Daily Scripture Reading:
Monday, February 1: 1 Corinthians 11:17-24
Paul addresses the hypocrisy of the Corinthian church that was revealed in the way they celebrated the Lord's Supper. They would gather in the same home but divide into different groups to eat. Some groups were wealthy and would eat and drink to the point of drunkenness while the poorer people went hungry because they had so little. Their self-centered, indulgent attitudes were totally opposed to the sacrificial love of Christ that they were supposed to be remembering. Paul warns them about the dangers of misusing the Lord's Supper and calls them to examine themselves and make changes in their worship gatherings.
Tuesday, February 2: 1 Corinthians 12
Paul continues to address divisions within the Corinthian church, but he turns his attention to divisions based on spiritual gifts. God has given every follower of Jesus different types of abilities for blessing others and building up the church. An unhealthy church is full of people who do not feel they need people with different abilities who serve and encourage one another with the gifts they have been given.
1. How do you see different spiritual gifting being employed in our church?
2. In what ways might you be tempted to become divided based on differing gifts?
Wednesday, February 3: 1 Corinthians 13
In one of the most famous chapters in the Bible, Paul calls the Corinthian church back to the core principles of following Jesus - loving God and loving others. Not only does Pul explain the centrality of love in the life of a Christian, but he is also describing what love actually is. Love is not the feeling of affection that comes and goes but the actions of working for the good of someone else (whether or not we feel affection for them).
1. What part of Paul's description of love "stands out" to you the most today? Why might that be?
2. After thinking about how God is calling you to love others, think about how Jesus has loved you in these ways.
Thursday, February 4: 1 Corinthians 14:1-25
God gave many people in the Corinthian church the "gifts of tongues" - the ability to talk with God in others' language. Though this ability is a gift from God, the Corinthians misused the gift by becoming more concerned with their own "worship experience" than how they affected other members and visitors in their worship gatherings. Paul advises them to adopt a more orderly format for their gathering so that people will be able to understand God's message and benefit from it.
1. In what ways are you tempted to let your own worship style and preferences become more important than loving others and helping them grow?
Friday, February 5: 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
After describing how detrimental it is to have everyone consumed with their own worship experience, Paul gives practical instructions for orderly worship so that the church will be built up. He wants there to be many contributors to the worship gathering, but not in a chaotic, confusing manner. Some of Paul's instructions make sense to us - "don't all speak at once." Other instructions seem quite confusing to us - "the women should keep silent." We must remember that this letter was written to a culture quite different than our own. Here is a helpful article in understanding the situation that Paul may have been addressing. http://fuller.edu/ about/women-in-ministry/women-in-ministry--1-corinthians-14-34–35/