Turning the world upside down: 1 Corinthians 1.18–31 (26 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.



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.


Daily reflection: 1 Corinthians 1

Paul's letters to the Corinthians reflect the situation in a church that's strong and growing, but still learning how to be Christian.

In this first chapter he compliments them on their faith, tells them off for quarrelling, and bases everything on God's grace to them. In the second half he speaks of the gospel as 'nonsense' to the world, but wiser than all human wisdom.

The gospel might appear foolish today. It runs against much of what people take for granted in what it says about sin, personal responsibility, human frailty and the need for a saviour. We shouldn't expect an easy ride when we try to make the case for Christ. But for Paul, the gospel is foolish for a particular reason. It was the rich, powerful and strong who were glorified in the Roman world. Crucifixion was the most humiliating death imaginable. No crucified person died with dignity.

But Paul tells the Corinthians that God had chosen people like them – very few of them wise or noble (verse 26) – and lifted them high, just as Christ himself was exalted. God had turned the world upside down, and it was the weak and powerless who were to be honoured.

It's still like that today: if Christians are respected or influential, that's all well and good – but we shouldn't expect that, or mind if we aren't. And we should still look to the least and lowest if we want to understand the heart of the gospel, not to the mighty and proud.



God, thank you for turning the world upside down and lifting up the poor, the weak and those whom the world neglects. Help me to see you at work in everyone, and to judge no one by the world's standards.

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