The Spirit From God – 1 Cor 1-2

As he did in his letters to the Romans, Colossians, Galatians and Ephesians, Paul opens the first letter to the Corinthians in his greeting with the declaration of his apostleship being given by the will of God – not by his own assertion.  As with the Galatians, it appears that some false teachers had called his apostleship into question at Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:1, 2 Cor 11:4-5, 2 Cor 12:11-13).  he reminds them that they are sanctified (set apart) from the world in Christ Jesus, as are all Christians.  He recognizes their God-given talents, and emphasizes the spiritual gifts that they had been blessed with by God by being “called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (verses 4-9).

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to th...

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to the Corinthians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the problems at Corinth were not caused by ignorance of the word of God, or by a lack of intelligence.  We will see that their problems, as is often the case today, stem from such age-old problems as envy, pride, jealousy, and lust.  Some people have taken verse 17 to be stating that baptism is not necessary.  But if that were the case, why would he have baptized anyone (as he gives some of the many examples of doing so in the preceding verses)!  Paul himself makes clear the importance of baptism in other scripture, such as Romans 6:3-5, Ephesians 2:5-6, and Ephesians 4:4-6, as did Jesus in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). Verses 10-17 is addressing the divisions that had been reported to Paul (we do not know who Chloe was, but probably was one of their members).  Barclay said in his commentary that the word he uses to describe them “…is the word for rents in a garment.  The Corinthian Church is in danger of becoming as unsightly as a torn garment.”

In verses 18-31, Paul ironically speaks quite eloquently, as he decries the foolishness of pride.  He declares the folly of men who think themselves wise, and speech that is eloquent but empty.  There was no shortage of philosophers in their Greco-Roman society nor, therefore, those who were “wise in their own eyes.”  He points out that not many of the saints at Corinth had been powerful, or of noble birth, or wise by worldly standards.  But God, through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, had given even those who were considered foolish, weak, lowly or despised the blessing over the “wise” or “strong” or “powerful,” who choose not to believe – so that no human being has the right to boast about anything other than Christ Jesus.  Verse 19 is quoted from Isaiah 29:14.  Verse 20’s rhetorical question is a timeless illustration of the impudence of human confidence in their superior intelligence – “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

In chapter two, Paul spends some time renouncing the tendency to preach the gospel with lofty or pretentious speech, conforming to the ways of the ways of  pretentious Greek philosophers. It was the Spirit from God that they had received, he told them — not the spirit of the world.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 26, Matt 27, Matt 28, 1 Cor 1, 1 Cor 2

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 10 – Do All to the Glory of God

Though most of the Corinthians were Gentiles, Paul refers to the Israelites led by Moses as “our fathers”,  because all Christians share the same spiritual ancestry (Galatians 3:7-8, 29).  The word “for” in the first sentence connects this chapter to the points that Paul has been speaking to in chapters 8-9 that, among other things, declare that Christians must be willing to “give up” things that they may even see as their own “rights,” if that behavior is detrimental or a stumbling block to others.  Concerning verse 7, McGarvey says “The ‘playing’ which Paul refers to (quoted from Exodus 32:3-6, 19, 25) was familiar to the Corinthians, who had indulged in such licentious sportfulness in the worship of Bacchus and Venus…Eating at the feast of idols was the very privilege for which the Corinthians were contending.”

Corinth temple

The wrongness of that behavior should be obvious to them, but even eating at the idol temples, as many would, could present a temptation to fall into the old ways of idolatry and sexual immorality.  Therefore, Paul says in verse 12 “…let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”  But he continues in verse 13 by saying that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”   These words should be a comfort to the faithful.  No matter what temptation we are presented with, God will always provide a way out – but we have to choose to take it!

Finally, in verses 23-33, Paul deals with the issue of eating food that had been sacrificed to idols.  Much of the meat that was sold in the markets could have come from such a source.  Paul makes it clear that idols are nothing in reality, and that eating such would not be a sin by itself.  But if it was a matter of conscience, that was different; and the conscience referred to might be that of a brother in Christ.  For if someone else believed it was wrong to eat such food, the Christian should not do it in their presence or in a view that would offend or jeopardize the salvation of someone else.  Our own liberty does not include damaging the sensibilities or faith of another.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Corinthians 5 – Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

In chapter 5, Paul begins addressing the reports of sexual immorality among the church members at Corinth.  Paul tells them in verse 1 that word has reached him of one among them who is engaged in incest with what is presumably his step-mother (Paul would simply have said “his mother” if that were the case).  They were in the midst of, and converted to Christianity from, a pagan society that tolerated – even celebrated sexual immorality and idolatry. Yet Paul states that immorality of this nature is “not tolerated even among pagans” (both Greek and Roman cultures condemned incest).

Corinth Tribune where Gallio defended Paul (Acts 18:12-16)

Paul finds it amazing that the church there has problems with people full of pride (verse 2), and that many are boasting (verse 6) about their gifts and their capable teachers, while they tolerate and say nothing about one of their own being involved in such scandalous immorality!  Verse 5 simply means that instead of acting as if everything is normal with such a man in their midst, they must distance themselves from him in the proper manner.  The key phrase is  “so that his spirit may be saved.”  By not correcting him and behaving as if he is doing no wrong, the church there is neglecting his very soul (not to mention the fact that the public nature of his sin is known to others outside the congregation, thus harming the church).

Finally, Paul is making the point in verses 9-13 that when he tells them that they must not associate with sexually immoral people, he does not mean those of the world.  He is talking about brothers in Christ that are “guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler.”  It is not for them to judge outsiders, for if they do not associate with sinners that have not come to Christ, how can they teach the lost?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.