Episode #134. Today we’ll read 1 Corinthians chapter 1 together. Paul extols Christ as the power and wisdom of God, he addresses divisions in the church, and admonishes to boast only in the Lord.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #134. Today we’ll read 1st Corinthians chapter 1 together: Paul extols Christ as the power and wisdom of God; he addresses divisions in the church; and admonishes us to boast only in the Lord.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
We start yet another book today. It is Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, hence 1st Corinthians. Corinth was a large and successful port city – tons of commerce. Lots of worldly stuff tends to go on in a big city and this church that Paul planted in Acts 18, really struggled with that push/pull we’ve talked about between the flesh and the spirit. You will find this letter immensely practical. And Paul must have felt very close to the Corinthians because he’s kind of harsh with them sometimes…like a father who sees occasion to be strict with a child he sees going down a bad road. This letter includes the Love Chapter – Chapter 13 – famous for being read at virtually every wedding you’ve ever attended. Paul was in Ephesus when he wrote this letter to the Corinthians in around AD 55.
1 Corinthians 1
Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosthenes our brother:
To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord — both their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in him in every way, in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions at Corinth
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by members of Chloe’s people, that there is rivalry among you. What I am saying is this: One of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. I did, in fact, baptize the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t recall if I baptized anyone else. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. For it is written,
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent.
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Boasting Only in the Lord
Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world — what is viewed as nothing — to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in his presence. It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us — our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption — in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
Right out of the gate, Paul gets after the nonsense of taking sides in favor of a particular pastor or teacher. He’s having none of it because the center of our attention should always be Christ. I think you’ll agree that this kind of stuff goes on in churches all the time. It can be the downfall of a local body and it can render the witness of the congregation embarrassing. I’m extremely grateful to have a pastor who settles for nothing less than unity in our body. Over the years, I have seen what a great benefit this is to our church with very little, almost non-existent in-fighting.
Then Paul spends quite a bit of time comparing worldly and Godly wisdom and strength. I find this passage very encouraging. Sometimes it’s hard to find our way and this passage tells me that if I’m doing the exact opposite of what the world thinks is right, I must be on the right path.
And probably my favorite passage in this chapter and something I also see lived out every day by my pastor is about boasting in Christ. I don’t think can be overstated. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that were it not for His mercies, we would be consumed; His compassions are new every morning. We constantly undervalue the power and perfection of Christ. James tells us that all good things come from above. We are nothing compared to His greatness and I believe until we wrap our minds around that we will constantly fall into that trap that thinks everything is about us. It’s not. It’s all about Him. Let’s pray.
Oh, Father, how grateful we are that Your mercies are new every morning! Our insignificant little selves are but dust and yet, as David wrote, You are mindful of us. And more mind-blowing than that is that You gave Your one and only Son so that we could live forever with You. Thank You, Lord. I am always tempted to boast about myself, Lord. Please forgive me. Help me to keep Your awesomeness ever before me. So, like Paul says, if I boast, I will boast in the Lord. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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