Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On 1 Corinthians 10.32-33

  VI. The apostle takes occasion from this discourse to lay down a rule for Christians' conduct, and apply it to this particular case (1 Corinthians 10:31,32), namely, that in eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the fundamental principle of practical godliness. The great end of all practical religion must direct us where particular and express rules are wanting. Nothing must be done against the glory of God, and the good of our neighbours, connected with it. Nay, the tendency of our behaviour to the common good, and the credit of our holy religion, should give direction to it. And therefore nothing should be done by us to offend any, whether Jew, or Gentile, or the church, 1 Corinthians 10:32. The Jews should not be unnecessarily grieved nor prejudiced, who have such an abhorrence of idols that they reckon every thing offered to them thereby defiled, and that it will pollute and render culpable all who partake of it; nor should heathens be countenanced in their idolatry by any behaviour of ours, which they may construe as homage or honour done to their idols; nor young converts from Gentilism take any encouragement from our conduct to retain any veneration for the heathen gods and worship, which they have renounced: nor should we do any thing that may be a means to pervert any members of the church from their Christian profession or practice. Our own humour and appetite must not determine our practice, but the honour of God and the good and edification of the church. We should not so much consult our own pleasure and interest as the advancement of the kingdom of God among men. Note, A Christian should be a man devoted to God, and of a public spirit.

Enduring Word Commentary by David Guzik
3. (31-33) Concluding principle: Do all to the glory of God.
a. Do all to the glory of God: The purpose of our lives isn’t to see how much we can get away with and still be Christians; rather, it is to glorify God.  If the Corinthian Christian would have kept this principle in mind from the beginning in this issue, how much easier it would have made everything!
b. Give no offense: An offense is an occasion to stumble, of leading someone else into sin.  Paul is saying none of our behavior should encourage another to sin.
        i. Paul is not talking about offending the legalism of others, something he was not shy about doing (Galatians 5:11-12).
c. Paul’s desire regarding men was that they may be saved; more often than we think, low conduct in Christian living is connected to little regard for the lost.  Paul’s concern was not seeking [his] own profit, but that all may be saved.

32. Give none offence--in things indifferent (1Co 8:13; Ro 14:13; 2Co 6:3); for in all essential things affecting Christian doctrine and practice, even in the smallest detail, we must not swerve from principle, whatever offense may be the result (1Co 1:23). Giving offense is unnecessary, if our own spirit cause it; necessary, if it be caused by the truth.

 Be Wise by  Warren Wiersbe  (pub. by David C. Cook.)
Paul anticipated the objections. “Why should I not enjoy food for which I give thanks? Why should my liberty be curtailed because of another person’s weak conscience?” His reply introduced the second responsibility we have: We are responsible to glorify God in all things (1 Cor. 10:31). We cannot glorify God by causing another Christian to stumble. To be sure, our own conscience may be strong enough for us to participate in some activity and not be harmed. But we dare not use our freedom in Christ in any way that will injure a fellow Christian.
But there is a third responsibility that ties in with the first two: We are responsible to seek to win the lost (1 Cor. 10:32–33). We must not make it difficult either for Jews or Gentiles to trust the Lord, or for other members of the church to witness for the Lord. We must not live to seek our own benefit (“profit”), but also the benefit of others, that they might be saved.
When Paul wrote, “I please all men in all things” (1 Cor. 10:33), he was not suggesting that he was a compromiser or a man-pleaser (see Gal. 1:10). He was affirming the fact that his life and ministry were centered on helping others rather than on promoting himself and his own desires.

32. Be not occasions of stumbling to any This is the second point, which it becomes us to have an eye to — the rule of love. A desire, then, for the glory of God, holds the first place; a regard to our neighbor holds the second He makes mention of Jews and Gentiles, not merely because the Church of God consisted of those two classes, but to teach us that we are debtors to all, even to strangers, that we may, if possible, gain them. (1 Corinthians 9:20, 21.)
33. Even as I please all men in all this As he speaks in a general way, and without exception, some extend it by mistake to things that are unlawful, and at variance with the word of the Lord — as if it were allowable, for the sake of our neighbor, to venture farther than the Lord permits us. It is, however, more than certain, that Paul accommodated himself to men only in things indifferent, and in things lawful in themselves. Farther, the end must be carefully observed — that they may be saved Hence what is opposed to their salvation ought not to be conceded to them, 607
607 "I1 ne leur faut pas accorder, et s’accommoder a eux en cela;” — “It is not proper to concede to them, and to accommodate ourselves to them in that.” but we must use prudence, and that of a spiritual kind.
608 - The view here given by Calvin of the spirit by which Paul was actuated in this part of his conduct, is most successfully brought out, at greater length, by the Reverend Andrew Fuller, when comparing 1 Corinthians 10:33, with Galatians 1:10. — “Though both these kinds of action are expressed by one term — to pleaseyet they are exceedingly diverse; no less so than a conduct which has the glory of God and the good of mankind for its object, and one that originates and terminates in self. The former of these passages should be read in connection with what precedes and follows it, (1 Corinthians 10:31-33.) Hence it appears plain, that the things in which the Apostle pleased all, men, require to be restricted to such things as tend to their ‘profit, that they may be saved.’ Whereas the things in which, according to the latter passage, he could not please men, and yet be the servant of Christ, were of a contrary tendency. Such were the objects pursued by the false teachers whom he opposed, and who desired to ‘make a fair show in the flesh, lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 6:12.) The former is that sweet inoffensiveness of spirit which teaches us to lay aside all selfwill and self-importance, that charity which ‘seeketh not her own,’ and ‘is not easily provoked;’ it is that spirit, in short, which the same writer elsewhere recommends from the example of Christ himself: ‘We, then, who are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor, for his good to edification: for even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.’ But the latter spirit referred to is that sordid compliance with the corruptions of human nature, of which flatterers and deceivers have always availed themselves, not for the glory of God or the good of men, but for the promotion of their own selfish designs.” — Fullers Works, volume 3. — Ed.

10:31-11:1. The principle which summarized Paul’s response to the question of eating food offered as a pagan sacrifice was an application of the command to love God and neighbors. Christian behavior should be for the glory of God. Also it should build up the church of God by leading some to new birth (v. 33b) and others to maturity in the process of salvation (justification, sanctification, glorification; cf. 1:30). Christians should avoid behavior that would cause others—whether Jews (cf. 9:20), Greeks (cf. 9:21), or the church of God … to stumble (lit., “fall”; cf. 10:12). (Interestingly this reference to Jews separate from the church shows that the NT church did not replace the Jewish nation. This argues strongly for premillennialism.)
The One who perfectly exemplified love for God and others was Christ (cf. Rom. 15:3; Phil. 2:5-8). Displaying the same spirit in his ministry, Paul urged the Corinthians to follow his example in this matter of food from a pagan sacrifice. They should allow their freedom to be regulated by love.  ---David K. Lowery

The whole discussion is concluded in 10:31–11:1 giving the broad parameters within which Christians should operate in society. 31 First, whatever a Christian does, whether it is eating, drinking or any other action, it must be done to God’s glory. 32 Secondly, neither Jews nor Greeks, i.e. those inside or outside the church, must be caused to stumble by the actions of any Christian. 33 Again Paul can draw attention to his own actions in support of this, for he seeks to please all, never looking for his own advancement, but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 11:1 He concludes with the command that the Corinthians must follow his example outlined in the discussion, which is an example drawn from Christ. The priority of others in terms of their need of the gospel and the concerns of the weaker brother must determine the actions of a Christian. -------Bruce Winter 

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