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Bible Pathways - November 24, 2005

November 24

Read 1 Corinthians 1

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 important spiritual leader. Paul wrote: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? (I Corinthians 3:5). Paul wanted them to realize that all ministers were just servants through whom ye believed. Ministers and those being ministered to are not competitors but labourers together (3:9).

In writing to the Romans, Paul was led to write that love and concern for one another should overcome differences: One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (Romans 14:5). Just as not all parts of the body function in every way, so we should let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind to function in the way that God would have him to do.

As born-again 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. It is not necessary that we all see alike but that all should let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 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 we all are one (3:8) in Christ.

It takes every Christian to make up the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Without exception, everyone is needed: We being many are . . . one Body: for we are all partakers of that one Bread (10:17), and we are labourers 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 often exist because jealousy and pride are not recognized as the real problem.

Paul was not expecting uniformity of views but oneness of Spirit that promotes peace, even in the midst of differences. James was also led to focus on this need when he wrote: If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. . . . the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:14-16,18).

Word Studies:

1:21 the foolishness of preaching = foolishness to unbelievers; 2:6 perfect = spiritually mature; 3:1 carnal = worldly; 4:5 counsels = motives; 4:11 naked = poorly clothed; buffeted = treated with disrespect; 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 English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Rudell Burgin in honor of Pauline Phillips · Government Official: Rep. Chet Edwards (TX) · Country: Zaire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (38 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: French and Lingala · Limited religious freedom · 42% Roman Catholic; 28% Protestant; 12% magical practices, ancestor worship, and witchcraft; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Sing praises to the Lord (Psalm 30:4).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 2:17

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