1 Corinthians 12:21-31

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 30, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
- 1 Corinthians 12:21-31

This section of 1 Corinthians 12 builds on the previous section, in which Paul went into detail about the unity and diversity of the human body and related it to those who make up the Church. We each have a role to play, and all of our roles are important to what God is doing through the Church. There must be diversity so that all roles are covered, yet there must be unity so that the Church functions as one body.

In this passage, Paul emphasizes how we as the parts of the body should interact with one another. To start with, we should not tell one another that he or she is not needed (verse 21). No matter what part of the body of Christ we are, it is not our place to tell another person that they are not needed. Even if we don’t understand what they do or what their function is, that’s not our responsibility; remember that the Holy Spirit is the one who distributes the gifts. We all need one another.

In verses 22-23, Paul explains that the weaker parts and the “unpresentable” parts of the body are absolutely essential and should be treated with great honor. Think about the congregation you attend; are there people working tirelessly behind the scenes? They may be perceived as weaker since you don’t see them working, but if they were not doing what they are called to do, the church would not function as it is supposed to. We don’t see what our intestines or our lungs are doing, but we know they are essential for our physical bodies to function properly.

Perhaps you don’t even know what some people are doing for the Church, such as prayer warriors who spend countless hours praying for the Church and its people, or those who give anonymous financial gifts. All of those people are just as important to the mission of the church as those who are seen and recognized for their efforts. Just like we may not realize what some of our internal organs are doing for our physical bodies, we know they need to function properly for our bodies to remain healthy. We should strive to honor all parts of the body, no matter their role or function.

Then Paul brings it back to God and His good purposes: “But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it” (verse 24). God is the one who “assembles” us, both in our physical bodies (see Psalm 139:13-16) and as the body of Christ, the Church. God honors the parts of the body that we as humans may see as lacking or less important because it is God who put the body together.

Paul comes back to the idea of unity within the body in verse 25. We should not have any division in the body, especially among the different roles and functions. Unity is not only important for accomplishing God’s purposes for us as the body of Christ but also so that we take care of one another. As Paul says, we “should have equal concern for each other.” We should not care about one person less than another simply because of their role or function in the body, nor should we care about one person more than another simply because of their role. We must strive to live with the entire body in perfect harmony.

This unity is demonstrated more in verse 26: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” When a part of your body suffers, even something as small as a hangnail or a stubbed toe, the rest of your body focuses on that part until it is healed. While the other parts don’t suffer in the same way, they identify with the suffering of that one part. We should be like that as the body of Christ, coming alongside one another whether in suffering or in times of rejoicing and celebration.

Paul wraps this all up in verse 27, stating again that we are all parts of the body of Christ. While he had been using the idea of physical body parts as his metaphor, he then shows how this works in the Church. In verse 28, Paul gives a list of some of the gifts that are given to the Church by the Holy Spirit. Scholars believe that these gifts are listed in order of importance, from the highest importance (apostles) to the lowest importance (tongues). The first three (apostles, prophets, and teachers) are considered to be those who provide leadership in the church. The rest of the list indicates gifts that are for everyone in the church, not just leaders, though they are still important and significant.

In verses 29-30, Paul gives a list of rhetorical questions that relate back to the body imagery. We can’t all be eyes or hands, just like we can’t all be apostles or we can’t all have the gift of healing. God has selected specific individuals to give them specific gifts that go with their specific roles and functions in the body of Christ.

Paul closes out this section in verse 31 by urging them to desire the greater gifts, and then the last half of the verse introduces his next thought. Possessing a certain gift is not as important as how you use that gift, making sure that your actions glorify God and that you do what He is calling you to do. In the next chapter, Paul will show us how to use these gifts to love one another.

What are your unique gifts and roles in the Church? How are you using the ways that God has gifted you to glorify Him and to honor others, striving for unity as the body of Christ?

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Backstory of the Kings 6: Jeroboam

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 27, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jeroboam was the first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He was the one who spearheaded the rebellion against Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, and became king when the 10 northern tribes chose to not have anything to do with David’s line anymore. Jeroboam was not merely infamous for this rebellion but more so for his setting up the two golden calf idols in Dan and Ber-sheeba. Jeroboam would be marked for this sin and be the litmus test for every king of Israel until the conquest of Assyria that scattered these ten tribes from then till today.

Jeroboam was a valiant man in Solomon’s army. Though Solomon never had to face any battles, Jeroboam was a clear leader in Solomon’s ranks. As with most of the kings of Israel, we don’t know how old they were when they became king, and the same is true with Jeroboam. So it is harder to understand the backstory than with Judah’s kings. But we do know he ruled for 22 years, starting within one year of Rehoboam’s coronation. So, what drove Jeroboam to become the king he became? What influenced his decisions and set him up? Let’s explore the history.

As mentioned above, Jeroboam was a valiant man. He was a warrior and courageous. He was one of Solomon’s best soldiers. And being in that position, he would have known Rehoboam quite well. Rehoboam lived 2/3 of his life as the chief prince for 40 years before ruling for only 17 years. Jeroboam was seen as young while in Solomon’s army and, Scripturally speaking, this is often given to someone age 30 or younger. He looked the part and had the people’s following.

But then Solomon turned to idolatry. It was in this stage where God confronted Solomon and told him he would lose his kingdom in his son’s lifetime. Solomon heard that a prophet, Ahijah, had anointed Jeroboam to be king and sought this young man’s life. Again, we don’t know when the idolatry took place in Solomon’s reign exactly, but it is safe to say it was at least in the latter half of his reign. Jeroboam had to flee to Egypt for his life where he stayed until Solomon died.

I suspect that Egypt plays an important role here. Solomon focused his attention on the daughter of Pharaoh, enough to spend more time building his and her palaces than he spent building the Temple. Egypt and Israel had a strong relationship. I don’t know if Solomon ever pursued Jeroboam or knew where he went, but the relationship between Egypt and Israel would play a role in how quickly Jeroboam would hear about Solomon’s death. As he was someone who would have known Rehoboam, he would have made a good candidate for the elders of the ten tribes to be the head and spokesman to Rehoboam for the decision to stay or leave the leadership of David’s family.

But Egypt played another role. What were the idols that Jeroboam built? What shape or image did he use? Calves. He built two golden calves and all in the name of convenience. This should remind us of a deadly decision made about 500 years earlier at Mt Sinai when Israel convinced Aaron to make a golden calf to worship. And both Aaron and Jeroboam made the same statement: that this golden calf was the “God who brought us out of Egypt.” They both declared that such a grotesque image was a visible image of the Lord God Almighty. And both events came out of a coming out of Egypt. In making these idols and setting up the religion, Jeroboam either removed or chased out the Levites, all under the fear that going to Jerusalem to worship under the Law of Moses would cost him the kingship. Let’s not forget that Jeroboam was given the exact same promises of a kingship that David had, except he would not get the promise of a line to carry the Savior. He would have a strong lasting dynasty if he stayed obedient to the Lord. But he went to follow idols just as his peer Rehoboam and his former master Solomon did.

Jeroboam was confronted by an unnamed prophet, attempted to curse him, and his hand withered on the spot. After asking for prayer to be healed, Jeroboam went his way, knowing he was cursed and his line would not survive. He even had the audacity to try to send his wife to Ahijah the prophet to see if his sick son would survive. In his mercy, God was going to take the son’s life because there was good in him and so he would not experience the annihilation of Jeroboam’s line. And in the end of it all, Jeroboam would be the litmus test for all the kings of Israel.

So what can we learn from Jeroboam? You can get more details of his reign in Katie Erickson’s post about him. One thing I noticed is that Jeroboam is never seen to seek the Lord other than in the case of his sick son. God went to him, but he never responded in kind. He never pursued the Lord with his heart. God gave him the opportunity that only David was given, to have a lasting dynasty for following the Lord. But for fear of losing it, he turned to idolatry, to making a mimic and a counterfeit of genuine faith. He was religious, but he let the influence of Egypt and the idolatry of Solomon to make him think that such idolatry was acceptable. This was all in the fear of man.

Jeroboam was not a spiritually healthy man. God knew this when he selected him, but God was going to tear the kingdom apart for good and Jeroboam was the right man for the job. God did not regret choosing Jeroboam in the same way he regretted making Saul king (note that God does not make any mistakes; he simply was grieved over Saul). Just because a man looks the part, that does not make him someone you should be following. We know this from Saul, but the same applies to Jeroboam. He challenged a corrupt king and created a national split. People still do this today where if they do not get their way, they will create a church split. We must be aware of attitudes like Jeroboam. Not only are they rebellious, but they are also idolaters, and the only destination they can lead towards is death. Stay away from such people.

Next week, we will look at Abijah son of Rehoboam and his short reign.

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1 Corinthians 12:12-20

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 23, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free —and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
- 1 Corinthians 12:12-20

In the previous section of this chapter, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about how spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit decides who distributes the gifts to each person (verse 11). Now, Paul builds on that and begins to discuss the diversity and unity of the gifts.

The main analogy in this section is the human body with its diversity and unity. While the human body has many different parts that have many different functions and purposes, so it is with the spiritual body of Christ (verse 12). Regardless of our differences as humans, we are all part of the body of Christ.

We may live in different parts of the world, have different social statuses, and be of different ethnic backgrounds, but we are all united through our faith in Jesus Christ. Paul emphasizes this unity in verse 13, where he mentions common distinctions found in his world – Jews vs Gentiles and slaves vs free. While he mentions those differences, his focus is on unity: “We were all given the one Spirit to drink.” All believers have received the same Holy Spirit. While the Church was not yet worldwide then, the universal Church was already a concept and it was growing every day. The differences among believers were becoming greater, so a focus on unity was needed.

But in that unity, there is diversity, as Paul points out in verse 14. While we are one body, it is made up of many parts. The body must act as one unit, even though it has distinct parts that function for distinct purposes.

In verses 15-17, Paul calls out various body parts as examples. A foot is not a hand, but both are very important. An ear is not an eye, but both are very important. Each part is distinct and needs to do what it was created to do. The same is true for us as believers; we all have our unique functions based on the gifts that the Spirit desires to give to each one of us, and all of those functions are needed. If you lose a part of your body or a sense of your body, something is missing or not functioning properly in the body as a whole. If one part of your body is injured, you focus on that one part and work to bring it back to functioning properly within the body.

No person’s body can function if it were all one sense, i.e. all seeing with no hearing or all hearing with no smelling as Paul calls out. We should not all desire to have the same spiritual gifts or else the body of the Church will not function properly. Diversity is essential in the body of the Church while maintaining the unity of being one body together.

Paul emphasizes God’s role in this in verse 18: “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” God’s sovereignty is important here. We may think we know what role we should fill in His Church, but the truth is that only God truly knows how His Spirit has gifted us and where each one of us belongs to best accomplish His good purposes. God is the one who chooses whether each of us is a hand, foot, eye, ear, etc. in the body of His Church.

Just to drive the point home, in verse 19 Paul again brings up the rhetorical question of how the body could function if it were made up of all one part. There must be diversity within the body so that it can accomplish all of the various functions that it has.

But at the same time, unity is still required. While diversity is essential, unity is also essential, as there must be one body that is made up of those many parts (verse 20). Each believer has a role to play, and we are all important. We must all do what God has called each one of us to do, and at the same time, we must be unified in our purpose to accomplish what God wants for His Church.

What role has God given you to fulfill in His Church? Are you living out that role how God has uniquely gifted you? At the same time, are you living in unity with your fellow believers, all working together toward the common goal of glorifying God and accomplishing His purposes?

Whether you’re a hand, a foot, an eye, an ear, or even a spleen in the body of Christ, as believers in Christ, we are all important to living our what God has called us to and accomplishing what He desires that we accomplish.

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Backstory of the Kings 5: Rehoboam

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 20, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Rehoboam, son of Solomon, was 41 years old when he became king of the still united nation of Israel. Knowing that Solomon ruled for 40 years, that means Rehoboam was alive for the entire duration of Solomon’s reign. Rehoboam was most infamous for being the king whose decisions caused the kingdom to be split into the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which Jeroboam formed, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, remaining under David’s line. After this happened, Egypt attacked and took much of the wealth that Solomon had stored up. In just one generation, what David and Solomon built was wiped out. How did this happen? What set Rehoboam up for this failure?

Rehoboam’s age is important here. He was born before Solomon’s ascension to the throne. He was 41 years old when he became king, and thus he lived through all of Solomon’s rule. Rehoboam’s mother was Namaah who was an Ammonite. Solomon, as we know, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Namaah was one of them, though the one that Solomon gave the most attention to was the daughter of Pharoah of Egypt who got her own palace. Namaah is the same name given to the sister of Tubal-Cain, whose father was Lamech in Cain’s line in Genesis 4. This Lamech boasted about killing a young man who injured him and was the first known polygamist. There may or may not be a correlation here. There is a train of though that suggests that Namaah from Genesis 4 may have been either Noah’s wife or Ham’s wife and survived the Flood. But it is interesting to note this name from the pre-Flood world that was carried on through a pagan nation.

Solomon must have married Namaah prior to his own ascension by at least two years. This makes it likely that David not only set up the marriage (as marriages were arranged back then), but he also approved of Solomon marrying a foreigner. David himself did not marry a foreigner, but he still had nine wives. Many of Solomon’s wives were foreign due to political alliances. And it was Namaah from Ammon, one of Lot’s sons from the incestuous relationship with his daughters, who would carry the line. Rehoboam was likely Solomon’s first son too. Even though the daughter of Pharaoh of Egypt was his favorite, she came along after he ascended to the throne. Namaah was there before. One of Ammon’s idols was Molech. Molech worship involved newborn babies literally being burned to death on a metal plate in worship to an idol while loud drums drowned out the baby’s screams. One of the idols that Solomon built for his wives was to Molech. He also built the idols for Asherah and Chemosh. Rehoboam’s mother worshiped Molech, among other idols.

Rehoboam married a woman named Macaah, the daughter of Absalom, and she too was an idolater. She built an image to Asherah that Rehoboam’s grandson, Asa, found so repulsive that he removed her from her position as queen mother. Both grew up in Solomon’s court, being of the royal family. And one thing was clear: Solomon did not deal with the idolatry of his wives nor was he concerned about the idols of those his sons married. Even though he built the Temple and was given wisdom beyond man’s comprehension, he did not draw the line with the women’s idols. Rehoboam learned of this and engaged in the idolatrous practices himself. High places built by Solomon were not taken down, and Rehoboam saw them go up. He may have even overseen their construction. Scripture says that he did evil in the sight of God more than all his predecessors. It is unclear whether that means only Saul, David, and Solomon or if it means during the times of the Judges further back, but he set the standard for darkness on the throne to a level Saul never did. It wasn’t just the idols given specific attention, but also male cult prostitutes were in the land. During Rehoboam’s time, ritualistic homosexuality was a thing.

Some scholars believe that Rehoboam is the son receiving the instructions of Proverbs 1-9. It depends on when those Proverbs were written. As we do not know the ages of Abijah or Asa when they came to the throne, if they both fathered their sons at age 20, Asa would still be an infant when Solomon died, leaving Asa to be 20 when he became king for his 41-year reign. One can speculate that Asa would be the son receiving the instructions from a repentant Solomon, but it would not make sense to warn Asa as a prepubescent youth about the details of sexual immorality. Likewise, it does not make sense to tell a 40-year-old Rehoboam of the dangers of the adulteress and of a murderous gang, because he was already 40 years old. I’m also struggling to understand how Solomon would give such instructions prior to falling to idolatry and not following them himself. All this leads to speculation that Solomon himself may have been the son of these Proverbs given by David. There I no proof of this, but if Rehoboam was indeed the recipient of Proverbs 1-9, he didn’t listen to it at all.

Besides his idolatry, Rehoboam’s most infamous decision was to reject the wisdom of his father’s advisors. Instead, he listened to his peers who group up with him in luxury completely oblivious to the normal people’s lives. Solomon’s advisors knew that if you treated the people well, they would follow you for life. But Rehoboam’s peers wanted to use this as an opportunity for a power trip, and we do not know if Rehoboam even had an idea of how he was going to go about that. We just know he wanted to prove he was the big dude, that he was “the guy,” and he proved to be an idiot in doing so. Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s valiant men, led the rebellion against Rehoboam and was made the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel.

What can we learn from Rehoboam? Living a life of luxury and having no grasp of the reality of the everyday person does no one any good. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. Solomon’s wealth never got him in trouble, other than showing him via Ecclesiastes that it was all vanity. But it made Rehoboam utterly clueless about life outside the palace. Rehoboam lived an entitled life under the wealthiest and wisest man ever to live on earth. And when it came his time to carry the title, he never learned that Solomon’s strength, wisdom, and wealth all came from God. In just five years, Shishak from Egypt came and basically stripped away all the gold Solomon had left his son, and Judah would never return to the state that Solomon had started with. Rehoboam believed everyone owed him something, and simply because he was royalty, he could do whatever he wanted. He never met David (other than as an infant) and never learned the heart of a servant-leader. It cost him the kingdom and countless civil wars between Israel and Judah for the next three hundred years. Don’t let God’s blessings make us think we deserve anything, but instead be thankful to God for them. In humility, understand that God could take away that wealth and blessing in an instant.

Next week, we will look at Jeroboam of Israel who became king just shortly after Rehoboam did and set up the rebellion against him. Jeroboam had even bigger issues than Rehoboam, and we’ll examine those next week.

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1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 16, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
- 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

We often jump into 1 Corinthians 12 as if it’s a completely new thought without any context before it. While Paul is changing topics a bit here, he really is continuing his point from the end of the previous chapter, which was about unity in the church. Paul just reprimanded the Corinthian church for their practices that promoted disunity – essentially, potlucks where they would separate into cliques, not equally share food among the rich and the poor, and not properly partaking of the Lord’s Supper together.

In this section, Paul begins to discuss spiritual gifts. First, he emphasizes the Holy Spirit as the source of the gifts. In the coming weeks, we’ll see how he promotes unity and diversity among the gifts, how love is a key factor in them, a discussion of some different gifts, and then how worship must have order to it.

Paul does introduce spiritual gifts as another topic, as it appears the Corinthians had asked Paul a question about the gifts. Paul wants them to be informed on this very important topic (verse 1), and we should be informed about it as well.

Paul knows that the first-century believers in Corinth had previously worshiped pagan idols (verse 2). These idols were inanimate and mute; they could not actively work in their lives. But now, the Holy Spirit is not just one more idol to worship; the Spirit is active and present in every believer’s life. Because of that presence, no believer can curse Jesus, and it is only through the Spirit that a person can share their faith that Jesus is Lord (verse 3).

Verses 4-6 are somewhat poetic in their structure, but they also drive home key points about the gifts of the Spirit. These gifts reveal God’s unity and the unity we should have as believers in that one God. There are different gifts that we as believers receive, but they are all from the same Holy Spirit. We use these gifts in different ways, but they are all in service to the same Lord Jesus. We work using these gifts in a variety of ways, but they are all related to God working in our lives.

Paul makes it clear that we weren’t given these gifts just to keep them to ourselves but rather to use them for the good of the body of believers and to bring God glory. These gifts are not given for us to use them selfishly, but for the common good (verse 7). These gifts are mostly focused on use in the Church and within the body of believers, but the focus of the Church is not only to minister to the people who are already believers but also to those who are not yet believers. So, these gifts should be used for the good of all people.

In verses 8-10, Paul provides a list of some of these gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Some scholars believe that Paul lists these in order of importance, with sharing the gospel message of Christ through wisdom and knowledge being the most important. The gift of faith mentioned here is not simply having faith in Jesus, but rather it refers to being faithful to the gospel message and persevering in holding to that faith.

The gifts of healing and miraculous powers were clearly evident in Paul’s life and the lives of the early apostles, as we see multiple accounts in Scripture of them performing miraculous healings and such. The gift of prophecy hints at Paul’s more in-depth discussion of prophecy that’s coming in 1 Corinthians 14. The gift of distinguishing between spirits is also referenced in 1 John 4:1-3, and it is something that all believers should strive to do, though some may have a stronger gifting in that area.

The last two gifts mentioned are speaking in tongues and interpreting them. Scholars disagree whether this refers to unknown languages or simply foreign languages as the apostles demonstrated on Pentecost. However, there are multiple differences between the Pentecost speaking in other languages and the speaking in tongues referred to here. Paul does indicate that any speaking in tongues should have an interpretation. A further discussion of tongues, and whether some of these more “supernatural” gifts are still present today, is outside the scope of this blog post.

Paul concludes this section in verse 11 by saying that, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” It’s not up to us who gets which gifts of the Sprit; it’s up to the work of the Spirit. We should not be jealous of others or cause any sort of disunity based on what gifts we receive or what gifts others receive, as that’s beyond our human knowledge to understand. The Spirit gives the gifts, and the Spirit also causes the gifts to work in our lives.

What spiritual gifts do you have? There are multiple tests available that can help you discern what gifts the Spirit has given you, many of which you can access for free online. For a very in-depth study of the gifts, I highly recommend this resource. It includes a spiritual gifts profile, the Biblical basis for each of the gifts, and discussion questions about how to use them. If you’re interested in going even deeper than that, check out this video course that’s great for a church or small group to go through together.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Backstory of the Kings 4: Solomon

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 13, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

David’s son Solomon took the throne because David chose him over his other sons. He was the only one of them that seemed to have any desire to walk with God. Solomon’s reign was known for three things: his wisdom, his building of the temple, and his fall into idolatry. We don’t hear much about Solomon’s early years until he is about ready to take the throne. Solomon is one of three kings in the royal lineage in which the king’s age of when he ascended to the throne is not given. We don’t know how old Solomon was when he became king, but we do know he was young. Being the son of Bathsheba, he was born after David’s adultery and murder of Uriah, which was well into David’s rule as king. So let us examine the backdrop to Solomon’s reign and why he made the choices he made.

David reigned seven years in Hebron over just the tribe of Judah and then 33 years at Jerusalem over all Israel. While in Hebron, David’s oldest children were born, including Amnon and Absalom. If they were to be adults when their story in 2 Samuel 13-19 takes place, this would have to be a minimum of 20-30 years into David’s reign. The Bathsheba incident took place before this. Presuming Solomon was 20 years old when he became king (as Solomon’s son, Rehoboam was born one year before Solomon became king, this leaves a small window), this means that the adultery and murder of Uriah was not very long after David built his palace after conquering Jerusalem. If so, then Solomon would have been a child when Absalom murdered Amnon and when he executed his plot to overthrow David three years later. He would have learned first-hand the dangers of political upheaval and the rivalry between brothers could be severe. Solomon would end up having to deal with an older brother in Adonijah who tried to usurp the throne clearly given to Solomon.

Solomon would learn of the conspiracies against his father David in his youth. In 1 Kings 2, we see Solomon dealing with Adonijah who sought to steal David’s throne, Joab whom murdered Abner and Amasa, two generals who were good men overall, and Shimei who cursed David as he fled Jerusalem from Absalom. David was not aware that Joab had murdered Abner and Amasa in both power grabs for himself but also an unhealthy zeal for David and protecting his throne, all done in the flesh. David didn’t have the courage to deal with them directly, but he let Solomon choose how to deal with them. He gave each of them a chance, and none of them acted wisely.

Solomon would receive all the blueprints and instructions for building the temple. As we see in how Solomon did things, he did not merely do it because it was his father’s primary dream. He did it because he also wanted to do it. He saw David’s loyalty to God and how his prayer life and worship is what drove him and motivated him. He would have been with David during the exile from Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion, and he would have seen how David handled the pressure – by turning to God. I believe this is one of the motivators for Solomon seeking wisdom too. He knew of the treachery of Absalom and had just dealt with three men who betrayed his father. So, he needed wisdom, not just to rule but for his own safety, too.

Solomon was also known for doing excessively large sacrifices. The day he prayed for wisdom, he offered over a thousand animals for sacrifice and even more when the Temple was built. God never chided Solomon for the size of his sacrifice, but I wonder if Solomon missed the point of them. When Hezekiah offered sacrifices, he offered seven bulls and seven rams and it was explicitly as a sign of complete repentance. We only see Solomon sacrificing for dedication. I may be reading too much into this, but where would this idea come from? Well, Solomon likely was alive when David did his census and purposefully bought the threshing floor and the oxen for the sacrifice because he would not give a sacrifice that would cost him nothing. So I can picture Solomon learning that sacrifice was a very important thing, even if he missed the purpose. David didn’t miss it but I don’t see that carried on down the lines often.

Solomon’s downfall was caused by his lust for women. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. David had 9 wives and a harem of concubines. But David’s rejection of God’s command to kings in particular to not multiply wives only caused Solomon to swing that door wide open. It was this polygamous practice that led to Solomon’s downfall into idolatry. He saw David with multiple wives and saw no reason to hold back himself. However, David never married outside of Israel. Solomon married many from outside Israel, primarily the daughter of a pharaoh of Egypt, whom he built a separate palace for.

We do not know when Solomon’s idolatry took place in his life, but we can presume it was in the last 10 years of his reign. We also don’t know when Solomon wrote Proverbs and Ecclesiastes or if he repented of that idolatry in relation to those incidents. I suspect Ecclesiastes was written near the end of Solomon’s life as he realized he had chased after everything but found it was worth nothing except for God. It is interesting to think about when Proverbs 1-9 was written, because those chapters deal heavily with adultery. Remember that Rehoboam was alive for the entirely of Solomon’s 40-year reign and became king at age 41. So, when did he receive that instruction? As a boy before Solomon really began taking on wives? In the middle of that in his teens to early adults when that was going on? Or after the idolatry took its root and Solomon was warning Rehoboam due to his years of experience in finding it of no value? I don’t know.

David had planted the seeds for Solomon’s life, both good and bad. What David did, Solomon did even greater. David worshiped at the tabernacle. Solomon built the Temple. David sought to teach wisdom, and Solomon asked for wisdom. David did not parent his oldest well, and Solomon saw the dangers of that. David had multiple wives, and Solomon had many more. Be careful what seeds you plant. You can plant all the good seeds you want, but if you sow some bad seeds, then those few bad seeds could undo the entire crop. Solomon’s reign was undone due to his many wives. Let us be careful not to plant such seeds to our children and the next generation.

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1 Corinthians 11:27-34

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 9, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.
- 1 Corinthians 11:27-34

This passage continues Paul’s thoughts from the previous section, where he introduced how the Corinthian church was not properly celebrating the Lord’s Supper. They were not also having meals together in a loving manner, which Paul brings up in this passage as well to finish his thought.

Because of everything that Paul said in the previous section, he concludes in verse 27 that they are sinning against Jesus Christ. Their lack of respect and honor for this remembrance therefore dishonors Christ, the one who instituted it. Any unworthy manner of celebrating this meal is considered in the same way, as sinning against Jesus.

But what exactly is a worthy manner of partaking in this meal? Paul starts explaining this in verse 28 by instructing the believers to examine themselves before they partake of the meal. They should test the attitude of their hearts, their conduct that flows from that heart attitude, and how well they understand this remembrance they are about to consume. The implication is that no one should approach this manner if they have not done this self-examination and checked their attitudes, actions, and understanding.

Why is this important? Because if a believer fails to properly examine their heart, they may be unknowingly bringing judgment upon themselves (verse 29). It is important to note that this judgment is not God’s eternal judgment; this not an unforgiveable sin. While the Greek word for judgment is the same whether it’s eternal judgment or merely consequences here on earth, its particular usage indicates that it is not eternal judgment.

However, there still may be consequences. In verse 30, Paul implies that some of those consequences could be forms of weakness, sickness, or “falling asleep,” which is often used as a euphemism for death. The believer may experience negative worldy consequences for their disobedience to God in partaking of this holy meal if they do not fully understand what they are doing, or if they do not have the proper attitude of their heart.

Paul emphasizes the purpose of this self-examination in verse 31: “But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.” We cannot properly prepare our hearts to receive the meal without examining our hearts. Each person needs to discern whether or not we are ready to receive the grace of Jesus Christ in this way.

The fact that a lack of proper preparation is not an indicator of God’s eternal judgment is echoed in verse 32. Instead, when we experience God’s judgment for not properly preparing our hearts, “we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.” This judgment is not eternal destruction but rather discipline that helps us learn what to do. We know from Hebrews 12:5-11 that discipline from God is a good thing. He disciplines us because He loves us. It’s not meant as punishment but rather to instruct us in the ways we should live to honor Him better.

After setting up this point, Paul then returns to the meal that the first-century Corinthians were having along with their celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The issue was that they were unequally sharing their food. The rich would often bring more food to their meal (similar to a potluck), and those who were poor would bring less. But Paul instructed them that they should all share everything with one another to develop true Christian community. They were also splitting into smaller groups like cliques, often based on social status, rather than all eating together.

In verse 33, Paul addresses the clique issue by telling them that they should all eat together. They show respect for each other by eating together. They are satisfying both their physical and spiritual needs when they gather together and eat these meals together – both the potluck food and the Lord’s Supper.

If the people were coming only for physical food, then they should eat at home before they come (verse 34). While the regular meal is part of their gathering and time to experience fellowship with one another, the point of their gatherings was not just for food but also to experience spiritual nourishment through the Lord’s Supper and the presence of other believers. If they’re only showing up for the meal, then God may judge them in some way. At the end of this passage, Paul indicates that there were additional issues he’d address when he visits next.

How does this apply to us today? First, we should examine our gatherings with other believers. Are we using that time to nourish ourselves and others both physically and spiritually? Of course, not every gathering needs to include a full meal, but meals are a great way to share our lives with one another.

Second, when we partake of the Lord’s Supper, are we adequately preparing our hearts beforehand? Are we examining our attitudes, actions, and understanding as Paul indicates? Many worship services include a time for self-reflection prior to the Lord’s Supper for this very purpose. Make sure you are taking advantage of that time, along with your personal prayer and devotional time, to examine your heart and take whatever action is needed to correct that.

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Backstory of the Kings 3: David

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 6, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

King David has the most in-depth backstory of any ruler over Israel. No other person in Scripture is given more history and examination more than David. Both 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles details David’s life with a tiny carry over with 1 Kings. 1 Samuel introduces David halfway into the book and covers his life before he becomes king while 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles deal with David’s kingship.

We are introduced to David as a harp-playing shepherd boy in his teens. Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to anoint the king that God wanted as a model of what a good king should look like: a king who would be after and seek the heart of God. Jesse had little idea of what Samuel had planned but never bothered to invite David to the party because he was out with the sheep. This is a vital introduction to the life of David: that he would be a man who God would accept but that mankind would reject. David, or his character, would be rejected three times. The first was with Saul himself, not because people chose Saul over David, but they sought the physically impressive over the simple yet godly man. The second was Eliab, David’s eldest brother. David’s father Jesse and Samuel looked at Eliab as the candidate instead of David. The third time was David’s son Absalom who was beautiful in form but had a heart of evil. It was the rejection at this anointing that prepared David for the rejection that would come later in his life and helped to further teach him that God needed to be his source of affirmation, not mankind. As he was temporarily cast out of Jerusalem due to Absalom’s rebellion, he was rejected by numerous people including his closest advisor, Ahithophel. The rejection of David early in his life prepared him for rejection later in life.

After David’s anointing, he was sent back to the sheep, the lowest place in Israeli culture. David did so willingly and obediently. He could have played his anointing card and claimed entitlement rights. But he didn’t. He went back to the sheep. While he was with the sheep, David played the harp and sang, which caught the attention of a servant of Saul. Not knowing of the anointing already done, other than Samuel having already told Saul that his kingdom would be taken away from him and given to a better man, Saul brought David in and had him play to relieve the stress from a demonic spirit. But David would go back to the sheep after each session. This happened multiple times. Even when he went to face Goliath, David was sent as a delivery boy. He had no aspirations of grandeur. He never boasted about his ability to defeat Goliath and never dared to challenge Goliath directly. He instead asked what the prize would be, not because he wanted it per se, but he wondered if there was anyone who had the courage, even for a prize, to face him. This prepared David to never seek his own glory, which would be necessary when he would have the chance to kill Saul and spared him.

David’s time with the sheep would send him out for days looking for fields for the sheep to graze. This meant spending many long days and nights out in the weather. David learned the locations of all shelter spots, caves, lookout spots, and the layout of the land. He would have spent numerous nights in caves with his sheep. This would enable him to know where to go and how to hide from Saul and then escape from Absalom’s hands as well.

David’s time with the sheep forced him to encounter other enemies besides weather – he faced a lion and a bear. Considering how casual David seemed to be when citing those events to justify his ability to face Goliath, I do wonder if they weren’t the only ones he faced. He faced wolves, and to prepare for such enemies, he spent a lot of time practicing with his sling. This gave him confidence to go to battles with what God had trained him in, and it wasn’t the armor or weapons of the flesh. It was the spiritual weapons of praise and worship first and foremost. David would end up facing numerous enemies besides Goliath, and in all of them, he found his trust in the Lord.

David’s time with the harp was very instrumental to one of the most notable aspects of his life: a life of worship. David never aspired to be a king. He aspired to be a worshiper. Nothing drove him more than his time with God in praise and worship. Even as a little shepherd boy, one thing I can picture David enjoying the most while with the sheep is the open air and space to worship with no one interfering.

David did what Saul or even Samuel did not: return the Ark of the Covenant to where it belonged. Remember that when the Philistines captured it during Eli’s leadership, they sent it back and where the oxen stopped, that is where it was parked for over 40 years. Once David captured Jerusalem to make it his capital, he went to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. His zeal blinded him to follow God’s commands in how the Ark was to be transported, but he learned that lesson and then brought it in. David also had the vision to build a temple for the Lord. He longed for a concrete place to worship God. God would not let him do so because he had been a man of war (I personally think it is also because he had committed murder, not just been a warrior). Yet David set up all the plans, arranged for all the materials and jobs, and prepared Solomon to do the job.

David is famous for his friendship with Jonathan. Last week, I mentioned how Jonathan was old enough to be Saul’s general in his early days as king before Abner became the formal general. This is part of the reason why some think that Saul’s reign actually included Samuel’s judging. But many people think David and Jonathan, while best friends, were of similar age. In studying the background of the kings so far, I have good reason to think that Jonathan was actually much older. David was still a teenager or early 20s when he had to flee Saul. Jonathan had to be no younger than his 30s and more likely to his 40s. Jonathan was likely old enough to be David’s father, and yet they were best friends. I believe it was Jonathan who taught David the details of royal living.

When Saul died, Israel was in a state of turmoil. There was no leadership, no king, no physical person to continue leadership. Judah turned to David to be the leader of their tribe in Hebron for seven years, and then the rest of Israel chose to follow him for the next 33 years.

What is interesting about David is that there is no mention of any flaw in David in 1 Samuel. In his pre-king days, David has no recorded sin against him. Yet during 2 Samuel, once chapter 11 hits, it basically covers David’s sins and the implications and consequences of them. Where did that sin come from? Was it from enjoy the comforts of leadership? Was it power trips? Scripture does not say. I can say this: it does not matter how strong of a life you build in a walk with God, if you let it go lax for a moment, you are in severe danger of falling into sin. David does teach us that. He built his life in faith and worship and for one time, he chose not to go to battle, because he felt he was not needed. He took a battle off and saw Bathsheba and the rest is ignoble history.

Yet in David’s life, we see the preparation of a Godly man and Godly king. David is one of the best models we have for how God builds his people, and David became the gold standard for all of Israel’s leaders only to be topped by the true king, Jesus Christ. All the kings of David’s line were judged and compared to David, not by their leadership skills and their politics, but in their service to God, their morality, and whether they pursued God or not. David became the standard, and God prepared him from boyhood to be the great man of God, despite his flaws, that he is known to be. And it is in that environment in which the next king, Solomon, would be raised.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Secret Lives of Christians

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, October 5, 2023 0 comments

by Steve Risner

In the movie The Secret Life of Pets, we see that when no humans are watching, our pets act completely differently. They do things we didn’t think they could or would. But they only do them because they know we won’t find out. How does this apply to the Christian life?

I’m sure you can see where this is going. The secret lives of Christians should not be secret. As a believer, I firmly believe that the way I am in public should be no different than the way I am in private. When I’m with people, the things I think, say, and do should be consistent with those things when I’m by myself. Now, I’m not suggesting we should not have some discretion when it comes to airing issues publicly and things like that. But I am saying that if we say we believe a certain thing is wrong or bad, we probably should not be doing that thing whether in private or in public.

What am I getting at? Sin is not a normal expression of the Christian life. I don’t believe we can live a sin-free life; the Bible is pretty clear on that as well. But I do believe that if we consistently return to the same sins or act like something is sin in public and then privately practice it, we are lying to everyone including ourselves. This does terrible things to our relationship with the Lord and to others, and it can be devastating to our self-image. The results of living a contradictory life can cause any number of psychological issues ranging from projection (acting like others are doing what you’re doing) to self-hatred, bitterness, and insecurity issues. I know this from experience. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all done this at some point in our lives. Realizing it and putting stop to it are what’s important. I suggest praying about it and, in many situations, find a person you trust to be accountable to.

Living a double life can be a self-destructive scenario. There are usually two ways things go for someone living a secret life of sin: they’ll either come to some sort of crisis and break, allowing the Father of peace to radically change their lives, or they’ll fall away because they know in their hearts the faith they claim they have publicly is a farce. Living a lie, especially when it costs you something, rarely survives very long. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.” Eventually, you’ll despise one while clinging to the other. Along this second path, too often we’ll find that others are torn down in the process. Our sin can have devastating impacts on the lives of others as well, which is another reason to avoid the secret life of sin.

The Bible has a fair bit of warning for the believer who is harboring secret sins. In the book of Proverbs, written primarily by Solomon but compiled by priests under king Hezekiah, it says, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” Many believe they are hiding their sins, possibly even from God. What a foolish thought! The Lord exists in all places at all times, and He sees everything. Often times, we may believe we’re “getting away with it” when, in reality, we’re strangling our relationship with Jesus and hurting ourselves and possibly others. We may hide sins from other people, but the Lord will always know.

In Ezekiel 8:12, the Lord is speaking to the prophet saying, “He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’’” It’s so easy to think that since we don’t see the Lord right in front of us that He’s ignorant of our deeds—the things we think, say, or do. But we know He's with us always; He sees all things and knows our hearts. In Jeremiah 17:10, He tells us, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

The Old Testament is filled with instances where God’s chosen people, the Israelites or Jews, turned from the Lord, doing evil in His sight. But often times, these things started in secret. A little sin here and there in the dark and who would know? But eventually, sin grows and engulfs us. The people of Israel repeatedly turned to open idol worship, serving false gods that did nothing for them except cause the Lord to reject them. Isaiah says, “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’” Living a “secret life of sin” really is living in sin. It’s not a secret to the Lord at all.

Are you struggling? Are you not sure why it seems like everything has fallen apart or the Lord isn’t with you? Look into yourself and judge. Are you harboring sin? Are you living what you think is a secret life of self-indulgence or sin? It’s very unlikely the Lord will bless a person who is willfully living in rebellion against Him. This is brought out in Scripture many times, especially in the Old Testament. The Jews were turned over to their enemies many times because they had forsaken the Lord their God.

In Deuteronomy 28, we see God takes obedience and disobedience very seriously. This isn’t to say you will lose your salvation if you disobey. We all fall short at some point, some more than others. But this chapter in Deuteronomy gives a list of blessings to God’s people for obeying Him. It’s 14 verses of, “If you follow Me with all your heart, I will….” But if you read the remaining verses of that chapter, you’ll see God spends a great deal of time expressing what He’ll bring on His people if they do not follow Him wholeheartedly. This list of “curses” isn’t 14 verses long; it’s 53 verses long! God takes our disobedience very seriously, whether that sin is public or private. You can read about an instance where God punished not just the man who sinned but all of Israel for his private sin in Joshua 7. Earlier, in chapter 6, Joshua tells the Israelite army to take Jericho but they cannot take anything from the city as it was devoted to destruction. This meant not a single article could be taken from the city—it was all God’s. But Achan stole from the Lord. He took a few a nice robes and some gold and silver that would amount to about $24,000 in today’s world. Now, I suppose $24,000 sounds like a lot of money. But the man disobeyed the Lord and 36 of Achan’s fellow countrymen were killed by the enemy soldiers of Ai. This demonstrates how a life of sin can not only harm us, but it can easily impact those around us.

Living a life of secret sin can destroy you. Secretly viewing pornography online, spending your money on drugs or gambling, gossiping, telling “little white lies”—all of these and so many more can deteriorate your relationship with the Lord and also harm those you love and care about and who care about you. Secret sins can be the hardest to deal with because we first need to come clean. That means sitting down with a trusted person and confessing our sins to them. It also often means we need them (or someone else) to keep us accountable. Dealing with sin is frequently a team effort. I highly recommend getting help. Yes, we need the Lord and He is the true deliverer. But sometimes, as the Word tells us, we need others to help us along our journey to living a life worthy of the calling.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


1 Corinthians 11:17-26

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 2, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
- 1 Corinthians 11:17-26

While Paul was discussing the worship service in the previous section of this letter, he now turns to a specific aspect: problems with how the Corinthian church was celebrating the Lord’s Supper. In this passage, he discusses the problems with the meal that accompanied the Lord’s Supper, and then how they should take the Lord’s Supper more seriously.

He starts right off by condemning their practices in verse 17. Not only does Paul not have any good things to say about them, but he says that their meetings do more harm than good. Why is that? Paul tells us in verse 18 that there are divisions among the believers, though he indicates that he has been hearing of these divisions, rather than experiencing them personally. But knowing what he knows about that group of believers, he indicates that there is probably truth in that statement. Human nature is such that divisions will occur among us. So, what was going on in that congregation?

One of the main divisions that scholars believe was occurring there was between classes – the rich and the poor. Those who were rich would be able to provide more food, and it’s likely that they were not sharing it with the poor as much as they should. The believers would gather for a meal together before their time of worship and the Lord’s Supper, which should have been a time of unity and growing together in community. However, it appears that the Corinthians had more of a selfish attitude rather than one of joining together to share what they had and to build up one another in the faith.

There are differences among the people, of course, as Paul indicates in verse 19. The phrase “which of you have God’s approval” is an interesting one, implying that not everyone who was a part of the congregation was actually a true believer. Paul is concerned for the life of the community, that perhaps some were not strong enough in their faith to withstand whatever was coming. He sees the need for them to join together as a community, in spite of their differences and in spite of their varying maturity in the faith.

Paul sets up the specific problem in verse 20, telling them that they are not eating the Lord’s Supper when they come together. They were not approaching the Lord’s Supper in a proper manner, giving it the reverence that it deserves. He explains this more in verse 21 when he shares that they are not eating as a community but rather having private suppers in different groups. Here is also where we see evidence that they weren’t necessarily sharing the food in an equal manner. One person may go hungry, while another person may get drunk, indicating that they had plenty of food and drink.

The custom for both Jews and Greeks in that day was to essentially have a potluck – everyone bringing food, and everyone having equal opportunity to partake of that food. Those who were rich would often bring more food, and those who were poor would bring less. But all would be able to share equally in the meal together. Paul is calling out the fact that they had cliques, and the rich were selfishly taking more since they brought more.

Paul calls this out with a series of rhetorical questions in verse 22. If the rich want to eat lavishly and not share with the poor, then they should just stay home and have their fill! Instead, they show up to the church gathering and humiliate those who have less by their lack of sharing. All are equal in Christ’s eyes, and that is how the church should act as well.

But the real reason that Paul does not support their actions is found in verses 23-25 where he compares it to the Lord’s Supper that Jesus instituted. This selfishness among the believers does not line up with the attitude of Jesus. Paul shares with them the words of Jesus that He shared at the Last Supper. The account of this can be found in all 4 gospels – Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:14-23, and John 13.

Aside from the fact that Jesus instituted this meal, we see why it is so important in verse 26: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” This meal is one way that we continually remember and proclaim the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. This was not just meant for the first-century church, but we are to continue it today as well – until Jesus comes back again.

Many of the principles from this passage apply to us today. We should not have divisions among our churches, whether due to rich vs. poor or any other distinction. We should strive to create true Christian community in our congregations through sharing meals together and other options for fellowship. Those should be available to all people, regardless of income status or any other factor. When we do celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we should do so in a manner that appropriately honors the death of Jesus Christ.

How are you doing these when you gather together with other believers? What could you personally work on to improve unity and appropriately honoring Jesus in your congregation?

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.