1 Corinthians 16, Psalm 67
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians addresses a number of their problems including: pride, tolerance of sexual immorality, and a lack of confidence in the resurrection. One issue Paul confronts from the onset is the presence of factions aligning themselves with their favorite preacher, which for many of them was either Paul or Apollos (1 Corinthians 3:8-9). As Paul ends the letter we can be certain that Paul held no ill-will against Apollos, for not only were they on good terms, I infer that Apollos’ unwillingness to visit the Corinthians was likely that he shared Paul’s concern to avoid reinforcing this immature church’s adoration of mere human teachers (see 1 Corinthians 16:12). Paul’s unity with Apollos is one example in this final chapter of 1 Corinthians that demonstrates Paul’s interdependence and love for other Christian leaders. Like Romans, 1 Corinthians ends with Paul encouraging a church to celebrate other godly leaders like Timothy, Stephanas, and Fortunatas. This shows that the humility Paul preached, he practiced. From the onset Paul attacked the pride found in the Corinthian church by celebrating the humble folly of the cross, which is God’s wisdom. Paul’s love for and co-laboring with other believers shows me, as one who knows the difficulty of cooperation with other Christians, especially the gifted ones, that Paul obeyed the way of the cross. For the cross wasn’t just marked by suffering, but abject humility willing to be mocked for our good. As we end this letter, may we cling to the wisdom of the cross, and join Paul in striving for unity, even in the times where our pride is injured or when working with those gifted to do what we can’t.