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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.

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