In the past few posts I’ve talked about the many ways that we use the Bible. In all of these things – teaching, convicting, correcting, training in righteousness, and warning – the Scripture is useful to us. But at this point I think it is necessary to give a disclaimer.
Actually it’s a warning from Scripture itself. Believers are sometimes guilty of using the Bible in ways God never intended. Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes of others.
Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
1 Corinthians 4:6
At the beginning of this letter to the Corinthian church, Paul rebukes the people for the many factions that were splitting their fellowship. He tells them not to go beyond what’s written. Literally that means not to over think the Scripture. Their problem was that they were basing their divisions on the apostles themselves.
“I follow Peter.” “I follow Paul.” “I follow Apollos.”
What does that mean? It’s clear that they were basing their lives upon certain doctrines that each apostle might have emphasized. Today, most of us realize that different ministers have specialties in their preaching.
Some tend to emphasize faith, some grace, while others are strong in Godly financial issues. There are also different personalities and teaching or preaching styles. That’s the way it should be. Diversity among the ministry gifts is a positive thing.
What the Corinthian church was doing, was making it an “either or” type of decision. Instead of receiving the blessing from each teacher’s particular ministry, they followed one certain apostle exclusively. In essence they were saying, “I only follow Paul’s rules.”
The Christian walk is not a matter of whose rules I follow. We’re not to over think what’s written. God never intended for the church to turn the Bible into a rule book. Yes the Old Testament contains many rules, but our doctrine must always pass through the cross to filter out the things that don’t apply to us.
If we could please God by following a set of rules, then we wouldn’t need Christ to die for us. The fact is that rules are not enough, no matter how good they are. In my next post I’ll show, from Scripture, exactly why this is true.
Question: Have you ever had a problem keeping the rules?
© Nick Zaccardi 2016