The first three chapters of Corinthians form a chiastic structure (please see the teaching tools of Scripture). A chiastic structure is a teaching device of Scripture found embedded throughout God’s Word, in which the elements of a narrative are repeated around a central point in reverse order. This organization zeros in on the central point of a passage like an arrow. The way the central point is wrapped by the surrounding themes can also teach us important truths.
1 Cor 1:4-3:22
1a) 1 Cor 1:4-9, The gifts that belong to the Corinthians;
1b) 1 Cor 1:10-17, Boasting in men;
1c) 1 Cor 1:18-25, Foolishness of the world’s wisdom;
1d) 1 Cor 1:26-31, No room for boasting;
1e) 1 Cor 2:1-8, The Spirit of God in power and spiritual wisdom opposed to carnal wisdom;
central axis) 1 Cor 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
2e) 1 Cor 2:10-16, The Spirit of God in power and spiritual wisdom opposed to carnal wisdom;
2d) 1 Cor 3:5-17, Paul and Apollos have no room for boasting in what they build;
2c) 1 Cor 3:18-20, Foolishness of the world’s wisdom;
2b) 1 Cor 3:21a, Let no one boast in men;
2a) 1 Cor 3:21b-22, All things that belong to the Corinthians.
The central point did not turn out to be what I thought it would be! But it is a theme throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, that God is after His family, whom He loves with all He is, and in return, He desires that His family also love Him with all they are. The ones who love Him, will pay heed to Him and will listen to Him (Deu 6:4-6, Joh 14:15). The ones who love Him will follow His Spirit and walk in His wisdom and in His ways.
He is not after sold out love from us because He is an egomaniac who requires the subservience of every person. What does our agreement with God add to Him? But His commandments instruct us in that way of walking which causes blessing to increase in our lives! He is after our obedience, because He loves us with all He is!
We are to love Him that same way in return, not with lip service but true love, which requires subduing the flesh, which requires standing against the world and maybe being mocked at by the world, which requires humbling ourselves before God, and saying, for example, God, I don’t understand just why it is so important to You that I rest on the 7th day, and not the 1st day, or the 3rd day, or whatever day my own understanding would pick, or even whether I rest at all; but I acknowledge that as God, You are smarter than I am! Therefore I bow my heart and my life to You, to Your Word and Your commandments, because You are my God!
At the end, we cannot even imagine what God has prepared for us who love Him with the same sold out love that He loved us. But here is a hint: Yeshua Messiah is returning as a Bridegroom for us, His Bride!
“When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.” Deu 24:5
We have not yet begun to grasp the joy that will be ours!