I Corinthians 13-14
We are in the Church Stream reading the Apostle Paul’s direction to the Corinthians. We are in the New Living Translation.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
“Lord, let love be our main characteristic. Amen.”
13 – The Corinthian Church had many colorful characteristics. They were gifted. The fellowship was boisterous. They had faith. They had affect in Corinth. Their feasts were impressive . . .
But they were not loving. Paul needed to remind them to be loving. They needed to be patient and kind with each other. The rudeness needed to stop, et cetera. You know the passage and it bears daily repeating. It was time for the church to grow up, quit the games and be loving. The school-yard-like competition and posturing and tab-keeping needed to stop now – make that immediately.
14 – The Corinthians had forgotten the purpose of Pentecost – to reach out and edify a person that normally could not be communicated with. The speaking in tongues was reducing to a contest in Corinth that edified no one. Prophesying was more important since it blessed whole bodies of people. The matter of speaking in tongues is dealt with rather comprehensively by Paul here in this chapter. Some churches today need to brush this over so to quell some squabbling that becomes unnecessary and distracting to the good of the Kingdom.
Paul gives a hearty paragraph of instruction next about how to conduct an orderly worship service. Just like “Robert’s Rules of Order” is needed to keep meetings on track, Paul needed to write this to keep worship services edifying. The Kingdom couldn’t afford for worship services to fray off in dozens of needless directions. People from many other cultures were pouring in to worship services and structure was needed. Who should speak, in what order, the evaluation that should take place. There shouldn’t be a peanut gallery of cat-callers to question the speaker during service. And interestingly enough, Paul was concerned that the new comers not be stunned by the babbling in foreign tongues, hence get the impression that church was for weirdos, and then they’d leave and be gone. This would not be a good pattern.
Paul wanted church to be orderly and edifying. We need to want the same.
The theme or the thread that ran through this week distilled out to be “Let’s Build Something for God” The Exodus passage with the Tabernacle actually going up is an inspiration in the desert for sure! In I Kings 4ff, Solomon is laying out the framework of a glorious Kingdom and he gets to building the Temple and His Palace and many other beautiful structures. David in Psalm 69:9 declared to God, “passion for your house has consumed me,”! [need to be passionate about something before it can be built] and Psalm 72 rings with an overtone of Christ returning to reign supremely. In Jeremiah 18/19 the illustration of the potter, the clay and the broken pottery, God is asserting that the people of God must be built up a certain way. And if they won’t allow God to build His way, then they must be smashed and God will start over after some seriously severe buffeting and discipline. Joel portrays a huge cycle of locust coming through to clean them out. It will be complete devastation. God urges prayer, mourning, fasting and restoration so that he can, … [you’re right]—> restore and build them up again, for He promises to send HIs Spirit. Mark 15-16 has Jesus tried (falsely), tortured, crucified, dead, buried, risen and His followers are told to take the message to the whole world [to build the Kingdom!} Paul is reminding the Corinthian church to build one another up and be loving in doing so. There’s a lot of whining about churches and persnickety judging that goes on. Well, this is a misperception. Church is where people are built up because they can learn and grow and thrive because they find acceptance. Hooray for God as He builds His Kingdom.