Scripture 1 Corinthians 4:6-7
6 I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, “Nothing beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?
What does this saying mean “Nothing beyond what is written?” to Paul and to the Corinthians?
- Paul is writing so that they may benefit from what he wrote
- Result – that none may be “puffed up” (most English translations use this same phrase!)
- The “puffed up” is in regards to whom they follow: Paul or Apollos
- What they have, they received (from God is the implication)
- Boasting is not something we do with a gift
Several years ago during the Presidential campaigns the phrase ‘I built this’ came into use. The suggestion was that no one had given the sayer of this phrase anything but had earned it by hard work. Setting aside that past political argument, sometimes I think in my heart ‘ I built this’ in looking at my life.
One of the great truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that all that I have is from God. My faith and life are a free gift received through faith in Jesus Christ. My personal circumstances are not something I earned but received from God. Any good in me, any good in my ministry, any good in my life comes from the Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift.
It is hard to be “puffed up” about what I have been given – not something I have earned but been blessed to receive. And a gift can only make me humble. That someone – God – would give me such gifts! Nothing to brag about or get a big head about. Nothing I have or am comes from my work or smarts or worthiness. Ultimately it is all God’s gift.
Lord, I confess my being ‘puffed up’ at times – even often. Why should I be proud of what is your gift. Why should I boast of what I have no control over – so much of my life might seem to be mine by luck or chance but is, in fact, from you. May I humbly receive all that you have given including this day. In the name of the Great Gift, Jesus, I pray. Amen.