Yesterday morning I finished I Corinthians, which brought me back on schedule. I did a lot of quick reading, probably not as deep as I should have, but here are some new things that I noticed:

I Cor 1:17: Why would Paul set baptism against the gospel this way? The great commission starts with “Go and baptize…” (not that Paul was there to receive the great commission personally). Maybe it’s as simple as baptism simply not being as important as salvation (and even less important are doctrinal questions of who and how). The back half of v17, “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power,” (or as my REB translates it, “without recourse to the skills of rhetoric”) is the opening to the famous passage about how God’s foolishness is greater than the world’s wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than man’s strength.

I Cor 10:27-11:1: I previously blogged my confusion about the letter from the Jerusalem council, which seemed to legalistically and incorrectly levy on the gentiles a requirement to abstain from meat offered to idols, even though Paul spends three chapters of I Cor explaining that it’s no big deal. Paul’s final conclusion, however, seems in line with the Jerusalem council, and with better reasoning (better than nothing, anyways, which is what we get from Acts)!

I Cor 11:5: this book has many famous statements that cause feminists to vilify Christianity. Hidden inside this one, it is apparent that there is scope for women to ‘pray and prophesy’. But I guess we have somehow decided that the headcovering/long hair part of this verse is mostly non-culturally applicable, because no-one that I know of (not even lawed-up Theonomists) requires women to have long hair, or requires men to cut their hair short. I do know of some OPC churches which require headscarves for all women while in church. I wonder if Jewish men wore yarmulkes back then?

I Cor 13:7,13: The famous chapter on love (read at so many weddings (including mine)) famously concludes “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” My REB has a rather unique translation that sheds new light on that verse, and also foreshadows it back in verse 7:

7: …there is no limit to its faith, its hope, its endurance.

13: There are three things that last for ever: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of the three is love.

I had previously thought of ‘abide’ as ‘still stick around’, i.e. from the past until the present, but I like how my translation reminds us that ‘abide’ keeps on going.

I Cor 15:29: What’s up with this? Was there a practice in the apostolic church of baptizing the dead? And was Paul condoning it? Could the Mormons be right?

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