Yesterday's lesson pointed out two opposing views about regenerate people. When you put this dispute between the two camps in the context of what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 3, it is not all that difficult to reconcile them. First, what Paul is saying is that these Christians in Corinth were acting like unbelievers. I ask the question: don't you know of Christians who act like unbelievers? Of course you do. They are worldly; they act in a carnal way. That doesn't mean that there is a second, separate category of Christians, consisting of those who act in a way they should not be acting. What they have to do is get out of that. They do have to change, and if they are really born again, they will change.

In my Bible, the section heading to 1 Corinthians 3 is called "On Divisions in the Church." That is what this chapter is all about. There are two themes in this chapter that have divided Christians: one theme is this matter of the carnal or worldly Christian, and the other is this matter of being saved, yet so as by fire. In both of these passages, there are significant divisions.

All week we have been examining 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. Have you discovered the main point that Paul is making? He stresses that the basis of all communication, the basis on which regeneration takes place, and the point at which we have illumination by the Spirit is the Word of God, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Some six years after receiving that letter, I did a men’s luncheon series on Scripture: what it is, how we received it, how we understand it, and such questions. In one of the sessions I was to give an address on dealing with Bible difficulties. One of the illustrations I prepared for this question about Bible difficulties quoted this man from western Canada. I made the point that it is not really a question of overwhelming difficulties; it is a question of how you approach the Word of God. Will you give it the benefit of the doubt? Will you try to understand it? Or will you come to it first of all with the question, Are there difficulties?

Some years ago, I received a letter from a pastor out in western Canada who was asking a number of questions about what he perceived to be contradictions in the pages of the Word of God. I could not tell from his letter whether this was a genuine question or whether he was one of those people who already have their mind made up and was just giving, in the form of questions, the reason why he would not believe that the Bible is the Word of God. But I took his questions seriously and I answered them at some length.