Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

My Delight is the Lord, February 9

February 9, Tuesday: Following God’s Way 

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

A Body, or Not?

The church as a body as so spoken of by Paul is not an unfamiliar teaching. He uses this illustration in other Scripture too (see Rom. 12:4ff). Have we really been taught by it, though? While it is certainly true that we should not expect every Christian to be exactly the same and have the same talents and abilities, is that all there is to this? If this is really true, then does it not follow that among our greatest concerns and interests as a part of Christ’s body would be to know what “part” of the body I am? And what I should be doing as such? This isn’t just about differing miraculous spiritual gifts (the primary subject under discussion here) either. The church is not a nebulous blob of indistinct composition. Its parts–members–are well defined in identity and function. Really, practically, am I part of a body or a blob?

Questions to Ponder:

  • How do we gain access into Christ’s body? (v. 13)
  • Who has “arranged” the parts of the body? (v. 18)
  • To what does the variety of members contribute in the body? (v. 25)
  • What is the “more excellent way”? (v. 30)

The Joy of God’s Presence, May 23

May 23, Saturday: Inspiration, Motivation, Encouragement

Scripture Reading—1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Paul claims to always give thanks for the Christians at Corinth. Given the number of problems and issues faced by that church, how could this be so? Certainly he wasn’t thankful because of their predicament, he was thankful despite it. His thankfulness was based on the fact that the grace of God had been given to them in Jesus Christ (v. 4). It is easy to become upset and disgruntled with brethren, particularly when they are behaving badly. The church at Corinth was. And Paul did not ignore their mistakes and shortcomings at all. But neither did he write them off as a lost cause or too-far-gone. But before he ever begins to touch of the substantial issue with this church, he found reason to be thankful for them, and what greater reason to be thankful than God’s grace?

Questions to Ponder:

  • In what ways were the Corinthians enriched in Christ? (v. 5)
  • For what were the Corinthian Christians waiting? (v. 7)
  • What state or condition do we desire in the day of Jesus Christ? (v. 8)
  • Into what have we been called? (v. 9)

The Joy of God’s Presence, May 14

May 14, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading—1 Corinthians 15:35-58

Is God chintzy? May it never be! (That sounded almost like Paul, didn’t it?) But do we think He is if He doesn’t give us what we want? Yes, He provides blessing and help and deliverance. He fixes our problems and gives us good things to enjoy. That is, most of the time. He doesn’t heal every illness or fix every relationship or—you fill in the blank. But He does give us victory. Not over every shortcoming or problem. It’s victory over sin and death (vv. 56-57). That’s the ultimate win. Yes, He does bless us and provide for us strength through which we can overcome (Php. 4:13). But “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Questions to Ponder:

  • How can we know the resurrection body will be different? (vv. 35-41)
  • What are the characteristics of the resurrection body? (vv. 42-44)
  • What is the sting of death? (v. 56)
  • What ought we to do since we know our labor is not in vain in the Lord? (v. 58)

The Joy of God’s Presence, May 7

May 7, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading—1 Corinthians 15:12-34

My home state is Missouri, the “Show Me” state. If you’ll show me, I’ll believe, but not before. That might make for good provincial talk, but it’s not good Bible. Demanding to see leaves no room for faith. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). That’s a long way, though, from saying faith is blind or without basis. We believe in the resurrection, though having never seen it happen. The Bible has proven through the ages, it’s absolute reliability. It records the testimony of those who have seen a resurrection, specifically Jesus’ (1 Cor. 15:5-8). Spiritual realities argue for the certainty of the resurrection (vv. 20-34) as does nature itself (vv. 35ff). So, you don’t have to show me. I’ve already been shown.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is true if Jesus is not raised from the dead? (v. 14)
  • What is true of the one who teaches the resurrection if Christ is not raised? (v. 15)
  • What does “firstfruits” mean? (vv. 20, 23)
  • For how long will Christ reign? (v. 25)

The Joy of God’s Presence, April 30

April 30, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading—1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Sometimes it’s not a question of important v. unimportant or good v. bad, it may be a matter of rank and order. As vital as it is to favor the good and important over the bad and unimportant, it is just as critical to keep what is first, first. Spiritually, we don’t have to wonder about what is first. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). “[S]o that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Col. 1:18; NASB). “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins…” (1 Cor. 15:3ff). We know what is first to God. Is it first to me?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was true of the Corinthians in regard to the gospel? (vv. 1-2)
  • What happened “in accordance with the Scriptures”? (vv. 3-4)
  • How does Paul describe himself? (v. 8) How was this true?
  • What did Paul credit for what he had become and done? (v. 10)

The Joy of God’s Presence, March 12

March 12, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading— 1 Corinthians 13

I know people who have a deeper faith than I do. I know some who have far greater Bible knowledge than my own. I know people whose abilities as communicators of God’s message make my own look feeble. I know people whose sacrifices have been to the extreme compared to my own. We all know people like that. Thank God that they are using their talents and abilities and opportunities in such admirable ways. But it might all wind up making me feel marginally useful, at best, in the Lord’s kingdom. There are so many things—things that others do and accomplish—that are beyond my capacities and abilities. But those are not our measure. Instead it’s something very close to each of us and within the reach of all—it’s love. Love is the “secret sauce” that makes us what we are as God’s people.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What are some examples of things we might do as Christians, but do them without love?
  • What does it mean that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”? (v. 7)
  • What is the “perfect” that when it comes will mark the end of the partial? (vv. 8-10)
  • How is love the greatest? (v. 13)

The Joy of God’s Presence, March 11

March 11, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—1 Corinthians 12:12-31

The Bible isn’t very American or very modern. The hallmark of our culture and our day is the individual. It’s all about me. It’s about my rights and my fulfillment, my self-expression and my individuality, my feelings and my desires. As an old—very old by now—advertising slogan said it, “Have it your way.” By contrast, in Christ we are made to be one; though many, we are one. “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). Yes, each one is a separate member, an individual, but all are a part of the body. My place is not to accentuate me, but to contribute what I am and what I have for the one body.

 

Questions to Ponder:

  • What part/member of this body are you?
  • What happens when each part of the body does not fulfill it’s function?
  • To what end is this way of thinking to lead? (v. 25)
  • A way more excellent than what? (v. 31)

The Joy of God’s Presence, March 5

March 5, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading— 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

One of humanity’s chief qualities is ignorance. I’m not saying we’re all stupid, but the measure of what we don’t know and understand far exceeds the measure of what we do. No greater evidence of that fact exists than when God entered into the flow of history as a man and men “crucified the Lord of glory.” The Bible says it was due to a lack of understanding (1 Cor. 2:8). So, what keeps us all from becoming victims of our own shortcomings? God’s revelation. He has made known to us what we desperately need but could not have otherwise known. Remarkably, we, in our weakness and limitations are actually able to have “the mind of Christ” ( 1 Cor. 2:16).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was the focal point of Paul’s preaching? (v. 2)
  • What was the nature of Paul’s message, both negatively and positively? Why? (v. 4)
  • For how long had the message of Christ and Him crucified been planned? (v. 7)
  • What does verse 13 mean? Compare translations.

October 31 Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 16

Paul concludes this great epistle with instructions concerning a collection for the needy saints in Judea, a sharing of his travel plans, and final instructions and encouragements and greetings.

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Opportunities and Adversities

Devotional Text: 1 Corinthians 16:9

Who doesn’t want God working on their side?  to be blessed by God?  for God to guide our steps and show us the way? to live our lives in concert with His will and purpose?

Can you imagine what that would mean for you?  You would be unstoppable, invincible, and nothing could ever get in your way or overcome you.  So that sounds like it would be a breeze, right?  I mean, what would we have to ever worry about?

In light of all of this, Paul makes an interesting observation about his stay in Ephesus.  He does want to visit Corinth after he leaves and perhaps even spend the winter there.  But for now he’s going to remain where he’s at, at least until Pentecost, “for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:9).

Paul was no doubt very much in tune with God’s will and the work He wanted him to do.  But even with the opportunities God provides there may well be obstacles, hardships, and opposition.  Looking for circumstances where no negatives exist may seem like a sign of God’s approval and directing, but that’s not necessarily true.  Adversity frequently accompanies the work God leads us to do.

–David Deffenbaugh

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