Perhaps you've noticed this, but people have rather strong opinions these days and aren't afraid to share them. Our cluttered social media feeds are filled with numerous arguments and crass political posturing.
In this contentious environment, it is more important than ever that Spirit-filled believers find proper ways to discern things.
In the first century, the Apostle Paul cautioned the Corinthians about making judgments according to personal preferences or limited natural insight.
He wanted them to know that a New Covenant believer is not permitted to establish harsh lines of demarcation—outside of the clear plumb line of the Bible.
Let the boundaries of Scripture be our guide—not religious traditions or modern societal standards.
Under the Spirit's unction, Paul declared, "Do not go beyond what is written" (1 Cor. 4:6, NIV).
Some interpret this passage to mean something contrary to Paul's original ethos. They argue that if the Bible hasn't explicitly affirmed it, one must reject it. I heard one man say, "Only do what the Bible says and no more." However, that's not what this passage is advocating.
In the original context, Paul was dealing with competing factions that were vying for prominence in the Corinthian church. Some of these Christians were making determinations merely on opinion and personal preference. Paul reminded them that this must be avoided.
The Aramaic Bible In Plain English renders 1 Corinthians 4:6 the following way: "I have established these things ... that you may learn by us not to suppose more than whatever is written."
Paul was basically saying: Don't add rigid boundaries where Scripture is silent. Don't reject something simply because it is outside of your delicate sensibilities. Only renounce it if it is unscriptural.
It would do us well to heed the apostle's advice in modern-day America. It is increasingly difficult to separate politics, gender, economics and social status from our conceptions of truth and virtue.
What was true in the first century remains true today. We must somehow learn to not go beyond what is written.
J.D. King, director of the World Revival Network and co-pastor at World Revival Church, is writing Regeneration: Healing in the History of Christianity. King is a sought-after speaker, writer and author.
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