Corinthians 2018

Corinth was a seaport town - think San Francisco - with all of the sin, pride and wealth one would expect. 

Among the Apostles Paul was given the gentile franchise. The consequence of that was that his audience did not have a solid Scriptural background even though they had the Holy Spirit and enthusiasm.

The Corinthians have a rich variety of things that Paul must correct.

  • 1 Corinthians 1, Division in the Church
    The first four chapters of the letter deal with divisions in the church caused by intellectual pride. Since Paul had planted the church, they had heard the teaching of others and factions had formed. Each of the teachers mentioned were perfectly sound but perhaps each had said things differently. in their inexperience and pride, members of the church had seized on stylistic differences and elevated them to the level of doctrine.
  • 1 Corinthians 2-4, Paul the Master Builder
    As Paul writes to correct the hubris of the Corinthian church, he compares himself and the other Apostles to builders working on the living Tabernacle. In this, he directs merit away from himself and toward God where it rightly belongs.
  • 1 Corinthians 5-6, Sexual Immorality
    It appears that some in the Corinthian church mistook the liberty that we have in Messiah for license. In this they had descended into debauchery. Paul writes against this in the strongest of terms, telling the church to expel those who engaged in flagrant sin.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, Paul on Marriage and Divorce
    In the 7th chapter, Paul is responding to a question that we can only infer from his answer. In this he sounds lukewarm on marriage. Later in the letter we learn that he expects Y'shua to return very shortly. Hence, the inference is that he believed that spiritual pursuits were more important than romantic ones given the times.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:17ff, Live as You Were Called
    Paul continues his advice to live in the expectation that Messiah's return is imminent. In this he speaks of both employment circumstances and marital arrangements. As mentioned in last time, he advises to avoid concentrating on romance unless such might lead to sin.
  • 1 Corinthians 8, Meat Sacrificed to Idols
    The question of meat sacrificed to idols was important in a predominantly pagan world. Paul's answer to the problem was a variation of "don't ask, don't tell." If, by whatever means, one discovers that meat has been part of a sacrifice, it is forbidden. Otherwise it is permitted and one need not conduct an investigation.
  • 1 Corinthians 9-10, Examples for Us
    After a defense of his apostleship, Paul turns to the generation that died in the wilderness. That generations failures should serve as an example and warning for us today. The temptations that caused them to fall are no different than those we face.
  • 1 Corinthians 11, Gender Roles
    Among the difficulties in the Corinthian church, there seemed to have been confusion or contention about gender roles. In addressing this, Paul starts with the order of creation and proceeds to then current customs. The upshot is that Scripture forbids dress or behavior that would confuse the two genders.
  • 1 Corinthians 12, Integrity of the Body
    In response to a question on spiritual gifts, Paul admonishes the Corinthians that all of the gifts are necessary for the well being of the body. Apparently there was some status seeking on the basis of having one gift over another.
  • 1 Corinthians 13-14 Love Speaking in Tongues
    It appears that spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of tongues, were being used pridefully. Paul admonishes the church that spiritual gifts are given to benefit the body, not the person through whom they operate. When the church gathers, it is more important to be understood than it is to be envied by others.
  • 1 Corinthians 14-16, Bodily Resurrection
    Some in the Corinthian church questioned if there was to be resurrection from the dead. Starting with the example of Y'shua, Paul explains that resurrection is central to Messianic belief. He also discusses the nature of the resurrection body.
  • 2 Corinthians 1-2, Comfort in Affliction
    It appears that reports of Paul's trials and suffering during his missionary journeys were being used to call his apostleship into question. He puts his trials into perspective. In this he also gives the Corinthians a gentle rebuke.
  • 2 Corinthians 3, The New Covenant
    Paul writes that the covenant written on hearts of flesh is more glorious than that written on tablets of stone. Why was the first covenant written on stone tablets? What, if anything, is different about the covenant to be written on the human heart?
  • 2 Corinthians 4, Jars of Clay
    The time and afflictions of this Earth are a prelude to the glory of the world to come. So, while this life is important to the realization of God's purposes, it is not permanent. Trials and afflictions should be viewed in that context.
  • 2 Corinthians 4-6 Ministry of Reconciliation
    Continuing to defend his apostleship, Paul writes of the ministry of reconciliation that was entrusted to him by God. In this his goal is to reconcile the world, Jew and gentile, to God and His kingdom.
  • 2 Corinthians 7-9, Paul Raises an Offering
    During the Council of Jerusalem, the other apostles told Paul that he should remember the poor in Israel - a thing that he wanted to do. In this section of the letter, Paul urges the Corinthian church to dig deep and follow the example of the Macedonian church.
  • 2 Corinthians 10-11, Boasting in the Lord
    In defending his ministry, Paul's wish is that the Corinthian church's faith would become secure so that they might become a base from which he could project the Gospel to other lands. In other parts of the letter, he uses the Macedonian church in this way.
  • 2 Corinthians 12-13, A Thorn in the Flesh
    In concluding the letter, Paul speaks of a messenger of Satan, a thorn in the flesh. Preachers have used this passage to teach that God is sometimes not willing to heal His servants. That is not at all what the passage implies.