SOAP Study - September 30, 2020

    09.30.20 | by Rocky Shack


    1 Corinthians 4:14-21

    14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16 So I urge you to imitate me.

    17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

    18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?


    • What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
    • What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
    • How should this information impact your life?
    • What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
    • Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.

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    Sometimes we think that people are trying to make us feel guilty. Paul does not care to make anyone feel guilty, but he will speak the truth to convict us. That is what the Scriptures do. They can encourage us when we need that. The Word discourages our behavior when we need that, too. Paul like any good dad is going to tell it like it is because he knows that the truth is good for you. To me, Paul is one of the best examples of a dad from Scripture because he does not ask his children to do anything that he has not been willing to subject himself to first. Paul is serving as a spiritual father to the Corinthians because he shared the Gospel of Jesus with them. He is telling them what Jesus had to tell him. Paul really has their best interests and their spiritual development in mind. When Paul was still living in his sin and Jesus knocked him off his donkey, Jesus gave him a choice to follow him or stay in your mess. Paul now has given the Corinthians the same choice to follow him or stay in their junk. Paul is doing what Jesus did for him, and now, he is saying to imitate his life. When Paul says for us to imitate, Paul means “copy the details of his life.” In the same way that Paul has been trying to copy the details of Jesus’ life, he is saying copy Jesus’ life like me. That is a bold move! Paul is inviting people to watch him live, so that they will have a better idea of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. If you look at Paul’s life, we can see what it means to be connected to Jesus and committed to his way.


    This passage makes me think about the spiritual fathers in my life. Each one has added something to my life as a disciple. In some cases, they have had to repeat the same things that an earlier person of peace had already given me because I was still being stubborn about it. As I was discipled by them, I could always look at their lives. I paid attention to them as fathers, as husbands, and as leaders. Now that I am Bella’s father and Kelcie’s husband and a spiritual father to a few men, I feel that I have imitated the way they connected to Jesus and stayed committed to his way. I think Paul wants us to look at his spiritual parenting of those like Timothy and do the same whether it needs to be encouragement or critique. I think that is the question for all of us. Can we live in a way, so we can say to other, “Imitate me and as I follow Christ, do what I am doing”?


    LORD, thank you for those you have entrusted to me! Help me to live in a way that they will not be ashamed of their teacher. Create in me a clean heart! Renew within me a right spirit! Give me the tools I need to help them to grow! Help me to keep the light on you!