Notes on the First Book of Corinthians – Part 4 – Chapters 13-16

I wrap up my study of the First Book of Corinthians with this final entry, which covers, amongst other things, love, spiritual gifts and the resurrection.

Notes on Chapters 13-16

  • If we do not have love we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). No charitable acts, spiritual gifts or amount of faith can make up for a lack of love (1 Corinthians 13:2-3).
  • The qualities of love are patience, kindness, humility, contentment, not taking offense, politeness, rejoicing in the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). It is love that is eternal and the greatest of all spiritual qualities (even faith and hope) (1 Corinthians 13:8, 13).
  • Earnestly desire all spiritual gifts, in particular the gift of prophecy, because this builds up the church and is a sign to nonbelievers and convicts them so that they acknowledge God and worship him (1 Corinthians 14:1, 4, 24-25).
  • All things should be done to build up the Church (1 Corinthians 14:26).
  • Prophesying should be done in an orderly manner and prophesying should be done one at a time (1 Corinthians 14:30-32, 40).
  • God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33). I think this can apply to many things but is particularly helpful in testing any wisdom or knowledge that another speaks. If it disturbs us and unsettles us (but not in such a way as to convict our conscience but rather just to breed confusion and perhaps despair) that should be a sign that it may not be of the Lord.
  • [W[omen should keep silent in the churches…should be in submission…For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). This is a very difficult saying (particularly in this age) and I’m not sure if it just applies to the church at Corinth or not. Paul gives us as biblical justification for this command (which I believe he implies is from the Lord and not himself per 1 Corinthians 14:37) the biblical command that women should be submissive. Is the act of talking lack of submission? This is a hard saying.
  • All things in the Church (and I believe this applies to life in general) should be done in an orderly manner and with respectability (1 Corinthians 14:40). This is another saying that I think is difficult because some people claim to be “slayed in the spirit” and their behavior may not be thought of as conventionally “respectable” when in this state, however, we also see that King Saul actually strips naked and prophecies in the Spirit (1 Samuel 19:24), so I think it is possible for one to be overwhelmed by the Spirit, which makes me wonder why Paul didn’t make an allowance for a phenomenon that has biblical precedent (and I believe is not negated in its potential reoccurrence by the coming of Christ).
  • For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
  • Christ will ultimately destroy every rule, authority and power of this world (1 Corinthians 15:24). I think this implies that every single rule, authority and power of this world is corrupted, which I had not really thought about, I suppose I had assumed that there were at least “neutral” powers or rules (like gravity for instance) in the world but it appears from my reading that even natural laws are corrupted, perhaps in some way we can’t readily perceive.
  • It is because of the fact that we are raised from the dead with Christ that we are persecuted (1 Corinthians 15:29-30).
  • We should follow Paul’s example and die to self every day so that life may abound in us (1 Corinthians 15:31). I believe this is why self-denial and the exercise of self-control can be so painful, because a part of our fleshly nature is actually dying and death has a sharpness to it (1 Corinthians 15:56).
  • Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning.” (1 Corinthians 15:34). To continue in sin and to keep company with sinners has an effect of making us drunk with sin, so that we are actually stupefied and out of our right minds, unable to see, hear or think clearly.
  • There has to be death so there can be new life (1 Corinthians 15:36). It is essential that sin die in us and our fleshly nature because we can’t have a dual fleshly and spiritual nature coexisting, one must die so that the other may live, there must be sacrifice.
  • [F]lesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50).
  • [B]e steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). I pray in the name of Jesus Christ for these qualities for us.
  • We should contribute to the saints as our financial circumstances allow (1 Corinthians 16:2). I take this to go beyond giving to a church and to any cause of Christians that we feel moved by God to give to.
  • Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). I again pray for these qualities in us.
  • Give recognition (acknowledgment) to the true workers in Christ (1 Corinthians 16:18).
  • Finally, for all of us sinners I say “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57). And “[t]he grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:23-24).

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