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1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB)

13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NRSV)

13" No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it."

Does this imply that God assesses before hand what we can tolerate and then chooses the tests we will face?

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  • Is it not the case that the temptation is provided in order to guide us to take 'the way out' which, otherwise, we would not take ? – Nigel J Jun 21 '19 at 20:11
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I believe that this passage is not implying that God reserves specific temptations for each one of us according to our strength, but rather that whatever temptation (or testing) we are subjected to can be withstood with - and perhaps only with - God's help.


The phrase translated above as such as is common to man (NASB) and that is ... common to everyone (NRSV) is the single Greek word ἀνθρώπινος (anthrōpinos), which Lexicons define simply as "human" or "characteristic of mankind". Elsewhere in the New Testament it is translated as "human" (1 Cor 2:4,2:13,4:3; James 3:7; 1 Pet 2:13) and "in human terms" (Rom 6:19) by the NASB and NRSV.

Perhaps it should be also noted that although πειρασμός (peirasmos) is almost always translated as "temptation", it can also mean "test" or "trial". The verb form, πειράζω (peirazō) is translated in about half of its occurrences in the New Testament as "test" by the NRSV and NASB.


What Paul writes here in the Epistle follows a series of stern warnings given earlier. For example:

Nor let us try (KJV: tempt; ἐκπειράζω) the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall (1 Cor 10:12).

"Because He terrified them," wrote John Chrysostom (d. 407) in his commentary on the passage, "see how again He raises them up: God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.1


The premise underlying the verse is not so much, I think, that there are temptations (or tests) which can be borne by a specific person and temptations which can not be borne by that person and that God will only allow that person to be tested according to his or her strength. Paul states, after all, that we are subject to temptations that are common to man (ἀνθρώπινος). I think instead that the understanding might be that no temptation could be withstood without God, but that with Him, as He Himself once said, all things are possible (Matt 19:26).

This is the position taken by the same commentator:

There are therefore temptations which we are not able to bear. And what are these? All, so to speak. For the ability lies in God’s gracious influence; a power which we draw down by our own will. Wherefore that thou mayest know and see that not only those which exceed our power, but not even these which are “common to man” [ἀνθρώπινος] is it possible without assistance from God easily to bear, he added,

But will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.

For, saith he, not even those moderate temptations, as I was remarking, may we bear by our own power: but even in them we require aid from Him in our warfare that we may pass through them, and until we have passed, bear them. For He gives patience and brings on a speedy release; so that in this way also the temptation becomes bearable. This he covertly intimates, saying, will also make the way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it: and all things he refers to Him.

God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.2


This perhaps explains the sense of verse 14:

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

For when one separates oneself from God (as some of the regressive Corinthians did), the strength that comes from God to resist temptation disappears. "For he did not say, simply, depart, but flee (φεύγετε) ... signifying that the very thing of itself is sufficient to bring a great destruction."3

A relevant Scripture from the deuterocanon here perhaps:

Sirach 2:1-3 (KJV)

My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation. Set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and make not haste in time of trouble. Cleave unto him, and depart not away, that thou mayest be increased at thy last end.


1. Homily XXIV on 1 Corinthians (tr. from Greek; in Nicene and Post-Nicene Series 1.12)
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.

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No, this text does not necessarily imply that, but that is a consistent reading with this text. There is insufficient evidence from here alone to say that there is a predetermination involved, only that when the temptation occurs it will not be too great and the way out will be provided.

Another possibility is that the level of temptation is halted by God at the moment it becomes to great for that person, without any assessment beforehand.

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  • turner 17 I basically agree with you, can you provide some scriptures to make you answer more convincing? – Ozzie Ozzie Jun 22 '19 at 9:07
  • No I can't. My answer is that the proposition doesn't necessarily follow. For a certain answer either way you would need to either ascribe to deterministic calvinism (everything is predetermined) or open theism (nothing is predetermined) in my opinion. – turner17 Jan 25 '20 at 23:14
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Consider the context, it is concerning Israel's history and the like temptation which can be ascertain from that in comparison to the Corinthian Church's Issues prior mentioned of fornication:

1 Corinthians 10:1-15  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;   (2)  And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;   (3)  And did all eat the same spiritual meat;   (4)  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.   (5)  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Paul at this point is showing the closeness God has with Israel in the wilderness, a closeness not to be incomparable to the Christian experience and that Rock was Christ. As Israel was close to God through they fell, so must the church be on guard as well

v.12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

(6)  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

This verse (6) is among the keys of understanding the temptation of lust here presumed from Israel's examples, These have been given as example "to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted"

(7)  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.   (8)  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.   (9)  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.   (10)  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

The examples show direct transgression of God's Law on the part of Israel towards Idolatry and Fornication, both acts are entered into the context as the form of 'temptation' or ' lust' of "evil things" hereafter being spoken of.

And again :

(11)  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

 

And a special notice to the next verse (12)

(12)  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

The notice is of the  him that thinketh he standeth

Those whom Paul is speaking of "think" they standeth, this is εσταναι is being used in the perfect tense and active voice (presumably in faith and/or Christ is the stand), thus the perfect tense seems to imply the act is complete in the thinkers mind insomuch that he can not fall, in the thinkers mind his stand is complete, in the thinkers mind of whom Paul speaks this man needs to be cautious "lest he fall".

And then our verse of focus:

(13)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The Temptation we are given this promise of is one of "evil things" and that which is such as is common to man , such as transgressions against God's Law, particularly Idolatry and Fornication. There is no excuse one has who 'standeth' in Christ, with Christ as his Rock to say 'He was tempted too much by God to have not been able to "flee" from such an evil temptation or lust", God will never authorize such a situation rather man will invent the situation or not flee himself from it and escape at the expense of all else (consider Joseph,

Gen 39:12  And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out...) .

"God is Faithfull" but will we "escape" when we can? and thus juxtaposed to God's faithfulness is 'our faithfulness to escape or flee', especially in light of the examples mention from Israel's history.

(14)  Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.   (15)  I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

Does this imply that God assesses before hand what we can tolerate and then chooses the tests we will face?

God always expects his people to flee from evil things, and this is what is common to all men , this if we don't just think, but we do truly "stand in Christ" then we can faithfully endure.

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