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above ability?

26-07-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet


In 1Corinthians 10:13, we are assured that God will not allow us to be tempted above our ability. But in 2Corinthians1:8, Paul himself testifies to being burdened above his ability. Is that not a contradiction?


When we would only pay attention to the words, “above power”, indeed these two verses contradict each other. However, when we consider what each text is all about, we see that they are about altogether different issues.

In 2Cor.1:8-10, Paul tells about the oppression that had happened to him in Asia. Of these he says:

8 …we were inordinately burdened, over our ability, so that we were despairing of life also. 9 But we have the rescript of death in ourselves, that we may be having no confidence in ourselves, but in God, Who rouses the dead, 10 Who rescues us from a death of such proportions …

Paul feared he would die. He thought his death warrant was signed. Usually, we speak this way in connection with a deadly disease, when a person succumbs to a physical burden that is greater than can be carried and endured. But in the context of which Paul speaks about it, it was about oppression to the point of him being in danger of dying. Speaking humanly, he could not possibly survive, but it was God who had delivered him from a great, deadly danger. Paul learned from this to trust God, Who is stronger than death. As long as God has something to do for a person, that individual is immortal.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the issue is very different. It’s not about oppression and of being in danger of death, but it is about remaining standing, when tempted to fall into sin.

12 So that, let him who is supposing he stands, beware that he should not be falling. 13 No trial has taken you except what is human. Now, faithful is God, Who will not be leaving you to be tried above what you are able, but, together with the trial, will be making the sequel also, to enable you to undergo it.

We do not have a guarantee of physical survival, here, on earth. Also believers are mortals. But we do have the guarantee that we will never be tempted above our ability to keep from falling. For the one who stands on God’s promise (“God is faithful!”), there always is a solution. Please note: only on that basis. One may think to be standing, but as soon as one trusts his own ability, one has already fallen. Only on the rock of God’s faithfulness and grace is there a guaranteed solution and strength. That never disappoints and this solution gives strength to really live!