Things I Didn't Know were in 1 Corinthians

By Kersley Fitzgerald

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I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am…I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. 7:7-8, 32-35
What struck me recently isn't the words or the concepts expressed here, but the placement. 1 Corinthians 7 — the chapter on marriage — is practically bookended by verses extolling the virtues of singleness. It is not necessary to be married to live a Christian life. It's not necessary to have sex to live a fulfilled human life. In fact, in many cases, it's better to not be married and, therefore, not have sex. Society's made sex such an idol in this world, as the church often does with marriage. God created them to be good things, not mandatory things.
…Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 9:1b-3
The passage goes on to argue that "those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel" (vs. 14). This only struck me because of some comments on an article the boss wrote on copyright laws. Mainly, that if you use our stuff, source it. And don't download an entire article and turn it in as a class assignment! Two commenters (two!) complained that we were being prideful, saying truth belongs to God and to take ownership in our words is "plain spiritual elitism."

Here, Paul says differently. He says that it is reasonable to acknowledge when a particular teacher (we wouldn't ever claim to be apostles!) has fed into your life. In his case, he's talking about spiritual authority. In ours, it's just the precise pattern of words we use to express truths and thoughts that can be found in many different places. Either way, a modest citation isn't out of line, especially since this is the way we make our living.
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another — if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home — so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. 11:33-34a
MeLissa LeFleur is allergic to half of everything. She's taken that experience in her work as webmistress for the Celiac Diva. She's also somewhat of a gluten and allergy mentor.

She thought she was allergic to a lot until I started getting tested a year ago. I have met my goal and surpassed her. But I also try to follow her example — in 45 minutes, we're leaving for a lunch with and tour of Compassion International. I have no idea if they'll have food I can eat. Instead of getting grouchy about it, I ate a really big breakfast. This passage isn't exactly about dietary restrictions, but it still applies — if you're concerned you won't get enough to eat, don't get mad, just get your own food!
I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia…I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia…It was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 1 Corinthians 16:5; 2 Corinthians 1:16a, 23b; 2:1
I guess I find this interesting that Paul discerned that instead of getting in the Corinthians' faces and hand-holding their spiritual growth, it was better that he remain away. Partially because he didn't think his own frame of mind would be helpful, and partially because they needed more time to work things out on their own. In mentoring and spiritual leadership (and parental!) roles, it's hard to stand back and let someone make mistakes. But sometimes that's exactly what's needed for them to internalize what they need to know.

TagsChristian-Life  |  Biblical-Truth

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Published 7-17-2014