Bible Query from
Q: In 1 Cor 1:1, what was the city of Corinth like?
A: The ancient city of Corinth was older than Abraham (2000 B.C.); Greeks did not start living there until about 1350 B.C.. The Romans burned down Corinth and killed or enslaved its entire population in 146 B.C., after the province rebelled against Rome. A century later in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar refounded the city with former Roman soldiers and freedmen. But in just over a century, in Paulís time (50 A.D.), Corinth was a huge city, being the center of commerce of the entire eastern Mediterranean area between Sicily and Antioch. It had a population of about 650,000 people, two-thirds of which were slaves. It was host to the Isthmian Games, second in importance only to the Olympic Games.
Corinth had a wicked reputation; the Greeks had a slang term for going over to a completely immoral life; it was literally "to Corinthiasize" (first coined by Aristophanes in fragment 354). Plato used the term "Corinthian girl" to mean prostitute in Platoís Republic 404d.). A part of the wealth of Corinth was due to the temple of Aphrodite Pandemos, that every night sent out 1,000 prostitutes.
Yet in the midst of all of this dark evil, the gospel shined to work salvation in the Corinthian church. But everything that starts well does not always end well. The church there tolerated some serious moral and doctrinal problems. If someone says we want to be just like the early Christians, the truth of the matter is that we do not want to be exactly like the Corinthians. But if something is not going to end well, God can use a person like Paul to mend and fix it.
In 96-98 A.D. Clement of Rome wrote a letter to the Corinthian church, basically rebuking them for not doing some of the things Paul told them to do almost fifty years ago.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.505 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.176 for more info.
As a small detail, Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.310 mentions that Mr. Conybeare in Life and Epistles of St. Paul vol.2 p.27,31 (American edition) is one who mentioned the term "to Corinthiasize".
Q: Does 1 Cor 1:3 show that Jesus is God the Father as some Oneness Pentecostals say?
A: It is true that the Greek word here (kai) can mean either "and" or "even". Though verse 3 could go either way, 1 Corinthians 1:4 shows a distinction between God [the Father] and Jesus. See the discussion on Romans 1:7 and When Cultists Ask p.221 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:8 how can we be "blameless"?
A: The Greek word here, anenkletous, literally means free from accusation. It does not mean sinlessly perfect, or never having anything to forgive, but rather right now we should be living "free from accusation".
Q: In 1 Cor 1:9, why did God not call everyone into fellowship with Jesus Christ?
A: God does offer salvation to all men (Titus 2:11), for all are commanded to obey it in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 1 Peter 4:17, and Acts 2:38. We to hold out the word of life (Philippians 2:16) to all. However, God chose to make people with the free agency to reject Godís purpose for themselves (Luke 7:30), and suffer consequences which are their own fault (Jeremiah 17:4).
Q: Does 1 Cor 1:10 show that obedient Christians are not to be divided by having independent thinking, as Jehovahís Witnesses teach?
A: No. Two examples of Paul tolerating independent thinking are Philippians 3:15 and Romans 14:1-10. Jehovahís Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.92-94 points out that JWís are commanded to "Avoid independent thinking ... questioning the counsel that is provided by Godís visible organization," and to "Fight against independent thinking" (Watchtower magazine 1/15/1983 p.22,27.)
For Mormons, the Mormon prophet Ezra Taft Benson, when he was a Mormon apostle, said, "When the prophet speaks, the thinking is done."
But for Christians we are to question. Even when a Christian leader is wrong, we are to point this out, as Paul did in Galatians 2:11-21.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:10-13 and 1 Cor 3:3-7, since two genuine Christians each have a relationship with God, how come they can have division with each other?
A: Even genuine Christians, who have a relationship with God and the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them, still sin and still have a sinful nature. For a candid example of this, read Acts 15:36-41.
One reason for division is subtly hinted at in 1 Corinthians 1:1-10. Paul mentions Christ ten times in ten verses. Is our focus on the church (which is not perfect) or on Christ (who is)?
A second reason for division is overlooking 1 Corinthians 1:2. A pastor, elders, deacons, or regular members can be upset when things donít go as they want in THEIR church, - except that it is not their church. It is Godís church. We canít forget that.
Division often occurs when there are two groups that want to do things different ways. One may eventually separate from the other. That was not the case here. There were multiple groups, and they were still together, they had different groups. A church can have different groups, and we as Christians should recognize what group we might be in, and build bridges to reach and "merge" with all of the other groups.
However, even despite our shortcomings, God still uses Christians anyway. But when a believer is wrong and does divisive things in the church, would you ever respect them again? What if they were named Peter, or James? We are all sinners saved by grace, and since you have not been without sin yourself, and Christ forgave you, you should forgive others.
For how Christians who differ can still get along, you might research the town of Rostock in Germany and the Mennonites and Puritans who came there.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.508 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:14-16 Paul did not remember for sure how many he baptized, so does this prove Paulís words here were not scripture?
A: No. Catholics sometimes points to this verse as refuting a Conservative Protestant view of the Bible, but this verse actually supports it.
A mechanical dictation theory of inspiration would say that the Bible is solely Godís work, and there is no human component. So we can agree this verse explicitly refutes the mechanical dictation theory.
A Conservative view of the Bible is given in 2 Peter 1:21 (NKJV) "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." So scripture is Godís Word through the authors He chose. Scripture also has the human authorís component as God oversaw what they wrote. So while Scripture is without error in the original manuscripts, you can still see Peterís style, Paulís style, Lukeís style, etc.
An important point is that we should not say, "I will take scripture the "..." way, because I am a "...". Rather, we should all seek to take scripture the way it represents itself as it should be taken. Here is what Peter wrote about Paul in 2 Peter 3:15b-16 (NKJV). "...as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written you. As also in his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures."
See Romanism by Robert M. Zins p.39 for more info.
Q: Do 1 Cor 1:16 and Acts 16:15 support infant baptism by baptizing the household of Stephanas?
A: No. All of the household of Stephanas were converted in 1 Corinthians 16:15, and infants cannot be converted. A household does not always include infants. However, children as young as 6 can make a decision to come to Christ, and I have heard of one case where a four-year old knew what was going on, and was baptized as a believer. I heard this from the former four-year old, who is now an adult Vacation Bible School teacher.
Even though genuine Christians disagree on believerís baptism versus infant baptism, all should be able to agree that the "households" in 1 Corinthians 1:16 and Acts 16:15 do not prove or disprove that infant baptism was practiced. See also the discussion on Colossians 2:11-12.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:17, was Paul against water baptism?
A: No, Paul supported baptism, since he baptized the Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas. Paul meant that since some Corinthians were wrong in saying "they were of Paul", Paul was glad he was not the one who personally baptized very many of them. In the early church, Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) de Corona ch.3 p.94 explicitly mentions the water in water baptism. See When Critics Ask p.449 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.257 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:17, should we not practice water baptism, because it has passed away, as the error of ultra-dispensationalism teaches?
A: No. See the answer to the previous question. In addition, both 1) the concept of there being a different dispensation between Christís resurrection in 33 A.D. and 52 A.D., and 2) the concept that baptism has passed away, was totally absent from all church writings until the middle fifteenth century at the earliest. Instead, Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in de Corona ch.3 p.94 mentions baptism, explicitly by immersion in water.
Imagine for a moment finding a Christian who loved Jesus as Lord, but practiced all the Old Testament sacrifices and kept every Old Testament dietary law. What if someone told you that is no big deal. This is common, as he just did not get the word about the new dispensation yet. What would you say to that?
Now imagine us going to Heaven and an angel telling us, "you guys did not get the word about the new dispensation that started about 100 A.D. For almost 1,900 years, Christians thought they were living in a dispensation that actually was only 100 years long. This is no big deal, and it is common, as God forgot to reveal that to a single believer, in a way they could understand, for 1,900 years. What would you say to that?
See the next question for more on ultra-dispensationalism.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:17, what is "ultra-dispensationalism" and why is it wrong?
A: There is a sharp distinction in practice between ultra-dispensationalists vs. dispensationalists and other Christians: ultra-dispensationalists believe water baptism should not be practiced today, and in general they believe we live in a different dispensation than when the New Testament was written. Based on their pamphlet, "Should Water Baptism be Practiced Today?," here is (I hope) what they would view as a fair summary.
1. [Correctly] say the Greek word, baptisein, is a general word for cleansing
2. [Correctly] say that water baptism in the church cannot be proved based on the Old Testament or John the Baptistís work.
3. [Correctly] believe that the Gospel was preached to the Jews first, and the majority of them rejected it.
4. [Incorrectly] say that water baptism was only valid in Acts while Jesus was still being offered to Israel as their Messiah as in Acts33:19-21. (Also Acts 2:16-40, especially 22,36; Acts 3:12-36, especially 12,25,26, Acts 529-32, especially 31. Acts 2:37,38; Acts 3:19.
5. [Incorrectly] say that baptism should not be practiced today because:
5a. Washings (baptisein in Greek) were a part of the Mosaic Law. (As a side note, converts to Judaism were baptized, prior to Jesus.)
5b. Baptism was done before Godís dealings with Israel changed.
5c. Baptism was [allegedly] done before God revealed the teaching about the church, around 52 A.D.. Paul said, "Christ sent men not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Cor 1:17).
5d. Today, "there is only one baptism" (Eph 4:5), and that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
There are three different ways to refute this, any one of which is sufficient in and of itself.
1. Observation of Scripture: All must agree that 1 Corinthians 1:13-16 was written at the same time as verse 17. These verses show that Corinthians were baptized just as surely as Christ died for them, and Paul preached the Gospel to them. Since Paul baptized Crispus and Gaius, either Paul was wrong to do so, or the "transition event" occurred between their baptism and Paul not baptizing any other Corinthians, which is implausible.
1 John 5:7, in the original Greek as well as modern translations, mention the testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the blood. If the "Spirit" is the Holy Spirit inside of believers, the blood, is Jesusí blood, then what else is the "water" except our water baptism?
1 Peter 3:21, written after 60 A.D., teaches about the baptismal water for "you".
In Ephesians 5:26, since Christ washed the Church with water, how does that differ from water baptism?
Equally important, the silence of Scripture is deafening about a new dispensation occurring right in the middle of the New Testament being written.
In summary, what Jesus commanded, Jesusí disciples and Paul did, with the water John mentioned, should be practiced today since God did not think it good to speak in His Word about any new dispensation that was a secret kept from Christianity until modern times.
2. Interpretation of Scripture: It is amazing how many Twentieth century disagreements over ancient Greek words fail to ask the very basic question, "how would Greek speakers, led by the Holy Spirit, universally understand their own language?" The early church did not interpret any verses in such a way that water baptism was not practiced. Justin Martyr (martyred 165 A.D.) in his First Apology has a whole chapter (61) on Christian baptism. He also discusses baptism in his dialog with Trypho the Jew.
The Didache (c.60-120 A.D.) ch.7 p.379 says, "baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if thou have not living water, baptize into other water; and if thou canst not in cold, in warm. But if thou have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
Other early Christians who discussed the importance of water baptism are:
Letter of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans ch.8 p.90 (-107/116 A.D.)
Epistle of Barnabas (c.70-130 A.D.)
2 Clement (120-140 A.D.) vol.7 ch.6 p.519
Shepherd of Hermas (c.115-155 A.D.) book 3 similitude 9 p.49 (Implied).
Irenaeus Against Heresies (182-188 A.D.) book 1 ch.21.1 p.345.
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.)
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) has an entire work called On Baptism.
Hippolytus bishop of Portus (222-235/6 A.D.) Against the Heresy of One Noetus ch.14 p.228. See also Discourse on the Holy Theophany, ch.10 p.237
Origen (c.227-240 A.D.) Commentary on John book 1 ch.25 p.312. Also in many other places.
Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.10 p.620
Anonymous Treatise on Re-Baptism (254-257 A.D.) ch.7 p.671. Also ch.5 p.669-670
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) taught that a person has to be baptized in the church; baptism by heretics is not considered "legitimate". Epistles of Cyprian Letter 70 p.377. Also
Letter 71 p.378
Firmilian (c.246-258 A.D.) in his letter to Cyprian Letter 74 p.390
Novatus of Thamaguda at the Seventh Council of Carthage (258 A.D.) p.566
Dionysius of Alexandria (246-265 A.D.) Letter 6.1 (to Sixtus, Bishop) p.102
Council of Elvira (306/307 A.D.) in the 21 undisputed canons refers to baptized men and women seven times in canons 1, 2, 4, 9, and 10.
Council of Ancyra (314 A.D.)
Council of Neocaesarea (c.315 A.D.)
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.)
Clement of Alexandria (197-217/220 A.D.)
Melito of Sardis
Pamphilus (309 A.D.) An Exposition of the Chapters of the Acts of the Apostles O,X. vol.6 p.167
Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas (c.201/205 A.D.),
Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) Commentary on Revelation from the first chapter (16) p.346
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.)
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.15 p.115
According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.441, the Jewish sect at Qumran also practiced baptism by immersion.
For a very detailed view of how a godly Greek-speaking Christian viewed 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, see John Chrysostomís 5 Ĺ page homily II on 1 Corinthians.
In summary, it is not claimed that any of these post-Biblical Christian teachers were infallible. However, if the early church universally practiced water baptism, then, tongue-in-cheek, perhaps the ultra-dispensationalists need to postulate another dispensation where God brought water baptism back.
3. Application of Scripture: Since Jesus commanded us to make disciples, baptize them, teach them and a "third thing" in Matthew 28:19-20, and no verse explicitly says baptism passed away, consistency would mean the making of all disciples and teaching would pass away too.
The "third thing" mentioned in Matthew 28:20 is to obey everything Jesus commanded. Since Jesus commanded them to baptize, we should be very careful about setting aside a command of Jesus when no verse of Scripture says so. Finally, while one might try to argue that Matthew 28:19-20 did not apply to anyone except the eleven disciples, that is false because in Matthew 28:20 Jesus says that "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
In summary, if your theology keeps you from obeying Christ, you should obey Christ and change your theology.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:20-21, what exactly is the "wisdom of this world" Paul warned about?
A: It can be thought of as any philosophy, psychology, or worldview that foolishly only takes into account this world, or sets itself up as a standard. Paul also talked of what is falsely called knowledge in 1 Timothy 6:20.
However, while Paul criticizes trusting in the wisdom of this world, Paul saw no problem agreeing with things that are true that Greek philosophers also said. As Clement of Alexandria put it in the Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 1 chapter 14 in discussing Titus 1:12-13, "You see how even to the prophets of the Greeks he [Paul] attributes something of the truth, and is not ashamed, when discoursing for the edification of some and the shaming of others, to make use of Greek poems."
Q: In 1 Cor 1:20-21, given the side spectrum of the field of Christian counseling, how do you tell the difference between Christians using humanistic counseling, and what Christian counselors should be doing?
A: If the counselor is a Christian, or even that the counselor tries to also lead the person to Christ is not sufficient to show they are doing proper Christian counseling. Rather, according to a Robert McGeeís book Search for Significance and a personal conversation with him on 6/13/2000, true Christian counseling is asking what God wants to accomplish in this situation and then being used to do that. God is the best counselor. McGee, the founder of the Rapha Christian Counseling Centers, says that a key factor is that if the person can begin to interact with the Living God, he has seen dramatic changes can occur in a very brief time. Along with counseling, his book also acknowledges that medical drugs have a role in treating medical conditions and chemical imbalances.
Q: In 1 Cor 1:27-28, why did God choose the foolish things of this world?
A: 1 Corinthians 1:29-31 answers this. No one will be able to boast before others that they became a Christian because they were smarter. No one will be able to boast before God that they understood because of their greater intelligence.
Being "pedantic" means learning knowledge for the sole purpose of learning knowledge. We need to draw closer to Christ, and serve and glorify Him better; not just learn knowledge for knowledgeís sake. As one person said, "He was not a sign-loving Jew or a wisdom-loving Greek, but a Savior-loving Christian." While every Greek was not this way, Greek culture tended to emphasis seeking after wisdom. While there are good aspects of that, being an end in itself paradoxically could actually keep someone from experiencing the truth in the mystery of God. Some people might have more of a tendency to be pedantic than others.
More intelligence does not give a person a greater opportunity of going to Heaven. In some cases, a personís intellectual pride can keep them from acknowledging that their wisdom is very small compared to Godís. Christianity is fascinating in that it is simple enough for a child to understand all the important things, yet so deep, the most intelligent person cannot hope to know everything about an infinite God. Accepting Jesus involves committing everything you have, regardless of how wise you claim to be.
Likewise Jesus said it is hard for a rich person to come to God in Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; and Luke 18:25. But 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 does not say that "not any" who were wise, mighty or noble; rather it says, "not many". As one wealthy English noblewoman quipped, she was saved by the letter "m".
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1750 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.966 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:1-7, in sharing the gospel, what would be the difference between "leading with speech", "leading with wisdom", and "leading just with Jesus" and in verse 7 how would "mystery" play into it?
A: Perhaps it can be summarized by asking yourself why the person should believe. Should they believe primarily because of my great speech and I overpowered them with debate and rhetoric, or they should because I know so much and provided them with too many facts not to believe, or because God is moving in their heart and mind? In both of the first two cases, essentially should they believe mainly because of "me"? The attitude is unbiblical: "if itís to be, itís up to me". Only in the last case is "itís up to God", and I am just a tool, mistakes and all. The last approach is more freeing, because you donít think that their salvation depends on you; it depends on God. But the excuse goes away that we canít share because we donít talk well, or we donít have all the answers.
In verse 6 Paul still sees value in using wisdom, but even the best wisdom is no substitute for God. But none of us knows everything; God has not even revealed all the things we will know when we are in heaven. So regardless of how much a person knows, our faith still has mystery.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.198-200 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.509-510 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:3, does this show that Paul had epileptic fits, as Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.1047-1048 suggests?
A: No. Asimov bases this only on Paul saying he was "buffeted by Satan", and the experience on the road to Damascus might have been a fit. The fact that Paul admitted he was nervous in 1 Corinthians 2:3 does not mean he had epileptic fits. On the road to Damascus, the other people also saw the light and heard the sound, though they did not understand the voice. That does not mean they all had epileptic fits either. Asimovís suggestion is actually "educational" in the sense that it shows us just how far skeptics will go, on the flimsiest of evidence, to discredit the Bible writers and the Bible as the Word of God.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:3, shouldnít a person always exude confidence and certainty when sharing the Gospel?
A: Not necessarily, as 1 Corinthians 2:3,7 clearly shows. Paul preached with fear and trembling here, and mentioned the mystery of our faith. Paul was confidence in other places. But the lasting effect of the gospel does not depend on our confidence, eloquence, or intelligence, but on God working in the other personís life. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1751-1752 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:5, what is the difference between a faith based on the wisdom of man vs. a faith based on the power of God?
A: Faith in another person, that you can see, often seems easier than faith in God, who cannot be seen. Faith can only go so deep as the object of faith. It will not surpass faith in a person, if it is just in that person. Faith can fall when it is based on another person. Your faith is not just one alleged contradiction or one unanswered question away from failing.
But your faith in the infinite God can grow and grow. Faith in God does not go down or disappear when a mere mortal person fails.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:6, is the doctrine of Godís Creation incompatible with the concept of rulers of this world as Rudolph Bultmann thought?
A: No. This is only incompatible with a simplistic view of Godís Creation. God is completely sovereign over all, and God can do anything He wants. Nothing prevents God from choosing, for a time, to delegate a part of His sovereignty.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:8, how did all the rulers of this world not know Christ, since Jesus came before Herod and Pilate?
A: Even by Paulís time, a number of Roman rulers had heard of Christ and Christians. However, Paulís point is that none of them recognized Jesus for who He really was. See When Critics Ask p.449 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.358 for complementary answers.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:9-10, do believers know the future great things of heaven, or not?
A: We have been told of some of the great things of Heaven, but we have not been told everything, and we have not experienced them yet. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, "Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
As an aside, this verse was especially precious to Pre-Nicene Christians; this is one of the verses they quoted the most. It was quoted 21 times by 9 authors prior to 325 A.D..
Q: In 1 Cor 2:12-14, why does Paul say here that natural man cannot accept the things of the Spirit of God, when he says in Romans 1:19-20 that God made His truth evident within all people?
A: Romans 1:19-20 refers to general revelation, and 1 Corinthians 2:14 refers to knowledge or salvation.
General Revelation: Romans 1:19-20 refers to the truth of the existence of the Creator, his invisible attributes, eternal, power, and divine nature. This is not enough knowledge to be saved, but one might think it would be enough knowledge for everyone to seek to know this Creator. However, this is not the case. Romans 1:18 and 3:22 show that people suppress the truth by their wickedness, and Romans 3:9-20 goes into detail about how no one on their own seeks God. General revelation is a first step: a person must go beyond here to know God personally. However, a person is condemned if they reject the truth of general revelation that they have. People can do these because of pride, not willing to admit they were wrong, or trusting more in other things.
Romans 1:19-20 is a part of a larger argument Paul is making, that every single person is guilty of sin, and that we all need a savior, Jesus.
Knowledge of Salvation: 1 Corinthians 2:14 goes on from here and says natural man cannot accept the things of God; we need to have Godís Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 is part of a larger argument in 1 Corinthians 2 of the essential role of the spirit in our salvation and Christian growth.
Q: In 1 Cor 2:12-24, who does having the Spirit change what we are able to learn?
A: It can change things in at least five different ways.
Self-discipline: to dig into Scripture and "mine" the gold and diamonds within.
Discernment: Of all the information we get, God helps us discern what is true and what is not.
Vision: Seeing things not seen by our physical eyes, and to understand concepts we cannot see on earth. Imagine a fish that could understand some of what it is like to live on land.
Illumination: Like a blind critic of paintings, or a deaf critic of music, a person without the Spirit can only go so far.
The Spirit gives believers knowledge and wisdom (they are not the same), and discernment, among other gifts.
Sometimes people are not able to learn something not due to lack of intelligence, but due to lack of foundational information, or else too much misinformation.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1353 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.510 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:1-2, what is the difference between Christian "milk" teaching and Christian "meat" teaching?
A: Milk not only keeps babies alive, but it allows them to grow to be bigger and fatter babies. But they need more concentrated food, and more protein to grow beyond that. Beef, chicken, pork, or other protein should not be given to infants; it is too hard for them to digest. But a little meat or protein should be introduced for older babies to start them off digesting more concentrated food.
Likewise baby Christians should be rooted in their salvation, who they are in Christ, and how to spend time with God and His Word. But donít stop there. They also need the meat of how their life is to change to be more Christlike, and understanding more difficult topics, such as the Trinity, incarnation, and endtimes.
When you study a passage, there are four questions you can ask to get more of the meat.
1) What does this teach us about God?
2) What does this teach about Godís people?
3) What does this teach me about me?
4) What way would God have me do things different now?
(These questions are from a sermon by Richard Kerry March 17, 2019)
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.510 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.966 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:1-2, why do some new Christians grow, and others do not?
A: They might not be aware they are supposed to grow, or might not see the need to do so. Jesus gave the parable of the four soils in Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15. In it the purpose of the seeds is to grow and produce a crop. The crop could be 100, 60, or 30 times what was sown. One key reason we are still on earth is to produce a crop. In Jeremiah 29:11 God speaks of the plans He has for us. Instead of making our own plans, letís try to do Godís plan for us.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:3, what is Paulís expectation here?
A: Paul is not merely commanding them not to have jealousy and quarreling among Christians. Rather, Paul had the expectation that they were mature Christians enough that there would be no quarreling and jealousy among them at all.
Jealousy is one root cause of quarreling, but they are still two distinct things. Jealousy is an unhappy feeling when you see someone else succeeding or doing well. Jealousy is related to the sin of covetousness, where you wish you had the success instead of them. Quarreling can ensure when you take steps to try to get the success for yourself instead of them.
An antidote to jealousy is realizing that we are all on the same team; as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be "cheerleaders for our family" encouraging them along. It is hard to be jealous of someoneís success when you are praying for their success. An antidote to quarreling is realizing the relationship of love with that person is more important than small issues. Save your disagreements for only what is important, and give away on the small things.
But we cannot expect Christians to be perfect, either in early times or in ours. Paul and Barnabas had a sharp disagreement over taking Mark along on the missionary journey in Acts 15:37-39.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:5, Paul is making the point that Christís servants, himself and Apollos included, should not be idolized. What are some ways Christians can be wrong in idolizing others today?
A: If the other person is wrong about something, then if your faith rests on them, you will have the same error, rather than searching scripture for yourself. If you put your faith in another person, where deliberately or unconsciously, when they fall, your faith can fall. When you share with others, are you sharing how great God is, or sharing how great they are. Even the best Christian you know falls way short of the Christlikeness that we are called to aspire to in this life. Donít put anyone who sins or is not perfect on a pedestal, and all of us sin and are imperfect. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.205 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:5, what are some ways to keep others, whether Christians or non-Christians, from putting you on a pedestal?
A: Be open and transparent that you are not perfect. Make sure you are pointing the way to Christ for them to listen to, and not accidentally pointing to yourself. When people say things that put you on a pedestal, lead them to look higher than you, and beyond you, to God.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:11, is Jesus the foundation, or is the foundation the apostles and prophets in Eph 2:20?
A: While the Greek word for foundation, themelion, is the same in both verses, Ephesians 2:20 makes the two senses of the word "foundation" clear. The apostles and the prophets are the foundation stones (plural), which in turn rest upon the one foundation stone of Jesus.
Just as a pier-and-beam house rests upon the its entire foundation of piers and beams, but the house and the beams rest on the piers, the church rests upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, which rest upon the foundation cornerstone of Jesus. See When Critics Ask p.450 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.129-130 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:12-15, will Christians be judged?
A: At the "Great White Throne Judgment": genuine Christians are not judged; they are declared righteous because they are covered with the blood of Christ. You can read about this in Revelation 20:11-15 and the parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25:31-46.
Some Christians say these two verses refer to the same judgment and other Christians say separate judgments. Separate judgments would imply that believers are not present at the Great White Throne Judgment as in The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.276-277. R.C. Sproul in Now Thatís a Good Question p.501-502 says both believers and unbelievers will stand at the Last Judgment. Regardless, believers have nothing to fear from the Great White Throne Judgment.
In the subsequent "Bema-seat Judgment": Christians receive Heavenly rewards for works from the proper motivation. You can read about this in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and 2 Corinthians 4:10. Christians commonly call this the "bema-seat" judgment, because in Greek law, a "bema-seat" (or more properly bench) was what the judge sat on. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.272-276 for more info, and Now Thatís a Good Question p.287-288 for more on rewards in Heaven.
Q: Does 1 Cor 3:13-15 support the Catholic theory of purgatory?
A: No. It only appears to support it if somebody confuses
1) Testing works vs. painfully purging believers
2) The work vs. the believer passing through fire
A Catholic could (correctly) retort that this verseís mention of passing a believerís work through fire for testing does not rule out also a fiery ordeal for a believer for purging. However, since this is the only verse in the entire Bible Catholics use to support Purgatory (except for 2 Maccabees 12:46 in the Catholic Apocrypha), there is no other basis for this extra-Biblical invention.
In addition, 2 Peter 1:11 says we will receive a rich welcome into the everlasting Kingdom, not a "warm" welcome. Hebrews 10:2;16-19; 9:4 shows the Jesus is the one who purges us.
Perhaps if you believe in purgatory, this ad hominem argument to Catholics might be helpful to convince you of the other side.
1. Catholics have taught that a dead personís time spent in Purgatory can be lessened by a living person praying for them or making financial contributions to the church. Thus, There are ways to shorten a personís time to be purged by the fire of Purgatory.
2. Catholics teach that those who wear a particular cloth, called a scapula, will be released from Purgatory within one week, because Mary visits purgatory once a week and takes out all who wore this. If all their sins were purged by fire, they would have no need of Maryís special help. Maryís special help has purgative power. Thus, The Purgatory fire is not necessary to purge all sins, if someone in Heaven has purgative power in place of the fire.
3. Mary is not alone in purgative capability. Jesus "purged" all of us, according to 1 John 1:7,9; Hebrews 9:14,22; 10:2,16-19. Since Jesus has already promised this, all we have to do is to trust in His purging power. Thus, Relying on Mary and Purgatory Fire is unneeded, if Jesus has already promised to do it all.
See When Critics Ask p.450-451 and When Cultists Ask p.222-224 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:16-17, how are genuine Christians the Temple of God?
A: A superficial reading seems to say that a believerís body is a temple of God. While that is true, that is not what this verse is saying. All of the pronouns are you plural (ye or yaíll) and temple is singular. Thus, as the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1756 emphasizes, the real meaning of this verse is that all of us together are the one temple of God. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.579-581 for more discussion.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:18 and Jms 1:26, what are at least ten types of self-deception, even among Christians?
A: Christians and others can have wrong ideas about some things, or else not so much wrong as having wrong priorities.
Wrong about the truth: Christians wonít deny essential things, such as the virgin birth, Jesus dying for our sins, Jesus physically rising from the dead, etc. because if they are then they are not true Christians. But Christians can be wrong about important secondary things, such as baptism, the Lordís Supper, the end times, futurism/Preterism, the apocrypha, once-saved-always-saved, evangelistic approaches, dispensationalism/covenant theology, Jews in Godís plan, spiritual gifts, age of the earth, Creationism/theistic evolution, Calvinism/Arminianism, Godís middle knowledge, inerrancy/infallibility, altar calls/revivals, the Sabbath/Sunday, being a soldier, deaconesses, etc.
Christians can seek truth for trivial or pedantic reasons, instead of wanting to experience God more and serve Him better. You should want to know all the things God wants you to know, and you should desire not to know the things God does not want you to know.
Wrong about Godís provision: Some Christians have thought that once they come to Christ, God will keep them from all suffering. Or that God will make the wealthy, or that they will always have good health.
But we do not need to worry about God providing for us. As God provides for even the lilies of the field, God will take care of us according to Matthew 6:28-29 and Luke 12:22-23.
Sometimes believers forget they have been cleansed from their sins according to 2 Peter 1:9. We are cleansed, and rather than fighting sin on our sin, we need to remember to tap into Godís cleansing power that He has given us through His Holy Spirit.
Deceived by disappointment: If we are loving God as we should, obeying and serving Him, we think we can assume we will have success and no disappointments or problems. But why should we assume that, when it was not true even of Paul? Paul had an open door to preaching in Troas in 2 Corinthians 2:12-13, but he had unrest in his mind due to worrying about Titus.
Deceived about the world: They can view the world as their friend. Alternately they can view the world as something they should come out of and flee. We must not forsake our first love, as Revelation 2:4 warns the Ephesian church.
Deceived about themselves: They can think more highly of themselves, and their work, than they ought. They can believe God thinks them more special than others, because they do more. Alternately they can think that what they do on earth does not matter much at all. They can believe God does not care about them. Or they can believe that God does not like them much because they donít do much that is seen. You are never too big to be a servant. And as long as you are larger than a lily, you are never too small to be especially cared for by God.
Sometimes a Christian who used to do a lot for God can "rest on their past works" and think they donít need to follow God so closely, or serve Him as well now, because of what they did in the past. But shouldnít you want to express your love for God now?
Deceived about others: All of the ways a person could be deceived about themselves they could likewise be deceived about others. They can think too highly of someone else, putting them on a pedestal. Alternately they could think poorly of another believer because they donít think that they do much. We should not care about being over others, or better than others; we should care about pleasing our Lord.
Deceived about sin: People can have the wrong idea that "sin will make it better". Short-term that can appear to be true, but long-term, sin never makes it better. Everything you do is seen by God; many things you do are seen by angels and demons tool. Make sure you donít do things you donít want to be seen doing. People can think "Sin only affects myself". However, sin an affect all who know of your sin and others too.
Godís work: What do you have to do that is more important than serving God? If you neglect or only put in a little leftover time to serving God, donít expect Godís blessing any more than they had in Haggai 1. God could take you home to heaven right now. So why are you still here? God has some things for you to do.
Your family: Godís work is not just sharing the gospel, and helping others and doing things. Equally important is being things. It takes intentional, deliberate, work to be a good husband, wife, mother, father, son, or daughter, sister or brother, grandparent, or in-law. A number of Christians, active in ministry, have made a wreck of their family life by their negligence in spending time on those. Do you want to serve God well? You are not, if you are not doing this well too.
Your friends: All of your time should not be consumed by friends, but you should excel at being a friend in two ways. You can help your friends be saved, or stay strong in the Lord. Second, you can listen to and learn from godly friends. You can be stronger against temptation, including discouragement, if you have godly friends to share your life. But choose your friends wisely. Friends can drag you down, tempt you, and distract your too. It is all the better if you friends and you share in ministering Godís work, and they are friends with your spouse and other family members too.
Distractions of the world: You can be distracted, not just by evil things, but just by all of the vain things of the world. One author said our society is "entertaining itself to death". Sports, nature, movies out, shopping, eating out, and cultural things are not bad of themselves, but if they take up too much of your time, preventing you from having the right priorities, then they have become wrong for you.
Distractions of sin: Huge amounts of peopleís time are spent on TV and entertainment, chasing romantic relationships, getting drunk (as well as the hangover after), and greed. If you could move away from your family, leave all of your friends, be in a position where you could only serve God in a limited way, to double your salary for a year or two, would you do so? More importantly, would God want you to do so?
There are probably more ways to be self-deceived than this. In fact, it is scary how many ways there are. Even scarier is that people can rationalize each of these as being good or else at least "God understands". The only hope we have to avoid all of these is to stay close to God in prayer, stay in His word, and listen to the advice of our godly friends.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:19, why did Paul quote as true scripture the words of Eliphaz in Job 5:3, since God said Eliphaz did not speak right of God in Job 42:7?
A: Job 42:7 does not say every word Eliphaz spoke was wrong. Specifically, Eliphaz spoke wrong where he assumed that God would not let trouble come on the undeserving. However, it would be universally understood that Eliphaz spoke correctly in saying God could catch the wise in their craftiness.
Whether that teaching was first given through Eliphaz, or whether Eliphaz learned that from a godly person who taught him is unknown, but that is irrelevant. The key points are
1. This is a truth about God.
2. This was written in the Old Testament Scripture that Jesus, the Jews, and the early church recognized.
3. Paul was simply saying this is a truth written in Scripture. Paul was right.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.396-397 and When Critics Ask p.226,452 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 3:21-22, how is this an "inventory of the possessions of a child of God"?
A: It includes the teachers we need, everything we need pertaining to our life, and even everything we need about our "dying well" for God. It includes what we need for right now, and what we will need in the future. However, it does not necessarily include everything that we want. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1756 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:1, what is unusual about the Greek word for servant here?
A: There are four words in Greek for servant:
doulos (1401) - a general word for slave or servant. It is the most common word used for servant.
diakonos (1249) - from which we get the word "deacon"
huperetes / (plural) hyperetas (5257) Ė derived from the word "to row" it literally means a galley slave rowing in a ship. It can also mean a steward, subordinate, minister, officer, or servant. A related word hypereteo, means to be a subordinate.
pais (3816) Ė a child who is a slave or servant.
Another word, oikonomous (3623) does not actually mean slave but steward. In 1 Corinthians 4:1, Paul used huperetas for himself and other co-laborers. This is the only place where Paul used this word.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1356 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.512 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:1-3 unlike a regular servant, a steward is trusted to keep and do certain things. What is the difference in our Christian life between in being a servant of Christ vs. being a steward of Christ?
A: In general servants are simply to do what they are told. They are usually watched over, sometimes because they wonít work hard unless they are watched over, but other times simply because they always need to be watched over. Stewards are like Joseph, or like the three servants in the parables of the talents. They are not supervised very much; in fact they are expected to show initiative. But though they are not watched over for what they do, their results are closely examined. Did they keep the trust they were trusted with? Did they take things that were not for them to take? Did they accomplish, or try to accomplish, what was required of them?
We are not just servants of Christ, but also stewards of Christ. It is not just about did we do this, or not do that. It is not only about did we love God a lot of a little. It is also about did we express Godís love in our lives by how we took care of the children, aging family and subordinates. What kind of an influence were we on our spouse and co-workers.
If your believing spouse should get a great reward in heaven because they had to put up with you, and follow Christ despite you, there is a real problem there!
Q: In 1 Cor 4:3-5, what are some wrong ways Christians could judge others or judge before the appointed time?
A: In 1 Corinthians 12:10 discerning spirits is a spiritual gift; judging others is not. We can see what is right and wrong; what is Biblical, what is against the Bible, as well as what is extra-Biblical (like chewing gum or doing algebra). Christians can expel unrepentant sinners from the church. But not judging others and not judging things before the appointed time actually go together. Will the person eventually come to Christ? Will they repent later? God knows, not us.
One reason we cannot judge these things is that we are no good at it. We are no better than if in Acts 7 we tried to judge what would happen to Saul of Tarsus, or right after David and Goliath what David would do later.
A second reason is that it is putting down the other person. Another believer is not your servant; they are Godís. God knows how to judge people, and we donít, but God also has the right to judge others, and we donít. Is an unbeliever one of the elect who eventually will get saved, or will their heart never be opened and they are one of the reprobate? We have no idea. So if we call unbelievers reprobates, we are pridefully saying we know for certain their eternal destiny and if they will ever repent or not.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:3, how did Paul not judge himself?
A: Paul did not judge himself compared to others, and Paul did not try to guess what kind of reward he would have in Heaven. Paul did examine his own life that he was not unintentionally or deliberately missing the mark in his pursuit to be Christ-like.
Q: 1 Cor 4:3, why did Paul not judge himself, since Paul said we are to examine ourselves in 2 Cor 13:5?
A: They are different Greek words. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 used anakritho / anakrinun (judge), and 2 Corinthians 13:5 used the Greek word deirazete (Strongís Concordance 1921), which is better translated as examine.
Q: 1 Cor 4:5 uses an unusual phrase here: "what is hidden (krypta) in darkness". What are different kinds of things hidden in darkness that need to be repented of? What should be the scope of public confession?
A: Anything you would not want God, the angels, or other believers to see, you shouldnít be doing. Before you sin, think how you are going to explain this when you are in heaven. The scope of public confession should be the same as knowledge of the sin. Confession for the sin does not need to be broadcast out to those who did not know about the sin; but those who were aware of it should know about the confession and repentance.
If you want to be a super Christian, you shouldnít be affected by "krypta-night".
Q: In 1 Cor 4:6 (KJV), what should it say?
A: The King James Version is mistaken in the added words it italicized here. It says, "learn in us not to think of men above that which is written" Note that the King James translators put the phrase "of men" in italics, to indicate that this was not in the Greek. But this is not the meaning.
"you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written" (NKJV)
"in us you might learn not to exceed what is written" (uNASB)
"you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ĎDo not go beyond what is writtení" (NIV)
"not to go beyond what is written" (NET Bible)
"you might learn the lesson. ĎNever go beyond what is written,í" (Williams)
"in us you may learn not to think above what has been written" (Greenís Literal Translation)
Choices: Either Paulís meaning was not to think/go beyond what is written of/about men, or else not to think/go beyond what is written about things (men included) in Godís word. So was the intended meaning the narrow sense (of men only) as the KJV, or the broad sense as other translations.
Of men: Perhaps the King James Version translators introduced "of men" because the context was speaking of Apollos, Paul, and other leaders. However, nothing that we know of was written about Apollos, Paul, or the others at this time. Even if the Jews had written something negative, warning people about Paul, Paul certainly would not recommend they accept any of this as authoritative.
Of things: These different sects had different teachings, especially the Judaizing group. Paul is primarily teaching not to teach things as Godís Word that are not Godís word. Paul is not introducing a new teaching here, but merely repeating something they have already read. Proverbs 30:6 says we should not add to Godís words, and Deuteronomy 4:2 says they should not add anything to the word God commanded them.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:6; Prov 30:6, and Dt 4:2, what does it mean "not to go beyond what is written"?
A: This is a repeat of the answer on Proverbs 30:6.
It is not only foolish but sinfully dangerous to say, "God said thus" when God did not say it. It is fine to speak your own opinion or interpretation, as long as it is understood not to be Godís word. The Jews had a custom of standing when they read Godís word, and sitting down when they expounded upon it. That way, people could see where Godís word stopped and human interpretation began.
When people blatantly add to Godís word, or subtly claim their human interpretation is Godís truth, people can think Godís Word failed if the human words are proved wrong. This does not merely mean "donít add falsehood to what God wrote", but simply "donít add anything to what God wrote". While Christians disagree on many theories (and that is OK), many un-Christlike divisions hinge on people saying something is Godís word, when their logical deduction is not actually stated in Scripture. For example,
1. When should people be baptized?
2. Will Christ come before, during, or after the tribulation?
3. How is the bread and wine Christís body and blood?
4. Exactly what degree of freedom do humans have?
5. Is God timeless, within time, or both?
Since some Christians believe each possible view, then some Christians must have correct views on these. However, if a Christian thinks the Bible states his or her view on this, then he or she is equating a human view with Godís word. This is not good to do, even if the human view is actually correct.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:8-21 Paul seems like he is exacerbated with the Corinthians here, their behavior, petty arguing, and pride. What should we do when we are aggravated by other Christians?
A: There are five things.
1. Remember that sometimes God might be very displeased with our behavior too.
2. We are not to judge someone elseís servant (Romans 14:4).
3. Pray for them, and pray for patience and more love for yourself.
5. God might direct you to speak to them in rebuke, correction, or encouragements, but always in love.
6. Love can be gentle-sounding, but true love can be uncompromisingly stern and strict too.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:9, what is the significance of Paul talking about a procession here?
A: Processions were a rare but newsworthy part of ancient Roman life. When a Roman general won an important war, there would be a victory procession in his honor that he would lead at Rome. In the procession would be many of his prisoners, in chains. To put in nicely, Paulís experiences as an apostle equipped him to easily identify with prisoners like that. Paul was contrasting his experience with the complacency of the Corinthians.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:10, do Christians admit to believing Paul, a self-professed fool?
A: We do not believe in Paul, but we believe in Jesus, who knew what He was doing when He appointed Paul as His apostle. Paul did not just mean his wisdom was foolishness compared to Godís wisdom, but he realized that everyoneís wisdom was foolishness compared to Godís wisdom. However, Paul also claimed his speech was Godís wisdom, that was not of this world in 1 Corinthians 2:6-7.
Q: In 1 Cor 4:15, why should the Corinthians consider Paul their father, since Jesus said in Mt 23:9 to call no man your father?
A: They should not, and did not, call Paul father. Paul is merely giving an illustration of how he became as their father through introducing them to the Gospel. Similarly, Paul calls the Philippians a part of his crown in Philippians 4:1.
Q: In 1 Cor 5:1, why was Paul disfellowshipping the man but not the woman? Was this a double standard?
A: If both were members of the church, both should have been cast out. While scripture is silent on the woman, Paul might have said nothing about her because she never claimed to be a Christian.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.514 has an interesting side note. A man having intimate relations with his mother or fatherís wife was not only against Old Testament Law (Leviticus 18:8 and Deuteronomy 22:22), it was also against Roman Law (Cicero Cluentes 6:15 and the Institutes of Gaius 1:63).
The Greek indicates this was not a continual action. We are not sure of the reaction of the Corinthian church to this sin. Perhaps it was pride on tolerating what they falsely viewed as "their freedom in Christ" as the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1759 suggests. Or perhaps they wanted to ignore any problems such as these that came up. Or perhaps they would not tolerate it for some, but for others, people who were giving or serving a lot, they let them be a special case. We donít know, but any of the above was a sin on the part of the church. They church should be in mourning and take action to expel the member who did not repent of doing this sin. 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 says that we are not to judge those outside the church, but to expel those inside who do that.
Q: In 1 Cor 5:5, what does "delivering someone to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" mean?
A: When either a Christian or non-Christian knows what is right and refuses to follow, this prayer is a "last result" that God would hand that person over to physical afflictions by Satan for the purpose of discipline.
One might note that despite Satanís open rebellion against God, God still chooses to use Satan as an instrument of His discipline and punishment. As one Christian put it, Satan is the unwilling servant of the most High God. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.581-584 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.60-61 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 5:5 (NIV) does someone delivered to Satan no longer have a "sinful nature"?
A: No. The NIV usually translates the Greek word for flesh, sarx, as sinful nature, but the context here is the physical affliction, as The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.514 says.
Q: In 1 Cor 5:7, what as the point of treating the sin like leaven?
A: In Old Testament times once a year they were commanded to remove all of the leaven from their home. They were to clean the bread-making tools. They used a lamp to search for any other leaven. Finally they would pray "Oh God, I have cast out all the leaven from my house, and if there is any leaven that I do not know of, with all my heart I cast it out too." This pictures the thoroughness and seriousness by which we are to try to rid our lives of sin. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1760 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 5:9, is this evidence of a previous letter to the Corinthians?
A: Conservative Christian scholars have three views.
1. Lost Letter: This refers to an earlier letter that God did not see a need to preserve as Scripture. Everything that Paul ever wrote did not have to be Scripture. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament and The New Bible Dictionary p.255 advocate this view.
2. Preserved in 2 Corinthians: This refers to an earlier letter, which is preserved as a fragment in 2 Corinthians, which could be preserved within 2 Corinthians 1-9.
3. No Previous Letter was written. Paul used the aorist tense in Greek, which could refer to what Paul is currently writing. An example of Paul using the aorist in exactly this way is in 1 Corinthians 9:15. In recommendation of this view is the total silence in the early church of any previous letter.
For a discussion of all three views, see When Cultists Ask p.224-225 and When Critics Ask p.452-453.
Q: In 1 Cor 5:9-13, how should church discipline be done?
A: Church discipline is sometimes necessary as a form of touch love, done for the sake of the church, the world, and the sinning person. As the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1760-1761 points out excommunication is not an end in itself but a tool. It has a threefold purpose. It is to wake up the sinning believer that this is not tolerated. It is to protect other church members from possibly imitating his or her bad example. It is to show the world that this is not who we are. Bu those who are disciplined, after they show repentance, can be restored to the church.
If certain sins are not repented of, then the member should be excommunicated from the church. Some examples are murder, sexual immorality, theft, idolatry and other things. But it is even more serious for an elder or deacon. They are supposed to know the truth, and be able to teach, but they are also supposed to be examples. If they are not a good example, then they should be removed from leadership, and replaced with someone who has been a good example.
Q: In 1 Cor 6:1-8, should Christians sue each other in law courts?
A: No. Christians can and should submit to binding arbitration by other Christians, but obedient Christians do not sue one another in secular courts of law. If one wonders how the other party could still be a genuine Christian and behave that way, that is no excuse to sue them. If the other party claims to be a Christian, but disagrees on secondary doctrines, such as the type of baptism, losing salvation, etc. that is no excuse to sue them either. However, if the other party claims to be Christian, but they will not affirm essentials such as the atoning work of Christ, the deity of Christ, the crucifixion, physical resurrection (a la 1 Corinthians 15), then they are not a genuine Christian and it is OK to sue them, though it is still better to settle out of court if possible.
All of Psalm 133 tells how good each should be for Christians to dwell with other in unity. When genuine Christians have a disagreement, both should work to solve that disagreement to restore the joy of fellowship with each other.
Q: In 1 Cor 6:2-3, how will saints (all believers) judge all things, since God is the judge?
A: God will judge all people. However, God will delegate some of his judgment of things and angels to Christians in Heaven. See When Critics Ask p.454 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.202-203 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 6:9-10, since these people are not going to Heaven, how can anyone go to Heaven?
A: First letís make the question harder, and then we will answer it. Paul never said this list was exhaustive; in other words, while these things can keep someone from going to heaven, one could obey all these things, but disobey other things, and still not go to heaven either.
The answer to this question lies in 1 Corinthians 6:11. It is a frank admission that some of them used to do these things prior to coming to Christ, but that Jesus washed, sanctified, and justified them. Jesusí work is to make the impossible possible, to take people who can never get to heaven on their own (which is everyone) and taking them to Heaven with Him. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.584-587 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.217 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 6:9, was Paulís view of homosexuality only his opinion?
A: No. This was the apostle Paulís teaching, and Paulís words were authoritative from God, as 1 Corinthians 14:37 and Galatians 1:12 show. See When Critics Ask p.454-455 and When Cultists Ask p.225-226 for more info.
Q: Does 1 Cor 6:9 teach against all homosexuality or only "homosexual offenders"?
A: There is no uncertainty in either the definition or the Greek word he used. What some people question is the verseís scope.
Definition: For the Greeks, especially the Spartans, homosexuality was a common practice. Some even raised children for the sole purpose of turning out male and female prostitutes. The Greeks distinguished between the 1) men who practiced with boys, and 2) the boys who were used by the men. The Greek word, arsenokoitai, means the men.
Scope: Some claim that since Paul used this specific Greek word, he somehow nullified what Leviticus 18:22; 20:13, and Romans 1:26-27 said about homosexuality in general. However, the truth is that Paul is using a specific word to remind his readers of the condemnation of the whole practice.
In the early church, there was no hint that the prohibition did not apply to all homosexuality. See Clement of Alexandria The Instructor 3:12 and also the discussion on Romans 1:26-27 and Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. See Todayís Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.380-382 and When Critics Ask p.455-456 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 6:13, how can God raise our bodies, since He is going to destroy them?
A: Destroyed does not mean permanently unable to be resurrected. God will resurrect us and give us physical bodies, even for Christians who were killed and eaten by beasts. See When Cultists Ask p.226-227 and When Critics Ask p.456 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 6:14, should a Christian pastor perform a marriage ceremony between a Christian and a non-Christian?
A: The Christian being married is disobeying Godís will, so a pastor should not. I suppose marrying two non-Christians is OK though.
R.C. Sproul says on marrying a Christian and a non-Christian, "As a general rule, I do not. I donít do it because Iím convinced that God does not allow me to do it." Read Now Thatís a Good Question p.376-377 for his thoughtful analysis of the reasons why. In general, pastors, as well as the rest of us, should be careful of putting our seal of approval on sin.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:2, should everyone be married?
A: Marriage is the normal state for the human race in general. Nevertheless, Paul, when he was writing this verse, and others were not to be married, as 1 Corinthians 7:7-8,25-29 shows. For an extensive discussion, see Hard Sayings of the Bible p.587-589, and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.249 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:3-5 (KJV), is it OK to "defraud one another" for a period of time?
A: This wording in the King James Version is unusually strong, because the Greek is unusually strong. Here a person married expecting they would have sexual intimacy, and the spouse unilaterally decided switched things up on what they both agreed to. The meaning in Greek is that a person should not withhold themselves sexually from their spouse, except with mutual consent, for prayer for a short time. This is regardless of whether the spouse is a believer or unbeliever. Thus, using sex or lack of it, as a reward (or punishment) is against the Bible.
Sozomenís Ecclesiastical History (370/380-425 A.D.) book 3 ch.14 p.293 tells of renegade monks who condemned marriage, people who ate no animal food. Many women were deluded by them and left their husbands, but unable to remain celibate, fell into adultery. Some women arrayed themselves in menís apparel.
Q: Does 1 Cor 7:10-16 contradict Mt 5:32 and 19:8-9 about divorce?
A: No. Matthew 5:32 and 19:8-9 discuss initiating divorce regardless of if they are a Christian or not. 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 says we can allow an unbelieving spouse to initiate divorce, if that is what they really want. See When Critics Ask p.456-457 for more info.
Q: Does 1 Cor 7:10-16 allow divorce for deserting a spouse?
A: Of course, divorce is a rather permanent separation, but the Greek words do not actually say divorce, but "separation" or "leave", so a desertion would be covered here, as well as divorce. However, a short-term or trial separation would not be a permanent leaving and is not included here. See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.398-401 for more discussion of the broader issues.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:10-16 and 1 Cor 7:25-29, would it have been possible for Paul to write any personal opinions that were not Scripture? How would the early church (and us) know not to accept them?
A: Sure. They had many conversations that are not recorded in Scripture. Also, Paul likely wrote a previous private letter to the Corinthians prior to 1 Corinthians, as 1 Corinthians 5:9 shows.
Tertullian writing 198-220 A.D. also mentions that Paulís teaching here was scripture, but he was differentiating between what was on His authority vs. repeating what Jesus said. On Exhortation to Chastity ch.3 p.52
Some try to say it is just Paulís personal opinion, and conservative Christians say it is still authoritative teaching. All should be able to agree on three things:
1. There is no teaching in the surrounding verses of 1 Corinthians 7:8-13 and 7:17 that we cannot glean from elsewhere in the Bible.
2. 1 Corinthians 7:14-16 is a new teaching found no where else in the New Testament, and 1 Corinthians 7:12-13 is a prelude to this.
3. Paul is saying the Lord did not directly say this.
4. Paul said what he wrote was the words of God in 1 Corinthians 2:13; 14:37. Peter said Paulís words were scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
5. Paul never said this did not have the apostolic authority of his other teaching.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.589-591, Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.242-244, When Critics Ask p.457-458, and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.397-398 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:12-13, can Christians divorce their unbelieving spouses?
A: Christians should not initiate divorce, except for infidelity (Matthew 5:32), or in extreme cases of life or death of the spouse or children.
However, if an unbelieving spouse initiates a divorce, the Christians can let them leave, as 1 Corinthians 7:15 says, "God has called us to peace" in this situation. Many see abandonment as equivalent to initiating divorce. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.247 also explains 1 Corinthians 7:14,15,39.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:12-16, if an unbelieving spouse divorces from a Christian, can the Christian remarry?
A: 1 Corinthians 7:15 says that the Christian is not under bondage in such cases. This would indicate that the Christian can remarry, if they were not the one initiating the divorce.
The New International Bible Commentary p.1362 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.518 say the Greek favors the same.
Q: Does 1 Cor 7:14 prove, or at least support, infant baptism?
A: No. If the "children being holy" supported them being baptized, then the spouse being sanctified would support baptism of unbelieving spouses, too.
This verse means that God will still bless the children of believers, even when one spouse is not a believer. If a child with one Christian parent was not baptized as an infant, because of the desire of the non-Christian parent, this verse would still be true and apply to that child.
In Sweden, which is an officially Lutheran nation, they do not have public infant baptism ceremonies. They view infant baptism as important enough, that every baby is baptized before the baby ever leaves the hospital. This entirely misses the point of a person choosing to be baptized.
But children brought up by a believing parent will (or at least should) hear the gospel be trained in the Bible, and praying to God and helping others.
See also the discussion on Colossians 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 1:16 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:14, since the children for a believing parent are sanctified, are the children still sinful?
A: Yes because sanctified does not mean sinless. All, except for Adam, Eve, and Jesus, were born with a sinful nature. 1 Corinthians 7:14 simply says that the children of a believer are especially watched over by God. See Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.244-255 for a complementary answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:18-19, since circumcision is nothing, and Gal 5:2-3 says we should not get circumcised, why did Paul circumcise Timothy in Acts 16:3?
A: Paul circumcised Timothy because the Jews in that area knew that Timothyís father was a Greek. See the discussion on Acts 16:3 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:21-23, is Paul contradicting what he said in Eph 6:5-8 on slavery?
A: No. Here is a condensation of Paulís teaching.
a) Avoid becoming a slave.
b) If you are a slave and can gain (purchase) your freedom, do so.
c) Until then learn to be content in your present situation.
Given that it was hard for a poor freeman to make an honest living in large cities, and that two-thirds of the Corinthians were slaves, 1 Corinthians 7:21-23 is wise and pragmatic.
As a side note, the later Jewish writer Maimonides said that no slave could be a prophet. But in the church, since there is no distinction between slave and free, anybody could be a prophet. See The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.2 p.80 for more in this.
See also the discussion on Titus 2:9, Philemon 10-15, and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.591-593 and p.642-644 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:25-26, is this referring to virgins or men?
A: It refers to both men and women. The same term, "virgins" is used of men in Revelation 14:4. Many times in the Bible it gives examples of men for things that apply to both genders. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1769, the New International Bible Commentary p.1363 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.519 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:29, should Christians have avoided marriage 2,000 years ago, because the time is short?
A: In hindsight, the advice given was wise, since intense persecution started within ten years. Paul did not give us all the details of why the time was short, simply mentioning the present distress and great changes in 1 Corinthians 7:26,31.
Like an earthly parent, sometimes God says things to us without giving us all the reasons or background. If we are wise, we will obey God regardless.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.593-595 and Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.204 for more info. Tertullian, writing 198-220 A.D. in de Corona ch.13 p.101 mentions that "you have the apostle [Paul] enjoining people to marry in the Lord."
Q: In 1 Cor 7:29-31, did "the world in its present form is passing away" refer to persecution at that time or Christís return?
A: Before answering the question, letís make a few observations about what the passage is saying. Paul is giving both advice and commands, and says He is doing so because of a prediction and an observation. He is advising (not commanding) people not to marry. He is telling believers not to weep, rejoice, or worry about your possessions (i.e. to stoically accept what is about to happen). He gives two reasons (7:28b) a prediction of a short time and it would be trouble in the flesh, and the observation: (7:31b) "for the form of this world is [currently] passing away (NKJV). As to the world in its present form (schema in Greek) passing away, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1776 says the last phrase was actually borrowed from Greek theatre meaning the changing of a scene.
As for the answer, Christian scholars disagree, because it fits both.
(probable answer) Persecution: Apart from local intense persecutions, there was intense general persecution within ten years of Paul writing this. Thus there would be very hard times for Christians, and it would be harder for those married. Donít be caught up in weeping, because there will be a lot of persecution. Donít be caught up in rejoicing, or cherishing your possessions, because things will be very transitory. Paul said nothing here about when the world in its present form will have completed passed away. Rather, Paul said that the world in its present form is in the process of passing away. Christianity did not become the official religion of the Roman Empire until 325 A.D., but the process was hard and painful for Christís followers. The New International Bible Commentary p.1363 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.235 hold the view that Paul is talking of persecution during his time.
(unlikely) The Lordís Return: This view says that Paul has his eye on Christís return. Again, Paul made no prediction when the world in its present form will have passed away, only that it is now in the process of passing away. In other words, Paul is not saying when the alarm clock will ring, but rather that it is ticking forward. Since the clock is ticking though, Paul advises them to devote themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord and His work, and do not get entangled in worldly things, whether the cause sadness, happiness, or gain possessions. He advises against marriage so that people can devote more to the Lordís work, because we never know when Christ will return. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.519 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1776 espouse the view that this is the Lordís return. The NIV Study Bible p.1743 says that some think this view; but it does not endorse it.
It is most likely not the first view because this advice Paul gives in this verse, including being as those who do not weep or rejoice, would be both for that time and other times of persecution. The second view would make Paulís advice for that time and all times forward until Christ returns.
Q: What does 1 Cor 7:30-31 mean?
A: These verses are very good advice both for Paulís time and every time Christians are about to undergo severe persecution. Even when Christians are not being persecuted, it is wise to only "hold on loosely" to all earthly things, be they the joy of marriage or other happiness, possessions, or even mourning. You never know when they can be taken away, or how much time you have. You do know that in the short time we are here, God wants us to shine for Him and do His will.
We cannot live like the young boy Calvin said in the "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoon, "God put me here on earth to accomplish certain things, and at the rate things are going, Iíll live forever!"
Q: In 1 Cor 7:31, how was the "world in its present form passing away"?
A: The coming of Jesus and the spread of Christianity was the most significant historical event of this time. However, prior to the Roman Emperor Constantine legalizing Christianity in 324 A.D., Christians were going to have the great distress of ten persecutions.
Q: In 1 Cor 7:36, who is the man here, the father or the fiancee and potential husband?
A: It is the fiancee. It is not the father who marries her off, but the fiancee who is concerned about the improper behavior. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.236-237 and the New International Bible Commentary p.1363-1364 for more info.
Another view is that the word "virgin" refers not to a person but the virginity of the person. Thus a man is concerned about his own virginity, and him passing the flower of youth. The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1771 has this view.
Q: 1 Cor 7:23; 6:20, what is the common theme between 1 Cor 6 and 7?
A: Both verses emphasize that we are live like we were "bought at a price": the blood of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says since we were bought at a price honor God with our body. 1 Corinthians 7:23 says since we were bought at a price donít become slaves of other people.
Q: In 1 Cor 8:4, since idols are nothing, why is idolatry so strongly condemned in 1 Cor 10:20, Ex 20:4, Lev 19:4, 26:1,30?
A: An analogy is helpful here. An imaginary parachute is nothing, but relying on a non-existing parachute is doing something deadly. Similarly, an idol is nothing, but putting your trust in an idol is something deadly. God emphasizes in many passages, that you cannot put your trust in both Him and an idol. See When Cultists Ask p.227 and When Critics Ask p.458 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 8:4,7-13, is it OK to eat meat offered to idols, or should we abstain as Acts 15:28-29 says?
A: Romans 14 shows that it could wrong or OK depending on the circumstances.
a) It is wrong to be at a feast celebrating the idol. It is wrong to eat meat from there if you view it as somehow worshipping the idol. Romans 14:23 says that whatever is not of faith is sin.
b) It is OK to eat the meat (with one exception) if you realize that all food came from God, not the idols, and that you are not worshipping any idols.
b2) An exception is if a weaker Christian or a non-Christian would view your eating as compromising your faith. We must not cause others to stumble in Romans 14:10,13, and we should avoid giving the appearance of evil in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 and 2 Corinthians 8:22.
Q: Do 1 Cor 8:5 and John 10:35 teach many gods?
A: No. 1 Corinthians 8:5 refers to all the idols that non-Christians believed in. There are many gods, but there is only One rightfully called God. We should worship the "only wise God" 1 Timothy 1:17 KJV). See also the discussion on John 10:35. Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in Against Hermogenes chapter 4 Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 3 p.479 was one of the first to discuss 1 Corinthians 8:5. He said the many gods are gods in name only, while there is only one true God. Origen (225-253/254 A.D.) also answered this objection in Origen Against Celsus book 8 ch.4 p.641.
Would you eat in an idolís temple, contrary to verse 10 of the same chapter? There are indeed many idol gods, but would you teach that these gods are real, contrary to verse 4? If not, then you cannot use verse 5 to talk about multiple real gods. Verse 6 says that we are different, in that we only believe in one God.
As a side note, the first person to address this question and give essentially the same answer was Irenaeus bishop of Lyons in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.6.5 p.420.
A Mormon once told my Christian roommate, Greg, that there were many gods, but there was only one god of this world, and he worshipped the god of this world. However, the god of this world is Satan according to 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 1 John 5:19. Irenaeus of Lyons (lived 120-202 A.D., wrote 182-188 A.D.) in Fragment 46 p.575 also says the god of this world is Satan.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.595-597, The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.81-82, When Cultists Ask p.227-228, 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.23, and Mormons Answered Verse by Verse p.83-84 for more info.
Q: Does 1 Cor 8:6 teach Jesus is not Almighty God, as Jehovahís Witnesses claim?
A: No. In this verse, the word "God" refers to God the Father, but JWís would have to ignore all the other verses that says that Jesus is God, such as John 20:28-29 and John 8:58. They would have to deny that there are at least two senses of the word God, contradicting Hebrews 1:8 and Hebrews 1:9. They would have to refuse to honor the Son as they honor the Father, contradicting John 5:23 says.
Jehovahís Witnesses try to make a distinction between "Almighty God" (the Father) and "Mighty God", whom they say is the son. While within the Trinity there is a distinction between the three, since God is Almighty, there are either separate gods, as JWís are implying, or there is only One God, and God is Almighty. See When Cultists Ask p.228 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 8:6-13, what should Christians do with regard to ending feasts of Ramadan for Muslims, Divali in India, and other festivals?
A: In general, donít participate in any religious worship. But if you are invited to eat, that might or might not be OK. If a new believer will stumble in their faith, then donít eat. If something would think you are compromising your Christian principles then donít eat. Otherwise, it is fine to receive their hospitality and eat. Of course you can invite them to our celebrations too.
According to one source, the Indian festival of Devali, the festival of lights, is so old, no one knows the reason for it, and it is not really religious. According to another source, the reason they give for Divali in one place it totally different than another place. According to a third source, it is religious, celebrating when the god Rama, incarnated on earth, was allowed to go home after he was exiled. So it gets rather complicated, unless you just donít be around on that day. So if there is any kind of ceremony, skip that. You can eat the food if you are invited. Of course, donít eat anything if you just crash the meal and are not invited.
Q: In 1 Cor 8:6-13, should Christians eat meat that is Halal, that Muslims killed after invoking Allahís blessing on the meat?
A: In pagan temples they prayed over the sacrifice too. The prayer to another god has no effect on the meat, so it is fine for a Christian to eat, unless it might hurt the conscience of another.
Q: In 1 Cor 8:11, how can our actions regarding idol meat "destroy" our Christian brother, since John 10:28 says they will never perish?
A: While the Greek words are the same (with simply a different ending) apoleitai/apoluntai the meaning is different. Genuine Christians disagree on whether believers can lose their salvation. Regardless of that, believers unfortunately can lose their testimony and their clear conscience by eating food when they believe it is wrong to do so.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:1-2, was Paul an apostle to just the Corinthians, or for everyone?
A: Paul himself said he was an apostle not just to the Corinthians, but to all in 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:7; Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; and Titus 1:1.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:1-7, some questioned Paulís authority as an apostle. When Christians improperly challenge the authority of a pastor, elder or other Christian leader today, what can you say to them?
A: The Bible has many examples of people who improperly questioned their leaders. Miriam opposed Mosesí marriage to a Cushite, and God struck her with leprosy in Numbers 12. The Israelites grumbled against Moses are God threatened to disinherit them in Numbers 14:11-12. Korah and his followers rose up against Moses and were swallowed by the earth in Numbers 16:1-36. The people challenged Moses and Aaron about Korah and a plague broke out in Numbers 16:41-50.
If a leader does something that should be brought to the attention of other elders, then bring it up to them. But other than that, we should not gossip about our leaders.
If a leader makes a bad decision or does a wrong thing, you should talk to get that corrected, remembering that we all have made bad decisions or done wrong things. If a leader is involved in soul-perishing heresy, stealing, or unrepentant gross sin, the leader should be removed as leader. But otherwise, you donít want to be like those examples in the Bible and have to stand before Christís judgment at the end.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1774-1775 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:5 and Mt 12:46-47; 13:55-56; Acts 1:14; Gal 1:19, did Jesus have brothers?
A: Yes, Jesus had half-brothers.
Most non-Catholics generally take the plain meaning of these verses, that Jesus did have brothers. Early Christians took this the same way. Jesusí brothers were James (the author of James), Joseph, Simon, and Judas [Jude] (the author of Jude), according to Matthew 13:55-56.
Most Catholics take "brothers" to mean cousins, since the Catholic Church teaches Mary was forever a virgin.
However, the Greek word for cousin, suggenes, which was used in Luke 1:36 and 1:58, was available for Paul and Matthew to use, and they did not. Since some Catholics like to remind people of the importance of Christian tradition, Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) in The Refutation of All Heresies chapter 2 mentions James as the brother of our Lord.
Other verses mentioning Jesusí brothers are Matthew 13:55; Mark 3:31-32, Luke 8:19-20, and John 2:12; 7:3,5,10. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.31 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:5, did Peter (Cephas) have a wife?
A: Besides 1 Corinthians 9:5 saying so, in Matthew 8:14 and Luke 4:38-39, Jesus healed Peterís mother-in-law of fever. Clement of Alexandria (Stromata 193-202 A.D.) and Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History (3:30) also teach that Peter was married and had children.
According to Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History 3:30, "They say, accordingly, that when the blessed Peter saw his own wife led out to die, he rejoiced because of her summons and her return home, and called to her very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, and saying, ĎOh thou, remember the Lord.í Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition toward those dearest to them" (Stromata book 7 ch.2)
Jesus healed Peterís mother-in-law early in his ministry (Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-39). Thus Peter likely was married prior to meeting Jesus.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:12, how can the Gospel of Christ be hindered?
A: "Gospel" is simply the "good news" about Jesus Christ. The communication and the delivery of the Gospel can be hindered by unbelievers. It can also be restricted by believers who, out of fear of persecution or other reasons, do not wish to preach all of it.
One can communicate the Gospel with four simple points.
1. Understand some of who God is, that there is only One Triune God, and we are not to worship any other so-called gods.
2. Realize who we are, that we are born with a sin nature, and need cleansing and forgiveness of our sins. We cannot get to Heaven on our own merits.
3. See that Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, provided the one and only way for anyone to go to Heaven.
4. Realize that we need to call upon God, trust in the Lord, and see that Jesusí blood paid the price for our sins.
After we are born again as children of God, we know that the Holy Spirit dwells inside us, working in us to live pleasing to God. While we will still sin, God is sanctifying us, to make us more Christlike. We to live obediently to Godís commands, be baptized by water, and live a life loving God foremost and loving others.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:12,18-19,22, when should we not exercise the rights that are ours?
A: No one would be smart to exercise a minor right on a trivial detail if it meant giving up a major right on something important. One of our most important "rights", or actually privileges, is to participate with the Holy Spirit in bringing the life-giving message of the gospel to others. We should immediately be willing to give up most of our other rights rather than give up our privilege of doing Godís work.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.523-524 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.243-245 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:14, should everyone who preaches the Gospel make their living off the Gospel?
A: As 1 Corinthians 1:15 shows, this is a privilege, not a command. If is perfectly fine for a godly Christian to make his or her living off of the Gospel, but they do not have to do so.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:16-17, why did Paul have to preach the Gospel, either voluntarily or involuntarily?
A: You can serve God as much or as little as you want. Paul was called to preach the Gospel. He eagerly and voluntarily wanted to preach it. However, he was pointing out that even if he had not desired to preach it, he would still feel compelled to do so because of the trust God had committed to Paul. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.125-126 points out that like Paul, all genuine Christians have a solemn obligation to preach the gospel, and will have to stand before God and give an account before God of what was entrusted to us. Our eternal rewards in Heaven are based on what we do or do not do. In Ezekiel 3:17-21 the Lord told Ezekiel that he would be accountable for someoneís blood if he failed in his duty as a watchman.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:18 (KJV), if Paul is not "abusing his power" in taking money for preaching, do paid ministers abuse their power?
A: No, "abusing his power" is an old-fashioned King James Version expression is better translated "using his right", mentioned in 1 Corinthians 9:14, of earning his living from preaching the Gospel.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:19-23, what are some ways we might give up past scruples for Christ?
A: In Paulís case a devout Jew would not eat pork, shrimp or other foods forbidden in the Old Testament. The Pharisees felt they should not associate with non-Jews. They had numerous other rules too.
Today people have "scruples" such as showering every day. What if you were to go on the mission field in a remote place where you could not do that. Would you then refuse to go? You should not see someone of the opposite sex without clothes, besides your spouse. But what if it were some accident or medical emergency, and it was unavoidable. Would you just walk away when you were needed to help? There are good rules for us to follow in the Christian life, but ultimately it is not about rules; rather it is about doing what God would want us to do and not disobeying Him.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.523-524 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1778 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.974 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:20-23, how is Paul all things to all men?
A: Paul did not compromise his preaching or practice of the truth. However, in Acts 17 and other places he used different approaches in preaching the one true Gospel, and he taught we should modify our practices, on non-essential matters, for the sake of weaker believers (Romans 14), and as much as possible be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
Q: In 1 Cor 9:20; 1 Cor 10:33, is Paul trying to please men as Gal 1:10 says Paul does not?
A: Paul is trying to be all things to all men to win them to Christ, but that does not include compromising the truth.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:24, are we to run to obtain a goal, or not run to obtain a goal, as Rom 9:16 says?
A: We are to strive as though we are obtaining a goal, and Romans 9:16 does not contradict this. Romans 9:16 reminds us that all our striving does not save us; it is God who saves us.
We strive not to get saved, but we strive to show our love and gratitude to God who saved us. See When Critics Ask p.458 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.249 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:24, will only one Christian receive the prize?
A: No, according to 2 Timothy 4:8. However, as a runner does his best to be the first-place winner, we should strive no less diligently that our lives would be a "first-place victory" for Christ.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:24, why is Paul talking to the Corinthians about racing?
A: Perhaps because he knew it was an illustration with which they could relate. The Isthmian games, held near Corinth, were second only to the Olympic games in importance. They were held once every five years. Athletes had a rigorous ten-month training process, and the goal was to win a laurel wreath, and laurel wreaths soon fade.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:26-27, what are some ways our body can master us, if we are not careful?
A: Whenever you feel you just "have" to do something, it is not something God commanded or it is against what God commanded, you should ask if you might have an addition. Do you just "have" to eat a lot, and east every meal, if you are overweight. Do you just "have" to watch a show or movie? Sometimes it is good to "fast" by not doing what your body feels it "has" to do.
The word for "preach" here, keryxas, is interesting. It literally refers to a herald who summons people to come to a race. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.525 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:27, what does the Greek word for "beat" mean?
A: The Greek word hupopiaz means to be punched black and blue. The Corinthians were serious athletes, and boxing and wrestling were among their chief sports.
Q: In 1 Cor 9:27, was there a chance Paul could be cast away? If not, what does this mean?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. From Godís eternal perspective, God knew for certain who would persevere and have eternal live.
2. The elect who go to Heaven can lose their rewards.
3. From our earthly perspective, some can appear to be saved, but in the end go to Hell.
4. Christians disagree on whether or not any genuine Christians can lose their salvation.
See the discussion on Ephesians 1:14 and Hebrews 6:4-10 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 10:1-5, what does this teach us about Godís gifts?
A: Contrasting this section with the end of 1 Corinthians 9, what athletes (spiritual and otherwise) wind by discipline the Israelites lost through indulging their appetites. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 stresses that all, i.e. every single one of the Israelites received these blessings. However, 1 Corinthians 10:5 says that most of the perished in the desert anyway. People today receive the blessings of foundations of godly women and men, mothers and fathers. However, many squander what they were given and what they grew up with.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1368 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1780 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 10:8, who were the 23,000 people who died in one day?
A: Genuine Christians give four interpretations.
1. Exodus 32:28 mentions a time early in the Exodus, when Aaron made the golden calf, and 3,000 were killed by the sword in one day. At the same time, others were killed by plague in Exodus 32:35. See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.141,401, When Critics Ask p.458-459, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.526 for more on this answer.
2. Paul made a numerical typo when he wrote this down. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.597-598 gives this interpretation. This would mean that the Bible is not inerrant (without any error), but they Bible would be infallible (without significant theological error).
3. Numbers 25:9 mentions the time late in the Exodus at Shittim, when the Midianite women tempted the Israelite men and 24,000 men were killed. Two possible ways to resolve the numbers, is:
3a) 23,000 is only one day, and 24,000 is the total
3b) 23,000 is only the people, and 24,000 is the people and the leaders.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.526 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 10 p.249 for more info on 3.
Tertullian said 24,000 died in the plague of Midian, but did not specify in how many days in On Modesty ch.6 p.79
4. Paul is referring to those who died, and 24,000 is a round number, possibly from a Rabbinic tradition. See Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.202-203 for more info on this answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 10:9, since God cannot be tempted, how did the Israelites tempt God here?
A: The Greek word used here can also mean to "test" the Lord. See the discussion on Exodus 17:2.
Q: In 1 Cor 10:10, what does the Bible tell us of the bad things people did?
A: A wise person can learn from otherís mistakes, before making them too. The Bible wants us to be wise.
Q: In 1 Cor 10:13, do we ever have unbearable temptation?
A: No. Regardless of what we might feel at the time, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is true. On our own strength, perhaps we might have unbearable temptation. But when we rely on God, we will never have unbearable temptation. In moments of temptation, we can pray to God, read the Bible, and call on the phone other believers to pray with them. If we cry out to God, he will always provide a way out of the temptation.
Q: Since 1 Cor 10:14, says to flee from idolatry should Christians not wear crosses as Jehovahís Witnesses say?
A: No. See the discussion on Exodus 20:4-5 for the answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 10:20, and Dt 32:16-17, isnít religion always a good thing?
A: No. First what Rev. Moonís false religion called the Unification Church says, and then what the Bible says.
Divine Principle p.9: "Religion came into existence as the means to accomplish the purpose of goodness in following the way of God... according to the intention of the original mind. The need for different kinds of understanding compelled the appearance of various religions."
The Bible has much to say about devoutly religious idolatry.
1 Corinthians 10:20 "...the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God..." (Perhaps a reference to Psalm 106:37)
Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."
Jeremiah 2:5 "...They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves."
There are many other verses against idolatry. The point is that if you want to follow the real God, you have to destroy all your idols.
In the early church, here was Origenís understanding using the Scythian religion as an example, "And although the Scythians may well call Pappaeus the supreme God, yet we will not yield our assent to this; granting, indeed, that there is a Supreme Deity, although we do not give the name Pappaeus to Him as His proper title, but regard it as one which is agreeable to the demon to whom was allotted the desert of Scythia, with its people and language. He, however, who gives God His title in the Scythian tongue, or in the Egyptian or in any language in which he has been brought up, will not be guilty of sin." Origen Against Celsus book 5 ch.46 p.564.
Q: In 1 Cor 10:21,27, are we not to eat what is sacrificed to idols as 1 Cor 10:21 and Acts 15:29 show, or is it OK as 1 Cor 10:27 and 1 Cor 7:4,7 show?
A: 1 Corinthians itself answers this.
1. It is not OK if you are participating in a religious act. (1 Corinthians 10:20-21)
2. Since all food came from God, eating is OK as long as it does not violate your conscience to do so. (1 Corinthians 8:4,8; 10:23-27)
3. It is not OK if it does violate your conscience, or in situations where it caused someone else to stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:9-13; 10:28-30)
Q: In 1 Cor 10:24 (KJV), should every man be "seeking anotherís wealth"?
A: This King James Version expression means we should seek for others to benefit. The literal Greek is "let no man seek his own things, but each one that of the other." (The Interlinear Bible Jay P. Green, Sr. ed. p.889)
Q: Does 1 Cor 11:2-16 show a prohibition of homosexuality?
A: It does not state it, but it implies men and women are not to be in opposite roles. While Romans 1:26-27; Leviticus 18:22,24; 20:13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 are more direct, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 indicate that masculine dress by women, and feminine dress by men, are not what God desires. Kirk R. MacGregor wrote an article on this, "Is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 a Prohibition of Homosexuality?" in Bibliotheca Sacra vol.166 (April-June 2009) p.201-216.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:3, since the word "God" has two meanings in the Bible, is it true that we can call Jesus "god", as in a great and powerful person (1 Cor 8:5; John 10:35-36), but not call him "God" as the one True God (Dt 6:4; 1 Cor 8:6; 1 Cor 11:3) as Jehovahís Witnesses say?
A: There are at least three meanings of the word "God" in the Bible. The widest sense is a perceived powerful being, a so-called god as in 1 Corinthians 8:5 and John 10:35. Another meaning is God the Father (Colossians 1:3 and Ephesians 1:3). A third meaning is Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) is in John 1:1, 20:28-29 and other verses. Another meaning is all Three. Jesus Himself shows He is God in more than the widest meaning in John 10:36 and John 5:22-23. If Jesus only meant He was God in the sense of John 10:35, why did He say John 10:36?
Jehovahís Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.96-97 cogently points out that if JWís would like "one God" in 1 Corinthians 8:6 to prove only the Father and not Jesus is God, then they would have to believe that "one Lord" in the same verse means that Jesus is our Lord and God the Father is not.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:3, how is man the head of woman?
A: In the family the wife is subject to the husband according to 1 Peter 3:1 and Ephesians 4:22,24. When agreement cannot be reached, the wife must obey the husband, as long as it does not contradict what the Bible says. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.599-605 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.528-529 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:3, how is God the "head" of Christ?
A: A human son and father are equally human, and equal in value in Godís eyes, yet the father and son have different roles. The father might send the son somewhere, and the son should obey the father. Similarly, Jesus and the Father are equal in nature and honor, yet they have different roles too. Jesus was the one who came to earth and obeyed the Father (Hebrews 5:8; Philippians 2:7-8).
As a side note, in discussing 1 Corinthians 11:1-3, Ambrose of Milan (340-397 A.D.) in On the Christian Faith 4:3:31, interpreted "God" as God in Trinity, not God the Father. However, the interpretation of almost all others disagrees with Ambrose on this point. The interpretation of Ambrose would be difficult to reconcile with Ephesians 1:3,17 and Hebrews 1:9.
See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.111 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:3, Mt 24:36, and Php 2:7-8, is Jesus less than the Father?
A: Of course Jesus was less than the Father in glory when Jesus was on earth. In heaven, He is equal to God the Father in nature, glory, honor, and other things. He is (in heaven today) less than the Father in the matter of origin (Jesus was begotten of the Father) role, and rank. Roughly, Jesus is equal to the Father the same as a son is equal to his father. Jesus is less than the Father the same as a son is less than his father. The Bible shows both sides, and honest believers can do no less. We are to honor the Son as we honor the Father, as John 5:22-23 commands.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:3, does saying Jesus is less than the Father, in any way, contradict the Trinity?
A: No. If you misunderstand the Trinity, or find others who are ignorant, that detracts nothing from Godís truth. From bishop Theophilus of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.) to now, Christians have continuously taught the Trinity. Christians have taught that Jesus was equal in nature, yet the Father is His head.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:3-9, is this a male chauvinistic passage?
A: Perhaps radical feminist standards, but by Godís standards, no. Men and women are of equal value (Galatians 3:28), but men and women do have different roles, as 1 Corinthians 11:3-9; 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 show. See the discussion on these verses for more info, as well as Hard Sayings of the Bible p.602-605 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.528-529.
As an aside, in Jewish tradition women should have their head covered in worship according to 3 Maccabees 4:6; Mishnah Ketuboth 7:6; The Babylonian Talmud Ketuboth 72a-b. In Greco-Roman culture women should have their head covered in Plutarchís Moralia 3.232c; 4:267b; Apuleius in The Golden Ass 11:10. Also in Ovid The Art of Love 3:135-165. In Greek culture a woman with a shaved head was a disgrace according to Aristophanesí Thesmophoriazysae 837. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.529 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:5, should women wear veils today when they pray?
A: For that culture they should, as a sign of respect and submission to their husbands. Back then, women would have worn veils when they prayed. Genuine Christians disagree on today.
1. Some say that was true because of their culture.
2. Other Christian women do wear head coverings when they are in church. Now Thatís a Good Question p.347-348 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.103 advocate this second view.
See When Critics Ask p.459 for a different answer, and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.602-605.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:10, why should women veil themselves because of angels?
A: While some point out that the Greek word angelos can mean human messenger, the context indicates angelic angels and not just human messengers. Three other interpretations are:
1. Fallen angels: such as the beings in Genesis 6:2-5. (Tertullian (200 A.D.) On the Veiling of Virgins 9 and On Prayer 22). These beings might have been fallen angels alone, or they might have been demon-possessed men. Dressing in a way the culture would consider immodest gives fallen angels opportunities to tempt men.
2. All angels: "Angels were spectators of the church" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.529). Right in the middle of the worship of God that angels, good and bad were observing, a disrespect of their role is most unbecoming. Paul has a similar thought, of angels being present in worship, in 1 Timothy 5:21.
3. Both: Since both of the previous are true, Paul might have had both in mind.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.605-608 for a discussion of all views and why the second view has more weight.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:11-12, how does woman being from man and man being from woman relate to all things being from God?
A: There is no purpose for males of a species apart from females of a species and vice versa. Ultimately, there is no purpose of anything apart from God. As a Russian Christian metaphorically asked, "if a road does not lead to a church, then what good is it?"
Q: In 1 Cor 11:13, what kinds of spiritual truths should we "judge for ourselves" whether or not to accept?
A: We should accept uncritically all truths scripture states. We should test and judge all other alleged truths, including all interpretations of Scripture. It is important not to confuse our interpretation of scripture with what scripture teaches. Proverbs 30:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 4:6 emphasize we must not add to Godís word. Even in the Fall of Eve, both Satan and Eve presented their interpretations as Godís word.
In 1 Corinthians 11:13, Paul is inviting the readers to observe that what Paul is writing here agrees with their perceptions. He is not saying to sit in judgment on Godís word, or that if these truths do not agree with their perceptions, then reject these truths.
Q: Does 1 Cor 11:14 teach that men should not have long hair, and women must have long hair?
A: Some Christians say that is as true today as it was back then. Other Christians say it was cultural. All Christians can agree on three points.
1) Back then, since a woman with a shaved head made her living immorally, Christian women should not have very short hair. It would give the appearance of evil (2 Corinthians 8:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:22).
2) 1 Corinthians 11:14 and Deuteronomy 22:5 both are against men looking like women and women looking like men.
3) If a Christian is wrong on this point, it is a small error compared to worshipping idols or following a false Jesus.
See When Critics Ask p.460-461 for a different answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:14, if a church believes wrong on the length of the hair of men and women, does that prove that church is not a church of God?
A: Before answering that question, letís make a few observations. A church could still be a true local gathering of the one church of God if it, at least temporarily:
a) Tolerated having an immoral member (1 Corinthians 5:1)
b) Division among its members (1 Corinthians 3:3)
c) Had some who were legalistic (Galatians 2:13)
To answer the question: if a church could still be a true church of God with these problems, presumably a church could still be a church of God if they had the wrong opinion about a secondary issue like hair.
However, if one preaches a different Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), or denies the atonement or resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-7), their faith is worthless. As to those who have the form of godliness but deny its power, we are to keep away from them as 2 Timothy 3:5 commands.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:19, why did Paul say there had to be "heresies" among the Corinthians?
A: This word can mean heresies, but here is means factions or divisions. They were not desirable, but they were inevitable among people who were not listening to Godís authority. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.258 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:20-22, what are other examples of the form continuing after the original purpose was lost or hijacked?
A: There are many examples that might be true for some people but not others. All of these things can be good, but at the same time you have to watch out that none of these things become an end in itself.
Theological history and knowledge can help us grow closer to the Lord, give us a sense of perspective, and teach others. But it can become an end in itself and require others to learn many things that have nothing to do with Godís character, our life, or godliness.
Worship music in service is to praise God. But if we are not careful the music can become an end in itself, to sound good to others.
Evangelism is commanded by our Lord, -sort of. Matthew 18:19 commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. It does not say report more number, or get more "converts" who have no intention of making Jesus Lord of their life.
Fellowship is important in the Christian life. However, if fellowship is nothing more than making casual friends and chatting then you are missing out on having deep relationships with other believers. Also, fellowship should not be the primary reason for meeting with other believers, to the exclusion of worship and learning Godís word. Fellowship should be a reason, but a secondary one.
Liturgy and organization in the church service can have meaning. But there is a danger that the meaning is lost and it just becomes merely a ritual.
Even prayer can become vain repetition, just going through the motions. Prayer is vital to Christian Life, but people can pray solely because they know they are supposed to, and not out of love for the Lord.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:23-26, are these the exact words of the Last Supper, or are the words of the Gospels the exact words in Mt 26:21-29; Mk 14:18-24, and Lk 22:14-20?
A: Probably neither is a complete transcript of the Last Supper; a paraphrase can still be true. The point of Paul and the Gospel writers paraphrasing some of the conversation for Last Supper is that we look beyond rote memorization of formulas, to see the common content.
One key point not to overlook is the Lordís Supper was a "supper" or meal. At various times in the Roman Catholic Church the laity (non-priests) were only given the wafer, and not the cup. On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 11:34 shows that it was not a common meal, but a special meal. If you just want a common meal, not waiting for others, then donít eat at the Lordís Supper, just stay home.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1790 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:24, should it say, "broken for you" as the KJV and NKJV say, or should it be "for you" as in the NIV?
A: There are Greek manuscripts for both ways.
"Broken" is absent:
p46 (Chester Beatty II) 100-150 A.D.
Vaticanus 325-350 A.D.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D. (original)
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century (original)
Alexandrinus c.450 A.D.
Athanasius of Alexandria 326-373 A.D.
"Broken" is present
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D. (corrected)
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century (3rd corrector)
Gothic 493-555 A.D.
John Chrysostom 370-407 A.D.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:28-29, how is eating and drinking the Last Supper unworthily sinning against the body and blood of our Lord?
A: How we approach the remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus shows how we value it. It is an extremely serious sin to take lightly what Jesus did for us.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.608-610 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1789 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:28,31, are we supposed to judge ourselves, or not?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
We are to judge ourselves in the sense of evaluating ourselves and seeking how we may live a more Christlike life. Paul is serious when he says to examine ourselves in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6. David asks God to show him anything in him that is offensive in Psalms 139:24.
We are not to judge ourselves, in the sense of comparing ourselves with others, or attempting to determine how we will stand before God.
Q: In 1 Cor 11:29-31, if people take the Lordís Supper unworthily today, will they get sick and die?
A: God can discipline believers then and today, however He wants. It is not automatic that they will get sick, but nothing restricts God from disciplining each believer however He sees fit.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:3, if anyone seriously says three times that Jesus is Lord, are they then saved, as some in the local church of Witness Lee taught?
A: It is only necessary to say these or similar words to accept Jesus one time. However, these words are not a magic formula. No magic formula is sufficient, even if the magic formula is sincerely spoken. Ultimately it is not the words or actions that save us, or even the Gospel that saves, it is God who saves.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:3, does everyone that says ĎJesus is Lordí saying this by the Holy Spirit?
A: No. It is not the uttering of syllables in a language that counts, but the meaning of those words. A person can say ĎJesus is Lordí, in any language, and really accept Jesus as their only Lord, only by the Holy Spirit.
This verse also says something about our abilities apart from God. Apart from the Holy Spiritís working, fallen man is not able to genuinely acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:7 and arguably Rom 8:9-11, does every Christian have a manifestation of the Spirit? In other words, if you do not have a manifestation, does that mean you are not a true Christian?
A: Every true Christian has either one of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-31, or else other gifts that are not listed here. Nothing in 1 Corinthians 12 says this list is exhaustive. Not all of these gifts are "spectacular" such as miracles, healing, and speaking in tongues. Some are gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and helps. Romans 12:6-8 mentions other gifts.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:7-11, who exactly are the spiritual gifts for, and why?
A: 1 Corinthians 12:7 says that a spiritual gift is NOT primarily for the person who has been given it; rather it is for the common good. We need it to help others, especially other believers. If you have a spiritual gift, and you are not using it for the benefit of the body of Christ, then you are squandering your spiritual gift.
We should understand spiritual gifts, and 1 Corinthians 12 teaches three aspects. It speaks of the source of the gifts (12:1-11, the diversity of gifts 12:12-31a) and the Importance of love with the gifts (12:31f013:13). See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.261 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:7-11, what are each of these spiritual gifts?
A: Here is a brief description.
Wisdom Ė Applying Godís word to our lives and current situations
Knowledge Ė Not just knowing facts, but especially knowing Godís word and thus His general will.and desires.
Faith Ė Total belief and trusting in God to pray something to happen to fruition.
Healings Ė Physical and sometimes psychological healing
Miracles Ė Other miracles that glorify God
Prophecy Ė Revealing Godís specific will for current situations
Discerning Spirits Ė Knowing the source of the Spirits, typically behind people to motivate and influence them. One time I was outside waiting for someone and a stranger came up and started talking with me. But before he had said anything, a small still voice in my head said "Unification Church" (of the false Christ Rev. Moon)
Speaking in tongues Ė The supernatural ability to speak in a language unknown to the speaker.
Interpretation of tongues Ė Being able to interpret in a language people can understand, what someone speaking in tongues said.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:7-11, are these all of the spiritual; gifts?
A: No, these are not all of the gifts, as Ephesians 4:11-12 gives a list of gifts with some similarities and some differences. It is not as though we can have a list of gifts and definitely say, "God canít give any other ones."
Q: In 1 Cor 12:12-26, how can Christians with different spiritual gifts work together better as a team?
A: There are at least three things to think about: synergies, hindrances, and development.
Synergies: Donít think you, or other believers similar to you, have to do things all alone. Look for opportunities to utilized gifts that other believers have.
Hindrances: Stop worrying about which mortal human gets the credit; the credit should go to God. Donít view other believers as competition, or a threat, but rather as teammates. Donít have pride in your spiritual gift, and donít feel less important because you donít have a particular gift. Our differences should not divide us into factions, but rather unite us as a co-workers.
Development: Many people want to know their own spiritual gifts and how to develop and use their spiritual gifts. That is good, but why also ask what are the spiritual gifts or potential spiritual gifts in others, and how can you be a catalyst in them developing and using them for the good of the church.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1790-1792 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:28 (KJV), what is the gift of "governments"?
A: This is the gift of administration.
Q: Does 1 Cor 12:28 show that we are to have apostles today?
A: As for the twelve apostles, no. But there are three meanings of the word "apostle".
1. The Greek word for apostle can mean "one sent". Barnabas was a messenger and an apostle in this sense in Acts 4:36 and 14:14. In earlier centuries in the Greek it could refer to an admiral in the navy. While there are apostles today, since there are mailmen, and naval officers, that meaning of apostle is not what we are referring to here.
2. Revelation 21:14 says the city of the New Jerusalem will have exactly twelve foundations, and on them will be the names of the twelve "apostles of the Lamb". Since the twelve apostles have already lived, there are no more "apostles of the Lamb".
3. There is a third sense of the use of the word "apostle" in the New Testament. Just as there can be false prophets and teachers, 2 Corinthians 11:13 and Revelation 2:2 show there can be people who masquerade as apostles. They are false apostles, which were not sent from God.
See When Cultists Ask p.230-231 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:28-31, what are some roles using these spiritual gifts?
A: Here is a brief description of the gifts lists here.
Apostles Ė In a major way, these who were the foundation of the church according to Ephesians 2:20, many of whom were involved in writing the New Testament. Since scripture is finished, and it is complete and sufficient, and we already have all of the essential truth we need, we donít have or need apostles like this today. In a lesser way, there are people who lead groups of churches though.
Prophets Ė In a major way, these also the foundation of the church according to Ephesians 2:20, many of whom were involved in writing the Old Testament. Since scripture is finished, from the time of John the Baptist on we did not need scripture-writing prophets. However, in a lesser way, even after John the Baptist, the church has needed prophets, such as Agabus in Acts 21:10-11 so that Godís people could better understand Godís working in their time.
Teachers Ė While the church needs teachers, James 3:1-2a cautions that let not many of us become teachers, as God will judge teachers with greater strictness. It is one thing to believe false doctrine, but it is another to teach and convince others of false doctrine.
Miracles Ė Those who do miracles have one of the more "Spectacular-looking" gifts. There was a church in Austin that believed all of the spiritual gifts have passed away. Then the pastor, very-well versed in the scriptures, got terminal cancer. People prayed over him, and he was miraculously healed. Then the church changed their view: they said all the gifts have passed away except for healing. Couldnít they consider the possibility that there might still be other spiritual gifts too?
Healings - Some have a supernatural gift of being vessels through which God heals people of physical diseases. Others, such as doctors and nurses, have studied hard and have natural gifts. Whether you have a supernatural or natural gift for helping others, you should help others.
Helps Ė Some have financial time, time, a house or property, or other resources that can be used to further Godís kingdom. But with the resources we have, we have to be careful to remember "donít let doing good things keep you from doing the best things."
Administrations Ė Also called government, this is the gift to govern Godís people. On one side it involves seeing the challenges, problems, and threats to Godís people and to address them. On the other side, it means seeing the opportunities and people and places where development can occur, and mobilizing to enable to people to seize those opportunities and open doors. Finally it also involves formulating a coherent strategy to move the church in directions where it is better able to serve and glorify God.
Tongues Ė Speaking in unknown human tongues for the primary purpose of convicting unbelievers as 1 Corinthians 14:22. Speaking on unknown tongues of people or angels, with love, is also glorifying God in 1 Corinthians 13:1. God would not have "muddied the waters" of having Paul even mention tongues of angels in 1 Corinthians 13:1 if there were no tongues of angels.
As an aside, nothing in 1 Corinthians 12 says this is an exhaustive list, or that there might be subcategories within these. These are just important examples of some different roles within the church, the point being how these roles are all supposed to work together. Having a local church with almost all the members having just one of these is not at all what God wants.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:30, are all true Christians supposed to be speaking in tongues, or not?
A: Both non-Charismatic and some Charismatic Christians agree that most Christians do not have the gift of speaking in tongues mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:30, just as most are not apostles and prophets.
Non-Charismatic Christians say that even in Paulís time, all Christians were not supposed to speak in tongues, period.
Most Charismatic Christians differentiate between a few having gifts of public speaking in tongues in church and private speaking in tongues in private prayer. Many, but not all say all Christians ought to (but unfortunately do not) use the private speaking in tongues. The sole scriptural support that all should be speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5) is indirect at best.
Many Charismatics link the term "baptism of the Holy Spirit" with speaking in tongues and believe this is a second blessing that non-Charismatics do not have. However, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1794 states flatly that it is wrong to teach that everyone has the gift of tongues, or that tongues are the [one and only] sign of baptism of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:1,5 says that Paul wishes all spoke in tongues, but rather that they prophesy. This phrasing is similar to when Eldad and Medad were prophesying in Numbers 11:27-29, and Joshua told Moses to stop them. Moses replied, "I wish that all the Lordís people were prophets." This does not mean that every Israelite was supposed to be a prophet.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.610-613, as well as the next question for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:30, do at least some Christians genuinely speak in tongues today?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this.
Charismatics: believe the gift is in practice today. As one Charismatic friend explained, Charismatics can be categorized as "Charismatics with a big C" and "Charismatics with a little C". Charismatics with a big C emphasize the spiritual gifts as much as they emphasize Christ. They do not often want to work in unity with non-Charismatics. Charismatics with a little C, while believing non-Charismatics are wrong on this doctrine, can see that non-Charismatic Christians are used by God in many other ways, and want to work with them, because the Christ that unites us is greater than the non-essential doctrines that divide us.
Cultic Oneness Pentecostals: besides denying the Trinity, teach that everyone today who does not speak in tongues is going to Hell.
Anti-Charismatics: teach that all God-given speaking in tongues passed away a long time ago, and no speaking in tongues should be permitted in any Christian meeting, and 1 Corinthians 14:39 is a verse of the New Testament that should be ignored today.
Other Non-Charismatics: Differ on whether or not speaking in tongues, or all spiritual gifts have passed away. They either believe that some speaking in tongues could be genuine, or believe all speaking in tongues is not divinely inspired, but nobody is perfect and this is a kind of error that can be tolerated, and 1 Corinthians 14:39 is not to be ignored today.
Caution: It is wrong to say that all speaking in tongues today is Satanic. Non-Charismatics and many Charismatics agree that at least some attempts at speaking in tongues are neither from God nor Satan, but someone foolishly trying to speak in tongues with their own natural abilities.
Q: In 1 Cor 12:31 (KJV), why should we covet the spiritual gifts, since Ex 20:17 says coveting is wrong?
A: This Greek word is better translated "eagerly desire". 1 Corinthians 12:31 says we are to eagerly desire the spiritual gifts, while Exodus 20:17 does not deny this, but says we are not to covet possessions or people that belong to our neighbor. On the other hand, when God gives you a spiritual gifts, God has a "no returns policy". See When Critics Ask p.461 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 13:7-8, why should we always trust others, since Mic 7:5-6 and Jer 9:4-5; 17:5 says we are not?
A: We are to trust others, but we are not to trust in others. Even when we trust others, there are qualifications.
Jeremiah 9:4-5 and Micah 7:5-6 instruct the prophet, and believers living in those dark times, not to trust in their neighbors, or even their own household.
Jeremiah 17:5 says one who puts their trusts in man (either himself or others) instead of God is cursed.
1 Corinthians 13:7-8 gives us the ideal for love. The Greek words, panta pisteuei, literally mean "to have faith in all". The Greek word here for faith does not mean mere intellectual assent, but a saving faith that includes putting our trust or dependence on as well as intellectual assent.
Since no one seriously thinks Paul is advocating belief in false prophets and lies that you have to disbelieve Godís word to believe, what does believing all mean? This phrase is not saying to believe all people, but to believe all of the truth. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.535 points out that the things we are to especially believe are going just a page or two in our Bible in 1 Corinthians 15:11.
See Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible by Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.262 for more info.
Q: Does 1 Cor 13:9-11 prove that spiritual gifts have passed away?
A: The three gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (knowledge, prophecy, and tongues) will pass away when the "perfect" comes. "Perfect" could refer to perfect thing, state, or person. Three possibilities for this condition are:
1) Completion of the New Testament
2) When the church has matured enough
3) When Christ comes again
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.536 is a commentary by the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary. It declares that interpretation 1) is unlikely, because it does not fit with 1 Corinthians 13:12. They say that there is much to commend the third view. Zechariah 13:3-6 also says that after a fountain is opened to cleanse Jerusalem from sin and impurity, the spirit of prophecy will pass away. Likewise the New International Bible Commentary p.1377 also says, "To suggest that perfection refers to the completion of the Canon of Scripture fails to find any support in the biblical usage of Ďperfectí, or in any of its cognate forms. Such an interpretation exists only by virtue of the need to explain the absence of certain charismata in many churches today." (italics in the original)
Some say if 1 Corinthians 13:9-11 proves speaking in tongues has passed away, then knowledge has passed away too, and perfection has already come. However, it might not be knowledge that passes away, but the supernatural gift of knowledge.
Q: In 1 Cor 13:12, did they use bronze or glass for mirrors back then?
A: Mirrors today are different than they were 2,000 years ago. (They did not have telescopes or microscopes back then either.) Mirrors today have a silver backing behind that glass, and that invention was only developed in the 1800ís. The Greek word here means "mirror" which could be out of any material. Many translations say "mirror" but the KJV and NKJV say "glass" as that would mean mirror or looking glass hundreds of years ago.
Mirrors during that time were commonly made of polished bronze, which can be made very flat, but it does not give a very clear image. However, in Asia Minor some luxury mirrors were made of obsidian glass even prior to Abrahamís time. Just after the time of Paul, the Roman writer Pliny the Elder in his book Natural History of the World mentions using glass in mirrors. However, this luxury would not typically be used by common people, and even the best glass or obsidian mirrors back then would not be flat but have a distorted image.
Q: In 1 Cor 13:13, if someone has faith, hope, and love, why do they need to read the Bible any more or know doctrine?
A: Faith, hope, and love, do not mean faith in faith, hope for anything, and love of self. These mean faith in God, hope in Godís promises, and love for God and others.
We need to know more about the God we have faith in, to realize that our hope is sure, and to love Him and other people more. In Ephesians 1:17, Paul; writes that they may know God better, that we might know the hope to which God has called us.
Q: In 1 Cor 14, in summary what is Paul saying?
A: Paul said to the Corinthians the following:
1. He spoke in tongues, and it was good for each one of them to desire to speak in tongues. (verses 5a,18)
2. Each should desire to prophecy more than speaking in tongues (verses 1,5b, 19).
3. The legitimate purpose for speaking in tongues (verses 2,4a) and prophecy (verses 3,4b).
4. They over-emphasized speaking in tongues; they should instead emphasize gifts that build up the church (verses 4-5,26,28).
5. The correct way to practice speaking in tongues in church is in an orderly manner, at most two or three, with an interpreter (verses 6-13, 26-33).
6. Do not forbid orderly speaking in tongues with an interpreter (verse 39).
Q: In 1 Cor 14:1,5,12, should we seek spiritual gifts?
A: Yes. We should seek every good thing God wants to give us. Also, if we have a spiritual gift, no scripture says we should then stop desiring other gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:31 says we are to [always] desire the spiritual gifts, and 1 Corinthians 14:12 and 1 Peter 4:10-11 mention that we should try to excel at the gifts we have. Nevertheless, we should not seek the gifts more than we seek closeness with God. Paul, in wishing they all had spiritual gifts, is echoing Moses, who said he wished that all of Godís people prophesied in Number 11:29f).
There are three cautions on spiritual gifts. First, anything besides God can become an idol, even a spiritual gift. Donít desire a spiritual gift more than God. Second, donít be defined by your spiritual gifts. Your identity is as a child of God, not the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given you. Third, if you know that the Holy Spirit has given you a spiritual gift, donít let that stop you from seeking spiritual gifts; the Holy Spirit can give you more of that gift, or additional spiritual gifts, later.
See the discussion on 1 Corinthians 12:30 for more on whether or not speaking in tongues and prophesy are for today.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:1,5, is Paul telling the Corinthians they should desire the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy, or not?
A: See the discussion on 1 Corinthians 14 for the answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:3-4, how exactly are we to edify/build up others?
A: When someone builds something, it is not what they do that matters so much, as what gets done. For example, if someone builds a brick all, then tears it down, then builds it up again, then tears it down again, at the end of the day, have they built anything? Edifying others is not so much about the motions we go through in ministering to others, but what we accomplish (or try to accomplish) in their lives.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:21, why did Paul say this quote came from the Law (Torah), since it actually came from Isa 28:11-12?
A: The Sadducees and others only accepted the first five books of the Bible as the Torah, but the Pharisees considered all the Old Testament Torah. See the Wycliffe Bible Commentary p.65 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:22-25, how is speaking in tongues a sign for unbelievers and prophecy a sign for believers?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
A mystery: Speaking in tongues (with no interpreter) will be a mystery to unbelievers, causing them to think you are mad, and that is improper. (1 Corinthians 14:23)
Evidence: When an unbeliever hears proper prophesying, and hears the secrets of his heart laid bare, he will see this as evidence that God is among us. (1 Corinthians 14:25)
Both: Revelation (prophecy) and tongues each had a proper place in the Corinthian church. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
Q: In 1 Cor 14:23, should Christians ever do things that will prompt other people to think Christians are crazy?
A: Yes and no, properly understood.
1. Some non-believers think Christians are mad just for living as Christians. This is unavoidable, and Christians should obey God with little regard to what others think. Jesus and the prophets were accused of being mad and/or of the devil.
2. However, we should not anything for the sole purpose of making people think we are mad, since it does not edify. The only example in the Bible was done by David in fear, out of desperation, in 1 Samuel 21:13-15.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:28, should people speak in tongues in church without an interpreter? What about singing in the spirit?
A: 1 Corinthians 14:28 is clear: no speaking in tongues in church (public or private) without an interpreter.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:32, since the spirits of the prophets are under the control of the prophets, does this prove the Holy Spirit is not God, as one non-Trinitarian claims?
A: No. First an explanation of the logic, and then the answer. Since A) the spirits of the prophets are under the control of the prophets, and B) God is not under our control, therefore: the Holy Spirit is not God.
While A and B are true, the argument is invalid: the spirits of people are not the Holy Spirit.
Do not forget the "s": The word "spirits" is plural, not singular in the Greek. Aland et alís list of manuscript variations shows no manuscript that says otherwise. Plural is the unanimous translation of the KJV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, NRSV, Jay P. Greenís literal translation, Williams, Kenneth S. Wuestís translation, and George Ricker Berryís translation.
Each person has a spirit, soul, and body, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:23. The "spirits" in 1 Corinthians 14:32 are neither the Holy Spirit, nor demonic "familiar" spirits, but the gift or spirit of prophecy that is given by the Holy Spirit to the person. One can read John Chrysostomís Homily on 1 Corinthians (p.219) and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.540 for more info.
However, the "spirits of the prophets" are still in communication with the Holy Spirit, and Novatian mistakenly used this verse in speaking of the Holy Spirit, and paraphrasing the verse as singular "spirit" in Treatise on the Trinity chapter 29.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:33, how come God is not the author of confusion, since God confused mankindís language at the tower of Babel in Gen 11:7-8?
A: The Greek word for "confusion" can mean "disorder" or "tumult". God is not the author of confusion in the churches, but on occasion He does confuse the thoughts, plans, and languages of those who are in revolt against God. See Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.77 for more info.
Q: Since 1 Cor 14:33 says God is not a God of disorder or confusion, does this verse prove thus prove the Trinity is false as Jehovahís Witnesses claim in their booklet, Should You Believe in the Trinity (1989) p.4?
A: - not hardly. Jesus coming to earth could not be comprehended by the Pharisees, not because they were not intelligent enough, but the Messiah coming to them could fit into their theology or plans.
Jehovahís Witnesses almost universally say the Trinity is false. Mormons generally say so, though I have met a few that say the Trinity is true. With Jehovahís Witnesses and both types of Mormons though, the issue has not been as much denying the Trinity as not even understanding what the Trinity really is. See the discussion on Matthew 28:19 for a seven point summary of what God has revealed in the Bible about the Trinity.
The mysterious aspects to the true God are great, as Paul points out in 1 Timothy 3:16. In fact, in the same book Jehovahís Witnesses grab this verse from Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 says that people without Godís spirit will not understand Godís wisdom. While it is not confusing to true believers who have been instructed, one can see how Jehovahís Witnesses could call their lack of understanding on this confusion.
See When Cultists Ask p.231-232 and The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.66-67 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:33 and Rom 15:33, since God is the author of peace, why is God is warlike in Ex 15:3 and Isa 51:15?
A: As a human analogy, a country could desire nothing but peace, yet wage war fiercely when it or an ally is attacked. God being the author of peace does not prevent Him from also being warlike. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, yet in Revelation Jesus will come and essentially wage war, slaughtering entire armies. See Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.92 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:34-35 and 1 Tim 2:11,12, why were women silent in the churches, since they prophesied in New Testament times in Acts 2:18; 21:9, and 1 Cor 11:5?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this answer. Many Christians point out that the word can mean chattering. Other Christians say it was at that time in that culture. Other Christians believe this still applies today.
1. Assuming 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 prohibits all talking in church, it only refers to "in the churches." No verse prohibits believing women prophesying outside of the church.
2. Some say the Greek word in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 may refer to "chatter", and while prophesying, praying, and singing is fine for them, chattering is not. However, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1802 says that the word did not mean chatter in Koine Greek. "The same word is used of God in verse 21 of this chapter, and in Hebrews 1:1. It means to speak authoritatively." Women both prophesied and prayed in the church service in 1 Corinthians 11:5.
Regardless, 1 Timothy 2:11,12 says women were to learn in quietness and not to teach men.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.613-616 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 14:38, should the word be "ignorant" or "ignored"?
A: If nothing else, this is an interesting study of how Bible manuscripts differ. The difference in Greek is two letters ("ai" vs. "w"). The third edition of the Greek New Testament (ed. by Aland et al.) classifies this manuscript variation as "B" - "some degree of doubt"
Ignored - is in the following:
Original Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
Alexandrinus [A] c.450 A.D.
Bohairic [Boh] and Sahidic [Sah] Coptic 3rd/4th century
Origenís Greek 225-253/254 A.D.
Later Syriac 6th-7th century
Ignorant - is in the following:
p46 (Chester Beatty II) 100-150 A.D.
Old Syriac 4th-5th century
Correction in Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Alexandrinus correction c.450 A.D.
Latin Vulgate [Vg] 4th and 5th centuries
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Summary: Ignored appears most promising for those who favor the original Alexandrian manuscript tradition. The NIV favors this, but mentions both. Ignorant appears most promising for those who the favor the earliest manuscript and the Latin and Byzantine manuscript families. The KJV and NKJV mention just "ignorant". Either way, this variation arose early, 200-254 A.D. Finally, though this is one of the two or three most significant variations in 1 Corinthians does this really matter if we are ignorant of it, or else ignore it?
Q: In 1 Cor 15:1-4, what about some liberal Christians who claim to be Christian, yet deny that Christ died for our sins, and that he actually rose again on the third day?
A: As 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says, sadly, their faith is worthless. Unfortunately, unless they change, they will go to Hell when they die. Other verses that show the primacy of the atonement are Romans 3:25, 5:6-10, 1 John 2:2, Hebrews 9:11 - 10:18, and John 1:29 are a few of the many others verses that stress the centrality of the atonement.
An interesting note is that even the Jewish skeptic Isaac Asimov, in Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.1023 says, "Jamesí conversion to belief may have come about through a sight of the resurrected Jesus. At least Paul, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians lists him among the witnesses to the resurrection:" If even a skeptic like Asimov can consider the possibility that people saw the resurrected Jesus, he was doing better than some liberal Christians who could not even entertain the idea.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:1-4, was Jesus not bodily raised because Jesusí body was invaded by Satan, as Rev. Moon claims?
A: First what Rev. Moonís Divine Principle (fifth ed. 1977) actually says, and then the answer from the Bible.
Divine Principle p.170 "Man has hitherto entertained the wrong idea that the expiration of manís physical life is the death brought about by the fall. Consequently, we have believed that the resurrection of the passed-away saints would be realized through the restorations of their once corrupted and decomposed physical bodies to their original state."
Divine Principle p.170 "Therefore, Ďresurrectioní means the phenomena occurring in the process of manís restoration, according to the providence of restoration, from the state of having fallen under Satanic dominion, back to the direct dominion of God."
Divine Principle p.289 "Due to manís fall, even manís dead body was invaded by Satan....[Jacob, Moses] After the death of Jesus, there also were problems concerning his body (Matthew 28:12-13)."
Divine Principle p.360 "As we well know through the Bible, Jesus after the resurrection was not the same Jesus who had lived with his disciples before his crucifixion. He was no longer a man seen through physical eyes.... He once suddenly appeared in a closed room..."
Divine Principle p.360-361 "Jesus, in order to save mankind, had established the spiritual foundation of faith..., after giving up his physical body to the cross as a sacrifice."
Divine Principle p.147-148 "Because the Jewish people disbelieved Jesus and delivered him up for crucifixion, his body was invaded by Satan, and he was killed. Therefore, even when Christians believe in and become one body with Jesus, whose body was invaded by Satan, their bodies still remain subject to Satanís invasion."
What the Bible Says:
In John 2:19-21 Jesus specifically talked about raising His body. Either Jesus was wrong, or Rev. Moon was wrong.
Philippians 3:21 tells of the great promise that Jesus will transform our bodies to be like His glorious body. It is hard to see Unificationists (those who follow Rev. Moon) getting too excited about what Paul joyfully wrote.
In John 20:24-28, either Jesus deceived Thomas by fooling Thomas into thinking Jesus had a physical body, or else Jesus really did have a physical body.
Acts 2:31-32 says that Jesusí body did not see decay. This strongly implies that Jesusí body was not invaded by Satan.
Conclusion: Either Jesus and the apostles were wrong, or Rev. Moon must be wrong.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:1-4,12-16, does all Christianity fall if Jesusí resurrection could somehow be proven to not have occurred?
A: Yes it does. But even by the standards of rules of evidence in the American legal system, you could show in a court of law that it occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. While there is not space to give all the arguments for the resurrection, the arguments generally fall into three categories.
1. Godís prophecy in the Old Testament
2. Eyewitness accounts
3. Writings of others, both friendly and hostile
4. Inability to find a suitable motive, means, and explanation for the missing body
5. The subsequent testimony of the apostles, eleven out of twelve who suffered and died for Christ. If anyone would know if it were a fraud, they would. Nobody would die for what they themselves believed was a lie. As one Christian pastor put it, either the tomb is empty or our faith is empty.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:1-4, what are the earliest non-Biblical references to the Christian teaching that Christís blood saved us?
A: This is First Clement chapters 21 and 49, which was written in 96-98 A.D. This was written even before the book of Revelation.
The second extra-Biblical reference is from Ignatius (died either 107 or 116 A.D.) in his letter to the Smyrnaeans chapter 6 says that unless one believes in the blood of Christ, he will be condemned.
The third reference is the Epistle of Barnabas (c.70-130 A.D.) in chapter 5 among other places.
After this, the order is a little murky. Polycarp (110-155 A.D.) referred to the atonement in his short letter to the Philippians chapter 1. He said, "... Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sins suffered even unto death, [but] whom God raised from the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave."
The Epistle to Diognetus (c.130-200 A.D.) mentions God sending His own Son as a ransom for us in a sweet exchange in chapter 9.
In contrast to this, much of liberal Christianity has been summarized as a "bloodless Christianity".
Q: In 1 Cor 15:4, St. Paul says that Jesus Christ "was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures". "Scriptures" means the Old Testament. Where was it mentioned in the Old Testament that Jesus would rise from death, and specifically in the third day?
A: That the Messiah would be cut off (killed) is in Daniel 9:26 and Isaiah 53:8-9,12. His resurrection is prophesied in Isaiah 53:11 and Psalm 16:9-10.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:5, how did Jesus appear to the "Twelve", since Judas had already left?
A: There were over 70 disciples but "the twelve" was a synonym for the inner circle, a synonym for the disciples, even though Judas was not present. Alternately, this could refer to an appearance after Matthias had already been chosen to replace Judas in Acts 1:21-26. Since people commonly use figures of speech and approximations, the first explanation is most likely the correct one.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:5-8, why did Jesus appear only to believers?
A: He did not appear only to those who already believed in Him. James, his brother, did not believe prior to the resurrection. Thomas was full of doubts in John 20:24-29 prior to Jesus appearing to Him. Paul was hardly a believer when Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:1-9.
It is true that everyone who say Jesus after his resurrection believed in Him, but then, what would you expect? See When Critics Ask p.461 and When Cultists Ask p.232-233 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:5-8 and Acts 10:40, why did Jesus only appear to some?
A: 1 Corinthians 15:6 says Jesus appeared to over five hundred people. See When Cultists Ask p.233-234 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:6 is Paul writing that there are over 500 people who saw Jesus after his resurrection similar to all those today who say they have seen Elvis after he died?
A: Admittedly Paul saying 500 people saw Jesus is not as strong as 500 writings of independent testimonies. However, Paulís assertion of over 500 people combined with the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Peter (1 and 2 Peter) should add credibility, not detract from it.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:10, why was Paul boasting, since a person should not boast?
A: Like David in the Psalms, Paul the apostle was free to tell us how he felt. Four points:
1. What Paul said was true, He did do more work.
2. Paul did not boast in Himself, but said it was not him, but the grace of God
3. Yes, Paul might have boasted here when he should not have.
4. It is not inconsistent with the inspiration for Paul, who was not sinless, to tell us this. The inspiration of scripture is not that God mechanically inspired them by telling them every single consonant and vowel. Rather, God chose these men, and gave them the experiences, wisdom, and direct communication from His spirit in tandem, for them to write scripture.
See the discussion on 2 Corinthians 10:13-15 for more info and When Critics Ask p.452-453 for a slightly different answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:12-19, why do many tend to deny Christís resurrection?
A: There are at least four possible reasons.
1) In Greek and Roman culture, while there was a concept of an immortal soul, there was no concept of people rising from the dead.
2) They had never observed that happening in nature. The only except is belief in a mythical creature, the phoenix, that every 1,000 years burned itself to death and then was reborn. Today, people who trust in science as their faith (called scientism) deny that natural laws can be broken. But as one pastor said, once you get past the miracle of God creating the universe, the rest is easy.
3) Rising from the dead would be impossible, without admitting there are miracles from God.
4) Ethically, if Jesus rose from the dead, then that would show Jesus was correct in saying that they would rise from the dead, and they had better take care how they live their life now.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1382 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:12-19, how would someone life differently, believing Christ did and we will rise from the dead, versus someone who did not believe that?
A: There once was a woman who was being counseled by a psychologist prior to having an amputation. The psychologist was surprised at how calmly she was taking everything. Finally she asked the psychologist, "it will grow back, right?"
Like the woman, except in reverse, we know that our bodies, as they get injured and aged, will grow back, except that they will be better than they ever were before. Our attitude towards life, towards adversity, and towards relationships should be totally different. Even the first million years that we are in heaven, with our resurrected bodies, is a lot longer than the time we are currently "down below". We are just passing through on our way to our real home.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:18, why are Paul and others to be pitied if Christ has not been raised?
A: It was not fun to be stoned and left for dead, fight wild beasts, and later to be shipwrecked. Paul endured a lot in this life for the sake for seeing God in the next. But if there was no resurrection, then it was all in vain.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1805 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:20,22, is the first fruits Christ, or some believers?
A: The first fruits is Christ: The NKJV says, "... Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christís at His coming. The NIV says, "...Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him." The NIV Study Bible p.1756, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1806, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.543, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 10 p.285 all say this is Christ.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:20, since Jesus was the first fruits of those to be raised, what about Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead earlier?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
Chronological: Lazarus was raised with his regular physical body that would still die. Jesus was chronologically the first person who was raised with a glorified physical body that would never die or decay (Acts 13:35-39).
Positional: Even ignoring the chronology, first fruits also means foremost, and Jesus has the position of the first fruits of everyone who is raised.
Jesus was the first ever raised with a glorified physical body, and He is also the foremost of those who will be raised. See When Critics Ask p.463 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:22, how come all died in Adam, and how come they are all made alive in Christ?
A: All are made alive in Christ in three ways.
1. All people are made alive by the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:5) before the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:12-14. A person has to be alive to experience the second death.
2. The offer of salvation and justification is made available to all (Romans 11:32; Titus 2:11; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; 4:10). Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the whole world in 1 John 2:2.
3. All who believe will have the justification applied to them (1 Timothy 4:10). and live forever in Heaven with God.
Q: Is 1 Cor 15:22 false because all of the prophets were sinless, as Bahaíis teach in Some Questions Answered p.118-121?
A: 1 Corinthians 15:22 says that all descendants of Adam sinned, and that includes all the prophets except Jesus. It is a common Muslim misconception, which Bahaíis have inherited that all of the prophets were sinless. Yet this leads to strange contradictions. Jonah (the godly prophet Yunus to Muslims) ran away to Tarshish and was swallowed by a great fish. Was there no sin in running away? Adam is considered a prophet by Muslims, yet if he did not sin in the Garden of Eden, doesnít your definition of sin become a meaningless phrase? Moses was forbidden to enter the Promised Land because of his losing his temper at Meribah. Since the Lord was angry with Moses in Deuteronomy 3:26, can the Lord be angry with someone who has never sinned?
There is a lesson for everyone here. Sometimes peopleís distorted preconceptions almost force them to twist the Bible to suite their preconceptions.
Q: Does 1 Cor 15:23 show that Mary was taken bodily into Heaven as some Catholic theologians teach?
A: No. It would be hard to believe that any Catholic would appeal to 1 Corinthians 15:23 in speaking of the alleged assumption of Mary, except that When Cultists Ask p.234 says that Ludwig Ott mentioned "the possibility" of this referring to Mary in Ludwig Ottís book, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (edited by James Canon Bastible. Published by Tan Books 1960 p.208).
Apparently, since 1 Corinthians 15:23 says that everyone goes to Heaven in his [or her] own order, and Christ went to Heaven first, then this somehow shows that Mary went second.
Since this passage does not mention Mary, it is sort of like saying that
1. If Mary was bodily taken into Heaven, Mary must be the first fruits mentioned here.
2. If Mary was the first fruits mentioned here, then Mary was bodily taken up into Heaven.
Perhaps the circular reasoning of the argument is the reason Ott said this was just a possibility, and scriptural proof of Maryís assumption was not to be found.
Besides the circular reasoning, a second problem with this argument is that 1 Corinthians 15:22-25 is discussing not assumption, but resurrection. Jesus was the first resurrected with an immortal body. Catholics and Protestants agree that whatever happened to Mary at the end of her earthly life, she was not resurrected. Finally, even if this was discussing bodily assumption into Heaven and not resurrection from the dead, Enoch and Elijah were taken into Heaven prior to Christ.
The attempted use of this verse is instructive to show how far some clever theologians have to go to support the bodily assumption of Mary, though Ott must be credited with honesty, for saying that Scriptural proof is not found.
See When Cultists Ask p.234 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:24, will Christís kingdom really come to an end and will He give everything over to God the Father, or will Christís kingdom endure forever as Lk 1:33 and Heb 1:8 say?
A: Both are true. Christís kingdom has two aspects. Jesus is a conquering king, defeating His enemies, and that part will come to an end. Jesus is the everlasting Prince of Peace, and that part will never end. See Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.137-138 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:25-28, since all will be put under Christ, does that mean all will go to Heaven, as the heresy of universalism teaches?
A: No. Being put under Christ, does not mean one will go to Heaven. Inanimate rocks and demons will be put under Christ, and they will not go to Heaven. See the discussion on Colossians 1:20, Romans 5:19; Romans 8:29-30, and When Cultists Ask p.234-235 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:29, does baptism for the dead mean people do not have to individually believe?
A: No. As the answers to the next four questions show, each person is baptized for themselves, and we do not baptize for dead people. See When Critics Ask p.464-465 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:29, should Christians baptize for dead people?
A: No. Paul was saying that if even these non-Christians believed in resurrection as proven by their baptism for the dead, why canít you believe in resurrection? A very similar argument is in Theophilus To Autolycus 1:13. (Theophilus was the Bishop of Antioch from 168-181/188 A.D.)
"Then, as to your denying that the dead are raised ... you believe that Hercules, who burned himself, lives; and that Aesculapius, who was struck with lightning, was raised;..." (Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 2 p.92)
If baptizing for the dead is one of the most important things we can do, like Mormonism teaches, then why are we not once commanded to do this in scripture? Paul said others (they) in 1 Corinthians 15:29. A cult in Paulís time in Greece, called Cerinthians, baptized for the dead, but nobody ever said Christians were to do that. (By the way, Cerinthians also taught that Christ came upon Jesus at His baptism, and left Jesus at the cross, so only the man Jesus died, according to the NIV Study Bible footnote on 1 John 4:2 p.1911.)
According to The Bible Knowledge Commentary p.544-545, within the Eleusian Mysteries was the doctrine of washings required for bliss in the afterlife (Pindar Fragment 212, Sophocles Fragment 753.) Baptism on the account of others was known, from Orphica fragment 245. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.616-618 for more info.
Of course we are not to imitate many of the practices the Corinthians did, such as carnality, immorality, sectarianism, abuse of the Lordís Supper, and denying the physical resurrection of Jesus. If practicing this today as Mormons do leads us to think God required us to do to intensive genealogical study, 1 Timothy 1:3,4 and Titus 3:9 command Godís people not to devote themselves to endless genealogies.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:29-30, should we practice baptism for the dead, as Mormons teach?
A: First some true facts that are not directly related to the answer, and then the answer.
1. The Greek word, huper, means "on account of", not necessarily "for the sake of".
2. Many people became Christians on account of the witness of Christians who were already martyred.
3. Baptism for all Christians means that in one sense we are all dead men, that is, dead to ourselves and alive in Christ (Colossians 2:11-13)
The answer: The pronouns Paul uses (they, they, and we) make it conspicuous that Paul never said he nor his immediate readers practiced baptism for the dead. Paul did not command, recommend, perform, practice, or say the Corinthians practiced baptism for the dead. In 1 Corinthians 10:18-22, Paul mentions that others sacrificed to idols, but we should not do that either. There is no example of Christians doing baptizing for the dead in the entire Bible, or in the early church. However, some religious pagans in Corinth, called Cerinthians practiced baptism for the dead.
Since there is no command or example of this, and the only known practice was by pagan Cerinthians, Mormons are on rather shaky ground to make this a most important part of their religion".
When talking to Greeks, Paul used writings of pagan Greek poets to echo things that were true, such as in Acts 17:23-29. Jude used true statements in apocryphal books to drive home a point with his listeners. Jesus likewise used, what is called an "ad hominem" argument to prove He was from God in debating with the Pharisees in John 5:31-34.
Paulís point in 1 Corinthians 15:29-30, that even though many Greeks disbelieved and sneered at a physical resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12; Acts 17:43), yet at the same time proto-Gnostic Cerinthians were baptizing for the dead. Why do they think they need to do this bodily ritual of baptism, if the bodies are forever gone? See Mormons Answered Verse by Verse p.85-87, Now Thatís a Good Question p.590-591, When Cultists Ask p.235-236, and The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.212-213 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:29-30, what is baptism for the dead?
A: Apart from this verse, we know of only two cases, both pagan practices. Mandaeans in Mesopotamia practiced this, and Cerinthians (who happened to be in Corinth) practiced this. We have no evidence of a single Christian practicing baptism for dead people. See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.401-402 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.121-122 for complementary answers.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:33, who was Paul quoting?
A: There are two complementary answers.
1. All truth is Godís truth. Paulís quote is from a famous playwright named Menander (Thais 218). See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.544-545, When Cultists Ask p.236-237, and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.538 for more info. See also the discussion on Acts 17:16-34.
2. Paul quoted from Isaiah 22:13, except that Paul took out the "you say" that Isaiah had in the middle. Like Paul, Isaiah was not suggesting we follow this hollow saying, but Isaiah was expressing the view of godless people.
By the way, Menander lived approximately 342-291 B.C. Isaiah prophesied from before 739 B.C. to after 682 B.C. Paul likely would have been familiar with Menander as well as Isaiah.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:36, when someone asks a foolish question, such as "how is it possible for an Almighty God to...", how do you answer their objection with respect, but also show the foolishness of it?
A: If there is any chance that it is genuine objection, you should answer it. You should respect the person asking the question. But when the question has a false premise wrapped up in it, such as God is not all-powerful, you should make sure to point out the flaw in the false assumption behind the question. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1384 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:37, does this support the heresy of reincarnation?
A: No, for the following reasons:
1. The glorified body is permanent, and does not die any more.
2. This transformation only happens once.
3. This is a change in our body, not a change of our body.
See the discussion on John 3:3, When Cultists Ask p.237-238 and When Critics Ask p.465-466 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:38-41, does this somehow support the Mormon concept of celestial, terrestrial, and telestial heavens?
A: No. This analogy simply shows that as there are different glories in the (one) physical sky, there are different kinds of glory in the (One) Heaven. The fact that Paul gave three examples (sun, moon, and stars) does mean three heavens, and more than Paul giving four examples in 1 Corinthians 15:39 (men, animals, birds, and fish) means there are four heavens. Heaven would not be Heaven without Jesus being there. See When Cultists Ask p.238-239 for more info.
There are at least three (unnamed) Heavens, according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:2. Paul visited the third one.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:44, is our resurrected body physical, or spiritual?
A: Paul gave an analogy of the Israelites in the Wilderness and the rock, and that analogy answers this question. The Israelites got water from a physical rock, but not a mere physical rock. It was Christ who was the spiritual force behind that rock. Our resurrected bodies will be physical, but not mere physical bodies. Through Christ we will have an added spiritual dimension as well.
Justin Martyr (wrote about c.138-165 A.D.) was a Greek philosopher who converted to Christianity, which he called "the true philosophy". He was well aware of Greek arguments scoffing at a physical resurrection "in the flesh" and was among the first to answer these arguments in On the Resurrection. The fragments we have of this work are translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 1 p.294-299
See When Critics Ask p.466-467 or When Cultists Ask p.239-240 for more info and a chart summarizing the differences between our current bodies and our glorified ones.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:45, why is Jesus the last Adam?
A: There are key parallels between Adam and Jesus. We inherited severe consequences, including a depraved, sinful nature leading to death, from Adam. All who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior receive a new nature, and eternal life from Jesus.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:45, since Christ was a life-giving spirit, does that mean He did not have a physical body also?
A: No. Christís body is spiritual and physical, not just spiritual only. See also When Critics Ask p.467, and When Cultists Ask p.240-241 for more info, and The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.133-136 for an especially extensive answer.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:50, since flesh and blood cannot enter Heaven, how can we be resurrected with physical bodies?
A: Who says a glorified physical body has to have earthly things, like flesh and blood? The Bible does not. Rather 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 simply says they will be different. See When Cultists Ask p.241-241, When Critics Ask p.468-469 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1808-1809 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:50, since flesh and blood cannot enter Heaven, how come Enoch entered Heaven without tasting death in Heb 11:5?
A: Obviously Almighty God has the ability to transform Enoch to have a glorified body without Him tasting death. Also, when living people are raptured into Heaven, they might not taste death for the same reason.
In summary, God could change the bodies of Enoch and raptured believers without them tasting death, in an equivalent way as believers who die, as Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.217 says. See also The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.266 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:51-52, do the terms life and death here mean just faith and unbelief, as Bahaíis teach in Bahaíuíllah and the New Era p.270?
A: No, scripture is consistent that there will be a physical resurrection.
Besides 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, see:
Dan 12:2 "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."
Rev 20:5 "(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.)"
1 Sam 2:6 "The Lord brings death and make alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up."
Psalm 49:14 "But God will redeem my soul from the grave; he will surely take me to himself."
Psalm 22:29, "...all who go down to the dust will kneel down to Him..."
Psalm 23:6 After telling about the shadow of death in Psalm 23:4, David says, "He will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Psalm 49:8-9 "The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough - that he should live on forever and not see decay."
Psalm 52:8-9 "I trust in Godís unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever... I will praise you in the presence of your saints."
Isaiah 25:7-8 "On this mountain he [God] will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever...."
Isaiah 53:8-10 After saying the one who suffers for us will be killed and put in the grave of a rich man in verses 8-9, yet he shall see his offspring in verse 10.
All these verses are quoted from the NIV.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:52 and 1 Th 4:16-17, what does the "last trump" say about the tribulation?
A: Pretribulationists say the last trump was a special trumpet for believers, and is not one of the seven trumpets in Revelation. Others point to this verse as one of the biggest shortcomings of the pretribulation view. They say this is the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11:15.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:52-54, how can God raise a mortal body of a believer who was burned to ash or eaten by lions?
A: God is Almighty, and He can do anything. Scientifically, while most of our cells survive (or multiply and survive) through our mortal lives, the majority of the atoms that make up our cells are different atoms than they were seven years ago. So to be raised from the dead, we do not need to have the same atoms. Likewise, cells are "patterns" of atoms. But God will likely use the same physical materials (i.e. atoms) that are in a buried body. So whether a Christianís body is buried or cremated (either with or against her will), has no effect on what God will do. However, some see Christian burial as a testimony to our sure hope in the resurrection.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:54, how and why must the corruptible put on incorruption?
A: We have not been told all of this mystery. However, there are a few natural illustrations that might point to part of the answer.
When a bush or small tree is infested with mold, in all of its leaves, the only way to save the plant is to chop it down, leaving only a tall stump. The top is gone with the "sin" of the mold that infests it, but the roots are still there, and healthy. The plant will often grow back, and in the time it takes to sprout new leaves, the mold can be gone, because it had no place to live.
If you thought the amount of DNA in a cell relates to how large or intelligent an organism is, you might be very surprised to know that the cell of a frog has about 20 times the DNA as the cell of a human. Not only must the frog have the DNA to function as a water-breathing tadpole, it must also have the DNA for all of the transitions, and the final result, for living as an air-breathing frog. Angels and demons might look at us and think what lowly, fragile creatures we are. However, we could always say, "But look at our spiritual DNA, which we got from our Father!"
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1808-1809 for more info.
Q: In 1 Cor 15:58, what can you say or do when you start to feel that your labor is in vain?
A: I wish we could ask Jeremiah. He had a long career, perhaps over 55 years, as a prophet. During his lifetime, as he faithfully ministered and suffered imprisonment and plots against his life, he only saw only a handful of people who believed his words. Yet, almost 2,400 years later, people are inspired by the word of God that came through him. Putting it a rather different way, Jeremiah would have been a lousy judge of how influential his life and work would be.
Galatians 6:9 tells us not to give up, knowing that our labor is not in vain, if we continue in it.
Our goal is not to be thought of as influential, or even to be influential. Our goal is simply to please God and do what He specifically wants us to do, whether it seem great or small in peopleís eyes. In the end, the pleasure of God saying "well done, my good and faithful servant" is more than all the riches of this transient world. Keep your eyes on the ultimate prize, and stay close to God in prayer.
Q: In 1 Cor 16:15 (KJV), why have they "addicted themselves to the service of the saints?"
A: The King James Version expression is better translated "devoted themselves to the service of the saints."
Q: In 1 Cor 16:18, since we do not deserve any good things, how do these godly men deserve recognition?
A: In an absolute sense, we do not deserve anything from God except justice (and thank God He gives us mercy).
In a relative sense, however, God is commanding us to give recognition and encouragement to godly leaders who serve God and others well.
Tongue-in-cheek, it would be hard for a Christian to work for a Christian boss who did not make this distinction. The boss could say, "for all the good things you have been given in this life, which do you really deserve?" The worker could answer, "None. Everything is by the grace and mercy of God." The boss could answer, "Well, I am glad you understand that I was going to give you a raise, except that you just do not deserve it!"
Q: In 1 Cor 16:22, why is Paul cursing people who do not love (fileo) the Lord?
A: If some view this as Paul wanting them to go to Hell, this is not Godís desired will, as Ezekiel 18:23,32 and 2 Peter 3:9 shows that God does not want anyone to perish. There are three points to consider in the answer.
1. Regardless of Paul telling us this, people who do not love Jesus are under a curse.
2. Paul, and us, should pray that those who are under the curse of not knowing Jesus, should see the emptiness and that God would send whatever experiences, even painful ones, to show their need for Christ.
3. Paul, and us, should pray that those who do the cursed work of leading others astray should be cursed with failure.
Q: In 1 Cor, how do we know this was really written by Paul?
A: We have no evidence suggesting Paul did not write it, and six pieces of evidence that indicates Paul wrote it.
The book of 1 Corinthians itself says so, and the early church never questioned this.
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) in 1 Clement ch.47 says that the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about having parties of Paul, Cephas, and Apollos.
Polycarp (110-155 A.D.) in his Letter (ch.11) quotes 1 Corinthians 6:2 and says this was by Paul.
The author of Epistle to Diognetus was a disciple of the apostles (ch.10) quotes 2 Corinthians 8:1, saying "The Apostle" declared this in his Epistle to Diognetus (c.130-200 A.D.).
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John the Apostle. He showed that both he and Gnostic heretics agreed Corinthians was written by Paul in Against Heresies 8.
Tertullian said Paul wrote to the Romans, Galatians, Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians in Tertullian Against Marcion book 4 ch.5 p.350 (207 A.D.). He says the New Testament was a book "that comes down from the apostles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit in the churches of the apostles." Tertullian, writing 198-220 A.D. in de Corona ch.13 p.101 mentions that "you have the apostle [Paul] enjoining people to marry in the Lord."
Assuming Paul died under Nero, Paulís death would be about 67 A.D.
Q: In 1 Cor, how do we know that Scripture today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three good reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Early church writers up to the Council of Nicea I (325 A.D.) quoted from 1 Corinthians about 755 times, not counting allusions. They quoted 65% of the Book of 1 Corinthians, counting fractional verses as fractions. That is 282.6 out of 437 total verses.
Here are the Pre-Nicene writers who referred to verses in 1 Corinthians.
1 Clement (96-98 A.D.) is basically a letter of Clement, bishop of Rome, telling the Corinthians they need to be doing the things Paul told them 50 years ago. In chapter 47, Clement mentions Apollos and Cephas
Clement of Rome quotes 1 Corinthians 2:9 1 Clement ch.34 vol.1 p.14, vol.9 p.239
Ignatius 1 Corinthians 1:20 ľ Quote Ignatiusí Letter to the Ephesians ch.18 p.56-57. After this is a paraphrase, but it is an unmistakable reference.
Ignatius 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19 Allusion Ignatiusí Letter to the Philadelphians ch.7 p.84
1 Corinthians 6:19 Allusion "we are temples of God" in Ignatiusí Letter to the Ephesians ch.15 p.56
Eusebius writes, "As the Presbyters say" and quotes 1 Corinthians 15:25,26 as said by the apostle. Then quotes 1 Corinthians 15:27,28 Fragment 5 vol.1 p.154.
1 Cor 6:9,10b 1Ĺ Quote Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (110-155 A.D.)ch.5 p.34
Epistle to Diognetus (c.130-200 A.D.)
The Didache (120-150 A.D.)
The Muratorian Canon (170-210 A.D.) ANF vol.5 p.603 mentions Paulís two letters to the Corinthians, as well as Paulís other 11 letters.
2 Clement (120-140 A.D.) ch.11 p.254 quotes half of 1 Corinthians 2:9. "ear hath not heard, nor eye see, neither have entered into the heart of man."
Melito of Sardis (170-180 A.D.) mentions Luke and Mark as the "gospel". Mention of 1 Corinthians as by the apostle. Quote from Hebrews. Oration on the Lordís Passion ch.9 p.760-761
Athenagoras 177 A.D. says, "in the language of the apostle" and then immediately quotes 1 Corinthians 15:54. The Resurrection of the Dead ch.18 p.159
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 6:12 as by Paul in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.37.4 p.519
Clement of Alexandria asked what the wisdom of this world was that Paul warned us against in 1 Corinthians 3:19-21. Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 1 ch.11
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 8:2 and Galatians 1:7 and 5:7 as being by the apostle in On Prescription Against Heretics ch.27 p.256.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 15:29 in On the Resurrection of the Flesh ch.48 p.582
Theodotus the probable Montanist (ca.240 A.D.) alludes to 1 Corinthians 15:49 in ch.24 p.46
Hippolytus (225-235.6 A/D.) quotes part of 1 Corinthians 2:13 as Scripture in The Refutation of All Heresies book 7 ch.14 p.107.
Julius Africanus (232-245 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 15:12 and said it was by the apostle in The Epistle to Aristides ch.1 p.125)
Origen (225-253/254 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 1:24 as by Paul. de Principiis book 1 ch.2.1 p.246 He also quotes 1 Corinthians 14:15 as by Paul in de Principiis book 2 ch.2 p.287
Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage from c.246 to his martyrdom in 258 A.D.. He mentions the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians and then quotes 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 in Treatises of Cyprian - Testimonies ch.90 p.553. He also refers to Paul and his first Epistle to the Corinthians in Treatise 12 second book ch.1 p.516
Gregory Thaumaturgus (240-265 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 6:13 as by the apostle in Canonical Epistle ch.1 p.18.
Pierius of Alexandria (275 A.D.) quotes 6 out of 22 words of 1 Corinthians 7:7 as by Paul in Fragment 1 p.157
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 15:29 in Dialogue on the True Faith fifth part ch.23 p.181
Arnobius Against the Heathen (297-303 A.D.) book 2 ch.7 p.435 "Have the well-known words never rung in your ears, that the wisdom of man is foolishness with God?" (1 Corinthians 3:19)
Victorinus bishop of Petau in Austria (martyred 304 A.D.) Mentions the Old and New Testaments in his Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John p.345 He listed the letters of Paul as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, Timothy and quotes 1 Timothy 3:15 in ch.16 p.345 He goes on to quote 1 Corinthians 15:53 on p.346
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 7:34 as by Paul. Banquet of the Ten Virgins discourse 1 ch.1 p.311.
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 2:9 as by the apostle Paul and Colossians 1:16,17 as by Paul in Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 1 ch.5 p.293
Eusebius of Caesarea (318-325 A.D.) quotes all of 1 Cor 15:55-56. Demonstration of the Gospel book 4 ch.11 p.7
Eusebius of Caesarea (318-339/340 A.D.) wrote whole commentaries on Luke and 1 Corinthians. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.41
Hegemonius (4th century) quotes 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 as "For in that first Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul speaks..." (Archelaus is speaking) Disputation with Manes ch.37 p.211
Zeno (4th century)
Victorinus of Rome (after 363 A.D.)
Athanasius of Alexandria (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 3:8 as "those words to the Corinthians" On the Trinity book 8 ch.5 p.139
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paulís two letters to the Corinthians as part of the New Testament. It quotes 1 Corinthians 1:1-2a.
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari (370/371 A.D.)
Marcellus of Ancyra (about 374 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 3:13 as by the Apostle. On the Spirit ch.15.36 p.22. He also says that 1 Corinthians 7:6 is by Paul. Letter 8 ch.3 p.117
Synod of Laodicea (in Phrygia) (343-381 A.D.) canon 60 p.159 lists the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Canon 59 p.158 says only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments may be read in church.
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Apollinaris of Laodicea (c.390 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.)
Gregory of Elvira (after 392 A.D.)
Amphilochius (-397 A.D.) in Iambi ad Seleucum
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 "the divine Apostle .. to the Corinthians" On the Making of Man ch32.6 p.412
Didymus the Blind (398 A.D.)
Macarius/Symeon (4th or 5th century)
Maximinus (4th/5th century)
Petilianus (4th/5th century) refers to Romans 7:5
Timothy of Alexandria (4th/5th century)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.)
Flavian of Antioch (404 A.D.)
Gaudentius (after 406 A.D.)
John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.) must have really appreciated 1 Corinthians, because he wrote down 44 sermons on 1 Corinthians, which we still have today. He says 1 Corinthians was by Paul and Sosthenes.
Chromatius (died 407 A.D.)
Severian (after 408 A.D.)
Niceta of Remesianus (366-c.415 A.D.)
Orosius/Hosius of Braga (414-418 A.D.) quotes part of 1 Corinthians 15:10 as by Paul. Defense Against the Pelagians ch.10 p.127
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
Sozomon (370/380-425 A.D.) says that 1 Corinthians 11:12 as by the Apostle Paul. Sozomenís Ecclesiastical History book 4 ch.29 p.324
Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 10:17 as being by the Apostle Paul in The City of God book 17 ch.5 p.345
The semi-Pelagian John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes one-fourth of a verse of 1 Corinthians 3:16; 4:16 as by Paul in the Institutes of John Cassian book 9.3 p.264
Marcus of Eremita (after 430 A.D.)
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (-450 A.D.) (pronounced HESS-us)
Speculum (fifth century)
Theodoret of Cyrus (bishop and historian) (423-458 A.D.)
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.)
Evidence of heretics and spurious books
Marcion refers to 1 Corinthians according to Tertullian.
The Gnostic Ptolemy referred to 1 Corinthians 2:15 according to Irenaeus.
The heretic Priscillian (c.385 A.D.)
The Donatist heretic Tyconius (after 390 A.D.)
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.)
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.) Alludes to Stephen in Acts 7:42-43 as "in the Acts of the Holy Apostles". Commentary on Amos ch.5 p.154
We still have all of these today.
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of 1 Corinthians show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
p11 1 Cor 1:17-23; 2:9-12, 14; 3:1-3, 5-6; 4:3-5:5, 7-8; 6:5-7, 11-18; 7:3-6, 10-14. 7th century. Agrees with Sinaiticus
7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p14 - 1 Cor 1:25-27; 2:6-8; 3:8-10 fifth century. Alexandrian text.
5th century? - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p15 (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1009) 1 Cor 7:18-8:4 (late 3rd century). The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a picture of p15 on p.84. Here is the dating:
3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
3rd century - 1975 - Aland Third Edition
3rd century - 1998 - Aland Fourth Revised Edition
Late 3rd century (Philip Comfort and David P. Barrett in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts, 1999.)
p34 - 1 Cor 16:4-7; 10; 2 Cor 5:18-21; 10:13-14; 11:2,4,6-7 (7th century) Alexandrian text.
7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. 1 Cor 1:1-9:2; 9:4-14:14; 14:16-15:15; 15:17-16:22 (99% or 431/436 verses) and other parts of Paulís letters and Hebrews. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p46 on p.192. It also says on p.197-198 that the quality and the stichiometric marks show a professional scribe wrote this.
First half of 3rd century - 1936 - Frederic G. Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
2nd century, 200 A.D. - 1935 - Ulrich Wilken according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
200 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
81-96 A.D. - 1988 - Young Kyu Kim according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
About 200 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 200 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Early to middle 2nd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. This is based in part on the handwriting being very similar to Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 8 (late first or early second century) and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2337 (late first century).
p61 Romans 16:23,25-27; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 2-6; 5:1-3, 5-6, 9-13; Philippians 3:5-9, 12-16, Colossians 1:3-7, 9-13, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; Titus 3:1-5, 8-11, 14-15 Philemon 4-7. c.700 A.D.
c.700 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
About 700 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 700 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Vaticanus [B] 325-350 A.D.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Gothic [Goth] 493-555 A.D.
Alexandrinus [A] c.450 A.D.
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century
See www.BibleQuery.org/1 Corinthians Manuscripts.html for more on early manuscripts of 1 Corinthians.
For more info please contact Christian Debater™ P.O. Box 144441 Austin, TX 78714. www.BibleQuery.org