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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Truth changes not

I was reading the 22nd chapter of Kings and the thought struck me that this is a great illustration of how the truth does not change to fit circumstances. King Ahab of Israel decided to take Ramoth-gilead back from the Syrians and invited Jehoshaphat King of Judah to go with him. All Ahab's prophets prophesied a victory, but Jehoshaphat was suspicious, calling for an opinion from a "prophet of the Lord". One was available -- Micaiah -- but Ahab didn't like the fact that he usually prophesied something negative concerning him. But Micaiah was called and he prophesied the truth -- that Ahab would not return from the battle alive.

King Ahab only wanted to hear something good, but that did not change the truth. "And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil."

Four hundred prophets spoke the opposite, but that did not change the truth. "Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king."

Zedekiah dramatically illustrated Ahab's victory, but that did not change the truth. "And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them."

Micaiah was struck on the face, but that did not change the truth. "Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself."

Micaiah was thrown in jail, but that did not change the truth. "And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me."

Good king Jehoshapahat went to the battle with Ahab, but that did not change the truth. "So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead."

Ahab disguised himself to not appear to be a king, but that did not change the truth. "And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle." (about here I want to ask Jehoshaphat, "Just how stupid are you?" but the question often comes ringing back to me, "Just how stupid are you?")

Some Syrian archer was just shooting arrows in his simplicity, but that did not change the truth. "And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot."

Delay of time does not change the truth. Not only must we consider Micaiah's prophecy, but also Elijah's. Some three or more years before he had told Ahab, "Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine." So when the battle was over and Ahab was dead, "...one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake."

Psalm 117:2b - "...the truth of the LORD endureth for ever."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Be Strong

2 Timothy 2:1-7: "1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."

A Strong Christian is:

1. A Teacher who commits, verse 2.
2. A Soldier who endures, verses 3,4.
3. An Athlete who competes, verse 5.
4. A Farmer who labours, verse 6.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Old Testament Scripture...

...used in New Testament times. Here are some examples.

The gospel that Paul preached was according to the Old Testament scriptures - I Corinthians 15:1-4.


Philip preached Jesus to the eunuch using the Old Testament scriptures in Isaiah - Acts 8:35.


Paul demonstrated that Jesus was the Christ from the Old Testament scriptures - Acts 17:1-4.


Many Bereans believed as a result of searching the Old Testament scriptures - Acts 17:10-12.


Apollos convinced Jews in Achaia that Jesus was the Christ using the Old Testament scriptures - Acts 18:28.


The Old Testament scriptures testify of Christ - John 5:29.


The Old Testament scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation - II Timothy 3:15.


The Old Testament scriptures teach salvation by faith - Romans 4:3; 10:8-11; Galatians 3:8,22; I Peter 2:6.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jesus knowing

John 13:1-5: "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded."

Jesus knowing
The Present "the Father had given all things into his hands" Judas' betrayal, the trial, conviction and crucifixion were all part of God's definite purpose

The Past "that he was come from God" sent by the Father

The Future "that he went to God" Heb. 12:2

Saturday, June 24, 2006

7 Churches of Asia

Some Thoughts on the Seven Churches of Asia in Revelation chapters 2 & 3.

This letter (book of Revelation) was sent to seven churches of Asia (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea). So when each church received the letter she also read the messages to the other churches as well as her own. The messages to these churches are:


1. Local - to these 7 historical churches (1:4)
2. Admonitory - an admonition to all of the Lord's churches throughout history. ("saith to the churches")
3. Individual - lessons to anyone who will listen ("he that hath an ear", 2:7, et.al.)

Prophetic (possibly): Some people believe that these 7 churches are prophetic of the church age -- in other words, 7 periods of history within the church age. It doesn't seem to have worked out historically according to the general prophetic idea usually based on these churches.

There is a general pattern to the seven letters:

1. Greetings - "unto the angel of the church of..."
2. Description of the Author - "he that holdeth the seven stars...he which hath the sharp sword...etc."
3. Commendation of good works (except for the church at Laodicea)
4. Condemnation of sin, error, etc. (except for Smyrna & Philadelphia)
5. Warning - "Repent...be faithful...hold fast...etc."
6. Exhortation - "hear what the Spirit saith..."
7. Promise - "To him that overcometh will I give...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee...etc."

The last four messages (Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea) reverse the order of the Promise and the Exhortation. It is also interesting to note the order in which the churches are addressed. The churches that receive the first and last letters are in grave danger of judgment - repent or I will come quickly and remove thy candlestick, and I will spue thee out of my mouth - though the first (Ephesus) has several good things to commend it and the last (Laodicea) seems to have none. Then the 2nd & 6th mentioned (Smyrna, Philadelphia) receive only commendation. The three placed in the middle of these four (Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis) are between these two extremes and receive commendation, condemnation and warning.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Singing blogs

After eight or nine blogs on singing, perhaps you all are growing a little weary -- I couldn't even get a Baptist reaction by posting a Reformed position on singing Psalms only! Ha. Well, we'll move on to something else. ;-)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where to sing - Henderson, TX August 12

The preceding blogs have dealt with various opinions about singing and how to sing. Now here's WHERE to sing -- East Texas Sacred Harp Convention in Henderson, Texas August 12th and 13th. Click link for info and map.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How to sing -- George Root

I ought to say something about the condition of music in our part of the country in those days. Not many years before, a singing-school had been held in the old red schoolhouse, where "faw, sol, law, faw, sol, law, me, faw" were the syllables for the scale -- where one must find the "me" note (seven) to ascertain what key he was singing in, and where some of the old "fuguing tunes," as they were called, were still sung. I well remember how, shortly after, we heard a new system of teaching music had been introduced into Boston, in which they used a blackboard and sang, "do, re, me," etc., to the scale. But how silly "do" sounded. We thought it smart to say that the man who invented that was a dough-head, and how flat were fa and la, in comparison with the dignified "faw" and "law." Later, however, when some tunes connected with the new movement came we changed our minds about the man who was at the head of it. Nothing before, so heavenly, had been heard as the melody to "Thus far the Lord hath led me on" (Hebron); and one of the great things in going to Boston was that I should probably see Lowell Mason.

-- George F. Root, The Story of a Musical Life

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How to sing -- David Blount

1. Why Sing?
We must begin then by asking, Why sing in worship? The first and last records of singing in Scripture (Exod. 15:1; Rev. 15:3) have a link: redemption is the common theme - the church praising her deliverer, her Saviour. But more than example, we have command to sing: "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing" (Psa. 100:2).

2. Why Sing Psalms?
If we are to sing praise to God, then the immediate question which arises is, What are we to sing? As regards the Psalms there can be no doubt about their appointment for singing: "O come, let us sing unto the Lord...Let us...make a joyful noise unto him with psalms" (Psa. 95:1,2). The New Testament contains similar exhortations, especially those couched in the two controversial verses - Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16. Churches which today effectively practise an "exclusive hymnody" should at the very least be asking themselves why God's hymnbook has NO place in their singing.

3. Why Sing Psalms Only?
The key texts here are: Eph. 5:18,19; Col. 3:16.

A. Believers are commanded to become filled with Christ's Spirit by the indwelling of His word.
B. This is to be accomplished by mutual instruction through singing.
C. Therefore the phrase "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" denotes the Psalms of David, because they alone satisfy both of these conditions, i.e., they are the word of Christ and they are designed for singing...There is no record of Jesus or His apostles singing anything but psalms.


The psalms, hymns and songs are all said to be "spiritual" or "Spirit-given." Which of our hymn-writers would claim that for his writings? We are sure though that the Psalms are the very words of the Spirit and therefore the perfect vehicle to serve the purpose of singing in worship, which is, not the outpouring of our feelings, but the discipling of our souls.

-- Excerpted from David Blount in
Why sing Psalms only?

Monday, June 19, 2006

How to sing -- Ephraim Rotewell

In early America, the "New Way" of singing -- by reading music and following "rules" -- was a threat many a New Englander feared.

"The new Singers will bring in Popery upon us before we are aware of it. Truly, I have a great jealousy, that if we once begin to sing by Rule, the next thing will be to pray by Rule, and preach by Rule; we must have Common Prayer, Forsooth, and then comes Popery."

-- Ephraim Rotewell, New England Courant, March 20, 1722

How to sing -- Thomas Symmes

Objections to the "New Way" of singing, by one favoring the "Usual Way"

(1) That it is a New Way, an Unknown Tongue. (2) That it is not so Melodious as the Usual Way. (3) That there are so many Tunes, we shall never have done learning. (4) That the Practice of it gives Disturbance; Roils & Exasperates men's Spirits; grieves sundry good People, and causes them to behave themselves indecently & disorderly. (5) That is Quakerish & Popish, and introductive of Instrumental Musick. (6) That the Names given to the Notes are Bawdy, yea Blasphemous. (7) That it is a Needless way, since their good Fathers that were Strangers to it, are got to Heaven without it.


-- Thomas Symmes, Utile Dulci. 1723

Note: Symmes was a proponent of the "new way" or "regular way" of singing -- learning to sing by reading music rather than memorizing tunes. He presented the above in the form of a dialogue to give the arguments for the "Usual Way" and against his viewpoint. Of his own views, he writes:

"Singing by Note is giving every note its proper pitch, and turning the voice in its proper place, and giving every note its true length and sound. Whereas the Usual Way varies much from this. In it, some notes are sung too high, others too low, and most too long, and many turnings or flourishings with the voice (as they call them) are made where they should not be..."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

How to sing -- Unknown

First, find your range. Identify whether you have a high voice (soprano) or low voice (tenor) or somewhere in between. If you sing out of your voice range, you will never sound good no matter how much you practice. Start by seeing how low and how high your voice will reach. Determine which sounds better and which pitch is most comfortable to achieve.

Next, try matching your voice to other singers and then practice singing along with their songs. When practicing singing, sing loudly rather than softly. This builds strength in your vocal cords and strength is what will eventually enable you to control them better.

Breathing is an important aspect of singing. Draw your breath from deep down and learn to use the breath to emit the sound from your diaphragm rather than your throat or nose. With practice, your breathing will become coordinated with your vocal cords as you strengthen and smooth your vocal cords.


-- Unknown

Saturday, June 17, 2006

How to sing -- Thomas Cassidy

Guidelines for Music Selection and Use.
"And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?" (1 Corinthians 14:7).

1. Words - The words of the songs we sing are very important. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8).

2. Life-style and testimony of writers. "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34). Is the life-style and testimony of the writers in agreement with God's Word? What do the writers think of Jesus Christ? "Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David." (Matthew 22:42).

3. Effect on listeners. Does this song cause listeners to give glory to God or to the singer? What does this song motivate one to do or to be? Does this song cause the hearers to want to grow closer to the Lord, and to be more Christ like, or is it merely entertaining them?

4. Appropriateness. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Is this musical selection appropriate for this service or occasion?

Criteria for Evaluating Music.

1. Words: The words of the song must be doctrinally correct.

2. Melody: The melody must be strong and clear. A strong melody will build to one major climax and possibly several minor climaxes. Variety is the key.

3. Harmony: Harmony should show some creative ability on the part of the composer/arranger. Avoid music that does not resolve; that overuses chord clusters (clusters destroy tonality which is an absolute); that utilizes "blues" notes as found in "rhythm and blues" music.

4. Rhythm: Rhythm is a vital part of music but should not dominate. There should be a natural accent in the rhythm.

-- Excerpted from
A Biblical Philosophy of Christian Music by Thomas Cassidy, First Baptist Church of Spring Valley, California, © 1995

Friday, June 16, 2006

How to sing -- W. M. Cooper

Suggestions

In order to get the best results in Harmony possible, the committee respectfully offers the following suggestions.

First: Be sure to pitch the songs properly. For this duty select some brother for the day, and let others keep silent.

Second: Sing according to time. Give measured notes full time, and observe rests in all instances.
Third: Do not sing too loudly. The fault of too loud singing may be avoided to a great extent by pitching music properly.

Fourth: Never sing alto in the high voice. There is no symphony whatever in such singing. Boys may sing alto, and the ladies may sing alto in the grave voice. It will be better for men not to try to sing this part unless they sing it in the grave voice.

-- W. M. Cooper, The B. F. White Sacred Harp, 1960 (but found in earlier editions; probably as early as 1902 or 1907)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

How to Sing -- John Wesley

John Wesley's Directions for Singing

I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.


II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.


III. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

IV. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.

V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.


VI. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move there with as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.


-- From John Wesley's preface to "Sacred Melody", 1761

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How to sing

Yesterday, Chris Stoddart posted John Wesley's directions for singing on our Sacred Harp/Shape note discussion list. After that I decided to post that and some other "directions for singing" here on my blog.

Almost everyone has an opinion about "how to sing"! So, starting tomorrow, for the next several days I will post the opinions of others (without comment, but you can comment) under the title "how to sing" -- although some are more general opinions about music and not just about how to sing.

How to sing -- George Root
How to sing -- David Blount
How to sing -- Ephraim Rotewell
How to sing -- Thomas Symmes
How to sing -- Unknown
How to sing -- Thomas Cassidy
How to sing -- W. M. Cooper
How to Sing -- John Wesley

Opinions still wanted

Some of you posted your opinion in answer to a question on one blog. Your opinions are still wanted. Click here: Your Opinion???

Monday, June 12, 2006

Just read

"Isn't it time to stop asking the LORD to bless what we are doing, and start doing what HE has [blessed] and is blessing?" - Billy Wright, Jr. in "Another Way: House Churches, Part 4", Baptist Monitor, p. 11, June 2006

Thoughts - yes, no, doesn't matter, other??

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Respect of persons

James 2:1-9 - "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors."

Respect of persons is incompatible with the faith (v. 1ff.). "...have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ...with respect of persons" -- the two are incompatible. Worldly partially does not fit God's spiritual people (or at least should not!). We should judge "righteous judgment" (John 7:24). God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Jesus did not "regard the person of men" (Matthew 22:16).

Respect of persons is inconsistent with the facts of the Christian situation (vv. 5-7). Their own Christian brothers and sisters were more likely to be "the poor of this world", while the rich were oppressing Christians and blaspheming Jesus. Is not this still true today? Cf. I Corinthians 1:26-28.

Respect of persons is a transgression of God's law (vv. 8.9). Respect to person is sin. But if we fulfill the royal law of Christ -- love thy neighbor as thyself -- we will not have respect to persons and will treat all preferentially equally above ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

Philippians 2:5-8 - "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Two upcoming singings

Two rural Rusk County (Texas) churches will have their annual homecomings on back-to-back weekends.

Sunday June 11th: Smyrna Baptist Church, starting at 10:00 a.m., this singing will be from the "little book", seven-shape note accompanied singing. For a map to this location, see here: Smyrna map (not the same singing, but the same location)

Sunday June 18th: Zion Hill Baptist Church, starting at 10:00 a.m., this singing will be from the Sacred Harp, four-shape unaccompanied singing. For a map to this location, see here: Zion Hill map

All are welcome. All are invited. In each case, dinner will be served and donations will be received for the associated cemeteries -- Holleman Cemetery and Zion Hill Cemetery.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Door

Genesis 7:16: "...and the Lord shut him in."

God shut the door of the ark. All outside were shut out. All inside were shut in. Doors are opened and shut according to God's prerogative (e.g. Rev. 3: 7,8; II Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3).

Jesus said, "I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." John 10:9.

Monday, June 05, 2006

More likely

Sometimes we dismiss substantial portions of Scripture that do not fit our theology. More likely we should dismiss substantial portions of our theology that do not fit Scripture!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

All things to all

I Corinthians 9:19-23 - "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you."

What does "all things to all" mean? Some think it means we should use great flexibility of methods to preach the gospel. Others go further, suggesting we must do "whatever it takes" to reach the lost (perhaps even reaching the unstated conclusion that the end justifies the means). Was the apostle Paul a wishy-washy hypocrite who would use any available gimmick to further his cause? Does I Cor. 9 suggest that? Does the historical account of his ministry demonstrate that?

I Cor. 9: 19-23 means something quite different than what many of us have been taught -- we must be willing to yield our rights for the sake of the gospel -- a meaning that will harmonize with both the context and what the Scriptures reveal about how Paul conducted his life and ministry.

The broad context is an entire letter written by the Apostle to clarify doctrine and practice and to correct error in the Corinthian church. The letter may be readily divided into two main parts: Chapters 1-6, in which Paul deals with issues that had been reported to him (cf. 1:11 & 5:1) and Chapters 7-16, in which Paul deals with questions sent to him by the church (see 7:1). These are usually introduced by the words "now concerning" or "now touching" (peri de).

The immediate context is Paul's addressing the question of whether to eat meat offered to idols (Chapters 8-10). Paul stated that every Christian had the right (liberty, freedom, power) to buy and each such meat. It is only meat and an idol is nothing. But the freedom should be given up if this becomes a stumblingblock to a weak brother (8:9-13). Paul was not asking them to do something he himself would not do (8:13). These are not words merely written for effect. In Chapter nine he illustrates the principle and fortifies his case by the example of his own practice.

Paul's example was that he had given up some of his rights and privileges in preference to the furtherance of the gospel (cf. 9:23, 10:33). Paul shows that it was his right as an apostle to receive some maintenance or support by the Corinthian church. Yet he emphatically states that he (and Barnabas) had not used this power (exousia, right, freedom) "lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ".

Placed in context, we see verses 19-23 as Paul's next example of the principle. Paul was free -- both a free born Roman citizen and a free child of God -- yet he has voluntarily become a servant in order to gain as many as possible. Though he was free from the law, in his dealings with the Jews, he would if necessary lay aside his freedom in order to interact with the Jews (as in Acts 16:1-3).

These thoughts are followed by Paul's asserting the need for self-discipline (verses 24-27). The Jews, despite their privileges and advantages (10:1-4), abandoned self-discipline, gave in to their lusts, and brought on themselves judgment and destruction (10:5-13). The Christian is to have no part in idolatrous practices (10:14-21), but is at liberty to purchase and eat the meat previously offered to idols (10:25-30). The good of others and the glory of God (10:23, 24, 31-33) must be the guiding principle. There is an important correlation between 10:32 and 9:19-22: Give none offence (cf. 8:13), neither to the Jews (9:20), nor to the Gentiles (9:21), nor to the church of God (9:21; the weak were brothers - 8:11-13).

What some others say:
"He would not sin against God to save the soul of his neighbour, but he would very cheerfully and readily deny himself. The rights of God he could not give up, but he might resign his own, and he very often did so for the good of others." -- Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

"Though his conscience is free before God, he does not disregard man. Rather, he lives to serve other men. This is meant in a spiritual way - that is to render true spiritual service to man; not that Paul catered to every man's whim or personal preferences.

"Paul required Timothy to be circumcised lest he be perceived, as a man of Jewish descent, of lightly esteeming the law - Acts 16:3. Paul did not require Titus to be circumcised lest he, as a Gentile, be perceived as condoning or compromising with the Judaizers who falsely asserted that it was needful for Gentiles to submit to circumcision - Galatians 2:3-5.

"These last two examples are important because they prove that becoming 'all things to all men' has nothing to do with appeasing others or fitting into a culture foreign from your own. It was all about abstaining from the appearance of condoning evil and error and always behaving in such a way as to magnify truth and right in the eyes of men." -- Mark Osgatharp, Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, Wynne, Arkansas

"Paul is commenting on his willingness to lay aside external ideas and even the manner in which he approached some religious convictions for the greater good of being able to minister to the flock of GOD in general...Paul's willingness to circumcise Timothy was born out of this spirit of willingness to compromise on non-essential matters. Later he would not circumcise Titus for this very reason, because some had made circumcision a necessity." -- Mike McInnis, Grace Chapel, O'Brien, Florida

"I am made all things to all men; which is to be understood, as in all the other instances of his being so, not in cases and things criminal and sinful, contrary to the moral law, and the dictates of his own conscience, subversive of the Gospel of Christ, and of the order and discipline of it, but in cases and things of an indifferent nature:" -- John Gill's Exposition of the Bible

The primary application of this Scripture is the giving up of our rights or liberties that we have as a direct consequence of our status as children of God. Will we insist on our rights to the detriment and destruction of others, and for our own glory rather than the glory of God?
We should not interpret Paul's "all things to all" based on our own preconceived ideas, but by his own practice. Are we, like Paul, willing to give up, if necessary, every right we have and every privilege we enjoy in order to further the gospel? If not, perhaps we have not learned the true meaning of I Cor. 9:19-23.

Here are links to two blogs by Tom Ascol that also address the subject:
1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul on Accommodation

All things to all men