, an idol might be a beautiful automobile or house, a job, money, fame, an organization we belong to, or even a theory we believe. Idols can influence us far more than people realize, and this is so subtle that people hardly recognize this influence.

In Hosea’s day, idolatry was rampant among the Jewish people. When the kingdom was divided during the reign of Rehoboam, the southern kingdom of Judah had the temple and the priesthood and could continue to worship; but Jeroboam, ruler of the northern kingdom, did not want his people going to Judah to worship lest they not return home. So he set up two golden calves for them to worship, one at Dan and the other at Bethel, and commanded the people to worship them (1 Kings 12:21–33). This violated the first two commandments of the law (Exod. 20:1–6). God had made a “marriage covenant” with Israel at Sinai and the nation had pledged their obedience to him (Jer. 2:1–3; 3:1–14; Hos. 2; Isa. 54:5). When the people went after idols, they were committing adultery and “playing the harlot.”

The church as a bride is a familiar metaphor in the New Testament. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2). When a local church in its worship and ministry imitates the world and seeks to please the world, instead of obeying the Scriptures and seeking to please God, it is “playing the harlot” and violating its love relationship with Christ. That was the problem with the church at Ephesus: the people had left their first love. If our motive is numbers we can brag about, or preachers or singers we can extol, or religious entertainment we can enjoy, rather than our love for Jesus, then we are worshiping idols. The crowds may like it, but Jesus will be outside the door trying to get in (Rev. 3:20).

Israel was idolatrous, and some churches are idolatrous, but individual Christians can also be guilty of worshiping substitutes for the Lord. We must be careful not to lose our “honeymoon love” for our Savior (Jer. 2), the love we had in the early days of our walk with Jesus. Then, we took time to read and meditate on the Scriptures and to pray and worship the Lord. Being with God’s people in public worship was exciting and enjoyable, but perhaps now it is routine and even boring. At some point we began rushing through our daily devotions, criticizing the worship services, and even looking for excuses not to attend. The idols moved in and crowded out Jesus. The church is “married to Christ,” although the public wedding has not yet taken place (Rom. 7:1–4; Rev. 19:6–10), but too often he is ignored. “Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8), but we can fail in how we express our love to Jesus. 


IDOLATRY: TOO CLOSE TO THE BOILING POINT - Patrick Morley

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.1 Corinthians 10:14

There is nothing wrong with nice things. “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4).

It would be a rare person indeed who had no desire for something which is beautiful and lovely—I’ve never met anyone like that. God created us to notice what is “pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 2:9). Wanting a nice thing is a normal, healthy human desire.

On the other hand, we each need to know the limit of our ability to handle nice things. Any nice thing—a possession like a car or an affiliation like a country club—can become an idol. When grateful enjoyment of a thing becomes blind devotion to the thing itself, the roots of idolatry find moist, fertile soil.

Webster’s Dictionary defines idolatry as, “blind or excessive adoration or devotion.” How can we know when our enjoyment has become blind or excessive? The enemy does not want you to see that moment when your enjoyment evolves into idolatry. That is why our excessive devotions are often blind.

One day I purchased a new car, one of less prestige value than the European import I had driven for six years. I traded down because I wanted to change my image. What I discovered was another of the countless pinholes in my character. As always, hindsight is 20-15.

Driving my prestigious European import always produced ambivalence. I loved that car, but when I drove it, I constantly fought the temptation of pride. When I would ease to a halt at a traffic light, I would notice the inferior brand X next to me. Because my car was nicer, the temptation to think more highly of myself would sink its tenacious talons into the soft, flabby flesh of my conscious thoughts.

But God is faithful, and I would resist this temptation—nine times out of ten. But with such a dull, constant, repetitive assault directed at my sinful nature, obviously I couldn’t be fully armor-coated every time pride came knocking.

That one time out of ten, when my spirit had already been pummeled by the weakening blows of other trials and tribulations, I would glance over to the fellow waiting at the light next to me. I would observe his inferior auto and feel a cauldron of smugness begin to boil inside me.

Pride is always there in each of us; pride doesn’t enter from the outside. It preexists in our sinful nature. The capacity for pride (and other sins) always simmers just below the boiling point in each of us. Satan’s task is to bring sin to full boil. Our task is to cool things down. The most effective way to cool things down is to take the pot off the stove. Flee from idolatry, and idolatry is any devotion other than Christ.

I drive my new car in total peace and relaxation, free from the temptation to wrongful pride. Now I have a car which does not lure me to the pride which comes from material idolatry. On the other hand, it is not such a humble car that I am tempted in the reverse direction to have “spiritual” pride because I drive overly modest transportation.

Now here’s the big idea. While I drove the expensive car to which I was excessively devoted, I was blind to how consuming pride’s cycle of temptation and sin was in my life. I was blind and excessive, but I did not see how deep the vein of idolatry ran.

Only after the temptation was removed, did I understand how dominating its rule over my thought life had been. Whereas I did not comprehend pride’s grip when I lived so close to the boiling point, when I got away from the stove I saw it clearly.

What is the thing that tempts you to pride? That is the very idol which Satan employs to bring your pride to a boil. His goal is to separate you from the love of Christ. Here is the rule: No matter what level of material life you enjoy, if your created things tempt you to think more highly of yourself than you ought, it has become your idol. "Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).

Money, and what money buys, is the greatest idol. Its lure attracts us most convincingly. “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10). In what way has money molded your mind?

Has the thing which you adore become your temptation? Has your devotion become blind? Are you living too close to the boiling point? Remove the temptation from your life and live in the shadow of His wing.

I SURRENDER   Lord, I have embraced too much of this fallen world and my thought life is a battlefield. Show me the things to remove from my life so that I may live more simply. My excessive devotion to my things has made my life boil over with temptations and sins. I confess that I must surrender not only my spirit but also my lifestyle to Your Lordship. I will. Amen. (Devotions for the Man in the Mirror)


Idols Of The Heart

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-14

My beloved, flee from idolatry. —1 Corinthians 10:14

In Old Testament times, idolatry was easy to recognize—dancing around the golden calves, bowing before the Baals. Even when the apostle Paul wrote to followers of Christ in first-century Corinth, pagan idolatry was openly practiced. He warned them to avoid any association with it (1 Corinthians 10:14).

Idolatry is still a danger to the people of God, though it isn’t always so open or obvious. Idols are usually more subtle and hard to detect, for they set up their home in the hidden places of our heart.

If we want to know our idols, we need to consider our predominant thoughts, for what we think about most of the time may be an idol. Our last thought before we sleep, our first thought when we awake, our reveries throughout the day, are spent on the items and issues we treasure and trust. Any possession or person we put our hope in to bring us fulfillment, any goal or aspiration that becomes more important to us than God—these are the “gods” that attract our allegiance and subtly control our lives.

Only God can satisfy the deepest needs of our heart and make us truly alive. That’s why we would be wise to heed the loving counsel of the apostle Paul: “My beloved, flee from idolatry.” (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The dearest idol I have known,
  Whate'er that idol be,
  Help me tear it from Thy throne
  And worship only Thee.
—Cowper

An idol is anything that takes the place of God.


Flee!

Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. —James 4:7+

Today's Scripture: James 4:1-10

I didn’t see the movie The Exorcist, but I do recall its impact on my community. It left a lasting impression on many people about Satan’s power. Even many Christians began to live in fear, swayed by the vivid images of evil. It seemed as if the devil was almost as powerful as God.

Is this perspective biblically sound? Of course not. God is the Creator, and all others, including demons, are just created beings. Only God is almighty.

It’s easy to blame the devil when things go wrong. Although he does propagate wickedness and sin, we must be careful not to conclude that we are powerless against him. We are told in the Bible that the Holy Spirit within us “is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4+).

The Bible also says we have a role to play in overcoming evil and doing what is good. We are to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20), “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor 10:14+), “flee” from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10-11+), and “flee also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22+).

James said that our attitude toward the devil should be to “resist” him (James 4:7+). How do we do this? By submitting ourselves to God, allowing Him to direct our lives. Then it will be the devil who will flee from us. By:  Albert Lee (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When Satan launches his attack,
We must take heart and pray;
If we submit ourselves to God,
He'll be our strength each day.
—Sper

To defeat Satan, surrender to Christ.
(See also Expulsive Power of a New Affection)

1 Corinthians 10:15  I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.

Amplified I am speaking as to intelligent (sensible) men. Think over and make up your minds [for yourselves] about what I say. [I appeal to your reason and your discernment in these matters.]

Wuest   I am speaking as to men of good sense. As for you, you be judges of what I am saying. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:15 I am speaking to thoughtful people. Consider what I say.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:15 You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:15 ὡς φρονίμοις λέγω· κρίνατε ὑμεῖς ὅ φημι.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:15 as to wise men I speak -- judge ye what I say:

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:15 I am speaking as to wise people. Judge for yourselves what I say.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:15 As to sensible people I speak; evaluate what I say.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:15 I am speaking as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I am saying.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:15 I am talking to you as sensible people; weigh up for yourselves what I have to say.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:15 I'm talking to intelligent people. Judge for yourselves what I'm saying.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:15 What I am saying is for wise men, do you be the judges of it.

MAKE A DETERMINATION
BASED ON PAUL'S INSTRUCTION

I (present tense - continually) speak as to wise men; you judge what I say - Amplified = "I am speaking as to intelligent (sensible) men. Think over and make up your minds [for yourselves] about what I say. [I appeal to your reason and your discernment in these matters.]" Paul speaks to them assuming they will be men and women who will give his words careful thought. Then he gives a command to make a determination or discernment and in this context the decision is between what is good (cup of blessing...bread) and what is evil (partaking of idolatrous worship). Paul's command to the Corinthians recalls his similar command to the saints at Thessalonica (they also had significant exposure to pagan idolatry)  Judge is aorist imperative  calling on need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey

But examine (dokimazo in present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) everything (MAKE NO EXCEPTIONS!) carefully; hold fast (katecho in present imperative) to that which is good; 22 abstain (apechomai in present imperative from every form (eidos - generally something's outward form and was used of pagan idols) of evil.(1 Th 5:21-22+)

MacArthur on as to wise men - Paul gives them the benefit of any doubt and assumes that, if they listen carefully, they will by the Spirit be able to judge correctly what he says. His exhortation is simple, scriptural, and logical.

Guzik has an interesting comment - Since the Corinthian Christians tended to pride themselves on their “wisdom,” Paul challenges them – if they are truly wise – to carefully consider what he says here.

Wise (prudent, shrewd) (5429) phronimos from phronéo = think, have a mindset > phren = diaphragm, regarded by ancients as seat of mental and spiritual activity, came to mean mind or understanding) is an adjective which describes one who is thoughtful, sagacious or discreet. It describes the quality of one's thinking which is the result of insight and stands in opposition to moros which means foolish. The idea is that there is understanding combined with wisdom and insight. Phronimos implies a cautious, sensible, prudent character and in Mt 10:16 refers to one as "shrewd" as a serpent. One who is shrewd has clever discerning awareness, acute perception and sharp powers of judgment. Phronimos also includes the ideas of one who is prudent, sensible and practically wise in relationships with others. There is a type of phronimos that is desirable (eg, here in Mt 7:24, 10:16, et al) and a type that is not desirable (Ro 11:26, 12:16) this latter describing the person who relies on their own innate wisdom. Phronimos - Matt. 7:24; Matt. 10:16; Matt. 24:45; Matt. 25:2; Matt. 25:4; Matt. 25:8; Matt. 25:9; Lk. 12:42; Lk. 16:8; Rom. 11:25; Rom. 12:16; 1 Co. 4:10; 1 Co. 10:15; 2 Co. 11:19

Judge (decide, determine, condemn)(2919krino Eng = critic, critical = decisive point at which judgment is made) primarily signifies to distinguish, to decide between (in the sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision), to make up one's mind, to separate, to discriminate. to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, without necessarily passing an adverse sentence, although that is often what is usually involved.  Krino in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 2:2; 1 Co. 4:5; 1 Co. 5:3; 1 Co. 5:12; 1 Co. 5:13; 1 Co. 6:1; 1 Co. 6:2; 1 Co. 6:3; 1 Co. 6:6; 1 Co. 7:37; 1 Co. 10:15; 1 Co. 10:29; 1 Co. 11:13; 1 Co. 11:31; 1 Co. 11:32; 2 Co. 2:1; 2 Co. 5:14

1 Corinthians 10:16  Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?

Amplified The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that in drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ (the Messiah)? The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ?

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:16 When we bless the cup at the Lord's Table, aren't we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren't we sharing in the body of Christ?

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:16 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?

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:16 τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας ὃ εὐλογοῦμεν, οὐχὶ κοινωνία ἐστὶν τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ; τὸν ἄρτον ὃν κλῶμεν, οὐχὶ κοινωνία τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐστιν;

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of the blessing that we bless -- is it not the fellowship of the blood of the Christ? the bread that we break -- is it not the fellowship of the body of the Christ?

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ?

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:16 We have a cup of blessing with which we bless one another. Is not the cup a participation in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread we break a participation in the body of Christ?

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:16 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?

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:16 The blessing-cup, which we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ; and the loaf of bread which we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:16 When we bless the cup of blessing aren't we sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread aren't we sharing in the body of Christ?

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we take, does it not give us a part in the blood of Christ? and is not the broken bread a taking part in the body of Christ?

  • cup: 1Co 10:21 1 Cor 11:23-29 Mt 26:26-28 Mk 14:22-25 Lu 22:19-20 
  • of the blood: 1Co 10:20 1:9 12:13  Joh 6:53-58 Heb 3:14 1Jn 1:3,7 
  • The bread: 1Co 11:23,24 Ac 2:42,46 20:7,11
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Luke 22:19-20+  And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Mark 14:22-25+ While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 23And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 “Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the (MILLENNIUAL) kingdom of God.” 

1 Corinthians 11:23-29+ For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

CUP AND BREAD OF COMMUNION
SHARING "MYSTICALLY" WITH CHRIST

Is not the cup of blessing (eulogia) which we bless (eulogeo) a sharing (koinonia) in the blood of Christ (Christos)- This cup of blessing refers to the drink which one takes in the Lord's Supper. Paul says when we do partake of this cup that is a sharing in the blood of Christ. The nature of that sharing (and the one when we take bread) is in some way (which we cannot fully comprehend in my opinion) a joining in fellowship and communion with the Lord, doing so that we might remember the Cross and look forward to His return ("the Lord’s death [CROSS] until He comes [COMING]").  Earlier Paul had described the saints fellowship writing "God is faithful, through Whom you were called into fellowship (koinonia) with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  (1 Cor 1:9+)

MacArthur - Paul’s words are so framed as to assume that participating in the Lord’s Supper is a regular practice of faithful Christians. It is commanded by our Lord (Luke 22:19+; 1 Cor. 11:24–25+) to remind us of His sacrifice for us and of our oneness with Him and with fellow believers....When we properly share in Communion we spiritually participate in fellowship with Jesus Christ and with other believers. It is much more than a symbol; it is a profound celebration of common spiritual experience....When believers partake of Communion in faith, the Holy Spirit uses those symbols (BREAD, DRINK) as sensitizers to kindle our spirits in awareness and appreciation of our Lord’s great ministry and sacrifice for us.

Is not the bread which we break a sharing (koinoniain the body of Christ? - The bread of the Lord's Supper is also pointing to the oneness we have with Christ by virtue of being in an eternal (new) covenant with Him (see Oneness of Covenant and also Oneness Notes)

Reformation Study Bible  - These statements about the Lord’s Supper demonstrate the significance of taking part in a distinctively religious meal. Just as it would be impossible to take the Lord’s Supper and claim that it had no religious significance, so it is naive for the Corinthians to think they can participate in temple feasts without being involved in idolatry. Another point is that the unity “of the body of Christ” symbolized by taking the bread and wine excludes union with idols.

HCSB Study Bible. - Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that participants at the Lord's Supper represent a unified body that is dependent on the death of Christ.

MacArthur points out that "The New Testament makes a special point of the fact that Jesus’ body was not broken on the cross. “For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of Him shall be broken’ ” (John 19:36). The bread represents Christ’s body, but the breaking of the bread does not represent the breaking of His body, because that never took place." Jesus broke the bread in order to distribute it among the disciples, representing His sharing His life with them.

Brian Bell - It all starts at the cross! - Always start at Calvary. Our Communion is at Calvary, but our Contact must be w/the world. Our fellowship is w/the Lord Jesus, but our friendship is for those who do not know the Savior.  If a Christian moves in ungodly circles, has social contact with them, even an occasional meal, often times he may be accused of “fellowshipping” with unbelievers. But, it is nothing of the sort.  Your fellowship can stay at Calvary & your heart stay tune w/God, while you seek to win souls for Him!. We need to learn to live in separation to God. This is something only you & I can discern personally, when we are right before God regarding this.. If while moving in ungodly circles, I find my heart going out to the things they enjoy, I must quickly put a stop to it! You can’t belong to Christ & live in the enemy’s camp!   David tried it for a while at Achish, before the king of Gath, when Saul was chasing him. Of course, remember what he had to do to pull this off. So he changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. Remember God called us to separation but not isolation!

Sharing (communion, fellowship) (2842koinonia from koinos = that which is in common, belonging to several or of which several are partakers) describes the experience (in contrast to koinonia as an act) of having something in common and/or of sharing things in common with others. It describes a close association involving mutual interests and sharing or to have communion (Which Webster defines as "intimate fellowship") It denotes the active, joint participation, cooperation and/or sharing in a common interest or activity. The idea of koinonia is frequently referred to as fellowship (the state of sharing mutual interests, experiences, activities, etc.; a relation in which parties hold something in common; see excellent article on Fellowship). Koinonia in this case a very special kind of sharing—entering into what John and the other apostles experienced with Christ. Believers have fellowship with the Triune God through His Son Christ Jesus and this also leads naturally (supernaturally) to fellowship with other believers. Koinonia is used in “fellowship of the Spirit” (Phil. 2:1), of the “fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10), and of “participation in the support of the saints” (2 Cor. 8:4).

Koinonia - 17v - Acts 2:42; Rom. 15:26; 1 Co. 1:9; 1 Co. 10:16; 2 Co. 6:14; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 9:13; 2 Co. 13:14; Gal. 2:9; Phil. 1:5; Phil. 2:1; Phil. 3:10; Phlm. 1:6; Heb. 13:16; 1 Jn. 1:3; 1 Jn. 1:6; 1 Jn. 1:7

Related Resources:


Puritan Readings - Communion with the Father

      The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 
      1 Corinthians 10:16

The way and means, then, on the part of the saints, whereby in Christ they enjoy communion with God, are all the spiritual and holy actings and outgoings of their souls in those graces, and by those ways, wherein both the moral and instituted worship of God consists. Faith, love, trust, joy, etc., are the natural or moral worship of God, whereby those in whom they are have communion with Him. Now, these are either immediately acted on God, and not tied to any ways or means outwardly manifesting themselves; or else they are farther drawn forth, in solemn prayer and praises, according unto that way which He has appointed. The Scripture distinctly assigns all these to the Father, Son, and Spirit. Thus, first, for the Father: faith, love, obedience, etc., are peculiarly and distinctly yielded by the saints unto Him; and He is peculiarly manifested in those ways as acting peculiarly towards them: which should draw them forth and stir them up thereunto. He gives testimony unto, and bears witness of, His Son, “This is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son” (1 John 5:9). In His bearing witness He is an object of belief. When He gives testimony (which He does as the Father, because He does it of the Son) He is to be received in it by faith. And this is affirmed in verse 10. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” To believe on the Son of God in this place, is to receive the Lord Christ as the Son, the Son given unto us, for all the ends of the Father’s love, upon the credit of the Father’s testimony; and, therefore, therein is faith immediately acted on the Father.


H A Ironside - The communion (1 Corinthians 10:16) is not in any sense a sacrifice. It commemorates the one perfect sacrifice offered by our Lord once for all when He gave Himself for us on Calvary. Neither should it be celebrated with any thought of its having saving value or increasing merit. It is the reminder that when we were utterly lost and helpless, Christ died for us to redeem us to God. It is true that the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) should ever accompany it as we contemplate the great cost at which we were saved, and rejoice that He who endured such grief and shame for us is now alive forevermore, never again to have to submit to the pain of death. We call Him to mind as the Author and Finisher of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sits at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

         Around the table of His grace,
         Spread with this feast of love,
         We meditate in perfect peace
         On our High Priest above:
         With praise and gratitude we trace
         The wonders of His love.


Horatius Bonar - THE ONE LOAF

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”—1 COR. 10:16, 17.

IT is only in passing, and as an illustration of his argument on another subject that the apostle introduces the Lord’s Supper here; and yet how full his statement, how bright the aspect in which he presents it to us! The oneness of the worshipper, even in a heathen temple, with the whole religion or system of worship, and with the false god into whose temple he comes; this is his theme. It is in illustration of this that he reminds us of the Supper. Strange that in connection with a pagan altar and a temple of devils he should be led to give us one of the most striking of all his statements regarding the Supper. He takes the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils, places them side by side, and shews us the one from the other. There is an infinite difference; and yet there is a likeness; for there is a oneness in both between the worshipper and the god worshipped. On this dark canvas of a heathen temple he draws his picture of the holiest of Christian ordinances. In the Evangelists we are shewn the Supper from the Jerusalem upper chamber; in the eleventh chapter of this epistle we see it from a Christian church; here we are shewn it from a heathen temple.

He speaks of the “cup” as symbolizing the body of our Lord which contained the blood or living wine. He puts the cup first, because in speaking of the heathen rites he had already made special mention of the cup first; perhaps also to shew that the order of the two symbols was of no consequence; and perhaps to prevent the possibility of Romish error in refusing the cup to the worshippers.

Let us now meditate on the cup and the bread, or the cup and the platter, as set before us here.

I. The cup. It may have been of gold, or silver, or brass, or wood; it matters not. It was made of earthly materials, as was the Lord’s body, and it was the vessel for containing the wine, as was the Lord’s body for containing His blood,—that blood which was drink indeed, which was the new wine of the kingdom.

(1.) Its name. “The cup of blessing which we bless.” All blessing is in Scripture connected with Messiah, His person, and His work. Hence that vessel which so specially points to Him receives this name. It contains blessing,—the blessing,—the long-promised, long-looked-for blessing. The wine in that cup is impregnated with blessing. Every drop of it speaks of blessing,—of that which God calls blessing,—of that which is fitted to do us good and make us happy, to remove death and give life. The words, “which we bless,” are not priestly words, spoken to imply the consecration of the elements by a priest’s blessing. The “we” is all believers; and the word “bless” is literally, “to speak well of”; and the whole expression is, “the cup of the well-speaking, of which we speak well,” or praise; referring to the united praise and thanksgiving of the worshippers. And of that cup it is meet that we speak well. Though its literal contents are simply wine; yet that wine is the divine symbol of all blessing; so that we may say truly, Its contents are blessing,—every drop fraught with blessing,—blessing which faith receives, and in which hope rejoices.

(2.) Its meaning. “Is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?” or, “is it not communion with the blood of Christ?” That wine is then the symbol of the blood; the blood of the new covenant, the everlasting covenant. That blood is the life; and that life is the payment of the sinner’s penalty: “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” In that cup there is both death and life,—the death of the Surety, and the life flowing out of that death; our death flowing into Him, so that He dies; His life flowing into us, so that we live. Thus the cup is the cup of blessing for the sinner, because it contains both the death and the life. Of this blessing, symbolised by that cup and its contents, we become possessors when we believe on the name of the Son of God; for it is faith that opens up the communication between us and His fulness. But in the Lord’s Supper there is more visible, more palpable contact, though still of the same kind. Hence, the words of our text, “the communion of the blood of Christ.” The word communion is properly “partnership,”—“partnership in the blood of Christ”; all that the blood contains for the soul becoming ours,—the whole blood becoming the property of each believer. All its blessings,—the paid ransom, the cancelled penalty, the forgiveness, the life, the joy, all becoming ours; we being partakers of Christ, partakers of His blood, partners in His death and life.

He, then, that takes that cup is committed to all that it symbolises; he is counted as one with it; the possessor of its contents; the partaker of its fulness. He is to reckon himself one with Jesus in His death; and God reckons him such. Nothing less. He has the whole, or he has nothing! It is not a little strength, or healing, or refreshment from the blood which he is made partaker of; but the blood itself, and all that it contains. For the possession, the enjoyment of all that fulness, every communicant is responsible. If he be a worthy communicant (a believing man), the blessing will flow in, and these symbols will help the inflow. If he be an unworthy communicant, he is not the less responsible for participation of all that fulness; and that will be his condemnation. He took into his hands the cup of blessing, he put it to his lips, and yet he did not drink one drop!

II. The bread. The word more properly signifies “the loaf” or “cake,” intimating its original oneness or completeness. It is necessary to keep this in mind, as the point of the apostle’s argument turns on this. Let us consider.

(1.) What the bread signifies. It is bread,—the common passover loaf, unleavened bread,—made of the corn of earth; grown in our fields, cut down, gathered in, winnowed, ground, and formed into a loaf for the passover table. Such was Christ’s body,—our very flesh; born, growing up, ripening, cut down, prepared for our food. A thing by itself; unleavened and pure; free from sin; in all respects fit for the souls’ food. “My flesh is meat indeed.” It is Christ’s body that is thus symbolised and set before us as the whole food and nourishment of our souls. Except we eat His flesh, we have no life in us.

(2.) What the breaking of the bread signifies. It points us to the cross; it speaks of a crucified Christ. Not a bone of Him was broken, and yet His body was broken; head, hands, feet, back, side, pierced and bruised and wounded. His body unbroken is no food for us. It is no nourishment for the soul of the sinner. It would not suit our taste, nor satisfy our appetite, nor feed our souls, nor prove wholesome food. We need something in which death is; death as the payment of sin’s penalty. All without this is tasteless and unnourishing. Hence the unprofitableness of that theology whose centre or foundation is not the cross of the substitute; atonement by the death of the surety. “The bread which we break,” says the apostle, evidently pointing with special emphasis to the breaking, and announcing this as the main feature of the symbol. It is on the broken body of our Lord that we feed. Incarnation without crucifixion does not satisfy the soul. Bethlehem without Golgotha would be mockery.
(3.) What our partaking of it signifies. For we do not merely gaze upon it or handle it; we take it and we eat; we eat not in solitude or in our chambers, but as a company at a feast. This act of eating, then, has a twofold signification or reference,—a reference to Christ and to ourselves.

(a) A reference to Christ. It is “communion with the body of Christ,” partnership with that body; so that all that is in it of virtue, or health, or strength, or excellence, becomes ours. It is one with us and we with it. The whole fulness of blessing contained in it becomes ours. We reckon ourselves one with it, and God reckons us one with it. As he who eats of the idols’ bread in a heathen temple is responsible for the whole idolatry of the place, and is so dealt with by God, so he who eats this broken bread in faith is identified with a crucified Christ and all His fulness. Partnership with the body of Christ; how much that implies!

(b) A reference to ourselves. It realises to us the perfect oneness between the members of Christ’s body. As the loaf is made up of many parts or crumbs, and yet is but one loaf; nay, gets its true oneness from the union of these many parts, so is it with the members of the body of Christ. Many, yet one; one, yet many; the number not marring the oneness, but perfecting it; the oneness not hindering the number, but requiring it for its full development. This is one of the numerous symbols used to unfold this peculiar truth. There are others no less expressive. One family, many members. One temple, many stones. One body, many limbs. One loaf, many parts! We may add others. One city, many citizens. One ocean, many drops. One firmament, many stars. One song, many words. One harmony, many notes. One sun, many rays.

Thus in these symbols we have partnership with Christ, with His blood, with His body, so that all that He has is ours. Each has the whole fulness, as each inhabitant of earth has the whole sun. Oneness with Christ and oneness with each are embodied in these symbols. We are many, yet one; many members yet one body, and one head. All that He has is ours. His life, our life; His light, our light; His fulness, our fulness; His strength, our strength; His righteousness, our righteousness; His crown, our crown; His glory, our glory; His inheritance, our inheritance: for we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.
If these things be so,—

1. What a blessed place should the communion table be to us. A Peniel where we prevail with God, and receive the blessing in full. What strength, health, joy, light, should we find there! There the whole fulness of Christ is presented to us.

2. What manner of persons ought we to be. Holy, powerful, separate from the world, like Him by whose body and blood we are nourished. Nothing is lacking to those who have this heavenly communion, this divine partnership.

3. What love and unity should prevail amongst us? One with Christ, one with each other. This ordinance represents the oneness, increases it, cherishes it. Sitting side by side, we are drawn closer to the Lord, closer to each other in and through Him.

4. What longing for the time when we shall see Him face to face. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Amen! Even so come Lord Jesus


Reformation Study Bible on  The Sacraments

Christ instituted two rites for His followers to observe: baptism, a once-for-all rite of initiation (Matt. 28:19; Gal. 3:27), and the Lord’s Supper, a regular rite of remembrance (1 Cor. 11:23–26). These are called “sacraments” in the Western church, “mysteries” in the Eastern Orthodox church, or “ordinances.” Scripture has no technical term for the two rites or the corresponding Old Testament observances, that is, circumcision of males as a rite of initiation (Gen. 17:9–14, 23–27) and the annual passover as a rite of remembrance (Ex. 12:1–27). Biblical teaching, however, warrants classifying them all together as signs and seals of a covenant relationship with God.

“Sacrament” is from a Latin word meaning sacred. Study of the Christian rites themselves leads to a definition of sacrament as a ritual action instituted by Christ in which signs perceived by the senses present to us the grace of God in Christ and the blessings of His covenant. They communicate and confirm these blessings to believers, who in receiving the sacraments respond to God’s grace and declare their faith and allegiance to Him. The sacraments “put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world.” They solemnly “engage [Christians] to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word” (Westminster Confession, XXVII.1).

It was a mistake of the medieval church to classify as sacraments five more rites (confirmation, penance, marriage, ordination, and extreme unction). These five are not seals of a covenant relationship with God. They were not instituted by Christ, and they do not have “any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God” (Thirty-Nine Articles, XXV).

The sacraments are means of grace, for God uses them to strengthen faith’s confidence in His promises and to call forth acts of faith for receiving the good gifts signified. The efficacy of the sacraments is not from the faith or virtue of the minister, but from the faithfulness of God, who, having given the signs, is now pleased to use them. Christ and the apostles speak of the sign as if it were the thing signified, and as if receiving the former is the same as receiving the latter (Matt. 26:26–28; 1 Cor. 10:15–21; 1 Pet. 3:21, 22). As the preaching of the Word makes the gospel audible, so the sacraments make it visible.

Sacraments strengthen faith by correlating Christian beliefs with the testimony of our senses. The Heidelberg Catechism illustrates this in its answer to Question 75. The key words are “as sure as.”

  Christ has commanded me … to eat of this broken bread and to drink of this cup in memory of Him, and therewith has given assurance: first, that His body was … broken on the cross for me, and His blood shed for me, as sure as I see with my eyes the bread … broken for me and the cup communicated to me; and, further, that with His crucified body and shed blood He Himself feeds and nourishes my soul to eternal life, as sure as I take and taste the bread and cup … which are given me as sure tokens of the body and blood of Christ.


David Guzik on sacraments pictured in 1 Cor 10 - Israel even had ancient versions of the two Christian sacraments we receive to this day: baptism and communion. The word sacrament was used for the oath of allegiance that the soldiers of the Roman legion took to their emperor. The early Christians considered communion and baptism to be an “oath of allegiance” unto Jesus Christ.


Removing Barriers

You are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:16-22

A missionary in Calcutta said that she was profoundly influenced by a communion service she had attended during World War II. The leader of that meeting was a Swedish minister. Among those present were a Chinese pastor, a Japanese teacher, a German doctor, several English citizens, and a few Indian believers.

The missionary recalled that she felt a closeness to each person in that diverse gathering, especially when they partook of the bread and the cup. They felt a bond of Christian fellowship, even though some of them were from countries engaged in a brutal war.

The next time you celebrate the Lord’s Supper, think about your oneness with all who are participating in the service with you. Resolve to look beyond all cultural distinctions and do what you can to remove the barriers between you and others.

Be merciful to those who have wronged you. Tell God you will forgive them and accept them. Determine that with His help you will show kindness to everyone, whether you feel like it or not. See the people around you as fellow members of the body of Christ.

This type of unity will enrich your life and enhance your church’s influence in the world. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North,
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.
—Oxenham

When Christians draw close to Christ, they draw closer to one another.

1 Corinthians 10:17  Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

Amplified  For we [no matter how] numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents].

NET  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:17 And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:17 ὅτι εἷς ἄρτος, ἓν σῶμα οἱ πολλοί ἐσμεν, οἱ γὰρ πάντες ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἄρτου μετέχομεν.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:17 because one bread, one body, are we the many -- for we all of the one bread do partake.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:17 seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we are all partake of the one bread.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is only one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share one bread.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:17 And as there is one loaf, so we, although there are many of us, are one single body, for we all share in the one loaf.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is one loaf, we are one body, although we are many individuals. All of us share one loaf.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:17 Because we, being a number of persons, are one bread, we are one body: for we all take part in the one bread.

  • we who are many: 1Co 12:12,27 Ro 12:5 Ga 3:26-28 Eph 1:22,23 2:15,16 3:6 4:12,13 Eph 4:25 Col 2:19 3:11,15 
  • that: 1Co 10:3,4,21 1 Cor 11:26-28 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

ONE WITH CHRIST
ONE WITH EACH OTHER

Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread - 'Amplified = "we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents]." What is the key word? One (bread...body...bread) which emphasizes our oneness with each other in the body of Christ and specifically our oneness and fellowship with each other when we celebrate the Lord's Supper and "we come into fellowship with each other in a unique and deep way (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17)." (MacArthur) As believers united in Christ, we do not lose our individual identity. The we all partake of the one bread is a reminder of our unity, our association with each other as believers. 

COMMENT - Note that partake (metecho) is translated "share" by some versions (NET, CSB) and is a key word in 1 Corinthians (5 of 8 NT uses in 1 Cor) = 1 Co. 9:10; 1 Co. 9:12; 1 Co. 10:17; 1 Co. 10:21; 1 Co. 10:30; Heb. 2:14; Heb. 5:13; Heb. 7:13

The Lord's Supper should always be an occasion for remembering the unity of the body of Christ. 
-- Zodhiates

Paul is preparing the readers for his later warning about partaking with those who openly eat meat sacrificed to idols and make a point to state this fact, which Paul takes as tantamount to an act of worship. And for a believer to participate in this idolatrous act would mean they were in effect sharing spiritually in that act. (See 1 Cor 10:20-22, 28). This recalls 

HCSB Study Bible. - The phrase because there is one bread, we who are many are one body refers to the individual members who make up one corporate body, the church (12:12-27). United participation as one body at the Lord's Supper points to unified fellowship brought about by Christ's death as well as each individual believer's union with Christ.

The Complete Biblical Library –  Unity is emphasized. A single loaf was used at Communion, which symbolized unity. The ordinance stems from unity and creates unity for those who partake. They are one in spirit, one in faith, and one in worship. "Bread" suggests also the idea of a common nourishment, sustaining and strengthening an identical life.

Swindoll When believers properly partake of the bread and wine of communion, they participate in a confession of faith that they can see, taste, smell, touch, and hear. In the fullest physical sense, believers confess the incarnation of the God-man, who took on real flesh and blood (John 1:14), who died for our sins and rose from the dead to give us new life. With Christ presiding at the table as the host of His supper and by participating in the “cup of blessing” and the “one bread,” believers are fellowshipping with Him through the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). They are also fellowshipping with one another as “one body,” united in this solemn observance (1 Cor. 10:17). (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Corinthians)

Alan Redpath -  The second rule of the road takes us back a few verses: “The cup of blessing which we blessed, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor 10:16–17).  If you apply the first rule of the road, and begin to break through into the circles of ungodly people and associate with them, immediately you will face the problem of maintaining your testimony. What is to be the guiding factor in your behavior?  We have seen previously how time and time again Paul takes us back to the cross, and he does it again here: “The communion of the blood of Christ . . . the communion of the body of Christ.” To observe the first rule of the road would be disastrous unless we constantly recognize that we start out from Calvary. We must remember that in our new life our fellowship is not with the world and its ungodly people, but with the Lord Jesus in His death and resurrection.

Partake (3348) (metecho from metá = with, denoting association + écho = have) means literally to hold with and so share in the possession of something or have a share of. Metecho means to share in the possession of something, to partake of or to consume food, whether solid or liquid eat, to eat food, to drink (1Co 10:30; figuratively in Heb 5:13), to be included in the membership of a group belong to (Heb 7:13) Another sense is when it has to do with taking hold of something that is not naturally one's own kind. So in Heb 2:14 humans by nature are flesh and blood but Christ was not but "He partook (metecho) of the same." He willingly took hold of something which did not naturally belong to Him, partaking of our nature in order that He might die in our place, and that we might "become partakers (koinonos) of the divine nature"(2 Pe 1:4+)

Metecho - 8x in 8v -  belongs(1), partake(3), partakes(1), partook(1), share(1), sharing(1). 1 Co. 9:10 = "sharing crops"; 1 Co. 9:12 = " If others share the right over you"; 1 Co. 10:17; 1 Co. 10:21 = "you cannot partake of the table"; 1 Co. 10:30 = " If I partake with thankfulness"; Heb. 2:14 = "He Himself likewise also partook of the same,"; Heb. 5:13 = "everyone who partakes only of milk"; Heb. 7:13 = "belongs to another tribe" Occurs twice in the Septuagint - Prov. 1:18; Prov. 5:17;

1 Corinthians 10:18  Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?

Amplified Consider those [physically] people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners of the altar [united in their worship of the same God]? 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:18 Look at the people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar?

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:18 Think about the people of Israel. Weren't they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:18 βλέπετε τὸν Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα· οὐχ οἱ ἐσθίοντες τὰς θυσίας κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου εἰσίν;

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:18 See Israel according to the flesh! are not those eating the sacrifices in the fellowship of the altar?

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: have not they that eat the sacrifices communion with the altar?

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:18 Look at the people of Israel. Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in what is offered on the altar?

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:18 Look at ethnic Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices participating in the sacrificial altar?

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:18 Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar?

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:18 Look at Israel according to the flesh; are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:18 Now compare the natural people of Israel: is it not true that those who eat the sacrifices share the altar?

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:18 Look at the people of Israel from a human point of view. Don't those who eat the sacrifices share what is on the altar?

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:18 See Israel after the flesh: do not those who take as food the offerings of the altar take a part in the altar?

  • Israel: Ro 4:1,12 9:3-8 2Co 11:18-22 Ga 6:16 Eph 2:11,12 Php 3:3-5 
  • are: 1Co 9:13 Lev 3:3-5,11 7:11-17 1Sa 2:13-16 9:12,13 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage: 

Deuteronomy 12:18  (ISRAEL'S FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD) “But you shall eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all your undertakings.

ISRAEL'S SACRIFICES TO YAHWEH
SPOKE OF FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM

Look (blepoat the nation Israel - (Literally "Israel according to the flesh" indicating the nation of Israel) Look (blepo) is a command in the present imperative calling for us to continually look at the example of Israel. 

Paul had just described fellowship of NT believers with Jesus and now describes the fellowship the Israelites had with God in the OT. Both were a real sharing. He is preparing them for his warning about sharing or fellowshipping with demons. 

Are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers (koinonos - participants, communion) in the altar? - Another rhetorical question which expects a "Yes!" NLT = "Weren't they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?" Yes the Israelites who worship by offering sacrifice and who eat the sacrificed animals have a spiritual participation in the altar. The point Paul is making is they not just eating a good steak for dinner! And so for example, in the peace offering part of the sacrifice was offered to Yahweh, the priest took his portion and the offerer received their portion. Paul's point is that those who eat the sacrificial meal are in effect participating with each other and with God Who is being worshipped by the sacrifice. Paul uses the word koinonos here in a positive sense (because Israel was clearly sacrificing to Yahweh), but in 1 Cor 10:20 he uses koinonos in a negative sense describing "sharers in demons." 

CBL Paul's mind is on the total Israelite communion (Leviticus 7:15, 16). In these celebrations, there was a recognition of fellowship and service. It was no small thing to eat of the sacrifices offered on the burnt altar in the Jewish temple.

Leviticus 7:15-16+  ‘Now as for the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace offerings, it shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it over until morning. 16 ‘But if the sacrifice of his offering is a votive or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what is left of it may be eaten;

Zodhiates - A descendant of Israel ate of the sacrifices of the temple, and by thus eating, he was confirming his racial descent. By so doing, he expressed agreement with the whole system. Christians participating in the Lords Supper partake of the cup and the bread to affirm their relationship with Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection and coming again (1 Cor. 11:26). As the symbolic act of partaking of the fruit of the vine and the bread is a confirmation of what they represent to the believer, just as the partaking of the sacrificed meat for the "Israelites according to the flesh" was an association with and acceptance of the traditional meaning of the altar in the temple, and this is what Paul wants us to consider (blepo in the present imperative). This illustration that Paul brings from the ceremonial tradition of the Jews confirms his teaching that one does not become a Christian by partaking of the cup and the bread, but contrariwise, he partakes because he is a Christian.

Pulpit Commentary on sharers in the altar The meaning is that, by sharing in the sacrifices, the Jews stood in direct association with the altar, the victims, and all that they symbolized (Deuteronomy 12:27). And Paul implied that the same thing is true of those who sympathetically partook of idol offerings.

MacArthur on sharers in the altar - to sacrifice to an idol is to identify with it, to participate with the idol and with all others who sacrifice to it. Religious ceremonies, whether Christian or pagan, involve participation of the worshipers with the object of their worship and with each other. Thus it is completely inconsistent for believers to participate in any expression of worship that is apart from and contrary to their Lord.

Note Paul uses the same family of Greek words in 1 Cor 10:16 - koinonia (twice), 1 Cor 10:18 and 1 Cor 10:20 - koinonos

Sharers (partakers) (2844(koinonos from koinos = common, shared by all, cf koinonia) is one who participates with another in an enterprise or matter of joint concern. It is one who fellowships and shares something in common with another. He or she takes part in something with someone else. In Lk 5:10 koinonos describes James and John as "partners with Simon" (in the fishing business). In 2 Cor 1:7 Paul says they "you are sharers of our sufferings," In 2 Cor 8:23 Paul describes "Titus (as) my partner and fellow worker." In 2 Pe 1:4 believers are "partakers of the divine nature." 

Koinonos - 10v in NT - Matt. 23:30; Lk. 5:10; 1 Co. 10:18; 1 Co. 10:20; 2 Co. 1:7; 2 Co. 8:23; Philemon 1:17; Heb. 10:33; 1 Pet. 5:1; 2 Pet. 1:4

Altar (2379thusiasterion from thusia = that which is offered as a sacrifice - see Altar) refers to any type of altar or object where gifts may be placed and ritual observances carried out in honor of supernatural beings. The majority of the uses of thusiasterion refer to literal altars - (1) the altar of  burnt offering of court of tabernacle or temple (Heb 7:13, (2) the altar of incense before the Holy of holies (Lk 1:11) and (3) the (golden) altar in heaven (Rev 8:3, 5, 9:13, 14:18, 16:7). In the NT thusiasterion is employed to refer to a number of different types of altars, including the altar for burnt offerings in the Temple, the altar of incense, the altar which Abraham built, and the heavenly altar mentioned in the book of Revelation. Used one other time in Corinthians -

1 Cor 9:13+ Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share (sunmerizo) from the altar?

1 Corinthians 10:19  What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?

Amplified  What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is [intrinsically changed by the fact and amounts to] anything or that an idol itself is a [living] thing?

Zodhiates What then am I saying? That the idol is something? Or that meat sacrificed to idols is something?

NET  1 Corinthians 10:19 Am I saying that idols or food sacrificed to them amount to anything?

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:19 What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods?

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:19 τί οὖν φημι; ὅτι εἰδωλόθυτόν τί ἐστιν ἢ ὅτι εἴδωλόν τί ἐστιν;

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:19 what then do I say? that an idol is anything? or that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything? --

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:19 What say I then? that a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:19 What am I saying then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:19 What, then, do I mean? Am I saying that an idol sacrifice is anything, or thatan idol is anything?

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:19 What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:19 So what am I saying? That meat sacrificed to idols is anything? Or that an idol is anything?

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:19 What does this mean? That the dedication of food to false gods amounts to anything? Or that false gods themselves amount to anything?

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:19 Do I mean that an offering made to a false god is anything, or that a false god itself is anything?

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:19 Do I say, then, that what is offered to images is anything, or that the image is anything?

  • that a thing: 1Co 1:28 3:7 8:4 13:2 De 32:21 Isa 40:17 Isa 41:29 2Co 12:11
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

Related Passages:

1 Cor 8:8 -  But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.

Zodhiates - A problem arose in Corinth because some believers considered it permissible and consistent with their Christian testimony to partake of meats sacrificed to idols. The main subject of chapters 8, 9, and 10 of 1 Corinthians is that of "things sacrificed to idols" (1 Cor. 8:1).

What do I mean then? - (Referring back to 1 Cor 10:16-18) What do I imply then?

That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? - Amplified - "That food offered to idols is [intrinsically changed by the fact and amounts to] anything or that an idol itself is a [living] thing?" NLT = "Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods?" He answer "no" in the next verse. The food/meat per se has no intrinsic spiritual significance, good or bad. The food/meat is by itself neutral, so to speak. Likewise the idol has no spiritual power (contrary to what a lot people think). 

Regarding whether idols are anything God Himself clearly states "Behold, all of them are (1) false; Their works are (2) worthless, Their (3) molten images are (4) wind and emptiness." (Isa 41:29) 

Sacrificed to idols (1494eidolothuton from eidolon = idol + thuo = sacrifice) refers to whatever is sacrificed or offered to an idol such as flesh (pagan sacrifices). meat offered to an idol, remains of victims sacrificed to an idol and reserved for eating.  It refers to sacrificial meat, part of which was burned on the altar as the deities’ portion and part was eaten at a solemn meal in the temple, and part was sold in the market (No uses in the Septuagint (in Apocrypha - 4 Macc 5:2 = "ordered the guards to seize each and every Hebrew and to compel them to eat pork and food sacrificed to idols.") Arndt and Gingrich note: "From the Jewish viewpoint it was unclean and there-fore forbidden" (cf. Nu 25:2+; Ps. 106:28). Dean Stanley observes: "This identification of a sacrifice and a feast was carried to the highest pitch among the Greeks. Sacrifices are enumerated by Aristotle and Thucydides amongst the chief means of social enjoyment"

Eidolothuton - 9v - Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25; 1 Co. 8:1; 1 Co. 8:4; 1 Co. 8:7; 1 Co. 8:10; 1 Co. 10:19; Rev. 2:14; Rev. 2:20

Idol (1497)(eidolon from eídos = that which is seen, what is visible, figure, appearance) is primarily a phantom, form, image, shadow or likeness. Friberg's summary of eidolon - strictly form, copy, figure; hence (1) an object resembling a person or animal and worshiped as a god idol, image (Rev 9.20); (2) idol, false god, with reference to demonic power involved in idol worship (1Cor 10.19)

Eidolon - Acts 7:41; Acts 15:20; Ro 2:22; 1 Co. 8:4; 1 Co. 8:7; 1 Co. 10:19; 1 Co. 12:2; 2 Co. 6:16; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 Jn. 5:21; Rev. 9:20

Related Resources:


Vance Havner - Strange Gods

We... preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God.  Acts 14:15. 

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9. 

If a native Christian should come from this heathen land to lecture to the saints in America he could easily make our faces red if he chose to speak on idols. He would find more strange gods here than he left behind him. We call our land Christian America and we thank God for all the advantages which we owe to Christianity, but, actually, true Christians in America are a minority group in a pagan land. There is no nation on earth where the first two of the Ten Commandments, to say nothing of the other eight, are broken daily by more people.

I heard a missionary say with telling effect that we have no right to give money and send missionaries to foreign lands to preach a Gospel which will cause commotion, divide homes, bring ostracism, suffering and even death, if we are not willing to pay a corresponding price over here. Over there it means giving up idols, and we have no right to hold on to ours.

God says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." An idol is someone or something we love more than we love God. America is a land of idolaters, not only outside the professing church, but inside it. We read of those who "feared the Lord, and served their own gods" (II Kings 17:33). Their number today is legion. Yet the Word of God tells us to "flee from idolatry" (I Cor. 10:14); asks, "What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" (II Cor. 6:16), and commands, "Keep yourselves from idols" (I John 5:21). If we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and if an idol is something we love more than we love God or something we love too much, then we must get rid of our idols if we are to love God as we ought.

When Jacob prepared to go back to Bethel, he said to his household and all that were with him, "Put away the strange gods that are among you" (Gen. 35:2). It is the first thing to do if we are going back to Bethel! When Gideon heard the call of God he threw down the altar of Baal. When Ephesus was awakened by Paul many brought their books of "curious arts" together and burned them in public. When men turn to God they turn from vanities and idols.

What are some of the strange gods today? We read of "the god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4), "the prince of this world" (John 12:31), "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). This present world system, politically, economically, socially, educationally, religiously, is under the devil and the whole world lies in the Wicked One. He is the god of most people, and plenty of church members pay him allegiance. Yet the Word of God tells us plainly not to love the world, or the things that are in the world, and that if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us. This is not a Christian era, it is a pagan age and there are more heathen than ever. If Satan is the god of this age, then the love of this world system is idolatry.

Worldliness means far more than card playing, dancing, and theater going. It means being occupied with this world and its concerns to the exclusion or neglect of eternal issues. It means "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, buying and selling, planting and building," as in the days of Noah and Lot, until judgment overtakes us unprepared. "As it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so shall it be," said our Lord, and so it is now.

Just try being an out-and-out Christian in the present world of business, politics, society, economics, education, or even religion, and you will soon find out who runs it! Travel, as I have to do, in the midst of Sodom and Gomorrah, and you will find that this present setup is not catering to Christians! I can remember a day, for instance, when smokers used to ask, "Does my smoking bother you?" Now, if it bothers, you can get off the train or out of the room! How often am I awakened on Pullmans in the middle of the night inhaling second-hand tobacco fumes from the pulmonary exhaust of some poor slave who, although the sign in the car expressly forbids it, must have his nicotine before morning! And since three out of four adults smoke, nobody pays much attention any more to the rights of the few who still do not use their noses for chimneys. Wade through the stench of beer and liquor and the blasphemy of both men and women in our public places, and you will soon realize that the millennium has not yet set in.

Try being a Christian in the world of education. No influence on earth has contributed more to the paganization of America than our Godless schools. There is still some Christian education to be had where Jesus Christ is still recognized on some college campuses, but the trend is away from God, not only in the secular schools but in many church schools founded to help perpetuate the Gospel but now become infidel factories and breeding grounds of atheism.

The god of this age and the ruler of this world set-up is Satan, and the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are still the supreme interests of men. We do not have a revival because our churches are filled with idolaters who cannot go up to Bethel, because they will not put away their strange gods. "Ye adulterers and adultresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." When Christians love the world more than they love God, they are idolaters and adulterers, and we should be jealous for them with a godly jealousy, for they have been espoused to one husband and married to Christ.

Paul names another class of idolaters, numerous in these last days, "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (II Tim. 3:4). Too many, even among our professing Christians, can play but cannot pray, know the names of the movie stars but cannot name the books of the Bible, can find Amos and Andy on the radio but would have trouble locating Amos and Andrew in the Bible. They know the baseball scores but not what the score is in God's Word. They yell like Comanche Indians at football games and sit like wooden Indians in church. They can weep over the glycerin tears of Hollywood divorcees and sit dry-eyed while missionaries plead for lost millions without God and without hope in this world.

The day is long gone when the movie was mere entertainment. Today it is a cult. The actors and actresses are actually called "idols," the theater is the church, the screen is the altar, the onlookers are the worshipers. It is idolatry in a vile and potent form.

We are told again that "the love of money is the root of all evil" (I Tim. 6:10). Add the rest of that verse and fill in the name of some Bible character who was ruined by money and see how it works out: "The love of money is the root of all evil: which while Achan, or Gehazi, or Balaam coveted after, he erred from the faith, and pierced himself through with many sorrows." How it fits! And how many it fits today! No wonder Paul says next, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things." The love of money gets into the pulpit, and while we would hardly expect a man to enter the ministry for money, he may worship Mammon before he gets out. The prophet sometimes turns racketeer and goes the way of Balaam. Others suppose that gain is godliness and make a lucrative business out of their Christian profession, advance their worldly interests by claiming to be Christians, and make piety a cloak for covetousness. "They imagine that religion is a paying concern" and that gain is godliness, which is contrary to what Paul teaches, that "godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."

The love of money gets into the church and we behold the modern counterpart of Abraham letting the King of Sodom make him rich. It is a sad spectacle when churches and denominations accept the gifts and endowments of the world in spite of plain Scripture that God's work must be supported by God's people God's way. Ezra would not accept help from outsiders, but the church has forgotten how to say "No" to the subtle offers of the Adversary. The love of money is idolatry, and the church of God, as well as the man of God, will do well to "flee these things." The Word of God teaches, not the denial of money on one hand or its deification on the other, but its dedication, and if there were fewer Christians worshiping the golden calf there would be more rejoicing around the fatted calf as prodigal sons come to God.

In Philippians Paul speaks of those whose god is their physical appetites: "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." Now note the contrast: "For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." In that day the Greeks of the Epicurean philosophy enjoyed the pleasures of the body and majored on it. Certainly, the description fits the modern age with its glorification of the physical, "whose glory is in their shame." Over against that we are reminded that Christians are a colony of heaven and that our conduct should befit our citizenship.

We have let liberty run to license. Even stout fundamentalists who claim they want to hear God's Word do not warm up to such passages that conflict with their enjoyments. We are not legislating conduct, and realize that what is considered good decorum in one part of the country is frowned on in another. There is a conscience on tobacco in one area, on movies in another, on mixed bathing in another. The tobacco user resents bearing down on "filthiness" and too close an application of verses about the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Movie-goers would have you touch lightly on "unfruitful works of darkness." And mixed bathers who appear half clad pass quickly over that verse about "modest apparel." Some of us still like to see autumn come, when the saints are at least clothed if not in their right minds!

Some appetites are natural and are to be governed with temperance; others are acquired, and many of them are to be denied with total abstinence. Any may become gods and master us. The eater must put a knife to his throat if given to appetite. Of course, from one extreme in Philippians some run to the other in Colossians. Faddists with a sprig of celery in one hand and a leaf of lettuce in the other need to remember that meats are to be received with thanksgiving, for every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. Yet Christians do dig their graves with their teeth, and McCheyne claimed that the devil could defeat a preacher by making him a lover of good eating. Bunyan said the effect of many a sermon was ruined by a Sunday dinner. Were those old-timers too introspective and ascetic? Well, when a preacher really begins a closer walk with God, you will find him thumbing the pages of these old saints and not chumming with the happiness boys.

Certainly, the human body is the god of millions, and our hospitals, asylums and penitentiaries are filled with worshipers of the flesh. If you are a slave to any appetite you are an idolater. Put away your strange gods and go back to Bethel!

Our Lord said, "He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter, more than me is not worthy of me." Of course, most of us do not love our loved ones enough, but even at that, we may love them more than we love God. When Abraham offered Isaac, whatever else it proved, it showed that Isaac was not Abraham's god.

There is one other idol I would mention. Many a man who does not worship at any of the shrines I have mentioned goes into idolatry here. We are told that in the last days men will be "lovers of their own selves" (II Tim. 3:2). There is a sense in which we are to love ourselves, for we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but many a man makes himself his god. A popular song used to run,
   I love me, I love me,
   I'm wild about myself.

Our Lord said that if we followed Him, we must deny self. The Macedonians first gave themselves. A man may renounce all other false deities and worship at the shrine of self. It is the hardest idol to overthrow. A lot of religious activity today is simply old Adam operating under the auspices of the church. Ministerial ambition, denominational pride, and the energy of the flesh in general, try to do the work of the Spirit. The egotist parades himself and calls it his testimony. The gossip's tongue is as sharp as ever, only it is now not criticism but "my honest opinion." Cover it up in the language of the Gospel, perfume it with rhetoric, throw in a few tears for effect, but when translated it still reads,

   I love me, I love me,
   I'm wild about myself.

What is your idol? Put away the strange gods, turn to God from idols. Turn from these vanities to serve the living and true God.

   The dearest idol I have known,
   Whate'er that idol be,
   Help me to tear it from Thy throne
   And worship only Thee.

A missionary noticed in his congregation a native clutching tightly in his hand an image of his idol. As the speaker presented the Gospel, the hand gradually relaxed, until with a soft thud the idol struck the floor. Would that there might be a letting go of our idols in the church these days!

   Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
   I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
   Break down every idol, cast out every foe,
   Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
    James Nicholson


Rick Renner - Don’t Play Around the Edge of a Dangerous Cliff!

What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.— 1 Corinthians 10:19,20

It cannot be overstated just how important idol worship was to the pagans of the ancient world. People were intoxicated with the worship of their gods and goddesses. Pagan temples were built in vast numbers in cities everywhere, and idol worship permeated every facet of life. For believers at the time, it was unavoidable to live in that world and not occasionally walk by an idol, since they were positioned in homes, on streets, and in key locations throughout every city. These environments were spiritually dangerous, and Paul strictly forbade any believer from setting foot on their premises.

However, shunning temples posed a challenge for certain believers in New Testament times because the best meat in town was sold on temple grounds. After meat had been offered as a burnt sacrifice to an idol, temple workers removed it from the altar and placed in the temple meat market, where it was sold for public consumption. So to purchase the best meat in town, one had to physically go inside a pagan temple and look over the meat selection. As a result of this exposure, some began to fall back under the old influences from which they had been delivered.

Paul knew that being so physically close to those spiritually dark environments was too great a risk for these believers. So he urged them to stay away from those sites, lest they fall back under the influence of the demonic powers from which Christ had delivered them. He wrote, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry…” (1 Corinthians 10:14).
The word “flee” in this verse is the Greek word pheugete, which means to run as fast as possible or to take flight. Furthermore, the tense Paul used for this word conveys that his readers were to constantly flee from idolatry with no exception. He was emphatically stating that idolatry should never be tolerated under any circumstances — not then, not now, not ever. These environments were simply too detrimental for believers who had already been delivered from a life of idolatrous practices.

As an analogy, consider a person who has been delivered from alcohol. Once Christ set him free, it would be foolish for him to meet people in a bar because that environment might lure him back into the habit of drinking again. A bar is simply a dangerous environment for an individual who has been set free from an alcoholic addiction. Common sense says he shouldn’t go there.

Another example would be someone who has recently quit smoking. Hanging out with smokers would create a temptation to light up a cigarette and start smoking again; therefore, common sense dictates that it is better for someone who formerly smoked cigarettes to stay away from those who still smoke so he or she can remain free. That may mean choosing a new set of friends, but severing these ties from the past is a far better option than slipping back into bondage with cigarettes.

When Paul addressed the subject of idolatry in First Corinthians, he made it clear that an idol in and of itself is nothing. Rather, it was the environment in which idolatry was practiced that was so dangerous because demonic activity permeated it. In the dark, spiritually charged environment of these pagan temples, the spirit realm was stirred up under the guidance of the priests and priestesses, and demon spirits were drawn to these grounds like moths to a flame.

It is a biblical command to flee from the presence of evil because it is foolish to blatantly put ourselves at risk in a detrimental environment. We may not fall off the edge of a cliff simply by standing near it, but playing around the cliff’s edge greatly increases the danger of slipping. Keeping a safe distance from the edge assures us that we will not slip and fall. Therefore, although we rejoice in the truth that declares, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4), we must also remember the same epistle likewise commands us, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

There is great potential spiritual damage and harm that you can subject yourself to by simply being in a wrong spiritual environment where there is an evil influence.
Christ required that believers live a life of holiness and use spiritual common sense to stay away from the crumbling edge of a spiritually dangerous cliff. He had called them out of darkness into His marvelous light (see 1 Peter 2:9), and He knew that skirting around the edges of darkness was not the way for His children to flourish. Thus, the Holy Spirit pleaded with New Testament readers through the apostle Peter: “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16).

Living far from the edge of darkness, evil, and worldliness is what Christ demands. By adhering to this command, those early believers who were once bound by a lifestyle of darkness and sin could continue enjoying the freedom that Christ had purchased for them on the Cross with His own blood.

The same is true for us today. We need to use common sense about where we go and with whom we choose to spend our time. Christ has set us free, but just because we’re free doesn’t mean we can play around the edge of the cliff!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I ask You to help me use common sense to know the places that I need to avoid to maintain my spiritual freedom. I know that I am free. I know that Christ’s power in me is greater than any force around me. But Your Word clearly teaches me to avoid those detrimental environments that once held sway in my life. So in obedience to Your Word, I deliberately choose to change my way of doing things, lest I place myself in spiritual jeopardy. Holy Spirit, I ask You to help me be sensitive to discern when I am in a wrong place or with a wrong group — and to show me how to graciously leave when I know it’s time for me to be going!
I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I will no longer intentionally place myself in positions that are too close to the edge of the cliff. Christ has set me free, but I don’t need to play around or fellowship in the sinful places from which Jesus liberated me. I admit that I’ve made this mistake in the past, but I will not make it any longer. The Holy Spirit within gives me wisdom and common sense to recognize when I’m in a detrimental environment, and He gives me the courage to exit these situations so I can keep moving forward.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
  1.      Since most of us do not live in places where actual idolatry is practiced today, what is the application of these truths for you and me?
  2.      Can you name environments or places that you need to avoid because they would tempt you to fall back into old patterns or habits from which Christ has already delivered you?
  3.      Do you know anyone who was freed from sin, but fell back into it as a result of hanging out at the wrong places with the wrong people?

1 Corinthians 10:20  No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.

Amplified  No, I am suggesting that what the pagans sacrifice they offer [in effect] to demons (to evil spiritual powers) and not to God [at all]. I do not want you to fellowship and be partners with diabolical spirits [by eating at their feasts]. 

Zodhiates - But what the heathen sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and absolutely not to God. By no means do I want you to become partakers of the demons.

NET  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, I mean that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don't want you to participate with demons.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:20 ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι ἃ θύουσιν, δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ [θύουσιν]· οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς κοινωνοὺς τῶν δαιμονίων γίνεσθαι.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:20 no, but that the things that the nations sacrifice -- they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not wish you to come into the fellowship of the demons.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have communion with demons.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to participate with demons!

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:20 On the contrary, what they sacrifice they offer to demons, and not to God. I do not want you to be in community with demons.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, I mean that what they sacrifice, (they sacrifice) to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to become participants with demons.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:20 No, it does not; simply that when pagans sacrifice, what is sacrificed by them is sacrificed to demons who are not God. I do not want you to share with demons.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:20 Hardly! What I am saying is that these sacrifices which people make are made to demons and not to God. I don't want you to be partners with demons.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:20 What I say is that the things offered by the Gentiles are offered to evil spirits and not to God; and it is not my desire for you to have any part with evil spirits.

  • sacrifice: Lev 17:7 De 32:16-17 2Ch 11:15 Ps 106:37-39 2Co 4:4 Rev 9:20 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage: 

1 Corinthians 8:4  Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.

Deuteronomy 32:16-17  “They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.  17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread. 

2 Chronicles 11:15  He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs (GOAT IDOLS) and for the calves which he had made.

Psalm 106:37-39 They (ISRAEL) even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,  38 And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood.  39 Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds. 

 
Dinner with the Demons in an Idol's Temple

No - Answering the question in 1 Cor 10:20. 

But - Alla is a strong adversative. So now Paul offers a contrast with the general premise that food/meat is spiritually neutral. It is not the food/meat that is the problem, but it is to whom the food/meat is offered. 

I say that the things which the (unsaved, pagan) Gentiles (present tense - continually) sacrifice (thuo), they sacrifice (thuo) to demons and (absolutely) not to God Amplified - "I am suggesting that what the pagans sacrifice they offer [in effect] to demons (to evil spiritual powers)" The pagans were sacrificing to their idols. The idols did not represent true gods, but behind the idols were demons. Paul says the Gentiles (unsaved Gentiles), aka pagans, were in effect offering their food/meat to demons, and clearly not to the one true living God

R C H Lenski explains that "It is a great mistake to imagine that back of their idolatry and their idol sacrifices there is nothing but an empty vacuity. True enough, as 1 Cor 8:4 makes plain, the gods of the idols have no existence whatever; no being by the name of Jupiter exists, and this is true with respect to the other gods. But something does exist, something that is far more terrible than these pseudo-gods, namely an entire kingdom of darkness which is hostile to God, a host of demons or fallen angels who are ruled by the greatest of their number, namely, Satan." 

Zodhiates - How do we reconcile 1 Corinthians 8:4 where Paul asserts that an idol is nothing, that is to say, not a real being, while here he associates idols with demons? The fact that Paul mentions the names attributed to temples, such as the Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Artemis, does not mean that Apollo and Artemis or other Greek mythological gods were real personalities. All that he tells us in this verse is that sacrifices made to idols were connected with the demon world, that is, the satanic world. It is interesting, indeed, that the word "demons" in the epistles is always used in the plural. No identity is given to them because they represent the powers of evil, with their head being Satan. While the heathen consider their idols to be their gods, in actuality they are not gods, but unidentifiable demons.

And I (absolutely) do not want (thelo) you to become sharers (koinonos) in demons (daimonion- What does Paul mean? While we know an idol is not actually a god, but Paul says that behind idols there is an evil, demonic force. The believer take part in demon worship which they they partake of the idol feasts.

Zodhiates - Paul asserts that he who has fellowship with idols has fellowship with the demons in which idolatry finds its expression.

Spurgeon - As both among Christians and Jews the partaking of holy feasts involved fellowship, so if we join with idolaters we have fellowship with them and shall be sharers in their sin.

Reformation Study Bible - Although idols are nothing (v. 19), behind pagan rituals is the reality of Satan’s work, and Christians should have nothing to do with that.

MacArthur has an interesting comment - Demons can exhibit considerable power. Many cultic and pagan religious claims are faked and exaggerated; but many are true. They are evil but true. Much that goes under the name of astrology, for instance, is simply exploitation of the gullible. But many predictions come true through the work of demonic forces. Demons are not unlimited in power, but they have power to perform enough wonders and to make enough predictions come true to keep superstitious worshipers deceived and loyal (cf. 2 Thess 2:9–11). Satan is the prince of this world system and he rules this world with the aid of his demons. To participate in the corrupt things of this world, especially in idolatrous acts of worship, is to participate with Satan and his demons. It is to become sharers in demons. Moses wrote of Jeshurun, an affectionate name for Israel, as having “sacrificed to demons who were not God” (Deut. 32:17). The ones they worshiped were not divine but they were real. The psalmist, also speaking of Israel, tells of her following pagan practices to the extent even of sacrificing “their sons and their daughters to the demons” (Ps. 106:37). Christians are not immune from the influence of demons. When we willingly ignore the Lord’s way and flirt with the things of Satan by setting up idols of any kind, we open ourselves up to demonic influence. In rebuking Ananias, Peter said, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 5:3). 

Richards - First-century banquets like the one pictured above were commonly dedicated to a pagan god or goddess, and all were expected to offer a libation as part of the festivities. Paul urged Christians not to attend. Demonic forces lay behind paganism. One who participates in Christ can hardly join in the worship of demons (1 Cor 10:14–27). (365 Day Devotional)

Note: A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid, or grains such as rice, as an offering to a deity or spirit, or in memory of the dead. It was common in many religions of antiquity and continues to be offered in cultures today.

Moses warns about the danger of dining with demons in Numbers 25:1-3  writing "While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.(NET Version = When Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to commit sexual immorality with the daughters of Moab) 2 For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods (IDOLS). 3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor (IDOL), and the LORD was angry against Israel."

Peter Grainger - The fact that the idols worshiped in the temples in Corinth are not real gods at all does not mean that worshiping them is harmless. Demons (maligned spiritual entities) use them as a front to gain a foothold in the lives of idol-worshipers, even though these people may not be aware of their activity or existence.

Demons (1140daimonion from daímon = demon) most often describes demons or evil spirits who have supernatural powers and are neither human nor divine (Mt 7:22). Acts 17:18 refers specifically to to heathen gods. In the context of a Jewish use it more often refers to a demon, evil spirit, devil, or one who is subject to Satan. Daimonion was used in pagan Greek writings to refer to an inferior race of divine beings, lower than the Greek gods, but more powerful than men. Vine - not a diminutive of daimon, but the neuter of the adjective daimonios, pertaining to a demon, is also mistranslated "devil," "devils." In Acts 17:18 , it denotes an inferior pagan deity. "Demons" are the spiritual agents acting in all idolatry. The idol itself is nothing, but every idol has a "demon" associated with it who induces idolatry, with its worship and sacrifices, 1Corinthians 10:20,21 ; Revelation 9:20 ; cp. Deuteronomy 32:17 ; Isaiah 13:21 ; 34:14 ; 65:3,11 . They disseminate errors among men, and seek to seduce believers, 1Ti 4:1 . As seducing spirits they deceive men into the supposition that through mediums (those who have "familiar spirits," Leviticus 20:6,27 , e.g.) they can converse with deceased human beings. Hence the destructive deception of spiritism, forbidden in Scripture, Leviticus 19:31 ; Deuteronomy 18:11 ; Isaiah 8:19 . "Demons" tremble before God, James 2:19 ; they recognized Christ as Lord and as their future Judge, Matthew 8:29 ; Luke 4:41 . Christ cast them out of human beings by His own power. His disciples did so in His name, and by exercising faith, e.g., Matthew 17:20. Acting under Satan (cp. Revelation 16:13,14 ), "demons" are permitted to afflict with bodily disease, Luke 13:16 . Being unclean they tempt human beings with unclean thoughts, Matthew 10:1 ; Mark 5:2 ; 7:25 ; Luke 8:27-29 ; Revelation 16:13 ; 18:2 , e.g. They differ in degrees of wickedness, Matthew 12:45 . They will instigate the rulers of the nations at the end of this age to make war against God and His Christ, Revelation 16:14 . (Demon, Demoniac - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)

Related Resources:

NAVE'S TOPIC 
DEMONS

  • Worship of Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; Psalm 106:37; Matthew 4:9; Luke 4:7; 1 Corinthians 10:20,21; 1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 13:4
  • Worship of, forbidden Leviticus 17:7; Zechariah 13:2; Revelation 9:20
  • Possession by, instances of
  • Saul 1 Samuel 16:14-23; 18:10,11; 19:9,10
  • Two men of the Gergesenes (Gadarenes, Gerasenes) Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:2-20
  • The deaf man Matthew 9:32,33
  • The deaf and blind man Matthew 12:22; Luke 11:14
  • The daughter of the Syrophoenician woman Matthew 15:22-29; Mark 7:25-30
  • The epileptic boy Matthew 17:14-18; Mark 9:17-27; Luke 9:37-42
  • The man in the synagogue Mark 1:23-26; Luke 4:33-35
  • Mary Magdalene Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2,3
  • The herd of swine Matthew 8:30-32
  • Cast out by Jesus Matthew 4:24; 8:16; Mark 3:22; Luke 4:41
  • Power over, given the disciples Matthew 10:1; Mark 6:7; 16:17
  • Cast out
  • By the disciples Mark 9:38; Luke 10:17
  • By Peter Acts 5:16
  • By Paul Acts 16:16-18; 19:12
  • By Philip Acts 8:7
  • Disciples could not expel Mark 9:18,28,29
  • Sceva's sons exorcise Acts 19:13-16
  • Parable of the man repossessed by unclean spirits Matthew 12:43-45
  • Jesus falsely accused of being possessed of Mark 3:22-30; John 7:20; 8:48; 10:20
  • Testify to the divinity of Jesus Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:23,24; 3:11; 5:7; Luke 8:28; Acts 19:15
  • Adversaries of men Matthew 12:45
  • Sent to foment trouble between Abimelech and the Shechemites Judges 9:23
  • Messages given false prophets by 1 Kings 22:21-23
  • Believe and tremble James 2:19
  • To be judged at the general judgment Matthew 8:29; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6
  • Punishment of Matthew 8:29; 25:41; Luke 8:28; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:7-9

1 Corinthians 10:21  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Amplified  You cannot drink the Lord’s cup and the demons’ cup. You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the demons’ table.

Zodhiates - You absolutely cannot be drinking the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You absolutely cannot be partaking of the Lord's table and of the table of demons.

NET  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord's Table and at the table of demons, too.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:21 οὐ δύνασθε ποτήριον κυρίου πίνειν καὶ ποτήριον δαιμονίων, οὐ δύνασθε τραπέζης κυρίου μετέχειν καὶ τραπέζης δαιμονίων.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye are not able the cup of the Lord to drink, and the cup of demons; ye are not able of the table of the Lord to partake, and of the table of demons;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord's table and the table of demons.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:21 You are not able to drink both the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:21 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 of demons.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons as well; you cannot have a share at the Lord's table and the demons' table as well.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the Lord's cup and the cup of demons. You cannot participate at the table of the Lord and at the table of demons.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:21 It is not possible for you, at the same time, to take the cup of the Lord and the cup of evil spirits; you may not take part in the table of the Lord and the table of evil spirits.

  • cannot drink: 1Co 10:16 8:10 De 32:37,38 1Ki 18:21 Mt 6:24 2Co 6:15-17 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

YOU CANNOT SERVE
TWO MASTERS

Zodhiates - There are substances that naturally do not mix. Oil, for instance, does not blend with water. As there are things that do not mix physically, so there are spiritual things that, by the nature of their being, cannot be mixed. Among these are idolatry and Christianity....How can two antithetical spiritual forces sit in fellowship together?

You (absolutely) cannot (present tense - continually) drink the cup of the Lord (kurios) and the cup of demons - Note that Paul is not describing a believer who is simply attending an idol feast, but one who is making a choice to actively participate. The tragedy is he also continues to actively participate in the Lord's Supper! In short Paul is addressing one who has made it a practice to go to both the communion service and the table of demons. 

The cup of the Lord is "the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ" (1 Cor 10:16). As noted above the pagans would often pour out a libation or "drink offering" to their so-called gods, in effect doing this to the demons. The "spiritual mathematics" is crystal clear - there is room for only one Lord on the altar of our heart. As Jesus made clear in Mt 6:24+ "(Absolutely) No one can (dunamai in present tense - continually) serve (douleuo) two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You (absolutely) cannot serve (douleuo) God and wealth ("Mammon" = Syrian "god" of riches!). Since Paul makes this statement, it is possible (likely) that some of the believers in Corinth were mixing fellowship with God and fellowship with demons, but they absolutely do not mix and the believer must flee idolatry. 

Zodhiates - Paul is referring to the born-again Christian who knows what he is doing when he drinks the cup that represents Christ's blood and when he eats the bread that represents the body of Christ on the cross. Such a born-again believer, partaking of the communion service, cannot also partake on a consistent, regular basis, of the cup of demons. No one can worship both the true God and demons. Demons are rebellious, spiritual beings who are waiting for their day of judgment.

You (absolutely) cannot (present tense - continually) partake (metecho) of the table of the Lord (kurios) and the table of demons (daimonion) - Similarly the table of the Lord would presumably be analogous to "the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ."  Paul had just used this same verb partake above when he wrote "Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake (metecho) of the one bread."

Zodhiates - The difference between the cup and the table is that the cup represents the actual drinking and eating of the elements, whereas the table represents partaking in the whole celebration. The communion service, for instance, would include singing and worship of the Lord Jesus and the expression of His love. Idol feasts were gluttonous, drunken, sexual orgies which are repugnant to a child of God. Paul wants us to understand that when we participate in the communion service, we participate in all that it stands for, including our oneness with other participants. On the other hand, when we participate in the feast of idolatry, we make ourselves one with idolaters and their evils. This is impossible for a Christian to do consciously.

1 Corinthians 10:22  Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?

Amplified  Shall we thus provoke the Lord to jealousy and anger and indignation? Are we stronger than He [that we should defy Him]? 

Zodhiates - Or shall we continue to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we inherently stronger than He is?

NET  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we really stronger than he is?

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:22 What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord's jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:22 ἢ παραζηλοῦμεν τὸν κύριον; μὴ ἰσχυρότεροι αὐτοῦ ἐσμεν;

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:22 do we arouse the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than He?

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or would we cause the Lord to be jealous? We are not stronger than he, are we?

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger? Are we stronger than he?

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:22 Do we really want to arouse the Lord's jealousy; are we stronger than he is?

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:22 Are we trying to make the Lord jealous? Are we stronger than he is?

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:22 Or may we be the cause of envy to the Lord? are we stronger than he?

  • we provoke: Ex 20:5 Ex 34:14 De 4:24 Dt 6:15 Dt 32:16,21 Jos 24:19 Ps 78:58 Zep 1:18 
  • are: Job 9:4 40:9-14 Eze 22:14 Heb 10:31 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: (Note some of the passages are warnings but others indicate Israel had made Yahweh jealous by their going "a-whoring" with the pagan idols!)

Exodus 20:5  “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Exodus 34:14 –for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

Deuteronomy 4:24 “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God

Deuteronomy 6:15 for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth. 

Deuteronomy 32:16 “They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. 

Deuteronomy 32:21 ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. (ISRAEL WAS NOT STRONGER THAN HE!) So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, 

Parazeloo is used in the Septuagint of - Dt. 32:21 = "They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols." 1 Ki. 14:22 = "Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy"; Ps. 37:1; Ps. 37:7; Ps. 37:8; Ps. 78:58 = "For they provoked Him with their high places."

Joshua 24:19  Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.

Or do we (present tense - continually) provoke the Lord to jealousy? - Paul indicates that is exactly what happens when a believer drinks the cup of demons

MacArthur points out that "The Lord deals strongly with idolatry because nothing is more offensive to Him than idolatry, which is the most detestable sign of unbelief." 

Spurgeon - Communion with the unholy is a challenge to Christ, an open defiance to his kingship.

HCSB Participation in idolatrous rites is a violation of the believer's union with Christ and thus with the one-body relationship that they had with other believers. Therefore, the Lord's Supper and the table of demons are mutually exclusive. (HCSB Study Bible)

Idolatry is one of the sins mentioned in Revelation that will result in the judgment of the Second Death (cf eternal punishment) John writing "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Rev 21:8+)

Parazeloo is used to describe God's reaction to his people's pursuit of idols, which in effect makes Him jealous (anthropomorphically speaking). (Dt 32:21, 1 Ki 14:22, Ps 78:58, 1 Cor 10:22). Parazeloo is used in a negative sense in 1 Cor 10:22 where it means to provoke to anger. BDAG adds regarding the use in 1 Cor 10:22 says "With sharp satire Paul says that God has reason to be jealous if the Corinthians engage in civil feasts where sacrifice is made to mere secondary divinities (1 Cor 10:20), which is designedly ambiguous, referring either to deity generically (a god) or to the supreme deity of biblical tradition. The Corinthians are in effect insulting ‘the Lord’." Do we really understand the negative effect our idolatry (we all have them in some form or degree) has on our relationship and communion with the Lord God, Who Alone is God? 

Provoke to jealousy (3863parazeloo  from pará = to the point of, unto, implying movement toward a certain point + zeloo = to desire, be zealous) literally means to stimulate alongside and speaks of of emotional excitement. The idea is thus to excite to rivalry and so to make jealous. This can have a good sense in Romans (Ro 10:19; Ro 11:11; Ro 11:14) where the idea is to make the Jews jealous and want salvation (Yeshua) as their possession and experience. Does my life make anyone (Jew or Gentile) "jealous" and stir in them a desire for Jesus?  Parazeloo is a Greek infinitive with a preposition (eis = unto, toward) and carries the idea of purpose. It is of interest that parazeloo is used only in 6 verses in the Septuagint but 3 times in Psalm 37 (Ps. 37:1; Ps. 37:7; Ps. 37:8). In both classical Greek and the Septuagint parazēloō means “provoke to jealousy” or, less frequently, “to emulate, imitate” (Liddell-Scott). 

We are not stronger than He, are we? - That this question is rhetorical is an understatement! God is omnipotent. Our feeble existence depends on Him, for as Hebrews 1:3+ says the Lord Jesus Christ "upholds all things by the word of His power" and "in Him all things hold together." (Col 1:17+). In other words, we could lift our little finger if He did not allow it! Take a moment to read through the abbreviated history of God's jealousy in the Old Testament as shown in the related passages above. Paul had earlier written that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger (ischuros) than men." (1Co. 1:25+) and "God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong (ischuros)" (1 Cor 1:27+). In 1 Cor 4:10 Paul had sarcastically written to arrogant Corinthians "We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong (ischuros); you are distinguished, but we are without honor." (1Co. 4:10+)

Stronger (mighty) (2478) (ischuros from ischuo = to be able) is an adjective which means strong, powerful, mighty (usually referring to inherent physical strength), able, forcible. Ischuros places “stress on the actual power that one possesses rather than on the mere principle of power.  Uses of ischuros in the Corinthian letters - 1Co. 1:25; 1Co. 1:27; 1Co. 4:10; 1 Co. 10:22; 2 Co. 10:10; (The other NT uses - Note concentration in the Revelation - Matt. 3:11; Matt. 12:29; Mk. 1:7; Mk. 3:27; Lk. 3:16; Lk. 11:21; Lk. 11:22; Lk. 15:14; Heb. 5:7; Heb. 6:18; Heb. 11:34; 1 Jn. 2:14; Rev. 5:2; Rev. 6:15; Rev. 10:1; Rev. 18:2; Rev. 18:8; Rev. 18:10; Rev. 18:21; Rev. 19:6; Rev. 19:18)

1 Corinthians 10:23  All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

Amplified  All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].

Wuest All things are permissible but not all things are profitable or expedient. All things are permissible, but not all things promote growth in Christian character.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates  All things are permissible to me, but all things do not contribute to the common good. All things are permissible to me, but not all things build up.

NET  1 Corinthians 10:23 "Everything is lawful," but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is lawful," but not everything builds others up.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:23 You say, "I am allowed to do anything"-- but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"-- but not everything is beneficial.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:23 "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:23 Πάντα ἔξεστιν ἀλλ᾽ οὐ πάντα συμφέρει· πάντα ἔξεστιν ἀλλ᾽ οὐ πάντα οἰκοδομεῖ.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:23 All things to me are lawful, but all things are not profitable; all things to me are lawful, but all things do not build up;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:23 "Everything is permissible," but not everything is helpful. "Everything is permissible," but not everything builds up.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful," but not everything is beneficial. "All things are lawful," but not everything is uplifting.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:23 "Everything is lawful," but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is lawful," but not everything builds up.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:23 'Everything is permissible'; maybe so, but not everything does good. True, everything is permissible, but not everything builds people up.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:23 Someone may say, "I'm allowed to do anything," but not everything is helpful. I'm allowed to do anything, but not everything encourages growth.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:23 We are free to do all things, but there are things which it is not wise to do. We are free to do all things, but not all things are for the common good.

  • things are lawful: 1Co 6:12 1Cor 8:9 Ro 14:15,20 
  • edify: 1Co 8:1 14:3-5,12,17,26 Ro 14:19 15:1,2 2Co 12:19 Eph 4:29 1Th 5:11 1Ti 1:4 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Corinthians 6:12+  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 8:9+  But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

Romans 14:15+  For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

Romans 14:20+ Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.

LAWFUL BUT NOT 
NECESSARILY PROFITABLE!

In 1 Cor 10:23-30 Paul gives basic principles to guide the believer's use of his or her liberty in a way that brings glory to God (1 Cor 10:31). 

Zodhiates - many things may be permissible for the Christian, it is not wise for him to live a life of reckless abandonment to self-satisfaction. To be pleasing to his heavenly Father, a Christian must pick and choose that which builds up not only himself, but also others who are members of the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1, Paul gives us rules that can serve as guidelines for individual decisions as to what is permissible and what is not in our redeemed lives.

Henry Morris - Here is another principle for testing whether a practice not specifically mentioned in Scripture is right or wrong. Does it "edify" or "build up" another person (Romans 14:21,23; 1 Corinthians 6:12,19,20)? (Defender's Study Bible)

Reformation Study Bible - Paul may be quoting sayings, probably common in Corinth, that were used to excuse immoral behavior. The apostle’s response suggests that, even if there is an element of truth in these slogans, the Corinthians have perverted it. Indeed, his qualifications have the effect of denying the very point of the sayings, and he ends by emphasizing the noble purpose for which God has given us a body.

All things are lawful - Earlier Paul had made a similar statement personalized to himself (1 Cor 6:12), but now he makes this as applicable to all believers. In Christ we are free. Obviously sin is not lawful, but in fellowship with Christ and His Spirit, we are guided and enabled to do only those things that are not sinful. 

MacArthur points out that Paul's "use of all things are lawful always refers to questionable practices, the gray areas of Christian living that are not specifically forbidden in the Bible."

Lawful (permitted)(1832)(exesti from from ek = out + eimí = to be)   is an impersonal verb, signifying "it is permitted, it is lawful" (or interrogatively, "is it lawful?"). It means  to be authorized for the doing of something - it is right, is authorized, is permitted, is proper.  TDNT says the idea is "It is free,” denoting (a)  an action that is possible because there is occasion for it or no obstacle to it, (b) an action that is not prevented by a higher norm or court, and (c) an action to which there is no psychological or ethical block. In the NT the term mostly refers to God’s law or will with its specific demands, especially the OT law.  1 Co. 6:12; 1 Co. 10:23; 2 Co. 12:4

But not all things are (present tense - continually) profitable (sumphero). All things are lawful (exesti), but not all things (present tense - continually) edify (oikodomeo) - He is speaking in the realm of spiritually profitable and spiritually edifying, building up character in himself and in his brother (THOUGHT - Edify would seem to imply that one has a foundation, the foundation of Christ, so this call for edification must be specifically addressing Christian brothers, not unbelievers who have no foundation on which to build spiritually). The question we must alway ask is does the "all things" (whatever they are) build up or tear down spiritually (ourself and/or others). And so again we see implicit the principle of self-denial. While a believer in Christ can do all things (that are not sinful, such as eating meat we know has been offered to idols), he or she may (should) choose to limit that freedom if it does not profit or build up one's own or another's spiritual condition. Edify means to build someone's character up spiritually, helping them to stand and be strong. A building that is built up can withstand the winds of adversary and antagonism which are sure to blow against believers in a place like Corinth (or like America circa 2021!) And so whatever aids building up is profitable. Recall the parallel passage in 1 Cor 6:12 ends with an additional declaration by Paul "I will not be mastered by anything." So one could sum it up as assess things by whether they are profitable, build up or enslave. 

COMMENT - One of the best Scriptures regarding building up or edification is Acts 20:32+ which not speaks of the profit of the living and active Word of God -- “And now I commend you (PAUL IS SPEAKING TO THE EPHESIAN ELDERS) to God and to THE WORD OF HIS GRACE, which is (dunamai in present tense = continuously) able to build (oikodomeo) you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (hagiazo in the perfect tense - speaks of their initial justification, not their progressive sanctification)." Note that the Word of God's grace has the inherent power to supernaturally build up and also has the power to enable a believer to "tap into" (so to speak) their inheritance in Christ (cf 2 Pe 1:3+)."

In 1 Cor 14:4+ Paul says "one who prophesies (probably means preaching) edifies (oikodomeo) the church" 

In 1 Cor 8:1+ we see that "love edifies  (oikodomeo)." 

In Eph 4:11-12+ we see that "He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up (related noun oikodome) of the body of Christ;

THOUGHT - Two simple questions can  aid us to quickly decide whether we should undertake some action or activity. Thus when we are faced with  the decision, we should first ask if we have a right to do it, according to God's holy Word, and if God's Word does not forbid it then the answer is yes. Second, we should ask, will this it action or activity be spiritually profitable, beneficial, and edifying not only to ourselves but for others? And adding the teaching in 1 Cor 6:12 we could ask will this action or activity enslave me? If the answer to the first two is yes and to the third is no, then we can commence with the activity with a clear conscience and to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). Conversely, if the Word and/or our conscience say "No," to the first two and yes to the third, then we should "die to self" and refrain from the action or activity. 

Paul has already written about the importance edification in 1 Cor 8:1+ writing "Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies." More 'mature" believers may have no scruples eating an "idol hamburger," but that knowledge only serves to make them arrogant or puffed up if it is not balanced or tempered by self-less, giving, agape love, which sees a "weaker" brother's rights as more important (cf Php 2:3-4+). And so the stronger brother forgoes the "idol burger" for the sake of "building up" of his weaker brother.

Profitable (good, advantage, expedient)(4851)(sumphero  from sún = together + phéro = bring) means literally to bring together (literally - as in Acts 19:19). Then sumphero comes to mean to confer a benefit, to be profitable, advantageous (Mt. 5:29, 30; 18:6; 19:10; John 11:50; 16:7) or useful. The idea is to bring together for the benefit, profit or advantage of another. And so here in Heb 12:10 sumphero describes the dividends of discipline, the profit of punishment! Paul uses sumphero to describe another advantage of discipline declaring that "when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1Co 11:32). Uses of sumphero in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 6:12; 1 Co. 7:35 = "I say for your own benefit"; 1 Co. 10:23; 1 Co. 10:33; 1 Co. 12:7; 2 Co. 8:10; 2 Co. 12:1

Edify (build up) (3618)(oikodomeo from oikos = dwelling + doma = building from demo = to build) means literally to build, construct or erect a dwelling. Oikodomeo is used here as a metaphor meaning to build up, establish, confirm, edify. Webster's dictionary says our English edify is derived from the Latin aedificare to instruct or improve spiritually, in turn from Latin, to erect a house, in turn from aedes temple, house. What a picture of the power of Spirit saturated believers on their brethren. Matt. 7:24; Matt. 7:26; Matt. 16:18; Matt. 21:33; Matt. 21:42; Matt. 23:29; Matt. 26:61; Matt. 27:40; Mk. 12:1; Mk. 12:10; Mk. 14:58; Mk. 15:29; Lk. 4:29; Lk. 6:48; Lk. 6:49; Lk. 7:5; Lk. 11:47; Lk. 11:48; Lk. 12:18; Lk. 14:28; Lk. 14:30; Lk. 17:28; Lk. 20:17; Jn. 2:20; Acts 7:47; Acts 7:49; Acts 9:31; Acts 20:32; Rom. 15:20; 1 Co. 8:1; 1 Co. 8:10; 1 Co. 10:23; 1 Co. 14:4; 1 Co. 14:17; Gal. 2:18; 1 Thess. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:7


Tests (Click Here for list of 67 Tests)

1. THE WORLD TEST. Is it worldly? Will it make me worldly to do it (John 15:19, 1 John 2:15-17)'

2. THE QUALITY TEST. Is it good for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually (Rom. 12:9b)'

3. THE TEMPLE TEST. Can I do it when I remember my body is God’s temple and must not be marred or misused (1 Cor. 6:19)'

4. THE GLORY TEST. Will it glorify my Lord, or will it on the other hand possibly bring shame to His name (1 Cor. 6:20, 10:32)'

5. THE BLESSING TEST. Can I honestly ask God’s blessing on it and be sure I’ll not regret doing it (Prov. 10:22, Rom. 15:29)'

6. THE REPUTATION TEST. Is it apt to damage my testimony for the Lord (Phil. 2:15)'

7. THE CONSIDERATION TEST. Am I being considerate of others and the effect this might have on them (Rom. 14:7, 21)'

8. THE APPEARANCE TEST. Will it look bad? Does it have the appearance of what is wrong or suspicious (1 Thess. 5:22)'

9. THE WEIGHT TEST. Could this slacken or sidetrack me in running the Christian race (Heb. 12:1, 1 Cor. 9:24)'

10. THE COMING OF CHRIST TEST. Would I be ashamed to be found doing this when He comes again (1 John 2:28)'

11. THE COMPANION TEST. Can I invite Christ to go with me and participate with me in this (Matt. 28:20b, Col. 3:17)'

12. THE PEACE TEST. After having prayed about it, do I have perfect peace about doing it (Col. 3:15a, Phil. 4:6-7)' (Basic Bible Beliefs, Bible Baptist Church)


Eight Questions To Ask When Facing Ethical Decisions

 1. IS IT PERMISSIBLE? (If there is a clear Biblical command against it, then it is not permissible.)
 
 " The man who says, ' I know him,'  but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him .… You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love…  "  (1 John 2:4; Gal 5:13) 
 
 2. WILL IT LEAD TO PEACE AND MUTUAL EDIFICATION?
 
 " Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."  (Romans 14:19; 12:18) 
 
 3. WILL IT BUILD UP OTHER PEOPLE?
 
 " Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others… Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up."  (1 Corinthians 10:24; Romans 15:2) 
 
 4. IS IT PROFITABLE (BENEFICIAL)?
 
 " All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify."  (1 Corinthians 10:23 – NASB) 
 
 5. IS IT CONSTRUCTIVE?
 
 " Love… looks for a way of being constructive… Love builds up."  (1 Corinthians 13:4b – Phillips; 1 Corinthians 8:1b) 
 
 6. DOES IT HAVE THE GOOD OF OTHERS AT HEART?
 
 " Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others… Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."  (1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:3, 4) 
 
 7. WILL IT CAUSE OTHERS TO STUMBLE?
 
 " Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved…  "  (1 Corinthians 10:32, 33) (See 1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 14:13) 
 
 8. DOES IT GLORIFY GOD?
 
 " Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God…  "  (1 Corinthians 10:31) 


Greg Laurie - CUT IT LOOSE

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Often the question is asked, “Can I do this and still be a Christian?” I might be going to certain kinds of movies or listening to certain kinds of music or going to a certain type of place.

Whatever it may be in life, be it relationships, friendships, habits, indulgences, or whatever things they are, if they entangle you, if they hinder your walk with God, if they make the reading of the Bible more dull, your prayer life more dead, and the reality of eternity more dim, then they should be cut loose.

A question to ask regarding that thing you are wondering about is: “Is it slowing you down in the race of life?” Is that relationship impairing your progress? Is that habit impairing your performance? If so, then cut it loose. This is why Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress” (NLT).

If you ever wonder whether something is allowable for you to do as a Christian, then ask yourself these four questions:

1. Does it build me up spiritually?
2. Does it bring me under its power?
3. Do I have an uneasy conscience about it?
4. Could it cause someone to stumble?

Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Cor. 10:23).
Is some activity or pursuit gaining a hold on you? Maybe you need to cut it loose.


Greg Laurie - NO COMPROMISE

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ ”—MATTHEW 3:1–2

HOW OFTEN WE BELIEVERS shoot ourselves in the foot by compromise. A nonbeliever notices we’re not practicing what we preach and so turns his back on the Lord. Compromise is a witness-killer.

One of the reasons John the Baptist had such a strong witness in his day was because he did not compromise. The angel Gabriel had prophesied of him even before he was conceived, “He will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:15). John lived a disciplined lifestyle because he did not want to come under the power of anyone or anything but the Holy Spirit.

People sometimes ask me, “Is it okay for a Christian to drink?” My response is, “Why ask the question? Why would you want to risk bringing yourself under the power of something other than the Holy Spirit?” I don’t want something impairing my abilities to think clearly. I don’t want something getting in the way of my life or dulling my senses. The Bible says all things are permissible, but not all things build us up (see 1 Corinthians 10:23). All things are permissible, but not all things are good—and we should not be brought under the power of anything.

Scripture says we’re free to do whatever God does not forbid. But at the same time, these two questions ought to be at the forefront of our minds constantly:

1. Is this going to build me up spiritually?
2. Does this thing or activity bring me under its power?

I use these tests with people who ask me questions like, “Is it all right for a Christian to listen to this kind of music? Is it acceptable to watch a sexually suggestive movie?” I run these folks through my two-question grid:

1 Does it build you up spiritually? In most cases, I don’t think so.
2.Could you be brought under its power? If there is even the slightest chance of that, why risk it? Why fool around with it? Once you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit, what do you need with cheap substitutes?

I give these people one other question to consider, too: Might this thing or activity cause someone else to stumble? Could it be a bad witness? If someone you’ve been trying to reach sees you doing that thing, might he or she ask, “Why are you doing that? I thought you were a Christian!” A lame response like, “It’s really okay. I can explain” just isn’t going to cut it.

John was a powerful witness because he did not want to come under the influence of anything but the power of Jesus Christ.

What power are you under right now? You might say, “It’s all right if I listen to this music” or, “So what if I like to top one off with the boys?” My question to you is, Does it bring you under its power? Is it controlling you? Is it addictive? If so, you ought to break from it.

Even something such as overexposure to television can weaken your spiritual life. I admit I’ve been mesmerized by TV. My eyes have glazed over and I’ve gotten that blank look after being glued to the set for too long. I’ve allowed chunks of my day to be wasted. It’s not worth it. There comes a time when we must say enough is enough!

John was consistent and uncompromising. He stuck to his guns, even when severely tested. Herod the king eventually had him arrested and thrown in prison. Yet Herod took a liking to this godly man when he saw how consistent and uncompromising he was.

Perhaps the king was fascinated with John because Herod himself was a study in compromise. He had been captivated by his brother’s wife, Herodias, and took her as his own mate. To make matters worse, she was his niece. John was straightforward with Herod and told the king it was a sinful relationship. He told him the truth. The Bible says Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man (see Mark 6:20). When Herod heard John he was perplexed, but Herod enjoyed listening to him.

John made a great impact on Herod—though not great enough, because Herod ultimately conceded to John’s execution. Until that day, Herod had a great admiration for John. He knew he could always count on John to tell the truth.

That’s the power of a holy, uncompromising life. Nonbelievers look at their Christian friends and can see they’re righteous. They know their friends are living a holy life, and they grow perplexed. On one hand, they don’t understand some of the things their friends do; on the other hand, they have great admiration for them and like to listen to them. They can see their strong convictions. Their moral perimeters are clear and they don’t transgress them. As these non-Christians watch their faithful friends, some of them trade in their unbelief for a solid faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Does that describe your experience? Are you uncompromising in your witness? Your godly and uncompromising lifestyle won’t win everyone, but it can win some. John didn’t win Herod, but he did steer countless others to the Lord Jesus. There’s no reason you couldn’t do the same thing. That is, if you want to.

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully written; but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and action of His people.” —Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Vance Havner - LIBERTY AND LIMITATIONS 

All things are lawful for me, but ... (1 Cor. 10:23).

"All things are lawful for me" says the careless Christian, as though being saved gave him liberty to do as he pleases. Indeed, the law of the Spirit has made us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). But this liberty is not license. Three times "All things are lawful for me" is followed by a qualifying "but."

1. There is the test of expediency

Some things do not help me on my way, they hinder my running well the race.

2. There is ... the test of enslavement.

The hobby easily becomes a hobble. I will not be brought into bondage by what I allow.

3. There is the test of edification.

Some things do not build me up. I must build out of gold, silver and precious stones, not wood, hay and stubble.

Let me stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made me free, but I am not free to do wrong. If the problem in our personal lives will clear the three hurdles set forth here, I may go ahead, but if there is any doubt, give God the benefit of the doubt!


In another book Vance Havner has "A Test for Making Decisions"

If you have a doubtful issue in your life, something with a question mark after it, put it to this fourfold test.

  •    The test of expediency (1 Cor. 6:12).
  •    The test of enslavement (1 Cor. 6:12).
  •    The test of edification (1 Cor. 10:23).
  •    The test of example (1 Cor 8:13).

If your problem clears these four hurdles, it should no longer be a problem.


David Jeremiah - THE RIGHT TO SACRIFICE

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:23

One of the biggest issues facing lawmakers today is whether there should be limits on damages awarded in lawsuits where injury has occurred. Opponents of tort reform say it’s impossible to place a limitation of value on personal injury. Proponents say the lack of limits is driving doctors out of business, since they can’t afford the premiums on malpractice insurance.

Whose rights are more important? A citizen’s right not to be permanently injured? A doctor’s right not to be driven out of business? A lawyer’s right to profit? Or a jury’s right to decide what’s “right”? The pursuit of rights has made America the most litigious society in the world. What ever happened to people giving up their rights for a greater good?

The apostle Paul said everything is “lawful,” but not everything is helpful. For instance, Paul had the right to be paid by those he served. But he gave up that right, and others, for the sake of spreading the gospel without criticism from others. Look at your rights and see if limiting them would give you a greater voice with those you seek to serve.

A right is only a right until we discover it makes us wrong.


Delightful Liberties and Resources - “You are placed amidst the delightful liberties and resources of your Father’s home, without grudging and without doubt. But you are placed there not simply to enjoy, but to use; not only to be free, but to have the privilege of contributing to the freedom around you.

“You are free—but as a child of the Father, and as a member of the family. And such freedom would be only the harsh parody of itself if it were not a freedom, to love, to be loyal, to serve, to share. Your rights are given you as bright implements to promote the highest right. You are saved to be serviceable; you are saved to build up other lives. And not all things are serviceable. And not all things build up the lives of others.

“So live out the noble freedom of freely fulfilled mutual duty. Let no one seek his own, but everyone another.”(H.C.G. Moule)


If in Doubt . . . Question - J Oswald Sanders

1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Cor 10:23

To ask and answer the following positive questions will automatically deal with many problems concerning doubtful things.

  • Will it bring glory to God? “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV). If the chief end of man is to glorify God, this should be our first test and chief concern. If the proposed course of action primarily benefits the self and does not bring glory to God, it is something that can well be laid aside.
  • Is it profitable? Will it help me in my Christian life, my witness, my service? “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV). Will it tend to make my life more profitable to God and to my fellow human 
  • beings?
  • Does it edify? Does it build me up in my Christian character, and will it help me to build up the church of God? “For edification, and not for your destruction” (2 Corinthians 10:8 KJV). God’s supreme interest is centered in His church, and we should share His concern for its upbuilding.
  • Does it tend to enslave? “All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12 ASV). Even lawful things can become our master and get out of balance. They can so demand our attention that we neglect other things of more importance. For example, secular reading can so enslave readers that it dulls their appetite for the reading of the Word of God and spiritual books. Such a condition must be jealously guarded against by strict self-discipline, both as to the quality and the quantity of our secular reading.
  • Will it strengthen me against temptation? It is of little avail for us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” if we voluntarily go where we will be exposed to temptation. It is one thing for a Salvation Army officer to enter a tavern to sell his War Cry but quite another for a young person to go in to “celebrate” with friends. Any place or practice that tends to make sin less sinful is to be shunned. (SC)

Definition of Sin - J. Wilbur Chapman said, “My life is governed by this rule: Anything that dims my vision of Christ or takes away my taste for Bible study or cramps my prayer life or makes Christian work difficult is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.”

This was how Susannah Wesley defined “sin” to her young son, John Wesley: “If you would judge of the lawfulness or the unlawfulness of pleasure, then take this simple rule: Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, and takes off the relish of spiritual things—that to you is sin.”


IS IT PROFITABLE? - J. Wilbur Chapman said, “My life is governed by this rule: Anything that dims my vision of Christ or takes away my taste for Bible study or cramps my prayer life or makes Christian work difficult is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.”

This was how Susannah Wesley defined “sin” to her young son, John Wesley: “If you would judge of the lawfulness or the unlawfulness of pleasure, then take this simple rule: Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, and takes off the relish of spiritual things—that to you is sin.” 


Christian liberty -- J.R. Miller

We should keep watch over our words and deeds, not only in their intent and purpose — but also in their possible influence over others. There may be liberties which lead to no danger for us — but which to others with less stable character, and less wholesome environments — would be full of peril. It is part of our duty to think of these weaker ones, and of the influence of our example upon them. We may not do anything in our liberty, which might possibly harm others. We must be willing to sacrifice our liberty — if by its exercise, we endanger another's soul. This is the teaching of holy Scripture:

"Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." Romans 14:19

"Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall." Romans 14:20-21

"Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience — you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall." 1 Corinthians 8:9-13

"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

1 Corinthians 10:24  Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.

Amplified  Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor].

Wuest  Let no person be seeking his own good but that of the other person.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates Let no one continue to seek his own selfish good, but each one the good of another who is different.

NET  1 Corinthians 10:24 Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:24 Don't be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:24 μηδεὶς τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ζητείτω ἀλλὰ τὸ τοῦ ἑτέρου.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:24 let no one seek his own -- but each another's.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:24 No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one look out only for himself, but let him be concerned for the other person.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:24 Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:24 No one should seek his own advantage, but that of his neighbor.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:24 Nobody should be looking for selfish advantage, but everybody for someone else's.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:24 People should be concerned about others and not just about themselves.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:24 Let a man give attention not only to what is good for himself, but equally to his neighbour's good.

Related Passages:

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

NOT SEEKING OUR
OWN ADVANTAGE

Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor - Paul is telling the Corinthians to stop continually seeking they own selfish good. Let no one is present imperative and don't be deceived by attempting to do this from some "altruistic" motive because our fallen flesh will fight that tooth and nail. In short, to continually obey this command which is basically a call to "die to self" (and manifest " agape" love which is self-less love) necessitates that we depend on the Holy Spirit to obey. There is simply no other way! Self does not want to take second seat to another, even if he is our nearest, dearest neighbor!

Neighbor is actually the word heteros which means another who is different (not identical). Some take this to be a reference to an unbeliever for they certainly are spiritually different. On the other hand, this could be a reference to another believer who holds a different opinion for example in regard to eating meat sacrificed to idols. "The desire of God, Jesus Christ, and the apostles is that our lives may be structured to be possessing the character of God in constantly seeking that which is good, not only for ourselves, but for others who may differ from us." (Zodhiates)

Zodhiates -Paul is admonishing believers here that the life of the Christian should not be one of constantly seeking his own selfish benefit, as Lot did when his uncle, Abraham (read Ge 13:8-12). A Christian should not seek a life of ease and comfort, but a selfless life that will benefit others. Paul urges us not make a selfish decision at any time. We must never give self the preeminent position in our lives, but we should rather give it to God who indwells us. Let us never lose sight that our example is being followed by the other members of the body of Christ with whom we are joined together.  

Paul gives an excellent "commentary" on this verse in Philippians 2:4-5+ writing " Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus." 

O Lord, how often selfishness
Will raise its ugly head,
So help us, Lord, to conquer it
And show Your love instead.
—D. De Haan

The heart of our problem is selfishness in our heart.

Alan Redpath comments that either way believers are to "live sacrificially for other people. You are saved not only that you might serve the Lord but that you might live before other people so that nothing you do, in your actions or reactions will cause offense.  You will be able to go into the homes of non-Christian people and eat with them, converse with them; you will move among them in a natural manner, but never for one moment will you lower your standard of Christian living. You will do nothing that will put any kind of hindrance in the way of another, nothing that will be a stumbling block to him. Your first concern is the spiritual wealth of that person. It may be a social date or it may be a formal occasion, but deep down in your heart your one purpose is that you might enrich that man spiritually. You are on the King’s business, and He grants no vacations. This is the first rule of the road. I would pause a moment to underline something: it is clear from the teaching of the apostle here that the Christian as an individual, or the Christian fellowship as a group, is not called upon to live in some watertight compartment, inoculated against possible contamination through contact with unconverted people (cf 1 Cor 10:27). We are to move among them, talk with them, live with them — but always maintain the standard of Christian living.  Principles must never be lowered; stumbling blocks must never be put in the way of an unbeliever. The one objective on every occasion is not a social contact; rather, the great concern of the child of God is the spiritual enrichment of his friend. The Christian’s mission in this world is not primarily seeking to make himself more holy, but through contact with an unbelieving world to do everything in his power to win others to Jesus Christ." (The Road to Heaven - 1 Corinthians). 

Paul alludes to this principle in the propagation of the Gospel writing 

For though I am free from all men (ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING "ALL THINGS ARE LAWFUL" IN 1 Cor 10:23), I have made myself a slave to all (PAUL DENIED SELF - GAVE UP HIS "RIGHTS"), so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.   (1 Cor 9:19-23+)

Seek (2212)(zeteo) implies giving attention and priority to and deliberately pursuing after which is most common sense of this word. Uses of zeteo in the Corinthian letters - 1Co. 1:22 ="Greeks search for wisdom;"; 1Co. 7:27 = "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife." 1 Co. 10:24; 1 Co. 10:33; 1 Co. 13:5; 1 Co. 14:12; 2 Co. 12:14; 2 Co. 13:3


The Trouble With Me

Read: Jonah 4:1-10

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being. —1 Corinthians 10:24

Selfishness comes in many forms, and we are all prone to it. I was reminded of this while driving on a toll road. My wife Ginny and I were hoping to get home early that evening, but a traffic jam held us up for almost 2 hours.

Although Ginny mentioned that there may have been a serious accident up ahead, I gave this little thought and kept grumbling about the delay. But when the traffic began to flow again, we saw six mangled cars next to the highway. A wave of conviction swept over me. “Forgive me, Lord,” I prayed, “and please help the victims and their families.”

The Bible gives many examples of selfish attitudes. Jonah was upset because a worm had destroyed a vine that shaded him from the scorching sun (Jonah 4:9). Yet he didn’t care that many men, women, and children in Nineveh might be destroyed.

In Mark 10:37, we read that two disciples selfishly asked for positions of power in Christ’s coming kingdom. And in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, we see many examples of selfish behavior (1 Cor 1:10; 3:3; 5:1; 6:6-8; 11:21).

God calls us to put the good of others ahead of our selfish desires (1 Corinthians 10:24). Forgive us, Lord, and help us to do just that!  


Warren Wiersbe - Inconsistently Consistent

Read 1 Corinthians 10 

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24 

Paul probably appeared inconsistent to those who did not understand his principles of Christian living. At times, he would eat what the Gentiles were eating. At other times, he would eat only “kosher” food with the Jews. But he was actually living consistently by the principles he laid down in 1 Corinthians.

A weather vane seems inconsistent, first pointing in one direction and then in another. But a weather vane is always consistent: It always points in the direction in which the wind is blowing. That is what makes it useful.

As Christians we do have freedom. This freedom was purchased for us by Jesus Christ, so it is very precious. Freedom comes from knowledge: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). However, knowledge must be balanced by love; otherwise, it will tear down instead of build up. 

The way we use our freedom and relate to others indicates whether we are mature in Christ. Strong and weak Christians need to work together in love to edify one another and glorify Jesus. 

Something to Ponder - What are some ways Christians misuse their freedom? How can you avoid making those mistakes?


Henry Blackaby - Putting Your Brother First

No one should seek his own [good], but [the good] of the other person.—1 Corinthians 10:24 

As a Christian you are obliged to view your actions in light of how they will affect other Christians. You will discover God's will for your life when you consider His activity in the lives of others. This goes contrary to worldly thinking. The world encourages you to live your own life, taking care of your own needs and wants first. Sin promotes independence. It isolates you from others and separates you from those you could help or who could encourage you. God designed you for interdependence.

Whenever you meet another Christian, you come face to face with Christ (John 13:20). There ought to be a deep respect within you as you encounter other lives guided by the Holy Spirit. Do not live as if you have no responsibility toward your Christian brothers or sisters. God holds you accountable for how you relate to them. Don't revel in your “freedom in Christ” to the point that you neglect your responsibility toward others (Rom. 14:15). Paul celebrated his freedom in Christ, but he was keenly sensitive to what might cause other Christians harm (1 Cor. 8:13). He was aware that his sin could not take place in isolation but could bring pain to many others (1 Cor. 5:6).

You have a responsibility to live in such a way that you do not hurt others. You must deny yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to put to death your natural inclination to be self-centered. As long as you focus on yourself, you will be oblivious to the needs of others. Ask God to free you from selfishness so that your life is free to bless others. (Experiencing God Day by Day)


The Trouble With Me

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being. —1 Corinthians 10:24

Today's Scripture: Jonah 4:1-10

Selfishness comes in many forms, and we are all prone to it. I was reminded of this while driving on a toll road. My wife Ginny and I were hoping to get home early that evening, but a traffic jam held us up for almost 2 hours.

Although Ginny mentioned that there may have been a serious accident up ahead, I gave this little thought and kept grumbling about the delay. But when the traffic began to flow again, we saw six mangled cars next to the highway. A wave of conviction swept over me. “Forgive me, Lord,” I prayed, “and please help the victims and their families.”

The Bible gives many examples of selfish attitudes. Jonah was upset because a worm had destroyed a vine that shaded him from the scorching sun (Jonah 4:9). Yet he didn’t care that many men, women, and children in Nineveh might be destroyed.

In Mark 10:37, we read that two disciples selfishly asked for positions of power in Christ’s coming kingdom. And in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, we see many examples of selfish behavior (1:10; 3:3; 5:1; 6:6-8; 11:21).

God calls us to put the good of others ahead of our selfish desires (1 Corinthians 10:24). Forgive us, Lord, and help us to do just that!  By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O Lord, how often selfishness
Will raise its ugly head,
So help us, Lord, to conquer it
And show Your love instead. 
—D. De Haan

The heart of our problem is selfishness in our heart.

1 Corinthians 10:25  Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience' sake;

Amplified  [As to meat offered to idols] eat anything that is sold in the meat market without raising any question or investigating on the grounds of conscientious scruples,

Wuest Everything which is being sold in the meat market be eating, asking not even one question [whether the meat offered for sale is the residue of heathen sacrifices], doing this for the sake of your conscience,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates Everything that is on sale in a butcher shop, keep eating, making no investigation for conscience sake

NET  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience,

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:25 So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:25 Πᾶν τὸ ἐν μακέλλῳ πωλούμενον ἐσθίετε μηδὲν ἀνακρίνοντες διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν·

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:25 Whatever in the meat-market is sold eat ye, not inquiring, because of the conscience,

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, eat, asking no question for conscience' sake,

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat everything that is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake,

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat what is sold in the marketplace without any scruples of conscience.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake;

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience,

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat anything sold in the market, without raising questions on grounds of conscience,

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in butchers' shops; there is no need to ask questions for conscience's sake,

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the market without letting your conscience trouble you.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:25 Whatever meat may be had at the public market, take as food without question of right or wrong;

  • sold: Ro 14:14 1Ti 4:4 Tit 1:15 
  • for: 1Co 10:27-29 8:7 Ro 13:5 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FREEDOM TO
EAT MEAT

Paul is practical. He knows that much of the meat in the butcher shops had been sacrificed to idols which created a dilemma for Christians who wanted to grill a steak. So here Paul gives them a guideline. Just buy it and eat it. No questions ask. 

Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience' sake - Amplified - " [As to meat offered to idols] eat anything that is sold in the meat market without raising any question or investigating on the grounds of conscientious scruples,"  Eat is another command in the present imperative. If it doesn’t bother your own conscience, then buy it and eat it.”

Reformation Study Bible - In spite of his strong words against taking part in idolatrous feasts, Paul does not want the Corinthians to be overly scrupulous. The fact that food is offered to an idol does not change what the food is; it is still part of God’s creation. Therefore, the Corinthian believers do not have to ask whether food in the market was brought from the temple, nor do they need to raise the question when invited to a meal (v. 27). They may freely eat what God has provided.

Conscience (4893)(suneidesis from sun/syn = with + eido = know) literally means a "knowing with", a co-knowledge with oneself or a being of one's own witness in the sense that one's own conscience "takes the stand" as the chief witness, testifying either to one's innocence or guilt. It describes the witness borne to one's conduct by that faculty by which we apprehend the will of God.

The Greek noun suneidesis is the exact counterpart of the Latin con-science, “a knowing with,” a shared or joint knowledge. It is our awareness of ourselves in all the relationships of life, especially ethical relationships. We have ideas of right and wrong; and when we perceive their truth and claims on us, and will not obey, our souls are at war with themselves and with the law of God

Suneidesis is that process of thought which distinguishes what it considers morally good or bad, commending the good, condemning the bad, and so prompting to do the former and avoid the latter.

Webster defines conscience as the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good.Suneidesis is a key word in 1 Corinthians (8x in 7v)  - 1 Co. 8:7; 1 Co. 8:10; 1 Co. 8:12; 1 Co. 10:25; 1 Co. 10:27; 1 Co. 10:28; 1 Co. 10:29; 2 Co. 1:12; 2 Co. 4:2; 2 Co. 5:11;  

To have a "clear conscience" does not mean that we have never sinned or do not commit acts of sin. Rather, it means that the underlying direction and motive of life is to obey and please God, so that acts of sin are habitually recognized as such and faced before God (1Jn 1:9, cp David's attitude Ps 139:23 24, cp Ps 19:13-note

Conscience is like a window that let's in the light. When the window becomes soiled, the light gradually becomes darkness. Once conscience is defiled (Titus 1:15-note), it gradually gets worse, and eventually it may be so "seared" that it has no sensitivity at all (1Ti 4:2). Then it becomes an "evil conscience" (He 10:22-note), one that functions just the opposite of a good conscience (1Pe 3:16-note).

Related Resources:  

1 Corinthians 10:26  FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS.

Amplified  For the [whole] earth is the Lord’s and everything that is in it. 

Wuest  for the earth belongs to the Lord, and its fulness.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord's.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:26 For "the earth is the LORD's, and everything in it."

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:26 For "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:26 for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:26 τοῦ κυρίου γὰρ ἡ γῆ καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:26 for the Lord's is the earth, and its fulness;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:26 for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:26 for the earth is the Lord's, and all that is in it.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:26 For "the earth and its fullness belong to Yahveh."

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:26 for "the earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness."

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:26 for "the earth and its fullness are the Lord's."

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:26 for "the earth and its fullness are the Lord's."

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:26 since To the Lord belong the earth and all it contains.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:26 Certainly, "The earth is the Lord's and everything it contains is his."

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:26 For the earth is the Lord's and all things in it.

FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS - Paul is quoting from Ps 24:1+ "The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. " Paul is saying that meat that has been offered to idols and then reaches the market place is just like any other meat which the Lord provides and one is free to eat it, doing so with a clear conscience.  

Christians have the freedom to eat whatever they desire since all things belong to God.

MacArthur -  It is food that the Lord provides from the earth, and can be eaten with a clear conscience and with thanksgiving. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4–5).

Zodhiates - Whatever God has provided that is healthy and good belongs to the Christian to enjoy. Because there are idolaters who sacrifice animals does not mean that what remains of those animals and is sold in the open market cannot be bought and enjoyed by the people of the Lord. 

1 Corinthians 10:27  If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience' sake.

Amplified  In case one of the unbelievers invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is served to you without examining into its source because of conscientious scruples.

Wuest On the assumption that anyone of those who are unbelievers invites you to be his guest, and you desire to be going, everything which is set before you be eating, asking not even one question for the sake of your conscience.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:27 If someone who isn't a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:27 If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:27 εἴ τις καλεῖ ὑμᾶς τῶν ἀπίστων καὶ θέλετε πορεύεσθαι, πᾶν τὸ παρατιθέμενον ὑμῖν ἐσθίετε μηδὲν ἀνακρίνοντες διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:27 and if any one of the unbelieving do call you, and ye wish to go, all that is set before you eat, nothing inquiring, because of the conscience;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:27 If one of them that believe not biddeth you to a feast, and ye are disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience' sake.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:27 If one of the unbelievers invites you over and you want to go, eat everything that is set before you, without raising questions of conscience.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:27 If any unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is placed before you without any conscientious considerations.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience' sake.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you and you want to go, eat whatever is placed before you, without raising questions on grounds of conscience.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal, go if you want to, and eat whatever is put before you; you need not ask questions of conscience first.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to his house for dinner, and you wish to go, eat anything he serves you without letting your conscience trouble you.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:27 If a Gentile makes a feast for you, and you are pleased to go as a guest, take whatever is put before you, without question of right or wrong.

  • invites: 1Co 5:9-11 Lu 5:29,30 15:23 19:7 
  • whatsoever: Lu 10:7 
  • for: 1Co 10:25 2Co 1:13 4:2 5:11 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

ALL THINGS ARE 
LAWFUL FOR YOU

If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go - Clearly Paul is not advocating going to a pagan temple and joining in with they revelry and/or worship of idols. 

Alan Redpath - Here is the case of a believer who has been asked out to dinner with unsaved friends, and he accepts the invitation. I am so glad Paul underlines the fact that we are permitted to do so; it is tragic that so many Christian people just dare not to go into an unbeliever’s home in case they get contaminated. 

    It is not wrong to accept invitations to eat with unbelievers. 

Eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience' (suneidesis) sake - This sounds a little like our phrase "Don't ask, don't tell." Paul's point is that if the burger is tasty, don't worry about whether it was bought from the idol temple meat market. Enjoy the "idol burger." Your conscience will be clear. If you ask about its origin, your conscience may be offended and you have just ruined a good "idol burger." 

Spurgeon -There could be no harm in the meat itself, and the believer was free to eat what was set before him so far as he himself was concerned, but there were times when it would be better not to eat it, lest in the judgment of others the Christian should seem to have communed in an idolatrous sacrifice.

MacArthur on eat anything that is set before you - Freedom in Christ is a privilege to be forfeited only when it clearly may offend another person. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). We should not give up our liberty unless it is clearly for the upbuilding of someone else. If we refrain from doing certain questionable things, we do not do so from a sense of legalistic compulsion but from the voluntary restriction of our liberty in order to help build up someone else. When we restrict our liberty for the sake of a weaker brother, we should also try to help him grow in the understanding of his own Christian freedom. In other words, we should help his conscience grow stronger, in order that he can come to enjoy his full liberty in Christ and not be restricted in the enjoyment of his privileges.

Jack Arnold - If a Christian in Corinth was invited to a private dinner party in an unbeliever’s home, the unbeliever being an idol worshiper, the Christian has the liberty to go. If the unbeliever served meat that had been offered to idols on the table, the Christian was to ask no questions as to whether this thing was doubtful. Again, the Christian is never to raise a false issue with an unbeliever over any questionable practice. The early Christians were not hyper-separationists. They had unsaved friends and went to their homes for socializing. Surely if Christians are uptight, self-righteous and legalistic, they will never receive any invitations into the homes of unbelievers. Only if they are friendly, openhearted and outgoing, with a real love and concern for people, will they get invitations into the homes of the unsaved. Non-Christians desperately need the Christ we Christians know and we cannot give Him to them if we are bogged down with an infinite number of taboos. We must never raise any false issue with an unbeliever because the only issue for a non-Christian is his relationship to Jesus Christ. If invited, the Christian is to keep quiet, not making an issue, waiting patiently for an opportunity to present Christ clearly. For sure, no Christian should get on his soap box and make a separation speech about the evils of some questionable practice. This would be terribly offensive to the unsaved man and could drive him far from the Lord and His salvation. The Lord Jesus had the most difficult time with the religious folks of his day—the Pharisees (first century fundamentalists). They were hyper-separationists who lived by the letter of their man-made laws. Christ never opposed any true teaching of the Old Testament, but he viciously attacked the Pharisees for their hyper-piousness and critical attitudes. The Pharisees could not get over the fact that Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. Christ met the spiritual needs of men and women and He went where sinners were. He did not do what the world did, but He moved among worldly people in love. For this, He was called “worldly.”

1 Corinthians 10:28  But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake;

Amplified  But if someone tells you, This has been offered in sacrifice to an idol, do not eat it, out of consideration for the person who informed you, and for conscience’s sake—

Wuest  But if anyone says to you, This has been offered in sacrifice to idols, stop eating of it in consideration for that one who pointed it out to you and for the sake of his conscience.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if someone says to you, "This is from a sacrifice," do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience–

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:28 (But suppose someone tells you, "This meat was offered to an idol." Don't eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience--

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake--

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:28 ἐὰν δέ τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ, Τοῦτο ἱερόθυτόν ἐστιν, μὴ ἐσθίετε δι᾽ ἐκεῖνον τὸν μηνύσαντα καὶ τὴν συνείδησιν·

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:28 and if any one may say to you, 'This is a thing sacrificed to an idol,' -- do not eat, because of that one who shewed it, and of the conscience, for the Lord's is the earth and its fulness:

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This hath been offered in sacrifice, eat not, for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake:

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if someone says to you, "This is food offered to an idol," do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who told you, and for conscience' sake.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if anyone should say, "This is sacred food," do not eat it, because of that one who made the statement, and because of conscience.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness."

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience--

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:28 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;

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if someone says to you, 'This food has been offered in sacrifice,' do not eat it, out of consideration for the person that told you, for conscience's sake-

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:28 However, if someone says to you, "This was sacrificed to a god," don't eat it because of the one who informed you and because of conscience.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:28 But if anyone says to you, This food has been used as an offering, do not take it, on account of him who said it, and on account of his sense of right and wrong:

  • eat: 1Co 8:10-13 Ro 14:15 
  • for: 1Co 10:26 Ex 9:29 De 10:14 Ps 24:1 115:16 Jer 27:5,6 Mt 6:31,32 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Romans 14:15  For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

1 Corinthians 8:10-13 For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? 11 For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 12 And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

WHAT TO DO 
IF WE KNOW

But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, - Do not eat is a command in the present imperative with a negative signifying either stop a practice you are already doing or refrain from this practice. Who is anyone? This is debated but seems to be another believer. "Pagan Roman households (see v. 27) routinely offered a portion of their meals to their household idols before eating." (ASB)

Alan Redpath - if the host intimates that this was meat offered to idols, then he should not touch it. If the host mentions it to his guest, quite clearly he attaches some importance to it. Therefore the Christian must not be identified with him in idol-worship, and must abstain from eating the meat. If nothing is said about it, and the guest knows nothing about the origin of the meat, then he is not to start trouble by asking; he is free from any possible compromise. That is the point at issue.

MacArthur - Do not argue or condemn or insist on your own freedom. Give up your liberty so that his conscience will not be offended.

Reformation Study Bible - A different problem arises if someone announces that the meat comes from a pagan sacrifice. Presumably, such a comment indicates that the person has problems of conscience about it. In that case, it is right to abstain “for the sake of the one who told you.”

Spurgeon - This is the rule at the table; let us always observe it. Much evil may come out of eating and drinking: it was by eating that man first fell from innocence, The table must be watched lest it become a snare unto us.

For the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' (suneidesissake - One refrains from eating for the other person's sake. The phrase for conscience' sake refers to the other person's conscience (as he explains in next verse). 

MacArthur - We are to modify our actions for the sake of others, but we are not to modify our consciences. The legalism of a weaker brother should not make us legalistic, only gracious. 

Jack Arnold - If someone at the dinner table says, “Do you know this steak was offered as a sacrifice at the temple yesterday?” he has raised the issue, and the Christian must make his stand. Why would an unbeliever raise this issue? The unsaved at Corinth knew how the Christians took their stand against every form of idolatry, and by raising this issue he was testing whether a Christian was wholeheartedly for Christ. Also a non­-Christian may have a high standard of what he thinks a Christian should be and false expectations for the Christian, and if the Christian partakes of some doubtful thing, the unsaved person’s conscience may be offended. The Christian’s conscience may be clear, but the unsaved man’s is not. Because the Christian loves Christ more than he loves a steak, he does not partake of it to maintain his testimony. When the unbeliever makes an issue of any doubtful thing, then it becomes an issue with the Christian and it is to be refused. Now the Christian can launch into a clear presentation of the gospel.

Spurgeon -So, you see, you may eat the meat if you like, for the idol is nothing at all; but, still, if you are told that it is meat that has been offered to idols, and that you by eating of it seem to join in the worship of idols, abstain from doing it, not for your own sake, but for the sake of the man who might be caused to stumble through you. This is a safe rule with regard to Christian behaviour in many other things. There may be things lawful in drink as well as in meat, which a man may take without sinning; but if he knows that his example leads others astray, then let him take heed that he does not set such an example. An example which is an excuse for drunkenness is not a good one; therefore, let none of us set it before the eyes of men. If any man say to you, “This meat has been offered in sacrifice to idols,” “eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”


Question - What does the Bible say about eating food/meat that has been sacrificed to idols?

Answer: One of the struggles in the early church concerned meat which had been sacrificed to idols. Debates over what to eat might seem strange to most of us in modern society, but to the first-century believers, it was a subject of great consequence. As the apostles dealt with the issue, they gave instructions on several broader topics with application for today:

Unity within the church. In the early years of the church, as Gentile converts began joining Jewish believers in local fellowships, an issue arose concerning the eating of meat. Greco-Roman society was saturated with idol worship, and it was common for meat sold in the marketplace to have been consecrated as a sacrifice to false gods prior to its sale. The Jews would have nothing to do with such meat, wary of “unclean” food-handling practices and believing that to partake of consecrated meat was to give tacit approval of idol worship—kind of a “second-hand” idolatry. The Gentiles rejected the notion that such meat was tainted and held that they could eat meat sacrificed to idols without endorsing idolatry—they had not actually offered the sacrifice, after all. The matter was becoming a point of contention within the church.

The church in Syrian Antioch, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, struggled with this issue (Acts 15). The Jerusalem Council settled the matter by urging Gentile converts to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols (Acts 15:29). This decision was made not to promote legalism but to keep peace within the church. Since eating meat offered to idols was a divisive issue—carrying the possibility of scandalizing fellow believers—abstinence was expedient. Compliance with the council’s directive assured that, at the next church potluck, a Jewish believer could eat the brisket he was served with confidence, knowing it had never been part of a sacrificial cow. And the Gentile believer could not be accused of participating in idol worship.

With its ruling, the Jerusalem Council affirmed the need for deference, or consideration for the scruples of others. The principle is one of self-denial; we should be willing to lay down our personal rights for the sake of maintaining unity in the body of Christ. Spiritual growth takes priority over personal preferences.

Causing a weaker brother to sin. In 1 Corinthians 8:4-13, Paul clarifies the teaching on this subject. First, he says that eating meat offered to an idol is not immoral, because “an idol is nothing at all.” An idol is an inanimate object. “Food,” he says, “does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” The meat itself is amoral. However, there is more to consider, namely the brother with a weak conscience. Some believers, especially those with a background of idol worship, were still very sensitive concerning this issue and considered it morally wrong to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Under no circumstances, Paul says, should a believer encourage another believer to violate his conscience. To the pure, all things are pure (Titus 1:15), but to one with a weak conscience, meat taken from pagan temples was spiritually defiled. It would be better never to eat meat again than to cause a believer to sin against his conscience.

The “weaker” brother is not someone who simply objects to a certain practice, but one who is in danger of falling into sin. To illustrate, let’s say there are two 1st-century Christians named Demetrius and Clement. Both are former idolaters, now saved by faith in Christ. Demetrius shuns everything to do with his old way of life, including the meat sold in the marketplace, because, for him, eating such meat would constitute a return to paganism. Clement avoids the temple and refuses to participate in the pagan festivals, but he has no problem eating the meat from the market. Clement understands (correctly) that an idol has no power to corrupt good meat, and, for him, eating such meat is a non-issue. Then one day, as both men are in the marketplace, Demetrius sees Clement eating meat that was sacrificed to idols. Demetrius is horrified, but Clement laughs it off and encourages Demetrius to eat some, too. When Demetrius hesitates, Clement cuts off a piece and hands it to him. Demetrius—emboldened by Clement’s confidence—eats the meat. Biblically, both believers have sinned. Clement sinned by violating the conscience of a fellow believer. Demetrius sinned in that he essentially returned to idolatry—at least, that’s what his conscience is telling him. More importantly, Demetrius is learning how to ignore his conscience—a very dangerous thing to learn.

The principle here is that the conscience of a weaker Christian is more important than individual freedom. Doing something “permitted” should never hinder the spiritual health of someone else.

Maintaining a pure testimony. In 1 Corinthians 10:25-32, Paul again emphasizes the believer’s liberty and what should limit that liberty. If you buy meat for your own use, don’t inquire where it came from; it doesn’t really matter whether it was sacrificed to an idol or not. “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). However, if you are invited to dinner and someone there says, “This meat was offered to idols,” then graciously refrain from eating. Since your associate obviously considers the meat to be “tainted” by the idols, do not eat it for his conscience’s sake—even though your own conscience is fine. The Christian glorifies God when he limits his freedom for the spiritual benefit of others.

Compromise with the world. In the letter to the church of Thyatira, Jesus rebukes them for tolerating a prophetess who “misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols” (Revelation 2:20). This is a different situation from what Paul was dealing with in Corinth. It seems that members of the church of Thyatira were partaking of the pagan “love feasts,” celebrated with gross immorality and feasting. These believers were not simply buying meat in the marketplace; they were actually attending idolatrous festivals and joining in the sin of the idolaters. (See verse 14 for a similar rebuke of the church of Pergamos.)

Here is a summary of the Bible’s teaching on eating meat sacrificed to idols:

Eating meat offered to an idol is not inherently wrong. Meat is not “defiled” because it was taken from a pagan sacrifice. God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17). However, some Christians consider meat offered to an idol to be defiled, and for them it is, since they must follow their conscience. Their scruples should be respected by other Christians with a stronger conscience. Love dictates that all Christians make allowances for their weaker brothers.

There are certain cultures today where idolatry is still practiced and where the specifics of the Bible’s teaching about sacrificial meat are still timely. For the rest of us, here are the principles which should govern our participation in the “gray areas” of life:

1) Having the “right” to do something does not mean we are free to do it in every circumstance, regardless of its effects on others.

2) The believer’s liberty in Christ can and should be voluntarily limited in order not to cause a weaker brother to sin by violating his conscience. Liberty is limited in love.

3) Maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of love may require a believer to give up his personal “right” to a thing. “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).

4) We should avoid anything that would make a weak Christian think less of his faith or that would make an unsaved person feel more at ease in his sin. GotQuestions.org

1 Corinthians 10:29  I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?

Amplified  I mean for the sake of his conscience, not yours, [do not eat it]. For why should another man’s scruples apply to me and my liberty of action be determined by his conscience?

Wuest I mean by conscience, not his own but that of the other person, for to what [good] purpose is my liberty being censured by another’s conscience? (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates But I am not speaking of his own conscience, but the one of another who is different. For why is my liberty judged by another's conscience?

NET  1 Corinthians 10:29 I do not mean yours but the other person's. For why is my freedom being judged by another's conscience?

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:29 It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks?

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:29 the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience?

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:29 συνείδησιν δὲ λέγω οὐχὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀλλὰ τὴν τοῦ ἑτέρου. ἱνατί γὰρ ἡ ἐλευθερία μου κρίνεται ὑπὸ ἄλλης συνειδήσεως;

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:29 and conscience, I say, not of thyself, but of the other, for why is it that my liberty is judged by another's conscience?

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:29 conscience, I say, not thine own, but the other's; for why is my liberty judged by another conscience?

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:29 I do not mean your own conscience, but the other person's. For why is my freedom judged by another person's conscience?

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:29 I say, "conscience"—not yours, but that of the other party. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience?

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:29 "Conscience, " I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience?

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:29 I mean the other's conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other's. For why should my freedom be determined by someone else's conscience?

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:29 not your own conscience, I mean, but the other person's. Why should my freedom be governed by somebody else's conscience?

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:29 I'm not talking about your conscience but the other person's conscience. Why should my freedom be judged by someone else's conscience?

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:29 Right and wrong, I say, not for you, but for the other man; for the fact that I am free is not dependent on another man's sense of right or wrong.

  • not: 1Co 10:32 8:9-13 Ro 14:15-21 
  • why: Ro 14:16 2Co 8:21 1Th 5:22 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

I mean not your own conscience (suneidesis), but the other man's - So Paul is not referring to the conscience of the Christian eating the meat but that of the other person.

for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience (suneidesis)- Amplified = "For why should another man’s scruples apply to me and my liberty of action be determined by his conscience?" Here Paul is assuming the role of the Christian invited to dinner and he refers to another's (allos-another of the same king) which seems to refer to the conscience of another fellow Christian.

Jack Arnold - What Paul is saying is that he will not exercise liberty if that liberty is going to be censured or judged by another person. Furthermore, rather than let an unsaved man incorrectly judge his conscience, it is better to set aside the questionable practice. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil (Rom. 14:16). Suppose you were going to a movie (a perfectly good one) and an unbeliever sees you. He lumps all movies into the same category—sinful. They are all right for him to see, but he thinks Christians ought not to see any movies at all (a false concept). If the unsaved man raises the issue, perhaps this is a reason to set aside one’s freedom for the good of the gospel.

Zodhiates explains it this way - Paul declares the independence of his own conscience, but maintains that more significant than his independence is his love for those who belong to the same community of Christians. Christians have a redeemed conscience, but there is room for each one to develop variably by the grace of God. To be judged by another's conscience means to form or express an opinion as to where someone else stands insofar as his relationship to God is concerned. Such judgment is usually unfavorable. One Christian who chooses to act differently than another is often considered to be less intimately related to Christ.  In this regard, we would do well to heed the words of our Lord: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Our judgment need not be dependent upon the judgment of others, but it must be correct, as our Lord said in Luke 12:57, "Yes, and why even of yourselves judge you not what is right?" Righteous judgment does not preclude independent judgment, but it has to be investigative and without prejudice.

Spurgeon -That man may not be able to do it without injury to himself, but I may, and I have liberty so to do; but yet, as a Christian man, I am to consider his want of power, and I am not to use my liberty lest I do harm to my brother.

1 Corinthians 10:30  If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?

Amplified  If I partake [of my food] with thankfulness, why am I accused and spoken evil of because of that for which I give thanks?

Wuest  As for myself, assuming that I partake with thankfulness, why am I being evil spoken of unjustly because of that for which I am giving thanks? (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

International Children's Bible - If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

NET  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food that I give thanks for?

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:30 εἰ ἐγὼ χάριτι μετέχω, τί βλασφημοῦμαι ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εὐχαριστῶ;

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:30 and if I thankfully do partake, why am I evil spoken of, for that for which I give thanks?

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I partake with thanks, why am I slandered because of something I give thanks for?

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I partake with gratitude, why am I slandered for eating something for which I give thanks?

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I partake thankfully, why am I reviled for that over which I give thanks?

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:30 Provided that I accept it with gratitude, why should I be blamed for eating food for which I give thanks?

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:30 If I give thanks to God for the food I eat, why am I condemned for that?

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:30 But if I give praise to God for the food which I take, let no man say evil of me for that reason.

PAUL IS SLANDERED

Zodhiates - Even when one is living a dedicated life and is doing his utmost to win souls to Christ, he is often criticized. In fact, it often seems that the harder one tries to please and serve his Lord, the more evil is spoken of him. We see that even a servant as great as Paul suffered in the same manner.

If I partake with thankfulness -  Amplified - If I partake [of my food] with thankfulness." NLT - "If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it" Paul is presenting himself as if he were in the home of an unbeliever and says he partakes with thankfulness which is charis our word for grace.

Zodhiates - This acceptance by the Apostle Paul was bathed in the grace of God, for Paul was extremely careful not do anything but what that grace led him to do, in this particular case counting it as a benevolent opportunity. Without the grace of God there can be no true thanksgiving. The grace of God makes every gift of God acceptable with gratitude, recognizing that one does not deserve it, but has the privilege of receiving it. When one is a recipient of the grace of God (cháris), he is also grateful. Paul implies that he, as a partaker of the grace of God, should also seize every opportunity to win a soul to Christ, such as an invitation by an unbeliever to join him in a meal. Grace compromises in nothing that is essentially sinful, but it will take advantage of every opportunity that may lead someone to Jesus Christ. This is the context in which Paul would consider an invitation to dinner at an unbeliever's house.  Paul willingly accepted and used every opportunity that the grace of God presented to him.

Why am I slandered (blasphemeo) concerning that for which I give thanks (eucharisteo)? - NLT - "why should I be condemned for eating it?" eucharisteo gives us our word "Eucharist" another name some give to the Lord's Supper. 

Zodhiates - Why, Paul asks, is my reputation hurt by slander as if my decision to accept an invitation to eat at an unbeliever's house was not guided by grace. The intimation is that one moved by the grace of God should be grateful for that which it is permissible for him to have and should not be condemned.

MacArthur - We should give thanks for the food and for our liberty and then express our liberty by choosing not to eat the food that offends the brother. How can we be thankful to the Lord for something a Christian brother or sister is going to stumble over?

Reformation Study Bible - This question makes plain that Paul had been accused of eating meat offered to idols, with the suggestion that he has no right forbidding the Corinthians to do the same (1 Cor 9:19+).

1 Corinthians 10:31  Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Amplified  So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

Wuest Whether, therefore, you are eating or drinking or whatever you are doing, be doing all to the glory of God.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:31 εἴτε οὖν ἐσθίετε εἴτε πίνετε εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε, πάντα εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ ποιεῖτε.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, ye eat, or drink, or do anything, do all to the glory of God;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything to God's glory.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:31 Whatever you eat, then, or drink, and whatever else you do, do it all for the glory of God.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:31 So then, if it is a question of food or drink, or any other thing, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

  • eat: 1Co 7:34 De 12:7,12,18 Ne 8:16-18 Zec 7:5,6 Lu 11:41 Col 3:17,23 1Pe 4:11 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Peter 4:10-11+ As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Cor 6:19-20+ Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify (doxazo - aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) God in your body.

1 Corinthians 11:7+  For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

THE SUMMUM BONUM
OF MAN'S EXISTENCE!

Summum Bonum "is a Latin expression meaning the highest or ultimate good, which was introduced by the Roman philosopher Cicero[1][2] to denote the fundamental principle on which some system of ethics is based — that is, the aim of actions, which, if consistently pursued, will lead to the best possible life." 

D L Moody - Let us not be Christians as to the few great things of our lives, and atheists as to the many small things which fill up a far greater space of them. God is in both, waiting for the glory we can give Him in them.

Spurgeon - And if anything you might do would not glorify God, do not do it.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you (present tense - continually) do, (present tense - continually) do all to the glory of God - This verse hardly needs a comment. We are to do anything and everything in such a way that God is glorified! Notice that both verbs "do" are in the present tense which calls for us to live a life that continually brings glory to our great God! The only way we can live this way is by being continually filled with God's Spirit (Who will enable us to glorify God) (Eph 5:18+) and continually walk empowered by His Spirit (Gal 5:16+). It is our responsibility to GLORIFY GOD, but it is ONLY by His supernatural power that we can do this beloved (see 100/100). 

In the context of this section what Paul is saying is that "The purpose of using our liberty carefully and selflessly is to glorify God. Paul is saying that even in the most mundane, routine, nonspiritual things of life, like ordinary eating and drinking, God is to be glorified. His glory is to be our life commitment." (MacArthur) 

THOUGHT - Jesus commanded us to live in such a way that our lives would give glory to our Father in Heaven, declaring "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) before men in such a way (CRITICAL CAVEAT) that they may see your (VISIBLE) good works, and glorify (doxazo) your (INVISIBLE) Father Who is in heaven." (Mt 5:14-16+) In other words, when believers live lives that are "supernatural" our lives are like "compasses" pointing "true north" to the unseen but our very real, living God, Father of lights. For example, when something negative happens to us, let's say in the home, at the workplace or at school, and we respond with a Spirit enabled (Eph 5:18+) response such as "in everything give thanks (present imperative  see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey); for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Th 5:18+), those around to witness your response, both believers and unbelievers. have just seen a "miracle," because they know it could not be the "old us" (the fleshly us), but it has to reflect a Supernatural Source. The believers who witness the "miracle" will be challenged and encouraged (to live the same way), while the unbelievers will have seen the glory of the Father, which will call for a response to either accept or reject the truth that God the Father exists and that He is personally involved in the lives of His children and that they (the unbelieving ones) can have a similar personal relationship with Him through belief in Christ. Who knows, the "Peter Principle" may "kick in!" Recall Peter gave an instruction and a command in (1 Peter 3:14-15+) - "But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense (apologiato everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope (elpis - cf Col 1:27+) that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." Father, by Your precious and powerful Holy Spirit please give every believing reader the opportunity for this great experience this week, for Your glory. In the Name of the Lord of glory. Amen. 

Peter Grainger - The most important factor of all is the glory of God—does what I do honor and please God? What is it that most dishonors God and fails to give Him glory? It’s that all human beings have sinned and fall short of His glory (Rom. 3:23). What brings glory to God? When sinners are saved—when people are put right with God through Jesus and begin to live in a way that glorifies Him. The governing factor in every decision should be to follow that course of action which will be most likely to lead to others becoming Christians and to avoid any action which might cause them to stumble.

To God be the glory! Great things He hath done!
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son;
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son:
and give Him the glory!
Great things He hath done!

Related Resources:

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks "What is the chief end of man?  The answer is in effect a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 10:31

"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever." 

Glory (1391doxa from dokeo = to think) in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something. Glory is something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration. It describes renown, a thing that is beautiful, impressive, or worthy of praise. It follows that the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts. He is glorified when He is allowed to be seen as He really is. To be where God is will be glory. To be what God intended will be glory. To do what God purposed will be glory. Ryrie says that the glory of God "is the manifestation of any or all of His attributes. In other words, it is the displaying of God to the world. Thus, things which glorify God are things which show the characteristics of His being to the world. Puritan Thomas Watson said "Glory is the sparkling of the Deity… We may see God's glory blazing in the sun and twinkling in the stars (Ps 19:1)… A sight of God's glory humbles. The stars vanish when the sun appears." Glory speaks of a manifestation of God's true nature, presence, or likeness. The basic idea in the word doxa is that of manifestation. The glory of God is the manifestation of His Being, His character and His acts. The glory of God is what He is essentially. Glory, therefore, is the true apprehension of God or things. The glory of God must mean His unchanging essence.

Doxa in the Corinthians Letters - 1 Co. 2:7; 1 Co. 2:8 = "the Lord of glory"; 1 Co. 10:31; 1 Co. 11:7; 1 Co. 11:15; 1 Co. 15:40; 1 Co. 15:41; 1 Co. 15:43; 2 Co. 1:20; 2 Co. 3:7; 2 Co. 3:8; 2 Co. 3:9; 2 Co. 3:10; 2 Co. 3:11; 2 Co. 3:18; 2 Co. 4:4; 2 Co. 4:6; 2 Co. 4:15; 2 Co. 4:17; 2 Co. 6:8; 2 Co. 8:19; 2 Co. 8:23

Related Resources:

TORREY'S TOPIC
GLORY OF GOD

  • Exhibited in Christ John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 1:3

EXHIBITED IN

  • His name Deuteronomy 28:58; Nehemiah 9:5
  • His majesty Job 37:22; Psalm 93:1; 104:1; 145:5,12; Isaiah 2:10
  • His power Exodus 15:1,6; Romans 6:4
  • His works Psalm 19:1; 111:3
  • His holiness Exodus 15:11

DESCRIBED AS

  • Great Psalm 138:5
  • Eternal Psalm 104:31
  • Rich Ephesians 3:16
  • Highly exalted Psalm 8:1; 113:4

EXHIBITED TO

  • Moses Exodus 34:5-7; 33:18-23
  • Stephen Acts 7:55
  • His Church Deuteronomy 5:24; Psalm 102:16
  • Enlightens the Church Isaiah 60:1,2; Revelation 21:11,23
  • Saints desire to behold Psalm 63:2; 90:16
  • God is jealous Isaiah 42:8
  • Reverence Isaiah 59:19
  • Plead in prayer Psalm 79:9
  • Declare 1 Chronicles 16:24; Psalm 145:5,11
  • Magnify Psalm 57:5
  • The earth is full of Isaiah 6:3
  • The knowledge of, shall fill the earth Habakkuk 2:14

Related Resources:


Reformation Study Bible - The Glory of God

God’s goal is His glory, but this needs careful explanation, for it is easily misunderstood. It points to a purpose, not of divine egoism, but of divine love. Certainly, God asks to be praised for His praiseworthiness and exalted for His greatness and goodness; He asks to be appreciated for what He is. But the glory that is His goal is a two-sided, two-stage relationship: on the one side He reveals His glory in acts of free generosity, and on the other, His people respond with adoration, giving Him glory with thanksgiving for what they have seen and received. Human beings were made for this reciprocal fellowship of love, and Christ’s redemption makes it possible for those who had fallen. Human nature is fulfilled through seeing God’s glory and returning praise to Him, just as God has pleasure in revealing His goodness to those who receive it (Zeph. 3:14–17).

“Glory” in the Old Testament is associated with value, riches, splendor, and dignity. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God proclaimed to Moses His name; that is, He revealed to Moses something of His nature, character, and power (Ex. 33:18–34:7; theological note “ ‘This Is My Name’: God’s Self-disclosure” at Ex. 3:15). Accompanying the proclamation was an awe-inspiring physical manifestation, a bright cloud like a burning fire (Ex. 24:17). This glory of God’s presence is often called the “Shekinah” or the “Shekinah glory.” It appeared at significant moments as a sign of God’s active presence (Ex. 33:22; 34:5; cf. 16:10; 24:17; 40:34; Lev. 9:23–24; 1 Kin. 8:10–11; Ezek. 1:28; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4; 11:22–23; Matt. 17:5; Luke 2:9; cf. Acts 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 1:7). New Testament writers proclaim that the glory of God is now revealed in Jesus Christ (John 1:14–18; 2 Cor. 4:3–6; Heb. 1:1–3).

God is glorified in the acts of salvation, because they exhibit His incomparable condescension, His inexhaustible love, and His limitless power. “Salvation is of the LORD” (Jon. 2:9), and those He saves have contributed nothing to their salvation except their need (Is. 42:8; 48:11). The praise for salvation belongs to no one except God. This is why Reformation theology was so insistent on the principle, “Glory to God alone” (soli Deo gloria), and why we need to maintain that principle with equal zeal today.

Related Resources: 


TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE (Amazing Grace)
Frances R. Havergal, 1836–1879

  So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

In this day of self-centered living and pleasure-oriented lifestyle, the total commitment to God of body, mind, and possessions portrayed in this text is difficult for many Christians to achieve. Even though we realize that we have nothing we have not received and that we are only stewards of the good gifts God has entrusted to us, we often fail to apply this basic truth to our daily lives:

  The gold that came from Thee, Lord, to Thee belongeth still;
  Oh, may I always faithfully my stewardship fulfill.
—Unknown

It was said of Frances Ridley Havergal, author of this text, that the beauty of a consecrated life was never more perfectly revealed than in her daily living. She has rightfully been called “The Consecration Poet.”

“These little couplets that chimed in my heart one after another” were for Frances Havergal the result of an evening in 1874 passed in pursuing a deeper consecration of herself to God. “Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King” was personally significant for Frances. She was naturally very musical and had been trained as a concert soloist with an unusually pleasant voice. Her musical talents could have brought her much worldly fame. However, she determined that her life’s mission was to sing and work only for Jesus. The line “Take my silver and my gold” was also sincerely phrased. At one time Frances gathered together her many fine pieces of jewelry and other family heirlooms and shipped them to the church missionary house to be used for evangelizing the lost. Nearly fifty articles were sent with “extreme delight.”

  Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee; take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love;
  Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee; take my voice and let me sing always only, for my King.
  Take my lips and let them be filled with messages for Thee; take my silver and my gold—not a mite would I withhold.
  Take my love—my God, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store; take myself—and I will be ever, only, all for Thee, ever, only, all for thee.


A W Tozer - The Sacrament of Living

  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas—the sacred and the secular. As these areas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that we live a divided instead of a unified life.

Our trouble springs from the fact that we who follow Christ inhabit at once two worlds—the spiritual and the natural. As children of Adam we live our lives on earth subject to the limitations of the flesh and the weaknesses and ills to which human nature is heir. Merely to live among men requires of us years of hard toil and much care and attention to the things of this world. In sharp contrast to this is our life in the Spirit. There we enjoy another and higher kind of life—we are children of God; we possess heavenly status and enjoy intimate fellowship with Christ.

This tends to divide our total life into two departments. We come unconsciously to recognize two sets of actions. The first are performed with a feeling of satisfaction and a firm assurance that they are pleasing to God. These are the sacred acts and they are usually thought to be prayer, Bible reading, hymn singing, church attendance and such other acts as spring directly from faith. They may be known by the fact that they have no direct relation to this world, and would have no meaning whatever except as faith shows us another world, “an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Over against these sacred acts are the secular ones. They include all of the ordinary activities of life which we share with the sons and daughters of Adam: eating, sleeping, working, looking after the needs of the body and performing our dull and prosaic duties here on earth. These we often do reluctantly and with many misgivings, often apologizing to God for what we consider a waste of time and strength. The upshot of this is that we are uneasy most of the time. We go about our common tasks with a feeling of deep frustration, telling ourselves pensively that there’s a better day coming when we shall slough off this earthly shell and be bothered no more with the affairs of this world.

This is the old sacred-secular antithesis. Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the tightrope between two kingdoms and they find no peace in either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them.

I believe this state of affairs to be wholly unnecessary. We have gotten ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, true enough, but the dilemma is not real. It is a creature of misunderstanding. The sacred-secular antithesis has no foundation in the New Testament. Without doubt, a more perfect understanding of Christian truth will deliver us from it.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our perfect example, and He knew no divided life. In the presence of His Father He lived on earth without strain from babyhood to His death on the cross. God accepted the offering of His total life, and made no distinction between act and act. “I do always those things that please him,” was His brief summary of His own life as it related to the Father (John 8:29). As He moved among men He was poised and restful. What pressure and suffering He endured grew out of His position as the world’s sin bearer; they were never the result of moral uncertainty or spiritual maladjustment.

Paul’s exhortation to “do all to the glory of God” is more than pious idealism. It is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth. It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Lest we should be too timid to include everything, Paul mentions specifically eating and drinking. This humble privilege we share with the beasts that perish. If these lowly animal acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.

That monkish hatred of the body which figures so prominently in the works of certain early devotional writers is wholly without support in the Word of God. Common modesty is found in the sacred Scriptures, it is true, but never prudery or a false sense of shame. The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation our Lord took upon Him a real human body, and no effort is made to steer around the downright implications of such a fact. He lived in that body here among men and never once performed a non-sacred act. His presence in human flesh sweeps away forever the evil notion that there is about the human body something innately offensive to the Deity. God created our bodies, and we do not offend Him by placing the responsibility where it belongs. He is not ashamed of the work of His own hands.

Perversion, misuse and abuse of our human powers should give us cause enough to be ashamed. Bodily acts done in sin and contrary to nature can never honor God. Wherever the human will introduces moral evil we have no longer our innocent and harmless powers as God made them; we have instead an abused and twisted thing which can never bring glory to its Creator.

Let us, however, assume that perversion and abuse are not present. Let us think of a Christian believer in whose life the twin wonders of repentance and the new birth have been wrought. He is now living according to the will of God as he understands it from the written Word. Of such a one it may be said that every act of his life is or can be as truly sacred as prayer or baptism or the Lord’s Supper. To say this is not to bring all acts down to one dead level; it is rather to lift every act up into a living kingdom and turn the whole life into a sacrament.

If a sacrament is an external expression of an inward grace, then we need not hesitate to accept the above thesis. By one act of consecration of our total selves to God we can make every subsequent act express that consecration. We need no more be ashamed of our body—the fleshly servant that carries us through life—than Jesus was of the humble beast upon which He rode into Jerusalem. “The Lord hath need of [him]” (Matthew 21:3) may well apply to our mortal bodies. If Christ dwells in us, we may bear about the Lord of glory as the little beast did of old and give occasion to the multitudes to cry, “Hosanna in the highest.”

That we see this truth is not enough. If we would escape from the toils of the sacred-secular dilemma, the truth must “run in our blood” and condition the complex of our thoughts. We must practice living to the glory of God, actually and determinedly. By meditation upon this truth, by talking it over with God often in our prayers, by recalling it to our minds frequently as we move about among men, a sense of its wondrous meaning will take hold of us. The old painful duality will go down before a restful unity of life. The knowledge that we are all God’s, that He has received all and rejected nothing, will unify our inner lives and make everything sacred to us.

This is not quite all. Long-held habits do not die easily. It will take intelligent thought and a great deal of reverent prayer to escape completely from the sacred-secular psychology. For instance, it may be difficult for the average Christian to get hold of the idea that his daily labors can be performed as acts of worship acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. The old antithesis will crop up in the back of his head sometimes to disturb his peace of mind. Nor will that old serpent, the devil, take all this lying down. He will be there in the cab or at the desk or in the field to remind the Christian that he is giving the better part of his day to the things of this world and allotting to his religious duties only a trifling portion of his time. And unless great care is taken, this will create confusion and bring discouragement and heaviness of heart.

We can meet this successfully only by the exercise of an aggressive faith. We must offer all our acts to God and believe that He accepts them. Then hold firmly to that position and keep insisting that every act of every hour of the day and night be included in the transaction. Keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory; then supplement those times by a thousand thought-prayers as we go about the job of living. Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.

A concomitant of the error which we have been discussing is the sacred-secular antithesis as applied to places. It is little short of astonishing that we can read the New Testament and still believe in the inherent sacredness of some places. This error is so widespread that one feels all alone when he tries to combat it. It has acted as a kind of dye to color the thinking of religious persons and has colored the eyes as well so that it is all but impossible to detect its fallacy. In the face of every New Testament teaching to the contrary, it has been said and sung throughout the centuries and accepted as a part of the Christian message, that which it most surely is not. Only the Quakers, so far as my knowledge goes, have had the perception to see the error and the courage to expose it.

Here are the facts as I see them. For four hundred years Israel had dwelt in Egypt, surrounded by the crassest idolatry. By the hand of Moses they were brought out at last and started toward the land of promise. The very idea of holiness had been lost to them. To correct this, God began at the bottom. He localized Himself in the cloud and fire, and later when the tabernacle had been built He dwelt in fiery manifestation in the Holy of Holies. By innumerable distinctions God taught Israel the difference between holy and unholy. There were holy days, holy vessels, holy garments. There were washings, sacrifices, offerings of many kinds. By these means, Israel learned that God is holy. It was this that He was teaching them, not the holiness of things or places. The holiness of Jehovah was the lesson they must learn.

Then came the great day when Christ appeared. Immediately He began to say, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time … but I say unto you” (Matthew 5:21–22). The Old Testament schooling was over. When Christ died on the cross, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. The Holy of Holies was opened to everyone who would enter in faith. Christ’s words were remembered, “The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.… But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:21, 23–24).

Shortly after, Paul took up the cry of liberty and declared all meats clean, every day holy, all places sacred and every act acceptable to God. The sacredness of times and places, a half-light necessary to the education of the race, passed away before the full sun of spiritual worship.

The essential spirituality of worship remained the possession of the church until it was slowly lost with the passing of the years. Then the natural legality of the fallen hearts of men began to introduce the old distinctions. The church came to observe again days and seasons and times. Certain places were chosen and marked out as holy in a special sense. Differences were observed between one and another day or place or person. The “sacraments” were first two, then three, then four, until with the triumph of Romanism they were fixed at seven.

In all charity, and with no desire to reflect unkindly upon any Christian, however misled, I would point out that the Roman Catholic church represents today the sacred-secular heresy carried to its logical conclusion. Its deadliest effect is the complete cleavage it introduces between religion and life. Its teachers attempt to avoid this snare by many footnotes and multitudinous explanations, but the mind’s instinct for logic is too strong. In practical living the cleavage is a fact.

From this bondage reformers and puritans and mystics have labored to free us. Today, the trend in conservative circles is back toward that bondage again. It is said that a horse, after it has been led out of a burning building, will sometimes, by a strange obstinacy, break loose from its rescuer and dash back into the building again to perish in the flame. By some such stubborn tendency toward error, fundamentalism in our day is moving back toward spiritual slavery. The observation of days and times is becoming more and more prominent among us. “Lent” and “holy week” and “good” Friday are words heard more and more frequently upon the lips of gospel Christians. We do not know when we are well off.
In order that I may be understood and not be misunderstood, I would throw into relief the practical implications of the teaching for which I have been arguing, i.e., the sacramental quality of everyday living. Over against its positive meanings, I should like to point out a few things it does not mean.

It does not mean, for instance, that everything we do is of equal importance with everything else we do or may do. One act of a good man’s life may differ widely from another in importance. Paul’s sewing of tents was not equal to his writing of an Epistle to the Romans, but both were accepted of God and both were true acts of worship. Certainly it is more important to lead a soul to Christ than to plant a garden, but the planting of the garden can be as holy an act as the winning of a soul.

Again, it does not mean that every man is as useful as every other man. Gifts differ in the body of Christ. A Billy Bray is not to be compared with a Luther or a Wesley for sheer usefulness to the church and to the world; but the service of the less gifted brother is as pure as that of the more gifted, and God accepts both with equal pleasure.

The “layman” need never think of his humbler task as being inferior to that of his minister. Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act. All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For such a man, living itself will be a priestly ministration. As he performs his never-so-simple task, he will hear the voice of the seraphim saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

 Lord, I would trust Thee completely; I would be altogether Thine; I would exalt Thee above all. I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee. I want constantly to be aware of Thy overshadowing presence and to hear Thy speaking voice. I long to live in restful sincerity of heart. I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thoughts may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship. Therefore I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, “I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee. “And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.


More Than Just A Job

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

Today's Scripture: Colossians 3:22-4:1

George Herbert was a gifted 17th-century English poet. At one point in his life he wasn’t sure he wanted to do what God wanted him to do. Being the pastor of a church didn’t appeal to him, even though he sensed that God was directing him to that vocation. He hesitated because he felt that he would have to give up too much.

After a time of rebellious struggle, he came to realize that submitting to Christ’s lordship is the way out of self-centered bondage and opens the door to authentic freedom and fulfillment. He also came to realize that serving the Savior does not usually entail heroic martyrdom. Rather, it is the willing and worshipful performance of the most menial tasks for His glory.

Many of God’s people are troubled because they can’t give themselves to what is called “full time ministry.” All of us, though, whatever our vocation—accounting, farming, nursing, homemaking, or something else—need to recognize that we are always to work for the Lord. In Colossians 3:23 we read, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

Any job will take on greater significance if we consciously do our work for the Lord. By:  Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thinking It Over

  • Is it difficult to give your best
  • to your employer? Why? How can you
  • glorify God today in your work and in your
  • relationships with co-workers and supervisors?

All Christians work for the same employer.


Living For God

Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. —Colossians 3:23

Today's Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

The practice of some believers in Ireland centuries ago can help us in our spiritual journey today. They wanted to be aware of God’s presence in every activity of life. For example, they would say this prayer when they woke up in the morning: “Thanks to Thee, O God, that I have risen today to the rising of this life itself.”

An Irish housewife, starting a fire at dawn, would whisper a prayer that the Lord would kindle in her heart a love for her family, friends, neighbors, and enemies.

Many believers would end their day with these words: “I lie down with God, and God will lie down with me.”

The practices of these Irish believers challenge us to perform even the most mundane and humble tasks “as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). We are to carry out the apostle Paul’s directive: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

That directive embraces the whole gamut of life—eating breakfast, doing the dishes, sharing in a conversation, operating a computer. Let’s remind ourselves throughout the day that whatever we do is to be done for the Lord and with an awareness of His presence. By:  Vernon Grounds  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


Those Dirty Jobs

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

Today's Scripture: John 13:3-17

Before he became an outspoken critic of Communist oppression, Milovan Djilas was one of Yugoslavia’s top Marxists. Jailed in his early twenties for his anti-government activities, he took on the repugnant task of smuggling party literature through the prison sewer system. He was willing to perform such duty, he says, because “no job is dirty, low, or inconsequential.”

If a former communist who didn’t believe in God could be so committed, we who serve God, whose purpose is infinitely higher, ought to have a similar attitude. A supreme motive enables us to perform the most menial labor with a sense of divine mission. Christ, by His washing of the disciples’ dirty feet, set an example for us to follow (John 13).

If God’s saving purposes are to be accomplished in this world, society must function with predictable order. Somebody must collect garbage, work the fields to provide food, and labor in factories to produce necessary goods. Because of the inter-connectedness of life, we should be grateful for those who do the drab and menial tasks.

If we follow the example of Christ, and if we do everything for the glory of God, even unpleasant chores take on dignity.By:  Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Teach me to do the humble task
The very best I can,
And not to seek a higher place
That is not in Your plan.
—Anon.

Don’t let the trivialities of life blind you to the supreme importance of the eternal.


Virtuoso -1  Corinthians 10:31

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1

A major US newspaper has called Christopher Parkening “the leading guitar virtuoso of our day, combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument.” There was a time, however, when Parkening gave up playing the guitar professionally. At the height of his career as a classical guitarist, he retired at age 30, bought a ranch in Montana, and spent his days fly-fishing. But early retirement did not bring him the satisfaction he had hoped for.

Then during a visit to California, he was invited to a church where he heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Of this he wrote: “That night I lay awake, broken over my sins. . . . I had lived very selfishly and it had not made me happy. . . . It was then that I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life, to be my Lord and Savior. For the first time, I remember telling Him, ‘Whatever You want me to do with my life, Lord, I’ll do it.’”

One of Parkening’s favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, . . . whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” He has taken up the guitar again, but this time with the motivation to glorify God.

Each of us has been given gifts; and when we use them for God’s glory, they bring satisfaction and joy. By:  Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The gifts we offer to the Lord
Are by His standards measured;
Our sacrifice and lives of praise—
Such gifts are highly treasured.
—Sper

We were created to give God the glory.


To eat to the glory of God - J.R. Miller

"Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do — do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Nothing in life is left out — "whatever you do." It extends even to eating and drinking. We are to do all things to the glory of God. This means that we must do everything in a way that will please Him.

To eat to the glory of God is to recognize Him as the Giver of our daily bread, to seek His blessing on it, to eat according to the divine laws, eating to be ready for the best service, and then to use all our strength in doing the work which God gives us to do.

One who eats self-indulgently or gluttonously, or who eats food that is injurious to his health, or who does not use the strength he derives from his food in living obediently — is not glorifying God. In all our life, in everything we do, we are to think of what will honor God.


The universal principle! George Everard ("The Right Principle!" 1866)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do — do it all for the glory of God!" 1 Corinthians 10:31

This same principle is applicable in all common actions and every day affairs. No single moment of our lives, no single action — ought to be taken outside of the sphere of this rule.

Our rising up and lying down,
the disposal of our time,
the spending of our money,
our social gatherings,
our conversations,
our recreations,
the way of conducting the affairs of our household,
the books we read,
buying and selling,
business transactions of various kinds —
all these, and a multitude of other suchlike matters, are all to be ordered under the daily guidance of this same principle. We are to do all to glorify Him who is . . .
  our Creator,
  our Savior
  our Preserver,
  our most loving Father.

Reader, beware of neglecting to exercise this universal principle in little things. Great occasions for serving God occur but seldom; lesser ones arise every moment. Little things are not to be despised. "He who despises little things, shall fall little by little." Little omissions of duty, little acts of disobedience, as they may seem to us — may prove a great hindrance along our path. A few grains of dust, or a small insect in the eye, will often cause great pain and annoyance. A little stone in a horse's foot will make it stumble again and again.

The Christian will find much the same thing from the indulgence of apparently trivial sins. They will . . .  harass the mind,  destroy the peace and comfort which he might enjoy,  prove a stumbling-block to him as he endeavors to run the heavenly race.


Give It Your Best!

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

Today's Scripture: Colossians 3:16-25

On the 80th birthday of the famous musician and conductor Arturo Toscanini, someone asked his son what he considered to be his father’s greatest achievement. He replied, “For him there can be no such thing. Whatever he happens to be doing at any moment is the biggest undertaking in his life, whether it be conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.”

We ought to have a similar attitude as we serve Christ. By yielding to the Holy Spirit, we can have such a strong assurance of doing the Father’s will that we’ll be able to engage in every endeavor with zest and enthusiasm.

Toscanini gave himself so completely to every task that he could become totally involved in peeling an orange or in conducting a symphony. How much more we as God’s children should take continual delight in the deeds of love we do for the Lord and for others!

Whether we are engaged in a project of great magnitude or simply helping a neighbor, we must consider our responsibility to God and man. The apostle Paul said, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord” (Col. 3:23). Anything we do for Jesus, whether large or small, should be “the biggest thing” in our lives. By:  Richard DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whatever you are working on,
Engage in it with zest,
Because your work is for the Lord,
And He expects your best.
—Sper

It's a great thing to do a little thing well.


Pascal’s Prayer

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. — 1 Corinthians 10:31

Today's Scripture: Philippians 4:4-13

Blaise Pascal, the brilliant 17th-century intellectual, made significant contributions in the fields of science and mathematics. He established the groundwork for the development of mechanical calculators and modern hydraulic operations.

As a young man, Pascal had a profound encounter with Jesus Christ. This life-changing experience motivated him to refocus his study from science and math to theology.

Pascal wrote a remarkable prayer that can help each believer in facing the tasks of life. He prayed: “Lord, help me to do great things as though they were little, since I do them with Your power; and little things as though they were great, since I do them in Your name.”

Pascal’s supplication is profoundly scriptural. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) and admonishes us that “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Pascal echoes these admonitions to depend upon God for His power and to view every act as important, since it will reflect on His glory.

The next time you face a huge task, remember that God is your strength. And when you encounter a seemingly insignificant one, determine to do it with excellence to the glory of God. By:  Dennis Fisher  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

If you have some work to do,
Start this very hour;
You supply the willingness,
God supplies the power.
—Anon.

Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. —William Carey


Oswald Chambers - Still human!

Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31.

The great marvel of the Incarnation slips into ordinary childhood’s life; the great marvel of the Transfiguration vanishes in the devil-possessed valley; the glory of the Resurrection descends into a breakfast on the sea-shore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.

The tendency is to look for the marvellous in our experience; we mistake the sense of the heroic for being heroes. It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want medieval haloes, we want something that will make people say—‘What a wonderful man of prayer he is!’ ‘What a pious, devoted woman she is!’ If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of God comes through you all the time.

‘Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!’ It takes Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty to the glory of God. It takes God’s Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable. The test of the life of a saint is not success, but faithfulness in human life as it actually is. We will set up success in Christian work as the aim; the aim is to manifest the glory of God in human life, to live the life hid with Christ in God in human conditions. Our human relationships are the actual conditions in which the ideal life of God is to be exhibited.


Drifting snow and bitter cold threatened the lives of Indian evangelist Sadhu Sundar Singh and his Tibetan companion as they crossed a Himalayan mountain pass. Fighting the "sleep of death," they stumbled over a mound in the trail. It was a man, half-dead. The Tibetan refused to stop but continued on alone. The compassionate Sadhu, however, shouldered the burden the best he could. Through his struggling, he began to warm up, as did the unconscious man. But before reaching the village they found the Tibetan—frozen to death.

Jesus taught that if we put our selfish desires first, we become losers. But if we use our lives for His sake, we receive life in abundance. Only when life's energies are put into the cause of Christ do we know the joy of being finders instead of losers. —D. J. DeHaan.

YOU DENY CHRIST WHEN YOU FAIL TO DENY YOURSELF FOR CHRIST.


Oswald Chambers - Shallow and profound

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31.

Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound. It is not your devotion to God that makes you refuse to be shallow, but your wish to impress other people with the fact that you are not shallow, which is a sure sign that you are a spiritual prig. Be careful of the production of contempt in yourself, it always comes along this line, and causes you to go about as a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than you are. Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.

To be shallow is not a sign of being wicked, nor is shallowness a sign that there are no deeps; the ocean has a shore. The shallow amenities of life, eating and drinking, walking and talking, are all ordained by God. These are the things in which Our Lord lived. He lived in them as the Son of God, and He said that “the disciple is not above his Master.”

Our safeguard is in the shallow things. We have to live the surface commonsense life in a commonsense way; when the deeper things come, God gives them to us apart from the shallow concerns. Never show the deeps to anyone but God. We are so abominably serious, so desperately interested in our own characters, that we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.

Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.


John MacArthur - When you confessed Jesus as Lord, you did so to the glory of God. Now whatever else you do—even the most mundane functions of life such as eating and drinking—should be focused on the glory of God. That should be the underlying attitude of your life. Jesus observed His focus in this way: “I honor My Father…. I do not seek My own glory” (John 8:49, 50). You will grow spiritually when you follow Christ’s example of submitting your life to Christ’s lordship, you will be characterized by His humble desire to glorify the Father. (Truth for Today) (Related Resource: The Holy Spirit-Walking Like Jesus Walked!)


Question: What is the glory of God?

Answer: The glory of God is the beauty of His spirit. It is not an aesthetic beauty or a material beauty, but it is the beauty that emanates from His character, from all that He is. James 1:10 calls on a rich man to “glory in his humiliation,” indicating a glory that does not mean riches or power or material beauty. This glory can crown man or fill the earth. It is seen within man and in the earth, but it is not of them; it is of God. The glory of man is the beauty of man’s spirit, which is fallible and eventually passes away, and is therefore humiliating—as the verse tells us. But the glory of God, which is manifested in all His attributes together, never passes away. It is eternal.

Isaiah 43:7 says that God created us for His glory. In context with the other verses, it can be said that man “glorifies” God because through man, God’s glory can be seen in things such as love, music, heroism and so forth—things belonging to God that we are carrying “in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). We are the vessels which “contain” His glory. All the things we are able to do and to be find their source in Him. God interacts with nature in the same way. Nature exhibits His glory. His glory is revealed to man’s mind through the material world in many ways, and often in different ways to different people. One person may be thrilled by the sight of the mountains, and another person may love the beauty of the sea. But that which is behind them both (God’s glory) speaks to both people and connects them to God. In this way, God is able to reveal Himself to all men, no matter their race, heritage or location. As Psalm 19:1-4 says, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands; day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world.”

Psalm 73:24 calls heaven itself “glory.” It used to be common to hear Christians talk of death as being “received unto glory,” which is a phrase borrowed from this Psalm. When the Christian dies, he will be taken into God’s presence, and in His presence will be naturally surrounded by God’s glory. We will be taken to the place where God’s beauty literally resides—the beauty of His Spirit will be there, because He will be there. Again, the beauty of His Spirit (or the essence of Who He Is) is His “glory.” In that place, His glory will not need to come through man or nature, rather it will be seen clearly, just as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

In the human/earthly sense, glory is a beauty or vibrancy that rests upon the material of the earth (Psalm 37:20, Psalm 49:17), and in that sense, it fades. But the reason it fades is that material things do not last. They die and wither, but the glory that is in them belongs to God, and returns to Him when death or decay takes the material. Think of the rich man mentioned earlier. The verse says, “The rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.” What does this mean? The verse is admonishing the rich man to realize that his wealth and power and beauty come from God, and to be humbled by the realization that it is God who makes him what he is, and gives him all he has. And the knowledge that he will pass away like the grass is what will bring him to the realization that God is the one from whom glory comes. God’s glory is the source, the wellspring from which all smaller glories run.

Since God is the one from whom glory comes, He will not let stand the assertion that glory comes from man or from the idols of man or from nature. In Isaiah 42:8, we see an example of God’s jealousy over His glory. This jealousy for His own glory is what Paul is talking about in Romans 1:21-25 when he speaks of the ways people worship the creature rather than the Creator. In other words, they looked at the object through which God’s glory was coming, and, instead of giving God the credit for it, they worshiped that animal or tree or man as if the beauty it possessed originated from within itself. This is the very heart of idolatry and is a very common occurrence. Everyone who has ever lived has committed this error at one time or another. We have all “exchanged” the glory of God in favor of the “glory of man.”

This is the mistake many people continue to make: trusting in earthly things, earthly relationships, their own powers or talents or beauty, or the goodness they see in others. But when these things fade and fail as they will inevitably do (being only temporary carriers of the greater glory), these people despair. What we all need to realize is that God’s glory is constant, and as we journey through life we will see it manifest here and there, in this person or that forest, or in a story of love or heroism, fiction or non-fiction, or our own personal lives. But it all goes back to God in the end. And the only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. We will find the very source of all beauty in Him, in heaven, if we are in Christ. Nothing will be lost to us. All those things that faded in life we will find again in Him. GotQuestions.org


 

J H Jowett -RELATING EVERYTHING TO GOD
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” —1Corinthians 10:23-33.

AND so all my days would constitute a vast temple, and life would be a constant worship. This is surely the science and art of holy living—to relate everything to the Infinite. When I take my common meal and relate it to “the glory of God,” the common meal becomes a sacramental feast. When my labour is joined “unto the Lord,” the sacred wedding turns my workshop into a church. When I link the country lane to the Saviour, I am walking in the Garden of Eden, and paradise is restored.

The fact of the matter is, we never see anything truly until we see it in the light of the glory of God. Set a dull duty in that light and it shines like a diamond. Set a bit of drudgery in that light and it becomes transfigured like the wing of a starling when the sunshine falls upon it. Everything is seen amiss until we see it in the glory! And, therefore, it is my wisdom to set everything in that light, and to do all to the glory of God.


Question - How can I glorify God in everything I do?

Answer - The concept of “glorifying” God is that of honoring God with one’s life 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches believers to honor the Lord in all they do: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” The context of this verse includes a discussion of the freedom believers have in Christ. We are free to make personal choices in life, but we are not to do anything that causes another person to “stumble” or sin in his own walk with God. We are to seek the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:32–33).

Watch the Video - How To Glorify God?

Further, believers may have the “right” to do anything, but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). Paul used the illustration of eating meat that had been dedicated to idols. To him, such a dedication meant nothing since idols are not real gods. However, he would abstain from ever eating meat again for the good of others who might sin by following his example. Believers serve the Lord both through their personal lives and in their actions toward others.

To glorify God requires full commitment to Him. In Colossians 3:23 we read, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” The context includes Paul’s directions for Christian slaves working for human masters. Even in this role, their work was to be done as if they were serving Jesus (Colossians 3:24). To honor or glorify God in everything includes having a strong work ethic, even when we work for those we do not like or labor in difficult situations.

Glorifying God in everything means we honor Him in our thoughts and actions. Our thoughts are to be set on the things of God (Psalm 1) and the Word of God (Psalm 119:11). When we focus on God’s Word, we know what is right and can follow through with doing what is right.

Jesus always glorified His Father in heaven. There was never a moment when He did not glorify God. Our Lord’s every thought, word, and action was totally devoted to the glory of God. When Jesus faced the temptations of Satan (Matthew 4:1–11), Jesus quoted Scripture all three times. Jesus was a man of the Word, fully committed to God’s will, and His example in overcoming temptation offers hope to all of us who seek to stand firm during times of testing.

Another way we glorify God in everything we do is in the proper treatment of our bodies. In speaking of sexual immorality, 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 teaches, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

To glorify God in everything, we must exercise faith (Hebrews 11:6), love without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9), deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to God (Romans 12:1). Every area of life is important to evaluate and live to its fullest for the glory and honor of God. We should strive for every thought and deed to bring joy to our Father in heavenGotQuestions.org

1 Corinthians 10:32  Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;

Amplified Do not let yourselves be [hindrances by giving] an offense to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God do not lead others into sin by your mode of life];

Wuest  Be becoming those who do not cause others to sin by your mode of life, giving no occasion of stumbling both to Jews and Gentiles and also the Church of God,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates Continue to become inoffensive both to the Jews and to the Gentiles, and also to the church of God. 

NET  1 Corinthians 10:32 Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God,

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:32 Don't give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God--

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:32 ἀπρόσκοποι καὶ Ἰουδαίοις γίνεσθε καὶ Ἕλλησιν καὶ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ,

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:32 become offenceless, both to Jews and Greeks, and to the assembly of God;

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no occasions of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God:

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God,

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:32 Be blameless in regard to the Jews, the Greeks, and God's church.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:32 Avoid giving offense, whether to Jews or Greeks or the church of God,

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:32 Never be a cause of offence, either to Jews or to Greeks or to the Church of God,

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:32 Don't cause others to stumble, whether they are Jewish, Greek, or members of God's church.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no cause of trouble to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God.

  • no: 1Co 10:33 1 Cor 8:13 Ro 14:13 2Co 6:3 Php 1:10 
  • the church: 1Co 11:22 Ac 20:28 1Ti 3:5,15 
  • 1 Corinthians 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL DESCRIBES THREE GROUPS
TO WHICH WE SHOULD BE INOFFENSIVE

Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God - The three groups are Jews and Greeks refer to unsaved and the church to the saved. In short, this is every person in the world! "Once individuals become members of the church of God, they cease to be what they were. They are God's own peculiar (private or special) people; no longer are they citizens of the world." (Zodhiates)

Arnold - With much light comes much responsibility. The strong brother has been given special light on the subject of questionable practices but he must use this light in a responsible way, even restricting his freedom if necessary. It is like light that comes into the eye. The more light that comes in, the more the pupil restricts. So it is with Christian maturity. The more light we have, the more we willingly restrict our lives for the cause of Christ and the love of the brethren. The Christian is to live a life which brings the least offense to the unsaved and the saved. As Christians, we are not to deliberately offend anyone. We cannot help offend at times because we have to be faithful to Christ, but in the area of questionable practices, our lives are to be lived in such a positive way as to not give offense by misuse or abuse of Christian liberty.

No offense is an adjective (aproskopos) which is a way of saying Christians must not become something over which others stumble or as Young's Literal says "become offenceless!" The word no offense speaks of "relational integrity" (See digression on Integrity an attribute that is rapidly vanishing in American society and even in Christianity!) meaning that believers are to continually live lives of true integrity that do not cause others to stumble.  Our lives are to be blameless in the sense of not offending or not causing someone else to stumble. The word describes one who does not lead others into sin (as might a stronger brother who eats meat sacrificed to idols in front of a weaker brother). 

Is your life a stumbling block to others? 

Zodhiates - The illustration of the Christian running a race in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 applies to the whole tenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. In his race, the Christian does not want others to hinder him. The believer is supposed to strive or struggle (agōnízomai [75], to agonize or strive for victory and to exercise self-control; egkrateúetai, the present tense of egkrateúomai [1467], to exercise self-control [1 Cor. 9:25]) for the prize. How well, however, Christians run to receive the prize (brabeíon [1017]) depends not only on themselves, but also on bystanders who may thrust themselves in the path of the race and become a stumbling block to the runners. The picture that the Apostle Paul wants to present to us as Christians is that we are to run the race with the consciousness that there is a prize to be won, and in order to win it we must struggle and exercise self-discipline. But it is also our passive duty not to be a stumbling block to others who are running. When a Christian begins to run the race himself, he then becomes conscious of the fact that at any time he may become a stumbling block to others who are also in the race with him. To have a conscience void of offense (apróskopon) takes conscious effort on the part of an individual. The Apostle Paul tried to develop this in himself, and he is advising the Corinthian Christians to individually develop the same in themselves.

MacArthur - That many people are offended by the gospel is their problem, but when they are needlessly offended by our way of living, that is our problem; and it dishonors the Lord. 

Spurgeon - What we may do lawfully it will frequently be better not to do lest we injure others: for their sakes we must deny ourselves, for selfishness in a Christian is a grievous vice.

No offense  (677aproskopos  from a = not + proskopto = strike at, to trip, dash against as foot against a stone) literally means without offense, without stumbling, not stumbling or not tripping. Not causing others to stumble or fail. Not giving offense (thus inoffensive). NIDNTT adds that aproskopos means "both giving no offense, unobjectionable, blameless, and taking no offense, unhurt."  Used only 3x in NT - Acts 24:16; 1 Co. 10:32; Phil. 1:10+ "so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;"

1 Corinthians 10:33  just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.

Amplified  Just as I myself strive to please [to accommodate myself to the opinions, desires, and interests of others, adapting myself to] all men in everything I do, not aiming at or considering my own profit and advantage, but that of the many in order that they may be saved.

Wuest  even as I also in all things accommodate myself to all, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, in order that they might be saved.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Zodhiates In like manner, I accommodate myself to all people in all things, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

NET  1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved. 

NLT  1 Corinthians 10:33 I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don't just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

ESV  1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

NIV  1 Corinthians 10:33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

GNT  1 Corinthians 10:33 καθὼς κἀγὼ πάντα πᾶσιν ἀρέσκω μὴ ζητῶν τὸ ἐμαυτοῦ σύμφορον ἀλλὰ τὸ τῶν πολλῶν, ἵνα σωθῶσιν.

KJV  1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

YLT  1 Corinthians 10:33 as I also in all things do please all, not seeking my own profit, but that of many -- that they may be saved.

ASV  1 Corinthians 10:33 even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.

CSB  1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they may be saved.

MIT  1 Corinthians 10:33 Do just as I do in this regard: I please everyone in everything, not seeking my own advantage, but seeking to benefit many that they might be saved.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

NRS  1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

NAB  1 Corinthians 10:33 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.

NJB  1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I try to accommodate everybody in everything, not looking for my own advantage, but for the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved.

GWN  1 Corinthians 10:33 I try to please everyone in every way. I don't think about what would be good for me but about what would be good for many people so that they might be saved.

BBE  1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I give way to all men in all things, not looking for profit for myself, but for the good of others, that they may get salvation.

PAUL'S PURPOSE:
LIVE IN SUCH A WAY THAT MANY ARE SAVED

Just as I also - In like manner - "The use of this phrase connects this verse with the previous one in which Paul's advice to the Corinthian believers was that they not become a stumbling block to all three classes of people among whom they lived, that is, the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Christians who make up the church of God. Paul wants his fellow Corinthian Christians to realize that he himself practices what he preaches, and there is not any group of people against whom he consciously discriminates. However, since his desire is for all to be saved, his concern is that he build societal contacts which hopefully will yield spiritual results, the salvation of those who are not saved and the edification of those who have been saved." (Zodhiates)

Please (present tense - continually - aresko) all men in all things - Amplified = "Just as I myself strive to please [to accommodate myself to the opinions, desires, and interests of others, adapting myself to] all men in everything" Paul is a "people pleaser" NOT in a negative sense as we usually think of the phrase, but in the positive sense that it would be profitable to all men and ultimately that they might be saved. 

Later in his "definition" of love Paul writes that supernatural LOVE "does not seek its own" (1 Cor 13:5+). And so what Paul is doing in this verse is to give us one of his basic principles for all his behavior, not seeking his own profit and as stated earlier, ultimately he does this for the glory of God. 

Not (present tense - continually) seeking (zeteomy own profit but the profit of the many, so that (THE HIGH PURPOSE) they may be saved - This personal goal of Paul is also similar to that he expressed earlier when he declared "To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. " (1 Cor 9:22-23+). 

Jack Arnold - Paul pleased all men as best be could in questionable practices so as not to offend. He does not mean that he pleased all men in the preaching of the gospel or in his stand for genuine Christian morality. What he is saying is that in the area of questionable practices, he would not be a stumbling block of any kind. He loved Christ and the gospel more than his own rights and liberties, so he set them aside (if necessary) to reach people for Christ. His one goal in life was to win men to Christ and to build them in Christ, and he was willing to pay any price to achieve that goal. He would not have anything in his own life that would keep an unbeliever from responding to Christ as Savior and Lord. If a person has his heart set on the conversion of people to Christ and the salvation of all men, this will go a long way in regulating his conduct in the area of questionable practices. It will affect his dress, his intake of food and beverages, his style of living, his entertainment and his interaction with the world. This will all be done not by rules and regulations but by a heart which wants to please Christ and win men to Him. This is the best and highest motivation for Christian living.

Profit (sumpheros - the adjective related to sumphero from sun = with + phero = to bear or bring) means beneficial, advantageous, expedient; profitable; bringing welfare. it signifies that which makes for one’s best interests. TDNT - "This word means “accompanying,” “suiting,” or “useful.”" This adjective has two primary uses in Greek literature prior to the New Testament: (1) “accompanying” (e.g., “hunger is the sluggard’s companion”) and (2) “suitable, useful, profitable” (cf. Liddell-Scott). By New Testament times this latter usage predominated. It is used in the Septuagint in 2 Maccabees 4:5. 

Now based on this great aim of Paul, he gives us a command

Be (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ (esp Php 2:3-5+).  (1 Cor 11:1+)

Arnold - He abandoned his rights, set aside his liberties and made unbelievable sacrifices because he loved Christ and others. Anything that would offend or cause another to stumble or be injured, Paul would gladly and voluntarily set aside to reach a soul for Jesus Christ. We are to follow his example. What Paul did, he only copied what he saw in the supreme example of Christ who set aside all His rights and liberties as the God-Man to die that sinful men and women might be saved. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love and concern for others. We can only follow Paul because Paul followed Christ.


Paul's Practice - James Smith, 1860

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:3-5

The less we indulge SELF, the better. Selfishness is . . .

  • the bane of our happiness,
  • a bar to our usefulness, and
  • renders us unlovely to both God and others.

One of the most beautiful traits in the character of our Lord and Savior, was his unselfishness. He never seemed to please himself, or consult his own ease. He was everyone's servant, and everyone's friend. All who applied to him were received, all befitting requests were granted, and through his whole life, his own testimony was illustrated, "The Son of man came not to be served — but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Next to the Savior, perhaps no one carried self-denial so far as the apostle Paul; let us look at his admirable words,

"Just as I myself strive to please [to accommodate myself to the opinions, desires, and interests of others, adapting myself to] all men in everything I do, not aiming at or considering my own profit and advantage, but that of the many in order that they may be saved." 1 Corinthians 10:33 (Amplified bible)

PAUL'S SELF-DENIAL. "Not seeking my own profit."

We are naturally selfish, and seek our own health, wealth, and gratification, as our grand end. Selfishness clings to us, and appears more or less in our whole conduct. But the gospel calls for self-denial, and bids us take up our cross, and follow our self-denying Master. The gospel requires dedication to God, that we may live to him and for him; and it directs us to seek the good of others, of all that are around us. What the gospel requires — true grace produces; and it will struggle and fight with all our selfish principles until it prevails.

It did so in Paul, who suffered the loss of all things for Christ, and rejoiced in the sacrifice; who devoted his whole life to seek the good of others. He could say even of his bitterest enemies, who cried, "Away with him," and sought to take his life, "My heart's desire, and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved;" and this desire influenced his conduct, and regulated his whole life. What an admirable example! O for grace to copy it day by day!

PAUL'S BENEVOLENCE. "I seek the profit of many."

He could say, "As poor, yet making many rich." "I seek to please in order to profit." Therefore he became all things, to all men. He accommodated himself to their prejudices and interests, when they did not run counter to the word of God. He never went to the extent of his own liberty — but always asked, "Is this expedient?" He consulted the best interests of the greatest number, not sparing himself, or thinking much of his own labor. He sought to benefit and bless all he could, therefore he gave as a reason for his accommodating spirit, "that I may save the more." Lord, fill me with such benevolence, that I may not seek my own selfish interests — but the welfare of others; and of as many others as possible!

PAUL'S DESIGN. "That they may be saved."

If saved ourselves, we should seek to save others. In proportion as we realize the value of salvation, and enjoy it in our own souls — shall we seek the salvation of others. Paul laid himself out to save all he could, as he testified when speaking of Jesus, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily."

What a noble, what a magnanimous spirit! O that every one of us possessed the same! If such a spirit, leading to such conduct, inspired all the members of Christ's church — then what glorious results we should witness.

Does not Paul's self-denial reprove us? Have we not been far too selfish? May he not bring the same charge against us, which he did against the Philippians, "All seek their own interests — and not the things which are Jesus Christ's." May he not well address us, as he did the Corinthians, "Let no man seek his own interests — but every man another's welfare." Ought not this subject to produce sorrow, and lead to a new course? It ought, and if it works effectively in our minds, it will.

We have lived long enough for ourselves! It is time that we became interested in the souls of others, and began to live for others. Lord, rouse us up, and make us sorry for our past conduct, and give us grace to act differently in future.

Does not Paul's conduct account for his great success? Surely it does. Would not we be more happy and profitable to others — if we were less selfish, and more thoroughly imbued with the self-denying spirit of Christ? Do we not live too much to ourselves? Do we not think too much of our own comfort, and pleasure, and ease? Can we look back on the past without grief on this account, or forward to the future without seeking grace to act differently?

If we really love immortal souls, and if we desire the prosperity of Christ's church — shall we not seek grace to go and do as Paul did? We should follow him, as he followed Christ. Let us make him our model, and keep the whole of this fine passage frequently before our eyes. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God —  even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

O how Christ-like! Admirable example! Lord, give us grace to copy it accurately, by keeping it always in view!


People Pleasers - James Scudder

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:33

The Apostle Paul seemingly contradicts himself in Galatians when he claims that he doesn't aim to please men. Earlier, when addressing the Corinthians, Paul said that he tried to "please all men in all things." But, instead of a contradiction, Paul actually gives us a very important principle when dealing with others.

When it comes to the truth of the Gospel, there was no fudging on Paul's part. He wouldn't lower his standards or change his message to accommodate those who didn't believe. He believed that if he watered down the Gospel to please people, then He would cease to be serving Christ.

Yet, when Paul talks about "pleasing all men in all things," he is describing the sacrifices that often have to be made to win people to Christ. He would do whatever it took to win someone to the Lord.

It is possible to reach the lost without losing our boldness and fervor. It may take sacrifice on our part. It may involve a late night visit to a hospital, paying for someone's dinner, or giving someone a ride to church. It may even mean missing a day of work or a couple of hours on the phone. But, if we win the person to the Lord, the sacrifice is well worth the effort.

Pleasing people doesn't mean changing the message of the Gospel, but going the extra mile to share God's love. And it is an effort with eternal rewards.

       A good life is the best sermon.


F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily 1 Corinthians 10:33  The profit of the many, that they may be saved.

Probably the world has never seen a more enthusiastic soul-winner than the great apostle. If he visits a strange town, he will cast out the demon from a possessed girl. If he takes up tent-making, beside an unbelieving Jew and his wife, he will before long have won each for Christ. If he is cast into prison, he will have baptized the jailer before dawn. If he stands before a judge, he will almost persuade him to be a Christian. If he is a prisoner in a hired house, he will speak to all who come to him, and win a runaway slave like Onesimus to Christ, and make him profitable to Philemon. Always and everywhere, he sets himself to win souls.

Here, also, we see how this one passion ruled his behavior in all things. He was willing to yield to men in matters where only his own comfort, but not his conscience, was concerned. He sought to please all men in all things; not seeking his own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.”

Oh for more of this sacred passion! — such as inspired, for instance, the Moravians to expatriate themselves for the sake of the lepers of Table Bay!

A woman at the Presbyterian hospital at Canton, hearing of Christ, and loving Him, asked:

“How long can I live if I remain in the hospital?”
“Four months.”
“And how long if I go home?”
“Two months,” replied the doctor. “I am going home,” she said.
“But,” urged the doctor, “you will lose half your life.”
“Do you not think I would be glad to give half my life for the sake of telling my people of Jesus?”

And she went home.