Tag Archives: First Epistle to the Corinthians

Absurd Exaggeration

Allan Bevere (an awesome blogging Methodist) cites, on Google+ and Facebook, this snippet from McKnight-

‎”First Corinthians 15 is nothing less than a lifting up of the curtains in the earliest days of the church; it tells us what everyone believed and what everyone preached.” (Scot McKnight, The King Jesus Gospel, p. 46.)

That’s absurd exaggeration, for one simple reason- all the world didn’t reside in Corinth.  ‘What everyone believed…’?  That’s ridiculous.  ‘What everyone preached…’?  How could McKnight possibly know such a thing?    Scholarship does itself no favors and the interested public is simply misled when these kinds of grand, overarching generalities are promulgated.

The ‘King Jesus Gospel’ sounds more like McKnight’s wild and unsubstantiated assumptions about the Gospel than anything else.  I’ve not read the book (and see no reason to) but if this is the sort of thing that regularly happens in it, it’s probably best I don’t.

The Common English Bible’s Translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9ff

Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same-sex intercourse, thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

It’s actually quite a brilliant thing they’ve done translating οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται with ‘both participants in same-sex intercourse’. That is, the passive and the active partners in said intercourse are both, together, called to account.

The reason that the rendering of the CEB is so important is because 1) it’s faithful (in the extreme) to both the underlying Greek and the receptor language, English; and 2) far too many people think that only the passive partner is liable to divine displeasure. Indeed, that argument is regularly made.

Here, however, thanks to the good work of the translators of the CEB, that misprision, or perhaps even simple misrepresentation, is undercut and denuded of any persuasive power.

People may claim what they wish and believe what they like; but they are not free to say that Paul (or other writers) held their views when those views are clean contrary to what they themselves have written in clear and precise language.  Paul here clearly declares that

… both participants in same-sex intercourse, thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Who Understands Spiritual Things?

The Common English Bible renders portions of 1 Cor 2 thusly-

12 We haven’t received the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit so that we can know the things given to us by God. 13 These are the things we are talking about—not with words taught by human wisdom but with words taught by the Spirit—we are interpreting spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way. 15 Spiritual people comprehend everything, but they themselves aren’t understood by anyone. 16 Who has known the mind of the Lord, who will advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Paul asserts here

1- The spirit of the world is different than the Spirit of God.
2- Spiritual things are only comprehensible to spiritual people.
3- Unspiritual people count spiritual things to be foolish and stupid.
4- Unspiritual people can’t understand spiritual people.
5- Authentic Christians understand the will of Christ.

If you’ve ever wondered why the angry atheist and the scoffing skeptic (or sceptic if you’re a Brit and can’t spell words without shoving a u in or replacing a k with a c) just ‘don’t get it’ it’s because they can’t get it. Try as they might, they can’t wrap their minds around it because spiritual things are only spiritually accessible.

Furthermore, it is the responsibility of spiritual people (and Paul has Christians in mind, not some vaguely ‘spiritual’ person who ‘feels spiritual’) to know, and thus apply to their lives, the will of Christ.

Who understands spiritual things? Christ’s disciples.

An Early Fragment of 1 Corinthians

Peter Head announces

It seems that the Green Collection, in addition to the manuscript of Hebrews noted previously on this blog, is also in possession of a fragment of 1 Corinthians. According to a report on the Bethel web-site (found by a friendly sleuth), this is ‘a small fragment (ca. 1-3/4″ w. x 2-3/4″ h.) … (which) preserves portions of 1 Corinthians 8.10-9.3 & 9.27-10.6’.

Peter continues

Apparently a second-century date is being proposed, as it was for the Hebrews manuscript. [PMH: hmmm. I think I’ll wait for the photos.]

Good plan!  There’s more so go there to read it.