Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 10

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-13

  1. Intro:
    1. The nice thing about watching DVD’s is that it has scene selections...where you can go back & watch or review a specific section.
      1. Thats what Paul does here. He clicks back to 5 specific scene selections in Israel’s history, so the Corinthians, & now the Calvary Murrietians, won’t be doomed to repeat it!
        1. Yet…WE DO repeat it! :(
      2. Ecclesiastes 1:3-11 teaches us that Life has “cycles” of time.
        1. Especially see vs.4 & 11.
      3. So it has been aptly said, “Those who do not learn from History ARE doomed to repeat it!”
    2. Spirituality doesn’t guarantee infallibility!
      1. There is a big danger in overconfidence!
      2. People that enjoy great privileges are far from being safe from temptation!
    3. Outline: 5 Privileges - 5 Precepts - 5 Promises!
  2. 5 PRIVILEGES! (1-5)
    1. Note: Paul speaks of these events as factual history!
    2. [1] DISTINCT DIRECTION! (1a)
    3. Cloud – pillar of cloud by day.
    4. They felt they were walking aimlessly in the desert, but they weren’t.
      1. They had a guide 24/7. No guessing game for them. It turned, moved, stopped, started…They just needed to follow.
      2. It was easy as opening their eyes!
      3. Don’t tell me…“if I could only see a sign…then I’d follow the Lord!” - The God of Israel showed them daily signs…but to no avail!
    5. It seems the supernatural became ordinary. They took God’s presence for granted.
      1. You might struggle w/the same thing if you live in a Christian home, attend a Christian school, are in Christian activities, have all Christian friends. - It may become so ordinary, the doldrums might set in, of the day in & day out Christian life.
        1. I learned this in China my 1st trip, when we couldn’t pray in public. We took the ability to pray in public for granted & wouldn’t have recognized it until this freedom was taken away.
    6. [2] DOOR OF DELIVERANCE! (1b)
    7. All passed though the sea (Red Sea) – They didn’t even get their feet wet!
    8. [3] LARGE LEADERSHIP! (2)
    9. Baptized – immersed into Moses (i.e. brought into close relationship w/Moses)
      1. 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.
      2. 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”!
    10. God not only gave them distinct direction & doors of deliverance, but also a large leader to follow…His man Moses!
    11. [4] FALLING FOOD! (3)
    12. For 40 years, 6 days a week. And they never went hungry. (eating manna)
    13. [5] DESERT DRINK! (4)
    14. 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!
    15. Jesus had His hand in the affairs of His people…here providing them w/all the water they needed. (Ex.17:5-7 water from rock)
    16. You’d think with all of these blessings thus far…Direction, Deliverance, Leadership, Food, & Drink, they’d be thankful & obedient…Nope!
    17. (5) Most of them? - There’s an understatement!
      1. They estimate 3 million left Egypt…How many of this generation entered into the land?…2!!! (Joshua & Caleb)
        1. This had to be an eye opener for the Corinthians. All these bodies full of miraculous food-drink, now strewn all over the desert.
      2. Not well pleased – They failed to please God!
      3. Paul’s point – Having privileges doesn’t guarantee successful living!
        1. You must open God’s instruction manual to correctly assemble a godly life!…Here’s how, w/these 5 Precepts…
  3. 5 PRECEPTS! (6-12) (Precept = a rule of moral conduct)
    1. Examples – (an awful, warning example)
      1. Thats why its so important to read the OT. Examples, warnings, admonitions.
    2. [1] DON’T CRAVE EVIL THINGS! (6) [Quail Bash!]
    3. Lust – (lit.) long after. NIV “set our hearts on”. To crave.
    4. They’d been overexposed to supernatural benefits – yet still lacked the proper response.
    5. Story in Numbers ch.11 esp. vss.4, 33-34 [Quail Bash!] (like whack-a-mole-game)
    6. [2] DON’T BE IDOLATROUS! (7) [Golden Calf]
    7. This story is in Ex.32:6 where Aaron made the golden calf. [or melted it in the fire & Poof, it came out]
    8. “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!” (Swindoll, Cor., pg.53)
    9. We all worship! (all humanity are worshipers!)
      1. Peter Kreeft said, “The opposite of Christianity is not atheism but idolatry.”
      2. You may worship your mind/intellect; your own experience; scientific rationalism.
        1. But everyone has devoted themselves to some idol/god.
      3. Idolatry is taking a good thing & elevating it to a God thing.
      4. They are really easy to identify idols in other cultures(H.K., India, Thailand,etc.) but often hard to dial into our own idols.
        1. We worship our sports teams, our fav bands, our career’s.
        2. Some worship their sexual exploits, their hard bodies, their job, their house.
        3. Some worship where they live/neighborhood, their car, their clothing/label.
      5. What idols do you need to pull down in your life?
    10. [3] DON’T BE IMMORAL! (8) [Num25, Israel harlotry w/women of Moab]
      1. Where Phinehas, Aaron’s son, stopped the plague when he thrust a javelin through both man & women committing sex act in their tent, because of the “in your face” attitude(vs.6) as he took this Midianite women in front of Moses & people weeping in front of the tabernacle of meeting. [24,000 in vs.9; diff? In 1 day Corinth passage]
    11. This suggests a process: Starts w/an evil attitude(crave/lust); continues w/a substitution of other things in God’s place(idolatry); & then results in immorality (i.e.) “anything in our lives that’s inconsistent w/ Purity”!
    12. [4] DON’T TEST THE LORD! (9) [fiery serpents]
    13. They tested God in Numb.21:5, The people spoke against God and against Moses: have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? - & God responded, not so warmly, in the next verse, So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
      1. Don’t dare God to come through!
      2. In the back of our mind there seems to hang a sign that reads, “It’ll be alright. God will forgive.” - Forgetting about His holiness as well as His love!
    14. Never dare to exploit the Goodness of God!
    15. Slide#21 [5] DON’T COMPLAIN! (10) [Numb.16; plague; 14,700 died; put fire in censor to stop]
    16. Numb.16:41-49. On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.”
    17. Complain – murmur, grumble.
      1. When they didn’t get what they wanted…they complained bitterly & relentlessly! – Oh, thankless grumbling!
      2. “Do you meet life with a whine or a cheer?”
    18. We have perfected the art of grumbling! Matter of fact we even can do it when everything is going great! – I’ll show you…
      1. Have you ever complained of not having enough room in your closet…because of having so many clothes?
      2. Have you ever complained of your freezer being too full to place something in it?
    19. (11) Examples – tupos, “to strike w/a blow for the purpose of leaving an impression”
      1. Was used for the nail prints in Jesus’ hands.
      2. It was used for stamping the imprint of the emperor on coins.
        1. Like memory foam beds – get up leaves an impression for a while.
      3. Thus these wilderness experiences should make a strong, permanent impression on us!
        1. Lk.12:48b 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.
        2. God saw fit to privilege us, we ought to respond w/a gracious spirit & an obedient heart!
    20. (12) Do you think you are an impregnable fortress?
      1. Sardis – Rev.3:3 told to “Be watchful.”
        1. Sardis was an acropolis, built on a jutting spur of rock, & was impregnable…until Cyrus came along(549bc).
        2. He offered a reward to any that cold 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!
        3. Take heed CM. - Take heed individual believers!
    21. 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, April 5, 1993, p. 17)
  4. 5 PROMISES! (13)
    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!”
    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!
    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.”
      1. Don’t listen to your temptation. It will be very persuasive & have beautiful markings! Don’t listen!

Verses 14-33

  1. Intro: Slide #1
    1. This is dated...but still applicable. 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
    1. Last Week: Paul explained that the ancient Israelites had God’s miraculous Presence, Protection, & Provision. Yet, an entire generation died-en-route to the promise land…because of disobedience.
      1. The Corinthian believers also needed to take heed to taking advantage of their liberties, lest they also fall short of God’s best for them.
  1. Slide #2 FELLOWSHIP OR FRIENDSHIP? (14-22)
    1. Slide #3 (14) Flee from idolatry - I think of a flea that can jump 7”(h) & 13”(frwd), thus 200 x’s its bodies length.
    1. (16) It all starts at the cross! - Always start at Calvary.
      1. 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.

      1. 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.
        1. Your fellowship can stay at Calvary & your heart stay tune w/God, while you seek to win souls for Him!
      1. We need to learn to live in separation to God.
        1. This is something only you & I can discern personally, when we are right before God regarding this.
        1. 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!
        1. You can’t belong to Christ & live in the enemy’s camp!
          1. 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.
        1. Remember God called us to separation but not isolation!


    1. (21,22) Any places you shouldn’t be frequenting?

      1. Any tables you shouldn’t be sitting at?

        1. Slide #4 Here we have Satan’s communion service! (as he has a counterfeit church & gospel, so he has a counterfeit communion service!)

        1. Why are Bars & Night clubs so successful? They provide “fellowship”. Everyone knows your name. Free to be yourself. It’s everything the church should have been for them or probably failed to be in their time of need. Maybe they were judged rather than listened to? And so, the Churches communion feast of wine & bread is replaced for Beer & Nuts at the local bar. :(

      1. How are you doing with both of these categories? – Who are you Fraternizing with?

        1. Do you still have friends in the world? or have you so distanced yourself, it’s almost impossible to have an impact on anyone?

        1. Do you have fellowship w/Christians? or are all your friends still your old friends of the world?

          1. Which of these 2 could you work on this week?

  1. Slide #5 TO GOD BE THE GLORY! (23-33)

    1. (23) Not all things edify/build you up!

      1. Remember you are on the King’s business & He grants no vacations from holy living!

        1. Yet it is not only about Holy living for God could just bring us home for that, but he also seeks to save those that are lost…through & I! [be concerned about your testimony!]

    1. Does it past the Test?

      1. Slide #6 THE WORLD TEST. Will it make me worldly to do it? (1John 2:15–17)1

      1. THE QUALITY TEST. Is it good for me physically, emotionally, & spiritually? (Rom. 12:9b)

      1. THE TEMPLE TEST. Can I do it when I remember my body is God’s temple and must not be marred or misused? (1Cor.6:19)

      1. THE GLORY TEST. Will it glorify my Lord, or will it on the other hand possibly bring shame to His name? (1Cor.6:20, 10:32)

      1. 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)

      1. THE REPUTATION TEST. Is it apt to damage my testimony for the Lord?(Phil. 2:15)

      1. THE CONSIDERATION TEST. Am I being considerate of others and the effect this might have on them? (Rom.14:7, 21)


Taken from Basic Bible Beliefs, Bible Baptist Church, Auburn, Wn.,1975, unpublished, Eugene A. Wood, DTS, ThM Thesis, 1980


    1. THE APPEARANCE TEST. Will it look bad? Does it have the appearance of what is wrong or suspicious? (1 Thes.5:22)

    1. THE WEIGHT TEST. Could this slacken or sidetrack me in running the Christian race? (Heb.12:1, 1 Cor. 9:24)

    1. THE COMING OF CHRIST TEST. Would I be ashamed to be found doing this when He comes again (1 John 2:28)?

    1. THE COMPANION TEST. Can I invite Christ to go with me and participate with me in this (Matt. 28:20b, Col. 3:17)?

    1. THE PEACE TEST. After having prayed about it, do I have perfect peace about doing it (Col. 3:15a, Phil. 4:6–7)?

  1. Slide #7 Now Paul draws back his arrow in his bow & strikes his mark!

    1. Slide #8 Explain the parts of an arrow: nock - fletching(vanes) - shaft - head.

    1. Explain the fletching of an arrow: Toward back of arrow; feather or plastic; provides

a little drag to stabilize the flight. Purpose: control the roll, pitch, & the yaw.

  1. Slide #9 1st Feather: Live Sacrificially for others! (23,24)

    1. God did not only save you that you might serve Him, but that you might live before this fallen world as an example, & a witness of a changed life.

    1. If your 1st concern is the spiritual wealth of the person before you, then you need not worry about stumbling anyone.

      1. The shaft of an arrow must follow the pointed head!

      1. Hey, how about carrying out this truth(vs.24) in our conversations? Want to lose friends, just keep talking about you, your problems, your life, your work, your family issues, & your hobbies, you, you,, ad-nauseam.

      1. Read Story (below)

  1. Slide #10 2nd Feather: Don’t be so can’t live in the real world & make real decisions! (25-27)

    1. Stop being “Glass Christians” (so fragile) [plasticize yourself!] {blessed r the flexible}

    1. Slide #11 Plasticize verb, make plastic or moldable, esp. by the addition of a plasticize

  1. Slide #12 3rd Feather: Don’t practice License, in the name of Christian Liberty! (28-31)

  1. (31) His Glory should be our Single Aspiration!

    1. Slide #13 The 3 flight-stabilizing vanes of the arrow, now strike their mark in vs.31!

      1. We are not to make a mark, a name, or a reputation, for ourselves…but for Him!


      1. Not, make a mark, a name, or a reputation for Brian (wow, look how holy he is!)

  1. (Oswald Chambers, Nov.16th)

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 anti-climax, but a great revelation of God!!!

    1. 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.

    1. We might no longer seek mediaeval haloes, but we want something that will make

people say...What a man of prayer he is! (he prays in Old King James!) What a devoted woman she is! (she goes to 2 bible studies a week!)

      1. It takes Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the most trivial duty to the glory of God.

      1. It takes God’s Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His...that we are utterly unnoticeable.

      1. Our aim? to manifest the glory of God in everyday life; to live the life hid with Christ in God in all human conditions.

  1. The shallow concerns of life are ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound.

    1. The shallow things of life, eating and drinking, walking and talking, driving to work, doing laundry...are all ordained by God.

    1. 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."

  1. (32,33) There are only 3 groups of people in this world: the Jews, the Gentiles, & the Church.

    1. End times debates: large part depends on your understanding of Israel.

      1. God is through with Israel, as the church is now spiritual Israel? Or,

God is not through with Israel & the church is new & distinct from Israel?

  1. 3 groups of people in this world:

    1. Slide #14 The Jews - the nation that sprang from Abraham. The chosen earthly people of God. This nation has been miraculously preserved to the present time & will yet be the dominant, glorified people of the earth in the coming kingdom age.

      1. Only nation to be a nation, not be a nation, & then be a nation again(1948). (same with Hebrew language)

      1. God has given eternal promises/covenants with Israel. Including: a National entity (Jer. 31:36); a land (Gen.31:15); a throne (2Sam.7:13); a king (Jer.33:20,21); a kingdom (2Sam.7:16).

      1. 4 words have been used to describe the out-working of the divine purpose in this people:


      1. Chosen - Scattered - Gathered - Blessed (They were chosen; are now scattered; yet to be gathered & blessed)

  1. Slide #15 The Gentiles - Have lived on earth from Adam until now. All humans excluding the Israelites.

    1. OT prophecies predict great earthly blessings to come upon the Gentiles, in the yet future kingdom on the earth.

  1. Slide #16,17 The Church of God -

    1. Refers, not to membership of organized churches, but to the whole company of the redeemed who will have been saved in the present age. They have been…

      1. Born again & have entered into the kingdom of God (Jn.3:5)

      1. They are no longer “in Adam” but are “in Christ” partaking in the new creation of all Christ is in His Resurrection life & glory.

      1. In the sight of God their nationality is changed, for they have come upon new ground where there is neither Jew or Gentile, but Christ is all in all.

        1. God expects The Church to win Jews & Gentiles to the Lord.

      1. They are now citizens of heaven. All their promises, their possessions, & their position are heavenly.

Long before the House of God was built, two brothers are said to have lived on Mount Moriah. One was a single man; the other had a wife and family. These two exemplified brotherly love. They lived together in complete unity. They shared the same house without dissension. Every morning, they got up early and shared the tedious work of farming the hill.Soon, it was time to harvest. The sheaves were gathered and carefully divided into two identical piles. Each brother would garner an equal share in the fruit of their labors. When finished, the two brothers returned home to rest in preparation for the difficult day of threshing ahead.The unmarried brother had a fit of conscience. Later that night, he returned to the threshing floor and carefully redistributed the harvest. His heart was pure. He reduced his portion of the sheaves to make his brother’s pile larger, thinking, “It is neither right nor necessary for me to keep an equal portion of God’s bounty. My brother is a good man caring for a wife and family. It is better that he receive a bigger portion.” Then he quietly returned to bed.Shortly thereafter, the married brother awoke. He told his wife, “My darling, things are not right. It is unfair that my brother has an equal share of the harvest. I already receive a greater share of happiness because of the love I have from you and our children. My brother has neither.” So they quietly went to


the threshing floor and together, they transferred a portion of their sheaves to the pile of the single brother.

When daylight came, the two brothers went to thresh the sheaves. As they reached the threshing floor, both brothers were amazed. Each pile was again equal! Perplexed, they quietly finished their work and went home. That night, each brother determined to return to the threshing floor to bless the other.

God’s timing is always perfect. So it was again that quiet night. The two brothers arrived simultaneously. In an instant, they both understood the other’s heart. Embracing, they gave each other a kiss of brotherly love.

Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.