1Cor. 10:1 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;
“Moreover” – but, and, also
This word makes a definite connection with the preceding chapter. Paul ended that chapter by talking about running a race so as to win and discipline of the body to achieve that goal. As I read ahead in this chapter, it seems to me that he is giving them practical advice on how to discipline themselves so as to win the race and achieve their goal—a crown of spiritual reward in eternity.
“I would not that ye should be ignorant” – Paul uses this type of phrase four other times in his writing—regarding the Gentile church, spiritual gifts, trusting God in suffering, and the comfort of knowing that all who are in Christ (whether dead or alive) will be gathered together with Him at the rapture. It seems to indicate that these are subjects of priority to the Christian.
Rom. 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
1Cor. 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2Cor. 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
1Th. 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
“our fathers” – Though the Corinthian church was not a Jewish congregation, their ancestry in the faith was directly tied to the Jewish people. God’s dealings with Israel were meant to teach the world about having a relationship to Him. We believers can learn and benefit from Israel’s history and experience in their relationship to God.
As the Spirit often does in scripture, he uses Paul to remind the people of history. When God separated out His people and delivered them from Egypt, they all benefited from the protective cloud that covered them; and they were all taken safely through the parted waves of the Red Sea to safety from the pursuing Egyptian army.
Just as surely as He provided guidance and protection for the Israelites, He provides guidance and protection for the church today. Just as there was a mixed multitude of believers and unbelievers that made up the group that Moses led, so there is a mixed multitude of believers and unbelievers that make up the “church.” God graciously provided for all as He moved forward to fulfill His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He continues to graciously provide for all today, He allows the tares to grow among the wheat, until the time of harvesting His church to take them home according to His promise in Christ.
1Cor. 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
“baptized” = to immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution [washing, cleansing]
It would seem that Moses is a type of Christ in this section. The people were accepted before God by showing faith in the leadership of Moses, God’s prophet, and following him as He faithfully and obediently followed God. We are accepted before God through our faith in His Son who faithfully and obediently followed the will of His Father—even to death on the cross.
1Cor. 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
1Cor. 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
“spiritual” = non-carnal, supernatural
In the wilderness the Israelites were given food and drink by the supernatural intervention of God—His miraculous provision. Their meat and drink were both physical and spiritual—physical in that it nourished their bodies, spiritual in that it was a supernatural provision from God.
The water was made to flow from the rock. Though their focus was naturally on the physical rock and the physical water that it provided, the truth is that they were benefiting from the provision God made for them. We know now that God’s provision for man is in Christ, though they did not understand this at that time. Faith of all times (past, present, and future) only provides our need because of the obedience of the Son in providing our redemption through His death, burial and resurrection—and this truth was known to God before He ever created one person. God provided for the Israelites through the faith of Moses, and God provides for the church through the faith of His Son.
1Cor. 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
“many” = more in quantity, the major portion, very great
This verse takes my thoughts back to the last verse of chapter 9. Many of the children of Israel ended up as “castaways” in the wilderness because of their lack of faith. We are told elsewhere in scripture that it is impossible to please God without faith.
Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him:
I think it is significant to note the word many. Sad to say, I think this description is going to apply to many in the “church” today.
1Cor. 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
This next section is giving practical advice on the type of self-discipline necessary to be a spiritual winner.
The Spirit clearly declares through Paul one of the reasons for the scripture. To give us examples that would serve to teach us not to repeat the mistakes of others.
The people of Israel allowed themselves to be distracted by their desire for evil things instead of focusing on the blessings associated with following God in faith. The Spirit was very clear through James as to the danger of lust—it leads to sin.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
1Cor. 10:7 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.
The Israelites had been delivered from a culture that worshipped idols/false gods. Instead of fixing their faith on their God who had provided for them so miraculously, they were continually drawn back to idolatry and the play that was associated with it.
Ex. 32:1-6 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
Paul is not referencing the harmless play of children. I thought Webster’s definition for play included a clearer understanding.
“…To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless… To move gayly; to wanton….
“wanton” = Specifically: Deviating from the rules of chastity; lewd; lustful; lascivious; libidinous; lecherous.
Idolatry always takes our focus off of God and places that focus on pleasing self. Self, apart from God, will always lead us back to the things of this world.
1John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Cor. 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
This event is recorded in Numbers 25. At this time the Israelites were encamped in an area that was part of Moab. They soon began to participate in sexual immorality and idolatry with the daughters of Moab. The Spirit tells us through Paul that 23,000 were killed in one day in judgment of their sin. The account in Numbers states that a total of 24,000 died in the plague. I have heard it explained that Moses is giving the total number that died in judgment while Paul is giving the one-day total.
This culture of Corinth was very immoral, and I am sure the believers of Corinth were constantly confronted with this temptation (just as the culture of America today). In chapter 5 Paul had to specifically address this sin as one that was being tolerated in this body of believers. Fornication is direct disobedience to the law of God. Once you choose to reject God’s will in one part of your life, you open the door for more sin to become a part of your life.
Gal. 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Not only that, you are jeopardizing your life—i.e., venereal diseases, AIDS, etc.
1Cor. 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
Tempt in this verse is speaking of testing. Just as a child can test their parents’ patience, so the Israelites tested the patience of God--to the point that He sent serpents among them and many died.
God is longsuffering; and because we know that, we tend to try to take advantage of it. The Lord had overwhelmingly proven His faithfulness in providing for His people, but still they complained at every discomfort instead of turning to God in faith for their provision. God’s longsuffering is not His approval, nor is it a mark of impotence. God’s longsuffering is an act of mercy to allow the sinner to come to salvation and the believer to repent and ask forgiveness for his/her sin and experience restored fellowship and opportunity to serve.
2Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Rom. 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
1Cor. 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
This seems to be a reference to Numbers 16 and the events associated with the sins of Korah and his followers in questioning the right of Moses and Aaron to be the chosen ones in authority over the people. After the ground swallowed up Korah and company in judgment, many others were killed by plague from the hand of God because they continued to grumble.
Korah and his men were men of unhealthy pride; they weren’t satisfied to serve in the place that God had placed them. They thought they had just as much right to lead the people as Moses and Aaron. That applies directly to the issue of liberty in the life of the believer. We are not to be so caught up in ourselves; we are to be willing to lay down our rights so as not to stumble another believer and preserve unity in the body of believers. The disease of pride that leads to murmuring/grumbling is one that can destroy the ministry of a body of believers because it almost always causes division. Strength and effectiveness in ministry is found in unity—not division.
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
1Cor. 10:11 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.
This verse ties in directly to verse 6 above. The Israelites of old experienced the miracles of God and the consequences of disobedience to and/or lack of faith in God. These events were to teach them about the benefits of following God in faith and obedience and the consequences of not trusting Him and being disobedient. They are recorded in scripture for our admonition (calling attention to; a mild rebuke/warning). This message is directed to those “upon whom the ends of the world are come.” This is a reference to the time in general between the resurrection of Jesus and His second coming to establish His earthly kingdom. It is significant, I think, that the comparison is being made between the Israelites who should have been following God in faith and obedience to enter the Promised Land (Canaan) to the “church” who should be following God in faith and obedience to enter the Promised Land (Heaven).
1Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
“Wherefore” – Considering history and human nature….
The NLT says it well: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin.
The enemy takes great delight in bringing down those who seem to have the strongest testimony before the world. He will entice you and try to deceive you in every way possible in order to smear the name of Jesus through you. I know that I have experienced many “falls” in my lifetime—even in times when I thought I was standing strong. The key is to find your strength in the Lord through the Holy Spirit—not in yourself. It is so natural to try to stand strong in your own strength; we’re brought up in a culture that encourages you to “do it yourself.” In the Christian life, we need to relearn that thought process; we need to learn to yield to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1Cor. 10:13 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.
“temptation” = putting to proof through experience….prove, test, examine
This verse is a wonderful promise to the child of God. In my mind this verse connects directly to Romans 8:28.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
God allows experiences in our life for good. Part of that good is to prove us, to give us an opportunity to examine ourselves and identify our strengths and weaknesses. This verse tells us clearly that we haven’t been singled out for experiences that are out of the ordinary. Though our experiences may differ in the specifics, they are of the same type that have confronted believers throughout the centuries.
The beautiful promise—God is faithful (trustworthy). This statement embraces all that He is—love, truth, righteous, good, kind, merciful, longsuffering, etc. We can know that He will never change.
Mal. 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not;
Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
He will never allow us to experience anything through which we cannot endure and emerge victorious. Every time of testing that He allows us to experience will be accompanied by His provision to endure it and overcome it.
I have most often heard this verse applied to avoiding the lure of sin, and I believe true application can be made in that regard. The wording, however, indicates enduring hardship. This would seem to reference circumstances that encompass an indefinite period of time (short, long, and in between). James gives us more motivation regarding these “temptations.”
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James is explaining one aspect of how these experiences work for our good. The Greek for patience is a reference to “cheerful endurance.” This goes against human logic. How can hard times produce cheerful endurance? I think the key is in accepting the experience as being allowed in our lives by a loving Father. It is an opportunity to testify to His sufficiency and provision and declare our unconditional love and trust in Him. The more yielded we are to His will in our lives in simple, complete faith, whether or not we understand all the whys and wherefores, the more we honor and glorify Him before men and angels.
1Cor. 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
“Wherefore” = on which very account
This was an intriguing warning in follow up to the previous verses to me. It seems to refer back to verse 7. Idolatry is worship of false gods—anything we worship in our life other than God. It is an act of rejecting God. Without God we have no chance of getting benefit from the times of testing that come into our lives. We will be defeated by the circumstances.
To endure the hardships associated with living in an idolatrous culture was an ongoing temptation for the believers in Corinth. I think this statement can also be applied to believers living in America today. We experience a continual onslaught of attack by the enemy and the flesh because of the degenerative moral culture in which we live. We are continually encouraged to throw our passion towards acquiring wealth or indulging self rather than yielding our lives as instruments of righteousness to God.
1Cor. 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
“wise men” = thoughtful, i.e. sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character…
I think Paul is encouraging the believers with this remark and raising a bar of expectation in the process. He asserts that he is addressing them as thoughtful, careful people who desire to guard their character. As such, he is asking them to be discerning concerning the truth of what he is saying (both up to this point and regarding what follows). This implies that he is confident that they will agree with him if they do so.
1Cor. 10:16 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?
This is obviously a reference to the Lord’s Supper.
Matt. 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Matt. 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
Matt. 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Mark 14:22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
Mark 14:23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
Mark 14:24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
I thought it would be helpful to see all the gospel accounts in considering this passage. Obviously, the bread and the cup were representative of Jesus’ body and bread; Jesus was standing before them in the flesh as He gave these instructions. Luke gives the clarifying statement in his gospel, “this do in remembrance of me.” All the gospels include the truth that the shed blood of Jesus is the basis for the New Covenant that Jesus was establishing with men through His obedience to His Father; the sacrificial system of the Old Testament is being abolished. Both Matthew and Mark include the truth that His blood was being shed for many [indicating that not all would accept His sacrifice], but Luke points out that Jesus emphasized that His blood was being shed for each individual that chooses to follow Him in faith and repentance.
When I looked up the Greek for communion, the words that stood out were “sharer, partaker.” The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, seems to be declaring that by participating in this time of remembrance that we call the Lord’s Supper, we are personally identifying with Christ’s sacrifice for our sin. This speaks to me of the instructions in the Torah that require the placing of one’s hand on the head of the sacrificial animal in identification with the death of that innocent animal being caused by the sin of the individual.
(1/07) I was doing some reading/browsing on the internet and found an article that gave added insight to this scripture. Sadly, I can’t find the article again to give credit to the author (even after searching through my history). He used 1Chronicles 11:19 to explain the terminology the Lord used re communion. That section in Chronicles tells us of the time that David was holding out against the Philistines who were encamped at Bethlehem. He expressed the desire for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem that was at the gate of the city. Three of his mighty men risked their lives to get David that drink of water. When they brought it to him, he refused to drink it and poured it out before the Lord. His reason—“My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? For with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it.”
David was basically saying that to drink the water they had brought him at risk of their own lives was accepting and approving of that risk. In the same way, when we drink and eat of the communion elements, we are accepting and partaking of the sacrifice He made on our behalf.
I just thought that was a beautiful application from the Old Testament of an event that you might wonder why God chose to relate it to us. As Chuck Missler says so often, every word of scripture is there for a purpose.
“cup of blessing…” – The commentators point out that this refers to the final cup used at the Passover, which was a cup of thanksgiving. This is an appropriate description for what should be the attitude of our hearts as we participate in the Lord’s Supper.
1Cor. 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
No matter the number of believers who partake of the Lord’s Supper together, they are all benefiting from the sacrifice made by the one and only Son of God, Jesus the Christ. By identifying with that one sacrifice, we are sharing the one body and the blood of the one innocent Lamb that is acceptable before God to atone for our sin. This in essence joins us together as one body in Christ; we are all benefiting from the sacrifice of the one Lamb.
1Cor. 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
“Israel after the flesh” = unbelieving Israel
This verse is hard for me. I know it is conveying the idea that participation in the offering of sacrifices is an identification of commitment or belief in the deity to which it is associated. Those who had rejected Jesus and were still committed to the Old Testament sacrificial system were declaring their commitment to Jehovah; sadly they did not understand that by rejecting His Son they had rejected YHWH. Those who had chosen to embrace the worship of pagan idols associated with the lands to which they had been dispersed were obviously declaring that fellowship by participating in the sacrifices required by that false religion. In fact, participating in these pagan rituals was actually giving worship to demons, as is clarified in the following verses.
1Cor. 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?
1Cor. 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 fellowship with devils.
I like the phrasing of the Complete Jewish Bible for these verses.
So, what am I saying? That food sacrificed to idols has any significance in itself? or that an idol has significance in itself? No, what I am saying is that the things which pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice not to God but to demons; and I don’t want you to become sharers of the demons!
1Cor. 10:21 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.
I am reminded again that Paul is writing to the Corinthians, who lived in a culture saturated with idol worship. They had to be especially on guard against identifying themselves in any way with the feasts associated with the worship of these demons. They could not compromise for social purposes. To worship God requires that you turn away from all sin and embrace the Lordship of God in your life. I think David Guzik explained it best in his commentary:
There may be two Corinthian ideas Paul is trying to answer:
Š The Corinthian Christians were thinking, "Since an idol is not real, it doesn't matter what we eat, and it doesn't matter where we eat it." Paul answers by agreeing that an idol is in itself nothing (1 Corinthians 8:4); but now explains that demons take advantage of man's ignorant and self-serving worship.
Š The Corinthian Christians were thinking, "As long as we are participating in the Lord's Table, we are safe in Him." Paul answers that they are disgracing the Lord's table when they fellowship with idols.
The unwitting fellowship of some of the Corinthian Christians with demons, by participating in the dinners at the pagan temples, will provoke the Lord to jealousy. He has a right over all our worship, and has a right to be offended if we give our fellowship to demons.
Š It doesn't matter that the Corinthian Christians didn't intend to worship demons at these heathen feats in pagan temples; if a man puts his hand into the fire, it doesn't matter if he intends to burn himself or not. He is burned just the same.
I think there is a significant message to the church today in application of the truth of this passage. We are to be separate from the world; we are not to try to make compromises with it for any reason. Every compromise we make is an affront to the holy, loving Father and His Son that sacrificed so much to provide eternal life for us.
1Cor. 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
I am reminded of the number of times in scripture that God takes care to inform us that He is a jealous God.
Ex. 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
Deut. 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
Deut. 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities:
Zeph. 3:8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
He expects us to guard His honor before the world and to carefully guard against associating with false gods or other things of this world.
Lev. 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
1Pet. 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
When I looked up the words in the Greek, it was interesting to note that the entry for stronger indicated that the wording implied a negative answer. In other words, we shouldn’t be trying to compromise with the world if we are claiming to be children of the Lord.
1Cor. 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
“All things are lawful for me.” - Again this is a hard verse; this phrase can easily be abused when taken out of context. Paul made this same statement in chapter 6. The point is that the believer now lives his life under grace—not under the law. Obviously, not everything is lawful for the Christian. Regarding the eating of meat offered to idols or making other choices that require us to use discernment regarding how our action might affect our testimony of God’s holiness and/or the strengthening of believers who are weaker in the faith, we have freedom in Christ. The Holy Spirit through Paul is emphasizing that the exercise of our freedom in grace is not always profitable, beneficial or helpful (as most translations choose). What stood out to me when I looked at the Greek for expedient was the phrase “bring together.” As members of the body of Christ, the church, we are looking for ways to come together in unity; unity produces strength. The Greek for edify states “to be a house-builder, i.e. construct.” Again, this speaks of coming together so as to produce a strong structure.
1Cor. 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.
In this verse Paul is addressing the mindset of the carnal Christian. The carnal Christian is more concerned with living according to his/her own desires rather than making choices according to what is best for the body of Christ as a whole. Paul is encouraging this body of believers to go beyond self and think of others to the benefit of the whole.
1Cor. 10:25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
1Cor. 10:26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
“shambles”= a butcher’s stall or meat market
Paul is saying to the Corinthian Christians that when you go grocery shopping or out to eat, you can buy or eat the meat with a clear conscience. You don’t need to find out whether the meat came from the pagan temples. There’s nothing inherently bad about this meat. God created everything in this world for man’s benefit.
1Cor. 10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
If you are invited to dinner at the home of an unbeliever, feel free to go and enjoy the meal. You don’t need to make a point of finding out where the food came from. Again, God is the Creator of everything, and He intended it for man’s benefit.
1Cor. 10:28 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:
If, however, someone at the dinner makes a point of telling you that the meat being served was sacrificed to idols, you should avoid eating that meat. Why? Obviously, the person pointing it out has determined in his mind that this should make a difference to you, and to partake would show dishonor to your God in his mind. In that situation you should be more concerned about honoring God and having a right testimony before the unbeliever.
1Cor. 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?
1Cor. 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
In verse 29 Paul clarifies that it is the conscience of the other person that you are considering when you choose to deny yourself for their benefit. The Holy Spirit has been consistent in presenting this principle. A loving Christian will guard God’s honor in his/her life by choosing to act so as to strengthen a weaker Christian; not stumble him—so as to testify before the unbeliever in hopes of bringing him to a position of recognizing his own need for the Savior.
Again, verse 30 reflects the attitude of the carnal Christian—If there is nothing wrong with this meat, why can’t I eat it with a thankful heart before the Lord without being criticized?
1Cor. 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
The answer: Because we are to live and make choices according to what brings glory to God—not according to what makes “me” happy without regard to others. It glorifies God when we deny ourselves and follow the example of His Son. We should live as His servants, and Jesus always considered obedience to the Father and serving others as priorities to His own personal comfort.
I think we believers are prone to categorizing only certain things or certain areas in our life as spiritual. The truth is that every mundane, trivial part of our life has spiritual significance before the Lord. Every breath we take is to be one of gratitude. Every choice we make should be judged according to God’s will for us. I know personally that the more I choose to seek God’s leading in the little things He is faithful to give direction. When I leave Him out of the decision process is when I am more prone to make choices I wish I hadn’t. If I can only learn to recognize that everything I have has been entrusted to me to use to His honor and glory, I know I will make consistently better choices and be able to minister to others more abundantly. This is a hard mindset to attain in our culture of material abundance with an emphasis on personal comfort and pleasure.
1Cor. 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
1Cor. 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
The Spirit is telling us through Paul that our heart should be set not to offend anyone—unbeliever or believer—with the purpose being that we want to bring unbelievers to saving faith and strengthen weaker believers in the faith. We are not to live our lives selfishly. We should live our lives so as to glorify God. By consistently seeking to glorify Him and deny self, we are more likely to win others to Christ by our testimony and also by the testimony of others who benefit by our example.