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1 Corinthians Chapter Ten


1 Corinthians 10

The apostle then gives the Corinthians the ways of God with Israel in the wilderness, as instruction with regard to His ways with us, declaring that the things which happened to them were types or figures which serve as patterns for us: an important principle, and one which ought to be clearly apprehended, in order to profit by it. It is not Israel who is the figure, but that which happened to Israel-the ways of God with Israel. The things themselves happened to Israel; they were written for our instruction who find ourselves at the close of God's dispensations. That which shall follow will be the judgment of God, when these examples will no longer serve for the life of faith.

Two principles are next established which also have great practical importance: "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." This is our responsibility. On the other side we have the faithfulness of God. He does not permit us to be tempted beyond our strength, but provides a way of escape in order that we may not stumble.

He enjoins, with regard to idolatry, that holy fear which avoids the occasion of doing evil, the occasion of falling. There is association and communion through the table of which we partake with that which is on it; and we Christians, being many, are but one bread and one body, [1] inasmuch as we share the same bread at the Lord's supper. Those in Israel who ate of the sacrifices were partakers of the altar-were identified with it. So those who ate of idol's meat as such were identified with the idol it was offered to. Was this to say that the idol was anything? No. But as it is written (Deut. 32), "The things which the Gentiles offered, they offered to demons and not to God." Should a Christian then, partake of the table of demons? The table was the table of demons, the cup the cup of demons-an important principle for the assembly of God. Would one provoke the Lord by putting Him on a level with demons? Allusion is again made to Deuteronomy 32:21. The apostle repeats his principle already established, that he had liberty in every respect, but that on the one hand he would not put himself under the power of anything; on the other, being free, he would use his liberty for the spiritual good of all. To follow out this rule, these are his instructions: Whatsoever was sold in the market they should eat without question of conscience. If any man said, "This was sacrificed to idols," it was a proof that he had conscience of an idol. They should then not eat of it, because of his conscience. For as to him who was free, his liberty could not be judged by the conscience of the other; for, as to doctrine, and where there was knowledge, the apostle recognises it as a truth that the idol was nothing. The creature was simply the creature of God. Communion with that which was false I ought to avoid for myself, especially in that which relates to communion with God Himself. I should deny myself the liberty which the truth gave me, rather than wound the weak conscience of others.

Moreover in all things, even in eating or drinking, we ought to see the glory of God, and do all to His glory; giving no offence by using our liberty, either to Jew or Gentile, or the assembly of God; following the apostle's example, who, denying himself, sought to please all for their edification.

Having given these rules in answer to questions of detail, he turns to that which regarded the presence and action of the Holy Ghost; which also introduces the subject of the conduct proper for them in their assemblies.


[1] It is here the apostle comes to the inner circle of the body of Christ, the true assembly of God united together by the Holy Ghost, of which the Lord's supper is the expression.

── John DarbySynopsis of 1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 10

Chapter Contents

The great privileges, and yet terrible overthrow of the Israelites in the wilderness. (1-5) Cautions against all idolatrous, and other sinful practices. (6-14) The partaking in idolatry cannot exist with having communion with Christ. (15-22) All we do to be to the glory of God, and without offence to the consciences of others. (23-33)

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

(Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-5)

To dissuade the Corinthians from communion with idolaters, and security in any sinful course, the apostle sets before them the example of the Jewish nation of old. They were, by a miracle, led through the Red Sea, where the pursuing Egyptians were drowned. It was to them a typical baptism. The manna on which they fed was a type of Christ crucified, the Bread which came down from heaven, which whoso eateth shall live for ever. Christ is the Rock on which the Christian church is built; and of the streams that issue therefrom, all believers drink, and are refreshed. It typified the sacred influences of the Holy Spirit, as given to believers through Christ. But let none presume upon their great privileges, or profession of the truth; these will not secure heavenly happiness.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:6-14

(Read 1 Corinthians 10:6-14)

Carnal desires gain strength by indulgence, therefore should be checked in their first rise. Let us fear the sins of Israel, if we would shun their plagues. And it is but just to fear, that such as tempt Christ, will be left by him in the power of the old serpent. Murmuring against God's disposals and commands, greatly provokes him. Nothing in Scripture is written in vain; and it is our wisdom and duty to learn from it. Others have fallen, and so may we. The Christian's security against sin is distrust of himself. God has not promised to keep us from falling, if we do not look to ourselves. To this word of caution, a word of comfort is added. Others have the like burdens, and the like temptations: what they bear up under, and break through, we may also. God is wise as well as faithful, and will make our burdens according to our strength. He knows what we can bear. He will make a way to escape; he will deliver either from the trial itself, or at least the mischief of it. We have full encouragement to flee from sin, and to be faithful to God. We cannot fall by temptation, if we cleave fast to him. Whether the world smiles or frowns, it is an enemy; but believers shall be strengthened to overcome it, with all its terrors and enticements. The fear of the Lord, put into their hearts, will be the great means of safety.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:15-22

(Read 1 Corinthians 10:15-22)

Did not the joining in the Lord's supper show a profession of faith in Christ crucified, and of adoring gratitude to him for his salvation ? Christians, by this ordinance, and the faith therein professed, were united as the grains of wheat in one loaf of bread, or as the members in the human body, seeing they were all united to Christ, and had fellowship with him and one another. This is confirmed from the Jewish worship and customs in sacrifice. The apostle applies this to feasting with idolaters. Eating food as part of a heathen sacrifice, was worshipping the idol to whom it was made, and having fellowship or communion with it; just as he who eats the Lord's supper, is accounted to partake in the Christian sacrifice, or as they who ate the Jewish sacrifices partook of what was offered on their altar. It was denying Christianity; for communion with Christ, and communion with devils, could never be had at once. If Christians venture into places, and join in sacrifices to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, they will provoke God.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:23-33

(Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-33)

There were cases wherein Christians might eat what had been offered to idols, without sin. Such as when the flesh was sold in the market as common food, for the priest to whom it had been given. But a Christian must not merely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and to edify others. Christianity by no means forbids the common offices of kindness, or allows uncourteous behaviour to any, however they may differ from us in religious sentiments or practices. But this is not to be understood of religious festivals, partaking in idolatrous worship. According to this advice of the apostle, Christians should take care not to use their liberty to the hurt of others, or to their own reproach. In eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the great end of all religion, and directs us where express rules are wanting. A holy, peaceable, and benevolent spirit, will disarm the greatest enemies.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 10

Verse 1

[1] Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

Now — That ye may not become reprobates, consider how highly favoured your fathers were, who were God's elect and peculiar people, and nevertheless were rejected by him. They were all under the cloud - That eminent token of God's gracious presence, which screened them from the heat of the sun by day, and gave them light by night.

And all passed through the sea — God opening a way through the midst of the waters. Exodus 13:21; Exodus 14:22

Verse 2

[2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

And were all, as it were, baptized unto Moses - initiated into the religion which he taught them.

In the cloud and in the sea — Perhaps sprinkled here and there with drops of water from the sea or the cloud, by which baptism might be the more evidently signified.

Verse 3

[3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

And all ate the same manna, termed spiritual meat, as it was typical, 1. Of Christ and his spiritual benefits: 2. Of the sacred bread which we eat at his table. Exodus 16:15.

Verse 4

[4] 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.

Verse 5

[5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Yet — Although they had so many tokens of the divine presence.

They were overthrown — With the most terrible marks of his displeasure.

Verse 6

[6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Now these things were our examples — Showing what we are to expect if, enjoying the like benefits, we commit the like sins. The benefits are set down in the same order as by Moses in Exodus; the sins and punishments in a different order; evil desire first, as being the foundation of all; next, idolatry, 1 Corinthians 10:7,14; then fornication, which usually accompanied it, 1 Corinthians 10:8; the tempting and murmuring against God, in the following verses.

As they desired — Flesh, in contempt of manna. Numbers 11:4

Verse 7

[7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Neither be ye idolaters — And so, "neither murmur ye," 1 Corinthians 10:10. The other cautions are given in the first person; but these in the second. And with what exquisite propriety does he vary the person! It would have been improper to say, Neither let us be idolaters; for he was himself in no danger of idolatry; nor probably of murmuring against Christ, or the divine providence.

To play — That is, to dance, in honour of their idol. Exodus 32:6.

Verse 8

[8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

And fell in one day three and twenty thousand — Beside the princes who were afterwards hanged, and those whom the judges slew so that there died in all four and twenty thousand. Numbers 25:1,9.

Verse 9

[9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Neither let us tempt Christ — By our unbelief. St. Paul enumerates five benefits, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4; of which the fourth and fifth were closely connected together; and five sins, the fourth and fifth of which were likewise closely connected. In speaking of the fifth benefit, he expressly mentions Christ; and in speaking of the fourth sin, he shows it was committed against Christ.

As some of them tempted him — This sin of the people was peculiarly against Christ; for when they had so long drank of that rock, yet they murmured for want of water. Numbers 21:4, etc.

Verse 10

[10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

The destroyer — The destroying angel. Numbers 14:1,36

Verse 11

[11] Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

On whom the ends of the ages are come — The expression has great force. All things meet together, and come to a crisis, under the last, the gospel, dispensation; both benefits and dangers, punishments and rewards. It remains, that Christ come as an avenger and judge. And even these ends include various periods, succeeding each other.

Verse 12

[12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

The common translation runs, Let him that thinketh he standeth; but the word translated thinketh, most certainly strengthens, rather than weakens, the sense.

Verse 13

[13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Common to man — Or, as the Greek word imports, proportioned to human strength.

God is faithful — In giving the help which he hath promised.

And he will with the temptation — Provide for your deliverance.

Verse 14

[14] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Flee from idolatry — And from all approaches to it.

Verse 16

[16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

The cup which we bless — By setting it apart to a sacred use, and solemnly invoking the blessing of God upon it.

Is it not the communion of the blood of Christ — The means of our partaking of those invaluable benefits, which are the purchase of the blood of Christ. The communion of the body of Christ - The means of our partaking of those benefits which were purchased by the body of Christ - offered for us.

Verse 17

[17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

For it is this communion which makes us all one. We being many are yet, as it were, but different parts of one and the same broken bread, which we receive to unite us in one body.

Verse 18

[18] Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Consider Israel after the flesh — Christians are the spiritual "Israel of God." Are not they who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar - Is not this an act of communion with that God to whom they are offered? And is not the case the same with those who eat of the sacrifices which have been offered to idols?

Verse 19

[19] What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

What say I then — Do I in saying this allow that an idol is anything divine? I aver, on the contrary, that what the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils. Such in reality are the gods of the heathens; and with such only can you hold communion in those sacrifices.

Verse 21

[21] Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils — You cannot have communion with both.

Verse 22

[22] Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy — By thus caressing his rivals? Are we stronger than he - Are we able to resist, or to bear his wrath?

Verse 23

[23] All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Supposing this were lawful in itself, yet it is not expedient, it is not edifying to my neighbour.

Verse 24

[24] Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.

His own only, but another's welfare also.

Verse 25

[25] Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:

The apostle now applies this principle to the point in question.

Asking no questions — Whether it has been sacrificed or not.

Verse 26

[26] For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

For God, who is the Creator, Proprietor, and Disposer of the earth and all that is therein, hath given the produce of it to the children of men, to be used without scruple. Psalms 24:1

Verse 28

[28] But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:

For his sake that showed thee, and for conscience' sake — That is, for the sake of his weak conscience, lest it should be wounded.

Verse 29

[29] Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?

Conscience I say, not thy own — I speak of his conscience, not thine.

For why is my liberty judged by another's conscience — Another's conscience is not the standard of mine, nor is another's persuasion the measure of my liberty.

Verse 30

[30] For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

If I by grace am a partaker — If I thankfully use the common blessings of God.

Verse 31

[31] Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Therefore — To close the present point with a general rule, applicable not only in this, but in all cases, Whatsoever ye do - In all things whatsoever, whether of a religious or civil nature, in all the common, as well as sacred, actions of life, keep the glory of God in view, and steadily pursue in all this one end of your being, the planting or advancing the vital knowledge and love of God, first in your own soul, then in all mankind.

Verse 32

[32] Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

Give no offence — If, and as far as, it is possible.

Verse 33

[33] Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Even as I, as much as lieth in me, please all men.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Corinthians


1 Cor. 10:6~11

At the site of Dachau concentration camp near Munich, Germany, is a museum containing relics from the camp, as well as grim photos depicting conditions there during the war years. There is a sign next to the exit that reads: “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat its mistakes.”

The same idea was in Paul’s mind in this passage. The mistakes the Israelites made were cited by the apostle to serve as a reminder and warning, much as the sign at Dachau was.


Chapter 10. Warnings from History

The Cup of Thanksgiving
The Bread That Was Broken

I. Don't Repeat the Failure

  1. Forget Graces
  2. Bring Disasters
  3. Overcome Temptation

II. A Part in the Lord's Table

  1. Flee from Idolatry
  2. Cup connected to Bread
  3. Distinguish God from Demons

III. Do Not Abuse Freedom

  1. Seek the Good of Others
  2. Not to be Judged by Others
  3. To the Glory of God
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Ten General Review
1) To realize the possibility of apostasy
2) To appreciate the help of God in times of temptation
3) To understand the importance of properly applying the principle of
In this chapter Paul brings to a conclusion his discussion concerning 
things offered to idols.  Reminding them about the example of Israel's 
apostasy and the danger of their own, he commands them to "flee 
idolatry" (1-14).  He describes the communal implications of religious
feasts and warns against provoking the Lord to jealousy by having
fellowship with demons (15-22).  This is probably a rebuke to the sort
of practice alluded to in chapter 8, verse 10, where some at the church 
in Corinth thought nothing of eating sacrificial meat even in an idol's 
temple!  He closes by giving specific instructions concerning meat that 
was later sold in the market place, or offered at the dinner of an 
unbeliever to which they might be invited; that they not be concerned 
unless someone specifically associates it with having been offered to 
an idol, and then to refrain out of consideration for the other's 
conscience (23-30).  An overriding principle?  Do all to the glory of 
God, and provide no occasi on for others to stumble (31-32).  In other 
words, imitate Paul, who sought to save others just as Christ did 
      1. Blessings received in the crossing of the Red Sea (1-2)
      2. Blessings received as they sojourned in the wilderness (3-4)
      3. Still, with most of them God was not pleased, and they died in
         the wilderness (5)
      1. Their example of apostasy to warn us (6)
         a. Not to become idolaters (7)
         b. Not to commit sexual immorality (8)
         c. Not to tempt Christ (9)
         d. Not to murmur (10)
      2. Their history recorded to admonish us (11)
         a. For we can just as easily fall (12)
         b. Though God is faithful to provide help in dealing with
            temptation (13)
      3. Therefore, flee from idolatry! (14)
      1. Paul speaks as to those capable of making wise judgments (15)
      2. Partaking of the Lord's Supper is a communion of the Lord's
         body and blood (16-17)
      3. The priests of Israel who ate the sacrifices were sharing in
         the services offered on the altar (18)
      1. Not to say that an idol is anything, nor that which is offered
         to the idol (19)
      2. But those who offer the sacrifices do so to demons, not God;
         and Paul would not want them to have fellowship with demons
      3. They cannot eat and drink at the Lord's table and then do the
         same at the tables of demons (21)
      4. Such would provoke the Lord to jealousy (22)
      1. Seek for those things that are helpful, being considerate of
         the well-being of others (23-24)
      2. Concerning things sold in the market, eat without question
      3. When you are invited to a dinner with an unbeliever (27-30)
         a. Eat what is set before you, asking no question for  
            conscience's sake (27)
         b. But if someone should point out that the food had been
            offered to an idol, don't eat (28-30)
            1) For the sake of the one who pointed it out (28a)
            2) For the sake of another's conscience (28b)
               a) Lest your liberty be judged (condemned?) by the
                  other's conscience (29)
               b) Lest you be evil spoken of concerning that for which
                  you gave thanks (30)
      1. Whatever you do, do all to the glory to God (31)
      2. Give no offense to Jews, Greeks, or the church of God (32)
      3. Just as Paul sought to please others rather than himself, that
         others may be saved (33)
      4. Imitate him, as he imitated Christ (11:1)
1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Examples Of Israel's Apostasy (1-14)
   - Religious Feasts And Their Communal Implications (15-22)
   - Conclusion Regarding Things Sacrificed To Idols (23-11:1)
2) What Old Testament account illustrates the possibility of apostasy?
   - The exodus and wilderness wanderings of the Israelites
3) What attitude is most likely to precede one's fall? (12)
   - Thinking that by standing there is no danger of falling
4) What promises do we have that should encourage us in times of
   temptation? (13)
   - That God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able
     to bear
   - That He will provide a way of escape to bear it
5) What is the Lord's Supper according to verse 16?
   - A communion (or sharing) of the body and blood of the Lord
6) What does partaking of the one bread demonstrate? (17)
   - That we are one body
7) In considering a matter, what must be considered besides its
   lawfulness? (23-24)
   - Is it helpful; does it edify one another
8) To whom are we to give no offense (an occasion of stumbling)? (32)
   - Jews, Greeks, the church of God

--《Executable Outlines


Warnings from History

The Cup of Thanksgiving

The Bread That Was Broken


I.  Don’t Repeat the Failure

1.    Forget Graces

2.    Bring Disasters

3.    Overcome Temptation

II.A Part in the Lord’s Table

1.    Flee from Idolatry

2.    Cup Connected to Bread

3.    Distinguish God from Demons

III.       Do Not Abuse Freedom

1.    Seek the Good of Others

2.    Not to be Judged by Others

3.    To the Glory of God

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament