No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. —1 Corinthians 10:13
When we read a passage of Scripture I believe it is important for us to find out who it's being written to and why. We can confidently say that Paul is writing to the believer in this verse for three reasons: in verse 1 of 1 Corinthians 10 he addresses them as brothers, in verse 16 he speaks of sharing at the Lord’s table together, and in verse 27 Paul speaks of unbelievers inviting you to a meal.
Although this verse is an encouragement to stand in the face of temptation, knowing that the Lord will give us a way out so we do not have to fail, it follows many admonitions and warnings in the earlier part of the passage. Why is Paul writing this verse to the believers at Corinth and those around the world?
Paul speaks of Israel and their failure to follow his instructions. And he uses their idolatry, their immorality, their “testing Christ,” and their grumbling as lessons for us. The reason for the passage is clear in verse 6, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” And in verse 11, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…” Many of the Israelites gave in to temptation, they fell, were scattered in the wilderness, were destroyed, were killed by snakes.
After these dire examples and warnings to not follow their example, to not set our hearts on evil things, Paul warns believers then and now, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”. He follows it with this encouragement: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind…” He is telling us that we will not face any temptation that others have not faced.
Paul offers encouragement that we are not alone in this struggle—“And God is faithful.” Truth that will strengthen our hearts for the fight—“…he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” Hope that we can stand in the midst of the battle with the world, our flesh, and the devil, and bear it—“But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” Joy that God will meet us there and provide what we need in the moment of our need.
Let’s ask ourselves, what do we know and what else can we learn about God from this verse? “God is faithful"— When He makes a promise He will fulfill it. God is sovereign—He is in control of every temptation that comes our way; He knows us and our ways. God is our provider—He gives us what we need to resist evil and choose right; He gives us the way of escape.
God wants us to win the battle against temptation and sin and He isn’t a bystander. He’s got our back. He’s in the battle with us. He is for us.
What are some temptations that you find very difficult to resist?
What could be God’s “way of escape” for you in those temptations?
Why do you think Paul warns us in verse 12 “if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall”?
Tell about a time when you were tempted and took God’s way of escape. Tell about a time when you were tempted and didn’t take His way of escape.