1 Corinthians 10 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of 1 Corinthians 10)
10:1 Moreover, 1 brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our a fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

(1) He sets out that which he said, laying before them an example of the horrible judgment of God against those who had in effect the very same pledges of the same adoption and salvation that we have. And yet nonetheless when they gave themselves to idol's feasts, they perished in the wilderness, being horribly and manifoldly punished. Now, moreover and besides that these things are fitly spoken against those who frequented idol's feasts, the same also seems to be alleged to this end and purpose, because many men think that those things are not of such great weight that God will be angry with them if they use them. And so they frequent Christian assemblies and are baptized, and receive the communion, and confess Christ.
(a) Paul says this in respect of the covenant, and not in respect of the persons, except generally.

10:2 2 And were all b baptized unto c Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

(2) In effect the ordinances of the old fathers were all one with ours, for they respected Christ alone, who offered himself to them in different forms.
(b) All of them were baptized with the outward sign, but not indeed, because of which God cannot be blamed, but they themselves.
(c) Moses being their guide.

10:3 And did all eat the d same spiritual e meat;

(d) The same that we do.
(e) Manna, which was a spiritual meat to the believers, who in faith lay hold upon Christ, who is the true meat.

10:4 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.

10:6 3 Now these things were our h examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

(3) An amplifying of the example against those who are carried away with their lusts beyond the bounds which God has measured out. For this is the beginning of all evil, as of idolatry (which has gluttony as a companion), fornication, rebelling against Christ, murmuring, and such like. And these things God punished most sharply in that old people, to the end that we who succeed them, and have a more full declaration of the will of God, might by that means take better heed.
(h) Some read "figures": which signified our ordinances. For circumcision was to the Jews a seal of righteousness, to us a symbol of baptism, and so in the other ordinances.

10:9 Neither let us tempt i Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

(i) To tempt Christ is to provoke him to a combat as it were, which those men do who abuse the knowledge that he has given them, and make it to serve for a cloak for their lusts and wickedness.

10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the k ends of the world are come.

(k) This our age is called the end, for it is the culmination of all the ages.

10:12 4 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

(4) In conclusion he descends to the Corinthians themselves, warning them that they do not please themselves, but rather that they prevent the wiles of Satan. Yet he uses an declaration and comforts them, that he may not seem to make them altogether similar to those wicked idolaters and condemners of Christ, who perished in the wilderness.

10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to l man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also m make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

(l) Which comes from weakness.
(m) He that would have you tempted for your profit's sake, will make a way for you to escape out of the temptation.

10:15 5 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

(5) Now returning to those idol's feasts, that he may not seem to delay at all: first he promises that he will use no other reasons, than such as they knew very well themselves. He gives the following line of reasoning. The holy banquets of the Christians are pledges, first of all, of the community that they have with Christ, and next, one with another. The Israelites also do ratify in the sacrifices, their mutual union in the very same religion. Therefore so do the idolaters also join themselves with their idols, or demons rather (for idols are nothing) in those solemn banquets, whereupon it follows, that that table is a table of demons, and therefore you must avoid it. For you cannot be partakers of the Lord and of idols together, much less may such banquets be considered as indifferent things. Will you then strive with God? And if you do, do you think that you will get the upper hand?

10:16 The cup of n blessing which we bless, is it not the o communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

(n) Of thanksgiving: whereupon, that holy banquet was called "eucharist", which is Greek for thanksgiving.
(o) A most effectual pledge and note of your joining together with Christ, and ingrafting to him.

10:18 Behold Israel after the p flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices q partakers of the altar?

(p) That is, those who yet observe their ceremonies.
(q) Are consenting and guilty, both of that worship and sacrifice.

10:20 But I [say], that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have r fellowship with devils.

(r) Have anything to do with the demons, or enter into that society which is begun in the demon's name.

10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the s cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

(s) The heathen and profane people were accustomed to finish up and make an end of their feasts which they kept to the honour of their gods, in offering meat offerings and drink offerings to them, with banquets and feastings.

10:23 6 t All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

(6) Coming to another type of things offered to idols, he repeats that general rule, that in the use of indifferent things we ought to have consideration not of ourselves only, but of our neighbours. And therefore there are many things which of themselves are lawful, which may be evil when done by us, because of offence to our neighbour.
(t) See before in (1 Corinthians 6:13).

10:25 7 Whatsoever is sold in the u shambles, [that] eat, asking no question for conscience sake:

(7) An applying of the rule to the present matter: whatever is sold in the market, you may indifferently buy it as if it were from the Lord's hand, and eat it either at home with the faithful, or being called home to the unfaithful, that is, in a private banquet. But yet with this exception, unless any man is present who is weak, whose conscience may be offended by setting meats offered to idols before them: for then you ought to have a consideration of their weakness.
(u) The flesh that was sacrificed used to be sold in the markets, and the price returned to the priests.

10:26 For the earth [is] the Lord's, and the x fulness thereof.

(x) All those things of which it is full.

10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: 8 for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience?

(8) A reason: for we must take heed that our liberty is not spoken of as evil, and that the benefit of God which we ought to use with thanksgiving is not changed into impiety. And this is through our fault, if we choose rather to offend the conscience of the weak, than to yield a little of our liberty in a matter of no importance, and so give occasion to the weak to judge in such sort of us, and of Christian liberty. And the apostle takes these things upon his own person, that the Corinthians may have so much the less occasion to oppose anything against him.

10:30 For if I by y grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

(y) If I may through God's grace eat this meat or that meat, why should I through my fault cause that benefit of God to turn to my blame?

10:31 9 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

(9) The conclusion: we must order ourselves in such a way that we seek not ourselves, but God's glory, and so the salvation of as many as we may. In which the apostle does not thrust himself to the Corinthians (even his own flock) as an example, except so that he calls them back to Christ, to whom he himself has regard.