By John Richardson
1 Corinthians 10:23–24
 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.  Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
Generally, I take a portion of Scripture and move through it verse by verse, but let me for a moment ask a few questions about two verses. Paul writes to the Corinthian church poring over the teaching that works to invade its pure doctrines and seeking personal exoneration. Corinthians is hard to read as a pastor, seeing the church wrestling over the character/work of Paul in their midst. Yet, so much incredible truth spills out of its pages.
- What does Paul mean when he says, “All things are lawful?” What things are lawful? Once you are able to understand what is lawful, understand the idea of helpful. Given “all things,” one should see that the rule and help may be miles apart from one another (v. 23a)
- Take your “all things lawful” definition/understanding and compare/contrast it with “not all things build up.” Why would a believer want to seek to help and build up, rather than just keep the letter of the law? Who needs to be built up? (v. 23b)
- What is good? Really, what would one consider good? Does goodness change from one person to another, or is it fixed, and every person must rightly understand good? Understanding good, how does one seek the good of his/her neighbor over their own? Why does our neighbor’s good matter so much?
I know that you may have read through the observation section and thought, why not have more answers? When we come to the Word, we must gain a habit of asking what God means. Words matter and the words in the Word really matter. Pore over the meaning of each passage by asking questions to unfold truth. Seek out others to help you understand sections of Scripture and ask them to help you obey them.
- What is it that you need to focus on helping/building up rather than just following the rules?
- What is the good that you seek in your life? Now give that freely to your neighbor.
- How have you built up the church during the inability to gather? What will you do this week to build up your church family?
Ask God to help you understand His Word, giving you a spirit of wisdom and understanding. See God’s people as a means for doing good. Thank God for His goodness to you for the chance to help your neighbors.