Thursday 05 March 2020

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and of power ... (v.4)

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Thursday 5 March 2020

Psalm: Psalm 4


Once again, Paul rejects the persuasive power of clever words, but now he introduces a new source for the authority of his proclamation. The power of God is revealed especially through the gift of the Spirit.

Grand speeches are delivered by one person for others to listen to. It is hard to imagine Paul providing a one-man demonstration of the power of the Spirit for others to watch. The roots of the Corinthian church lie in an experience that they shared. Paul was able to invite his hearers into the life of the Spirit, so that they experienced God’s power for themselves. For Paul, the foundational gift of the Spirit is the ability to say "Jesus is Lord" (1 Corinthians 12:3). In a world where Caesar claimed to be Lord, finding the courage to say these words was a miracle in itself.

The demonstration of the Spirit created a community of faith, held together by the shared belief that ‘Jesus is Lord’, words that sum up the life-changing power of God. Maybe there were other markers of God’s power too, other gifts of the Spirit. Certainly those gifts were familiar within the Corinthian church as it grew (12:7-10) – though here too, Paul needs to remind his hearers that these gifts are given for the common good, not for individuals.

The author of Acts identifies this gift, at Pentecost, as the origin of the Church. Paul, writing rather earlier, also emphasises the role of the Spirit in inspiring the Church and shaping its worship. This is true for the church in Corinth (see especially chapter 12) and elsewhere (Galatians 3:2). Paul’s first approach to the people of Corinth, then, focused on building up the church through offering a shared experience of the Spirit. This drew them together in a community which Paul trusted would be shaped by the greatest gifts – faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 3:13).


To Ponder:

  • What can today’s church leaders learn from the way Paul balances evangelism and pastoral concern for his community?
  • What gifts have you received from the Spirit? How do you make use of these in the life of your faith community?
Previous Page Wednesday 04 March 2020
Next Page Friday 06 March 2020