Wednesday, December 8

Pauline Epistles: 1 Corinthians 1 (chapter 1, essay 1

A new Epistle. The next one, in the canonical order is 1st Corinthians. If, or more properly when, I retrace my steps with these letters I may choose a different order. But for now, I figure there has to be a reason for putting these letters in this order, and I don't really care what that reason might be, but will follow without question.

As my habit from before, I will start more carefully at the beginning, as beginnings are so often a crucial key to unlocking what is being said. I skimmed the letter a few nights ago, and found it seemed shorter than Romans, although it was almost as many chapters. Perhaps it will just be more approachable. The overall the tone of the letter is a lot more concrete. St. Paul had never been to the Roman church which is perhaps why he wrote to them in more general terms. At any rate, the gems I am digging for in this are to be found in concrete as well as general issues. As a reminder, what I am seeking are answers to the question, now that you are Christian, "How then shall you live?" Which is to say, discovering for myself an understanding of Christian ethics.

Paul starts the letter with a salutation and lets us know to whom the letter is addressed, that is to say, the Church of God in Corinth. He then tells them he always remembers them with thanksgiving in his prayers and the God will insure that they never lack for spiritual gifts.

However, appearances aside, all is not well. There are divisions in the church, of which we will hear more as the letter progresses. In this case, factions were appearing, with people apparently following something of a cult of personality, saying "I follow Paul" or "I follow Cephas" or "I follow Christ". Some of this it seems, was based on who baptized who.

In the final section of the first chapter, Paul tells us that which we know through Christ will confound and be a mystery to the wise, A stumbling block for the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles He chose the small, not the noble, the wise, or the influential. He chose the simple (foolish) things to shame the strong.

I have to ponder those phrases a little more, but as has been my habit of late, I'll defer that to the next essay and call it a night.