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The Scriptorium

Think Like the Apostles

Not like the world. 1 Corinthians 4.8-10

1 Corinthians 4 (3)

Pray Psalm 118.7-9.
The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes.

Sing Psalm 118.7-9.
(St. George’s Windsor: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)
For the LORD stands next to me; He will give me victory!
Over all who hate my life I will triumph through the strife!
In His grace I refuge find, in His steadfast love so kind.
Trust not princes, trust not men—Christ shall be our haven then!

Read 1 Corinthians 4.1-10; meditate on verses 8-10.

1. How did Paul describe himself and the other apostles?

2. What did he say about the Corinthians?

Sometimes you can feel the indignation, even outrage, rising in Paul as he dictated his letters to the churches.

Especially in 1 Corinthians. Here is a perfect example. He takes the Corinthians mindset in his sights—their sense of fullness, richness, and superiority over their brethren—and blasts away at it: “If only it were true!” (v. 8) The Corinthians considered themselves so wise, strong, and distinguished (v. 10). But they were so only in their own worldly eyes.

If Paul was livid about this, how do we think Jesus feels?

This is no way to think about being a follower of Christ. We should learn to think like the apostles, like Paul and thus, like Jesus (1 Cor. 11.1). The world will regard our faith as folly, our worship as weakness, our disinterested service as dishonoring. We must not be dismayed or deterred by this. The apostles were greeted with such despite and denunciation wherever they went, yet they stayed the course, following the path of Jesus rather than the praise of men.

Paul will calm down a bit by the time we reach verse 14. But here he is explosive, passionate, and withering in his contempt for Corinthian small-mindedness. Would he say the same to us? Are we thinking with the mind of Christ, the mind of self-denial, mutual service, and Christlikeness in all things? Let the mind of the apostle guide us into the mind of Jesus as we take up our work each day in His Name and for His glory.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
What a joy to hear a Christian leader endeavor to set his congregants straight on important issues of the faith!
Good for you, Paul. He was helping the Corinthians then; he is helping us now. Do we want to learn what he has to teach?

“You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us…” (1 Cor. 4.8). He almost sounds like Miracle Max in Princess Bride, “Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much.”

The Corinthians—suffering from self-aggrandizement and captivity to sin—could not see how their attitude was causing divisiveness within the body of Christ. They were the problem, not the unbelievers.

When we become Christians, we want our old nature to be crucified with Him, so that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin (Rom. 6.6). When this truly happens, we then can only serve our risen Savior. And if we are serving Him, we are living with His mind (1 Cor. 2.16). We completely belong to Him. Just as Jesus completely belongs to God (1 Cor. 3.23).

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2.20).

And when this is true of us, we will set aside wrong attitudes and embrace being fools for Christ’s sake.
Putting off former thoughts and conduct, being daily renewed in the spirit of our new mind, and gratefully becoming the new person, “which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4.22-24).

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90.12).

For reflection
1. How can we learn to think like the apostles, like Paul?

2. Why is it important that we learn to do so?

3. If we’re not thinking with the mind of Christ, what mind are we using?

Paul said these things in order to provoke the Corinthians to consider that they should zealously seek to emulate the apostles in their dangers and their indignities, not in their honors and glories. For it is the former, not the latter, that the gospel requires. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 13.1

Pray Psalm 118.14-29.
What will be required of you to live as a fool for Christ today? Ask the Lord to provide it all.

Sing Psalm 118.14-29.
(St. George’s Windsor: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)
In the Savior we are strong! He is all our strength and song!
To His grace now raise your voice; in His righteousness rejoice!
For the LORD does valiantly; we shall live eternally.
Praise His works with all your breath, you whom He redeems from death.

All who know Christ’s righteousness, His great Name now thank and bless!
Through His gate the righteous pass, He our saving mercy has.
Cast aside and left alone, Christ is now our Cornerstone!
God has made His Son and Word our salvation: Praise the LORD!

Blessed are they who in His Name come and Jesus’ grace proclaim.
God His light upon us shines in the Savior’s sacrifice.
Praise and thanks to You, O LORD; we extol Your holy Word!
Thanks to You for You are good! Thanks to our great loving God!

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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