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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 10

Verse 1

1 Corinthians 10:1 . Οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν , Moreover, I would not that you should be ignorant ) The phrase refers to the whole passage; for the Corinthians were acquainted with the history; comp. 1 Corinthians 9:13 . [84] The particle moreover transfers the discourse from the singular, 1 Corinthians 9:26 , to the plural. οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν , our fathers ) even the fathers of the Corinthians; of the Gentiles succeeded to the place of the Jews. [ Our ancestors , he says, in respect of communion with God . V. g.] πάντες , all ) had gone out of Egypt there was not so much as one of so great a multitude detained either by force or on account of disease, Psalms 105:37 . Five divine benefits are mentioned, 1 4, and as many sins committed by our fathers, 6 10. ὑπὸ τὴν νεφέλην ἦσαν , were under the cloud ) Exodus 13:21-2.13.22 . διὰ τῆς θαλάσσης διῆλθον , passed through the sea ) Exodus 14:29 .

[84] Preference, however, is given to the particle γὰρ , both in the margin of the first and second Ed., and in the Germ. Vers. E. B.

ABCD( Λ )G fg Vulg. Orig. 4,143 e ; 144 a , Iren. 264 Cypr. 157,277 have γαρ . Rec. Text δὲ with Orig. 1,541 e , some MSS. of Vulg. and both Syr. Versions. ED.

Verse 2

1 Corinthians 10:2 . Καὶ πάντες εἰς τὸν Μωϋσὴν ἐβαπτίσαντο , and all were baptized unto Moses ) καἰ , and so . He resumes what he slightly touched upon in the preceding verse about the cloud and the sea, and shows to what each refers. They were baptized in the cloud, so far as they were under it; and in the sea, so far as they passed through it. They were neither wet with the cloud nor with the sea, much less were they immersed in either (although some conjecture, that a miraculous rain fell from that cloud, from what is said in Psalms 68:9 ; Psa 105:39 ), nor is the term baptism found in the writings of Moses. But Paul uses this term with great propriety, 1. Because the cloud and the sea are in their own nature water (wherefore also Paul is silent respecting the pillar of fire); 2. The cloud and the sea took the fathers out of sight and restored them again to view, and this is what the water does to those who are baptized. 3. They were initiated by the cloud and by the sea; and as initiation, at Colossians 2:11 , is described by circumcision, so here by baptism, a metaphor common to the Old and New Testament; comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 5:7 . But they were baptized unto Moses, as the servant of God, Exodus 14:31 , because they had begun to believe (in) him, and that they might afterwards believe (in) him; comp. εἰς , Romans 4:20 . [85] ἐβαπτίσαντο , in the middle voice, received baptism . In the 1st verse it is hinted what God did for them; in 1 Corinthians 10:2 , what the fathers received. The sacraments of the Old Testament were more than two, if we take into account these extraordinary ones, at the time of their exodus out of the land of Egypt. καὶ ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ , and in the sea ) In repeated indicates a new step in their progress and privileges.

[85] [He staggered not] at [ in reference to ], the promise of God: so here, baptized unto Moses, viz., in relation to him as their divinely appointed leader. ED.

Verse 3

1 Corinthians 10:3 . Καὶ πάντες , and all ) The three former particularly refer to baptism; this and the following, to the Lord’s Supper. If there were more sacraments of the New Testament, Paul would have laid down something that bore likewise a resemblance to the others. τὸ αὐτὸ ) the same , in respect of the fathers that fell, or did not fall; not in respect of them and us; for in the New Testament there is none of the Mosaic manna; comp. of one [partakers of that one bread], 1 Corinthians 10:17 . βρῶμα , meat ) Exodus 16:14 . πνευματικὸν , spiritual ) Manna was spiritual food, not in itself, John 6:32 ; nor merely in the way of prefiguration; but because there was give from Christ to the Israelites, along with food for the body, food for the soul, the manna, which is far more noble than external food: comp. the next verse; and in this better sense, the denomination is given; comp. Psalms 78:24-19.78.25 : and there was spiritual food not only to believers, but also, on the part of God [as far as God’s part is concerned], to the others.

Verse 4

1 Corinthians 10:4 . Πόμα , drink ) This relates rather to Exodus 17:6 , than to Numbers 20:8 , where mention is made also of cattle. γὰρ , for ) Such as is the rock, such is the water. ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας , from the spiritual rock, that followed them ) The article τῆς is not added. The people did not know, what the rock was; therefore Paul long after adds, but the rock was Christ . This spiritual rock is spoken of as following them , not on account of its following the people; for it rather went before them; but because, although at that time it was really present with them, 1 Corinthians 10:9 , yet it was only in after ages that at length it was made known to them; comp. on the word ἀκολουθεῖν , to follow, 1 Timothy 5:24 ; on the order of natural and spiritual things, 1 Corinthians 15:46 .

Verse 5

1 Corinthians 10:5 . Ἀλλ , but ) although they had so many signs of the Divine presence. οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλειόσιν αὐτῶν , not with the most of them ) The position of the particle not should be noticed. Reason might suggest, that God certainly was well pleased ἐν τοῖς πλειόσιν , with the most of them . This the apostle denies. He not only points out those, who are particularly described presently afterwards, but at the same time many others. ὁ Θεὸς , God ) whose judgment alone is valid. κατεστρώθησαν , were overthrown ) in great heaps, and with great force. The LXX. have used this word in Numbers 14:16 . γὰρ , for ) The event showed, that they had not pleased God. ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ , in the wilderness ) far from the land of promise.

Verse 6

1 Corinthians 10:6 . Ταῦτα , these ) benefits, which the people received, and the sins which they at the same time committed. τύποι , examples ) by which we may be instructed, from which we may learn, what punishments, we must expect, if, receiving such benefits, we should sin in a similar manner. εἰς τὸ μὴ , that not ) The benefits are put down in the order, in which they are arranged by Moses, in the different chapters of Exodus; the offences, with their punishments, in a different order. The fundamental principle, from which the offences proceed, is concupiscence: afterwards, the mention of idolatry most of all serves his purpose, 1 Corinthians 10:7 ; 1 Corinthians 10:4 : fornication was usually joined with idolatry, 1 Corinthians 10:8 : temptation with murmuring; see the following verses. Those offences are chiefly mentioned, which relate to the admonition of the Corinthians. ἐπιθύμητας ) The LXX. have this verbal noun. κακῶν , after evil things ) Romans 14:20 . ἐπεθύμησαν , lusted ) Numbers 11:4 .

Verse 7

1 Corinthians 10:7 . Γίνεσθε , be ye ) In this ver., and 1 Corinthians 10:10 , the matter is set before them in the second person; for Paul was beyond the danger of idolatry, nay, he was even the object of their murmuring; the other things are put in the first person both becomingly so. So 1 Peter 4:1 ; 1 Peter 4:3 , in the second person. τινἐς αὐτῶν , some of them ) We should mark some; where some begin, the majority of the multitude easily follow, rushing both into sin and to punishment. ἐκάθισεν , κ . τ . λ .) So the LXX., Exodus 32:6 . φαγεῖν καὶ πιεῖν , to eat and drink ) This quotation is much to the purpose; comp. 1 Corinthians 10:21 . παίζειν , to play ) A joyful festival is here indicated ( celebrated with lascivious dancing around the calf. V. g.), and at the same time the vanity of the festival on account of the idol is implied.

Verse 8

1 Corinthians 10:8 . Ἐπόρνευσαν , committed fornication ) Numbers 25:1 . εἴκοσι τρεῖς χιλιάδες , twenty-three thousand ) They are said to have been twenty-four thousand , Numbers 25:9 . A stroke from God swept them away; but besides, the princes [“the heads of the people,” Num 25:4 ] were hanged, and the judges were commanded to put to death their men , over whom they presided, who had been joined to Baal-peor. Moses as well as Paul gives the number of them, whom the plague itself of that day destroyed. Why then does Paul subtract a thousand? The precise number of the dead, we may suppose, was between the round numbers, 23,000, and 24,000, say 23,600, and had been known by tradition. We do not follow the subtilties of other interpreters.

Verse 9

1 Corinthians 10:9 . Μηδὲ ἐκπειράζωμεν ) The compound verb, as in Matthew 4:7 . The simple verb follows immediately after. τὸν Χριστὸν , Christ ) Paul mentions five benefits, 1 Corinthians 10:1-46.10.4 , of which the fourth and fifth were closely connected; and five crimes, of which the fourth and fifth were in like manner closely connected. In speaking of the fifth benefit, he expressly mentions Christ; and in speaking of the fourth crime, he shows that it was committed against Christ. [ See Appendix. , P. II., on this passage, where the reading Χριστὸν is defended against Artemonius , Not. Crit. [86] ]. ἘΠΕΊΡΑΣΑΝ , tempted ) Numbers 21:5 . Christ is therefore God. Comp. Exodus 17:2 . Often those things which are declared concerning the Lord in Old Testament, are spoken of Christ in New Testament, Romans 14:10-45.14.11 ; and that temptation , by which the people sinned, was an offence peculiarly against Christ, Exodus 23:20 ; Exodus 32:34 ; Isaiah 63:9 ; for when they had drunk from that Rock, which was Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:4 , they yet complained for want of water, Numbers 21:5 . Therefore they were also preserved from the fiery serpents, by raising a serpent on a pole, a type of Christ . As Abraham “saw Christ’s day” [ Joh 8:56 ], as Moses embraced “the reproach of Christ” [ Heb 11:26 ], so the Israelites tempted Christ: and yet the Corinthians could more directly tempt Christ.

[86] Lachm. reads Κύριον with BC, and some MSS. of Memph. Vers. But Tischend., with D( Λ )G fg Vulg., both Syr. Versions, Memph., Theb., and Marcion, according to Epiphanius ( ὁ δὲ Μαρκίων ἀντὶ τοῦ Κύριον Χριστὸν ἐποίησεν ), Iren. 264, Χριστόν . This last is the better attested reading therefore. A has θεόν . ED.

Verse 10

1 Corinthians 10:10 . Μηδὲ γογγύζετε , do not murmur ) comp. 1 Corinthians 10:22 . Moses and Aaron were the secondary objects of murmuring in the Old Testament. ἐγόγγυσαν , murmured ) Numbers 16:41 . With Moses, murmuring preceded the temptation; but Paul places murmuring after the temptation in the last place, as being most like to that sin, into which the Corinthians were liable to fall. He who is weaker [than the Lord], ought not to murmur; comp. 1 Corinthians 10:22 ; Exodus 16:8 ; Exodus 16:10 , at the end of the ver. ἀπώλοντο , perished ) ibid. 10:49. ὀλοθρευτοῦ , destroyer ) Comp. Wis 18:22 ; Wis 18:25 ; Hebrews 11:28 , note.

Verse 11

1 Corinthians 10:11 . Πάντα , all things ) He resumes what he said, 1 Corinthians 10:6 , and in this recapitulation adds, all things , which stands in apposition with ensamples . [87] τύποι ) ensamples . ἐκείνοις , to them ) construed with happened . ἐγράφη , were written ) The use of the Old Testament Scripture is in the fullest force in the New Testament. It was not written out in the beginning [but subsequently: for the edification of us in the ends of the world]. τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνω Ν , the ends of the ages ) οἱ αἰῶνες , all things, even former ages; ΤᾺ ΤΈΛΗ , in the New Testament, comp. Romans 10:4 . The plural has great force. All things meet together, and are coming to their height: benefits and dangers, punishments and rewards; comp. the following verse. All that now remains is that Christ should come, as the avenger and judge; and until that happens, these ends, being many, include various periods succeeding each other. ΚΑΤΉΝΤΗΣΕΝ , have come upon ) as it were unexpectedly. He does not say, we, who have come upon the ends . The same word occurs, 1 Corinthians 14:36 .

[87] The Germ. Ver. shows on the margin of the 2d Ed. the reading τυπικῶς raised from the mark ε to the mark γ . E. B.

Lachm. reads τυπικῶς , with ABC Orig. 1, 170; 536 f ; 4, 8 e ; fg Vulg. Iren. (“in figura”), Hilary (in præformationem). Tisch. reads τύποι , with D( Λ )G Memph., Theb., later Syr. (Syr. has in exemplum nostrum ). ED.

Verse 12

1 Corinthians 10:12 . Ὁ δοκῶν ) he, who stands, and thinks that he stands. ἑστάναι , that he stands ) well-pleasing to God , 1 Corinthians 10:5 . μὴ πέσῃ , lest he fall ) 1 Corinthians 10:8 ; 1 Corinthians 10:5 .

Verse 13

1 Corinthians 10:13 . Πειρασμὸς , temptation ) It is mere human temptation, such as may be overcome by a man, when the man has to do either with himself, or with others like himself; to this is opposed the temptation of demons; comp. 1 Corinthians 10:20 ; 1 Corinthians 10:14 . Paul had greater experience; the Corinthians were inexperienced, and therefore more free from concern. οὐκ εἴληφεν , has not taken ) he says οὐκ , not οὐκέτι . He is, therefore, speaking of some temptation, with which they are at present struggling; comp. with εἴληφεν , hath taken , Luke 5:5 ; Luke 5:26 ; 2 Corinthians 12:16 . πιστὸς δὲ , but faithful ) An abbreviated expression, of which the one member must be supplied from the other. Hitherto you have not been severely tempted; you owe that not to your own care, but to the protection of God; but now a greater temptation hangs over you; in it God also will be your defence, but be ye watchful. Thus δὲ , but , extends its meaning to 1 Corinthians 10:14 . God is faithful in affording the assistance which both His word and His former works promise . πειρασθῆναι , to be tempted ) by men or demons. δύνασθε , you are able ) viz., to bear , from the end of the verse. σὺν , with ) God permits us to be moderately tempted; and at the same time provides a way of escape. καὶ , also ) the connection being unbroken. ἐκβασιν ) a way of escape , which takes place gradually, even while some things remain to be borne . The same word is found, Wis 2:17 ; Wis 8:8 ; Wis 8:11 :(14)15.

Verse 14

1 Corinthians 10:14 . Ἀπὸ τῆς εἰδωλολατρείας , from idolatry ) The consequent [idolatry] is put for the antecedent [things offered to idols], with a view the more to deter the Corinthians from indulging in this sin: i.e. avoid things offered to idols, and the religious use of them, in so far as they are things offered to idols. Having premised this caution in the 23d ver., he shows that the use of those things in a civil point of view is indeed lawful, but still they ought to be used with great caution.

Verse 15

1 Corinthians 10:15 . Φρονίμοις , to the wise ) to whom a few words are sufficient to enable them to form their judgment concerning this mystery.

Verse 16

1 Corinthians 10:16 . Τὸ ποτήριον , the cup ) The cup is put before the bread; because according to his design [to reprove the eating of meats sacrificed to idols, answering to the bread of the Lord’s Supper], he dwells more on the consideration of the meat , 1 Corinthians 10:21 ; mention is however made of the cup, because it is inseparable from the other element. The interchange of the order here is a proof, that the body of Christ is received separately, not inasmuch as it has the blood accompanying it. In mentioning food more respect is paid to meat, than drink; but in the mystery of redemption the blood is oftener named, than the body of Christ. Hence Paul’s promiscuous arrangement [sometimes the bread , at other times the wine coming first]. τὴς εὐλογίας , of blessing ) on that account it is distinguished from a common cup, Matthew 26:27 . ὁ εὐλογοῦμεν , which we bless ) plural as in we break , supply, we , ministers and believers, each for his own part: comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 5:4 . All, who bless and break together, enter the more closely into communion. κοινωνία , communion ) This predicate used in the abstract shows that the subject should likewise be taken in the abstract. The cup, which we use, i.e. the use of the cup (comp. Mark 7:30 , note). He who drinks of this cup, is a partaker of the blood of Christ; so 1 Corinthians 10:18 , they who eat . The highest degree of reality is implied: comp. 1 Corinthians 10:19 , note. τοῦ αἵματος , of the blood ) that was shed. Now, he who is a partaker of the blood and body of Christ, is also a partaker of the sacrifice, that was offered on the cross: comp. 1 Corinthians 10:18 ; a partaker in short of Christ himself; comp. what is put in antithesis to this, 1 Corinthians 10:20 , at the end. τὸν ἄρτον ) There is a construction similar to this, 1 Corinthians 7:17 : and in the LXX., Numbers 32:4 . Τῆς εὐλογίας is here again to be supplied; the bread of blessing . τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ , of the body of Christ ) of the body delivered up to death for us; comp. the opposite [the antithesis] to this, 1 Corinthians 10:20 , at the beginning. The body of Christ is also the Church, as in the following verse; but here the very body of Christ is intended, from which the blood is contradistinguished.

Verse 17

1 Corinthians 10:17 . Ὅτι , since ) He proves, that the cup and the bread are the communion; for the bread by itself does not make them that eat it, become one body; but the bread does so, in so far as it is communion , etc. εἷς ἄρτος ( one bread ), viz. there is [ and indeed it is such bread as is broken, and carries with it (implies in the participation of it) the communion of the body of Christ . V. g.] οἱ πολλοὶ , the many ) believers [Eng. Vers. is different, “We being many are one bread and one body”]. ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἄρτου , of the one bread ) and therefore also of the one cup.

Verse 18

1 Corinthians 10:18 . Τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου , of the altar ) and therefore, of God . He, to whom the offering is made, those things which are offered, the altar on which they are offered, have communion [a mutual tie in common], as is evident from the following verses, comp. Matthew 23:20-40.23.21 .

Verse 19

1 Corinthians 10:19 . Τί , what ) In the Protasis, he has derived his argument from the sacred rites of the Christians and Jews; and now about to give the apodosis, he uses προθεραπεία , precaution in the way of anticipation, and sets down by implication the apodosis itself with pious caution, εὐλαβῶς , in 1 Corinthians 10:20 : he who eats things offered to idols, cultivates communion with demons. An idol [88] is a piece of wood, and nothing else; what is offered to an idol is a piece of flesh, and nothing else; but that cup and that bread, which have been spoken of at 1 Corinthians 10:16 , are not a mere cup and mere bread.

[88] By inverting the order, the margin of both editions intimates, that εἰδωλόθυτον is to be placed first, and that εἴδωλον should be second in the order; but the Germ. Ver. follows the reading of the text. E. B.

BC corrected later, D Vulg., d Memph., Theb. Versions, have the order εἰδωλόθυτον εἴδωλον . A omits ἢ ὅτι εἴδωλόν τι ἔστιν . ED.

Verse 20

1 Corinthians 10:20 . Ἀλλʼ , but ) viz. I say . δαιμονίοις , to demons ) rather than to idols. κοινωνοὺς , the associates ) Those who were present at the sacrifices of the Gentiles, which serve as an invitation to demons, opened the window to demons, to make an assault upon themselves. Θεῷ , to God ) in whose communion you ought to be: Deuteronomy 32:17 , ἔθυσαν δαιμονίοις , καὶ οὐ Θεῷ , They sacrificed to devils and not to God; comp. Bar 4:7 .

Verse 21

1 Corinthians 10:21 . Οὐ δύνασθε ) ye cannot , without very great sin. Κυρίου , of the Lord ) Christ. τραπέζης Κυρίου , of the Lord’s table ) The Lord’s Supper is a feast, not a sacrifice; on a table, not on an altar.

Verse 22

1 Corinthians 10:22 . Παραζηλοῦμεν ) do we provoke to jealousy? namely, by idolatry, 1 Corinthians 10:7 ; Exodus 20:5 . The kindred word is הלאות , ἀγῶνα παρέχειν , to cause one a conflict, to weary out, Isaiah 7:13 . So Deuteronomy 32:21 , αὐτοὶ παρεζήλωσάν με ἐπʼ οὐ θεῷ , they have moved me to jealousy with that which is no god. ἰσχυρότεροι , stronger) so that we may flee from His jealousy when kindled? [The weaker party is provoked without danger; but it is different in the stronger. V. g.]

Verse 23

1 Corinthians 10:23 . Συμφέρει , expedient ) 1 Corinthians 10:33 . The power, by which all things ἔξεστιν , are lawful , is given by God : συμφέρον , expediency, is a thing affecting myself: οἰκοδομὴ , edification, relates to another .

Verse 25

1 Corinthians 10:25 . [89] Μηδὲν ἀνακρίνοντες , asking no questions ) whether it has been offered to an idol or not. Curiosity is often more injurious, than simplicity. διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν , for the sake of the conscience ) of another, 1 Corinthians 10:29 , whose benefit is consulted by keeping silence, lest he should be disturbed.

[89] πᾶν , all ) As far as concerns the difference of meats, ver. 26. V. g.

Verse 26

1 Corinthians 10:26 . Τοῦ Κυρίου , of the Lord ) not of idols . Psalms 24:1 , τοῦ Κυρίουγῆ καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof . Psalms 50:0 (49):12, ἐμὴ γὰρ ἐστινοἰκουμένη καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς The world is mine and its fulness . πλήρωμα , fulness ) including all kinds of meats.

Verse 27

1 Corinthians 10:27 . Θέλετε πορεύεσθαι , you wish to go ) Paul does not much approve of this, nor does he forbid it.

Verse 28

1 Corinthians 10:28 . Τὸν μηνύσαντα καὶ τὴν συνείδησιν , for the sake of him that showed it, and for conscience sake ) a Hendiadys . μηνύω denotes serious information given of a thing.

Verse 29

1 Corinthians 10:29 . Τὴν ἑαυτοῦ , thy own ) comp. the preceding verse; or rather, because he is there speaking in the plural, my own; comp. this with what immediately follows. ἑτέρου , of another ) of whom, 1 Corinthians 10:28 . ἡ ἐλευθερία μου , my liberty ) i.e. [Why am] I, along with the liberty of my conscience [judged]; so immediately after, by the conscience of another, i.e. by another along with his conscience which is encumbered with scruples. κρίνεται , is judged) i.e. , his weak conscience cannot deprive my conscience of its liberty. ἄλλης , another ) This word has greater force, than if it had been said, of another [ judged by ANOTHER conscience; not as Engl. V. another man’s conscience ].

Verse 30

1 Corinthians 10:30 . Ἐγω , I ) This expression has reference to his legitimate power [See 1Co 10:23 ]. τί βλασφημοῦμαι , why am I evil spoken of ) by him, who does not use his liberty, i.e. no man can reprove me (but βλασφημεῖν , to speak calumniously of , is even worse), as if I were acting contrary to my conscience. ὑπὲρ οὗ , for which ) i.e. why am I assailed with reproaches for my thanksgiving? εὐχαριστῶ , I give thanks ) Thanksgiving sanctifies all meat; it denies the authority of idols, and asserts the authority of God. 1 Timothy 4:3-54.4.4 ; Romans 14:6 .

Verse 31

1 Corinthians 10:31 . Εἴτε , whether ) A great first principle, comp. Jeremiah 22:15-24.22.16 . εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε ) or whatsoever ye do , which is either more or even less common than eating or drinking. [ It is in the highest degree just to consider in all our words and actions, whether they tend to the glory of GOD, 2 Corinthians 9:12 ; 1 Peter 4:11 . V. g.] εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ , to the glory of God ) with thanksgiving and the edification of our neighbour.

Verse 32

1 Corinthians 10:32 . Τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ , to the church of God ) the holy church called from among the Jews and Gentiles. The same name is found ch. 1 Corinthians 11:16 ; 1 Corinthians 11:22 .

Verse 33

1 Corinthians 10:33 . Πάντα ) κατα πάντα , in all things . πᾶσιν , all men ) Jews, Greeks, Christians. ἀρέσκω , I please ) with respect to their consciences. ἴνα σωθῶσι , that they may be saved ) By this standard we must determine what is profitable .

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.