Chapter 5 reflects a radical change in subject. After four chapters on the importance of unity and how very wrong — even damnable — division in the local church is, Paul shifts gears to discussion how the church should deal with incest among its members.
(1 Cor 5:1–2 ESV) 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
Since Paul referred to a man’s “father’s wife” and not “his mother,” many conclude that a member is having sex with his father’s second wife. Paul is paraphrasing —
(Lev 18:8 ESV) You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness.
— which immediately follows condemnation of sex with one’s mother (Lev 18:7), so that it’s unlikely the man was sleeping with his mother. Continue reading
Here is the audio from Sunday’s adult Bible class.
The first two links download for listening as a Podcast, via iTunes, or on just about any mp3 or m4a player.
The media player will stream the audio from the website —
July 20, 2014 (22MB m4a)
July 20, 2014 (52 MB mp3)
“Hermeneutics” is the discipline — more art than science — of interpreting the scriptures. And there are all sorts of theories and supposed rules for how to do this.
But I think the best teachers of how to do hermeneutics are the New Testament writers and personalities, especially Jesus and Paul. And so 1 Corinthians gives us the opportunity to consider not only what Paul taught but how he came to his conclusions.
We like to imagine that, as an inspired apostle (which he was!), he only needed to reach into his bag of God-given doctrines and pull out the right conclusions. But rarely does Paul just announce that such-and-such is the rule. Normally, just as my Algebra I teacher insisted that I do, he shows his work. He tells us how he gets to his conclusion.
And I figure that he does this to teach us how to follow in his footsteps. Inevitably, problems and questions will arise not squarely addressed by the Scriptures. In such a case, we must understand how to reach our own conclusions just as Paul and Jesus did. Continue reading
I am very fortunate to have received, some years ago, review copies of Logos and BibleWorks, and so I’ve periodically posted articles regarding my experiences with those two Bible study programs.
Every time I’ve posted such an article, readers have asked for my views on Accordance, the Apple competitor to these products. And since I don’t use computers that charge a 100% premium for a fruit-shaped logo, I’ve never been able to answer the question. Until now.
Accordance has finally released a Windows version, and the good people at Oak Tree Software were kind enough to let me try out the Advanced version (or module). This costs $999.99 normally, but is presently on sale for $749.00 through July 31. This is the next-to-best bundle they sell, and is closest to the packages I have from Logos and BibleWorks. Continue reading
(1 Cor 4:1-5 ESV) This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Paul will explain in v. 6 that he is using himself as an example of how the Corinthians should perceive themselves. And, first, they should think of themselves as “stewards of the mysteries of God.” A steward is a business manager or trustee — someone who manages someone else’s property. The mysteries belong to God, but he has given them to the Christians in Corinth to be invested for the benefit of God. Continue reading
(1Cor. 3:1 ESV) But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
Paul now makes clear his point from chapter 2. While God has revealed in Christ the mysteries of the ages, the Corinthians are not spiritual enough to accept the deep wisdom of God.
In v.3, “of the flesh” means “dominated by your unredeemed, sinful natures.” Their fights — evidently over who is the wisest — demonstrated their foolishness and weakness. The mature don’t divide. Continue reading
(1Co 2:1-2 ESV) And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
QUESTION: How well does this passage characterize our preaching? What would happen if this were a fair description of our own preaching today?
QUESTION: What does Paul mean by “Jesus Christ and him crucified”? How might such a sermon sound today?
(1Co 2:3-5 ESV) 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
QUESTION: Why weakness, fear, and trembling? Read the account of Paul’s stay in Corinth in Acts 18. Continue reading
(1Co 1:18-21 ESV) 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
The cross makes no sense to those with a secular worldview. The Greeks knew that the cross was for rebels and criminals. And yet the early church reveled in the shame of the cross. They found the irony compelling. After all, if the Son of God could lower himself to be among the most contemptible, he could surely understand them in their poverty and low social station. Continue reading
(1Co 1:11-13 ESV) 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Evidently, Paul had received a visit from a member in Corinth, Chloe, who reported on division within the congregation. And this leads to a four-chapter discussion on congregational unity — a theme that Paul returns to at least in chapter 12 (with respect to gifts). And it may be that other passages are also about the disputes that led to the divisions, but we have no way of knowing for sure. Continue reading
Sunday morning’s class.
You can download the file to play as a Podcast or on an MP3 player —
Download m4a sound file (28 MB)
or as an MP3 —
Download mp3 sound file (51 MB)
or you can stream the audio here: