Monday, February 2, 2009

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 4:1-17


In chapter 4, Paul gives the Corinthians the correct way to view himself and Apollos, whom the Corinthians had divided themselves into "fan groups" over. He says to view them both as servants of Christ, stewards entrusted with his property. In this case, that property is the truth of the Gospel.

Quick Reminder:

Gospel= "Good News" and most often refers to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, which secures salvation for those who put their trust in him.

Salvation= Rescue from the penalty of sin(hell), the power sin has over us in life and eventually the presence of sin altogether(after this life).

Paul points out that although servants of God should be trustworthy, we are ultimately not able to know objectively who is worthy of trust. Only God is able to accurately examine our minds and motives. (v.3-4) Since this is the case, Paul says that we should not make extreme statements about each other's character or being. God will do that himself, and give credit appropriately.(v.5)

Paul explains that he has injected himself and Apollos into the hypothetical scenarios of chapter 3 and 4 to make the point that the Corinthians should not "exceed what is written". Scholars differ on exactly what this is referring to, but in general, they agree that Paul is saying he doesn't want the Corinthians to add to what God intends for them by pursuing importance through association with a teacher.

Verse 7 reminds us that everything we have that brings status among our peers is a gift! Whether it's good teaching, a solid upbringing, or something more tangible like wealth. God created the social and physical enviroments that make every opportunity and reward possible. The credit always gets traced back to him!

In verses 8-13, Paul "rubs in" the Corinthians' worldy status a little by demonstrating how great and easy they have it compared to the Apostles, who put their lives on the line and suffer greatly to communicate the truth to their culture. (Verses 8-10 speak from the perspective of the popular culture and its views on wealth and honor.)

Teachers, philosophers and rabbis of this time were commonly thought of as metaphorical "fathers" to their followers. Paul uses that metaphor here. It was also common practice for followers to not only apply their rabbi's teachings, but also to imitate the rabbi himself. So Paul is urging them to give his words about divisions special attention, since they may have many tutors, but he is their "father". And Timothy is being sent to help them remember what Paul taught and how he lives.

Next Week- Christian Culture... and Immorality

Coffee House Question

Who is someone in your life that has been a good example of how to live? In what way?

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