Today’s Tasting: 1 Corinthians 1-4
Paul hears of the struggles the church membership are having in Corinth. This major cosmopolitan city was filled with idolatry and immorality and they faced difficulty in staying true to their faith in this environment.
In chapters 1-4 Paul addresses these issues and advises the Corinthian church to “be perfectly united in mind and in thought” [1:10].
Division in the Church
While Paul was away, the church members fell back into their immoral ways. The Corinthians were rallying around various church leaders – Peter, Paul, Apollos. These loyalties created division among them. Paul questions their loyalties and redirects their focus.
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? [1:13]
Christ Crucified is God’s Power and Wisdom
Paul emphasizes that God’s way of thinking is not the world’s way of thinking.
Many people did not believe that Jesus Christ was the savior. They expected a conquering king – to them, death was defeat, not victory.
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. [1: 22-25]
The Church and Its Leaders
Paul’s words in chapter 3 challenge our methods of discipleship. Do we consider ourselves as the foundation or Christ?
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. [3:18-23]
As we learn about the struggles of the Corinthian church, we can see the similarities to the challenges we face as a community in Christ today. Reflect on Paul’s teachings and resolutions as you find those challenges in your life. The underlying theme of his letters is community. He does not say “you” should do this or that, but we.
When faced with a challenge, confide in a family member, a trusted Believer, or a close friend. When we come together as a community, we face our struggles without feeling alone.
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