Articles

First Corinthians - Part 2

Introduction

In part 1 we looked at the first 9 verses of chapter 1 where we learn't a great deal about the context and economy in which Paul was labouring. Many contrasts were shown between the Acts age and ours. These were necessarily drawn in order to distinguish our own calling with the Corunthian's and to show the movement of the Spirit from His Acts signs and wonders confirmatory work to a new ministry of unveiling the Mystery.

The preaching and ministry conducted by the apostles was a continuance of what the Lord began in his earthly ministry. Indeed the Corinthians were called unto the fellowship of His son Jesus Christ. This koinonia could only be accomplished by exhibiting the common teaching that was theirs in Christ.

Heb. 2:3  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
           4  God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Mark 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
              17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
              18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
              19 ¶  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
              20  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

The last verse above uses the word βεβαιόω which means to establish or make firm -- this was accomplished through signs which followed them. The signs came with the fellowship the believers had in Christ while they taught the same message that they heard from the Lord "which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him".

The signs and wonders came with a message of the King and His prophesied kingdom. Is this our message today? Are we to teach the same message that was confirmed with signs and wonders and tracable to the Messiah of Israel? I trust by now  you can see that even in the first 9 verses of 1 Corinthians there is a contextual argument that you simply cannot bypass. The end of the Acts is the END OF THE ACTS. Fortunately for us PAul was revealed something else -- he was waiting for the coming and revelation of Jesus in the Acts, out of the Acts he was given the revelation of the Mystery. 

In part 2 of this study we will look at the second structural portion as shown below. "It hath been declared unto me".

  • A| 1:1-9 Waiting for the coming of the Lord
    • B| 1:10-4:21 "It hath been declared unto me"
      • C| 5:1-14:40 The body, physically, spiritually and ecclesiastically
    • B| 15 I declare unto you -- the gospel and the resurrection
  • A| 16 Maranatha. The Lord Cometh

Chapter 1:10-13

10 ¶  (AV) Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
BYZ 10 Παρακαλῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ λέγητε πάντες, καὶ μὴ ᾖ ἐν ὑμῖν σχίσματα, ἦτε δὲ κατηρτισμένοι ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ νοῒ καὶ ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ γνώμῃ. 

 The verb παρακαλέω is used in 104 verses in the NT, it comes from two words, a preposition meaning "alongside" and a verb meaning "to call", and thus "to call alongside".  It is translated variously in the AV-beseech 43, comfort 23, exhort 21, desire 8, pray 6, intreat 3, misc 4, vr besought 1; 109. It is the comforter, the Holy Spirit that is called alongside. παράκλητος -- translated "comforter 4 Xs and 1 time "advocate", see John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7; 1John 2:1.

The apostle calls the Corinthians alongside him by appealing to the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is done to make the Corinthians aware of the seriousness of the problem that had developed in Corinth with respect to divisions and groups that caused the work to be schismatic and fracturing to the work of Christ. Paul's purpose was to bring unity to the assembly.  

The Lord wants unity today also -- but it is not around a commonality associated with His earthly ministry and confirmed with signs and wonders. It is a unity that the Spirit made and associated with a new calling hither to unknown in the Acts. PAul says this in Ephesians 4 

Eph 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech <3870> you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Paul or PAul -- that is the question. Surely we should look for the latest update from the Lord God and accept the wisdom and pray for the gift of a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. PAul says that he calls the Ephesians alonside in order that they would walk worthy of the calling wherewith they were called!

Back to verse 10 of 1 Cor. 1, the corinthians were to have no divisions but be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment. There are many who would like us to believe that Peter and Paul were of two different minds on doctrinal matters. A declaration came to Paul from the household of Chloe that will help bring this into focus:

11  (AV) For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
11  (TR) εδηλωθη γαρ μοι περι υμων αδελφοι μου υπο των χλοης οτι εριδες εν υμιν εισιν

12  (AV) Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
12  (TR) λεγω δε τουτο οτι εκαστος υμων λεγει εγω μεν ειμι παυλου εγω δε απολλω εγω δε κηφα εγω δε χριστου

13  (AV) Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
13  (TR) μεμερισται ο χριστος μη παυλος εσταυρωθη υπερ υμων η εις το ονομα παυλου εβαπτισθητε

Lets examine this from a number of different angles. 

  1. Coming out of the gospels and into the Acts: We have learnt that there was a commonality of teaching and even a confirmation of the Lord's teaching. They had the same prophetical message given to them.
  2. Paul and ultimately Pater agreed together with regards to salvation by grace. Ac 15:11  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
  3. There was a difference in their respective "good news" but this was not a difference in species Ga 1:7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
    1. The perverted gospel was not of the same kind
    2. Peter and Paul had  different emphases and collective groups that they were especially called to.

      6 ¶  (AV) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
      6  (TR) θαυμαζω οτι ουτως ταχεως μετατιθεσθε απο του καλεσαντος υμας εν χαριτι χριστου εις ετερον ευαγγελιον

      7  (AV) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
      7  (TR) ο ουκ εστιν αλλο ει μη τινες εισιν οι ταρασσοντες υμας και θελοντες μεταστρεψαι το ευαγγελιον του χριστο

  4. If Paul and Peter had cardinally different ministries during the acts then Paul could not complain of the divisions but rather encourage at least some of them.

Conclusion

The verses covered today remind us of the need to establish the unity of Christ's work in our age and how important it is that we establish "present" truth. By making Paul the dispensor of the Mystery during the acts (Mid-Acts position)  we essentially contradict the context of 1 Cor. 1:10-13.  Paul calls us alongside him from prison and beseeches us to walk worthy of our distinctive calling after Israel has been judged. Right division allows shows us the unity that the Spirit has made -- we need only keep it. We must not attempt to resurrect what God has destroyed, but rather nurture and feed believers with healthy (sound) doctrine.