8 Aug. 1 Corinthians 4:1-17

8 Aug. What is it like to be an apostle?

"People should think of us as servants of Christ, the ones God has trusted with his secrets. Now in this way those who are trusted with something valuable must show that they are worthy of that trust..."

"You think you already have everything you need. You think you are rich. You think you have become kings without us. I wish you really were kings so we could be kings together with you. But it seems to me that God has put us apostles in last place, like those sentenced to die..."

"Even to this very hour we do not have enough to eat or drink or to wear. We are often beaten, and we have no homes in which to live. We work hard with our own hands for our food."

"When people curse us, we bless them. When they hurt us, we put up with it. When they tell evil lies about us, we speak nice words about them. Even today, we are treated as though we were the rubbish of the world - the scum of the earth."

"I am not trying to make you feel ashamed. I am writing this to give you a warning as my own dear children. For though you may have 10,000 teachers in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Through the Good News I became your father in Christ Jesus, so I beg you, please follow my example."

"That is why I am sending you Timothy, my son in the Lord. I love Timothy, and he is faithful. He will help you remember my way of life in Christ Jesus, just as I teach it in all the churches everywhere."

          (1 Corinthians 4:1-17)



Paul has just finished criticising the new believers for being 'worldly wise' and lacking in spiritual maturity. In this situation, many leaders would have advised their listeners to "Do as I say". But not Paul; Paul's message to the young church is "Do as I do."

Before this, he explains why he has the authority to ask them to "follow my example" (1 Corinthians 4:16).

In the time of Paul, Corinth was a busy Roman trading city on the narrow strip of land between the Ionian Sea and the Aegian Sea. Corinth was commercially successful because it taxed the trade which passed across this 6km-wide isthmus separating Achaia (southern Greece) from the Peloponnese.

But it also had two harbours – Lechaeum on the Gulf of Corinth to the west and Cenchraea on the Saronic Gulf to the east. It also made huge profits by taxing cargoes that were transported overland between the two ports (before the Corinth Canal was built) to avoid the dangerous waters around the Peloponnese.

So the followers in Corinth were no doubt wealthy. They thought they had everything they needed. Paul suggests they felt like kings. But he then points out that having worldly wealth isn't what the Christian life is all about.

Paul goes on to describe what his own life is really like as he does his best to follow Christ. He is not rich in material things - a home, food, clothing. Indeed, he has to work hard just to make ends meet. But he is rich in spiritual blessings; and this is why Paul begs the Corinthians to follow his example.

And to drive home his point, he announces he is sending Timothy, his "spiritual son" to remind them how to behave as Christians.

The satellite photo (by NASA) shows the location of Corinth, situated on the land bridge between southern Greece (at the top) and the Peloponnese (at the bottom).

You can read more from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/temples-of-the-holy-spir…/

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