Southern Christian University

A Study of I Corinthians #3

James A. Turner


Please read all of the references. They will help you to gain a better understanding.


Beginning with I Corinthians 7:20 through chapter ten.


Verse twenty, “Let each man abide in that calling where in he was called. Wast thou called being a bondservant? Care not for it: nay, even if thou canst become free, use it rather.” Of course the slave, which could not obtain his freedom he was still the “the Lord’s freeman” and the master who became a Christian “is Christ’s bondservant”.  Both the slave and the master who believed became bondservants or slaves of Christ, because they had been bought by the blood of Christ (I Corinthians 6:19-20). "Brethren, Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called, there in abide with God” (7:24).  And, again, they had been called by the gospel (II Thessalonians 2:14).  They had been called out of the Satan's kingdom into the Lord's kingdom (Colossians 1:13).  A free man would have more freedom to serve the Lord in a better way than would a slave, but he could remain as a slave and still serve the Lord faithfully. 


Now verse twenty-five shows that they had asked questions about virgins, whether or not virgins should marry, but virgins can include both females and males.  A person who has not had sexual intercourse with the opposite sex is a virgin.  "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord:  But I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be trustworthy."  Again the Lord did not give instruction on this specific subject during his earthly ministry.  But Paul says, “I give my judgment as one that both obtained mercy of the Lord to be trustworthy.  I think therefore that is good by reason of the distress that is upon us.  Namely, that it is good for man to be as he is."  Now, notice that he is going back to the rights of virgins in respect to marriage? So he is talking about men as well as women. 


 Because of the distress, evidently persecution had started against the church in a strong way, and Paul knew it would get worse.  And on the basis of the present distress that it was wise for any person who could control himself or herself not to marry.  Surely we understand how that in extreme circumstances it would be the wisest thing for them not to marry.  What about all of those that are living in refuge in another land now?  Wouldn't it be kind of foolish for them under those conditions to be going the way of marriage if they could possibly control themselves properly?  "I think therefore that is good by reason of the distress that is upon us.  Namely, that it is good for man to be as he is.  Art, thou bound unto a wife?  Seek not to be loosed.  Art, thou loosed from a wife?  Seek not a wife.  But shouldest thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned."  And there, of course, he is talking about a virgin woman.  "Yet such shall have tribulation in the flesh:  And I would spare you."  In other words because of the trouble of that present day, he is advising that you will have less tribulation if you remain in an unmarried state. 


Verse twenty- nine, "But this I say, brethren, the time is shortened:  That henceforth both those that have wives may be as though they had none; and those that weep, as though they wept not; and those that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and those that buy, as though they possessed not; and those that use the world, as not using it to the full:  For the fashion of this world passeth away.  But I would have you to be free from cares."  Under extreme circumstances, he or she might do well to look out for himself or herself.  "He that is unmarried is careful for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord:  But he that is married is careful for the things of the world, how he may please his wife."  And he would need to be concerned, to proper extent, how he may please his wife or the wife is to be concerned how she can please her husband to the right extent.  In marriage you see how they have other cares other than just being faithful to the Lord.  "And is divided.  So also the woman that is unmarried and the virgin is careful for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit:  But she that is married is careful for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.  And this I say for your own profit, not that I may cast a snare upon you."  And what would that mean?  It would mean that if he encouraged them not to marry when they had strong sexual desires that would cause them to be sexually immoral if they didn't marry, and that would be a snare.  So again, he is saying, I don't want to cast a snare upon you.  "But for that which is seemly, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.  But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemly toward his virgin daughter." 


The King James and the American Standard Versions read essentially the same in regard to this passage.  Some of the more recent versions read to the contrary on this passage, and some of them put the reading both ways.  “But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemly toward his virgin daughter.”  Now, personally I think the King James and the American Standard reading is the correct reading.  In that day in time it was reckoned as the right of the father to give his daughter in marriage or to refuse to give her in marriage.  And I think that's what this is talking about.  "If she be past the flower of her age."  In other words if she is at that age where sexual desires are strong.  "And if needs so requireth, let him do what he will, he sinneth not:  Let them marry."  In other words let his virgin daughter marry.  If he sees she has great need to be married, let him give her or them in marriage.  "But he that is steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power as touching his own will, and hath determined this in his own heart to keep his own virgin daughter, shall do well.  So both he that giveth his own virgin daughter in marriage doeth well."  Now, daughter is supplied several times here in this passage. 


Well, let us stop there and read.  I will read from The New International Version first.  It reads, "If anyone."  It has in the footnote the reading, which teaches essentially the same as given in the King James Version and the American Standard Version, but here is the reading it has in the text.  "If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin, he is engaged to.  And if she is getting along in years and feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants.  He is not sinning.  They should get married.  But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion, but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin,-- this man also does the right thing”  


Now, I do not know how a man is going to have such control over his girlfriend when she desires to marry, how he is going to keep her just as a girl friend?  I remember hearing a preacher giving a member of his congregation some good advice.  He said to this father, “Your son is dating a fine young lady of this church.”  Evidently the father had instilled in his son that he was not supposed to think about marriage until he got at least four years of college, and then after that it would be alright for him to marry that fine Christian young lady. The preacher told him this young woman wants to be married.  And if you want him to have a fine wife, you better change your thinking and encourage them to go ahead and get married now. She is not going to wait forever!  Don’t you think that the preacher was reasoning correctly? So from the standpoint of common sense the reading of the NIV doesn't make sense.  That woman who wants to get married ‑‑ if she finds out a man is not ready to get married, and she tries and tries for some sometime to change his mind with no success, then she will look for another man.  Is not that the case, at least, for most of them? 


The Contemporary English Version reads, “But suppose you are engaged to someone old enough to be married, and you want her so much that all you can think about is getting married. Then go ahead and marry. There is nothing wrong with that. But it is better to have self-control and to make up your mind not to marry, it is perfectly all right to marry, but it is better not to marry at all” (7:36-37). Please note that the latter part of this reading is in contradiction of what Paul said in I Corinthians 7:2! The New Revised Standard Version reads, “ If anyone thinks that he is not behaving toward his fiancée, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry. But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancée, he will do well” (7:36-38).Again does not common sense tell us that this reading is not correct? How is he going to keep her as his fiancée if she wants to marry, will she not look for a man who wants to marry her? Would it not be very strange if she did not look for another unless they decided just to shake- up together like so many in our American society are doing? Is that what some of these newer versions are wanting to uphold? If you have watched Judge Judy’s or Judge Joe Brown’s Court TV programs, you have probably noticed that most of them are about such relations where an unmarried couple decides that they will have a sexual relationship, and they agree that each will pay half of the rent, groceries, and utilities. Then one party decides to have a sexual affair with some one else, and quits paying and leaves all of the burden on the other party. I would guess that about seventy-five percent of the Court TV programs, like Judge Judy’s and Judge Joe Brown’s turn on this very thing. The morals of our society are so very low! Are we doing all that we can do to help turn things around?


The New American Standard Version reads, “But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she should be of age, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let them marry. But he who stands firm in his heart being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better” (7:36-38). Why, “will do better” would it be because of the distressing times that he has referred to?


Now, I do some reading from newer versions. In some cases they help to give us a better, or fuller, understanding of some references, but please be careful and read from the King James Version or the American Standard Version or the New King James Version or the New American Standard Version and compare the reading of these with some of these other newer versions. Now, I cannot read either Hebrew or Greek, and I do not have enough intelligence to become an authority of either even if my salvation depended on that authoritative knowledge, but what little common sense that I may have, seems to tell me that of all the newer versions the New American Standard Version is the most accurate.


Okay.  Verse thirty-nine, "The wife is bound for as long time as her husband liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is free to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord."  And this means that she is to marry a Christian man (II Corinthians 6:14-15).  It is dangerous for a child of God to marry a non‑Christian. In chapter nine, Paul says in verse five, "Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer”.?  And so those that have been married and their spouse is dead, they are free to be married  to another with the condition that they are to marry in the Lord.  "But she is happier  (because of the extreme circumstances)  if she abide as she is, after my judgment:  And I think that I also have the Spirit of God." 


Somehow, I skipped one important thing, when Paul was talking about that he wished that everyone was like him.  Paul was evidently a man who could properly control his sex drives, and he was unmarried.  "Yet I would that all men were even as I myself (1:7)."  Evidently, he had exercised such control over himself and those basic drives of the body that there was no real need for him to marry.  But he says, “how be it, each man hath his own gift from God, one after that manner and another after that."  What does he mean by that statement?  Some have the ability to control themselves in this respect and some do not.  And in Matthew nineteen when the Pharisees asked Jesus a question about marriage, and he emphasized that God made them in the beginning and joined them together in marriage, and let no man put marriage asunder; the disciples were so surprised by the strictness that Jesus laid down; they said if the case of the man be so with his wife, “it is expedient not it marry”.  But Jesus said, “and each man has his own gift from God.  Some after this manner and some after that.” He went ahead to say there were three kinds of eunuchs.  There are eunuchs that are born eunuchs (not having basic sex drive).  And there are those that made eunuchs of men (by surgery), and there are those that have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake.” I think that was probably Paul's situation, and he says, “he that is able to receive, let him receive it.”  And, I believe, that's what Paul is talking about there, that each man has his own gift.  He knew that every man could not control himself.  And he didn't want to cast a snare as he puts it in verse thirty-five upon anyone. 


Chapter Eight

Okay.  They had asked him questions about whether or not it was all right to go to eat with the idolaters when they had their feasts to their gods.  There were those in the church who were puffed up in their thinking, and they reasoned that we know that there is no such thing as an idol god.  So why shouldn't we be able to go and enjoy the feast?  We are not going to eat as worshiping their idol god.  But Paul reasoned with them that you are likely to cause  a weak brother who has just turned from idolatry to return to idolatry, and cause him to be lost,  for whose sake Christ died”.  And concludes by saying, “if meat causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh forevermore.”   So he lays down the principle that even in regard to what is right, we are to consider the influence that we will have on others.  And these principles are to regulate us today.  A brother might reason, “Well, I'm not going to this bar to drink strong drink, but they serve good steaks and I am hungry for a good steak!” Would he be giving proper consideration to those who are weaker?  There maybe others who have a habit of strong drink and see him there and be influenced by his bad example, and reason,  “Well, the preacher was there or the elder of the church was there, therefore, it is all right for me to go there.”  So this is showing that we are to consider the weaknesses of others and not do anything that would cause a brother to stumble. 


"Now concerning things.  And that statement now concerning, chapter seven, see, they had asked questions and now concerning things sacrificed to idols  (So they had asked him questions.)  We know that we all have knowledge, knowledge puffeth up but love edifieth”.  Just knowledge by itself, Paul says puffs up, but love edifieth.  I have forgotten the  reading in one of these ‑‑ This one, I guess, the New Revised Standard, "Knowledge puffs up but love builds up.”  That is a good reading.  I believe that one gives a fuller meaning.  Knowledge alone puffs up.  “But love builds up”.  "If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know” (8:2).  And so those who were thinking that they were so strong that they could go and eat with the idolaters without being in any great danger did not know anything, as “he ought to know.”  And many, who thought that they were so strong, had they gone and eaten with the idolaters, some would have been influenced by the idolaters.  They would have been involved in wrong association.  And that statement in chapter fifteen, "Evil companionships corrupts good morals” (I Corinthians 15:33)," takes care of that, you see.  Well, Paul returns to this same subject in chapter ten, and he very definitely tells them not to go and eat with the idolaters. 


Verse three, "But if any loveth God the same is known by him, concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one.  For though there be that are called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as there are gods many and lord's many; yet there to us is one God the Father of whom are all things, and we unto him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him."  Remember, that God made the worlds through Christ (John 1;1-4,1:14; Hebrews1:1-3; Colossians1:13-18).  And so we know that there is just one Father and that there is just one Son Christ Jesus.  But notice verse seven, "How be it there is not in all   men that knowledge:  For some being used until now to the idol eat it is a thing sacrificed unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  But food will not commend us to God:  Neither, if we eat, are we the worst:  Nor if we eat, are we the better."  In other words it doesn't matter about eating food, it doesn't put us closer to God or further away from God.  "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if any man see thee who hast knowledge sitting at meat in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, (a recent convert from idolatry)  Be emboldened to eat those things sacrificed to idols; for through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, a brother for whose sake Christ died,  and thus sinning against the brethren.  So he is saying it is wrong, you are  sinning against that weaker brother when you do such a thing! And wounding their conscience which is weak, you sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if eating meats causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh forevermore, not that I cause not my brother to stumble."  This is a wonderful and excellent spirit manifested by Paul, and it is that good and right spirit that all of us should have today.


Chapter Nine

There were those who were trying to discredit the apostleship of Paul.  Paul had refused to take pay from the Corinthians (II Corinthians 11:7-12), and evidently they were using that against him.  It was probably those false apostles (II Corinthians 11:13-15) that were saying that is the reason he doesn't take any pay.  It is because he knows that he is not a full‑fledged apostle, that is the reason he does not take pay.  To say the least of it, there were those that had asked questions about whether or not he had all the rights of an apostle.  All right, he begins by answering, "Am I not free, am I not an apostle?  Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?  Are not ye my work in the Lord?"  When did Paul see Jesus?  When he was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians (Acts9:1-18).  And the Lord revealed himself to him there to qualify him as an apostle, as an eyewitness (Acts 26:14-17), and the Lord did not save him on his way to Damascus.  The Lord has put the gospel in the hands of earthen vessels as we read from II Corinthian 4:7.  "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?  Are not ye my work in the Lord?"  In other words he is qualified, being an eyewitness of Christ and Christ had called him to be an apostle. 


Verse two, "If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you:  For the seal of my apostleship are ye in the Lord."  Going back to chapter one, they came behind in no gift, verse seven.  .  Paul as an apostle had the ability to lay his hands on others and give them miraculous gifts of the Spirit, and the church at Corinth did not come behind in any spiritual gift.  And so they were a seal or they were, you might say, the guarantee that he was an apostle of Christ.  "I am to you for the seal of apostleship are ye in the Lord.  My defense to them that examine me is this  (whether or not he had the right of support).  Have we no right to eat and to drink."  Meaning have we no right to receive pay for our work? 


            Paul is defending his apostleship, that he had the right of support just like the other apostles and the brethren of the Lord, but he had purposely not taken that support from the Corinthians for a good reason, which was to cut off the support to the false teachers (II Corinthians 11:7-15).  Paul raises a number of questions to show that every person who works has a right to the reward of his labor.  He says, “What soldier ever serviceth at his own charges?  Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth a flock and eateth not the milk of the flock?” And he says, does not the law also say the same, for it is written in the Law of Moses, verse nine, "Thou shalt not mussel the ox when he treadeth out the corn."  Now, from the reading in the King James and the American Standard Versions, I think some people might get the idea of treading out Indian maize that the early setters called corn, and you do not tread out Indian maize, you shell that maize which we call corn.  It is talking about treading out grain like barley and wheat.  The pattern of that day was for them to pile up the grain on the threshing floor and then to have an ox to pull a threshing sled around and around over that grain until the chaff was separated from the grain, and then when the wind was right to take a shovel and throw the grain and the chaff up in the air.  And the wind would blow the chaff out from the threshing floor, and the wheat or the barley would be left on the threshing floor.  But Paul says, "Is it for the oxen that God carieth or sayeth it assuredly for our sake?"  God gave that command (Deuteronomy 25:4) especially for  our sake that man might learn the universal principle that anyone who works has a right to the reward of his labor.  And he further calls attention in verse eleven, "If we sowed unto you spiritual things is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things”, (or your material things). He then calls attention to the priest under the law, and how they had their portion from the alter.  They received a portion of the sacrifices that they offered for the people, plus they were rewarded also by the tithes of the other tribes.  And then, he concludes by saying in verse fourteen, "Even so did the Lord ordain that they that proclaim the gospel should live of the gospel." 


He gives two reasons, further in this chapter, as to why he did not call upon the Corinthians for support.  In verse sixteen he says that is the only thing I have to glory of, “for necessity is laid upon me, for woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.  In other words God had called Paul to be an apostle to carry the gospel, especially to the Gentile people, but also to the Jews.  And he says necessity is upon me if I do not do that.  But he says if I preach the gospel without charge, I have some little thing then to glory about.  Further, he states in verse eighteen that he did not want to use to the full his right in the gospel.  He did not want the preaching of the gospel to be hindered in any way.  He did not use to the full his right in the gospel. It may be that some preachers need to give attention to verse eighteen.  I am afraid some are ready to use to the full their right in the gospel.  Of course, I know there are also brethren that think that preachers ought to live on a lot less than they do!  But the right kind of spirit should work both ways. 


Then he talks about how he became all things to all men, verse nineteen beginning.  "He says, for thou I was free from all men, I brought myself unto bondage to all that I might gain the more.  To the Jews I became as a Jew that I might gain Jews."  He does not mean that he continued to keep the law after he learned that it had been fulfilled.  "To them that are under the law as under the law not being myself under the law  (Old Testament) that I might gain them that are under the law.  To them that are without law (Gentiles) as without law, not being myself without law to God but under law to Christ that I might gain them that are without law."  I would like for you to think of this in regard to what a few of our brethren are saying today that grace rules out law.  Paul says, no sir, that I am under the law of Christ.


Verse twenty-two, "To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak, I am become all things to all men that I may be all means save some."  Verse twenty-two, does not mean that if man had a bad habit of strong drink that he would drink a little with them, but rather that he tried to put himself in their shoes as much as he could so that he could better understand and empathize with them and be able to help them.  And though he was free from all men, he was ready to be in bondage to all that he might save some. 


Verse twenty-three, "I do all things for the gospel's sake that I may be a joint partaker thereof".  He talks about those that compete in the races, or in boxing, how they put themselves into doing their very best.  And he is going to do likewise that he might win the race and that he may win the fight.  And every child of God needs to give heed and run as though there is just one prize to receive.  "Know ye not they that run in a race run all."  Here is another passage that is one of those little things, which indicates that Paul is the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews. (Hebrews12:1)  "Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize.  Even so run that you may attain.  And every man that striveth in the game exercises self control in all things.  Now they did it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run as not uncertainly. So fight I as not beating the air, but I buffeth my body and bring it into bondage, less by any means after that I have preached to others I myself should be rejected” (9:24-27) Under the law of Christ, a man receives complete forgiveness when he obeys the gospel, and a child of God when he learns that he has done wrong and repents and prays for forgiveness his sins are forgiven(I John 1:8-9) him and thus he can overcome.  And Paul says, “I keep my body under control”.  And all of us as Christians have a responsibility, with the Lord's help, of keeping our bodies under proper control, that we do not give way to the lust and passions of the flesh (Galatians 5:24).  The New Testament teaches that every child of God who is willing to do his best in running the Christian race and fighting the fight of faith can be victorious (Romans 14:4).


Chapter Ten

In the first thirteen verses of this chapter he discusses how that the people of Israel were God's chosen people, but most of them were overthrown in the wilderness.  And then he gives some of the examples of why they were overthrown.  And he says these things happened unto them by way of example for us, and they are written for our admonition.  "For I would not brethren have you ignorant that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea and were all baptized unto Moses and the cloud and in the sea.  Did all eat the same spiritual food and did all drink the same spiritual drink.  For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”  Of course, we have several examples of Christ being back there looking out for the welfare of the people. Do you remember when Joshua and the people of Israel were about ready to make an attack on the city of Jericho, and the man that appeared to Joshua on that occasion (Joshua 5:13-15) and he was told to worship?  Surely, that was the Christ back there.  And you remember the burning bush; it must have been Christ back there (Exodus 3:4-6).  He is referring to the manna as the same spiritual food, and does he mean that the manna was given through the power of Christ?  Does it not mean that Christ wrought the miracle of bringing forth water from the rock sufficient for two to three million people, and all their cattle (Exodus 19:1-7; Numbers 20:7-13; Psalms 78:14-16)? So they drank of the spiritual drink on two different occasions. Please note how Psalms 78:16 speaks of the amount of water brought forth!


Verse 5, "How be it with most of them God was not well pleased."  In regard to baptism,  They were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”.  You really have a figure of a burial.  There was water above them, and God had caused a strong east wind to blow the waters of the Red Sea back, there was a wall of water on each side of them and water under them.  So the figure would be a burial in water.  Verse 5, "How be it with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness." When God was ready for them to go in and take the land of Canaan they rebelled.  And God decreed that all of those men above twenty years of age who had seen my works so many times that their bodies would fall in the wilderness.  And they did.  God caused them to wander for thirty-eight years to finish out the forty years.  And their bodies fell in the wilderness, plus many others fell because of unfaithfulness. 


Verse six, "Now these things were our examples to the intent we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted."  Each one of these things mentioned is a particular thing.  Verse six is talking about what is recorded in Numbers the eleventh chapter.  The people were lusting for meat, and they said we are tired of this manna.  And so God promised that he would give them meat for a whole month.  Even Moses doubted whether God could do that, but God's hand was not shortened.  God brought quail in round about the camp; about three feet from the ground where they could just go out and pick the quail.  And they gathered quail all day and all night and all day the next day.  It says that he that gathered the least gathered ten homers, which would be at least sixty-five bushels of quail!  My, what did they think they were going to do with that many quail?  It says they spread them out around the camp.  And because they were so lustful, God sent a plague among them.  And I believe it is verse thirty-four, the last verse of chapter eleven that they called that place -- I forgotten what they called it, but anyway they gave it a name.  "For there they buried those that lusted."  Do you not think that is what he is talking about here?  That we should not lust after the evil things as they also lusted. Who would think about this being food without turning and reading from Numbers 11:1-34? They showed a great lack of faith and trust in God by what they did.  Each one of these things that Paul mentions is in verses six through thirteen are specific. 


Verse seven, "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."  So you see very definitely that that is referring to the golden calf, Exodus 32:1-35. When Moses and Joshua came down from the mountains with the Ten Commandments, they had already turned aside into idolatry.  They had Aaron to make them a golden calf, and they had worshipped their new god.  They sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play when Moses and Joshua came down the mountain. 


Verse eight says, "Neither let us commit fornication as some of them committed and fell in one day three and twenty thousand."  That is very definitely talking about what we read about in Numbers chapter twenty-five.  Numbers chapters twenty-two – twenty-four are about the prophet, Balaam, trying to receive a reward from Balak, king of Moab, to curse the people of Israel. They attempted three times with seven altars and seven bulls and seven rams on each of the seven altars, to curse the people of Israel. Each time God pronounced a blessing through Balaam instead.  But even after that according to Revelation 2:14, this old prophet Balaam taught Balak how to cast a stumbling block before the people of Israel.  And the stumbling block was to have the women of Moab to invite the men of Israel to worship with them, and they were idolaters.  The men of Israel were seduced to worship with them, and of course, in that process of worship, they were unfaithful to God, so it was spiritual adultery.  It also looks like from the reading, that they also committed physical adultery with them.  And God first told Moses to kill the chiefs that had been a part of that.  They did, and then God sent a plague.  In all there were twenty-four thousand that fell because of them going and worshiping with those women of Moab.  Here it says twenty-three thousand.  And I think the answer would be that probably a thousand were put to death by the command of Moses and then twenty-three thousand by the plague that God sent, and in all twenty-four thousand people. 


Verse nine, "Neither let us make trial of the Lord as some of them made trial and perished by the serpents."  In Numbers chapter twenty-one, the king of Edom refused to let them go through their territory, and they had to go around it and the way was difficult, and they began to murmur and complain as they had frequently done, and God sent fiery serpents among them, and the serpents were killing them.  This is one time they confessed that they had sinned, and they asked Moses to pray for them.  Moses did, and God told him to make a brazen serpent and raise it up on a standard, and that   those who looked on the brazen serpent would be healed.  And this was the type of Christ to come, being raised on the cross (John 3:14-15).  And John refers to him being raised on the cross three times in his book (John 3:14-15, 8:32, 12:31-32).  So you see that is very definitely what he is talking about in verse nine. 


Verse ten, "Neither murmur ye as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer."   I am afraid, that in many Bible classes today, brethren just read over this as though we don't have the Old Testament background for further understanding.  But each one of these is calling attention to specific things, which caused God to destroy the people back there.  In verse ten, I am very confident he is referring to Numbers, chapter sixteen.  Do you remember how Kora, Dathan and Abiram, and those that followed them were trying to usurp the office of the priesthood (Numbers 16:1-11).  And Moses said to the people, if these men die a common death, the Lord has not appeared to me.  But if he performs a new thing and opens up the earth and swallows them up, you will know that they have despised the Lord.  God opened up the earth and swallowed them up, and the two hundred fifty that were trying to offer incense offerings, God burned them up with fire.  The next day then the people accused Moses and Aaron of destroying the people of the Lord, referring to those houses that he had opened up the earth and swallowed them up and those two hundred fifty.  And God's wrath was kindled, and he sent a plague among them.  And before Aaron could get in between the living and the dead, fourteen thousand seven hundred people died by the plague (Numbers 16:41-50).  I am afraid we are living in an age when many are not emphasizing the fact that Paul emphasizes in the eleventh chapter of Romans when he said, "Behold then the goodness and the severity of God."  If we get to that book, we will talk about that when we get there.  Hebrews 12:28-29 reads, “Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace whereby we may offer service well pleasing to God with reverence and owe: for our God is a consuming fire”. We need to preach both the love of God and the wrath of God, the goodness and the severity of God. 


Verse eleven, "Now these things happen unto them by way of example, and they are written for our admonition upon whom the end of the ages are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."  If there was not another passage in the entire Bible except these ten verses, a person ought to know that a child of God can fall and be in a lost condition again.  Think of all those that were overthrown because they had done wrong.  And in verse twelve, "Wherefore let him that standeth take heed lest he fall." And again, some in the church at Corinth thought that they were so strong that they could go eat with the idolaters.  Don’t you think that this verse applied to them? They thought that they were so strong, but just as surely as they had gone and eaten with those idolaters, some of them would have been taken by lust in some way. 


Verse thirteen, "There hath no temptation taken you.  But such as man can bear, but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with a temptation make also the way of escape, that we may be able to bear."  Do you remember how Peter says that God has given us many precious and exceeding great promises that we may become partakers of his divine nature (II Peter 1:4).  Well, God certainly has, and here is one of those great promises that God has given.  I believe that every child of God should learn I Corinthians 10:13 by memory, so that it can speak to him.  There is no such thing as the devil making a Christian do wrong.  Jesus said, “My sheep, hear my voice, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and no one is able to snatch them out of my hand, and they shall never perish, and my Father, who has given them unto me is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hands.  I like to use that reference a lot, John 10: 27-29.  Just because there are those who use it to teach false doctrine should not be any reason why we should not use it correctly.  We need to emphasize that just as long as a child of God hears and follows Christ, the devil does not have the power to take him out of Christ's hand or out of God's hand.  But if a child of God on his own ceases to hear and follow, then the devil can and will get him.  The devil is going to take every advantage that we give him (Ephesians 4:26-27; II Corinthians 2:10-11).  But the devil just does not have power over a child of God to the point, of taking a child of God out of God’s hand, if a child of God is willing to do as stated here, God is going to provide the way of escape, if he will take that way.  Now, that way of escape sometimes maybe the way of flight like Joseph.  It looks like that some of our brethren went to the other extreme an though there is not much security in Christ. We need to emphasize that there is real conditional security in Christ (John 10: 27-29; Romans 14:4; I Corinthians 10:13; I Thessalonians 3:13, 5:23 ; Hebrews 6:9-10).


Verse fourteen, "Wherefore my beloved flee from idolatry."  Remember in chapter six he told them to flee fornication and here to flee idolatry.  "Wherefore my beloved flee from idolatry."  Let us remember that there are those today that need to flee some things.  If a man has had a very bad habit of strong drink, he does not need to go down to the saloon to show people how he is so strong now, and try to convert all those who are at the bar.  If he does, he will probably be overtaken in that bad habit again.  The same thing will hold with drug addiction and other things.  So this admonition given to the Corinthians is still applicable today.  In verses fourteen through twenty-two he tells them very plainly that they are not to go to the idolaters temple and eat with the idolaters.  He says, "The cup of blessing which we bless is not a communion of the blood of Christ."  He is talking about the Lord's Supper.  For communion a footnote in my Bible says, "a participation in."  I think I read from another version that says, "a sharing in."  In other words we share in the blood of Christ when we partake of the Lord's Supper, which Christians are to take each Lord’s Day (I Corinthians 16:1-2, 11:33-34; Acts 20:7; John 6:53-59).  And this is one of the ways we share the benefits of his blood.  “The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ. Seeing that we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread."  So the Lord's Supper shows for one thing, there is one spiritual body, the church. (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4; Colossians 1:18) "Behold Israel after the flesh: have they not they that eat the sacrifices communion with the altar.  What say I then that a thing sacrificed to idols is anything or that an idol is anything.  But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons (or devils) and not to God.  And I would not that you should have communion with demons (10:17-20). 


So he is saying very plainly, do not go and worship with the idolaters.  Do not go on their feast days, and reason that you are just going to enjoy a good meal.  "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the demons.  Ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons."  You cannot do both and be pleasing to God.  "Or do you provoke the Lord to jealousy."  Meaning if you do, you are provoking him to jealousy.  God states that he is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5-6).  "Are we stronger than he?"  Surely not, and you will bring God’s wrath against you if you go and eat with the idolaters. "All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient.  All things are lawful, but not all things edify.  Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good."  Even if those who were puffed up and thought that they had every right to go and eat with the idolaters, even if they had been strong enough to do that, they would have caused some of their weak brethren to perish, for whose sake Christ died, as referred to in chapter eight. 


But they did have the right to eat meat when it was cheap in the marketplace.  Verse twenty-five, "Whatsoever is sold in the shambles (marketplace), eat, asking no questions for conscious sake."  It looks like the idolaters, burned only a small portion of the animal on the altar, and they would eat a portion of the meat that they sacrificed to their god, and then a lot of the meat would appear in the marketplaces.  So meat would be much cheaper at that time when the idolaters had their big feasts.  So he is saying whatever is sold in the marketplace, do not ask any question about it, whether it had been offered to an idol or not.  He says, "For the earth is the Lord in the fullness thereof."  They had a right to eat that meat. 


Verse twenty-seven, "If one of them that believe not biddeth you to a feast and you are disposed to go, whatsoever is set before you eat and ask no questions for conscience sake.  But if any man says unto you, this has been offered in sacrifice, eat not for his sake that showed it and for conscience sake.  Conscience, I say, not thine own, but the others.  For why is my liberty judged by another’s conscience” (10:27-29)?"  They were to be concerned about the conscience of that unbeliever. If he told them that the meat had been sacrificed to an idol and they continued to eat, then they would think they were sacrificing to his god.  And so for his sake, they were not to eat anymore of the meat.  "If I partake with thankfulness, why am I evil spoken of for that which I give thanks”. 


Verse thirty-one “Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no occasion of stumbling, either to the Jews, or the Greeks, or the church of God."  Now, there is a proper way to fulfill that basic desire of hunger, but we are to consider others and not do anything to cause them to stumble.  Notice the three categories given which would include all people, Jews, Greeks, are the church of God.  In other words unbelieving Jews, and unbelieving Greeks are not in the church of God, which consists of believing Jews and Gentile.  So do not give occasion of stumbling to any.  "Even as I also please all men in all things.  Not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many."  That is about the same conclusion he reached in chapter eight, "If eating meat would make my brother stumble, I will not eat any more meat."