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The Scriptorium

Setting Things in Order

Because God is a God of order. 1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11 (7)

Pray Psalm 116.4-6.

Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.

Sing Psalm 116.4-6.
Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
I called to God, “O LORD, I pray, my soul redeem with favor!”
The LORD is gracious in His way, and righteous is our Savior.
His mercy to the simple flies; He lifted me up to the skies—
I rest in Him forever!

Review 1 Corinthians 11.1-34; meditate on verses 33, 34.

1. How did Paul expect them to show their oneness?

2. What did he promise concerning his next visit to Corinth?


Did you ever find it frustrating trying to get your children to clean up their room? Put their toys away? Hang up their clothes? Make their beds? Bring a little order to the chaos of their quarters? And didn’t you always know that, at some point, you were going to have to go in there and help them do what needed to be done?

That’s where Paul was with the Corinthians. The “babes in Christ” who regarded themselves as spiritual giants had made a mess of things—divisions, immorality, lawsuits, neglect of their callings—even of the most important thing of all, worship and the Lord’s Supper. He addressed their mess one facet after another, and patiently but firmly explained to them what needed to be done.

He is particularly urgent here, in his various instructions concerning the Lord’s Supper—what it is and is not, how to prepare, how to regard the elements of the Supper, what they must do to maintain the fellowship of Jesus with their fellow believers. If they could get the Supper right then perhaps they could begin working on other matters, such as those Paul will address through the rest of 1 Corinthians.

The key to all of this is rightly-directed affections—more love for God and neighbor and a little less love for themselves. The directions now spelled out in the clearest of terms, Paul expected them to get busy cleaning up their room. They must do what they can. He would set “the rest” in order when he came to them again. That was not a threat but a promise, for as a wise shepherd, Paul knew the sheep in Corinth would need more personal attention to recover their unity in Christ.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Just wait ’til your father gets home.” Only this time my father was out of town and would be for some time, so I had a lot of time to ponder my fate before he returned.

“The rest I’ll set in order when I come” (1 Cor. 11.34). And who knew how long they would have to wait until Paul would arrive? But it gave them a good amount of time to ponder their shortcomings and begin to resolve them—or many months of anxiety in anticipation of the pending face-to-face.

Solomon suggested to his children: “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil” (Prov. 4.26, 27). He also taught them, saying: “When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil…So you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness” (Prov. 2.10-12, 20).

 When the Holy Spirit confronts us with our shortcomings, we can hear His voice, ponder our paths, change our direction, and become wise; or we can wait and worry, and fall further into disrepair and sin. We have only to observe the Israelites of the Old Testament or the faltering church folks of the New to know what happens when the wrong choice is made.

For the canon of the book of Psalms, this one was chosen as the opener:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1.1, 2). Truly, the basis for staying out of the crosshairs of the Holy Spirit and Paul.

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways” (Ps. 119.15).
Fear and dread of His appearing will lessen when these guidelines are meticulously followed. Because all of life as we know it “will be dissolved” so, “what manner of persons ought [we] to be in holy conduct and godliness…?” (2 Pet. 3.11). We want to be persons found pleasing to God.

In a much happier letter, when Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, he told them how to manage their minds for successful, godly, joyful living. He did not want them to live in fear, he wanted them to know how to experience abundant life in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 15.11).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil. 4.6-8).

When these things are set in order, fear changes to joyful anticipation of that final day, when our Father returns.

For reflection
1. How do you know whether your life is “in order” before the Lord?

2. What does it take each day for you to keep your life in order?

3. How can you know when your life begins to be not in order? What should you do then?

Paul adds that he will deal with everything else when he comes. It is likely that the Corinthians would have objected that not everything could be put right by letter. Therefore, Paul tells them to get on with these things in the meantime and that he will do the rest in due course. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 28.3

Pray Psalm 116.10-19.
Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord for today, and everything you have to do in it as sweet-smelling incense for His glory. Recommit yourself to bringing your house in order, beginning in your soul and throughout all your relationships, roles, and responsibilities.

Sing Psalm 116.10-19.
Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the L
ORD for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
and pay my vows most truly.

How sweet to Him when saints depart—make me, Your servant, Savior!
From sin You loosed my wand’ring heart; I praise Your Name forever!
On You I call, my vows to pay; here in Your Presence I would stay,
Your praise to offer ever.

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

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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.
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