Daily Bible Reading

(VERSES EXPLAINED)

 

BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS

 

Paul addressed at least six identifiable themes in this first letter to the believers in Corinth:

 

Wisdom:  In no other epistle does Paul so eloquently compare the shortcomings of human wisdom in light of divine wisdom (1:18 - 2:16).

 

Rewards:  Paul mentions the coming Judgment Seat of Christ by name twice in his letters - briefly in Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.  But in 3:11 - 15, he connects the forthcoming rewards for Christians to Christ 's judgment.

 

Spiritual Gifts in the Church:  These gifts are discussed four times in the NT:  Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12 - 14.  The longest instruction on the topic (3 chapters) is directed at the Corinthians because of their abuse of the gifts and their failure to submit their gifts to the priority of love (12 - 14).

 

Resurrection:  The greatest presentation of human resurrection-both Christ's and the coming resurrection of believers-is found in 15:1 - 58.  Paul solidifies Christ's resurrection as both the linchpin of Christian theology and the basis of the believer's hope for eternal life.

 

Christian Living:  Paul addresses practical problems that would be confronted by any group of Christians coming out of a pagan background like that of Corinth: immorality (5:1 - 12; 6:12 - 20),k settling disputes between believers (6:1 - 11), Christian marraige (7:1 - 40), the tension between liberty and license (8:1 - 13; 10:23 - 11:1), and separating pagan feastsw from the Lord's Supper (11:17 - 22).

 

Love:  Following 12 chapters of patient, apostolic teaching, correction, and problem solving, it is as though a shaft of resplendent light suddenly knifes through an overcast sky.  Paul writes, "I show you a more excellent way," and then, under anointing and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he launches into one of the most moving transcendent treatises on love in all of human literature, First Corinthians 13 is like a perfect flower pushing its way up through the common mud of church struggles and petty human divisions.

 


 

What It Means For YOU- The Forgotten Priority

 

Where does one begin with a contentious, undisciplined, out-of-balance, problem filled church?  Deep into his letter, Paul seems to set aside his long list of church problems and headaches to write about...agape love.

 

Whenever there are problems-in a church or a marriage, or any significant relationship-the first thing to slip out the back door is the steady, timeless, selfless, sacrificial love that Jesus modeled.  When Jesus wrote His own letter to the church in Ephesus (Rev. 2:1 - 5), He complimented them on their hard work and their accurate doctrine, but He also brought a serious charge against them:  They had lost their love.  As a result, they were about to lose everything else.

 

Maybe the place to start with our relational problem-solving efforts is to first ask the Lord of the church to restore the selfless love that only He can give, maintain, and ultimately perfect.

 

Asign of spiritual immaturity within a congregation is quarreling over personalities instead of focusing on loylty to Christ.  Paul describes how the different factions in the church took off in four different directions-some devoting themselves to Paul, some to Apollos, some to Cephas, and some arrogantly claiming they had transcended earthly teachers.  In the early church, the people called their great teachers theoe anthropoe: God-men.  The Corinthians had polarized around these various teachers, whom they had placed  on pedestals (1:14, 15; 2:2).  By doing so, they had lost sight of the One who should be receiving the glory-not the one speaking, but the One of whom that teacher was speaking! 

 

1:10,11 - Paul pleads as a brother rather than commanding as an apostle.  The word "contentions" (strife) is also found in Romans 1:29, bookended by "murder" and "deceit".  Unity doesnot mean that believers agree all the time, but a great difference stands between caring, concerned question and a contentious, strife-ridden comment (Eph. 4:3).

 

1:11 - Note that Paul did not respond to an anonymous tip; the report came from a credible source: those of Chloe's household.  Anonymous attacks and idle gossip are not worth the breath required to repeat them.  A substantiated report of discord disgracing the church deserves follow up.

 

1:10 - The Greek word for divisions is schismata, from which comes the word schism.  It is used in the NT to describe the tear in a garment (Matt. 9:16), a difference of opinion (John 7:43), or a feeling of alienation or inward separation.

 

1:13 - 17 - Paul sarcastically rebukes those who cause division by reminding them of the essentials of the faith:  Christ and Him crucifiedc (2:2).  To elevate any many or woman is to distort the cross of Christ and the hope provided through His resurrection. Any time the focus shifts to the human messenger, God is robbed of His glory (4:1).

 

1:17 - Baptism has an important place in the life of the church, but Paul's intent was to focus the Corinthians' minds on the One whose name they were baptized.

 

1:18, 19 - Paul quotes Isaiah 29:14 to illustrate the message of the cross.  The cross is a simple word-basic enough that everyone can understand its essence, yet powerful enough to radically transform a life.  It is also a separating word, for whenever the cross is preached, it causes division: those who reject it are perishing; those who receive it are being saved.

 

1:18 - Paradoxically, the cross both divides and unifies.  It set believers apart from the unbelieving world while uniting them with all the children of God (Gal. 6:18).

 

1:20 - The wise, the scribe, and the disputer of this age collectively describe the intelligentsia of ancient culture.  God's plan and action throughout history demonstrates how foolish the wisdom of this world is .  Only the truth of God endures  through every situation and culture (3:19; Jer. 8:9)

 

1:21 - 2:16 -  Apart from divine revelation, man can never through his own wisdom come to knowledge of God.  Salvation requires belief in the crucified One, not worldly understanding or signs (1:22, 23).  The mind of Christ is the true discerner of truth (2:16).

 

1:22 - 25 - The two groups of the day (Greeks, or Gentiles, and Jews) looked for two diffferent proofs of truth.  One desired a miraculous sign; the other sought proof through reason and logic.  Paul did not care to cater to their worldly desires for verification; for Paul, Christ crucified was all the proof needed.

 

1:23, 24 - To the Jews, a crucified Savior made no sense, because they were looking for a victorious king.  To the Greeks, such a Savior made no sense because crucifixion was a symbol of weakness and defeat.  Yet the message of the crucified One is exactly what provides those who are called with the power and wisdom of God.  In the Savior those people rejected were the very things they longed for.

 

1:26 -  The wise, the mighty, and the noble are in the minority (not many) of those whom God chooses to serve Him.  God will use some influential figures, but seldom.

 

1:27, 28 - God uses five things to accomplish His work:  (1) foolish things, (2) weak things (3) base things (4) despised things, and (5) things which are not.  The word weak can be translated "sickly, feeble, impotent" (Acts 4:9).  The base things are ignoble.  The word despised here means "contemptible," like the way Goliah looked upon David and God (1 Sam.17).

 

1:29 - 31 - Salvation is not earned through one's own strength but given by the grace of God (Eph. 1:8, 9). God wants two things fom His servants:  that they not glory in themselves, and that they give glory to Him.  God makes the nobodies of this world into somebodies in His kingdom.

 


 

2:1 - Paul's program in ministry was simply declaring the gospel.  He was not a preacher because he enjoyed preaching or because he was a brilliant orator (2:4).  He was a preacher because he simply could not be anything else and still be in the will of God.

 

2:2 - The priority in Paul's ministry was to know...Christ and Him crucified, plus or minus nothing-a strategy that is still valid today.  The great missionary to the Native Americans, David Brainerd, wrote in his dairy at the end of his ministry: "I never got away from Jesus and Him crucified.  I found that when my people were gripped by great evangelical doctrine...I had no need to give them instructions about morality...One followed as the sure and inevitable fuit of the other."

 

2:3 - 5 - Paul admits that he came to the Corinthians.  In weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.  This is a healthy attitude in preparation for ministry.  Only the power of God can fill the Christian's heart and life with what is needed for effectiveness.

 

2:4 - The power Paul had in ministry was not found in his words but in his Spirit-filled life.  The word demonstration means "the most rigorous proof."  The Holy Spirit produces supernatural results in gospel preaching, in witnessing, and in the Christian life that prove the validity and authenticity of the message.

 

2:7 - 8  - The natural self cannot discern the things of Godf through its own resources; spirtiual things are a hidden wisdom (Job 11:7).  In the language of the NT, mystery means a truth that can be known only as God reveals it.  No one can reason his or her way to Jesus.  Evangelism and apologetics are valuable, but the work of the Spirit is what regenerates the heart and ushers unbelievers into the kingdom.

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2:8 - The cross is the proof that God's wisdom is not understood.  That the most prominent people in Jesus' day crucified the Lord of glory blatantly issustrates thed foolishness and ignorance of humanity.  They took the Wisdom of God and nailed him to the tree.

 

2:9 - 16 - God's Spirit reveals,k inspires, and illuminates Scripture, teaching those who read it (2 Pet. 1:21).  The Spirit indwelt community of faith (Heb. 10:24, 25) also helps to illumin ate what was revealed through divine inspiration.

 

2:9, 10 - This quotation from Isaiah 64:4 does not refer to what Christians will experience in heaven but to what the Spirit has already revealed to those who love God.  Through the inspired Scriptures, the Spirit introduces God's children to something beyond their ability to see, hear, or imagine-the glories of God!

 

2:11 - 13 - Paul uses humans as an analogy-no one can truly know another person's thoughts: only the individual knows his or her own thoughts.  Similarly, because the Holy Spirit is fully God  Therefore, He is able to teach believers the truth of God.  An unbeliever can study the Scriptures and learn certain facts about the Almighty, but only through the illumination of the Spirit does true understanding come.

 

2:14 - The natural man is a person who does not have the Spirit of God living within him or her and thus does not benefit from hearing the Word of God.  Receive means "to welcome, to embrace, to make something one's own."  The natural self cannot take in the things that are revealed by the Spirit.

 

2:15,16 - The one who is spiritual is indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit and can thus discern and comprehend spiritual things.  The unspiritual (those who dwel in the flesh, or their sin nature) cannot judge believers regarding spiritual things, but believers regarding spiritual things, but believers can certainly sharpen their brothers and sisters in Christ (5:9 - 12; 12:3).

 

2:16 - The quotation from Isaiah 40:13 explains how believers can be discerning and yet avoid assuming God's place as jusdge.  They possess that which the world can never acquire on its own -illumination of truth from the Holy Spirit, which gives them the mind of Christ.

 

3:1 - A new Christian who has just been born into the family of God is of the flesh (carnal) in the sense that he or she has not yet had the opportunity to mature spiritually.  Paul is not finding fault with them.  He simply says that when he came to them the first time, there was much to teach, but they could not yet bear that teaching because they were mere babes.

 

3:2 - 4 - Paul taught these new Christians the basics-the milk of faith - on his first visit (reminiscent of Jesus in John 16:12).  By now, the Corinthians should have moved on to the meat of spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:12 - 14), yet their behavior was till fleshly, marked by envy, strife, and division.

 

3:6,7 - For the Corinthians to elevate and celebrate Paul or Apollos as the center of their faith was ridiculous.  These men were merely instruments of the Spirit.

 

3:6 - Just as Paul planted and Apollos watered, so too can every believer serve. Some may preach, some may assist others in their serice; but it is God who gives the increase.  He can and will use the gifts of every one of His servants for His purposes and His glory.

 

3:9 - 11 -  The first reason that churches fail is because they violate their commitment to Jesus Christ as their foundation Churches must be built on Christ; then a community of believers can glorify Him through social justice or outreach or service.  To establish a church on any other foundation - even one comprised of seemingly virtuous causes - will not succeed.

 

3:12 - Wood, hay and straw are perishable; gold, silver, and precious stones are permanent.  The framework of the church must be carefully chosen for endurance.

 

3:13 -  Paul explains that the Day will declare the validityy of each person's work.  This is the Great White Throne Judgment were God will condemn unbelievers.  It is the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), where believers will be evaluated.  Test each one's work means that God will see His children as they really are - all their motivations, desires, and reasons for serving Him.

 

3:14, 15 - Believers will be given rewards based on the quality of their service.  Notice that it is not their service that saves.  Both the rewarded believer and the believer who suffers loss are saved.  Works can never earn salvation.  Faithfulness in service, however, will earn the right to give God even greater glory as the faithful lay their rewards at His feet (Rev. 4:10).

 

3:16 - In 6:19, Paul teaches that the believer's physical body is the temple, or dwelling place, of the Holy Spirit.  Here, Paul explains that the local church is the temple of God.

 

3:17 - This is God's harsh warning against people who try to tear down His church.  It is one thing to disagree if one's desire is what is best for a community of believers.  But those who are motivated to block or ruin what God wants to do - actions that marked the church in Corinth (1:10, 11)-are sinning.

 

3:21 - 22 - There are no limits to the believer's possessions in Christ (1:7; Eph. 1:3).  Pastors and teachers are fellow servants ministering the things of God.  How foolish to fight over an Apollos versus Paul versus a Cephas when they all, like every member within the church, are part of God's purpose for the body of Christ.

 

4:2 - 5 - The only valid judgment comes from the Lord, and He has said that the only thing for which a steward is responsible is to be faithful.  Fidelity is what matters.

 

4:3 -  Public criticism is fickle, feeble, uncertain, and should not tbe overvalued, thus Paul was not motivated by anyone's frown or favor.l  He also understood that self-judgment is too partial to be fair, too blind to be accurate, and too indulgent to be helpful.  Self-examination is important (11:13), but dwelling inordinately on one's identity, actions, and motives must be avoided.

 

4:4,5 - When Christians judge themselves, they either spiral down into self-lathing or climb to self-exaltation.  Either condition unsurps the authority that is reserved for Christ on the Day of judgment (2 Cor. 5:10).

 

4:5 - It is impossible to know the hidden things that others do wh en nobody is watching (Eccl. 12:14; Heb. 4:13), as well as the counsels (motivations) of the hearts.  The time to judge will be the day when God judges.  Anyone who tries to judgte others in the meantime will cause great hurt because they will be doing something God never intended for them to do.

 

4:6 - Pride leads people to think they know more than what has been given to them.  If no one is qualified to evaluate even him or herself completely, how dare a person self righteously judge anyone else?  Jesus alone is the Righteous One, capable of judging, yet He willingly became like a servant (Phil. 2:6 - 8).

 

4:7 - Everything a person has - their natural gifts and the ability to develop those gifts - is from God (John 3:27; James 1:17) so why...boast?  Pride steals from the glory that rightly belongs to the Creator.

 

4:8 - In an attempt to get the Corinthians to understand their problem, Paul resorts to sarcasm: You are already full!  You are already rich!  The Corinthian Christians were filled with smug satisfaction and self-sufficiency.  They were reigning with snobbish superiority, thinking they had arrived spiritually.

 

4:9 - Paul uses a rare phrase-condemned to death, referring to convicted criminals - in describing himself and the other apostles.  In antiquity , criminals would be paraded before the public as objects of derision.  While the Corinthians were boasting and living in complacency.  the apostles were living under the sword of persecution.

 

4:10 - The Corinthians claimed to be wise, strong, and distinguished, while the apostles were dishonored and treated as fools who were weak.  By drawing this sharp contrast, Paul sought to show the Corinthians how twisted their perspective was regarding their position.

 

4:11 - 13 -  In their pride, the church at Corinth forgot that honor in the Christian life comes from service and sacrifice, not knowledge or power.  Paul's expression of his Christian experience echoes Jesus' teaching that whoever wants to be the greatest of all must become the least of all (Luke 22:25 - 27).

 

4:14 - 17 -  Paul switches from a tone of severity to one of pleading.  As their spiritual father (I have begotten you through the gospel), he reminds the Corinthians of how they entered into God's family:by a humble profession of faith, admitting that they were sinners in need of God's deliverance.  Humility is a prerequisite for salvation.

 

4:16 - 20 - Paul urges his spiritual children to recall his performance.  Not only is he their spiritual father, he is their spiritual example.  Although he was a man of outstanding intellect and ability, he declared himself the least of all the apostles (15:9), the least of all the saints (Eph. 3:8), and the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) thoughout his ministry.  No one had cause to be puffed up if he was not.

 


 

5:1 - Here, the phrase his father's wife refers to a stepmother.  In addition, the man's father-the one who suffered wrong-was still alive.  This is not someone who fell into sin and had a repentant heart; this man was openly living in sin.  He had been approached repeatedly and told to repent, yet he refused.

 

5:2 - The central problem in the church is pride.  To openly condone sexual immorality without concern-to see oneself beyond the moral law (Rom. 6:15; Jude 4)-is pride.  Such deep-rooted sin should drop the mature believer to his or her knees in mourning, with a prayer for the restoration of the unrepentant brother.

 

5:5 - The shocking phrase to deliver one to Satan means to deny the unrepentant one fellowship.  What is the purpose of this?  The church does not send that individual out to die but sends him or her away so that the person's flesh, which is deeply corrupted by sin, might be destroyed.  This is another way of describing the process of sanctification-putting the flesh to death.

 

5:6 - 13 - Although churches rarely practice corporate discipline today, it was common practice in the early church to withdraw from the fellowship of evildoers.

 

5:6 - 8 -  By allowing a little immorality to go unchecked in the church, the entire commnity was tainted by this sin.  By pursuing discipline, the church both retards the contamination of sin in the assembly and demonstrates its sincerity in pursuing godly living.

 

5:8 - Bread without leaven represents a life of sincerity and truth.  When sin in the church is handled as God instructs, joy is restored.

 


 

5:9 - 11 - This epistle mentioned here has been lost to history, which serves as a reminder that not everything Paul wote was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  However, Paul's point here was divinely inspired:  Christians must not stand in judgment over the unbelieving world while ignoring sin in their midst.  Their goal is to be in fellowship for the sake of the gospel before the unbelieving world but to refuse fellowship with an unrepentant believer (anyone named a brother) for the purpose of restoration.

 

5:12, 13 - God judges those outside the fellowship.  Although believers should do everything they can to raise the moral consciousness of the world at large, their primary role is to promote godliness within the church.

 

6:2, 3 - Because the saints will one day judge the world with Christ they should be able to settle small squabbles among themselves.

 

6:5,6 - When believers take each other to court, they tarnish the reputation of the church before a watching world.  Paul is not teaching that Christians should never go before a court-he appealed  to a court (Acts 25:11).  His point is that believers should not take other believers to an unbelieving court (Matt. 18:15 - 20).

 

6:7 - 10 - Two things shocked Paul.  First, the Corinthians were unwilling to accept wrong or endure being cheated.  Second, these believers did these things to fellow believers!  It is far better to endure being wronged than to wrong another person.

  


 

6:11 - Praise God that He can cleanse His people from the wretchedness of their sin (1 John 1:9).  No Christian should take for granted the past from which he or she has been save and the future hope that he or she has been promised.

 

6: 12, 13 - These two verses should be read as an imaginary conversation between Paul and the Corinthian church.  Paul seeks to set the Corinthians straight by reminding them that the pleasures of this world are corruptible and will pass away.  The Christian life is informed by that which is incorruptible and glorifies God (Romans 15:6).

 

6:15 - 17 - With this sobering reminder of the consequences of sin, believers must consider the implications of their actions for they are in Christ (12:27).  Adultery twists what marriage was created to be.  Christian couples are joined to the Lord (Gen. 2:24).  How dare they corrupt this mystical union for a moment of destructive pleasure (Heb. 13:4).

 

6:18 -  When Paul says to flee sexual immorality, he means, "Run for your life!" (2 Tim. 2:22).  Following the model of Joseph with Potiphar's wife (Gen. 39), the servant of God should not entertain sexual immorality for even a moment and must make no provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:4).

 

6:19, 20 - To permit anything to enter one's body outside of the boundaries God has established becomes a form of idolatry that defies the temple of the Holy Spirit.

 


 

7:1 - 9 - Paul answers a question posed to him in a letter by affirming that the celibate life is good - but it is not the only good.

 

7:1,2 - Verse 2 is not Paul conceding on the point of verse 1.  It is not better to be single and to marry only if you cannot handle the higher calling!  Paul's point in verse 2 is that monogamy is God's plan for marriage.  Both the celibate life and married life are equally viable paths.  And they both require fidelity.

 

7:3 - 5 -  Sex in marriage is a beautiful thing.  Because of the highly sexual aspect of pagan worship in Corinth, some in the church may have thought they should abstain from sex even with marriage.  Paul reassures the Corinthians of the necessity and divine beauty of sexual union with a godly marriage.

 

7:6, 7 - These verses are often misunderstood.  Paul's concession is not that one may marry; rather, it is that couples may agree to refrain from sex for a season (deprive one another...for a time) in order to devote themselves to prayer.  Celibacy is a gift from God, but not everyone has that gift  celibacy is for those God has giffted for the lifestyle.

 

7:10, 11 -  The Corinthians were confuse about marriage, and some were divorcing their mates because they thought the single celibate lifestyle was more spirtual.  But God designed marriage!  It is so precious in His sight that He allows this institution to be used as a picture of His relationship with the Church.

 

7:14 - Simply being married to a believer does not save the unbelieving spouse.  But that person is sanctified, that is , set apart as one who is privileged.  Because unbelieving spouses will be prayed for and are in the daily presence of a positive influence, they are more likely to be saved than if married to an unbeliever.

 

7:17 - Paul summarized the chapter thus far:  As you have been gifted, so .. walk.  If you are gifted to be celibate, do not covet marriage.  If you have been given a spouse, do not desire another or forsake the marriage for celibacy, either by divorce or denial.  Every Christian should live the life for which he or she has been equipped by God, and be content.

 

7:18 - 24 - Being a Christian is not about changing oneself externally to conform to the expectations of others; it is about being transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit into the image of the Son (2 Cor. 3:18).

 

7:25 - No commandment from the Lord is not an assault on inspiration.  Paul meant that this command was not one given by Jesus when He taught upon this earth.  Paul was offering it now.

 

7:26 - 28 - The precise nature of the present distress Paul mentions is uncertain.  It mayu have been a season of persecution or, more likely, an anticipation of the imminent return of Christ.  The bottom line is that marriage, whern entered into as God intended, honors God.

 


 

7:29 - 31 - Day to day life is but a blink in the eye of eternity.  Christians should live their lives and manage their priorities as though the Son's return could happen at any moment - because it can!  Every believer should live every moment fully for God.

 

7:32 - 35 - Those who are unmarried are freer to serve the Lord without distraction.  Those who are married must rightfully seek to please their spouse as well as the Lord.

 

7:36 - 38 - Here Paul presumably addresses certain fathers in his day who set ap,art their unmarried daughters (virgins) for celibacy.

 

7:39 - The Christian widow may remarry if she so chooses, but she must wed a believer (in the Lord).

 

8:1 - 3 - Mere knowledge of what is right and wrong can manifest itself as a sort of pride in the knowing that never makes the transition innto living.  Only the knowledge that is humbly applied and motivated by love makes any difference.  The Corinthians had knowledge, but was marked by arrogance and a lack of service.

 

8:6 - In this early creedal statement.  Paul beautifully asserts the  triune God as the only self-sufficient being upon whom all else depends.  As a people who have been given insight into this reality, why should Christians care about tin idols and the activity of pagan priests?  God is the Creator and Sustainer of all!

 

8:7,8 - Christians have a responsibility to look beyond what they know to be right and srong and examine how their exercise of freedom might influence the ministry and witness they have to hose around them.

 

8:9,10 -  There are two things to note about weaker brothers or sisters in Christ.  First, they are the ones who legalistically toe the line on doubtful things and judge those who do not follow the same rules (Rom. 14:2,3).  Second, they are exactly that brothers and sisters to fellow believers (Rom. 14:10).

 

8:11 - 13 -  Christian liberty must be tempered by love and concern for other believers.  The mature, or stronger, believers knows he or she has the freedom in Christ to do something-yet chooses not to for the sake of the one who has not yet found that freedom (Rom. 14:15).

 


 

9:1 - 3 - There were those who challenged Paul as an apostle.  The defense of his apostleship was two fold: he had seen the Lord, and the life change seen in the Corinthians as a result of his service (my work in the Lord) was undeniable (the seal).

 

9:4 - 6 - Speaking out against a spirit of entitlement, Paul had a right to exercise his spiritual freedom more than anyone.  But he relinquished the right to marry, and even to be paid for his service - all for the sake of Christ.

 

9:7 - 14 - In Paul's day, people did not vounteer to serve in the military; all soldiers were mercenariues.  When they went to battle, they were paid for it.  With these three illustrations - soldier, the farmer, and the sheperd - Paul argues that he has the right to give himself totally to the ministry of the gospel without having to work on the side.

 

9:8 - 10 - Following the three contemporary "witnesses," Paul cites a witness fom the Mosaic Law to support his point (Deut. 25:4; 1 Tim. 5:18).

 

9:11, 12 - Paul bolsters his defense by appealing to the witness of logic.  If the apostles give all their energy to minister to the church  spiritually and have no energy remaining to care for their own physical needs, is it not appropriate for those who benefit from their ministry to give materially?  As a body, believers meet one another's needs - physically and spiritually (2 Cor. 8:1 - 5).

 

9:13 - The next witness is the tradition of the Levites.  In the OT, God built into the system a way to care for the Levitical priests and those who ministered in the temple (Num. 18:8 - 24).

 

9:14 - The final witness is the Lord Himself (Luke 10:7).  This alone would be proof enough that the Corinthians should support Paul.  Clearly, believers should support their pastors and others who minister to their spiritual needs (Gal. 6:6).

 


 

9:15 - 19 - Although Paul had compellingly argued that he had every right to live off the gospel (9:7 - 14), he chose not to exercise that right.  Paul demonstrates that a art of leadership or maturity is the willingness to sacrifice one's rights for the well-being of others (8:13).

 

9:20 - 23 - The fact  that Paul varied his behavior depending on the audience does not make him a hypocrite.  On the contrary, he cdhose not to exercise certain freedoms in certain contexts in order to minister more effectiely to that community (Acts 16:3; 21:23 - 26).  Christians must be mindful of how their freedom (or perceived lack thereof)  might negatively color their witness for Christ.  Preferences should be set aside for the greater good - the receptivity of one's audience.

 

9:24 - Too often today, Christians are content to merely be in the race rather than diligently paying the price to win.  This was a foreign idea to Paul.  Every Christian should strive to win, just as the victor did in the Grecian games (Gal. 2:2).

 

9:25 - 27 - The price to be paid in the Christian life is that of disciplining one's mind, because the worldly war is for the dominion of the mind.  The victory is won in the study of the Word and the equipping of the Spirit through prayer (Rom. 6:18; 8:13; 2 Tim. 2:15).

 

10:1 - 4 - Paul's repetition of the word "ALL" is to drive home to the Corinthians that the entire community of  faith participated in the divine blessings of God.

 


 

10:2 - The phrase all were baptized into Moses simply means the people of Israel were identified with Moses through the Red Sea experience, just as Christians are identified with Christ in their own baptism (Ex. 14:21, 22, 29).

 

10:5 -  That God was not well pleased is a vast understatement.  How many Jews came out of Egypt?  Two million.  How many of the thousands of men of war who came out of Egypt entere the Promised Land?  Two, Joshua and Caleb.

 

10:6 - 12 - These verses elaborate on why God was not pleased.  The temptations of idolatry, immoraliity, infedelity, and disloyalty are as much a danger today as they were in the Sinai desert.  (Gal. 5:19 - 21).  God's people were disqualified and disciplined Christians do well to learn from history (Rom. 15:4).

 

10:11 - All that happened in the wilderness is the Christian's spiritual warning.  God has given the Isrtaelites as examples so that anyone who comes after them will not make the same mistakes (Heb. 4:1, 2).

 

10:23, 13 - Despite the many blessings, the Israelites became overconfident and commplacent, and they fell (Heb. 3:16, 17).  Christians are never impervious to temptation and sin.

 

10:13 - No Christian can use the excuse that a temptation is unique to him or her.  Even Jesus was tempted (Matt. 4:1 - 11); Heb. 4:15).  Thankfully, God does not allow His children to be tempted beyond borders of their limitations.  Unfortunately, people sometimes grow so enamored by sin that they become blind to the escape route the Spirit supplies.

 

10:16, 17 - The table of the Lord's Supper is central to the life of the church for so many reasons - in part, to identify believers with the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 26:26 - 28; Acts 2:42).

 

10:19, 20 - Even though the Corinthians knew that idols were not actually gods, they still needed to treat idol worship seriously.  Behind the worship of every dead idol is a very real and living demonic influence (Deut. 32:15 - 17).

 


 

10:21 - No one can serve two masters.  A person is either in Christ of the world.  Every person must ask themselves:  From which cup do I take my spiritual nourishment?

 

10:23, 24 - Christians should try to protect one another from influences that would wound or impede their growth in Christ.  More than that, they actively build up, or edify, one another to add to the strength of the church (1Thess. 5:11).

 

10:25 - 30 - Although eating the meat was lawful, Paul would not eat it because it did not edify (1Tim.4:4).  This is the goal of Christian restraint: to strengthen believers and cultivate relationships with unbelievers (Rom. 14:21; 15:2).  There is no sense in being resolute about debatable things if those might drive the unsaved away (9:19).  

 

10:31, 32 - In summary, Christians should do all to the glory of God, for the welfare of others (Rom. 15:7 - 9).  These two principles enbrace all of the other principles for exercising liberty and echo the two great commands according to Jesus (Matt. 2:36 - 40).

 

10:33 - Paul lived his life unselfishly, for others, so that God might be glorified, and men might be saved (9:19 - 23).  All Christians should have this motivatiion.

  


 

11:1 - This verse should be read as the conclusion of the section Paul began in 8:1.  The goal of the Christian life is to glorify God and imitate Christ in every word and deed (Eph. 5:1; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Pet. 3:13).

 

11:4 - In Jewish culture, the covering of the head signified the sin, shame, and unworthiness of the individual in the presence of God.  But the Corinthian believers had been changed - they were now in Christ! So instead of their sin, shame, and unworthiness.  God now saw the righteousness of Christ.

 

11:5, 6 - The pastor today functions as a "prophet" in the forthtelling of the Word of God.  Some think the word head refers to a woman's own head, but the context indicates she dishonors her husband.  When she comes to worship and flaunts her disregard for the rules of headship, she also dishonors the principles of God.

 

11:7 -The woman is the glory of man simply means that in a woman, a man manifest his delight.  The glory of the woman is a private, intimate thing revealed in the intimacy of mariage, not outwardly and publicly.  In the Corinthinan culture, this privacy was symbolized by a veil voluntarily assumed by the woman.

 

11:8, 9 - The order of creation (Gen. 2:18; 22) supports Paul's statement that woman is not indpendent from man.  Both are created in the image of God and equally valued, so this is not an issue of equality but rather, of divine desgn and intention.

 

11:10 -  The angels were present at creation when headship was established (Job 38:7).  Throughout the NT are allusions to angels being involved in the worship of God (1 Pet. 1:12; Rev. 2 - 3).

 


 

 11:11, 12 - Paul is not trying to argue that men are superior to women-the divine order God has established has nothing to do with superiority.  Both men and women are from God and have interdependent roles (Eph. 5:21,; 1Tim. 2:15).

 

11:16 - Christians are to strive for order within and among the churches-this is essential.  Contention, chaos, and confusion are not God's desire for His people (Eph. 4:1-16).

 


 

11:17 - 22 - Tragically, during Communion (or the Lord's Supper)-an event meant to be at the very heart of worship-was one of the places where the divisions within the Crinthian church were most evident.

 

11:23 - 25 - The Corinthians had forgotten why they gathered for this meal.  They used it for evelry and political advancement, causing division.  The purpose of the Lord's Supper is to consciously call to mind what Jesus has done for His own in His death on the cross.  The focus needs to be on Him.

 

11:26 -When believers partake together of the elements at the Lord's Table (the bread and the cup), they proclaim.  This ritual meal should be the most eloquent sermon preached, as the body of believers look back at what Christ has done and look forward to His return.  This meal is a time of joyous unity, reflection, and anticipation until He comes (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18).  

 

11:27 - 29 - To come to the table in an unnworthy manner means to come in a spirit of disunity or division.  Christians should first examine themselves-not to beat themselves up over personal sin but to determine if they are holding something against a fellow believer that could cause disunity in the body (Ps. 139:23).

 

11:33, 34 -  Churches should not be marked by egp, personality, or power plays.  Instead, a heart of humility and service, combined with a sound understanding of doctrine, keeps preferences and opinions from turning into convictions (Rom 12:10; 14:22.

 


 

12:1  The Corinthians had an abundance of spiritual gifts (1:7), so their trouble came, not from a lack of exposure to the gifts but a failure to appropriately use them.  Knowing one's spirtual gifting is important, but the most important thing is knowing how to use the gift to build up the body (1 Pet. 4:10).

 

12:3 - The Corinthians may have been afraid that those speaking in tongues were blaspheming the Lord.  Paul reassured them that a person who was truly regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit was incapable of cursing God.

 

12:4 - 7 - Note the explicit Trinitarian structure of these verses: diversities of gifts, one Spirit; differences of ministries, one Lord; diversities of activities; one God.  The doctrine of the Trinity is the bedrock upon which all other doctrines are built.  Paul here uses the beautiful mystery of the Trinity to demonstrate to the Corinthians that just as there is diversity within the Godhead (Father/Son/Spirit) yet only one God, there is also diversity in spiritual gifts but only one church.  The diversity of gifts should serve to promote unity within the church, not division and competition!

 

12:8 - 10 - Paul lists four broad categories of spiritual gifts, each with a specific purpose.  The special gifts are to equip God's people.  The speaking gifts are to explain God's truth.  The serving gifts are to enable God's work.  And the sign gifts are to establish God's authority.

 

12:9, 10 - In ancient times, before all of Scripture was written, God would give a sign gift - miracles, healings, tongues, or interpretation of tongues - to validate the word of His spokesmen (Heb. 2:3, 4).  But once the Word of God was completed, there was no further need for a word of revelation because God had said all that He intended to say.  So today, if someone announce "I have a word from God," ignore it; the canon of Scripture is closed. 

 


 

12:10 - The last chapter of Revelation pronounces a curse on anyone who would add to or subtract from Scripture.  People do receive further illumination about the word God has alreasdy given, but no one receives any additional, prophetic revelation.

 

12:14 - 19 -  Spirtual gifts come in many different forms.  The one who possessed a private gift or service.  Yet each gift is essential for the benefit of all believers.

 

12:20 - 24 - Throughout Paul's letter has been a theme of unity.  The Corinthian church had many issues, but their greatest problem was the lack of unity within the body.  In the previous section, th diversity of the body illustrated the diversity of gifts.  Here, attention is cast on the fact that many members are required to make up one body.l

 

12:25, 26 - One sign of unity is when all members equally care for one another.  Spiritual gifts are not just a matter of figuring out what one is good at so he or she can be satisfied in serving spiritual gifts are intended to promote unity.

 

12:28 - Prophets in the OT were those who proclaimed the very words of God before there was a written text.  A prophet today is one who proclaims the very words of God as revealed in the text of Scripture.  Paul listed apostles first and tongues last.  The Corinthians were putting tongues first and casting aspersion on the apostle!

 

12:31 - In light of what has gone before, Paul's exhortation to desire the best gifts may seem contrdictory.  But as the followning verses will reveal, what Paul considers the best gifts will be quite different than what the Corinthians had been pursuing.  The best gifts are those that edify the church the most.

  


 

13:1 - 13 - This entire chapter presents a comprehensive explanation of biblical love, which is the priority commandment (Matt. 22:36 -40), the perfect gift (12:31), the preeminent grace (Gal. 5:22), the permanent virtue (13:8), the proof of sonship and daughterhood (John 13:34, 35), the prerequisite to faith, the path upon which Christians must walk (Eph. 5:1, 2), and the prescription for a happy home (Eph. 5:25).

 

13:1 - 3 - The "more excellent way" of 12:31 that surpasses all other ways is now seen in detail - God's love.  Human love is but a shadow, tainted by selfishness.  At the heart of this highest kind of love is the concept of sacrifice.  Agape love gives itself completely with not thought of anything in return.  It is the reasoning, esteeming, willful tyupe of love.

 

13:4 - 7 -  The Greeks used four words to refer to love (1) Eros is the sensual relationship; (2) storge pertains to fasmily relationships and obligations: (3) phileo is the love among friends, as close as brothers or sisters; and (4) agape is a totally unselfish love that comes from God alone - the type of love that chooses to continue selflessly sacrifice and His love model what it means to choose to love.

 

13:4 - Agape love is one of the rarest words in the Greek language and is found almost nowhere in Greek literature apart from the NT.  But is one of the most common words with the NT.

 

13:8 - It is human nature to put one's confidence in that which will fail instead of investing in that which is eternal.  This verse reforcuses Christian confidence.  Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will all vanish once they have served their purpose (3:10 - 15), but love never fails becsause God never fails, and God is love.

 

13:13 - Why is love the greates of these?  When Christ makes all things new and His followers are ushered into the eternal state, faith will no longer be necessary because the redeemed will see face to face.  Hope will no longer be necessary because their hope will have been perfectly realized.  But love will remain, and it will finally be known without the taint of sin.

 


 

14:1 - 3 - Prophecy (In modern times, preaching) is the first means by which the body Christ is built up, encouraged, and comforted.

 

14:6 - The four ministries listed here benefit the whole church, whereas tongues do not unless they are interpreted.  The gift of tongues in the NT was always a gift to be used in public ministry, not in private worship.  A sign gift only swerves its purpose if people can observe it.  Otherwise, it is like hoping to be brought to a place of confidence by a healing that cannot be witnessed.  The very nature of a sign gift is that it has to be observable.

 

14:13 - 17 - The purpose of the gifts is for the good of the church.  How is the church built up if even the one exercising the gift has no idea what is being said?  Without one to interpret the gift is ineffective.

 

14:20 - Paul says Christians should be naive (like babes) about evil but mature in spiritual knowledge and understanding.  Unfortunately, the opposite is often true.  God's children tend to know more about sin and the ways of the world than they do the ways of God.

 

14:21, 22 - By using this example from Isaiah 28:11, 12.  Paul points out that tongues were given for a specific purpose.  In Isaiah's day, it meant the judgment of the Lord was drawing nigh.  On the Day of Pentecost, it meant the fullness of the gospel had come.

 

14:23 - 25 - Some people assert that only these supernatural gifts give evidence of the Lord at work.  But Paul disagrees.  He says that if unbelievers, come into a service where they do not understand what is being said, the opportunity for the gospel may be lost.  But if prophecy (the exposition of the Word of God) is taking place, they will be convicted and realize the secrets of their heart, which will draw them to respond in humble worship.

 

14:27 - 33 -  The Christians at Corinth were so undisciplined in their exercise of spiritual gifts during worship that chaos abounded, reflecting poorly on the Giver of those gifts.  Confusion can jeopardize one's ability to live according to the spiritual laws of God's kingdom.  It leads to indecision, frustration, passivity, and a lack of progres things that go against God's will.  God wants peace.

 


 

14:34 - 40 - The command for  women to keep silent reflects Corinthian culture in which women were not allowed to confront men in public.

 

15: 1, 2 - Paul challenges the Corinthians to stand in the gospel and to hold fast that word.  The gospel should have absolute preeminence and priority in the life of the Christian and the life of the church.

 

15:3 - 7 - Here is the standard by which every definition of the gospel must be measured.  It must include four elements:  Christ's death, burial, and resurrection as well as the testimony of the witnesses to the Resurrection.  The gospel cannot be preached the way it should be without proclaiming all four truths.

 

15:9 -  Paul wrote this letter fairly early in his ministry, and his attitude about being the least of the apostles would change in a surprising way as he became more famous.  Yerars later, Paul would write,  I am "less than the least of all the saints'" (Eph.. 3:8),  and very late in life.  "I am the chief of sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15),  The more mature Paul became, the more he recognized his inadequacy before God.

 

15:10 -  Whatever Paul had become and accomplished for the cause of Christ, it was by the grace of God.  He is the same one who professed, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me"  (Phil. 4:13).  Everything the Christian does for Christ is through His power.

 


 

15:12 -Some people treat the Biblre arbitrarily, taking parts they like and rejecting others.  But if God's Word is the authority, one must believe all of it, even the stories and teachings that seem difficult to understand.

 

15:16, 17 - If Jesus Christ is in a grave somewhere in the Middle East, then Christians are still in their sins and the burden of their sin is no longer upon Him but on them.  Consequently, they would then someday have to stand before a righteous God and give an account for every sin that they have done - and they would be guilty of them all.  

 

15:18 - If the Ressurection is a lie, then Christ's promise for the future is a mockery.  If Christ is not raised, says Paul, then the believing who have died have perished, and all are eternally ruined (Acts 5:30, 31; Rom. 4:24, 25).

 

15:19 -Paul says the Ressurection  is not merely a doctrine for the future, but it affects how Christians live presently.  If the message of Christ is for this life only, no life has purpose (4:9; 2 Tim. 3:12).  These are convicting words from one who endured so much for the sake of the gospel and sacrificed everything to follow his risen Lord.

 

15:20 - Praise God that Christ is risen from the dead, and every believer can have the same hope for future resurrection Jesus Christ as the firstfruits of those who fallen asleep means He is the first of many - more resurrections will come afrter Him (15:23; Acts 26:23; Rev. 1:5). 

 


 

15:21, 22 - There are two races in the world: the natural man and the spiritual man.  Adam is the federal head of the natural race, which comprises everyone who has ever been born.  Jesus is the federal head of the spiritual race - all those who have accepted Him.  To be in Adam is to be alive naturally (in the flesh), but to be in CDhrist is to be alive spiritually (Rom. 5:12 - 19).

 

15:24 - 28 - Then comes the end speaks of the time when Christ will take control of this earth.  Much will happen at this time: the millennial reign of Christ on earth, a terrible resurrection of the damned, and then the eternal kingdom delivered to the Father and the Son. 

 

15:26 - When the end comes, death will die.  No one escsapes death, but the resurected King will wrap the chains of eternity and the strength of His glorious power around death and He will cast it into the lake of fire (Dan. 2:44; 7:14, 27; Rev. 20:14).

 

 15:29 - Baptized could simply be referring to those who are saved.  Literally, Paul is asking:  If the dead are not raised, then why so many Christians being baptized because of the testimony of those who died?  The witness of the faithful, the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the certainty that Christ has come back from the grave all pave the way for bringing people to salvation.

 

15:34 - Those who do not have knowledtge of God refers to the faction (some) within the church who are wolves in sheep's  clothing, not the unreached people groujps of the world.  Pastors must be mindful of what is being said within their churches and guard the flock (1 Tim. 4:16) against those who would deceive.

  


 

15:37 - 41 - Paul attempts to answer questions about the bodies that the saints will have in the resurrection.  They will be the same yet fundmentally different.  People will be themselves, but as they should be, not as they are.  This clartified in the following verses.

 

15:42 - 44 - The bodies in which Christians now live are still marked by the Fall, and eventually they die.  The resurrected bodies of believers will be raised in incorruption!  The redeemed will still be human, but without the corruption of sin.

 

15:51,52 - Every Christian who has been born into the family of God during this church age will be changed and raised when the last trumpet sounds.  When Christ returns at the Rapture, the graves will be opened and believers will ascend to b e with the Lord.  That is the resurrection of this age.

 

15:58 - With the Resurrection as their confidence, Christians can conduct their service for the Lord with strength.  Ressurrection hope should inspire work and ministry rather than passivity.  The redeemed are truly a people with something to live for (Luke 10:1 - 3).

 

16:2 - Giving should be both a thoughtful process and one that is organized.  God's people should prayerfully consider what they have been given and how they in turn should give-and then follow His leading, for all that they have is His.  Christians worship God through their disciipline giving.

 

16:3, 4 - When one is entrusted with money on behalf of the church, he or she should build in accountability, not just for the protection of the funds but also of his or her reputation.  If impropriety, the name of the Lord is shamed and the church loses credibility-even if the accusation is false. Paul models wisdom in having others travel with the gift to Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:4, 19).

 

16:5 - 9 - Paul let the Corinthians know his itinerary and when they could expect him.  By saying, I will come to you, Paul was instilling some accountability-they now knew he would come to see them and collect the money.  Paul's approach teaches much about ministry fundraising: it should be conducted responsibly and with oversight.

 

16:10 - 12 - Paul mentions two of his gifted young associates: Timothy and Apollos.  An excellent orator and teacher (Acts 18:24), Apollos was well-known to the Corinthiaqns (Acts 19:1) and had many supporters in the city (1:12; 3:4 - 6), but he probably would not return any time soon.  Timothy, however, was apparently new to the Corinthians.  So Paul introduced him, making sure the community of believers respected him as someone who does the work of ther Lord.

 

16:13,14 - The current situation within the contemporary church is not vastly different from that of Corinth.  The body is under atttack from the culture, from false teachers, and from the old sin nature of its membersl.  So Paul's admonition is for today!

 

16:22 - 24 - Paul concludes with a final warning to those who do not love the Lord Jesus Christ.  This letter would be read to the gathered assembly, and there was no place for insincere faith.  With his salutation, he in effects says, Love, Paul.

 


 

2 CORINTHIANS - BOOK INTRODUCTION

 

If you find yourself being lied about or slandered in today's world there are any number of ways to set the record straight-group e-mails, social media, blog posts, or video conference calls.  But in AD 55, the apostle Paul could not track down the leadrs of Corinthian church on their phones.  This was an era when all communication was either face-to-face or by letter, and to get anywhere you had to rely on four-legged transportation, a perilous sailing vessel, or your own two sandaled feet.  In the meantime, you enemies could have a field day portraying you in distorted, unflattering terms or attacking your character with outright lies.

 

In human terms, Paul was saddened and frustrated-bordering on indignant and angry-about what was happening at the church he had founded just four years before.  He was viciously slandered by a particularly arrogant group of adversaries, but what could he do?  He could write letters to the congregation making his defense, he could plan face-to-face visits to tackle the issues head on, and he could also give himself to prayer-the original "wireless communication."

 

His second letter to the Corinthians was essentially a document to prepare them for an imminent visit.  Would it be a happy reunion of brothers and sisters in Christ, or a tense standoff?  The answer was up to them.  One thing was for sure:  Paul could not let the situation continue as it was-not when his very authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ was being challenged.

 

Paul had first brought the gospel to Corinth on his second missionary journey, probably in AD 51.  After facing bitter opposition from the Jews of the city, he dramatically shook out his garments in their presence, declared that he was done with them, and turned to the Gentiles instead (Acts 18:6).  He stayed a year and a half in Corinth, teaching the gospel and establishing a church.  

 


 

1:1 - Paul's claim to be an apostle of Jesus Christ carries special significance in this epistle where he defened himself against those who quesioned his authority.  Paul might have given up in the face of such extreme opposition had he not been sent by the will of God during his Damacus road experience (Acts 9).  His example encourages Christians to persevere according to their godly calling.

 

1:2, 3 - The idea of Father is significant here.  God is every believer's Father, God is Jesus' Father, and God is the Father of mercies and all comfort (Eph. 1:3; Col. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:3).  God comforts like a Father!

 

1:3 - 7 - By giving thanks for God's comfort in affliction, Paul sets the stage for the theme of this epistle: God's glory shines in suffering (2 Tim. 2:10).

 


 

1:8,9 - Paul forgoes the details about the trouble he and his companions experienced in Asia, but it mmay have occurred when he stayed behind in the Lycus Valley or in Troas (2:12, 13; Acts 19:22).  Or he may be referring to the riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:23 - 41).  Rather than the details, what is important is the extent of the suffering that led Paul to such despair.

 

1:9, 10 - Through Paul's experience, which weighed on him like death, God provided a deliverance that lifted Paul like ressurrection!  His deliverance should remind fellow believers of their hope:  Death is not the end.  God's resurrection power is a reality.

 

1:10 - Delivered... from so great a death could also be translated "delivered from a deadly peril."  Paul no doubt intends both meanings in this verse.  God rescued him from the danger of death, but because of the work of Christ (justification), God also saved him from the curse of death itself (Rom. 8:28 - 39).  What's mmore, in transforming His children into the image of His Son (sanctification), God does deliver them from the power of sin day after day.  And just as He can deliver His own from suffering in this life (glorification), so will He ultimately (still) deliver every believer in the resurrection to come.

 

1:12 - Christians willl lean on God when communicating with the unbelieving world will discover, like Paul, that God's grace supplies uncommon strength and confidence beyond anything within themselves (1 Cor. 2:4).  Paul's sincerity and integrity in his dealings with the Corinthians were revealed in his writings and conduct.

  


 

1:15 - 18 - Paul intended to approach the Corinthians in the confidence of a true apostle whose integrity was beyond reproach.  His opponents used his unexpected change of plans to accuse him of being untrustworthy.  But just as God does not promise one thing while intending to do another (Yes and No), so Paul was not intentionally misleading the Corinthians when he said he planned to visit them.

 

1:18, 19 - Paul defends the integrity of his word, his message, and his Master: in Corinth (JActs 18:5), Paul and his companions preached the Son of God who never vacillates (James 1:17).  He then appeals to the hnighest authority in protesting the charge - a faithful God (1 Cor. 1:9).  Paul could not preach such a God and then be unfaithful in his own word.

 

1:19, 20 - It was through the teaching of aithful men like Paul, Silas and Timothy that the Corinthians claimed the promises (Yes, and...Amen) that were theirs in Christ.  Paul's opponents called him deceptive and insincere.  Could the words of a fraud and liar produce such life-changing work in the lives of the Corinthians?

 

1:22 - In antiquity, official seals pressed in wax secured information or property and authenticated ownbership.  God's seal of ownership for His people is the Holy Spirit, placed in believers' hearts as a guarantee of their future riches in Christ.  They are securely His!

 

1:23, 24 -  Paul's visit to Corinth would have been one of judgment (13:1 - 10) had his plans not changed.  This letter is a call to repentance, a voice of comfort, and a gift of mercy.  Sometimes mercy in the moment renders the need for future judgment unnecessary (10:8; 12:19 - 21; Cor. 4:21).

 

1:24 - The apostle was not a spiritual despot holding dominion over the Corinthians, as some of his accusers claimed; he was a fellow worker (1 Pet. 5:3).  All of God's people, regardless of their responsibilities, are in the Lord's work together and should move forward in the faith and for one another's joy.

 

2:1 - 4 - Some scholars suggest that as many as four letters to the Corinthians existed at this time.  The letter mentioned has been lost to history (it quite possibly came between 1 and 2 Corinthians), but Paul exemplified how to handle discipline in a godly manner: address the issues that cause sorrow hoping the result will be joy (Heb. 12:11).  Discipline may cause affliction and anguish of heart, but its purpose is always restoration (Matt. 18:15;2 Thess. 3:14, 15).  This is the goal that demonstrates love.

 

2:5 - 9 -  The one who had offended Paul had offended the entire church.  Yet once the church (the majority) had disciplineed the man, it was time to forgive and comfort him so that he would not be swallowed up with....sorrow.  As difficult as it may be to corporately discipline a brother or sister in Christ, it is often hard to welcome them back, despite their repentance.  Christian love is re3affirmed through the restoration that follows repentance (1 Tim. 5:20; Gal. 6:1).

 

2:10, 11 - The church must be diligent to forgive when godly sorrow is exhibited; the presence of Christ makes this possible.  Otherwise, Satan will neutralize their witness by sowing discord and allowing accusations to fester.

 

2:11 - Devices are schemes of devious tactics.  When God's people refuse restoration, church discipline becomes retributiion, and the enemy gains an advantage.

 

2:12, 13 - Even though the Lord opened a door (Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:3) for the spread of the gospel to Macedonia, Paul's concern for Titus and the church in Corinth was so great.

  


 

2:14 - 17 - Every person's life emits a scent that either repels or attracts.  For Christians, their fragrance should be that of Christ-the sweet, lingering aroma of His love and salvation.

 

2:17 - As living testimonies, Christians are responsible to present the Word of God with sincerity.  To speak out of pride or any motive other than the glory of God hinders the spread of the gospel.

 


 

3:1,2 - The false apostles likely carried with them letters of commendation from the church in Jerusalem (possibly from the Judaizing faction there).  Paul needed no such recommendation, for his epistle of credibility could be read (seen) in the hearts and lives of the faithful in Corinth (Matt. 7:20).

 

3:3 - The Law of God was carved into tablets of stone and hidden away in the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:16; 40:20).  Christian hope is engraved on the heart (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26), marking each of God's children with the message of grace and love.  Believers are His craftsmanship (Eph. 2:10).

 

3:5, 6 - All believers struggle with feelings of inadequacy, but they should not doubt God's sufficiency.  He alone qualifies His people for Christian service (as ministers).  Their power comes not from within but from above (Eph. 3:7).

 

3:6 - The old adage about obeying the spirit of the law rather than the letter is not Paul's meaning here.  The law (letter) kills, in that it condemns all those who fall short of its requirements (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 3:10).  It was never intended to give life but rather to serve as a mirror, convicting sinners and showing them their need for a Savior.  Those who are saved find life for tody (Rom. 8:4; 1 Cor. 11:25) and for eternity (Rom. 8:11, 23) through the Spirit.

 

3:7 - 11 - The law merely hinted at the glories to come in Christ; He perfectly fulfilled it (Rom. 10:4).

 

3:12, 13 - The glory and permanence of the New Covenant is because of Jesus' once-for-all sacrifice.  Because nothing can replace or supersede His work, Christians can live with hope and testify with great boldness!

 

3:13 - 17 - Moses wroe a physical veil to shield the people of Israel from God's glory.  (Ex. 34:33).  Spiritually, that veil is now removed because of Christ's death on the cross; however,k each mind remains blinded and each heart veiled (unable to understand and believe the gospel) until a person turns to the Lord.

 

3:18 - Every day a war rages within-the Spirit versus the flesh, the old man versus the new.  The primary role of the Holy Spirit is to reproduce the life of Christ within His followers (transformed into His image).  It is not our work but His (3:5).

 

4:1, 2 - Truth that can be trusted is truth that transforms and and also testifies to others.  Like Paul, every believer has been entrusted as a minister of the gospel (3:5) to a lost world.

 

4:3 - 5 - Satan is a defeated foe; still, he is temporarily powerful.  Calling him the god of this age is a figure of speech, showing that Satan, though defeated, continues his grasp of this present world.  If he can deceive the world into thinking he is equal to God, he can blind people to the glorious gospel of.....Christ.

 

4:5 - To talk about (preach) ourselves is an unworthy topic, Jesus' name should always be on the lips of those who profess Him.  And their service in His name should confirm the integrity of their message. 

 


 

4:6 - God does not illuminate anyone's heart for his or her sake alone.  Just as God commanded light to shine out of darkness at the beginning of creation (Gen. 1:2, 3), so must every believer's knowledge.......of...God beam forth to a world that desperately needs Him.

 

4:7 - 18  The Lord shines brightest through those who have been broken and have given themselves to Hisw use.  

 

4:7 - The treasure of the gospel is currently contained within the frail, fragile, and fickle bodies of the redeemed.  When Christians allow themselves to be vessels prepared for service (2 Tim. 2:21), God's glory will shine through their humanity - and it will be recognized as His powerk not theirs.

 

4:8, 9 - Becoming a Christian does not mean trouble ends; indeed, trouble will intensify (Rom. 8:17).  But God faithfully preserves His own from ultimate defeat, securing them in eternal salvation through Christ.

 

4:10 - 12 -Paul, who bore on his body "the marks of the Lord Jesus" (Gal. 6:17) and His suffering, also manifested the resurrected life of Jesus in his body (Rom. 8:17).  Paul willingly suffered in order to produce spiritual gain in the lives of those he served.

 

4:14 - How did Paul maintain such joy and obedience in the face of so much suffering and the threat of death?  The answer is here for every believer:  Paul's hope was in the resurrection, not in the peace and secuirty of this life.  His confident expectsation of an eternity free of sin, death, and sadness (Rev. 21:3,4) sustained him.

 

4:16  18 - Temporary things help people appreciate eternal things.  When believers are outwardly perishing and in pain, the gleam of this life gives way to the glories of the next (Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 1:6).  Earthly suffering escalates inward growth.

 

5:1 - 8 -  As a tentmaker by trade, Paul naturally uses the metaphor of a tent (a temporary dwelling) to describe the physical body.  These bodies ache, age, and atrophy; but the glorified bodies of the redeemed are described as eternal.  Until that promised day comes, believers groan, acutely aware of the failures of this flesh.

 

5:2, 4 - Paul's longing here is not for the state between death and the Rapture, when the saints will be unclothed (absent from the body but present with the Lord).  He anticipates the day when all believers will be finally and fully clothed in their glorified bodies (Rom. 8:23; 1 Thess. 4:16).

 

5:9, 10 - Paul's desire to be well pleasing to God does not imply that works are the basis for salvation.  God's child naturally performs good works out of love and thanksgiving - these are a byproduct of faith and demonstrations of faithfulness.

 

5:10 - Although works will never justify anyone, what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:3 - 5 is in view.  The merciful God is till the Holy Judge and at the judgment seat of Christ.  He will bring to the light what every believer has done.  This not to judge the believer; the believer stands justified as a result of the work of Christ.  This judgment is of deed, not the doer-determine the size or extent of reward based on the good works each has done (11:15;Rom. 14:10, 12; 1 Cor. 3:12 - 15).

 

5:11 - 15 - Two things motivate God's people in anticipation of the final rewards judgment: the terror (reverent fear) of the Lord and the love of Christ.  Paul provides three ways Christians can prepare: (1) Live and serve with clean consciences.  (2) Live for God rather than human praise and approval.  (3)  Live with selflessness and zeal compelled by Christ's love, fully surrendered to Him and His service (Rom. 12:1).  The goal is to conduct one's life in a way that the believer looks forward to giving an account on that last day.

 

5:11 - By terror of the Lord, Paul means responding to God, not with fright or panic but with awe and utmost respect.

 

5:16 - 17 -  As a result of being a new creation the world's standard of judgment (according to the flesh) no longer applies.  The key phrase, in Christ, is a favorite of Paul's.  This passage does not mean that in the moment of regeneration a person's lusts, temptations, and carnal thoughts dissolve.  In Christ the old has gone; in us those struggles rage on.  but with the Spirit's help, the Christian's "practice" will align more with his or her position day by day (Phil. 1:6) until the Son returns and makes every believer whole (Rom. 8:23).

 


 

5:18, 19 -  God has no need to be reconciled to humanity, but humans have a desperate need to be reconciled to Him.  Imputing means "keeping track of, entering into the record."  Through the work of Christ, every believer's record of sin is blotted out and he or she is reconciled to the Father.  So instead of noting every believer's sins and failures, as sin deserves.  God throws out the ledger altogether.

 

5:20 - Since Jesus no longer walks this earth in the flesh, His people are His ambassadors, speaking and acting on His behalf for those who do not know Him.  Christians are His head (the mind of Christ), hands (the work of Christ), and heart (the love of Christ) of those who need Him.  And their messasge is this: be reconciled to God.

 

5:21 - The greatest transaction in the history of the world occurred when Jesus (who knew no sin)) exchange His righteousness for humanity's sin, taking it on Himself (becoming sin for us).  He received what every person really deserved-death on a cross; by faith, sinners receive what He deserved - God's acceptsnce and eternal life with Him.

 

6:1, 2 - Those who allow the grace of God to pass them by without a response receive it in vain.  Because life offers no guarantee of tomorrow, today is the only acceptable time for sinnerss to respond.  Similarly, God has given those who are saved the message of life (4:6, 7).  How can any believer be silent?

 

6:4, 5 - Suffering is typically perceived as negsative, perhaps even a punishment from God.  Paul saw it ass the seal of God's approval.  So with his authority under attack, Pau lists his hardships as his credentials.

 


 

6:6, 7 - Providing a beautiful countermelody to the sufferings in the previous verses, Paul now lists how he conducted himself in the midst of thse trials.  Weapons on the right hand are offensive, those on the left are defensive.  Christians can prepare for any battle by living virtuously and arming themselves with the word of truth and the power of God (Eph. 6:14 - 18), The Holy Spirit enables all of therse things.

 

6:8 - 10 -  This final part of Paul's list presents a model of Christlike character and negative circumstances.  The biblical paradozes can be confusing - strength through weakness, comfort through suffering, life through death, glory through shame.  But is God is Lord of the paradox too, bringing good out of evil (Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28).

 

6:11 - 13 - Paul addresses the church directly with the seldom used vocative 0 Corinthians as both an assurance of his love and an exhortation.  The Corinthians were Paul's children in the Lord (1 Cor. 4:14, 15), and he rightly desired affection and openness from them.

6:14 - 7:1 - When oxen of different sizes are yoked together, they go in circles.  Similarly, an intimate, binding partnership between a believer and a nonbeliever cannot be productive.  Believers should be in relationships with nonbelievers, showing and sharing Christ (John 17:14, 15; Rom. 12:2), not exercising the filthiness of the flesh.  When a nonbeliever starts having the greater influence over a believer, something must change.

 


 

 7:4 - Paul's boldness in correcting the Corinthians was equaled only by his  boasting about them to others, evidence that he harbored no ill will toward them but rather took joy in them.  This is a proper approach for any mature Christian who is raising up spiritual  children (6:13; 1 Cor. 4:14, 15).

 

7:5 - On the outside, Paul endured conflicts.  On the inside, Paul experienced fear that his letter would not be received well (2:12, 13; 11:28).

 

7:6 - 12 -  Motives matter when it comes to disciplining someone (see note on 2:1 - 4).  Paul's letter (most likely the lost letter mentioned in 2:1 - 4) had made the Crinthians sorry (lit., "caused pain or distress"), but for good cause.  The imperfect tense of the verb regret implies an extended period of unhappiness.  Regret turns to consolation and joy when such godly sorrow motivates life-giving, life-restoring repentance.

 

7:9 - 12 -  Paul's deep care, faithful perseverance, and boldness of speech in confronting his spiritual children moved them to repentance.  This should guide and encourage Christians in similar situations.

 

7:14 - 16 - Paul cdloses this first section of his epistle with a vote of confidence: he believed the Corinthians would remain worthy of his boasting, based on the maturity they had displayed in their repentance (7:10) and subsequent obedience.  They were a source of much joy and comfort in Paul's ministry (7:7).

 

 

8:1 - 15 - Here Paul introduces how beautiful it is to give under grace instead of under the law.  The idea of tithing to support the work of ministry seems legalistic until a person understand it as a grace - a gift God grants His children so they might abound in good works (9:8; 1 Cor. 15:10).

 

8:1 - 3 - Grace giving is sacrificial.  Paul used the example of the Macedonians (the Philippians, Thessionians, and Bereans) to motivate the Corinthians to give generously.  The Macedonians were in affliction and deep poverty, yet they gave joyfully and liberally.  The poor are often more generous than the rich, perhaps because, in relying on God for their daily bread, they learn that whatever is theirs is actually His (Mark 12:44; Acts 1:29).

 

8:3 - Grace giving is spontaneous; it is not done out of obligation or a sense of "oughtness" but as as natural outpouring of God's love in a person's heart.  Paul reiterates this 8:8, where he tells the Corinthians he is not commanding them to give but rather expecting that the sincerity of their love will prompt them to give freely and beyond their ability (9:7), just as the Macedonians had.

 

8:4, 5 - Grace giving is selfless.  Selflessness under girds the entire Christian life; it certainly ought to be a guiding principle for giving of the resources God entrusts to His people.  For experiencing the joy of giving and a heightened awareness of God's provision, the best is selfless giving.

 

8:6 - 7 - Grace giving is systematic.  Paul commands the Corinthians to abound in this grace, implying a framework in which to grow.  Giving can be spontaneous, but throughout the NT there are also instances of planned giving by the church and by individuals (Rom. 15:25, 26; 1 Cor. 16:1 - 4).  A system of giving begins with a commitment to give.  Those who wait to begin giving until they can afford to do so will never begin.

 

 

8:7 -  Grace giving is spirtual.  Paul knew that the Corinthians valed the virtues of faith, speech, knowledge, godly living, and love for the apostles.  Grace giving dhoulf join yhr lidy.  To Paul stewarship was a spiritual exercise just as faith is.

 

8:8, 9 - Grace giving is sincere, reflecting the believer's sincere love for God and desire to advancer the ministry of His Church.  God does not need the gifts of the faithful to accomplish His work, but does not need the gifts of the faithful to accomplish His work, but He does generously allow those gifts to be used toward that end.

 

8:10, 11 - Grace giving is steadfast.  Paul urged the Corinthians to not only start well but to finish with the same enthusiasm.

 

8:12 - 15 - Grace giving shares with others.  The purpose of God's wonderful pro0gram of stewardship is that the needs of the body and needs of the world might be met with equality.   The one who has much is able to share much; the one who has little is able to share that little.  But as God's people share in proportion to what God has entrusted them with, the needs of the whole body are met.

 

8:16 - 24 - Paul entrusted their financial gift to Titus and another brother, ensuring that everything was beyond reproach and that the money would be used for its designated purpose.  Providing a public accounting of the money kept it honorable in the sight of God and the people.  Believers live lives of integrity so that people will see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12).

 


 

9:2 - 5 -The Corinthians were eager and read to give, but they had not actually completed the collection.  Their eagerness was not in question, but their perseverance and follow through was.  This was not just a problem for first century believers; many Christians today struggle in the same way when it comes to their giving.

 

9:2, 3- Corinth in the provinceof Achala.  Paul hoped to rekindle the Corinthians' enthusiasm by reminding them that their zeal and eagerness inspired (stirred up) the Macedonians to give so generously.

 

9:5 - The Greek word for generous gift is eulogia.  In Paul's day, eulogia was an act of blessing.  The Corinthians would be blessed for giving.  God would be blessed as the gift induced praise and thanksgiving, and the gift induced praise and thanksgiving, and the gift would bless those who were supported by it (9:12 - 14)..  In giving, Christians experience   When God's people give, they not only bestow grace, they receive it.

 

9:6 - 15 - Paul elaborates on God's harvest law (Gal. 6:7), outlining key principles that guide giving and the key blessings that result.  The concept of reaping and sowing is well known in Jewish wisdom literature (Job. 4:8, Prov. 22:8) and mirrored the teaching of Jesus (Luke 6:38).  Those who refuse to sow their God-given financial resources into the field of His work will reap no return.  But those who sow this seed experience the joy of a harvest that glorifies God and enriches both the giver and the one receiving the gift.  The blessings of God come from sowing what He has entrusted to each individual.  In the proportion that people give, so they will receive.

 


 

9:7, 8 - The greatest motivation to give is the dsire to be involved in what God is doing joy as they participate in the lofty and profound work of ministry and the abundant good works of God.

 

9:8 - 14 -  The God who supplies is also the one who multiplies.  This is His circle of grace:  He gives seed to the sowers, and as they give to provide for the needs of the saints.  He enriches both the sowers and the recipients beyond what was sown.  In the kingdom of God, grace given is grace multiplied (Prov. 11:24, 25).

 

9:8 - Remembering God's perfect and total provision is one way to displace the fear that often prevents giving.  The word translated sufficiency means "aall that is needed."  Christians can rest in the grace that multiplies resources and opportunities so that in all things they have all they need.

 

9:10, 11 - God has promised that, in His economy, those who trust Him with the investment of their resources will always reap more than they sow.  This may mean as immediate havest of earthly prosperity or a longer-term harvest of eternal reward.  In all cases, abundance in giving will increase one's righteousness, for the Spirit uses giving to continually transform the faithful into the image of Christ.

 


 

 9:13 - 15 - Claiming to love God is easy.  But giving sacrificially to the Lord is proof of that love.  God sent His Son as evidence of His love; when believers give back to God as their first priority, they are responding to His great gift.

 

9:15 - Paul trumpets the grace Christians have been given by the divine Grace-Giver.  God the Father sowed His own Son-the Indescribable gift - into humanity (John 3:16; Rom 6:23; 8:32; Eph. 2:8).  God's people are a part of that harvest.

 

10:1 - Paul expressed his fatherly love for the Corinthians in chapters 1 - 9.  This chapter marks a change of tone for the rest of Paul's letter, he will now be bold toward the Corinthians, speaking as a father who must discipline a wayward chlod as he defends his authority as an apostle.

 

10:3 - 6 - The Christian is armed with spiritual weapons rather than worldly wealth, personal power, or strategic strength.  Warfare that successfully demolishes strongholds is conducted with faith and obedience, fortified by the work of Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit (6:7; Eph. 6:13; 1 Tim. 1:18).

 


 

10:5 - In every culture, God's soldiers will have to defend the truth against attacks, battling the arguments that deny or rejects the knowledge of God.  Christians must be sure that their measuring stick for the truth claims is the surety of divine revelation rather than the false security of human reason.  Any teaching that exalts itself against the knowledge of God must be cast down!

 

10:7 - 11 - The Corinthians, and especially Paul's detractors, placed too high a value on style, speaking ability, forcefulness, and demeanor.  But the truest test of any Christian is whether he or she belongs to the Lord.  One way to confirm this is whether a person's words align with their deeds.

 

10:8 - Again, Paul reminds his readers of his authority (3:1 -3, 1 Cor. 4:15).  HIs authority did not come from himself but was given to him by the Lord for a specific purpose: to edify, or build up, the body of Christ.  In a world where those in positions of authority often abuse their power.  Paul reminds readers that the godly will use their authority to benefit others.

 

10:12 - 18 - By measuring themselves only by themselves.  Paul's detractors played a dangerous comparison detractors played a dangerous comparison game that would never win the Lord's approval.  God has supplied His own standard.  No one else's will do.

 


 

 10:17,18 - All boasting must be rooted in what the Lord has done.  Christians, like all people, used to fall short of the glory of God.  But now they can boast in the glory of God, praising Him for His transforming work in and through them (1 Cor. 1:31).

 

11:1 - With an irony that markis all of chapter 11, Paul asks the Corinthians to bear with him as he takes on the foolish position of his detractors.

 

11:3,4 - Promoting oneself is folly (11:1), but Paul recognized the necessity, for the Corinthians had become tolerant of and responsive to such speech.

 

11:5, 6 -  These so-called eminent apostles (often translated "super-apostles) came from outside Corinth to subvert the God given authority of Paul and the other true apostles.  This threat is alive and well today; only vigilance will enable Christians to hold fast to what is true (John 8:32, 33),

 

11:6 - Although these apostles were polished in the latest rhetorical techniques, they corrupted the truth.  In contrast, Paul admitted to being untyrained in speech, but he was grounded in the revelation of God, and He spoke with God's authority.  Christians can stand tall when when they stand firm in the Word of God and the work of Christ.

 


 

11:7 - 9 - While the false apostles burdend the Corinthians financially, Pau took no money from them for preaching the gospel.  Instead, he was supported by other churches, the Macedonians, and by his work as a tentmaker.  By saying he robbed other churches, Paul emphasizes that Macedonians' generosity enabled him to serve the Corinthians.

 

11:10, 11 - Paul was determined not to accept support from the Corinthains for his ministry, lest his opponents use that actions to negate his boasting (1 Cor. 9:15).  To keep the Corinthians from misunderstanding his refusal, he affirmed his love for them and then appealed to the highest authority for God knows!

 

11:12 - Another reason Paul would not accept support is because of the hypocrisy of false apostles who withheld teaching unless they were paid.  He challenged that if they wished to boast, they should follow his example and teach without the motivation of compensation.  The motivation for service should be the same as the motivation for giving: a joyful response to God's love.

 

11:13 - 15 - Paul warned that just as Satan masquerades as an angel of light, pretending to be one of God's good angels, he could empower fgalse apostles to masquerade as apostles of Christ.  It takes discernment to see beneath the mask of an imposter (Rev. 2:2).  Christians must cultivate that discernment by abiding in what they know to be true (Gal. 1:18).

 

11:16 - 18 - By saying that he does not speak according to the Lord, Paul is not implying that this portion of the epistle is any less divinely inspired than the rest of Scripture.  In fact, this "foolish" speech was directed by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of exposing the hypocrisy of the false apostles.

 


 

11:19 - 21 - Grace was beyond the understanding of these false apostles, so they sought to establish their authority by bringing works, legalism, and empty ritual back into the church.  They either missed or deliberately hid  the beautiful  simplicity of the gospel.  In this brutally ironic critique.  Paul chjides the Corinthians for thinking that the abuse they endured at the hands of those false teachers somehow made them wise (Gal. 2:4).  His sarcastic remark at the close of this passage suggests that Paul would have confronted such abuse head-on rather than submit to it.  

 

11:22 - 12:13 -  In this prolonged section, Paul boasts in his work and suffering in ministry (11:22 - 33), and the divine revelation he received as an apostle (12:1 - 10).

 

11:22,23 - The false teachers had been making much of their status as Hebrews, but they had nothing on Paul (Phil. 3:4 - 6).  He traces his lineage back to the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16).

 

11:24 - 27 - This was the mark of Paul's authenticity: "I have suffered for the gospel of Jesus Christ" (6:5; Acts 13:45; 14:19; 16:22, 23; 21:32).  The 39 lashes (stripes) were a Jewish punishment for false teaching, blasphemy, and serious law-breaking.  Beating with rods was the Gentile punishmentj for disturbing the peace.  In addition, the wounds his persecutors inflicted on Paul and the permanent scars that were left became for him the marks of Jesus in his body (Gal. 6:17).

 

11:28, 29 - Paul's pain did not end with physical suffering.  He cared so deeply for the churches that he was heartbroken when the body of Christ was wounded.  This is the climax of his trials; as a true shepherd he was burdened for the church (1 Cor. 9:22; Gal. 4:11; 1 Thess. 3:10).

 


 

11:30 - Paul reasserts his position on boasting: pride is unbecoming to the Christian, but the child of God has legitimate reason to boast.&nbs

 

 

 

"Why Are Some Demons Free and Some Imprisoned ?"

 

Scripture says these angels "did not keep their proper domain"  (Jude 1:6).  And this isn't talking about their original sin when they fell with Satan.  Many theologians believe that the imprisoned angels are the ones who were guilty of the unnatural sin mentioned in Genesis 6:2, when the fallen angels saw "the daughters of men" and cohabited with them, producing offspring that were half-angelic and half human.  These angels violated God-given boundaries when they left their proper domain and came into the realm of humanity to pursue a relationship that God never intended them to have.

 

Living in the presence of Almighty God, these angels rebelled against Him - and they are doomed to eternal punishment inm the "everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels"  (Matthew 25:41). The demons are without hope, for Jesus Christ did not shed His blood at Calvary to redeem the fallen angels.  Christ's precious blood was shed for mankind - for the world of lost men and women.

 

 

"What Purpose Do Angels Serve ?"

 

Our English word "angel" translate the Hebrew word mal'ak in the Old Testament and the Greek word  angelos in the New Testament.  The core meaning of both of those words is "messenger."   That's the essence of who and what angels are: God's messengers.

 

God's will and work for angels is to communicate His messages, both by what they say and what they do (Pslams 103:20 - 21).  And solelly in obedience to His will are they sent to serve us.  God's own ministry to us, His plans for us, and His protection of us are the busy stairway angels in their daily diligence of attending our needs. When they give us strength or enlightenment, it is God's strength or enlightenment that they impart (Luke 22:43; Daniel 9:21 - 22).  Their encouragement (Genesis 16:10 - 11).  Their guidance is God's guidance (Act 11:13).  When they bring comfort and assistance, it is God's comfort and assistance they offer (Matthew 4:10 - 11).  And when they bring wrath, it is God's wrath they inflict (2 Chronicle 32:21).  Through what angels say and do, God personally expresses His friendship to us and His fatherhood and much more.

 

 

 

 "Do I Have a "Guardian Angel" ?

 

As far as can be determined, there are just two verses in the Bible that indicate there might be guardian angels in the world today.  The first is Matthew 18:10: "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."  Apparently, some of God's angels are assigned to stand ready before the Father to respond instantly to His command for protection and care over these children.  Jesus called these particular angels "their angels."  And that's why some people have used this passage as proof that everyone has an angel.

 

The second passage that seems to support guardian angels is in Act 12.  After Peter was relased from jail, he went to the home of Mary, where a group of Christians was praying for his relased.  A servant named Rhoda answered Peter's knock at the door.  She was so excited to hear his voice, she left him outside and ran to tell the believers Peter was at the door.  They didn't believe her and reasoned the person at the door must be Peter's angel.

 

These are the only two passages that allude to the idea of guardian angels.  While many believers throughout church history have believed in guardian angels, others have rejected the idea, feeling these two texts are not proof enough to construct such a doctrine.  As you read the Scripture, there were many times when more than one angel was called into action on behalf of one of God's chosen.  Several angels carried Lazarus' soul to Abraham's bosom.  And Elisha and his servant were surrounded by many angels.  The psalmist writes that all the angels rally for the protection of one saint.

 

We can't know with absolute certainty whether or not each believer has a guardian angel; but we do know that God's angels care about us and that they can intervene in our lives as they are called by God - and that's a wonderful thought!

 

 

"Can I ask angels for assistance?"

 

The Bible gives no indication that angels will respond if we pray directly to them for help.  We are never told to pray to angels.  In fact, in  Scripture we don't find any instances of people even asking God to send them an angel's protection.  And the only person in Scripture who tried persuading someone else to seek help from an angel was Satan, who quoted and Old Testament verse about angelic protection while tempting Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:6).

 

Angels are God's messengers to us and never our messengers to God - they are not go-betweens or mediators between us and heaven.  No one in Scripture ever prayed to an angel, and neither should we.  We pray to God, and He sends the help we need.

 

 

"Why are angels invisible to us on earth ?

 

One reason that angels are invisible to humans may be that, if they were seen, they would be worshipped.  Man, who is so prone to idolatry as to worship the works of his own hands, would hardly be able to resist the worshiip of angels were they before his eyes.

 

Twice in the book of Revelation, John was confronted by an angel and tried to worship him.  Both times the amgel told him not to worship him but to worship God.

 

In his book Angels: Ringing Assurance that We Are Not Alone, Billy Graham suggests another reason that we are unable to see angels:

 

While angels may become visible by

choice, our eyes are not constructed to see

them ordinarily any more than we can

see the dimensions of a nuclear field, the

structure of atoms, or the electricity that

flows through copper wiring.  Our ability

sense reality is limited... So why should

we think it strange if men fail to perceive

the evidences of angelic presence?

 

There must be quite a lot of intervening angels around that we just never notice - but sometimes when the time is right, God takes the scales off our eyes so we can see them.  In Numbers 22:31, Balaam's eyes were opened to see the Angel of the Lord, and in 2 Kings 6:16 - 17, the Lord opened the eyes of Elisha's servant to see the "horses and chariots of fire" surronding Elisha.

 

 

"Do angels ever appear  in human form?"

 

Yes, some angels appear in human form.  In Genesis 18 and 19, angels appear as men to Abraham and Lot.  If you read the story carefully, you see that these angels ate, washed, walked, grabbed hands -  they took a physical form.

 

Hebrew 13:2 says, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."  If you really believe in angels and would enjoy entertaining or honoring them (as a thank-you gesture perhaps for everything they do for you), consider improving your hospitality to strangers.  Not until eternity will you know if any of the strangers you encountered were angels, but the possibility is exciting!

 

 

"In heaven, will believers become angels?

 

According to the Bible, angels are a created class of beings and are never represented as spiritually progressed men.  In other words, people do not evolve into angels.  Angels do not age, nor do they spend time trying to earn their winjgs.  They were created simultaneously - in a single moment.  Their full nuimber was created in the beginning, and there has been no increase in their ranks since that time.  God's angels exist eternally - as they were create.

 

 

THE ULTIMATE "EXTREME MAKEOVER"

 

 "When will we receive our new, glorified bodies?"

 

When believers die, their body goes into the grave until the resurrection at the Rapture.  On that day, Christ is going to come in the air, the trumpet will sound, and those who have died in Christ are going to be raised up first, followed by those who remain on the earth.  In the process of the resurrection, at the last trumpet, the bodies of believers will be immediately transormed into their permanent, heavenly bodies - in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4).

 

"What if our earthly bodies are destroyed?"

 

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes, "And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain - perhaps wheat or some other grain.  But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body" (v. 37 - 38).

 

Paul is using an illustration here.  If you put a kernel of corn into the ground and let it grow, the green stalk that comes out of the ground is not the kernel.  It's part of the kernel; it represents the kernel;  but it's not the same as the original kernel.  In other words, the body that comes out of the grave on the day resurrection is different from the body that went into the grave.

 

Whether we have a body in a grave to be resurrected or our body is destroyed by fire or some other disaster, an incorruptible body will be resurrected to join with Christ in the air on that great day.

 

 

"What will our glorified bodies look like?  Will we just be "floating spirits"?

 

While we don't know all the details about our future bodies, Scripture indicates that they will resemble the resurrected body of Jesus (Phillippians 3:20 - 21; I Corinthians 15:49).

 

After He was resurrected, yet before His Ascension, Jesus said His body was real.  He even invited His disciples to touch Him - "for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have" (Luke 24:39).  And when we get to heaven, we're not going to have a "spirit-body" that floats around forever, we're going to have real bodies - physical, transformed bodies like the body of the Lord Jesus when He was resurrected form the grave.

 

We will be recognizable in heaven, just as Christ was identifiable to His disciples when He returned to earth after His resurrection (John 21:12 - 13).  But we will have new physical bodies that are designed for heaven, not earth.

 

When We All Get to Heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be !

When we all see Jesus,

We'll sing and shout the victory.

 

Shall we know (each other) in heaven?  Shall we love and remember?  I don't anyone need wonder about this or doubt for a single moment...For if we just think, we know.  Would you be yourself if you did not remember?

 

We are told that we shall be like our Lord Jesus...and does He not know and love and remember?  He would not be Himself if He did not, and we should not be ourselves if we did not.

 

 

"Will our bodies really be eternal?  Or will our heavenly bodies eventually pass away?"

 

Our present bodies are buried in corruption, but our resurrection bodies will be incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:42).  That's right - they will last for eternity!  They will be incapable of deterioration.  They will never get old or tired and will never be subject to accidents or disease or aging.  We will be free from pain and decay and diabilities and death-forever.

 

The Bible says that when we are transformed and our resurrection bodies come out of the grave, we are going to be totally in the Spirit.  The natural body is soul-controlled; but the spiritual body will  be Spirit-controlled - completely made over, transormed, and no longer governed by the appetites of the flesh.  This means we're going to do only those things that please our Lord.  Our physical appetites will be marginalized by the appetite that we have for the Lord God and His glory.

 

 

"What kinds of rewards will believers receive in heaven ?

 

The Bible clearly lists at least five crowns that will be awarded in heaven.

 

*  The first crown is the Victor's Crown.  This crown will be awarded for self-discipline (1 Corinthians 9:25 - 27).

 

*  The second is the Crown of Rejoicing, which will be given to those who have led others to Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

 

*  The third is the Crown of Righteouness, wich will be given to those who have a longing for the Lord Jesus - who look for Jesus' return (2 Timothy 4:8).

 

*  The fourth is the Crown of Life, placed upon those who have endured and triumphed over trial and temptation and persecution, even to the point of martyrdom (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).

 

*  The fifth is the Crown of Glory, awarded to the faithful shepherds of the people of God and to Christian leaders (1 Peter 5:4).

 

These are not by any means the only rewards that will be distributed in heaven.  But above all, it is important to remember that the Lord Himself is our chief reward.  No crown could ever compare to the splendor of seeing our Lord and Savior face to face.

 

 

"When will heavenly rewards be distributed?  Will there be some kind of "award ceremony?"

 

The Bible tells us that one day, after all believers are removed from the earth at the Rapture, individual believers are going to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat (sometimes referred to as the Bema Seat) where the Lord is going to judge us for our conduct and work as believers.

 

*  "So then each of us (believers) shall give account of himself to God"  (Roman 14:12).

 

*  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad"  (2 Corinthians 5:10).

 

*  "Each one's work will become clear,; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.  If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward"  (1 Corinthians 3:13 - 14).

 

On that day we will be given rewards for what we have done as believers between the moment of our salvation and the day we ultimately stand before Him.

 

 

Is the Judgment Seat of Christ a final exam for heaven?

 

While the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ does evaluate our works, it is not an entrance exam for heaven.  Our sins have been paid in full by Christ at Calvary, so any works of man do not qualify us for acceptance to that eternal resting place (2 Corinthians 5:9 - 11; Ephesians 2:8 - 10).  The Judgment Seat of Christ is where you will be rewarded for your Christian service as a believer after you have entered into heaven.

 

 

What Is The Ultimate Goal Of Any Rewards We May Receive In Heaven? 

 

With all the rewards that we will be eligible to receive in heaven, this question remains:  What are we going to do with them ?

 

After receiving our rewards, we are going to see Jesus.  In response, we're going to take the crowns that He's given us, fall down at His feet, and cast them before the throne as a gift of love, "saying:  You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created"  (Revelation 4:10 - 11).  At that glorious moment, we will have the opportunity to give to Christ the only thing we have to offer Him in heaven other than ourselves.  And believe this word for it - we won't want to be empty-handed!

 

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a

mirror; then we shall see face to face.

 

1 Corinthians 13:12

 

 

 

 THE HEAVENLY CITY 

 

Are heaven and the New Jerusalem the same ;place?

 

The New Jerusalem is an actual, physical city located

within the third heaven.  Jesus referred to the New

Jerusalem as the "city of My God" in Revelation 3:12.

And one day, this holy city is going to descend from

heaven.  We read in Revelation 21:2 that John "saw

the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of

heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for 

her husband."  Since we know that God dwells in 

the third heaven, we can assume that He is preparing

this city in the third heaven - the city which will

eventually become the "capital" of heaven and that

final abode of His children.  During the Millennium,

the New Jerusalem will hover over the earth; 

and during the eternal state, it will rest upon the

ground - being the most incredible city anyone has

ever beheld.

 

Can one city really accommodate all the believers who have ever lived?

 

Heavens's capital will easily be able to house all of

the people who have ever trusted in Christ.  And

this heavenly city will not be crowded by anyi

means.  Notice what John says in Revelation 21:16,

"its length, breadth, and height are equal," each

"wall" measuring 12,000 furlongs.  This means the

New Jerusalem is about 1,500 miles wide, 1,500

miles long, and 1,500 miles high - that's more than

2 million square miles on the first "floor" alone!  And

given that this city is cubical, we can assume that it

will have more than one level.  Remember, we cannot

fathom the grandeur of this place.  It will be unlike

anything we have ever seen, that there is no question

that it will be able to house every believer who has

ever lived.

 

Can you imagine approaching heaven's capital - seeing it from afar?

 

 

Are descriptions of heaven like "pearly gates"  and "streets of gold" just folklore?

 

Gates made of pearl, foundations of precious stones,

streets of gold.... We've all heard these descriptions

of heaven - images that may at first sound like

fantasy - but these heavenly features are directly 

from the Scriptures.  In the booki of Revelation, John

gives us a glimpse of New Jerusalem in all its

majesty"

 

She had a great and high wall with twelve

gates, and twelve angels at the gates.....

The construction of its wall was of jasper;

and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

The foundations of the wall of the city were

adorned with all kinds of precious stones:

.....jasper .... sapphire.... chalcedony

.... emerald ... sardonyx..... sardius....

chryisolite .... beryl .... topaz....chrysoprase

....jacinth ....amethyst.  The twelve gates

were twelve pearls:  each individual gate

was of one pearl.  And the streets of the

city was pure gold, like transparent glass

(Revelation 21:12, 18:21).

 

Can you imagine approaching heaven's capital - 

seeing it from afar?  A magnificent city built upon

gemstone foumdations... each gate brilliantly

crafted from a single pearl... streets poured from

the purest gold ... a magnificent light emanating

from the throne of God ... This is the New Jerusalem

described in Scripture.  And one day, we're going

to walk into this holy city with jaws dropped and

eyes widened in absolute wonder, for even the most

beautiful places on earth don't hold a candle to what

God has envisioned for those of us that have placed

our trust in Him.

 

"What are the trees of life and the river of life ?"

 

Do you remember Psalm 46:4? "There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God.:"  Well, there really is a river in the heavenly city -" a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb"  (Revelation 22:1).  On each side of this river are twelve trees of life, "each tree yielding its fruit every month."  And the leaves of the tree are "for the healing of the nations"  (Revelation 22:2).  The word healing in the Greek language is the word therapeia - the same word from which we get our term therapeutic.  So eating from the tree will not enhance our holiness, because we will be perfectly holy, but it will be therapeutic, giving us a greater sense of fulfillment, pleasure, and joy at being in the presence of God.

 

 

"What is heaven's light source?  Does heaven orbit around a planet similar to the sun?

 

 In Revelation 21 we read:  "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminsted it.  The Lamb is its light" (v. 23).

 

In the New Jerusalem there will be no light posts, no lanterns, and no lamps.  Light emanates from the throne of God, where the Lamb who is the Lord Jesus is seated.  He will be the light, and there will be no need for any other source, because the brilliance of the light of the Lord Jesus in His glorification will fill the city.  What a spectacular image !

 

 

WORSHIP IN HEAVEN

 

"Has anyone ever been given a glimpse of heaven?

 

The Bible tells us that John was given a vision of heaven (Revelation 4:1).  He saw a door open and found himself peering through a portal into heaven itself.  When God allowed John to see a glimpse of the beauty, brilliance, and worship in heaven, he then obtained a new perspective on his life here on earth.  His exile in Patmos, though difficult, was seen in view of the home of God has prepared for us - a home that is just as real as our temprary dwelling but is inexplicably glorious and will last for all eternity.

 


"Is prayer going to be an integral part of our lives in heaven?

 

The Bible says we are going to spend eternity in praise and worship.  But as far as we know, there is no prayer in heaven.  Why?  We will be dwelling in the presence of Almighty God, living in the light of His every good wish for us and enjoying personal fellowship with our Lord.  With this in mind, we can gather that there will be no need to pray.

 

 

Will there be churches in heaven?

 

John tells us in the book of Revelation: "I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God'" (21:3).  Speaking of the holy city, John goes on to say, "I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  ... They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads"  (21:22, 22:4).

 

It is an interesting and strange thing to fathom, but there really won't be need for peaching or chuirch buildings or sanctuaries in heaven.  The Bible says we will know our Lord even as we are known.  We will have a complete grasp of the things of God.  And frankly, that's what makes heaven a reality.  It's not the streets of gold or the gates of pearl or the angels.  Heaven is heaven because God the Father is there and Jesus Christ is there.  At last, all the barriers will be removed, and we will be able to know God in a way that we cannot possibly comprehend in this life.

 

 

"What will worship be like in heaven?"

 

John was allowed to see heavenly worship.  And in Revelation 4, he wrote about the magnificence of that occasion.

 

Verse 4:  Around the throne were twenty four thrones, 

and on the thrones I saw twenty four elders (the

representatives of the Church of the Living God) sitting,

clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on

their heads.

 

Verse 6:  Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like

crystal.  And in the midst of the throne, and around the 

throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front

and in back.

 

Verse 8 - 11:  And they do not rest day or night, saying:

"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and

is and is to come!"  Whenever the living creatures give

glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the

throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty four elders

fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship

Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns

before the throne, saying:  "You are worthyi, O Lord, to

receive glory and honor and power; for You created all

things, and by Your will they exist and were created."

 

Oh, how we should wish we could see and hear all that John describes to us in these passages.  On day, we will be a part of that great gathering before God's throne - bringing honor and glory to the Lord.

 

 

"Why worship now if I'm going to spend all of eternity worshipping?

 

Worship is not about us; it's about God.  One of the main purposes of worship is to get our minds off the things of this earth and onto the things of heaven.  That's why we read in Colossians 3 that we are to set our mind "on things above, not on things on the earth," for we've died and our life is hidden with Christ in God  (v. 1 - 3).

 

Worship is the corridor through which we exchange the things of this world for the reality of heaven.  It is the avenue that leads us from the emptiness of this world to the the fullness of the next world.  It is the street that leads from decay and discouragement to renewal and glory; and when we fail to worship, we confine ourselves to the despair of this life.

 

Some people are indifferent about worship, but I believe worship is the very core of our existence.  We were created to worship God - and not just on our own but together with the body of Christ.  And one day, we're going to be involved in a gigantic worship experience when we praise the Lord together in heaven.  So let's start rehearsals, because there's no guarantee how much time we'll have to get ready -  it could be tomorrow !

 

Worship is "to quicken the conscience by 

the holiness of God, to feed the mind with

the truth of God, to purge the imagination

with the beauty of God, to open the heart

to the love of God and to devote the will to

the purpose of God."

 

- William Temple

 

 

 

  "What on earth is the Millennium ?"

 

Before we can answer this question, we must understand the term itself.  Millennium is a Latin word which is made up of two root words:  mille, which means "a thousand," and annum, which means "years."  So the word Millennium means "a thousand years."

 

Revelation 20 is the only place in the Bible where that actual phrase appears, and it appears; and it appears in the text six different times.

 

Verse 2:  "He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bouNd him for a thousand years."

 

Verse 3:  "That he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished."

 

Verse 4:  .... and they lived and reigned with Christ....a thousand years."

 

Verse 5:  "The rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished."

 

Verse 6:  "Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

 

Verse 7:  "Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be relased from his prison."

 

 

 

"When will the Millennium take place?"

 

Now, it might not immediately seem improtant -- what a person believes about the timing of the thousand years - but a person's interpretation of that thousand year - year period affects his or her interpetation of other passages and events in Bible.

 

Church history has seen the rise of three competing views.

 

Postmillennialism:  This the view that the Second Coming will follow the Millennium.  As more and more people are converted, the world will gradually be conquered for Christ.  At that time, God's justice will prevail across the earth, and Jesus will return to take up the throne that was won for Him by His Church.

 

Amillennialism:  This is the view that there is no literal Millennium.  In other words, the events that are in Revelation 20 are happening right now, and the Church is reigning with Christ over the earth.  This view leads to a highly allegorical interpetation of Scripture.

 

Premillennialism:  This is the oldest of the three views and is the view that is believed to be accurate.  Premillennialism is based on a literal interpretation of Scripture and teaches that the Second Coming will precede the Millennium.  This would place the Millennium after the Rapture and after the seven years of tribulation.  Then Jesus Christ will come back and literally reign on the earth for a thousand years.

 

 "What will life be like during the Millennium? and "What is the purpose for the Millennium?"

 

During the Millennium there will be no war; it will be a time of previously unknown joy, purity, peace, and prosperity (Micah 4:3; Ezekiel 34:26 - 27; Isaiah 11:9; 14:7; 65:20).  Sin will be kept in check and disobedience will be dealt with efficiency.  Christ's kingdom.  And we will spend that thousand-year period ruling and reigning over the earth with Jesus as our King.

 

There are a number of reasons that a literal Millennium must occur.

 

To reward the people of God:  There are scores of promises scattered throughout the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, guaranteeing God's people that they will receive rewards for faithful service (Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:34; Revelation 22:12).  And part of our heavenly reward will be to reign and rule with Christ upon this earth during the Millennium.  Each of us will have opportunities to serve the Lord based upon our faithfulness in serving Him right now.

 

To respond to the prophets' predictions:  The prophets of the Old Testament predicted such a time (Psalms 72:11; Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32 - 33).  And without the Millennium, none of those prophecies could be fulfilled.

 

To receive an answer to the disciples' prayer  (Matthew 6:8 - 13):  One day, when Jesus returns, His kingdom will come and His will shall be done on this earth.

 

To reemphasize man's depravity and the necessity of Christ's death:  During the Millennium, those faithful servants who survive the Tribulation will bear children, in whom the sin nature will reside, because the fallen human nature of man will be eliminated until eternity begins at the end of the millennial kingdom.  At the end of the thousand years, Satan wil be released, and he will stir up a final rebellion against God just as he did in the Garden of Eden (Revelation 20:1 - 3, 7 - 8).  That's right - even though Christ is ruling and reigning on the earth during the Millennium, some will yet be deceived.  This demonstrates just how deeply man needs a Savior.  Man can never achieve righteousness apart from God.

 

 

What happens when the millennial period comes to a close ?

 

According to Revelation 20:7 - 10, Satan will be loosed for a short season of rebellion at the end of the Millennium.  Then he will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where he will reside for eternity.

 

The Great White Throne Judgment will also take place at the close of the Millennium.  But believers will not be present at this judgment, because the purpose of this judgment is not to determine who is lost or saved.  Rather, all who have rejected Christ throughout history will be judged according to their works.  And on that day, those whose names do not appear in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11 - 15).

 

 

The New Heaven and the New Earth

 

When will the new heaven and new earth be created ?

 

Scripture makes it clear that the new heaven and the new earth be created ?

 

Scripture makes it clear that the new heaven and the new earth will not appear until the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the Millennium, and the Great White Throne Judgment have all taken place.  Once these events have happened, Almighty God is going to create the new heavens and new earth.. 

 

Is the new earth the same earth we live on today ?

 

In 2 Peter 3 we are told that "the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elemtns will melt with fervent heat; the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up"  (v. 10).  However, the phrase "burned up" doesn't appear that way in the early Greek manuscripts.  The original word in the text conveys the idea of being uncovered, or laid open for exposure.  In other words, Peter is not talking about destroying the earth, he is telling us that, at the end of the Millennium, as God is preparing  for the eternal state.  God is going to destroy all the evidences of decayi, disobedience, and disease.  But He's not going to annihilate the world in which you and I currently live; He's going to purify it from all of the old corruption.  He's going to create a new heaven and new earth.

 

The very things which make this life difficult - sorrow, pain, death - should serve as reminders that we, as believers, are not home yet.  Christ is preparing a permanent home where His people will dwell with Him forever.  (John 14:2 - 3).

 

"And God will wipe away every tear from

their eyes; there shall be no more death,

nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be 

no more pain, for the former things 

have passed away.

 

Revelation 21:4

 

 

"Will there be seas in the new heaven and new earth?"

 

 

Currently three-fourths of the earth is covered in salt water; but the apostle John tells us that in the new earth, there will be 

"no more sea"   (Revelation 21:1).

 

The ecology of the new heaven and earth will be entirely different than that of the earth we live on today.  And there will be no need of salt water, because salt is a preservative, and there will be no decay.  But there will be fresh water in the new heaven- the river of life, flowing from the throne of God in the New Jerusalem, which will rest upon the ground during the eternal state (Revelation 22:1 - 2).  These waters will be more beautiful than any landscape we can fathom in this life.

 

 

"Will sin be gone once and for all?"

 

Because of Adam's sin, there was a curse on all creation (Genesis 3:17 - 19).  But in the new earth, there will be no more curse - no more sin!  For the thousands and thousands of millennia that roll on in the eternal state, Revelation 22:3) says "there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him."

 

 

 

HEAVEN SCRIPTURE REFERENCE GUIDE

 

 

Psalm 46:4 - There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the "MOST HIGH".

 

Matthew 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

 

Matthew 18:3 - 4 - Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 

 Matthew 25:21 - His Lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your Lord."

 

Matthew 25:34 - Then the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

 

 

John 14:2 - 3  -  In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

 

Romans 14:12  - So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

 

1 Corinthians 3:13 - 14  -  Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.  If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

 

1 Corinthians 15:51 - 52  -  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

 

2 Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

 

 

Ephesians 4:10 - He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all  things.

 

Philippians 3:20 - 21 -  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.

 

Colossians 3:1 - If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:4 - 16 - For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus...  We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord HImself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.

 

2 Timothy 4:8 - Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Choose a date to display the day's Scripture reading.


Matthew 7

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.


Matthew 8

1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.

2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.

19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.

25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.

34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.