NT July 12-16

July 12 — 1 Corinthians 4 — Ashamed or Admonished.  Paul sort of “spanks” the Corinthian Christians in this chapter.  After all, he is their “father in Christ” (v. 15) and they are his “beloved children” (v. 14).  They seem to have been judging Paul (v. 3) and comparing him to Apollos (v. 6), another effective teacher.  Paul used sarcasm in verses 8 and 10 to admonish them for their pride (v. 18) but he said that his purpose was not “to make you ashamed, but to admonish you” (v. 14).  None of us likes to be criticized, to have our faults pointed out to us, but we all experience it.  Most of it will come from spiteful people, wanting to harm us, but some of it will be shared by godly people who want us to grow.  The question is, will we allow godly criticism to shame us or to stimulate us?  Being ashamed cripples us but being lovingly admonished should motivate us.

July 13 — 1 Corinthians 5 — Purge.  We discover in this chapter that we are not actually reading Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, because in v. 9, he said, “I wrote to you in my letter.”  There was an earlier letter that is lost.  God did not choose it to be a part of our Bible.  Paul does share one thing he wrote about in that letter, however, which is also the theme of our chapter, i.e., not to associate with professed believers who have shamelessly fallen into a life of sin (v. 11).  Such a person is to “be removed” from the church fellowship (v. 2) in order to “cleanse out” (v. 7) and “purge” (v. 13) through a formal (“when you are assembled”—v. 4) ejection or ex-communication from the church.  The purpose of this drastic treatment is for the hopeful restoration of such a person (“so that his spirit may be saved”—v. 5).  All of this takes courage but it is of vital importance to insist on moral purity among believers.  Sin is too serious for us to be tolerant about it in our own life or in the lives of our church family.

July 14 — 1 Corinthians 6 — Lawful Limits.  Most modern translations put two expressions in verses 12 and 13 in quotation marks.  They are apparently statements offered by the Corinthians to justify their continuing sin.  “All things are lawful for me” (v. 12) suggests that they considered that the freedom they had received from the grace of Christ also freed them from restrictions regarding sinning, basically saying, “I am free to do whatever I want!”  The second quoted statement, “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” (v. 13), was apparently offered as an illustration for their general belief that, “Whatever my body craves, I am free to satisfy.”  So, they were trying to justify being involved in sexual immorality, including being with prostitutes, which Paul soundly refutes.  When we surrender our lives to Christ for salvation, it includes our physical bodies.  They are no longer to be surrendered to the desires of our physical craving but to the will of God who dwells within us.  Just as we can learn to say “No” to a second helping at the table, we also can learn to say “No” to sexual cravings that tempt us to satisfy ourselves outside the boundary of marriage.

July 15 — 1 Corinthians 7 — Single or Married?  Paul begins this chapter in response to questions written to him by the Corinthians.  He introduced his responses with the expression, “Now concerning …,” which he does twice in this chapter (vv. 1, 25) and four other times later in this letter.  Both questions in this chapter had to do with sex and marriage.  The first question (v. 1) apparently wondered that if all sex was bad and should be avoided, it should apply within marriage as well.  Paul answered that within marriage, sex was good and should be maintained.  The second question (v. 25) was about the advisability of marriage for a single person.  To this, Paul favored a single life, if one could maintain sexual purity.  In both of these answers, Paul indicated that as good as marriage is, its focus introduces distractions to our efforts of wholeheartedly serving the Lord.  The priority is clear: living with one’s focus on God is the higher good.  So, if you are married, hang in there but remember to not let its cares pull you away from pleasing God.

July 16 — 1 Corinthians 8 — True Knowledge.  Here is another “Now concerning …” introduction to a question posed in the Corinthians’ letter to Paul (v. 1).  They apparently felt that since “an idol has no real existence” (v. 4), they should be free to eat meat that had been part of a ceremony of sacrifice to idols.  Although this knowledge was correct, it was lacking because it had not considered the harmful effects it might have on other Christians who felt that it was a sin to eat that “spiritually tainted” meat.  A person with an inconsiderate attitude toward spiritual brothers and sisters didn’t “yet know as he ought to know” (v. 2).  It was a knowledge that “puffs up” rather than a loving attitude that “builds up” other believers (v. 1).  We naturally feel that what we know is right and those who think differently are wrong.  That is true in some cases but false in others.  This reminded me of something the Lord impressed on me when we read in Romans 12:16, “Never be wise in your own sight.”  Think twice about what you “know” today.  Is it God’s truth or only your own?

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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