1 Corinthians 4 – November 3
The Bible is basically a compilation of love letters from our Father in heaven, His loving words breathed onto each page. Over the next several months, as we study the letters of the Bible, Galatians through Jude (circling back to Corinthians in November), I pray that You will experience His eternal love in new ways and that it will transform you. These letters were written by Christian leaders, most of them by Paul, to establish and grow the Christian Church. For us, they are filled with love and gold nuggets on living a Christian life. Join along in our study by reading today’s scripture, journaling on it using SOAP, then sharing how God spoke to you today. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.
1 Corinthians 4
The Nature of True Apostleship
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
Paul’s Appeal and Warning
14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding | Becky Newman
1 Corinthians 4:4b-5
My Bible notes give good insight on this chapter. The Corinthians in a nutshell: wealthy arrogant know-it-alls. Verses 8-13 suggest an arrogance so great that even the Christians thought that Paul must be doing the Christian-thing wrong to be facing persecution and imprisonment. Their arrogance was so great that they were blind to straying from the path of God. And when you’re sitting on the peak of self-righteousness looking down on everyone who’s doing it wrong below, judgment naturally follows. This is not God’s Way; this is the world’s way.
I have a tendency to know-it-all. Early in my walk, You pointed this out and led me to my life verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding. In everything, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straights.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Lately, I’ve been pretty judge-y, over silly things that don’t even matter. Judging leads to disunity and blindness and straying from You. I don’t want that! All of us humans are in the same boat when it comes to being judged; we’re all going to stand before Your light, fully exposed in our motives.
Thank You for humbling me today, Father. Yes, I prefer in love with a gentle spirit, please, rather than the rod of discipline.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.