THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS
DOUBTERS IN THE BIBLE
Welcome back to Daily Bread!
Ready to share more of Paul's letter? Great! Remember when we left off, Paul
was answering some questions that the Corinthians had asked him in a letter
or letters of their own.
Just as in every
society, there are those who will question the authority of the leaders and
it seems that it's been brought to Paul's attention that some people were in
doubt of some of his methods or teachings.
only get to know Paul's character through his writings, but as captivating
as they are, you can only imagine what Paul's personality was like when he
was sharing the Word in person. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians is
only the second of fourteen letters that are included in the Bible with
Paul's own testimony and you've already experienced many different emotions
of his. You've seen that his tactics are effective and most importantly, you
can't escape the TRUTH in what he says.
didn't care how he brought lost sheep to the Lord, as long as he brought
them. If your own child was kidnapped and returned, you wouldn't ask of he
who brought the child home what the rescue plan was, you'd just be grateful
that your precious child was home safe and out of harms way. It appears that
the Lord didn't question Paul's manner because He continued providing His
Holy Spirit to Paul which was visible not only in his words but in the
miracles that were performed through Him by God..
But, as I said
before, there are doubters in every crowd, and there were bound to be those
who would raise their eyebrows at Paul's ways. You read in the
Gospels how the Pharisees
persistently and relentlessly questioned Jesus' motives, so you must know
that Paul expected the same treatment. In fact, if you're a Christian,
spreading the Word of God, you know first hand that people will examine
whatever you say and question the authenticity of your every word. Our
credibility is tested not only in our words, but by our actions as well.
This is to be expected as all are to check the fruits ...
Matthew 12:33 and to prove all things
1 Thessalonians 5:21.
Paul, you'll find was a
tremendously patient man. Imagine, doing all you could for your flock,
loving them, devoting your life to them. After all, Paul was a tent-maker, he
could have been pretty well off one would think, if he hadn't surrendered
all to follow Jesus. At that time, tents were peoples' homes. In today's
world, he might be the equivalent of a home-builder. It's probably a safe bet
that he didn't answer to anyone in his profession, and he might have
achieved an "upper class" income level financially speaking, if he were to
pursue his career.
Now, imagine, you give all that up for the
love of Jesus, you forfeit having a wife and children so you can devote
all of your time effort and energy to serving the Lord, you go on
journeys that take years to complete, you're persecuted verbally,
stoned, whipped, mobbed, etc., etc., etc., by unbelieving Jews (your own
people) and Greeks that had a separate god for every aspect of life, but
now, to top that off, people of your own congregation are questioning
whether or not you're a fraud because of rumors. These were false
brethren within the church!
DOUBTERS IN THE BIBLE WARNINGS OF DOUBTERS IN THE BIBLE DANGERS AND DOUBTERS IN THE BIBLE CONCERNS
I must point out that though there were
problems in Corinth, the church there was considered a huge success. To
take a people from the blatant heathenism that they practiced there,
introduce Christianity and start a church was not an easy task by any
Not only did Paul surrender what most
wouldn't, but to avoid feeling obligated to anyone, he practiced
tent-making while he was sojourning. But really, what rights did the
other apostles have that Paul shouldn't? Their faith alone ... Their
conversion was a sign of his true apostleship.
It's nothing new for a minister of the Lord
to be treated with ungratefulness in return for good works and
compassionate service among his own congregation. Oft times they will
deny themselves for the good of others, stretching themselves far beyond
the edge of the cliff to save a soul in danger, yet what respect do they
get in return? It's nothing new for faithful followers of the Lord to
meet with the worst treatment where they might expect the best. Paul
probably spent more time helping the people of Corinth than anywhere
else. Paul had the right to claim what was needful for himself and his
family if he had any, from the church, without setting aside his
ministry to get it. But Paul gave up that right, rather than jeopardize
his success by requesting it.
He always provided
for himself to avoid any kind of misunderstandings, accusations or
questions of his worthiness or credibility, or anything that would take
attention away from his mission of delivering the Word. It is
the congregation's obligation to support their shepherd. He may
graciously decline it, as Paul, but those who neglect to give due
support that he is entitled, ignore the teaching of Jesus Christ.
DOUBTERS IN THE BIBLE PROPHETS AND DOUBTERS IN THE BIBLE TRUTH
I ask you now to read
1 Corinthians 9:1-17 straight from the Bible, reflecting on Paul's
position and putting yourself in the same position. If you were a preacher
or a minister, how would you feel, after you pour your heart and soul into
your shepherding, if people within your flock called you a fraud, and you
felt like you had to support yourself and your family with a side job so
that you wouldn't feel weird about anything?
So, where does Paul get his peace of
mind? With such opposition, where does a shepherd find gratification in
ministry? He denies himself. He goes above and beyond the call of duty
because his love for the author of the book he sells ... The Gospel of
Jesus Christ ... Is so strong that he can't fathom not doing everything
humanly possible for the cause and he hopes that by denying himself, he
can win all the more souls for the Lord.
1 Corinthians 9:19
For though I be free from
(any obligation to) all
men, yet have I made myself servant
unto all, that I might gain the more.
To the Jews I became as a Jew,
that I might gain the Jews;
to those that are under the law,
I became as under the law,
that I might gain them that are under the law;
To them that are without law,
I became as without law,
(being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,)
that I might gain them that are without law.
To the weak became I as weak,
that I might gain the weak:
I am made all things to all men,
that I might by all means save some.
That isn't to say he became Jewish ... Paul was in fact Jewish ... But he
became AS a Jew,