1 Corinthians 6:4-8 (Taking a brother to court)

1corinthians

(1 Cor 6:4–6 ESV) 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

The Jews did not take their disputes before pagan judges. The synagogues provided a private dispute resolution system, keeping the Jews out from under Roman scrutiny and a brand of justice that was foreign to Jewish sensibilities. Continue reading

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Tools of the Trade: Accordance for iOS

Accordance Bible SoftwareA few days ago, I reviewed the Windows version of Accordance Bible Software. Today I want to discuss the Accordance iPhone application.

The application is free, and once I entered my password, the software synced with my PC software, offering to download a copy of any of the resources (books) that I have in Accordance.

Well, I only have so much available space on my iPhone, and so I selected a few Bible translations, some Greek resources, and a couple of my favorite commentaries.

The next question was just how easy is the app to run. As I’ve said here before, I believe well-designed software should require no instructions at all for ordinary use. And so I opened the ESV with Strong’s numbers (a standard numbering system for each word in biblical Greek). With just a little fiddling, I discovered that I can get the Greek behind the text just by gently pressing on a word and holding my finger there for a second. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 6:1-3 (We were saved to become kings)

1corinthians

(1Co 6:1-3 ESV) When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

The primary question Paul is addressing here is whether a Christian may take another Christian before a secular court. That’s a challenging enough question, but perhaps even tougher is the logic by which he attacks the problem.

In v. 2, he asks what he surely intends to be a rhetorical question: “Do you not know that saints will judge the world?” Well, no, Paul, we did not. Where on earth are you coming from? Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (What have I to do with judging outsiders?)

1corinthians

(1 Cor 5:12–13 ESV) 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Now here we have perhaps the most disobeyed passage in the entire Bible (which says a lot). Paul could not be more plain:

* We have a duty not to judge those outside the church.

* We have a duty to judge those inside the church.

And we normally have this exactly backwards. We use our pulpits and the ballot box to condemn those outside the church, while tolerating dreadful sins within our congregations. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 5:1-10 (Purge the evil person from among you!)

1corinthiansChapter 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

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Apologetics: July 20, 2014 (On How to Read the Old Testament)

lapelmicHere 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)

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1 Corinthians 1 – 4: Paul’s Hermeneutics

real_men_practice_good_biblical_hermeneutics_tshirt“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

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Tools of the Trade: Accordance — First Impressions

Accordance Bible SoftwareI 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

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1 Corinthians 4:1-21 (On Arrogance and Humility)

1corinthians

(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

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1 Corinthians 3:1-23 (You are God’s temple)

1corinthians

(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

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