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Bible Day 326: 1 Corinthians 1-3 - 10-30-2016, 10:33 PM

1 Corinthians
Chapter 1

Paul starts the letter by restating his CV and credentials, just in case we already forgot about them (1 Cor 1:1), and greeting the Godly recipients of his letter (1 Cor 1:2-3), who of course include all of us who read it.

Paul is such a swell guy, that just in case you forgot to thank Jesus for His Grace today, Paul is doing that for you:

1 Corinthians 1:
4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

He does that for your own good, so that you will be blameless for Jesus (1 Cor 1:5-8), because God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him (1 Cor 1:9).

Next, Paul asks the recipients of his letter - all Christians reading it - to not be divided. How awesome of him to predict the thousands of denominations and interpretations which plague Christianity today:

1 Corinthians 1:10 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.

Paul continues to complain about Christian divisions (1 Cor 1:11-13), but is happy that these divisive souls are not his fault because someone else baptized them (1 Cor 1:14-15). On the other hand, his own recollection whom he baptized is a little bit sketchy:

1 Corinthians 1:
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

But really, who cares about such details? After all, Jesus sent Paul not to do such small things as baptizing:

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

And here we get to the most important part of Paul's preaching: that smart people are fools in God's eyes and people who are faithful to God are fools in the world's eyes:

1 Corinthians 1:18-21
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? 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.

The problem is that the ungodly folks ask for scientific evidence (1 Cor 1:22), and do not find the whole Jesus idea too logical (1 Cor 1:23), except of course for those who are called to accept Jesus as their Savior (1 Cor 1:24).

Paul then proceeds to keep pounding the idea that what's dumb in the eyes of the world is actually God's wisdom (1 Cor 1:25), which is why very few smart people will be Saved:

1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

That's because it's God's Will to send smart people to Hell:

1 Corinthians 1:27 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;

So, smart people are doomed to eternal damnation (1 Cor 1:28-29), while the True Wisdom™ is in Jesus (1 Cor 1:30-31).

Chapter 2

In this chapter Paul continues to beat the same dead horse of the foolishness of science, logic, and evidence.

Paul himself claims to have no oratory skills (1 Cor 2:1), nor knowledge (1 Cor 2:2), and basically admits he's afraid of public speaking:

1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

That's because he's really not that smart:

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

This passage is a very nice try to get out of the hole Paul has dug for himself, given that he was quite an educated man, who had prominent scholars as his teachers during years of his formal education (Acts 22:3). Maybe when Paul met with Jesus in Damascus, Jesus took away not only his sight but also all of the effects of years of education?

After this reaffirmation of own meekness and lack of education, Paul states that the True Wisdom™ of God is an occult one (of course, in a totally non gnostic sort of way):

1 Corinthians 2:5-8
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes 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.

God will reward those who believe without asking for logic and reason:

1 Corinthians 2:9 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.

God reveals His secret Wisdom to His chosen ones (1 Cor 2:10-13), while other people are doomed:

1 Corinthians 2:
14 But the natural man 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.

Paul then gives all of the righteous the right to judge:

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

That's because we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).

Chapter 3

In Chapter 3 Paul digresses for a while from beating the same dead horse in order to have a little talk about intellectual lineages (who received teachings from whom).

Paul cannot speak to us as physical, only as spiritual beings (1 Cor 3:1), and that is a problem as long as we continue to hang on to physical stuff (1 Cor 3:2-3). Intellectual lineages are not important, because it's God who increases faith anyway (1 Cor 3:4-7). Everybody who participates in this process is important (1 Cor 3:8-9), so let's not keep a score who gets the credit for converting whom (1 Cor 3:10). The important thing is that Jesus is the foundation of it all (1 Cor 3:11). Continuing with the building metaphor, the fact of building gives you points, even if what you build is ultimately destroyed (1 Cor 3:12-15).

We are the temples of God (1 Cor 3:16) and we have no right to defile it (1 Cor 3:17).

And then we come back to Paul's favorite subject - God really, really, really hates smart people:

1 Corinthians 3:18-20
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.

In conclusion, let's not split hair over who deserves more credit for what (1 Cor 3:21-22). It's Jesus who takes all the credit (1 Cor 3:23).
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