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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

1 Corinthians 10

Verse 1

Under the cloud; under the guidance of the cloud. (Exodus 13:21,22.)--Passed through the sea; Exodus 14:21,22.

Verse 2

Baptized unto Moses, &c., brought into a state of organization and subordination to Moses. The gathering of the great multitude of the children of Israel under the protection of the pillar of cloud, and the conducting of them in safety through the sea, at the outset of their journey might be regarded like baptism, as the initiatory ceremony, by which they were united together into one body under one common head, and became bound by common obligations.

Verse 3

Spiritual meat; spiritual food; that is, they all enjoyed the same high spiritual privileges, although, as it is stated in the 1 Corinthians 10:4,5, they greatly misimproved them.

Verse 4

That spiritual Rock. The religious advantages which they enjoyed, and which are here said to have been communicated to them by Christ, are compared to drinking from the rock, in allusion to the miraculous manner by which they were liberally supplied with water at Horeb. (Exodus 17:4-6.)

Verse 7

The people sat down, &c. This was on the occasion of the worship of the golden calf at the time of the giving of the law. (Exodus 32:6.)

Verse 8

This verse refers to transactions recorded in Numbers 25:1-5. The number mentioned in the original account, (1 Corinthians 10:9,) as destroyed in consequence of the sin, is twenty-four thousand. Many ingenious modes of accounting for this difference have been proposed; but, as it is a difference not at all affecting the point which the apostle had in view, it seems to be of no greater importance than the other verbal diversities between the quotations in the New Testament and the originals in the Old. The evangelists and the apostles never attempt, when they quote, to transcribe the words; the give the substance from memory. It would have been very inconvenient and difficult to have referred always to the passages intended, on account of the forms of the manuscripts in use in those days, and the nature of the character; and the Holy Spirit never interposes, with miraculous aid, to accomplish what would have been of no real advantage; for the substance of the quotation is all that is required.

Verse 10

Numbers 14:2-4,15:1-3.

Verse 11

The ends of the world; the last dispensation, the reign of the Messiah, as distinguished from the patriarchal dispensation, which was the first, and the Mosaic, which was the second; that of the gospel being the third and last of the series.

Verse 16

This passage (1 Corinthians 10:16-18) seems to be intended to warn the Christian professor against any participation in the idolatrous services and worship prevailing around them. The sense is, We are not to partake of the idol entertainments and revellings; the feasts which we enjoy are of a different kind.

Verse 18

Partakers of the altar; of the sacrifice, and the worship which the sacrifice represents. So it would be with them if they were to frequent the idol temples, and join in the carousals practised there.

Verse 20

To devils; to beings of the most corrupt and abandoned characters. This designation very justly applies to the most prominent deities of the Greek mythology.

Verse 22

Do we provoke? shall we provoke?

Verse 23

All things, &c. The sense is, Many things are lawful which are not expedient, &c. This is intended to apply to those acts, which, while they do not imply any guilty participation in idol worship, might have that appearance, and so ought to be avoided. Examples are given below.

Verse 25

In the shambles; in the market. The meaning is, It is not necessary for you to inquire whether the meat which you purchase has been offered to idols. You purchase it simply as food which God has provided.

Verse 27

To a feast; to a private entertainment.--Asking no question; that is, in respect to the origin of the food provided, with a view to ascertain whether any of it had been offered to idols.

Verse 29

For why is my liberty judged, &c. This is to show why the duty of abstaining, in such cases, is not on account of one's own conscience, but out of regard to that of, the other, as is stated in the 1 Corinthians 10:28; for, so far as the individual himself is concerned, his conduct, in a moral point of view, depends, in such a case as this, upon his own views of right. This clause and the 1 Corinthians 10:29 show, tool that the scrupulous brother has no right to complain, and condemn the other, even if he does not comply, with his wishes. Thus there is a double safeguard against contention and ill-will. On the one hand, the enlightened are required to yield to the conscientious scruples of the weak; and, on the other, if they do not, the latter are taught that they have no right to insist upon and exact such conformity.

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Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.