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Scripture Memory Meditation | 1 Corinthians 10:13


No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (CSB)

Christians know too well the experience of temptation (or testing) coming on us, or as the ESV puts it, being overtaken by temptation.[1] This verse gives us hope as we endure temptation and testing. The promise that we will be able to bear and endure the temptations of life is tremendous because many times it doesn’t feel like that is true at the time. Even more astounding is the basis for our hope: God’s faithfulness.

In chapter 10, Paul uses the Israelites in the wilderness as an example to warn against idolatry. The temptation referenced here is at the level of desire. The Israelites desired evil.[2] We desire things to satisfy longings that only God fulfills. These temptations are the kind that we all experience. God understands us in this way and knows we need his power to endure temptation until God removes it from us.

God is faithful. Readers of this letter will remember a similar statement from Paul earlier: “He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:8-9). Jesus Christ overcame temptation and testing to the degree that we cannot imagine. Jesus endured so that we may receive grace from God to endure in a similar way. This truth is essential for being a disciple of Jesus. As one theologian put it: “But God is faithful! —words to be carved in letters of gold on the memory and imagination of all Christians.”[3] All temptations are tests of faith. But God is faithful!

It has been said that this exchange took place when the English martyrs Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were facing the flames: “When Mr. Latimer stood at the stake, and the tormentors about to set fire to him and Ridley, he lifted his eyes toward heaven with a friendly and comfortable countenance, saying ‘God is faithful!’ etc. Ridley also at the stake, with a wondrous cheerful look, ran to Latimer, embraced, kissed, and … comforted him, saying, ‘Be of good heart, brother; God will either assuage the fury of the flame, or else will strengthen us to abide it.’”[4] 

The promise from God in this verse sustained Latimer and Ridley through the temptation to recant and deny their faith and the testing of their faith to the end. God was faithful for Latimer and Ridley, and he will be faithful amid temptation and testing in your life.

[1] ESV 1 Cor 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.”

[2] 1 Cor 10:6.

[3] N.T. Wright (1 Corinthians, IVP Connect, p. 17).

[4] John Trapp, A Commentary of Exposition, 683. Quoted from Foxe, Acts and Monuments 7.550. Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were burned at the stake in 1555.

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