Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2017

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

You can read the text here.

Paul continues to address issues related to sexual immorality in the church debunking some false conceptions that they seem to have that Paul expresses in a series of quotations in the first couple of verses. Now the starting and stopping point of the quotations is tricky to determine and I will go with Thiselton and Ciampa and Rosner and re-punctuate the NRSV as follows:

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy both one and the other.” The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 

Apparently the Corinthians believed that a) the body was transitory and b) their freedom from the Law meant they had no moral obligations in terms of bodily behaviors which extended as far as sexual behavior. In fact, the stomach is for food! Why bother having the…

1 Corinthians 6:1-11

You can read the text here.

Paul's continues to express his dismay at behavior exhibited in the Corinthian church. Apparently members of the church were suing other members in secular courts. In all likelihood, higher status members were taking advantage of lower status members this way. Succeeding in court in the Roman world required having the right contacts and bribery was not uncommon.[1] Paul clearly wants to shame the Corinthians, though it's hard to know exactly what he is driving at in verse 2 or 3. Thiselton thinks that he may be citing a Corinthian catchphrase about their role in judgment while Ciampa and Rosner take his statements about the role of the church in judging the world and even angels at face value. Another possibility Thiselton suggests is that their status as judges is derivative from their status in Christ. They judge 'in him.' Whichever way, the effect is the same. The Corinthians should have someone in the congregation capable of judging thes…

Books of the Year: 2017

Continuing on last year's trend, I did not read a lot of exegetical works, but was much more focused on historical theology, this time from the Reformation period and on. While the quantity of books that I read was low, I felt that the overall quality was very high. Anyways, on to the list!

5. Transformation: The Heart of Paul's Gospel by David deSilva

I recommended this book to our pastoral staff. It's a very nice, short, accessible book that's grounded in solid scholarship that argues that transformation is at the heart of the gospel. deSilva finishes the book with a strong challenge that forces us to think hard about whether or not our view of money has been transformed by the gospel.

4. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck is the greatest American author. While I enjoyed East of Eden more, I understand why many consider the Grapes of Wrath to be his best work. It is chilling and every bit as relevant now as it was when first penned. The closing scene still hau…

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

You can read the text here.

Paul now moves on to other issues that he has to address, starting with the shock and outrage he has over the situation where a man in the congregation was having a sexual relationship with his step-mother.[1] This was just not permissible, not in secular society and certainly not in the church. The only appropriate response by the Corinthians would have been public mourning either to shame the man into leaving voluntarily (if he was not willing to repent) or as a precursor to his removal.[2] In spite of all of this the Corinthians were still proud.

Not willing to waste any more time, empowered and present by the shared Spirit, Paul issues the verdict in the name of the Lord Jesus - guilty! The Corinthians just need to ratify his decision and turn the man over to Satan by excluding him from the church so that he might learn from his mistakes and change his life resulting in his salvation.

It is not just for the man's sake that this must happen. His sinf…

Judgment is Coming

James 2:1-13

My brothers and sisters,[a] do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?[b]2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,”[c]4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.[d] Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? 8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neigh…