"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Ten OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To realize the possibility of apostasy 2) To appreciate the help of God in times of temptation 3) To understand the importance of properly applying the principle of expediency SUMMARY In this chapter Paul brings to a conclusion his discussion concerning things offered to idols. Reminding them about the example of Israel's apostasy and the danger of their own, he commands them to "flee idolatry" (1-14). He describes the communal implications of religious feasts and warns against provoking the Lord to jealousy by having fellowship with demons (15-22). This is probably a rebuke to the sort of practice alluded to in chapter 8, verse 10, where some at the church in Corinth thought nothing of eating sacrificial meat even in an idol's temple! He closes by giving specific instructions concerning meat that was later sold in the market place, or offered at the dinner of an unbeliever to which they might be invited: that they not be concerned unless someone specifically associates it with having been offered to an idol, and then to refrain out of consideration for the other's conscience (23-30). An overriding principle? Do all to the glory of God, and provide no occasion for others to stumble (31-32). In other words, imitate Paul, who sought to save others just as Christ did (33-11:1). OUTLINE I. EXAMPLES OF ISRAEL'S APOSTASY (1-14) A. APOSTASY IN SPITE OF BLESSINGS (1-5) 1. Blessings received in the crossing of the Red Sea (1-2) 2. Blessings received as they sojourned in the wilderness (3-4) 3. Still, with most of them God was not pleased, and they died in the wilderness (5) B. THE EXAMPLE OF ISRAEL SHOULD SERVE TO WARN CHRISTIANS (6-14) 1. Their example of apostasy to warn us (6) a. Not to become idolaters (7) b. Not to commit sexual immorality (8) c. Not to tempt Christ (9) d. Not to murmur (10) 2. Their history recorded to admonish us (11) a. For we can just as easily fall (12) b. Though God is faithful to provide help in dealing with temptation (13) 3. Therefore, flee from idolatry! (14) II. RELIGIOUS FEASTS AND THEIR COMMUNAL IMPLICATIONS (15-22) A. THE EXAMPLE OF THE LORD'S SUPPER AND THE SACRIFICES OF ISRAEL (15-18) 1. Paul speaks as to those capable of making wise judgments (15) 2. Partaking of the Lord's Supper is a communion of the Lord's body and blood (16-17) 3. The priests of Israel who ate the sacrifices were sharing in the services offered on the altar (18) B. APPLIED TO THINGS SACRIFICED TO IDOLS (19-22) 1. Not to say that an idol is anything, nor that which is offered to the idol (19) 2. But those who offer the sacrifices do so to demons, not God; and Paul would not want them to have fellowship with demons (20) 3. They cannot eat and drink at the Lord's table and then do the same at the tables of demons (21) 4. Such would provoke the Lord to jealousy (22) III. CONCLUSION REGARDING THINGS SACRIFICED TO IDOLS (23-11:1) A. SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS (23-30) 1. Seek for those things that are helpful, being considerate of the well-being of others (23-24) 2. Concerning things sold in the market, eat without question (25-26) 3. When you are invited to a dinner with an unbeliever (27-30) a. Eat what is set before you, asking no question for conscience's sake (27) b. But if someone should point out that the food had been offered to an idol, don't eat (28-30) 1) For the sake of the one who pointed it out (28a) 2) For the sake of another's conscience (28b) a) Lest your liberty be judged by the other's conscience (29) b) Lest you be evil spoken of concerning that for which you gave thanks (30) B. GENERAL PRINCIPLES (31-11:1) 1. Whatever you do, do all to the glory to God (31) 2. Give no offense to Jews, Greeks, or the church of God (32) 3. Just as Paul sought to please others rather than himself, that others may be saved (33) 4. Imitate him, as he imitated Christ (11:1)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) List the main points of this chapter. 2) What Old Testament account illustrates the possibility of apostasy? (1-11) 3) What attitude is most likely to precede one's fall? (12) 4) What promises do we have that should encourage us in times of temptation? (13) 5) What is the Lord's Supper according to verse 16? 6) What does partaking of the one bread (loaf; NIV) demonstrate? (17) 7) What would partaking of more than one loaf demonstrate? 8) In considering a matter, what must be considered besides its lawfulness? (23-24) 9) To whom are we to give no offense (an occasion of stumbling)? (32)