1 Corinthians 10:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 10:10, NIV: And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel.

1 Corinthians 10:10, ESV: nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

1 Corinthians 10:10, KJV: Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

1 Corinthians 10:10, NASB: Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer.

1 Corinthians 10:10, NLT: And don't grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

1 Corinthians 10:10, CSB: And don't grumble as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer.

What does 1 Corinthians 10:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul presents one final example of God's fatal discipline on some of His people for their sin. In the previous verse, Paul referenced a time when people tested God by complaining about His path for their lives. In that case it was a literal, physical path, through the wilderness. The example in this verse, though, comes across more like a mutiny against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16:41–49). The number of those who died in the resulting plague was 14,700.

Perhaps this example felt more personal to Paul as the founder and a spiritual leader of the church in Corinth. Did he mean for the Corinthians to connect Israel's grumbling against Moses with their possible dissatisfaction with him? Some readers balk at the idea that Paul would react in such a way to those who challenged his authority. And yet, his commitment to the truth (Galatians 1:8–9) and his position (1 Corinthians 9:1–2) make that a reasonable possibility.

In any case, Paul wanted all Christians to think of God, not just as our protector and guide, but also as "the Destroyer." This is the only place in the Bible using this Greek term, olothreutēs. In one sense, Paul might not mean that God, Himself, is the destroyer, but that He controls beings who fit that description. Scriptures such as Exodus 12:23, 2 Samuel 24:16, and 1 Chronicles 21:15 speak of God controlling or commanding angels of destruction. A similar reference is found in Psalm 78:49.

Such details aside, Paul wants to raise awareness that the God who loves believers and sent His Son to die for their sin will also step into their lives with painful discipline if they refuse to back down from their sinfulness. The fact that born-again believers are His children does not grant them immunity from the consequences of sin.