Monday, September 12, 2011

1st Corinthians Overview

Submitted for your personal evaluation and critique! Tell me what you think!

Overview of 1st Corinthians

Main theme: Practical Christian Conduct

First Chapter: Introduction, commands against church divisions, and human perspectives on the Gospel.

Introduction – Paul offers a greeting of grace, blessings, and gives an overall view of God’s overflowing promises.
Commands against Divisions – Paul commands that there be no negative feelings between members of the church who adhere to different pastors/leaders, or have doctrinal differences.
Human Gospel Perspectives – Paul explains that those who have not had their heart/soul opened by the Holy Spirit cannot understand the Gospel. This applies both to Jewish (signs and wonders proof) mindsets, and Greek (Science and Humanism) mindsets.

Note: The conclusion of the chapter is the well known passage concerning Paul’s teaching on how God chooses ‘the base things to shame the mighty, and the foolish to shame the wise,’ etc., explaining the point he will make in the next chapter.

Second Chapter: The simple power of the Gospel, and the revelation through the Holy Spirit to believers in Christ.

Power of the Gospel – Paul capitalizes on the final point of the first chapter, going on to state that the true saving grace, knowledge, and faith that is the Gospel is not found in persuasive argument and high levels of knowledge, but rather is demonstrated by the Holy Spirit with power. This is to say, no human words or wisdom, speech, or great argument, no matter how convincing, will win souls or keep them saved. The Holy Spirit alone is the simple, mighty, immovable power of our faith and it’s Gospel.
Revelation of the Spirit – This being said, Paul simply states that as such, it was not human wisdom that revealed the Gospel to begin with. Not only did man’s natural spirit reject the truth before and after Christ, but now being unconditionally elected, those saved are given the revelations of the Holy Spirit and His teachings. That is, we now have full access to the knowledge of God via the Spirit.

Third Chapter: Returning to Commands against Divisions, Foundation of Christ, and the Pointlessness of Human Wisdom.

Commands Against Divisions - Building on his point from earlier chapters, Paul continues explaining the futility and stupidity of divisions between believing brothers. He rebukes them blatantly by calling them mere babes in Christ, unable to partake of more solid spiritual food because of this handicap. He then goes on to point out though these men of the factions did sow and water, it is God who gives the increase.
Foundation of Christ – From there, Paul explains that the foundation upon which we build all our works is crucial, probably reminding the Corinthians that this foundation of divisions with worthless upon the foundation of Christ. He goes on to state that the works of any believer are tested in fire, and will either stand or fall, according to the spiritual nature, strength, and fruit of those works.
Human Wisdom – With this warning, Paul implies that human wisdom is a major cause of the false, useless works, by concluding to inform us to shun human wisdom, become foolish and humble before God, and to put aside petty human philosophies and reasoning, and surrender to the wisdom of God, which far surpasses our own wisdom. Often, this wisdom of God appears as foolishness before men, and thus, Paul states the importance of being humbled, foolish, and knowing nothing before the infinitely wise Lord.

Note: Paul closes this chapter with an excellent final point in conclusion to his commentary on foundations, divisions, and believers’ works, by stating with authority that all things, believers, Paul, Apollos, Peter (Cephas), even Christ, belongs to God finally. Therefore, let us focus on our unity in our Lord, since in fact, regardless of differences, knowledge and works, we all belong to Him.

Fourth Chapter: Judgment of Believers Being God’s, The Apostolic Example, and the Power of the Gospel.

Judgment Being God’s – Paul rebukes those within the church who would judge and condemn internal believers and different sects or beliefs, reminding them all that the judgment of God’s servants rests solely upon God, and not on us. This is to be distinguished from false teachers, which are not God’s servants, however. But outside of heresy, believers do not have the right to judge other believers.
The Apostolic Example – That being said, Paul then goes on to admonish the believers of Corinth to follow in his superior example, and imitate the apostle in all his actions and beliefs. Being the theological and divine authority as one who speaks for God, Paul and the apostles have full power and authority on earth to proclaim God’s true message. That being said, Paul asks us to imitate His godly example. See Acts and Romans in particular for examples of Paul’s lifestyle and actions.
Power of the Gospel – Paul closes out this section by once again returning to his points earlier on the Gospel, namely, that the true power of the Gospel is not in human wisdom and persuasion, nor in fame or physical achievement, but rather through the sheer power of the Holy Spirit working both in believers, and outworking in the actions of those believers. Also particularly through the apostles. Paul concludes that God is demonstrated through the power given by the Holy Spirit, in miracles, ministry, example and sanctification, not in human words, actions, or wisdom.

Note: Interestingly for the context, Paul is saying these things mostly because he plans to revisit the church at Corinth, and many of those believers have apparently become arrogant, thinking Paul’s return will be delayed. However, Paul warns them that they will be rebuked heavily, and challenged by Paul’s overall authority as an apostle.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds