Some see faith as a settled issue, something we no longer have to think about once we pray the sinners prayer. Others see faith as a journey with trials and troubles along the way. The goal is to grow and persevere. Which approach we take influences how we interpret the Bible. (I take the second approach.)
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.