1 Corinthians 8:4 “Eating meat” The Corinthians had asked Paul for counsel about eating meat sacrificed by pagan people to their idols. His reply is: “it doesn’t matter because the idols aren’t true gods, however, it is not a good idea.” (similar to, do you eat the left over bread from the sacrament trays) However, praise God for such burst of inspiration! In the midst of his relative unimportant comments about some saints who had been partaking in pagan temples of food sacrificed to idols, Paul summarizes some of the great truths about the plurality of God!
1 Corinthians 8:5-6 “Heavenly Father having a Father?” Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also (Teachings, 370-73). Joseph Smith said, Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are! I say there are Gods many and Lords many. Paul had no allusion to heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can (Sermon in the Grove, 1844 Teachings, 370-71).
The alleged gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Many “gods” and many “lords.” Not that there are actually many gods and lords. This would contradict the consistent and emphatic teaching of Scripture that there is but one God (NIV, 2263). Indeed this doctrine of plurality of Gods is so comprehensive and glorious that it reaches out and embraces every exalted personage. Those who attain exaltation are gods (Teachings, 364).
Genesis 1:1 & Abraham 4 “If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads... The head of one of the gods said, ‘Let us make a man in our own image.’” I once asked a learned Jew, “If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?” He replied, “That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible.” He acknowledged I was right…
“…In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through --- Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take (that) point of view on the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfections of the Gods” (Teachings, 372).
1 Corinthians 9:1“Paul an Apostle?” Apparently some of the Corinthians had questioned Paul’s claim to the apostleship. “…The fact may be correctly surmised that Paul did find time to mingle with his brethren (of the Twelve) and that through the divine inspiration the apostleship was conferred on him by their action…We have no reason to believe that Paul received his ordination independent of the action of the other apostles” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:99-100).
1 Corinthians 9:2-5 “Paul, a regular man?” Paul is saying that an Apostle is still free, free to eat and drink, to work and preach, to plant and harvest, to marry and enjoy family associations, free to do all the things for which he had apparently been criticized.
1 Corinthians 9:16 “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” Paul in his personal ministry, took pride, “that these hands have ministered unto my necessities” (Acts 20:34), that is that he had not been burdensome to the churches.
1 Corinthians 9:20-23 “All things to all men” We follow the same missionary approaches today! To gain the interest of the learned, we reason and philosophize; to help the faith-endowed Maori to see the light, we certify of the healing power that is in Christ. There is one approach in finding investigators among the Jews, another among Buddhists, and still another among the sects of Christendom, but the final teaching is always the same, accept Christ and the legal administrators who he hath sent in this day, and live the laws of the restored gospel. Paul adapted himself to the conditions and circumstances of all classes of people, as a means of getting them to pay attention to his teachings and testimony!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Self discipline” Self discipline is essential to salvation! This is a “Christian race,” and all those who control their bodies, who subdue the flesh to the spirit, and who run the race manfully, shall receive an incorruptible crown! Paul controlled his body appetites and training to return to God’s presence. I don’t want to be rejected by God because of the way I lived!
Surely Paul, who stressed so rigorously the importance of pressing forward and running the race the full distance in our discipleship, did not intend a casual Christianity, in which some had won even before the race started (Neal A. Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, 23).
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Baptisms in ancient Israel! 1 Corinthians 10:3 He is the spiritual manna (bread), the spiritual drink (water), and He is the rock (Exodus 16:15). 1 Corinthians 10:5-15 Ancient Israel rebelled against Christ!
They rebelled in the wilderness and refused to keep the statutes and judgments of the Lord, for which they were destroyed and denied entrance to the promised land. • They lusted after the flesh pots of Egypt, for which many were consumed by fire. • Some became idolaters, even sacrificed their children to Molech for which they were rejected and scattered. • With Aaron’s cooperation, they made and worshipped a golden calf for which 3,000 were slain by the Levites. • They committed whoredoms with the daughters of Moab, for which 24,000 were slain. Paul says 23,000 (Num.21:4-9). • Bitten by fiery serpents, many died. • Great murmurings, wandered for 40 years.
Finally he says, that none of them are subject to any temptations which are not common to all men, and that if they will flee from idolatry, be wise, and keep the commandments, they shall be saved! 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 The rest of the formula is found in Alma 13:27- 28!
Going to “Lucifer’s Lounge” is not only risky for us, but may also mislead, divert, or discourage another weaker colleague. It is up to us to use our agency to make certain that we are not tempted above that which we are able to bear (Neal A. Maxwell, Deposition of a Disciple, 67). A disciple…would avoid being in an earthly environment that perpetually presses him to compromise….Joseph….finally fled out of the presence of Potiphar’s wife. Even then, he didn’t escape unrighteous judgment, but he refused to become bitter because he had been falsely accused. Chances are that some of us would do well to flee those settings in which Satan can so incessantly work upon us. By refusing to escape, we can place ourselves in circumstances where temptations could become more than we can bear. It is our obligation to get out of such circumstances (Neal A. Maxwell, Deposition of a Disciple, 67).
When we are finally judged in terms of our performance in this second estate, we will see that God, indeed, is perfect in his justice and mercy. We will also see that when we fail here it will not have been because we were truly tempted above that which we were able to bear. There was always an escape hatch had we looked for it! We will also see that our lives have been fully and fairly measured. In retrospect, we will even see that our most trying years here will often have been our best years, producing large tree rings on our soul, Gethsemanes of growth! Mortality is moistened by much opportunity if our roots of resolve can but take it in (Neal A. Maxwell, “Taking Up the Cross,” 253).
Though God always meters out life’s challenges so that they don’t exceed our ability to cope, there may be times and seasons, mightn’t there, when from our standpoint we feel we are encountering a fire-hydrant’s torrent of tribulation? (Neal A. Maxwell, We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, 70).
We undergo afflictions such as are “common to man.” Additionally, God will deliberately give us further lessons and experience which take us beyond the curriculum common to man and on into uncommon graduate studies or even post-doctoral discipleship (Neal A. Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine, 4).