The Epistle of 1st Corinthians

The most common misconception amongst Christians regarding the letters to the Corinthian church is that Paul was writing to a congregation of thousands. In fact, the church at Corinth in the time of Paul was very small, numbering probably less than 100 believers, and almost certainly under 200, although we can expand this number somewhat by presuming the letter was intended not just for Corinth, but also for all the churches of the province of Achaia.

 

In many ways, Corinth itself could be considered the San Francisco of the Roman Empire. A major seaport, it was the hub of commerce between Italy and Turkey, boasting a huge population of over 100,000. Many of its inhabitants were Jews, having taken up residence there after being expelled from Rome by Claudius a couple of years earlier.

 

Corinth was legendary for its licentiousness, and even gave birth to a term coined by Aristophanes: Corinthianizing, which meant to go all the way into sin and decadence. (There were supposedly up to a thousand temple prostitutes in the temple of Aphrodite.) Bi-annual Games were also held there, rivaled only by those in Athens, and this is the basis of Paul’s use of sporting terms in these letters.

It is very important to note that the churches in Corinth met in houses, and that only a handful of believers would be present. Thus, many admonitions (for instance, 1 Cor. 14:27) are directed not toward congregation sizes of today, but were written with twenty or thirty believers in mind. Thus, some theologians incorrectly teach a flawed doctrine that such commands are meant to be legalistically observed in all situations and in all settings, regardless of the number of people in the church.

 

The famous Oracle of Delphi was near Corinth, and its priestess would inhale fumes of ethylene, causing her to babble incoherently. A scribe would then give an interpretation, and in this manner the fortune of the visitor would be told. The clear parallel here with the Christian gift of Tongues is obvious, and apparently caused problems for Paul as some Christian women--based on Delphic practices--were getting out of order in the church and required correction.

 

The Epistle was written around 52-53 AD from Ephesus.

 

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 1

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes1 our brother,

2 Unto the church 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.

4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

7 So that ye come behind in no gift2; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.3

9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ4.

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize5, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words,6 lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?7 hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 8

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called9, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 10

1 From Paul--called by the will of God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ--and from Sosthenes, our brother,

2 To the church of God at Corinth and its members, who are set apart in Christ Jesus, and called to be righteous ones together with those everywhere else who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of all of us.

3 Grace and peace to you, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

4-8 I always thank my God for you and the grace given you through Jesus Christ that has caused you to be enriched in every word you say and every thing you know, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you. Thus, you lack no gracious gift as you await Christ’s coming. He will keep you strong in the faith so you will be found blameless on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns and judges the earth.

9 For God is faithful, by whom you were called into relationship with His son, Jesus Christ our Lord (and He can be counted on to continue the work He has been doing in you).

10 (Mindful of what He has done for you,) by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, brethren, I beg you all to speak with one voice and do away with any divisions among you, so that you are perfectly united with the same goals and attitudes.

11 I ask this, my brethren, because I have heard from some of those in the church meeting at Chloe’s house that there is strife among you.

12 I hear you all are saying things like: “I am a follower of Paul.” “I am a follower of Apollos.” “I am a follower of Cephas (Peter).” “I am a follower of Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

14 I thank God I baptized no one but for Crispus and Gaius,

15 Lest any say that I was baptizing disciples to myself.

16 Oh--and I did baptize the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I don’t recall baptizing anyone else.

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel--and preach it plainly, without relying on creative intellectual arguments (as an orator would employ), lest the (message and power of) the cross of Christ be diluted.

18 For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved (by it), it is the very power of God!

19 For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20 So then where (in our Christian community) is the wise? Where is the Torah teacher? Where is the orator of this world? Hasn’t God turned the wisdom of this world into foolishness?

21 For after God in His wisdom decided that the world through its wisdom would never know Him, it pleased God to use (simple) “foolish” preaching to save those who will place faith in what they hear.

22 For the Jews desire a sign, and the Greeks want intellectual persuasion.

23 But we preach to both the concept of a crucified Messiah, which winds up being a stumbling block to the Jews, and utter foolishness to the Greeks.

24 But to those whom God calls, both Jew and Greek, Christ (is the wellspring of) the power and wisdom of God.

25 This is because the “foolishness” of God is wiser than the greatest wisdom of man, and the “weakness” of God is mightier than the greatest strength of man.

26 Look at those in the church there. Do you see that God has not called many intellectuals, many influential people, or many rich?

27 For God has chosen the “foolish” things of the world to confound the wise, and God has chosen the “weak” things of the world to confound the things the world thinks are mighty.

28-29 And the common (people) of the world, and those (people) the world rejects, are the very ones God chooses to use. Yes, those whom men think are nothing, He uses, in turn, to reduce to nothing those whom the world thinks are something, so that no man before Him (can take credit for what He has done).

30-31 But through God (and His grace), you are one with Christ Jesus who, through God’s plan for us, is the source of all wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written: Let anyone who boasts, boast in the Lord.

1. Probably the same opponent of Paul in Acts 18:17, who seems to have converted to become a fellow servant of Christ.

2. “Gift” could refer to what the church today knows as the “Charismatic Gifts” of the Spirit, but may actually be better understood as Paul’s affirming that there was clear evidence of the abundance of God’s grace and favor poured out upon the believers, who nonetheless needed correction for some of their behavior.

3. Verses 7 and 8 are better paraphrased as: “Thus, you lack no gracius gift as you await Christ’s coming. He will keep you strong in the faith so you will be found blameless on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth.

4. Those who were saying they were “of Christ” appear to have held the more mature attitude over those who seem to have been followers of specific ministers. However, they seem to have been a bit arrogant and went the other direction in refusing to accept correction from anyone. Interestingly, Paul rebukes those claiming to be followers of Peter (“Cephas”), which could be inferred as calling into question the doctrine that Peter was the head of the church.

5. Though often used as a clarification to the Gospel message to show that salvation is not forensically tied to baptism, the context seems to be that of Paul’s baptizing disciples to himself.

6. Paul here is making a point that many of us miss: People are not truly converted by reaching them on an intellectual level through the “wisdom of words,” but rather through the power of the Spirit. This is one reason why I have only a modest respect for Christian Apologetics. Apologetics is useful mostly to strengthen a believer in his faith against the arguments of skeptics, for 99% of the time, the skeptic himself won’t believe because he doesn’t want to believe, and no argument will serve to convince him. Even if it does, the former skeptic rarely continues on in the faith, because one who converts to Christianity on an intellectual basis all too often has converted outside of the drawing of the Spirit, and winds up as one of the unfortunates talked about in the Parable of the sower. Certainly there are exceptions to this, but they are indeed the exception and not the rule.

7. The “disputer of this world” is a reference to philosophers.

8. Once again, a criticism of those who require intellectual proof in order to believe. The Jews require a supernatural sign in order for their minds to be satisfied, while the Greeks (Gentiles) require logic and intellectual persuasion.

9. A reference to those who, through the grace imparted by the Spirit, respond to the Gospel from the heart.

10. A good example of two verses that should only be one verse. Verses 30 and 31 could be paraphrased like this: “But through God’s grace you are one with Christ Jesus, who, through God’s plan for us, is the source of all wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: so that, as it is written, let anyone who boasts, boast in the Lord.

 

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 2

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom,1 declaring unto you the testimony of God.

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.2

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes3 of this world, that come to nought:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.4

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:5 for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man6 receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.7

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 So when I came to you, brethren, (this is why) I did not declare to you the testimony of God by using brilliant intellectual arguments or deep philosophical wisdom.

2 For I decided the only thing I wanted to know among you was (this simple message): Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

3 In fact, I was weak, fearful, and my knees knocked when I was with you.

4 And I spoke and preached, not with skilled oratory or man’s wisdom, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and His power,

5 So that your faith would not be founded on the persuasion of earthly wisdom, but rather in the power of God.

6 But to those who are mature in Christ, we convey a wisdom that is totally different from that of carnal humanity and the demonic origins behind it, for they (and their wisdom) will all be overthrown and demolished.

7-8 We preach the (“illogical”) wisdom of God (in sending a Messiah to be crucified), which is a mystery normal human intellect cannot understand. This was specifically a hidden wisdom that God established for our glory before the world was even created, which even the demonic powers (--and their human puppets--) over this world did not understand. For if they had understood it, they would never have crucified the Lord of Glory. (So you see, the idea made no sense to them either!)

9-10 But as the Scripture says: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed these (once-hidden) mysteries to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches out the deep mysteries of God.

11 For what man truly knows the (secret) things in his heart save for his own spirit that is in him? In the same way, no man can understand the (hidden) things of God, for only God’s own Spirit can.

12 And we have not received the (Satanic) spirit that governs this world, but we have received the Spirit of God so that we might be enlightened about all the things that He freely gives us.

13 So we speak about these things without using human wisdom and the ideas from it, but instead using the wisdom that the Holy Spirit teaches, discerning and conveying one spiritual mystery after another to spiritual people able to receive it.

14 But the (unsaved) natural man rejects the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness so far as his unregenerate mind is concerned, and he can’t understand them because they must be understood through the enlightenment of the Spirit.

15-16 But a spiritual person with a mind enlightened by the Spirit can understand all things, while the (unsaved, natural man) simply cannot understand nor make a judgment about him and his beliefs (--for to do so would be to make a judgment against the mind and wisdom of God Himself. Remember what Isaiah said in the Scripture:) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But (--through the Spirit--) we have the very mind of Christ!

1. An acknowledgment of Paul’s near complete failure to reach the crowds on Mars’ Hill through intellectual debate (Acts 17:32).

2. Once again, an acknowledgment that one should not attempt to reach the unsaved through apologetics and intellectual persuasion--but through the anointing and power of the Spirit.

3. A very difficult verse that may be better paraphrased as: “But to those who are mature in Christ, we explain in detail God’s wisdom, which is totally different from that of carnal humanity and the demonic origins it was birthed from, for that wisdom will be overthrown and demolished.”

4. Almost certainly an acknowledgment that the “princes” referred to are not human authorities, but the demonic principalities behind them who defeated themselves by crucifying Christ through the human rulers they had influence over. Also, the term Lord of glory, used both by Paul and James, is a reference to Psalm 24:8, which calls God (YHVH) the “King of glory,” and is one of many proof texts to show that Christ is God.

5. The actual second half of verse 9 that is almost always ignored when verse 9 is quoted from the pulpit!

6. The “natural man,” of course, refers both to the lost, who do not have the regeneration of the Spirit enabling them to perceive the way of God in their heart; and also to natural human logic and reasoning. Many of God’s laws and ways simply are not logical, and make no logical sense when the natural human mind tries to dissect them intellectually in an attempt to understand them.

7. One the of the most difficult of Paul’s passages better understood as: “But a person whose mind is enlightened by the Spirit can understand all things, while the (unsaved, natural man) simply cannot understand nor make a judgment about him and his beliefs (for to do so would be to make a judgment against the mind and wisdom of God Himself. Remember what Isaiah said in the Scripture:) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But (--through the Spirit--) we have the very mind of Christ!

 

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 3

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.1

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 2

13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 3

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?4

17 If any man defile5 the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

21 Therefore let no man glory6 in men. For all things are yours;

22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours7;

23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

1 But unfortunately, brethren, I could not speak to you on the spiritual level I wanted to reach you on, but I had to speak to you like you were carnal babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, not meat, because you weren’t able to eat more solid spiritual food, nor can you do so even now!

3 You are still carnal (letting your childish impulses rule over you). For since there is envy, strife, and division among you, is this not proof that you’re carnal, and not walking as mature men?

4 When someone is foolish enough to say that, “I am a follower of Paul,” or, “I am a follower of Apollos,” are you not proving your carnality [and worldly way of thinking]?

5 Who is Paul or Apollos but ministers who preached the Gospel you believed, each doing the work of the Lord among the specific group he happened to be assigned to?

6 I planted, Apollos watered--but God did the growing.

7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything--only God, who does the growing, matters.

8 The planter and the waterer--who have the same goal in mind--are equal in God’s eyes, and every man shall receive his own reward based on his own labors.

9 For Apollos and I are laborers together with God, but you are God’s planted field...you are God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God that is given to me as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another erected the building on it. But let every man be careful of what sort of building he erects.

11 For no other foundation can be laid (upon which to build), other than the foundation of Jesus Christ.

12 It’s possible for a man to build upon the foundation of Christ a structure of gold, silver, or precious stones. But it’s also possible to erect a building of wood, hay, or stubble.

13 And every man’s construction materials will be clearly displayed, for on Judgment Day the fire will show what he used, and the fire will test the quality of his construction.

14 If any man’s work survives the fire, he will receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss of potential reward, though he, himself, will be saved--but saved like a man running out of a burning house with only the clothes on his back.

16 Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God lives inside of you?

17 And if a man destroys the holy Temple of God, which is what you really are, God shall destroy that man.

18 So let no man deceive himself. If any of you seems to be wise, let him become a fool so that he can truly become wise.

19 Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s eyes. For it is written: He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

20 And it is also written: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

21 Therefore, let no man boast about (or take his identity from) mere men (like Paul and Apollos). Everything we do, we do for your benefit, (for we are here to serve you).

22 Whether it is Paul, Apollos, Cephas (Peter), the earth, or life or death, or things in the present, or things to come--all of it is made for your benefit and good.

23 And you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

1. This fact is universally overlooked when the book of 1st Corinthians is studied. Although we usually look to it as plumbing the depths of Christian theology, Paul seems to indicate here that he is forced to limit himself to reaching out to the Corinthians with only superficial teachings of the faith.

2. Paul here is characterizing the quality of Christian service amongst the teachers of the church. The “wood, hay and stubble” referred to may be viewed as the ministries of those who sought their own glory, or who outwardly did the work of God for improper motives.

3. This is the strongest verse in the New Testament used by Catholicism to justify the teaching of Purgatory, but it fails to conform to the doctrine that Purgatory is where God completes any remaining punishment a person deserves for the sins (Heb. 12:5-6) that He was unable to deliver prior to death, nor does it appear to be a process where the Christian is delivered from any remaining attraction to sin. The belief that the verse refers to one who has failed to follow God well, but escapes hell to enter heaven with little or no reward, appears to make the most sense.

4. In opposition to the teachings of some, Paul is not saying Christians are “in relationship” with the Spirit of God, but the text here indicates literally that the Spirit of God is supernaturally housed within the Christian’s body in the same way the Christian’s own spirit is spatially located within his own body. The words here for “dwell in” in Greek mean to live inside of a house.

5. “Defile” should be translated: “Destroy.”

6. “Glory” should be translated: “Boast.”

7. Paul’s point in the last two verses was to say that rather than see themselves as followers of certain ministers like Apollos or even Paul himself, the Corinthians must understand that these ministers actually belong to the people as their servants, to help them grow--which is what he means when he uses the phrase, “All are yours.”

 

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 4

1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.1

6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written,2 that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?3

8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings4 without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.5

11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;

12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers6: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.7

17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my8 ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.

20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

1 Therefore, let people see us as nothing more than servants of Christ who merely happen to be entrusted with knowledge of the mysteries of God.

2 And it is required of a steward that he be faithful to what he has been called to do.

3 But so far as I am concerned, it matters very little to me what you, or any others sitting in judgment, think of me. I don’t even worry about scrutinizing myself.

4 For I can’t think of anything wrong I have done. But I am not justified on the basis of having a clear conscience, but rather through the examination (and approval) of the Lord.

5 Therefore, don’t presume (to judge and praise one person above another) in the Age we live in; leave that to the Lord, who will do that himself when He comes and brings to light the things done in secret, weighing the motives of the heart, and then each man shall have whatever praise (or condemnation) from God that he actually deserves.

6 Brethren, I have expressed these concepts using myself and Apollos as examples to you so you might learn from us not to overly exalt any human man, but to think of us as no better than the sinners (saved by grace) that the writings of Scripture reveal we are, so none of you there thinks himself better than the next man.

7 What makes you think yourselves better than everyone else? What do you have that was not given to you (by someone else)? And if you admit someone else gave it to you, why do you act as if you had invented it yourself?

8 Now you are full. Now you are rich. You have been arrogant as kings, refusing any correction or reproof from us. Well, I wish you were all kings so we could reign with you!

9 For I think that God has appointed we apostles to be like captives marching at the end of a Roman triumphal parade as a public spectacle to the world, the angels, and to men.

10 We are morons for the sake of Christ, while you are the wise ones in Christ. We are the weak ones, while you are strong. You are respected, while we are scorned.

11 Even until now, we hunger and thirst. We are naked, beaten, and have no place that we can call home.

12 We labor, working with our hands. When cursed, we say blessings in return. When persecuted, we endure it in silence.

13 When slandered, we answer politely, though we are treated like scum and dirt even to this day.

14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but I write to warn you as beloved sons.

15 For even if you have ten thousand teachers in Christ, you don’t have many fathers. For, in Christ Jesus, I fathered you through the Gospel.

16 Because of this, I implore you to follow my example.

17 For this reason, I have sent my beloved son Timothy, who is faithful in the Lord. He will reiterate the principles of proper conduct in Christ that I teach in every church.

18 However, some of you are arrogant, as though I will never return to you.

19 But I will visit shortly, if the Lord wills, and then I’ll see for myself--not the words of these arrogant people, but what power they have to back up their words.

20 For the Kingdom of God doesn’t stand on mere words, but it stands upon the power of God.

21 So how do you want me to come to you? With a switch, ready to use it on you; or in love, with a meek spirit?

1. Verses 1 through 5 are a continuation of the thoughts being expressed at the end of chapter three. Unfortunately, they are written in a confusing manner, but can be paraphrased like this:

Therefore, let people see us as nothing more than fellow servants of God, who merely happen to be entrusted with knowledge of the mysteries of the faith of God.

And it is required of a steward that he be faithful to what he has been called to do.

But so far as I am concerned, it matters very little to me what you, or any others sitting in judgment, think of me. I don't even worry about scrutinizing myself.

For I can’t think of any wrongdoing I have done. But I am not justified on the basis of having a clear conscience, but rather through the approval of the Lord.

Therefore, don’t presume to praise one person above another; leave that to the Lord, who will do that himself when he comes and brings to light the things done in secret, weighing the motives of the heart and giving each man whatever praise (or condemnation) from God that he actually deserves.

2. Contrary to popular evangelical belief, this verse is not necessarily an endorsement of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. When Paul is saying ‘not to go beyond what is written,’ his point is not to make the claim that only Scripture is profitable to derive correction from; he is commanding them not to glorify man--including Paul himself--whom Scripture reveals is unworthy of exaltation on his best day, compared to God who alone is pure. Some suspect that he is quoting a proverb, but there is insufficient evidence to verify that theory.

 

3. Better paraphrased as: “What makes you so important that you think yourselves better than anyone else? What do you have that was not given to you (by someone else)? And if you admit someone else gave it to you, why do you act so arrogantly?

4. “Reigned as kings” is an idiom meaning to be arrogant and unteachable, acting like a king who is under no one’s authority.

5. Paul is sarcastically mocking the Corinthians’ attitudes toward him and his co-workers.

6. It should be noted that some anti-Catholics rebuke the church for priests being called “father” based on Matt. 23:9, yet here Paul uses the same title about himself.

7. Paul is not coming against the admonition of Christ in the Gospels, nor is he trying to draw followers after himself; rather, he is saying to follow his example of seeking only after the glory of Christ.

8. Once more, a verse calling into question Peter’s primacy over the church, for Paul makes it clear that Gentile Christian practices came not from Peter, but through Paul himself.

 

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 5

1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.1

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh,2 that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

7 Purge out therefore the old leaven,3 that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.4

9 I wrote unto you in an epistle5 not to company with fornicators:

10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortionists, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortionist; with such an one no not to eat.6

12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?7

13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

1 Word has spread far and wide that there is a case of fornication among you so bad that not even the Gentiles have anything to compare to it: One of you is in an incestuous relationship with his own stepmother!

2 And you are actually proud (of your tolerance and your non-judgmental attitude toward this person), instead of grieving over such a situation and taking action to expel the man guilty of this sin!

3 (Since you won’t take action--I will!) Though absent in body, but present in my spirit, I have judged the case of this individual as if I were there in person.

4 (And so I decree:) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together with my spirit, and with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ,

5 Excommunicate and hand this person over to Satan for the destruction of his (physical life) so that his spirit may yet be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus.

6 Your boasting over this is not good. Don’t you know that: a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?

7 Throw out the old leaven so that you can be a fresh lump of unleavened dough--for Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.

8 Therefore, let us keep the Feast, not with old leavened bread, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but let us keep it with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 Remember, I wrote you before not to fellowship with fornicators!

10 I didn’t mean the fornicators of this (unsaved) world, nor with its greedy, its extortionists, or its idolaters--for to totally separate yourselves from these, you would have to leave the world altogether.

11 But to clarify what I meant, I now write to you that you must not fellowship with any man who is called a brother if he is a fornicator, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, drunkard, or an extortionist. I don’t want you to even eat at the same table with such people.

12 For what authority do I have to judge those outside the community? (None.) So why aren’t you reasonably judging those within the church?

13 But those outside the church God will judge. Therefore, cast out from among you that wicked person (and let God judge him)!

1. Apparently, this man was living with his stepmother, a violation of Lev. 18:8.

2. Verse 5 is very enigmatic and difficult to understand. We see no other clear reference to something similar by any other writer in the Bible, and so we cannot know for certain precisely what Paul has instituted here, or what its precise purpose is. From the best we can glean from the text, Paul seemed to have a belief that the community of believers had the authority to grant the devil the right to bring pressure upon this man. (Interestingly, the woman is not mentioned, so apparently she was not a Christian.) This pressure, Paul felt, would seemingly be sufficient to make his life uncomfortable enough that he would repent. An alternate understanding of the verse is that Paul meant for the devil to take the life of the man before he had gone so far as to disqualify himself from salvation and be lost, but this notion is rejected by those believing in “Once saved, always saved” doctrine.

3. Leaven in the New Testament refers to sin, teaching, or practices, and here Paul is making an allusion to the Jewish practice of searching the house before Passover to remove every bit of leaven (down to beans and rice in the case of some Jews), that the house may be clean for the Festival. The allusion here is that the community of believers should purge out all uncleanness from their group. Paul is not somehow literally advocating the Gentile believers keep the Jewish Passover--if for no other reason than that the lamb cannot be prepared and eaten outside of Jerusalem and its Temple!

4. While some Messianics do claim that Paul here is confirming that both Jew and Gentile were to keep the Jewish Festivals, he actually was speaking figuratively, and directing his comments to the elders of the church, most of whom would be Jews that would understand his allusions. In addition to the lamb being forbidden to be eaten outside of Jerusalem, we know he cannot be teaching the Gentiles to eat it because physically uncircumcised people were forbidden to eat the Passover lamb in the first place (Ex. 12:48)! Since Paul makes it clear in Galatians that Gentiles need not and must not be circumcised, clearly he did not expect these same Gentiles to even keep Festivals like Passover, which is confirmed in Gal. 4:10, where he specifically rebukes the Galatians for keeping “times”--which refers to the appointed times, or Jewish Festivals.

5. This original letter to the Corinthians has sadly been lost; the letter we are reading now is actually the second letter to Corinth.

6. Tough talk in which Paul here, in contradiction to what much of our psychology might teach, is saying that any member of the church involved in sexual impropriety, greed, idolatry, mischief-making, excessive drinking*, or less-than-upright business practices should be booted from the community and treated like a heathen until he repents.

 

* Paul absolutely is not teaching that Christians are forbidden to drink alcohol; the prohibition is against drunkenness only.

 

7. Better paraphrased as: “For what authority do I have to judge those outside the community? So why aren’t you reasonably judging those within the church?

 

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 6

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?1

2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.2

5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.3

11 And such were some of you:4 but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.5

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that commiteth fornication sinneth against his own body.6

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price:7 therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

1 (While we’re talking about judging cases in the church,) why is it that any of you with a dispute against another in the community go and argue your cases before the unjust, rather than seeking judgment from the righteous?

2 Do you not know that the righteous will someday rule the world? And if you will rule the world, are you really not qualified to judge the simplest matters?

3 Don’t you know we will rule over angels? So how much more should we have charge over the issues in this life?

4 Since you have issues of this life needing judgment, is it that you are setting up those least qualified in the church to do the judging (so the others in the community resort to secular judges)?

5 I say this to shame you: Is there not even one wise man in the community who can make a fair judgment between his brethren?

6 But brother goes to court against brother, and the court they go to is one judged by unbelievers.

7 The members of the community have no business suing each other anyway! Why don’t you rather accept the wrong done to you? Why aren’t you willing to allow yourself to be defrauded (and leave it to God to vindicate you)?

8 Instead, you go out and wrong and defraud your brethren!

9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Neither those who commit sexual sin outside of marriage, nor idolaters, nor heterosexual adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor (unrepentant) homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortionists, will inherit the Kingdom of God.

11 In time past, some of you were one or more of these things. But you were washed and sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and placed in a state of right standing in the name of the Lord Jesus, through the Spirit of our God.

12-14 “All things are Lawful unto me”--but I want you to know that all things are not necessarily good. “All things are Lawful for me”--but I will not be brought under the power of any. “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats”--but God shall destroy both it and them. The body also is not made for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord wants the best for it. And God has raised up the Lord Jesus (from the dead), and will also raise us up by His own power.

15 Don’t you know that your bodies are the body parts of Christ (on the earth)? Shall I then take parts of Christ’s body and mate them with a prostitute?! God forbid!

16 What? You mean you don’t know that he who mates with a prostitute becomes one body with her? For two, God says in Scripture, shall become one flesh.

17 But he who is spiritually mated to the Lord becomes one spirit.

18 Run as fast as you can from sexual sin! Every other sin a man might commit is one done by the body rather than with the body. But he (or she) who commits sexual sin, sins with and against his body.

19 What? You didn’t know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which is inside of you, and given by God, thus meaning that you no longer belong to yourself?

20 For someone put his own life at risk to save you (--and now, according to custom, he owns your very life, and you have a debt you can never repay to get back your own freedom). So glorify God in both your body and spirit, which belong to Him.

Paul seems to appeal to the tradition of the Noachide commandments (see What you never knew about the New Testament’s view of the Law), held by Judaism as the laws by which God meant Gentiles to live, one of which is to establish courts of justice.

2. This is one of the worst handled verses in the King James Bible. It should be rendered like this: If you have issues of this life needing judgment, is it that you are setting up those least qualified in the church to do the judging?

3. It should be noted that the list of sinners in verses 9 and 10 disqualified from salvation refers to those who practice and justify these sins, not to those brethren who struggle with sins like homosexuality.

4. Although Paul here shows that some of the Corinthians had practiced these sins in the past, but no longer, this should not be understood to be saying that “true” Christians are magically delivered from all sinful desires and never need struggle with them again. It should also be noted that the remainder of the verse incorrectly uses the word “are” (“are washed,” etc.). It should be translated “were.”

5. Verses 12 and 13 are often misunderstood, for Paul is repeating and correcting the abuse arising out of a common saying and belief among the Corinthians. He is not making an intentional theological statement about the Law having passed away, for instance. The verses could be written in our grammar and punctuation like so:

All things are lawful unto me”--but all things are not expedient. “All things are lawful for me”--but I will not be brought under the power of any.

“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats”--but God shall destroy both it and them. *

 

* The next line of verse 13 (“Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body”) probably should be treated as the beginning of verse 14, not the end of verse 13.

6. The condemnation against immorality here traces itself to a belief by some at the time that sex was as important to the body as food, thus giving birth to licentiousness in the church.

7. “Bought with a price” is an Eastern idiom meaning that someone has saved another’s life at great personal risk to himself.

 

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 7

1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.1

2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.2

3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

5 Defraud3 ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.4

7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.5

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:6

11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.7

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not8, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified9 by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases:10 but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised.11

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.12

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

25 Now concerning virgins13 I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;14

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.15

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.16

1 Now concerning the questions you wrote about: Yes, it is good for a husband to refrain from having relations with his wife at times.

2 Nevertheless, to avoid the chances of being tempted into fornication, let husbands and wives have normal physical relations.

3 Let the husband give the wife what she has a right to expect, and vice versa.

4 In marriage, each person gives up the rights over his body to the other person, husbands to wives, and wives to husbands.

5 Don’t deny one another unless you both agree to dedicate yourselves to (fasting and) prayer. Then have relations again so Satan does not tempt you.

6 But I say this by God’s permission, not His command.

6 (Alternate reading): But what I am going to say (in verse 8) is by God’s permission, and not by His command.

7 For I wish that all people were celibate as I am. But every man has his proper gift from God, be it marriage or celibacy.

8 So I say to the single people and the widows, it is good for them to continue in that state like I do.

9 But if they cannot handle temptation, let them marry, for it is better to be married than to struggle constantly with lust.

10 And to those who are married, the Lord--not I--commands: “Let the wife not separate from her husband.”

11 But if she does depart, she must not remarry, though she can reconcile with her husband. Also, the husband must not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest, I--not the Lord--say: If a brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and that woman wishes to continue living with him as his wife, he should not divorce her.

13 And the woman who has an unbelieving husband should stay with him if he wishes to continue living with her as well.

14 For the unbelieving husband is given a measure of grace within the marriage by his wife, and vice versa. Otherwise, your children would be born in sin. But they are holy in God’s eyes.

15 But if the unbeliever departs the marriage, let him or her go. A brother or sister is not bound in such cases. But keep in mind that God has called us to peace (and reconciliation when possible).

16 For who can say, O wife, whether your witness will someday result in your husband embracing the Gospel? Likewise, who can say, O man, whether your influence will wind up saving your wife?

17 I say this because in every church I make the rule that each man should accept the background in which God called him, and then walk in the faith from that point on.

18 So is any man called to Christ in a state of being physically circumcised? (In other words, as a Jew?) Then he should not become uncircumcised. (In other words, he should not abandon his Judaism.) In the same way, is a man called in a state of being physically uncircumcised? (In other words, as a Gentile?) Then he should not become circumcised. (In other words, he should not become Jewish.)

19-20 Being physically Jewish is as meaningless as being physically Gentile. But keeping the commands of God, let every man abide in the same calling (--be that Jewish or non-Jewish--) that he was first called in.

21 In other cases, are you called, being a slave? Don’t worry about gaining your freedom. But if you can be free, then be so.

22 For a man who is called in the Lord as a slave, is really the Lord’s freeman. In the same way, he who is called, being a freeman, is in reality Christ’s slave.

23 Someone put their life on the line to save you, so don’t count yourselves as slaves to mere men of this world.

24 Again, brethren, let every man continue in the circumstances that God has called him in.

25 Now concerning unmarried women: I have no solid command from the Lord on the subject, but I will share my own considered opinion as a person who has experienced the mercy of the Lord to make me faithful:

26 I think that in our present circumstances of persecution by the world, it is good for a man to be single.

27 But do you have a wife? Then don’t seek a way out of the marriage. Are you without a wife? Then don’t seek to find one.

28 But if you marry, you have not fallen short of what God deems appropriate. And if a woman marries, she has not fallen short of the mark either. Even so, married people will have problems in their lives, something I’d like to spare you.

28 (Alternate reading): But if you marry, you have not fallen short of what God deems appropriate. And if a woman marries, she has not fallen short of the mark either. Even so, married people will have problems in their lives. However, I release you to make your own decisions on this issue.

29 Let me make this point, though: The time is short. So men who have wives should not let marriage be what they focus on.

30 And those who now weep should live as though they weep not; they that rejoice as if they do not rejoice; they that buy (and trade) as if they had no goods requiring their constant attention.

31 And those with possessions and influence in the world should not become intertwined by them, for the normal patterns of human existence are passing away.

32 I want you to be free of various worldly cares, so keep in mind that he who is unmarried concerns himself with the things of the Lord, and how he can please him.

33 But he who is married is forced to concern himself with earthly matters like how to keep his wife happy.

34 There is also a difference between a wife and a single woman. The single woman cares for the things of the Lord so she can be holy both in body and spirit. But she who is married cares for earthly matters like how to please her husband.

35 Now this I say for your benefit--to do what is best, and not to drag you around by a leash--so you can serve the Lord without being distracted.

36 But if a man who is betrothed to a woman feels he cannot adequately deal with his passions unless he gets married--and his fiancée is of mature years--then he should go ahead and marry her. Certainly, there’s no sin in that.

37 Nevertheless, a man who has his passions under control, and who has decided to remain celibate so far as his betrothed fiancée is concerned, does good.

38 So then the man who delivers his fiancée into marriage does well. But a man who does not deliver her into marriage does even better.

39 After marriage, the wife is bound to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, she can marry whomever she wishes so long as the man is a believer in the Lord.

40 But she will be happier if she remains single. At least, that’s my opinion; and I think my opinion agrees with the Spirit of God.

1. What a pity we do not have the original letter from Corinth asking the questions! This fact has given rise to some bad translations and understandings of these passages. First, “man” and “woman” in this verse should be translated as “husband” and “wife” as both words are in verse 2. The verse could thus be paraphrased as: “Now concerning the questions you asked, it is good for a husband to refrain from having relations with his wife at times.” (For temporary purposes of seeking God, not because sex is somehow bad.)

2. “Have” obviously means to have sex with.”

3. Better translated as: “Deprive.” Also, the words “fasting and” in the verse are a later addition to the text.

4. Although the text reads best viewing verse 6 as concluding statements made in verses 1-5, it could actually be referring to the upcoming statement in verse 8. Paul would thus be admitting his admonition is not a commandment, but he thinks that the unmarried and widows should stay single if possible.

5. Paul here clearly understands that some people’s sex drives are such that a celibate lifestyle is too much of a struggle, and that these folks--if they lack the faith and spiritual strength to deal with that--should marry for a sexual outlet to remove this stumbling block from their Christian walk.

6. This should not be taken as a command to stay with a spouse under any and all circumstances (for instance, in a physically abusive relationship). Paul is presuming a stable relationship in which one partner for some reason desires to separate from the other when personal safety is not a factor.

7. This is a very important message to Christians in our day and age: divorce and remarriage are not options except in cases of adultery or abandonment (see verse 15). Christians who divorce for reasons other than these two listed reasons are in adultery if they remarry. Nothing in the Scriptures suggests that relationships prior to conversion factor into this command.

8. “Believeth not” refers to a non-Christian spouse.

9. There is debate on what Paul means here. The best speculation is that the believing spouse is protected from spiritual defilement from normal sexual relations with a spouse who is not a Christian.

10. This verse appears to give license for remarriage if a Christian’s spouse abandons or divorces them.

11. One of the most important verses in the New Testament dealing with the false doctrines of some Messianic believers. Paul here commands that Jews and Gentiles remain in their cultural milieu. This is an absolute denial of the false doctrine that God requires Gentile believers to follow Mosaic Law once they accept Christ. Likewise, Paul encourages Jews to remain within their own cultural background and remain faithful to keeping the Torah. Thus God equally accepts both Torah-observant Jews and non-observant Gentiles, and neither side is required to adopt or reject Mosaic practices in order to obtain or retain salvation.

12. Paul here may not necessarily be speaking only of the physical act of circumcision. “Circumcision” can be considered a synonym for being Jewish and Torah-observant versus being a non-observant Gentile. With that in mind, Paul could be paraphrased like so: “Being physically Jewish is meaningless, just as physically being a Gentile is, for keeping the commands* of God is what truly matters, whether one is Jewish or not.” The paraphrase, meanwhile, takes another view as some food for thought.

 

*Those commands are not the entirety of the 613 laws of Moses, but rather the universal moral precepts within those laws. We know this because Paul obviously is not contradicting himself, and he just exempted Gentiles from becoming Jewish while in verse 12 he repeats that every man should remain in the state in which he found Christ--either fully observant or unobservant, but for the reasonable moral precepts of the faith. It is impossible for Paul to be teaching that all should keep Mosaic Law while commanding Jew and Gentile to remain in the state in which they were called--especially in light of the fact that a physically uncircumcised man is forbidden by the Law to eat the Passover lamb. The uncircumcised also is forbidden to enter the Temple to participate in the Festivals the Law demands be observed.

 

13. Meaning unmarried daughters of a Christian man. There is debate as to whether the verses following relate to the woman’s father or fiancée.

14. The last few verses were motivated by the mistaken apostolic oral tradition that Jesus would be returning within the lifetime of the apostles (John 21:23).

15. Often the basis for a teaching that divorced persons are denied remarriage for any reason until their former spouse dies, but that strict interpretation of the verse seems inconsistent with both verse 15 and the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels regarding adultery.

16 When Paul says he has “the Spirit of God,” he is probably using the phrase in its typical form for the time: that of a Jewish idiom for “the wisdom (or inspiration) of God.”

 

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 8

1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

2 And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols1, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.2

8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.3

1 Now as regards foods that have been offered up in idolatrous rituals before being sold, we know that we all have knowledge (regarding things like there is only one God). Knowledge, however, puffs up, while love builds up.

2 (And no man is as smart as he thinks he is, something you should keep in mind.)

3 But if a man loves God--God recognizes that man!

4 So in the matter of eating those meats and things that have been sacrificed to idols, we all know that an idol is nothing, and that there is only one God in the world.

5 For though there are many beings men call gods, whether in the heavens or on earth, including many “gods” or “lords”(in the form of human rulers),

6 To us, there is only one God--the Father--out of which came all things (including those beings trying to pass themselves off as gods), to whom we belong. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, who created all things (including these beings), and by whom we have our very existence.

7 But not everyone has that knowledge. Some people still think there are actually other gods in existence, and when they eat such foods, they eat in conscious belief of the “gods” behind the practice (thinking those gods are taking notice of them; or else they eat it as acts of worship toward an idol). Thus, their uneducated and immature consciences are defiled.

8 But meat we eat does nothing to make us acceptable to God. Whether we eat (--or what we eat--) has no bearing on anything, really. It’s neither good nor bad.

9 But be careful, lest the freedom you have becomes a stumbling block to a man who is weaker in the faith.

10 For if such a man sees you in the temple of a false god eating some of the sacrificial offerings, won’t the man’s weak conscience prompt him to go in and eat himself (thinking it’s allowable to participate in pagan rituals)?

11 Should your weak brother, for whom Christ died, perish because of your superior knowledge?

12 When you do things like this to cause weaker brethren to stumble against their conscience, you are sinning against Christ.

13 So if my eating meat will cause my brother to stumble (and sin), I will not eat meat while the world stands, lest I be the cause of my brother stumbling.

1. Paul here is dealing with the concerns of those afraid that they are committing sin by obtaining meat that had previously been used in idolatrous religious ceremonies. The meat from such sacrifices was often given out, or else sold--and since the Torah forbids sacrificing to idols, some were concerned. Paul points out that idols are not true gods, and thus there is no reason to discriminate against food that may have previously been used in pagan religious ceremonies.

Some have attempted to claim a contradiction between what Paul says here and Rev. 2:20. The difference between the two should be obvious: Jezebel had literally been leading the church in worshipping idols and making sacrifices to them. Paul, in contrast, is referring only to meat that had come from pagan rites the Christians had no direct participation in. Even the term “Sit at meat in the idol’s temple” mentioned at the end of the chapter, did not refer to the Christian having made sacrifice to foreign gods, but rather to having dined on free food given to the poor by some of these temples.

 

2. Meaning that some in Corinth still had the mistaken belief that there were deities other than the One God, and that by eating these sacrifices they were subjecting themselves to the influence of, or else paying conscious homage to, these gods. Also, as was noted in the introduction, Paul often uses the word “weak” to refer to someone uneducated  or immature in the faith.

3. It is very important to understand that Paul’s use of the word “offend” does not refer to someone who takes umbrage at Paul’s doing something the person himself thinks is wrong, causing him to become resentful. Paul means someone who sees him doing something and then imitates it or does it although in his heart he thinks the act is sinful.

 

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 9

1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free?1 have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,

4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?

5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife2, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?3

9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.5

18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;5

21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

22 To the weak6 became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1 Am I not an apostle? Don’t I have the right to expect the support that should come with that, without having to toil for it? Have I not seen, face-to-face, Jesus Christ our Lord? And are you not work in the Lord?

2 If I’m not an apostle to anyone else, I am undoubtedly one to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3 So my answer to my critics is this:

4 Do we apostles not have the right to have a decent meal and something to drink?

5 Have we not the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as the other apostles, the kinsmen of the Lord, and as Cephas (Peter) does?

6 Or do only Barnabas and I have to work day and night to take care of our own needs?

7 What soldier pays for his own equipment and food? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t eat from it? Who feeds a flock and takes no milk from it?

8 Is this just my own opinion? Doesn’t the Torah say as much also?

9 For it is written in the Torah of Moses: Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Now did God say that because He’s worried about what an ox eats?

10 Or was He saying that somehow for our benefit, so we men could learn an important axiom? It was for our sakes, no doubt, that this was written--so that a man who plows should plow in confidence that he will see a harvest, and that a man who threshes grain should thresh, expecting to partake of the grain!

11 Since we have sown spiritual things amongst you, is it outrageous if we reap from some of your natural things?

12 If others (who came after us) have this right over you, don’t we (who brought you the Gospel to start with) have an even greater right?! Even so, we have never exercised our rights over you, but we endure our problems on our own without burdening you, lest we should somehow hinder the Gospel of Christ.

13 But are you unaware that those who minister amongst the holy things in the Temple live off the offerings at the Temple; or that those who serve at the altar eat the offerings from the altar?

14 In the same way, the Lord has established the precept that those who preach the Gospel should live off the Gospel.

15 But I have used none of these precepts to my own advantage, nor am I writing to start making use of them now, for it would be better for me to die than do that! I won’t let any man have cause to criticize me and rob me of the pride I take in what I do!

16 For though I preach the Gospel, I can take no credit for my ministry because I am doing this because I was commanded to. In fact, woe is me if I don’t preach it!

17 If I preach willingly, I am doing something for which God will reward me; but, willingly or not, God has given a commission to me.

18 So what is my reward, then? Well, it’s (the pride I take in) preaching the Gospel of Christ without profiting off it, so that I don’t abuse my authority in the Gospel.

19 For though I’m not a slave, but am free, I have made myself a slave to all men so that I might save as many as I can.

20 Thus, when I am around Jews, I emphasize my Jewish background and traditions so that I might reach the Jews with the Gospel message. Thus, to those under the Torah, I appeal to them on the basis of one who thoroughly understands the Torah and what the men I meet believe about it, in hope that I might reach those who are under the Torah.

21 To reach those not under the Torah, I appeal to them as one who is also not under the Torah, though by saying that I do not mean that I live a reprobate life before God; but rather, that I live out the Torah of Christ (who has placed the perfect law of love into my heart).

22-23 To the uneducated, I appear likewise uneducated (speaking in simple terms and precepts). I try to find something in common with all men so that I might reach all men, and I do this for the sake of the Gospel so that we can both share in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that while many run in a race, only one wins the prize? So run so you can win!

25 Every man who devotes himself to mastering a sport doesn’t give in to excess in anything. Athletes train and deny themselves in many ways in order to win a laurel crown that will dry up and waste away--but we do the same thing to win a crown that can never waste away!

26 So I fix my gaze on the finish line and sprint as hard as I can to reach it. And I also fight like a man who spars with real opponents instead of just shadow boxing.

27 Even so, I still keep my own body under subjection (to my spirit), lest somehow I fail to measure up and, after having preached the truth to others, I find myself cast away (so that another runs ahead of me and wins the race I started, leaving me by the wayside).

1. This is one of those sentences that the person delivering the letter would have explained. It’s also an example of Paul's habit of condensing two or three sentences of what he means into just one. When Paul speaks of being “free,” he means, “As an apostle, aren’t I supposed to be free from the responsibility of working for my own upkeep? Don’t I have a right to expect support from the churches instead of toiling day and night to support myself?” See verses 6, 11, and 12.

2. Some teach a doctrine from misusing this verse, claiming that only someone who literally saw Jesus was qualified to be an apostle. This flies in the face of examples like Epaphroditus, called in Greek an apostle in Phil. 2:25, along with a number of other brethren in 2 Cor. 8:23 likewise dubbed “messengers,” although the word is the same for “apostle.” Barnabas, in Acts 14:15, is also called an apostle, although there is no certain proof he ever knew Jesus personally.

3. An interesting point by Paul, directly challenging the Western rites of the Catholic Church, which mandate priestly celibacy. Scholars of course, debate whether the term “brethren of the Lord” refers to cousins or actual brothers of Christ. In all probability, it refers to cousins for reasons stated in the commentary in Matthew.

4. Sometimes used to accuse Paul of hypocrisy for teaching that Christians “aren’t under the Law,” while appealing to the Torah to validate his views. Well, there is no real inconsistency. As I have attempted to point out, Paul never repudiated the keeping of the Torah as lifestyle and culture (though he affirmed that the Torah as an obligatory covenant was no longer in force); he merely remained consistent with the more liberal strain of Judaism which held that Gentiles need not keep the full Torah in order to worship God.

5. Better paraphrased as: “If I preach willingly, I am doing something for which God will reward me; but, willingly or not, God has given a commission to me.

6. This, and the next few verses, are sometimes used by skeptics to accuse Paul of hypocritically pretending to be something he is not--for instance, an observant Jew when he (supposedly) has concluded the Law has passed away. In fact, the verse records that Paul tried to reach people where they were at by finding something in common with them. Being an observant Jew himself, it was easy for Paul to interact with fellow Jews, while with unobservant Gentiles he could minister to them without expounding on the types and shadows pointing toward Christ in Mosaic Law.

7. “Weak” is better understood as: “Uneducated.”

 

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 10

1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;1

3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:2 and that Rock was Christ.

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play3.

8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.4

9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.5

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.6

22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.7

24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.8

25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:

26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:9

29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?

30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.10

1 Moreover, brethren, I don’t want you to forget how our ancestors were all underneath the cloud of God that was above their camp, and that they all passed through the sea,

2 And were all baptized into Moses by passing under the cloud and through the sea.

3-4 They also ate the same spiritual food (--the manna--) and also drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that followed along behind them. That rock, by the way, was actually a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ (and foretold his sending the Holy Spirit to humanity)!

5 But God was displeased with many of them, for they were destroyed in the wilderness (despite having received a promise that God would lead them into a good land).

6 These events are examples to us, to teach us not to desire evil things as they desired.

7 Nor should we be idolaters as some of them were. For it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

8 Neither let us partake of sexual sin as some of them did. Twenty-three thousand died for that in one day!

9 Neither let us challenge Christ as some of them challenged God. Snakes destroyed them for this.

10 Neither should you grumble and complain as some of them did, and were slain by the angel called “the Destroyer.”

11 Now all these things that happened to them were examples to us, and they are written as admonition to us, who are approaching the end of the world, to behave properly.

12 So let he who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall!

13 There is no temptation that you have faced which isn’t normal to humanity. But God is faithful, who will not let more come upon you that you are able to bear. And with every temptation, He will make a way to escape so you can bear it (without being overcome by it).

14 Because of this, my dearly beloved, run from idolatry (and any thought of worshipping God and other “deities”).

15 I know I am talking to wise men, so judge whether or not I am making sense.

16 The cup of blessing that we pray over--is it not partaking of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break--is it not partaking of the body of Christ? (And how much greater is that than partaking of the essence of some imaginary deity as some of these pagan rituals claim happens in the temples?)

17 For we, being many people, are made to be one loaf and one body, for we are all partakers of the same bread (which is Christ).

18 Consider physical Israel: Are not the ones who partake of the sacrifices of the altar partakers of what the altar stands for?

19 So what am I saying? That an idol is anything real, or that food which is sacrificed to an idol has any innate power or efficacious effect if eaten? (No.)

20-21 What I’m saying is, that things sacrificed by Gentiles in such a manner are actually being sacrificed to demons (masquerading as gods), and not to the true God--and I do not want you to have communion with demons, for you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils, nor can you partake of the Lord’s table and also the table of demons.

22 Do we (dare) provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

23 “All things are lawful for me”--but all things are not necessarily good. “All things are lawful for me”--but all things don’t necessarily edify.

24 Don’t selfishly worry only about your own good--concern yourself with the good of others!

25 Whatever is sold in the marketplace, go ahead and eat, asking nothing about its background for the sake of your conscience.

26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.

27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner, go if you want to, and eat what he gives you. But ask nothing about the background of the food for the sake of your conscience.

28 However, if any man tells you, “This was sacrificed to idols,” don’t eat it for his sake, and for the sake of conscience (--for again: The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof).

29-30 When I say “Conscience,” I don’t mean your own, but that of your host. Now you might ask: “Why should my freedom be regulated by someone else’s conscience? For if the grace of God permits me to partake of this sort of food, why should I be criticized over that for which I give thanks?”

31 Well, the actual issue is that whether you eat, drink, or do something else, you should make sure it is done to the glory of God.

32-33 Don’t be a stumbling block to anyone: Either Jews, Gentiles, or the church of God, just as I accommodate everyone in what I do, not seeking my own good (or convenience), but the good of many other people, in hope they can be saved.

1. This Baptism into Moses was one of seven general baptisms mentioned in the Scripture. The seven include:

1. Baptism in the cloud.

2. Baptism in the sea.

3. John’s Baptism of repentance.

4. Baptism of fire.

5. Baptism into Messiah.

6. Baptism of suffering.

7. Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

 

Of these, only number five is associated with salvation; and ultimately, this form of baptism, while there is a physical expression of it, comes through faith, not through the act of dipping in water.

 

2. Here, we have absolute proof that the Bible does not contain all historic facts about the faith. Nowhere in the Scripture is there any mention of the rock of Exodus 17 literally following the camp of Israel, but Jewish oral tradition asserts that this rock rolled along behind the Israelites during their sojourn, and thus Paul confirms the validity of extra-Biblical oral tradition in matters of history. Paul here also seems to be saying that the rock was an appearance of Christ. Most assume he is saying that it only represented Christ, but the Greek literally says that the rock “was the Christ.”

3. “Play” would be best understood as committing idolatrous acts, not as some reference to sexual immorality, which also occurred.

4. A direct contradiction to Num. 25, which lists 24,000 victims. This could be attributable to Paul’s recalling the number from memory (people didn’t carry Bibles for handy reference back then); or his quoting a source which may have rounded the number down instead of up; or he is not including any Egyptians in the camp who may have died in the event, but only the Hebrews. In any event, it is not possible to attribute this discrepancy to a scribal error because the numbers are written out. This does not militate against the divine inspiration of Scripture. The purpose of the Scripture, as noted in 2 Tim. 3:16, is for ‘doctrine, correction, reproof, and instruction in righteousness.’ The number of people who fell that day has no bearing on any of these factors and thus is not meant to infallibly convey the number of people who fell, because the number is irrelevant for purposes of creating doctrine or receiving correction.

5. Paul’s point in the last few verses is to admonish the Corinthians to gird up their loins and show a lifestyle acceptable to God, lest He cast them away as happened to the Israelites in question. Certainly, it militates against the “Once saved, always saved” doctrine.

6. Paul is not contradicting what he wrote in Chapter 8 about sitting at meat in an idol’s temple. Instead, he is admonishing the Corinthians not to mix idolatry with their Christian faith by worshipping Christ while also making sacrifices to other deities, a common practice of merchants and farmers in that day. It should also be noted that some pagan rituals had a doctrine similar to the Christian Eucharist. Someone who ate a food offering to some gods was believed to be partaking of that god in some fashion, and receiving benefits from it. In no way does this relegate the Christian doctrine of the Eucharist to a pagan ritual, for the concept, to some degree, was taught in the Old Testament. Also, Paul (arguably) has been touting Eucharistic benefits to his readers.

7. This could be written as: “All things are lawful for me. But all things are not expedient. “All things are lawful for me.” But all things edify not.

8. Better paraphrased as: “Don’t selfishly worry only about your own good--concern yourself with the good of others.

9. The Christian is instructed not to eat in this case to make a statement to the unbeliever that his gods are false.

10. A re-admonishment to live and act temperately so as not to give the faith a bad reputation among those who otherwise might be open to receive the message of the Gospel. Even so, Paul understood that some people would denounce the faith no matter what, and he did not waste time on them.

 

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 11

1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances,1 as I delivered them to you.

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.2

5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.3

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without4 the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 5

21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.6

22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?

or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation7 to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.8

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.9

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.10

34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

1 You should all follow my example even as I follow Christ’s.

2 And I praise you, brethren, that you remember all the things I told you, and you are keeping the ordinances (regarding worship) that I gave you.

3 But I would point out to you that Christ is the authority over every man, and the authority over the wife is the husband, and the authority over Christ is God.

4 So every man who prays or prophesies with something over his head (--especially if it reflects some earthly authority--) dishonors Christ, his true authority.

5 And every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered (in the manner of a prostitute) dishonors her (husband, who is her authority). This is as bad as if she were a woman with a shaved head (marking her as an aduletress)!

6 So if the wife isn’t covered, let her hair be shaved off as well! And if it is shameful for a woman to have a masculine hair style or to have a shaved head--well, then let her cover herself up (as is proper for a woman)!

7 For a man should not hide his head with a veil, because he is the image and glory of God. But in the case of women, they are the glory of man.

8 For (in the beginning,) the man did not come from the woman, but the woman came out of the man.

9 Nor was the man created for the woman, but the woman was created to assist the man.

10 This is why the woman should have a sign of authority upon her head. (Remember, the angels are watching what goes on among you.)

11 Even so, neither men nor women exist independent of each other in the Lord.

12 For even though the woman first came out of a man, men have come out of women since that time, but all things come from God.

13 You tell me--is it proper (in our society) that a woman prays with her head exposed (like a prostitute)?

14 (And) isn’t it only natural that if a man has a long, feminine hair style (like a male prostitute), it is a disgrace?

15 But if a woman has long hair, it is something she can be proud of, for her hair is given her for a covering.

16 If anyone has problems with these points, neither we, nor the churches of God, have any other custom.

17 Now--here’s something I do not praise you for: When you assemble for worship, you don't come together for the better, but apparently for the worse.

18 First of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there are cliques among you, and it doesn’t surprise me.

19 For it’s unavoidable that there would be factions among the congregation, that those truly approved of by God should stand out from those who are not.

20 When you assemble in one place, it is (apparently) not to eat the Lord’s Supper.

21 (I say this because) when you eat, each one rushes to eat his own food up without sharing with someone else who is hungry, while someone else gets drunk.

22 What? You don’t have your own houses to eat and drink in? Or do you disrespect the church of God and shame those who are poor? What shall I say about this? Shall I praise you over this? Well, I will not praise you.

23 For the Lord revealed to me what I passed on to you: The same night the Lord Jesus was betrayed, he took bread,

24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said: “Take and eat, for this is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way, he also took the cup after eating, and said, “This cup is the New covenant in my blood. Drink it, and as often as you partake of it, do it in remembrance of me.”

26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he returns.

27 Because of this, whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord!

28 But let a man examine himself, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup.

29 For he who eats and drinks in a state of unworthiness, eats and drinks condemnation to himself, because he does not recognize the fact he is eating and drinking the Lord’s (holy) body (and blood)!

30 This is why many have fallen weak and sick among you--and a number have even died!

31 For if we would regularly examine ourselves (and correct our misbehavior), we would not be judged.

32 But when we reap a penalty for what we have been judged guilty of, the Lord punishes us so that we do not receive the condemnation and punishment coming to the (unbelieving) world.

33 Therefore, brethren, when you come together to eat, treat it like a potluck and wait for one another (making sure to share what you have).

34 And if any man is too hungry to share, then let him eat at home so you don’t wind up coming together in a manner that brings condemnation. The rest we need to deal with, I will get to when I come there.

34 And if any man is too hungry to share, then let him eat at home so you don’t wind up coming together in a manner that brings condemnation. The rest we need to deal with, I will get to when I come there.

1. “Ordinances” should be understood as oral traditions of the faith and instructions for communal worship.

2. Here, in verses 2 through 15, some false doctrines arise that Paul is criticizing men's hair length, along with rebuking a man who has some sort of hat on. This is basically untrue. All Jewish men prayed with their heads covered by some sort of head covering (akin to what some Eastern Moslems of today still wear), and not to do so was tantamount to being disrespectful to God. Though verse 7 does make mention of a man's head being veiled, it simply cannot be that Paul is overturning universal Jewish decorum in worship. Were Paul actually suggesting that Jews should abandon covering their heads with some traditional garb, he would be flying in the face of basic Jewish propriety, and opening himself to the very sort of criticism he just boasted of avoiding in the last chapter. Paul's rebuke about men having a head covering* most likely traces itself to criticizing a man who deliberately hides his head with a covering in some manner (perhaps to keep from being recognized as a believer by outsiders); or it may be have some relation to verse 14, where Paul rebukes men, not for hair length, but for having a feminine hair style. If this is the case, it may refer to some sort of worldly head adornment rather than a specific head covering. It certainly cannot be an indictment against any and all coverings for the head, and in any event traces itself to a cultural prohibition that does not necessarily apply in the world of today or in cultures where it would be deemed disrespectful for a man not to be wearing some sort of head covering in normal life.

When Paul speaks of men having “long hair,” he is referring to local temples that employed male homosexual prostitutes who sported feminine hairstyles. The Greek word translated as “long hair” refers to having such a hairstyle, and is a direct reference to the coiffures that marked these men as male prostitutes. (By the way, King James had hair longer than most rock stars!) Female prostitutes, meanwhile, were known for walking about without wearing veils or shawls to advertise what they were. Paul’s concern was that no one mistake Christians for pagans, which in that culture could occur because of dress and hairstyle. Thus, these admonitions are entirely cultural, and so do not apply in our day and age. The principal, however, would apply today in the sense of admonishing Christian women not to come to church looking like various media personalities and entertainers.

 

* The words translated “head covered” literally mean “down on head.”

 

3. Jewish belief held that the angels were very concerned with God’s being worshipped properly, and God constantly had to dissuade them from destroying men for even the slightest faults.

4. “Without” should be understood as: “Existing independently from.”

5. In contrast to the way much of Christianity views Sunday worship, Paul reveals his focus on worship was to partake of the Lord’s Supper rather than simply gather to sing hymns, and preach.

6. As noted, the early Christian worship services were nothing like we have today. Basically, they had a potluck, with fellowship and Bible teaching thrown in, finishing with partaking of the Eucharist. A problem that cropped up, as Paul refers to, is that people were more interested in enjoying a good meal than they were in Christian fellowship or the Eucharist.

7. “Damnation” is far too strong a word; it should be translated: “Condemnation” or “judgment” (whether light or heavy).

8. It is mind-boggling to me that, in its zeal to condemn Catholicism in favor of more biblical Christianity, Protestantism denies a central truth of Scripture: that the bread and wine--however it’s accomplished--either change, or else have the presence of Christ come alongside them, which makes the elements far more than normal bread and wine. This belief that the Lord’s Supper is nothing more than a memorial, with no supernatural aspects to it, was not a part of Christian belief until the Reformation.

9. I can count on one hand the number of evangelicals I know who really believe this verse (though everyone pays lip service to it). Take Communion unworthily (that is, with unrepentant sin in one's life, or in a flippant manner) and one may literally die for the act. Maybe not on the spot, ala Annanius and Sepphira, but perhaps down the line with cancer someone might otherwise not have gotten. In any event, it is impossible to accept this verse as being true on one hand, while relegating Communion to nothing more than taking normal bread and grape juice (!) as a memorial act on the other. Perhaps Christianity should be glad that the most Protestants deny the reality of the Body and Blood, for were they actually intending to partake of a true Eucharist in their services, instead of participating in what they view as only a memorial act, undoubtedly there would be quite a few less members in their churches, since there are some, according to Paul, who die for not taking Communion in full recognition of what it is!

10. Though often presumed that Paul is referring to taking Communion here, he seems more to be referring to the Love Feast.

 

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 12

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts1, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.2

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation3 of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom4; to another the word of knowledge5 by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith6 by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing7 by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy8; to another discerning of spirits9; to another divers kinds of tongues10; to another the interpretation of tongues;11

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,12 whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

28 And God hath set some in the church,13 first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?14

31 But covet earnestly the best gifts15: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Now regarding the subject of the Holy Spirit’s operation in the church, I do not want you brethren to lack knowledge.

2 You know that you were once pagans, deceived into worshipping idols that cannot speak.

3 I thus want you to understand that no one speaking an utterance from the Spirit of God ever says something like, “Jesus is accursed!” Nor can any spirit but the Holy Spirit speak supernaturally through a man and proclaim, “Jesus is Lord!”

4 Now there are different gifts the Spirit bestows, but there is only one Spirit behind these.

5 And there are different ways to serve within the church, but the same Lord.

6 There are also different (Charismatic) effects displayed in the church and congregation, but the same God is energizing all of it.

7 However, when there is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit through someone, it is meant to edify (the entire church).

8 One might receive supernatural wisdom regarding an issue; another may receive supernatural knowledge about a situation by the same Holy Spirit;

9 Another may receive supernatural faith (to deliver or receive miracles) by the same Holy Spirit; another may receive the talent or miraculous ability to perform physical healings by the same Holy Spirit;

10 Another might receive the power to work miracles; another might speak a prophetic utterance; another may have the gift to distinguish the anointing behind teaching or prophecy (whether it is of God or Satan); another may receive the ability to interpret an utterance in Tongues.

11 But all these wonderful things come through the operation of the one Holy Spirit, who divides them up amongst the members of the community as He chooses.

12 For as a body has many separate parts, but the sum of those parts is one body, so also is Christ.

13 And by one Spirit are we baptized into one body (through faith), whether we are Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we have all been given the same Spirit to drink from.

14 For the human body is not made up of one part, but is made up of many parts.

15 If our foot, for instance, were to say “I am not a part of the body because I am a foot and not a hand”--isn’t it still a part of the body?

16 And if the ear were to say, “Because I am not an eye, I don’t count as a part of the body”--would that make it any less a body part?

17 If the whole body were an eye, how would it hear? If the whole body was made for hearing, how could it smell?

18 But God has now arranged the different members of the body (of Christ) as it has pleased Him.

19 And if they were all the same member, where would the rest of the body be?

20 But the way things are arranged, the many different parts of the body, make up one single body.

21 So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” any more than the head can say, “I don’t need you!” to the feet.

22 No, in fact, the parts of the body that seem most helpless are still very important.

23 And the parts of our body we think to be the least honorable, we, in fact, bestow the greatest honor (by hiding them from view), and treat with special attention.

24 For nothing needs to be done to the attractive parts of us, but God has made the body so that the most honor goes to the parts that lack the beauty that other parts have,

25 So that no part of the body is somehow more important than the other, but that the various body parts are, in one way or another, equal in importance and have an equal care for other body parts.

26 And if one part of the body suffers, all the parts of the body suffer with it. Likewise, if one part of the body is honored, all the parts of the body are honored with it.

27 Now you all are the body of Christ, and each of you is an important part of the body.

28 And here are some of the parts of that body that God has placed in the church: First, apostles. Second, prophets. Third, teachers. After these, those who can do miracles; those with gifts of healing; those who can help other people; those who can give direction to the church in practical and business matters; and those who speak in Tongues.

29 Now--are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers or able to work miracles?

30 Do all have the gifts of healing? Do all speak in Tongues? Do all interpret Tongues? (No.)

31 But you should earnestly covet the greater gifts the Spirit offers. And, good as that may be, here is something even better to do:

1. Right here, thanks to the intervention of man, a false doctrine has crept into much of the church that this chapter is talking about “the nine Gifts of the Spirit.” There is no such thing as the nine Gifts of the Spirit! The word “gifts” was placed here by human translators, and is where this notion came from. What follows are not “Spiritual Gifts” but rather various ‘manifestations’ of the Holy Spirit as clearly shown in verse 7! It’s true that anything that comes from God is a gift of sorts, but altering the classification of what is actually an evidence of the Spirit gives birth to error, superseding what Paul actually says are the “gifts” from God in Ephesians 4:7-13 (those gifts being people or offices in the church), and instead elevating the manifestation of the Spirit’s power and presence into the “true gifts” of God. Verse 1 could actually be translated as: “Concerning spirituals, brethren, I am unwilling for you to lack understanding.”

2. This appears to be a reference regarding speaking prophetically in the church. This was critically important in the case of the Corinthians, who had grown up in an environment where false prophecy and demonic manifestations were commonplace. Paul, acknowledging elsewhere in his letters that false prophets would creep into the church, reveals that the Spirit had seen to it that godly men with a gift would be able to discern the truth of God from that of demonic sources, some of which apparently gave rise to false prophets infiltrating the community and, perhaps under demonic anointing, prophesying that Jesus was cursed of God as a false prophet.

3. The next verses go on to describe not “gifts” but the “manifestation” of the Spirit during worship.

4. This manifestation of the Spirit is pretty straightforward, referring to God’s giving a person a revelation of wisdom in discerning what has caused, or is behind, a problem in the church.

5. Not necessarily some sort of revelation that there is a person in the audience with a back problem--although that can indeed fall within the perimeters. This generally refers to receiving the wisdom on how to deal with a problem at hand.

6. Always ignored by some teachers who hold to the false doctrine that faith plays no part in God’s willingness or ability to move in one’s life, because He is sovereign and will do what He wants. In fact, this refers to God’s granting supernatural faith either to accomplish, or receive, a miracle. Does that substantiate the notion that “faith is a spiritual force”? The answer is yes, only if that faith comes as a supernatural gift from God rather than through the carnal efforts of a person’s positive thinking and confession. It should also be noted that while miracles are also listed as a manifestation of the Spirit in verse 10, these miracles are not necessarily based on the minister’s faith, but rather are something God does independent of that (Acts 5:15).

7. The word here for “gifts” could actually refer to a talent for using natural methods to heal, rather than supernatural, miraculous healings which would fall under the category of miracles.

8. “Prophecy” is understood in different ways. In the Charismatic realm, it’s usually understood as standing up and saying, “Thus saith the Lord.” Although that appears to be the correct understanding of the word in the context of this chapter, it also refers to an ability to edify and exhort the Body of Christ.

9. The ability either to discern true teaching from false, or to supernaturally discern the presence and operation of demons.

10. Just as prophecy refers to two different things, so too Tongues refers here to more than one thing. In the context of this chapter, it refers not to some human language the speaker doesn’t know, but rather to a prophetic pronouncement spoken in either a true language or in a heavenly tongue.

11. Not necessarily giving an English translation of apparent gibberish, but also an ability to elaborate on a prophetic word given by someone in their normal language, and to explain its meaning or message.

12. This ‘baptism into one body’ is that which comes through faith in Messiah, not by water baptism.

13. The hierarchical structure of the early church is listed here. Curiously, not just offices, but rather categories of talents are included in this list, suggesting that the most important talents a person may employ in the church include healing, helping others*, assisting in the smooth operation of the church (the word for “governments” comes from a Latin word to steer a ship), and the use of Tongues, probably in the sense of translating.

 

* “Helps” is a word that means to under gird a ship with ropes to assist in keeping the hull from collapsing under stress (Acts 27:17).

 

14. The answer to this rhetorical question is that no, all do not speak in Tongues, work miracles, etc.

15. Use of the word “gifts” here is used to justify its insertion in verse 1.

 

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels1, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,2 and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.3

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come,4 then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.5

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

1 Even though I could miraculously speak in the tongues of mankind, and those of the angels, if I don’t have (God’s sort of unselfish) love in my heart, my gift is no more useful than someone blowing a horn or clashing two cymbals together.

2 And even if I had the gift of prophecy, and had perfect understanding of all mysteries; and though I had all knowledge; and though I had so much faith that I could move mountains--if I do not have (God’s sort of unselfish) love in my heart, I am nothing.

3 Even if I give everything I own to feed the poor; and even if I give my body over to be burned at the stake, but do not have (God’s sort of unselfish) love--it profits me nothing.

4 (God’s sort of unselfish) love is patient, kind, does not envy others. It does not boast of itself, nor promote itself.

5 (God’s sort of unselfish) love does not behave improperly. It does not seek its own good (but that of others). It is not easily provoked, and does not hold grudges for past wrongs.

6 It does not take pleasure in unrighteousness, but instead rejoices in truth.

7 It bears up under all pressure. It looks on the positive side. It is confident in every circumstance. It endures all that comes its way.

8 (God’s sort of unselfish) love will never end. But where things like prophecies are present, they will someday come to an end. So, too, Tongues will cease. Even (human) knowledge will vanish away.

9 For we understand some things, and prophecy helps us understand other things.

10 But when the Messianic Age has fully come, then the state in which we only have partial knowledge will be done away with.

11 When I was a child, I thought like one, and had the understanding of one. But after I grew up, I laid aside the things of childhood.

12 You see, in this present age, it’s like looking at ourselves in a foggy mirror--we can’t see ourselves clearly. But in the Messianic Age, I shall know Christ as he truly is, even as he now knows me and what I am (and will be).

13 And these things will always exist: Faith, hope and (God’s sort of unselfish) love. And the greatest of these is (God’s sort of unselfish) love.

1. A clear substantiation that Tongues is not limited to known human languages.

2. Although speaking hyperbolically, Paul does confirm here that with enough faith, the miracle power of God can be appropriated. While that notion opens up a can of worms that space here is insufficient to address, it certainly calls into question the notion of those who teach that faith is limited to being some nebulous “Channel of trust between man and God.”

3. This, and the following two verses, are used by many in Christianity to make the claim that the miracle power of the Spirit (i.e. “Spiritual Gifts”) ceased when the canon of Scripture was completed. This false notion is a good example of Christianity twisting the Scriptures to explain away its shortcomings and refusal to believe what God said was not just for the apostles, but also for the generations that would arise after them (Acts 2:39). The word “perfect” means “complete.”

4. This refers to the fullness of the Messianic Kingdom, not the canon of Scripture. Even today, with the whole canon of Scripture, we do not have full knowledge of those Scriptures, but must speculate on some things that are not clearly explained.

5. A clear indication that Paul is not referring to Scripture, but to the Resurrection. The words, “But then shall I know even as also I am known” could be paraphrased as: “But in the Messianic Age, I shall know Christ as he truly is, even as he now knows me and what I am (and will be).”

 

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 14

1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts1, but rather that ye may prophesy.

2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him;2 howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.3

6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts1, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.4

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.5

21 In the law6 it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.7

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues,8 and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy,9 and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.10

26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, everyone of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.11

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.12

30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one,13 that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.14

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.15

35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.16

36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?17

37 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.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

1 Pursue (God’s sort of unselfish) love, and desire Spiritual things--and in particular, that you can prophesy.

2 For a person who speaks in a Tongue does not speak to other people, but instead to God, since no one understands the words he speaks, seeing that through his spirit he utters mysterious things.

3 But someone who prophesies speaks to other people in order to edify, exhort, and comfort them.

4 A person who speaks in a Tongue does build himself up, but someone who prophesies builds up the whole church.

5 While I wish you could all speak in Tongues, I wish even more that you all had the ability to prophesy, for a person who prophesies is more important than someone who speaks in Tongues--unless that person is given the ability to translate what he saying so that everyone in the church can be built up.

6 Now, brethren, what good would it do for you if I came to you, speaking in Tongues? Wouldn’t it be better that I spoke normally to you, imparting some revelation or bit of knowledge? Or wouldn’t it be better if I prophesied to you, or else delivered some doctrine?

7 (This illustration might help explain what I mean:) Take normal lifeless music instruments like the flute or harp. Unless a real tune is actually played on them, how will anyone know what the performer is doing?

8 And if a Roman legion hears a strange blast from a trumpeter, how will the men know what to do in battle (--whether to assemble, fight, or retreat)?

9 In the same way, unless you utter words anyone can understand, no one will know what you are saying, for you’re speaking into the air.

10 Now there are many different languages in the world, each unique.

11 But if I don’t know the language, both the speaker and I will be like foreigners to each other

12 Keeping this in mind, since you greatly desire the movement of the Spirit among you, make your emphasis that which builds up the church.

13 Thus, someone who speaks in a Tongue should pray that he be given the ability to translate what he is saying.

14 For if I pray in a Tongue, my spirit prays while my mind is put on hold.

15 So what will I do? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my normal understanding, just as I will sing in the spirit, and with my normal understanding.

16 If you don’t do this, when you say a blessing through your spirit, how will someone sitting in the place of a normal person be able to say “Amen,” given the fact that he doesn’t know what you’re saying?

17 For you may be giving thanks--and that’s fine--but the other person is not built up (if you’re doing this through speaking in Tongues).

18 Now I thank God that I speak in Tongues more than any of you.

19 But inside the church, I would rather speak five words everyone understands--so that I can teach something--rather than ten thousand words in a Tongue, which no one understands.

20 Brethren, don’t be childlike in your understanding (of spiritual things), although you should be as innocent as children when it comes to sin, yet wise as sages (when it comes to spiritual matters).

21 In the Torah, it is written: With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people…yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 So Tongues are a sign not to believers, but to unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers, but believers.

23 If therefore the whole church assembles and an unbeliever, or a man who doesn’t know what Tongues is, comes in and sees everyone speaking in Tongues--won’t he think you’re all insane (since you’re speaking gibberish to him)?

24 But if everyone happened to be prophesying and an unbeliever or unlearned man came in, he would be confronted by what he was observing, and all the things he sees would cause conviction to fall upon him.

25 Thus, the secrets of his heart will be revealed, and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and testify that He is certainly among you.

26 In view of this, brethren, how is it that when you assemble, everyone at the same time seems to want to deliver a song, teach a doctrine, speak in a Tongue, impart a revelation, give an interpretation of a Tongue, etc.? (These things are great to do, but) let them all be done in a way that edifies everyone.

27 If anyone speaks in a Tongue. Let it be by two, or at most, three--and these in order, one after another. Then let someone with an ability to interpret, translate.

28 And if there is no interpreter present (then obviously this message is not meant for the church, so) the speaker should keep silent in the church and speak to himself, and to God.

29 Let those who speak prophetically speak two or three (at a time), and let the others there judge (if the message is of God).

30 Meanwhile, if another person sitting there receives something else to give while this is happening, let him keep silent (until the others are finished).

31 For all of you may prophesy, one by one, so that everyone can learn, and be comforted.

32 Keep in mind the revelations of prophets are subject to what the prophets wrote in the Scriptures (and should be measured against that),

33 For God is not a God of disorder, but of harmony, as is the case in all churches of the righteous.

34 Tell the wives in the church to keep silent during the service, for it is not permissible for them to speak (and interrupt things). They are to be in subjection to their husbands, as also the Torah says (in Genesis 3:16).

35 So if they have some question, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a wife to speak out (and interrupt worship).

36 (If you resent all these things I’ve been telling you, and think you know better, let me ask you something:) Did the Message of God originate with you and go out to others from you; or did it originate with others and simply come to you?

37 If anyone among you considers himself to be a prophet, or else thinks himself spiritual, let him acknowledge the things I have been saying are directives from the Lord.

38 (If anyone won’t recognize this as truth, then let him not be recognized by the community.)

39 So, brethren, covet to prophesy, and don’t stop people from speaking in Tongues.

40 But for goodness’ sake, let everything be done decently, and in order!

1. Again, “gifts” is not in the original text, but was added. “Desire spiritual things” is a better translation.

2. More indication that Tongues is not limited to known human languages.

3. Here, and in the verses to come, Paul addresses a problem the Corinthian church seemed to be having with Tongues. Apparently, they were so enamored with the experience that their meetings were getting out of hand and perhaps becoming “overly

Pentecostal.”

4. Here, Paul reveals that he perceived Tongues as a vehicle for prayer and worship.

5. Better paraphrased as: “Brethren, don’t be childlike in your understanding of spiritual things, although you should be as innocent as children when it comes to sin, yet wise as sages when it comes to Spiritual matters.

6. “The Law” is a term for the whole of the Old Testament, not just for the Torah of Moses. Beyond that, some love to belabor the point that “Scripture must always be taken in context.” Well, this is entirely untrue as we see here with Paul, who takes Isaiah 28:11 wildly out of context. The verse actually refers to Israel being brought into the captivity of foreign-speaking Barbarians. Contrary to what some claim, the Scriptures often do have meanings out of their direct context. In fact, some Jews use this very point to “prove” the fallaciousness of the New Testament by showing its writers take verses out of their direct Old Testament context to justify their own theology.

7. Having earlier confirmed that someone praying in Tongues edifies himself, he then makes this odd statement about Tongues being a sign to unbelievers. This seems to suggest that Tongues being used during a public worship service is for the benefit of those present who may not be Christians, although we cannot be dogmatic on that since Paul also speaks of prophesying being for the benefit of believers, yet he shows its use as a testimony for unbelievers. Both may be for the benefit for unbeliever and believer alike.

8. An interesting point that seems to acknowledge that Tongues was typical for believers, not merely a “gift” that occasionally manifested.

9. “Prophesy” has a multi-faceted meaning: Paul is first of all speaking theoretically, as if everyone were to get up and say, “Thus saith the Lord.” But he is also referring to it as a public testimony of sorts as to the work God has been doing in the lives of the church. “All” have the ability to testify even if they lack the ability to prophesy in the greater sense. Prophecy can also refer to having in depth understanding of the things in Scripture (see 13:2).

10. Verse 25 refers to prophecy in the sense of supernatural revelation, not merely to testifying and speaking words of encouragement.

11. Wrongly used by some to make the claim that this admonition to the Corinthians is equally valid for us today, completely ignoring the fact that gatherings in this day consisted of 10-20 adults meeting in homes. To say this applies equally to a gathering of 1,000+ people in a church of today is unwarranted. In fact, were we to treat the text as giving the percentage of people in a group who may permissibly use Tongues in a public setting, we could make the claim that 200-300 people in a large church of today could theoretically fall within the parameters of Paul’s words here.

Also, if the legalistic interpretation of Paul’s words is correct, then we must also rebuke the Holy Spirit for getting out of order at Pentecost and having up to 120 people (or, at minimum, 12) using Tongues in a public setting when only 2 or 3 are permissible!

 

12. Notice that Paul does not appear to hold to the legalistic doctrine that a prophet must be correct 100% of the time or he is a false prophet. While this was true in the Old Testament when one stood in the office of a prophet (with a capital “P”), a New Testament believer instead stands only in the role of a prophet, and in this case such a requirement is not imposed upon him, for there is a difference between the Old Testament prophetic anointing, and a New Testament manifestation of the Spirit, in which a believer is moved to make a prophetic pronouncement. Notice here that while Paul calls for the utterance to be judged as to its validity, nowhere does he go on to say that if it is judged to be false, the one giving it is to be marked as a false prophet. Rather, he seems to understand that New Testament prophecy is no longer a science, but an art.

13. Again, this has a dual meaning. The first is that true prophetic words can be given one at a time by those having them. The second use refers to testifying, which everyone may do when appropriate.

14. This may, or may not, refer to someone with a prophetic word being able to “hold it in” until it can be given at a proper time, but could refer to judging prophetic words by the Scriptures as to their validity. “Spirits,” in this context, could theoretically mean the revelations or prophecies received by those in the church.

15. As shown in the next verse, this admonition to women is not a general command to keep their mouths shut during church because of their gender, but instead a rebuke for some who were speaking during the teaching or testimony, asking their husbands what the things being said meant. The churches at this point in time may, as did the synagogues, have had men and women sit separately, and so wives with questions may have been shouting from the back of the room to their husbands.

16. Meaning to disrupt by speaking out at an inopportune time. This certainly is not saying that women are forbidden to otherwise participate equally with men in praying or prophesying, which Paul referred to earlier in the book.

17. Paul is sarcastically saying something along the lines of, “Were you people the ones who were commissioned to send the Gospel out to others, or did others bring it to you?!” In other words, some in the Corinthian church were arrogantly placing themselves on par with the apostles, and disputing some of their commands.

 

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 15

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.1

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas2, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred3 brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.4

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

9 For I am the least of the apostles,5 that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.6

11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.7

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.8

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.9

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?10 why are they then baptized for the dead?

30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,11 what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.12

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:13 for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.14

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Additionally, brethren, I would like to reiterate the key foundations of the Gospel I told you of earlier, which you accepted and now stand in.

2 And it is through these truths that you are saved, provided you keep what I preached to you ever in your mind--assuming you agree you have not followed mere fables.

3 I told you first what was most important, a truth I had also been told and believed: That Christ died for our sins, fulfilling what the Scriptures foretold.

4 And that he was buried, and arose three days later, again fulfilling the Scriptures.

5 And that he was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve apostles as a whole.

6 After this, he was seen by more than five hundred of the brethren at once, most of whom are still alive to this day, though some have passed on.

7 Then he appeared to James, and then again to all the apostles.

8 Finally, I saw him as well--in the sense, one might say, as a child born out of time. (Meaning my supernatural deliverance from unbelief is an example of what God will do with unbelieving Israel in some future time.)

9 For I am the least of the apostles, and unworthy even to be called by that title because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But through the grace of God, I am what I am--an apostle! And the grace God bestowed upon me was not wasted, for I labored harder than all the other apostles put together, though it was not truly I who labored, but the grace of God within me.

11 But whether I preached or they preached--we all preached the same message, and you believed (it)!

12 Now if the core of our message is that Christ was raised from the dead, how is it that some of you question whether there will be a resurrection?

13 If there is no resurrection, then Christ is not raised.

14 And if Christ is not raised, then we’re preaching for nothing, and your faith is pointless.

15 More than that, we are found to be lying in the name of God, for we have reported on behalf of God that He raised up Christ--which is obviously impossible if the dead are not raised up.

16 For if the dead are not raised up, then Christ is not raised up.

17 And if Christ was not resurrected, then your faith is pointless and you are still bearing the burden and penalty for your sins.

18 Those who have died as believers in Christ are also dead and without hope.

19 If Christ can do no good for us other than what, for instance, his teachings can do for us in this life, we are the most pathetic of all men.

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of all who have died.

21 For since by one man death came into the world, by one man also came the resurrection from the dead.

22 For as in Adam all men are bound to die, even so in Christ shall all of us be resurrected.

23 But we shall all rise in turn. Christ first, because he is the firstfruits; and after him, each man in the order he was born (though this will all transpire in the blink of an eye from our frame of reference).

24 Then will come the end of things, when he shall deliver the kingdom to God the Father after he has overthrown every system, ruler and (spirit entity) not in subjection to him.

25 For Christ must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet.

26 And the last enemy to be put down and rendered powerless will be death.

27 For God has (in fact, already) put all things under Christ’s feet (in a positional sense). But when it is said that, “All things are under his feet,” it is obvious that does not include God, who, in fact, is the one who put all things under Christ’s feet (by giving him absolute authority over all things).

28 And after everything is (fully) made subject to Christ, then shall the Son also be subject to Him who put all things under the Son’s feet so God may be over all.

29 And so if there is no resurrection (which all I’ve just related hinges upon), why is it that some people are involved with baptism for the dead, if the dead will not rise? Why would they be doing this, otherwise?

30 And why do we always face danger and persecution for our stand that Christ was raised from the dead?

31 I swear by the pride I take in you, that I face death on a daily basis over my preaching the resurrection.

32 If, at Ephesus, I daily laid my life on the line like some gladiator who could die at any moment at the claws of wild beasts, what was the point of doing so if everything ends at death, and the dead have no resurrection to look forward to? We all may as well “party on” to the end then!

33 (As Menander said in his play Thais about a harlot:) Bad company will corrupt good behavior.

34 So awake to righteousness and do not sin--and I say this to shame you into action, for some there clearly have no knowledge of God!

35 But some man might ask, “How are the dead resurrected, and what kind of body will they have (if they’ve turned to dust)?”

36 Idiot! A seed is not made alive into what it is destined to be unless it first is sown into the earth, and dies.

37 What you put in the ground is just a small kernel, whether wheat or some other grain.

39 And all flesh is not the same: There are men, animals, fish and birds--and all their flesh is different.

40 And there are bodies both in the heavens and on earth. But they differ in radiance, for the radiance of the heavenly bodies differs from the radiance of earthly bodies.

40 And there are bodies both in the heavens and on earth. But they differ in glory, for the glory of the heavens differs from the glory found on earth.

41 There is one radiance of the sun, another for the moon, and another for the stars, for one star is brighter or dimmer than another.

42 It will be the same in the resurrection: the body sown will be sown a perishable corpse, but it will be raised imperishable.

43 It is sown in dishonor, and raised in splendor. It is sown in weakness, and raised in power.

44 It is sown a natural body, and will be raised as a spiritual body, for there is a natural body and a spiritual one.

45 And so it is written that the first man, Adam, was made a “living body”; but the last Adam was made a life-filled/life-giving spirit!

46 This shows us that, in the case of humans, the body that comes first is not spiritual, but natural. The spiritual body comes afterward.

47 The first prototype man, Adam, was born from the earth, and was earthly (in his outlook and thinking). The second prototype man is the Lord Jesus from heaven.

48 Unsaved people today are as is the earthy prototype man (--still earthly and carnal). Conversely, people who come from Jesus, the heavenly man, are like him (in nature).

49 And as we once naturally reflected the traits of the earthly man, so we will (someday) fully and naturally reflect the traits of the heavenly man.

50 Now I say this, brethren: Unregenerate flesh and blood humanity cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Neither does imperfection inherit perfection.

51 But look--I show you a wonderful mystery: Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed.

52 Yes, in a single moment--in the twinkling of an eye--at the “Last trump” when the shofar will sound and the dead arise in perfection, we too will be changed.

53 For our imperfect bodies and minds must be made perfect; and our mortal selves must be made immortal!

54 So when our imperfection is clothed with perfection, and we--as mortals--put on immortality, then will come to pass what is written in the Scriptures: Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 Now the poisonous sting that causes death is sin, and it is the Torah that is the very strength behind sin (for it draws sin from us like a poultice, showing the sin that is inside of us).

57 But thanks be to God who gives us victory (over death and sin) through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be constant, immovable, and always looking to do what you can to further the Lord’s work, for you know that the things you do for him are never done in vain.

1. Often used to illustrate the notion of those who “have a said faith, rather than a true faith in Christ.” In this sense, Paul would be acknowledging that one might intellectually respond to the Gospel but yet never come to true faith in Christ, and thus die in sin. If, however, one looks at this verse in the context of verse 14, we can deduce that Paul is suggesting that faith in Christ is pointless if, as some of the Corinthians seem to believe, there is no resurrection, or if Christ died but did not physically resurrect.

2. Generally thought to be a name for Peter. This is not absolutely conclusive, however. Also, Paul curiously mentions Jesus being seen by “the twelve”, when there were only eleven apostles at that point. Matthias may have been present, though, and Paul could be including him in the group even though he would not formally be given that position until after Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit.

3. This was probably when He ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives.

4. We see here from verse 7 that far more than the main 12 were considered apostles, for the 12 were previously mentioned in verse 5, and now reference is made to the remainder of the apostles. It is also interesting to note that no other Scriptural reference is available recounting Jesus’ appearance to James, which is mentioned here.

5. It is encouraging to note that Paul grew in Christ just as we all. Comparing his remarks here to his earlier remarks in Gal. 2:6, where he points out that ‘No one is more important than anyone else because God respects no man’s person,’ we see Paul has grown in humility and is now “least of the apostles” in his own mind.

6. We see Paul here firmly grounded at this point in comprehending that all glory goes to God for any good thing that Paul has been able to do in propagating the Gospel.

7. It is important to note that while some criticize other Christians for the (false) teaching that Jesus in some way atoned for our sins by spending time suffering in hell, the idea that the cross alone forensically ended what was necessary for Christ to do in order to atone for sin and pass those benefits on to us simply is untrue. There were three main requirements for Christ to fulfill in order to complete the process by which we have the opportunity for salvation:

1. Perfectly fulfill the Law during His life on earth.

2. Die upon the cross as a sacrificial offering.

3. Rise from the dead.

Remove any of these factors from the mix, and Jesus has not done all that is required for us to be freed from our sins, irrespective of what some think.

 

8. This is a crucially important verse showing that by Adam’s sin humanity inherited physical and spiritual death, but through Christ’s righteousness mankind now has the opportunity to inherit spiritual and physical eternal life.

9. “All be made alive” does not mean that all humanity automatically receives the benefits of Christ’s atonement, but rather those who receive the Gospel message. All, however, will experience resurrection and then go on to reward or punishment.

10. There has long been a debate over what Paul here is referring to about being “baptized for the dead.” There is a possibility that some people were undertaking some sort of proxy baptism for their dead Jewish ancestors in the thought that this was somehow efficacious for them, and the text could seem to confirm that. However, there are major problems with this notion, not the least of which is that Paul never hesitates to speak out against false beliefs and practices. Yet in this case, he would be commenting on a (false) Christian practice without criticizing it. Thus, if he is referring to some sort of proxy baptism, then by inference he was at least in tacit approval of it, a notion rejected by all orthodox streams of Christianity. There is another problem, in that there is no historical record, outside this one verse, of this sort of practice existing in Paul’s time. After Paul, heretical groups such as the Gnostic-Ebionite Cerinthians, and the later Marcionites, did embrace such a practice--giving Paul all the more reason to criticize such a practice in his time if it existed. For these reasons, the author believes that Paul must be referring to a reasonably common practice that he would not have disapproved of. Such a practice, which would have been culturally acceptable, was that of the Jews baptizing a dead body prior to burial (Acts 9:37), illustrating by this custom that the body will rise again in a purified state rather than merely turning to dust with no hope of future resurrection. Paul would have had no criticism of this practice. Thus, while the text appears to suggest one thing, the author believes it is ultimately making a point about a different practice than a surface reading of the text conveys.

11. Some mistakenly think from these words that Paul was forced into some sort of gladiatorial combat by the authorities in Ephesus. However, the view of Patristic commentators was that he was speaking metaphorically of the opposition to his ministry by the worshippers of Diana. It was technically forbidden by Roman law to force a Roman citizen to fight as a gladiator.

12. Paul is repeating a line from the play Thais, by the dramatist Menander, esteemed in Paul’s time as the greatest Athenian playwright in Greek history.

13. The last few verses have been a continuing reiteration of the fact that there will be a resurrection. This particular verse, however, is the crowning statement to Paul’s point, showing that there must be a physical change to the physical body because there will be those who will be alive at Christ’s coming that will undergo this change without dying. The term “last trump,” by the way, is a reference to the Jewish Festival of Rosh Hashanah, which will probably herald the return of Christ in some year. Rosh Hashanah happens to be a two-day Festival, so it would be impossible for any man to know the precise day even if he did know the precise year. The termthe day and the hour” is yet another term associated with this Festival. It is also noteworthy that there is no real room within the theology presented here for Christians at the return of Christ to undergo Purgatory in the sense of spending a prolonged period of purification and punishment for any remaining venial sin in their lives if for no other reason than that living people do not go to Purgatory--only the dead supposedly do.

14. Paul is referring to a critical point he later develops in Rom. 4:15 and 7:7-11: That the law--by its existence--amplifies and brings out the sin nature in a man who is exposed to it and binds himself to its authority. And as bad as all its effects are, the worst aspect of it is that it will bring out the sin of pride in mankind--a sin that technically isn’t even listed in the commandments! This spirit of pride was most visible in the Pharisees, who were confident in their own righteousness, and despised others. But it takes a number of different forms including unbiblical self-reliance (“I can keep God’s Law!”), to unbiblical self-condemnation (“I’m just a worm of a sinner!”), to antinomiansm (“I’m not under any Law, so I can do what I want!”)--three totally dichotomous extremes that trace themselves to the same root of sin!

 

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 16

1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

2 Upon the first day of the week1 let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.

6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.

7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.

8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

10 Now if Timotheus2 come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.

11 Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.

12 As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.

13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men3, be strong.

14 Let all your things be done with charity.

15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.

18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.4

20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.

21 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

1 Now concerning the collection that is to be taken up for the righteous in Judea, I have the same instructions for you as I do for all the Galatian churches:

2 On Sunday (when you gather for worship), let every one of you make offerings from what God has provided him so no one feels put upon to give when I arrive.

3 And when I do arrive, I will send whatever representatives you select to carry your letters of greetings to the church in Jerusalem, and I will convey them and your offering to Jerusalem.

4 And if it’s good for me to go as well, they will accompany me to Jerusalem.

5 I will come to you after I pass through Macedonia, for I am heading there.

6 It may well be that I will remain even through the winter with you, and then you can wish me Godspeed on my next journey to wherever I go.

7 I won’t come right now because I don’t want to come and then leave without a proper visit. I prefer to stay a while if the Lord will allow.

8 But I will remain in Ephesus through Pentecost (May).

9 You see, a great door of opportunity is wide open for me here, though there are many adversaries.

10 If, however, Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to worry about, for he does the same work of the Lord as I do.

11 Let no man thus treat him as anything other than my equal representative (despite his young age). Treat him with respect, and conduct him back to me in peace, for I look forward to his arrival with the other brethren.

12 As touching our brother Apollos, I very much wished him to go and visit you with the brethren who bring you this letter, but he did not wish to come at all at this time. He will do so when he can.

13 Keep watch, and stand firm in the faith as mature, courageous men. Be strong.

14 Let all you do be done in a spirit of love.

15 Now I beg you, brethren--Stephanus and his family were the firstfruits of my missionary work in Achaia (southern Greece), and they have devoted themselves to serving the righteous in any way they can.

16 I thus ask that you honor and heed they, and those like them, who have helped in the ministry and worked alongside us.

17 I am glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come (and brought your letter to me). They’ve helped make up for your not being able to be here to help in person.

18 They have refreshed my spirit and yours too. Respect committed people like them.

19 The churches in Turkey send greetings. Aquila and Priscilla, and the church that meets in their house greet you too.

20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss (from us).

21 THE SALUTATION OF PAUL WITH MY OWN HAND.

22 If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, may God’s curse be upon him! Come, Lord Jesus!

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

1. Incorrectly used to substantiate the notion that there was an intentional “change” in the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. In fact, no Jew would take up a collection on the Sabbath, period! There is no question that the Gentiles came to have their own separate day of worship on Sunday, but there is no evidence to support an intentional apostolic change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. In saying that, however, there is even less evidence that Sabbath-keeping was required of the Gentiles. Thus, Paul is not viewing Sunday as the new Sabbath. This verse, by the way, is the strongest verse in the Epistles suggesting Tithing as a New Testament practice based on overall income as opposed to Agriculture, which tithing under the Torah of Moses was generally limited to.

2. Possibly Timothy.

3. “Quit you like men” is a rendering of a single word better understood as, “act like grown men.”

4. Some manuscripts indicate Paul was residing in this household.

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