Friday, August 05, 2005

God's Word... and Paul's words

I just finished reading 1 Corinthians... and a few thoughts occured to me.

First... Paul has to be one of the coolest dudes ever. Most of the letter is written to set the church in Corinth straight on some issues, so there is some strong language. But through it all, what do you see? You see Paul's love for God... and his love for the people in Corinth. He is frustrated with them, but not to the point of writing them off. Rather, he takes great pains to instruct them in the way they should be living.

Second... (and I have Matt Chandler to thank for this thought) The problems being discussed in 1 Corinthians probably came about because the Church grew so fast. When you see 3,000 added to your number in one day, discipleship of those people is a pretty difficult thing to accomplish. So it seems to me that much of what Paul is clearing up for the Corinthians are things that just had not yet occured to them... or said another way, they were ignorant of the truth. But Paul tells them at the outset that they are "sanctified in Christ Jesus" which affirms that they have been bought by His blood and He will teach them by His Spirit.

Third... The words contained in this book (and all of Paul's letters) are inspired by God. I do not doubt that or discredit that. But they are Paul's words (guided by that inspiration) to the people he loves. His pastoral nature comes through so clearly in this letter... it is touching, actually. I guess the point of this third thought is that this letter is actually a letter from one man to a church. He wrote this to them specifically;and yet because it is God breathed, it applies to us as well. I think sometimes we think that these letters were written by Paul with the intent that Christians everywhere would read them. But that is not true. He wrote this letter for a purpose... and it was God's intention that they be preserved for our edification. I may not be making sense... so I will stop there.

Bottom line... dig into the Word of God. Dig in deep because it is a beautiful piece of literature... and one that I can't imagine my life without.


dovie said...

Great words, Todd. I love that Paul's original audience was a specific group of people with specific problems. If Paul had known that this letter (or any of his letters) would eventually become cannonized, I can imagine how difficult it would be for his human spirit to keep from making it more or different than it needed to be.

If I knew a letter I wrote was to be shared with millions and millions of people, I'd never get it written for fear of saying anything wrong!

I *love* that all God calls us to is obedience. Paul was being obedient to his calling by sheparding these churches (even from afar) through his letters, and as you said, because it was God breathed, it applies to us today.

I love how God does that.

Todd Richards said...

So well said, Dovie. I think you articulated some of what I was thinking but was not able to put into words.