Close Window

An Expository Study of the First Book of Corinthians

 


I Corinthians

"Our focus is people--never a building, but it's nice to have a new facility to meet in."

Isaiah 37:30. "This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: 'This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that, But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit."

"The radio is to teach and nourish across denominational lines, not to just go out to selfishly build churches of our own. Now we will start to reap in those who have no fellowships--those we've been feeding [over the radio] who are not of any denomination or fellowship. We've been in ---- as a very small congregation for two years. Now we'll start to grow in the 3rd year." [Pastor ---- ---- basically stated what I've noticed (by our actions) is the mission statement of our fellowship i.e. To nourish and feed the entire body of Christ the Word of God without regard to which denomination or fellowship they belong to. Then to reap those we feed who are unaffiliated and seeking a fellowship.

A Little Background For 1 Corinthians

Acts 18:1-18. "After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of any responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.'

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshipper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 'This man,' they charged, 'is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.' Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, 'If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law--settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.' So he had them ejected from the court. Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever. Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila..."

1. Corinth is on the southern Isthmus of Greece with the Adriatic Sea on one side and the Aegean Sea on the other side. Small boats with their goods were transported overland across this Isthmus, and larger ones, ships, were unloaded and their goods transported across and re-loaded on other ships. Corinth thus was in a geographic location which brought much commerce to this seaport city. This was what we Navy men called a sailortown. It was very immoral, which every sailortown is [i.e. Naples, Italy was a sailortown since Romans times, and is to this very day.] The population was around 200,000 freemen and 200,00 slaves, 400,000 in all.

I Corinthians covers:

  1. Division and denominationalism (1:10-4:21)
  2. Sexual immorality and lawsuits (5:1-6:20)
  3. Marriage (7:1-40)
  4. Christian rights & responsibilities (8:1-11:1)
  5. Christians in public (corporate) worship (11:2-34)
  6. Spiritual gifts and how they should be used (12:-14:40)
  7. The resurrection of Christ and believers (15:1-58)
  8. Conclusion (16:1-24)

It is my heartfelt desire to be able to increase and maintain the steady flow of expository Bible studies coming onto this site. At present, it’s merely a trickle of what it could and should be, as I am employed in the regular job market at present, and cannot devote the time this project deserves. Small but steady contributions from those being genuinely nourished by this site would make it possible for me to work full-time on the site, fulfilling this goal. Should you wish to contribute, make checks payable to “UNITYINCHRIST” and mail to: UNITYINCHRIST, P.O. Box 875, Fitchburg, MA 01420.

1 Corinthians

vs. 1. We are Christians because of God's will, grace and love. This Sosthenes may be the Sosthenes in Acts 18 who persecuted Paul. Those that are really hostile toward the gospel are often very close to the kingdom of God.

vs. 2. This is addressed to "the Church of God at Corinth, but also to anyone, anywhere who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--i.e. this is written to all Christians of all ages and places.

I Corinthians 1:1-2. "Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours..."

Vs. 3, salutation. Vs. 4-9, Paul thanks God for the Corinthians. Our enrichment is spiritual. Paul is telling them they're not short on any gift. They're a very gifted Church. (i.e. they have the spiritual gifts of I Corinthians 12 in full measure.) But these gifts didn't have anything to do with how spiritual they were. They had problems. i.e. Just because we may have a spiritual gift doesn't make you a spiritual giant. Your spiritual barometer isn't what God does through you, but what you do in private. Worship teams can be very carnal inspite of their gifts. Look at the heart of an individual--not the gift. Those that minister need to abound in love. vs. 8, Paul still at this time thought that the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ would be in his lifetime. vs. 9, When we are faithless, God is faithful.

I Corinthians 1:4-9. "I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way--in all your speaking and in all your knowledge--because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful."

Divisions in the Church

vs. 10-17: Paul names the people who exposed the divisions. He urges for unity in the body of Christ. I am reminded of the story of the four bulls and the lion. There were four bulls who were friends. The lion was hungry and wanted to kill and eat them, but couldn't get near them as long as they stood together in common defense. So the lion started to tell one bull that the others were saying evil, nasty things about him. He would do this in turn, with each bull. They all ended up so angry with each other that their friendship broke up. The lion went and killed and ate each bull, one after the other. [I am reminded of the story of how the famous legless British fighter pilot, during the Battle of Britain discovered how to effectively shoot down many German bombers. One day when he was flying up to meet a horde of German bombers, he got so angry that he insanely headed on a collision course for the lead bomber. The bomber pilot, in panic, wrenched his aircraft to the right. Instantly, before Douglas's eyes, the whole bomber formation broke up into little groups scattered all over the sky. That day they had a fieldday and many bombers were shot down. He used the same tactic from then on, and taught fighter command to do the same. On the other side of the coin, we in the 8th Army Airforce taught our bomber pilots that at no time was a bomber to break formation, even to try to rescue a crippled aircraft. The firepower of a B-17 with all 13 of its' 50-caliber machine-guns is most effective when it is in combination with the other three B-17's that make up the box. They were taught, that at no time were they to break the integrity of the formation! To do so would jeopardize the forty aircrew members of all four B-17's and not just their own. Satan's tactics are to divide and conquer. He can't conquer unless he divides his foes first. Satan does not want to see unity within the body of Christ, whether we're talking about our own congregation and Christian fellowship, or all the Christian fellowships which make up the entire body of Christ.] Pray for those whom you have an issue with where you feel uncomfortable about dealing directly, person to person. Pray that the Church is of one mind, unified. Pray for more of God's love, you're a Christian within the body of Christ. We're all sinners saved by grace, no denominations--one body, unified under one commander, Jesus Christ the Captain of our Salvation. To quote Jonathan Edwards, "In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity." Good advice we should all adhere to. In Romans 1-8 Paul points out the essentials of the faith, in Romans 14 the liberties we have in non-essentials, in 1 Corinthians 13 the charity we should have toward all men, and what that charity is.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17. "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, 'I follow Apollos'; another, 'I follow Cephas'; still another, 'I follow Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanus; beyond that, I don't remember anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power."

Ephesians 4:11-16. "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. [Paul now proceeds to clarify and define the type of unity in the faith he is talking about. (unity in the knowledge of the Son of God is self-explanatory.)]

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching [NKJV: "doctrine"] and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Vs. 17, It's not reformation, it's regeneration. In the message or preaching of the cross Paul talks of, the word "message" comes from the Greek word Logos which means "word." When the carnal world hears the 'word' of the cross, it is foolishness to them--but to us who are being saved it is the power ("power", Greek: Dunamis, the word we get our dynamite from) of God. Our focus is to preach the gospel, share it--not to start a morality movement in the world. It's not the message in itself, but it's also in the person of Jesus Christ. Verses 18-19: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. [Isaiah 29:14].'

Jews seek a sign because they are waiting and looking for the coming of the Messiah, and Greeks look for wisdom. In the end the wisdom of the world will be destroyed. Voltaire verses Isaac Newton: Voltaire was an atheist and Sir Isaac was a Christian. Sir Isaac said man will have to be able to attain the speed of 50 m.p.h. in order to go around the world (fitting the prediction of God in Daniel 12 about modern travel). Voltaire said 40 m.p.h. is the speed if reached that a man's heart would stop. Voltaire's house has become a major printing facility for Bibles. Through the wisdom of the world it is impossible to find God. Through the wisdom of the cross--the message of Jesus--the knowledge of the Son of God--you find God and Salvation. It's not a matter of speculation, it's a matter of revelation. We're not to seek after signs or to have our ears tickled by earthly wisdom. We're to seek the wisdom of God. God's wisdom and power are far greater. Verses 20-25: "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."

If you want and need wisdom, ask God for it and believe that he is able to provide it, and you will receive wisdom (James 1:5-8).

God has chosen the weak and foolish in man's wisdom and intellect to confound the world with His wisdom. Many in Corinth were slaves. God called many slaves in Corinth, many who were the humble of the world. We have no ground to boast or glory. That's what Paul is saying in these next verses. Verses 26-31: "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; no many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord [Jer. 9:24].'" Christ is our all, our redemption. Knowledge puffs up, love edifies. We can only glory in God. I Corinthians 8:1-3. "Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God."

Jeremiah 9:23-24. "This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord."

1 Corinthians 2

Vs. 1-5, I only preach Jesus. I didn't butter it up with a lot of fancy speech. I just came in love--with fear and trembling. If you're fearing, so was Paul--you're in good company. Just proclaim the Word of God. That's our attitude in this fellowship. I Corinthians 2:1-5. "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

God wants to use you, have the Spirit flowing through you--demonstrating the power of the Spirit--the wisdom of the Spirit. Vs. 6-10. "We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. [So God's plan of salvation for us, along with his wisdom he offers us, was planned out before space and time existed!] None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him' [Isaiah 64:4] but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."

Romans 8:28. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

There is a spirit in man, given to man by God, which imparts human intelligence (as opposed to mere animal brain power). It is a fact that the brain of a dolphin or monkey is comparable in size and quality to that of a human brain, but mysteriously, the human brain has an output hundreds of times greater. A brain specialist named Dr. Khuan once admitted that there must be a non-physical component to the human brain, imparting this vast difference in output. Paul brings out here that the Holy Spirit of God, which is the third being that makes up God (don't ask me to explain it, I can't and neither can you), imparts a Godly intelligence and intellect to those he resides in that is equal to or greater than the difference between animal brain and human intelligence. i.e. Those that don't have the Holy Spirit residing in them, those of this evil world, understand about as much about the things of God as a cow can understand Algebra, or astronomy.

Ecclesiastes 3:21. "Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, which goes down to the earth? [NKJV]" It is Biblical that man has a spirit component in his brain, given by God, which goes back to God upon the death of the person. Some Christians fellowships teach that this spirit in man is not the person, but a spirit component. It is not the Holy Spirit, nor is it alive. Regardless of what the actual truth is concerning this spirit in man, there is nothing really that would explain the phenomenally greater intelligence humans possess compared to animals with comparable brain size and quality. What Paul states re-enforces and adds to what Ecclesiastes 3:21 says, and adds some new knowledge about what the Holy Spirit does, as Jesus did in John 14 and 16.

1 Corinthians 2:11-16. "The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words [margin: Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to spiritual men]. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 'For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? [Isaiah 40:13]' But we have the mind of Christ.

John 14:15-20,23,26. "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you [i.e. after Acts 2:1-4]. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you...If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him...But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

John 16:7,13."But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you...But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."

The Godly wise are those who have the wisdom of Christ. Since the 1950's the world's fund of knowledge has doubled many times over. We now have more physical knowledge than we safely know what to do with. We can build things that are too dangerous for us to be allowed to possess, just like an immature teen-ager who has a profound knowledge of chemistry and starts building bombs in his parent's cellar. The world's transportation systems have enabled man to go anywhere, even into outer space, and at great speeds. Air travel was unheard of before the late 1800's. Now anyone can take an airliner and go just about anywhere on earth. The day of the great ocean liners has come and gone, now too slow a mode of transportation. Bullet trains can now go as fast as 200 m.p.h.

This day and age are truly the day and age of transportation & knowledge. This age is now being labelled as the age of information. This is the age Daniel describes in Daniel 12:1-4. It is the time of the end, as verse 1 describes. Daniel describes those that are to shine as the sun and stars as those who possess God's wisdom. Daniel 12:1-4. "At that time Michael the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise [margin: who impart wisdom] will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." The New King James Version renders verse 4 a little more clearly, and states "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." This is an age where 'many are running to and fro, and knowledge has increased' beyond our ability to handle it.

1 Corinthians 3

In verses 1-2 Paul is frustrated because the Corinthians were forgetful hearers and not doers of the Word. Cross referencing this to what James said in James 1:21-25, "Therefore, get rid of the moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

I Corinthians 3:1-2. "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready."

Divisions exist--they're a church full of division and cliques--carnality in the church, envy and strife, boasting and division. Paul is saying that all of his teachings have been in vain because they haven't gone beyond this point. They are content with staying babes, feeding on spiritual milk. They were proud of the themselves. There was this sheriff of Dade County, Florida who had a bunch of boastful youths in prison. They were proud and boastful about being fed on bread and water, strutting around. So he decided to deflate their pride a bit and switched their diet to baby food. Being hungry, they were forced to eat, but their boasting stopped almost immediately. Obey God's Word (James 1:21-25) and God will bring you to the deeper teachings, the spiritual T-bone steaks and Prime ribs of the Word of God. Verses 3-9. "You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another says, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." These expert leaders, mere obedient men, as Paul calls himself and Apollos, were placed in the Church to teach and edify. Paul calls himself and Apollos mere servants. I am nothing, Apollos is nothing--we're just servants of God called to plant and water. We're nothing, it's God who brings the increase (vs. 7)

God commissioned Noah to build an ark. That's all he did was build an ark and faithfully witness to all that came to mock him as he built it. God brought the animals. It's God's will, his doing, nobody can take credit for bringing the increase. Don't put theservant in place of the Master--not Apollos, not Paul. God is the one who builds the Church. When the Church grows and becomes a big machine and monument--be careful--don't take credit--stay humble. It is only God who brings the increase. Ask yourself, is it God's monument and congregation--God's Church I'm building?--or that of a man?

God holds his builder servants, ministers, accountable for how they have ministered and built with what God has given them. What is it that God gives? Answer: The increase. What do you do with God's increase? How have you used it? Are you building God's building with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or stubble? The bulk of the work on a farm is the preparing of the field--clearing the trees and stumps, removing the stones, plowing, sowing, watering. Then after all this, God provides the increase. In ancient Israel the farmer did all but water. Israel had no natural river system in most of their farmland. They relied on God for the rains, both former and latter. The farmer could work his tail off, but if God didn't water his efforts, there was no increase. If God didn't provide good weather during the growing season, the crops failed. God provides the increase, we're just the farmhands preparing God's field. Jesus is the Rock, the Foundation. Paul says 'I have provided the foundation of Jesus, but take heed on how you build on this foundation which I have laid. Fire will test every man's work. Christ's sacrifice saves us as individuals, but our work will be tested. Don't do your alms or prayers before men. Don't build your spiritual building to be impressive to men, which is building with straw and stubble. Our focus should be spiritual--our warfare is spiritual. Ephesians 6:11-12. "Put on the whole armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle [k.Js. warfare] is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping the flames."

Vs. 16, We're the inner sanctuary of the temple--the Spirit of God dwells or resides in us. Paul in this verse is talking in the corporate sense. The word temple is the Greek word used for the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the temple. He is saying that anyone who defiles this temple God will destroy. Remember Jesus's anger toward the money-changers and animal sellers who defiled the temple grounds? That is how Jesus feels about the temple of God. Verse 18-20, The wisdom of the world is futile compared to God's wisdom. You need to be simple to understand God's wisdom. Vs. 21, God has given you Corinthians these good ministers--stop your boasting, they're yours.

1 Corinthians 3:16-21. "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: 'He catches the wise in their craftiness' [Job 5:13]; and again, 'The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.' [Psalm 94:11] So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God." Almost sounds as if Paul is also talking about their and our inheritance of all things in the last verse, as well as the ministers he said were theirs.

1 Corinthians 4

Verses 1-5, Don't judge us--view us as servants God has provided for your edification. I don't care what others think of me. I care about what God thinks of me and what I've done. Don't be driven by the compliments or criticisms of men. God will judge everything and everyone in due time and make those judgments known. I Corinthians 4:1-5. "So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God."

Verses 6-7, Paul may have been using himself and Apollos as an example when he was really talking about others in the Corinthian Church whom he wanted to remain nameless. Verse 8-13, the way you appear to yourselves, you think you have it all--but we're just fools for Christ's sake. You're boastful and prideful. You seek the honour of men. You think you are higher and mightier than we apostles and ministers, while we regard ourselves fools for Christ and have a low opinion of ourselves. Paul is really laying into them for their pride. Paul is contrasting how he and Apollos and Cephas view themselves and respond to poor treatment to the way the Corinthians view themselves and live the Christian life. Verse 14, Paul has said these things as a warning to them. 1 Corinthians 4:6-13. "Now brothers, 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 take pride in one man over against another. 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?" 8-13, "Already you have all you want! You have become kings--and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as men. 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! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world." Verse 14-17, Paul said these things to warn them. He is saying that God used me as your spiritual father. You have many ministers but God used me as your spiritual father. "I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians [ministers] in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. [Mr. Armstrong was the spiritual father for the Worldwide Church of God. Then God put Mr. Tkach Sr. in his place to also become their spiritual father, leading them into greater spiritual understanding and the knowledge of the new covenant. Pastor Chuck Smith, in the same way is the spiritual father God has used to start the Calvary Chapel revival.] Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending 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." Verses 18-21, Paul gives a final warning to the arrogant. "Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 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. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?"

Close Window