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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

1 Corinthians 10

Verses 1-99

10:1-11:1. THESE PRINCIPLES APPLIED

The fear expressed in 9:27 suggests the case of the Israelites, who, through want of self-control, lost the promised prize. They presumed on their privileges, and fell into idolatry, which they might have resisted (1-13). This shows the danger of idolatry: and idol-feasts are really idolatry, as the parallels of the Christian Eucharist and of the Jewish sacrifices show. Idol-feasts must always be avoided (14-22). Idol-meats need not always be avoided, but only when the fact that they have been sacrificed to idols is pointed out by the scrupulous (23-11:1).

10:1-13. Take warning from the fall of our fathers in the wilderness. Distrust yourselves. Trust in God.

1 The risk of being rejected is real. Our ancestors had extraordinary advantages, such as might seem to ensure success. They were all of them protected by the cloud, and they all passed safely through the sea, 2 and all pledged themselves to trust in Moses by virtue of their trustful following of the cloud and their trustful march in the sea; 3 all ate the same supernatural food, 4 and all drank the same supernatural drink; for they used to drink from a supernatural Rock which attended them, and the Rock was really a manifestation of the Messiah. 5 Yet, in spite of these amazing advantages, the vast majority of them frustrated the good purpose of God who granted these mercies. This is manifest; for they were overthrown by Him in the wilderness.

6 Now all these experiences of theirs happened as examples which we possess for our guidance, to warn us against lusting after evil things, just as those ancestors of ours actually did. 7 And so you must not fall into idolatry, as some of them fell; even as it stands written, The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to sport. 8 And let us not be led on to commit fornication, as some of them committed, and died in a single day, 23,000 of them. 9 And let us not strain beyond all bounds the Lord’s forbearance, as some of them strained it, and were destroyed, one after another, by serpents. 10 Nor yet murmur ye, which is just what some of them did, and were destroyed forthwith by the destroying angel. 11 Now all these experiences by way of example occurred one after another to them, and they were recorded with a view to admonishing us, unto whom the ends of the ages, with their weight of authority, have come down. 12 Therefore if, like our forefathers, you think that you are standing securely, beware lest self-confidence cause you, in like manner, to fall. 13 And you can avoid falling. No temptation has taken you other than a man can withstand. Yes, you may trust God; He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. While He arranges the temptation to brace your character, He will also arrange the necessary way of escape, and the certainty that He will do this will give you strength to endure.

1. οὐ θελθ …�

οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν. Just as Christ spoke of the ancestors of the Jews as ‘your fathers’ (Matthew 23:32; Luke 11:47; John 6:49), so the Apostle calls them ‘our fathers’: some members of the Church of Corinth were Jews, and the expression, was literally true of them, as of St Paul. But he may mean that the Israelites were the spiritual ancestors of all Christians. In Galatians 6:16 ‘the Israel of God’ means the whole body of believers. Clem. Rom. (Cor. 60) uses τοῖς πατράσιν ἡμῶν in the same sense, and speaks to the Corinthians of Jacob (4), and Abraham (31) as ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν. See on Romans 4:1.


πάντες. The emphatic repetition in each clause marks the contrast with οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν (v. 5). All, without exception, shared these great privileges, but not even a majority (in fact only two) secured the blessing which God offered them. No privilege justifies a sense of security: privilege must be used with fear and trembling.

ὑπὸ τὴν νεφέλην. ‘Under the cloud’ which every one remembers (Exodus 13:21, Exodus 13:22, Exodus 13:14:19, 24, 40:38; etc.). The acc. perhaps indicates movement. They marched with the cloud above them.* The pillar of fire is not mentioned, as less suitable for the figurative ἑΒαπτίσντο which follows: Wisd. 19:7.

2. εἰς τὸν Μωϋσῆν ἐβ. ‘They received baptism unto Moses,’ as a sign of allegiance to him and trust in him; or ‘into Moses,’ as a pledge of union with him. Comparison with baptism ‘into Christ’ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27) is suggested, and it is implied that the union with Moses which was the saving of the Israelites was in some way analogous to the union with Christ which was the salvation of the Corinthians. Throughout the paragraph, the incidents are chosen from the Pentateuch with a view to parallels with the condition of the Corinthian Christians. The Israelites had had a baptism into Moses, just as the Corinthians had had a baptism into Christ. For a contrast between Christ and Moses, see Hebrews 3:1-6. With the aor. mid. compare�Acts 19:3.


ἐν τῇ νεφέλῃ καὶ ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ. Both cloud and sea represent “the element in which their typical baptism took place.” To make the cloud the Holy Spirit and the sea the water is forced and illogical; both are material and watery elements, and both refer to the water in baptism. In what follows it is the material elements in the Eucharist which are indicated.

Editors are divided between ἐβαπτίσαντο (B K L P) and ἐβαπτίσθησαν (א A C D E F G). But the latter looks like a correction to the expression which was generally used of Christian baptism (1:13, 15, 7:13; etc.). Cf. 6:2.

3. τὸ αὐτὸ βρῶμα πνενματικόν. The manna which typified the bread in the Eucharist (John 6:31, John 6:32) was ‘spiritual’ as being of supernatural origin, ἄρτος�Psalms 78:25),�Nehemiah 9:15, Nehemiah 9:20, the aorist is used throughout;—quite naturally, of an act which is past, and the repetition of which is not under consideration. It is possible that πνευματικόν also means that “the immediate relief and continuous supply of their bodily needs tended to have an effect upon their spirit; that is, to strengthen their faith” (Massie). Israelitis, una cum cibo corporis, alimentum animarum datum est (Beng.). Others take it as meaning that the manna and the water had a spiritual or allegorical meaning. It is remarkable that St Paul chooses the manna and the rock, and not any of the Jewish sacrifices, as parallels to the Eucharist. In class. Grk. πῶμα is more common than πόμα.


WH. bracket the first τὸ αὐτό, which א*, Aeth. omit, while A C* omit αὐτό: but τὸ αὺτό is verystrongly attested (א3 B C2 D E F G K L P Latt.). MSS. vary between πν. βρ. ἐφ.(א* B C2 P), πν. ἐφ.(א* D E F G K L), and πν. ἐφ.Βρ. (A 17). A omits the second αὐτό, abd again thers is difference as to the order; πν. ἐπ. πόμα (א A B C P). πόμα πν. ἐπ. (D E F G K L).

4. ἔπινον γὰρ ἐκ πν.�Numbers 21:16 f.) follow the Israelites; afterwards it was the rock of Kadesh (Numbers 20:1 f.) which did so, or a stream flowing from the rock. St Paul seems to take up this Rabbinic fancy and give it a spiritual meaning. The origin of the allusion is interesting, but not of great importance: further discussion by Driver (Expositor, 3rd series, ix. pp. 15. f); Thackeray, pp. 195, 204 f.; Selbie (Hastings, DB. art. ‘Rock’); Abbott (The Son of Man, pp. 648 f., 762).

Of much more importance is the unquestionable evidence of the Apostle’s belief in the pre-existence of Christ. He does not say, ‘And the rock is Christ,’ which might mean no more than, ‘And the rock is a type of Christ,’ but, ‘And the rock was Christ.’ In Galatians 4:24, Galatians 4:25 he uses the present tense, Hagar and Sarah ‘are two covenants,’ i.e. represent them, are typical of them. Similarly, in the interpretation of parables (Matthew 13:19-23, Matthew 13:37-38) we have ‘is’ throughout. The ἦν implies that Christ was the source of the water which saved the Israelites from perishing of thirst; there was a real Presence of Christ in the element which revived their bodies and strengthened their faith. The comment of Herveius, Sic solet loqui Scriptura, res significantes tanqam illas quae significantur appellans, is true, but inadequate; it overlooks the difference between ἐστι and ἦν. We have an approach to this in Wisd. 11:4, where the Israelites are represented as calling on the Divine Wisdom in their thirst, and it is Wisdom which grants the water. Philo (Quod deterius potiori, p. 176) speaks of the Divine Wisdom as a solid rock which gives imperishable sustenance to those who desired it; and he then goes on to identify the rock with the manna. The pre-existence of Christ is implied in ἐπτώχευσεν (2 Corinthians 8:9), in ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ (Galatians 4:4), and in ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἑαντοῦ υἱὸν πέμψας (Romans 8:3). Cf. Philippians 2:5, Philippians 2:6, and see Jülicher, Paulus u. Jesus, p. 31; J. Kaftan, Jesus u. Paulus, p. 64; Walther, Pauli Christentum Jesu Evangelium, p. 24. Justin (Try. 114) probably had this passage in his mind when he wrote of dying for the name τῆς καλῆς πέτρας, καὶ ζῶν ὕδωρ ταῖς καρδίαις βρυούσης, καὶ ποτιζούσης τοὺς βουλομένους τὸ τῆς ζωῆς ὔδωρ πιεῖν. By the statement that the life-saving rock was a manifestation of the power of Christ, present with the Israelites, the Apostle indicates that the legend, at which he seems to glance in�


MSS. vary between ἡ πέτρα δε (א B D*3, ) ἡ δὲ πέτρα A C D2 K L P), and πἕτρα δέ (F G).

5.�Numbers 14:30-32). All the rest, thousands in number, though they entered the lists, were disqualified,�


In the Epistles, the evidence as to the augment of εὐδοκέω varies greatly; in 1:21, εὐδόκησεν is undisputed; here the balance favours ηύδ. (A B* C): see WH. 11. Notes p. 162.

The construction εὐδ. ἔν τινι is characteristic of LXX and N.T., while Polybius and others write εὐδ. τινι: but exceptions both ways are found (2 Thessalonians 2:12; 2Th_1 Mac. 1:43). In Matthew 12:18 and Hebrews 10:6 we have the accusative.

κατεστρώθησαν γὰρ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. The γάρ introduces a justification of the previous statement. God cannot have been well pleased with them, for κατέστρωσεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ (Numbers 14:16). They did not die a natural death; their death was a judicial overthrow. The verb is frequent in judges and 2 Maccabees; cf. Eur. Her. Fur. 1000: nowhere else in N.T. It gives a graphic picture, the desert strewn with dead (Hebrews 3:17).

6. Ταῦτα δὲ τύποι ἡμῶν ἐγενήθησαν. ‘Now these things came to pass as examples for us to possess.’ The examples were of two kinds; beneficia quae populus accepit et peccata quae idem admisit (Beng.). The one kind was being followed; the Corinthians had sacraments and spiritual gifts: they must take care that the other kind was avoided. This is better than understanding τύποι in the sense of types, the Israelites being types and the Corinthians antitypes; in which case ἡμῶν would be the subjective genitive.* Origen understands it in the sense of examples to warn us. The transition from τύπος (τύπτω) as ‘the mark of a blow’ (John 20:25) to ‘the stamp of a die,’ and thence to any ‘copy,’ is easy. But a ‘copy’ may be a thing to be copied, and hence τύπος comes to mean ‘pattern’ or ‘example.’ See Milligan on 1 Thessalonians 1:7. Deus, inquit, illos puniendo tanquanm in tabula nobis severitatem suam repraesentavit, ut inde edocti timere discamus (Calv.). Ea potissimum delicta memorantur, quae ad Corinthios admonendos pertinent (Beng.). See Weinel, St Paul, pp. 58, 59.

εἰς τὸ μὴ εἶναι. This confirms the view that τύπος does not mean ‘types,’ but examples for guidance, ‘to the intent that we should not be.’ In saying εἶναι ἐπιθυμητάς rather than ἐπιθυμεῖν he is probably thinking of ἐκεῖ ἔθαψαν τὸν λαὸν τὸν ἐπιθυμητήν (Numbers 11:34). The substantive occurs nowhere else in N.T.

καθὼς κἀκεῖνοι ἐπεθύμησαν. ‘Even as they also lusted.’ The καί is not logical, and perhaps ought to be omitted in translation; it means ‘they as well as you,’ which assumes that the Corinthians have done what they are here charged not to do: cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Longing for past heathen pleasures may be meant.


7. μηδὲ εἰδωλολάτραι γίνεσθε. ‘Neither become ye idolaters.’ The μηδέ is not logical; it puts a species on a level with its genus. ‘Lusting after evil things’ is the class, of which idolatry and fornication are instances; and the μηδέ, ‘nor yet,’ implies that idolatry is a new class. It was, however, the most important of the special instances, because of its close connexion with the Corinthian question. But this is another point in which Greek idiom is sometimes rather illogical. We should say ‘Therefore do not become.’ The τινες is another understatement, like οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν: the passage quoted shows that the whole people took part in the idolatry. St Paul seems to be glancing at the extreme case in 8:10, of a Christian showing his superior γνῶσις by sitting at an idol-banquet in an idol-temple. Such conduct does amount to taking part in idolatrous rites. The Apostle intimates, more plainly than before, that the danger of actual idolatry is not so imaginary as the Corinthians in their enlightened emancipation supposed.

παίζειν. The quotation is the LXX of Exodus 32:6, and we know that the ‘play’ or ‘sport’ included χοροί, which Moses saw as he drew near.* These dances would be in honour of the golden calf, like those of David in honour of the Ark of God, as he brought it back (2 Samuel 6:14). The quotation, therefore, indicates an idolatrous banquet followed by idolatrous sport.


Calvin asks why the Apostle mentions the banquet and the sport, which were mere accessories, and says nothing about the adoration of the image, which was the essence of the idolatry. He replies that it was in these accessories that some Corinthians thought that they might indulge. None of them thought that they might go so far as to join in idolatrous worship.

No doubt ὤσπερ א A B D3 L) before γέγραπται is to be preferred to ώς (C D* K P), and perhaps πεῖν (B* D* F G) to πιεῖν (A B3 C D3 E K L P): πῖν (א) supports πεῖν. See on 9:4.

8. The relationship of idol-worship and fornication is often very close, and was specially so at Corinth (Jowett, ‘On the Connexion of Immorality and Idolatry,’ Epp. of St Paul, 2. p. 70). Hence fornication is taken as the second instance of lusting after evil things. In the matter of Baal-Peor (Numbers 25:1-9), to which allusion is made here, it was the intimacy with the strange women which led to participation in the idolatrous feasts, not vice versa as the RV. suggests; ‘the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab: for they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods.’ It is remarkable that precisely at this point the Apostle changes the form of this exhortation and passes from the 2nd pers. (γίνεσθε) to the 1st (πορνεύωμεν), thus once more putting himself on a level with his readers. But there is nothing in the brief reference to the sins of the Israelites to show that, when the Moabite women invited the Israelites to the sacrifices of their gods, immoral intercourse had preceded the invitation.† In Wisd. 14:12 the connexion between idolatry and fornication and the consequent destruction are pointed out; Ἀρχὴ γὰρ πορνείας ἐπίνοια εἰδώλων, εὐρὲσεις δὲ αὐτῶν φθορὰ ζωῆς, where the rendering ‘spiritual fornication’ (AV.) is unnecessary, and probably incorrect.

ἔπεσαν μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ εἴκοσι τρεῖς χιλιάδες. Here we have, in the most literal sense, φθοραὶ. ζωῆς. In Numbers 25:9 the number Isa_24. St Paul quotes from memory, without verifying, the exact number being unimportant. But harmonizers suggest that 1000 were slain by the judges; or that 23,000 and 24,000 are round numbers for a figure which lay between the two; or that, of the 24,000 who died of the plague, 23,000 died on one day.* All these suggestions are the result of a ‘weak’ (8:9 f., 9:22) theory of inspiration; and the first does not avoid the charge of error, for we are told that ‘those that died by the plague were 24,000.’ For ἔπεσαν see 1 Chronicles 21:14.

For πορνεύωμεν (א A B D3 E) and ἐπόρνευσαν (ibid. D* F G have ἐκπορνεύωμεν and εξεπόρνευσαν from LXX of Numbers 25:1. Excepting Jude 1:7, the compound is not found in N.T. ἔπεσαν (א A B C D* F G P 17) is to be preferred to ἔπεσον (D3 K L): see W. H. 11. Notes p. 164. א3 A C D2 K L P insert ἐν before μιᾷ: א* B D* F G, Latt. omit. ‘In one day’ augments the terror of the punishment.

9. μηδὲ ἐκπειράζωμεν τὸν Κύριον. ‘Neither let us sorely tempt the Lord,’ try Him out and out, provoke Him to the uttermost, till His longsuffering ceases. This the Israelites did by their frequent rebellion. It is rather fanciful to connect this with v. 8, as v. 8 is connected with v. 7. It is true that “fornication leads to tempting God”; but is that the Apostle’s reason for passing from πορνεύωμεν to ἐκπειράζωμεν? The compound occurs (in quotations from LXX of Deuteronomy 6:16) Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12; also Luke 10:25; in LXX, both of man trying God (Psalms 78:18), and of God trying man (Deuteronomy 8:2, Deuteronomy 8:16). It implies prolonged and severe testing. See on 3:18. Here the meaning is that God was put to the proof, as to whether He had the will and the power to punish. In class. Grk. ἐκπειρᾶσθαι is used. It is doubtful whether the Apostle is thinking of anything more definite than the general frailty and faultiness of the Corinthian Christians. Misuse of the gift of tongues (Theodoret) and a craving for miracles (Chrysostom) are not good conjectures.

ὑπὸ τῶν ὄφεων�Matthew 17:12 and 1 Thessalonians 2:14, where Milligan quotes from papyri, βίαν πάσχων ἑκάστοτε ὑπὸ Ἑκύσεως. See Winer, p. 462.

We may safely prefer τὀν Κύριον (א B C P 17, Aeth. Arm.) to τὸν Χριστόν (D E F G K L, Latt.) or τὸν Θεόν (A). No doubt Χριστόν, if original, might have been changed to Κύροιν or Θεόν because of the difficulty of supposing that the Israelites in the wilderness tempted Christ. On the other hand, either Χριστόν or Θεόν might be a gloss to explain the meaning of Κύριον. Epiphanius says that Marcion substituted Χριστόν for Κύριον, that the Apostle might not appear to assert the lordship of Christ. Whatever may be the truth about this, it is rash to say that ‘Marcion was right in thinking that the reading Κύριον identifies the Lord Jehovah of the narrative with the historical Jesus Christ’. It is safer to say with Hort on 1 Peter 2:3, “No such identification can be clearly made out in the N.T”. But see on Romans 10:12, Romans 10:13. In the N.T. ό Κύριος commonly means ‘our Lord’; but this is by no means always the case, and here it almost certainly means Jehovah, as Numbers 21:4-9 and Psalms 78:18 imply. There seems to be no difference in LXX between Κύροις and ὀ Κὐριος, and in Nm.T. we can lay down no rule that Κύριος means God and ὀ Κύριος Christ. See Bigg on 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 1:25, 1 Peter 1:2:3, 1 Peter 1:3:15; Nestle, Text. Crit. of N.T. p. 307.


καθώς τινες (א A B C D* F G P 17) rather than καθώς καί τινες (D2 E K L). ἐπείρασαν (A B D3 K L) rather than ἐξεπείρασαν (א C D* F G P 17), the latter being an assimilation to ἐκπειράζωμεν. It is more difficult to decide between�

10. μηδὲ γογγύζετε. Rebellious discontent of any kind is forbidden; and there is nothing said as to the persons against whom, or the things about which, murmuring is likely to take place. But the warning instance (καθάπερ τινες) can hardly refer to anything but that of the people against. Moses and Aaron for the punishment of Korah and his company (Numbers 16:41 f.), for we know of no other case in which the murmurers were punished with death.* From this, and the return to the 2nd pers. (γογγύζετε), we may conjecture that the Apostle is warning those who might be disposed to murmur against him for his punishment of the incestuous person, and for his severe rebukes in this letter.†

ὑπὸ τοῦ ὀλοθρευτοῦ. Not Satan, but the destroying angel sent by God to smite the people with pestilence. The Apostle ‘assumes that there was such an agent, as in the slaying of the firstborn (τὸν ὀλεθρεύοντα, Exodus 12:23), and in the plague that punished David (2 Samuel 24:16; ἄγγελος Κυρίου ἐξολεθρεύων, 1 Chronicles 21:12), and in the destruction of the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32:21; Ecclus. 48:21). Cf. Acts 12:23: Hebrews 11:28. Vulg. has ab exterminatore, Calv. a vastatore; in Hebrews 11:28 Vulg. has qui vastabat, in Exodus 12:23 percussor. The angelology and demonology of the Jews was confused and unstable. Satan is sometimes the destroyer (Wisd. 2:24). By introducing sin he brought men under the power of death; Romans 5:12; Hebrews 2:14; John 8:14. Nowhere else in the Bible does ὀλοθρευτής occur.


Assimilation has produced four corruptions of the text in this verse: γογγύζετε (A B C K L P, Vulg. Syrr. Aeth.) has been corrected to γογγύ ζωμεν (א D E F G): καθάπερ (א B P) has been corrected to καθώς (A C D E F G K L): K L inserts καί before τινες: and A corrects�

εἰς οὓς τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων κατήντηκεν. ‘Unto whom the ends of the ages have reached.’ The common meaning of καταντάω in N.T. is ‘reach one’s destination’: see on 14:36. The point of the statement here is obscure. ‘The ages’ are ‘the successive periods in the history of humanity, and perhaps also the parallel periods for different nations and parts of the world” (Hort on ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων, 1 Peter 1:20).* In what sense have the ends of these ages reached us as their destination? ‘The ends’ of them implies that each one of them is completed and summed up; and the sum-total has come down to us for whom it was intended. That would seem to mean that we reap the benefit of the experience of all these completed ages. Such an interpretation comes as a fit conclusion to a passage in which the Corinthians are exhorted to take the experiences of the Israelites as lessons for themselves. Pluralis habet vim magnam: omnia concurrunt et ad summain veniunt; beneficia et pericula, poenae et praemia (Beng.).

Or it may mean that the ends of the ages have reached us, and therefore we are already in a new age, which is the final one and will be short (7:29: see Westcott on Hebrews 9:26 and 1 John 2:18). The interpretation will then be that “the last act in the drama of time is begun” (Rutherford), and therefore the warnings contained in these examples ought at once to be laid to heart. The Day of judgment is near and may come at any moment (16:22); it is madness not to be watchful.


AV. has ‘Now all these things’, and ‘all’ is well supported; ταῦτα δὲ πάντα (C K L P, Vulg. Syrr. Copt. Arm.); πάντα δὲ ταῦτα (א D E F G, Aeth.) A B 17, Theb. omit πάντα: Orig. and Tert. sometimes omit. The fat that πὰντα is inserted in different positions, and that insertion is more intelligible than omission, justifies exclusion. τυπικῶς (א A B C K P, Vulg. in figura) is to be preferred to τύποι D E F G L), and συνέβαινεν (א B C K L) to συνέβαινον (A D E F G L), which looks like assimilation to v. 6; also κατήντηκεν (א B D* F G) to κατήντησεν (A C D3 K L).

12, 13. The Apostle adds two admonitions: to those who are so self-confident that they think that they have no need to be watchful; and to those that are so despondent that they think that it is useless to struggle with temptation.

12. Ὥστε. See on 3:21. ‘So then, let him that thinketh that he is standing securely beware lest he fall’; i.e. fall from his secure position and become�Romans 11:20, Romans 14:4. Μὴ τοίνυν ἐπὶ τῇ στάσει φρόνει μέγα,�

Both AV. and RV. disregard the difference between ὥστε here and διόπερ in v. 14, translating both ‘wherefore.’ In Philippians 2:12, AV. has ‘wherefore,’ and RV. ‘so then,’ for ὥστε. Vulg. rightly distinguishes, with itaque here and propter quod in v. 14. Διόπερ indicates more strongly than ὥστε that what follows is a reasoned result of what precedes.

13. πειρασμὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ εἴληφεν. An appeal to their past experience. Hitherto they have had no highly exceptional, superhuman temptations, but only such as commonly assail men, and therefore such as a man can endure. The τύποι just mentioned show that others have had similar temptations. This ought to encourage them with regard to the future, which he goes on to consider. It is reading too much into the verse to suppose that Corinthians had been pleading that they must go to idol-feasts; otherwise they might be persecuted and tempted to apostatize. In three of his letters, however (to the Alexandrians, to the clergy of Samosata, and to Acacius and others), Basil applies this text to persecution (Epp. 139, 219, 256). With εἴληφεν compare Wisd. 11:12; Luke 5:26, Luke 7:16, Luke 9:39.


πιστὸς δὲ ὁ Θεός. ‘On the contrary, God is faithful,’ id est verax in hac promissione, ut sit semper nobiscum (Herv.). Both AV. and RV. have ‘but’ for δέ. But the opposition is to what is negatived in what precedes; this clause continues the encouragement already given. The perfect tense (οὐκ εἴληφεν) brings us down to the present moment; there never has been πειρασμὸς μὴ�

ὃς οὐκ ἐάσει ὑμᾶς. ‘And therefore He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what ye are able to endure.’ This follows from His faithfulness, ‘as being one who will not allow,’ etc. For a similar use of ὅς see 1 Timothy 2:4.

ἀλλὰ ποιήσει κ.τ.λ. ‘But will provide, with the temptation, the way of escape also.’ ‘A way to escape’ (AV.) ignores the article before ἔκβασιν, ‘the necessary way of escape,’ the one suitable for such a difficulty. The σύν and the articles imply that temptations and possibilities of escape always go in pairs there is no πειρασμός without its proper ἔκβασις, for these pairs are arranged by God, who permits no unfairness. He knows the powers with which He has endowed us, and how much pressure they can withstand. He will not leave us to become the victims of circumstances which He has Himself ordered for us, and impossibilia non jubet. For ἔκβασις Vulg. has proventus; Beza and Calv. (better) exitus, which Vulg. has Hebrews 13:7; egresses might be better still. On the history of πειράζειν see Kennedy, Sources, p. 106. As to God’s part in temptation, see Matthew 6:13; 1 Chronicles 21:1; Job 1:12, Job 1:2:6; Exodus 16:4; Deuteronomy 8:2; and, on the other side, James 1:13.

τοῦ δύνασθαι ὑπενεγκεῖν. This τοῦ with the infinitive to express purpose or result* is very frequent in Luke (1:77, 79, 2:24, where see note) and not rare in Paul (Galatians 3:10; Philippians 3:10; Romans 1:24, Romans 1:6:6, Romans 1:7:3, Romans 1:8:12, Romans 1:11:8, Romans 1:10). Ὑγποφέρειν means ‘to bear up under,’ ‘to endure patiently’ (2 Timothy 3:11; 1 Peter 2:19; Proverbs 6:33; Psalms 69:7; Job 2:10). Temptation is probation, and God orders the probation in such a way ‘that ye may be able to endure it.’ The power to endure is given σὺν τῷ πειρασμῷ the endurance is not given; that depends on ourselves. On the liturgical addition to the Prayer, ‘Lead us not into temptation which we are not able to bear, ’ see Resch, Agrapha, pp. 85, 355; Hastings, DB. 3. p. 144.


Cassian (Inst. v. 16) says that “some not understanding this testimony of the Apostle have read the subjunctive instead of the indicative mood: tentatio vos non apprehendat nisi humana” (so Vulg.). The verse is a favourite one with Cassian.

A few texts insert οὐ before δύνασθε and ὐπενεγκεῖν after it: a few insert ὑμᾶς before or after ὑπενεγκεῖν: א* A B C D* F L P 17 omit ὑμᾶς.

14-22. The Lord’s Supper and the Jewish sacrifices may convince you of the fact that to participate in a sacrificial feast is to participate in worship. Therefore, avoid all idol feasts, which are a worship of demons.

14 Yes, God provides escapes from temptations, and so my affection for you moves me to urge you to escape from temptation to idolatry; avoid all contact with it. 15 I appeal to your good sense; you are capable of judging for yourselves whether my arguments are sound.

16 The cup of the blessing, on which we invoke the benediction of God in the Lord’s Supper, is it not a means of communion in the Blood-shedding of Christ? The bread which we break there, is it not a means of communion in the Body of Christ? 17 Because the many broken pieces are all one bread, we, the assembled many, are all one body; for we, the whole congregation, have with one another what comes from the one bread. 18 Here is another parallel. Consider the Israelites, as we have them in history with their national ritual. Is it not a fact that those Israelites who eat the prescribed sacrifices enter into fellowship with the altar of sacrifice, and therefore with Him whose altar it is? The altar unites them to one another and to Him. 19 You ask me what I imply by that. Not, of course, that there is any real sacrifice to an idol, or that there is any real idol, such as the heathen believe in. 20 But I do imply that the sacrifices which the heathen offer they offer to demons and to a no-god: and I do not wish you to enter into fellowship with the company of demons. 21 Is my meaning still not plain? It is simply impossible that you should drink of a cup that brings you into communion with the Lord and of a cup that brings you into communion with demons; that you should eat in common with others at the table of the Lord and at the table of demons. 22 Or do we think so lightly of this, that we persist in doing just what the Israelites did in the wilderness,—provoking the Lord to jealousy by putting Him on a level with demons? Are we able, any more than they were, to defy Him with impunity?

14. Διόπερ. Here and 8:13 only ‘Wherefore, my beloved ones (the affectionate address turns the command into an entreaty), flee right away from idolatry.’ Flight is the sure ἔκβασις in all such temptations, and they have it in their own power: all occasions must be shunned. They must not deliberately go into temptation and then expect deliverance. They must not try how near they can go, but how far they can fly. Fugite idolatriam: omnem utique et totam (Tert. De Cor. 10). This might seem a hard saying to some of them, especially after expecting a wide measure of liberty, and he softens it with�2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 2:12, etc. St Paul more commonly has the simple accusative after φεύγειν (6:18; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22), and it is not clear that φεύγειν�

15. ὡς φρονίμοις. Cf. 3:1; Ephesians 5:28. There is no sarcasm, as in 2 Corinthians 11:19. They have plenty of intelligence, and can see whether an argument is sound or not, so that pauca verba sufficiunt ad judicandum (Beng.). Yet there is perhaps a gentle rebuke in the compliment. They ought not to need any argument in a matter, de quo judicium ferre non erat difficile (Calv.). Resch, Agrapha, p. 127.

κρίνατε ὑμεῖς ὅ φημι. The ὑμεῖς is emphatic, and the change from λέγω to φημί should be marked in translation, although it may be made merely for variety; ‘Judge for yourselves what 1 declare.’ Vulg. has loquor and dico; in Romans 3:8 aiunt (φασί) and dicere (λέγειν).

16. Τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας. ‘The cup of the blessing,’ i.e. over which a benediction is pronounced by Christian ministers, as by Christ at the Last Supper. It does not mean ‘the cup which brings a blessing,’ as is clear from what follows. We know too little about the ritual of the Passover at the time of Christ to be certain which of the Paschal cups was the cup of the Institution. There was probably a Paschal ‘cup of the thanksgiving’ or ‘blessing,’ and the expression here used may come from that, but the addition of ‘which we bless’ in our Christian assemblies shows that the phrase is used with a fuller meaning. Cf. ποτήριον σωτηρίον (Psalms 115:4). Εὐλογεῖν and εὐχαριστεῖν express two aspects of the same action: see on 11:24. The plurals, εὐλογοῦμεν and κλῶμεν, do not necessarily mean that the whole congregation took part in saying the benediction or thanksgiving and in breaking the bread, except so far as the minister represented the whole body. The Apostle is speaking of Christian practice generally, without going into details. See notes on 11:23-25, where he does give some details, and cf. Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46. Evans enlarges on the εὖ in εὐλογοῦμεν, ‘over which we speak the word for good,’ and concludes, “the bread and wine, after their benediction or consecration, are not indeed changed in their nature, but become in their use and their effects the very body and blood of Christ to the worthy receiver.”


οὐχὶ κοινωνία ἐστὶν τ. αἵμ. τ. Χριστοῦ; ‘Is it not communion in the Blood of Christ?’ The RV. margin has ‘participation in.’ But ‘partake’ is μετέχειν: κοινωνεῖν is ‘to have a share in’; therefore κοινωνία is ‘fellowship’ rather than ‘participation.’ This is clear from what follows respecting the bread. It is better not to put any article before ‘communion’ or ‘fellowship.’ AV. has ‘the,’ which is justifiable, for κοινωνία, being the predicate, does not need the article. RV. has ‘a,’ which is admissible, but is not needed. Strangely enough, Vulg. varies the translation of this important word; communicatio sanguinis, but participatio corporis: communito (Beza) is better than either. As κοινωνεῖν is ‘to give a share to’ as well as ‘to have a share in.’ communicatio is a possible rendering of κοινωνία. The difference between ‘participation’ and ‘fellowship’ or ‘communion’ is the difference between having a share and having the whole. In Holy Communion each recipient has a share of the bread and of the wine, but he has the whole of Christ: οὐ γὰρ τῷ μετέχειν μόνον καὶ μεταλαμβάνειν�

Here, as in Luke 22:17, and in the Didache 9, the cup is mentioned first, and this order is repeated v. 21; but in the account of the Institution (11:23) the usual order is observed. ‘This may be in order to give prominence to the Blood-shedding, the characteristic act of Christ’s sacrifice, and also to bring the eating of the bread into immediate juxtaposition with the eating at heathen sacrifices. As regards construction, τὸ ποτήριον and τὸν ἄρτον are attracted to the case of the relatives which follow.


ὃν κλῶμεν. It is clear from εὐχαριστήσας (11:24) that St Paul does not mean to limit εὐλογοῦμεν to the cup: there was a benediction or thanksgiving over this also. There is no action with regard to the cup which would be parallel to breaking the bread, and therefore we cannot say that κλῶμεν is equivalent to, or a substitute for, εὐλογοῦμεν. Not would “πίνομεν correspond to κλῶμεν”: eating would correspond to drinking, and both are assumed. The transition from the Body of Christ to the Church, which in another sense is His Body, is easily made, but it is not made here: that comes in the next verse.

It is evident from 11:18f. that the mention of the cup before the bread here does not imply that in celebrating the rite the cup ever came first. Here he is not describing the rite, but pointing out a certain similarity between the Christian rite and pagan rites. Ramsay (Exp. Times, March 1910, p. 252) thinks that he names the cup first “partly because the more important part of the pagan ceremony lay in the drinking of the wine, and partly because the common food in the pagan ceremony was not bread, but something eaten out of a dish,” which was one and the same for all. To this we may add that in the heathen rite it seems to have been usual for each worshipper to bring his own loaf. The worshippers drank out of the same cup and took sacrificial meat out of the same dish, but they did not partake of the same bread: εἷς ἄρτος was not true of them (Hastings, DB. v. p. 132 b). This is said to be “the usual practice of simple Oriental meals, in which each guest has his own loaf, though all eat from a common dish.” There was therefore less analogy between the heathen bread and the Christian bread than between the heathen cup and the Christian cup, and for this reason also the cup may have been mentioned first. For this reason again he goes on (v. 17) to point out the unity implied in the bread of the Christian rite. The single loaf is a symbol and an instrument of unity, a unity which obliterates the distinction between Jew and Gentile and all social distinctions. There is only one Body, the Body of Christ, the Body of His Church, of which each Christian is a member. That is the meaning of ‘This is My Body.’

The main point to which the Apostle is leading his readers, is that to partake ceremonially of the Thing Sacrificed is to become a sharer in the Sacrificial Act, and all that that involves.

It is not easy to decide whether the first ἐστιν should follow κοινωνία (A B P, Copt. Arm.) or Χριστοῦ (א C D E F G K L, Latt.). Probably the latter order arose through assimilation to the position of the second ἐστιν. A and a few other authorities put the second ἐστιν after the second κοινωνία, probably for assimilation. א B C D F K L P have the second ἐστιν after Χριστοῦ. For the second Χριστοῦ, D* F, Latt. have Κυρίου.

17. ὅτι εἷς ἄρτος, ἓν σῶμα οἱ πολλοί ἐσμεν. It is not difficult to get good sense out of these ambiguous words, but it is not easy to decide how they should be translated. Fortunately the meaning is much the same, whichever translation is adopted. The ὅτι may = ‘because’ and introduce the protasis, of which ἓν σῶμα … ἐσμεν is the apodosis; ‘Because there is one bread, one body are we the many,’ i.e. Because the bread, although broken into many pieces, is yet one bread, we, although we are many, are one body. Vulg. seems to take it in this way; quoniam unus panis, unum corpus multi sumus.* The awkwardness of this is that there is no particle to connect the statement with what precedes. The Syriac inserts a ‘therefore’; ‘as, therefore, that bread is one, so are we one body.’ Or (better) ὅτι may = ‘for’ (AV.), or ‘seeing that’ (RV.), and be the connecting particle that is required; ‘Seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body’ (RV.). But, however we unravel the construction, we have the parallel between many fragments, yet one bread, and many members, yet one body. See Lightfoot on Ign. Eph. 20, where we have πάντες συνέρχεσθε ἐν μιᾷ πίστει καὶ ἑνὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ followed by ἕνα ἄρτον κλῶντες. See also Philad. 4. The Apostle’s aim is to show that all who partake of the one bread have fellowship with Christ. This is plain from what follows. See Abbott, The Son of Man, p. 496.

οἱ γὰρ πάντες ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἄρτου μετέχομεν. ‘For we all have our share from the one bread,’ i.e. the bread which is the means of fellowship with Christ. Nowhere else have we μετέχειν with ἐκ: the usual construction is the simple genitive (21, 9:12), which may be understood (30, 9:10); but compare ἐκ in 11:28. The meaning seems to be that we all have a share which is taken from the one bread, and there is possibly a suggestion that the one bread remains after all have received their shares. All have communion with the Body, but the Body is not divided. The idea of Augustine, that the one loaf composed of many grains of corn is analogous to the one body composed of many members, however true in itself, is foreign to this passage. We have the same idea in the Didache 9; “As this broken bread was scattered (as grain) upon the mountains and gathered together became one, etc.” “How the sacramental bread becomes in its use and effects the body of Christ, is a thing that passes all understanding: the manner is a mystery” (Evans). He adds that οἱ πάντες = ‘all as one,’ ‘all the whole congregation.’ It is remarkable how St Paul insists upon the social aspect of both the sacraments; ‘For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body’ (12:13).

18. The sacrifices of the Jews furnish a similar argument to show that participation in sacrificial feasts is communion with the unseen.

βλέπετε τὸν Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα. ‘Look at Israel after the flesh,’ the actual Israel of history. Christians are a new Israel, Israel after the Spirit, τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ Θεοῦ (Galatians 6:16, Galatians 6:3:29; Philippians 3:3), whether Jews or Gentiles by birth.

οὐχ οἱ ἐσθίοντες κ.τ.λ. ‘Are not they who eat the sacrifices in fellowship with the altar?’ They are in fellowship with the altar, and therefore with the unseen God, whose altar it is. To swear by the Temple is to swear by Him that dwelleth therein (Matthew 23:21), and to have fellowship with the altar is to have fellowship with Him whose sacrifices are offered thereon. As in the Holy Communion, therefore, so also in the Temple services, participating in sacrificial feasts is sacrificial fellowship with an unseen power, a power that is Divine. There is something analogous to this in the sacrificial feasts of the heathen; but in that case the unseen power is not Divine. See Leviticus 7:6, Leviticus 7:14, Leviticus 7:6:26, and Westcott on Hebrews 13:10.


19. τί οὖν φημι; ‘What then do I declare?’ This refers back to the φημί in v. 15 and guards against apparent inconsistency with 8:4. ‘Do I declare that a thing sacrificed to an idol is something, or that an idol is something?’ In neither case was there reality. The εἰδωλόθυτον professed to be an offering made to a god, and the εἴδωλον professed to represent a god. Both were shams. The εἰδωλόθυτον was just a piece of flesh and nothing more, and its being sacrificed to a being that had no existence did not alter its quality; the meat was neither the better nor the worse for that. The εἴδωλον was just so much metal, or wood, or stone, and its being supposed to represent a being that had no existence did not alter its value; it was neither more nor less useful than before. As a sacrifice to a god, and as the image of a god, the εἰδωλόθυτον and the εἴδωλον had no reality, for there was no such being as Aphrodite or Serapis. Nevertheless, there was something behind both, although not what was believed to be there.

AV., following KL, Syrr., has ‘idol’ first; and, without authority, inserts the article, ‘the idol.’ א B C D E P, Vulg. Copt. Arm. Aeth. have ὅτι εἰδωλόθυτον … ὅτι εἴδωλον. The accentuation of Tisch., ὅτι εἰδωλόθυτον τι ἔστιν, ἢ ὅτι εἴδωλόν τι ἔστιν, is probably wrong: better, τί ἐστιν in each case; ‘that it is something’ (aliquid) is the meaning, not ‘that any such thing exists.’ The omission of ἢ ὅτι εἴδωλόν τί ἐστιν (א* A C*) is no doubt owing to homoeoteleuton, τί ἐστιν to τί ἐστιν.

20.�Romans 2:14, Romans 15:27, ἔθνη has a plural verb: in Romans 9:30 it has the singular. As τὰ ἔθνη are animate and numerous, the plural is natural. On the history of the term ἔθνος see Kennedy, Sources, p. 98.

δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ θύουσιν. The Apostle seems to have LXX of Deuteronomy 32:17, ἔθυσαν δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ, θεοῖς οἷς οὐκ ᾔδεισαν, ‘They sacrificed to demons (Shêdim) and to a no-god, to gods whom they knew not,’ in his mind. That καὶ οὐ θεῷ means ‘and to a no-god’ rather than ‘and not to God’ is confirmed by Deuteronomy 32:21; αὐτοὶ παρεζήλωσάν με ἐπʼ οὐ θεῷ … κἀγὼ παραζηλώσω αὐτοὺς ἐπʼ οὐκ ἔθνει, ‘They have made me jealous with a no-god … and I will make them jealous with a no-people’; see Driver’s notes. In Bar. 4:7 we have the same expression, probably based on Deuteronomy 32:17; θύσαντες δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ ‘by sacrificing to demons and no-god.’ The Shêdim are mentioned nowhere else, excepting Psalms 106:37, a late Psalm, possibly of the Greek period: according to it human sacrifices were offered to the Shêdim; see Briggs ad loc. In Psalms 96:5, ‘All the gods of the nations are idols,’ LXX πάντες οἱ θεοὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν δαιμόνια, the word rendered ‘idols’ and δαιμόνια means ‘things of nought’ (Leviticus 19:4, Leviticus 19:26:1; Psalms 97:7; cf. Isaiah 40:18 f., Isaiah 44:9 f.). Asmodaeus, the evil spirit of Tob. 3:8, 6:14, is called in the Aram. and Heb. versions ‘king of the Shêdim’; and it is possible that St Paul has the Shêdim in his mind here. See Edersheim, Life and Times, 11. pp. 759-763. Here, the translation, ‘and not to God,’ introduces a thought which is quite superfluous: there was no need to declare that sacrifices to idols are not offered to God. But ‘to a no-god’ has point, and is probably a reminiscence of O.T. The Apostle is showing that taking part in the sacrificial feasts of the heathen involves two evils,—sharing in the worship of a thing-of-nought, and (what is still worse) having fellowship with demons. This latter point is the main thing, and it is expressly stated in what follows. See Hastings, DB. art. ‘Demon’; Thackeray, p. 144. The primitive and wider-spread idea that there is, in sacrifice, communion between deity and worshippers, and between the different worshippers, greatly aided St Paul in his teaching.

The idea that evil spirits are worshipped, when idols which represent non-existent pagan deities are worshipped, was common among the Jews, and passed over from them into the Christian Church, with the support of various passages in both O.T. and N.T. In addition to those quoted above may be mentioned Isaiah 13:21, Isaiah 34:14, where both AV. and RV. have ‘satyrs’ and LXX δαιμόνια. In Leviticus 17:7 and 2 Chronicles 11:15, AV. has ‘devils,’ RV. ‘he goats,’ RV. marg. ‘satyrs,’ and LXX μάταια: see Curtis on 2 Chronicles 11:15. In Enoch 99:7, “Others will make graven images of gold and silver and wood and clay, and others will worship impure sprits and demons and all kinds of superstitions not according to knowledge,” quoted by Tertullian (De Idol. 4). Book of Jubilees 1:11, “They will worship each his own (image), so as to go astray, and they will sacrifice their children to demons”; and again, 22:17, “They offer their sacrifices to the dead and they worship evil spirits.” In Revelation 9:20, ἵνα μὴ προσκυνήσουσιν τὰ δαιμόνια καὶ τὰ εἰδωλα. In the Gospels, and probably in the Apocalypse, δαιμόνια seem to be the same as πνεύματα�


οὐ θέλω δὲ κ.τ.λ. ‘And I do not wish that you should become fellows of the demons’: ‘have fellowship with’ (AV.) or ‘have communion with’ (RV.) does not give the force of γίνεσθαι. The article shows that ‘the demons’ are regarded here as a society, into which the worshipper of idols is admitted.

The text of v. 20 has been much varied by copyists, and some points remain doubtful. θύουσιν (א A B C D E F G P) is to be preferred to θύει (K L), which is a grammatical correction in both places. After the first θύουσιν, א A C K L P, Vulg. Syrr. Copt. have τὰ ἔθνη: B D E F omit. WH. bracket. The second θύουσιν follows καὶ οὐ θεῷ (א A B C P, Arm.), not precedes (D E F G, Vulg. Syrr. Copt.). For κοινωνοὺς τῶν δαιμονίων, D* E F G have δαιμονίων κοινωνούς. For γίνεσθαι, F, Syrr. Copt. have εἶναι.

21. οὐ δύνασθε. Of course it is not meant that there is any impossibility in going to the Lord’s Supper, and then going to an idol-feast: but it is morally impossible for one who has real fellowship with Christ to consent to have fellowship with demons. For one who does so consent οὐκ ἔστιν κυριακὸν δεῖπνον φαγεῖν. Only those who do not realize what the Supper is, or do not realize what an idol-feast is, could think of taking part in both: cf. 2 Corinthians 6:15; Matthew 6:24. The genitives may be possessive genitives, but the context indicates that they mean ‘the cup which brings you into fellowship with,’ genitives of relation.

τραπέζης Κυρίου. In Malachi 1:7, Malachi 1:12, ‘My table,’ i.e. the Lord’s table, means the altar; see also Ezekiel 41:22, Ezekiel 44:16. Here it can only mean the Lord’s Supper, ‘table’ (as often) including what was on it, especially food; hence the expression, τραπέζης μετέχειν. Wetstein quotes Diod. 4:74, μετασχὼν κοινῆς τραπέζης. Deissmann (New Light on the N.T., p. 83; see also Light, p. 355) quotes the invitation to “dine at the κλίνη of the Lord Serapis in the house of Cl. Serapion.” Probably from this passage, and perhaps also from Luke 22:30, ‘the Lord’s Table’ came to mean the Lord’s Supper. Augustine calls it ‘the table of Christ’ and ‘that great table’; Ambrose and Gregory Nazianzen, ‘the mystical table’; etc.

22. ἢ παραζηλοῦμεν τὸν Κύριον; A reminiscence of Deuteronomy 32:21 quoted above; see on Romans 10:19, Romans 11:11: ‘Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy?’ ‘Is that what we are engaged in—trying whether the Lord will suffer Himself to be placed on a level with demons?’ In Deut. ‘the Lord’ of course means Jehovah, and some understand it so here; but v. 21 almost necessitates a reference to Christ. The ἤ introduces the alternative, ‘Or (if you think that you can eat of Christ’s table and of the table of demons) are we going to provoke His jealousy?’

μὴ ἰσχυρότεροι αὐτοῦ ἐσμεν; ‘Surely we are not stronger than He?’ His anger cannot be braved with impunity; Job 9:32, 37:23; Ecclesiastes 6:10; Isaiah 45:9; Ezekiel 22:14; some of which passages may have been in the Apostle’s mind when he thus reduced such an argument εἰς ἄτοπον. It is as when Jehovah answers Job out of the whirlwind. Cf. 1:13.


10:23-11:1. Idol-meats need not always be avoided, but brotherly love limits Christian freedom. Abstain from idolmeats when an over-scrupulous brother tells you that they have been sacrificed to idols. In this and in all things seek God’s glory. That is my rule, and it keeps one from injuring others. And it is my rule because it is Christ’s.

23 As was agreed before, In all things one may do as one likes, but not all things that one may do do good. In all things one may do as one likes, but not all things build up the life of the Church. 24 In all open questions, it is the well-being of the persons concerned, and not one’s own rights, that should determine one’s action.

25 See how this works in practice. Anything that is on sale in the meat-market buy and eat, asking for no information that might perplex your conscience; 26 for the meat in the market, like everything else in the world, is the Lord’s, and His children may eat what is His without scruple. 27 Take another case. If one of the heathen invites some of you to a meal, and you care to go, anything that may be set before you eat, asking for no information, as before. 28 But if one of your fellow-guests should think it his duty to warn you and say, This piece of meat has been offered in sacrifice, then refrain from eating it, so as to avoid shocking your informant and wounding conscience. 29 Of course I do not mean your own conscience, but the conscience of the over-scrupulous brother who warned you. For to what purpose should I, by using my liberty, place myself in a false position, judged by the conscience of another? 30 Fancy ‘saying grace’ for food which causes offence and involves me in blame!

31 In short, that aim solves all these questions. Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, let your motive always be the promotion of God’s glory. 32 Beware of putting difficulties in the way of Jews by ill-considered liberty, or of Greeks by narrow-minded scruples, or of the Church of God by unchristian self-seeking. 33 That is just my own principle. I try to win the approval of everybody in everything, not aiming at my own advantage, but at that of the many, that they may be saved from perdition. 1 In this I am only following in the footsteps of Christ. Will not you follow in mine?

The whole discussion of εἰδωλόθυτος, accordingly, issues in three distinct classes of cases, for each of which St Paul has a definite solution:

(1) Eating at sacrificial feasts. This is idolatry, and absolutely forbidden.

(2) Eating food bought in the shops, which may or may not have an idolatrous history. This is unreservedly allowed.

There remains (3) the intermediate case of food at nonceremonial feasts in private houses. If no attention is drawn to the “history” of the food, this class falls into class (2). But if attention is pointedly called to the history of the food, its eating is prohibited, not as per se idolatrous, but because it places the eater in a false position, and confuses the conscience of others.

23. Πάντα ἔξεστιν. A return, without special personal reference, to the principle stated (or perhaps quoted) in 6:12; where see notes. Of course he means all things indifferent, with regard to which a Christian has freedom. He repeats this principle, with its limitation, before dealing finally with the question of idol-meats. See Moffatt, Lit. of N.T., p. 112.

οὐ πάντα οἰκοδομεῖ. This explains οὐ πάντα συμφέρει. There are some things which do not build up either the character of the individual, or the faith which he professes, or the society to which he belongs. A liberty which harms others is not likely to benefit oneself, and a liberty which harms oneself is not likely to benefit others. Cf. 14:26; Romans 14:19.


Before ἔξεστιν, in both clauses, א 3 H K L, Syrr. AV. insert μοι from 6:12: א* A B C* D E, Am. Copt. omit. Through homoeoteleuton, πάντα to πάντα, F G omit the first cause and 17 omits the second.

24. μηδεὶς τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ζητείτω. This is the practice which really συμφέρει and οἰκοδομεῖ: ‘Let no one seek his own good.’ The prohibition is, of course, relative: seeking one’s own good is not always wrong, but it is less important than seeking the good of others; and when the two conflict it is one’s own good that must give way: cf. v. 33, 6:18; Luke 10:20, Luke 10:14:12, Luke 10:13, Luke 10:23:28.


ἀλλὰ τὸ τοῦ ἑτέρου. The μηδείς of course is not the subject, but ἕκαστος, understood from the μηδείς. Such ellipses are as common in English as in Greek. Here, as in 3:7 and 7:19, the�

26. τοῦ Κυρίου γάρ. Quotation from Psalms 24:1 to justify the advice just given. The emphasis is on τοῦ Κυρίου, ‘To the Lord belongs the earth.’ Meat does not cease to be God’s creature and possession because it has been offered in sacrifice: what is His will not pollute any one. This agrees with Mark 7:19, καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα, and with Acts 10:15, ἃ ὁ Θεὸς ἐκαθάρισεν. It is stated that the words here quoted are used by Jews as grace at meals. Whether or no they were so used in St Paul’s day, the principle laid down in 1 Timothy 4:4 was recognized; ‘Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving.’

τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς. ‘That which fills it,’ ‘its contents.’ See J. A. Robinson, Ephesians, p. 259. Cf. Psalms 96:11, ‘The sea and all that therein is,’ ἡ θάλασσα καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς.


27. καλεῖ ὑμᾶς. The pronoun here has a slight change of meaning. He has been addressing all the Corinthian Christians, but this ὑμᾶς can only mean ‘some of you.’ All of them had heathen acquaintances, one of whom might invite several of them. And the emphasis is on καλεῖ: he suggests that without an express invitation they surely would not go.

καὶ θέλετε πορεύεσθαι. ‘And you care to go’: an intimation that he does not advise their going, though he does not forbid it; satius fore si recusarent (Calv.).

πᾶν τὸ παρατιθέμενον. Placed first with emphasis, like πᾶν τὸ ἐν μ. πωλ.: ‘Anything that is put before you’; ‘Anything that is for sale,’ etc. Cf. Luke 10:8.


εἴ τις (א A B D* F G P, Latt.) is to be preferred to εἰ δέ τις (C D 3 E H K L, Syrr.).

28. ἐὰν δέ τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ. The change from εἴ to ἐάν is perhaps intentional, although the difference between the two is less in late Greek than in earlier. ‘If any one invites you,’ a thing which is very possible and may have happened. ‘If any one should say to you,’ a pure hypothesis, and not so very probable. In Galatians 1:8, Galatians 1:9 we have a change from ἐάν to εἰ. See J. H. Moulton, Gr. p. 187. This shows clearly that the meal is a private one, and not such as is mentioned in 8:10. The Apostle has already ruled that banquets ἐν εἰδωλίῳ must be avoided, and at such a banquet there would be no need to say Τοῦτο ἱερόθυτόν ἐστιν. It is less easy to decide who the speaker is. Certainly not the host, whose conscience would not be mentioned, but a fellow-guest. And we are almost certainly to understand a fellow-Christian, one of the ‘weak’ brethren, who, being scrupulous himself about such things, thinks that he ought to warn others of what he chances to know. That a heathen would do it out of malice, or amusement, or good-nature (“I dare say, you would rather not eat that”), is possible, but his conscience would hardly come into consideration. And his using ἱερόθυτον rather than εἰδωλόθυτον would seem to indicate that he was a Gentile Christian: when he was a heathen and regarded sacrifices to the gods as sacred, he would use ἱερόθυτον and not εἰδωλόθυτον: and he uses the old word still.* It shows how St Paul has realized the situation. The word occurs nowhere else in Bibl. Grk. See Deissmann, Light, p. 355 n.


μὴ ἐσθίετε. This cannot mean ‘Cease from eating.’ As ἐσθίετε (v. 25) means ‘make a practice of eating,’ μὴ ἐσθίετε means ‘make a practice of abstaining from eating.’

διʼ ἐκεῖνον … καὶ τὴν συνείδησιν. We expect αὐτοῦ after συνείδησιν, but the Apostle purposely omits to say whose conscience is considered, in order to leave an opening for the emphatic statement which follows: ‘out of regard to your informant and to conscience.’ He would be shocked, and the shock would be a shock to conscience.

ἱερόθυτον (א A B H, Sah.) is to be preferred to εἰδωλόθυτον C D; F G K L P, Copt. Arm.), which is a correction to a more usual and apparently more correct term. There would be little temptation to change εἰδωλόθυτον into ἱερόθυτον, which occurs nowhere else in N.T. or LXX. The AV., following H2 K L, Goth., Chrys. Thdrt., adds from v. 26 ‘The earth is the Lords,’ etc. א A B C D E F G H* P, Latt. Copt. Aeth. Arm. omit.

29. συνείδησιν δὲ λέγω. ‘Now by conscience I mean, not one’s own, but the other’s,’ not the guest’s who received the information, but the fellow-guest’s who gave it. There is no need to regard ἑαυτοῦ as second person (‘thine own,’ AV., RV.) for σεαυτοῦ: it may be indefinite, ‘one’s own.’ In the plural, ἑαυτῶν, etc. is regularly used in N.T. for ἡμῶν αὐτῶν and ὑμῶν αὐτῶν, etc. (11:31; Philippians 2:12, etc.); but, in the singular, there is not one decisive example of this use. In Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; Matthew 22:39, σεαυτόν is the better reading; in John 18:34, σεαυτοῦ. Here, ἑαυτοῦ is the right reading.

ἵνα τί γὰρ ἡ ἐλευθερία μου; The Apostle graphically puts himself in the place of the Christian guest who has been placed in a difficulty by the officiousness of his scrupulous informant; ex sua persona docet. ἵνα τί γάρ: the force of the ἵνα is lost in most explanations of this clause (except Godet). ἵνα τί (see small print) never means ‘by what right,’ but rather ‘for what object’? St Paul’s main point in the context is μὴ ἐσθίετε, for which γάρ introduces a reason: ‘Eat not. … for what good will you gain?’ (cf. 8:8). What follows is really a characterization of the act of eating. The clue to the tense is in Romans 14:16, where the same verb, βλασφημεῖσθω, is used in a very similar connexion, ‘What good shall I gain by (eating, i.e.) by suffering my liberty to incur judgment (as 11:31; Romans 2:12; Acts 13:27) at the hands of another’s conscience? Why incur blame for food for which I give thanks, if I “say grace” for it?’ In the last clause, the point is in the incongruity of ‘saying grace’ for what places me in a false position; the structure exhibits a slight logical inversion closely similar to that in Romans 7:16 (see Introd. § on Style).


For ἑαυτοῦ (א A B C D2 E, etc.), D*, Latt (tuam) have σεαυτοῦ, and H has ἐμαυτοῦ, which are manifest corrections. For ἄλλης, F, d g Goth., Ambr. have�

The interrogative ἵνα τί (with γένηται or γένοιτο understood) is found in several places, both in N.T. (Matthew 9:4, Matthew 9:27:46; Luke 13:7; Acts 4:25, Acts 7:25) and in LXX (Ruth 1:11, Ruth 1:21; Ecclus. 14:3; 1 Malachi 2:7); also in Plato and Aristophances. Cf. ut quid? and in quid? and ad quid?

30. εἰ ἐγὼ χάριτι μετέχω. ‘If I with thanksgiving partake, why do I receive reviling about that for which I give thanks?’ This suggests, if it does not imply, that one’s being able to thank God for it is evidence that the enjoyment is innocent. One cannot thank God for a pleasure which one knows to be wrong. The connexion between χάριτι and εὐχαριστῶ should be preserved in translation. Apparently both refer to grace at meals, and the meaning is that all food, whether sacrificial or not, is sanctified, ‘if it be received with thanksgiving,’ μετὰ εὐχαριστίας, ἁγιάζεται γὰρ διὰ λόγου Θεοῦ καὶ ἐντεύξεως (1 Timothy 4:4). Evans translates, ‘If I with grace said have meat with others, why am I evil spoken of for having meat for which I have said grace?’ AV. and RV. render χάριτι ‘by grace,’ which means ‘by God’s grace’ (15:10), either His grace in providing food, or His grace in enlightening the conscience (Chrys.). So also Calvin; quum Dei beneficium sit, quad omnia mihi licent. But this is less likely than ‘thanksgiving.’ See Ellicott.

The δέ between εἰ and ἐγώ (C D 3 E H K L., Syrr.) may be safely omitted (א B D* F G P, Latt.). AV. has ‘For,’ which has no authority. No connecting particle is required, and δέ interrupts the sense. In any case ἐγώ is emphatic, ‘If I for my part.’ For χάριτι without the article cf. Ephesians 2:5; Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 13:9.


31. Εἴτε οὖν ἐσθίετε. The οὖν gathers up the results of the long discussion, and introduces a comprehensive principle which covers this question and a great many other things. All is to be done to God’s glory; and this aim will be a good guide in doubtful cases.* It has been suggested before, 6:20.

εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε. ‘Or do anything’; the active side of life as distinct from enjoyment and refreshment. Cf. ὅ τι ἐὰν ποιῆτε, πάντα ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου Ἰησου, and ὃ ἐὰν ποιῆτε, ἐργάζεσθε ὡς τῷ Κυρίῳ (Colossians 3:17, Colossians 3:23). Foregoing our rights out of Christian charity would illustrate this. Abstaining from action, for a good motive, is included in τι ποιεῖτε as well as deeds, whether simple or heroic. Ignatius repeatedly has the phrase, εἰς τιμὴν Θεοῦ (Eph. 21 bis, Smyrn. II, Polyc. 5; cf. Magn. 3, Trall. 12). Here again, as in v. 28, we have the refrain interpolated; ‘For the earth is the Lord’s,’ etc. (C3). See Deissmann, Light, p. 459.

32.�Acts 24:16 it is certainly intransitive, ‘without stumbling’: in Philippians 1:10 it may be either, but is probably intransitive. The use of the term here, in continuation of the great principle set forth in v. 31, shows that refraining from doing is much in his mind when he says εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε.

καὶ Ἰουδαίοις γ. καὶ Ἕλλησιν καὶ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ. These are three separate bodies; the third does not include the other two. Therefore unconverted Jews and unconverted Greeks are meant; they are οἱ ἔξω (v. 12), and it is an Apostolic principle that Christian conduct must be regulated with reference to those outside the Church as well as those within: ἵνα περιπατῆτε εὐσχημόνως πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω (1 Thessalonians 4:12; cf. Colossians 4:5). An ill-advised exhibition of Christian freedom might shock Jews and an ill-advised rigour about matters indifferent might excite the derision of Greeks, and thus those who might have been won over would be alienated. In καὶ τῇ ἐκ. τοῦ Θ. (1:2, 11:16, 22, 15:9) he is again thinking of the weak brethren who have needless scruples.* See on 12:12.


καὶ Ἰουδαίοις γίνεσθε is the order in א* A B C 17, Orig. There would be obvious temptation to correct to γίνεσθε τοῖς Ἰ., as in א3 D E F G K L P; and versions follow suit.

33. καθὼς κἀγὼ …�Galatians 1:10. ‘Please’ is used from his own point of view of what ought to please.† Ἀρέσκειν is sometimes almost ‘to be a benefactor to.’ “In monumental inscriptions the words�1 Thessalonians 2:4). What follows shows that his aim was not popularity.

μὴ ζητῶν τὸ ἐμαυτοῦ σύμφορον. The conclusion shows what kind of σύφορον is meant, viz. spiritual profit. The saving of his own soul is not his main object in life; that would be a refined kind of selfishness. He seeks his own salvation through the salvation of others. The unity of the Church as the Body of Christ is such that the spiritual gain of one member is to be sought in the spiritual gain of the whole (v. 17, 12:12, 25, 26). It is for this reason that he prefers inspired preaching to speaking in a Tongue (14:4, 19). It is a commonplace among philosophers that the man who seeks his own happiness does not find it: it is in seeking the happiness of others that each man finds his own. See Philippians 2:4; Romans 15:1. Josephus (B.J. IV. v. 2) praises Ananus as πρὸ τῶν ἰδίων λυσιτελῶν τὸ κοινῇ συμφέρον τιθέμενος.

ἵνα σωθῶσιν. As in 9:22. This effort must be to the glory of God, for it is carrying on His work (Colossians 1:13, Colossians 1:14). Cf. 1:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 Timothy 2:4. This shows what πᾶσιν�

As in 7:35, σύμθορον (א* A B C) is to be preferred to συμφέρον א3 D E F G K L P). Nowhere else in N.T. does σύμφορος occur; in LXX only 2 Malachi 4:5. Hence the change to a more familiar word. In 12:7, συμφέρον is right: συμφέρειν is frequent.









* The ‘Moreover’ of AV. is from a false reading δέ(א3 K L, Syrr.); the evidence for γάρ is overwhelming. It introduce further justification of his demand that they should lmitate him in his forbearance and Entsagung. The οὐ θ. ὑμᾶς ἁγν. (12:1; 2 Corinthians 1:8; Romans 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13) implies no reproach: contrast οὐκ οἴδατε (3:16, 5:6, 4:2, etc.).

* Onkelos paraphrases Deuteronomy 33:3; “With power He brought them out of Egypt, they were led under Thy cloud; they journeyed according to Thy word.” Onkelos is said to have been, like St Paul, a disciple of Gamaliel. Cf. Psalms 105:39.


B B (Fourth century.) The Vatican MS.

K K (Ninth century). Codex S. Synod. xcviii. Lacks 1:1-6:13 ταύτην καί: 8:7 τινὲς δὲ—8:11�

G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). Lacks 1 Corinthians 3:8-16, 1 Corinthians 6:7-14 (F).


* This would imply that the Corinthians were predestined to fall as the Israelites did.

* Aristoph. Ran. 450, τὸν ἡμέτερον τρόπον τὸν καλλιχορώτατον παίζοντες. The verb is found nowhere else in N.T. In LXX it is frequent.

† But in Num_25. we have two different stories combined and somewhat confused: vv. 1-5 come from one source, vv. 6-18 from another. The locality in one case is Shittim, in the other Peor; the god in one case is presumably Kemosh the God of Moab, but he is called in both cases the Baal of Peor; the punishment in one case is execution by the judges, in the other plagues sent by God; the cause of the evil in one case is Moabite, in the other Midianite. See Gray, Numbers, pp. 380 f., and cf. the interchange of Ishmaelite with Midianite, Genesis 37:25-36.

* The μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ increases the horror: omnia ademit Una dies infesta tibi tot praemia vitae (Lucr. 3:911); cf. Revelation 18:8.


17 17. (Ev. 33, Act_13. Ninth century.) At Paris (Nat. Gr. 14). See Westcott and Hort., Introd. §§ 211, 212.

* The murmuring against the report of the spies can hardly be meant, for that was punished by the murmurers dying off in the wilderness, not by any special destruction (Numbers 14:1, Numbers 14:2, Numbers 14:29).


† It is perhaps for this reason that he changes from καθώς to καθάπερ, which implies the very closest resemblance, ‘exactly as’.

* The education of the Gentiles went on side by side with the education of the Jews, and both streams met in the Christian Church. “The Church is the heir of the spiritual training of manking” (Findlay). The temptation to make τὰ τ. τῶν αὶ. singular produced corruptions; in quos finis sacculorum devenit (Iren. 4. 14: 3), in quos finis seculorum obvenit Aug. De cat. rud. 3). Tert. preserves the plural; at nos commonendos, in quos fines aevorum decucurreunt (Marc. v. 7); also Vulg.; ad correptionem nostram, in quos fines secutorum devenerunt.

* J. H. Moulton (Gr. 1. p. 217) prefers to call this use of τοῦ c. infin. ‘epexegetic’, and thinks that ‘when Paul wishes to express purpose he uses other means”. Bachmann makes τοῦ δύνασθαι the genitive of the substantival infinitive, dependent on ἔκβασιν, ‘the escape of being able to bear it’; i.e. the ἔκβασις consists in the power to endure.

* Ellicott says that this distinction between μετέχειν and κοινωνεῖν “cannot be substantiated. All that can properly be said is that κοινωνεῖν implies more distinctly the idea of a community with others”: and that is sufficient. See Cremer, p. 363. Lightfoot points out the caprice of AV. in translating κοινωνοί first ‘partakers’ and then ‘have fellowship,’ while κοινωνία is ‘communion,’ and μετέχειν is ‘to be partakers’ (On Revision, p. 39).

* Quoniam unus est panis, unum corpus nor, qui multi sumus (Beza). Weil Ein Brod es ist das wir brechen, sind Ein Leib wir, die Vielen (Schmiedel).

H H (Sixth century). Coisl. 202. At Paris (the part containing 10:22-29, 11:9-16. An important witness, but unhappily seldom available. The MS. is scattered in seven different libraries, having been employed for bindings.

* See Origen (Cels. viii. 21 sub init.) where he says that Celsus would call ἱερόθυτα what are properly called εὶδωλόθυτα, or, still better, δαιμονιόθυτα. There is no improbability in a ‘weak’ Christian accepting the invitation of a heathen. There would be plenty of food that had never been sacrificed: and he might avoid the word εἰδωλόθυτον out of consideration for his entertainer.

* Epictetus (Arr. Dis. ii. 19) says; “I have this purpose, to make you free from constraint, compulsion, hindrance, to make you free, prosperous, happy, looking to God in everything small and great,” εἰς Θεὸν�

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Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1896-1924.