Saturday after the Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:6—5:5 (NKJV)
4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! 9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Throughout 1 Corinthians, Paul brings correction and rebuke. We have seen him lay the groundwork for this by stressing that the received knowledge of Christ and Him crucified is the wisdom that saves. Today, he makes it clear how that understanding shapes everything in the Church. In chapter 3 he minimized his own importance and that of Apollos. He showed that the glory for their faith goes neither to the one who planted, nor the one who watered, but to God who gives the increase, whose ‘crop’ the Corinthians truly are (1 Cor. 3:5-9). Now he says, “if we are not to be glorified, what of the others who teach you,” and how dare they disparage others (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 4:5-7)?
In verse 7, Paul emphasizes that the Corinthians did not invent or establish the Gospel of Christ, but received it. He will do so even more boldly as he goes on, especially in chapters 11, 14, and 15, where there was great division and great need to be established and comforted by the truth. “I delivered to you what I received,” he says in 11:23 and 15:3, and then asks them in 14:36 whether they think God’s Word was dictated to God by the Corinthians! The Corinthians in their worldly status had grown to think too highly of themselves and their preferred teachers. Paul threatened as a loving father to come to them bearing the rod, that they might humble themselves and simply receive, even as he and the apostles had received.
Prayer: Grant, O Triune God, that we do not glory in statuses or lack thereof, but hear the spiritual fathers You have given us, receiving what has been received from Your holy Word, unto Your glory and our salvation. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.