Commentary on Titus and Jude

 February 3, 2013

Commentary on First Corinthians
By: Tom Lowe
Topic #7: Questions Concerning Christian Freedom, 1 Corinthians 8.1-11.1

 

 

Lesson 7.7: Christian Freedom and Moral Obedience
 Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10.1-15


1 Cor 10.1-15 (KJV)

Section 1: God’s Blessings

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;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Paul warns the Corinthians of a period of testing like that of the Israelites' wandering

 

Section 2: God’s Judgment

6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
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.
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
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.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
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.
14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.


Introduction

Paul concludes his discussion of Christian liberty with an admonition to beware of temptation and unbelief. If you insist on using your rights, you may cause a weaker believer to stumble; and you may also bring trouble on yourself. When you face difficult decisions, take these elements into consideration.

This chapter has two sections:
Section 1: God’s Blessing (1–5). The parallel to God’s people today is obvious. We have been redeemed from the world, identified with Jesus Christ, and nourished by spiritual food and drink. But these blessings are no guarantee that we will be successful.
Section 2: God’s Judgment (6–15). When Israel sinned, God disciplined them; and He will do the same to His people today. Do you practice and tolerate in your life any of the sins named here? God gives His children freedom, but the freedom to sin is not included.


Commentary

Section 1: God’s Blessings

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,
“Moreover” is sometimes translated as “for.” Here, it attaches the first verse of chapter 10 with the previous chapter. In chapter 9 Paul used himself as an example of a Christian who disciplined himself to better serve God. Chapter 10 presents Israel as an example of spiritual immaturity, shown in their overconfidence and lack of self-control.

Paul uses the example of Israel’s forefathers so that the Corinthians would not think that because they were blessed they were unlikely to face God’s discipline. Their ancestors were another group of people who were greatly blessed by God; however they experienced His severe discipline. Israel of old was wreckless and unrestrained after her spiritual and physical freedom from tyranny in Egypt. As a result, God meted out severe discipline by cutting short the lives of many Israelites. They were all in the race: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Cor 9:24; KJV), but almost all were disqualified, in spite of their advantages.

brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant,
Paul is not suggesting here that the believers in Corinth did not know these facts, but there is a possibility that they had failed to see the lesson intended in the account of God’s chosen people and their wandering in the wilderness. They no doubt had “head-knowledge” of the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Israel, but head-knowledge without heart-knowledge is dangerous.

Paul often uses the term; “I would not that ye should be ignorant.” He uses it in 1 Corinthians 12.1, Romans 1.13; 11.25, 2 Corinthians 1.8, and 1 Thessalonians 4.11. In each of these Scriptures except the last, the statement is connected with the truth that precedes it—(in 1 Thessalonians 4.13 Paul introduces a new subject, the Rapture of the Church)—and in every case Paul speaks of his readers as “brethren.” The Greek term is one of love and affection. Paul speaks from a heart overflowing with Christian love.

When Paul writes “I would not that ye should be ignorant,” you can be sure that the brethren were ignorant or unaware of something he is going to explain to them.

The church in Corinth was a mixed church; that is, it was made up of both Jews and Gentiles. Today a Jewish Christian is somewhat unusual, but in that day a Gentile Christian was even more unusual, since the first Christians were Jews.

This chapter continues Paul’s argument concerning the lifestyle of the believers and the need for self-discipline, as recorded in chapters 8 and 9. At the end of chapter 9, Paul had described his own self-discipline and had warned about the danger of being “disqualified.” The Christian life is a struggle, precisely because it is “Christian.” It is a struggle to obey God, face persecution, exercise self-control and self-discipline, and deal with sins in one’s life. When people are “saved” they grow in their relationship with Christ and want to become more like Him. They will not become perfect in this life, but they will desire to work toward holiness. Some of the Corinthian believers thought that because they had professed faith, went to church, and joined in the Lord’s Supper, they could then live as they pleased. But this was a false belief, as Paul would show through the example he used from Israel’s past.

how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
All Israel was under the cloud, and all Israel passed through the sea. This privilege was granted to them by Jehovah. Notice that the word “all” is emphasized by being used twice. Paul is emphasizing that ALL Israel was granted this privilege of grace, but he is also laying the foundation for the truth expressed in the following verses—the truth expressed as a warning to believers who may stop short of full dedication to God.

A perfect Old Testament example of believing the false notion that people can be saved and then live a faithless, God-less life can be seen in what happened to the Jew’s ancestors in the wilderness long ago. The book of Exodus contains the record of their miraculous escape from slavery in Egypt by the intervention of God (see Exodus 1-12). God gave them a leader (Moses) set them free (through great miracles), and then guided all of them as they moved out of Egypt and then headed toward the land God wanted to give them (the Promised Land). “A cloud” refers to God’s presence in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night: “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Ex 13:21-22; KJV). Their guide was God Himself in a physical form, directly in front of them. When they came to the Red Sea, God brought them all safely through the waters of the sea on dry ground. This event is recorded in Exodus 14.

When Paul says, “our fathers” he means the fathers of all who belong to Christ, the seed of Abraham. All Christians, Jews and Gentiles are children of Abraham: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ… “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29; KJV).

The emphasis in 10.1-4 is on the word “all,” which Paul used five times. Paul was making the point that all of the Israelites experienced the miracles of God’s protection and guidance. Yet, later, many of them turned away from God. Many of them thought that their place among God’s people assured them of getting to the Promised Land. Assuming themselves secure, they refused the life of self-discipline, self-denial, and obedience to God, and the result was that they fell into sin; idolatry and immorality. Because of that, many were “disqualified” from entering the Promised Land; in fact, almost all (except Caleb and Joshua) perished in the wilderness.

The use of the Old Testament for teaching illustrations was common in the early church. A little later the letter to the Hebrews will point out the unfaithfulness of the wilderness generation (Hebrews 3-4) in contract to the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11). It is amazing how full of knowledge of the Old Testament Paul presupposes here on the part of his readers.

Christians today have a marvelous heritage of God’s faithfulness. We also have a lengthy history of human sinfulness. How tragic it is when, through ignorance of the past, we repeat many of the same mistakes that spiritually crippled and limited the spread of the gospel. When we read in God’s word about the failures of others, do we respond, “That couldn’t happen to me?” If so, we may be falling into the same dangerous course our predecessors followed.

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

This verse at first seems very difficult to understand. But it must be understood that the experience of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea is emblematic of the baptism of the believer, and is not used here as an exact comparison. And “unto Moses” is used as being analogous to the Christian experience of being baptized “into Christ”: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3; KJV).  The waters of the Red Sea were made to stand divided on either side of the Israelites as they marched through on dry ground: “He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap” (Psalms 78:13; KJV). The cloud above them completed the picture of a watery grave—the waters on either side, the cloud above. They were immersed in the water and the cloud, and then were raised from the watery grave—raised very much alive. Here we have the statement, “they were ‘baptized unto Moses.’” How were they baptized unto Moses? Don’t tell me that Moses had a baptismal service by the Red Sea and baptized all three million of them, because he didn’t have the time, because the Egyptians were hot on his heels, and besides the Israelites didn’t get wet. The Egyptians were the only ones who got wet. They were soaked through and through. So obviously, when it says they were baptized unto Moses, he is not talking about water. It simply means they were identified with Moses. The Holy Spirit is pointing out to us here not only the fact that Moses was the leader of Israel, but also that the baptism of the believer identifies that believer with Christ. One who has received true Christian baptism is buried with Christ in His death and raised in newness of life.

To refer to baptism as “immersion” only is not entirely correct, because to immerse is not the full meaning of baptism. We are buried, yes—but we do not stay buried. We are raised—and if there be no resurrection, then our faith is vain, our preaching is vain, we are still in our sins, and our loved ones who have died have perished. Therefore baptism pictures the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the believer.

The Israelites were all “baptized unto Moses,” that is, united with their spiritual head, God’s servant, who became the object of their trust—“And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses” (Ex 14:31; KJV); “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust” (John 5:45 (KJV). The Corinthians had been baptized into the body of Christ—“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body...” (1 Cor 12:13; KJV) of which He is the Head—“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22; KJV) and in whom they trusted—“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Eph 1:12; KJV). The Israelites were baptized because they shared the blessing and blessed deliverance of God with and through Moses’ intervention and leadership. By their experience of passing through the Red Sea, they were united under Moses’ leadership (see Exodus 14.31). The cloud represented God’s presence and glory among them (see Exodus 14.19-22), indicating his leadership and protection. The Sea represented God’s salvation of His people through the Red Sea as they crossed safely to escape the Egyptians. All of the Israelites experienced this “baptism.” However the common experience of this baptism did not keep most of them faithful to God in the days that followed.

3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

Paul goes on to point out that just as Israel had the Red Sea event, which corresponded to baptism, they also had a “type” corresponding to the Lord’s Supper, the other of the Christian sacraments. This is the first time in Christian history that the two sacraments are linked together. Paul plainly implies the importance that was attached to these two sacraments by all Christians in those days. The “spiritual meat” referred to here is the manna God provided for Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness. It is referred to as “bread of life” and “bread of angels” in some Jewish sources. The manna was spiritual from two aspects: First, in its origin—“Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full” (Psalms 78:25; KJV); God supplied it. Second, the manna was spiritual from the aspect of its consequent effects upon those who ate it.

The manna signifies that Christ is the bread of life, and true believers feed upon Him: “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven” (John 6:31-32; KJV).

Israel ate the manna from heaven and the water provided, just as Christians nourish themselves on the spiritual sustenance God supplies: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39; KJV). However, these spiritual privileges did not prevent the Jews from falling into sin.

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 did all drink the same spiritual drink:
The water Israel drank was natural water—but it was also supernatural because of the way it was provided and because it continued to flow. (It is still flowing today.) If today, you would take a trip to Israel and travel through the same countries where Moses and Israel walked for forty years, you could find one of the sources for the water that sustained them. A stream still gushes from the rock that furnished water for them in the wilderness. There may be many places in the Holy Land that cannot be authentically identified, but many Bible scholars and missionaries who have seen it declare that this IS the rock that Moses struck. The water still gushes forth, and it is the only pure water in that area. You can drink directly from the stream that has its beginning there. It is declared the purest water in all of Palestine.

for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:
Paul does not suggest that an actual rock accompanied the Jews throughout their wilderness journey, though some Jewish rabbis taught this idea. And there was also the tradition that Miriam, above all others, possessed the secret of obtaining the water. It was a spiritual rock that supplied what they needed, and that Rock was Christ. Sometimes the water came from a rock and at other times it was a well: “And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it: The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah” (Num 21:16-18; KJV). God provided the water.

In the first part of the verse, the Greek verb translated “to drink” is in the past tense, the same tense used in relation to eating in verse 3, indicating that they had eaten—an act that was past, with no indication of repetition. However, here the tense is imperfect—“they were drinking”—pointing out the constant flow of the water; and they continued to drink.

Since the incident of the rock which produced water marked the beginning of Israel’s wilderness wanderings (see Ex 7.1-7) and happened again at the end of their wanderings (see Num 20.1-13), Paul concluded that Christ followed (accompanied) them. Christ was also the source of supernatural water for the Corinthians: “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:10-14; KJV). Since Christ was identified with the Spirit—“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor 3:17; KJV)—the water which flowed from Him brought the Spirit to men: “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:38-39; KJV).

It is possible that what caused Paul to link the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper to Israel Crossing the Red sea and God’s provision of manna and water for their wilderness journey was that the Corinthians may have thought they communicated a magical protection like similar rights in some of the mystery religions. The Corinthians did seem to have a distorted view and practice of both of these ordinances: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor 15:29; KJV). (also see 1 Co 11.17-34)

Jewish interpreters taught that the rock followed Israel through their journeys. The Old Testament, however, does not contain such a tradition. Philo connects the rock at times with Wisdom and the logos (The divine word or reason incarnate in Jesus Christ; John 1:1–14.). Paul gives a spiritual interpretation of the rock as a type of Christ. He must have known the interpretation advanced by Jewish teachers that the Rock followed Israel and furnished water for the people.

What a beautiful picture of the believer’s life! Whatever we need daily is as close as a prayer of faith. God is not only willing, but anxious and able to supply water, meat, bread. Whatever our needs, physically or spiritually, we find those needs met in Jesus; He is our sufficiency, and we are complete in Him.
 
and that Rock was Christ.
Paul says , “That Rock WAS Christ,” which certainly implies that the water that gushed forth from the rock was provided by the personal presence of Jesus Christ on the spot; and we know the Angel of His presence was with the chosen people as they journeyed through the wilderness: “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63:9; KJV).

The rock being described as spiritual and as going along with them is clearly a divine testimony of the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. The smiting of the Rock was a typical foreshadowing of the smiting of Jesus—the judgment stroke that fell upon the Lamb of God, the stroke to which He voluntarily submitted at Calvary when He willingly bore our sins in His body on the cross; and that stroke fell from the hand of God the Father: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4; KJV).

The Old Testament often refers to God as a “rock,” for example: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut 32:4; KJV). Paul’s reference to Christ as the spiritual “Rock” would have connected Christ with Yahweh of the Exodus, thereby indicating the deity of Christ and His preexistence. Christ the Rock was constantly with His people; He was the true source of every provision. But despite such concrete and vivid tokens of the providence of God, mediated through Moses, those people sinned against God by worshipping idols and living immorally.

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Paul warns the Corinthians of a period of testing like that of the Israelites' wandering

But with many of them God was not well pleased:
God had performed great miracles for His people—setting them free from slavery, guiding them through the sea, and giving them food and drink in the barren wilderness. Yet after all this, many of the people rebelled against God. The word “many” is an understatement. Please note that this does not say “ALL” of them, nor, in the Greek does it say “many.” In Numbers 14.29-31 we read, “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised” (Num 14:29-31; KJV). According to the Old Testament, the rest of the Israelites failed to obtain the desired prize of their hearts and they were rejected. Of the thousands who stood at the very edge of the Promised Land only two men had faith enough in God to enter (see Num 14.5-12). Because of their lack of faith, God caused the people to turn back from the land and wander for forty years in the wilderness.

for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
The literal meaning is “to strew, to overthrow,” In other words; because of their disobedience to God the Israelites were literally strewn all over the wilderness, overthrown because they did not please Jehovah. In spite of all the privileges the children of Israel possessed, they failed miserably. When the people were too terrified to go forward into the Promised Land and all the scouts except Joshua and Caleb brought back a pessimistic report God’s judgment was that that entire generation (all the Jews twenty years old and upward who were rescued from Egypt, except for Joshua and Caleb) would die in the desert. God destroyed them in the wilderness by causing them to wander until they died. This was God’s punishment on them for their disobedience and rebellion against Him.

We can hear some of the “strong” Corinthians asking, “But what does that have to do with us?” Paul then pointed out in the following verses that the Corinthian church was guilty of the same sins that the Jews committed. Because of their lust for evil things, the Corinthians were guilty of immorality (see 1 Cor 6), idolatry (see 1 Cor 8; 10), and murmuring against God (2 Cor 12.20-21). Like the nation Israel, they were tempting God and just daring him “to act.”

Paul warns the Corinthians of a period of testing like that of the Israelites' wandering

Paul’s acknowledged need for personal self-discipline—“but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected” (1 Cor 9:27; ASV)—was well warranted since even Moses was disqualified for the prize: “And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them” (Num 20:12; ASV). What a spectacle for the eyes of the self-satisfied Corinthians; all these bodies well-fed with miraculous nourishment, strewing the desert floor. What happened to ancient Israel serves as a warning to all Christians. It is not possible to accept God’s grace and then take it for granted. He does not exchange His grace for our sin. He strengthens us to seek good and not evil. The Corinthians who like to attend pagan feasts need to recall the plague God sent upon the Israelites who sought the flesh pots of Egypt (see Num 11.4-34).

Note, in Hebrews 3-4 the wilderness example is used as a warning for us. The presence of divine providence must never be interpreted as the absence of judgment. Experience must always be balanced with caution, since we never come to the place in life where we are free from temptation and potential failure.


Section 2: God’s Judgment

6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
 
The truth stated here is simply this: In the things that happened to Israel, God’s elect and chosen people, they become types of us, and their experiences became a warning that we need to heed, since it declares what will happen to us if we do as they did. The Greek word translated “warning” signifies “examples by way of warning.” God is warning New Testament believers that if we displease Him we will be cut off—not from the standpoint of redemption, but our earthly testimony and our stewardship will be cut off. We will lose the prize—a full reward, with crowns and trophies to cast at the feet of Jesus when we crown Him King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Greek word used here for “lust” is “epithumeo,” and its primary meaning is “to desire.” The Lord Jesus uses the same word in a good sense in Luke 22.15, and it is used in 1 Peter 1.12 with reference to the holy angels. It is used of good men for good things in Matthew 13.17, 1 Timothy 3.1, and in Hebrews 6.11. In our present Scripture it is used as having to do with evil desire—the same sense in which it is used in Matthew 5.28, James 4.2, and in the first part of Galatians 5.17.

The word “lust” is a noun used with the verb “to be.” Thus, “we should not be lusters.”  The record of the lusting of the Israelites is found in Numbers 11.4: “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?” Although the Israelites had enjoyed God’s blessings in their new found freedom from Egypt, Paul proceeded to recount a fivefold failure experienced by Israel during this time. He began here with the Israelites’ craving for the pleasures of Egypt, summarized in the plaintive cry, “Give us meat to eat!” (See Num 11.4-34, esp. v.13). They were discontented with the simple but adequate provision made for them by God, and craved the flesh pots of Egypt, having apparently forgotten the taskmaster’s lash and the edict of Pharaoh that they make bricks without straw. God gave them what they wanted (quail) but while the meat was between their teeth, He struck them with a plague. The Israelites named the cemetery for those who were killed “Kibroth Hattaavah” (graves of craving; Num 11.34). The application to the Corinthian situation was obvious: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Cor 8:13; KJV).

Their lusting was due primarily to the mixed multitude which came up out of Egypt: “And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle” (Ex 12:38; KJV). The example for us is simply this: If Christians do not walk in a separated path, if we are not segregated completely from the world, then as time goes on we will eventually slip and begin to compromise, participating in the habits and practices of the enemies of Jesus Christ. Then too, if we spend our time and thoughts to satisfy the flesh and gratify only the natural life, the spiritual life is sure to suffer and we will experience disaster and a sad disappointment. We will lose our reward.

In light of how God dealt with the sin of the Israelites, the Corinthians complacency in matters of self discipline and their corresponding penchant for self-indulgence required immediate remedial action. Christian freedom was not meant to lead to self-indulgence but to selfless service,—“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Gal 5:13; KJV)—as the behavior of past Israelites illustrates.

As Paul wrote about the history of his people, he highlighted God’s directions, warnings, and examples. It turns out that events transpired and were recorded for future purposes. Twice in this chapter (this verse and verse 11), he pointed out that “these things occurred as examples” for us. The examples were various behaviors: idolatry (7), sexual immorality (8), testing the Lord (9), and complaining (10). In each case, the consequences were death. Each also represents a real temptation toward “setting our hearts on evil things” (NIV).

As you read the bible, have you noticed how many times it is desire that leads to sin? It started back in the Garden of Eden. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Gen 3:6; KJV). It was the desire for something outside the will of God. What is desire, after all? Psychologists talk about inhibitions and prohibitions, and they speak of desire as the supreme thing in life. What is desire? In these instances it was to want that which is outside the will of God. It wasn’t God’s will for them to have those things at that time.

Instead of obeying the One who gave them freedom, God’s people rebelled. We rebel against God when we give into our cravings to put pleasure ahead of service to God. DON’T LET ANYTHING COME BETWEEN YOU AND GOD!

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.

This incident, when “the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play,” occurred when the Israelites made a golden calf and worshipped it in the wilderness (Exodus 32). Paul was quoting verse 32.6. They were barely out of Egypt when this incident took place. \When Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the law, the people seduced Aaron into making a golden calf and worshipped it. The people became idolaters, worshipping an image rather than God, who had brought them out of Egypt. The Israelites claimed to be worshipping God—“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” (Ex 32:5; KJV)—however, God was dishonored by what they were doing—both by their idol (a golden calf) and then by their “pagan revelry.” “Revelry” refers to singing, shouting, and dancing that promote sexual immorality. Play is a euphemism for the gross sexual relations which followed the excessive feasting. Many of the Israelites failed God by taking part in this show of idolatry (Ex 32.1-6) and paid for it with their lives: “And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men… “And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made” (Ex 32:28, 35; KJV). This also shows that the problem addressed in 8.1-13 was idolatry, not merely eating marketplace meat. If those people who had witnessed the miracles of the escape from Egypt could be so easily tempted to turn to idolatry, then the Corinthians in Corinth, who were surrounded by idols, should also be on their guard. For those who thought that as Christians they could take part in idolatry with impunity, Paul intended with illustrations like this, to knock out the false props which supported their behavior, before God intervened and took their lives. The Corinthian believers needed to remember that God is completely separate from idolatry. They could not participate in idol festivals and celebrations and claim that they were really worshipping God through them. But what would be wrong if they ate the meal, but did not participate in worshiping the idol? They would still be in the wrong, because by associating with those who did worship the idol their actions would be questionable. Spiritual minded believers should know better and should do better. God does not overlook sin, nor does he take it lightly. Neither should His followers.

Note, an idol is anything in your life that you put in the place of God.

GOD OR IDOLS
Why do people continually turn to idols instead of God?

Idols were:                                                                                              God is:
Tangible                                                                                                   Intangible—no physical form
Morally similar—Had human characteristics                                   Morally dissimilar—has divine characteristics
Comprehensible                                                                                     In comprehensible
Able to be manipulated                                                                         Not able to be manipulated
Worshipping Idols Involved:                                                              Worshipping God Involves:
Sexual immorality                                                                                  Purity and commitment
Doing whatever a person wanted                                                        Doing what God wants
Focusing on self                                                                                      Focusing on others

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

Throughout Jewish history, idolatry and sexual immorality are connected. This was the case when the Israelite men were enticed by the daughters of Moab. The record of this incident is found in Num 25.1-9, and that is what Paul is speaking about in this verse. The Israelites worshipped a God of Canaan, Baal of Peor, and engaged in sexual immorality with Moabite women. Part of the worship of this God involved sexual immorality; the Israelites had engaged in actions clearly against their own law in order to “worship” an idol. This occurred during the wandering in the wilderness, so it involved the same group of people who had left Egypt and had already been punished for worshipping the golden calf (10.7). Many continued in sin, God punished them harshly. For the believers in Corinth, the comparison would have been inescapable. Much of their idol worship focused on ritual prostitution and sexual immorality of all kinds. God would not go lightly on those who claimed to be his but still engaged in idol worship and sexual immorality.

In Numbers 25.9 we read that 24,000 were cut off, and Paul mentions 23,000. Those who want to discredit the Bible in any way they can, often point to this as being a contradiction, but there are several logical explanations for the difference between the two numbers:
1. The passage in Numbers does not say that 24,000 fell in one day, whereas Paul does say that 23,000 fell in one day. Paul is undoubtedly referring to the specific incident of that day, while Numbers 25.9 gives the total number that died because of the plague.
2. Paul may have tried to quote Scripture from memory and made a mistake, an error that I frequently make.
3. The figure in Numbers added in the leaders, which was not a group that Paul included.
4. The real number may have been between 23,000 and 24,000, say 23,500, or 23,600, and when writing where the exact figures are not needed, one writer may have quite accurately given one of the two round numbers near the exact one and the other writer the other.

The believer encounters no difficulty here; only those who attempt to discredit the Scriptures find discrepancies in such passages. There are no contradictions in the Bible when we rightly divide the Word and compare Scripture with Scripture.

Sexual sin is powerful and destructive. That is why God has so many laws against sexual sins. Instructions about sexual behavior would have been vital for three million people on a forty-year camping trip. But they would be equally important when they entered the Promised Land and settled down as a nation. Paul recognized the importance of strong rules about sex for believers, because sexual sins have the power to disrupt and destroy the church: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col 3:5-8; KJV). Sins involving sex are not innocent dabbling in forbidden pleasures, as is so often portrayed, but powerful destroyers of relationships. They bring confusion and tear down the trust and respect so essential for solid marriages and secure children. The subject of fornication was discussed in chapter six.

Just as God had brought death to the immoral among the Israelites (See Num 25.4-9), He could do it in Corinth—“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh...” (1 Cor 5; (KJV)—a sobering thought for those libertines who said, “Everything is permissible” (See 6.12; 10.23).

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

Other versions (such as the NIV), read “the Lord” instead of “Christ.” But “Christ” has the better manuscript support and is the reading scribes would be tempted to change because it is difficult to imagine the Israelites tempting Christ in the wilderness. But Paul has already affirmed that Christ as the spiritual Rock accompanied them in their wilderness journeys (See 10.4). This verse confirms Christ’s deity and preexistence.

The Greek word translated “tempt” carries with it the meaning of “challenging God;” that is, of an individual or people putting God to the test time after time, simply to see the extent of His longsuffering—just to see how long He will put up with sin and shortcomings. Such a spirit was manifested by the Israelites in their continuous rebellion against God. The Greek word translated “destroyed” (perished) points out that the punishment was continual—day after day—as long as they rebelled against God. The record of the fiery serpents is found in Numbers 21.4-9: “Then they moved from Mount Hor, following the road that goes to the Red Sea, in order to get around Edom. The people became impatient on the trip and criticized God and Moses. They said, “Why did you make us leave Egypt—just to let us die in the desert? There's no bread or water, and we can't stand this awful food!” So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people. They bit the people, and many of the Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we criticized the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD so that he will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake, and put it on a pole. Anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. People looked at the bronze snake after they were bitten, and they lived” (GW).

It was dangerous for Israel to tempt God, but it is even more dangerous for present day believers to do so. We find the same truth in Hebrews 10.28, 29: “A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb 10:28-29; ASV). Those who claim to be God’s people will not test the Lord to see how much they can get away with. True believers will attempt to stay close to God in order to constantly live in obedience to Him (See Hebrews 3-4).

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

Here Paul no doubt refers to Numbers 16.14-47. This incident of murmuring (or grumbling) took place when the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron—an event that actually happened several times. The phrase “were destroyed of the destroyer” could refer to when the Israelites grumbled at Kadesh, refusing to enter into the Promised Land. God punished them with a plague, killing 14,700: “And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!... And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD” (Num 14:2, 36-37; KJV). This could also refer to an incident recorded in Numbers 16 when a group rebelled against Moses, and God sent a plague that killed the rebels. In both cases, the assumption is that the plague came through God’s angel of death. Both of these incidents are an illustration of those who want things that are outside the will of God. God always has something good for his people. That was true then, and it is still true now. But they constantly wanted something that was beyond God’s will for them.
 
“Murmuring” on the part of Christians has its beginning in unbelief. Murmuring denies the goodness, longsuffering, and mercy of God. Believers are exhorted, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess 5:18; KJV). The point Paul is making is this: “Just as the most adverse circumstances must work together for the believer’s good (Rom 8.28), there is no situation to which he should not respond by giving thanks to God (Acts 16.25). Such gratitude is the fruit of grace and it stands in marked contrast to the thanklessness that characterized the heathen (Rom 1.21). This is the will of God for you.” God pity us if we grumble! We may suffer trials, tribulations, and disappointments; but remember Romans 8.28. No one thing may seem good, but when all things are added up, then “ALL things work together for good.”

“The destroyer” mentioned in this verse is not Satan, but God, through the power of the destroying angel: “For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” (Ex 12:23; KJV). This is the first time the angel is mentioned and the incident is the last plague that came upon Egypt. The same angel had killed the 70,000 men because of David’s census (2 Sam 24.15, 16) and the entire Assyrian army that besieged Jerusalem (2 Chr 32.21). Grumbling against God or against His leader’s results in divine punishment. God does not take this sin lightly either. This was another problem that the Corinthian church was facing.

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.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition,
Here we have a pattern or illustration—(and certainly one to be avoided)—warning the believers of the first century and us what will happen if we do what Israel did. When the Israelites disobeyed, they received punishment. Likewise, when people who claim to be Christians sin with no repentance, no desire to change, and no concern for God’s laws, they too will receive punishment. When Christ came everything changed. The past ages reached fulfillment, and now their lessons, recorded in the pages of Scriptures, can be understood in the light of God’s mercy, and salvation in Jesus Christ. We MUST read the Scriptures and learn from them. Paul wants the Corinthians to understand that because of the age we live in (the time of the Messiah, the last days of redemptive history before the messianic kingdom), their responsibilities are greater; and their guilt is greater, if they fall short of their privileges. We do have Christian liberty, but our desires are to be according to the will of God. That is so important for us to see.

Strong emphasis is placed upon “THEM;” the Holy Spirit is telling us the things that happened to THEM, in order that we may prosper from their sad mistakes. These things were written for our admonition. These things were written for our admonition in order that we might prosper from the mistakes of Israel. The literal translation of the word “admonition” here means “putting in mind” and sets forth the picture of training by word—whether it be to encourage or to warn. It is important for us to remember that the Old Testament Scriptures are not a mere recording of historical facts. They convey a message from God to man… they convey the thoughts and law of God concerning men, and hence have a purpose in our lives today. It is important that we read the Old Testament Scriptures with this thought in view.

At the end of this age and the consummation of all things there will be a new heaven—and a new earth “wherein dwealeth righteousness,” where the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters now cover the seas. All that could hinder will be in hell; nothing that defiles can enter the city of God. Therefore, after God’s dealings, up to the consummation of all things, there will be no more “ages.” There will be one long endless eternity.

upon whom the ends of the world are come.
We stand near the end of the present age and near the beginning of the age to come—similar to a man that stands on a stair landing. The Greek word translated “are come” means “to arrive at a certain time.” Those who study the Scriptures and compare the prophecies of the Bible with current events throughout the world, know that surely the end is near and the coming of Jesus in the Rapture is imminent. Who knows? It may be today, this very hour that the Church will be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air.

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

Here we have the necessary application to each and every believer concerning the truth conveyed in the preceding accounts—that is, the illustrations given of God’s dealings with Israel. The Israelites had received numerous pictures of God’s grace and witnessed many miracles performed before their very eyes. Yet they gave into temptation and fell away from God. “Him that thinketh he standeth” refers to those who are very confident about their exercise of freedom and flirt with temptation to do evil. A person who understands his freedom in terms of his service to others must be sure he exercises a disciplined freedom toward himself. Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians to be careful. If they began to take pride in their faith, if they began to take it for granted, if they thought they were standing firm that was the time they needed to be the most careful not to fall; that is the time when the devil is most likely to trip them up. Read 1 Corinthians 8.9-13.

Self-complacency is the danger here—the believer takes his standing for granted and does not look to Jesus for strength to overcome. Self-satisfaction always produces spiritual carelessness, and spiritual carelessness leads to rejection, as pointed out in chapter 9, verse 27. We are more than conquerors, but it is only “THROUGH HIM THAT LOVED US” (Rom 8.31-39). The Corinthians were very sure of themselves, almost prideful. Paul said that if the Israelites fell into idolatry, so could some in the Corinthian Church. No human being is ever above temptation while he or she is on the earth. Paul warned the believers not to let down their guard. Those most liable to fall are those who think they won’t.

It makes no difference who you are, you could fall today. It would be very easy for any one of us to blunder, and stumble, and fall. One can be a mature Christian, a real saint, and still fall. Therefore, you and I need to be very careful that we stay in the realm of the will of God where we are not quenching the Spirit of God in our lives. Our security as it relates to God is grounded in faith; so far as it relates to us, is grounded in our fear of falling; not from salvation, but into God’s discipline, and thus become disapproved: “but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected” (1 Cor 9:27; ASV).

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.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
From the solemn warning of the previous verse, Paul immediately moves to give the believers at Corinth (and us) divine encouragement with a divine promise. The meaning of “common to man” is “such as must—and does—come to all men so long as we live in this body of flesh.” It is not a sin to be tempted (The sin comes when a person gives in to temptation), and as long as we dwell in the flesh God will permit circumstances to take place out of which will come temptation; but He will always provide a way of escape.

God allows the temptation, God provides the way of escape—but the believer must take advantage of that provision… that is, we must be alert, not ignorant of the devil’s devices. It is God’s responsibility to provide a way of escape, but it is our responsibility to look to Him and trust Him for the way of escape—and then use it. “…God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:13-14; KJV). James says “Let no man say … I am tempted by God.” Some men when they fall try to throw the blame on God, as if God had tempted them. It is impossible for God to be tempted by sin (because He is perfect, and the world has nothing to offer Him), nor does He ever tempt men to sin, “But every man is tempted” when he allows his own lusts to lead and entice him. There can be no temptation unless something within us causes a sinful desire. God is not the author of sin.

but God is faithful,
God cannot be anything other than “faithful.” At all times and under all circumstances He acts consistently with His character. He has made adequate provision for every believer to meet every temptation that may arise. He will supply the strength and the way to escape. The believer who relies on God’s strength, who conforms to God’s will, and who faithfully looks to God, will always find victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:14-16; KJV). Our high priest now makes intercession for us in the true Holy of Holies. A high priest must be in sympathy with those for whom he ministers. Christ, who took upon himself our infirmities, is such a high priest. He was tried and tempted as man, but remained sinless.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,” because our high priest can be touched by our infirmities.

I advise every believer that does not already know 1 Corinthians 10.12, 13 from memory to memorize those verses. Believe, then hide them in your heart, live by them and you will be a victorious Christian.

The moment we think we stand, we are on good ground to fall. We must realize in our heart that no temptation can come upon us apart from the permissive will of God, and in the very temptation the way of escape is always present. Because of the faithfulness of God, He will not permit the devil to tempt us or put more upon us than we can bear up under if we rely on HIS strength, not our own.

I repeat: If you are a Christian and you have stumbled, it is not God’s fault. If you have succumbed to temptation, you have no one to blame but yourself. We are more than conquerors through Christ—not just ordinary conquerors, but more than conquerors. He does furnish the strength, the power, and the way to escape temptation.

who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
The Lord God Almighty knows every circumstance surrounding every temptation we face. Not one temptation comes to us without His permissive will—He allows it. But He will not allow the devil to tempt us beyond our breaking point. To Peter Jesus said, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32; KJV). Satan wanted to destroy all the apostles, but particularly Peter; he had already got one, Judas; and he wished to have all of them. But we see by this that the devil cannot even tempt a man unless he receives permission. He desires to do all evil; he is permitted only to do some. Jesus said He prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail. His faith did fail, and his great strength also; but not entirely, because he did not fall away, apostatize, or forsake his Master and his cause, as Judas did.

We read in John 17.20, 21 where Jesus prayed for all who will believe—and I belong to that group. Jesus not only prayed for Peter to stand; He prayed for me—and for every believer. The restraining power of God is such that the believer can meet and overcome every temptation that faces him when the Holy Spirit is allowed to lead, and the power of the Holy Spirit is allowed to work. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, because He will lead us to paths of right living. He will give us victory over every temptation. Each temptation can be resisted because God made it possible to resist it.

Finally, great reward comes from enduring temptation: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12; KJV). God does NOT always remove the temptation, because facing it and remaining strong can be a growing experience. The person who endures and continues faithful shall have this special crown that we can lay at the feet of Jesus.

but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The word rendered “way to escape” is ekbasis and literally means “a way out.” However, it is not entirely a way of escape, but THE way decided on by God and suited to each Christian in each temptation. It will take self-discipline to look for that way to escape even in the middle of the temptation and then to take it when it is found. The way out is seldom easy and often requires support from others. One of the God-given ways to escape temptation is commonsense. If a believer knows he will be tempted in certain situations, then he should stay away from them. Another way out of temptations is Christian friends. Instead of trying to deal with temptations alone, a believer can explain her dilemma to a close Christian friend and ask for support. This friend can pray, hold the person accountable, and give valuable insights and advice.

There is a glorious fact declared here: “The temptation and the way out always go together!”
A loving God never allows a believer to be the victim of circumstances. We have many marvelous accounts in the Word of God where He provided a way, and His child did escape temptation.

Joseph was greatly tempted, but God provided a way of escape, and Joseph took that way: “And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (Gen 39:12; ASV).

Daniel was greatly tempted, but God provided a way out of the temptation: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Dan 1:8; KJV).

No temptation can come to a child of God without the permissive will of God, and even then He always provides a way of escape: and for His glory and to His honor we should escape. He never allows any temptation to come upon one of His children that they are able to withstand.

Note, the truth is that God loves you so much that He will protect you from unbearable temptation. If sin is near so is God.

14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

“Wherefore” links closely this verse with verse 13 and suggests Idol feasts are the primary temptation Paul has in mind.

“Beloved” is a favorite word of Paul’s, which he used in almost all of his letters. The beloved are those who are the recipients of God’s love and dear to Paul; his commands flow from deep affection.

In this verse, Paul returns to the subject of chapter 8—meats and feasts in the temples where the idols were; and in addition, he brings to bear what he has declared in the first part of our present chapter concerning Israel. Since idol feasts were definitely connected with the subject, he sets forth in the next few verses the contrast of the idol feasts with the significance of the circumstances of the Lord’s Supper.

Paul gives advice here concerning participation in idol feasts, but his instruction goes much, much further than that, and can be applied to all things which might be set up in the heart of a believer which would take the place of the Lord Jesus Christ and the attention which should be rendered to Him. Christians are to literally flee from anything that would cause them to love Jesus less, or render service to him that is not given in full devotion. The Corinthian believers needed to know that dabbling at the edges of their former lives of idol worship might lead them back into sin. The idol itself is nothing, but it can be used by Satan to lead you into sin. Idolatry is demonic: “Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils” (Psalms 106:37; KJV). To sit at an idol’s table could mean fellowship (communion) with demons. Believers should have nothing to do with idolatry in any form, and anything that causes Jesus to take second place in one’s life certainly becomes an idol to that individual. The aim is not to see how close one may come to danger but how far one can get from it.

No believer should believe that he or she can withstand any temptation, because such pride can lead to a fall (10.12). The Corinthian believers needed to be wise enough to know, that because of past association, they should run from some temptations. It might not be wise for believers to go to feasts where meat had been offered to idols, because it could draw them back into former sins. Even if a person was strong against such temptation, he or she may be a stumblingblock for a weak person, actually being a temptation for someone who is not as strong against the temptation to return to idolatry: “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak” (1 Cor 8:9; KJV).

Idolatry was a temptation in Corinth. It may not be a temptation to you, but the Bible tells us that covetousness is idolatry. There is a lot of that around today.

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

Paul is not using sarcasm here as he did in 1 Corinthians 4.10: “We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised” (1 Cor 4:10; KJV). They were proud of their knowledge of religious maters, and in their own minds they considered themselves to be wise. Instead, here he credits them with enough intelligence and spiritual understanding to know what he is saying. The Greek word used here means “prudent”—that is, being able to utilize practical wisdom, that which we refer to as “good common sense.” Paul emphasizes “YE.” He is saying to the believers, “You judge yourselves what I am saying.” And what was it that Paul had been talking about; it was worshiping idols. He had reminded them of the grave harm that may be done to others when they ate in pagan temples (8.10). The church members surely know enough about the worship of idols to be able to make an intelligent appraisal of Paul’s advice and decide the value of it.

Do you have any questions or comments?

 The term “attitude adjustment” has taken on new meaning for several aging Disney characters. The year 1998 marked the seventieth birthday for Mickey Mouse so his character was reevaluated and a complete makeover came for the trademark mouse. He no longer acts the part of a cute, carefree character. According to the focus group who suggested the reworking of his persona, “these characters did not have enough attitude.” They believe he, and other Disney characters, should reflect the harried 1990s and take on an edgier demeanor. Roberts Gannaway, the executive producer who’s in charge of the makeover, said, “These characters were born in the Great Depression with a simple, optimistic outlook that now looks outdated.” Having “more attitude” may be viewed as an improvement in the entertainment world, but in the real world progress depends on less “attitude.”

Houston Chronicle, April 8, 1998, p. 2A

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