Follow Day 5 Where We See A Mess: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) What is meant by “your calling”? (verse 26)

2) How has God chosen the foolish and weak to shame the wise and strong? (verse 27)

3) What is right boasting? (verses 29-31)

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective,  not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 so that no one may boast in his presence. 30 It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption— 31 in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

Original Intent

1) What is meant by “your calling”? (verse 26)
The believers in Corinth, as is true for all who trust Jesus through faith for forgiveness and restoration back to God, had a “calling” on their life to follow Jesus with the whole of their lives. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul explains it like this, “Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-2, emphasis mine) God calls an individual through the preaching and teaching of the gospel by the power of His Holy Spirit. When that call is received by that person by God’s grace through a heart of faith, the new Christian is ushered into an intimate fellowship with Christ and receives a high calling to follow Jesus. While Paul’s explanation of calling in Ephesians 4 shows us what it looks like to love and serve one another, Peter adds to our understanding when he wrote, “But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16) The calling of every Christ-follower is to both love others well and love God well with a life that follows Him and is modeled after His example of holiness and divine love. None of this is possible without His power working in and through us, which is why He graciously gives us His Holy Spirit to live forever within all who call on the Name of Jesus.

2) How has God chosen the foolish and weak to shame the wise and strong? (verse 27)
God could have concentrated on the intelligent or other outstanding people, but instead Paul’s writing emphasizes how He chose people with little to commend themselves with according to the world’s perception of success. God’s kingdom grew because God chose to work His marvels through people who, from a worldly viewpoint, were the most unimportant and unpromising. Because God uses even the most unflattering and ill-equipped to accomplish mighty things, He proves that His wisdom and power far exceeds even the best that humans can produce. The hallmarks of success in our world, knowledge, influence, rank, and wealth are not the materials God uses to build His kingdom or His church. Some Corinthian Christians felt their position in the church was superior to other believers. (1 Corinthians 1:10-11) They had no interest in encouraging spiritual growth in their fellow brothers and sisters, instead their divisiveness prevented them from loving one another. God’s word corrects their arrogance by stating, “God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world — what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something.” (verses 27-28) God’s work is redemptive and powerful and He sovereignly rules by choosing the foolish and weak to accomplish His purposes. God upsets the world’s standards by building the weak, foolish, and unimportant into something magnificent for His glory.

3) What is right boasting? (verses 29-31)
The Corinthians were quick to boast in their own accomplishments and their material possessions. In his two letters to the church in Corinth, Paul frequently reproves them for the sin of boasting. In the sight of God, no one has anything about which to boast! Instead, Paul teaches the church not to glory in their achievements, but to focus on praising the Lord in everything they did, even eating and drinking. (1 Corinthians 10:31) God displayed the greatest humility when He descended from His glorious throne to wrap Himself in human flesh that He might offer Himself as our payment for our sin. When God chooses hearts that have been humbled before Him, He exalts them by welcoming them into His presence. No one can ever claim credit for themselves, because God rules out all boasting in His presence. Only God deserves all praise, honor, and glory. Theologian, J. A. Bengel says it like this, “We may glory not before Him, but in Him.” The psalmist shouts this refrain in agreement, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Hallelujah!” (Psalm 150:6) Paul cuts to the heart by reminding the Corinthians of their salvation, which is made possible only through Christ. God sent His Son to save us, cleansing us from sin and unrighteousness, and bringing us into His glorious fellowship. None of this is possible based on human ability! God is the cause of anyone being welcomed into Christ Jesus. To be in Christ is to have intimate fellowship with Him and with all others who have trusted in Him for salvation through faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone.

Everyday Application

1) What is meant by “your calling”? (verse 26)
If you’ve trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, confessing yourself as a sinner without hope to attain right standing with God on your own, then you have this calling on your life that Paul describes. We are all called to love God, love others, and share the gospel. As followers of Jesus and part of His eternal kingdom, we will each exercise our calling to love God and love others in beautifully different ways. The Old Testament prophet, Amos, wrote, “I was not a prophet or the son of a prophet; rather, I was a herdsman, and I took care of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’” (Amos 7:14-15) Amos wasn’t doing anything spectacular as a caretaker of fig trees, but in it, God called him to live out his following of God in a new way. Sometimes we get caught up in searching for a special call or mysterious mission from God. We want a platform to achieve great and marvelous things for God, when in reality we need to get up each day praising the Lord Almighty for what He has done and what He will do through us on that day. Take what is at hand and let Christ exude from every moment through speech and action as we roll out of bed each morning to follow God anew. This is our glorious calling! Share the gospel in whatever opportunity God provides whether at the grocery checkout line, hugging your children, encouraging your husband, reaching out to your neighbors, or serving at church. Opportunities to live out our calling are not GIANT and OUTSTANDING that shine with flashing lights and applause, they are small in our perceptions, yet monumental in God’s scheme of eternality for His Kingdom. Live your calling well!

2) How has God chosen the foolish and weak to shame the wise and strong? (verse 27)
Paul glories that the church was composed of the simplest and humblest people, but we mustn’t think this was limited to the impoverished. Rather, he is most prominently describing how their hearts were humble before the Lord. Jesus called people from all walks of life including the poor fisherman, the wealthy tax collector, the prominent centurion, and the prostitute woman. Their common factor was the humble state of their hearts as they recognized God’s infinite power and holiness. Whatever they possessed, or didn’t possess, was as nothing compared to the Lord God Almighty. Jesus taught this principle in His famous sermon on the mount when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Matthew 5:3) As we come face to face with the reality that our God so greatly surpasses everything we could offer, our hearts are humbled and we are finally in a position to follow Him. The world, however, elevates the visible traits of wealth, power, and influence effectively eclipsing the humble heart. As the inner person grows in humility and consistency in following Jesus, they look less and less like the world’s definition of success and more like the heart of God! In the eyes of God every soul, regardless of how the world views them, is valuable, even worth the sacrifice of God’s only Son. We are so important to God! When we clearly see our brokenness and repent of the sin of arrogant self-assertion, we truly begin to live a full life! What a strange reality that only those who realize their complete deficit of ability to muster our own righteousness and be wise apart from God are the very ones God makes wise and influential in His economy. The one who claims to need none but himself is the one who shipwrecks his own life.

3) What is right boasting? (verses 29-31)
Christ is not against us, and Paul shows us how Christ is not only for us in these verses, but also how our rightful boast is in Him alone! CHRIST is WISDOM. (verse 30) It is only in following Him we have hope to walk rightly and only in listening to Him we hear the truth. Christ holds all authority over life and wisdom for past, present, and future. We cannot trust ourselves, only Christ. Our boast is Christ. CHRIST is RIGHTEOUSNESS. (verse 30) In Paul’s writings, righteousness always means a rightly restored relationship with God. Of our own efforts, we can never achieve this impossible feat. It is ours only by realizing that through Jesus Christ forgiveness and restoration comes from His perfect work for us, not in what we can do for Him. Where no human effort can earn a drop of righteousness, Christ’s work fulfills every requirement for holiness. Our boast is Christ. CHRIST is SANCTIFICATION. (verse 30) It is only in Christ we can be renewed and made to be more like Him through the power of His Holy Spirit at work in us. He saves us from our sin, then begins His redeeming work in us to imitate the love of God. No Christian can keep themselves pure, we have no hope for living rightly apart from Jesus. Our boast is Christ. CHRIST is REDEMPTION. (verse 30) Jesus Christ can deliver a person from past sin, from present helplessness, and from future fear by victoriously redeeming what was previously wasted in unrighteousness. He alone is the great emancipator from slavery to self and to sin into freedom and righteousness. Our boast is Christ. What is right boasting? Leaning entirely on Christ and boasting in His power to save us from our sins through God’s grace! We have NOTHING to claim we have earned by our own power. We have done nothing to bring about our salvation, our becoming like Him, or our rescue for eternity in glory with Him. This is all the work of God! The only way we can stand before God is by boasting in what Christ has done for us. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN GOD!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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