The Christians in Corinth had separated themselves into several groups which argued against each other (1:12). The members of each group thought that their group was better than the other groups. For example, perhaps one group believed that the Holy Spirit was more active in their group. Perhaps another group thought that they understood the Bible better than the other groups. And perhaps another group considered themselves more holy than other people. So they all argued.
That was not how Paul or Apollos behaved in Corinth, or anywhere else. They served God, and they tried to show God’s love to everyone. They were not trying to prove that they were better than anyone else. They considered themselves servants of God, who did his work (3:5-7).
Paul warned the Christians in Corinth not to have proud attitudes. There is no proper reason for a Christian to be proud. If a Christian has any good thing, he has received that thing from God (James 1:17). It is God who gives his word (the Bible) and his Spirit to his people. It is God who has made his people holy. These things are not reasons to be proud. They are reasons to be thankful to God. And they are reasons to serve God, and to love his people, in a humble manner.
Paul taught them this lesson, ‘Do not go beyond the Bible’. In other words, use the Bible to test your own thoughts and attitudes. Live in the manner that the Bible teaches. If they did that, their proud arguments would soon end. And they would want to serve each other in love (1 Corinthians chapter 13).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.