On the Resurrection and Giving – 1 Cor 15-16

In chapter 15, Paul now moves to the subject of the Resurrection of the dead; and he has much to say to them on the subject, making this the longest chapter of all his epistles. There were some at Corinth saying that there is no resurrection of the dead. Despite the nature of some of the problems Paul has had to address with them, this was probably the most troubling, since it is among the most basic facts of the gospel. We do not know the source of these false teachings. It is plausible that it was Sadducee influence among the brethren, but it just as likely came from the philosophic influence from those of Greek origin. It seems somewhat hard to imagine this lapse of faith accompanying a continued practice of their Christianity – and so soon after they had been converted, as well as blessed with spiritual gifts!

English: folio 950 recto of the codex with tex...

English: folio 950 recto of the codex with text of 1 Corinthians 1;1-21 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In any case, Paul points out that denial of resurrection would necessarily include that of Jesus; and if Jesus was not raised, their entire faith is futile (verses 16-17). Paul most aptly states the obvious in verse 19 – “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” He then recounts the eyewitness accounts by the apostles of Jesus death and his appearances to them after he was raised. Then he makes the point that they (the apostles) were all threatened and constantly in danger of losing their lives for continuing to boldly bear that witness to others. It was absurd to suggest that they would continually risk their lives for an outright lie!

Verse 29 seems to be a very difficult passage, and is interpreted by some as indicating Paul’s approval of people being baptized (by proxy) for the dead. Whether or not this verse is actually talking about such baptisms is disputed by many. Parsing the Greek for the words translated “for the dead” in this verse has led many to different theories, but we can reach the proper conclusion easily by taking these and other scriptures into account for what Paul and the other apostles taught about baptism. Advocating the baptism of living people in place of those who have died would run contrary to the importance of the active profession of faith and of repentance that the Scriptures require (Acts 2:38, John 3:18), as well as the conscious act of putting on Christ that Paul speaks of in relation to baptism in Galatians 3:27.

So then in verse 35, Paul turns to the question of what sort of body the risen will have if we are truly to be raised from the dead. He uses the seed as an illustration of this, as they are well familiar with the fact that the seeds that are buried and decompose become reborn into something more magnificent – that God gives it a body just as he has chosen. Paul reveals that the resurrection body will be incorruptible, glorious, powerful and spiritual, and that even those who are living will be transformed at the same time when Christ comes again (verse 51 – “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…”).

The Lord, who has created all things, is certainly able to accomplish this promise to have the mortal and perishable body put on immortality (verses 53-54). Just as we bear the image of the first Adam while we are here, we will bear the heavenly image of the last Adam (Jesus), who became a life-giving spirit (verses 45-49). Paul refers to Hosea 13:14 in verse 55 then, as verse 26 promised, says in verse 57 “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” What comfort!

Together with other passages such as Philippians 4,  chapter 16 gives us instruction on how funds are to be collected for the work of the church. He closes this letter by acknowledging the work of specific brethren, and asks them to “give recognition to such people.” It is not just good manners and a loving gesture to acknowledge brethren for their work, it is scriptural.

/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

1 Cor 13, 1 Cor 14, 1 Cor 15, 1 Cor 16, 2 Cor 1

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

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Worship Must have Meaning – 1 Cor 13-14

In chapter 12, Paul wrote to the Corinthians in part concerning the envy among them that arose from jealousy of some for the spiritual gifts that others had been given. These feeling were contributing to the divisions that had developed among them.

In chapter 13, he is making the point to them that brotherly love will endure, but spiritual gifts will pass away (verse 8). Some of the churches throughout the land had letters written to them or circulated from churches in other location. But nobody in the Apostolic age had the completed New Testament. So these spiritual gifts not only served the purpose of building faith, but of giving them part of the knowledge of God’s truth they needed.

When Paul says in verse 9 “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away,” he refers to the fact that these gifts will no longer be needed when the recorded word of the Lord is complete. The partial knowledge of the word, that these gifts provide, will no longer be required (note the words “all the truth” in John 16:13). This makes their envy meaningless; and that is why Paul is cultivating their love for one another. When he says in verse 11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways,” he means that the maturity of knowledge due to its availability will be the driving force that will allow these gifts to cease.

In chapter 14, Paul has much to say about their use of spiritual gifts. Much of this my seem to not have any application to us today, but it actually does. The main points that he is driving home to them have to do with relevance and order in worship. The worship of the Lord cannot be done properly if what is done has no relevance to that purpose. Such worship has no meaning.

/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

1 Cor 13, 1 Cor 14, 1 Cor 15, 1 Cor 16, 2 Cor 1

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Paul Speaks About Spiritual Gifts – 1 Cor 12

At first reading of chapter 12, one might be inclined to see little application for us today. Paul is speaking to the Corinthians about “spiritual gifts” – the likes of which ended with the age of the apostles. But Paul is stressing to us here that we are all unified as one body in Christ. The church is not the building we worship in, but rather the body of saved Christians (living or dead). Furthermore, everyone has their own talent even today. Some make good elders, others preach the gospel, others teach bible classes. Still others, visit the sick or cook meals for shut-ins. Everyone serves in their own way, and uses their own “gifts” as part of the body of the church.

/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

1 Cor 8, 1 Cor 9, 1 Cor 10, 1 Cor 11, 1 Cor 12

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Paul Warns and Rebukes the Corinthians – 1 Cor 10-11

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, declares 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.”

English: the first of the Epistles to the Colo...

English: the first of the Epistles to the Colossians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Paul speaks of a very important tradition in verses 17-33 of chapter 11 – one that was instituted by the Lord Himself – the Lord’s Supper.  Incredibly, they had turned the observance of the Lord’s Supper into a meal, with some even becoming drunk.  Just as bad, the wealthy would bring enough food to be gluttons, and leave the poor hungry.  This was not fellowship, and it was not “in remembrance” of the Lord; and by doing this, one was eating and drinking “judgment on himself.”  Paul admonishes them not only to observe the Lord’s Supper properly, but with reverence, with each one “examining” himself while doing so.

It is difficult for many of us to realize at times the complete turn-around that many of these Corinthians had made, or the struggles that they continued to have in doing so.   The society they lived in, and had participated in fully, was pagan; and idol-worship, drunkenness and revelry, as well as promiscuity, were a way of life.  It was certainly not any easier for them to be holy than it is for us today.

/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

1 Cor 8, 1 Cor 9, 1 Cor 10, 1 Cor 11, 1 Cor 12

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Paul on Marriage – 1 Cor 7

Chapter 7 can be a difficult chapter to understand. One thing that should be remembered is that the people Paul was addressing directly in this letter were already living under persecution; and it was only going to get worse. Marriage, he tells us, can be difficult and carries with it many worldly cares. It is certainly true that those cares and the worry of caring for another would be more difficult under the veil of persecution. Certainly, serving God as one’s primary purpose in life is going to be easier for one who can live without marriage AND practice self-control. But “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

/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

1 Cor 3, 1 Cor 4, 1 Cor 5, 1 Cor 6, 1 Cor 7

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Paul Warns Against Sexual Immorality – 1 Cor 5-6

In chapter 5, Paul addresses 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-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).

He continues emphasis on sexual immorality in chapter six, reminding them that they were different from the worldly people they once were, saying:

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person osins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

/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

1 Cor 3, 1 Cor 4, 1 Cor 5, 1 Cor 6, 1 Cor 7

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Divisions At Corinth – 1 Cor 3-4

In chapters three and four, Paul speaks to the division that has occurred with the Christians at Corinth. On the one hand, some were apparently claiming to be “followers” of Paul, and others of Apollos. It seems that some were still questioning Paul’s apostleship. In chapter three, he tells them that he had “fed” them with milk rather than solid food because they were not ready for it. Their bickering made it apparent that they were still not ready for “solid food” because they evidently were still having trouble with the basics of Christianity. Christ, he tells them is the foundation, and he, Apollos, and anyone else who teaches them only builds on that foundation.

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

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

In verse 17 of chapter four, he reminds them that he had sent Timothy to reinforce the teaching that he had begun with them. he urges them to listen to him; and he assures them that he will be returning. He wants them to work out these problems before he returns, and not allow those who are teaching error to overcome them in the mean time.

/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

1 Cor 3, 1 Cor 4, 1 Cor 5, 1 Cor 6, 1 Cor 7

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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 15 – The Resurrection of the Dead

In chapter 15, Paul now moves to the subject of the Resurrection of the dead; and he has much to say to them on the subject, making this the longest chapter of all his epistles.  There were some at Corinth saying that there is no resurrection of the dead. Despite the nature of some of the problems Paul has had to address with them, this was probably the most troubling, since it is among the most basic facts of the gospel.  We do not know the source of these false teachings.  It is plausible that it was Sadducee influence among the brethren, but it just as likely came from the philosophic influence from those of Greek origin.  It seems somewhat hard to imagine this lapse of faith accompanying a continued practice of their Christianity – and so soon after they had been converted, as well as blessed with spiritual gifts!

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared many times to His disciples.

In any case, Paul points out that denial of resurrection would necessarily include that of Jesus; and if Jesus was not raised, their entire faith is futile (verses 16-17).  Paul most aptly states the obvious in verse 19 – “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”  He then recounts the eyewitness accounts by the apostles of Jesus death and his appearances to them after he was raised.  Then he makes the point that they (the apostles) were all threatened and constantly in danger of losing their lives for continuing to boldly bear that witness to others.  It was absurd to suggest that they would continually risk their lives for an outright lie!

Verse 29 seems to be a very difficult passage, and is interpreted by some as indicating Paul’s approval of people being baptized (by proxy) for the dead.  Whether or not this verse is actually talking about such baptisms is disputed by many.  Parsing the Greek for the words translated “for the dead” in this verse has led many to different theories, but we can reach the proper conclusion easily by taking these and other scriptures into account for what Paul and the other apostles taught about baptism.  Advocating the baptism of living people in place of those who have died would run contrary to the importance of the active profession of faith and of repentance that the Scriptures require (Acts 2:38, John 3:18), as well as the conscious act of putting on Christ that Paul speaks of in relation to baptism in Galatians 3:27.

So then in verse 35, Paul turns to the question of what sort of body the risen will have if we are truly to be raised from the dead.  He uses the seed as an illustration of this, as they are well familiar with the fact that the seeds that are buried and decompose become reborn into something more magnificent – that God gives it a body just as he has chosen.  Paul reveals that the resurrection body will be incorruptible, glorious, powerful and spiritual, and that even those who are living will be transformed at the same time when Christ comes again (verse 51 – “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…”). 

The Lord, who has created all things, is certainly able to accomplish this promise to have the mortal and perishable body put on immortality (verses 53-54).  Just as we bear the image of the first Adam while we are here, we will bear the heavenly image of the last Adam (Jesus), who became a life-giving spirit (verses 45-49).  Paul refers to Hosea 13:14 in verse 55 then, as verse 26 promised, says in verse 57 “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  What comfort!

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

/Bob’s boy
___________________
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 13 – The Way of Love

The words of this chapter about love are famous, and are often used, appropriately enough, in wedding ceremonies (including that of this blogger).  While they certainly do apply to love in the context of a husband and wife, Paul is speaking more about the love that Christians should have for each other, and for the Lord.   In chapter 12, Paul wrote to the Corinthians in part concerning the envy among them that arose from jealousy of some for the spiritual gifts that others had been given.  These feeling were contributing to the divisions that had developed among them.

46 is the earliest (nearly) complete manuscrip...

46 is the earliest (nearly) complete manuscript of the Epistles written by Paul in the new testament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He is making the point to them that brotherly love will endure, but spiritual gifts will pass away (verse 8).  Some of the churches throughout the land had letters written to them or circulated from churches in other location.  But nobody in the Apostolic age had the completed New Testament.  So these spiritual gifts not only served the purpose of building faith, but of giving them part of the knowledge of God’s truth they needed.

When Paul says in verse 9 “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away,”  he refers to the fact that these gifts will no longer be needed when the recorded word of the Lord is complete.  The partial knowledge of the word, that these gifts provide, will no longer be required (note the words “all the truth” in John 16:13).  This makes their envy meaningless; and that is why Paul is cultivating their love for one another.  When he says in verse 11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways,” he means that the maturity of knowledge due to its availability will be the driving force that will allow these gifts to cease.

Paul puts faith and hope together with love in verse 13, for they go together with it – and love is eternal.

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

/Bob’s boy
___________________
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 11 – The Lord’s Supper

The first 16 verses of this chapter are notoriously difficult; and many honest and well-intentioned people have interpreted parts of them differently.  Unfortunately, they have also been misused and, most ironically (especially in light of verses 16 and 17), that has caused contention and division at times.    One thing that is not in question in these 16 verses is the fact that God intended men to be the leader of their families (verse 3, Genesis 3:16-17, Ephesians 5:22).  But what about the head covering?  What about hair length?

Lenski, in his commentary, translated the use of the covered head reference in verse 4 as “having something down from his head,” with no indication from the Corinthian letter of what that “something” was.  An effective argument can be made for the entirety of the references to covering as referring to hair.  But there are women even today who cannot, in good conscience, attend worship services without a hat on their head.  In that case, it is good that they go ahead and wear one for that reason.   It is pointed out also by many that in this pagan society at Corinth, the priestesses of Aphrodite and prostitutes were distinguished many times by cropped hair, and even shaved heads.  A very good point can be made that the main thing to take away from these 16 verses is that Christians must not set about the business of offending the sensibilities of the society in which live, nor give the appearance of being “of the world.”

It can be argued that the earlier verses about traditions are given far more importance than Paul intended.  Paul speaks of a very important tradition in verses 17-33 – one that was instituted by the Lord Himself – the Lord’s Supper.  Incredibly, they had turned the observance of the Lord’s Supper into a meal, with some even becoming drunk.  Just as bad, the wealthy would bring enough food to be gluttons, and leave the poor hungry.  This was not fellowship, and it was not “in remembrance” of the Lord; and by doing this, one was eating and drinking “judgment on himself.”  Paul admonishes them not only to observe the Lord’s Supper properly, but with reverence, with each one “examining” himself while doing so.

It is difficult for many of us to realize at times the complete turn-around that many of these Corinthians had made, or the struggles that they continued to have in doing so.   The society they lived in, and had participated in fully, was pagan; and idol-worship, drunkenness and revelry, as well as promiscuity, were a way of life.  It was certainly not any easier for them to be holy than it is for us today.

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

/Bob’s boy
___________________
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.