1 Corinthians 1:3-5 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Paul was about to rebuke the church at Corinth soundly on more than one count. Yet, in spite of that he thanked God on their behalf and believed that they were enriched by God in all utterance and knowledge. If the Apostle Paul had this confidence in this group, we ought not to be despising and condemning people for far less “offenses” and “faults”. I have noticed a tendency to think that if someone is living in a way that we see is biblically wrong, we are inclined to judge them as incapable of understanding anything in the Lord. This is not what scripture teaches here.
In addition to this, it’s interesting that Paul said they were enriched by Jesus Christ in all utterance and all knowledge. He does not make them dependent upon the “preacher”, pastor, bishop or apostle. Even though he’s writing to correct some things through his authority as an apostle, he does not make them beholding to himself, but to the Lord. In the big picture, I think this is because Paul’s confidence was in the Lord Himself and the grace He gave them in Jesus Christ. His confidence was not in man – either the church as a whole, the elders/leaders, or individuals. When we can grasp the greatness of God’s giving to His children, we can know that every believer has access to all the utterance and knowledge that he or she needs. Now, with the complete revelation of scripture, we each have so much more than they did even then.
For my own part I want to trust the Lord’s ability to lead and instruct His children where and how they need it. While pastors and teachers are good and useful blessings to the church, as we’re told elsewhere, ultimately we need to put our confidence in the Lord to teach other believers what they need to know in their walk with Him. Yes, Paul needed to rebuke the Corinthian church at this point, but he also had confidence that the Lord would give them grace and enrich them.
Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.