January 17, 2024 – Wednesday
1 Corinthians 4:6 NET
6 I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn “not to go beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other.
1 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
1 Corinthians 4:6 NIV
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
What things is Paul talking about? He is writing about what he has written respecting religious teachers 1 Corinthians 2:5-6 (especially verse five) and the impropriety of forming sects called after their names (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). Earlier in this chapter he wanted those like himself and Apollos to be thought of as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God in verse one.
In other words, do not start sects named after me (Paul) or Apollos or anyone else. It is only about Jesus. Do this so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” People then and today may evaluate a pastor, preacher, or minister on standards that are unscriptural. They may be looking at age, appearance, oratorical skill, and/or his marketing ability instead of what he brings to the pulpit, scripture. And it is scripture that he is warning the Corinthians not to go beyond.
This is clearly applicable to churches today. Chuck Smith? John MacArthur? David Guzik? And on and on. Enjoy any and all of them, but Do not go beyond what is written.
Beyond sticking to scripture as your final authority, why such a focus on this. The last sentence in the verse tells us why, so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other. Puffed up? If we become puffed up, we become prideful and arrogant, quoting what someone said or how they interpreted a verse instead of going to the verse on our own where we may find there is more than one way to read or understand a verse.
The prior verse gives a good reason for us to take a step back when find ourselves speaking for one or the other minister of the faith (NIV) 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. Let us ask ourselves what the motives of our hearts are when we lift up anyone beyond scripture.
Bottom Line: Examining the motives of our hearts is always a good idea. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6b, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Prayer: Almighty God, Help us to always express our hope and our faith through love, not in pride or arrogance. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Still writing and working for the Glory of God