Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10:27-30 Will the strong risk shame?

1 Corinthians 10:27-30

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

In keeping with Paul’s long-running theme in chapters 8-10, the controlling verse for what follows is verse 24: No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

Though the section from verse 25 through verse 31 is complex due to if statements and rhetorical questions, Kenneth Bailey shows that it has a simple underlying structure:

Eat (verses 25-26) — shopping in the meat market; all belongs to God

Eat (verse 27) — dining with unbelievers and believers

Do Not Eat (verses 28-29a) — food is declared dedicated to an idol

Eat (verse 29b-30) — eating freely, without regard for others, defames you

Eat (verse 31) — eating in a way that honors God[1]

We have already addressed 1 Cor. 10:25-26 in the previous lesson. Paul switches to another common situation, being invited to a meal with an unbeliever (1 Cor. 10:27). There again the Corinthian believers may eat whatever is offered without raising questions; issues of conscience are not involved. Garland explains, In this instance, Paul makes a concession to the reality that social connections were absolutely necessary to survive in the ancient world. In his day, intrepid mavericks could not strike off on their own and expect to manage. One needed relationships with others for services and protection.[2]

In 1 Cor. 10:28, there are various possible scenarios about the possible identity of someone who says, This has been offered in sacrifice [to an idol], but choosing among them does not really matter. As soon as the statement is made, the invited Christian cannot eat, both as a matter of covenant loyalty to Christ and as a consistent witness to others. His choice is determined for the good of the others, or, you might say, for the good of the gospel. The focus on others is made explicit in verse 29a: I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours.

The interpretation of 1 Cor. 10:29b-30 is disputed. Keep in mind that the Greco-Roman world was far more focused on public honor and shame than we are today. We next present Thiseltons views[3] in simplified form. Paul has dealt with some common situations in the previous verses. but now he imagines the strong to be dissatisfied with having their freedom limited by the opinions of others. After all, the strong know that idols are nothing and feel they should be able to eat meat in a neutral setting, such as a home, even though someone says, This has been offered in sacrifice. With this background in mind, the strong are saying inwardly, Why is my freedom being judged by anothers conscience? (1 Cor. 10:29b). Paul intends this rhetorical question to force the strong to rethink their position in light of what comes next.

Thiseltons translation of 1 Cor. 10:30 reveals the thorns hidden in the green grass of the strongs freedom-from-concern-for-others: Well, if I take part in a meal with thanksgiving, why should I suffer defamation of character over that for which I, at least, give thanks?[4] When the strong plunge ahead and eat the meat sacrificed in the idol temple, both unbelievers and other Christians will shame them with their inconsistent behavior; they claim faith in Christ but then behave with disloyalty in eating food sacrificed to an idol. As a result, the strong will experience defamation of character when others revile them.

For these reasons, Thiselton sums up in the following way:

Pauls meaning on this basis would be: what would be the advantage of my exercising my freedom if I thereby suffer defamation of character? If it genuinely does not matter whether I eat or not, why choose the path that raises unnecessary difficulties? What is the point of freedom if I cannot choose not to cause problems?[5]

In my next post, Paul will provide a fitting conclusion to the argument he has developed in chapters 8-10. You can be certain it will involve the Man for Others, Jesus Christ.

Copyright 2013 Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from materials created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.

 


[1] Adapted from Kenneth E. Bailey, Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 2011) 283284.

[2] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) 493.

[3] Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: William. B. Eerdmans publishing Company, 2000) 790-92.

[4] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 779.

[5] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 790.

Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10:23-26, Getting things in perspective

1 Corinthians 10:23-26

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

Because covenant loyalty to Christ is so critical to the believers in Roman Corinth, Paul wraps up his long argument (chapters 8-10) about Corinthian participation in contexts involving idols — and often sexuality as well — by talking about guiding principles. Garland ably summarizes: He gives the go-ahead on everything that is beyond an idols orbit. It is not permanently poisoned. . . . He clarifies that food is food, and it is permissible to eat unless it is specifically identified as idol food, which puts it in a special category that is always forbidden to Christians.[1] Undergirding these practical principles is the self-sacrificing love exhibited by Christ and expected of all his own.

Paul returns to the theme of personal freedom ( as in 1 Cor. 6:12) by quoting the Corinthian slogan I have the right to do anything (1 Cor. 10:23). While many Americans like the sound of that slogan, Paul considers it fatally deficient because it shows no consideration of what is beneficial and constructive (1 Cor. 10:23). Verse 24 puts this deficiency beyond question. Paul says our freedom should be used in the service of others. Paul gave his own example of surrendering his rights in chapter 9, and he is imitating Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). Put in other words, Christian freedom should lead to love for others. When you think about it, Jesus voluntary self-sacrifice was an act of love he freely chose.

The word good in the NIV translation of verse 24 — and in most other English versions — does not represent a Greek word; it is an inference. The New Revised Standard Version tries a different idea: Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other (emphasis added). Why would Paul leave the word out? Because he wanted to direct attention to the other person, not to the nuances of their condition. Garland adds, Seeking the advantage of others rather than ones own runs counter to the me first sentiment that ruled the Corinthian culture.[2]

Though it should not be necessary to remind Christians of the fact, when Paul gives commands about seeking the good (or advantage or well-being) of others, he is speaking on behalf of Christ! That is what it means to be an apostle of Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:1). As we learned in 1 Cor. 1:2, Paul is speaking to Corinthian Christians and all who trust in Jesus.

The meat market in Roman Corinth was something like a specialty butcher shop, and most of the meat there had likely come from one of the idol temples. Paul tells the Corinthians not to make an investigation at the meant market; just buy the meat and eat it (1 Cor. 10:25). This is not a question of loyalty to Christ, as it would be for meat eaten within an idol temple.

Paul implies but does not say that the demons behind Corinths idols do not have universal jurisdiction. What Paul does say is: The earth is the Lords, and everything in it (1 Cor. 10:26, quoting Psalm 24:1). Garland explains, Idol food loses its character as idol food as soon as it leaves the idols arena and the idolaters purpose.[3] That being so, the Corinthian Christians needed to focus on the rule of God and the grace of his provision rather than being obsessed with idols. We would do well to focus on the same things.

Copyright 2013 Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from materials created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.

 


[1] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) 486.

[2] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 489.

[3] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 492.

Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 Two kinds of partnership

1 Corinthians 10:14-22

14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

In the previous lesson we spoke of covenant loyalty between Christ and his people. Garland points out how utterly unique that was in Roman Corinth: Pauls insistence on exclusive loyalty to a religion was something uncommon in paganism. People were accustomed to joining in the sacrificial meals of several deities, none of which required an exclusive relationship.[1]

The technical term for mixing parts of a number of religions is syncretism, and it also characterizes many postmodern faith choices. Many contemporary people — even some atheists — blithely chose elements from a smorgasbord of faiths.

To all these pluralistic tendencies, whether ancient or modern, Paul says, Flee from idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14). He has been working toward this conclusion throughout chapters 8-10. In verse 15, Paul appeals, probably without irony, to these sensible people to judge his words carefully.

Paul will demonstrate that the Corinthians have failed to understand the nature of the spiritual community that exists in the sacred meal established by Jesus (i.e. communion) and the religious meals celebrated in idol temples. Obviously, the two questions in verse 16 expect the answer yes. Twice in verse 16 the NIV uses the English word participation to translate the Greek noun koinonia. Thiselton expands that slightly to say communal participation and explains that here it denotes having an active common share in the life, death, resurrection, and presence of Jesus Christ as the Lord who determines the identity and lifestyle of that in which Christians share.[2] That rich meaning is quite different from the mere idea of social fellowship that many evangelical Christians associate with koinonia.

Verse 17 is very difficult because it carries a lot of symbolism. The one loaf is Jesus Christ; recall that Jesus held the bread at the Last Supper and said, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Matt. 26:26). By sharing in the one loaf, we, who are many, are one body (1 Cor. 10:17b). This fact also shows how ridiculous it is for divisions to exist in the Corinthian church.

Even though the final paragraph (verses 18-22) begins with Israel, that is merely a jumping off point to talk about feasts dedicated to idols. Paul begins by establishing that those in Israel who ate the sacrifices were participants (Greek koinonia again) in the altar (1 Cor. 10:18). Some believe verse 18 refers to the God-ordained sacrifices (e.g. Lev. 10:12-15), while others believe this is a description of certain Israelites participating in sacrifices to idols, a practice totally forbidden by God. Either way, the answer to Pauls question is yes; those who eat the sacrifices are participants in the altar.

Verse 19 tells us that idolaters are not actually worshipping a god that exists, so the sacrifices honor no actual god. But at this point, in verse 20, Paul drops the bomb on Corinthian practices! By participating in banquets dedicated to idols, the Corinthians are actually joining themselves to demons; the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons (1 Cor. 10:20). Idols are nothing, but demons are real indeed!

Paul tells the Corinthians they cannot have it both ways. They cannot be partners with demons and united to Christ at the same time! (1 Cor. 10:21). If they continue down that path, the jealousy of the Lord will utterly sweep them away (1 Cor. 10:22).

Copyright 2013 Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from materials created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.

 


[1] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) 472.

[2] Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: William. B. Eerdmans publishing Company, 2000) 761.

Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10:7-13, Pauls cautionary examples of craving

1 Corinthians 10:7-13

7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Having set up his concern about craving meat offered to idols (1 Cor. 10:6) — or craving the business and social contacts at banquets held in idol temples — Paul finally gives a direct command: Do not be idolaters (1 Cor. 10:7a). Indeed, in light of the specific Greek forms used, Paul may be saying, Stop being idolaters, as some of them [i.e. the Exodus generation] were.[1] That statement would seriously escalate the warning to the Corinthians in light of what Paul says in verse 8 about the fatal consequences inflicted on the Israelites.

First Example — In the second half of verse 7, Paul quotes from Exod. 32:6, the occasion when the people joined in wild revelry to celebrate the golden calf they had made. Thiselton says the seriousness of this revelry can be appreciated only when we fully grasp the intimate connection for [the Jews and ] Paul between worshiping [idols] and sexual immorality and abandonment of the censor [our self-control] to sheer unbridled indulgence.[2]

So, the issue has two sharp edges: (1) the combination of sexual immorality with idol worship and (2) the complete abandonment of self-control. In Roman Corinth, Thiselton tells us: [Aphrodite] was a god of sailors and sacred prostitution and the protectress of the city. Hence business interests and trade were bound up with the welfare of the cult. . . . Coins excavated at Corinth bear the images of Aphrodite and Poseidon more than those of any other pagan gods.[3] Religious prostitution abounded.

As a result of the idolatry associated with the golden calf (Exod. 32:6), the Levites immediately killed 3,000 at Yahwehs command (Exod. 32:27-28). In this context, Exodus 32:35 says, And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made. Note that we are not told how many died in this plague. The position taken here is that Pauls statement in one day twenty-three thousand of them died (1 Cor. 10:8) is the answer. Most authorities believe Paul is speaking of Numbers 25:1-9, another time when judgment fell on idolatrous Israel, but the death toll given there is 24,000 (Num. 25:9), and no one has been able to convincingly reconcile that number with 1 Cor. 10:8, which says 23,000. Our view is that the numbers do not match because they are different occasions. Alternatively, Paul spoke from memory; the exact number does not affect his point in the least. Certainly, rounding was a common practice in the Bible.

Example 1 is about the combination of idolatry and sexual immorality.

Example 2 — In 1 Cor. 10:9, Paul once again produces a surprising connection between Corinth and the Exodus generation. This time he uses the events recorded in Numbers 21:4-9. The Israelites were strongly rebelling against Moses and were scorning the food God had graciously provided for them (Num. 21:4-5). They were testing God! But the Apostle Paul interprets this text by naming Christ as the one they were testing ( 1 Cor. 10:9). Many died from serpents God sent among them until the rest pleaded for deliverance, and God provided it by his grace.

Note that the people were testing God by complaining about food. It is no accident that Paul is telling stories about complaints over food that led to judgment, and he implicitly warns the Corinthians to be content without the food offered to idols that they crave. Example 2 is about presuming to test Christ, with the implication that the Corinthians are doing the same thing.

Example 3 — In 1 Cor. 10:10, Paul recalls the incessant grumbling and complaining against Moses and God that so frequently punctuates the wilderness accounts (e.g. Exod. 15:24; 16:2; Num. 14:2, 27, 29). The constant complaining, largely about food and drink, transformed a joyous group of redeemed people into a self-pitying group perceiving themselves victims of Gods neglect.[4] The destroying angel left many of them dead in the wilderness.

Garland says that Paul may single out grumbling because the Corinthians were complaining against his opposition to their participation in idol feasts.[5] We might call example 3 the sin of self-importance; for anyone to think they can speak to God or his appointed messengers as they would to a subordinate or even an equal is a level of foolishness that can lead to sudden death. We do not call Jesus Lord for nothing!

Clearly, Paul understands these examples as cautionary tales that every Christian should take to heart (1 Cor. 10:11). Fee explains the last half of verse 11: Through his death and resurrection Jesus Christ marks the turning of the ages; the old is on its way out, the new has begun (2 Cor. 5:17).[6] This is no time to ignore warnings! In that light, verse 12 is plainly a serious caution directly to the Corinthians, and especially to the puffed-up strong.

Gods grace in temptation (craving)

Many Christians have taken solace from 1 Cor. 10:13, but we should take care to read and apply the whole verse. The desires that push us toward sin and away from God are nothing new; they are the common experience of all humanity.

In Roman Corinth the strong paradoxically caved in to the temptation to continue their socially and financially lucrative connections with idol worship, and they tried to justify it theologically with their contrived slogans (I have the right to do anything, 1 Cor. 6:12; Every sin a person commits is outside of the body, 1 Cor. 6:18, NET). Those having more fragile faith felt the temptation to follow the strong in violation of their own consciences. So, many Corinthian believers had their own reasons for yielding to temptation.

Thiselton forcefully states, Against the claim that the strong are so seized by pressure that they have no choice, Paul replies that God always provides his people with a choice.[7] Pauls answer to their behavior is that (1) these temptations are neither unusual nor compelling, and (2) God is faithful (1 Cor. 10:13)! Garland explains: As surely as God tests, God provides a way out (see Gen. 22:1-19). That exit is not an escape hatch that allows them to evade all difficulties.[8]

Just as the Jews had a covenant with God — the law of Moses — Christians are under the new covenant (Luke 22:20; Matt. 26:28), in which Jesus died for our sins. Like the old covenant with Israel, the New Covenant with Christ obligates both Christ and believers to be loyal to the covenant. Thiselton says, Christian believers can never claim that they could not help themselves in the face of pressure to abandon covenant faithfulness, for God will ensure, as part of his own covenant faithfulness, that he will not simply leave them to face impossible odds.[9] But Garland cautions, God is just as faithful to destroy the wicked as God is faithful to save the righteous.[10]

Copyright 2013 Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from materials created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.

 


[1] Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1996) 724; Fee, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 454, footnote 17.

[2] Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: William. B. Eerdmans publishing Company, 2000) 735.

[3] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 738.

[4] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 742.

[5] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) 464.

[6] Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987) 459.

[7] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 748.

[8] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 468.

[9] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 74849.

[10] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 469.

Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10:1-6 The road to idolatry ends with judgment

1 Corinthians 10:1-6

1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

The commentators we have relied on most in this study all agree that the block of 1 Corinthians that deals with food sacrificed to idols extends from 8:1 to 11:1.[1] In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul gave his own personal example of surrendering his rights for the sake of others. His purpose was to encourage the strong in Corinth to give up their participation in banquets eaten at idol temples, or even food sacrificed there, for the sake of the weak, the believers with a fragile conscience.

We do not quite get the importance of this issue because our society is much more secular than god-saturated Roman Corinth. Think how hard it was for you to find a wide variety of organic foods five years ago; that is about how hard it was in Corinth to find meat for sale that had not been associated with idol worship in some way. Christians in Corinth were struggling to understand things as basic as how to eat in the idolatrous city without offending God.

In chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians, Paul explains the seriousness with which God views the disloyalty of those who were casual about idolatry. He does so by looking back at Israels history depicted in the Old Testament. Garland rightly says, He does not rehearse the past events to understand the past but to understand the [Corinthian] present.[2]

Thiselton offers a handy biblical reference for some of the terms used in verses 1-5: Symbols associated with the Exodus wilderness narratives include the cloud (Exod. 13:21), the sea (Exod. 14:21-22), the manna (Exod. 16:4, 14-18), the spring (Exod. 17:6), and apostasy (Exod. 32:6).[3] In particular, it is important to understand that the cloud refers to a towering cloud — shrouding the presence of God — that led the Israelites when they were moving and stood between them and the pursuing Egyptian chariot force while they were stopped. The sea refers to the Red Sea, which was miraculously parted to allow the Israelites to escape. The manna was supernatural food provided over all the years of wandering, and the rock was a source of water during all those same years. The apostasy was the dabbling by many Israelites with various forms of idolatry even while God was continually providing for them; disaster was the result!

When Paul speaks of our ancestors (1 Cor. 10:1), Thiselton says the phrase often means spiritual ancestor in a sense which denotes not necessarily blood ties but reproduction of character.[4] That is exactly what troubles Paul; he sees the Corinthians playing with the same idolatrous fire that consumed their spiritual ancestors!

Garland says, Israels deliverance through the sea marked the beginning of their separation from Egypt and their new identity as Gods covenant community, and the term baptism fittingly represents that experience.[5] The word all is very prominent in verses 1-4, occurring five times in the Greek text. Thiselton explains: Such is the generosity of Gods grace that all . . . participate in the privileges and blessings of the redeemed covenant people of God. . . . Nevertheless in the face of such divine generosity, less than the all will appropriate Gods gifts and exercise the self-discipline which will bring them safely through the tests of the wilderness journey.[6]

In this experience the Israelites were identified with Moses and the covenant God made with them using Moses as a mediator (Heb. 3:1-5). Just as Moses had the role of deliverer for Israel, so Jesus has that role all the more with those who belong to him.

When Paul speaks of spiritual food (verse 3) and spiritual drink (verse 4), Garland says he meant that they were formed not according to the law of nature but by the power of God.[7] Paul goes beyond the teaching of the Old Testament to speak of the spiritual rock that accompanied them (1 Cor. 10:4) and to identify that rock as Christ. What does that mean?

A short detour from the main argument

The Old Testament contains two accounts describing how God provided water from a rock to quench the thirst of the complaining Israelites. The first account occurs in Exod. 17:1-7, not long after the passage through the Red Sea. Forty years later, the Israelites came to Kadesh and again bitterly complained about the need for water (Num. 20:2-13). Once again Moses summoned water from the rock — at an entirely new location than before.

Water was obviously needed by the people all during the long years between the two recorded occasions. Paul now reveals that the spiritual rock accompanied the Israelites during the whole time; further, that rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). What the people saw was a rock gushing water, but Paul speaks of the spiritual reality behind these events. He was probably thinking of Exod. 17:6, where God says, Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it. Paul suggests that when God stood on the rock at Horeb, it was no other than Christ.[8]

Return to Pauls primary concern

Paul has reminded the Corinthian believers of the Exodus generation for a reason. God miraculously provided for them with food and water even while judging their rebellion during the forty-year trek in the wilderness. All the while, many craved the meat of Egypt (Exod. 16:3 and Num. 11:4) rather than the manna God faithfully provided every day. As we will see in our next post, the moment Moses was absent, this rebellion and craving led swiftly to idol worship (Exodus 32). Paul sees clear signs of the same progression in Corinth!

Paul plainly tells the Corinthians where this dangerous road will lead: Gods displeasure will lead to their death (1 Cor. 10:5). In verse 6, Paul explains that there is still time to learn from the example of their spiritual ancestors and to turn back from craving meat offered to idols and other evil things, which NIV translates as setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

Take special note that 1 Cor. 10:6 sets the stage for what comes next (1 Cor. 10:7-13). Paul signals his intention by using the idea of craving or desire twice in the Greek text, once as a noun and once as a verb. The NIV obscures this repetition by using the phrase setting our hearts on. We prefer the clarity of Garlands translation for 1 Cor. 10:6: These things happened as examples for us so that we might not become cravers of evil just as they also craved [evil].[9] (emphasis added).

Fee summarizes forcefully: But [Pauls] point in all this must not be missed: just as God did not tolerate Israels idolatry, so he will not tolerate the Corinthians. We deceive ourselves if we think he will tolerate ours.[10]

Copyright 2013 Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from materials created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.

 


[1] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) 22; Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: William. B. Eerdmans publishing Company, 2000) 607-612; Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987) 23.

[2] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 446.

[3] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 722.

[4] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 724.

[5] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 451.

[6] Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 725.

[7] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 454, quoting Ambrosiaster, a church father.

[8] See NET Bible Notes for Exod. 17:6 for further information.

[9] Garland, 1 Corinthians, 447; also shown by Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 719, 733.

[10] Fee, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 450.