Front Page

Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's FIRST letter to the Corinthians

(Return to New Testament Contents)


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Corinthians 10

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Corinthians 10: Meeting & Eating


v.1-14 Warnings from Israel's History

v.15-22 The Lord's Supper and Idol Feasts

v.23-33 The Believer's Freedom in Eating


[Chapter Synopsis: Having just laid out his own strategy of being careful to train and discipline himself while maintaining his freedom – to both exercise it and as appropriate give it up – he goes on to challenge them to ensure they make sure their lives take into account the warnings that come through Israel's history. He further compares eating at the Lord's Supper with eating food offered to idols and says treat the former as holy and steer clear of the later if it offends the conscience of another.]



v.1-14 Warnings From Israel's History


v.1 (he wants to use the examples of Israel's history) 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.

v.2 (they experienced God with Moses on Sinai and crossing the Red Sea) They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

v.3,4 (God provided supernaturally for them by manna and water from the rock but, viewing outside of time, ultimately all their resources came courtesy of the work of Christ) They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

v.5 (but they failed in faith sand died in the wilderness) Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

v.6 (and this should come as a warning to us) Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

v.7 (avoid idolatry for the record shows many of them fell to this) 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.” [Exo 32:6]

v.8 (likewise they mixed with alien women – Num 25 – and many died) We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.

v.9 (when they grumbled many died – Num 21:4-9) We should not test Christ, [or God] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.

v.10 (and on occasions when they grumbled that resulted in deaths)  And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

v.11 (the record of these things stands as a warning to us today) These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

v.12 (so if [in your arrogant arguing] you feel secure, be careful) So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

v.13 (temptations come to all of us but God will always provide a way of overcoming) No temptation 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.

v.14 (so steer clear or worshipping anything other than God) Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.


[Passage Synopsis: Remember in the previous chapter Paul had been defending himself against arrogant boasters. Now he simply reminds them that we have a whole host of warnings in the form of the Old Testament, warnings against unbelief, idolatry, immorality, even grumbling against God. In all this he is reminding them that the community of God's people is supposed to be a holy community and God acts against unrighteousness.]



v.15-22 The Lord's Supper and Idol Feasts


v.15 (I assume you will be sensible in the way you respond to what I say.) I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

v.16 (no more is this true than in respect of the Lord's Supper, or Communion, a holy meal) 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?

v.17  (we are to see ourselves as one body as we share in one loaf) Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

v.18 (look at Israel; those priests who ate the sacrifice shared in the holiness of the occasion) Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?

v.19 (I'm not trying to make idol food special, it's nothing) Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?

v.20 (yet such sacrifices are to the enemy and I don't want you to do that) No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

v.21 (you can't share food from both camps) 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.

v.22 (if you do you make God jealous) Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?


[Passage Synopsis: Because we've just said we're supposed to be a holy community, when we come to the Lord's Supper or Communion, realise it is a holy meal. Idol worshippers share in the enemy and we should not, we should appreciate the holiness of the Lord's Supper.]



v.23-33 The Believer's Freedom in Eating


v.23 (as we said before we are free to live as we will but not everything is good and helpful) “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.

v.24 (we shouldn't be selfish but consider others) No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

v.25,26 (don't worry about the background of what you buy in the market, see it as God's provision) Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it.” [Psa 24:1]

v.27 (similarly if a non-believer invites you to a meal) If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.

v.28 (but if they boast it has been given to a sacrifice, for the sake of appearance, refuse it) 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.

v.29 (it's not your conscience at stake but you will be pricking theirs) I am referring to the other person's conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another's conscience?

v.30 (if I thank God for it, that's fine) If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

v.31 (so do all to God's glory) So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

v.32,33 (but be careful not to make others stumble. ) Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

[Passage Synopsis: Particularly in a day when food was often offered to idols, Paul takes the arguments about eating food into that arena, saying idol food is nothing but for the sake of the conscience of others it might be wiser not to eat it.]