I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, 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. (1 Cor. 4:6)
One of the many things the church in Corinth was struggling with and was causing division within the church was the gifts of the Spirit, talents, and abilities. Many of them were becoming puffed up toward each other thinking that each was better than the other. There was this pervasive idea running through the church that there were super-Christians who were more important or valuable or talented than the rest (1 Cor 12:14-26). To help resolve this issue, that was running the risk of splitting the church, Paul reminds them “not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.” In other words, it does not matter what your gifts are, it does not matter if one has the gift of prophecy or not (whatever that is), scripture is the final, authoritative, inerrant rule of all faith, knowledge, and practice. What is written in God’s word is what we are to adhere to. To Timothy he would write, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-4:1)—“that the man of God may be complete.” In other words, God’s word, scripture, is all we need to be complete. The word of God provides us with all we need to know God, to live the Christian life, to grow in sanctification, to engage in ministry, and to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. No further authoritative revelation is needed, nor available, from God. Peter echoes a similar sentiment when he writes, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3). Everything we need for “life;” that is, for living life in this world, and for “godliness;” that is, for growing in sanctification and preparing for the next life is given to us “through the knowledge of him who called us;” that is, through the knowledge of God. The more we study God, the more we study the things of God, the more we study scripture, there is where we find all that we need for life and godliness.
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