ĎLet him who boasts, boast in the Lord.í
In English, to boast means to speak bold or even proud words. A person who boasts, therefore, is usually praising himself. He is declaring proudly how great he is.
That was what some of the teachers were doing in the church at Corinth. They were trying to impress the members so that they could gain authority in the church. Paul did not approve. These teachers claimed to be servants of Christ, but they did not have Christís attitudes*.
Paulís words come from Jeremiah 9:23-24. At the time of Jeremiah, too, people were trying to show their greatness. There were many different reasons why they considered themselves great. Intelligent people spoke about the greatness of their wisdom. Strong people spoke about the greatness of their strength. Rich people spoke about the greatness of their wealth. The Lord (God) insisted that none of these were truly great. Rather, true greatness is to know God. If people knew God, they would obey him. Then there would be kindness, right judgements, and good behaviour in the world. These are the things that God approves of.
Paul emphasises his words slightly differently. True greatness is in God alone. Therefore, someone who desires to speak about true greatness must speak about the Lord. Someone who wants to praise true greatness must praise the Lord. It is foolish when a person boasts (or speaks proudly) about himself. It is foolish to praise yourself. When you desire to give someone honour, you should give that honour to God. In the end, he alone deserves that honour.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.