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Discipline | Corinth

Commentary on Paul’s Letters to the Corinthian Church

ARC Guide Level 1
Ideal for those getting acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.

Photo by Liza Summer

1 Corinthians 4:14-21

14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless[b] guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent[c] you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ,[d] as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

1 Corinthians 4:14-21 English Standard Version

Many Guides but One Father

As their primary steward in the mysteries of God and their father in the gospel, Paul felt responsible for the present state of the people of God in Corinth. He bent over backwards while presenting the simple gospel around him to put out the fires of division in Corinth being caused by a few arrogant individuals who thought themselves to be something special, forgetting that they had been given all that they had by Paul and by God. Paul asserts his fatherly authority over the Corinthian believers as the one who presented the simple gospel to them and sent their older brother Timothy with a letter from their mutual father to display Paul to them in person and in word through His letter. Paul urges the believers to imitate him as he imitates Christ–this is not to the exclusion of the other apostles, but in tandem with them as they imitate Christ as well. Those who were drawing people away to their exclusive tribes were claiming that Paul had abandoned them. They spoke down about him saying that the other apostles were real apostles having walked with Jesus, and that they should not fear this lesser apostle who obviously didn’t have all of the answers or wisdom that the likes of the letters from Peter showed. Paul refutes this notion later but for now says that He is making his way to them quickly and will see if there is any substance to the faith of these detractors and dividers of the people of God. Finally, he admonishes them that he would much rather come to them in a spirit of gentleness than with a rod of discipline from God.

Ammi Ruhama Community Christian Union


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