1 CORINTHIANS 1 &2
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1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 Unto the ecclesia of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Paul's two epistles to the ecclesia at Corinth is revealed more intensely than anywhere else the great burden that he constantly bore --
"The care of all the ecclesias" (2 Cor. 11:28).
Paul's conflict in Corinth which caused these epistles to be written was largely similar to the conflict in Galatia which caused the Galatian epistle. In both cases it was false teachers who perverted the Gospel and belittled the apostle.
But the conflict in Corinth was much more personal, severe, and intense. To the influence of false teachers was added the great pressure of the corruption of the city of Corinth, and the brethren and sisters' own backgrounds as drawn from it.
Corinth was proverbally the vice capital of the Roman Empire. To "Corinthianize" was a word commonly used for lewdness and licentiousness. It was the central seaport and crossroads of the Empire. It was a hub of wealth and activity -- the center of Greek commerce, industry, and finance. The population was about three-quarters of a million, the majority slaves.
Paul went to Corinth on his second missionary journey, after his disappointing confrontation with the self-satisfied, sterile philosophers of educated and cultured Athens.
Paul says he was in Corinth "in fear and trembling," but Christ appeared to him and told him not to be afraid but to speak out, for he had "much people in that city." Paul stayed there eighteen months, and built up an ecclesia. This was around 50 to 52 AD.
It was about five years later that the two epistles were written, a few months apart -- the first probably in the winter or early spring of 56 AD, and the second in summer or fall, same year.
The first was written from Ephesus, near the end of Paul's three-year stay there during his third missionary journey.
Conditions were bad in Corinth. There were divisions, serious moral corruptions, major doctrinal errors. The faithful among them were deeply concerned, but appeared to be a small minority.
Paul made it plain that there had to be correction or disfellowship (1 Cor. 4:21; 5:5, 9, 13; 2 Cor. 13:2).
We have two epistles and a record of two visits to Corinth by Paul -- the founding visit and a visit fairly soon after the second epistle. There may have been two other letters, one certainly before the two we have (1 Cor. 5:9), and one possibly between them (2 Cor. 2:4; 7:8), and possibly one other visit, between the two recorded (2 Cor. 2:1; 13:2).
It is clear from the first epistle that the two main problems were a glorification of worldly wisdom, and moral corruption. Corinth as a city was proud, clever, self-satisfied, rich in this world's goods, and utterly corrupt.
Herein we have a close parallel with our own day and problems, for these same two things are increasingly the main destructive influence pressing upon the Truth -- worldly wisdom and moral looseness.
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
The glory of the name, as we have before seen, is moral and spiritual, as well as physical. The glory that Christ manifested during his ministry on earth, consisted in the exhibiting of those "moral attributes," set forth in the name of Yahweh: - and in the display of that Spirit power, by which he performed those marvellous works; - those miracles of his grace. Part of this glory appeared through his character as a sufferer. The sufferings are referred to by the prophet Isaiah, in chapter 53 - where the "long-suffering", patience, and forbearance, and meekness of the Saviour are portrayed. ...
..."Christ" is styled "the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24); and "Of God he is made unto" all who are in him -
"wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (chap. 1:30). If we are able to partake of His wisdom and His righteousness, we partake to a certain extent in the glory of His name. Paul shows it to be a part of the mission of believers to make known this wisdom
to the world, in his epistle to the Ephesians. Having spoken of the "fellowship of the mystery, which hath been hidden from the ages in God, who created all things," he says: "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the Ecclesia the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:9-10).
By the phrase, "manifold wisdom," it may be understood that wisdom has many foldings - a multiplicity and diversity of forms; so deep, so rich, so profound and unfathomable, as to lead the apostle to exclaim: "O the depth of the riches, of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out".
The Word, is the medium through which this wisdom is conveyed to us, in all its varied shades of light. Righteousness is the companion of Wisdom. The Spirit of wisdom
personified in the Proverbs is represented as saying, 'I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment" (Prov. 8:18-20). "All the words of my mouth are in righteousness" (chap. 8:8).
Christ being the manifestation of the wisdom of God, he is also the manifestation of His righteousness. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that
believeth" (Rom. 10:4). This righteousness is a part of those "attributes" of the Deity constituting the glory of His name. "For if the ministration of condemnation be glory,
much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth" (2
Sis Lasius - Yahweh Elohim Ch 4.
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
God has ever chosen persons despised by their contemporaries to bring to nothing the theology of the schools. He does not use the wise in their own conceit, professors and presidents of divinity establishments, to enlighten the people. He leaves them in their solemn foolishness as blind to lead the blind; and takes fishermen, and carpenters, and tentmakers, and healers of the sick, &c., to reduce their "wisdom" to absurdity, "that no flesh should glory in his presence."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1854
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the holy spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
It is of importance that Paul's authority and reliability be realised. God bare him witness-it is upon this that our assurance concerning the infallibility of his teaching may rest. To question Paul is to insult God. This is involved in the apostle's claims:-
"We speak not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the holy spirit teacheth (1 Cor. ii.13.)-"I command, yet not I, but the Lord" (1 Cor. vii.10.)-"If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. xiv. 37.)-"As God is true, our word was not yea and nay" (2 Cor. i. 18)
-"We are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ" (2 Cor. ii. 17)-"For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed" (2 Cor. x. 8)-"If I come again, I will not spare since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me" (2 Cor. xiii. 3)
-"Now the things which I write unto you, behold before God, I lie not" (Gal. i. 20)-"Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thes. ii. 15.)
What unspeakable comfort springs from the fact that we have such a guide! How assuring for poor, hesitating, fallible man! Paul's writings may be received with the simplicity of a child-without reservation and question.
What a contrast between these writings and the productions of ordinary men! - ATJ
The Christadelphian, Feb 1887. p66
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
God's ways are not man's ways. They are usually the very OPPOSITE of man's ways. To the eyes of man's wisdom they are incomprehensible foolishness. The mind of the flesh cannot understand them.
Do we have the mind of the flesh, or the mind of the Spirit?
Do we think naturally and animally according to "common sense," as all the world does, or do we perceive the utter falseness of all natural thoughts?
Bro Growcott - 'In Labours more Abundant'.