34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:34–38, NKJV)
“It is written” is used over 300 times in the Bible. It usually calls attention to the recorded law of God, including prophetic writings applied to people and events (Josh. 8:31; Psa. 40:7). When “it is written” in God’s word, it is accomplished (fulfilled). Jesus said in verse 35 that people do not deprive Scripture of its binding authority; it “cannot be broken” by people. Jesus argued from the lesser to the greater, using a statement from Psalm 82:6 that describes human judges as “gods” (since they have power to adjudicate disputes and apply justice). They accepted what was written about men who held authority as “gods” among men. But, when Jesus said, “I am the Son of God,” they tried to kill Him (Jno. 10:30-33). His words and His works amply testified to the truth they resisted (Jno. 10:37-39). Here’s the point for us; We can violate God’s word, but it remains true, valid, and authoritative. The wise course is to accept what is written and follow Jesus instead of fighting against Him.
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. (1 Corinthians 4:6, NASB95)
The apostle warned the Corinthians “not to exceed what is written.” His warning still applies. What does that mean? How does that happen? Another version translates this phrase, “not to think beyond what is written” (NKJV). We are not to entertain, have a sentiment for, be disposed to, or interested in reaching beyond what the apostles of Christ have written (Strong, G5426). According to today’s verse, this happens when we become arrogant. In his broader context (1 Cor. 1:10-4:21), Paul identified the “message of the cross” (the revealed mind of God) as that which we must not exceed (since it is the power, wisdom, and mind of God). By contrast, the “wisdom of this world” is the thinking that exceeds what is written. Due to pride, the wisdom of this world concludes the message of the cross is foolish. Pride’s deception rejects the apostolic traditions for the traditions that men put in their place (1 Cor. 3:18-20; 2 Thess. 2:15). The “pattern of sound words” is trampled upon as the philosophies, commandments, and doctrines of men advance, plundering the eternal treasures of the gospel in Christ (2 Tim. 1:13; Col. 2:8, 20-23). To guard against this, we must humble ourselves to the gospel of Christ. It is God’s power, wisdom, and mind (1 Cor. 1:23-24; 2:6-13, 16). Thinking that exceeds it takes one into regions of doubt, compromise, and unbelief – places the Father and the Son will never be (2 John 9; Gal. 1:6-9).
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. (1 Corinthians 4:6)
We can easily become enamored with our intelligence and mental prowess. Pride seizes the heart, convincing us we are the beginning and end of all things wise and good (Job 12:2). How foolish indeed! It is the word of God, the inspired Scripture, that sets the parameters of truth, wisdom and knowledge (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Learn to be content following the Scriptures, not your own will and wisdom. Be careful not to think beyond what is written, presumptuously supposing God will accept whatever you decide to offer Him. Such arrogance perpetuates sin and strife. Instead, endeavor to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” by carefully following the Scriptures (Eph. 4:3). Abide in the word of Christ and be His true disciple (Jno. 8:31).