1 Corinthians 1
by Philip Layton
Paul writes a prelude to the Church in Corinth
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is included in this greeting (v2). Division in the church seemed to be a frequent problem. Did Paul try to bring unity through sound teaching (vv 10-12)?
Why did Paul consider water baptism not part of his ministry in preaching the gospel (v 17)?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
The church in Corinth, established near the end of Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-17), was plagued with corruption. This was due to the pagan influences of so many living in that metropolitan city in southern Greece. Writing from Ephesus in AD 56, Paul felt the urgent need to address the various issues that had come to his attention – to get the people back on track. The church was in Corinth, but ‘Corinth’ was in the church – and it was infecting its fellowship and witness.
Paul must have been beside himself with frustration and even anger, hearing of all that was going on: various divisions, disunity, sexual immorality. Yet he showed great patience in his approach with the people, even calling them ‘brothers’. He is disturbed, but not despondent; angry, but not desperate. For his driving passion is love.
This letter, although written 2,000 years ago, is also meant for us today. Whether or not we live in a big city, we are constantly lured from what is good, holy and right. We need to always be reminded of the basics and not get caught up in the things of the world that can tempt us and cause us to fail – even fall.
Paul’s letter is also a reminder of how we should treat others who slip or mess up in their relationship with God. Always approach them in love:
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus (v 4).
Grace. Love. Patience. Yes, there may be divisions in the church; even disagreements that become evident. We are to bring everything to the Lord in prayer – asking for his guidance and wisdom. Are we willing to do this, because of God’s great love for us all?
As I read this important letter to the church in Corinth, help me to look deep inside, Lord. Open my eyes. Open my heart.
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