Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

4 Quick Thoughts on Marriage

One of the things I absolutely love about my seminary is that they truly value the marriages of their students. As a result they have a couple’s banquet every year where the married students are served dinner by the professors, child care is provided, and a miniature sermon about marriage is presented. This year one of my professors, Carl Laney, gave four reasons why marriage should be held in honor and I thought they were so great I’d share them here.

  1. God ordained it. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24).” Marriage is the first institution created by God. Any other time God has made a covenant with man it has been regarded as something sacred and holy. In the same way, marriage should be viewed as a sacred institution that was created by God.
  2. Jesus blessed it. Jesus blessed marriage by turning water to wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-12). He did this because marriage is something that deserves to be celebrated. Furthermore, Jesus said that there is a supernatural element to marriage. God joins the husband and wife, and we ought not separate what God has joined (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9)
  3. Children illustrate it. From the beginning, the biblical view of children is that they are a blessing. When a child is born, they have DNA from both the mother and the father. This is an illustration of the bond that occurs at marriage. Children are a vivid reminder of that unity that God creates when he weds a man and a woman.
  4. Death alone ends it. Marriage is intended as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman in the sight of God and their family. The Bible says that wives are bound to their husbands as long as he is alive (Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:39). It also says that men are to love their lives to the point of dying for her (Ephesians 5:25-30). This lifelong devotion is meant to serve as a picture of Christ’s devotion to the Church.

There you have it! May your marriage be blessed and may it be a blessing.

Puffy Christians – 1 Corinthians 8:1

I’m so spiritual and enlightened!
I am all for learning more about God, the Bible, theology, and pretty much anything you can that will draw you closer to God. In my life I’ve noticed a problem that gets bigger the more I learn; the problem is pride. Specifically, the problem is pride as a result of knowledge. It’s easy to think, “wow, I’ve learned so much more than other people; I’m so spiritual and enlightened!” But really, does that sound like a humble heart? Are those types of thoughts even from God? I love my classes, but the biggest, most lethal pitfall I have to avoid is getting puffy.
How can they not know this?!

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is addressing the eating of meat sacrificed to idols and he starts his instruction by acknowledging that “we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.'” (1 Cor 8:1) The Corinthians had developed a prideful attitude with regards to the knowledge they posessed. They were thinking things like, “Well of course, everyone should know that idols represent a God that doesn’t exist. Duh!” Or maybe, “It’s obvious we can eat the meat because their gods don’t exist; how can they not know this?!” But really, does that sound like a humble heart? Are those types of thoughts even from God?
Are you a puffy Christian?

Paul lovingly continues his instruction by cautioning them that “This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor 8:1b) A modern way of saying this, and something I’ve heard several times is “The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.” Paul continues teaching by explaining how the puffy Corinthians were causing less-knowledgeable Christians to struggle because they were eating food sacrificed to idols. They thought their freedom to eat a steak was more important than the spiritual growth of their brothers and sisters in Christ! This is not a real issue for us in America (although we could talk about alcohol as a modern example), but it’s the idea of being puffy I want to look at.
“The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.” How very, very true this is for me! Maybe I’m the only dirt bag who struggles in this area, but I have to constantly check to see how “puffy” I’m getting. For example, when you read a verse, is your first impulse to use it against someone else or is it to see how it can be applied to your life? I’ll be honest: my first thought is not always how a verse relates to me but how someone else really needs to hear it! So ask yourself: Are you a puffy Christian?

We can break others down or build them up.

If you think you might be a little puffy from time to time, then I encourage you to use your knowledge to love people and build them up, not to inflate yourself and stay puffy. There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. A wise person will use their knowledge to build up those around them. Warren W. Wiersbe, in The Bible Exposition Commentary, says it like this:
“The little child who is afraid of the dark will not be assured by arguments, especially if the adult (or older brother) adopts a superior attitude. Knowledge can be a weapon to fight with or a tool to build with, depending on how it is used.”
Do you see the two options we’re given? We can either use knowledge against others or for them. We can break others down or build them up. Do you use knowledge to puff yourself up or to build others up? Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. In 2 Peter 3:18, Peter closes his teaching the same way I’ll conclude this entry: by urging us all to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”