NTiR: Paul -vs- everyone else (I Corinthians 1-4)

Bible and magnifying glassMy dear lord, I cannot tell you how painful reading Romans was. It was bad enough that I considered walking away from this project.  A large part of me wanted to say, “Yeah, screw this, this is too painful.” Especially realizing that I have another half-dozen letters from Paul to trudge through. But if I abandon this project, who else is going to provide you with a New Testament in Review? So I am staying on and I will finish this just for you, dear reader.

We have another letter from Paul up next. It’s another long one (16 chapters).  I learned one thing from Romans: there’s no reason to go into detail reviewing each chapter. Paul is just repeating himself in these letters. In other words: Expect these chapters to FLY!

First Epistle to the Corinthians

Chapter 1Oh, this letter is co-written by Paul and Sosthenes. I’ve never heard of Sosthenes, so I am assuming his contribution will be small. There’s a lot of division in the church right now. A lot of Chrstians want to follow Apollos or Cephas instead of Paul. Paul points out that it was Jesus who was crucified, not any of the disciples, so everyone should follow Jesus and not the disciples. By which, of course, Paul means that everyone should follow him, since he alone knows Jesus’s words.

I glanced over this originally, but it is important. Cephas is the Amramaic spelling/pronunication of Peter. That is, the Peter that many say Jesus wanted to be the cornerstone of the new church. This section of this chapter is basically saying that there were differences between what Peter and Paul wrote, differences that were big enough to split believers between the two camps. What were these differences? We don’t really know, because Paul won out. Whether Paul’s message was more accurate than Peter’s doesn’t matter: people chose Paul’s words.

How different would modern Christianity be now if it were based on Peter’s teachings?

Chapter 2Paul does’t speak words of God’s wisdom unless he’s among believers. People who aren’t spiritual won’t understand the wisdom of the spirit.No one can know or understand what god does or says. Except for Paul, of course. I sense a theme here.

Chapter 3Paul beings to sound a little threatened by Apollos. (I had no idea that there was an Apollos ‘til Paul started mentioning him by name.) Paul refers to himself as the planter, and Apollos as the waterer. Paul also states that he was giving people the gospel in small, easy to eat morsels because they weren’t ready for solid food (the real truth and wisdom of the lord) yet. With that kind of condescension, who can blame people for looking to someone else for their spiritual needs? I just seriously don’t understand how people decided that Paul was the way to go.

Chapter 4Wow, Paul is really wigging out here. The division among followers has really thrown him off the deep end. He tells his readers that they don’t have a right to judge him, that remains God’s domain. Apollos and he are equals, neither one greater than the other. There are many spiritual leaders in the church, but only a few fathers. Of which, of course, Paul is one. And Apollos is not. Neither is Timothy. And Paul may travel soon, and may come with either a stick or a gentle spirit. Really? Threats? Paul, is that the best you can do?

Up next: Poor Paul isn’t getting any…

New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Monday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.