Though most of the Corinthians were Gentiles, Paul refers to the Israelites led by Moses as “our fathers”, because all Christians share the same spiritual ancestry (Galatians 3:7-8, 29). The word “for” in the first sentence connects this chapter to the points that Paul has been speaking to in chapters 8-9 that, among other things, declare that Christians must be willing to “give up” things that they may even see as their own “rights,” if that behavior is detrimental or a stumbling block to others. Concerning verse 7, McGarvey says “The ‘playing’ which Paul refers to (quoted from Exodus 32:3-6, 19, 25) was familiar to the Corinthians, who had indulged in such licentious sportfulness in the worship of Bacchus and Venus…Eating at the feast of idols was the very privilege for which the Corinthians were contending.”
The wrongness of that behavior should be obvious to them, but even eating at the idol temples, as many would, could present a temptation to fall into the old ways of idolatry and sexual immorality. Therefore, Paul says in verse 12 “…let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” But he continues in verse 13 by saying that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” These words should be a comfort to the faithful. No matter what temptation we are presented with, God will always provide a way out – but we have to choose to take it!
Finally, in verses 23-33, Paul deals with the issue of eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. Much of the meat that was sold in the markets could have come from such a source. Paul makes it clear that idols are nothing in reality, and that eating such would not be a sin by itself. But if it was a matter of conscience, that was different; and the conscience referred to might be that of a brother in Christ. For if someone else believed it was wrong to eat such food, the Christian should not do it in their presence or in a view that would offend or jeopardize the salvation of someone else. Our own liberty does not include damaging the sensibilities or faith of another.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.