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What did Paul mean when he asked the Corinthians about what they have and received?


1 Corinthians 4:7

NKJV - 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Clarify (2) Share Report Asked September 11 2013 Mini Olga Camarillo

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B8c746f3 63c7 43eb 9665 ef7fba8e191b Kelli Trujillo Supporter Minister, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Musician
It's my understanding that in this passage, Paul is encouraging the church in Corinth to refrain from boasting about their spiritual strength and/or any gifts of the Spirit they had received, and also to refrain from adding spiritual requirements to themselves beyond what was already written. 

The tendency of some early Christians (we still have this problem today, actually), especially those who had been Jewish, was to add more requirements than what was necessary according to the gospel in order to be saved, thus creating a system of religious duty that flew in the face of the gospel of grace. To address this, a council was held at Jerusalem to discuss these matters, and here's what they decided in Acts 15:

15 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. 3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.[a] 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. 5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

When Paul says, "What do you have that you did not receive?" he's referring to the teachings and the impartation that they received from apostles such as himself. Since these Christians received those teachings and spiritual impartations from others, Paul was instructing them that they should not boast that they somehow were better Christians than others, nor should they pretend that they hadn't received teachings from the apostles as if they didn't need guidance and instruction. He was also warning them not to go beyond the teachings that had been imparted to them, which could result in heresy and, sectarianism, as well as pridefulness.

September 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini A Lamb
Paul is questioning the Corinthian Christians who were boasting about all the blessings received but were acting as if it was their own doing. He wanted to remind them that what they have received is from God and that they need to be humble about it.

September 12 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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