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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 10

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The Sadness Of Spiritual Failure First Corinthians Ten

In First Corinthians Ten Paul painted a very sad picture of spiritual failure. After painting the word picture of failure he explained the purpose of the portrait. Paul was still attempting to convince the Corinthians that they must avoid anything that would cause the weak brother to feel that he was having communion with idols.

Even though Israel had the advantage of many miracles, crossing the Red Sea, manna from heaven and water from a rock they still failed spiritually. Christians must avoid lust, idolatry, fornication and all other sins, even the sin of murmuring. God has not promised to keep us from falling, but He has promised away where-by we might escape sin if we are willing. Paul was trying to impress into the hearts of these people that they must flee from sin and be faithful to God. The way to avoid sin is to cling to the Lord in daily living and in worship.

Obviously there were situations where Christians could eat the meat that had been sacrificed to idols without sin. However, the Christian must not only consider what is lawful or right, he must also consider what is expedient and what will edify others. Whether it is in eating or in drinking, and in all we do our aim should be to glorify God and give honor unto Him. A loving and pure heart will help you accomplish this goal.

Verses 1-5

The terrible failure of the Israelites 1Co_10:1-5 : God painted a sad portrait of the failures of Israel in the words, "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." ( 1Co_10:5 ) In I Corinthians chapter 9 Paul said he did not want to be disqualified. However, he said that most of the people that made up Israel in the wilderness were disqualified. This was a terrible tragedy. They (1) were all under the cloud (2) all passed through the sea, (3) all were baptized unto Moses, (4) all ate the same spiritual food, and (5) all drank the same spiritual drink. "But most of them did not please God. So they died, and their bodies were scattered all over the desert."

The Bible leads us to think that there may have been as many as two million or more people that went out of Egypt. There were "six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men" that were from twenty years old and upward. Only two of that number, Joshua and Caleb, entered the land of Canaan. All the rest died and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. The terrible failure of the Israelites should cause us to take note of our lives.

Verses 6-14

Cautions against sinful practices 1Co_10:6-14 : The purpose of the sad portrait was so that we might have an example of what caused people to be disqualified. Some were disqualified because of (1) Lusting for evil things ( 1Co_10:6 ), (2) some were idol worshippers ( 1Co_10:7 ), (3) some were immoral ( 1Co_10:8 ), (4) some tempted the Lord ( 1Co_10:9 ), and (5) some murmured. ( 1Co_10:10 ) They fell into temptation, they sinned, and they quit the race. If Israel could fall we need to take warning because the same thing could happen to us.

One of the sad sins of Israel was that of murmuring, grumbling or discontentment. They seemed always discontent with their situation. This meant they were discontent with God because He controls the world. The things that come into your life first come before the mind of the Almighty. To be discontent with your circumstances is to be discontent with your God. ( Php_4:11 )

You can rest assured that temptation will come your way. With the help of God you can face every trial. "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." ( 1Co_10:13 ) We must never allow sin to cause us to become disqualified from the race.

Paul said these things happen for our example. This helps us understand that the Old Testament was also written to help us. Read it often.

Verses 15-22

Having communion with Christ 1Co_10:15-22 : The children of Israel in the wilderness saw more miracles than anyone before them or after them. Yet they turned to idolatry. The very nature of God is opposed to idolatry. He is the one true God and our communion must be with Him. The Corinthian people had been called out of the background of idolatry to serve God. ( Act_26:18 ) They were to now flee from idolatry and have communion with God through Jesus Christ.

Idolatry takes many forms. Some bow down before gods of wood or stone. Others bow before the god of covetous. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." ( Col_3:5 ) Flee idolatry because what ever ceremonies you engage in then you identify yourself with that one. Communion identifies us with Christ. Idol feasts identify you with idols. ( 1Co_10:15-18 ) Idols are of the devil. And "...Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's Table, and of the table of devils." ( 1Co_10:21 )

Verses 23-33

To the glory of God and without offence 1Co_10:23-33 : Christians must be fully convinced that there is such a thing as right and wrong. The Christian is very much out of step with the thinking and the actions of the world. We must never allow ourselves to get use to the spiritual darkness brought on by the mindset of the world. Christians must be guided by Law, Love and Liberty. But all three bring with them great responsibility. Paul said, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth." ( 1Co_10:23 )

Our interest must not be selfish. Our concern must be for others. ( 1Co_10:24 ) To help in the matter of meat offered to idols Paul said buy the meat in the market without asking questions but do not go into the idol temple to buy it. The reasoning for this is not because the meat is wrong but because the temple is wrong. The world is yours if you use it properly. Paul said that it is even acceptable to eat with the unbeliever without asking questions. If someone tells you it is idol meat do not eat for the sake of the one that told you. The idolatrous aspect of the meat has now become an issue. The conclusion was, "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." ( 1Co_10:31 ) We must live in such a way as to avoid offense among Jews, Greeks and the church of God.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/1-corinthians-10.html. 2014.
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