First Corinthians 10:14-22


Paul brings to an end here the discussion he began in 8:1, “Now about food sacrificed to idols.”


Paul’s conclusion includes these points:

1)     A cultic meal or the Lord’s Supper is a sacred meal focused on fellowship with the deity.

2)     The deity who is honored at a cultic meal is present.

3)     Idolatry is a demonic experience


This corrects the now obvious false teaching of the Corinthians already mentioned:

1)       Idols are nothing (8:4-6) so:

a.      It does not matter what you eat (Application: the Corinthians can eat meat sacrificed to idols.)

b.      It does not matter where you eat it (Application: the Corinthians can eat in the temples of idols)

2)       Corinthians can eat in cultic meals of the idols as long as they also eat at the Lord’s table.


10:14 - An absolute prohibition

“Therefore” indicates Paul is going to take all that was just said and bring it to a conclusion.  Paul has just stated the following:

1)     Chapter 8 – The Corinthians have knowledge and freedoms but they are being used in a self serving way

2)     Chapter 9 – Paul has rights as an apostle but he tempers those rights with love and concern for others.  The rights and positions do not guarantee success or approval.

3)     Chapter 10 – Example of Israel who had knowledge and position.  These proved useless to them because they did not obey God.  Their sacred meals and sacred drink did not help them when they disobeyed God.

4)     Then Paul says in Chapter 10:14, “Therefore . . .”


The conclusion of chapter 8-10 – Flee from idolatry


Notice the use of “dear friends”.  Paul is concerned with the Corinthians success.


Fleeing, in this case, was God providing a way out of your temptation mentioned in 10:13.


10:15 – Paul appeals to their own good sense

Verse 14 is abrupt and to the point. 

Now Paul begins to support his decision with obvious information:

1.      The reasonable basis of chapters 8-10

2.      The Corinthian’s Experience with the Lord’s supper

3.      Another OT example

4.      Demonic presences

5.      The Lord isn’t willing to share


Paul does consider them to be “sensible people”.  In 11:13 and 14:20 he tells them to “judge for themselves”.  What he means there is they are “sensible” enough to agree that Paul is right!  In 4:10 he used this in a sarcastic tone.


10:16 – Paul appeals to their own experience with the Lord’s Supper

We can learn a lot of what Paul believes about the Lord’ Supper in these verses but no everything he believes because the topic here is the cultic meals and not the Lord’s Supper. 


The word “participation” in the NIV is the word koinania “koinania” in the Greek, which means “fellowship, or participation”.   The basic meaning is “to share with someone in something.”   The use of this word appears to be suggesting by Paul that there was a kind of fellowship or bonding of the worshipper with the deity at these feasts including the feast of the Lord’s Supper


Also, the deity is assumed to be present at the feast or the Lord’s Supper.


The eating is not causing the fellowship, but is a celebration of the fellowship with the Lord which is seen in the believers being together.  In other words the fellowship is with the Lord and is seen in the one loaf and in the union of one group of believers


“The cup of thanksgiving” should be “the cup of blessing.”  “The cup of blessing” was a Jewish term that referred to the last prayer of a meal.  It was the cup that the Lord used at the Last Supper to introduce the New Covenatn


10:17 – Paul appeals to the unity or oneness of the believers as a group.



10:18 – Paul appeals to the OT example of Israel

This comes from the people eating their tithe in the presence of the Lord in Deuteronomy 14:22


This was similar to the pagan meals that followed a sacrifice.  The Jewish people would follow the sacrifice with a meal also.


10:19-20 – The same spiritual realities of the OT continue yet in the NT

Idols are not gods, they are demons

10:21 – Participation in one cultic meal makes it impossible to participate in the other


10:22 – A couple of rhetorical questions to show any other opinion is ridiculous

Deuteronomy 32:21