Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 13: Sunday
Sunday’s Bible reading is 1 Corinthians 9–10. Paul follows up his exhortation in chapter 8, on how the Corinthians should treat their weaker brother with a long discussion on how he handles his freedom and liberty and why.
“Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 9:12b
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.”
1 Corinthians 9:19
In chapter 10, he uses Israel as an example to warn them:
“Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.”
1 Corinthians 10:6
“Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”
1 Corinthians 10:11–14
Paul finishes the chapter with further elaborations and commands on the issue of eating meat offered to idols.
I know in a couple of weeks the Bible reading will include 1 Corinthians 13, Paul’s famous chapter on love. As I’ve been reading 1 Corinthians I’m not surprised that this is the letter in which Paul penned those famous words. The Corinthians were long on acting on behalf of their own interests and short on acting on behalf of others. This is one church that needed love defined for them. It’s evident that many people in this church had a difficult time leaving behind their old habits from their days before they became Christians. The church is singularly unattractive as a group as you read about them. That fact underscores Paul’s great love for them; he didn’t write them off—he kept writing, exhorting, warning and teaching these recalcitrant believers.
As Paul used Israel as an example and warning for the Corinthians, so we should heed that example. We also have examples in the Corinthians and in Paul. The Corinthians show us how not to be, and Paul gives us a tireless and patient example of a man who hung in there and loved a group of people who were most unlovely. May God enable us to learn from them.
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Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter