The Corinthian church was divided and marked by jealousy and strife, as revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. Paul challenged this party spirit saying, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (v. 6). Attitudes of superiority and envy are evidence of spiritual immaturity. Paul continues to call the Corinthians to a spirit of unity. He emphasizes that his message is simple, the power of the crucified Christ. Paul does not feel that his knowledge is sufficient to explain the mystery of God, but the experiences that he shares demonstrate the power of God.
Our challenge is to share our experiences of Christ with others in simple, meaningful ways, rather than with big words or theological debate.
Where to place our faith? As Christians, we need to be extremely careful to place our faith and trust in the power of God, as opposed to human wisdom. Are we to follow those who proclaim the message of Jesus Christ? Do we dare to listen to the liberal theology of today, with all the progressive views? We have had too many examples in the past of ministers who have gone astray, who have led others away from the flock. It is not a competition to see who can lead the most people to Christ. Does not God bring about salvation? This is the message that Paul is trying to impart to the believers in Corinth. Place your faith in God through Jesus Christ, crucified for humanity. Paul shares his belief in the power of Christ crucified and allows God to continue the work that he starts.
Proclaiming the Wisdom of God. We who proclaim the message of God should be trembling in our boots at all times. We confess to speak wisdom that our faith has allowed us to proclaim. Paul describes God’s wisdom as secret and hidden. Revelation of God’s wisdom is through the Holy Spirit. Paul ascribes most power to the Spirit by suggesting that the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. God is still at work today by the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of believers. The Spirit helps us to discern the gifts that God gives to us.
Gifts of the Spirit and the example of Christ. Paul relays to us that our words and witness are not by our wisdom, but by the Holy Spirit. This passage of the Corinthian letter brings about several poignant questions. Why do some people refuse to see the power of Christ and even reject the teachings of God? Does the spirit of God dwell in only a select few? I believe that the Spirit of God does exist in all human beings, so why does not everyone believe in the power of Christ crucified? Theologically, I struggle with this passage. What does Paul mean by unspiritual? For me, God reveals the message of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Our witness is living out the spirit in our words and actions. How do we discern how we are to live? We know the example that Jesus Christ gives us through his life in the world. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ. Will you let God be in your life today?