Friday, October 14, 2011

Faith on Fridays: I Corinthians 1

Welcome to the first week of the online Bible study! Through the wonders of my random flipping through my beloved Precious Moments Bible (no laughing!), I've decided to start on I Corinthians. Though y'all are welcome to suggest other books after we're through with this one.

And through the wonders of, I'm going to paste the chapter here for your ease. ;-) This is from the NKJV, though you can access pretty much any other version at the link above.

I Corinthians 1

 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Gifts at Corinth
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sectarianism Is Sin
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

      “ I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
      And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”[a]

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[b] foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Glory Only in the Lord
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”[c]
  1. 1 Corinthians 1:19 Isaiah 29:14
  2. 1 Corinthians 1:23 NU-Text reads Gentiles.
  3. 1 Corinthians 1:31 Jeremiah 9:24

So which part of the chapter strikes you the most forcibly, and why? Think about it for a minute and respond below, or reply to another comment. If we need a jumpstart, let's consider this question:

Have you ever been like the Jews, seeking a sign? Or like the Greeks, chasing after wisdom?


  1. I remember the difference between scratching my head while I read the Bible (forcefeeding) and after the Holy Spirt lit it up for me (gormet dining). Thus, verse 18 really speaks to me about that!

  2. What really stands out to me is the need for unity in the church. And not just unity within a single congregation or denomination, but unity in the body of Christ as a whole. Looks like even in Paul's days the church was full of divisions. I think the only way we can do this is to let go of all our little doctrinal divisions and approach each other with a spirit of humility. "I think I'm right about this, but maybe not."

  3. Dina, that was the first thing to strike me too--that "of Paul" or "of Apollo" was basically the first denominational argument. =) As someone from a very small and largely unknown denomination that has taken to introducing ourselves in a James Bond way to avoid confusion with other sects (I'm Baptist. Seventh Day Baptist.), I've given a lot of thought to denominations and their import. In a way I hate them--they're SO divisive!--yet I also understand that different people need different things from their church, and it's natural for the same types to flock together. But like you say, it's so important that we approach each other with love above all. Because when it all comes down to it, it's about Christ, not our beliefs on one small doctrinal matter.

  4. Anne, that's an awesome verse! I love that whole latter section--that our foolishness is God's wisdom, that our weakness is His strength. Every time I read this chapter I go over that section about three times, just drinking in the beauty of that promise.

    Cuz lemme just tell ya, I'm feeling pretty weak and foolish today. So very, very happy to rest in the Lord's wise strength! And oh, how amazing to know that His word has been opened to me so that I can take that comfort!

  5. Our pastor has been taking us through 1 Corinthians on Thursday nights, so I looked back at my notes from chapter one. What jumped out at me was this (regarding the wisdom of God):

    God's gospel is for everyone...but look at who He tends to focus on: "Kindergarten dropouts", fishermen, the order to shame those who are worldly wise.

    God has decided to build His kingdom on the "foolish" of the world, so it's ok if I feel foolish. So long as I don't wallow in self-deprication for it. I need to realize my foolishness, repent of it, and continue to strive for His wisdom.

    I don't need to be the best, God just wants me to be faithful.


  6. Verse 25 spoke to me the most--Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    We so think we have all the answers - but we need to turn to HIM. Our society now, especially it seems, needs this reminder (me too!)

  7. Roseanna asked- "So which part of the chapter strikes you the most forcibly, and why?"

    Unity jumps out at me but this is because we had a very negative experience in a congregation. Unity cannot come before truth but is established because of truth. When truth is compromised unity is not possible.

    Paul's humility speaks to me greatly, as well. He continually repeats that it is not him but Christ in all things. Would that I could ALWAYS focus on Christ first in all things!