In the first Christian churches, many people tried to teach about God. Some of these teachers were genuinely working for God; but other teachers just appointed themselves. They did it because, perhaps, they wanted to earn money or to gain importance (Philippians 1:15-18).
In Corinth, the Christians may have considered it difficult to understand why Paulís opinions still mattered to them. Paul had left Corinth to go elsewhere; they had other teachers now. Paul was saying that they were doing many wrong things in their church. It would not be easy to follow Paulís advice.
Paulís reply was that he still had a responsibility for their church. And that responsibility had its origin in Paulís love for them. If those other men were teachers, Paul was like their father.
It was Christ who gave Paul that responsibility and that love. Christ sent Paul to Corinth. And there, Paul was the first person to declare Christís message publicly. That was when Paulís love for the Christians in Corinth began. And that was how the church in Corinth began.
For the next 18 months, Paul looked after the new Christians in Corinth as a father looks after a baby. The number of church members grew, and so did the strength of their relationship with God. They came to Paul, and told him about their problems. He prayed for them, and he helped them to trust God.
Paul could have said that he knew the Bible better than the other teachers. He was wiser than them, and he had more experiences than them. All this was true, but Paul did not urge the Christians in Corinth to obey him for those reasons. Instead, he asked them to follow his advice because of his love for them.
Next part: Imitate me (1 Corinthians 4:16)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.