For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power (1 Corinthians 4:20 KJV)
Power is the core characteristic of the idea of a kingdom. Paul made the astonishing comment above to the Corinthian Christians. He says God’s kingdom is not in word but in power. What does this mean? It might be tempting to think he means the kingdom of God has nothing to do with words but a demonstration of power. No! Paul was not separating the word and power.
The context of the verse would help us understand what Paul meant. The Corinthian Church was amidst a culture saturated with Greek philosophy. They had excellent speakers with all sorts of human philosophies or ideas. He was telling the Corinthians eloquent, emotionally appealing, intellectually stimulating, or crowd-moving speech that is empty of power is not what the kingdom of God is all about. Empty human words might move people, even bring them to tears, but there will be no tangible results in their lives, no one getting healed, no demons coming out of people, no hearts transformed, and no fundamental changes to their situation.
The kingdom of God is the manifestation of God’s power. Interestingly, that power is most often through words! These words are not empty but power-full. For example, Jesus cast out demons by His word( Matt 8:16). His words unleashed the power of God. In some cases, He touched people, but He often spoke to people and things to activate the power of God!
What is the relationship between word, power, and the kingdom of God, as noted above? Or how is God’s power often unleashed or manifested?
APPLY THE WORD
God’s power is what distinguishes the kingdom of God from empty talk, preaching, theology, ideas, etc., originating from mere human efforts. Words can either be empty or power-full. How we desperately need the power of God today! There is a superabundance of preachers, teachers, and Bible scholars. However, there is a deficit of those who speak words full of power. Desire to see the kingdom of God in your life, Church and community!
Ask the Father to helps us find our way back to the power of God as the Church.
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