Online Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 1:1

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Note 1 at 1 Corinthians 1:1: Paul didn’t appoint himself as an apostle; he was supernaturally called by God. His greeting to the Galatian church (Galatians 1:1) stressed this point and it was alluded to here. Many people desire to do something good to help others, so they choose professions as ministers or appoint themselves to positions of authority in the church. However, God’s kingdom differs from earthly kingdoms in that God calls the leadership into their positions. Only when God calls an individual will there be the supernatural anointing that is necessary to set the captives free. Often, failure in the ministry is due to the fact that those individuals never were called to that position. They may have meant well, but good intentions aren’t enough. People have to be called. Note 2 at 1 Corinthians 1:1: This phrase “to be” is italicized in the King James Version. That means that these words were not in the Greek text but were added to make the sentence grammatically correct in the English language. However, at times it can be beneficial to read the sentence without the italicized words. In this case, Paul was saying that he was called an apostle through the will of God. Paul wasn’t in the process of becoming an apostle. He was an apostle the moment God called him. There is a process of learning and faithfulness before people’s ministries open up completely. However, the moment God places a call on people’s lives, they are what they are called to be. Therefore, it is technically incorrect to say “I am studying to be a pastor or minister.” You are either called by God and are a minister, or you will never become a God-ordained minister regardless of how many degrees you get. There is nothing wrong with studying after you receive the call to ministry to increase your effectiveness. But it must be clear that ministry is not something that can be taught; it has to be caught. Failure to make this distinction has caused many people who desire to do something good with their lives choose to enter the ministry without ever being called (see note 1 at this verse). This has produced frustration and grief for those individuals and disaster for the body of Christ.

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