I Corinthians 4-6: Going Beyond

I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren,

that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written,

that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

I Corinthians 4:6, RSV


I'm watching my seven month old grandson today so this will be a short one. However, do not let the article's brevity make you think that the topic is unimportant, for the theme of the verse above is one of the most consistent and oft repeated teachings of the Bible.


While I think most of us understand the command to not beyond what is written, it is interesting to see one of the reasons for not doing so: It is so we will not give men, no matter how impressive or seemingly knowledgeable in the Bible, preference over the Scriptures. I am constantly amazed at hearing the reasons for people when they depart from the most obvious and plainly stated teachings of the Bible. Almost invariably when they leave the commands of the Word, it is because of some man or woman who has impressed them with their own insight of the Bible.


And by doing so, they become "puffed up in favor" of one man over another. In effect, they divide over what the Bible says, not because God was unclear or incompetent in stating His commands, but because people have their favorite relatives, preachers, and pastors whom they occasionally rely on over the Word of God.


Because of this, they endanger their very souls, for our responsibility in handling God's Word has always been to listen to God and not to men, no matter how impressive those men may seem. By not going beyond what is written, we can avoid such pitfalls and be confident that our service to God is based upon His Word and not the opinions of man.


The reading for the next few days is I Corinthians 4-6. They are filled with vital themes that will help us to correctly handle the Word of Truth.