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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
1 Corinthians 10

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1. οὐ θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν. A characteristic expression of St Paul. Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 12:1, and Romans 1:13; Romans 11:25; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

γάρ. There is a slight difficulty in the sequence of thought here, which has caused the substitution of δέ in the rec. text. But there is a clear connection between this verse and what precedes. The subject is the necessity of caution in the Christian life. This has been illustrated by the example of the athletes in the arena. It is now further illustrated by the example of the Israelites. They possessed great privileges, and lost them. And further, the prize is won by the athlete by discipline. It is lost by the Israelites through indulgence.

οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν πάντες. The emphasis on πάντες here—it is repeated five times—serves to point out the moral that though all without exception received the privileges, the greater number were very far from using them aright. The lesson is still more closely driven home in 1 Corinthians 10:11-12. The Israelites were as much the people of God as we, yet most of them fell. Why should we think, then, that we have less need for watchfulness than they? Some have thought that the expression ‘our fathers’ implies that St Paul was here speaking to Jews only. But this is not necessary. For [1] he might have used the expression as being himself a Jew, and [2] the Israelites were the spiritual progenitors of the Christian Church. See Romans 4:16; Romans 9:5.

ὑπὸ τὴν νεφέλην. Cf. Exodus 13:20-22; Exodus 14:19; Exodus 40:34-38; Numbers 9:15-23; Numbers 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:33; Psalms 78:14; Psalms 105:39.

διὰ τῆς θαλάσσης διῆλθον. Exodus 14; Numbers 33:8; Joshua 4:23; Psalms 78:13.


Verses 1-14

1 Corinthians 10:1-14. THE EXAMPLE OF ISRAEL A WARNING TO CHRISTIANS.

In this chapter the direct argument concerning meats offered to idols is resumed in 1 Corinthians 10:14. The first fourteen verses of this chapter, like chapter 9, are parenthetical. But if we read γάρ we are to understand that there is a very close connection between this and the last verse of the preceding chapter. See next note but one, and 1 Corinthians 10:12. We are taught in 1 Corinthians 10:1-14, [1] that the possession of great privileges does not secure us from danger. But this is not the only link of connection. We learn, [2] that the worst sins of Israel were the direct result of idolatry, and hence a strong argument is derived against regarding idolatry as a light matter (1 Corinthians 10:14). And perhaps, with De Wette, we may also regard the actions of the Israelites as awful examples, [3] of the abuse of freedom, the danger which was just now most likely to befall the infant Church. ‘They were tempted to think that all things were safe to do, because all things were lawful’ (or rather possible). Robertson.


Verse 2

2. εἰς τὸν ΄ωϋσῆν. The passing through the cloud (Exodus 14:19) and the sea was a type of Christian Baptism, in that he who passes through it exchanges a state of bondage for a state of freedom, the hard yoke of a Pharaoh for the fatherly care of God, and this in consequence of his following the guidance of a leader sent by God. The Israelites were baptized ‘unto Moses,’ because by passing through the cloud and the sea they had become connected with him, dependent on his commands and guidance. Cf. εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, Matthew 28:19. Cf. also Acts 19:3-5.


Verse 3

3. πνευματικὸν βρῶμα. The manna (Exodus 16), ‘inasmuch as it was not like common bread, a product of nature, but came as bread from heaven (Psalms 78:24; Wisdom of Solomon 16:20; John 6:31), the gift of God, Who, by His Spirit, wrought marvellously for His people.’ Meyer. Cf. also Nehemiah 9:15. And Josephus Ant. III. 1 θεῖον βρῶμα καὶ παράδοξον. It may also mean subjectively as well as objectively spiritual, that is, it may not merely be the work of the Spirit, but may produce the work of the Spirit by teaching man his dependence upon God. See Matthew 4:4.


Verse 4

4. πνευματικὸν πόμα. This miraculous supply of water, vouchsafed on two occasions (Exodus 17:1-6; Numbers 20:2-11), belonged, like the manna, not to the natural, but to the spiritual order of God’s Providence, which has its necessary points of contact with the lower and more contracted natural order, and issues in what we call miracles. Hence they were types of still greater miracles, which belong however more exclusively to the spiritual order of things, namely, the nourishing the Christian Church with the ‘spiritual food of the Body and Blood of Christ.’ In this sense, St Augustine (Tract. 26 super Joannem) says well, ‘Sacramenta illa fuerunt, in signis diversa sed in re quae significatur paria,’ because it was Christ who was the miraculous support and preservation of the Israelites in the wilderness, as well as of Christians in their pilgrimage through the world.

ἔπινον. Observe the change of tense. The aorist refers to the whole action as past. The imperfect points out its continuance while it lasted.

ἐκ πνευματικῆς. The A.V. gives a wrong impression here. πνευματικῆς has not the article, and should not, therefore, be translated ‘that spiritual rock.’ The true sense is, ‘for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them as they went.’ St Paul follows no tradition here. He is spiritualising the whole history. ‘I say spiritual food and drink. For during the whole of their wanderings in the wilderness the Israelites were spiritually sustained by a never-failing source of refreshment, a very Rock, indeed, from which waters were ever flowing. And the Rock was Christ.’

ἀκολουθούσης πἐτρας. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan speak of a ‘well’ which followed the Israelites in their wanderings. In the Bemidbar Rabbah (c. i.) it is a Rock, in shape like a bee-hive, which rolled continually forward to accompany the Israelites on their way (for the tradition consult Wetstein, or Schöttgen). Our great Rabbinical scholar Lightfoot rejects this interpretation, and believes that the expression refers, not to the Rock, but the streams which issued from it, and which were gathered into pools wherever they encamped. It was to this, and not to the rock, that the words in Numbers 21:17 are supposed to be addressed. Estius cites Psalms 78:16; Psalms 105:41 in support of the same view. See also Deuteronomy 9:21, ‘the brook that descended from the mount.’ Meyer thinks that the tradition was a later invention of the Rabbis, since the Targum of Onkelos in its present shape cannot be traced back farther than the third century.

ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ Χριστός. See last note but one. Christ was the true source of all their nourishment, and He went with them whithersoever they went. He, the Angel of the Covenant (Exodus 23:20-21; Exodus 23:23; Exodus 32:34; Joshua 5:13), was their guide and their support. Cf. John 4:10; John 4:14; John 7:37-38. For the term Rock, as applied to God, see Deuteronomy 32:4; Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 32:18; Deuteronomy 32:30-31; Deuteronomy 32:37; Psalms 18:1, and many other passages in the Psalms too numerous to quote. We can hardly dismiss this passage without quoting Bengel’s remark: ‘Had there been more than two Sacraments, St Paul would have pointed out some spiritual resemblance to them.’


Verse 5

5. ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν. The point aimed at is, that in spite of their high privileges and great opportunities, the majority of them was destroyed. Cf. Hebrews 3:16. Joshua and Caleb only, Numbers 14:38, were permitted to enter the promised land. See also Numbers 26:64-65.

κατεστρώθησαν. Compare our strewn. The expression is graphic and forcible.


Verse 6

6. τύποι. Literally, types of us. In figure of us, Wiclif. τύπος signifies [1] a mark, stroke of any kind, impressed or engraven, ‘print,’ John 20:25; [2] an image, figure, as in Acts 7:43; [3] an example, pattern, Acts 7:44 (where the word is rendered fashion), cf. Hebrews 8:5 (though Chrysostom interprets examples of punishment); [4] type, in the recognized sense of the word, that of a person or circumstance designed by God to foreshadow some other person or circumstance in the future, Romans 5:14; [5] as equivalent to purport, substance of a letter or address, Acts 23:25; [6] form, outline, substance, as of a system of doctrine or morals (like the derived word ὑποτύπωσις in 2 Timothy 1:13); Romans 6:17; [7] example, in the matter of conduct, for imitation or warning, Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Timothy 4:12, &c. ἐγενήθησαν supports [7]. Either this or [4] is the meaning here, or it may include both meanings. God impressed such a character upon the Jewish history—or rather perhaps it was the natural result of the similar position in which Christians now stand to that occupied by the Jews under the law—that it foreshadowed the history of the Christian Church. This idea is carried out more fully in reference to the Old Testament generally, in the Epistles to the Galatians and Hebrews than in this Epistle. Here it is simply used to point out the way in which the warnings of the Jewish history are valuable to Christians.

καθὼς κἀκεῖνοι. St Paul gives five instances of the Israelites’ sin. First the desire for food other than God had given them, Numbers 11:4; Numbers 11:33-34.


Verse 7

7. εἰδωλολάτραι. Tyndale characteristically renders ‘worshippers of images’ See Exodus 32:6.

παίζειν. Dancing (see Stanley and Alford in loc.) was probably included, as it formed part of the worship of the heathen deities. Cf. Horace, ‘Quam nec ferre pedem dedecuit choris … sacro Dianae celebrant die.’ Odes, II. 12. 19. But the original Hebrew word has a wider signification, to sport, to laugh, exactly the same as the kindred word from which is derived Isaac, ‘he shall laugh,’ so named from Sarah’s laughter. The same is the case with παίζειν, derived as it is from παῖς.


Verse 8

8. πορνεύωμεν, i.e. the natural result of joining in the impure worship of Ashtaroth, or Astarte, the Syrian Venus. The temple of Aphrodite, on the AcroCorinthus, contained a thousand priestesses devoted to the same licentious worship. See Introduction. The warning in the text was, therefore, by no means needless. The occasion referred to is that related in Numbers 25:1-6.

εἰκοσιτρεῖς χιλιἀδες. In Numbers 25:9 we find 24,000. The actual number would no doubt be between the two, so that both here and in the book of Numbers only round numbers are given. ‘Our Apostle saith not definitely three and twenty thousand perished, but three and twenty thousand at the least.’ Lightfoot.


Verse 9

9. ἐκπειράζωμεν τὸν κύριον. Whether we read χριστόν here with rec. or κύριον as in the text, makes but little difference. In either case Christ is meant, Who, as the Angel of the Covenant (see note on 1 Corinthians 10:4), was the guide of the Israelites throughout all their wanderings. What it was to tempt Christ we may best learn from the Old Testament narrative. See Numbers 14:22. It was to try Him, to see whether He would be as good as His word, whether He would punish their sin as He had declared He would. The word in the original means to try to the uttermost. For the occasion referred to see Numbers 21:6, though this is not the only occasion on which the Israelites were said to have tempted God.

ὑπὸ τῶν ὄφεων. By the serpents, i.e. the well-known fiery serpents mentioned in Moses’ narrative.


Verse 10

10. γογγύζετε. See Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:3; Numbers 14:2-29; Numbers 16:41.

ἀπώλοντο. Observe the aorist here for destruction by one act, as compared with the imperfect ἀπώλλυντο of the destruction of each person severally by the serpents. This has been overlooked by many copyists. See Critical Note.

ὀλοθρευτοῦ. The angel of death. Cf. Exodus 12:23; Wisdom of Solomon 18:25, where nearly the same Greek word is used in the Septuagint as here. Cf. also Genesis 19; 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 21:12; 1 Chronicles 21:15-16; 1 Chronicles 21:20; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21; Acts 12:23. Estius concludes from Judges 1:5; Judges 1:9, that this was the Archangel Michael, but the passage does not seem to warrant the conclusion.


Verse 11

11. τυπικῶς, typically, or, as examples.


Verse 12

12. ὁ δοκῶν ἑστάναι. A warning against the over-confidence too common among the Corinthians. See chapter 1 throughout; ch. 1 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 4:8. It is not sufficient to have been admitted into the Christian covenant; we need watchfulness, in order to use our privileges aright. Cf. Romans 11:20.


Verse 13

13. ἀνθρώπινος. The word means adapted to human capacities, διὰ τοῦτο ἀνθρώπινόν ἐστιν (τὸ δίκαιον) Arist. Nic. Eth. 1 Corinthians 10:9, i.e. justice is in accordance with the conditions of human life. A consolation, as the last verse was a warning. These words were intended to meet an objection that it was impossible to walk warily enough—impossible to adjust aright the boundaries of our own freedom and our brother’s need. Every temptation as it comes, St Paul says, will have the way of escape provided from it by God. All that a Christian has to do is to live in humble dependence upon Him, neither perplexed in the present nor anxious for the future. Cf. 2 Peter 2:9.

καὶ τὴν ἔκβασιν. The way of escape is provided by the same wisdom that permits the temptation.


Verse 14

14. διόπερ. A return to the main argument in ch. 8. See ch. 1 Corinthians 8:13.


Verse 15

15. ὡς φρονίμοις λέγω. I speak to you as to sensible men, or as Meyer, to you, as sensible men, I say, Judge ye what I affirm. Even in the plenitude of his Apostolic authority, he does not forbid the Corinthians the exercise of their reason. They, as well as he, have the unction from above (1 John 2:20, cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 2:12), and can therefore discern the force of what he says. See also ch. 1 Corinthians 11:13.


Verses 15-22

15–22. THE DANGER OF EATING MEATS SACRIFICED TO IDOLS SHEWN FROM THE EXAMPLE OF SACRIFICIAL FEASTS IN GENERAL


Verse 16

16. τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας. The argument is resumed. First reason against taking part in an idol feast. We communicate together in the Body and Blood of Christ, and we are thereby debarred from communion with any beings alien to Him; a communion into which, by the analogy of all sacrificial rites, we enter with the beings to whom such sacrifices are offered. See 1 Corinthians 10:20. The term cup of blessing is a Hebraism for the cup over which a blessing is to be pronounced, whose characteristic it is to be blessed. It was the name given to the cup—the third after the Paschal meal—over which thanks were given at the Passover. Lightfoot.

ὃ εὐλογοῦμεν. Over which we pronounce the words of blessing and thanksgiving commanded by Christ. See Luke 22:20, and ch. 1 Corinthians 11:25. The cup was ordained to be blessed and we pronounce the blessing. The question arises what is the meaning of ‘we’ here. If we are to interpret the word by 1 Corinthians 10:17, it means the whole body of the faithful. And in this case we may suppose that the words of blessing were pronounced by the presiding elder or Bishop, and that the congregation made them their own by ‘the Amen’ (ch. 1 Corinthians 14:16) at the end. But see note on κλῶμεν below.

κοινωνία. Literally, ‘the making or sharing in common.’ Hence here it signifies that all share together in the gift of the Blood of Christ. διὰ τὶ μὴ εἶπε, μετοχή, ὅτι πλέον τι ἐβουλήθη, καὶ πολλὴν ἐνδείξασθαι τὴν συνάφειαν· οὐ γὰρ τῷ μετέχειν μόνον καὶ μεταλαμβάνειν ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ ἐνουσθαι κοινωνοῦμεν. Chrysostom. Plato (Phaedo 65 A, 80 E) uses it of the mutual relations of soul and body. Aristotle uses it in the sense of interchange, as of words, Nic. Eth. IV. 8; of commercial intercourse, 1 Corinthians 10:5; of the intercourse of a father with his sons, VIII. 14. Generally, it includes both the act of association with others and its results. The idea here is that of a meal on a sacrificed victim, which is Christ Himself, the true Paschal Lamb, by feeding on Whom all who partake of Him are made sharers of His Flesh and Blood, and thus are bound together in the closest fellowship with Him and with each other. The fact of this Eucharistic feeding upon Christ is adduced as the strongest reason why Christians cannot lawfully take part in idolatrous rites. It is as impossible to exclude here the active sense of ‘communication’ (see note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:9), as it is to confine the word to that signification. It must be taken in the widest possible sense, as including Christ’s feeding His people with His Flesh and Blood, and their joint participation in the same.

τὸν ἄρτον ὃν κλῶμεν. Calvin here characteristically contends that the Eucharistic loaf was handed from one to the other, and that each broke off his share. But it is obvious that the words are such as could be used by any minister of the Christian Church, of the solemn breaking of the bread in obedience to Christ’s command. And it may be further observed that only Christ is said to have broken the bread at the first institution of the Eucharist. The Roman Catholic commentator, Estius, here, however, agrees with Calvin. The breaking of the bread, he says, was first performed ‘a presbyteris et diaconis,’ and afterwards ‘a caeteris fidelibus.’ The language of St Paul is not precise enough to enable us absolutely to decide the point. See note on εὐλογοῦμεν.


Verse 17

17. ὅτι εἷς ἄρτος, ἓν σῶμα οἱ πολλοί ἐσμεν. Either, with R.V., seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body, or, because there is one loaf, we, the many, are one body, i.e. the loaf, in its oneness, is the type of the One Christ, and of His Body it is also the communion or joint participation. ‘As one loaf is made up of many grains, and one body is composed of many members, so the Church of Christ is joined together of many faithful ones, united in the bonds of charity.’ Augustine. So Chrysostom and Theodoret, and our English bishops Andrewes and Hall. Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 3:15. See next note.

οἱ γὰρ πάντες ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἄρτου μετέχομεν. For we all partake from the one loaf. As the one loaf was partaken of by the whole community, and its substance passed into each of them, and became part of themselves, so with that spiritual reality of which the outward ordinance was a type. All believers partook of the Body of Christ and were knit together into one body in It. Calvin reminds us that here St Paul is not dealing so much with our love towards and fellowship with one another, as with our spiritual union with Christ, in order to draw the inference that it is an unendurable sacrilege for Christians to be polluted by communion with idols.


Verse 18

18. βλέπετε τὸν Ἰσραήλ. Second reason (see 1 Corinthians 10:16). As the Christian sacrificial feasts, so are those of the Jews.

κατὰ σάρκα. As distinguished from Christians, who are Israel κατὰ πνεῦμα. See Romans 2:28; Galatians 4:26.

κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου. Sharers, inasmuch as part of the victim was consumed on the altar, and part eaten by the worshipper. Bengel remarks that ‘he to whom anything is offered, the things which are offered, the altar on which they are offered,’ and he might have added those who offer them, ‘have communion with each other.’ If, therefore, any one knowingly partakes of an idol sacrifice, as such (it would seem that some went so far as to contend that Christians might do so), he makes himself responsible for the worship of the idol, and all the evils with which that worship is connected.


Verse 19

19. τί οὖν φημί; ὅτι εἰδωλόθυτόν τί ἐστιν; St Paul does not mean to say here, any more than in ch. 1 Corinthians 8:4, that an idol, or the god represented by it, has any real objective existence, or that the sacrifices offered to such idols are the property of any such being as that they are intended to represent. But for all that, it may stand as the representative of that which has a very real existence indeed; the kingdom of evil, and those beings which maintain it.


Verse 20

20. δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ θύουσιν. Third reason. The worship of idols is a worship of daemons. The words here used are found in Deuteronomy 32:17, and similar ones are found in the Septuagint version of Psalms 96:5; cf. Psalms 106:37. The point of the argument is shewn in the last words of this sentence, ‘and not to God.’ As they were not sacrificed to God, they were sacrificed to His enemies, the ‘evil spirits,’ ‘daemons,’ not ‘devils’ properly, for this word is confined to the ‘prince of this world’ (John 12:31), ‘which is the Devil, and Satan’[137] (Revelation 20:2). Such beings as these are no mere conceptions of the fancy, but have a real and active existence. Their power over humanity when Christ came was great indeed. Not only was their master the Prince of this world (see above and cf. Luke 4:6), but the fact of demoniacal possession was a proof at once of their existence and influence upon man. Compare the Jewish opposition between the idea of God and that of daemons with the idea of subordination in heathen literature, e.g. Eurip. Troad. 55 μῶν ἐκ θεῶν του καινὸν ἀγγέλλεις ἔπος, ἢ Ζηνός, ἢ καὶ δαιμόνων τινὸς πάρα;


Verse 21

21. οὐ δύνασθεπίνειν. See note on 1 Corinthians 10:18, and for the nature of heathen sacrifices note on 1 Corinthians 8:1. The cup of daemons was the libation with which the meal commenced. It was the cup of daemons [1] because it was the cup of worship to beings other than God, which He Whose name was Jealous (Exodus 34:14; cf. Exodus 20:5) and Who ‘will not give His glory to another’ (Isaiah 42:8) had forbidden, and [2] because the worship of many of the gods was a distinct homage to the powers of evil, by reason of its polluting nature. Such worship obviously unfitted those who took part in it for fellowship with Christ. Cf. also 2 Corinthians 6:15-16.


Verse 22

22. ἢ παραζηλοῦμεν τὸν κύριον; i.e. as the Jews had done to their cost. See note on last verse. Cf. also Numbers 14; Deuteronomy 32:21; Psalms 95:8; Hebrews 3:16. The same word is found, with the same translation, in Romans 10:19; Romans 11:11, and in 1 Corinthians 10:14 of that chapter it is translated provoke to emulation.

μὴ ἰσχυρότεροι αὐτοῦ ἐσμέν; Surely we are not stronger than He? After having thus hinted at a wrath to come, St Paul turns abruptly aside, after his manner, to introduce a new argument.


Verse 23

23. πάντα ἔξεστιν. See Critical Note, and ch. 1 Corinthians 6:12, note. A repetition of the words in ch. 1 Corinthians 6:12, with a more emphatic enunciation of the doctrine that the great limiting principle of liberty is our neighbour’s edification.

οἰκοδομεῖ. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 8:1.


Verse 24

24. τὸ τοῦ ἑτέρου. The benefit of other people. Cf. Romans 15:1-3; Philippians 2:4. The conclusion is moral, not positive. No rule is laid down about eating or not eating any kind of food as a matter of importance in itself. With such things the Gospel has no concern. What St Paul does prescribe, relates to the effect of our conduct upon others. See Romans 14 throughout. It will thus happen in our case, as in that of the Apostle, that what may be quite wrong under one set of circumstances may be quite right in another, as in Galatians 2:3, and Acts 16:1. See also notes on ch. 8. It may be interesting to remark how these questions were treated by the theologians of later times. Estius gives several examples of the casuistry of the Latin Fathers. Augustine decides the case of those who, pressed by hunger, might be tempted to eat of food in an idol temple when quite alone, by saying that if they know it to have been offered to idols, they must refuse it. Jerome decides that the invocation of idols and daemons makes such food unclean. Gregory commends the virtue of some unlettered Christians who preferred rather to be slain than to eat meats offered to idols which their Lombard captors endeavoured to force upon them. The Greek Father, Chrysostom, however, remarks that St Paul does not suffer the Christian to question what it is he buys, but simply to eat whatever comes from the market. Compare for the moral sentiment Marcus Aurelius IV. 3 ὅτι τὰ λογικὰ ζῷα ἀλλήλων ἕνεκεν γέγονε, and IV. 12 πρὸς τὸ πρᾶξαι μόνον ὅπερ ἂν ὁ τῆς βασιλικῆς καὶ νομοθετικῆς λόγος ὑποβάλλῃ, ἐπ' ὠφελείᾳ ἀνθρώπων. And Cicero de Finibus II. 14 ‘Ut profectus a caritate domesticorum ac suorum, serpat longius et se implicet primum civium, deinde omnium mortalium societate, atque ut ad Archytam scripsit Plato non sibi se soli natum meminerit, sed patriae, sed suis, ut perexigua pars ipsi relinquatur.’


Verse 25

25. ἐν μακέλλῳ. This and the two following verses are directed against over-scrupulousness. Some Christians were afraid to buy meat in the public market, lest it might have been offered in sacrifice to an idol. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 8:1. μάκελλος is a Latin word which passed over into Greek and even into Rabbinic.

μηδὲν ἀνακρίνοντες. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 2:14. This may be interpreted [1] as directing, that no inquiry was to be made, lest the answer should suggest conscientious scruples, or [2] as urging that no conscientious scruples need be felt which should lead to any necessity for making inquiries. The latter is more in accordance with the robust morality of the Apostle, and with the context. The conscience need not be sensitive upon such points; it need not suggest entangling difficulties, where in truth there were none. This is better than to suppose with some, that information was to be kept back in order to avoid anxiety on the part of the scrupulous.


Verse 26

26. τοῦ κυρίου γὰρ ἡ γῆ. See Psalms 24:1. Cf. Psalms 50:12. It is not the eating of meats that is sinful. ‘An idol is nothing in the world,’ and all creatures are made by God, and are therefore fit for food. (Cf. 1 Timothy 4:4.) But knowingly to countenance idolatrous rites, to give to another the glory due to the one true God alone, is a grievous sin. Therefore the whole question of sinfulness depends, not on the meat, but on the knowledge of him who eats it, what kind of meat it is. If he does not know that it has been offered to an idol, he may dismiss all scruples, for it is only this knowledge, and not the perishable meat (see ch. 1 Corinthians 6:13), which makes him partaker of the ‘table of daemons.’ So 1 Corinthians 10:27.


Verse 27

27. εἴ τις καλεῖ ὑμᾶς τῶν ἀπίστων, i.e. to a feast in a private house, not in an idol temple. See ch. 1 Corinthians 8:9. To sit at meat in the idol temple was clearly to be a partaker of the ‘table of daemons.’


Verse 28

28. ἐὰν δέ τις, i.e. if [1] one of your fellow-guests should display scruples of conscience, or [2] a heathen should be likely to draw the inference that you approved of idol worship. ‘This altogether alters the case. You are no longer simply eating with thankfulness the food set before you as the gift of God. The question of idolatrous worship is now introduced. If your own conscience would permit you to eat, you have to consider whether your conduct might lead another to suppose that you regarded participation in the worship of idols as permissible to a Christian.’ ἐάν here implies a case not so likely to happen as the invitation imagined in 1 Corinthians 10:27, which εἰ and the pres. indic. mark as an extremely probable supposition. ‘If any one asks you … but if any one should say.’

ἱερόθυτον. The word which a heathen would use. He would be certain not to say εἰδωλόθυτον. It was the failure to see this which led to the rec. reading. See Critical Note.

καὶ τὴν συνείδησιν. In this case it is another man’s conscience, not our own, which is meant, as is explained in 1 Corinthians 10:29.


Verse 29

29. ἑαυτοῦ. For the usual σεαυτοῦ. Winer, Gr. Gram. § 22, refers to John 18:34. But B (followed by Westcott and Hort) reads σεαυτοῦ there. Winer gives some instances of this unusual construction from classical authors.

ἱνατί γάρ. The connection is as follows. ‘I don’t say your conscience, but the other man’s. For what right has he to judge you, or to interfere with your Christian liberty? No, he has nothing to do with your conscience. But yon may have a good deal to do with his. If you should inflict an injury on that, you would be greatly to blame.’ In other words no man has any right to pronounce ab extra on another man’s conduct on such matters. Each is free to act, as far as he himself is concerned, according to his own sense of what is fitting and proper. But a man’s right to think for himself is limited by the effect of his action on others. If his conduct be the means of inducing others less enlightened than himself to act contrary to their conscience, and to do what they believe to be wrong, he is doing harm by the exercise of a liberty which in any other case he undoubtedly enjoys.


Verse 30

30. χάριτι. In a thankful spirit.

βλασφημοῦμαι. The word means originally to speak ill of, to slander. So in ch. 1 Corinthians 4:13.


Verse 31

31. εἴτε οὖν. The glory of God, that is to be the end of all your actions. In themselves, eating and drinking are things indifferent, but there are circumstances in which they may be matters of the highest importance. In our own day, for instance, the question of using or abstaining from intoxicating liquors is one which ought to be dealt with on the same principles as those which St Paul has laid down in this chapter. Such a question should be approached and decided on one ground alone, namely, whether by using them or abstaining from them we shall best promote the glory of God.


Verse 32

32. ἀπρόσκοποιγίνεσθε. Be not a cause of stumbling. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 8:9. This verse and the next explain the words, ‘I am made all things to all men,’ ch. 1 Corinthians 9:22.

Ἰουδαίοις. This question is dealt with fully in Romans 14, where the question of eating or abstaining from meats regarded by the Jews as unclean, is decided upon precisely the same principles as those laid down in this chapter.

1 Corinthians 11:1. This verse belongs to the former chapter, and concludes the argument, as in ch. 1 Corinthians 4:16.


Verse 33

33. σύμφορον אABC. συμφέρον rec. with DEFG.

 


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-10.html. 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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