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Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 10

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-13

See 1 Corinthians 9:23 ff for the passage quote with footnotes.

1 Corinthians 10:1-5. The illustration derived from Grecian life is followed up by one taken from Jewish history. The thought set forth and established is the same just considered, viz., the, necessity of earnest self-denial for a participation in the Gospel salvation. Having expressed his own anxiety lest, with all his labors for others, he himself should fail of approval, he proceeds to substantiate his apprehension by referring to the case of the fathers. The connection is indicated by γάρ [which is the correct reading, and not δέ, as in the Rec. See Crit. notes].—For I would not that ye should be ignorant, brethren.—The logic is: ‘there is reason to fear that I may become a castaway; for the early history of our nation proves that however close may be the relation sustained by men toward God, and however glorious the promises made to them, it is nevertheless possible for such to be rejected at the last.’ In this respect he holds up the people of the ancient covenant as a warning to those of the new, showing, first, the rich experiences of Divine favor enjoyed by the former, in which he beholds a type of those dispensed under the N. T.; and, secondly, how the majority did nevertheless fall at last beneath the Divine judgments, by yielding to temptations, complying with their impious passions, and resisting God. By the expression: ‘I would not that you be ignorant,’ in which he does not so much remind his readers of something well known, as open up before them something new and for them significant (comp. Romans 1:13; Romans 11:25), he calls their attention directly to what he has to say, and presses it on their earnest consideration. Grammatically it points primarily to facts, familiar even to the heathen converts, which he brings out in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4; but, in reality, to the significance of these facts for the case in hand, viz., that of a number (πάντες) participating equally in gracious relations to God, the greater portion (οἱ πλείονες) through their misconduct fell short of salvation (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:24, πάντες—εἶς)—that all our fathers.—‘Our fathers’—this is not said from the Jewish stand-point (Meyer), but the expression squares with the true Apostolic view of the relation subsisting between the people of the O. T. and the N. T. The Israelites were the spiritual ancestors of the Christians (comp. Romans 4:12; Romans 11:17).—were under the cloud.—The cloud was the symbol and medium of the Divine presence for Israel (Exodus 3:21), which spread itself over the people, protecting them while on their march; hence the term ὑπό: under (comp. Psalms 105:39). Beneath this marvellous covering and shield the wonderful passage through the Red Sea was effected (Exodus 14:0).—and all passed through the sea.—Both acts taken together, as accomplishing the critical deliverance of the people from a hostile power, are regarded by the Apostle as a type of baptism.—and all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.—The cloud is, in a measure, taken together with the water (not symbolically of the Spirit) as the element into which they entered, and wherein they became, as it were, submerged, in order thence to emerge again. According to the true reading, he says, ἐβαπτίσαντο (Mid.): they baptized themselves, inasmuch as in the baptism of adults there is a voluntary entering into the Divine bestowments of grace and a free surrender to them. As Melancthon says: fiducia verbi Mosis commiserant se aquis.1—The words, ‘unto Moses,’ cannot mean sub auspiciis Mosis, but as always with the verb ‘baptize’ they denote the relation or fellowship into which they entered with Moses, who, as the servant of the Lord, was the mediator of the Divine manifestations. With this there is connected the obligation to follow him faithfully as the leader given unto them by the Lord, and legitimated by Him (Exodus 14:31).

From the type of baptism which introduces into a fellowship of the redeemed, he proceeds to the type of the Lord’s Supper, which was the confirmation and seal of the former, viz., the factof the feeding upon the manna miraculously sent, and the drinking of the rock, by which means the preservation of the ransomed people was secured. “This connecting of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the two sacraments in the N.T., whose O. T. analogies Paul here adduces, is exceedingly noteworthy. It is a testimony in favor of the Protestant view of the duality of the sacraments.” Neander.—and did all eat the same spiritual food.—The “spiritual food” or manna (Exodus 16:13 ff.) is distinguished from all earthly food, either because of some supernatural quality in it, or because of its supernatural origin. Here unquestionably we are to suppose the latter. The epithet ‘spiritual’ denotes that the food came from the Spirit—was produced by a Divine miraculous power (comp. Exodus 16:14). [“It is here employed in special reference to its descent from heaven and its designation in Psalms 78:24-25 as “the bread of heaven” and “angels’ food.” Stanley. “Thus, also, Isaac is called, Galatians 4:29, ‘he born after the Spirit,’ in opposition to Ishmael, who is spoken of as ‘born after the flesh.’ ” Alford. Wordsworth, however, quoting from Bp. Fell, says: “the food and drink are called ‘spiritual’ because they are Christ’s body and blood in types.”—Why may not all the significations given be recognized? Scriptural phraseology has a fulness of meaning which ordinary language has not; for there was more “in the mind of the Spirit” who inspired it than the writers themselves even knew]. If we assume a supernatural quality in the “food” and the “drink,” we must also suppose that they were at the same time aliment for the Spirit; but this thought is the less tenable from the fact that we cannot admit the referring of the το αὐτό to the believers of the N. T., as if it meant, ‘the same with ourselves,’ nor allow the identification of these objects with the elements in the Lord’s Supper, as Calvin does. The expression ‘the same’ is rather to be joined with the word ‘all,’ which accordingly holds the emphatic place, and is five times repeated. They all united in partaking of the same gifts—a fact, however, which did not prevent the majority from incurring a terrible retribution. In the phrase—they did all drink of the same spiritual drink—(to which also most of the above remarks apply), Paul has in mind the occurrence mentioned in Exodus 18:6, also Numbers 20:10. To this an explanation is appended [“and it was needed, because the tradition to which it refers is not found in the O. T.” Stanley].—For they drank of that spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ.—The imp. ἔπινον, were drinking, was intended to denote their continuous drinking all through the entire march in the wilderness. In the previous sentence we have the aor. ἔπιον, signifying the simple fact of drinking.—But what do these statements import? Certainly not that the term ‘rock’ stands for the water flowing from the rock [Lightfoot, Meade], which the Israelites conducted along by their side in channels, or took with them in leathern bags, or which in some way did not further fail them, which water meant Christ; or that the rock was a symbol of Christ, as of one out of whom streams of living water flow. In such a case it would have read, not “was Christ,” but, “is Christ.” According to a Rabbinical tradition, the rock followed the children of Israel throughout their journey. [Stanley says that “this tradition maintained that there was a well formed out of the spring in Horeb, which gathered itself up into a rock, ‘like a swarm of bees,’ and followed the people for forty years, sometimes rolling along of itself, and sometimes carried by Miriam; and always addressed by the elders when they encamped, in the words of Numbers 21:17 : “Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it”]. Meyer thinks that Paul fastened on this tradition to convey the idea that it was Christ who, in the form or apparition of this wonderful rock followed the host; as indeed also the Targum on Isaiah 16:1, and the Book of Wis 10:15 ff; Wis 11:4, assert that the Messias, the Wisdom, was by the side of the people for a protection in the wilderness. But, however, we may reject some of the absurd details only of that tradition, still it must ever be considered a monstrous supposition—at any rate, one in no wise hinted at in the Scripture, that the Messiah, or the angel Jehovah did in reality accompany the Israelites in the form of a rolling rock. Christ, the preëxistent Messiah, the Lord who went with the people on their march, as the proper source of this wonderful drink, which, according to the bodily sight, streamed out of the natural, rock, is called in contrast with this a spiritual rock—a rock of a supernatural kind, which carried in itself a divine power. “The miracle of bringing water out of the rock, happened not once, but at least twice (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11). It was therefore not one particular rock which was concerned in the miracle; but as often as a like necessity occurred, there on the spot was also the water-yielding rock again.” Now since every rock could render the same service by the same influence, so it appeared as if the rock accompanied the Israelites. The material rock, in this case, is non-essential; the water-giving power is the chief thing. This power was God’s, that same God who has manifested Himself to us in Jesus Christ. And He is called the Rock that followed them, because it was through His agency that the several rocks, one after the other, acquired the same water-yielding power.” Burger. In like manner, substantially, Abarbanel [Wordsworth, Hodge. But Alford detects here a typical allusion to Christ in the sacraments of the New Testament].—Observe also the preposition used; it is not ἁπο, but ἐκ, which is not causal, as if it meant thro’ the operation of, but it denotes the origin and source from which a thing comes. They drank out of a Spiritual Rock, which was Christ [Wordsworth]. Comp. Osiander, who, moreover, in the drink, as well as in the food, assumes the presence of a super senuous element along with the sensuous, by which these objects become so much more real types of that offered in the holy Eucharist. To this we would not object. The analogy abides the same: on both sides there is a food and drink of supernatural origin—a bestowment of divine life, nourishing and refreshing the human life, which, in the agency of the Rock that accompanied Israel in the wilderness, even Christ, ensures refreshment from itself, primarily to theearthly life; a shadow (σκιά) of the refreshment furnished to our spiritual life out of the fulness of the incarnate and now glorified Christ, who has finished the work of a spiritual redemption. We must here hold fast to what our Lord said respecting the contrast between the Old and the New Testament manna (John 6:49 ff.). “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.”

To these lofty experiences of God’s gracious manifestations, of which all were partakers, the following words form a powerful contrast.—but with the greater part of them God was not well pleased.i.e., they forfeited God’s favor and failed of the promised salvation. The proof of this—for they were overthrown in the wilderness.—On καταστρώθησαν comp. Numbers 14:16. [The identical language of the Septuagint]. (Hebrews 3:17, ἔπεσον). The word πλείονες, the greater part, comprehends more than those who were destroyed by the particular judgments, of which he afterwards speaks. It denotes the entire older generation, who, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, must have died in the wilderness, and thus failed of the promised land.

1 Corinthians 10:6-11. Now.—δέ, transitional. He here begins the application to his readers, by exhibiting the occurrences of the Old Testament in the form of τύποι,—these things.—ταῦτα, i.e., the judgments implied in the word “over-thrown,”—judgments which they incurred in consequence of their God-provoking conduct,—and which he proceeds to illustrate in particular instances.—And these were intended to teach Christians what they would suffer under like circumstances.—happened as figures of us.—The word τύπος, whence our type, in the more definite, theological sense, means not simply an image, in general, to which the antitype (ἀντίυπος) corresponds; but it is used to express any event, institution or person that, by a divine appointment, foreshadows, upon a lower stage of theocratic life, events, institutions or persons belonging to a higher sphere. Here, however, the word is taken in a purely ethical sense, and means example of warning, figures.—The plural εγενήθησαν is here used because τῦποι.—“Figures of us”—i.e., of our lot in like conditions. This construction is analogous to that in 1 Corinthians 10:11; hence it is not to be supposed that the subject of the verb is the ‘the fathers,’ understood, and that we are to take ταῦτα as the accusative, meaning ‘in respect to these things,’ including here the manifestations of divine grace, as well as of judgment.—[A view of which, Alford says, “I know not by whom suggested, but I find it in Dr. Peile’s notes on the Epistles”].

The divine intent in furnishing these examples is thus stated—[“of course an ulterior purpose, for they had their own immediate purpose as regards the literal Israel.” Alford.]—in order that we might not be lusters after evil things.—Here we had better understand all manner of evil lusts, rather than the specific inordinate lust of pleasure (as Grotius). And so the following phrase,—as they lusted,—is not to be explained simply by the event recorded in Numbers 11:4. but by the manifold exhibitions of wicked passions made by Israel at that time. Ἕπιθυμητής means one who is habitually governed by desire. The word occurs also in Numbers 11:34. Under “evil things” we are to include whatever is a violation of duty or a denial of love to the Lord or to the brethren. Of this sort was the eating of things offered unto idols (εἱδωλόθυτὰ) by the Corinthians. “The lusting of the Israelites after flesh was a wicked caprice involving contempt of God’s provisions.” Osiander.—Under this general head he next selects a particular instance, which is introduced by μηδέ—neither—a particle which does not necessarily connect matters coördinate.—become ye idolaters, as were some of them.i.e., by partaking of things sacrificed to idols at the altar feasts, which was a species of idolatry. This is what the record in Exodus 32:6 refers to. There we have an account of the worship of the golden calf, and of the offering of sacrifices, accompanied by sensual indulgences. In this clause, of course, Paul could not include himself; hence the second person, ‘become ye,’ Neander. By “some of them,” Osiander thinks that Paul intended the choristers, perhaps the stiffest of them who lead off in the dance and song, and were afterwards slain by the Levites. It has been finely observed that as the Israelites, so also the Corinthians did not regard their conduct as actual idolatry, but both were on their way to it.—as it is written, The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.—The word παίζειν, to play, here refers to those lively dances which occurred at heathen festivals (comp. Exodus 32:18 ff.). [And many of these dances, as is well known, were directly designed to provoke the most licentious passions—dances, of which many of those now practiced in fashionable society are the direct lineal descendants. Hence the close connection between idolatry and fornication, which appears all through this epistle. Hammond, however, has a long note, which goes to prove that παιζειν was used to denote not only dances, but all manner of wanton lecherous sport, just as kindred words are used in many modern languages to express the same thing]. Idolatry ought, moreover, to be regarded as more than the fountain, for we may say, with Osiander, that it is the vilest fruit of an intensified sensualism.—Neither let us commit fornication as some of them committed.—Participation in superstitious practices led easily to the commission of that sin, from which he now proceeds to dissuade them—going back to the use of the first person—“let us.

This, indeed, was also a part of heathen worship, especially in the Corinthian temples, devoted to Artemis and Aphrodite; but it might also lead to idolatry, as was the case in the instance just alluded to (Numbers 25:0), where the Moabitish women enticed the men, whom they had seduced, to idol festivals and so betrayed them into idolatry—a danger to which the Corinthians were much exposed (comp. chap. 5 and 6).—And fell in one day three and twenty thousand.—The number given in Numbers 25:9, and also by Philo, Josephus and Rabbins, is twenty-four thousand. The discrepancy is, perhaps, best accounted for by supposing a failure of memory. Besser says: “Twenty-four thousand, yet not perhaps ‘destroyed in one day.’ ” [Hodge says: “Both statements are equally correct. Nothing depended on the precise number. Any number between the two amounts may, according to common usage, be stated roundly as either the one or the other”]. The feebly authorized τέσσαρες is an emendation; other attempts at harmonizing are arbitrary (comp. Meyer and Osiander).—How indefinite the word τινες, some is, and how it may be used to comprise a great multitude, is shown from this passage.—Neither let us tempt.—ἐκπειράζωμεν; ἐκ is here intensive; it is found also in Matthew 4:7, tempt beyond endurance.Christ, as some of them also tempted.—The allusion here is to the event recorded in Numbers 21:4, where the people becoming weary of their journey, reproached Moses for bringing them out of Egypt, and expressed disgust at the manna. To tempt God means to put God to the proof to see how far His patience would go, and whether He would suffer men’s unbelief and impatience to pass unpunished; or it may denote an impatient demand on God to help in some extraordinary way, and a conditioning of faith upon the result (comp. πειράζειν, Deuteronomy 6:16; Exodus 17:2; Exodus 17:7; Psalms 78:18 ff.; Acts 5:9; Acts 15:10). According to Meyer, it expresses the discontent of the Israelites at their condition in the wilderness; he takes Paul’s warning as aimed at the dissatisfaction of his readers with their oppressed circumstances during the time of their waiting for the second coming of the Lord. But there is nothing in the context which indicates this; but rather the contrary. Possibly Paul might have had in mind the sacrificial feasts and the desire of the Corinthians for enjoying them, inasmuch as in this there was manifested a disgust at what the Lord had furnished to them in their Christian state, akin to the loathing of the manna by the Israelites. In such conduct he might discover a tempting of the Lord, a trial of His patience. “The Israelites demanded that God should appoint them a mode of life suited to their liking, that He would restore them the flesh pots of Egypt. In like manner the Corinthians seemed to demand of the Lord that He would allow them their old heathenish enjoyments.” Neander. Or, he regards them as putting God’s grace and power to the test, in that they were exposing themselves to the danger of a relapse, and so raised the question, whether He would preserve them by increased bestowments of His grace—in which case then we should find in the Old Testament precedent a challenging of God’s power and goodness, as to whether He could nourish His people with something else besides the manna in the wilderness (Osiander, Stanley). The first of these explanations squares best with the circumstances presented in Numbers 21:4, where the disgust of the Israelites at that which God had provided, was such a ‘temptation’ as the Apostle speaks of. [“It was a daring Him, in trying His patience by rebellious conduct and sin.” Alford; so also Hodge]. Other attempts at explanation need not here to be taken into account, as they are too forced.—The verb ‘tempted’ takes for its object the pronoun ‘Him’ implied—though Winer takes it as absolute—and by this we may very well understand ‘Christ’ (comp. 1 Corinthians 10:4; Exodus 23:20; Isaiah 63:9 ff.). If we adopt the reading κύριον, then still Christ might readily be understood by the term, although the relation to the Old Testament would be satisfied if we took it to mean God. [Hence whichever of the two readings we adopt, we have in this verse strong evidence of the fact that Paul regarded the Jehovah of the Old Testament as none other than Christ Himself, the Eternal Word, who in various ways—in natural phenomena and in the form of an angel, manifested Himself to the Fathers of the ancient dispensations, and was the real Ruler and Guide of Israel].—and perished.—If we adopt the reading ἀπώλλυςτο, then the Imperfect here would denote the progression of the fact: ‘They were being destroyed’ (Meyer). Yet the reading ἀπώλοντο, is more strongly supported [and is adopted in all the later critical editions].—by the serpents,—[i.e., the well-known serpents; “The article is so often omitted after a preposition, that wherever it is expressed we may be sure there was a reason for it.” Alford].—The last warning is against murmuring—a sin of which the Israelites were frequently guilty (Numbers 21:4; Exodus 16:8; Numbers 14:1 ff; Numbers 36 ff; Numbers 16:41).—Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured.—The particular instance here referred to, must be inferred from the judgment pointed to;—and perished by the destroyer.—The ὀλοθ ρευτής or ὀλοθρεύων, destroyer, appears in Exodus 12:23, and it denotes the organ of the Divine retribution—the angel executing it; but this is not to be regarded as an evil angel (comp. 1Ma 15:22 ff.). Since only some are particularized as murmuring (be the number greater or less), likewise their destruction by an extraordinary judgment, the event alluded to cannot be the one narrated in Numbers 14:0. In that case the whole congregation rose in rebellion, and the judgment inflicted was the gradual dying out of the whole elder generation (unless we restrict the affair to the ten spies, who were the cause of that uprising, and who died of a plague before the Lord, Numbers 14:36 ff.). More suitable to our text is the circumstance mentioned in Numbers 16:0, where 14,700 persons were snatched away by a sudden visitation (Numbers 16:49). Primarily the murmuring here was against Moses and Aaron, because of the destruction of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, with their company, which was charged upon these servants of the Lord. But, in fact, it was a murmuring against God from whom the judgment came [a judgment “which though it is not so specified there, was administered on another occasion by a destroying angel, 2 Samuel 24:16-17.” Alford].—In its application to the Corinthians, we are not to suppose that the murmuring they were cautioned against was on account of inferior spiritual gifts, or because of the restriction of their pleasures through the regulations demanded in the Christian life, or at their general condition as Christians; but rather it was the opposition which they were disposed to manifest against the teachers given them by God, and especially against Paul, an opposition which struck directly at the Lord Himself (Osiander and others). To make the parallel perfect, we must suppose the murmuring occasioned by Divine retributions, such as that hinted at in 1 Corinthians 11:30 : “On this account many are weak and sickly, and some sleep.”—These references to the Old Testament he concludes as he began,—Now these things were befalling.—συνέ βαινον, [the plural verb, where the Gr. idiom would require the singular, “expresses the plurality of events separately happening”]; and the imperfect (were befalling) hints at the constant repetition of the case (Osiander and Meyer).—them typically,—τυπικῶς as above τύποι, not in the theological sense, but ‘for example,’ i.e., in such a way as by a Divine intent to indicate what would befall God’s people in like circumstances under the new dispensation. This point is more definitely brought out in the following statement.—and are written,—ἐγράφη, singular, expresses the union of these transactions in the record of Scripture as one complete whole.—for our admonition.—Here is the purpose of the sacred narrative as ordained by God (comp. 1 Corinthians 4:14).—unto whom.—The relative refers to ‘our’ (ἡμῶν), and introduces an allusion to the near approach of the great judicial crisis, thus confirming his warning.—have come, or ‘into whose life-time have entered, and even now exist’ (perf.),—the ends of the ages,—τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων. By this phrase the same is meant which is elsewhere termed συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων, “the consummation of the ages” (Hebrews 9:26); or τοῦ αἰωνος, “of the age” (Matthew 13:39); also briefly τὸ τέλος, “the end” (1Co 1:8; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Matthew 25:3; et al.); or πάντων τὸ τέλος, “the end of all things” (1 Peter 4:7). The “ages” here are the great world-periods preceding the manifestation of Christ, and out-goings of which mark the incoming manifestation. The αἰὼν οὐτος, the present age, is contemplated in its progressive unfolding through manifold periods, whose exit finally leads to the last decisive crisis which passes over to the αίὼν μέλλων, the future age. Now the Apostle regards his time as the time of this grand crisis—accordingly as a time of severe trials for the faithful, in which it became them to be on their guard, and for which it was important for them to prepare with earnest self-denial; and he presses it upon the Corinthians not to expose themselves to the extreme of danger by indulging in a false security. “Paul had always good reason for considering the final catastrophe as near at hand, although he held the last time to be much shorter than it really was to be. Christianity is the goal and end of all earlier revelations, and no new one follows it. Hence the Christian is justified in considering himself as the terminus to which all the earlier developments of revelation point and conduct onwards.” Neander.—Next there follows a caution, to which a word of encouragement is annexed for despairing minds.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13. Wherefore, ὥστε [lit.: so that, is used with the Imp. or Subj. to introduce an inference from what precedes. (Winer P. III, § XLI. 5, note 1)]. Here it fitly leads in the practical exhortation deduced from the foregoing discussion. ‘Since these events which teach us how those who stand in so close a relation to God and partake of such exalted privileges, may incur fearful judgments by their evil conduct, have been recorded in accordance with God’s purposes as warnings for us who live in this last most critical period of trial, and are going on to the final judgment—let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,i.e., beware how he indulges in a false security. The verbs ‘to stand’ and ‘to fall,’ taken from the phraseology of the ring, admit of a twofold interpretation. 1. The former: to stand fast in goodness and in faith; and the latter: to be betrayed into sin. 2. The former: to abide in the possession of salvation, to be sure of a gracious state; and the latter: to forfeit salvation. The second interpretation best suits the connection, and it presupposes the first. [Hodge puts the case more forcibly. The security cautioned against “may refer either to security of salvation, or against the power of temptation. The two are very different, and rest generally on very different grounds. False security of salvation commonly rests on the ground of our belonging to a privileged body (the Church), or to a privileged class (the elect). Both are equally fallacious. Neither the members of the Church nor the elect can be saved unless they persevere in holiness; and they cannot persevere in holiness without continued watchfulness and effort. False security as to our power to resist temptation rests on an overweening self-confidence in our own strength. None so liable to fall as they who, thinking themselves strong, run into temptation. This probably is the kind of false security against which the Apostle warns the Corinthians, as he exhorts them immediately after to avoid temptation”].—Though the Romish interpreters think they find evidence here against Luther’s doctrine of a fides specialis, according to which a Christian can with the greatest assurance be confident of his own justification and of his perseverance in it unto the end, yet they are opposed alike by the experience of Paul himself (2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 4:18), and of many a Christian after him who has enjoyed that certitudo fidei which, as a general thing, the Corinthians could not possess from want of firmness.—no temptation—πειρασμός; this denotes either an ordeal, especially by means of sufferings and persecutions, to which the verb “to bear” may refer; or, temptation, i. e., enticement to sin, to which the connection with what precedes, and the hortatory intent of the whole paragraph would point. Both meanings coalesce in the thought that their Christian character had been put to the proof by painful circumstances, as well as by sinful enticements, so as to show whether faith was strong; love, of the right kind; and hope, firm.—has taken you but such as is human.—All apology in reference to the temptations they had hitherto experienced, though not now existing, and all despair in regard to the severer trials before them, Paul here meets by the statement that what they had thus far encountered was altogether ‘human’ ἀνθρώπινοι, i.e., either: proceeding from men (such as the fascinations of the surrounding heathen life), in contrast perhaps with the properly demonic temptations of the last evil time which was to precede the revelation of Christ; or: suited to man, to his power of endurance, in contrast with the fascinations of a more dangerous sort, for overcoming which supernatural grace is required. [Hodge prefers the latter as the more natural and so the common interpretation. Ol shausen, the former]. For their encouragement in the future he points to the fidelity of God—but God is faithfuli.e., true to His calling and covenant, consistent in His love and purpose (1 Corinthians 1:9), which would appear wholly-unreliable if he allowed temptations to befall His people that transcended their powers of endurance or resistance,—who,—ὅς for ὅτι ου̇͂τος, because He,will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what ye are able.—This expression seems to sustain the second interpretation given to ‘human’ above,—showing that a moderate temptation is meant by it. Compare the expression, Hosea 11:4; 2 Samuel 7:14. Besides, it must be said that every temptation, though coming primarily from men, is to be ascribed to Satan as the ultimate cause (comp. 1 Corinthians 7:5; Ephesians 6:12), [and men and devils are alike under the control of the Almighty, who permits or restrains at pleasure, and to the degree that He sees fit.] The limit of permission is the ability to endure which God Himself has conferred. And this implies that with the later, severer temptations God will cause the strength of His chosen to increase (Neander). The same is true in respect to the time the temptation will last, of which he finally speaks.—but will with the temptation make also the escape—ἔκβασις literally means escape, the passing out from, the ἀπαλλαγὴ τοῦ πειρασμοῦ of Theoph.; but here it denotes the way of escape, or the end (=τὸ τέλος κυρίου, James 5:11). The ‘with’ (συν) cannot indicate contemporaneousness; but it implies only that the escape is connected with the temptation, that the latter will never be without the former. The use of the verb “make” in relation to temptation does not conflict with that of “suffer,” inasmuch as the Divine permission involves a direct providence. Even the tempting cause stands under the Divine sovereignty, and in its action is dependent on God. The emphasis lies upon τὴν ἔκβασιν.—in order that ye may be able to bear (it),—τοῦ δύνασθαι ὑπενεγκεῖν.—This clause may be taken either as interpreting “escape,” showing that it will consist in the ability to endure; but this does not comport with the idea of an escape: or it maybe construed as an objective clause as rendered above, intimating that the result would be such as will comport with the designs of a faithful God. The verb ὑπενεγκεῖν, to bear, suggests the idea of a burden carried, and very appropriately, inasmuch as all temptation is for the believer as an oppressive weight, or that of a hostile attack under which one has to hold out, to endure.


[1. A sound belief in the doctrine of the saints’ perseverance is ever accompanied with a conviction of the possibility of failure and of the absolute necessity of using our utmost endeavor in order to final success. No experiences of Divine favor in the past, no circumstances, however advantageous, furnish such a guarantee of salvation as to warrant spiritual repose. There is no perseverance without conscious and determined persevering, and the requisite effort can be put forth only under the influence alike of hope and fear. And he who apprehends no danger of being ultimately a castaway through neglect or transgression, will lack the motive necessary to urge him triumphantly to the goal].

2. The spirit of the true Christian agonistes as contrasted with that of the false one. “This poor life entire for an eternal crown,”—so A. Knapp pithily describes L. Hofacker’s spirit; and this is the spirit of every true Christian warrior. In view of the crown of life, he hesitates at no sacrifice, is ready for all self-denial, does violence to his own nature, and never grows weary of mortifying the flesh through the might of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:6). Such as desire to belong to Christ, yet are ever yielding to their natural inclinations, and deal tenderly with the flesh even though the spiritual life may suffer thereby, and they in consequence are detained in the heavenly race, are put to shame by men of this world, who for the sake of temporal gain or renown, willingly strain every nerve and incur the most painful privations, yea, even hold life cheap in order to attain their end (Luke 15:8). Those who do not earnestly contend against whatever endangers their heavenly crown, and strive not with all their might to overcome the obstacles in their way, and so become weak and uncertain in their warfare, or who covertly entertain that which they ought to oppose, opposing it only for the sake of appearances, resemble pugilists who spend their blows in the air. Especially shameful is it for a person who is called to give others direction and encouragement in the holy warfare not to engage earnestly in it himself, and to shrink from the requisite self-denial and to tire in the race and grow lukewarm in the fight, so as to appear like the herald, who, having proclaimed the terms of the conflict to others, has been found himself unworthy of the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

3. Carnal security, its fatal character. The reason of lukewarmness in temper, of deficiency in self-denying earnestness, of abandonment to all manner of impure inclinations, of entanglement in ungodly objects, and worldly lusts, of idolatrous cleaving to the creature even to the lowest self-debasement, of strife with God and His providence both in disgust at the gifts He sends, and in murmurs at His judgments—the ground of all such bad conduct in those who would still be Christians, lies most frequently in a false security, in the vain conceit that there can be no failure—that the goal of salvation will certainly be reached, because a person has once been received into the fellowship of believers. All such false security in His people, God has taken pains to counteract from the beginning, and in their history He has furnished warnings against it for all time to come. In the judgments which befell that earlier generation, so distinguished for the marvellous bestowments of His grace—judgments inflicted because of repeated offences against their covenant God, a threatening has been issued to the Church of the New Covenant of a similar fate in like circumstances, according to the abiding law of the Divine rule (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

4. Frowardness and false security readily give place to despair when severe temptations arise. As in opposition to the former, we must point to the Divine retributions in order to awaken a salutary fear; so in opposition to the latter we must point to the truth of God and the steadfastness of His love. God never ceases from His work of grace, and will not fail to furnish needful assistance to honest fighters; and He will moderate the measure and duration of the temptation according to the strength He has afforded; so that at the right moment He puts an end to the trial, in order that those who are tempted may be able to endure in the conflict (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

5. Burger:—A person may be endowed with all the seals and tokens of Divine grace, and yet through personal infidelity be lost (1 Corinthians 10:15).

6. In Christ all the threads of the history of the Divine revelation run together. He is the true and sole manifestation of the eternal God. In the midst of the ages He entered into the human race, and took upon Himself personally our nature, in order to perfect the work of redemption and carry out the purposes of God’s holy love, and prepare the way for the final judgment of the world, in which He as judge will determine the lot of every man in accordance with the manner in which he has treated the Divine grace proffered him in His word and works. But this whole work He has prepared and foreshadowed under the older dispensation alike in the promise, and in the law, and in the manifoldness of His operations and providences, whereby both are led, established and confirmed in life, and secured against unbelief and disobedience. As the messenger of Jehovah, on whom Jehovah’s name is written, who bears imprinted on Himself the Jehovah-character, and carries the image of the unchangeable, holy, merciful and true covenant God stamped in every word and deed, He is Israel’s deliverer from bondage, his protector and helper in extremest necessities, his wondrous guardian and supporter in want which no natural means may relieve, who out of His own fulness furnishes him the life-sustaining manna, who pours out for him the life-refreshing water, who bears with him in unspeakable patience, but also at the same time exercises toward him a judicial severity. And what He does, ordains, or controls through His own personal manifestation, He has previously indicated both through individuals and their doings, and through manifold ordinances, administrations and judgments, intended for the instruction, for the comfort and warning of us in these last days.


Starke:1 Corinthians 9:24. The running includes: 1. a turning from sin; 2. a turning to the goal, i.e., God (Acts 26:18); 3. the exercise of the powers of the new man in the obedience of faith and the mortification of the sinful life; 4. the refraining from all hinderances, such as the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life—and indeed not simply from what is evidently sinful in itself, but also from things otherwise lawful, by which a person may either injure himself or put a stumbling-block in the way of others.—Ordinarily only one person obtains the prize; but in Christianity we can all obtain it, even though one may run faster than the other, provided only that we are steadfast. For as the faith is the same for all, so also is the race; although the degrees of glory attained may be various.—In the race no account is made of what man does in his own strength, or of his own will (Romans 9:16); but if God chooses to draw us by His word, and we resist not, then He grants the ability to come to Christ, and to follow Him, and to run with patience the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1 ff.).—Hed.:—If they who run fail of the prize, what hope can those have who sit still, or fall back, or stop in the way? Ah! the obtaining of salvation is no child’s play. Earned indeed was it without our labor; and now the prize being there, we must strive for it. Earnestness, earnestness, fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) are necessary to reach the spot where the crown is put on the victor’s brow (2 Timothy 2:5).—Standing and running both belong to the true Christian—standing, as opposed to falling; running, as opposed to idleness and standing still, and to unfaithfulness in falling back (1 Corinthians 16:13; Hebrews 12:1).—We should press to God through all things, and rest in nothing but in God (Matthew 11:29).—With beginners Christianity is only a walk—they go step by step; but with the experienced it is a race.

1 Corinthians 9:25. A Christian is bound to refrain from whatever obstructs his course, and to use all means for increasing his spiritual strength. The particular things to be avoided must be determined by each one for himself.—A person must be converted to God before he can have peace with God, and the pledge of salvation in his own soul, and can with a watchful eye avoid whatever may disturb his peace or injure his neighbor, and therefore ought to be denied.—The hope of an eternal crown keeps us from carnal gratification, and is a great incentive to perseverance (Romans 2:7).

1 Corinthians 10:26-27. Luther:—As a combatant who swerves from his course must fail of his goal, or in fighting makes false strokes, and wastes his strength in the air, so is it with all who would do good works without faith; for they are altogether uncertain as to how they stand with God: hence all their doings are mis-runs, mis-strokes and mis-doings.—The faith which works by love hits the foe squarely; since faith allows not of despair, nor love admits a false security.—He instructs best who teaches by example.—He who is void of spiritual life, runs by his own strength, and so runs into error and sinks at last.—What we venture on in the name of Jesus, and at His bidding, obtains the crown. What we do apart from Him, is lost work.—How many air-strokes and mis-strokes are given by those who have not the mind and weapons of Paul!—air-strokes in preaching, in the supposed vindication of truth, in prayer, and the like, under the idea that the foe has been finely hit or utterly laid low, and that a good work has been well done (1 Timothy 6:3 f.)!—Something of the old Adam still clings to the best of Christians: hence they have to fight with themselves daily, and as Christ did towards Peter (Matthew 16:23) show the devil the door.—The flesh must obey the spirit, and for this, discipline and self-crucifixion are necessary. Woe to those who take the covenant of God into their mouth and hate discipline (Romans 2:17-23)!

1 Corinthians 10:1 : The pillar of cloud is a type of Christ, a token of God’s gracious presence, for in Christ the Father’s glory dwelleth (John 1:14).—The cloudy pillar was to the Egyptians a horror; to the Israelites a comfort: so is Christ to the godless an object of dread: to the faithful a source of consolation. The cloudy pillar departed not from the people day nor night; Christ is with us evermore. 1 Corinthians 10:2; Baptism is a token of God’s grace and beneficence, just as was the passage through the Red Sea; it slays the old man and makes the new man live. Pharaoh dies but Israel survives. As God, by His miraculous favors, assured the Israelites of His gracious presence and aid, so is holy baptism a strong seal of the divine promise, and a sure witness of divine grace. As the Israelites were pledged by their deliverance to believe in Moses’ doctrine, go are we pledged by baptism to believe the word of Christ and follow His commands. 1 Corinthians 10:3. The manna was a type of Christ: 1. as to its source—Christ was the bread from heaven; 2. as to the place where it was given—the wilderness is an image of this troubled life; 3. as to the mode of gathering it—we must seek Him early; 4. as to its enjoyments—the true Israelite enjoying Christ, with all His blessings; 5. as to the taste—Christ, the bread of life, surpasses the most delicious and refreshing food; 6. as to the punishment which follows upon contempt; 7. as to the provision made for remembrance—Christ has ordained a holy supper as His enduring memorial (John 6:31-35). 1 Corinthians 10:4; The rock is a type of Christ, the Rock of our salvation, and the foundation of His Church (1 Peter 2:6), who, smitten by His sufferings, has poured out for us the water of life. 1 Corinthians 10:5. Hed.: The manna, the gushing rock, and the pillar of cloud could not hinder the destruction of Israel. Where was the failure? It was in obedience to the truth, and in that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. So also may those who have been made partakers of God’s grace, in Christ, be finally lost, if they do not remain steadfast in such grace through faith. 1 Corinthians 10:6. Where sin is there punishment ensues; on pleasure follows pain. The terrible histories of Holy Writ ought to serve as the perpetual preachers of repentance, and stand as abiding monuments of the ever-burning wrath of God. If evil lusts were not sin, God never would have said: Thou shalt not covet (Romans 7:7).

1 Corinthians 10:7. It is an abomination to confer on a miserable creature the honor which belongs to God alone.—Most banquets, and especially marriage feasts, among Christians of the present day are a very subtle, yet really wicked idolatry; and an evidence of such an inward apostasy from God as would justify our calling the participants godless, i.e., persons standing in no covenant of faith and love with God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Titus 2:12).

1 Corinthians 10:8. The regenerate do, indeed, at times, feel the excitements of impure lusts; but they allow not themselves to be betrayed thereby; they sigh over the evil, resist it by the grace of God, and try to quench the spark, and pray for forgiveness (Galatians 5:16-24).—Whoredom is a three-fold sin—against God, whose temple is desecrated; against our neighbor, who is partly offended and partly disgraced by it; and against ourselves, by the violation of our conscience and the defilement of our body.

1 Corinthians 10:9. Let us not step out of our calling and scorn the means ordained for our temporal and eternal welfare. For Christ means to rule us, and not to be ruled by us.

1 Corinthians 10:10. Those who murmur against pious government and faithful preachers, sin not against man, but against Christ Himself. What do people mean by complaining that God does not do rightly by them? If they only considered how far they fail of acting in accordance with God’s will, what reason would not every one find to complain of himself! Complain against your own sin, otherwise God will begin to complain of you. What can follow then but ruin and damnation (Lamentations 3:39)!

1 Corinthians 10:11. We are more fortunate than the ancients; for we not only have the same commands of God which they had, but also their examples for our instruction, exhortation, warning and comfort. Many other advantages have we also; they have the shadow, we have the substance (Colossians 2:17); they were servants, we are children (Rom. 13:15); they were under the yoke, we are free (Acts 15:10); they were taught by Moses, we are taught by Christ (Hebrews 1:1 f.).

1 Corinthians 10:12. Hedinger: How easy to fall! Watch, pray, trust neither the foe nor thyself. But many think that they are standing, even though they have not yet arisen, but are lying buried in the filth of sin. Prove thyself!—If we are imagining ourselves firm and strong, then have we the most reason to fear our weakness and our inability. Distrust of one’s self is the ground of the Christian’s strength.—We shun many a fall by lying beautifully low upon the earth (Proverbs 28:26). Shunning all hinderances to good, and all temptations to evil, and industriously using the means which serve for our confirmation. It is a very common temptation with young converts to trust themselves too much and not to be rightly observant; and hence they are easily entrapped by the treacheries of sin, and betrayed into a fall; therefore this warning is very needful for them.

1 Corinthians 10:13. Hed.:—Those temptations are called human which do not require us to resist unto blood (Hebrews 12:4), and which do not yet amount to the fiery darts of the devil (Ephesians 6:16; 2 Corinthians 12:7). Among the temptations of Satan are to be reckoned all those severe trials which believing souls are constrained to endure under the divine permission; although Satan is not altogether quiet in those human temptations which spring from original sin, and from evil examples and seductions. Besides these, there are yet divine temptations, wherein God puts our faith to the proof (Genesis 32:0), purifies and confirms us through all measures of suffering (1Pe 1:7; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Peter 1:12 f.; James 1:3; Hebrews 11:11), and also for our good delivers us to Satan that he may sift us (Luke 22:31), and thereby prove that Satan can avail nothing against us (sixth petition in the Lord’s Prayer). Why do ye then complain, ye tenderlings? The cross is not so great but that the strength to bear it is greater; the cross carries us, and not we the cross; for in the cross there is power, and there is none in us. With the cross comes power, and with the power the cross.

Berlenburger Bible. 1 Corinthians 9:24. Genuine Christianity is a real race-course, but the proper running on it is no rambling. If people learn that they can be made happy by the Gospel, and observe that a good thing may be made out of Christ, they will devote themselves to Him outwardly, and run after a certain fashion. Many do this in a more exact sense when they taste the good word of God a little, and submit to repentance, and begin a pious and honorable life. Many continue earnestly in prayer, and in all manner of good practices, their life long; but yet maintain their own secret designs. But because they run in their sinful nature, and not in their divine nature, they never reach the goal. The Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself ran the race, is the Judge and Rewarder of those who run it after Him; and besides, He gives unto them strength and courage for running. All may reach it, provided they are only earnest in their endeavors. Why should we run without such a hope? But the realization of it takes place only in the birth, and in breaking through the strait gate into the new divine life, and this demands the deepest earnestness and death-struggle, in which body and soul may often perish before the gate of life is reached and found open. All power which is capable of furthering our right race towards a sure prize, must be obtained from Christ by the prayer of faith. Ho, by His Spirit, extends to us His hand, and leads us by this secret way. Observe well where your desires run, in order that, under a fair show, you may not after all be seeking your own ends. We must not only run so as merely to imagine that we may succeed; but we must earnestly strive actually to succeed. Spiritual running consists in the eager stretching and straining of the spirit after the promises of God in Christ Jesus; from this there follows an earnest pressing forward to the new birth, together with all needful watchfulness, fidelity and diligence in the daily obedience of faith, and mortification of the sinful man. Above all is it necessary to keep one’s self disentangled. Besides, the soul must abide unwearied in its endeavors to rise to the highest good; and even when it would fain stand still, or sink down, must it rally again in daily repentance, through the power of God, and hasten zealously along its course. It is the selfish and treacherous carnal understanding which often plants itself in the way, and perverts the powers of the soul to such things as not only bring no reward, but also hinder our obtaining one.

1 Corinthians 9:25. He who means to race makes himself light, and lays aside needless incumbrances. If the heart stands open to the Lord, and to His Spirit, free from all inordinate delight in and cleaving to visible, things, and to itself, then it is strong in the Lord and filled by Him; and all powers of darkness, and the hidden might of sin are bound and cast out by Jesus Christ, the Lord of victory.—Not that suffering and striving earn salvation; but the great Awarder of the prizes deems no one worthy who does not value that which is precious and dear to him above everything else.—The prize is Jesus, in His Spirit, the great mystery of godliness. Those who rightly win it have an eternal satisfaction therein. We can only stand before the Father in the Son. But of Him can we become partakers only in the new birth, by which He is formed in the human heart. Therefore must the lovers of Jesus direct their aim and desire only toward Him; in Him will the hungry soul alone delight itself; therefore do all its energies go out after Him, for whom it counts all things but loss, that it may win Christ and be found in Him (Philippians 3:8-9). Draw us and we will run after thee! Confirm those whom Thou hast drawn, and give us ever new power that we may never be weary in pressing forward to this prize until it has been obtained.

1 Corinthians 9:26. Ordinarily there is a lack of clear knowledge and certainty as to what is the true prize, and what the way to it. The path to life is confusedly and wrongly apprehended, and a person’s own choices often get mingled in with it. One falls upon this and that outward duty, engages zealously in prayer his life long, reads all good books he can get, exercises himself outwardly in good works, mortifications, alms-giving, mean clothing, and thinks thus to force salvation by his own running and striving, whether he has Christ already or not; this is to run uncertainly.—Beatings of the air are the strokes which are not given by the Spirit in the soul. Those persons only beat the air who do not hit the foe whom they ought to ward off. They are very zealous about others; but have no just perceptions of themselves; they will engage in outward lip-devotion, and forget at the same time the inward prayer of the Spirit, and earnest striving against all sin; they will busy themselves in studying and speaking about Divine things, or even in disputing about and criticising others, and prefer this to actual fighting themselves; or they will cease from warfare because nature recoils from a complete extermination; or they will devote themselves to the society of other pious persons, and entirely forget their own duties; or they will rest content with keeping up simply fair appearances. And even when one has begun in right earnest, what numerous beatings of the air often take place in the conflicts of the heart, which the Spirit of Wisdom discloses afterwards to each one when ho comes truly to seek God! In general, it may be regarded as an ineffectual warfare when a person is loth to cross his own will and flesh, or does not lose his own life even unto a true self-mortification, but always keeps something secretly in reserve. These the archenemy still holds in a subtle snare of secret lust, just as he may yet hold others through fear that they will not properly deny themselves every thing out of dread of detraction and mockery. Art thou letting go all things seen for the sake of something better? Art thou closing up thy sense and heart against that which wrongly entices thee? And art thou striving earnestly against all uprising lust? Art thou wrestling also earnestly with God, and holding on until He blesseth thee? Art thou risking body and soul, and all things for the sake of winning the pearl? Holdest thou no agreement with Satan and the world, and thine own flesh? And hast thou renounced these things forever?

1 Corinthians 9:27. He whose senses are not yet slain can never become spiritual; but remains always carnal. Each one, according to his own condition and his predominant affections and temperament, is required by God to refrain particularly from that which is most apt to take him captive. We must bring our body into subjection in order that we may not fall into subjection to it. This is the right sort of theology—that the teacher himself hearken to the word of truth, in order that he may appear as an example to the flock, and show that obedience is possible. He who in this respect follows Christ is acceptable to Him and useful to men.

1 Corinthians 10:1 ff. It is possible to effect an entrance, and then to stand still and lose all that has been gained.—In the true baptism we acquire every thing. Therefore it becomes us to enter renewedly every day into the death of Christ, and allow the old false disposition to lie buried in His grave, and also daily to put on the new life in the might of Christ through the prayer of the Spirit.—The true bread from heaven gladly imparts life to the world, provided only that we are eager to partake of its fulness. As Christ gives Himself for our food, so may He also serve as a drink to all who thirst after righteousness by means of His Spirit, which is the true water of life.—Christ is not a remote, but an ever-present Saviour. He ever walks with us.

1 Corinthians 10:5. Many may commit themselves to the protection of God (the cloud) and pass through floods of tribulation (the sea); they may be baptized, and enjoy the Lord’s Supper with great interest and devotion. Yea, they may actually partake of the Lord Jesus in their own souls, and yet, after all, fail of the prize, and apostatize from God, so that He can have no pleasure in them.

1 Corinthians 10:6. A type—a sketch such as shall be preserved for all time. This is grounded on the uniformity of the ways of God.—In all our conflicts and self-restraints we must begin with our desires and lusts, which are the root of all evil. The temptations to sin are to be attacked in the very first motions towards it within us, and suppressed by the Spirit.—Even the best things may be turned into occasions of sin if they are sought with a selfish will. All desires which depart from God and go after the creature are impure and reprobate: for God demands our entire affections for Himself.—Christ is our pattern to be imitated. The example of Israel, on the other hand, is held up for a warning.—Unstable souls are easily seduced to that which is false ere they are aware; hence the importance of shunning promiscuous intercourse and putting a tight rein upon our desires.

1 Corinthians 10:7. How fares it with the Christianity of the time and its festal days? In the morning, if convenient, people perform their intended prayer and worship; then they feast according to their appetites, and finally rise up to play, or to pass time in gossipping, or to indulge in corrupt practices. And is this the service to which the Israel of God is called?—He who will walk surely must beware of devious paths, and, for the sake of his Saviour, avoid the charms of false affections, and all idolatry of the creature, and all sectarianism, which beguiles him from his Lord: then will God also preserve and keep him.

1 Corinthians 10:8. It is the part of true temperance to avoid the occasions of sin and all corrupt conversation, for we can seldom leave such things undefiled. Our fidelity to our proper Bridegroom is manifested by our carefully avoiding all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, and by abstaining from all spiritual adultery through illicit attachment to any creature. Both these sins incur sore judgments.

1 Corinthians 10:9. All discontent and murmuring against God and His gifts is a tempting of Christ—(Since His incarnation it has become far easier for us to assail His Light, His Word, and His Spirit, because He has declared that He is with us every day; especially by doubting whether He will fulfil His office in us, from the fact that we do not as yet experience any victory over sin, or feel the power of His presence and love. He who breaks the law and follows his inordinate affections, and still desires that God should redeem him, is guilty of tempting God.

1 Corinthians 10:10. A fearful commotion often arises in the breast of man if his flesh is not gratified: he blames God for His ways, and murmurs at God’s instruments. In this way the mystery of the Cross is assailed, and the great enemy overpowers the soul and suffers it not to come and bow before God.

1 Corinthians 10:11. Since we have the example of so many centuries before our eyes, the greater watchfulness is demanded of us unto whom these last times have come, inasmuch as the harvest and the sifting is at the door, and Satan rages against all who are hastening out of Egypt, knowing that his time is short.

1 Corinthians 10:12. If a person intends not to fall, he must ground his salvation not upon his own strength, and on the fact that he stands, but he must cleave to God alone. For if by clinging to the Lord we become one spirit with Him, it follows that those who do this can no more fall than He can fall.

1 Corinthians 10:13. Man; because he intends to be on the lookout, feels safe and fears not danger. But when he is assailed, he looks only to the temptation and despairs. The heart is a deceitful and desperate thing (Jeremiah 17:9).—Aside from those human temptations which occur in ordinary life, and spring directly from human corruptions, there are others of a superhuman and spiritual character; these fall upon us like an armed man. Nevertheless they cannot injure the faithful (1 John 5:18).—The faithfulness of God here stands like a pillar, firm and strong, around which all things rage and storm in vain. But it is His own pure, unfalsified inclination and love to the soul which causes Him to deal with it in all respects so prudently and savingly, and which prompts Him to omit nothing which is for its welfare, and to allow nothing which is for its injury. Temptations, so far as they are beneficial to the soul, only reveal God’s holiness and love; and He soon puts an end to the same, so far as their power to overcome is concerned. In the converted man there is a certain degree of ability. It is God’s power bestowed through the Holy Spirit, in which Paul claimed to be able to do all things (Philippians 4:13). Therefore it is the fault of our indolence if we think ourselves incapable of overcoming any temptation. In all truly anointed Christians their ability is equal to their temptations. Let one only learn to pray aright, and to understand what it means when we ask, “Cast us not away from Thy presence!” God knows already how much He will permit; and how to counterbalance it. He permits and does not permit. His truth remains fast. The eternal, almighty, faithful, righteous God must indeed be greater than that which attacks us (John 10:29). God is not unrighteous in the slightest particular; He asks only what He has given. Learn then to know thy abilities, O soul, and what thou hast in thee of Christ’s power! Regard not the might of sin as greater than the power of God. He has loved thee, and in love He will keep thee; for thy spirit, which is from Him, is a costly jewel in His eyes; this He must lay claim to and rescue from all danger. He cannot deny Himself in regard to it. When He appoints a temptation, He at the same time also sets the bound to it, and opens a way of escape. Of this a man may assure himself by committing himself only to God. The ways of escape are as numerous as the temptations. When reason sees no termination, then God opens a wide door through which the heart that had been driven into a corner suddenly discovers broad spaces before it; therefore hope in Him at all times (Psalms 62:9). If He imposes a burden, He likewise will help, and will not impose too much. He will measure all things by your capacities; for we have a faithful High-priest who has compassion on our weakness, and will make all things possible for him who trusts. He who looks one-sidedly, or only at temptation, and not at the God, who is with us in the strife, must certainly fear and tremble whenever the waves appear ready to engulf us.

1 Corinthians 10:27. The Apostle here regards the body as that which binds us to the visible world, by means of which all outward temptations press, and wherein also our natural desires seek their satisfaction and become at last tyrannous habits. Besides, it is the body with its needs which gives a plausible pretext for many weak compliances with the wishes and fashions of the world. He who holds this near foe in subjection rids himself at the same time of many others who through it acquire power over us. If we treat it rigorously as something which must soon be given up to death and corruption, and the final dropping of which is for the spirit a desirable deliverance, then will all which affords us advantage only so long as we are in the body appear insignificant and trifling.—1 Corinthians 10:1 ff. The developments of God’s grace continue steadily onward, and grow in importance.—Temptations to apostatize press most amid circumstances seductive to the flesh; hence the injury of incorporating into our religion many such things as are attractive to sense, and strike our natural feelings. Of this sort are processions, pilgrimages, gaudy shows, the pomp and parade of dress, by means of which our spiritual faculties are rather overpowered than cultivated.

1 Corinthians 10:11. Persons often feed the flesh on the histories of the Old Testament, especially on the sins of the ancient saints. But they should also remember the judgments which fell in consequence.—The Old Testament, so far from being “played out,” has at the present an application clearer and fuller than ever before.

1 Corinthians 10:12. The world often talks strangely. Concede to it the power of godliness in any degree, and it suddenly becomes very weak, and begs to be excused, knows nothing of such matters; but warn it of danger, then how it rouses itself, and refuses to acknowledge the presence of temptation. The circumspection of Christians it derides as pure weakness, and their acknowledgment to divine grace for ability as sheer pride.

1 Corinthians 10:13. God’s Word does not aim to make us anxious, but only to increase our confidence in God, and take from us presumption.

Heubner:—1 Corinthians 9:24. What a variety of runners are seen in the lists of this world, differing in strength, zeal and aim. This whole life is a running after something, and each is anxious to get ahead of the other. But the number of those who are striving for an eternal goal is small. The fewer there are, however, who attain the goal, the greater the honor, and this should awaken in Christians a holy ambition.

1 Corinthians 9:25. The Christian should exercise a stringent self-control. Refrain from defilement of the body and spirit through love of pleasure; beware of earthly cares, of idleness and sloth, of vanity, ambition, cowardice, and of all cross-shunnings! Always remember that eternal glory is at stake! Like the fading wreath, all earthly things possess only an imaginary worth, and therefore soon lose it. What do worldly men gain at last for all their cares and labors, their restless toil, their self-humiliations and fawnings, their search and strife? A hand full of sand, a glittering puff of worldly honor. There is no reality save in what is heavenly and divine.—Christianity an earnest gain. The prize at stake there is the highest.

1 Corinthians 9:26. The Christian warfare is no uncertain conflict—no snatching at phantoms, but a striking for a definite object. This definiteness imparts consistency to the Christian, and gives clearness to his endeavors (Hebrews 13:9).

1 Corinthians 9:27. In a strife which requires opposition to every evil lust, and where, instead of coaxing and pampering, we must deny the flesh all satisfaction, it is necessary to maintain a steadfast perseverance and an indifference to pain.—He who intends to teach must be doubly watchful over himself. “In the preacher three things must preach: heart, mouth, and life. The life must illustrate what the mouth speaks, and the mouth must speak what the heart feels.”

H. Müller.—1 Corinthians 10:5. The liberation of the children of Israel is an instructive type of our redemption; Pharaoh is the image of Satan; the servitude in Egypt represents the tyranny of sin; the pillar of cloud God’s gracious protection. The Christian must march through the sea of this world; his way lies through the wilderness, and he seeks a Father-land in heaven.—Even in the Old Testament the divine agent is Christ, and with the believer now He is omnipresent, giving us the water of eternal life forevermore.

1 Corinthians 9:24 to 1 Corinthians 10:5.—Pericope on Septuagesima: I. Exhortations to earnest endeavors after salvation, drawn, 1. from a comparison with the zeal shown by men of the world (1 Corinthians 9:24); 2. from the glory of the end sought (1 Corinthians 9:25); 3. from the certainty of obtaining a prize (1 Corinthians 9:26); 4. from the shame of that destruction which would overtake us, in case of failure (1 Corinthians 9:27); 5. from the proffered means of grace (1 Corinthians 10:1 ff.). II. Warnings against pausing in our Christian career, drawn, 1. from the consequent loss of the end in view; 2. from the loss of the points gained, and subsequent lapse into bondage to the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27); 3. from the stagnation of our Christianity (1 Corinthians 10:1-5). III. The strife of the Christian: 1. as to its peculiarities, a, its aims, b, its foes; 2. as to the prize; 3. as to its means. IV. Christianity in reality and in appearance: 1. the former—an earnest striving after perfection, which alone, yet surely leads to salvation, and by which man becomes a pattern to his fellow, and acceptable to God; 2. the latter—a mere outward union to the Christian Church, confession with the mouth, a formal partaking of the sacraments without any inward strengthening and confirming of the heart upon the rock of salvation, and consequently without any real improvement, and therefore displeasing to the Lord. V. The causes of a sad mediocrity in Christianity: 1. the lack of earnestness; 2. disregard of the prize; 3. neglect of means (Heubner).

Oetinger:—What is requisite in order that a fighter for the crown may be temperate in all things? 1. He must know what is costliest in this world; 2. He must esteem the blood of Christ and its preciousness above his own life, and above all precious substances.—L. Hofacker: “The Christian’s race,” for the heavenly crown: 1. concerning some deviations from the true course; 2. concerning the true course itself, comp., also, J. M. Sailor, “Saint Paul’s glimpses into the depths of wisdom,” p. 176 ff. If thou wilt succeed in thy race for the goal, in thy contest for the crown, pray, watch, deny thyself, and thou wilt find in God eternal life, thy prize and thy crown.

Lohe, 1 Corinthians 10:9 :—To those who ask for bread, God does not give a serpent (Matthew 7:9-10); but to those who will not have His bread, He sends fiery poisonous serpents.

1 Corinthians 10:6 ff. (Heubner): 1 Corinthians 10:6. The history of the Jewish nation is a mirror for all mankind. Every portion of it can be made an example to quicken and to warn.—Do not many Christians yet say, that Christianity begets a joyous life, and sigh after earlier and forbidden enjoyments?

1 Corinthians 10:7. In all men there lingers some proneness to heathenism; to deify nature, the visible and the material. Subtle poisons are more dangerous than the grosser ones. Luxurious living is a species of idolatry; worldly enjoyments allure the heart into apostasy from God; the sinfulness of these things consists in the fact that they kindle desire, and lead to actual excesses. Hence the importance of insisting upon conversion. The truly converted turn of themselves from the world.

1 Corinthians 10:8. Sensual indulgences among the more refined nations are worse than among the uncivilized, and inflict greater mischief.

1 Corinthians 10:9. Oh that every one in the commission of transgression would consider that he is tempting Christ; that he is, as it were, challenging Him to inflict punishment! This we do when we oppose His Word in unbelief or disobedience; when we are not pleased with His laws, and try to devise some easier course. The serpents which will destroy us are the gnawings of a guilty conscience.

1 Corinthians 10:10. Murmuring is opposition to God’s providence, complaint at His ways and allotments; and this is a denial of the divine goodness and wisdom.

1 Corinthians 10:11. We Christians live in the last period of the world. The thought of the speedy winding up of the world’s history should make us more faithful.

1 Corinthians 10:12. The fall of others should make us more careful about ourselves. He who thinks he has nothing to fear from such temptations is most exposed to a fall; he does not take heed.

1 Corinthians 10:13. The power of man is of limited extent; and there are temptations too strong for it. Nevertheless, we may say that we can overcome all temptations; since God knows everything, even the power of every man, and orders everything, so that the temptation never exceeds the power. To beginners He gives easier tasks; to those further advanced, heavier ones.

M. F. Besser.—1 Corinthians 10:1 ff.: Let no one pass unheeded the warning which is contained in the five gracious experiences of Israel, and in the five apostasies of that ungrateful people. They all marched out of Egypt, and they all underwent baptism in the cloud and in the sea, and therein enjoyed the first-fruits of the covenant; and just so God has redeemed all of us Christians out of the world of corruption, and called us to the fellowship of His Son, through holy baptism, and has placed us upon our way to a heavenly home, blessed with the benefits and powers of His kingdom. But only those who run in faith to the end obtain the prize.

1 Corinthians 10:3-4. The mere eating and drinking at the sacrament alone will not serve. It not only profits nothing, but it also fearfully injures a person to belong to those whom Christ waits upon and refreshes, if through unspiritual or unbelieving conduct, those who eat and drink make themselves unworthy of the spiritual gift.

1 Corinthians 10:5. No Christian merits the divine complacency by virtue of his obedience and holy life, but only by virtue of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6). But although our good Christian works may not merit God’s favor, yet our evil unchristian works, if we remain impenitent, will drive God’s favor from us.

1 Corinthians 10:6. The proverb—history is the instruction of life, is especially true in regard to sacred history, which is no lifeless narrative, for says Luther: “the work and government of God in His Church, is the same from the beginning to the end of the world, even as also God’s people, or the Church, is thro’ all time, one and the same.

1 Corinthians 10:7. The spirit of the world sets up, sometimes one and sometimes another form of idolatry as the order of the day. Whether the world, in its banquets and balls, and theatres, actually crowns idolatry, as at Corinth, or whether it deifies the things and persons themselves, in which it takes pleasure, and uses them as its highest good, it is idolatry all the same. What happened in the camp at Sinai is still reflected before our eyes. The Sundays and feast-days of the Church are selected as the favorite pleasure-days. [Holy days have become holidays]. Lord, lead us not into temptation!

1 Corinthians 10:8. Balaam’s device pleases the world when it sees that it is not possible to rob Christians of their crown by violence. It knows well what “takes away the heart” (Hosea 4:11), and it loves to present the wine of temptation to those who have once escaped from the mire of the world. Let us watch and pray that we enter not into temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:11. In this last time (1 John 2:14), this N. T. time of the end wherein we live, those temptations to apostasy occur preliminary to the judgments which are indicated by the types of the earlier times. The five temptations of the fathers in the wilderness (viz., to greedy lusting, idolatry, whoredom, provoking God, and murmuring) are our temptations also, and we should seek eye-salve from the Holy Spirit (Revelation 3:18), in order to enable us to see these temptations in their present form, unbetrayed by the spirit of the world, which gives to evil an innocent or venial name; which calls the pursuit of pleasure, liberty; gives to idolatry and whoredom the name of progress and enjoyment of life; and to murmuring and tempting of God, the name of independence and manliness.

1 Corinthians 10:12. See to it, that thou dost not fall! The tempter can throw no standing Christian by force.

1 Corinthians 10:6-13. Pericope on the ninth Sunday after Trinity: I. Heathenism among Christians: 1. Description, a, as to its source—the evil, godless mind; b, its immediate effects—excesses and crimes (7, 8); c. final result—unbelief and despair. 2. Application for self-examination, mourning and quickening. II. The mode of avoiding falling in the midst of temptations. 1. By observing the multitude of temptations (1 Corinthians 10:6), especially those which are particularly dangerous to ourselves (7–10). 2. By laying to heart the punishments which will be inflicted in case we fall—both physically and spiritually (8–10). 3. By humility, by the recognition of our own weakness, and by realizing the consequences of error (11–12). 4. By trust in God, and prayer for support (1 Corinthians 10:13).

[Barnes, 9, 1 Corinthians 10:27. Ministers, like others, are in danger of losing their souls. 2. The fact that a man has preached to many is no certain evidence that he will be saved. 3. The fact that a man has been very successful in the ministry is no evidence that he will be saved. 4. It will be a solemn and an awful thing for a successful minister to go down to hell. 5. Ministers should be very solicitous about their personal piety.

R. South, 1 Corinthians 10:13 :—How, and by what means, God delivers us from temptations. I. If the force of the temptation be chiefly from the vehement importunities of the evil spirit, God often puts an end to the issue by rebuking and commanding down the tempter himself. II. If the force of the temptation be from the weakness of a man’s mind, God delivers by mighty, inward, unaccountable supplies of strength. III. If from unhappy circumstances, by a providential change in the whole course of his life. IV. If from the powerful sway and solicitation of some unruly affection, by the overpowering influence and operation of His Holy Spirit. Two considerations: 1. The strongest temptations to sin are no warrant for sin; 2. God delivers only those who do their lawful utmost to deliver themselves].


[1]Confiding in the words of Moses, they had committed themselves to the waters].

Verses 14-22

D. A dissuasive from partaking of idol feasts, as involving a fellowship with idolatry, and therefore hostile to all fellowship with Christ in His supper

1 Corinthians 10:14-22

14     Wherefore, my dearly [om. dearly] beloved, flee from idolatry. 15I speak as towise men; judge ye what I say. 16The cup of [the, τῆς] blessing which we bless, Isaiah 2:0 it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, Isaiah 1:0 it17not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many [Because we, the many, οί πολλοί ἐσμεν] are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers3 ofthat one bread. 18Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of thesacrifices, partakers [common participants, κοινωνοί] of the altar? 19What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing [that that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing, or that the20idol is any thing]?4 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice5 to devils [they sacrifice,4 they sacrifice to demons, om. Gentiles] and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship [be communicants, κοινωνοὺς γίνεσθαι with devils. 21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?


1 Corinthians 10:13. [Having enforced the duty of renouncing their rights and restricting their liberty by a reference to his own example of self-denial and its motives, he now returns to his main subject, from which he digressed at the commencement of chap. 9, viz., participating in the sacrificial feasts of the heathen. “But whereas before he dwelt only on the scandal to others, he now in accordance with the train of thought, begun in 1 Corinthians 9:23, dwells chiefly on the evils to themselves. And the sense of this evil is enhanced by the recollection incidentally introduced in 1 Corinthians 10:3, of the only Christian institution which bore any resemblance to these feasts.” Stanley].—Wherefore,—διόπερ shows that the following exhortation is deduced from what goes before. And this may be either the whole paragraph from 1 Corinthians 10:1, as: ‘in view of the judgments inflicted upon Israel and recorded for your warning, flee,’ etc.; or it may be what directly precedes, as: ‘since the faithfulness of God pledges to you the results of such watchfulness,’ etc.; or: ‘since ye have a God so faithful, therefore shun whatsoever would cut you off from His fellowship.’—What is expressed generally in 1 Corinthians 10:12, is now resumed with particular reference to the case in hand.—flee from idolatry.—By this he enjoins the avoidance of every thing, which, however remotely, would imply participation in idol worship. The preposition ‘from’ (ἀπό) adds force, q. d., ‘keep yourselves aloof from.’ [“The only safety is in keeping at a distance. This includes two things; first, avoiding whatever is questionable; and, secondly, avoiding the occasions and temptations to sin.” Hodge]. The use of the simple accusative as the object of ‘flee,’ would not, however, necessarily indicate that they had been already involved in idolatry (comp. 2 Timothy 2:22). For what follows it appears that he had in mind attendance at idolatrous festivals.—The address—my dearly beloved—imparts to the exhortation an urgent and affectionate tone.

1 Corinthians 10:15-21. As to wise men I speak.—In proof of the fact which occasioned the above exhortation, viz., that they by participating in idolatrous feasts, were taking part in idol worship—a proceeding which was one with the worship of devils, and wholly inconsistent with the Christian profession, he appeals to their own insight and good sense, which placed them in a position to judge for themselves of the correctness of what he was about to say. In so doing he at the same time gives them to perceive his own strong conviction of its truth, which he held to be so palpable that he could safely entrust it with their decision. The ‘as’ merely indicates the point of view from which he considered them.—judge ye—ὑμεῖς, is emphatic: ‘ye yourselves.’ Whether in this winning manner there lurks a delicate slant at their lack of judgment, some touch of sarcasm, is a question which we will not now discuss.—That participation in idol altar-feasts involved participation in idol worship, is shown, first, from the analogy of the Lord’s supper. He starts with the cup, while that which naturally follows is connected with the bread. [‘This mention of the cup first, before the bread, both here and at 1 Corinthians 10:21, is remarkable. Why was this? 1. Perhaps there was more danger of those immoral and lascivious consequences, against which he is writing, from excesses in the wine at the idolatrous feasts, than in the meats. 2. The Apostle has thus shown the essential independence of the cup as a necessary-part of the Holy Communion, and supplies a caution against Romish error. 3. Each of the elements is variously put first in the Holy Scripture, to show their, equal dignity and the equal necessity of receiving each.’ Wordsworth].—The cup—τὸ ποτήριον is undoubtedly accusative, corresponding to τὸν ἄρτον by attraction (comp. Matthew 21:42). Of course the contents are intended.—of blessing;—so called, either from its effects, as it brings a blessing [so Olshausen]; or, preferably, from the act which immediately precedes, so that the words—which we bless—are epexegetical of it. By this we may understand the thanksgiving alluded to in (1 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:27), and interpret: ‘which we receive with thanksgiving’—an interpretation which transcends the meaning of εὐλογοῦμεν; or the consecration (comp. Leviticus 9:16), and then interpret: ‘which we set apart by prayer to a holy use’—an act which certainly included thanksgiving. The expression is derived from the observance of the Passover, when the third cup which went round was called הְבְּרְכָה .כּוֹם6 The subject of the verb ‘we,’ denotes the whole congregation, which unitedly consecrated the cup by prayer and thanksgiving. [“Observe the first person plural is the same throughout; the blessing of the cup and the breaking of the bread—acts of consecration, were not the acts of the minister, as by any authority peculiar to himself, but only as representative of the whole congregation (οἱ πάντες). And so even Estius, but evading the legitimate inference. The figment of a sacerdotal consecration of the elements by transmitted power, is as alien from the Apostolic writings as it is from the spirit of the Gospel.” Alford. And Stanley also comments to the same effect.]—is it not the communion.—κοινωνία is not the precise equivalent of ‘communication’ [as the Rheims version translates it, and as some insist on rendering it, in support of a sacramental theory]; even in Hebrews 13:16; Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13, it may denote participation, which, however, is certainly not without communication. But the word here is used by metonymy for the means of communicating or participating (comp. John 11:25). [So Hodge: “The means of participating.” Alford translates “participation.” Calvin: “It is that connection which we have with the blood of Christ, when He ingrafts all of us together into His body, that He may live in us and we in Him.” Tyndale and Cranmer give “partaking.” But the E. V. seems to hit the meaning best: “communion of,” which implies a fellowship, a common sharing in the blood of Christ, according to the meaning of the root, κοινός, common, whence κοινωνέω, to have a thing in common, to have a share of a thing. This derivation shows that the idea of fellowship in the partaking is prominent in the word. It ever denotes a social act. And this idea is essential to the argument of the Apostle.] The strong literal sense of the verb “is,” must also be retained. This is not employed in a symbolic sense, as though it meant signifies; but it simply affirms the fact. The eating of the bread is the communion. This is required by the argument. [“If we render ἐστιν, symbolizes, the argument is made void.” Alford. So Hodge: “He who partakes of the cup, partakes of Christ’s blood.” But it may be asked here: ‘in what sense?’ This, of course, is not here explained. But it is in some real, veritable way predicable of all who partake. Otherwise the parallel with the idolatrous act rebuked, would not be sustained. Paul means to show that as by means of the sacrament we truly come into communion with Christ, so in the idolatrous feasts, whether a person intends it or not, he does worship the idol. Hodge, however, says: “This of course is true only of believers.” But if the fact of communion turned upon the presence or absence of faith, the participant at the idol feast might fairly reply, ‘I am not guilty of idolatry in this, for I eat without faith in the idol.’ And this was precisely what Paul designed to preclude by asserting the veritableness of the communion in drinking of the cup.] But does this view lead to the doctrine of a substantial identification of the wine with the blood of Christ, of a union of the elements with the matter of the sacrament (res sacramenti)? The Apostle is treating primarily of the participation of individuals in that to which the thing they partake of refers; or, in other words, of the fact that they, through that of which they partake, come into fellowship with that particular religious sphere to which the thing partaken of belongs. Here in the instance before us, it is with the blood of Christ, the ground and seal of the New Covenant; in the other case with idols, the sphere of a devilish heathenism; hence with devils themselves. Meanwhile, if nothing else hindered, we might suppose a real communion between the wine and the blood, since κοινωνία may be variously interpreted according to different analogies.—of the blood of Christ.i.e., the blood shed on the cross, not His bloody death, as may be seen from the parallel term, “the body.” It is the blood of the covenant by which the forgiveness of sins and the whole salvation it includes is purchased (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:25; Matthew 26:28), [the blood which has in itself also the Eternal Life, and to partake of which secures a pardon unto life eternal].—the bread which we break.—[The breaking of the bread was a formal public act, a part of the solemnity of the sacrament, in accordance with the example set by Christ, significant of the breaking of Christ’s body for us. The custom therefore of having the bread ready broken put on the table, as practised in some churches, or that of the Romanists in putting a wafer unbroken on the tongue of the communicant, must be condemned as contrary to the precedent of the early Church.] The consecration is here presupposed.—is it not the communion of the body of Christ?—It is a question here whether the word ‘body’ is used figuratively of the Church, which is the body of Christ, as some would interpret it, both here and in 1 Corinthians 10:16. The parallel with the word ‘blood,’ decides this in the negative, since there is nothing in this connection which the blood can be understood to symbolize; nor is there aught in the context which constrains us to such an interpretation. “It appears from this passage that the Lord’s Supper has been instituted as a real communion, and not as a mere symbol.” Neander.—because one bread, one body we the many are.—ὅτι εἷς ἄρτος ἕν σῶμα οἱ πολλοί ἐσμεν. It would be natural to assume here a protasis and an apodosis, as: ‘because there is one bread, therefore are we the many one body.’ But to this it must be objected, 1. Paul very seldom introduces a protasis with ὅτι (1 Corinthians 12:15 f.; Galatians 4:6, are doubtful cases); 2. the course of thought would in this way be interrupted, and we should have here a logical parenthesis, which is not to be supposed unnecessarily.—The ὅτι, because, evidently introduces an argument for the leading thought in the previous verse, viz., that the bread is the communion of the body of Christ. This is established by the effect produced in the Christian consciousness through partaking of the bread, that is, the union of Christians in one body, as a complex organic whole. This union is grounded in the fact that the bread is the veritable communion (κοινωνία) of the body of Christ. The sacramental bread is such a means of union in so far as it mediates the fellowship with the body of Christ, surrendered to death in behalf of all, and hence, a living fellowship with Christ the Saviour of all. But in educing this argument from the text, we are not to take the expression, “one bread,” as parallel to that of “one body,” making them both alike the nominatives after ‘we are,’ rendering the sentence [as the E. V. does]: “we are one bread and one body,” because, if for no other reason, in the next sentence which adduces a proof of what is here stated, “one bread” stands for the bread of the supper, while it here would be a figurative expression for the unity of believers, just as “body” is. The εἷς ἄρτος, one body, must therefore be taken as an independent clause with ἐστίν, is, supplied. The relation of the two clauses then will be either that of a comparison: ‘as there is one bread, so are we one body,’ or they will stand related as cause and effect: ‘since there is one bread, therefore are we, the many, one body.’ [So Meyer and Hodge, also Hammond, Locke, Whitby, Calvin, Beza, Bengel, and the Syriac version; but Alford, Stanley and Wordsworth adhere to the E. V. Alford says: “We are one bread by the assimilation of that one bread partaken.” “But this,” says Hodge, “is to make the Apostle teach modern physiology”].—The above rendering is confirmed by what follows,—for we all partake of that one bread.—(ἐκ τοῦ ἐνὸς ἄρτου μετέχ.). This again is variously explained. We may either take ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἄρτου, from that one bread, as the direct object of μετέχομεν, partake, and read [as the E. V. does]: “we all have part or partake of that one bread”—which is contrary to the otherwise uniform construction of μετέχειν (which requires the Gen. or the Accus. after it), and may be accounted for by supposing ἐσθίειν, or κλᾶν, understood. Or we may, as in 1 Corinthians 10:30, make τοῦ ἑνὸς σὡματος, of the one body, supplied from the context, the object of μετέχομεν, partake, and regard ἐκ as expressing the cause of such partaking, rendering it because of. Then the clause would be an explanation and confirmation of what precedes. [So Meyer; but this seems artificial and far-fetched, and is contrary to all the versions and the majority of the commentators. It is better to adopt the common rendering]. “The ‘body of Christ,’ of course, is to be conceived of spiritually; the idea, therefore, is not the same as in what precedes. The mediating thought between the statement, that the sacrament of the Supper communicates the body and the blood of our Lord, and the statement, that the Church is the body of the Lord, is this, that individuals by celebrating the Supper come into communion with each other. Bread and wine are to the Apostles vehicles through which communion with Christ is realized.” Neander. The declaration, “there is one bread,” obliges us to conceive of the bread at the Supper as one whole, whether it is one loaf that is broken, or several. But this oneness leads us back to the κοινωνία of the body of Christ as its ground.—In 1 Corinthians 10:18 we have a second analogy to prove the unsuitableness of Christians partaking of idolatrous altar feasts. It is drawn from the Jewish feasts following sacrifice.—Behold Israel after the flesh.—’Ισραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα, one idea; therefore without the article before κατὰ σάρκα. The designation is in contrast with that of “Israel after the spirit” (comp. Romans 2:28; Galatians 4:29; 1 Corinthians 6:16); it means the Israel which is so, not by virtue of a Divine spiritual life arising from faith (Galatians 3:7), but by natural descent.—are not those who eat the sacrifices.—[i.e., those parts which are not sacrificed. For the practice of eating the remainder, which was left after the parts specified, Leviticus 3:3, were offered up, see] (Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 16:11).—partakers with the altar?—κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου may be interpreted either, ‘associates of the altar,’ inasmuch as they shared the flesh of the victim offered with the altar (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:13); or: ‘persons standing in communion with the altar,’ i.e., in religious connection with it, inasmuch as the festival acquired a religious significance by its relation to it. Therefore it is he does not say, ‘partakers with God,’ by which only the more general communion would be denoted, but not this stricter one (Meyer). To subjoin therefore “with God,” is needless and unsuitable. [Stanley says the reason why he did not say ‘with God,’ was “chiefly because communion with God was too high a thought to be brought down to the level of the mere outward ceremonial of the fleshly Israel.” But this idea is contradicted by Romans 9:4-5. As Hodge well puts it: “The question is not as to the intention of the actors, but as to the import of the act, and as to the interpretation universally put upon it. To partake of a Jewish sacrifice as a sacrifice, and in a holy place, was an act of Jewish worship. By parity of reasoning to partake of a heathen sacrifice as a sacrifice, and in a holy place, was an act of heathen worship.—It need hardly be remarked, that this passage gives no ground for the opinion that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice. This is not the point of comparison”].—In 1 Corinthians 10:19 he draws the conclusion he has been aiming at in this whole exposition.—What then am I saying?i.e., ‘what is the result to which I am coming?’ He begins his answer by repudiating an inference which might be drawn in contradiction of his statement in 1 Corinthians 8:4. Is it—that what is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?i.e., possesses reality, is veritable flesh consecrated to a god?—or that an idol is any thing?i.e., has being as the very god which the heathen imagine (comp. 1 Corinthians 8:4 ff.); or, changing the accent and reading εἰδωλόθυτον—εἴδωλόν τι ἔστιν, he would say: ‘that there is any idol-offering, or any idol—namely, of the sort mentioned?’ Both constructions amount to the same thing.—But [i.e., ‘nay, but;’ this ellipsis of the negative taken up by ἀλλα, is found in classical Greek].—And now comes his direct statement—that what things they offer (it is) to devils and not to God, they offer (them).—The text is quoted from the LXX. version of Deuteronomy 32:17, which seems to be adduced as authoritative proof of his position. See also Bar 4:7, θύσαντες δαιμονίοις καὶ οὺ θεῷ. His meaning is: ‘This I say, that ye by partaking at heathenish festivals come into communion with devils; just as we through the bread which we break come into communion with the body of Christ, or as the Israelites through their sacrificial feasts come into communion with the altar, i.e., of God’s sanctuary.’ Before explaining himself, however, on the point that the heathenish sacrifices with which those feasts were connected, were offered, in fact, to devils, and instead of drawing his conclusion directly, he states it in the form of an injunction—and I would not that ye should have communion with devils—the very thing he would convict them of doing—and then he assigns a reason for this in the following, 1 Corinthians 10:21-22.—Such we conceive to be the logic of the Apostle (as Osiander and others). But Meyer understands it differently. He finds in 1 Corinthians 10:16-18, a justification of the warning in 1 Corinthians 10:14 : “Flee from idolatry;” and in 1 Corinthians 10:19 f., a repudiation of an inference which might be drawn from the analogy of the Jewish sacrificial festival (1 Corinthians 10:18); since by this he seemed to acknowledge a veritable communion with the gods in the heathen altar-service, and with this also the actual divinity of the idols worshipped in it.7—Since the idea of communion runs through the whole passage to 1 Corinthians 10:21, the first exposition of the order of thought merits the preference.—The δαιμόνια, demons, to whom the heathen sacrificed, are not imaginary gods—sub-deities, as it were; but, as is seen both from the connection and from the uniform usage of the LXX. and the New Testament, they are evil spirits, the chief of whom is διάβολος, diabolus, the devil. The expression in Acts 17:18 : “he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods,” is adapted to the usage of the Greeks [for the word δαιμόνιον was employed by them in a comparatively good sense, to denote the objects of their worship]. “It is probable that in order to exhibit the abominableness of all participation in idol-worship, Paul designedly chose an expression, which indeed among the heathen was used to denote their deities, but which among the Jews always designated evil spirits.” Bengel. To regard heathendom as the devil’s kingdom, was a mode of thought prevailing among the ancient Church, and well founded (comp. Osiander, p. 455 f.). We, therefore, must certainly distinguish, especially in the sphere of the Hellenic religion, between the opinion and intent of idol worshippers, and the objective powers actually operating in heathenism, which obtained Divine honor to themselves by darkening the human mind. But it would be wholly arbitrary, were we to ascribe to the Apostle the idea that the offerings of the heathen were presented to the devils in so far as these persuaded the heathen that there are gods to whom sacrifices must be offered, in order to receive to themselves under the name of gods, Divine worship and sacrifices (Rückert).—The “fellowship with devils” which he would not have them hold, was not merely a symbolic one, but an actual one, by means of which they would expose themselves to their corrupting influences (comp. Osiander, Bengel).—The wish just expressed he grounds upon the irreconcilableness of a participation in heathenish festivals, which involve communion with devils, with a participation in the Lord’s Supper.—Ye cannot.—The inability here expressed is of a moral kind—a moral impossibility.—drink the cup of the Lord,—that is, the cup of the Lord’s Supper, which belongs to the Lord, has been consecrated to Him, and is the communion of His blood; therefore, brings us into fellowship with Him.—and the cup of devils,—that is, the cup consecrated to demons, which brought a person into actual relations to them, and out of which wine was drunk at the sacrificial feasts, with pre-libations in honor of the gods.—Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.—The table signifies the entire meal, including the consecrated food. [“From this passage probably, ‘the table of the Lord’ became an expression current in all ages of the Christian Church. See Suicer in voc.” Alford]. In this verse the Romish Church unwarrantably finds evidence for the doctrine that the Lord’s Supper was not simply a sacrament, but also a sacrifice (Cone. Trid., 22, 1). “It is not the Church that offers Christ in communion; but Christ offered Himself up once for all (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:25-26; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 12:14; Hebrews 12:18); and He brings to the Church the bread and wine, not for an offering, but to be eaten and drunk, in order that by this means He may give His own body and blood for their nourishment, according to His promise.” W. F. Besser.

1 Corinthians 10:22. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?—This is not to be taken conjunctively,—neither by assuming irregularity of formation, nor yet in accordance with the sense, as if it were deliberate. The indicative is still more emphatic. His meaning is, ‘ye cannot unite the two (1 Corinthians 10:21). Or, are we the persons who by such an attempt will venture to provoke the Lord to jealousy?’ Such would certainly be the result, inasmuch as we would be practicing communion with evil spirits hostile to the Lord, while professing to hold communion with Him who insists on our keeping ourselves exclusively His. The expression, “provoke to jealousy,” is taken from Deuteronomy 32:21, and is taken from the metaphor of a marriage between God and His people, which pervades large portions of the Old Testament, and in accordance with which the Church is represented as the bride of Christ (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:2). It denotes the strong displeasure which arises in consequence of adulterous love, [“and is the fiercest of all human passions. It is therefore employed as an illustration of the hatred of God towards idolatry. It is as when a bride transfers her affections from her lawful husband in every way worthy of her love, to some degraded and offensive object.” Hodge). The jealousy is one which is sure to bring severe punishment; and this is what one seems to challenge upon himself who is not accustomed to fear the might of the Lord. Hence the concluding question—Are we stronger than He?—so that we can avert His retributive power?


1. Communion with the Lord and in the Lord—such is the fundamental generic idea of the Lord’s Supper. He is in us, and we in Him; and therefore all united together—members of one body, composed of all those who have fellowship with Him. But this communion is not simply one of the Spirit, effected through the word received in faith, by means of which His Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God; it is not a purely spiritual one in the sense that Jesus, by His Spirit alone, makes His dwelling in the hearts of all who believe. But it is one which is accomplished also through the body, and includes, likewise, the physical life. It is His atoning life offered up for us—His body broken in death for our sakes—His blood shed in our behalf, of which we partake by means of the bread and wine. And this life of Jesus is imparted to us in its totality, as fitted to nourish, strengthen and refresh our life—in short, as food and drink for our life in its totality; that is, for our new life, which is from God which, begun in Christ at the new birth, is perfected at last in the body also, at the resurrection; for He is the Redeemer of the body (comp. John 6:54; Romans 8:11).

But how is this nourishment imparted? This is the point on which the various confessions of the Christian Church begin their strife. If we keep in mind Paul’s expression, “the communion of the body and blood of Christ,” it will be seen that we, by no means, do justice to it by holding the extravagant hypothesis (of the Romish Church) that in virtue of the priestly consecrating word the bread and wine are transformed into the veritable body and blood of Christ; for in that case we could not speak of holding communion [inasmuch as eating the material substance would be a mere physical act, which would be perfect without the concurrence of the Spirit].—Neither does it satisfy simply to assume that the elements are mere symbols—that the body and blood of Christ are exhibited and made present to the consciousness of faith through the bread and wine, and that so by means of these, a communion of the believing participant is effected;—whether it be, as Zwingle supposes, that the believer partook of the broken body and blood shed, by being more fully assured thereby of the forgiveness of sins, or, as Calvin supposes, that a mysterious union ensues for the believer with the glorified life of Christ in heaven. The Apostle’s language, “the bread, the wine, is a communion of the body, of the blood of Christ,” means yet more. If the bread and wine are the means of our communion with the body and blood of Christ, it is obvious that there is a participation in these very objects themselves, as, indeed, in the passage, John 11:25 (cited by Meyer), Christ calls Himself the resurrection, and the life, i.e., that very thing by which the life is again restored and imparted, in so far as He is in His own person the life, and the life of humanity again restored.—This brings us, then, to Luther’s view, viz., that of the mysterious union of the elements with the body and blood of Christ, effected through the power of Christ’s Spirit in His Word—a union with His redeeming life, not only as it has been, but as it is now, everywhere present and glorified.

It will, indeed, be asked, “how does this hypothesis suit with the original institution of the Supper, when such a union could not have existed? and are we then to distinguish between the first celebration of the Supper and all others that have ensued?” We must, at all events, affirm, with Œtinger (“Theology drawn from the idea of life,” translated by Hamburger, p. 244), that, as in the case of baptism, so also here, a gradual progression may be traced. “Before Christ died and rose again, the disciples received the flesh and blood of Christ, efficiently (efficienter), rather than substantially (substantialiter); but after the ascension, both substantially and efficiently.”—Through this union the bread and wine become a spiritual meat and drink, i.e., a nourishment of the new spiritual life, which, however, in the case of those not qualified to enjoy it, serves not to nourish, but to condemn—even as the Gospel is to some a savor of life unto life, and to others a savor of death unto death.—This is not the place to treat more particularly of manducatory participation, and of the participation of the unworthy.8

2. Inconsistency of attempting to hold fellowship with the world and Christ at the same time.—To sit down at the table of the Lord, and to commune with Him by partaking of His body and blood, and then to convert aught into an idol, or by idolatrous proceedings to devote one’s self to the god of this world and to his spirits, and so to profess them, are intolerable contradictions. He who dares thus, exposes himself to the severest judgments. By such conduct he violates the holy claims of the Lord to his person, which having been redeemed and honored by Him, with all the blessings of His redemption, belongs to Him exclusively—wholly and solely, even as a bride to the bridegroom. And such conduct involves the greater folly from the fact that Christ is one to whom all power in heaven and earth is given, and before whose bar all must stand to receive the final decision affecting their eternal weal or woe.

[3. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, a pledge of the resurrection of believers. As the consecrated bread and wine were the authentic symbols of Christ’s body and blood, and were, in construction and certain effect (though not in substance), the same with what they stood for, to all worthy receivers; it is manifest that bodies so incorporated with the body of Christ, must of course be partners with it in a glorious resurrection. Thus was the Eucharist ever considered as a sure and certain pledge to all good men of the future resurrection of then bodies, symbolically fed with the body of Christ. This is the argument which the Christian fathers insisted upon, and with this they prevailed. See Water-land on “The Doctrinal Use of the Sacraments” (Vol. VIII., p. 182). (Wordsworth)].


Starke:—1 Corinthians 10:14. A Christian must be very careful how he, in any way, participates in a false worship (2 Corinthians 6:14).—1 Corinthians 10:15. A true minister, who is sure of his doctrine, will urge his hearers freely to test its truth, so that they shall feel that they have to do, not so much with him as with God, whose doctrine he preaches. So, too, a proper hearer will look not so much to the minister as to God in the matter of doctrine (2 Corinthians 1:24; Acts 17:11).—1 Corinthians 10:16 (Spener). The doctrine that the bread and wine are the communion of the body and blood of Christ, is to be taken in its plainest acceptation—they are the very means by which the participants take part in the body and blood of Christ. Accordingly, faith is not made the communion or the means of participation, in which case those who approach the table without faith could not be said, in any sense, to receive such blessings; but the bread and the wine are themselves the things. Hence, he who partakes of these comes also into connection with the blessings themselves.—1 Corinthians 10:17. Where Christ’s body is there is love, 1 Corinthians 12:13.—He who receives the sacrament testifies that he is in the communion of Christ and His Church.—1 Corinthians 10:19. To the pure, all things are pure; yet many things may be rendered impure by circumstances. Hence great circumspection is needful to purity.—1 Corinthians 10:20. All false worship is a worship of the devil, and those who participate in it shall receive the recompense destined for their lord (Revelation 18:4).—1 Corinthians 10:21 (Œtinger). There is no profit in serving two masters, and just as little in trying to sponge on them both. If the world’s baits delight, let Christ’s feasts alone (Matthew 6:24; Jeremiah 16:8).—1 Corinthians 10:22. To be obstinate and imagine that we must keep up acquaintances and friendships, and that God will not be very exacting in the matter, is an abominable presumption, calculated to provoke God’s righteous wrath.—How will God let such miserable sophists run their course till they are made aware of His power (Job 9:4; Job 9:19; Job 37:23)?

Berlenb. Bible:—1 Corinthians 10:14. If we are attempting to serve God in the spirit of truth, through the proffered grace of Christ, we shall abandon all idolatry, such as consists in serving God through ceremonial practices and works of the flesh. But then we must be careful to drink often and much of the spiritual drink, and eat the spiritual food. Christ Himself is both these. In Him is everything given to us spiritually and divinely; in Him there is everything to be had freely and without price—everything which cannot be found in this world’s wilderness. He will surely care for soul and body. Therefore flee from Babel, the idolatrous land. When it pursues we must run: otherwise its idols will slip into our hearts.—1 Corinthians 10:15. Who has the Spirit of Christ, has also the spirit of a sound judgment. No prudent man will be sure of anything, the ground of whose truth he does not find in himself.—1 Corinthians 10:17. True Christians, as members of Christ, constitute one spiritual body, and are nourished by one meat—the body of Jesus. A sweet communion of sanctified spirits ought, in this way, to be established and fostered. Let us be one, even in this, that we have no fellowship with idols.—1 Corinthians 10:20. Men often trust their fancies rather than God, and regard it as spiritual pride, as it were, to mount up to Him, and will disoblige none. So it goes, although one does not betake himself to the right source (Psalms 36:9; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13),—1 Corinthians 10:21. What does it mean that a person presents himself occasionally at the Lord’s Table, when throughout his whole life Belial is uppermost in his heart! What a pretence to think of satisfying God with the outward forms and postures of a lifeless worship, while we are sacrificing to our own pleasure, and are intent on gratifying our senses with vanity! All who live after the lusts of the flesh eat of the devil’s table.—Those who tread under foot Christ’s body and blood, drink rather of the wine of His wrath, and eat the bread of His anger. But priests who cause the people to sin by their evil example, or by failing to rebuke sin through shameful weakness, and who do not instruct the people sufficiently will be obliged to give an account, not only for themselves, but also for the people they have had in charge.

Heubner:—1 Corinthians 10:16. God’s demands are always endorsed by our own consciences.—1 Corinthians 10:20. To the Christian all evil is an abomination, because it brings him in contact with the kingdom of evil. Do nothing, however indifferent in itself, if according to the intent anything unrighteous or ungodly is indicated by it.—1 Corinthians 10:21. Participation in the Lord’s Supper binds us to strict separation from everything unhallowed, because it implies the most intimate union with Christ. Hence, after communion, a true Christian can hardly divest himself of a certain degree of anxiety.—1 Corinthians 10:22. Communion with the unholy is a challenge to Christ, because it is a contempt of His Majesty. Indeed, the thought of our weakness ought to awaken in us a salutary fear of our Almighty Lord.

W. F. Besser:—1 Corinthians 10:13. God will indeed protect us; but we can cherish this consolation only when we flee from every occasion to sin, unensnared by the conceit of our steadfastness.—1 Corinthians 10:21. Greek and Roman pagans were wont to consecrate a crowned beaker to Bacchus. Is it any less idolatrous when apostate Christians now celebrate the name of a man, some hero of the times, with gluttony and wine-bibbing, with impure jests and buffoonery, and with the tacit denial or uttered blasphemy of God? Oh, how does the world laugh when partakers of Christ’s Table run into the web which the devil spins at his banquets of pleasure. Every observance of the Lord’s Supper ought to impress on us the words of Paul, “Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” Woe to us if we undertake to do what Christians cannot! The Lord is a jealous bridegroom of His bridal Church, and to put contempt on Him, or to provoke Him to jealousy (Deuteronomy 32:21), is to imitate the sin of the children of Israel, who tempted Christ (1 Corinthians 10:9).

[Barnes:—1 Corinthians 10:20. The custom of drinking toasts at feasts and celebrations arose from this practice of pouring out wine, or drinking in honor of the heathen gods; and is a practice that partakes still of the nature of heathenism. It was one of the abominations of heathenism to suppose that their gods would be pleased with the intoxicating draught. Such a pouring out of a libation was usually accompanied with a prayer to the idol god, that he would accept the offering; that he would be propitious; and that he would grant the desire of the worshipper. From that custom the habit of expressing a sentiment, or proposing a toast, uttered in drinking wine, has been derived. The toast or sentiment which now usually, accompanies the drinking of a glass in this manner, if it means anything, is now also a prayer: but to whom? to the God of wine? to a heathen deity? Can it be supposed that it is a prayer offered to the true God; the God of purity? Has Jehovah directed that prayer should be offered to Him in such a manner? Can it be acceptable to Him? Either the sentiment is unmeaning, or it is a prayer offered to a heathen god, or it is a mockery of Jehovah; and in either case it is improper and wicked. And it may as truly be said now of Christians as in the time of Paul, ‘Ye cannot consistently drink the cup of the Lord at the communion table, and the cup where a prayer is offered to a false god, or to the dead, or to the air; or when, if it means anything, it is a mockery of Jehovah? Now can a Christian with any more consistency or propriety join in such celebrations, and in such unmeaning or profane libations than his could go into the temple of an idol, and partake of the idolatrous celebrations there?

Hodge:—1 Corinthians 10:20. It was of great importance for the Corinthians to know that it did not depend on their intention whether they came into communion with devils. The heathen did not intend to worship devils, and yet they did it; what would it avail, therefore, to the reckless Corinthians, who attended the sacrificial feasts of the heathen, to say that they did not intend to worship idols? The question was not, what they meant to do, but what they did: not, what their intention was, but what was the import and effect of their conduct. A man need not intend to burn himself when he puts his hand into the fire; or to pollute his soul when he frequents the haunts of vice. The effect is altogether independent of his intention. This principle applies with all its force to compliance with the religious services of the heathen at the present day. Those who in pagan countries join in the religious rites of the heathen, are just as much guilty of idolatry, and are just as certainly brought into fellowship with devils, as the nominal Christians of Corinth, who, although they knew that an idol was nothing, and that there is but one God, yet frequented the heathen feasts. The same principle also applies to the compliance of Protestants in the religious observances of Papists. Whatever their intention may be, they worship the host if they bow down to it with the crowd who intend to adore it. By the force of the act we become one with those in whose worship we join. We constitute with them and with the objects of their worship one communion].

Verses 23-33

E. Concluding admonition to live in such matters so as to profit one another, and to glorify God

s 1 Corinthians 10:231 Corinthians 11:1

      23All things are lawful for me [om. for me],9 but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me [om. for me],1 but all things edify not. 24Let no man seek [that which is] his own, but every man10 [that which is] another’s wealth [om. wealth]. 25Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [meat-market], that eat, asking no questions for conscience’ sake: 26For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. 27If11 any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no questions for conscience’ sake. 28But if any, man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols [om. unto idols],12 eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience’ sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness 29thereof [om. for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof]:13 Conscience, I, say, not thine own, but of the other:14 for why is my liberty judged of another man’s 30conscience? For [om. for] if I by grace be a partaker [if I partake with, thankfulness εἰ ἐγῶ χάριτι μετέχω], why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do [or do any thing, ἐίτε τὶ ποιῖετε], do all to the glory of God. 32Give none offence, neither to the Jews,15 nor tothe Gentiles [Greeks, Ἕλλήσιν], nor to the church of God: 33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of [the] many,16 that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers [imitators, μιμηταἰ] of me, even as I also am of Christ.


1 Corinthians 10:23-24. He here anticipates an objection that might be raised against his previous injunctions on the score of Christian liberty, by pointing out the ethical limitations which restrict that liberty.—All things are in my power.—[This is the old statement made in vi. 12, setting forth the broad privileges of the Christian freeman, and to which the Apostle in a measure assents.]—But all things are not expedient.—This is the first limitation of expediency. But expedient for whom? The word συμφέρει might, in view of the previous warning, seem to imply ‘expedient for the subject himself.’ It were better, however, to take the word in its broadest application, ‘advantageous not only to the subject, but also to all others concerned.’—But all things edify not.—The second limitation; since it is the duty of every Christian to make edification a special object. In the verb ‘edify’ the reference to others is more fully brought out, and here it denotes the furtherance of the welfare of the Church.—In the next verse this limitation is more definitely expressed in the form of a maxim inculcating the exercise of an unselfish love. It is a general truth which he by no means intends to limit simply to the case in hand.—Let no man seek his own (wealth), but (every man) that of another.—Here the negation is to be taken absolutely, and not relatively, as though it meant, ‘seek not merely his own wealth, but also that of another.’ The ‘seeking of one’s own’ denotes the selfish attempt to make one’s own enjoyment, one’s own liberty, one’s own rights the sole paramount consideration, regardless of the good of others; and this falls under an absolute prohibition as being a violation of the great law of love. “The idea here is, that even what is indifferent in itself becomes sinful when done to the prejudice of a neighbor.” Neander. From μηδείς we obtain for the nominative in the positive clause an ἔκαστος—a ease of Zeugma. Like expressions occur in 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:4; Romans 15:2 f.

1 Corinthians 10:25-26. First he asserts that the eating of flesh exposed for sale in the market, and thus disconnected from idolatrous worship—even though it may have been cut from sacrificial victims, was altogether innocent, since this meat as well as the whole earth and all things in it belonged unto God.—Whatsoever is sold in the meat-market.—μακέλλῳ, a word taken from the Latin and=κρεωπωλίῳ. [The sale of the portion of the sacrificial meat, which fell to the priests, formed a part of their revenue, and was not to be distinguished from ordinary meat, except perhaps by its excellence, as the animals offered at the altar were usually of a superior kind.] that eat, without special inquiry.—μηδὲν�, carefully searching nothing, i. e., as to whether it had been offered in sacrifice or not.—on account of conscience.—διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν. [What is this to be joined with? Some say the previous participle, as setting forth the particular point as to which the inquiry is made, and meaning ‘on the score of conscience;’ others connect it with the whole participial clause, as assigning the ground for not inquiring, being equivalent either to: ‘in order that your conscience may not be disturbed,’ or: ‘because your conscience being well informed as to the real nature of idols needs no inquiry’]; it had best however be joined with the whole previous sentence, and the meaning would then be: ‘eat without inquiry in order that the conscience be not burdened or troubled.’ [Such is the view of Meyer and Alford. Hodge gives another interpretation which he considers the simplest and most natural: “buy what you want and eat, making no matter of conscience in the thing. You need have no conscientious scruples, and, therefore, ask no question as to whether the meat had been offered to idols or not.”—By reason of what is said in 1 Corinthians 10:28, one may be led to suppose that it was the conscience of an observer that was meant, which by that act might become disquieted or sullied, inasmuch as he too might be influenced through the example of one deemed stronger in the faith to eat likewise in spite of his scruples. [So De Wette, Bengel, Rückert]. And in justification of this, reference is made to 1 Corinthians 10:29, where the conscience of another person is particularly specified. But the cases are not parallel; and in 1 Corinthians 10:29, the reference to others is distinctly denoted through the preliminary clause in 1 Corinthians 10:28, and there being no such reference here, it were far more natural to suppose the conscience of the inquirer to be intended.—The exhortation in our passage applies to all parties, especially to the weak, who would anxiously ask about their duty in the premises. Yet it was also suited for the strong whose freedom of opinion might suffer damage through the inquiry, since their conscience had been quickened by the Apostle’s instruction in reference to this whole matter.—The act of eating he justifies, by a citation from Psalms 24:1, [“which was the common form of Jewish thanksgiving before the meal, and hence probably was the early Eucharistic blessing, and thus alluded to in this place.” Stanley].—for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.—The word πλήρωμα denotes that with which a thing is filled, being passive, as everywhere in the New Testament. That which belongs to God can never pollute, and His children need have no scruple about using and enjoying it freely. [And this meat which had been offered to idols, was in fact no less His than any other meat. An idol being nothing could not vitiate it for its original use], (Comp. on 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 4:4; also Osiander in hoc loco, and the citations from Calvin and Melancthon by him).

1 Corinthians 10:27-30 : The same maxim is here applied to their conduct at a banquet given at a private house by a heathen to which they might be invited.—If any of the unbelievers invite you.—The invitation here is not to a sacrificial feast, for in such a case the person would not need to be told whether the meat set before him had been offered to idols, [nor yet would it be allowable for a Christian to be present here].—and ye desire to go.—A slight hint that remaining away would be a little better; since heathenish customs were everywhere in vogue, and the temptation to deny their Master on the part of those not firmly established was very strong. He here has in view the more liberal-minded whose liberty he did not wish to retrench, and inasmuch as the case often involved the relations of family and friendship, by means of which the truth might be brought home to those who were still unbelievers.—whatsoever is set before you eat, asking no question on account of conscience.—See comments on 1 Corinthians 10:25.—The case, however, is altered when the attention of the guest has been turned to the sacrificial character of the meat presented.—But if any man say unto you,—not the host, as is clear from the repetition of the τις, and from what is added further, which cannot in any case be referred to an unbeliever. For the same reason, we cannot explain it, of a heathen fellow-guest who might indicate the fact to the Christian, either from love of mischief, or from a wish to test him, or even out of good-will. Only a Christian can here be meant, and that too some weak brother who has discovered the fact pointed out, and now warns his fellow-believer of it. “Not a Jewish Christian, since such a one would not ordinarily accept the invitation of a heathen; but some converted Gentile, infected with Jewish prejudices, who regarded idols as demoniac powers, and in partaking of the sacrificial flesh, felt himself brought into contact with them.” Neander. Even a weak brother might be supposed to partake of such a meal, being influenced by his particular relations, and yet with a determination to refrain from every thing polluting.—This is offered in sacrifice.—ἱερόθοτον. and not εἱδωλόθυτον, see critical notes. The former is a neutral word, and is used advisedly to represent what would be said at a heathen’s table; but the latter is a contemptuous expression, which we could hardly suppose would be employed there.—eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience’ sake.—The latter expression is explanatory of the former, and the connecting καί, and, specifies only the particular point to which the more general statement that precedes applies. If the informant were a heathen, then this expression, “for conscience’ sake,” would be unsuitable, or we should have to regard it as a second reason derived from the weaker brother, whose conscience we must suppose to be meant. Or we must take it to mean that the person must refrain from eating in order not to allow the heathen informer to suppose that the participant still had to do with idols, and in order not to violate the conscience of weak Christians—obviously, a forced interpretation. [Evidently then it is some weaker brother that is here meant, for whose sake it was duty to abstain. “The union of the most enlightened liberality with the humblest concession to the weakness of others here exhibited, may well excite the highest admiration. The most enlightened man of his whole generation was the most yielding and conciliatory in all matters of indifference.” Hodge]. He next explains himself more fully, putting it beyond a doubt whose conscience is referred to.—Conscience I say, not thine own,—τήν εαυτοῦ, i.e., of any one who may come into such circumstances (not=τὴν σεαυτοῦ).—for why is my liberty judged of another’s conscience?—This is not to be taken as expressing the defiant remonstrance of the liberal-minded to his weaker brother, who objected to be governed by his prejudices. Such an interpretation would be unsuitable both by reason of the “for,” which in this case would be inapposite, and also because the following exposition gives no reply to it. Several other interpretations here offer themselves. Rückert and others think they find here a further reason for the command not to eat (1 Corinthians 10:28), taking the words to moan that the liberal-minded should not by eating give occasion for others to judge and blaspheme. But in this case they arbitrarily insert the thought, “to give occasion,” and entirely pass over what precedes.17—To this there is joined another interpretation, which would find in this verse a vindication of the freedom of conscience, which the Apostle maintained in the name of the liberal-minded, q. d., ‘About one’s own conscience I am not now speaking; for it is altogether improper for my liberty to be judged by another’s conscience. If I am blamed for that which I for my part thankfully enjoy, so that by my thanksgiving such enjoyment is sanctified, this unfounded condemnation neither violates nor endangers my own conscience; so that in not eating, my concern is chiefly for the conscience of another—some weak brother which ought to be spared, and not mine own.’ [This is Meyer’s explanation, who finds here the reason asserted why Paul did not mean the person’s own conscience, for the sake of sparing which he enjoined abstinence from eating in the case mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:28, but the conscience of 

another. The man’s own conscience, he says, did not need such consideration, for it is not affected by another’s judging and blaspheming, since both are ground-less. The reason therefore for abstaining, could only be found in the conscience of another, and not in the danger done to one’s own conscience; and this also is Bengel’s view].—The. ἵνα τι=ἱνα τί γένηται, in order that what may happen?—why? a form for introducing a question about something which has no object or ground, as here, and the verb ‘judge’ (κρίνειν) here denotes a disapproving, condemning judgment, as is seen in the parallel verb, βλασφήμειν, in the next clause.—If I with grace do partake.—Here χάριτι corresponds to εὐχαριστῶ in what follows, and is not to be understood of the goodness of God, which allows of such participation, or gives me the light which liberalizes my spirit, and hence is not to be translated ‘through grace’ [or ‘by grace,’ as the E. V. has it], but it means, with thanks, referring to the Eucharistic blessing which accompanied the social meal, as may be seen in the expression still common in many places—“to say grace.” As the object of the verb ‘partake,’ we are to supply ‘meat and drink.’—why am I evil spoken of respecting that for which I give thanks?—βλασφήμειν, lit., to blaspheme, a sharp word, denoting the bitter condemnation pronounced on the liberal-minded, as on one false to his principles. In the use of it there lies a sharp rebuke of the lack of love exhibited by the person judging (comp. Romans 15:3; Romans 14:16).

1 Corinthians 10:311 Corinthians 11:1. His exhortation here turns to the Church in general, describing the end and aim which should control the entire conduct of every Christian. And this he connects directly with the last word in the previous verse, εὑχαριστεῖν, which denotes an ascription of honor to God.—Therefore,q. d., ‘in like manner, as ye thank God for your nourishment, so in all your eating and drinking,’ etc. Or if this mode of connection does not satisfy, we may take the ‘therefore’ to indicate the logical inference of a general truth from the special one,—whether ye eat, whether ye drink, whether any thing ye do.—The first ποιεῖτε may be taken either as generic, including under itself also the eating and drinking, or, it may be taken as expressing action, in contrast to enjoyment. In the first case, the emphasis would lie upon τι, as equivalent to ὁτιοῦν, whatsoever; in the second, it would lie upon the verb,—but this is hardly to be preferred, [though Alford does prefer it]. In like manner, Colossians 3:17. “From what has been said, Paul here deduces a general didactic inference; he exhorts them so to adjust and use every thing, however indifferent, that God’s name may be hallowed.” Neander.—Do all to the glory of God.—[“This may mean either, ‘Do all things with a view to the glory of God;’ Let that be the object constantly aimed at; or, ‘Do all things in such a way that God may be glorified.’ There is little difference between these modes of explanation. God cannot be glorified by our conduct, unless it be our object to act for His glory. The latter interpretation is favored by a comparison with 1 Peter 4:11, “That God in all things may be glorified.” See Colossians 3:17, all the special directions given in the preceding discussion are here summed up. ‘Let self be forgotten. Let your eye be fixed on God. Let the promotion ofHis glory be your object in all ye do. Strive in every thing to act in such a way that men may praise that God whom you profess to serve.’ Hodge]. This thought is further expanded negatively.—Give none offence, neither to Jews, nor to Greeks, nor to the church of God.—He here specially addresses the liberal-minded, as in 1 Corinthians 10:31, who by the reckless use of their liberty were putting a stumbling-block as well in the way of the Jews to whom every approach to heathenism was an abomination, as in the way of the heathen who beheld in their lax conduct a want of fidelity to a religion which professed to separate itself so strictly from heathenism, and would become disgusted at the divisions thus created among Christians; and also in the way of the Church of God, both at Corinth and elsewhere, which would feel injured by conduct so ambiguous and so prejudicial to its unity. And while thus the recognition of the true God in Christ would be obstructed both among Jews and Gentiles, and the Church would be hindered in its happy success, the result would be, in its final bearings, dishonorable to the glory of God. The regard here paid to Jews and heathen, should not so surprise us, as to force us to the supposition that Jewish and heathen converts were meant; for in 1 Corinthians 9:20 also, we find the Apostle laying just as great a stress on the duty of taking pains to win both.—This exhortation he finally strengthens by a reference to his own example.—Even as I please all, in all things.—Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:19 ff.—πάντα, the accusative of more exact definition. The verb ‘please,’ as in Romans 15:2, means to seek to please, try to prove acceptable to, and is to be taken in a good sense, as the subsequent explanations show. It is otherwise in Galatians 1:10.—Not seeking,—[μὴ ζητ̣ῶν, the use of the subjunctive negative here, shows the implication of a particular affection, which he ascribes to himself, and brings into the supposition, q. d., ‘as one who, as far as I can, am seeking,’ see Winer, p. III. , §55, 5, 13],—mine own profit, but that of the many.—Here he puts in contrast over against his own single self, the vast multitude (as in Romans 5:15) whose interests were the object of his pure and affectionate endeavor. Their profit which he sought, was the highest conceivable,—that they might be saved.—Comp. 1Co 9:22; 1 Corinthians 1:18.—Assured of this his purpose, he urges them to imitate his example (comp. 1 Corinthians 4:16) even as he himself imitated the example of Christ, in the exercise of a love which renounced all selfish interests.—Be ye imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.—“Only in so far should they imitate him, as he set forth the image of Christ. Of course the whole picture of Christ’s life stood before the eyes of the Apostle. But then Paul must have had a historical portrait of the acts and sufferings of Christ, just as it is exhibited in the traces sketched by the Evangelists, and in this we have an argument against the mythical view of the life of Christ.” Neander.


1. The Christian’s inheritance in this earth, and the duties consequent upon it. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” In this one sentence there is opened to the Christian an inexhaustible wealth of joy and satisfaction, as well as a wide sphere of sacred obligations. If the earth, with all that fills and adorns it, belongs to the Lord, because it is His work, then in every earthly good which nourishes and quickens him, which strengthens and delights him, ought the Christian to taste the favor and the goodness of his God (Psalms 136:1; Psalms 34:8), to perceive His power and glory, and to receive it all as the gift of His love. In all his observations and researches, he ought to mark the footsteps of the Divine wisdom and greatness; of the Divine faithfulness and care for His creatures, and above all, for His human creatures made in His own image. Wherever he turns, the thoughts of God which are expressed in the manifold productions of earth, will reveal themselves to his thought. The earth itself, with all its rich and varied life, will become to him a manifestation of the Divine glory and grace; and the more he searches, the more clearly will this open before him. Thus he acquires a large open heart, and becomes ever more capable of enjoyment. Every thing narrow and contracted about him will drop away by degrees. What once seemed strange and mysterious will become known and familiar; he will be able to rejoice in it, freed from all anxious thoughts.—Such results are, however, conditioned on the fact that he walks as in the presence of God, that the earth appears to him as a sanctuary, where he ventures to tread, only after he has taken off his shoes, i. e., only after he has divested himself of the commonness of his earthly sense, of vain and proud thoughts, of selfish and interested projects and endeavors, and after he has become collected in spirit; so that out from the midst of all the manifold phenomena around him, the one Divine ground and aim had in them, the Divine idea in forming, and so richly unfolding itself therein, shall shine out upon his spirit. His God, who furnishes him all this fulness for his use and enjoyment, for his study and comprehension, has by this means put him under obligations also, i. e., inwardly bound him to Himself, so that he shall be dependent on Him, as on the One who is the ground and goal of all things; so that all participation and all joy of discovery shall issue in thanksgiving and praise to His great and good name, and so that he, as the priest of God, shall conduct His creatures to Him in an intelligent, susceptible, and worshipful spirit, moulding and fashioning them out of his own spirit, in such a way as to awaken in them Divine thoughts and endeavors, and to cause the natural to wear the impress more and more of the spiritual. In this is included a tender, delicate, gracious treatment of all creatures, and also a temperance and modesty in their use, to the exclusion alike of all conduct that is crude, severe, arbitrary, reckless and excessive; and of all mismanagement as well through unmercifulness, as through foolish fondling and petting.—Cf. Scriver;—Gotthold’s: “Four hundred occasional prayers;” Paul Gerhard’s: “Go forth, my heart, and seek my joy,” etc.; and much in J. Böhme, Oetinger, Herder, Schubert, etc.

2. The success, perfection and development of the church of Christ is conditioned on the prevailing power of righteousness, which, on the one hand, takes account of the weakness of unconfirmed and scrupulous natures in considerate, tolerant self-denying love, honors the severity of earnest Christians even though oftentimes abrupt and inordinate, and presents an offering of self-denial to one another with perfect willingness; yet, on the other, injures in no respect the right of evangelical liberty, but avows it and maintains it, and, with all readiness to deny itself of this and that in order to give no occasion of offence, also insists upon the fact that the conscience of a person living in faith is not dependent upon the scruples, and narrow thoughts and judgments of another, but, on the contrary, stands free and far above them, inviolable, in untroubled calmness and clearness. It is thus that, a true advance can be made towards the sound expansion and softening of a narrow and stringent mode of thought, as well as towards the healthy restriction of that which is broad and free; and thus the glory of God be promoted and strengthened in His Church.


Starke:—1 Corinthians 10:33 (Spener). A God-loving Christian willingly refrains from needlessly doing anything which may awaken doubts as to its propriety. It is not enough to have truth in view, and according to this our rights, and according to our rights our liberty; but the rules of Christian prudence and moderation, directed to general edification, require compliance with love, that true mistress, which, though it often yields its rights, never loses its good conscience.—1 Corinthians 10:24. Since self-love has become so far corrupt as to lift us not only above our neighbor, but also above God, self-denial has come to be the first rule of Christianity, in order that our love may be properly balanced; since there is no danger of our ever absolutely forgetting self. Indeed, the equity of love demands that we, in many circumstances, prefer our neighbor to self, i. e., the profit of his soul to our own bodily convenience.—(Hed.) “Let every one seek what is another’s”—so, in fact, selfishness and avarice say, i. e., “take, rob, get by fraud what is another’s.” But mark what is added: “Let no one seek his own.”—1 Corinthians 10:25. The Christian is free to eat everything, provided no offence is given to his neighbor. Useless inquiries and curious subtleties awaken many scruples. Against all such, simple-mindedness is a sure antidote.—1 Corinthians 10:26 (Luther). Christ is Lord, and free, and so are Christians, in all things.—Oh, man, thou art not lord-proprietor, but only steward in God’s domain! What a rich Father we have if we are God’s children.—1 Corinthians 10:29 (Luther). My conscience shall remain unbound, though I outwardly comply with my neighbor for his good. We may eat what we will, provided we have it righteously, take it as a gift from God, and receive it with thanksgiving.—1 Corinthians 10:31. All acts, however small, are sanctified and ennobled by a single reference to the glory of God; and this is promoted, when we do that which accords with a well ordered love toward ourselves and our neighbor, and abstain from whatever deseorates God’s name.—1 Corinthians 10:32. Believers ought to walk unreprovably, not only among brethren, but also among unbelievers and hypocrites, in order that such may find no occasion for blaspheming Christian doctrine.—All have one common Father; we ought, therefore, to be serviceable to one as well as to another.—1 Corinthians 10:33. Ministers should be an example to their hearers, in order that they may not retract with the left what they give with the right.—1 Corinthians 9:1. Christ is the perfect pattern of a holy life, who, for our sakes, renounced all comfort and personal convenience. To follow in His steps is the preëminent token of a true minister. Such imitation is possible through the privilege we have of drawing from His fulness (John 1:10).

Berlenb. Bible:—1 Corinthians 10:23. A soul truly emancipated may, by reason of its innocence and simplicity, do much which is not only not displeasing, but even acceptable to God; nevertheless, it. may not be always advisable to do it Love must be the standard in all things.—1 Corinthians 10:24. Let none say, ‘why must I consult for another? Why must he be so weak?’ Wherefore, then, didst thou wish to become a member of the Church if thou art unwilling to inquire after its members?—In this way thou severest thyself from the Head.—1 Corinthians 10:25. We must deal very tenderly with the conscience on account of our corrupt state. Many are scrupulous where they might be unhesitating, and reckless where they ought to be careful.—1 Corinthians 10:26. What the earth produces is good; the great point is, how is it used?—1 Corinthians 10:27. The liberty which Christ has earned for us should be guarded as a priceless jewel, that Christ may have His own.—1 Corinthians 10:28 ff. A person may possess something and yet refrain from its use, preserving his liberty intact.—1 Corinthians 10:31. A Christian must order his entire life, so as to render it a perpetual God-service. Even our calling is a service of God; therefore refrain not from it. If with singleness of purpose thou dost consecrate all thy labor to God, then does it become a divine service. This rule put in exercise, sanctifies everything, even our natural work; and converts every meal into a sort of sacrament, so that it, in its own way, as if an acted prayer, shall receive its reward. By this means our most general works are hallowed, and without this our costliest works are punishable. Such searching method in the service of the Spirit many call legal. But it is the right method of faith, whereby the Son makes us free from the law of sin and death. The believer does, according to the spirit, nothing but good so far as he is a believer; he pleases God in all things by virtue of the divine life in him, which he has by faith. His doing, thinking, speaking, all transpires in God and before God.—1 Corinthians 10:32. If a person desire to honor God, and yet set his neighbor aside, his eye would be playing the rogue. Be void of offence!

1 Corinthians 11:1. Christ’s example is both a gift and an influence. If we put on His example, His Spirit, His compassion, He makes out everything which can happen in our outer and inner life. He is the original, according to which all must be fashioned. The Apostles, indeed, referred to themselves; but they had a good conscience.

Rieger:—1 Corinthians 11:1. Christ is certainly the most perfect example; yet, since it is difficult for us, in all our varied circumstances, always to track His footsteps, the types of Christ seen in the Old Testament, and the patterns after Him found in the New Testament, serve to present to us His mind in a form adapted to our every day conditions.


1 Corinthians 10:30. Giving thanks at meals sanctifies all food, denies the authority of idols, and acknowledges that of God.


1 Corinthians 10:24. The Christian pays a tender regard to the conscience of others, without proudly asserting his own rights, and without loftiness of spirit.

1 Corinthians 10:29. In doubtful cases, do not insist upon another’s deciding according to your own conscience.

1 Corinthians 10:30. Since a thankful spirit sanctifies every enjoyment, all that thou canst, with a clear conscience, give thanks for and ask a blessing on, is allowable.

1 Corinthians 10:31. Also in the society of the unholy ought a Christian to keep in view his highest aim, i. e., to glorify God by his life; hence he should join in nothing that dishonors God.

1 Corinthians 10:32. By carefully avoiding offences, a Christian should preserve his own honor and that of his Church. The immoralities of professing converts may prove a cause of stumbling even to unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 10:33. The Christian’s pleasing is a holy pleasing. It aims not at his own enjoyment, but at the spiritual good of others; it proposes to win them, and the agreeable exterior is designed to open a way to the interior—the sanctuary within.—1 Corinthians 11:1. Christ has taken care to provide for us a multitude of examples, in order to show us that we likewise may follow Him.

W. F. Besser:

1 Corinthians 10:24. Liberty is given thee in all sorts of things, not to use them for thine own sake at pleasure, but rather to serve thy neighbor therewith, and to seek his prosperity.

1 Corinthians 10:25. There is a hunting after conscientious scruples, in which many persons carry out their whole Christianity, ending, alas! oftentimes, in straining out gnats and swallowing camels.

[A. Fuller:

1 Corinthians 10:33. Paul pleased men in all things, and yet he says, if I pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ, Galatians 1:10. From the context in the former case, it appears plain that the things in which the Apostle pleased all men require to be restricted to such things as tend to their “profit, that they may be saved.” Whereas the things in which, according to the latter passage, he could not please men, and “yet be the servant of Christ,” were of a contrary tendency. Such were the objects pursued by the false teachers whom he opposed, and who desired to make a fair show in the flesh, lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ, 1 Corinthians 6:12. The former is that sweet inoffensiveness of spirit which teaches us to lay aside all self-will and self-importance, that charity which “seeketh not her own,” and “is not easily provoked;” it is that spirit, in short, which the same writer elsewhere recommends for the example of Christ Himself: “We, then, who are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.—Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification; for even Christ pleased not Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”—But the latter spirit referred to is that sordid compliance with the corruptions of human nature, of which flatterers and deceivers have always availed themselves, not for the glory of God or the good of men, but for the promotion of their own selfish designs].

[M. Henry:

1 Corinthians 10:23. They who allow themselves in everything not plainly sinful in itself, will often run into what is evil by accident, and do much mischief to others. Circumstances may make that a sin, which in itself is none.

1 Corinthians 10:27. Christianity does by no means bind us up from the common offices of humanity, or allow us an uncourteous behaviour to any of our own kind, however they may differ from us in religious sentiments or practices.

1 Corinthians 10:33. A preacher may press his advice home with boldness and authority, when he can enforce it with his own example. He is most likely to promote a public spirit in others, who can give evidence of it in himself. And it is highly commendable in a minister to neglect his own advantages, that he may promote the salvation of his hearers. This shows that he has a spirit suitable to his function. It is a station for public usefulness, and can never be faithfully discharged by a man of a narrow spirit and selfish principles].

[F. W. Robertson:

1 Corinthians 10:29. The duty of attending to appearances.—Now we may think this time-serving; but the motive made all the difference: “Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other.” Study appearances, therefore, so far as they are likely to be injurious to others. Here, then, is the principle and the rule; we cannot live in this world indifferent to appearances. Year by year we are more and more taught this truth. It is irksome, no doubt, to be under restraint, to have to ask not only, “Does God permit this?” but, “Will it not be misconstrued by others?” and to a free, open, fiery spirit, such as the Apostle of the Gentiles, doubly irksome, and almost intolerable. Nevertheless, it was to him a most solemn consideration: Why should I make my goodness and my right the occasion of blasphemy? Truly, then, and boldly, and not carelessly, he determined to give no offence to Jews or Gentiles, or to the Church of God, but to please all men. And the measure or restraint of this resolution was, that in carrying it into practice he would seek not his own profit, but the profit of many, that they might be saved].


1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 10:16.—The verb ἐστίν, is sometimes placed after κοινωνία, and sometimes after Χριστοῦ. The latter position has the best authority in its favor. [Tischendorf, in both questions of this verse, puts ἐστίν immediately after κοινωνία. In the first question he follows A. B. Sahid. Copt. Syr. Cyr. Aug. Beda. Lachmann, Bloomfield, Alford, Stanley and Words., place it at the close of the sentences, not only on account of external evidence (C. D. F. K. L., Sinait., Ital., Goth., Chrys., Theodt., Ambst.), but because the other order seems to be a correction to avoid the harshness of this verb at the end of the sentence, and in such close proximity to the other ἐστίν. In the second question, the Sahid. omits ἐστίν altogether, and B. agrees with those authorities which placed it after Χριστοῦ in the first, in putting it at the end of this sentence; and only A. Copt. Syr. Cyr. Aug. and Bede make it precede τοῦ σώματος—C. P. W.].

[3][1 Corinthians 10:17.—Before μετέχομεν, D. E. F. G., the Ital. and several copies of the Vulg. (not amiat.), Ambrst., Pelag. and Bede insert καὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς ποτήριου. D. and E., however, omit ἑνὸς.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:19; 1 Corinthians 10:19.—In the Rec. the words ἐίδωλόν and ἐίδωλόθυτόν occur in their inverse order, but the authority for such an order is feeble. The second word was probably thrown out by the copyist through mistake, and then was reinserted where it seemed most fitting (the cause before the effect). [The Rec. is sustained by K. L. and most of the cursives, the Syr. and Gothic versions, and Chrys. and Theodt., and is adopted by Bloomfield, Osiander and Reiche. Some MSS., including A.C. (1st hand) Sinait. and Epiph. entirely omit the question relating to ἐίδώλον. In favor of putting ἐίδωλόθυτόν in the former, and ἐίδώλον in the latter question, we have B. C. (2d hand) D. Sinait. (1st hand), Vulg., Copt., Æth., Aug., Ambrst., Pelag., Bede. and this order is preferred by Tisch., Alford, Stanley and Wordsworth.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Corinthians 10:20.—Rec. has θύει τὰ ἔθνῃ, δαιμονίαις θύει, but it is opposed by decisive authorities. The interpolation of τὰ ἔθνη made necessary the alteration of θύουσιν into θύει. Lachmann puts the second θύουσιν after θεῷ, in accordance with A. B. C., et al. [In favor of τα ἔθνη, we have A.C. K. L. (placing the words after ὅτι), Sinait., el at., Vulg., Goth., Copt., Sahid., Syr. Chrys., Theodt., Orig., Aug., Bede. In favor of θύουσιν (twice) we have A. B. C. D. E. F. G., Sinait. The text as given by Tisch. is: ὅτι ἃ θύουσιν δαιμονἰοις θύουσιν καὶ οὐ θεῷ. Alford and Stanley have the same text, only they place the second θεῷ.—C. P. W.].

[6][‘It is observable that two of the Evangelists, Matthew (Matthew 26:26) and Mark (Mark 14:22), use the word εὐλογήσας, having blessed, in their description of Christ’s action at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, before the consecration of the bread; and Luke (Luke 22:19) and Paul (1 Corinthians 11:24) use the word εὐχαριστήσας, having given thanks; but in the benediction of the cup Matthew (Matthew 26:27) and Mark (Mark 14:23) use the word εὐχαριστήσας, whereas Paul uses the word εὐλογία here. This variety of expression gives us a fuller and clearer view of the nature of the act here spoken of. It was eucharistic and also eulogistic; it was one of thanksgiving and one of benediction, and in the application of each of the terms to each of the elements, we learn more fully and clearly what the true character of the Holy Communion is, and what are our duties in its administration and reception.2Wordsworth (ad sensum)].

[7][We here give Stanley’s ingenious and valuable note entire. “From this passage his meaning has often been taken to be that, although the particular divinities, as conceived under the names of Jupiter, Venus, etc., were mere fictions, yet there were real evil spirits, who under those names, or in the general system of pagan polytheism, beguiled them away from the true God. (So Psalms 96:5, πάντες οὶ θεοὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν δαιμόνια). Such certainly was the general belief of the early Christians. But the strong declaration in 1 Corinthians 8:4, reiterated here in 1 Corinthians 10:19, of the utter non-existence of the heathen divinities, renders it safer to understand him as saying that in the mind of the heathen sacrificers, whatever Christians might think, the sacrifices were really made to those whom the Old Testament called δαιμόνια. It is in fact a play on the word δαιμόνιον. The heathen Greeks (as in Acts 17:18, the only passage where it is so used in Biblical Greek) employed it as a general word for ‘Divinity,’ and more especially for those heroes and inferior divinities, to whom alone (according to the belief of this later age), and not to the supreme rulers of the universe, sacrifices as such were due. The writers of the New Testament and the LXX., on the other hand, always use it of ‘evil demons,’ although never, perhaps, strictly speaking, for the author of evil, who is called emphatically ‘Satan,’ or the ‘Devil.’ It is by a union of these two meanings that the sense of the passage is produced. ‘The words of Deuteronomy 32:17, truly describe their state, for even according to their own confession, although in a different sense, they sacrifice to demons.’ A similar play on the same word, although for a different object, occurs in the Apology of Socrates, where he defends himself against the charge of atheism, on the ground that he believed in a demon (δαιμόνιον); and that demons (δαιμόνια) being sons of gods (θεῶν παίδες), he must therefore be acknowledged to believe in the gods themselves”].

[8][We let our author’s statement of sacramentarian theories, and his expressed preference, pass without debate. The main point of doctrine he has well brought out in the first paragraph; and some will think that the Calvinistic theory of the “Real Presence” will answer all its demands. In the words of the Westminster Catechism, the sacrament of the Supper may be said “to represent, seal, and apply Christ and the benefits of the new covenant to all believers.” And this is done through the Spirit who takes of the things that are Christ’s, and shows them unto us in His ordinances according to their intent. Those interested in the question here mooted, we would refer to the current works on Dogmatic Theology, also to Hooker. Ecc. Pol., B. V., 100:67; Edward Irving, “Homilies on the Lord’s Supper.” Coll. Writings, Vol. II., p. 439 ff. J. M. Mason, “Letters on Frequent Communion.” Works, Vol. I. p. 372 ff.—D. W. P.].

1 Corinthians 10:23; 1 Corinthians 10:23.—The Rec. has μοι after πάντα in each clause, bat it is opposed by the best authorities, and was probably taken from 1 Corinthians 6:12. [As the Apostle was here unquestionably repeating the same expression as was used in 1 Corinthians 6:12, the internal evidence would seem to be in favor of μοι (Bloomfield, Rinck). But the documentary evidence in its favor (H. E. L. Sin. (3d hand), the Syr. both, one copy of the Vulg., Chrys., Theodt., Orig, August, and some inferior MSS., which omit πάντα ἔξ., ἀλλ’ οὐ π. οἰκοδ.) is too feeble, and that in opposition to it [A. B. C. (1st hand) D. Sin. (with Clem., Athan., Damasc., Iren., Tert. and many others), too strong to warrant its insertion.—C.P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:24; 1 Corinthians 10:24.—The Rec. also inserts ἕκαστος after τοῦ ἑτέρου, but it was perhaps borrowed from a similar passage in Philippians 2:4. [It is not found in A. B. C. D. F. G. H., Sin., six cursives, the Ital, Vulg., Copt., Sahid. and Arm. versions, and some Greek and Latin Fathers. Even Bloomfield, who at first defended it, now brackets it.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:27; 1 Corinthians 10:27.—The δὲ is wanting after εἰ in some good manuscripts [A. B. D. (1st hand) F. G. Sin, and some cursives, the Ital., Copt, and Vulg. versions, and Antioch., Chrys., Theodt., Aug., Ambrst.], and was probably, inserted because it was supposed to be needed as a connecting particle. [It is retained by Tisch. with C. D. (3d hand) E. H. K. L., some Sahid., Syr., Goth. versions, Theodt., Theophyl. and Œcum, but it is cancelled by Lach., Alf., Mey., Stanl. and Wordsworth. D. E. F. G:, the Ital., Vulg. and Copt, versions, and Ambrst., Pelag. and Bede (not the Aug.) insert εἰς δεῖπνον after ἀπίστων.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:28; 1 Corinthians 10:28.—The Rec. has εἰδωλόθυτον, but it is probably a gloss which has been substituted in the text for the more uncommon ἱερόθυτον. Neither word was common, but ἱερόθ. was of the classical, and εἰδολόθ. of the Hellenistic Greek (Bloomfield). The former had a neutral, and the latter a contemptuous signification (Stanley), and hence some have thought that no one would be likely to use the latter at the table of an unbeliever, unless, as Bloomfield suggests, by a weak fellow-Christian in an under tone, or aside. The former word is not too respectful for the Apostle to use, and it would imply nothing false. It is adopted by Griesb., Lachm., Tisch., Meyer, Alford and Stanley, on the authority of A. B. H. Sin., two cursives adduced by Bloomf.; the Sahid. version and some indirect testimonies produced by Tischendorf. Julian quotes Paul as using this word in this connection, and his opponent Cyril admits the same (Tisch). The Latin versions of D. and F. use the word immolaticium, to which some Vulg. MSS. add idols, one (amiat.) has immolatium (2d cor. has immolativum) idolis, and the Vulg. (ed.) has immolatum idolis. The Rec. is favored by C. D. E. F. G. K. L., Chrys. and Theodt., and it is defended by Scholz, Reiche, Bloomfield and Wordsworth.—C. P.W.].

1 Corinthians 10:28; 1 Corinthians 10:28.—The Rec. after συνείδ. has τοῦ γὰρ κυρίου ἡ γῆ καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς, but these words are not found in the best MSS., and are a repetition of 1 Corinthians 10:26. [They are left out in A. B.C. D. E. F. G. H. (1st hand), Sin., the Ital., Vulg., Copt., Syr., Sahid. and Arm. versions, and Damasc, August., Ambrst., Pelag. and Bede, and are retained in H. (2d hand) K. L., the Goth., Slav., some Syr. and Arm. versions, and Chrys., Theodt., Phot., Œcum. and Theophyl.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Corinthians 10:30.—The Rec. after εἰ inserts δὲ, but it is feebly sustained.

1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 10:32.—The Rec. has γίνεσθε καὶ ’Ιουδ., but καὶ ’Ιουδ. γίνεσθε, is better sustained by the MSS. [The latter has for it A. B. C. Sin., 17, 37, 73, Orig., Didym., Cyr., while D. E. K. L. Sin. (3d hand), some cursives, and Chrys., Theodt. and Damasc. are in favor of the Recep.—C. P. W.].

1 Corinthians 10:33; 1 Corinthians 10:33.—The Rec. has συμφέρον, but σύμφορον has better authority. [The former is more usual, and is sustained by D. E. F. G. K. L. Sin. (3d hand), while the latter is sustained by A. B. C. Sin. Comp. on the same variation of reading in 1 Corinthians 7:35.—C. P. W.].

[17][Kling here hardly does justice to the interpretation he so summarily sets aside, and which is advocated by Chrys. and the Greek commentators, Heyd., Billr.. Olsh., Neand., Hodge, Stanley, and many others. This takes κρίνεται for κατακρίνεται, in the sense of condemn, and finds here a valid reason for enjoining the liberal-minded brother not to eat against the convictions and prejudices of the weaker one, who has pointed out to him the objectionable meat. The reason is that there is no propriety in doing that which seems censurable to another, and gives occasion for observers to blaspheme, even though it may be right in our own esteem, and accompanied with thanksgiving to God. “This.” as Hodge well says, “brings the passage into harmony with the whole context, and connects it with the main idea of the previous verse, and not with an intermediate and subordinate clause”].

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1857-84.
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