1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do.—These words embrace all life. The definite acts of eating and drinking are mentioned expressly as they are the subject immediately under consideration. They are, however, to be regulated by the same principle which guides all true life. The modern idea of some acts being religious and some secular is neither here nor elsewhere recognised by St. Paul. No act of life is in itself either religious or secular. The quality of each act depends on the spirit which guides it, and the motive from which it springs. The commonest thing may be done in a high Christian spirit. The greatest deed may spring from a low and selfish motive. A religious act done in a secular spirit is secular. A secular thing done in a religious spirit is religious. This is “the great first principle” of Christian life.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33. Whether, therefore, &c. — To close the present point with a general rule, applicable not only in this, but in all cases, see to it that whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do — In all things whatsoever, whether of a religious or civil nature, in all the common as well as sacred actions of life, keep the glory of God in view, and steadily pursue, in all, this one end of your being, the planting or advancing the vital knowledge and love of God, first in your own souls, then in the souls of as many others as you can have access to, or by any means influence. Give none offence — If, and as far as, it is possible, neither to the unbelieving Jews — By lessening their abhorrence of idols; nor to the unbelieving Greeks — By confirming them in their idolatry; nor to the church of God — By making the ignorant think you idolaters. Even as I — As much as lieth in me; please all men in all things — Innocent; not seeking mine own profit — Mine own temporal interest or gratification; but the profit — The everlasting advantage; of many, that they may be saved — By being brought to and confirmed in that religion, on which their eternal happiness depends. 10:23-33 There were cases wherein Christians might eat what had been offered to idols, without sin. Such as when the flesh was sold in the market as common food, for the priest to whom it had been given. But a Christian must not merely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and to edify others. Christianity by no means forbids the common offices of kindness, or allows uncourteous behaviour to any, however they may differ from us in religious sentiments or practices. But this is not to be understood of religious festivals, partaking in idolatrous worship. According to this advice of the apostle, Christians should take care not to use their liberty to the hurt of others, or to their own reproach. In eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the great end of all religion, and directs us where express rules are wanting. A holy, peaceable, and benevolent spirit, will disarm the greatest enemies.Whether therefore ye eat or drink - This direction should be strictly and properly applied to the case in hand; that is, to the question about eating and drinking the things that had been offered in sacrifice to idols. Still, however, it contains a general direction that is applicable to eating and drinking at all times; and the phrase "whatsoever ye do" is evidently designed by the apostle to make the direction universal.

Or whatsoever ye do - In all the actions and plans of life; whatever he your schemes, your desires, your doings, let all be done to the glory of God.

Do all to the glory of God - The phrase "the glory of God" is equivalent to the honor of God; and the direction is, that we should so act in all things as to "honor" him as our Lawgiver, our Creator, our Redeemer; and so as to lead others by our example to praise him and to embrace His gospel. A child acts so as to honor a father when he always cherishes reverential and proper thoughts of him; when he is thankful for his favors; when he keeps his laws; when he endeavors to advance his plans and his interests; and when he so acts as to lead all around him to cherish elevated opinions of the character of a father. He "dishonorers" him when he has no respect to his authority; when he breaks his laws; when he leads others to treat him with disrespect. In like manner, we live to the glory of God when we honor him in all the relations which he sustains to us; when we keep his laws; when we partake of his favors with thankfulness, and with a deep sense of our dependence; when we pray unto him; and when we so live as to lead those around us to cherish elevated conceptions of his goodness, and mercy, and holiness. Whatever plan or purpose will tend to advance His kingdom, and to make him better known and loved, will be to His glory. We may observe in regard to this:

(1) That the rule is "universal." It extends to everything. If in so small matters as eating and drinking we should seek to honor God, assuredly we should in all other things.

(2) it is designed that this should be the constant rule of conduct, and that we should be often reminded of it. The acts of eating and drinking must be performed often; and the command is attached to that which must often occur, that we may be often reminded of it, and that we may be kept from forgetting it.

(3) it is intended that we should honor God in our families and among our friends. We eat with them; we share together the bounties of Providence; and God designs that we should honor Him when we partake of His mercies, and that thus our daily enjoyments should be sanctified by a constant effort to glorify Him.

(4) we should devote the strength which we derive from the bounties of His hand to His honor and in His service. He gives us food; He makes it nourishing; He invigorates our frame; and that strength should not be devoted to purposes of sin, and profligacy, and corruption. it is an act of high dishonor to God, when he gives us strength, that we should at once devote that strength to pollution and to sin.

(5) this rule is designed to be one of the chief directors of our lives. It is to guide all our conduct, and to constitute a "test" by which to try our actions. Whatever can be done to advance the honor of God is right; whatever cannot be done with that end is wrong. Whatever plan a man can form that will have this end is a good plan; whatever cannot be made to have this tendency, and that cannot be commended, continued, and ended with a distinct and definite desire to promote His honor, is wrong, and should be immediately abandoned.

(6) what a change would it make in the world if this rule were every where followed! How differently would even professing Christians live! How many of their plans would they be constrained at once to abandon! And what a mighty revolution would it at once make on earth should all the actions of people begin to be performed to promote the glory of God!

(7) it may be added that sentiments like that of the apostle were found among the Jews, and even among pagans. Thus, Maimonides, as cited by Grotius, says, "Let everything be in the name of Heaven," that is, in the name of God. Capellus cites several of the rabbinical writers who say that all actions, even eating and drinking, should be done "in the name of God." See the "Critici Sacri." Even the pagan writers have something that resembles this. Thus, Arrian Ephesians 1:19 says, "Looking unto God in all things small and great.' Epictetus, too, on being asked how anyone may eat so as to please God, answered, "By eating justly, temperately, and thankfully."

31. Contrast Zec 7:6; the picture of worldly men. The godly may "eat and drink," and it shall be well with him (Jer 22:15, 16).

to the glory of God—(Col 3:17; 1Pe 4:11)—which involves our having regard to the edification of our neighbor.

The apostle, in these three last verses, layeth down three rules, to direct Christians how to use their liberty as to things that are of an indifferent nature, neither in themselves commanded nor forbidden in the word of God. His first rule is in this verse, to do whatsoever we do to the glory of God. This is a general rule, not to be restrained to the eating of meat offered to idols, of which the former discourse had been. It is a general rule, not applicable alone to eating and drinking, but to all other human actions. The reasonableness of this rule appeareth from our consideration, that the glory of God was the end of our creation; The Lord hath made all things for himself, Proverbs 16:4: and indeed it is impossible it should be otherwise; for whereas every reasonable agent both propounds to himself some end of his actions, and the best end he can imagine, it is impossible but that God also, in creating man, should propound to himself some end, and there being no better end than his own glory, he could propound no other unto himself. The glory of God being the end which he propounded to himself in creating man, it must needs follow, that that must be the chief and greatest end which any man can propound to himself in his actions. God is then glorified by us, when by our means, or by occasion of us, he is well spoken of in the world, or by our obedience to his will: this our Saviour hath taught us, John 17:4,6. No man in any of his actions hath a liberty from this rule; so as though a man, as to many things, hath a liberty to marry or not to marry, to eat meats or not to eat them, to wear this apparel or not to wear it; yet he is not even in such things as these so at liberty, but he ought to look about, and to consider circumstances, which will be most for the honour of God, the credit of the gospel, and reputation of religion. And the judgment of this is to be made from circumstances, the difference of which may make that unlawful which otherwise would be lawful, and that lawful which under other circumstances would be unlawful. Whether therefore ye eat or drink,.... Which may principally refer to eating things sacrificed to idols, and drinking the libations of wine offered to them, since this is the subject of the apostle's discourse; in doing of which he directs them to have the glory of God in view, and so to conduct, that that end may be answered: and it may also be applied to common eating and drinking, or to ordinary meals upon food, about which there is no dispute; and which common actions of life are done to the glory of God, when every mercy is considered and owned as coming from him; and when we confess ourselves unworthy of any; and when we ascribe all we have to the free and unmerited goodness of God; and enjoy every mercy of this kind, as a fruit of our Father's love to us, as a blessing of the covenant, and as coming to us through the blood of Christ; when we are contented and satisfied with what we have, and act faith continually on God for future fresh supplies, and give thanks for all we receive: and if this, then much more eating and drinking in an ordinance way should be directed to the glory of God and Christ, as eating the bread, and drinking the wine in the Lord's supper; and which is so done, when it is done in a decent and reverend manner, in the exercise of faith, discerning the Lord's body, eating his flesh, and drinking his blood in a spiritual manner, without dependence on the actions done, and in remembrance of the love of God and Christ.

Or whatsoever ye do; in a natural, civil, or religious respect, in preaching, hearing, praying, fasting, giving of alms, &c. whatever in the closet, in the family, in the church, or in the world, in private, or in public:

do all to the glory of God; God's glory is the end of all his works and actions; in creation, providence, and grace; in election, in the covenant, in the blessings and promises of it, in redemption, in the effectual calling, and in bringing many sons to glory. The same is the end of all Christ's actions, as man and Mediator, of his doctrines and miracles, of his obedience, sufferings, and death in this world, and of his interceding life in the other; who, as he lives to make intercession for us, lives unto God, to the glory of God; and therefore the glory of God should be the end of all our actions: besides, without this no action can be truly called a good one; if a man seeks himself, his own glory, and popular applause, or has any sinister and selfish end in view in what he does, it cannot be said, nor will it be accounted by God to be a good action. The Jews have a saying much like this, "let all thy works be done to the glory of God" (p); which one of their commentators (q) explains thus:

"even when thou art employed in eating and drinking, and in the business of life, thou shalt not design thy bodily profit, but that thou mayest be strong to do the will of thy Creator.''

(p) Pirke Abot, c. 2, sect. 12. (q) Bartenora in ib.

{9} Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

(9) The conclusion: we must order ourselves in such a way that we seek not ourselves, but God's glory, and so the salvation of as many as we may. In which the apostle does not thrust himself to the Corinthians (even his own flock) as an example, except so that he calls them back to Christ, to whom he himself has regard.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 10:31-33. The section treating expressly of the participation in sacrifices has been brought to a close. There now follow, introduced by οὖν (which here marks the inference of the general from the particular), some additional admonitions, in which are expressed the leading moral rules for all right Christian conduct; ἀπὸ τοῦ προκειμένου ἐπὶ τὸ καθολικὸν ἐξήγαγε τὴν παραίνεσιν, ἕνα κάλλιστον ὅρον ἡμῖν δοὺς, τὸ τὸν Θεὸν διὰ πάντων δοξάζεσθαι, Chrysostom.

ἐσθίετε and πίνετε are to be understood in a perfectly general sense, although the subject which the apostle had been handling hitherto naturally suggested the words. Rückert is wrong in holding that it would be more correct if ἐάν stood in place of εἰ. The εἰ is here also “particula plane logica, et quae simpliciter ad cogitationem refertur,” Hermann, a[1727] Viger. p. 834. ΤΊ, again, does not stand for the Attic ὉΤΙΟῦΝ (Rückert), but the emphasis is on ΠΟΙΕῖΤΕ: be it that ye eat, or drink, or do anything; so that the three cases are: eating, drinking, acting.

πάντα] without any limitation whate1Co 10:“Magnum axioma,” Bengel. A Christian’s collective action should be directed harmoniously towards the one end of redounding to the glory of God; for all truly Christian conduct and work is a practical glorifying of God. Comp 1 Corinthians 6:20; Ephesians 1:12; Php 1:11; 1 Peter 4:11; John 15:8. The opposite: Romans 2:23.

[1727] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.1 Corinthians 10:31-32 conclude the matter with two solemn, comprehensive rules, introduced by the collective οὖν (cf. Romans 5:9; Romans 11:22), relating to God’s glory and to man’s salvation. The supreme maxim of duty, πάντα εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ ποιεῖτε, applies to all that Christians “eat or drink” (including the idolothyta),—indeed to whatever they “do”; cf. Romans 14:20 ff., Colossians 3:17.—A second general rule emerges from the discussion: “Offenceless prove yourselves, both to Jews and to Greeks and to the church of God”. ἀπρόσκοποι here act[1585], as in Sir. 35:21, not causing to stumble; elsewhere pass[1586] in sense. For γίνεσθε, see note on 1 Corinthians 7:23. The three classes named make up Paul’s world of men: “Jews” and “Greeks” embrace all outside the Church (1 Corinthians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 9:20 f.); Christian believers alone form “the Church of God” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2, and note; also Galatians 6:16). This text and 1 Corinthians 12:28 afford the first ex[1587] in P. of the comprehensive use of ἐκκλησία, as transcending local ref[1588] “The church of God” is bound up with His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31); its sacredness supplies a new deterrent from self-indulgence. It contains “the weak” who are liable to injury (1 Corinthians 8:9, 1 Corinthians 9:22).

[1585] active voice.

[1586] passive voice.

[1587] example.

[1588] reference.31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink] The glory of God, that is to be the end of all your actions. In themselves, eating and drinking are things indifferent, but there are circumstances in which they may be matters of the highest importance. In our own day, for instance, the question of using or abstaining from intoxicating liquors is one which ought to be dealt with on the same principles as those which St Paul has laid down in this chapter. Such a question should be approached and decided on one ground alone, namely, whether by using them or abstaining from them we shall best promote the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31. Εἴτε, whether) A great first principle, comp. Jeremiah 22:15-16.—εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε) or whatsoever ye do, which is either more or even less common than eating or drinking. [It is in the highest degree just to consider in all our words and actions, whether they tend to the glory of GOD, 2 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Peter 4:11.—V. g.]—εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ, to the glory of God) with thanksgiving and the edification of our neighbour.Verse 31. - All. There is much grandeur in the sweeping universality of the rule which implies that all life, and every act of life, may be consecrated by holy motives. To the glory of God. Not to the glorification either of your own breadth of mind or your over-scrupulosity of conscience, but "that God in all things may be glorified" (1 Peter 4:11).
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