Corinthian, book of correction
Paul's concern of the misunderstandings in the church at Corinth is. The church was corrupted by ideas and conceptions that were neither based on the scriptures nor were they sensible, even with the Intellectual preacher, Apollos among them (who served as pastor in Paul's absence). The Corinthian church accommodated traditions of the Roman culture and allowed divisions among them. The disquieting reports sent to Paul while he was in Ephesus revealed that the community of members were identifying themselves separately according to leaders they adored. The separations led to divisions in the church leading to Paul's decision to write a letter to Corinth while he was at Ephesus (Dunn, 2003). This paper focuses on chapter 12 of Paul's first epistle to the Christians at Corinth and its relevance in correcting errors in both doctrine and morals among the local Christians.
Paul arrived in the city of Corinth about 50 A.D on his second major missionary trip to spread the gospel to the gentile nations. Amid controversy and opposition, however, he, converting several influential people, succeeded in establishing a church in the City. In this 1st Century, the Roman city of Corinth (also the Capital of Acacia at that time) was famous for not only its economic dominance but also corruption. The evil deeds crept into the church of Corinth. It was after Paul left for Ephesus in yet another of his missionary trips among non-Jewish people that he learned of the issues arising in the city of Corinth. In the letter, dated about 53 A.D, Paul sternly addresses the mistakes the Christians in the church accommodated as well as answers some questions needing clarification. He acknowledges he is a servant of God among many others and later commands Apollos (who preached in Corinth in Paul's absence and whom some people identified with). The need for direction and correction cannot be over-emphasized as it ensured that all churches practiced similar activities in the new found Christian culture.
In clarifying the issue of Spiritual gifts, Paul desires that the believers are with the knowledge. Insteadperceptionsancientculturesandpaganworshiptheycametheyunderstandthatwhothegiverthegiftsandsinglebeing Moreover, the spiritual gifts and knowledge abundant in the Church of Corinth was unlike in other churches are privileges he identifies that they ignore. Paul comments that God has granted them with gifts abundantly. They, however, do not seem to appreciate the fact that God has provided gifts for them to address their wants until He comes back, Instead of exploring and utilizing the gifts for the main purpose of edifying the body of Christ. These Corinthian undervalue the importance and role of these gifts (Judith, 2006). In the 9th Verse, Paul draws their attention to the fact that God brought them by Grace to the knowledge of the truth and the fellowship of His precious son. It is, therefore, neither their qualification nor effort that brings them to access the blessings and spiritual gifts rare to other religions in the empire.
In chapter 12, the Apostle Paul focuses his discussion on spiritual gifts and reliable inspiration. In this early church that was full of energy and spiritual growth, gifts were in abundance. These gifts and their proper use was one of Paul's major concerns. He specifies the religious speaking of unknown tongues (of men and angels) as one of the misappropriated gifts among the Christians in Corinth. As a prominent gift, speaking in tongues was a popular phenomenon in a small church in the city. The presence of the gifts of the Holy Spirit assured the members of the presence of God among them. Consequently, the absence of the power and gifts brought doubt within some members. Paul strives to divert the Christians' minds from pegging the real evidence of the Spirit of God to gifts such as speaking in tongues (Judith, 2006). He, instead, focuses on exalting Jesus Christ as Lord and ultimate focus of the church. Regardless of the supremacy of any being, disregarding and denying the deity of Christ is disqualifies one regardless of their gifts and tongues. In verse 3, he proclaims that such a person should be.
According to Paul, all spiritual gifts are of equal importance. The Christians in Corinth developed a habit of viewing some gifts with greater adoration than others (and the ones with the gifts with higher respect to others). He asserts that diversity and variety of gifts is necessary and appropriate for the congregation as opposed to a few significant and outstanding (and favorite) contributions by a few people. Paul's clarification addresses the practice of these members to exalt the remarkable gifts that make the things with the gifts more attractive than others especially. The variety in gifts helps to edify the church as well as unite the faithful. By benefiting these gifts available the local church, the members developed a sense of closeness and unity among themselves. A gift, Paul insists, does not make a person more spiritual than another, he insists, reminding them of God's preference to humility over ability. The weak and humble, traditionally, do not depend on their ability. They rather rely on greater power so as to protect, guide and provide their needs. God wants his followers to depend on his power rather than their ability (and gifts) that divert people from the central point of focus (the Lord Jesus Christ).
Other problems requiring direction
Some members engaged in adultery and fornication. Believers in the church in Corinth extended their ills to discriminate against one another on the basis of social classes and ethnicity. Paul is also disappointed with the believers’ decision to allow cultural practices and foreign beliefs to penetrate into their practices. The beliefs borrowed from ancient pagan religions contaminated and infiltrated the gospel resulting in a confusion that no church can rely on. For instance, although they believed in Jesus resurrection from the dead, they did not comprehend and acknowledge the general bodily resurrection of the Christians as promised by the scripture. They also contented about eating meat meant for idol worship. The Apostle instructed them to not only be wise in their decisions before acting but also to be aware of other Christians especially of younger faith in their presence. (Dunn, 2003)
Another issue requiring clarification was the issue on women wearing and their position in the church. Paul clearly states his expectations on the mode of dressing with special emphasis on the customary head-gear and also their right to address the congregation. He instructs them to keep silent in church and consult their husbands.
Finally, he addresses the unmarried and their attitude towards marriage keeping in mind Christ's return to earth. He proposes that the unmarried remain so (to devote their lives wholly to Christ) and the married to stay married. He opposes the idea of divorce among the Christians. Moreover, a believer, he insists, must not, under any circumstance, marry a non-believer.
Apollos, just like Paul, the members of the Church compared him to Paul with some claiming that he was greater than Paul while others disputed. In 1Corinthians, Paul appreciates Apollo's efforts as a fellow minister in the gospel.
Dunn, James D. G. 1 Corinthians. London [u.a.]: Clark, 2003. Print.
Kovacs, Judith L. 1 Corinthians: Interpreted by Early Christian Commentators. Grand Rapids, Mich. ; Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006. Print.