Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Sunday afternoon car show in Brittany

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Nov 28, 1 Cor 1-4

Today's readings are 1 Cor 1-4. Tomorrow's are 1 Cor 5-8. 

As we have seen in Acts 18-19, Corinth was a busy and corrupt town with a well-earned reputation for all types of debauchery, religious diversity and corruption. The new church there was struggling under all these unfavorable cultural pressures and was showing signs of division.

Keeping this in mind, Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians should be read as a corrective teaching. Neglecting to read through this understanding could cause us to miss some of the points Paul wants to make to his readers.

After a short and gracious introduction in 1 Cor 1, Paul gets quickly to the point. There are divisions over who is following who and, presumably, who the better teachers are. Paul likens these debates to foolishness that neglects the gospel and imitates worldly ways of doing things. Paul encourages them to make the gospel the primary message and to cease endless debates about wisdom. That's what the Greeks do and the church of Christ is not to be like the world.  

1 Cor 2 is a reminder of what Paul taught when he was in Corinth, Christ crucified or, in other words, the gospel. He then begins to talk about maturity (1 Cor 1:6) that goes beyond worldly wisdom and is nurtured by the Spirit of God.

1 Cor 3 is a key chapter. Paul tells the new church, who thinks much of itself and its own sophistication and wisdom, that they are still babies. They are drinking milk when they should be mature and eating meat--the meat of the word. Instead, the church has become preoccupied with things of the world and neglected the things of the Spirit. Even though they believe themselves to be mature, they have not grown at all. They're actually becoming more like the world than the church they should be.  Ch 3 sets the tone for the rest of the book, which is an admonishment to leave immature things behind and pursue spiritual maturity and a deeper understanding of the word of God. 

It appears as though one of the problems the church struggles with is in judging each other, even Paul (2 Cor 4:1-5). They should refrain from judging others and leave that to the Lord. 

Furthermore, they should not try to go beyond what the Scriptures say. In other words, the Bible should be their guide in all matters of faith and life. They don't have to add to it or improve upon it. 

We see some of Paul's sarcasm in 1 Cor 4:8-13. The Corinthians think of themselves as wise, rich kings. Paul says that he and the Apostles can't compare to such lofty and cultured people as they! These verses are a rebuke at their thinking too  much of themselves. 

Paul ends ch 4 with an admonishment to straighten up before he comes for another visit. 

There is much the modern church can learn from these four chapters. However, the primary lesson is to keep the gospel front and center and to avoid allowing minor, non-essential issue to cause division and discontent. 

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