The Pursuit of God

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Category Archives: 1 Corinthians

Applying 1 Corinthians 16: The Wrap Up

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 15.

Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem. And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me. (1 Cor. 16:1-4)

As various communities fall on particularly hard times, news of their plight is spread around and other churches try to pitch in to help. Paul knows that if he has the believers give a little each week, he’ll end up with a much larger offering. When Paul writes the letter of Romans, he is still in the process of collecting this offering for Jerusalem. When he mentions Southern Greece in the following passage, that’s where Corinth is. Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 15: Paul Demotes Christ

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 14.

Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. (1 Cor. 15:1-2)

Between you and your Makers, salvation is a very simple matter. You know whether you’ve sincerely submitted to Them or not and Jesus assures us that He will not reject anyone who comes to Him. Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 14: Sunday Morning Mayhem

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 13.

Let love be your highest goal! (1 Cor. 14:1)

As we begin this new chapter, Paul summarizes Chapter 13 with this simple command for Christians to make loving other people their highest goal. Yikes. Someone wasn’t paying attention when Yahweh and Jesus said that our Creators come first. You’ll find this same satanic reversal of God’s priorities popping up all throughout the Church. Today it’s popular for preachers to tell you to try to prove your love for God by loving people. But no, this doesn’t work. We must focus on God first. Jesus said the most important command Yahweh ever gave was that people should love God with all that they are. If we focus on fulfilling that one command, the rest will take care of itself. Our love for people flows from our love for God, not the other way around (see The Right Focus in Life According to Christ). Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 13: A Love that Misses the Mark

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 12.

In the middle of his discussion of spiritual gifts, Paul is going to spend a chapter talking about love. To understand why he feels it’s necessary to do this, let’s consider what we’ve learned about the state of the Corinthian church so far. The Corinthians constantly fighting amongst each other. They’re taking each other to court and celebrating sin in their midst. They’re being pushy little piglets at the Lord’s Supper and not caring if their own brothers are left hungry. What’s wrong with this picture? These Corinthians don’t seem to have any genuine concern for each other. There is no compassion, no willingness to be gracious. It’s a bunch of vicious backstabbing, bullying and shunning. Paul has just spent a chapter talking about supernatural abilities—what if the Corinthians read this material and then get off on a major power trip? Paul is clearly on a power trip with his constant exaltation of apostles, but at least Paul knows how to suck up to people and schmooze his target audience. Not so much with the Corinthians. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture these people running amuck with the concept of spiritual gifts. Paul feels the need to balance things out, so he launches into a discussion about love. Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 12: A Bunch of Guff about Gifts

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 11.

As is the case with much of Paul’s teaching, his teaching on spiritual gifts is glaringly flawed, and those flaws have sparked all kinds of debate in the Church. In this chapter Paul means well—he’s trying to encourage unity among the bickering believers in Corinth. But by the time he’s done oversimplifying things and leaving out a lot of pertinent information, we end up in a confused muddle. Today Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts is used as an excuse to make some Christians feel inferior to others, and to make all Christians feel guilty for not participating in manmade ministry programs. We can’t blame this on Paul—the man was just a subpar teacher in his day who was given far more authority than he could handle. We’re the fools who have decided everything Paul says must be a rock solid truth. So now let’s get out our sifter and see if we can sort out the truth from the guff in this chapter. Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 11: Gender Foolishness & The Lord’s Supper

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 10.

And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)

Paul begins this chapter on a sour note of arrogance as he once again tells the Corinthians to strive to imitate a sinful, pompous mortal instead of focusing directly on Christ.

I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is Yahweh. A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering. (1 Cor. 11:2-6)

This chapter is filled with instructions that have resulted in endless warring between male and female Christians. Of course the first place we go wrong is to treat the words of a man like Paul as Divinely inspired. By now we should realize that the man rarely says anything that’s worth keeping. This business about who should cover what is more meaningless guff. Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 10: More Beefing About Idol Meats

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 9.

After wading through the cesspool of self-exaltation that was Chapter 9, we start this new chapter hoping Paul is done blowing his own trumpet. Here we are going to find that he is not done discussing the idol meats issue from Chapter 8. Paul has very strong feelings about idol meats. He is adamantly against more mature believers eating idol meats in front of less mature believers because he feels the young will see such eating as an act of idolatry and be led astray. Now in our discussion of Chapter 8, we talked about how this issue can easily be diffused with some simple discussion. If you see a younger Christian misinterpreting something you’re doing as demonic, you can educate them. You can graciously explain why you have a clear conscious about what you’re doing and reassure them that pleasing God is very important to you. And let’s not forget that Paul is writing to a church—these issues can be discussed from the pulpit as well so that the whole body is educated instead of every individual having secret concerns.

When there are differences in convictions, we need to remember that God judges us by our hearts and encourage each individual to obey the leading he is receiving from the Holy Spirit. This is how the New Covenant is supposed to work—Yahweh and Jesus both said we’d all be individually instructed by the Holy Spirit. Given this, it is not correct for Paul to insist that all believers conform to his personal view of things. Paul is not God, and he isn’t doing believers any favors by teaching them to rely on his guidance instead of looking directly to God in their own lives. But hey, it’s Paul, and the man thinks he is God’s gift to the Church. Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 9: Roasting Paul

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 8.

“Why does Paul get to be in charge? Why should any of us listen to him? Why should we send him money and put him up in our houses and do what he tells us?” These are the questions certain believers in Corinth are starting to ask, and they’re fair questions. No doubt Paul seemed like big stuff when he was living among them five years ago and impressing them all with his confident aura. But now a lot of time has passed and some people are starting to ask why the church should keep taking orders from some bossy apostle. As he begins this next chapter, Paul is going to defend his position as Mr. Big Stuff. If this sounds like a carnal agenda to you, that’s because it is.

Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord? Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. (1 Cor. 9:1-2)

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Applying 1 Corinthians 8: Idol Meats

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 7.

In this chapter, Paul will address the famous “idol meats” issue.  Idol meats were leftovers of animal carcasses which had been offered to idol gods.  Now before we get into Paul’s discussion, let’s take a moment to understand cultural context.

Yahweh was not unique in demanding that His followers sacrifice animals to Him. Many religions required this, and in New Testament times, animals were being constantly slaughtered, dissected, and having certain “sacred” portions of their bodies offered to pagan gods. Just as Yahweh was very specific about which portions of an animal’s anatomy He would accept, other gods were believed to have their rules as well. Just as Yahweh allowed His priests and commoners to eat certain portions of meat that was sacrificed to Him, other religions practiced similar rituals. Read more of this post

Applying 1 Corinthians 7: Paul Talks Sex & Marriage

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This is a continuation of Applying 1 Corinthians 6.

As we start this new chapter, Paul starts addressing questions that some of the believers in Corinth had asked him in a letter. Realize that the two Corinthian letters that we have in our Bible are only a small sample of all the letters that were exchanged between Paul and this church.

Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. (1 Cor. 7:1-4)

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