1st Corinthians – Foundation of the Epistle

November 1, 2008

After a difficult mission in Athens, Paul comes to the Corinthians not with a lofty intellectual message, but having "decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). Despite suffering from "weakness and in much fear and trembling," he successfully ministered to the Corinthians in "demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (v 3, 4). His intent was "that [their] faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (v 5).

Paul brings wisdom to those mature Corinthians, but this wisdom is a "secret and hidden wisdom of God" that "none of the rules of this age" could understand (v 6, 7).

Referencing Isaiah, Paul states "no eyes has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him" (v 9-10). God’s ways are unsearchable, except to that man to whom "God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God" (v 10).

Speaking of his own ministry, he states "we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit" (v 12-13).

He contrasts the "unspiritual," natural man with the spiritual man, the latter of which "judges [discerns] all things, but is himself to be judged [discerned] by no one" (cf. 14, 15). In other words, the unspiritual man cannot understand the reasoning of the spiritual man. For no one can know the mind of the Lord unless He gives his sons "the mind of Christ" (cf. v 16).

Paul addresses the men of Corinth as "men of the flesh, as babes in Christ," feeding them with "milk, not solid food" (3:1-2). He writes, "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?" (v 3).

Modern Christians do well to discern the extent that they behave like ordinary men and discarding jealously and selfishness for the mind of Christ. Without a genuine spirituality, Christians will not be ready for solid food, but will remain among those of the flesh.

Sorry for the audio quality this week, this was digitized off of a cassette tape. Everything will be back to normal in the next episode.

Music: La Moneverda from the album Italian Music of the 17th Century, performed by Altri Stromenti. www.magnatune.com

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