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1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Context
Learning from Israel’s Failures

10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, 1  brothers and sisters, 2  that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, 10:2 and all were baptized 3  into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 10:5 But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. 10:6 These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. 10:7 So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 4  10:8 And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day. 5  10:9 And let us not put Christ 6  to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. 7  10:10 And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. 8  10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 10:12 So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. 10:13 No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. 9  And God is faithful: He 10  will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, 11  but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.

1 tn Grk “ignorant.”

2 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

3 tc ‡ A number of witnesses, some of them important, have the passive ἐβαπτίσθησαν (ebaptisqhsan, “were baptized”) instead of the middle ἐβαπτίσαντο (ebaptisanto, “baptized [themselves]”) in v. 2 (so א A C D F G Ψ 33 al latt). However, the middle is not without its representation (Ì46c B 1739 1881 Ï Or; the original hand of Ì46 read the imperfect middle ἐβαπτίζοντο [ebaptizonto]). The passive looks like a motivated reading in that it is clearer and conforms to typical Pauline usage (his thirteen instances of the verb are all either active or passive). B. M. Metzger, in representing a minority opinion of the UBS Committee, suggests that the middle would have been appropriate for Jewish baptism in which the convert baptizes himself (TCGNT 493). But this assumes that the middle is a direct middle, a rare occurrence in the NT (and never elsewhere with this verb). Further, it is not really baptism that is in view in v. 2, but passing through the Red Sea (thus, a metaphorical use). Although the present editors agree with the minority’s resultant reading, it is better to take the middle as causative/permissive and the scribes as changing it to a passive for clarity’s sake. Translational differences are minimal, though some exegetical implications are involved (see ExSyn 427).

4 tn The term “play” may refer to idolatrous, sexual play here, although that is determined by the context rather than the meaning of the word itself (cf. BDAG 750 s.v. παίζω).

sn A quotation from Exod 32:6.

5 sn This incident is recorded in Num 25:1-9.

6 tc Χριστόν (Criston, “Christ”) is attested in the majority of mss, including many important witnesses of the Alexandrian (Ì46 1739 1881) and Western (D F G) texttypes, and other mss and versions (Ψ latt sy co). On the other hand, some of the important Alexandrian witnesses have κύριον (kurion, “Lord”; א B C P 33 104 1175 al). A few mss (A 81 pc) have θεόν (qeon, “God”). The nomina sacra for these readings are quite similar (cMn, kMn, and qMn respectively), so one might be able to account for the different readings by way of confusion. On closer examination, the variants appear to be intentional changes. Alexandrian scribes replaced the highly specific term “Christ” with the less specific terms “Lord” and “God” because in the context it seems to be anachronistic to speak of the exodus generation putting Christ to the test. If the original had been “Lord,” it seems unlikely that a scribe would have willingly created a difficulty by substituting the more specific “Christ.” Moreover, even if not motivated by a tendency to overcorrect, a scribe might be likely to assimilate the word “Christ” to “Lord” in conformity with Deut 6:16 or other passages. The evidence from the early church regarding the reading of this verse is rather compelling in favor of “Christ.” Marcion, a second-century, anti-Jewish heretic, would naturally have opposed any reference to Christ in historical involvement with Israel, because he thought of the Creator God of the OT as inherently evil. In spite of this strong prejudice, though, {Marcion} read a text with “Christ.” Other early church writers attest to the presence of the word “Christ,” including {Clement of Alexandria} and Origen. What is more, the synod of Antioch in a.d. 268 used the reading “Christ” as evidence of the preexistence of Christ when it condemned Paul of Samosata. (See G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, 126-27; TCGNT 494; C. D. Osburn, “The Text of 1 Corinthians 10:9,” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 201-11; contra A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Corinthians [ICC], 205-6.) Since “Christ” is the more difficult reading on all accounts, it is almost certainly original. In addition, “Christ” is consistent with Paul’s style in this passage (cf. 10:4, a text in which {Marcion} also reads “Christ”). This text is also christologically significant, since the reading “Christ” makes an explicit claim to the preexistence of Christ. (The textual critic faces a similar dilemma in Jude 5. In a similar exodus context, some of the more important Alexandrian mss [A B 33 81 pc] and the Vulgate read “Jesus” in place of “Lord.” Two of those mss [A 81] are the same mss that have “Christ” instead of “God” in 1 Cor 10:9. See the tc notes on Jude 5 for more information.) In sum, “Christ” has all the earmarks of authenticity here and should be considered the original reading.

7 sn This incident is recorded in Num 21:5-9.

8 tn Grk “by the destroyer.” BDAG 703 s.v. ὀλοθρευτῆς mentions the corresponding OT references and notes, “the one meant is the destroying angel as the one who carries out the divine sentence of punishment, or perh. Satan.”

sn This incident is recorded in Num 16:41-50.

9 tn Grk “except a human one” or “except one common to humanity.”

10 tn Grk “God is faithful who.” The relative pronoun was changed to a personal pronoun in the translation for clarity.

11 tn The words “to bear” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. They have been supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning.



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