Seventh Sunday After Epiphany: The Epistles Passage – Don’t exalt the teacher over what is taught

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:10-11)

I gave a good amount of thought to these first two verses of this passage. Paul’s remarks could be taken as instructions to ministers/evangelists or advice given to new believers. And I am not sure which way would be better. Paul says earlier on in this chapter that the Corinthians were “young” believers and had allowed themselves to define the good news as to who brought it, rather than taking the good news and allowing the news itself to inform the choices in their lives. But there is also here caution to those who preach/teach the good news of Jesus that they would let the news carry the weight and not the interpretation the preacher/teacher/evangelist/minister might bring to it. Paul says in another place, I seem to remember, that nothing should be added to or taken away from the message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – at least I think it was Paul. But Paul moves on from this point (as does the lectionary which skips over some verses) so let us do also.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.” (Verses 16 – 23)

Or maybe Paul does not, actually. We have Paul’s instruction to follow God’s wisdom and not the wisdom of human thinking or our understanding. We also have the admonition not to think more about the teachers of God’s word than the word of God itself. Again, is Paul cautioning the new believers in Corinth or whatever teachers/preachers might be left behind? Because if you know Paul, you know he does not hold back his admonition or exhortation of anyone! New believers are to hold themselves apart from anything that would destroy them or their faith. But, those who would destroy a young believer or that faith is also imperiled by God’s judgment! There is much to be gleaned from this passage. May you do so under the guidance and direction of the Spirit of God. Selah!

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About Carole Boshart

I have two blogs on WordPress. "A Simple Desire" which is based on the daily "Sips of Scripture" published and sent out by Third Way Cafe. "Pondering From the Pacific" is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much.

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