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Monday, February 27, 2012

(56) The Books of Corinthians

Church of the Sabotaged and Stubborn.

Although only two books written to the Corinthians are in the Bible there were actually more written.  In the first book, chapter 5 verse 9 Paul says, "I wrote to you in my letter...".  The word wrote of course tells the reader that there was something written before this one.  Some think that this letter was found and placed in the sixth chapter of the second book since that passage is a little off topic and seems like an interruption in flow of reading.  One way or another Paul wrote them more than twice.  These books go into great detail about marriage, love, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection of those in Christ.  The second book goes deeper into the motivation and personal life of Paul more than the rest of his letters.  It also shows his emotional side and how temperamental he may have been.  These were written in 55 AD, about 20 years after his conversion.  The first letter was sent while he was in Ephesus and the second letter was written after he had moved on into Macedonia.

Corinth was a Greek economic center.  It was perfectly in the middle of an east-west trade route along with a north-south trade route.  It was mostly located on a cliff and could be defended very easily.  It is a very old city, probably over 5000 years old.  It became so big Rome saw it as a threat to them and conquered it in 146 BC and became a colony of Rome.  Most of the men and women were sold into slavery (around the same time Spartacus lived).  The city laid in ruins for over 100 years.  And because of the clash of culture the people there were mostly pagans listening to the myths of both Roman and Greek gods.

The church was started by Paul (Acts 18).  It was full of people practicing their spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 1:7) but forgot one major ingredient; love.  They focused more on the power of the gifts than the commandment of what to do with the gifts.  Paul wrote to them to remind them of the things they forgot.  Since love was not really part of their practice it became a very quarrelsome congregation (1 Cor. 1:11).  Probably even argued with Paul while he was there (2 Cor 2:1-2).  Once love was out of the picture, the world was allowed in and it was easily influenced by outside measures (1 Cor. 3:1-3).  They even started to sue each other and treat each other wrongly.  Their worship suffered because of this and they took the Lord's Supper in unworthy manners.

Some main points in these books are:
  1. Unity in the church is very important (1st 1:10-17, 12:12-15)
  2. We are the temple (1st 3:16-17)
  3. We have the Spirit to explain things and instruct us (1st 2:14)
  4. Spiritual warfare needs spiritual weapons (1st 12:4-7, 2nd 10:3-6)
  5. We are a new creation when we give our lives over to Christ, but we only get out of it what we put into it 2nd 5:15-21, 9:6-8)
  6. Jesus is the power and wisdom of God the father and gives us all the grace we need (1st 1:20-25)
  7. LOVE (1st 13)
These were written to stop quarrels from happening within the church.  They had problems within their community and did not take care of the situations, up to the point where they became angry with each other.  Paul also had to tell them of false teachings and correct them about another letter they had misinterpreted by him.  And overall to rebuke them of their lack of love.

Without love all we do is make noise and that noise is annoying.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

(55) Penance

Comments to follow soon.  Do born again Christians have to repent?
  • 43% Yes everytime we sin.
  • 37% Yes.  But only if we have fallen away.
  • 12% No.  Once saved , always saved.
  • 6%  Yes, but for another reason.
  • 0%  No.  No one ever needs to repent.
  • 0%  No.  But for another reason.
  • 0%  Other.

Friday, February 3, 2012

(54) The Books of Thessalonians

Church of the Doomsday Prophets.

With the exceptions of the Revelation of John and some passages by Christ, the books of Thessalonians are the only real books on prophecy and Christ's return in the New testament.  Somehow every chapter closes with a theme of His return.  Although these two books were written separately by Paul they appear to be only weeks apart in time.  They were written around 51 AD, approximately 16 years after Paul's conversion, and 5 years after his first mission.  The letter was sent to Thessalonica from the city of Corinth, which is probably when he started to take notes on the Corinthian people to deal with their problems.  Every chapter ends with a comment about the return of Jesus.

Thessalonica was a commercial center.  It was the capital of Macedonia.  It was named after a wife of General Cassander, a leader in Alexander the Great's army in 315 BC.  It is located at the end of the Danube giving it a perfect location for commerce.  It's major trading partner was Corinth.  Rome did not really influence it that much which is why its Greek culture remained strong.  Being a city of commerce, it became a very diverse city, full of writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and even Samaritan dialogue.  Images of materialism and seductiveness plastered the city.  It was also a city that was not very receptive to Christians.

The Church was started by Paul (Acts 17:1-4).  It was a church strong in its faith and a loving church (1 Thess 1:3) but it was not properly nurtured.  Many came under persecution.  Many Jews were in the city and forced Paul and Timothy to leave earlier than they wanted and because of this the Thessalonians misunderstood many of the meanings Paul was telling them about the return of Christ.

Some main points in these books are:
  1. There is glory in the second coming (1st 4:13-18)
  2. We are trichotomous beings.  We need to worship God as though we are; mind, soul and spirit. (1st 5:15-23)
  3. There is evil in this world (2nd 1:7-10)
  4. Don't let doomsday prophets scare you, only God knows the end. (2nd 2:1-3)
  5. The Lord is faithful (2nd 3:3-5)
These were written to tell of how Paul was glad to hear that their faith was growing and to settle the confusion about the return of the LORD.  They thought He had already come again, which if course is not true.  He stresses that the plan of salvation is only the beginning of our spiritual journey.  And our erroneous thinking leads to erroneous practices in life.  These errors destroy our spirit.

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