Heavenly Father, thank You for traveling with us in this spiritual journey of faith through Paul’s epistle of 1 Corinthians. Thank You for the learning experience. Help us to convert head knowledge into heart knowledge. Help us be more and more Christ-like through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-4, 1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also, 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3 And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 4 But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.
Paul initiated a love offering from the prosperous churches in Asia Minor to the poverty-stricken mother church in Jerusalem. They should
set aside a sum of money on the first day of every week and gave it to Paul upon his arrival. He would send the love offering to Jerusalem through someone approved by them.
VV 5-9, 5 Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). 6 And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay awhile with you if the Lord permits. 8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
Paul planned to spend the winter with them, on his way from Ephesus to Jerusalem via Macedonia if the Lord permits. Meanwhile, he would remain in Ephesus until the feast of Pentecost.
VV 10-12, 10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me, for I am waiting for him with the brethren. 12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time.
Paul told his audience to expect Timothy, receive him cordially, and not despise him for his youth. Timothy would be their pastor and minister. Apollos was not ready to go to Corinth yet, although Paul had spoken to him about it.
VV 13-18, 13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love. 15 I urge you, brethren, you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints, 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
Paul encouraged his audience to be faithful, courageous, strong, and to love one another. Paul encouraged them to follow the examples of Stephanas’ household, who were faithful to the Lord. Paul encouraged them to submit to one another and labour in the ministry as a team. Paul also acknowledged the service of Fortunatus and Achaicus to the Corinthian church during Paul’s absence.
VV 19-25, 19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 The salutation with my own hand, Paul’s. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come! 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Paul sent greetings from Aquila, Priscilla, and other brethren in Ephesus. Paul acknowledged that he wrote this closing salutation with his own handwriting. He encouraged them to greet each other with a holy kiss and to love the Lord. Paul pronounced a blessing of grace from Christ, love from him, and close with Amen.
Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians Christian also applies to us. We should be faithful, courageous, and strong. We should submit to one another, love one another, and work together as a team to serve the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the epistle of 1 Corinthians. There are so many lessons that can be applied to our lives. Thank You for revealing the mysteries of Your Word and making them understandable. Thank You for the encouragement, enlightenment, and empowerment in our journey of faith, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 15:29-58, Final Victory
Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise of resurrection on the day rapture. We acknowledge that the rapture is imminent and can happen anytime. Help us to be prayerful, vigilant, watchful, and ready for Your return, in Jesus’ name.
VV 29-34, 29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” 33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Concerning the resurrection of the dead, Paul asked two rhetorical questions. If Christ had not resurrected, why would Paul and the apostles
go through persecutions, hardships, trials, and sufferings? Paul quoted Isaiah 22:13 and Ecclesiastes 8:15. Beware of bad company because bad company corrupts good character.
Isaiah 22:13, But instead, joy and gladness, Slaying oxen and killing sheep, Eating meat and drinking wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
Ecclesiastes 8:15, “So, I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.”
VV 35-39, 35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain, perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
Paul continued to ask two more rhetorical questions concerning resurrection of the dead. A seed is sown into the ground, but the plant that grows up will not be similar to a seed. A dead person is buried into the ground but the resurrected and glorified body will not be similar to the earthly body. Just as every plant belonged to the same seed, every resurrected and glorified body belonged to the same earthly person.
VV 40-41, 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for one star differs from another star in glory.
Celestial bodies are heavenly objects in the sky. Terrestrial bodies are earthly objects on the earth. The glory of the resurrected bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The glory of the sun is different from that of the moon, the glory of the moon is different from that of the stars, and the glory of one star is different from that of another star.
VV 42-45, 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
The body sown in corruption is raised incorruptible. The body sown in dishonour is raised in glory. The body sown in weakness is raised in power. The body sown as a natural body is raised into a spiritual body. Adam is a living being. Christ is a life-giving spirit.
VV 46-49, 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust, and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
The natural takes precedent over the spiritual. Adam was a natural man, made from dust, Christ is a spiritual man who came from heaven. Humans who possessed Adam’s image at death will put on Christ’s image when raised at the resurrection.
VV 50-54, 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery, We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
The natural man cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The corrupted man cannot inherit incorruption. One day, at an event, called the rapture, at the last trumpet, all Christian whether dead or still living will be instantaneously raised into a glorious, incorruptible, and immortal body to meet the Lord in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. This is the final victory. After this, there will be no more death for the Christians, Rev 21:4.
Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
VV 55-58, 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Paul asked two rhetorical questions quoting from Hosea 13:14. Christ gave us victory over the law of sin and death. Paul encouraged his audience to remain faithful and obedient to the Lord because their labour is not in vain.
Hosea 13:14, ESV, “shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death.O Death, where are your plagues?O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.”
The next event on God’s prophetic calendar will be the rapture. No one knows when this will happen but this event is imminent and can happen at any time. Given this, we should be prayerful, watchful, vigilant, and prepared. You should confess your sins to Christ, believe that He died on the cross for you, and surrender Your life to Him if You have not done so. If you call on the name of Christ, confess, and believe in Him, you will be saved.
Romans 10:13, For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise that one day we will be raised into glorious incorruptible bodies to be with You in heaven eternally. Help us to know You as our Lord and Saviour. Time is short and Your return is imminent. Help us to live our lives worthy of Your calling, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-28, Death, the last enemy
Heavenly Father, thank You that You rose from the dead to be the first fruit of the resurrection. Thank You for the promise of our resurrection at the rapture. Thank You for defeating death, the last enemy, and rendering it powerless, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-2, 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.
Paul preached the message of the gospel and those who believe and hold fast to the message will be saved.
VV 3-8, 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
The gospel is the death and burial of Jesus Christ on Good Friday as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of mankind, followed by His resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday, according to scripture. Peter, the other eleven apostles, more than five hundred other disciples, James, and lastly Paul had witnessed this resurrection. Most of the eye witnesses of Christ’s resurrection were still alive at this time although some had died.
VV 9-11, 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Pail was very humble. He called himself the least of the apostles although he was undoubtedly the greatest of the apostles. He felt unworthy because he brutally persecuted Christians before his conversion. He acknowledged God’s grace for his salvation and achievements.
VV 12-19, 12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Some Corinthian Christians were sceptical of the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead. If Jesus Christ had not resurrected from the dead, Paul’s preaching would be in vain, Christian’s faith would be in vain, the apostles would be liars and false witnesses of Christ. If Jesus Christ had not resurrect from the dead, Christians will still be living in sins and Christians who died would have died in vain. If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christians will be the most pitiful among all men.
VV 20-22, 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
But Jesus Christ had indeed resurrected from the dead. He is the first fruit of the resurrection, the first person to be resurrected from the dead. At a future event called the rapture, all Christians, whether they are dead or still living, will be resurrected to meet the Lord in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. The resurrection of Jesus Christ vindicated His claim of Deity.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
VV 23-28, 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christs at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Christ is the first person to be resurrected. At the rapture, all Christians will be resurrected from the dead. This event will trigger the onset of the 7-year tribulation on earth, followed by Christ’s second coming, Christ’s 1000 years reign on earth, the new heaven and new earth, and the eternal state, Revelation 20-22. Christ’s resurrection from the dead destroyed the last enemy, death. Paul quoted Psalm 110:1.
Psalm 110:1, The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
Paul’s definition of the gospel in one sentence is very handy. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to scripture.
Jesus Christ is the first fruit of the resurrection. At a future event called the rapture, all Christians whether dead or still living will be resurrected from the dead to meet the Lord in heaven, 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18. Resurrection from the dead is the hope of every Christians. Jesus Christ’s resurrection proved that He is God and everything written about Him in the Bible is true.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing love. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ from heaven to earth to die for our sins. Thank You for His death, buried, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures. Thank You for salvation by grace and justification by faith in Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 14: 1-40, prophecy and tongues
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that we are sinners saved by grace. Thank You for justification by grace through faith in Christ. We pray for the daily bread of Your living Word to nourish our weary and thirsty souls today. Help us to be more Christ-like every day, every week, every month, every year, and every decade, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-5, 1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him, however, in the spirit, he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied, for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
Practice love, seek for spiritual gifts especially the gift of prophecy. Prophecy means foretelling, predicting the future as revealed by God, and forth telling, revealing God’s message. Speaking in tongue is the gift speaking to God in a foreign language through the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is better than tongue speaking because it edifies, encourages, and comforts everyone. Tongue speaking edifies only the person speaking in tongues unless accompanied by interpretation.
VV 6-8, 6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?
Speaking in tongues is not understandable unless accompanied by interpretation. Even lifeless things like musical instruments must be played in a musical tune otherwise the sound will be meaningless. If an army trumpet is not blown to the correct tune soldiers will not prepare for battle.
VV 9-12, 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
Paul asked a rhetorical question regarding speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is speaking a foreign language belonging a foreign culture, place, and race. The local audience will not understand its meaning. For example, if someone prays in Aramaic in a Chinese speaking congregation, how will anyone understand and benefit from it? If the Corinthians Christians were zealous for spiritual gifts, they should chose to excel in prophecy rather than speaking in tongues.
VV 13-19, 13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Anyone who has the gift of speaking in tongues should also pray for the gift of interpretation of tongues. Paul asked two more rhetorical questions. When someone prays in tongues during a corporate worship, that person should interpret the tongues so that others will be edified, blessed and say Amen. Even though Paul had the gift of speaking in tongues, he preferred not to exercise this gift in church. Paul underplayed the importance of speaking tongues. He preferred to speak five words with understanding rather than ten thousand words in tongues.
VV 20-21, 20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding, however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. 21 In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips, I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.
Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to grow in spiritual maturity and not to behave as spiritual babies. He quoted Isaiah 28:11, Jeremiah 7:27.
Isaiah 28:11, “For with stammering lips and another tongue, he will speak to this people”.
Jeremiah 7:27, “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.”
VV 22-25, 22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophecy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
Tongues are signs for unbelievers. Prophecy is a sign for believers. If unbelievers come to church and hear the speaking of tongues, they will be surprised but not edified. If unbelievers come to church and hear prophecy revealing the deep secrets of their hearts, they will be convicted, fell on their knees, and worship God.
VV 26-28, 26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
Orderliness must be maintained at all times during a corporate worship so that everyone is edified. Every one should take turns to sing, teach, prophesy, speak in tongues, or interpret the tongues, one person at a time. When some speak in tongues, another person should interpret them. Tongue speaking should be refrained if there is no interpreter.
VV 29-33, 29 Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Prophets with prophetic gifting should speak one at a time so that everyone may learn, benefit, and be encouraged. Our God is a God of orderliness and peace, not confusion.
VV 34-35, 34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. 35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
Paul’s ruling for women to keep silent in the church was a specific command to the Corinthian church in the first century world. This ruling should not be applied to the 21st-century world. Times had changed. In the 21st century world, women are uneducated, but today women are educated and capable of taking on leadership positions. Compare Paul’s ruling compelling women to wear head covering in church, 1 Corinthians 11.
VV 36-40, 36 Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? 37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
Paul asked two more rhetorical questions. The Word of God came from Paul and not from the Corinthian Christians. The Word of God is for everyone and not just for the Corinthians Christians. Paul encouraged his audience to earnestly seek the gift of prophecy but speaking in tongues should not be prohibited. Orderliness in church worship should always be maintained at all times.
Prophecy is better than tongues because it edifies, encourages, and comforts the church and convicts unbelievers to believe in God. Tongues are for personal worship but when used in the church, it should be accompanied by interpretation.
I am speaking as a Christian from an evangelical church background. You do not have to agree with me if you have a different perspective on the issue of speaking in tongues.
Heavenly Father, we pray for the impartation of spiritual gifts especially the gift of prophecy by the Holy Spirit. We humble ourselves before You. We acknowledge that we do not deserve to ask anything from You because we are sinners. We pray for forgiveness of sin and justification by grace through faith in Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Faith, Hope, Love
Heavenly Father, open our spiritual eyes to see the truth, open our spiritual ears to hear the truth, open our spiritual minds to understand the truth, and soften our spiritual hearts to obey the truth. Help us engage in Your word not for head knowledge but the transformation of hearts and renewal of minds, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-3, 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have
not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all
my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Speaking in tongues without love is annoying and noisy. Prophetic gifts, word of knowledge, and faith, without love, is of valueless. Even selfless giving and martyrdom without love will not be profitable in God’s eyes.
VV 4-7, 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not dishonouring to others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not rejoice in evil and injustice but in truth, never gives up, always trusts, always hopes, always persevere,
VV 8-10, 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
Love persists. Prophecies will fail, tongues will cease, and knowledge will disappear. We do not have a perfect and complete revelation of prophecy until the Lord’s second coming.
VV 11-13, 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Love is not a spiritual gift but it is the first fruit of the Spirit.
A child speaks, understands, and thinks like a child. A man speaks, understands, and thinks like a man. We do not have perfect vision and knowledge until the Lord’s second coming, but we have faith, hope, and love and the greatest of all is love. Greek has several words for love. The Greek word for love in this passage is “agape”. Agape is the highest form of love, divine, sacrificial love. The other Greek word used in other passages of the bible is phileo, which means brotherly love. But in this passage, Paul was speaking about agape, and not phileo.
Love is not spiritual gift but a fruit of the Spirit. The first and greatest fruit of the Spirit is love, Galatians 5:22-23. Love covers a multitude of sin, 1 Peter 4:8. The greatest of all the commandments is love, horizontal love for other people, and vertical love to God, Matthew 22:23. We are to love one another as Christ love us, John 13:34.
Galatians 5:22-23, NIV, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”
1 Peter 4:8, And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Matthew 22:23, Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another”.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your teaching on this love chapter. Help us to obey Your commandment to love You with all our hearts, souls, and minds and to love our neighbours as ourselves. Help us to love others just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Spiritual gifts
V 1-3, 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
Paul enlightened his audience on spiritual gifts. They were once idol worshipers. No one speaking by the Holy Spirit can curse Jesus. No one can call Jesus as Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
VV 4-11, 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to
another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one, and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
The same Holy Spirit gave Christians a diversity of spiritual gifts. The same Lord gave us a diversity of ministries. Spiritual gifts are the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Not every Christians will receive all the spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christians individually according to their level of faith, ministries, and God’s grace.
VV 12-14, 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For, in fact, the body is not one member but many.
Christ is the head of the body, the church. Christians are the different parts of the church. The same Holy Spirit baptise every Christians into the church, irrespective of whether they are Jews, Gentiles, slaves, or free people.
VV 15-18, 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
Paul asked four rhetorical questions. A hand cannot say that it is not part of the body. An eye cannot say that it did not belong to the body. The whole body cannot say that it is an eye or an ear. Every Christian has a
specific and important role to play and operate in the body of Christ, the Church, under the headship of Christ.
VV 20-26, 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
The church had many parts but only one body. The eye is not independent of the hand, and the head is not independent of the feet. No member can work in isolation. Every member is dependent on other members to operate in unison. The weaker members depend on stronger members to lend a hand. The less honourable members depend on the more honourable members for protection. The body of Christ should not be divided by factionalism, sectarianism, and personality cults. If one member suffered all members suffered with him. If one member is honoured, all members rejoiced with him.
VV 27-31, 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that, miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
The church is the body. Christians are members of the body. Christ is the head of the body, Colossians 1:18. God appointed different ministers to work in the church viz. apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers,
healers, helpers, administrators, speakers of tongues, and interpreters of tongues. Paul asked seven rhetorical questions, all with negative answers. Not everyone is an apostle, prophet, teacher, miracle worker, healer, speaker of tongues, and interpreter of tongues. We should desire and ask the Holy Spirit for the best gifts. In the next chapter, Paul will reveal an even more excellent gift, that is love.
Colossians 1:18, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
There is a diversity of spiritual gifts, such as word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongue-speaking, and tongue interpretation. There is a diversity of ministries, such as apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, etc. We should desire and ask the Holy Spirit for spiritual gifts appropriate to our faith and ministry, Luke 11:13.
Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Heavenly Father, we are members of the body of Christ. We are dependent on others and we cannot operate in isolation. Help us to play our respective roles in the church serving in the appropriate ministry. We pray for the Holy spirit’s impartation of spiritual gifts based on Your grace, our faith, and our ministry, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 11:1-34, Head covering & Lord’s Supper
Heavenly Father, we come to You with soft hearts, obedient hearts, listening ears, and open eyes, in Jesus’ nane, Amen.
V 1, Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Paul encouraged his audience to imitate him just as he imitated Christ.
VV 2-3, 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Paul laid down the hierarchy of authority between God, Christ, man, and woman. Man is the head over woman, Christ is the head over man, and God is the head over Christ.
VV 4-8, 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
In the culture and custom of the first-century world of Corinth, a man should keep short hair and a woman should keep long hair but not vice versa. A man should not cover his head and a woman should cover her head but not vice versa. Based on this culture and custom, Paul instructed women to cover their heads but forbid men to cover their heads during prayer. This was a specific instruction for the Corinthians Christian of the first century world and do not apply to Christians of the 21st-century world.
VV 11-16, 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so, man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. 13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
Men are not independent of women, and women are not independent of men. Eve came from Adam, men came from women but all people are created by God. Paul asked two rhetorical questions concering head covering. The Corinthians Christians should follow the culture and custom of their times over head covering. In those days, it was considered glorious for women to keep long hair and wear head coverings. However, we do not have this custom today. Therefore, women need not any wear coverings in church or during prayer.
VV 17-22, 17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
Paul admonished the Corinthians Christians over divisions, sectarianism, and factionalism. Unlike today, the Lord’s Supper in the first-century Church was a full fellowship meal called the love feast. A love feast is equivakent to our pot luck dinner dinner. In the love feast, many of them behaved rudely, fighting for food, behaving like gluttons, and drunkards. Paul asked three more rhetorical questions.
VV 23-26, 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25, In the same manner, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Paul gave instructions concerning the Lord’s Supper. On the night before the Lord was betrayed, He took bread, gave thanks, broke, and gave them to the disciples to eat as symbolic of His broken body. In the same way, He took the cup of wine and invited them to drink it as symbolic of the new covenant in His blood. They were to do this as often as they could in remembrance of Him and to proclaim His death until His second coming.
VV 27-34, 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Participants of the Lord’s Supper should examine themselves for any unrepentant sin before partaking in the Lord’s supper. God will judge and punish those who partook the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner.
VV 30-34, 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
Paul warner that eating the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner could result in ill health and even death. Paul encouraged them to onserve the Lord’s Supper and love feast in an orderly, friendly, courteous, and respectful manner.
Paul’s ruling on head covering for women during prayer and in church was a specific ruling to the Corinthian Christians in the first century world. This is not a universal ruling for every generation to observe. However, the brethren churches today still observe this ruling because of this passage. This is why interpretion should be based on hermenuetic to bridge the gap between “there and then” and “now and here”.
Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You for all that You have done for us in our lives. Thank You for opening up Your Word to us and helping us unravel, understand, and interpret the difficult passage on head coverings for women, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Heavenly Father, we come before You again on bended knees, open spirits, open eyes, open ears, and obedient hearts. We offer our bodies to You as living sacrifices to serve You and sacrifices of praise to worship You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-2, 1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
Paul alluded to the Exodus story. God protected the Israelites of the Exodus with a pillar cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night. God miraculously parted the Red Sea for them to walk on dry ground. The pillar of cloud and fire were foreshadows of the Holy Spirit. Passing through the Red Sea was a foreshadow of water baptism.
Exodus 13:21, “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night”.
Exodus 14:21, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.”.
VV 3-5, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
The Israelites ate manna and drank water from the rock. Manna and rock were foreshadows of Christ. Water was a foreshadow of the Holy Spirit. Out of the estimated two million Israelites who crossed the Red Sea, only men, Joshua and Caleb, entered the promised land. All the rest perished in the wilderness.
Exodus 16:31, “And the house of Israel called its name [a]Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”
Exodus 17:6, “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”
VV 6-11, 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Greek for examples is “tupos”, which means type or foreshadow. These things were foreshadows of Christ. Paul warned his audience against idolatry, sexual immorality, disobedience, and grumbling against God. He quoted Exodus 32:6 and Numbers 25:9 and Numbers 21:9. The bronze serpent was a foreshadow of Christ.
Exodus 32:6, “And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”
Numbers 25:9, “And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.”
Numbers 21:9, “So Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on the flag pole; and it came about, that if a serpent bit someone, and he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
VV 12-13, 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
You can claim the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 for overcoming temptations. God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear and will make a way for you to overcome it.
VV 14-18, 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
Paul encouraged his audience to run away from idolatry. Paul asked two rhetorical questions concerning Holy Communion. The cup of the Holy Communion represents the blood of Christ. The bread of the Holy Communion represents the body of Christ.
VV 19-22, 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
Paul asked three more rhetorical questions. Idols are not “gods” but demons of satan. You cannot drink the cup of communion and the cup of demons. You cannot have fellowship with God and with demons or you will provoke the wrath of God.
VV 23, 23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek
his own, but each one the other’s well-being. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
All things are lawful but not all things are helpful or edifying. You should look out for one another’s well-being and not be a stumbling block to others. You should eat whatever is sold in the market without asking any questions for your conscience’s sake because all things belonged to God. Paul quoted Psalm 24:1.
Psalm 24:1, “A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”
VV 27-28, 27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
When invited to a dinner, eat whatever is served without raising any questions. But if you knew that the food was offered to idols, you must not eat them for your conscience’ sake.
VV 29-33, 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Paul asked two more rhetorical questions. Whatever we eat, drink, or do, do them all for the glory of God.
You can claim the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 if you are going through temptations. God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear and will make a way for you to overcome them.
You should not eat food offered to idols because this may cause a weaker Christian to stumble and for your conscience’ sake.
Heavenly Father, help us to run away from idolatry, sexual immorality, disobedience, and murmuring against You. Help us not to eat food offered to idols so as not to be a stumbling block to weaker Christians and for our conscience’ sake, in Jesus’ name, Amen.