As I mentioned a few days back, since we finished our adventure in the book of Acts, I was looking at the New Testament books that I have not yet blogged about, and found that there were three: Philemon and 1 and 2 Corinthians. Since Philemon ties into the ending of Acts, we’ve covered that one first, and now we come to the next one: Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.
Maybe we should just get this out of the way right now− this wasn’t really Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, since he refers to one he had written previously (1 Cor. 5:9-11).
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, there are certain books that I used to tell my students were “Big Boy” books, and this is one of them. The others I had labeled that way are Matthew, John, Romans, Hebrews and Revelation. The reason I call them Big Boy books is that even though they aren’t all that difficult to understand, they are tricky because they are written in a literary structure that contains multiple levels of context, and if you don’t keep them straight, you are likely to become confused and not even realize it.
When this happens, we might easily come up with conclusions and evidence about things Paul isn’t even talking about, and many very fine scholars have fallen into this trap with disastrous results over the centuries. Another possibility is that we might read one of these books and find ourselves making long lists of “proof texts” about a wide range of things that our text wasn’t about, which can be a little embarrassing. That is until it splits a church, and then it is considerably more than just a mistake, for we will have created our very own false teaching.
Consequently, I will be making every effort in this study, as I have in the others, to keep reminding everyone of the contexts. I hope that I can do this without being overly academic-sounding, for I have always tried to avoid that when blogging so that reading these posts will not become so academic that most of you will find it burdensome to read.
With all of that said, 1 Corinthians is a gold mine of amazing content about a wide range of issues relating to the Christian life, and no one should shy away from experiencing it My hope and prayer for this study is that it will be a fun adventure into life, an adventure that will be both inspiring and insightful, and that it will motivate all of us the draw closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since Paul’s purpose for writing this letter is to address some of the issues that faced the Corinthian church of his day, I’ll begin our adventure with an overview of the conditions in which they lived and the challenges they faced; see you then!