Wednesday, 28 May 2014
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:15
“For” is given based on the warning of the previous verse – “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.” The reason for the warning then was that “though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, you do not have many fathers.” A father will look after his children in ways that an instructor won’t. A good example to understand this is to see the only other times that the term for “instructors” which is paidagōgous (a pedagogue) is used. In Galatians 3:24, 25, Paul uses the term twice when referring to the law –
“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”
A pedagogue was a slave who conducted children to school and looked over the care of their schooling. In a broader sense, it is used of teachers or instructors of any general kind. This is what the law was intended to be. It was meant to lead us to the knowledge that we need more than just formal schooling, but a relationship and personal care. This is what Jesus provides us.
Paul is using this same idea in a metaphorical way about himself. Many teachers and instructors had come to Corinth, but only Paul could claim “for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” He had been the one to originally bring them the message of Christ and to plant the church at Corinth. As a father begets children, he had begotten them in Christ through his preaching ministry. And so between them in this there was a bond similar to a father for a son. He felt the same way about Onesimus when writing to his friend Philemon –
“I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains…” Philemon 1:10
Life application: Are you still familiar with the person who led you to Christ? If so, take time to write them a note or give them a call and tell them how your walk is going. There is a special bond in this that deserves an extra moment of your time. If you have lost contact with that person, lift them up in prayer today to your heavenly Father who knows exactly who they are and how to reward them.
Lord Jesus, I thank You for the person who took the time to tell me about You. The greatest moment of my life took place because of a caring heart and a few simple words. Please look after that precious soul and bless them for their efforts. And Lord, help me to step forward and to share my faith with others as well. To Your glory I pray this. Amen.