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Proof-texting 1 Corinthians 10:13

The popular verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13 is often tritely quoted without understanding its more scripturally consistent context. The idea often gleaned from this verse is that the Lord will not allow us to be tempted above that which we can bear.

Here is where the dogma comes in. This does NOT apply to the general masses of people nor does it apply to the general category of Christians.

The audience of the first book of Corinthians is "unto the church of God... to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus... called to be saints" (see 1 Corinthians 1:2). Oxford scholar and Methodist preacher, Margaret Barker, suggests that this language means Paul is speaking to a group of people who have entered into the 'unity of the Holy of Holies'. Therefore, it is possible that the idea of not being tempted above that which we can bear is a blessing reserved for the most righteous among us.

Some other scriptures clearly point to this conditional promise and to the temple theology behind it:

Alma 13:28 "... watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear."

Psalm 34:17-19 "... The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."

Mark 14:38 "... Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak."

Alma 36:26-27 "... For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.
And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."

This theme occurs many other times in the scriptures and it paints a very different picture than what we tritely attribute to the verse in 1 Corinthians. We all fall into temptation often (some more extreme than others). Us falling into it shows that we often get tempted above that which we can resist or bear. The idea that the Lord generally provides this blessing to everyone or to the casual Christian is believing we are not agents but merely acted upon to accomplish righteousness in Christ.

On this thought, I have treasured this thought from Elder Scott when he gave it over 5 years ago:

"Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life." (The Joy of Redeeming the Dead, October 2012 GC)

I find beauty in the idea that the spirit of Elijah can provide this blessing as a foretaste to fully receiving the priesthood of Elijah.

**Note** I do believe that many of us can receive a tender mercy of deliverance even if we are perhaps not the most deserving. The scriptures attest to that fact in some cases. My point is directly pointed on temptation and perhaps some of our trails and tribulations.


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