Today’s readings.. (2 Kings 3), (Jeremiah 51), (1 Corinthians 11)

Today’s chapter 11 in 1 Corinthians starts, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”  Paul, from the time Christ made himself known to him, had been the ‘role model’ (a phrase often used today) of his life. So many follow strange ‘role models’ today – but the Scriptures have the true ‘role models’ for us – especially Paul and Christ.
We have nearly completed reading Jeremiah, and in several senses he is a suitable ‘role model’ for us as we, like him, during and after the fall of Jerusalem, are surrounded by largely faithless people.   In 2 Kings 3 today we see the un-wisdom of Jehoshaphat, the king from Jerusalem, in trying to work together with Ahab and then his son Jehoram, who, although relatives, only  show a token belief in the true God: these are lessons for all true believers.
Paul spells out the line of responsibility and authority. “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” [v.3]  He tells them to “maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.” [v.2] The word “traditions” should not be misunderstood, it applies to precepts of belief and practice that have been handed down, they can be either good or bad; from God or from men. Jesus challenged the bad “traditions,” see Mark 7 v.9,13.
Paul told the Thessalonians, “brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” [2 Thess. 2 v.15] Today we have Paul’s letters and all the other words that God has caused to be written and preserved. An example of a good tradition is the one Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians; when you are praying in your assembly,  a woman should cover her head, at least in prayer, and for a man to leave his head uncovered. (v.4-7,13-16).
No one should be “inclined to be contentious” [v.16] about this, says Paul, but sadly his comment to them “that there are divisions among you” [v.18] over many matters has been a factor ever since.  But, get the significance of the point he makes, “there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognised.” [v.19].   Today, there are still some, regrettably only a few, who accept the word of God as their authority: this begins by seeing that “the head of Christ is God”.  The dogma of the Trinity is symptomatic of all human efforts to ‘improve’ on what God has caused to be written.  We must not make that mistake.


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