1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 10

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic  which limits the observer to the content offered by the letter of 1 Corinthians especially the previous chapters. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture utilizing the same normative rules of reading / interpretation.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Manuscript Evidence from 'The New Testament And Translation Commentary, Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Ill.

****** EXCERPT FROM 1 COR CHAPTER 9 ******

OR MOVE TO FIRST VERSE OF CHAPTER TEN 

[(1 Cor 9:24-27) Commentary on 1 Cor 9:24-27[:

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Cor 9:26 NASB) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

(1 Cor 9:27 NASB) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

In 1 Cor 9:24-27, author and apostle Paul draws a parallel to his topic of serving the Lord preaching the gospel and teaching the doctrines of the faith to running a race for a prize in the games that Corinth sponsers the
Isthmian athletic games periodically. He states that out of all who run the race, only one receives the prize. So Paul wrote, "Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. The competitors do it to receive a perishable wreath, but Christians do their service to the Lord for a prize that is imperishable - and all Christians who are faithful will receive a prize not just one Christian. And Christians likewise exercise control in all things so much the more for their task is 24/7 requiring extra special care which includes studying the Bible to prepare one for accurately sharing the gospel and the doctrines of the faith to others. And the athletes do all of this to receive a perishable wreath but Christians when they are faithful do it to receive an imperishable reward - an eternal reward. Therefore, Paul writes that he runs in such a way - an organized/practiced way that is not without aim, but which is calculated. Paul goes on the state that he boxes in such a way as not beating the air in an aimless disorganized manner. He clarifies the kind of running & boxing which is organized and practiced.

(1 Cor 9:24-27) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-27]:

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Cor 9:26 NASB) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

(1 Cor 9:27 NASB) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

"24-27 By way of practical application, Paul now gives a strong exhortation for Christian self-denial, using himself as an example and employing athletic figures familiar to the Corinthians at their own Isthmian athletic games, which were hosted every other year by the people of Corinth. The particular events he refers to are running and boxing.

24, 25 Paul assumes their common knowledge (ouk oidate, "don't you know") of the foot race in the stadium. Every one of them should run as these runners do, with all-out effort to get the prize. By the words "strict training," Paul refers to the athlete's self-control in diet and his rigorous bodily discipline. He observes that the athletes train vigorously for a "corruptible crown"—a laurel or celery wreath that would soon wither away. But the Christian's crown, eternal life and fellowship with God, will last forever (Rev 2:10).

26, 27 Paul says of himself that he does not contend like an undisciplined runner or boxer. He states that he aims his blows against his own body, beating it black and blue (hypopiazo; see the same word in Luke 18:5). The picture is graphic: the ancient boxers devastatingly punishing one another with knuckles bound with leather thongs. And so by pummeling his body, Paul enslaves it in order to gain the Christian prize. The ancient keryx was the herald in the Greek games who announced the rules of the contest, but the Christian herald—i.e., preacher—not only announces the rules but "plays" in the game as well. Paul had not only to preach the gospel but also to live the gospel. As Hodge has said (in loc.), Paul here acts on the principle that the righteous can scarcely be saved, though he also stresses that nothing can separate the Christian from God's love (Rom 8:38, 39). The Christian, confident of God's sovereign grace, is nevertheless conscious of his battle against sin."

(1 Cor 9:24-27) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-27])

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Cor 9:26 NASB) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

(1 Cor 9:27 NASB) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

"9:24-25. Paul's commitment to this course of ministry did not come easily. It required personal discipline (strict training) like that of an athlete who strove for supremacy in his field (cf. 15:10). To that end Paul willingly gave up certain privileges which might otherwise be his to enjoy so that he could win the prize. The prize for Paul was not the temporary crown (stephanon) bestowed by men (in the biennial games near Corinth the "crown" was a pine wreath) but the eternal crown bestowed by Christ (3:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:10). Paul's crown would be the consummation of the reward (1 Cor. 9:18) he partially enjoyed, the opportunity to glory before Christ in those he had been able to win (2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 2:16; 1 Thes. 2:19).

9:26-27. Paul's dictum of becoming "all things to all men" (v. 22) could have been construed as the aimless capitulation of an unprincipled man. But it was just the opposite! Every move made in the course of his race was calculated to further his pursuit of the prize (cf. Phil. 3:13-14). Every blow struck was meant to land squarely on his opponent and send him reeling from the contest (cf. Eph. 6:12; James 4:7). To achieve this, Paul would not let his body master him (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12); sometimes he denied even its demand for rightful privileges and pleasures (8:9) for a greater good (10:33).

Paul was competing well himself and had called many to join him (the word preached is kēryxas, the noun form of which signified a herald who summoned contestants to a race), but that did not guarantee him a victorious finish. He held out the possibility that even he could be disqualified for the prize. The single Greek word translated by that phrase ( adokimos) literally means "unapproved." In other contexts it was applied to the unsaved (e.g., Rom. 1:28; Titus 1:16). Here Paul was not addressing the issue of salvation, nor for that matter was even the prize specifically in mind. Rather, he seemed concerned with continuance in the race. Like the brother who had indulged in immorality (1 Cor. 5:1-5), Paul's life could be cut short by the disciplinary disapproval of God. God had disciplined in the past (10:6-10), was disciplining in the present (11:30-32), and would discipline in the immediate future (5:5). Paul was concerned that some might not be able to say with him one day, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race" (2 Tim. 4:7), but would find themselves cut off in the midst of the contest by the disciplinary action of God."

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM 1 COR CHAPTER 9 ******

OR MOVE TO FIRST VERSE OF CHAPTER TEN 

I) [1 Cor 10:1-33]:

(1 Cor 10:1 NASB) "For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;

(1 Cor 10:2 NASB) and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

(1 Cor 10:3 NASB) and all ate the same spiritual food;

(1 Cor 10:4 NASB) and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

(1 Cor 10:5 NKJV) But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

(1 Cor 10:6 NASB) Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

(1 Cor 10:7 NASB) Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, '''THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.'''

(1 Cor 10:8 NASB) Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

(1 Cor 10:9 NASB) Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.

(1 Cor 10:10 NASB) "Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

(1 Cor 10:11 NASB) Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.


(1 Cor 10:12 NKJV) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

(1 Cor 10:13 NASB) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

(1 Cor 10:14 NASB) Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

(1 Cor 10:15 HCSB) I am speaking as to wise people. Judge for yourselves what I say.

(1 Cor 10:16 HCSB) The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

(1 Cor 10:17 NASB) Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

(1 Cor 10:18 NASB) Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? 

(1 Cor 10:19 HCSB) What am I saying then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?

(1 Cor 10:20 NKJV) Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.

(1 Cor 10:21 NASB) You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 

(1 Cor 10:22 NASB) Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?

(1 Cor 10:23 NASB) All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

(1 Cor 10:24 NASB) Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.

(1 Cor 10:25 NASB) Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience' sake;

(1 Cor 10:26 HCSB) for the earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it. [cp Ps 24:1]

(1 Cor 10:27 HCSB) If one of the unbelievers invites you over and you want to go, eat everything that is set before you, without raising questions of conscience.

(1 Cor 10:28 NASB) But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake;

(1 Cor 10:29 HCSB) I do not mean your own conscience, but the other person’s. For why is my freedom judged by another person’s conscience?

(1 Cor 10:30 NASB) If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?

(1 Cor 10:31 NASB) Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

(1 Cor 10:32 NASB) Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;

(1 Cor 10:33 NASB) just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved."
 

A) [Commentary on 1 Cor 10:1-13]:

(1 Cor 10:1 NASB) "For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;

(1 Cor 10:2 NASB) and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

(1 Cor 10:3 NASB) and all ate the same spiritual food;

(1 Cor 10:4 NASB) and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

(1 Cor 10:5 NKJV) But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

(1 Cor 10:6 NASB) Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

(1 Cor 10:7 NASB) Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, '''The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.'''

(1 Cor 10:8 NASB) Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

(1 Cor 10:9 NASB) Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.

(1 Cor 10:10 NASB) Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

(1 Cor 10:11 NASB) Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.


(1 Cor 10:12 NKJV) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

(1 Cor 10:13 NASB) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."


The first 13 verses of 1 Cor chapter 10, are a lesson and an exhortation to the believers in Corinth and all believers everywhere to be faithful to God. For Paul reflects upon ancient Israel's past when God miraculously delivered His chosen people from Egyptian slavery and persecution to the promised land, where He sustained them and cared for them despite their rebellion from the very beginning when God made the Mosaic Law Covenant with them at Mt Sinai - blessing them when they were faithful and disciplining them when they were not. Despite the covenant which provided such blessing and preservation and victory if they were faithful to that Mosaic Law covenant, most of the ancient Israeli believers were severely disciplined for their unfaithfulness - a warning to all believers.

In 1 Cor 10:1, which reads
"For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea," the Greek word "gar" rendered "for" continues the context of chapters 8 & 9 which chapters emphasize the effort that the believers at Corinth are to make to be faithful, learning to treat others with an agape / self-sacrificial love especially in matters dealing with weaker / less mature believers so as not to become a stumbling block to them in their spiritual growth. And the word rendered "for" leads into Paul's accounting to the believers about Israel's rebellion / unfaithfulness.

So when Paul wrote in 1 Cor 10:1, "
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers," he was referring to the fathers of the Jews of ancient Israel who "were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;"

["under the cloud" = the cloud which led them to freedom from Egypt and then through the wilderness as a guide by day, (Ex 13:21). This cloud that was present at the Red Sea when the Exodus generation of Jews came to the shore of that sea and were going to cross - this cloud was the evidence of the glory of God - of His Almighty power. The Jews described this as the shekinah glory of God in their commentary writings on the Old Testament called the Targums.

1) [Ex 13:21-22]:

(v. 21) "By day the Lord went ahead of them [the escaping Israelites] in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

(v. 22) Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people."

The Jewish people became identified with the shekinah glory of God - of Jesus Christ, (1 Cor 10:4) - day and night, night and day. That cloud was a manifestation of the Lord God Himself - His visible glory. The Jews called this God's shekinah glory. The shekinah glory of God, the manifested glory of God, was identified with God's Chosen People Israel:

2) [Ro 9:4]:

"The people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the DIVINE GLORY [the shekinah glory of God], the covenants, the receiving of the Law, the temple worship and the promises."

3) [1 Cor 10:1) Compare Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

(1 Cor 10:1) "
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers [referring to the fathers of the Jews of ancient Israel] were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;"

"10:1. So that the Corinthians might not think God's discipline would be an unlikely eventuality for a people so blessed as they (1:5), Paul cited the illustration of another group of people who were greatly blessed by God but yet experienced His severe discipline. Israel of old was reckless and unrestrained after her physical and spiritual freedom from tyranny in Egypt. As a result God meted out severe discipline by cutting short the lives of many Israelites. They were all in the "race" (9:24), but almost all were disqualified (9:27) in spite of their advantages.

Five advantages were enjoyed by Israel. First, all the liberated Israelites enjoyed the supernatural guidance (Ex. 13:21) and protection (Ex. 14:19-20) of the pillar of cloud in their Exodus from Egypt. The Corinthians had similarly experienced God's guidance (cf. Luke 1:79) and protection (cf. 1 Peter 1:5). Second, all Israelites passed through the sea and experienced a miraculous deliverance from those who sought to take their lives (Ex. 14:21-28). So too had the Corinthians experienced a miraculous deliverance—salvation (cf. Heb. 2:14-15; Gal. 1:4)."

For not only did the LORD oversee the growth of Israel into a great nation of over 2 million while in Egypt; but during their exodus from Egypt the LORD provided the pillar of fire by night which resulted in direction and light; and the cloud by day which provided shelter from the sun and provided water for them to drink, (Ex 13:21-22; 14:19-20; Isa 4:4-6 ). The phrase under the cloud indicates that the people of ancient Israel were under the LORD's direction, guidence and care - frequently supernaturally. For the LORD sent quail and manna to feed His people for a month; (Ex 16:11-31; Nu 11:21 ); and He preserved the wear and tear on their clothes and sandals, (Dt 8:4). Furthermore, He gave them supernatural strength and miraculously parted the waters of the Red Sea so that they could cross dry shod and unharmed by the pursuing Egyptian chariot army. And it was these waters which then engulfed the pharoah and every man in the Egyptian chariot army who pursued them, (Ex 14:15-31)."

A cont.) [Commentary on 1 Cor 10:1-13, cont.]:

Then 1 Cor 10:2, reads,
"and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea," i.e., baptized in the sense of being immersed into / identified with the direction / leadership of God and His servant, Moses as they were led out of Egypt and into the promised land. The phrase "baptized with Moses" means that they were identified with Moses. Note that the phrase rendered "and all [the Jews] were baptized into Moses in the cloud [in the glory of God] and in the sea is obviously not water baptism because the Israelites did not get wet when they were baptized in the cloud nor when they "passed through the sea." Nor is Spirit baptism in view because they were all baptized into Moses and not into the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word "ebaptisauto" = "were baptized"= comes from the Greek verb "baptiso" = to immerse, to be identified with. In this case the Israelites were identified, i.e., 'baptiso'd' - with God's purpose for Moses - to cross the 'Red Sea' to freedom from the Egyptians and into the Promised Land as God's Chosen People with with God's chosen man, Moses, as their leader.

Compare the expression baptized into Christ as it appears in Ro 6:3, 4; Gal 3:27, and Heb 3:1-6. The aorist middle verb form, "ebaptisanto," or the alternate passive MS reading "ebaptisthesan," means "they received baptism." Some have taken the expression to specify either sprinkling or immersion, but these ideas are not in view. For the thought is a spiritual one as it stipulates in v. 3: They were united to God and to his servant Moses. So the cloud is a representation of God in His shekinah glory; the sea, of God's redemption and leadership.

All the Jews of the Exodus generation were identified with Moses as God's chosen people and God's chosen man to lead them. Moses and the Exodus generation Jewish people were baptized in the cloud and the sea - identified with God in His manifestation of Himself as the cloud and they were also identified with Moses leading them through the sea in the event of their escaping through it from the Egyptians.

4) [Dr. John Danish Pastor of Berean Memorial states it this way]:

"[The Jews were] identified with the glory of God which was present there among them. While passing through the miracle of the Red Sea, they were identified with Moses in the experience of walking dry shod through that sea and escaping the approaching attacking forces of Pharaoh."

The Jews were identified with the shekinah glory of God as our Lord Jesus Christ led them by day manifesting Himself in the cloud and by night manifesting Himself in the pillar of fire: The context of 1 Cor 9:24-27 is implied here in the sense that all the fathers shared in God's grace and all were in the race as described in 1 Cor 9:24-27 but fell short in their faithfulness.

So that the Corinthians might not think God's discipline would be an unlikely eventuality for a people so blessed as they were (1:5), Paul cited the illustration of another group of people who were greatly blessed by God but yet experienced His severe discipline. Israel of old was reckless and unrestrained after her physical and spiritual freedom from tyranny in Egypt. As a result God meted out severe discipline by cutting short the lives of many Israelites. Although they were all in the "race" (1 Cor 9:24), almost all were disqualified (9:27) in spite of their advantages - because they were so unfaithful.

And in the next two verses, which read, (1 Cor 10:3 NASB) "and all ate the same spiritual food;
(1 Cor 10:4 NASB) and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ" the words convey the sense that the One Who was leading them and preserving them and taking care of them was actually the Son of God, Jesus Christ in his preinarnate appearance.

The phrases in 1 Cor 10:3-4 rendered, "spiritual food" and "spiritual drink" refer to the actual food and water that was supernaturally provided by God which physically sustained the ancient Israelites - and pointed to God's spiritual connection with His chosen people - provision not only of physical sustenance but also of spiritual and eternal benefit for those who trusted in God's provision of everlasting life through the Rock Who is Christ.


The food and drink which God provided His chosen people in the wilderness was called spiritual food and spiritual drink, (vv. 3, 4) which means that these physical objects were provided to them by the grace of God and were not only physical sustenance but spiritual provision for them for eternal life. They were typical of Christ the true bread and drink Who provides for and sustains eternal life to all who trust in His payment for the sins of all mankind, (cf. 1 Jn 2:2; John 6:30-65). That the terms are to be taken as not only literal sustenance but also as figurative for spiritual meaning, i.e., provision for their salvation unto eternal life for all who believed in Christ for that provision both temporal and eternal salvation. For this is clear in the statement "that rock was Christ" (cf. 1 Cor 5:7), Who was with them to save them not only in their temporal lives but also into and for the rest of eternity.

Then in 1 Cor 10:5-6 which verses read,
(1 Cor 10:5 NKJV) "But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. (1 Cor 10:6 NASB) Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved."

But though all the Israelites shared these blessings, most of them were not pleasing to God in their conduct, (v. 5; cp Heb 3:13-19). God saw in them their unbelief (vv. 6-10) and so they all died prematurely, their  corpses scattered in the desert. Paul reminded us believers of the church age of the example of the unfaithfulness of ancient Israel - their craving evil things which led to their premature physical deaths and might well lead to the early demise of believers in this age who aren't faithful as well.

5) [Compare Heb 3:13-19]:

(Heb 3:13 NASB) "But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

(Heb 3:14 NASB)
For we have become partakers of Christ, if [= since] we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

(Heb 3:15 NASB)
while it is said, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME."

(Heb 3:16 NASB) For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

(Heb 3:17 NASB) And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

(Heb 3:18 NASB)
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?

(Heb 3:19 NASB)
So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief,"

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Whereupon, 1 Cor 10:6-10 reads as follows:

(1 Cor 10:6 NASB) "Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

(1 Cor 10:7 NASB) Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, '''The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.'''

(1 Cor 10:8 NASB) Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

(1 Cor 10:9 NASB) Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.

(1 Cor 10:10 NASB) Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer,"

9999999999999999999999999999 EXPOSITOR'S  99999999999999999999999999999
4. Warning: Israel's lack of self-restraint (10:1-13)

In this passage Paul takes the sins of Israel during the time of Moses as a basis for warning the Corinthians. Though the people of Israel had the covenant blessings and were miraculously delivered and sustained, yet most of them died in the wilderness because of disobedience and unbelief. Paul uses their experiences as examples, which he exhorts the Corinthians to heed.

1-5 The Greek word gar ("for") connects these verses with the argument in chapters 8 and 9. Having challenged the Christians in Corinth to self-discipline, Paul now looks back to Israel. First, he stresses their miraculous passage through the Red Sea. All the fathers shared in God's grace and all were in the race described in 9:24-27, but only Caleb and Joshua entered Canaan and won the prize. Five times in vv. 1-4 Paul says that all Israel shared in the blessings and the privileges of God's grace. But (alla, strong negative) God was not pleased with most of them, so he scattered their corpses over the desert (v. 5).

"I do not want you to be ignorant," meaning "I want you to know," is elsewhere used by Paul in presenting important truth (Rom 1:13; 1 Thess 4:13). "Under the cloud" indicates that they were under God's guidance (Exod 13:21, 22; Num 9:15-23; 14:14; Deut 1:33; Ps 78:14)—a guidance that was sure, since they all passed through the Red Sea.

That "they were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" simply means they were initiated and inaugurated under God into union with him and also with Moses and his leadership. Compare the expression "baptized into Christ" (Rom 6:3, 4; cf. Gal 3:27  ; and see Heb 3:1-6. The aorist middle form ebaptisanto, or the alternate passive MS reading ebaptisthesan, means "they received baptism." Some have taken the expression to specify either sprinkling or immersion, but these ideas need not be pressed. The thought is a spiritual one (v. 3). They were united to God and to his servant Moses. The cloud is a representation of God in his shekinah glory; the sea, of God's redemption and leadership.

That the food and drink in the wilderness are called spiritual (vv. 3, 4) means that these physical objects were to be a means of grace to God's people. They were typical of Christ the true bread and drink to come (cf. John 6:30-65). That the terms are to be taken as typical is seen in the statement "that rock was Christ" (cf. 1Cor 5:7), who was with them to save them.

But though they all shared these blessings, most of them were not pleasing to God (v. 5; Heb 3:17-19). He saw in them a heart of unbelief (vv. 6-10) and scattered their corpses in the desert.

6-10 Paul explains here that all these things were examples (typoi) for us to think about, lest we who also have received the covenant blessings should become displeasing to God by lusting after evil things as Israel did.

Then he describes (vv. 7-10) what that lusting involved and warns against following their example. Many of Israel became idolaters. The illustration is that of Exodus 32:1-6, where it is said that Israel had Aaron make the golden calf. Exodus 32:6, quoted here, tells how Israel ate a sacrificial meal in dedication to the calf and then got up "to play" (KJV), that is, to dance in ceremonial revelry as the pagans danced before their gods. This may look back to Paul's discussion in 1 Corinthians 8 about meat sacrificed to idols.

As he continues his warning, he alludes to Israel's joining herself to Baalpeor (Num 25:1-9), an act involving both spiritual and sexual unfaithfulness. Hodge notes (in loc.), "This Baal-peor was the god of the Moabites who was worshiped by the prostitution of virgins. Idolatry and fornication were in that case inseparable." In v. 8 Paul uses porneuo, the common NT word for "committing sexual immorality" that is a cognate of the words used in chapter 5. He softens its force, however, by including himself in the exhortation. The Greek text says 23,000 died, whereas the Hebrew and LXX texts of Numbers 25:9 says 24,000. Paul is speaking about how many died in that one day; he does not include others who were killed subsequently, among them being the leaders in the rebellion, whom God ordered Moses to hang (Num 25:4).

Verse 9 relates to the murmuring of Israel against the Lord for bringing them out of Egypt and tells of their drastic punishment (Num 21:6). Observe the plural pronoun "we," with which Paul includes himself in cautioning the Corinthians against complaining as Israel did. The verb ekpeirazo means "to put to the test"—i.e., testing the Lord to see what he will do.

The next example (v. 10) relates to Israel's grumbling against the Lord at Kadesh-barnea (Num 14:2) and their wishing they had died in Egypt or in the wilderness. The "destroyer" was the angel of God (cf. Exod 12:23), whom Paul indicates was sent to bring the plague spoken of in Numbers 14:37. The incident referred to may also be taken to be the destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num 16:30).

11-13 Paul now makes an application for the Corinthians. Paul sets forth the examples he uses as actually having occurred in history (notice the imperfect verb sunebainen, "they were happening") and as having been written down to warn us. The KJV translation "ends of the world" (v. 11b) seems to suggest too much, as though Paul thought he and the Corinthians were in the time of the Second Coming. Actually, he is speaking of the stretch of time called "the fulfillment [or `end'] of the ages," which was to continue from Paul's time into the indefinite future. The warning amounts to this: Do not be smug in your firm stand for Christ. Keep alert lest you fall.

Verse 13 is one of the most helpful verses in the NT and presents the great antidote to falling into sin through temptation. Peirasmos, "trial" or "temptation" is not itself sinful. God allows it as a way of purifying us James 1:12), but the devil uses it to entice us into sin (cf. Matt 4:1). The temptations that come to the Christian are those all human beings face—they are unavoidable. But, says Paul, God is right there with us to keep us from being overwhelmed by the temptation. The words "with the temptation" could perhaps be taken to mean that God brings the temptation, but this is contrary to James 1:13. So it means, rather, that when we are tempted, God will help. He will provide a way out, not to avoid the temptation, but to meet it successfully and to stand firm under it.

Notes


2 Some MSS have the aorist middle of βαπτίζω (baptizo)—"they got themselves baptized." Other MSS have the passive—"they were baptized." The meaning is the same.

4 The article ἡ (he) with both πέτρα (petra, "the rock") and Χριστός (Christos, "the Christ") shows that the rock typifies the Christ.

5 The verb κατεστρώθησαν (katestrothesan) is passive and vividly describes the scattering of the corpses (by the hand of God) all over the desert.

6 The term ἐπιθυμία (epithymia, "strong desire, longing") can be used in a good sense (Philippians 1:23), but more often, as here, in a bad sense of lusting after what is forbidden (cf. 2 Tim 2:22).

10 The ὀλοθρευτής (olothreutes) is the destroyer (cf. Exod 12:23; ‏המשׁחית‎, hammashit, and Heb 11:28)—the angel of God designed to bring divine judgment.


5. Warning: attendance at pagan sacrifices means fellowship with idolatry (10:14-22)

Here Paul applies the example of Israel's idolatry to the problem of 1 Corinthians 8—eating meat sacrificed to idols. There is the danger of going a step beyond just eating sacrificed meat to that of joining the pagans in the sacrificial feasts in their pagan temples. To do this would be wrong and sinful. Paul illustrates this by showing that participation in the Lord's Supper signifies that the believer is in communion—in a sharing relationship (koinonia)—with the Savior. So participation in idol feasts in pagan temples means sharing in the pagan worship. Such participation is forbidden. This is the mistake Israel made. Christians today must discern how the illustration applies to their own lives.

14, 15 The apostle's terse injunction, "Flee [present tense] from idolatry," applies not only to the weak who through eating might be led into idolatry but also to those with a strong conscience who in leading the weak into sin were guilty. Paul asks the Corinthians to use good sense and determine the truth of what he says.

16, 17 Paul teaches that the cup of blessing or thanksgiving (eulogia) brings us spiritually into participation in the blood of Christ and into fellowship with him. The same is true of the bread. The "cup of blessing" was a technical term for the third cup drunk at the Jewish Passover, the time when the Lord's Supper was instituted (Matt 26:17-30 and parallel passages: Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23; John 13:21-30). That "participation in Christ's blood" is meant to be a memorial symbol of fellowship with Christ, and not a literal drinking of his blood, is clear from the fact that Christ had not yet died when he instituted this supper and that this participation is in remembering him, not in drinking him (1Cor 11:25). So also we are one body because we partake of one bread.

18-20 Here Paul compares the OT sacrifices with pagan offerings. When the people of Israel sacrificed at the altar and ate part of the sacrifice (Lev 7:15; 8:31; Deut 12:17, 18), they participated in and became a part of the sacrificial system and worship of God. Paul says he does not mean that the meat sacrificed to an idol or the idol itself is anything, but he does mean that when the pagans sacrifice, they do so to demons and he doesn't want the Corinthians to share in worship having to do with demons. For one cannot be both—a participant in Christ and in demons also.

21 To make it clearer, Paul speaks of "The Lord's table"—a term that the Corinthian converts from paganism would readily associate with "tables" used for pagan idol meals. In the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus CX there is a revealing sentence that says, "Chairemon invites you to a meal at the table of the lord Serapis in the Serapeum, tomorrow the fifteenth from nine o'clock onwards." So Paul is teaching that a Christian cannot at the same time participate in the meal at the table of the pagan god and the table of the Lord.

22 The conclusion is that if we as Christians share in pagan idolatry, we will "arouse" (i.e., "stir up") the Lord's jealousy and thus incite him to action in his hatred of sin and for mixed allegiance (Deut 32:21; Ps 78:58). And surely, Paul says, we are not stronger than God and cannot overcome or subdue his jealousy and anger against sin if we share in pagan practices.

Notes


18 Κατὰ σάρκα (kata sarka, "according to the flesh") refers to Israel "physically, in the flesh"; hence the tr. "the people of Israel."

19 φημί (phemi, "I say") has the force of "I mean" (NIV, "Do I mean then... ?").

21 Note that μετέχω (metecho, "share, participate") is used here, rather than κοινωνία (koinonia—used of a Christian's fellowship with Christ) because the same mutual fellowship could not exist in sharing both the table of the Lord and the table of demons.


6. Freedom, but within limits: do all to the glory of God (10:23-11:1)

Returning to the thought of 1 Corinthians 8 that eating meat sacrificed to idols is essentially a matter of indifference, Paul now adds that it can be harmful. He lays down three principles: First, though the Christian has the right to do all things, such as eating sacrificial meat, it may not be beneficial to themselves. Second, such practices of liberty may not in fact build up a fellow Christian. Third, in summary Paul teaches that Christians are not merely to seek their own good but to promote the good of their fellow Christians.

25-30 Specifically, Paul says, meat eaten at an idol feast is associated with pagan worship and is contaminated. Meat sold in the public meat market has lost its religious significance and is all right to eat.

The word makellon ("meat market," v. 25) has interesting connections in Corinth. Near the Lechaeum Road, the paved footroad leading north from Corinth toward the western part of Lechaeum (see map of Corinthia, p. 187), a commercial building has been excavated. It has a paved court, which was surrounded by colonnades and small shops. Broneer ("Corinth," p. 89), relates that in the pavement of one shop a marble slab has been found, and claims it is inscribed with the Latin word for market and that this word has been transliterated in the Greek text of v. 25. But J. Schneider, in TDNT, 4:370-372, says that the word makellon is of Greek origin, occurring on a building inscription in Epidauros about 400 B.C., though it appears in Roman inscriptions in Italy and in Latin-speaking colonies more than in Greek on Greek inscriptions. The word means "food market" as well as "meat market," which was a part of the makellon. Excavations have revealed the plan of such markets: a rectangular, columned court with a central fountain and a dome-shaped roof supported by columns and with booths on the sides and porticoes in front of them. According to Schneider (ibid.), the food market at Pompeii had on the east side an imperial cult area, embellished with statues, and in the southeast area there seems to have been a room for sacrificial meals.

Cadbury argues (in JBL, 53:134-141) that the makellon—meat market mentioned on the inscription found in Corinth was in existence in Paul's day, and so this establishment could be the very one Paul is referring to, where meat previously offered in sacrifice to idols was being sold. As has been said, this meat no longer retained its religious significance and was really all right to eat.

So, Paul teaches, eat this meat without raising questions, remembering that meat and all things come from the Lord (v. 26). The OT quotation from Psalm 24:1 (cf. Pss 50:12; 89:11) was used as a Jewish blessing at mealtimes.

In approving of a believer joining an unbeliever at the latter's house for dinner (v. 27), the apostle is thinking of the believer's giving the unbeliever a quiet, appreciative testimony. If, however, at the dinner someone (probably a fellow Christian; cf. v. 29a) points out that the meat was offered to an idol, then the believer is to refrain from eating the meat. The reason for this is that he does not want his Christian freedom condemned through another man's conscience (v. 29). Paul asks why he should be condemned for partaking of something in the meal he could really thank God for. The verb blasphemeo (v. 30) means "to injure the reputation of," or actually "to revile" or "denounce" someone who has presumably done wrong. So the strong brother has the power to protect his "right" to eat by not eating meat in such a case.

31-33 These verses introduce a positive and more ultimate perspective. It is not just the other brother who should be in view, but God the creator and giver of all things. The oun ("therefore," "so") relates this ultimate concept to one's attitude toward the weak brother. The glory of God must be the Christian's objective in everything (1Pet 4:11; Col 3:17; cf. Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1). But Paul says that doing all for the glory of God means thinking of the good of others, both Christians and non-Christians (v. 32). The mention of Jews and Greeks may refer to the unsaved groups talked about in 1 Corinthians 1. By "the church of God" Paul means to include the brother with the weak conscience (cf. Rom 14:13, 21). So we find encompassed by these verses the two great commandments—love God and love your neighbor (Matt 22:37-39). Paul seeks to benefit others, not himself. His ultimate objective in all his conduct is that people might be saved—not superficially but fully and to the glory of God.

11:1 This verse really belongs to the previous discussion. The dynamic present imperative of ginomai gives the command a continual relevance then and now. "Ever become imitators (mimetai cf. English "mimic") of me" is the literal translation. Paul is calling the Corinthians to the unity that had been disrupted (ch. 1). He can do this because he himself is an imitator of Christ (Gal 2:20)—the same Christ who had dealt gently with Paul in all his prejudices (Acts 26:12-18).

Notes


23 Συμφερεῖ (sympherei, "be useful," "beneficial") deals more with the basic principle, whereas οἰκοδομεῖ, (oikodomei, "to build up," "edify") deals with the causative effect of Christian actions—they actually affect the spiritual growth of believers.

30 Χάρις (charis, "grace"—the grace of God (cf. Titus 2:13)—also often has the idea "be grateful for," and so means "thanks," "thankfulness" (e.g., 2 Cor 9:15).

32-11:1 Observe the occurrences of γιν́εσθε (ginesthe): "become blameless" (v. 32), "become imitators" (11:1). Christianity always presents the challenge of responsible Christian living.

33 The aorist (constative) subjunctive σωθῶσιν (sothosin "that they might be saved") has the total view in mind—that they be shown to be totally saved with all the divine means of grace and through human agency, by God's plan to accomplish that salvation, which includes justification and sanctification (growth in grace) and finally glorification, when the believer gets to heaven (cf. 2 Tim 4:6-8).

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10:1. So that the Corinthians might not think God's discipline would be an unlikely eventuality for a people so blessed as they (1:5), Paul cited the illustration of another group of people who were greatly blessed by God but yet experienced His severe discipline. Israel of old was reckless and unrestrained after her physical and spiritual freedom from tyranny in Egypt. As a result God meted out severe discipline by cutting short the lives of many Israelites. They were all in the "race" (9:24), but almost all were disqualified (9:27) in spite of their advantages.

Five advantages were enjoyed by Israel. First, all the liberated Israelites enjoyed the supernatural guidance (Ex. 13:21) and protection (Ex. 14:19-20) of the pillar of cloud in their Exodus from Egypt. The Corinthians had similarly experienced God's guidance (cf. Luke 1:79) and protection (cf. 1 Peter 1:5). Second, all Israelites passed through the sea and experienced a miraculous deliverance from those who sought to take their lives (Ex. 14:21-28). So too had the Corinthians experienced a miraculous deliverance—salvation (cf. Heb. 2:14-15; Gal. 1:4).

10:2. Third, the Israelites were all baptized into Moses, that is, united with their spiritual head, God's servant, who became the object of their trust (Ex. 14:31; cf. John 5:45). The Corinthians had been baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) of which He is the Head (Eph. 1:22) and in whom they trusted (Matt. 12:21; Eph. 1:12).

10:3. As a fourth privilege, the Israelites all enjoyed spiritual food, the supernatural bread from heaven (Ex. 16:4, 15). The Corinthians too had eaten bread from heaven (cf. John 6:31-34).

10:4. As a fifth advantage, Paul listed the spiritual drink enjoyed by Israel in the desert (Ex. 17:6). According to Paul, Christ was the source of this supernatural water. Since the incident of the rock which produced water marked the beginning of Israel's wilderness wanderings (Ex. 17:1-7) and happened again near the ending of their wanderings (Num. 20:1-13), Paul concluded that Christ accompanied them. Christ too was the source of supernatural water for the Corinthians (cf. John 4:10-14).

It is possible that these five blessings were intended by Paul to reflect the two ordinances of baptism (1 Cor. 10:1-2) and the Lord's Supper (vv. 3-4) which the Corinthians may have thought communicated a magical protection like similar rites in some of the mystery religions. The Corinthians did seem to have a distorted view and practice of both of these ordinances (cf. 11:17-34; 15:29) which required correction.

10:5. The presence of supernatural privileges in the lives of Old Testament Israelites did not produce automatic success. On the contrary, in spite of their special advantages,most of them (in fact, all but two members of one generation, Joshua and Caleb) experienced God's discipline, were disqualified, and died inthe desert ( Num. 14:29). In light of this, Paul's avowed need for personal self-discipline (1 Cor. 9:27) was genuine since even Moses was disqualified for the prize (Num. 20:12).

10:6. Since this was so, the Corinthians' complacency in matters of self-discipline and their corresponding penchant for self-indulgence required immediate remedial action. Christian freedom was not meant to lead to self-indulgence but to selfless service (cf. Gal. 5:13), as the behavior of past Israelites illustrated.

Paralleling the fivefold blessings enjoyed by Israel in their newfound freedom from Egypt, Paul proceeded to recount a fivefold failure experienced by Israel during this time. He began with the Israelites' craving for the pleasures of Egypt, summarized in their plaintive cry, "Give us meat to eat!" (Num. 11:4-34, esp. v. 13) God gave them what they wanted but while the meat was still between their teeth, He struck them with a plague. The Israelites named the cemetery for those who were killed "Kibroth Hattaavah" ("graves of craving"; Num. 11:34). The application to the Corinthian situation was obvious (cf. 1 Cor. 8:13).

10:7. Second, many in Israel failed by participating in idolatry (Ex. 32:1-6) and paid for it with their lives (Ex. 32:28, 35). Apparently some Corinthians were. interested in more than meat in the pagan temples (1 Cor. 8:10; 10:14). For those who thought they as Christians could take part in idolatry with impunity, Paul intended, with illustrations like this, to knock out the false props which supported their behavior (v. 12) before God intervened and took their lives.

10:8. A third failure among the privileged Israelites was in the area of sexual immorality. In the Israelites' case the immorality was associated with idolatry (Num. 25:1-2), which also characterized much pagan worship in the first century. But the Corinthians indulged in immorality in contexts other than idolatry, as the instances of rebuke in 1 Corinthians 5:1 and 6:18 illustrate. As God had brought death to the immoral among the Israelites (Num. 25:4-9), He could do in Corinth (e.g., 1 Cor. 5:5), a sobering thought for the libertines who said, "Everything is permissible" (6:12; 10:23).

A possible solution to the apparent discrepancy in the death count found in Numbers 25:9 (24,000) and Paul's figure of 23,000 may reside in the phrase one day. Moses and most of Israel were mourning the death of those who had been executed by the judges (Num. 25:5) or killed by an ongoing plague. Meanwhile Phineas was dispatching an Israelite man and Moabite woman in their last act of immorality (Num. 25:6-8), which brought to completion God's discipline of the immoral Israelites and ended the death toll by plague at 24,000, a number probably intended as a summary figure.

Another explanation of the 24,000 in Numbers (contra. Paul's 23,000) is that the former included the leaders (cf. Num. 25:4), whereas the latter did not.

10:9. The Israelites' fourth failure was the presuming of some to question the plan and purpose of God on their trek to Canaan. As a result theywere killed by snakes ( Num. 21:4-6). Did the Corinthians think that they knew better than God the path that would bring them to heaven? (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18-3:20)

10:10. Israel's fifth failure, which God disciplined with death, occurred when they spoke rebelliously against God's appointed leaders, Moses and Aaron (Num. 16:41-49). Was Paul facing a similar situation as an outgrowth of the Corinthians' party spirit? (cf. 1 Cor. 1:11; 4:18-19) It is possible that each of these failures found expression in the Corinthian issue of eating food sacrificed to idols.

10:11. God's dealings with Israel were more than a matter of historical curiosity for Paul. They were examples (cf. v. 6) and warnings for the Corinthians that the God with whom they had to deal, who was bringing His interaction with people to a close in this fulfillment of the ages, was the same God who disciplined the Israelites with death and would do so again (cf. 11:30).

10:12. If the Corinthians believed their standing in Christ and corresponding freedom could be exercised in sin with impunity, they were wrong, possibly dead wrong.

10:13. After kicking out the props of false security, Paul pointed toward the One on whom the Corinthians could rely. The temptations thatseized the Corinthians were like those people had always faced. They could be met and endured by depending on God, who is faithful. Part of the Corinthian problem, of course, was that some in the face of temptation were not looking for a way out by endurance, but a way in for indulgence.

c. The application to idolatry (10:14-11:1)

10:14-15. The therefore (dioper) introduced Paul's application of Christian freedom to eating food sacrificed to idols. He gave advice in three areas: (a) meat in the pagan temple (vv. 14-22; cf. 8:10); (b) meat in the marketplace (10:25-26); (c) meat in the home (vv. 27-30). His advice on the first count was uncomplicated—flee from idolatry (cf. 6:18, "flee from sexual immorality"). He believed that the rhetorical questions which followed would lead sensible people like the Corinthians (cf. 4:10) to agree.

10:16-17. Paul's point in these verses about the Lord's Supper was like that made earlier (5:6-8). The collective worship of Christians at the Lord's Supper expressed the unity among the members and their participation (koinōnia, "fellowship") in the blood of Christ and in the body of Christ. The one loaf of bread, of which all partake, pictured their unity as members of the one body of Christ.

10:18. Likewise in the worship of Israel, the participants identified with what was sacrificed and with each other.

10:19-21. The same was true of pagan worship. It was true that an idol was nothing (8:4; cf. Ps. 115:4-7), but the ultimate reality behind pagan religion was demonic. Pagan sacrifices were offered to demons, not to God. Through his minions "the god of this age" blinded unbelievers and kept them from the truth (2 Cor. 4:4). There could be no union for good between Christ and Belial (2 Cor. 6:15). So those who were the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19) should shun the temple of idols (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-18). No magical contamination was conveyed, but the corrupt character of the participants would be harmful for believers (1 Cor. 15:33). Being participants with demons was unthinkable for those who are participants with Christ (10:21; cf. v. 16).

10:22. Most importantly such behavior displeased God (cf. Deut. 32:21). Did the "strong" Corinthians (1 Cor. 8:7-10) require the same discipline as Israel? (10:7; Ex. 32:28, 35)

10:23-24. The principle of freedom (everything is permissible; cf. 6:12) was to be regulated by love for others. Activities that are not beneficial or constructive or that do not promote the good of others (cf. 10:33) should be avoided.

10:25-26. For a Christian who bought meat at a market with the intent of eating it at home, Paul recommended that selections be made without reservation. No one could contaminate what God had made clean (cf. Acts 10:15) since everything belongs to Him (Ps. 24:1).

10:27-30. For a Christian who accepted an invitation to another's home Paul recommended eating from all the fare without scrupulous reservation. But if another Christian guest piped up (cf. 8:7-13) that the food had been part of a pagan sacrifice, the knowledgeable Christian should defer to the uninformed scruples of the weaker brother. To exercise his rightful freedom to eat might cause the brother with the scrupulousconscience to follow that example and cause him to sin (cf. Rom. 14:14-23).

A knowledgeable Christian did not need to alter his convictions to accord with the conscience of a weaker brother (1 Cor. 10:29b), but he did need to alter his behavior when in the weaker brother's presence. Otherwise the weak brother might act against his conscience and harm himself (cf. 8:11), which would bring denunciation on the strong brother. What the knowledgeable Christian could enjoy privately with thankfulness became in the presence of the weaker brother a contemptible act eliciting condemnation (why am I denounced [blasphēmoumai] because of something I thank God for? cf. 8:12; Rom. 14:16, 22). An echo of 1 Corinthians 8:13 concluded the matter.

10:31-11:1. The principle which summarized Paul's response to the question of eating food offered as a pagan sacrifice was an application of the command to love God and neighbors. Christian behavior should befor the glory of God. Also it should build up the church of God by leading some to new birth ( v. 33b) and others to maturity in the process of salvation (justification, sanctification, glorification; cf. 1:30). Christians should avoid behavior that would cause others—whether Jews (cf. 9:20), Greeks (cf. 9:21), or the church of God... to stumble (lit., "fall"; cf. 10:12). (Interestingly this reference to Jews separate from the church shows that the NT church did not replace the Jewish nation. This argues strongly for premillennialism.)

The One who perfectly exemplified love for God and others was Christ (cf. Rom. 15:3; Phil. 2:5-8). Displaying the same spirit in his ministry, Paul urged the Corinthians to follow his example in this matter of food from a pagan sacrifice. They should allow their freedom to be regulated by love.

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