(WRITER’S NOTE: Please keep in mind that the basis of this study is chapter ten of the first letter Paul wrote to the young Church at Corinth. My primary focus is on the thirteenth verse embedded in that letter. ~dk)
Words are just words. And sometimes we simply wear them out, or use them so often in such trifling ways that they become meaningless. (Such as “God Bless” and “Beloved, I’m prayin’ for yew” *) The sharp edges are worn away and we just may as well stretch and yawn, say “ho hum,” sing “rock-a-bye-baby” and go to sleep.
The Bible is never meant to be read that way. The words are used to express ideas. And ideas have consequences. Just as you and I are free to make choices, we should know our choices have consequences. Always. While we are free to make choices, we are NOT free to choose consequences. And words and ideas which are chosen carefully, understood correctly, and used wisely will always produce good results.
If what we are studying really is the Word of God, I stand in awe of every word and want to spend my life trying to understand it. Apply it to my own life. And share it with those who have a similar hunger and determination.
So it was, that in a certain place in my journey, I began to consider and weigh the following statement Paul wrote to the infant Church in Corinth: “There has no temptation taken you, but such is common to man. But, God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able (“to handle,” my note) but will, with the temptation, make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it.”*
Any time I study Scripture I try to see the entire context. I like to know who’s speaking, to whom, and why?
The thoughts and ideas expressed aren’t disconnected with what’s happening at the time. As I look around here, it is obvious to me that Paul’s trying to address some problems the young church was having. “Temptations” they were facing and with which they were trying to deal. If you consider that context, you can see more clearly and understand better what his words mean. And if you are still thinking, you will probably discover similar circumstances in your own life. When that occurs, you will also begin to be aware of the eternal and personal value of the written Word of the living God. And you’ll have some real “tools” to use in your own growth and service.
The “temptations” they confronted were causing concern for the young Church. No manual had been written, and they were sort of “flying by the seat of their pants,” to say it in today’s language. The Church was not sure about some crucial ethical, or spiritual issues which, they felt, were critical to their life and Christian witness. Perhaps to their continued existence. Remember, at this time there had been no Church councils or conventions. They didn’t have the ‘Apostles’ Creed.’ No “new members’ handbook had yet been printed. No papal decrees. They didn’t even have a bishop or even a single seminary grad on staff. And no ‘committees.’ . (Haven’t we come so far!!???.)
As we look more closely at the way Paul handled this developing problem, and how he said it should and could be handled, please remember that we’re NOT here just to observe. While it is true that we can’t do anything at this late date to help the Church at Corinth, we CAN consider how a very wise man suggested they approach that situation. And, if we are wise, we can adopt the same principle and apply it where it may be needed in our own life. And in our own Church.
The first question I asked myself as I pondered Paul’s assessment of their problem and how he suggested they approach it, is this: “What is temptation?”
The First Church of Corinth had its problems. They may not be ours specifically, but there are “temptations” that I face today. What are they? How much would it mean to you and me if we take seriously what Paul said to them? Are there ‘temptations’ which you face? Has it occurred to you to look for the “exit” (a way of escape) which God provides?
I’ll be back shortly. In the meanwhile, if you will, please take time to consider and prayerfully study 1 Corinthians 10:13 so you will be prepared to route-your-escape! Please take the time, to view this section in your own Bible and make some judgments in your own mind about I Corinthians 10:13?
His servant, your friend and fellow student ~donkimrey
* “yew.” That is Soutern speak for you or “youse guys, (“(Flatbush speak”). In the deep, old South, it wouls have been translated: “You ‘uns.” ** I Corinthians 10:13