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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Does Jesus Love Porn Stars?: A Critique of XXX Church Literature | On Spiritual Warfare: Part 2 of 2 »

    1 Corinthians 1 Commentary

    So many churches and Christians would benefit from a close reading of 1 Corinthians, chapter 1. This opening of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church contains a classical introduction, briefly describing the issues Paul addresses in more detail later on.


    The topics Paul writes about are the same topics modern Christians deal with. The names have changed for our time, but the concepts are the same.  

     “Paul, called to be an apostle(A) of Christ Jesus by the will of God,(B) and our brother Sosthenes,(C) To the church of God(D) in Corinth,(E) to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called(F) to be his holy people,”


    I repeat, Christians are called to be holy. There is no mix of secular and sacred here. There is no room for mere piousness. Christians have been cleansed and are expected to maintain clean lives on the inside and out (Matt. 23:26).

     “together with all those everywhere who call on the name(G) of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:”


    This letter was written to all Christians everywhere. All Christians call on the name of Jesus Christ as LORD (not just teacher or Savior) of their lives. So many churches seem to teach a person can be saved, and then seek to make Jesus Lord.


    Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.(H) I always thank my God for you(I) because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

    For in him you have been enriched(J) in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge(K) God thus confirming our testimony(L) about Christ among you.

    Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift(M) as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.(N) He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless(O) on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.(P) God is faithful,(Q) who has called you(R) into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.(S)


    In Jesus we already have every spiritual gift. It is fine and beneficial to use spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12-14), but we don’t need to obsessively seek after them; we are complete in Christ Jesus.


    “10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a](T) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you,(U) but that you be perfectly united(V) in mind and thought.

    11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household(W) have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”;(X) another, “I follow Apollos”;(Y) another, “I follow Cephas[b]”;(Z) still another, “I follow Christ.”

    13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?(AA) 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus(AB) and Gaius,(AC) 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household (AD) of Stephanas;(AE) beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)”


    How many Christians today not only claim to be one denomination or another (or non-denominational), but also define themselves as Christian liberal or conservative, progressive, Reformed, Calvinist, Lutheren, Augustinian, Charismatic, Arminian, and a host of others, instead of simply “Christian”?  

     17 For Christ did not send me to baptize,(AF) but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom(AG) and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”


    How many Christian leaders and pastors and speakers and celebrities try to preach the gospel in such a way so as to be relevant, in order to reach the largest audience? How many take public speaking courses and cultivate attire and acquire a stage presence in order to command an audience’s attention?


    There is a time and place for public speaking skills, but the more human “wisdom” and eloquence put into a sermon, the less power the cross of Christ has. No longer is He allowed to reveal His power, because the leaders must reveal their power to move an audience.

     18 For the message of the cross is foolishness(AH) to those who are perishing,(AI) but to us who are being saved(AJ) it is the power of God.(AK)


    This is a heart issue. It is impossible to make the Gospel message relevant or appealing beyond what it already is.

     19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c](AL)

    20 Where is the wise person?(AM) Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age?(AN) Has not God made foolish(AO) the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world(AP) through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save(AQ) those who believe.(AR)

     22 Jews demand signs(AS) and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified:(AT) a stumbling block(AU) to Jews and foolishness(AV) to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called,(AW) both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God(AX) and the wisdom of God.(AY)


    Charismatics, pagans, and seekers demand signs; “intellectual” denominations, atheists, and elitists look for wisdom. But neither will find what they are searching for, because neither way leads to Christ. God calls all peoples to Himself and when they hear and respond, their sign of God’s power is Christ crucified and resurrected, and their wisdom is God’s (the Bible).


     25 For the foolishness (AZ) of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness (BA) of God is stronger than human strength. 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. (BB) Not many of you were wise(BC) by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

    27 But God chose (BD) the foolish (BE) things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not (BF)—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him  

    30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,(BH) who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,(BI) holiness(BJ) and redemption.(BK) 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[d](BL)


    Christians should be wary of highly influential Christian leaders, pastors, and celebrities. God chooses the weak, lowly, and foolish-sounding people of the world to shame the strong.


    I know I am nobody. I am not influential outside of my immediate family circle; I am not strong. I am not impressive; I have no special or great talent, and many times I have been utterly despised for my words. Yet God has seen fit to use me. I am fit for His use because I have been redeemed by His Son, Jesus.


    The Bible is my source of God’s wisdom, and understanding of righteous living, holiness, and redemption. To the world I am nothing. To God, I am His child.  

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