1 Corinthians 10:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 10:12, NIV: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

1 Corinthians 10:12, ESV: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

1 Corinthians 10:12, KJV: Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

1 Corinthians 10:12, NASB: Therefore let the one who thinks he stands watch out that he does not fall.

1 Corinthians 10:12, NLT: If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.

1 Corinthians 10:12, CSB: So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.

What does 1 Corinthians 10:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This passage takes on a common misconception, often framed as a question: does sin even matter for those who are in Christ? If our sin is forgiven by Christ's death on the cross and our faith in Him, then what does it matter whether we sin or not? Some in Corinth had apparently misunderstood the gospel of grace to mean that Christians are free to indulge in sin without fear of consequence.

Paul has challenged that idea by warning that what happened to the generation of Israelites in the wilderness could happen to the Christians in Corinth. Our sin may be forgiven, but God may act to discipline us in this life for our good and the good of others He loves. He may even end the physical lives of those who refuse to repent (1 Corinthians 11:30) without refusing them entrance into glory with Him because of their faith in Christ.

For Paul, the bottom line seems to be that Christians must not assume that we will stand if we continue in sin. God may cause us to fall. He disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:4–11). This pairs directly with Paul's statement in the next verse, assuring readers that there are no "unavoidable" sins. God's intent for believers is not to remain mired in sin.

Paired with other statements in Scripture, this verse also serves as a dire warning (Matthew 7:22–23; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:12; Galatians 6:3). While believers are called to confidence in Christ, not fear (Hebrews 4:16), it is possible for a person to be arrogant and self-deceived about their spiritual condition (1 Corinthians 3:18; Jeremiah 17:9). A person who thinks they are secure in Christ, but whose life and spirit suggest otherwise, is in danger (Hebrews 9:27; James 4:14). They are just like someone who thinks they're walking on a solid path, but skirting the edge of a cliff.