Saturday, May 22, 2010

1 Corinthians

Those of us who have been following our Bible Reading Plan since 2009, you have so far covered these books:
OT: Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Ezra, Nehemiah, Micah
NT: Matthew, Mark, John, Acts, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Philemon, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 2 3 John, Jude

Our current reading is 1 Corinthians.

Congratulations! You have faithfully read the Word of God and journal down your thoughts and applications of God’s revelation to you. I am reminded in today’s reading (1 Cor 2:6 – 3:4) that spiritual truth can only be understood by the spiritual mind. Therefore intelligence is not equivalent to spiritual insight. You can be super intelligent and are able to regurgitate every known fact around, yet you can be spiritually blind to the things of God.

Yesterday we read “ 26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." 1 Cor 1:26-31

Therefore we have the Spirit of Revelation in each of us, the Holy Spirit, who comes and guides us into all truth (John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.)

Pray before you read the Word of God, because it is not only with our human minds that we understand, it must also be the spiritual mind that helps us grasps the truth and applies it to our lives. That’s why a person can know the word of God well and can quote effectively from the Bible, yet we see no real effect of the Word on his life. This the Bible calls a carnal man (as opposed to the spiritual man).

As you move into 1 Corinthians, here’s some quick background:

Of all the churches Apostle Paul founded, the Corinthian church is the one that gave him the most headache. That’s why they need two long letters from him. Their problems were serious.

1. They were deeply divided, different groups following different leaders.
2. They were very immoral, to the extent that a man was living in sin with his mother (possibly his stepmother). Even the pagans of the day would have condemned it.
3. Some were drunk while having Holy Communion and were not gracious and considerate towards their poorer Christian brethren.
4. Others practice an aggressive form of feminism.
5. They certainly were not clear of basic  Christian doctrines.

Let me quote from “Unlocking the Bible”, page 956

The city that Paul visited was very wealthy and terribly pagan. The inhabitants worshipped the gods of Greece and Rome, including Poseidon, god of the sea, and Aphrodite, goddess of love. The huge temple of Aphrodite housed 2,000 priestesses who were effectively prostitutes, since worship there involved intercourse with a priestess. Indeed, ‘to Corinthianize’ became a verb in the Greek language, meaning ‘to have promiscuous sex’. So this background explains in part why Paul needed to concentrate on male-female relationships in his Corinthians letter.

In fact he dealt head-on on this subject of worship at the temple of Aphrodite in 1 Cor 6:9-20.

With this background, you will appreciate Paul’s letters more.


Temple of Aphrodite
A painting by Andrew Annenberg 

Gateway to the Temple of Aphrodite

Ruins of Temple of Aphrodite

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