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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 10:4

and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.


Adam Clarke Commentary

Spiritual drink - By the βρωμα πνευματικον spiritual meat, and πομα πνευματικον, spiritual drink, the apostle certainly means both meat and drink, which were furnished to the Israelitish assembly miraculously, as well as typically: and he appears to borrow his expression from the Jews themselves, who expressly say רוחני הלז הלחם hallechem hallaz ruchani, that bread was spiritual, and היו רוחניים מיים meyim ruchainiyim haiu, the waters were spiritual. Alschech in legem. fol. 238, to which opinion the apostle seems particularly to refer. See Schoettgen.

The spiritual rock that followed them - There is some difficulty in this verse. How could the rock follow them? It does not appear that the rock ever moved from the place where Moses struck it. But to solve this difficulty, it is said that rock here is put, by metonymy, for the water of the rock; and that this water did follow them through the wilderness. This is more likely; but we have not direct proof of it. The ancient Jews, however, were of this opinion, and state that the streams followed them in all their journeyings, up the mountains, down the valleys, etc., etc.; and that when they came to encamp, the waters formed themselves into cisterns and pools; and that the rulers of the people guided them, by their staves, in rivulets to the different tribes and families. And this is the sense they give to Numbers 21:17; : Spring up, O well, etc. See the places in Schoettgen.

Others contend, that by the rock following them we are to understand their having carried of its waters with them on their journeyings. This we know is a common custom in these deserts to the present day; and that the Greek verb ακολουθεω, to follow, has this sense, Bishop Pearce has amply proved in his note on this place. The Jews suppose that the rock itself went with the Israelites, and was present with them in their thirty-eight stations, for only so many are mentioned. See Alschech in legem. fol. 236. And see Schoettgen.

Now, though of all the senses already given that of Bishop Pearce is the best, yet it does appear that the apostle does not speak about the rock itself, but of Him whom it represented; namely, Christ: this was the Rock that followed them, and ministered to them; and this view of the subject is rendered more probable by what is said 1 Corinthians 10:9, that they tempted Christ, and were destroyed by serpents. The same rock is in the vale of Rephidim to the present day; and it bears aboriginal marks of the water that flowed from it in the fissures that appear on its sides. It is one block of fine granite, about seven yards long, five broad, and - high. A fragment of this typical rock now lies before me, brought by a relative of my own, who broke it off, and did not let it pass into any hand till he placed it in mine. See the note on Exodus 17:6.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And did all drink the same spiritual drink - The idea here is essentially the same as in the previous verse, that they had been highly favored of God, and enjoyed tokens of the divine care and guardianship. That was manifested in the miraculous supply of water in the desert, thus showing that they were under the divine protection, and were objects of the divine favor. There can be no doubt that by “spiritual drink” here, the apostle refers to the water that was made to gush from the rock that was smitten by Moses. Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11. Why this is called “spiritual” has been a subject on which there has been much difference of opinion. It cannot be because there was anything special in the nature of the water, for it was evidently real water, suited to allay their thirst. There is no evidence, as many have supposed, that there was a reference in this to the drink used in the Lord‘s Supper. But it must mean that it was bestowed in a miraculous and supernatural manner; and the word “spiritual” must be used in the sense of supernatural, or that which is immediately given by God. Spiritual blessings thus stand opposed to natural and temporal blessings, and the former denote those which are immediately given by God as an evidence of the divine favor. That the Jews used the word “spiritual” in this manner is evident from the writings of the Rabbis. Thus, they called the manna “spiritual food” (Yade Mose in Shemor Rabba fol. 109. 3); and their sacrifices they called “spiritual bread” (Tzeror Hammer, fol. 93. 2). - Gill. The drink, therefore, here referred to was that bestowed in a supernatural manner and as a proof of the divine favor.

For they drank of that spiritual Rock - Of the waters which flowed from that Rock. The Rock here is called “spiritual,” not from anything special in the nature of the rock, but because it was the source to them of supernatural mercies, and became thus the emblem and demonstration of the divine favor, and of spiritual mercies conferred upon them by God.

That followed them - Margin. “Went with” ἀκολουθούσης akolouthousēsThis evidently cannot mean that the rock itself literally followed them, any more than that they literally drank the rock, for one is as expressly affirmed, if it is taken literally, as the other. But as when it is said they “drank of the rock,” it must mean that they drank of the water that flowed from the rock; so when it is said that the “rock followed” or accompanied them, it must mean that the water that flowed from the rock accompanied them. This figure of speech is common everywhere. Thus, the Saviour said 1 Corinthians 11:25, “This cup is the new testament,” that is, the wine in this cup represents my blood, etc.; and Paul says 1 Corinthians 11:25, 1 Corinthians 11:27, “whosoever shall drink this cup of the Lord unworthily,” that is, the wine in the cup, etc., and “as often as ye drink this cup,” etc., that is, the wine contained in the cup. It would be absurd to suppose that the rock that was smitten by Moses literally followed them in the wilderness; and there is not the slightest evidence in the Old Testament that it did. Water was twice brought out of a rock to supply the needs of the children of Israel. Once at Mount Horeb, as recorded in Exodus 17:6, in the wilderness of Sin, in the first year of their departure from Egypt. The second time water was brought from a rock about the time of the death of Miriam at Kadesh, and probably in the 40th year of their departure from Egypt, Numbers 20:1. It was to the former of these occasions that the apostle evidently refers. In regard to this we may observe:

(1) That there must have been furnished a large quantity of water to have supplied the needs of more than two million people.

(2) it is expressly stated Deuteronomy 9:21), that “the brook נחל nachalstream, torrent, or river, see Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4, Joshua 15:47; 1 Kings 8:65; 2 Kings 24:7) descended out of the mount,” and was evidently a stream of considerable size.

(3) mount Horeb was higher than the adjacent country, and the water that thus gushed from the rock, instead of collecting into a pool and becoming stagnant, would flow off in the direction of the sea.

(4) the sea to which it would naturally flow would be the Red Sea, in the direction of the Eastern or Elanitic branch of that sea.

(5) the Israelites would doubtless, in their journeyings, be influenced by the natural direction of the water, or would not wander far from it, as it was daily needful for the supply of their needs.

(6) at the end of thirty-seven years we find the Israelites at Ezion-geber, a seaport on the eastern branch of the Red Sea, where the waters probably flowed into the sea; Numbers 33:36. In the 40th year of their departure from Egypt, they left this place to go into Canaan by the country of Edom, and were immediately in distress again by the lack of water. It is thus probable that the water from the rock continued to flow, and that it constituted a stream, or river; that it was near their camp all the time until they came to Ezion-geber; and that thus, together with the daily supply of manna, it was a proof of the protection of God, and an emblem of their dependence. If it be said that there is now no such stream to be found there, it is to be observed that it is represented as miraculous, and that it would be just as reasonable to look for the daily descent of manna there in quantities sufficient to supply more than two million people, as to expect to find the gushing and running river of water. The only question is, whether God can work a miracle, and whether there is evidence that he has done it. This is not the place to examine that question. But the evidence is as strong that he performed this miracle as that he gave the manna, and neither of them is inconsistent with the power, the wisdom, or the benevolence of God.

And that Rock was Christ - This cannot be intended to be understood literally, for it was not literally true. The rock from which the water flowed was evidently an ordinary rock, a part of Mount Horeb; and all that this can mean is, that that rock, with the stream of water thus gushing from it, was a representation of the Messiah. The word was is thus often used to denote similarity or representation, and is not to be taken literally. Thus, in the institution of the Lord‘s Supper, the Saviour says of the bread, “This is my body,” that is, it represents my body. Thus, also of the cup, “This cup is the new testament in my blood,” that is, it represents my blood, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25. Thus, the gushing fountain of water might be regarded as a representation of the Messiah, and of the blessings which result from him. The apostle does not say that the Israelites knew that this was designed to be a representation of the Messiah, and of the blessings which flow from him, though there is nothing improbable in the supposition that they so understood and regarded it, since all their institutions were probably regarded as typical. But he evidently does mean to say that the rock was a vivid and affecting representation of the Messiah; that the Jews did partake of the mercies that flow from him; and that even in the desert they were under his care, and had in fact among them a vivid representation of him in some sense corresponding with the emblematic representation of the same favors which the Corinthian and other Christians had in the Lord‘s Supper. This representation of the Messiah, perhaps, was understood by Paul to consist in the following things:

(1) Christians, like the children of Israel, are passing through the world as pilgrims, and to them that world is a wilderness - a desert.

(2) they need continued supplies, as the Israelites did, in their journey. The world, like that wilderness, does not meet their necessities, or supply their needs.

(3) that rock was a striking representation of the fulness of the Messiah, of the abundant grace which he imparts to his people.

(4) it was an illustration of their continued and constant dependence on him for the daily supply of their needs. It should be observed that many expositors understand this literally. Bloomfield translates it: “and they were supplied with drink from the spiritual Rock which followed them, even Christ.” So Rosenmuller, Calvin, Glass, etc. In defense of this interpretation, it is said, that the Messiah is often called “a rock” in the Scriptures; that the Jews believe that the “angel of Jehovah” who who attended them (Exodus 3:2, and other places) was the Messiah; and that the design of the apostle was, to show that this “attending Rock,” the Messiah, was the source of all their blessings, and particularly of the water that gushed from the rock. But the interpretation suggested above seems to me to be most natural. The design of the apostle is apparent. It is to show to the Corinthians, who relied so much on their privileges, and felt themselves so secure, that the Jews had the very same privileges - had the highest tokens of the divine favor and protection, were under the guidance and grace of God, and were partakers constantly of that which adumbrated or typified the Messiah, in a manner as real, and in a form as much suited to keep up the remembrance of their dependence, as even the bread and wine in the Lord‘s Supper.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-10.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ.

Rock that followed them ... This is not to be understood as Paul's reference to the Jewish legend about a literal rock that followed the Israelites in their wanderings. The rock to which Paul referred here was clearly stated: "The rock was Christ." The miracle of Moses' bringing forth water from the rock in the wilderness (Exodus 17:5ff) provided literal water for Israel; but much more than that is in evidence here. As Marsh said, "The rock was Christ, not `is' or `is a type of' ... and this is a clear statement of the pre-existence of Christ."[10]

One of the most beautiful and instructive titles of Christ in all the Bible is "Christ the Living Stone"; and for a full discussion of this, see my Commentary on Romans, pp. 352-357.

In these first four verses, the broad outlines of the great allegory of fleshly Israel are laid down; and a little further attention is due to it. As DeHoff declared: "The story of the Israelites and their journey from Egypt into Canaan is a type of our journey from the Egypt of sin into the everlasting Canaan."[11]

THE GRAND ANALOGY OF ISRAEL

Egypt is a type of sin and bondage.

God's sending Moses to deliver them is a type of God's sending Christ to deliver us from the degrading slavery of sin.

Pharaoh is a type of the devil.

The compromises he offered Moses are like the compromises that Satan still suggests to Christians.

Moses is the most eloquent type of Christ in all the Bible (see my Commentary on Hebrews, pp. 67-69).

Israel's crossing the Red Sea is typical of Christian baptism.

Their spiritual food is typical of the Lord's Supper.

Israel's entering the wilderness is typical of the Christian's entering the church.

The wilderness is a type of the church.

That Israel sinned is typical of the sins and rebellions of Christians.

The majority of them failed to enter Canaan; and this is typical of "the many" Christians who will not be saved eternally.

Canaan is a type of heaven.

Some of Israel entering Canaan is typical of the final victory of victory of Christians who shall enter into the joy of the Lord.

That some of them "fell" is typical of Christians who fall away and are lost.

God's providential care of Israel in the wilderness is typical of his providential care of Christians till "the end of the world."

The fact of Israel's being "baptized" and having the Lord's Supper (in the analogy) did not make them immune to sin and death, as Paul was teaching here; and the same is true of Christians now.

Canaan was entered when Israel crossed Jordan, making Jordan a type of death, beyond which Christians enter heaven.

The dangers which beset Israel in the wilderness are typical of the dangers confronting Christians during confronting Christians during their probation.

They were tempted to commit fornication, even as the Corinthians were being tempted, and by the same means, through the licentious celebrations of idol worship.

Other analogies in this remarkable allegory may be pointed out, but the above is sufficient to show the extensive parallel between the fleshly Israel and the spiritual Israel.

[10] Paul W. Marsh, op. cit., p. 394.

[11] George W. DeHoff, Sermons on First Corinthians (Murfreesboro, Tennessee: The Christian Press, 1947), p. 79.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-corinthians-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And did all drink the same spiritual drink,.... By which is meant the water out of the rock, which was typical of the blood of Christ, which is drink indeed, and not figurative, as this was, for which reason it is called spiritual; or of the grace of Christ, often signified by water, both in the Old and New Testament; and is what Moses and the law could not give; for righteousness and life, grace and salvation, could never be had by the works of the law: and very unpromising it was, and is to carnal men, that these should come by a crucified Christ, as it was to the Israelites, that water, in such plenty, should gush out of the rock in Horeb; but as those waters did not flow from thence without the rock being stricken by the rod of Moses, so the communication of the blessings of grace from Christ is through his being smitten by divine justice with the rod of the law; through his being, stricken for the transgressions of his people, and and being made sin, and a curse of the law in their room and stead. And as those waters continued through the wilderness as a constant supply for them, so the grace of Christ is always sufficient for his people; a continual supply is afforded them; goodness and mercy follow them all the days of their lives:

for they drank, of that spiritual rock that followed them; by which the apostle means not Christ himself, for he went before them as the angel of God's presence, but the rock that typified him; not that the rock itself removed out of its place, and went after them, but the waters out of the rock ran like rivers, and followed them in the wilderness wherever they went, for the space of eight and thirty years, or thereabout, and then were stopped, to make trial of their faith once more; this was at Kadesh when the rock was struck again, and gave forth its waters, which, as the continual raining of the manna, was a constant miracle wrought for them. And this sense of the apostle is entirely agreeable to the sentiments of the Jews, who say, that the Israelites had the well of water all the forty yearsF11Jarchi in Numb. xx. 2. . The Jerusalem TargumF12In Numb. xxi. 20. says of the

"well given at Mattanah, that it again became unto them violent overflowing brooks, and again ascended to the tops of the mountains, and descended with them into the ancient valleys.'

And to the same purpose the Targum of Jonathan ben UzzielF13In ib. ,

"that it again ascended with them to the highest mountains, and from the highest mountains it descended with them to the hills, and encompassed the whole camp of Israel, and gave drink to everyone at the gate of his own dwelling place; and from the high mountains it descended with them into the deep valleys.'

Yea, they speak of the rock in much the same language the apostle does, and seem to understand it of the rock itself, as if that really went along with the Israelites in the wilderness. Thus one of their writersF14Jarchi in Numb. xx. 10. on those words, "must we fetch you water out of this rock?" makes this remark:

"for they knew it not, לפי שהלך הסלע, "for that rock went", and remained among the rocks.'

And in another place it is saidF15Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 177. 2. ,

"that the rock became in the form of a beehive; (elsewhereF16Gloss. in T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 54. 1. it is said to be round as a sieve;) and rolled along, ובאת עמהם, "and came with them", in their journeys; and when the standard bearers encamped, and the tabernacle stood still, the rock came, and remained in the court of the tent of the congregation; and the princes came and stood upon the top of it, and said, ascend, O well, and it ascended.'

Now, though in this account there is a mixture of fable, yet there appears something of the old true tradition received in the Jewish church, which the apostle has here respect to.

And the rock was Christ: that is, it signified Christ, it was a type of him. So the JewsF17Zohar in Num. fol. 87. 4. & Imre Binah in ib. say, that the Shekinah is called סלע קדוש, "the holy rock"; and Philo the Jew saysF18Lib. Allegor. l. 3. p. 1103. of this rock, that the broken rock is η σοφια του θεου, "the wisdom of God". Christ may be compared to the rock for his outward meanness in his parentage and education, in his ministry and audience, in his life and death; and for his height also, being made higher than the kings of the earth, than the angels in heaven, and than the heavens themselves; and for shelter and safety from the wrath of God, and from the rage of men; and for firmness, solidity, and strength, which are seen in his upholding all things by his power, in bearing the sins of his people, and the punishment due unto them, in the support of his church, and bearing up his people under all afflictions and temptations, and in preserving them from a total and final falling away: and a rock he appears to be, as he is the foundation of his church and every believer, against which hell and earth can never prevail; and to it he may be likened for duration, his love being immovable, his righteousness everlasting, his salvation eternal, and he, as the foundation of his church, abiding for ever.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-10.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that f followed them: and that Rock was g Christ.

(f) Of the River and running Rock, who followed the people.

(g) Did signify Christ as an ordinance, so that together with the sign, there was the thing signified, and the truth itself. For God does not offer a bare sign, but the thing signified by the sign together with it, which is to be received with faith.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-corinthians-10.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

drink — (Exodus 17:6). In Numbers 20:8, “the beasts” also are mentioned as having drunk. The literal water typified “spiritual drink,” and is therefore so called.

spiritual Rock that followed them — rather, “accompanied them.” Not the literal rock (or its water) “followed” them, as Alford explains, as if Paul sanctioned the Jews‘ tradition (Rabbi Solomon on Numbers 20:2) that the rock itself, or at least the stream from it, followed the Israelites from place to place (compare Deuteronomy 9:21). But Christ, the “Spiritual Rock” (Psalm 78:20, Psalm 78:35; Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:30, Deuteronomy 32:31, Deuteronomy 32:37; Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6), accompanied them (Exodus 33:15). “Followed” implies His attending on them to minister to them; thus, though mostly going before them, He, when occasion required it, followedbehind” (Exodus 14:19). He satisfied all alike as to their bodily thirst whenever they needed it; as on three occasions is expressly recorded (Exodus 15:24, Exodus 15:25; Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8); and this drink for the body symbolized the spiritual drink from the Spiritual Rock (compare John 4:13, John 4:14; see on 1 Corinthians 10:3).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-corinthians-10.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them (επινον εκ πνευματικης ακολουτουσης πετραςepinon ek pneumatikēs akolouthousēs petras). Change to the imperfect επινονepinon shows their continual access to the supernatural source of supply. The Israelites were blessed by the water from the rock that Moses smote at Rephidim (Exodus 17:6) and at Kadesh (Numbers 20:11) and by the well of Beer (Numbers 21:16). The rabbis had a legend that the water actually followed the Israelites for forty years, in one form a fragment of rock fifteen feet high that followed the people and gushed out water. Baur and some other scholars think that Paul adopts this “Rabbinical legend that the water-bearing Rephidim rock journeyed onwards with the Israelites” (Findlay). That is hard to believe, though it is quite possible that Paul alludes to this fancy and gives it a spiritual turn as a type of Christ in allegorical fashion. Paul knew the views of the rabbis and made use of allegory on occasion (Galatians 4:24).

And the rock was Christ (η πετρα δε ην ο Χριστοςhē petra de ēn ho Christos). He definitely states here in symbolic form the preexistence of Christ. But surely “we must not disgrace Paul by making him say that the pre-incarnate Christ followed the march of Israel in the shape of a lump of rock” (Hofmann). He does mean that Christ was the source of the water which saved the Israelites from perishing (Robertson and Plummer) as he is the source of supply for us today.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-corinthians-10.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Drink - spiritual drink

Spiritual, like the meat, in being supernaturally given. The aorist tense denotes something past, yet without limiting it to a particular occasion. They drank at Rephidim (Exodus 17:6), but they continued to drink spiritual drink, for -

They drank ( ἔπινον )

The imperfect tense denoting continued action - throughout their journey.

That spiritual rock

For that read a. Paul appears to recall a rabbinic tradition 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 itself, sometimes carried by Miriam, and always addressed by the elders, when they encamped, with the words, “Spring up, O well!” Numbers 21:17. Stanley says: “In accordance with this notion, the Rock of Moses, as pointed out by the local tradition of Mt. Sinai, is not a cleft in the mountain, but a detached fragment of rock about fifteen feet high, with twelve or more fissures in its surface, from which the water is said to have gushed out for the twelve tribes. This local tradition is as old as the Koran, which mentions this very stone.”

Was Christ

Showing that he does not believe the legend, but only uses it allegorically. The important point is that Christ the Word was with His people under the old covenant. “In each case we recognize the mystery of a 'real presence”' (Ellicott). “God was in Christ” here, as from the beginning. The mosaic and the christian economies are only different sides of one dispensation, which is a gospel dispensation throughout. The Jewish sacraments are not mere types of ours. They are identical.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-corinthians-10.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

And all drank the same spiritual drink — Typical of Christ, and of that cup which we drink. For they drank out of the spiritual or mysterious rock, the wonderful streams of which followed them in their several journeyings, for many years, through the wilderness. And that rock was a manifest type of Christ - The Rock of Eternity, from whom his people derive those streams of blessings which follow them through all this wilderness. Exodus 17:6.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-corinthians-10.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

That spiritual Rock. The religious advantages which they enjoyed, and which are here said to have been communicated to them by Christ, are compared to drinking from the rock, in allusion to the miraculous manner by which they were liberally supplied with water at Horeb. (Exodus 17:4-6.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-corinthians-10.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4.That rock was Christ Some absurdly pervert these words of Paul, as if he had said, that Christ was the spiritual rock, and as if he were not speaking of that rock which was a visible sign, for we see that he is expressly treating of outward signs. The objection that they make — that the rock is spoken of as spiritual, is a frivolous one, inasmuch as that epithet is applied to it simply that we may know that it was a token of a spiritual mystery. In the mean time, there is no doubt, that he compares our sacraments with the ancient ones. Their second objection is more foolish and more childish — “How could a rock,” say they, “that stood firm in its place, follow the Israelites?” — as if it were not abundantly manifest, that by the word rock is meant the stream of water, which never ceased to accompany the people. For Paul extols (535) the grace of God, on this account, that he commanded the water that was drawn out from the rock to flow forth wherever the people journeyed, as if the rock itself had followed them. Now if Paul’s meaning were, that Christ is the spiritual foundation of the Church, what occasion were there for his using the past tense? (536) It is abundantly manifest, that something is here expressed that was peculiar to the fathers. Away, then, with that foolish fancy by which contentious men choose rather to show their impudence, than admit that they are sacramental forms of expression! (537)

I have, however, already stated, that the reality of the things signified was exhibited in connection with the ancient sacraments. As, therefore, they were emblems of Christ, it follows, that Christ was connected with them, not locally, nor by a natural or substantial union, but sacramentally. On this principle the Apostle says, that the rock was Christ, for nothing is more common than metonymy in speaking of sacraments. The name of the thing, therefore, is transferred here to the sign — not as if it were strictly applicable, but figuratively, on the ground of that connection which I have mentioned. I touch upon this, however, the more slightly, because it will be more largely treated of when we come to the 11th Chapter.

There remains another question. “Seeing that we now in the Supper eat the body of Christ, and drink his blood, how could the Jews be partakers of the same spiritual meat and drink, when there was as yet no flesh of Christ that they could eat?” I answer, that though his flesh did not as yet exist, it was, nevertheless, food for them. Nor is this an empty or sophistical subtilty, for their salvation depended on the benefit of his death and resurrection. Hence, they required to receive the flesh and the blood of Christ, that they might participate in the benefit of redemption. This reception of it was the secret work of the Holy Spirit, who wrought in them in such a manner, that Christ’s flesh, though not yet created, was made efficacious in them. He means, however, that they ate in their own way, which was different from ours, (538) and this is what I have previously stated, that Christ is now presented to us more fully, according to the measure of the revelation. For, in the present day, the eating is substantial, which it could not have been then — that is, Christ feeds us with his flesh, which has been sacrificed for us, and appointed as our food, and from this we derive life.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-corinthians-10.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE SPIRITUAL ROCK

‘They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.’

1 Corinthians 10:4

Observe that it followed them. God went before His people in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire.

I. Guidance.—So He was their guide. Christ followed them in all the wanderings that the Guiding Pillar led them through. It was a great and terrible wilderness that God led them into, backwards and forwards, and into many a changing scene they were led for forty years. But wherever they went the Rock followed, them. It was always at hand. Its supplies were unfailing. So again with us. Be our needs what they may, be our lot cast where it will, change as may our spiritual requirements or our special temptations, so long as we are following the path of our probation the Rock follows us, and from It there is the never-failing stream which has an appropriate virtue of refreshment for every need. There is infinite comfort in this. It follows us everywhere, and It follows every one of us everywhere, and It has the special refreshment which each one needs. The wilderness is not exactly the same wilderness to any two of us. Our probations vary. No two of us are exactly the same in character; and no two of us are led by exactly the same track. So the wisest and the most experienced Christian cannot do more than give a general guidance to his brethren.

II. Vitality.—But the Rock follows each, and It gives more than guidance, It communicates vitality, the precise vitality required by the peculiar vocation in which we are called to follow our Guide and Leader. There is boundless comfort in this for the tried and the lonely, for those who are beset with heavy responsibilities or hard beset with difficulties where none can help them. The forms in which the Christian life is cast are infinitely various, but the essence of that life is one throughout, and the Sacramental Gift goes straight to nourishing the essence. It is not mere refreshment that our Smitten Rock communicates. We poor sinful men may oftentimes minister refreshment to one another. The Smitten Rock gives vital force. And perhaps this is what is set forth when in our Eucharistic elements we receive not water only, but the Blood of Christ. The Israelites could not receive the Blood of Christ. Our gift is greater than theirs, just as also our calling is higher. We receive the Blood, and the Blood is the Life. Be our special vocation what it may, be our place in the Mystical Body of Christ high or low, difficult or comparatively easy, whatever be the special form of Sanctity which He calls us to attain unto, the stream of the life-blood of the Smitten Rock is following us to communicate unto us of His own vitality to carry us onward to that completeness in Him which He desires us to attain. As the water from the Smitten Rock followed the Israelites through the winters and the summers of those forty years, so ‘the Water and the Blood’ follow us from our Rock smitten on the Cross. Their calling was a less lofty one than ours, but the principle was the same, an ever-present sustenance proportioned to the perpetual need of a special calling.

III. See that we fall not after their example of unbelief.—They were called to live their life in a land where it was a miracle that it should be supported, but they discerned not the miracle. For a long time it sustained their being, but at last they perished. Ours is no less a miraculous life. It is indeed a miracle that any one of us should be anything worth calling a Christian, should have any Christian vitality, any living faith at all. But we have a miraculous sustentation too. The pity is that so many do not ‘discern It.’ To ‘discern It’ is to separate It off as different in kind from all things else. We fail to ‘discern It’ when we look upon It as a mere reminiscence addressed to our human intellects, or human memories, or human sentiments and feelings. A sermon from a vivid preacher would serve that purpose. We fail to ‘discern It’ when we look upon It as what we may receive or not receive at our own pleasure or convenience. To do this is to count ‘the Blood of the Covenant’ as a mere common or unholy thing, and to do ‘despite unto the Spirit of Grace.’ From which sin may God in His great mercy deliver us for the sake of Him Who was smitten for us, Who gives us His flesh to eat, and Who ever follows us with the chalice filled with the Water and the Blood which flowed from His wounded side.

Illustration

‘The Manna laid up until the morrow lost its efficacy. It was no longer endued with the property of nourishing the bodies of those who ate it. It was to be taken and eaten as often as God gave it. So, in like manner, with the Eucharist. You cannot turn away from the Eucharist, and say that you will go on depending upon the spiritual sustenance afforded you the last time you partook the Bread of Life. It must be taken and eaten as often as God gives it you. Its power of nourishing you comes from God, even as the nourishing power of the Manna came from God; and God did not choose to extend that power of nourishing beyond the time when He provided the next supply.’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

THE ROCK OF AGES

The text institutes an analogy between the water which the Israelites drank in the wilderness and the saving and refreshing influences of the Gospel.

I. Water in extremity.—The rock was struck by Moses after the Israelites were likely to die of thirst in the wilderness, and were ready to stone their leader and appoint another. The water came, not only in time to preserve life, but just in time to rescue it. And so it was with the salvation of Christ. ‘When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.’ He came to seek and save that which was lost. How dreary and hopeless the world had become, and the Church as represented by the Jewish people, when Christ stood up and cried on ‘the last, the great day of the feast,’ as that sacred season also was passing away like the rest, leaving behind it utter weariness, ‘If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink!’ So, too, it is with the individual soul.

II. Water from an unlikely source.—How unlikely it was that from that rock in the wilderness the cool, sweet stream would flow! And how unlikely, or rather impossible, did it seem to the men of our Lord’s time, that all nations, or even His own kinsmen, could be blessed in Him! ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ How slow are many of us to acknowledge obligations to Christ!

III. Water drawn forth by strokes.—Moses struck the rock, and the water gushed out. Emblem of Him Who was ‘stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.’ Christ poured forth His soul an offering for sin. It is this solemn fact in our Lord’s history and work which has ever given alarmed souls peace and joy—

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.

IV. Water an accompanying and abiding blessing.—The stream of water from the stricken rock accompanied the Israelites on their way. And so, faith in Christ is an abiding principle and power in believers’ hearts. His promise is, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Ver. 4. The same spiritual drink] Here was no dry communion.

That spiritual rock that followed them] The waters of the rock, the virtue and benefit, went along with them. See Psalms 105:41; Deuteronomy 9:21. So should the efficacy of the Lord’s supper with us. We should walk in the strength of it, as Elijah did of his cake.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

4.] It is hardly possible here, without doing violence to the words and construction, to deny that the Apostle has adopted the tradition current among the Jews, that the rock followed the Israelites in their journeyings, and gave forth water all the way. Thus Rabbi Solomon on Numbers 20:2; “Per omnes quadraginta annos erat iis puteus” (Lightf.): and Schöttgen cites from the Bammidbar Rabba, “Quomodo comparatus fuit ille puteus (de quo Numbers 21:16)? Resp. Fuit sicut petra, sicut alveus apum, et globosus, et volutavit se, et ivit cum ipsis in itineribus ipsorum. Cum vexilla castra ponerent, et tabernaculum staret, illa petra venit, et consedit in atrio tentorii. Tunc venerunt Principes, et juxta illum steterunt, dicentes,’ Ascende, putee, &c.’ (Numbers 21:17) et ascendit.” See other testimonies in Schöttgen.

The only ways of escaping this inference are, (1) by setting aside the natural sense altogether, as Chrys. ( οὐ γὰρ ἡ τῆς πέτρας φύσις τὸ ὕδωρ ἠφίει, … ἀλλʼ ἑτέρα τις πέτρα πνευματικὴ τὸ πᾶν εἰργάζετο, τουτέστιν ὁ χριστός, ὁ παρὼν αὐτοῖς πανταχοῦ, καὶ πάντα θαυματουργῶν· διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο εἶπεν, ἀκολουθούσης. p. 203), Theophyl.,—or (2) by taking πέτρα = τὸ ἐκ τῆς πέτρας ὕδωρ, as Erasm., Beza, Grot., Estius, Lightf.—and so Calvin, who says: “Quomodo, inquiunt, rupes quæ suo loco fixa stetit, comitata esset Israelitas? Quasi vero non palam sit sub petræ voce notari aquæ fluxum, qui nunquam populum deseruit.” But against both of these we have the plain assertion, representing matter of physical fact, ἔπινον ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας, they drank from a (or, after a preposition, the) [spiritual, or] miraculous rock which followed them: and I cannot consent to depart from what appears to me the only admissible sense of these words. How extensively the traditionary reliques of unrecorded Jewish history were adopted by apostolic men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apology of Stephen may bear witness.

ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ χριστός] But (distinction between what they saw in the rock and what we see in it: they drank from it and knew not its dignity: but the Rock was Christ. In these words there appear to be three allusions: (1) to the ideas of the Jews themselves: so the Targum on Isaiah 16:1; “Afferent dona Messiæ Israelitarum, qui robustus crit, propterea quod in deserto fuit RUPES ECCLESIA ZIONIS:” so also in Wisdom of Solomon 10:15 ff., the σοφία θεοῦ (see note on John 1:1) is said to have been present in Moses, to have led them through the wilderness, &c. That the MESSIAH, the ANGEL OF THE COVENANT, was present with the church of the Fathers, and that His upholding power was manifested in miraculous interferences for their welfare, was a truth acknowledged no less by the Jew than by the Christian. (2) To the frequent use of this appellation, A ROCK, for the God of Israel. See, inter alia, Deuteronomy 32:4; Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 32:18; Deuteronomy 32:30-31; Deuteronomy 32:37; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:2, and passim; 2 Samuel 23:3, &c.; Psalms passim, and especially Psalms 78:20, compared with Psalms 78:35; see also Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8. Hence it became more natural to apply the term directly to Christ, as the ever-present God of Israel. (3) To the sacramental import of the water which flowed from the rock, which is the point here immediately in the Apostle’s mind. As well in sacramental import as in upholding physical agency, that rock was Christ. The miraculous (spiritual) food was (sacramentally) the flesh of Christ: the miraculous (spiritual) drink was the blood of Christ: so that the Jews’ miraculous supplies of food and drink were sacramentally significant of the Body and Blood of Christ, in kind analogous to the two great parts of the Christian Supper of the Lord.

In the contents prefixed to the chapters in the E. V., we read as the import of these verses, “The sacraments of the Jews are types of ours,” which though perhaps correctly meant, is liable to be erroneously understood; inasmuch as no sacramental ordinance can be a type of another, but all alike, though in different degrees of approximation, and by different representations, types of HIM, who is the fountain of all grace. The difference between their case and ours, is generally, that they were unconscious of the sacramental import, whereas we are conscious of it: “they knew not that I healed them,” Hosea 11:3; and in this particular case, that Christ has come to us “not by water only, but by water and blood,” 1 John 5:6; HIS DEATH having invested our sacramental ordinance with another and more deeply significant character. To enter more minutely into the import of the words, ‘the rock was Christ,’ would be waste of time and labour. The above reasons abundantly justify the assertion, without either pressing the verb ἦν beyond its ordinary acceptation, or presuming to fix on the Apostle a definiteness of meaning which his argument does not require. See in Meyer’s note an example of the proceeding which I blame.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-corinthians-10.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

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


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-10.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And all the Jews, as well those that perished in the wilderness, as those that were preserved to go into Canaan, they drank of the water which came out of the rock, of which we read, Exodus 17:6 Numbers 20:11; which water was

spiritual drink in the same respects that the manna was spiritual meat, being miraculously produced, and being a figure of Christ. For, saith the apostle, that rock was Christ; that is, that rock did signify or prefigure Christ; the rock was Christ in the same sense that the bread in the Lord’s supper is the body of Christ, that is, a sign which by Divine institution did signify Christ. Here ariseth a question in what sense it is said, that the

rock followed them? That by the rock is to be understood the water that God made to flow out of the rock, is evident; but though we read of water twice fetched out of the rock upon Moses smiting of it; once at Rephidim, before they came so far as Mount Sinai, Exodus 17:6; another time at Kadesh, Numbers 20:7,8; yet we no where read in the history of the Jewish journeyings to Canaan, that the rock followed them. But this is not the only thing that we read in the New Testament relating to the history of the Old Testament, with some circumstances which we do not find recorded there; it is enough that it is plainly asserted here, and it must be presumed, or how can we imagine that the Israelites were supplied with water for forty years together? Whereas some object, that if the water, which came out of the rock at Rephidim, had followed them, there would have been no need of Moses striking the rock at Kadesh; it is answered, that God, to try them, probably caused the water to stop. For the analogy between the rock and Christ, divines make it to lie in these particulars:

1. That Christ is the firm and unmovable foundation of his church, called therefore a stone, a tried stone, Isaiah 28:16 Romans 9:33 1 Peter 2:6.

2. As this rock sent out no water for the refreshment of the Israelites, till Moses had struck it; so all the benefit we have from Christ as Mediator, floweth from him as smitten of God, and afflicted.

3. As the water of the rock served both for cleansing, and upholding life in satisfying thirst; so the blood of Christ is useful to the soul, both for washing from the guilt of sin, and the upholding spiritual life in a soul.

4. As the rock that followed the Israelites afforded water not only to that generation that were alive and present when the rock was smitten, but to all the succeeding generations, until the Israelites came into Canaan; so the blood of Christ is useful not only to his people in this or that place or age, but to all that shall believe in him, and that till they shall come into the heavenly Canaan.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Spiritual drink; the water that flowed miraculously from the rock, and was a type of Christ. Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11.

Drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; it has been supposed that the water from the rock mentioned in Exodus 17:6, followed the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness, till they approached Kadesh the second time. But perhaps the words "that followed them" refer to Christ the antitype, rather than to the material water that typified him.

That Rock was Christ; a figure, type, or representation of Christ; as when he said, Luke 22:19, This is my body, meaning a representation of his body.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-corinthians-10.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

4. πνευματικὸν πόμα. This miraculous supply of water, vouchsafed on two occasions (Exodus 17:1-6; Numbers 20:2-11), belonged, like the manna, not to the natural, but to the spiritual order of God’s Providence, which has its necessary points of contact with the lower and more contracted natural order, and issues in what we call miracles. Hence they were types of still greater miracles, which belong however more exclusively to the spiritual order of things, namely, the nourishing the Christian Church with the ‘spiritual food of the Body and Blood of Christ.’ In this sense, St Augustine (Tract. 26 super Joannem) says well, ‘Sacramenta illa fuerunt, in signis diversa sed in re quae significatur paria,’ because it was Christ who was the miraculous support and preservation of the Israelites in the wilderness, as well as of Christians in their pilgrimage through the world.

ἔπινον. Observe the change of tense. The aorist refers to the whole action as past. The imperfect points out its continuance while it lasted.

ἐκ πνευματικῆς. The A.V. gives a wrong impression here. πνευματικῆς has not the article, and should not, therefore, be translated ‘that spiritual rock.’ The true sense is, ‘for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them as they went.’ St Paul follows no tradition here. He is spiritualising the whole history. ‘I say spiritual food and drink. For during the whole of their wanderings in the wilderness the Israelites were spiritually sustained by a never-failing source of refreshment, a very Rock, indeed, from which waters were ever flowing. And the Rock was Christ.’

ἀκολουθούσης πἐτρας. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan speak of a ‘well’ which followed the Israelites in their wanderings. In the Bemidbar Rabbah (c. i.) it is a Rock, in shape like a bee-hive, which rolled continually forward to accompany the Israelites on their way (for the tradition consult Wetstein, or Schöttgen). Our great Rabbinical scholar Lightfoot rejects this interpretation, and believes that the expression refers, not to the Rock, but the streams which issued from it, and which were gathered into pools wherever they encamped. It was to this, and not to the rock, that the words in Numbers 21:17 are supposed to be addressed. Estius cites Psalms 78:16; Psalms 105:41 in support of the same view. See also Deuteronomy 9:21, ‘the brook that descended from the mount.’ Meyer thinks that the tradition was a later invention of the Rabbis, since the Targum of Onkelos in its present shape cannot be traced back farther than the third century.

ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ Χριστός. See last note but one. Christ was the true source of all their nourishment, and He went with them whithersoever they went. He, the Angel of the Covenant (Exodus 23:20-21; Exodus 23:23; Exodus 32:34; Joshua 5:13), was their guide and their support. Cf. John 4:10; John 4:14; John 7:37-38. For the term Rock, as applied to God, see Deuteronomy 32:4; Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 32:18; Deuteronomy 32:30-31; Deuteronomy 32:37; Psalms 18:1, and many other passages in the Psalms too numerous to quote. We can hardly dismiss this passage without quoting Bengel’s remark: ‘Had there been more than two Sacraments, St Paul would have pointed out some spiritual resemblance to them.’


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"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-10.html. 1896.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

4. And they all drank that spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them, and Christ was the Rock.” Moses was but a man representing Christ, who had not yet come incarnate, consequently types and symbols were necessary to represent Him and His kingdom. Yet we see He was there in their midst, as He preached the first gospel sermon to the fallen race in Eden, was with His people before the flood, and in all the patriarchal ages. So Christ is as real in the Old Testament as in the New; the Prophet, Priest, and King of His true people in all ages.


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/1-corinthians-10.html.

Joseph Beet's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 10:4. Proof that it was “spiritual drink.” That the manna was spiritual, needed no proof: for it was evidently supernatural. But the water from the rock was ordinary water.

Were drinking: graphic description of the scene. The real source of the water drunk by Israel on two occasions in the wilderness was not the natural rock from which it visibly flowed, but a spiritual rock, viz. the invisible and spiritual presence and resources of God; and this not stationary like “the rock in Horeb” and that at Kadesh, but following them, i.e. God not only going before them as a guide but, after they had pitched their tents providing in each encampment for their need. Therefore, the water from the rock, though natural in composition, was “spiritual drink:” for it was a miraculous work and gift of God present in the Holy Spirit. This exposition is so complete and simple that we have no need to assume a reference here to the foolish Jewish fable about the rock following the Israelites.

And the rock was Christ: a great truth linking the spiritual facts of 1 Corinthians 10:3 f with Christianity: as the word “baptized” linked with it the historical facts of 1 Corinthians 10:1. Christ was actually the source of the water which flowed from the visible rock, being Himself the divine Presence which accompanied, and supplied the need of, Israel in the wilderness. This implies that the not yet incarnate but pre-existent Son of God was the Leader of Israel. Cp. Hebrews 11:26. Under these passages and Colossians 1:16; John 1:3, lies the great truth that whatever God has done and does outwardly and visibly, in the material universe and in His spiritual kingdom, is through the agency of His Son. Paul here reminds his readers that the same divine power and presence which brought them into, and now maintains them in, the Christian life, of which the two sacraments are a visible representation, also led Israel of old through the Red Sea and daily fed them in the wilderness. This identity lays a foundation for the warnings of 1 Corinthians 10:5-12.


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Beet, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". Joseph Beet's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jbc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1877-90.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 10:4. and did all drink the same spiritual drink—the water that gushed for them out of the flinty rock (Psalms 105:41; Psalms 114:8).

for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them: and the Rock was Christ. This “meat” and “drink” are called “spiritual,” perhaps primarily, as having been supplied supernaturally (as Meyer, after the Greek fathers, and Alford take it), but mainly because under this merely outward and visible sustenance, by which the chosen people were enabled to pursue their way to the Promised Land, is couched the higher nutriment of God’s true people—which certainly is “Christ”—in their progress towards the “better country.” As to how “the Rock followed them,” it was certainly not in the fantastic sense of the Jewish legend (that a well, which was formed out of the spring in Horeb, followed Israel during all the forty years), which too many modern critics palm upon the apostle, as if it was to this, as a fact, that he here refers. The question is—as Neander pertinently asks—whether the tradition is not itself of later date than our Epistle, and was not suggested by it. As to the actual matter of fact, all we know for certain is, that they had two miraculous supplies of water—one, near the outset of their wilderness journey, at Horeb (Exodus 17:4-6); the other, at Meribah Kadesh, near its close (Numbers 20:11); and since without a supply of water all through they could not have subsisted for a week, and yet no such fatal want overtook them, one may well say that they had an unfailing supply, or (in the apostle’s way of putting it), that “the Rock followed them.”

The reader should observe how, five times in the course of these four opening verses, the word “all” is ominously repeated, the more emphatically to make the sad contrast between the commencement and the close of the journey—how all had a common start, and, almost to the end, all made common progress, and yet, as is now to be added, in the case of most of them, far from a common end.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-corinthians-10.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Corinthians 10:4. And did all drink the same spiritual — That is, typical; drink — Namely, typical of Christ and of the living water, the divine influence derived from him, John 8:37. For they drank of that spiritual — Or mysterious; rock — The wonderful streams of which followed them in their several journeyings for many years through the wilderness. It must be observed, water was twice brought from a rock by a miracle, for the Israelites in the wilderness; once in Rephidim, which was their eleventh station, and in the first year after they came out of Egypt; of which miracle we have an account, Exodus 17.; the second time was at Kadesh, which was their thirty-third station, and in the fortieth year after their leaving Egypt, Numbers 20:1. To both places the name of Meribah was given; but the latter was called Meribah-Kadesh, to distinguish it from Meribah of Rephidim. It is the miracle performed in Rephidim of which the apostle here speaks. The water, it appears, that issued from this rock formed a brook, which (Deuteronomy 9:21) is said to have descended out of the mount, that is, out of Horeb; (Exodus 17:5-6;) for before that miracle there was no brook in these parts. And it issued in such abundance as to be termed a river, Psalms 78:16; Psalms 105:41. Indeed, six hundred thousand men, with their women and children, and cattle, required a river to supply them with drink. And Horeb being a high mountain, there seems to have been a descent from it to the sea; and the Israelites, during the thirty-seven years of their journeying, appear to have gone by those tracts of country in which the waters from Horeb could follow them, till in the thirty-ninth year they came to Ezion-Gaber, (Numbers 33:36,) a port of the Red sea, far down the Arabian side, where it is supposed the water from Horeb went into that sea. The country through which the Israelites journeyed so long a time, being watered by this river, produced, no doubt, herbage for the cattle of the Israelites, which, in this desert, must otherwise have perished. And that Rock was Christ — A manifest type of him, the Rock of ages, who, being smitten in his death and sufferings, poured forth streams of redemption, grace, and heavenly blessings, which follow his people through all this wilderness, and will end in rivers of pleasure at the right hand of God for ever.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Corinthians 10:4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.

"spiritual drink"-the water that God miraculously provided. (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:2-13)

"they drank"-"The imperfect tense denoting continued action--throughout their journey." (Vincent p. 239) Moses will fetch water from the rock near the beginning of their wilderness experience (Exodus 17:1-7), and also near the end. (Numb. 20:2-13) "The fact that water was twice supplied by Christ at different periods would be sufficient to suggest his continual presence." (McGarvey p. 99)

"of a spiritual rock that followed them"-"Jewish legend..conceived the idea of a rock which travelled alongside the people throughout their forty year"s journey..Paul does not endorse this material fancy." (F.F. Bruce p. 91)

"The rock typified Christ. The rock didn"t follow them. The God who brings water from flinty rocks was wherever they were." (McGuiggan p. 133)

"and the rock was Christ"-"We must not disgrace Paul by making him say that the pre-incarnate Christ followed the march of Israel in the shape of a lump of rock..He does mean that Christ was the source of the water which saved the Israelites from perishing..as he is the source of supply for us today." (Robertson p. 152)

Points to Note:

1. Paul believed in the pre-existence of Jesus.

2. It was this same Jesus, who had saved the Corinthians, who also had saved and met the needs of the Israelites. In the case that someone in Corinth objected to Paul material here, by saying, "But they perished because they didn"t have Christ..we do, so we don"t need to worry." Paul responds, "Who do you think kept them alive all those years!"

"Christ lived already in the midst of the ancient people, and that people has perished! How can you suppose, you Christians, that you are secured from the same fate!" (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 858)

3. Jesus is identified with Jehovah of the O.T., by the use of the word "Rock". (Deuteronomy 32:4; Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 32:30-31)

Conclusion of this section: Privileges, yes even spiritual privileges do not guard one against falling into sin. Remember the generation that come out of bondage. They had a baptism too! They feasted on spiritual food and drink also (as Christians have the Lord"s Supper), and they had Christ with them too! And yet:


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-corinthians-10.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

drink. Greek. poma. Only here and Hebrews 9:10.

for, &c. To the end of the verse is a parenthesis.

drank = were drinking. Imperf.

that followed them. There is no word for "them". The meaning is, the miracle of the water from the Rock followed that of manna from heaven.

Christ. App-98. As the source of their supply, He is called the Rock. Figure of speech Metaphor. App-6. Compare Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:30, Deuteronomy 32:31, Deuteronomy 32:37. Psalms 19:14; &c.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-corinthians-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Drink (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8) - the literal water typified, and so is called "spiritual drink."

Spiritual Rock that followed them. The tradition of Rabbi Solomon on Numbers 20:2 is, that the rock, or at least the stream from it, followed the Israelites from place to place (cf. Deuteronomy 9:21). Christ, the "spiritual Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:4; Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 32:18; Deuteronomy 32:30-31; Deuteronomy 32:37; Psalms 78:20; Psalms 78:25; 1 Peter 2:6), 'accompanied them' (Exodus 33:15). "Followed" implies His attending on them to minister to them; though mostly going before them, He, when occasion required, followed "behind" (Exodus 14:19). He satisfied their bodily thirst whenever they needed it: four occasions are expressly recorded (Exodus 15:24-25; Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8; Numbers 21:16-18). This water symbolized that from the spiritual Rock (cf. John 4:13-14; John 7:38 : see note, 1 Corinthians 10:3), which believing Israelites drank in types. As by the stream the rock followed them, so by His Spirit Christ is with us to the end of the world.

Was - represented (Matthew 26:26).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-corinthians-10.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

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.


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

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) That spiritual Rock that followed them.—There was a Jewish tradition that the Rock—i.e., a fragment broken off from the rock smitten by Moses—followed the Israelites through their journey, and St. Paul, for the purpose of illustration, adopts that account instead of the statement in Numbers 20:11. The emphatic repetition of the word “spiritual” before “drink” and “rock” reminds the reader that it is the spiritual and not the historic aspect of the fact which is present to St. Paul’s mind. The traditional account of the Rock was a more complete illustration of the abiding presence of God, which was the point that the Apostle here desires to bring forward.

And that Rock was Christ.—As Christ was “God manifest in the flesh” in the New Dispensation, so God manifest in the Rock (the source of sustaining life) was the Christ of the Old Dispensation. The Jews had become familiar with the thought of God as a Rock. (See 1 Samuel 2:2; Psalms 91:12; Isaiah 32:2.) Though the Jews may have recognised the Rock poetically as God, they knew not that it was, as a manifestation of God’s presence, typical of the manifestation which was yet to be given in the Incarnation. Such seems to be the force of the statement and of the word “But” which emphatically introduces it. But though they thought it only a Rock, or applied the word poetically to Jehovah, that Rock was Christ.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-corinthians-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
did
Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11; Psalms 78:15,20; 105:41; Isaiah 43:20; 48:21; John 4:10,14; 7:37; Revelation 22:17
followed them
or, went with them.
Deuteronomy 9:21
that Rock
11:24,25; Genesis 40:12; 41:26; Ezekiel 5:4,5; Daniel 2:38; 7:17; Matthew 13:38,39; Matthew 26:26-28; Galatians 4:25; Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 10:1

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-corinthians-10.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The water which they drank was spiritual, because derived from the Spirit, i.e. by the special intervention of God. They all drank ( ו ̓́ ניןם) of it once when first provided, and they continued to drink ( ו ̓́ ניםןם) of it, for it followed them. Whatever difficulties may be connected with the interpretation of this verse, two things are therein plainly taught. First, that the Israelites were constantly supplied in a miraculous manner with water; and secondly, that the source of that supply was Christ. The principal difficulties in the passage are, the declaration that the Rock followed the Israelites; and that the rock was Christ. How are these statements to be understood?

1. Some take the passage literally, and assume that the rock smitten by Moses actually rolled after the Israelites during all their journey. Such was the tradition of the Jews, as is abundantly proved by the quotations from their writings, by Wetstein, Schoettgen and Lightfoot.‹15› According to the local tradition, as old at least as the Koran, the rock smitten by Moses was not part of the mountain, but a detached rock, pierced with holes whence the water is said to have flowed. This view of the passage makes the apostle responsible for a Jewish fable, and is inconsistent with his divine authority. Those who adopt this interpretation do not suppose that the rock actually followed the Israelites, but that the apostle was misled by the tradition of his times.

2. Others say that by the rock following them is meant that the water out of the rock followed them. There is nothing unnatural in this. To say that the vines of France follow the people wherever they go, would be no violent figure to express the fact that the wine produced by those vines followed them. No man at least would be disposed to understand the expression literally. In Psalms 105:41 it is said, "He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in dry places like a river," which at least proves that the supply of water was very copious, and flowed to a considerable distance.

3. It is not necessary, however, to assume that either the rock or the water out of the rock followed them. The rock that followed them was Christ. The Logos, the manifested Jehovah, who attended the Israelites in their journey, was the Son of God who assumed our nature, and was the Christ. It was he who supplied their wants. He was to them the fountain of living waters. He was the spiritual rock of which they drank. The word spiritual may have the same general force here as in the preceding clauses.

The bread and water are called spiritual because supernatural. So the rock was a supernatural rock, though in a somewhat different sense. The manna was supernatural as to its origin; the rock, as to its nature. It is not uncommon for a word to be taken in the same connection in different, though nearly allied senses. Compare the use of this word spiritual in 1 Corinthians 2:15 and 1 Corinthians 3:1; and צטו ́ יסוי and צטוסוי ͂ in 1 Corinthians 3:17. But in what sense was the rock Christ? Not that Christ appeared under the form of a rock; nor that the rock was a type of Christ, for that does not suit the connection. The idea is not that they drank of the typical rock; it was not the type but the anti-type that supplied their wants. The expression is simply figurative. Christ was the rock in the same sense that he is the vine. He was the source of all the support which the Israelites enjoyed during their journey in the wilderness.

This passage distinctly asserts not only the preexistence of our Lord, but also that he was the Jehovah of the Old Testament. He who appeared to Moses and announced himself as Jehovah, the God of Abraham, who commissioned him to go to Pharaoh, who delivered the people out of Egypt, who appeared on Horeb, who led the people through the wilderness, who dwelt in the temple, who manifested himself to Isaiah, who was to appear personally in the fullness of time, is the person who was born of a virgin, and manifested himself in the flesh. He is called, therefore, in the Old Testament, an angel the angel of Jehovah, Jehovah, the Supreme Lord, the Mighty God, the Son of God — one whom God sent — one with him, therefore, as to substance, but a distinct person. Our Lord said, Abraham saw his day, for he was before Abraham, John 8:58; John says, John 12:41, Isaiah beheld his glory in the temple; Paul says, the Israelites tempted him in the wilderness, 1 Corinthians 10:9 and that Moses suffered his reproach, Hebrews 11:26; Jude 1:5, says, the Lord, or (as Lachmann, after the ancient MSS. and versions, reads) Jesus, saved his people out of Egypt. This truth early impressed itself on the mind of the Christian church, as appears from the prayer in the ancient Liturgies, O Adonai (Supreme Lord), et Dux Domus Israel, qui Mosi in igne flammeo rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina aquam dedisti, veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extracto.


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Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/1-corinthians-10.html.

: and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.

A final similarity between Israel and Christianity is a "spiritual drink" (i.e. the water provided by God). This provision, just like the food described in verse3 , was available to "all." When the Hebrews started their journey towards Mount Sinai ( Exodus 17:1-7), God provided them with water. As their journey continued, God continued to supply water ( Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 105:41). A substantial supply of water was needed day after day (see this discussed in the next paragraph), but this need was always met. Lenski (First Corinthians, p392) noted how the Greek text means "Not once but, as the imperfect states, continually the Israelites were drinking, and from no mere natural rock although the water was twice made to gush out of such a rock, but of a spiritual rock which was supernatural, divine, and not left behind in the desert as those two natural rocks were but accompanied the Israelites wherever they went in their wanderings." God cares for His people just as easily as He cares for birds and flowers ( Matthew 6:26-28).

Providing for the Hebrews who left Egypt (many estimates suggest2-3million people were with Moses) was an enormous task, even by today's standards. Yet, God did meet the needs of His people day after day, year after year, and the amount of what was needed to sustain the nation is staggering. It has been estimated that Israel consumed1 ,500 tons of food, every single day, while in the wilderness. Two mile-long freight trains would be necessary to transport this many groceries. Of course, firewood was necessary for cooking and the timber needed for the nation has been calculated at4 ,000 tons per day. Israel's need for drinking and wash water has been estimated at11 ,000 ,000 gallons per day. Transporting this much water would require a daily train1 ,800 miles long. So much water was needed that two Old Testament psalms actually make mention of it ( Psalm 78:16; Psalm 105:41). In addition to providing food, water, and wood, there was a need for land. If3million people left Egypt, the nation needed750 square miles of space for a stopping place (an area equivalent to the size of Rhode Island).

Paul specifically said Jesus provided water for the Hebrews. Without divine intervention, most or all the Hebrews would have quickly died in the wilderness. What Jesus did for Israel looked forward to His work described in the New Testament. In John 7:37 we find these words: "Now on the last day, the great (day) of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." Jesus had provided Israel with literal water many years before. Stated another way, prior to the virgin birth He was active and working to benefit the very nation that would one day call for His death. Now Jesus is the "savior" in the fullest sense of the word-He is man's spiritual savior ( Luke 2:11; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 4:14). He now stands ready to give men the "living water" ( John 4:10) that forever satisfies people ( John 4:14). For more information on Jesus and His "living water," see the commentary on John 4:10-14 in section10 of the Gospels commentary

For Paul, Jesus' earlier work among the Hebrews must have been an amazing truth. Paul eventually had to recognize and admit that the Old Testament system he had grown up to love and cherish ( Philippians 4:3-10) only anticipated (looked forward to) Jesus and the New Testament. A similar point is found throughout the book of Hebrews (the writer of that book repeatedly said the Old Testament had "shadows and types" that pointed forward to Jesus and the New Testament).

The Pulpit Commentary () relates a legend about Jesus and His being a rock. "The rabbis said that it [the rock, BP] was round, and rolled itself up like a swarm of bees, and that, when the tabernacle was pitched, this rock came and settled in its vestibule and began to flow when the princes came to it and sang, ‘Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it.' It does not, of course, follow from this allusion that St. Paul or even the rabbis, believed their Hagadah in other than a metaphorical sense." Another tradition (at least as old as the Koran) says, "the rock smitten by Moses was not part of the mountain, but a detached rock, pierced with holes whence the water is said to have flowed" (Hodge, Second Corinthians, p174).

While the rock legends are certainly fascinating, Hodge's comments (p175) are far more helpful. He said, "But in what sense was the rock Christ? Not that Christ appeared under the form of a rock; nor that the rock was a type of Christ, for that does not suit the connection. The idea is not that they drank of the typical rock; it was not the type but the antitype that supplied their wants. The expression is simply figurative. Christ was the rock in the same sense that he is the vine. He was the source of all the support which the Israelites enjoyed during their journey in the wilderness." The "supernatural rock that never allowed Israel to perish of thirst in the desert-as any other similar expedition would quickly have perished-was Christ, the Son of God, who later became incarnate for our salvation" (Lenski, First Corinthians, p393).

There are many parallels between Christians and the ancient Hebrews. A study of both groups reveals that each has been baptized and rescued (see the commentary on verses1-2in this chapter) Each group has also received food, drink, as well as God's protection. The Corinthians knew what God had done for them, and it seems this knowledge caused them to conclude they were spiritually okay because of their spiritual blessings. As noted in the commentary on verse1 , these Christians must have been thinking: "If God has provided all these things for us, how could He ever be displeased with us? We may do whatever we want." Paul responded to this type of incorrect thinking in the following verses.

Readers may be interested in doing a fuller study on the word "followed" (akoloutheo), a term usually found in Matthew ,, Mark , Luke and John. Jesus followed Israel to help this nation while it was in the wilderness, but now men are to follow Christ. Here are all the places where follow (akoloutheo) occurs in Matthew's gospel: Matthew 4:20; Matthew 4:22; Matthew 4:25; Matthew 8:1; Matthew 8:10; Matthew 8:19; Matthew 8:22-23; Matthew 9:9; Matthew 9:19; Matthew 9:27; Matthew 10:38; Matthew 12:15; Matthew 14:13; Matthew 16:24; Matthew 19:2; Matthew 19:21; Matthew 19:27-28; Matthew 20:29; Matthew 20:34; Matthew 21:9; Matthew 26:58; Matthew 27:55.


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Bibliography
Price, Brad "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "Living By Faith: Commentary on Romans". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bpc/1-corinthians-10.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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