1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Corinthians. 16:13 - NIV)
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 - NASB)
The book of 1 Corinthians is a long letter written by the Apostle Paul to a group of Christians in Corinth, a city in the Roman Empire in the Province of Greece. Our focal verse is part of a paragraph about a group of faithful men. In verse 10, Paul mentions the faithfulness of Timothy a young pastor. In verse 12 he refers to Apollos, a great orator and Christian brother who will be arriving in Corinth to preach. In verse 15, Paul urges them to follow the advice of Stephanas who has devoted all to the work of the Lord. And in verse 16, Paul adds the names of Fortunatus and Achaicus to the list. They, along with Stephanas supported and encouraged the church and its leaders. In the midst of this list, using them as an example, we read a list of imperatives in our focal verse 13, “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.”
1. The first part of our Bible passage is a command to, “Be on your guard.” How should believers be on their guard? What kinds of things, people, philosophies, spirits, and messages should we be on guard against?
2. A second phrase in our verse commands believers to “Stand firm in the faith.” What are some things that can shake our faith in Jesus? How can we stand firm and not give up?
3. The third imperative is to “be courageous” or in some English translations, to “act like men.” The actual word in Koine Greek (the language of the New Testament) is andrizomai, and verb meaning to “be manly,” “show yourself to be a man,” “be brave.” Why do you think the early Christians in Rome needed to be brave? Do believers in Jesus need to be brave today? Why?
1. BE ON YOUR GUARD against direct attacks on our faith, and even more so against the subtle whisperings of our hedonistic culture which pull you away from your commitment to the Lord.
2. STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH by making a decision right now that, by God’s grace, you will not waver in your love and devotion to Jesus.
3. BE COURAGEOUS. We need brave men (and women) who serve in the army of the Lord. There is no room for cowards or deserters. We need everyone on the front lines contending for the faith!
When evil darkens our world, give us light. When despair numbs our souls, give us hope. When we stumble and fall, lift us up. When doubts assail us, give us faith. When nothing seems sure, give us trust. When ideals fade, give us vision. When we lose our way, be our guide! That we may find serenity in Your presence, and purpose in doing Your will. — John D. Rayner