The Meaning Of 1 Corinthians 10:13 (God Will Not Give You More Than You Can Handle)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

God will not give you more than you can handle. This phrase is pulled from the meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13 and is meant to give us assurance in the strength we have in God. 

However, many people misinterpret this verse and claim that God will never give us more than we can handle. That we are capable of getting through whatever is in front of us. But the 1 Corinthians 10:13 meaning isn’t a promise that we have the strength within us to get through life’s challenges. 

Even Paul, who wrote this, faced challenges that were far too difficult for him to overcome. God will give us more than we can handle. And as we dive into the meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13 we will see why that’s a good thing. 

The Context Of 1 Corinthians 10:13

It’s important when we read the Bible to read it in context. When we read one verse while ignoring the surrounding verses it’s likely we will miss the beauty of what it’s communicating and misapply it to our lives. To understand how the meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13 applies to our life we need to first look at the context of the chapter

Paul wrote the letter of 1 Corinthians to the church in Corinth where idol worship was commonplace. They were facing pressure and intense temptation to fall into this sin. 

To help them, Paul goes back into history to the Israelites wandering the desert after they escaped slavery in Egypt. 1 Corinthians 10 describes how this generation of Israelites were cared for by God, yet still repeatedly fell into idol worship (Exodus 13-17; Numbers 10-15). 

Paul is urging this church to not be like them. He’s encouraging them that they don’t have to give in to temptation; God will provide a way for them to escape this sin. 

This leads us to verse 13. So let’s dive into the meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13 and see what it holds for us today. 

The Meaning Of 1 Corinthians 10:13

To help us understand this verse we are going to break it down into key parts. This will help us better understand what the Apostle Paul meant and how it applies to our lives today. 

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind… 

Remember the context, the church in Corinth is surrounded by idol worship. They are tempted at every corner to turn from God toward some other god. 

Paul is telling his readers failure is not inevitable. They can get through this temptation and any other they face. He’s giving them hope that they can resist. 

Further in this first sentence Paul is telling the church in Corinth that what they are facing is not unique to them. Others are tempted by the same things. They are not alone. 

While today few are tempted to bow down to an engraved image, we are still surrounded by things that tempt us. We are in a very similar place to this 1st century church, surrounded by temptations at every corner. 

Paul’s words still ring true for us today. Failure is not inevitable. There are others tempted by the SAME things you are. Together we can resist and step into what God has for us. 

God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…

Next Paul reminds his readers that God is faithful, and that he will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. 

The reality is that you WILL be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted. Being tempted is not a sin. It’s when we give into our temptations that we cross the line. 

And this verse is telling us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.  God knows what we are capable of and protects us from temptations that are too great for us. 

This doesn’t mean that the temptations we face are easy, or that we can face them on our own. Flying solo is a quick way to fall into sin. Throughout this verse we are reminded that it is God who is our strength. 

We cannot overcome temptation by our own strength, but by God’s strength. 

He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it…

God will not put us in a situation where we have no way out. There’s aways an escape to avoid sin. He won’t force us to take it, but he will provide a way. 

Sometimes it feels like there’s no way out of the temptations we are facing. And that is probably the case when we look to our own power. But when we look to God he will provide a way. 

When faced with temptation we need to look to God. Not ourselves or what is surrounding us. The way out is found in God alone. 

God Will Not Give You More Than You Can Handle Meaning

The church in Corinth was tempted to abandon what God said was best in pursuit of what the culture was doing around them. They put themselves in danger of failing by attending cultic meals and not avoiding other pagan practices. 

They were taking their eyes off God and had underestimated the danger of their situation. On top of that they overestimated their own ability to handle the temptations they were facing. 

Paul writes this passage to them to remind them that God had made a way for them to escape this temptation. But not on their own, but by the strength of God. The meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is that we can avoid temptation if we walk closely with God. 

Let me end by giving you three ways you can apply the 1 Corinthians 10:13 meaning to your life. 

1. Look To God, Not What’s Tempting Us 

The church in Corinth was surrounded by things that tempted them. While what tempts us has changed, the temptation of sin has not. We are surrounded by a culture that participates and celebrates things that God calls us to avoid. 

Some react by simply avoiding culture altogether. But that’s the wrong application. After all, even Jesus didn’t do that. And it’s pretty hard to love people when we avoid them. We are called to be in this world, but not of it. In that way we can live out the calling God has given us.

We can do this when we keep our eyes on God and walk with him closely. Don’t look at the things that tempt you, rather look to the one who gives you strength to overcome. 

The next time you are tempted, immediately turn your attention to God. He’s right there beside you, run to him. 

2. Don’t Put Yourself In No Win Situations, Look For The Off Ramp

The church in Corinth kept putting themselves in no win situations. They got increasingly closer to idol worship by attending cultic meals, thus increasing their temptation. 

We do the same today. We inch closer to sin trying not to cross the line. But that’s playing with fire and eventually we will get burned. 

While it’s inevitable that we will be tempted, we often make the temptations worse by not using wisdom. 

If someone struggles with alcoholism, it’s not smart for them to hang out at a bar. If they do they are just increasing the odds that they will give into their temptation. 

The same is true with whatever you struggle with. Don’t put yourself in a no win situation. Look for the off ramp that God will provide you. 

3. Surround Yourself With Other Christians

Paul tells the church in Corinth about the other followers of Jesus who struggle with idolatry. He wants them to know they are not alone. 

Listen, you aren’t alone either. There are others who struggle with that same sin that you do.

It’s important that we don’t try to go solo through life. Following Jesus is best done in community. Together we can encourage and help each other avoid temptations. 

If you try to get through your temptations alone it’s going to be a long and lonely road. You need others in your corner that will help you. 

This verse offers us an encouragement that we can get through the temptations of this life. Not on our own, but by the strength of God. The next time you are tempted, pull out this verse and reflect on the powerful meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13. 

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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