The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:8 Explained

1 Corinthians 10:8

KJV: Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

YLT: neither may we commit whoredom, as certain of them did commit whoredom, and there fell in one day twenty-three thousand;

Darby: Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

ASV: Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

Neither  let us commit fornication,  as  some  of them  committed,  and  fell  in  one  day  three  and twenty  thousand. 

What does 1 Corinthians 10:8 Mean?

Study Notes

fell in one day
Cf. Numbers 25:9 . A discrepancy has been imagined. 1 Corinthians 10:8 . gives the number of deaths in "one day"; Numbers 25:9 , the total number of deaths "in the plague." Some discrepant statements concerning numbers are, however, found in the existing manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures. These are most naturally ascribed to the fact that the Hebrews used letters in the place of numerals. The letters for Koph to Tau express hundreds up to four hundred. Five certain Hebrew letters, written in a different form, carry hundreds up to nine hundred, while thousands are expressed by two dots over the proper unit letter: e.g. the letter Teth, used alone, stands for 9; with two dots it stands for nine thousand. Error in transcription of Hebrew numbers thus becomes easy, preservation of numerical accuracy difficult.

Verse Meaning

Second, the Israelites practiced immorality (lit. fornication) when they participated in one of the Moabites" religious feasts ( Numbers 25:1-9). Paul said23 ,000 Israelites died in one day. Moses in Numbers 25:9 said24 ,000 died as a result of the plague God sent to judge the people. There Isaiah , therefore, no conflict between the numbers since they describe somewhat different groups of people. Another explanation that has been suggested is that the larger number included Israel"s leaders, and the smaller one did not. If immorality is only implicit in the record of the Golden Calf incident, it is explicit in the account of the Baal Peor incident. Clearly this was taking place in the Corinthian church ( 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Some modern Christians have participated in fornication that unbelievers have lured them into.

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 10:1-10 - Learn From Bible History
Twice over we are told that the story of the Exodus was intended for our instruction, 1 Corinthians 10:6; 1 Corinthians 10:11. It becomes us, therefore, to study the account with the honest intention to obtain all the warning and suggestion that it is capable of yielding. The great lesson is human failure under the most promising circumstances. Here were people who had been brought out of the most terrible hardships and perils, who were under the greatest obligations to God, but who, in the hour of temptation, absolutely failed Him.
Consider the privileges of the Chosen People. The cloud of divine guidance led them. The Red Sea, like a grave, lay between them and the land of bondage. They ate daily of the heavenly manna and drank of the water that gushed from the rock. But all these are types of spiritual blessings which await us in Christ. His grave lies between us and the world; His guidance is ours; we daily feed on His life and help. Let us take heed that we do not, like Israel, allow Moab to cast the witchery of sensual indulgence over us, lest we excite God's displeasure. Let us not tempt the Lord by murmuring or distrust. Let us ever live worthily of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 10

1  The sacraments of the Jews are types of ours;
7  and their punishments,
11  examples for us
13  We must flee from idolatry
21  We must not make the Lord's table the table of demons;
24  and in all things we must have regard for our brothers

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 10:8

Neither let us commit fornication [μηδε πορνευωμεν]
More exactly, And let us cease practicing fornication as some were already doing (1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 7:2). The connection between idolatry and fornication was very close (see Jowett, Epistles of Paul, II, p. 70) and see about Baal-Peor (Numbers 25:1-9). It was terribly true of Corinth where prostitution was part of the worship of Aphrodite. [source]
In one day [μιαι ημεραι]
An item that adds to horror of the plague in Numbers 25:9 where the total number is 24,000 instead of 23,000 as here for one day. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 10:8

1 Corinthians 6:9 Fornicators []
The besetting sin of Corinth. Hence the numerous solemn and emphatic allusions to it in this epistle. See 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 6:15-18; 1 Corinthians 10:8. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 10:8 mean?

Neither should we commit sexual immorality as some of them committed sexual immorality and fell in one day twenty three thousand
μηδὲ πορνεύωμεν καθώς τινες αὐτῶν ἐπόρνευσαν καὶ ἔπεσαν μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ εἰκοσι τρεῖς χιλιάδες

μηδὲ  Neither 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: μηδέ  
Sense: and not, but not, nor, not.
πορνεύωμεν  should  we  commit  sexual  immorality 
Parse: Verb, Present Subjunctive Active, 1st Person Plural
Root: πορνεύω  
Sense: to prostitute one’s body to the lust of another.
τινες  some 
Parse: Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: τὶς  
Sense: a certain, a certain one.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
ἐπόρνευσαν  committed  sexual  immorality 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: πορνεύω  
Sense: to prostitute one’s body to the lust of another.
ἔπεσαν  fell 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: πίπτω 
Sense: to descend from a higher place to a lower.
μιᾷ  in  one 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
ἡμέρᾳ  day 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ἡμέρα  
Sense: the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night.
εἰκοσι  twenty 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: εἴκοσι  
Sense: twenty.
τρεῖς  three 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: τρεῖς 
Sense: three.
χιλιάδες  thousand 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: χιλιάς  
Sense: a thousand, the number one thousand.