Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 2, 11 Cor 15-16

Today's readings are 1 Cor 15-16. Tomorrow's are 2 Cor 1-4.

Paul details the importance of the resurrection and a proper interpretation of its doctrinal meaning in 1 Cor 15. He does this in the context of reminding them of the gospel he preached when he was with them. Apparently, many of their problems have arisen due to some errant teaching, a theme that we frequently see in the epistles. Christ's resurrection is proof of His victory over sin and death and is a deposit on the resurrection of those who believe in Him. Notice, Paul's final comments in a letter pointing out their lack of maturity lean toward the fundamental teachings about the resurrection and the gospel.  Paul is reminding them of the priorities of the church.

Perhaps in response to that faulty teaching, Paul writes a curious phrase in 1 Cor 15:29, referring to the "baptism of the dead." There is no general consensus among scholars as to what this means and who was practicing it other than the inference that it may have been in use at the Corinthian church. Whatever it means, Paul is clearly not condoning it. He's actually deeming it pointless. 

Paul's vivid descriptions of the resurrection body are further proof that the resurrection of believers is a guaranteed blessing. Paul establishes that the resurrected body while being glorified and spiritual, will have a physical element to it as well, just as Christ's body does. Paul probably mentions this to refute any idea that Christ was merely a spiritual being with no physicality. That errant teaching began to rise up in the church in the second half of the first century and may have had its roots in the Corinthian church. Lacking physicality, Jesus would not be fully man and fully God, an attribute that makes Him the only possible mediator between men and God.

In 1 Cor 16:1-2, we see that the new church is meeting on Sunday. Traditionally, the Jews met on Saturday, the Sabbath. No explanation is given for the change. It may have been practical. Many new churches met in synagogues which would have been in use on Saturdays. The most likely reason for the change is that the church wanted to honor the day of the week that Christ rose from the grave, Sunday. If this is the case, then every element of the church's service points toward Christ, even the day it occurs. 

We also see that it has become customary to take a collection during the services (1 Cor 16:2). Congregants are to give "as they may prosper." This is a clear indication that some sort of tithing has been instituted in the new church. Furthermore, it seems up to the leadership to determine how those tithes are used. 

All of these things are formative for the church, not just at Corinth, but throughout the brand new New Testament church.  What we see in this epistle is the process of getting the church organized and functioning according to kingdom principals. Teaching is being disseminated, correction is implemented and clarification of church tenets and God's truth permeates nearly all church communications. It's as exciting time for the body of Christ. God is speaking to and through His Apostles and bringing order to His church! 

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