Day 57…1 Corinthians 4:14-21:

April 13, 2011 at 11:59 AM Leave a comment

I Corinthians 4:14-21: Paul’s warning

Paul finishes off the chapter with a simple but direct warning to the believers at Corinth…

v.14-16, The sarcasm from Paul, that we just read in our last post, was not meant to “shame” the believers but to “warn” them. His goal was to bring a change of heart in them and he did with with the love of a “father” for his “beloved children.” Paul speaks of “10,000 other teachers” meaning even if there are many other teacher to advise or instruct them he was their “spiritual father.” Paul “became [their] father in Christ Jesus when [he] preached the Good News to [them].” He was the one who lead most of the believers to Christ. He was also the founder of this church and brought the Gospel to Corinth, so he had their best interest at heart as he wrote them. Because the church could trust him and they knew he loved them, they should also “imitate” him. He “urged” them to follow his example as he followed Christ.

Imitate: Paul had a unique relationship with the Corinth believers because he introduced them to Jesus. Paul was able to urge them to imitate him because he walked close to God, spent time in God’s Word and in prayer, and was aware of God’s presence in his life. God was Paul’s example so Paul’s life could be an example to follow for the Corinthian believers. Now Paul wasn’t expecting them to follow everything he did, but they should imitate his beliefs and conduct that were modeling Christ’s way of living.

v.17, speaking of imitating, the one person who was imitating Paul was his apprentice or faithful spiritual child: Timothy. Timothy had accompanied Paul on his 2nd Missionary Journey (Acts 16). Paul was sending Timothy to the Corinthian believers even as he wrote this letter. Timothy’s role was to remind the believers of the faith they had rec’d–the same message that Paul was teaching “in all the other churches wherever [he went].” They had forgotten their faith and how to live it, so Paul sent them Timothy to help them.

v.18-20, Paul anticipated that not everyone would listen and obey to his warning. The false teachers had “become arrogant, thinking [Paul] will never visit again.” So they assumed they could do anything they wanted but Paul warned them that he “will come–and soon–if the Lord will let [him].” At that time Paul will expose “these arrogant people” for who they really are. They were just big talkers who gave “pretentious speeches” but they really didn’t have “God’s power.” Because the “Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” Paul was warning that some people talk a lot about faith, but that’s all it is–talk! They even know the right words to say but their lives don’t reflect God’s power. Paul is simply saying there is a big different between knowing the right words and living it out. The “Kingdom of God” refers not to the future reign of Christ but to the present reign in believers’ lives.

v.21, as a loving father Paul finishes this chapter with his final warning. “which do you choose?” meaning, which consequence would you like? When Paul came to Corinth were the believers going to receive “a rod of punishment” because they would continue in their arrogance or would they receive “love and a gentle spirit” because they chose to change their ways…it would be up to them.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Even though Paul’s warning in these verses seem harsh, it teaches us that there are consequences to our actions / words. Also that we should not just be good talkers, know the right words to say, but we should back up our talk with our actions…live out our faith. But what is also amazing about this passage is that Paul deals with the believers at Corinth with love and even sends them someone (Timothy) to be with them on his behalf. He shows true love a father should show to his children.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? In everything I do or say I need to live out my faith, even simple situations like at the grocery store with Faith, driving in the car when someone cuts me off, etc.

Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible.

Day 56…1 Corinthians 4:8-13: Day 9 & 10 of the reno

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