1 Corinthians 4:14-21 — End the Divisions in the Church!

So far in 1 Corinthians, Paul has focused mainly on divisions among Christians and in the church. He spoke of the fact of the divisions in 1:10-17 and the causes of the divisions in 1:18 to 4:13, specifically:
      1. A wrong conception of the Christian message (1:18-3:4)
      2. A wrong conception of Christian ministry and ministers (3:5-4:5)
      3. A wrong conception of the Christian person(4:6-13)
He ends this part of his letter by urging Christians to end the divisions among themselves and in the church.

1. After writing so harshly in the first 3½ chapters, why is Paul now sounding so gentle (“I don’t want to embarrass you” and “my own dear children”)?

2. What can we learn from Paul’s approach?

3. In 4:16, Paul says, “I want you to be like me.” What is he looking for? How do you personally measure up to Paul’s standard?

4. Who do you admire for putting their faith on the line? Mother Teresa? Billy Graham? Desmond Tutu? Martin Luther King? Some “lesser known” believer who is faithful in hard times?

5. Explain verse 20. (God’s kingdom isn’t just a lot of words. It is power.)

6. How would Paul respond to the idea, popular today, that “God wants you to be happy, rich, and successful”?

7. Read verse 4:21. If Paul came to visit us here today, would he come with a whip, in love, or with a gentle spirit? Why? How would you like him to come?

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