Hello everyone! Today we begin the book of 1 Corinthians. Corinthians is the third letter written by Paul chronologically somewhere around the year 53-54 CE most scholars agree. As we read through the letters you might notice that Paul seems "flip-floppy" on his assertions. In one instance he might say you can do these things and in another you might say you cannot. Personally, I find a certain innocence to Paul's letters that give me a certain degree of sympathy for the guy. Each of the letters Paul writes are in response to letters he has received from the churches he has started. These churches are encountering scenarios they had never considered that are either leaving them confused or bitterly divided and so they reach out to Paul to ask for clarification. Paul is doing his best to set the ground rules for Christianity based on his own beliefs and experiences, the general consensus of the Jerusalem church (where Peter and James still preside as "bishops" so to say), and trying his best to ask the question "what would Jesus say to this?" It's a really tough position to be in! As a young, incredibly stupid pastor, I have said a number of things in meetings that were either hurtful or just bad ideas. Those ideas should never be taken as canon of what should be forever. So why do we often do that with Paul's writing? As you read through 1 Corinthians (and the rest of his letters for that matter) I encourage you to read this with a "casual" tone rather than that of doctrine. If you're looking for the crystal clear beliefs of Paul than go back to Romans. The rest is the messy rough draft of a life of an early "pastor" trying his hardest to get it right for his "congregations". It's fun to read it this way and watch as Paul "grows" in his leadership. Anyways, enough rambling. Let's read everyone :D
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach you about what the church was struggling with at the time? Is that something we continue to struggle with today?
Do you agree with Paul that God seeks to shame the wise? Why or why not?
Paul says that he speaks in a type of veiled wisdom, relying on the power of the Spirit to produce the fruit - not him. What do you think the wisdom of the Spirit looks like?
- Commentary -
It's a new book which means we've got an overview video from Bible Project - woot woot! I invite you to take just a couple minutes of time to watch this to see the point of this book and how it connects to the rest of the Biblical story.
Praying the Hymns
Today's hymn is inspired by hymn 301 in our hymnal - Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross
1. Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain, free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary's mountain.
Refrain: In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.
2. Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me; there the bright and morning star sheds its beams around me. (Refrain)
3. Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me; help me walk from day to day with its shadow o'er me. (Refrain)
4. Near the cross I'll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever, till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river. (Refrain)