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The Scriptorium

The Measure of Fellowship

Others first. 1 Corinthians 10.23-30

1 Corinthians 10 (5)

Pray Psalm 133.1, 3.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Sing Psalm 133.1, 3.
Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara: Children of the Heavenly Father)
O behold, how sweet, how pleasant, when the brethren dwell together;
all in unity abiding find God’s blessing there presiding.

Read 1 Corinthians 10.1-30; meditate on verses 23-30.


1. What did Paul say was the standard of true fellowship?

2. What did he say about considering the consciences of others?

Paul’s discussion of eating foods offered to idols which began in chapter 8, brackets a section (chapter 9) in which Paul made himself an example of self-denial for the sake of the Gospel. Now he returns to the question broached in chapter 8 and brings it to a close by elaborating on the meaning of true fellowship and how it works for love and edification (v. 23).

We enjoy the fellowship of the Lord, which we express and enjoy together in His Supper (vv. 14-17). And we have fellowship with one another, and are sharers together in Christ, of Christ, and with Christ. Our primary concern must be for the wellbeing of those with whom we share fellowship (v. 24). If we seek the interests, concerns, and needs of those with whom we have fellowship, the Lord will express His fellowship with us into our own lives, thus filling us with pleasure and joy. And that fellowship of the Lord will come through our lives to others, so that their fellowship with Him may be enhanced.

We cannot seek the wellbeing of others if we are ignorant or indifferent to their struggles, concerns, needs, and so forth. We must reach out to them, seek to know them, keep them in our prayers, and listen as the Spirit prompts and guides us to seek their wellbeing. If we do this in the matter of eating meat offered to idols, we will frustrate the devil and his minions (v. 20) and guard the conscience of our neighbor so as not to create problems for our neighbor’s values or priorities. Better to deny our own freedom to eat (v. 29) than to risk creating a stumbling-block for others.

The bonds of fellowship in Christ are strengthened as we empty ourselves, denying our own needs and reaching out to share in the lives of others. Let love for others be a guiding principle of your own conscience, and you’ll be more likely to safeguard theirs by thinking more about their needs than your own.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul told the Corinthians that even if something is lawful, if it is not helpful or edifying, it should not be done. This is easy to accomplish, if at the heart of everything we do, the well-being of others is first and foremost in our minds (1 Cor. 10.23, 24).

Next, he dealt with the matter of our conscience. Twice he told them, “Don’t ask” (1 Cor. 10.23, 27). If you don’t know that the meat has been offered to idols, then you are not guilty for eating it.

However, if we know it is tainted, and still partake, then we are guilty.
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jms. 4.17).
“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 29.18).

If you know something is wrong according to God’s law, and you do it, it is sin. If you know something is right, but doing it will make someone stumble, and you do it anyway, it is sin.

We are to be mindful of all we do and say and eat and drink because the point of all of this is that others believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. As He said, “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe” (Jn. 14.29). So that you and others “may believe that I AM He” (Jn. 13.19).

It is the crux of the matter. God sent His Son Jesus into the world to save sinners. All of us. The world (Jn. 3.16). And those of us that have become His children need to make very sure that everything we do is pleasing to Him and is not a detriment to someone else’s salvation. We dare not be a hindrance or stumbling block. “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 Jn. 4.21).

It is the measure of loving fellowship.

For reflection
1. What would you say is the key to thinking more about others than ourselves?

2. What will you do today to show the love of Jesus or to edify someone in Him?

3. What should you do if you are the cause of someone falling into sin?

This is a precept that is very necessary, for we are so corrupted by nature, that every one consults his own interests, regardless of those of his brethren. Now, as the law of love calls upon us to love our neighbors as ourselves, (Matthew 22:39,) so it requires us to consult their welfare. The Apostle, however, does not expressly forbid individuals to consult their own advantage, but he requires that they should not be so devoted to their own interests, as not to be prepared to forego part of their right, as often as the welfare of their brethren requires this. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10.23

Pray Psalm 133.2, 3.
Ask God to show you what you can do to enrich the fellowship of Jesus which you share with the people in your Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 133.2, 3.
Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara: Children of the Heavenly Father)
Like the precious oil of blessing flowing down on Aaron’s vestment,
God’s anointing rests forever where His people dwell together.

Like the dew of Hermon’s fountain falling down on Zion’s mountain,
so the blessing of the Savior dwells where unity finds favor.

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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