Judge no one: 1 Corinthians 4.1–13 (29 August 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: 1 Corinthians 4

Paul writes from the heart, not just the head. In this section, though he has tried so far to be diplomatic with the Corinthians, his irritation gets the better of him and he descends into sarcasm (verse 10). In their party strife the Corinthians are judging by worldly standards and praising people because of how they look and sound, while devaluing people who are poor and less impressive.

Paul is in a difficult position. In many people's eyes, Apollos looks far more like an apostle than he does. Perhaps he's officer class, a natural leader, handsome, charismatic and eloquent. Paul never attacks him, but he can't directly defend himself, either. Instead, he defends his apostleship, pointing out that all of the apostles were hungry and thirsty, clothed in rags, beaten and homeless (verse 11). It makes no sense for the Corinthians to despise people just because they didn't look the part of leaders and influencers: they shouldn't judge people in this way at all (verses 5–6).

The Corinthian temptation is one Christians are still prone to – and not just Christians. Someone who looks right and talks right – who fits what we expect of our leaders, perhaps in terms of education, class, race, language and culture – always has a head start in terms of acceptability and influence. But Jesus was despised and rejected. Christians need to develop the ability to hear truth from unexpected sources; to listen to the poor and marginalised, and resist the gloss and glamour of worldly appeal.

Pray

Pray

God, help me to see others as you see them. Let me not judge by worldly standards, but by yours, and help me to hear your voice speaking through unlikely people.
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