Paul (Hebrew name: Saul) was an apostle of Jesus Christ and the author of most of the New Testament.
In the business end of the letter, Paul explains his travel plans and gives his final admonitions. We’ll also reflect on two important themes we learned from the letter as a whole.
Paul argues that death is a bigger problem than we think because it is more than the end of our earthly life. It is the doorway to judgment. But God will give us mercy in judgment and victory over death because of Jesus Christ.
Paul answers an objection to the resurrection raised by his opponents with three comparisons: a seed versus the plant it becomes; Adam who brought death versus Christ who brings life; and natural lie now versus transformed life in the kingdom of God.
In correcting the Corinthians’ view that there is no resurrection, Paul argues that resurrection is an essential part of the way God intends to solve the problem of sin and death.
Paul starts correcting the Corinthians view that there is no resurrection from the dead by making two points: 1) Jesus, the man, was resurrected and 2) if Jesus wasn’t resurrected, then his death accomplished nothing and we are still guilty before God.
Paul gives the Corinthians a rule for deciding when to speak in their public gatherings: If your speech does not edify the group, keep silent. If your speech does edify the group, take turns in an orderly fashion.
Paul argues that prophesy is a better than tongues because prophesy edifies the larger body while speaking in tongues edifies only the speaker. Implicit in his argument is that we should value truth over emotion.
Before he explains what he means by the greatest gifts, Paul interrupts his argument to explain something more important than all of the individual gifts: love.
Paul’s famous passage on the attributes of love is part of a 3-chapter argument. In this podcast we focus on what Paul is saying about love and why Paul felt it was important to correct the Corinthians understanding of love. In the next podcast, we’ll examine how this passage fits into the context of his overall argument.
Paul compares the people of God to the unity and diversity of the human body. In this rich analogy, Paul teaches us how we should view ourselves, how we should view each other and where we should find our worth.
As Paul continues discussing the unity and diversity of the body of Christ, we pause to consider what that tells us about speaking in tongues today. Should everyone speak in tongues?
Paul argues that while all believers have the same Spirit, God distributes different gifts to different believers on purpose. Paul’s point in this section is not to give a catalog of gifts, but examples of the diverse ways the Spirit works.
Contrary to the popular view, I understand spiritual gifts as roles and opportunities to serve, rather than supernaturally given talents. For example, if I have the “gift of teaching,” the gift is the opportunity to teach, not the talent to teach.
Paul starts the topic of spiritual gifts in 1Corinthians 12. The Corinthians are confused in thinking that speaking in tongues is the mark of true spirituality and that those who have not spoken in tongues are lesser Christians. Paul lays the foundation in 12:1-3 for his argument which will run through chapter 14.