Sunday, 31 August 2014
My defense to those who examine me is this: 1 Corinthians 9:3
The NKJV (cited here) phrases this verse as Paul’s introduction to his defense when in fact he has already made his defense. The terms he uses for “defense” and “examine” are legal in nature, used during an inquiry. He had been legally challenged and he has legally defended his position. Therefore, this verse is referring not to what follows, which is a series of questions on which he bases his defense. Instead, they are a series of rhetorical questions in confirmation of what he has defended.
This verse then should end with a period, not a colon because the subsequent verses are merely rhetorical questions given as a follow up to these previously submitted facts:
1) He is an apostle (verse 1)
2) He is free (verse 1)
3) He has seen Jesus Christ our Lord (verse 1)
4) Those in Corinth are his work in the Lord (verse 1)
5) The Corinthians are the seal of his apostleship in the Lord (verse 2)
He has been challenged and he has responded in a manner which proves his apostleship. From this springboard of his certified status, he will next show what rights he is entitled to in that status.
Life application: Understanding Paul’s method of writing allows us to more accurately interpret his words. He was trained under the law and was skilled at identifying an issue and then defending that issue preemptively. This is an excellent way of handling a sensitive discussion which will keep others from thinking they have outwitted you. Thinking of contingencies that may arise and responding to them in advance will usually bolster one’s viewpoint in the end.
Be my defense O God as I face the enemy’s darts
When they speak against me, fill me with Your word
Though they may have graphs, notes, and charts
You are on my side; my Defender is my Lord
Knowing Your word is a most valued tool
Because it was given by You to guide me through each trial
Against the vain utterings of the wicked and the fool
By standing on it, the attacks will end after a short while
Every good lesson given there is a great defense for us
Because they are lessons which reflect the very heart of Jesus
Lord God, the more I read Your word, the clearer the difficult issues of this life become. I can see why bad things happen, even to the best of people. I understand that wickedness has an end. I find there hope and solace in times of depression and trial. In Your word I find these and so much more. Help me to direct others to this wonderful tool, guide, and path of sound reason where they also can find sure footing and contentment. This I pray that they will be edified and You will be glorified. Thank You for your precious, superior word. Amen.