Category Archives: Corinthians

1st Corinthians 12 Introduction

I need to start out the next three chapters of Corinthians by saying that I was born and raised in a Pentecostal church.  I don’t apologize for that but simply explaining the thought process behind what you are going to be reading.

My Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather were part of the building of the Pentecostal Holiness Church in North Carolina.  My Grandparents and my parents were part of the Pentecostal Holiness Church and I attend a Church of God in Christ.

Please don’t misunderstand the reason I am telling you this.  Many people disagree with our interpretation of the next three chapters of Corinthians.  We believe in the gifts of the Spirit and that they are for our church today.  We believe and practice Speaking in Tongues.

What we do NOT believe is that you have to agree with our denomination in order to be saved.  Salvation has nothing to do with the gifts of the Spirit.  These gifts are just that.

The only reason I have for explaining all of this to you is that I do not want to offend anyone in any way.  Some of the things I may say could be interpreted differently that my intentions.  I have no disrespect for any denomination and do not want anyone to misquote me by insinuating that I have judged any one in any way.

You will see more of the reason why when we get into chapter 13.

 

1st Corinthians 11

Paul gives us an interesting insight into the “law” of the church that is under grace.

Verses 1-15 describe Paul’s reminders of how we are to conduct ourselves when we go to church and how men and women ought to pray.  Women should have their heads covered and men should have their heads uncovered, men should have short hair, women should have long hair, etc.

There are some denominations and some religious organizations that will go to extra lengths to require or even in some cases DEMAND that men and women follow these rules to a tee.  Whole churches have been formed with these laws at the forefront.  HOWEVER, verse 16 brings the entire instructions into a different light.

Verse 16 says:  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.  Meaning that if you disagree with these “rules” then you are not bound by them.

This also bears a reason that I explain to many people.  Find out what the Bible actually says.  Find out what it means and immerse yourself in the Word.  Don’t allow someone to force you into believing something without finding out for yourself exactly what God says about it.  Find out what God’s heart is and get to know who Jesus is by finding out what His Word has to say in it’s entirety, not just what fits your situation or upholds your belief system.

Verse 17 – 34 Paul gives specific instructions on taking communion.  Jesus left us a “tradition” or a “ritual” of taking communion.  In so taking communion we are doing this as a remembrance of the crucifixion.  We are compelled to examine ourselves and we are required to ask forgiveness and prepare our hearts before God BEFORE we partake of this communion.

I can’t wait for the next three chapters.  Chapter 12 and Chapter 14 in regards to spiritual gifts.  Of course, being Pentecostal, these are two of my favorite chapters describing the use of Spiritual Gifts in the church.  HOWEVER, (as we would say it in the south) RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THESE TWO CHAPTERS IS THE CHAPTER THAT IS DEDICATED TO EXACTLY WHAT THIS WHOLE BLOG IS ABOUT.  LOVE.

1st Corinthians 9

Evidently at some point Paul was taking criticism from an outside source that was attacking him.  While we can’t be totally sure what is actually happening, I feel we can be reasonably sure that Paul was being treated badly by someone.  Most likely it came as an inside job. In other words, someone was not happy with the way Paul was conducting himself OR because his ministry was doing well and this was a voice of jealousy.

Paul opened this chapter being somewhat obsessed and pre-occupied by the criticism that he was getting from someone in the area. His questions were directed by the fact that he was not married yet blameless  as far as his actions were concerned.

In verse 5 it is pretty apparent that some of Paul’s opposition was also perhaps criticism that he possibly took to heart.  Paul took exception to the fact that someone else was traveling with their wife or family member but they apparently did not want Paul traveling the same way.

It seemed there may have been other evangelist that had started to get paid and/or perhaps Paul was pointing out that not only did they pay their own way but they also earned a “fair wage” doing jobs.  However, at the same time Paul was confident enough to tell you to follow him as the example of how you should live your life.

The remainder of this chapter Paul seems to be reminding people that he has some power and  authority  over the church (I personally believe that this could have been the beginning of the first denomination.

He is quick to point out that he is abused for the gospel and that he literally has to beat his body into subjection.

1st Corinthians 8

Paul moves into a new subject that the church of Corinth was facing during that time.  Sacrifices being offered to idols as part of normal worship were also then sold once they had met the requirements of sacrifice.

In the second part of the very first verse Paul offers the information that knowledge can make you “puffed up” or proud but charity or love builds you up.

In verse two Paul is making a statement that I find interesting. Depending on how you personally interpret this verse, one way of looking at it is this:  Paul seems to be saying that if a person “thinks” he knows something or possibly this line could be seen as “if a person has formed an opinion about something” he has formed this opinion or feels as if he knows something because of his life experiences.

We know that the sum total of where we are personally today is based around our personal experiences.  We think and feel the way we do because of experiences we have had in our lifetime.

However, Paul follows that up in the 3rd verse by saying the if you love God, people will identify that in your actions and deeds.

So Paul goes back to addressing idols by saying since we know that there is only one God the offerings or sacrifices to another God is nothing.  Means nothing at all………a waste of time.  Therefore the meat offerings are nothing more than cooked meat.

Now he goes into the next verses saying that while we all realize there is only one God, there are others who have come out of those religions or possibly have some doubt that there is only one God so the offerings or sacrifices are more important to those people.

While Paul has preached that we have liberty and are free from the bondage of the law, not everyone feels or walks in that freedom and eating food that has been offered as sacrifices to false Gods is  blasphemous or just plain wrong.  When that person sees you eating the things that are offered as sacrifices or offerings, you become a stumbling block.

So while you may not see yourself as doing something wrong, someone else may feel that what you are doing is wrong and if that is the case then perhaps you should not do that thing that would be offensive to someone else.

By way of an example, many people do not like believe in the drinking of wine.  I personally do not have a problem with it.  In other words if you and I were having dinner together I would not be bothered by the fact that you are having a glass of wine.  While I do not personally drink and would much rather have a cup of coffee, I am not offended by someone who would have a glass of wine.

However, if you are going to dinner with someone who could possibly be offended by your glass of wine, my suggestion would be not to have it.  This was Paul’s point here.  In love, consider the other person before you start to do something that you feel the other person or group of people may have an issue with.

Verses 12 and 13 brings it home when he simply says that when you do something that you know would offend someone else, you are sinning against them.  Just don’t do it.

 

1st Corinthians 2

Paul opens the 2nd chapter of 1st Corinthians explaining that he may not be the most prolific speaker ever to come to Corinth.  He goes on to explain that he really doesn’t know a lot about the Church of Corinth except that they had accepted Jesus as The Christ. An oft quoted verse is seen in verse 5 when Paul says “Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” How often in your daily walk do you hear a person who is very well spoken and seemingly very intelligent but doesn’t understand God at all. Verse 9 is like a “mainstay” in our faith.  “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Paul spends much time in this chapter explaining the “Spirit”.  He speaks of the spirit of man and the Spirit of God at some length.  He mentions the “spirit of the world” in verse 12 and then goes on further to say in verse 14 “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: Verse 16 is also a favorite of mine: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?  but we have the mind of Christ” Oh to have the mind of Christ.  Where we are able to look through the present situation to the victory that waits for us on the other side.  That mind which allows us to look at sickness, disease and death as just another step on our journey.  To look at that person who we meet and see that their souls are much more vastly important to God than the circumstances we see.  Oh to have the mind of Christ.

Corinthians

I promised some time ago that I would begin sharing the book of Corinthians with you and give you some of my ideas and thoughts about one of the most enlightening books of the New Testament.

Let’s take a look at the book of Corinthians and I will begin with 1st Corinthians and we will be focusing on the positive power of the love of God and Christ Jesus.

1st Corinthians is widely believed to have been written by the Apostle Paul.  Most theologians will most likely agree that the language or perhaps more properly said, the phraseology that is used in both of these letters leads most to agree that Paul was the author.

The date of this letter was around A.D. 56 at a time that the city of Corinth was the considered one of the key cities in Greece.  It was located close to the water and was a major commercial trading zone for the entire region.

One of the most recognizable sights of this era was the Temple of Aphrodite.  It was known for its legal prostitution and hedonistic way of life.  With a population of over 700,000 Corinth was a center for Greek philosophy and idol worship.

Regardless of all the circumstances Paul was placed in, he was still able to establish a thriving church there during his second visit which was around A.D. 51 or A.D. 52.

The quick explanation of 2nd Corinthians is that after he left Corinth and was in Ephesus establishing the Ephesian Church he received a letter requesting his opinion on certain activities and occurrences that were happening in the church.  His response to those matters were addressed in his second letter.

One of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible is 1st Corinthians 13 which we will spend some time on as we move through this study.