1 Corinthians 11:2-13:13
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Okay, so I suppose today's readings might get some folks a bit upset with Paul... I think it is important to keep in mind that these writings in First Corinthians 11 were directed to the church in Corinth. And Paul is basically saying in this chapter that we need to be sensitive to the culture we are in. Meaning, in 1st century Corinth men with long hair typically were prostitutes in pagan temples, so Paul says in this chapter it's a disgrace for a man to have long hair. Which it was in the culture and time of Corinth when this was written. Same thing with women with short hair at this culture and time in Corinth - it was a sign of prostitution. So, Paul says keep it long. I know it can seem a bit tricky to figure out when the Bible should be taken literally word for word and when we need to consider context. I would say that generally speaking, we need to consider context - context of one verse to the verse before and after. Context to the chapter. Context to the book. Context to the Bible. And context to the time and place that a particular book was written. However, don't let context mislead you into thinking that the Bible is not God's Holy Word - that the Bible is not Truth. For it is both. The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is Truth. And Paul's words in today's chapter essentially get at the Truth that believers should look and behave in ways that are honorable within their own culture - so that they (and we) will be believable witnesses for Jesus Christ.
I love verses 11 & 12 in today's readings - "But in relationships among the Lord's people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, all men have been born from women ever since, and everything comes from God." It's pretty hard to argue with this. We are all dependent upon each other. The Body of Christ is a community of believers. Men and women are not independent. We are dependent and interdependent on each other. And things do not come from men or women - everything comes from God. Great stuff.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Headship and Head Coverings" is at this link.
Wow.. great verses from Paul today! I think most of us will recognize these words, or slight variations, as to how The Lord's Supper happens at many churches today. It is beautiful to come across these words in verses 23 through 26 in the context of Paul's overall letter to the Corinthians. It reminds me of how The Lord's Supper comes upon us at church in the midst of our often busy / distracted lives. We so need to hear these words and so need to receive The Lord's Supper: "For this is what the Lord himself said, and I pass it on to you just as I received it. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it." For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again." How is The Lord's Supper experience for you these days? Do you consciously take The Lord's Supper in remembrance of Jesus? Do you consciously realize when you participate in The Lord's Supper you are announcing Jesus' death until he comes again?
Paul's teachings in verses in 27 through 29 are something for us to take note of: "So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgment upon yourself." How do these verses speak to you? Do you examine yourself before participating in The Lord's Supper?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Corrections for Communion" is at this link.
First Corinthians 12 is once again another amazing chapter in this book! Spiritual Gifts and the Body of Christ... it gets no better! I love verses 4 through 7: "Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church." If you are a believer in Jesus as your Lord, do you believe that a spiritual gift has been given to you? Do you know what your spiritual gift is? Are you using your spiritual gift as a means of helping the entire church? (I think my spiritual gift is a gift that Paul did not write about in this chapter - the gift of blogging! :)
I love Paul's discourse on the Body of Christ. Verse 26 stands out: "If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad." This makes me wonder about the Body of Christ in our world today. Do you think that there are Christians in our world today who are suffering? Who are starving? Who are being persecuted? Who are dying of AIDS? And... if there are Christians - part of the Body of Christ just as we are part of the Body of Christ - who are suffering, are we sharing in the suffering with them in any way, shape, or form? If we are not, are we ignoring part of our Body? As Casting Crowns put it in their big hit Christian song - "If we are the Body, why aren't His hands healing? Why is His love not showing them there is a Way?" Why?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Spirituality and Spiritual Gifts" is at this link.
Today in First Corinthians chapter 13 we will read verses that you have likely heard many times at many weddings. It is the “Love” chapter of the Bible. This chapter goes way beyond just romantic or marital love – it gets at how we live our very lives each and every moment in relationship to all of creation. In verses 1 through 3 we read: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” How do these verses speak to you? Do you notice the juxtaposition of the concept of love and the concept of nothingness? Do you see that without love there is nothing? Do you believe that if we live our lives without love, we are nothing? Even if we have amazing spiritual gifts. Even if we have faith that can move mountains. Even if we give away all of our possessions to the poor. If we do not have love, we are nothing. We gain nothing. We give nothing. Do you see how important love is in our lives? Do you see that we must live each and every day from a starting point of love? Why do you suppose Paul spends this entire chapter telling us about the importance of love? Do you think that God is love and wants us to be love as well? I love (pun intended :) how this chapter ends: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Amen and amen.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is at this link and "But The Greatest of All These..." is at this link. (this second commentary link focuses in on "agape" love and is phenomenal - please read!)
Worship Video As Paul teaches on The Lord's Supper today in First Corinthians, it seems an appropriate time to post up this video of Kutless' "Sea of Faces." I have loved this song since I first heard it. And every time I hear it I immediately think of The Lord's Supper!
Are you lost in a sea of faces? Click here to be Found!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." 1 Corinthians 11:26 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you participate in the Lord's Supper regularly. Pray that you are proclaiming the Lord's death whenever you participate in the Lord's Supper. Pray that you examine yourself before partaking in the Lord's Supper.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
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