Study Sheet for I Corinthians 10:1-13 (click here for Study Notes)
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. The were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did-and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV)
Paul is addressing the Corinthians in this passage and is referring to the ancient Israelites as "our forefathers". He includes these new Gentile Christians in the body of believers by this statement, saying that the Israelites were their forefathers-the forefathers of God's people, not just the Jews.
1. What was the cloud they were under (v. 1), and what was the sea through they passed? (Ex. 13:21; 14:22, 29; Ps. 105:39; 66:6)
2. How was their walking "under a cloud" of God's presence different from the way Christ-followers walk? (II Cor. 3:18; 4:6)
3. How did the cloud and the sea symbolize baptism for the Israelites? How was their "baptism" into Moses similar to and different from a Christian's baptism? (Romans 6:3, 5-9; Matt. 28:19,20; II Cor. 3:7-18)
Paul points out in v. 3 that the Israelites all "ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink."
1. What was the "spiritual food" and the "spiritual drink" to which Paul refers? (John 6:31; Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11; Psalms 78:15; 105:41)
2. Why does Paul refer to manna and water from the rock as "spiritual" when they were tangible and physical? (John 6:32-40; 3:10)
3. Why does Paul refer to the rock Moses struck as a "spiritual rock", and why did the water come out only after Moses struck the rock? (Ex. 17:6; Numbers 20:11)
4. Why did God command Moses merely to speak to the rock the second time the Israelites needed water, and why was Moses banned from the Promised Land when he struck it instead? (Numbers 20:6-12)
In spite of the miracles and privileges Israel had as God's chosen people, they were so disobedient and disrespectful that God allowed only Caleb and Joshua, a remnant from the original group of adults that left Egypt, to enter the Promised Land. Paul makes a somewhat startling statement that these things happened to Israel as "examples", or types, "to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did."
1. How was Israel's worshiping the golden calf and sitting down "to eat and drink" and getting up "to indulge in pagan revelry" an example to us? (Exodus 32:4-19; I Cor. 8:9-13; Gal. 4:8-11)
2. God brought judgment on Israel when the men began to be immoral with Midianite women and participated in Baal worship with them. In what way was that event a warning to us? (Numbers 25:1-18)
3. How was Israel's complaining and subsequent attack by poisonous snakes a warning to us, and how was the bronze serpent Moses raised to stop the attack symbolic to us? (Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-15; Gal. 3:13)
4. How were Israel's grumbling and subsequent judgments warnings for us? (Numbers 16:41, 49; 17:5, 10; Exodus 12:23; I Chron. 21:15; Hebrews 11:28)
Paul says that these events that happened to Israel were "written down as warning for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come."
1. What is the "fulfillment of the ages"? (Luke 4:21; 18:31; John 18:9; 19:24, 28, 36; Romans 13:11; Mark 13:33-37; James 5:7-11; 2 Peter 3:11-14)
2. Besides listing the examples of Israel's sins, why does Paul add a warning about being careful not to fall if you think you are standing firm? (Romans 11:20; 2 Cor. 1:24)
After warning the Corinthians to stand firm and not fall, Paul offers them some reassurance. He says that none of their temptations is unique; he also says that God is faithful and won't let them be tempted "beyond what [they] can bear."
1. What does Paul mean when he says God won't let them be tempted beyond what they can bear? (2 Peter 2:9; Psalm 37:33; Romans 15:31; Rev. 3:10; I Cor. 1:9)
2. During a temptation, we often know the "right thing" to do but have trouble doing it. How can we accomplish God's will in these situations? (I Cor. 1:9; 2:9-16)
1. Which of Paul's examples from Israel come the closest to being personal warnings to you?
2. Write the temptations or sins that cripple your life and keep you from feeling intimate with God. Ask God to heal the broken places in you from where these things spring. Accept his cleansing and ask his Spirit to replace the spirit of brokenness or temptation that has been crippling you.
1. How has your life changed since the "fulfillment of the ages has come" to you?
2. What areas in your life do you think are especially vulnerable to deception even though you "think you are standing firm"?
3. Ask God to reveal to you the weaknesses that still hide inside your
mind and soul. Ask Him to make you willing to know the truth, and ask Him
to help you be spiritually "awake" and discerning. Ask God to
protect you from deception and pride.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised June 15, 2000.