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1 Corinthians 10

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-14

A Negative Example: The Idolatry of Israel in the Wilderness 1 Corinthians 8-10 deals with idolatry and the practice of eating things offered to idols. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 Paul warns the believers in Corinth about how easy it is to fall back into a lifestyle of idolatry, which was taking place all around them in the Greek culture. He tells them to take diligent heed lest they fall back into this lifestyle after having been saved and washed by the blood of Jesus. He knows that if they compromise a little with the lifestyle that was associated with idolatry, then they stood in danger of falling back into the bondages of their old sins. In exhorting them towards sanctification, Paul uses the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness as a testimony of how easily someone can start out right and fall back into sin.

Israel’s Rebellion Discussed in the Old Testament - We see in Nehemiah 9:0 and Psalms 78:0 the discussion of Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness journeys. Note that all of the children of Israel were healthy when they began the wilderness journey because they partook of the Passover. They were God’s chosen. They were God's redeemed. They had God's divine health even though they had been in bondage and had been ill-treated. Yet, because of their sins they were chastised by God and died.

Paul uses the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness in this passage of Scripture to illustrate how easily people become deceived and fall back into sin after having been redeemed. These examples of disobedience take place with multitudes of people. In contrast, the examples of obedience in the Scriptures are seen in the lives of individuals. For examples of individual obedience, see Hebrews 11:0.

John Durham notes an underlying motif of grumbling and complaining in Israel’s forty-year wilderness journey Their grumbling is constantly being met with God’s continual intervention to meet their need. [130]

[130] John I. Durham, Exodus, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 3, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 3.0b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2004), explanation of Exodus 5:22-27.

Parallels in Church Ordinances The Israelites had redemptive experiences with Moses in the wilderness that paralleled water baptism and the Lord's Supper. Note the reference to communion later in this chapter in verse 16.

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;

1 Corinthians 10:1 “I would not that ye should be ignorant” Comments 1 Corinthians 10:1 refers to the fact that not all those in the wilderness finished course. Paul is saying that they need to know these things.

1 Corinthians 10:1 “how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea” - Comments The Lord went before the children of Israel in a pillar of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night from the moment they departed from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 13:21).

Exodus 13:21, “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:”

The emphasis upon all passing through the sea is contrasted with all running the race, but only on receiving the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24).

1 Corinthians 9:24, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all , but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”

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

1 Corinthians 10:2 Comments The story of the children of Israel being “baptized unto Moses” is found in Exodus 14:1-31, especially verse 31, which describes Israel’s faith in God. The cloud stood between the children of Israel and the Egyptian army, serving as a cloud and darkness to the Egyptians, but a guiding light to Israel (Exodus 14:19; Exodus 14:29; Exodus 14:24).

Exodus 14:31, “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.”

Exodus 14:19-20, “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.”

Exodus 14:24, “And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,”

Those who have passed over to the other side, having visited heaven and come back, say that there is a river, clear as crystal, that everyone must pass through before entering the heavenly city where the throne of God dwells. They say that by passing through this river, the last vestiges of this world are washed away and one enters into the fullness of the heavenly realm. Thus, the passing through the Red Sea by the children of Israel before approaching Mount Sinai serves as a symbol of the washing away of the vestiges of their bondage in Egypt.

Illustration - Identification is the theme of this passage. We, as believers, are identified with Jesus and with the body of Christ. However, we in the western civilization have a shallow concept of what identification means. We have struggled for centuries for national independence and civil liberties. Therefore, we understand the meaning of independence. But, independence is the opposite of identification. In undeveloped countries today, as well as in Bible times, individual independence meant that a person was alone and vulnerable to uncivilized bands of men and threatening armies. In contrast, in today's developed nations with much individual wealth, we try to be as different and self-sufficient as possible.

Illustration - As an American, I have found it hard to understand the close identification in the family of my wife, who is from the Philippines. When her father makes a decision, the entire family usually follows him with his decision. When he chooses religious belief, my wife's mother, brothers and sisters choose to follow that religion without question. This is identification. But, as an independent American, this is not easily understood.

The New Testament church was a people who sought identification, and not independence. They joined closely together in every area of their lives, to the extent that they “had all things common.”

Acts 2:44, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common ;”

Acts 4:32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common .”

This early church did not seek to be identified with any of the elements of their surrounding culture, but rather, with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For, this was their only hope of deliverance from a cruel and oppressive world that they lived in.

Today, in Africa, I see a church choir wearing the same clothes and even the ladies will all have the same hairstyle for their presentation. After church, they will eat together, take public transport together and many live in rental houses together. In contrast, Americans will wear separate clothes and hairstyles, drive separate cars to church, and live in separate homes. The only identification they have in a church choir is to put on a choir robe during the service. Thus, we see a representation of a people seeking close identification and a people seeking independence.

Why is this so? Because lives lived in poverty have no hope outside of identification. Therefore, poor people seek to be identified with something that they believe will give them a name of honour and strength.

Poor people seek identification lest their poverty destroy them. But, rich people seek independence when they trust in their wealth to give them strength and power. Note:

Proverbs 10:15, “The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.”

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

1 Corinthians 10:3 “spiritual meat” Comments God fed the children of Israel with manna for forty years (Exodus 16:35). The Scriptures also describe this “spiritual meat” as angel’s food (Psalms 78:25).

Exodus 16:35, “And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.”

Psalms 78:25, “Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.”

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.

1 Corinthians 10:4 Comments - The statement in 1 Corinthians 10:4 is literally true. In a dry desert land, God gave them water from a rock.

Deuteronomy 8:15, “Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;”

Psalms 78:15-16, “He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.”

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

1 Corinthians 10:5 Comments The children of Israel were overthrown during a number of events when God judged them. These events are listed in the verses that follow.

They fainted, or grew weary, and came short in this life (Numbers 14:16).

Numbers 14:16, “Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.”

Despite all of their privileges given to them by God, He was not pleased, because they did not live by faith.

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Only two men entered into the Promised Land who had began this journey. This tells us that there are few that overcome.

Matthew 7:14, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

In the time of Noah, only eight souls were saved. In the time of Lot, only three souls were saved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

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

1 Corinthians 10:6 Comments We find this story in Numbers 11:4-30. Many Christians are not content with what they have.

Philippians 4:11-12, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

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.

1 Corinthians 10:7 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - 1 Corinthians 10:7 a quote from Exodus 32:1-35, “And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play .”

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

1 Corinthians 10:8 Comments 1 Corinthians 10:8 refers to the time when Balaam taught the children of Israel to stumble in the wilderness by enticing them with Moabite women (see Numbers 25:1-9). Note that fornication has been allowed to go uncondemned within the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).

1 Corinthians 5:1-5, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 10:7-8 Comments - Idolatrous Festivities - Paul refers to the sins of idolatrous festivities and fornication in 1 Corinthians 10:7-8. It is important to note how this was characteristic of the behaviour in the Hellenistic culture when the Greeks involved themselves in Temple worship. The children of Israel also fell into this idolatrous type of worship of pagan gods (Revelation 2:14).

Revelation 2:14, “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”

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

1 Corinthians 10:9 Comments - We find this story in Numbers 21:1-9.

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

1 Corinthians 10:10 Comments We find this story of Israel’s murmuring in Numbers 16:41-50. The act of murmuring and complaining reflects an attitude of rebellion. Murmurings are negative thoughts and confessions against the Lord and those He has placed in authority against us.

1 Corinthians 10:6-10 Comments Examples From the Children of Israel - This passage gives us five examples of what causes a Christian to lose the race, which race is referred to in chapter 9.

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.

1 Corinthians 10:11 “upon whom the ends of the world are come” - Comments The ends of the world refers to the fulfilling of the age. That is, Christ has come.

Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”

The BBE reads, “Now these things were done as an example; and were put down in writing for our teaching, on whom the last days have come .”

1 Corinthians 10:11 Comments Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that these five events he mentions are our examples of how God deals with sin in the lives of His children. Therefore, the Old Testament gives us examples of how to live (Romans 15:4 says that the Scriptures give us comfort) and warnings of how not to live (1 Corinthians 10:11 says that they are written for our admonition).

However, many of the events that the children of Israel experienced in the wilderness was a type and figurative of how to live a victorious life. Exodus 13:17 to Exodus 15:21 records the flight of Israel from Egypt through the Red Sea. This journey has strong symbolism of the Christian’s salvation experience and water baptism. The next passage of Scripture (Exodus 15:22 to Exodus 18:27) will symbolize a Christian’s early journey towards the phase of indoctrination as a part of discipleship, which is demanded of them at Mount Sinai.

1. Israel Journeys Through the Wilderness (Exodus 13:17-22 ) - Israel’s initial journey into the wilderness is characterized by God’s total provision for them. They did not have to do anything to walk in victory except follow Moses. This event could symbolize the Christian’s days immediately following the salvation experience. A new believer finds God at work in every aspect of his life, in his prayers, in miracles of deliverance, being provided everything he needs with little or no effort to exercise his faith.

2. Israel Crosses the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-31 ) The crossing of the Red Sea could symbolize a Christian’s water baptism, a time when he feels deliverance from all bondages of sin. Water baptism confirms his commitment to follow Christ.

3. The Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-19 ) and the Song of Miriam (Exodus 15:20-21 ) The songs of Moses and Miriam reflect joy that a new believer experiences by his cleansing from sin and guilt and bondages of this world. He is free and his joy is overflowing.

Illustration - I have known a number of people who were instantly delivered from addictions and illnesses at the time of salvation. One church member testified to us that he was delivered from cigarettes when he gave his life to the Lord. One day he started to buy a pack of cigarettes and the Lord spoke to him, “I delivered you the first time. You will have to deliver yourself the second time.”

Exodus 15:22 to Exodus 18:27 records Israel’s journey from the shores of the Red Sea to Mount Sinai. This journey contains symbolisms of the Christian’s early journey immediately after water baptism as God divinely provides for his needs, guiding him to a place of greater spiritual maturity through the knowledge of His Word.

4. Israel Encamps at Marah (Exodus 15:22-26 ) Exodus 15:22-27 records Israel’s journey immediately after their deliverance from the Egyptian army in the crossing of the Red Sea. This pericope takes the children of Israel from the shores of the Red Sea to Elim.

Israel’s first test of faith takes place at Marah, which means “bitter,” located in the Wilderness of Shur (meaning “journey”) where they become thirsty after three days of following the Lord through the wilderness. In the midst of their labours, they come to a spring of water, but find the waters bitter. Moses cuts down a tree and throws it into the water to make it sweet. The Lord then gives them a statute to obey His Word as an opportunity for them to prove their love and devotion towards Him. God had blessed the Israelites with prosperity and health as they departed Egypt. His statute promised them that if they would obey God’s Word, they would be able to walk in the blessings continually. This event could symbolize the first trial that a child of God experiences in which he must put his faith in obedience to God’s Word. Their choices would make life bitter or sweet. God gave them the choice. As God’s children, the things of this world no longer have to be bitter, for in obedience to Christ Jesus, He makes everything sweet. From the first day we believed in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, there is not a situation that we face alone. If we will seek the Lord, He will give us wisdom to deal with every difficult, bitter situation so that it becomes sweet, a blessing to us and others.

Illustration - The Lord spoke to me the night of 18-29 January 2005 and said, “The bitter and the sweet are all used by God to mould and shape your life.” This word came the same day that my sister-in-law Dyan was told by her Muslim “husband” called Nabal to leave her home and was only allowed to take one of her two children with her. It was “sweet” news for us that she has decided to leave this environment for the sake of her eternal salvation, but it is “bitter” news to know that her oldest child is being left behind. However, I know that God will work in her life in the midst of this heartache to draw her to Him and to work miracles for her as she learns to trust in Him. The following night the Lord spoke to me saying, “Be patient and you will see Me working in the midst of this situation.”

5. Israel Encamps at Elim (Exodus 15:27 ) The children of Israel found twelve springs and seventy palm trees when they encamped at Elim, which means, “trees.” In the Scriptures, trees can symbolize men, and leadership among men (Judges 9:7-15), and wells are symbolic of the anointings of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38, 2 Peter 2:17). These twelve springs may represent the twelve apostles of the Lamb and the seventy trees the first seventy disciples upon which the early Church in Jerusalem was founded in the upper room. This symbolizes the need for the new believer to join the body of Christ in order to continue his life of being refreshed by the Holy Spirit and walking in freedom and liberty from this world. It is in the local fellowship that a believer will find times of refreshing, in the midst of worship, the teaching of God’s Word, and genuine love from the brethren.

Judges 9:8, “The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.”

John 7:38, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

2 Peter 2:17, “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.”

However, these twelve springs and seventy trees may better represent the times of refreshing that God provides each of His children. Along our spiritual journey, the Lord leads us in paths of rest and peace, as described in Psalms 23:0. These times of refreshing follow seasons of trials.

6. Israel Encamps in the Wilderness of Sin (1 Corinthians 16:1-24 ) In the wilderness of Sin, which means, “bush,” the children of Israel are given manna from Heaven and quail to eat. The manna symbolizes the daily word that God speaks to every one of His children as a part of His fellowship with them. God speaks to His children each day if he will just take the time to listen. The quail represent the stronger meat that God can give to those who are mature in Christ (Hebrews 5:12-14).

7. The Water from the Rock (Exodus 17:1-7 ) Exodus 17:1-7 records the story of God providing the children of Israel water from the rock. During Israel’s encampment at Rephidim, which means “support,” Moses struck the rock and water poured forth to refresh the children of Israel. The striking of the rock represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and it symbolized the fact that God used men to crucify Jesus on the Cross (Exodus 10:4). God, through man, brought about this act. God struck Jesus once for all that we might have living water. In Numbers 20:8 God told Moses to speak to the rock. When Moses struck the rock the second time out of anger (Numbers 20:11), it was a type of crucifying the Son of God a second time (Hebrews 6:6).

The water represents the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues that is available for every believer who desires more of God’s presence in his/her life. It also represents the daily infilling of the Holy Spirit that every child of God can experience by praying in tongues and worshipping the Lord (Ephesians 5:18-19). God sends His children the gift of speaking in tongues to support and strengthen the believer.

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.”

Numbers 20:11, “And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”

Hebrews 6:6, “If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

Now man can speak to Jesus, call upon his name, so that we may have living water (eternal life).

8. Israel’s Battle with the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16 ) Exodus 17:8-16 records the story of Israel’s first battle, which took place at their encampment of Rephidim with the Amalekites. The Lord allowed the children of Israel to be refreshed with a continual source of fresh water from the rock that Moses struck (Exodus 17:1-7). The water of Marah was symbolic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. The water from the rock struck by Moses is symbolic of the continual filling of the Holy Spirit through a lifestyle of praying in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”

The Amalekites could symbolize the flesh or the demonic realm that comes against the children of God on their spiritual journey. The lifting up of the rod of God in the hands of Moses could represent a believer’s declaration of the name of Jesus in taking dominion over the powers of darkness. As Moses held up the rod of God, which symbolizes the authority of the name of Jesus, the enemy was defeated. God’s children must learn to use the name of Jesus when Satan attacks the body of Christ.

9. Moses Honours Jethro (Exodus 18:1-12 ) In Exodus 18:1-12 Moses encamps at Mount Sinai, while the children of Israel are still at Rephidim. While Moses was encamped at the mountain of God, he honours Jethro, his father-in-law. Jethro offers the sacrifice and they eat together. Jethro’s visit to Moses could symbolize Jesus Christ as He offers His blood at the Father’s throne. Perhaps the fact that he went ahead of the encampment symbolizes that fact that Jesus went before us to God’s throne to offer His atoning sacrifice in our behalf. There he met his father-in-law, who made a sacrifice unto God. This may symbolize God the Father receiving Jesus’ sacrifice, which was actually a sacrifice that God gave to mankind for his salvation.

10. Jethro Advises Moses (Exodus 18:13-27 ) - Exodus 18:13-27 records the incident in which Jethro advises Moses on how to delegate judges to assist him in judging the matters of the people. After Moses honours Jethro, his father-in-law gives Moses wisdom regarding organizing leadership among the children of Israel so that all of them can receive wisdom and ministry. This event symbolizes High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, seen in Jethro’s comment to Moses, “You be for the people an advocate before God, and you bring the problems to God.” [131] (Exodus 18:19). The ordaining by Moses of leaders over the people represents church order and service. Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand to judge His church, while sending forth the Holy Spirit to anoint the five-fold ministry and give the gifts of the Spirit to the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8-13). If a child of God will submit himself to the leadership of a local fellowship, he will be able to experience the gifts and anointings of the Holy Spirit and join in the ministry of helps.

[131] Translation by John I. Durham, Exodus, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 3, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 3.0b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2004), translation of Exodus 18:19.

11. Indoctrination (Exodus 20:1 to Exodus 24:8 ) - The next phase of a believer’s life after regeneration is called indoctrination. The giving of the Law and statutes (Exodus 20:1 to Exodus 24:8) represents this phase in the Christian life. It is important to note that God guided them to Mount Sinai and throughout their entire forty-year wilderness journey with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). This divine guidance symbolized the fact that every child of God must learn to be led by the Holy Spirit throughout his spiritual journey.

Exodus 13:21, “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:”

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Psalms 102:18, “ This shall be written for the generation to come : and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.”

Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning , that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Hebrews 8:5, “ Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things , as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”

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

1 Corinthians 10:12 Comments - Note that two men of Israel out of 600,000 men entered Promised Land.

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.

1 Corinthians 10:13 Word Study on “temptation” Strong says the Greek word “temptation” ( πειρασμός ) (G3986) means, “a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solication, discipline or provocation),” and it implies “adversity.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 Word Study on “taken you” The word “taken you” ( λαμβάνω ) (G2983) means, “seized, come upon” ( BDAG), “seized” ( NIV).

1 Corinthians 10:13 Word Study on “common to man” Strong says the Greek word “common to man” ( ἀνθρώπινος ) (G442) means, “human.”

Comments - It is human, or normal, to feel temptations that lure us towards sin.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” Comments - This means that God is in control of the situation, no matter how bad it looks.

Illustration: Job 1:2. Also, note:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Hebrews 10:26, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,”

1 Corinthians 10:13 “but will with the temptation also make a way to escape” - Comments - This verse means that God is at work, and is always concerned about His children in every trial and temptation that we go through. This verse does not say that God will snatch us out of the situation, but He will allow us to go through it. He will show us the way out and He has given us the free will to choose His way out. How do we find the way? We first have to flee from sin:

1. Flee fornication.

1 Corinthians 6:18, “ Flee fornication . Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

2. Flee the pursuit of earthly riches, because it causes one to fall into temptations and a snare.

1 Timothy 6:9-11, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things ; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

3. Flee youthful lusts.

2 Timothy 2:22, “ Flee also youthful lusts : but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

4. Flee idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:14, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry .”

1 Corinthians 10:13 Comments - When God allowed Satan to tempt Job, He knew that His servant would not sin. He knew Job’s heart, and He knew Job would pass the test by holding fast his integrity (1 Corinthians 10:13). God later showed Job his way of escape, by having him pray for his brothers who were about to be afflicted by God because of their sins. Job was in the midst of affliction and knew what it was like. He had the compassion on his friends that they did not deserve, because they had mocked Job as a sinner. In this sense, Job served as a type and figure of Christ. Jesus had no sin, yet He partook of flesh and blood, and partook of our affliction so that He could be a faithful High Priest, who could understand and sympathize with our afflictions and failures (Hebrews 4:15).

Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

“I direct every motion of thy life, as the ocean bears a ship. Your will and intelligence may be at the helm, but divine providence and sovereignty are stronger forces. Ye can trust Me, knowing that any pressure I bring to bear upon thy life is initiated by My love, and I will not do even this except as ye are willing and desire….ye have put thy life into My keeping, and because ye are depending on Me for guidance and direction, I shall give it. Move on steadily, knowing that the waters that carry thee are the waters of My love and My kindness, and I will keep thee on the right course.” [132]

[132] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 18.

Illustration - I remember experiencing a clear illustration of 1 Corinthians 10:13 in my life in winter of 1975. I had just returned home from my first semester in college and was talked into hitchhiking with a neighborhood friend of mine. Of course, it did not take much to convince me to take such an adventure. We hitchhiked from Florida to Nashville, Tennessee in the month of December. We found ourselves at a truck stop on the highway outside of Nashville after a few days of catching rides. But this time we stood along the road for thirty hours without a ride. It was cold and we felt miserable. I finally look at my buddy and say, “Let’s steal a car and drive home.” I was desperate and was willing to try anything at this point. After several pleas with him and meeting his resistance to such a foolish idea, I gave up. But God knew that I had reached my limit. Soon, a man in a truck pulls in to the truck stop to fuel up and I see a Florida tag on his vehicle. We run up to him and convince him to let us ride in the back of his truck all of the way back to my home town, where he was heading by divine providence. We were freezing in the back of this pickup, but were thankful to be heading home. He put us off along the main highway about a mile from my house. When he put us out, we began to walk the short mile home. To our surprise, my mom was coming home from work and gave us our last ride home. What divine providence, with the help of mother’s prayers.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Verses 1-33

Idolatry and Things Offered unto Idols: Sanctification of the Spirit to Learn how to Walk with a Pure Conscience In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, using it as an opportunity to each on being led by the spirit by walking with a good conscience, which is voice of our spirit. The word “conscience” ( συνείδησις ) is used 9 times in this passage of Scripture. Paul opens ( 1Co 8:7 ; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 8:12) and closes (1 Corinthians 10:25; 1 Corinthians 10:27-29) this passage with this word. This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when confronted with such invitations. The guiding principle that Paul teaches in this passage is for the believer to be led by his conscience so that he does not offence his brother. Therefore, Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Eating meat offered to idols 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

2. A Positive Example: Paul’s carefulness not to offend 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

3. Negative Example: The idolatry of Israel in the wilderness 1 Corinthians 10:1-14

4. A Personal Example: The Lord’s Table vs. Pagan Worship 1 Corinthians 10:15-22

5. Conclusion 1 Corinthians 10:23 to 1 Corinthians 11:1

The Conscience, the Voice of the Human Spirit In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul deals with the issue of idolatry. Keep in mind the underlying theme of this epistle, which is practical ways in which the believer is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through them. Thus, Paul uses the word “conscience” nine times in this section of the epistle. This is because the voice of our human spirit is our conscience. In contrast, the voice of our mind is human reason, and the voice of our body is our physical senses that we call feelings. Thus, Paul is teaching the Corinthians to be led by the Holy Spirit on this issue by being led by their conscience.

1 Corinthians 8:7, “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.”

1 Corinthians 8:10, “For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;”

1 Corinthians 8:12, “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience , ye sin against Christ.”

1 Corinthians 10:25, “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:”

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.”

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:”

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 ?”

The First Council of Jerusalem In 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul dedicates his longest discussion in this epistle to the topic of idolatry and things offered unto idols, which was an important part of this Greco-Roman culture with their temple worship. This type of heathen worship consisted of fornication and feasting upon foods that had been offered up to Greek and Roman idols.

However, the issue of meats and their association with heathen idols had long been a problem with the Jews. Wherever they had settled throughout the Empire, they established their own butcheries in order to provide for themselves “clean” meats. This issue of meats and idolatry was a part of the first confrontations of the early Church. In the first Church council in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 15:1-35, the leaders chose to send instructions to the Gentile churches on four topics. Acts 15:20 reads, “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

Much of the meats offered in the markets were the residue of what had been sacrificed to idols. If these believers ate such meats, were they partaking of such worship? Or, if they were invited into a non-believer’s home and offered meats, should they abstain, or eat it so as not to offense the host? But if they ate it, would it not offend the weaker brothers in the church who were just coming out of such an idolatrous lifestyle and could easily fall back into it under similar conditions? All of these issues needed to be addressed. Thus, it was an important topic for Paul to deal with in the church of Corinth as well as in all the churches.

This church was living in the midst of such heathen practices, and like many of us today, they were invited to attend certain functions that involved idolatry and foods offered unto idols. This is why Paul says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go…” (1 Corinthians 10:27) Thus, these believers needed some guidelines to go by when attending such invitations. The key point that Paul tries to emphasize in this passage is, “Do not offend other believers.” The key words which are often repeated are “idols” and “offence”. Paul’s concluding statement on how to deal with this issue is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Verses 15-22

A Personal Example: The Lord’s Table Contrasted with Pagan Worship In 1 Corinthians 10:15-22 Paul explains the purpose of the Lord’s Supper and contrasts it with the heathen feasts and their foods offered unto idols. This idolatrous feasting was going on around the believers at Corinth. Paul makes the point that as believers they could not partake of both tables because the Lord’s Supper brings a person into unity with Christ and fellow believers just as heathen feasting brings one in unity with demons.

1 Corinthians 10:22 “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy” Comments - The context of this passage is the issue of whether or not Christians at Corinth should eat sacrifices that have been offered to idols. Paul is reminded of the passage in Exodus where the children of Israel made a golden calf, then sat down to eat, to drink and to play.

In this story, the children of Israel provoked God to jealousy.

Exodus 34:14, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:”

1 Corinthians 10:22 “are we stronger than he” - Comments - Paul is still referring to the example of the Israelites when they made a golden calf.

Exodus 32:35, “And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.”

Verses 23-33

Conclusion: All Things are Lawful, but all Things are not Beneficial In 1 Corinthians 10:15 to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul concludes this lengthy passage on foods offered until idols by giving them a divine principle to live by. In this passage he restates his original ruling principle that we must seek the well-being of others before seeking our own satisfactions; for the eternal soul of that person is at risk of falling. He first explains that as a believer they are free in many aspects of life. However, many things they may feel free to do may harm them or cause others to stumble. He gives the example of eating foods offer to idols. Paul explains that there in nothing evil about eating food, for Christ has set us free from many religious dietary rules, but eating meats offered to idols was closely associated in the Greek culture with temple prostitution, for both activities often took place in the same venue. Therefore, Paul was warning these believers to abstain from such festive occasions when invited if it causes another brother to stumble.

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.

1 Corinthians 10:23 Scripture Reference - Paul has made a similar statement earlier in 1 Corinthians 6:12.

1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

1 Corinthians 10:29 “why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience” Comments - That is, why should my liberty to eat anything become an opportunity to let another man’s conscience judge me as doing evil? So, Paul is saying do not put yourself in a situation to let another man who has not your knowledge judge you as an evildoer.

1 Corinthians 10:29 Comments - Feasting on foods offered to idols was a part of heathen temple worship. Thus, when we eat such foods, we may appear to our brother in Christ as a partaker of such temple worship and he would thus, be offended.

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?

1 Corinthians 10:30 Word Study on “by grace” The Greek construction χάριν ἔχω τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ or χάρις τῷ θεῷ [133] or some similar version of this phrase is found no less than thirteen times in the Greek New Testament (Luke 17:9, Romans 6:17; Romans 7:25, 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15, Colossians 3:16, 1Ti 1:12 , 2 Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:7 [t.r.], Hebrews 12:28). It is properly translated in a variety of ways; “I am grateful to God,” or “I thank God,” “Let’s give thanks,” or “with thanks to the Lord.”

[133] Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993, 2006), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 1 Corinthians 10:30.

Comments Many modern English versions translate the word χάριτι as “thankfulness, with gratitude, thankfully” rather than “by grace.”

ASV, “If I partake with thankfulness, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?”

Rotherham, “If, I, with gratitude, partake, why am I to be defamed, as to that for which, I, give thanks?”

RSV, “If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?”

YLT, “and if I thankfully do partake, why am I evil spoken of, for that for which I give thanks?”

1 Corinthians 10:32 Word Study on “Gentile” BDAG says the Greek word Ἕλλην is used in the strict sense to mean a “Greek,” or referring to the “Greek language and culture”; however, in its broadest sense, the word also means, “gentile, polytheist, Greco-Roman.” In 1 Corinthians 10:32 BDAG translates the word as “Gentile.” Modern English translations are divided on this meaning, translating Ἕλλην as both “Greek” and “Gentile.”

Comments 1 Corinthians 10:32 shows us that in God’s eternal plan of redemption for mankind, He sees the people of the earth in three groups; the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church. It lists these three groups in the order in which God has used them in His plan of redemption. The Jews represent the nation of Israel. During the time of Moses, God separated the Jewish nation as a holy people unto himself.

Exodus 19:6, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

The Gentiles refer to the nations of the earth:

Genesis 10:5, “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.”

The Old Testament placed emphasis upon the Jews as the nation of Israel. However, the book of Daniel stands alone in the Old Testament in much the same way that the book of Revelation is unique to the New Testament. Both are apocalyptic in nature, using symbolic figures to prophesy of future events. Daniel takes us through the Times of the Gentiles when God divinely works in this group of people to carry out His divine plan of election and redemption.

The New Testament reveals God’s plan of redemption as He works through the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Under the New Covenant, God created a third group of people. He took the Jews and the Gentiles and made one new man in Christ called the Church. This was the mystery that was kept hidden under the old covenant and reveled only in the New Testament. In Ephesians 2:11-22, we learn that through Jesus, God broke down the wall of division between the Jews and the Gentiles, creating the church (Ephesians 2:14).

Ephesians 2:14, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”

Thus, God created Himself again a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9).

1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

We see a reference to these three people groups in Acts 26:17.

Acts 26:17, “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,”

The Lord spoke to Billye Brim about this verse in the 1970’s by saying, “If you will remember this verse, it will keep your end-time doctrine straight.” [134] She went on to say that God will always recognize the nation of Israel forever, even in eternity, then she quoted Jeremiah 31:35-36 and Isaiah 66:22 to support this statement.

[134] Billye Brim, interviewed by Gloria Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 22 May 2003.

Jeremiah 31:35-36, “Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.”

Isaiah 66:22, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.”

Then Brim quoted Ephesians 3:20-21 to state that God will always recognize His Church throughout eternity.

Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

The theological hermeneutical principle that guides us in the interpretation of Scripture based on these three people groups is called the “Ethnic Division Principle.” [135]

[135] J. Edwin Hartill, Principles of Biblical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1947), 26.

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me” - Comments - From 1 Corinthians 10:33, they should not seek to please themselves, but to live a life that leads others to Christ, the ultimate example.

1 Corinthians 11:1 “even as I also am of Christ” Comments - Paul is saying to follow him just like he is following Christ. Most versions translation the phrase “even as” using the proposition “as” ( NAB, RSV) or “even as” ( ASV, Rotherham). However, Weymouth interprets it to mean “in so far as,” which mean, “to the degree that I follow Christ,”

NAB, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

RSV, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

ASV, “Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

Rotherham, “Become imitators of me, even as, I also, am of Christ.”

Weymouth, “ Be imitators of me, in so far as I in turn am an imitator of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 Comments - 1 Corinthians 11:1 would seem to summarize the discussion on the discourse of idolatry found in chapters 8-10. In these three chapters, Paul has given himself as an example while making several points. He, therefore, concludes this topic of idolatry by asking the Corinthians to follow his example as he was following the example of Christ. The Corinthians had the zeal to serve the Lord, but they lacked the character and fortitude to crucify their flesh and walk in love. Thus, Paul gave himself as an example to follow in this epistle. The rest of Chapter 11 deals with two issues of assembly of the church, namely the role of women and the Lord's Supper in the assembly.

John Calvin notes two observations from this verse. First, Paul is only offering to others what he himself has learned to walk in. Second, he points others to Christ as the final example of perfection, because Paul knew himself to be only a man who was subject to sin while still in the flesh. [136]

[136] John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, vol. 1, trans. John Pringle (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1848), 350.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Ephesians 5:1, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;”

1 Thessalonians 1:6, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:”

1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

1 Timothy 4:15-16, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Titus 2:7, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.