What does 1 Corinthians 10:5 mean?
ESV: Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
NIV: Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
NASB: Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased; for their dead bodies were spread out in the wilderness.
CSB: Nevertheless God was not pleased with most of them, since they were struck down in the wilderness.
NLT: Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
KJV: But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
NKJV: But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Verse Commentary:
In the previous verses, Paul has made a connection between the Israelites in the wilderness and the Christians in Corinth. He has described the experiences of Israelites being led and protected by the Lord, baptized into Moses, and being fed with spiritual food and drink from Christ.

Now Paul shows that none of this was enough to earn God's favor for them during their time on earth. Paul writes that God was not pleased with most of them. Nearly all of them were "overthrown" or died in the wilderness as a result of God's discipline (Numbers 14:29). Even Moses was disqualified from entering the promised land because of his disobedience (Numbers 20:12). That punishment doesn't imply—or symbolize—a lack of salvation. It does, however, indicate that believers are not immune from consequence when we sin in this life.

No wonder Paul expressed concern about being disqualified in the previous chapter (1 Corinthians 9:27). The following verses will show that Paul wants the Corinthians to see themselves as vulnerable to God's discipline, as well.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 10:1–13 describes how the generation of Israelites who escaped from Egypt were blessed by God and yet fell repeatedly into idol worship. God severely punished many of them, including the fate of wandering the desert until death. The Corinthians should read their example as a warning unless they, too, fall at God's hand for participating with idols. Their standing in Christ does not mean that God will not act against unfaithfulness to Him with false gods. Still, such temptations are common, and God always provides His children a way to escape from sin.
Chapter Summary:
Idol worship is an extremely serious sin. Paul reminds the Christians in idol-saturated Corinth of that by referring to the history of the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness. Though blessed by God, they worshiped false idols. God killed many of them for it. Paul commands his readers to flee from idol worship. To participate with idol worship in any way is to participate with demons. God always provides some way to avoid sin. So, they must avoid giving anyone the idea that they approve of idol worship, even by knowingly eating food offered to idols. Their first question must always be, ''Will this glorify God?''
Chapter Context:
The previous chapter concluded with Paul's commitment to continue to control himself. He exercises discipline so he does not become ineffective in his ministry. He begins chapter 10 by reminding the Corinthians of how the Israelites brought consequences on themselves in the wilderness. Among their many sins was worshiping idols, and God killed many of them for it. The Corinthians must flee idol worship and any appearance of supporting the demonic practice. They are free to eat meat if they don't know that it is idol food. However, they should be ready to set aside their own freedoms and rights whenever doing so will glorify God and win others to Christ.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
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