The Temple in Jerusalem was sacred to Jewish people because it was the place where heaven and earth touched.
When Paul wrote the Corinthians, he changed the image of the temple. He told them that the temple was not a building, but anywhere the Holy Spirit was present.
— 1 Corinthians 3.16-17 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
We should look for the presence of God through the Holy Spirit every time we attend a worship service. The most important aspect of corporate worship is the connection God gives us through the presence of his Spirit.
It is important to take seriously Paul’s admonitions to avoid arrogance, spiritual pride, and division. This behavior distracts from an intimate connection with the Holy Spirit and should be avoided.
Paul uses very strong words to describe God’s reaction to the misuse of his temple, the place where the Holy Spirit meets humans. It is a very serious warning.
A Message for the Wise
God’s message to the wise is to “give up your wisdom.”
— 1 Corinthians 3.18-19a – Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
Jesus’ words apply to all aspects of life, including human wisdom.
— Mark 8.34-35 – “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
The kind of “wisdom” that is foolishness before God divides and destroys. If our so-called “wisdom” is like that, we need to exchange it for the “wisdom” of the gospel.
True wisdom will lead us to follow Jesus in self-giving love. True wisdom will seek to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Paul Quotes Job
Paul used the Book of Job to press home his argument about worldly wisdom.
— 1 Corinthians 3.19b-20 – For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”
I have included verses from Job 5, the passage that Paul quoted to the Corinthians. A meditation on these words will amplify what godly wisdom is.
“As for me, I would seek God,
and to God I would commit my cause.
“He does great things and unsearchable,
marvelous things without number.
“He sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
“He frustrates the devices of the crafty,
so that their hands achieve no success.
“He takes the wise in their own craftiness;
and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.” (Job 5.8-9, 11-13)
Leaders Vs. the Lord
True wisdom is focused on giving God the honor he is due. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1.31).
The “wisdom” teacher of Corinth taught that “the wise man possesses all things.” That thought is contrary to God’s wisdom teaching.
— 1 Corinthians 3.21-23 – So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours,
Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you,
And you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
If we are really wise, we will seek a deeper relationship with God and seek the wisdom of a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Below are reflection questions that Richard Hayes proposes in his commentary on 1 Corinthians.
(1) Are we using the church as though it were ours, or as though it were an instrument for the advancement of our lives.
(2) Are we proud of our superior learning or intellectual ability? If so we had better prepare ourselves to be shown foolish by God.
(3) How often do we seek a meeting with God, when attending worship services?
Rudy Ross and I discuss today’s Bible passage on YouTube. Rudy is a great student of the Bible and a lover of Jesus. You will appreciate his thoughts. The video is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.