In this passage, Paul illustrates how those who are among God’s people can fail to receive the wreath of future eternal life. He begins by telling them that their spiritual fathers, the Jews, were all under the glory cloud, and passed through the Red Sea. Furthermore, they were all united to Moses, ate the same spiritual food, and drank the same spiritual drink. However, most of them were displeasing to God. For this reason, those who were displeasing to Him were killed in the wilderness.

In verse 6, Paul explains that the events in the exodus, and in the wilderness wanderings, happened as examples to Christians, to prevent them from craving evil things. Therefore, Paul commands the Corinthians to avoid idolatry, unlike some of the Jews did. Furthermore, he commands them to abstain from sexual immorality, unlike some of the Jews. In addition, he commands them not to test the Lord, as some of the Jews did, nor to grumble, like the Jews. Then, Paul says that these things were written for Christians’ instruction, upon whom the last hour has come, implying the imminence of Christ’s return. Therefore, Paul commands those who think they stand in the faith to take heed to their lives, lest they fall away from the faith. However, Paul comforts them by telling them that God never gives them a temptation that they are unable to flee from, and that all their temptations are common among mankind.