26 February 2015

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (v. 13)

Psalm: Psalm 118:1-18


In the first part of this passage, Paul puts effort into establishing that the Corinthians are indeed people of God. He calls upon the example of their "ancestors" (v. 1), using language which highlights the similarities between the world of his hearers and the worlds of the people he is describing. But, having established that the Corinthians are God's people, he warns them that this does not mean that they are immune from temptation or harm. Whilst they may have confidence in God's blessing, it should never be taken for granted; neither should it produce complacency. Receiving God's blessing does not mean that there is no longer any need for hard work: indeed, it is only the beginning.

Paul tells how unfaithfulness led to the people being "struck down in the wilderness" (v. 5), using the story as a warning of the consequences of giving in to temptation. Not only should we continue to be alert and faithful to God and God alone, Paul urges, but also we must not put God to the test. In Paul's understanding of God's nature, God's wrath was something that could be exercised.

Yet, God is a God who can be relied on. We may be tested and tried, but God is faithful and we can trust in God's love. However we may be challenged, Paul has confidence that God will provide the resource we need to get through.

To Ponder

  • What has helped you to get through testing times?
  • What do you rely on when under pressure?
  • Are there times when you feel you have wanted to "put Christ to the test" (v. 9), and how did you handle this?


Bible notes author

The Revd Nicola Price-Tebbutt

Nicola Price-Tebbutt is a presbyter in the Methodist Church. She has previously served in circuit in Sheffield and as a tutor at Hartley Victoria College in Manchester.