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Bible Pathways 11/24/04

November 24

Read I Corinthians 1 - 4

In Today's Reading:

Grace and faithfulness of God; problems at Corinth; Christians, as temples of God; authority of apostles

The church at Corinth was divided over who was the most spiritual leader. Paul wanted them to realize that all ministers were just servants through whom you believed, and he wrote: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? (I Corinthians 3:5). We are not competitors but laborers together (3:9). In writing to the Romans, Paul illustrated this divisive attitude by saying: One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (Romans 14:5).

As Christians we are all members of the Body of Christ. Our foremost concern should be that we be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. . . . Is Christ divided? (I Corinthians 1:10,13). All of us need each other, so that together we can fulfill the Lord's will in the Body of Christ through our prayers, tithes, gifts, talents, and witnessing to others. No one should feel either indispensable or inadequate, for all are one (3:8) in Christ.

It takes every Christian to make up the Body of Christ, which is the Church, and, without exception, everyone is needed: We being many are . . . one Body: for we are all partakers of the one Bread (10:17), and we are laborers together with God (3:9). This leaves no room for envying another person's ability or usefulness, nor for being puffed up with pride as if we had done anything of ourselves. Both jealousy and pride dishonor Christ and destroy the spirit of unity. Such differences are often ignored because jealousy and pride are not recognized as the real problem.

It is important to recognize that Paul was not expecting uniformity of views, but oneness of Spirit in the midst of differences. The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:17-18).

Word Studies:

1:21 the foolishness of preaching = foolishness to unbelievers; 2:6 perfect = conscience is clear of all intentional unfaithfulness; 3:1 carnal = worldly; 4:5 counsels = motives, purposes; 4:11 naked = poorly clothed; buffeted = beaten with fists; 4:16 followers = imitators; 4:18 puffed up = arrogant, proud.

Cross References:

For I Corinthians 1:19: See Isaiah 29:14. I Corinthians 1:31: See Jeremiah 9:24. I Corinthians 2:16: See Isaiah 40:13. I Corinthians 3:19: See Job 5:13. I Corinthians 3:20: See Psalm 94:11.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Jack and Barbara Michael · BP Staff: Ken Sharp · Government Official: Rep. Chet Edwards (TX) · Country: Bosnia and Hercegovina (4 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe · Major language: Serbo-Croatian · Little evangelism being done · 40% Muslim; 28% Serbian Orthodox; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray to the Lord with sincere lips (Psalm 17:1).

Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 4:17

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