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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
1 Corinthians 10

 

 

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Verse 1

I want you to remember, brothers. In the final verse of the previous chapter, Paul mentioned the possibility of himself being rejected. This is not an unreal fear, as the history of Israel shows. The false teacher at Corinth had taught that when you turned to Christ, you became such a favorite of God that He would not be angry with you if you joined in the feasts in the idol's temple. "In this way you would build good will, and save yourself from persecution." The Corinthians must have asked Paul: (1) Is it all right to join in the feasts in the idol's temple? (2) Is it all right to buy meat in the market, which has been sacrificed to idols? (3) When invited to the home of an unbeliever, could they eat meat there which had been sacrificed to an idol? Schaff says: "It is worthy of note that he selects his examples from that part of Israelitish history which has an analogy in the baptismal commencement and the eucharistic nourishment of the Christian life."


Verse 2

They were all baptized as followers of Moses. Scholars see in being under the cloud and passing safely through the sea the double-process of SUBMERSION and EMERGENCE in baptism. Compare note on Acts 8:38-39. In this Acts, they committed themselves to the leadership of Moses, showed their belief in his divine mission, and entered through him into fellowship with God. All this is symbolic of the one who becomes a Christian by escaping from the slavery of sin, who commits himself to the leadership of Christ, and shows his belief in the divine mission of Christ by being "buried with him in baptism" (see Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27).


Verse 3

All ate. The manna (Exodus 16:15) is called "spiritual bread" because it was given to them in a supernormal way, and because it was symbolic of the spiritual bread of Christians (the words of Christ, see note on John 6:51).


Verse 4

And all drank. Water was given to them in a supernormal way (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11). That went along with them. From this rock (Christ) they drank in spirit, while their bodies drank from the water flowing at their feet. The rock that went along with them was not symbolic of Christ, but was Christ himself! See John 7:37.


Verse 5

But even then. "All" were baptized, "all" ate, "all" drank. But in spite of the blessing from God, most of them did not please God, as Paul goes on to show us in 1 Corinthians 10:7-10.


Verse 6

All these things are examples for us. We clearly see human nature in the things these people did! They turned away from God, and ran after evil. They had been slaves for four centuries in Egypt. They still thought like slaves, and desired the evil things of Egypt. The application is that we have all been slaves to sin, but we must not allow our desire for the evil of sin to turn us away from God!


Verse 7

Nor to worship idols. Israel turned to idols in the desert. (Exodus 32:1-6), and worshiped the golden calf. The Corinthians had turned from idols to become Christians (compare 1 Thessalonians 1:9 and note). There was real danger to them from their old ways. To eat and drink. At a feast honoring the golden calf. And got up to dance. This dancing was one of the rituals by which the pagans worshiped their gods. The Israelites worshiped the golden calf in this way (Exodus 32:19).


Verse 8

We must not commit sexual immorality. Immorality is a sex act involving someone other than the lawful spouse. It includes acts between woman and woman; between man and man; and between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. The technical term is "fornication." This was a very common sin in Corinth. See note on 1 Corinthians 5:1. [The incident Paul refers to is found in Numbers 25:1-10.]


Verse 9

We must not put the Lord. [The Latin Vulgate has "Christ."] See Numbers 21:4-6 for this incident. The point is we must not allow our hardships to make us discontent, nor yearn for the sinful pleasures of the old life.


Verse 10

You must not complain. This happened when the spies reported the size and strength of the inhabitants of Canaan. See Numbers 13:30 to Numbers 14:14. The real problem was that they did not really believe God.


Verse 11

All these things happened to them as examples. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:6. The story of these things serves as a lesson for all time. We may not sin expecting that because we are God's people, he will not punish us. After he had rescued Israel from Egypt, he still punished those who sinned. For we live at a time. (1) The end or termination of the Jewish Age was about fifteen years away. (2) Both Jewish and Gentile history converged (under God's direction) in Christianity (Acts 15:15-18; Acts 17:26-28). (3) The Last Days began at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-17). This is the New Age of Matthew 19:28 (see note there).


Verse 12

Whoever. The one who stands with such confidence on the grace of God, that he thinks he can sin and get away with it, is in for a fall! The one who turns inward to his own personal experience and trusts in that, will have little to sustain him in the time of hard testing! The only safe way is to put our faith in Christ on the cross!


Verse 13

Every temptation. The Corinthians may have thought their temptations were unusually severe. To show they had no excuse for joining in the feasts in the idol's temple to escape persecution, Paul says this is only the kind of temptation that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise. Temptation does not come from God (James 1:12-15), but God limits it. Beyond your power to resist. "God will not allow anything to come your way that you and He together cannot overcome." With a way out. With each temptation comes a way to either bear it or escape it. "Every problem contains an opportunity, and every opportunity contains a problem." Compare note on Acts 28:16.


Verse 14

Keep away from the worship of idols. Drunkenness and immorality were part of the idol's worship. The only way to deal with this was to keep away from it!!!


Verse 15

I speak to you as sensible people. "I want to show you that eating the sacrifice in the idol's temple is real worshiping of the idol."


Verse 16

The cup of blessing. By this he means the fruit of the grape which is used in the Lord's Supper (Holy Meal). [At this point in time, any Christian man had the AUTHORITY to give thanks to God for the cup and the bread.] Do we not share? We share or participate in all the blessings bought for us by the blood/death of Christ. [If the contents of the cup became literal blood, this would conflict with Acts 15:20.] Paul shows that by sharing and participating in the Lord's Supper (Holy Meal), they were by this proclaiming they had the same object of worship, the same faith, the same hope, and the same character as those with whom they united in this act of religion. The body of Christ is his church (Ephesians 1:23). See what Paul says in the next verse.


Verse 17

Because there is one bread. Paul shows here how vital to the church is the sharing/participating in the Lord's Supper (Holy Meal). This was being defiled by their taking part in the idol's feasts. [Since Jesus built only one church (one spiritual congregation of the saved), the one bread and one cup are a symbolic/reality of the oneness with God which we have through the death of Christ.] Lipscomb says: "We who partake [participate] are members individually, but we constitute one body of Christ because we all draw our life from the blood and partake of one bread, the body of Christ. So we are one body in Christ."


Verse 18

Consider the Hebrew people. Part of each sacrifice was eaten by those who served in the temple, and part burnt on the altar to God. By doing this they shared with God, in the sacrifice. The false teacher (who was also a Jew) had advised the Corinthian Christians to eat the idol sacrifices (in the idol's temple). Those who did this were sharing in the idol's sacrifice.


Verse 19

What do I mean? "Am I saying that an idol is a real "God," or that a sacrifice to an idol is a sacrifice to a real "God?"‘


Verse 20

No! He strongly denies the reality of the idol (see 1 Corinthians 8:4-6). Is offered to demons. The demons were the spirits of dead men. The "gods" of the Gentiles were mostly dead kings and heroes who had been "made gods." In the minds of those who worshiped them, they were real!


Verse 21

You cannot drink. In the pagan sacrifices, before the priests poured the wine on the sacrifice, they tasted it themselves and held it out to those who brought the sacrifice, for them to taste it also, and so share in the sacrifice. Sharing in the one prevents sharing in the other! You cannot eat. The idol's sacrifices were eaten on a table in the idol's temple, which was the table of demons in contrast to the Lord's table [from which the Lord's Supper (Holy Meal) was served]. God is worshiped out of a holy life; the idol is worshiped out of an unholy life!


Verse 22

Or do we want to make the Lord jealous? As sensible men, they must see the absurdity, as well as the danger, in such double-dealing. Jehovah is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). He will not share his worshipers with demons!


Verse 23

We are allowed to do anything. This was a slogan of the Corinthian church (see note on 1 Corinthians 6:12), Yes, but. Christian liberty must be limited to make it both kind and helpful. Even though we may be allowed to do something, the effect on others could make it a sin (1 Corinthians 8:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Corinthians 8:12-13).


Verse 24

But for the interests of others. Selfishness will destroy us; unselfishness will make us strong! Compare 1 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 14:7; Romans 15:2; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:1-4.


Verse 25

Anything sold in the meat market. No one could be suspected of idol worship because he bought meat in the meat market. This was completely separated from the idol's temple and the worship of demons. Without asking any questions. Do not make yourself worry needlessly.


Verse 26

For, as the scripture says. He quotes Psalm 24:1 to show that no demon has any claim on the earth and everything in it! Compare 1 Timothy 4:3-5.


Verse 27

If an unbeliever. The Christian is not required to cut himself off from society (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 and notes). Without asking any questions. Because of your knowledge that the earth belongs to the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:26).


Verse 28

But if someone tells you. Then don't eat it; not because the food is defiled, but because of the conscience of the unbeliever.


Verse 29

But the other man's conscience. "You know that eating such food is not worshiping the idol. But if the unbeliever (or a weak brother) sees you do this when you know it has been sacrificed to the idol, he will think you a hypocrite and you cannot lead him to Christ."


Verse 30

If I thank God? "If I can eat this with a clear conscience, why should I allow someone else to limit my freedom to act?"


Verse 31

Do it all for God's glory. This is the answer to the whole question of Christian ethics. (1) Do it with thanks to God; (2) Be helpful to weak brothers; (3) Follow God's rules.


Verse 32

As to cause no trouble. Do nothing that would cause a scandal or create prejudice.


Verse 33

Just do as I do. Where no principle of Truth was involved, Paul tried to please everyone! See 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 and notes.

 


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-corinthians-10.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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