Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Thursday, May 16, 2024

1 Corinthians 4:8 (Daily Verse and Comment)

  1 Corinthians 4:8

(8) Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. 
King James Version   Change your email Bible version

This verse contains an example of misidentifying spiritual riches. The apostle Paul mocks the congregation for thinking they were spiritually better off than they actually were. The context makes it clear that he is not talking about physical riches at all. Rather, the Corinthians felt spiritually full, so they were not hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of Jesus Christ. They were puffed up, and at least part of their self-exaltation stemmed from the fact that many of them had received spiritual gifts.

They saw their gifts—ostensible spiritual wealth—as evidence that their spiritual condition was good, then behaved as if they were already reigning with Christ. Did not their gifts demonstrate God's favor toward them? The reality, however, is that God gives spiritual gifts for the outworking of His will and the edification of the Body—and He can bestow them on the unconverted if it suits Him! He even inspired true prophecies about Israel and the Messiah through Balaam, a pagan soothsayer. The presence (or absence) of spiritual gifts cannot be considered an infallible barometer of one's relationship with God.

Paul had to clarify the place and purpose of the gifts God had given. He had to draw their attention back to the meaning of Passoverbecause their relationship with the Passover Lamb was so shallow. He had to explain to the Corinthians the rudiments of godly love. The Corinthians' improper emphasis on these gifts caused them to overshadow their true treasure, their relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet even as they neglected that relationship, they were convinced that they were spiritually rich! Had they actually been close to Christ, they would have been a far humbler congregation (compare Job 42:5-6).

— David C. Grabbe

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