BRIEF ANNOTATIONS OF THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE
Paul and Sosthenes.
It was dictated by Paul and written by Sosthenes.
The church at Corinth. Corinth was a great Greek city in the ancient
time. At that time, it was a colony of Rome,
the capital of Achaia and a prosperous commercial city. The east and west of Corinth were surrounded by the sea, so it became an
important path between Asia and Rome.
The inhabitants were indulgent in luxurious and expensive habits. It's a very
immoral city with thousand-odd harlots. At that time, people even called the
immoral behaviors "Korinthiazenthai". In
spite of the corrupted morals, academic development and art were
well-developed. Paul had lived here for one and a half years and established
the church (Acts 18:1-18). After that, Apollos came
here to preach the gospel (Acts 18:24-28). Later on, some teachers of Judaism
came here and disturbed the church (2 Cor 11:4-15).
Therefore, there were dissensions among them (1 Cor 1:12),
and some stood against Paul (1 Cor 4:6-20). Moreover,
the customs of immorality encroached on the church and corrupted it. So Paul
went there in person to encourage them for the second time (cf. 2 Cor 12:14; 13:1; the second visit was not recorded in
Acts.) and sent a letter to advise them (2 Cor 5:9).
This letter was lost and had been sent earlier than the first letter to the
Corinthians. But the situation was still not improved, so Paul wrote this
letter in tears to exhort them (2 Cor 2:4).
The church at Corinth appointed someone to bring a letter
for asking some questions (about marriage and the prohibition of the food
offered to idols). Besides, Paul heard some worrying conditions (dissensions,
immorality and lawsuits) and some matters which need explanation (the order of
the assembly, the questions about resurrection). Therefore Paul wrote this
D. Date and place:
It was written in Ephesus
in about the spring of A.D. 57 (1 Cor 16:5-6).
The characteristics of this epistle:
Unlike the letter to the Romans,
Paul wrote this epistle to answer some practical questions.
A. Greetings (1:1-3).
B. Paul gave thanks to God for the Corinthian
C. Advising them to be peaceable
There should not be dissensions among them
The characteristics the word of the Cross
The characteristics of the chosen people
The characteristics of Paul's preaching
Paul reproaches the Corinthians for being not
The preacher is like the master builder
Nobody can destroy God's temple (3:16-17).
No one should boast about men (3:18-23).
The understanding about the preachers that we
should have (4:1-15).
Paul asked the Corinthians to imitate and
remember him (4:6-21).
D. Paul advised them not to associate with the
E. Paul advised them not to go to law before
F. Paul advised them to shun immorality (6:13-20).
G. Paul answered the questions about marriage
On celibacy (7:1-9).
On divorcement (7:10-17).
Paul advised that every one should remain in the
state in which he was called (7:18-24).
On the unmarried (7:25-38).
On remarriage (7:39-40).
answered the questions about food offered to idols (8:1-11:1).
The knowledge that they didn't really know
Paul didn't make full use of his right (9:1-27).
The failure of the Israel as a warning (10:1-13).
Paul advised that they should not be partners of
Paul advised them not to seek their own good
I. The order of the Church (11:2-14:40).
The veiling of women (11:2-16)
The order of the Lord's Supper (11:17-34).
Concerning spiritual gifts (12:1-31).
Concerning love (13:1-13).
On the application of prophesying or speaking in
J. Concerning resurrection (15:1-58).
The resurrection of Jesus is the center of the
Paul confuted the erroneous words of those who
didn't believe the resurrection (15:12-19).
The resurrection of Christ is the first fruit of
those rising from the dead (15:20-28).
Paul urged them not to be associated with those
who didn't believe (15:29-34).
The bodies of who rise from the dead (15:35-49).
The mystery of resurrection (15:50-57).
Encouraging them to be steadfast and always
abounding in the work of the Lord.
K. Last words
Paul advised them to prepare the contribution
The plan of Paul's journey (16:5-9).
About Timothy and Apollos
III. BRIEF ANNOTATION
"Called by the will of
God." Paul didn't become an apostle by his own will or the encouragement
of others, but by God's will and calling. So he can't decline no matter
whatever happens. Sosthenes is supposed to be the
The believers of the church at Corinth worship God are
sanctified in Christ and are called to be saints together with all those in
every place called on the name of Jesus Christ. Although there were many
defects in the church at Corinth, it is still
the church of God.
B. Paul gave thanks to God for them (1:4-9).
In spite of many defects, there
were still some points that Paul should thank God for. Therefore, Paul didn't
give up the hope for them.
"In every way you were
enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge." The Greeks have talent
for speech and knowledge, and so do the believers at Corinth. After they are converted, they
applied the genius in the truth. So we can learn from this situation that
genius is also beneficial in the spiritual work.
The genius is helpful for them to
accept the witness of Paul and makes their faith firm.
This is the Paul's expectation
for them. Paul doesn't take a pessimistic view of them, so we should also take
the proper attitude toward the weak believers and the Church, and concern them
C. Advising them to be peaceable (1:10-4:21).
should not be dissension among them (1:10-17).
Chloe is a woman believer at Corinth. Her people may
refer to one of her family or a servant.
"Not with eloquent wisdom"
doesn't mean that Paul doesn't have eloquent wisdom, but he avoids using it for
revealing the cross of Christ.
characteristics of the word of the cross (1:18-25).
A quotation from Isaiah 29:14.
Where is the true wise man, the real
scribe, and the real debater? In other words, there isn't any in the whole
world. In fact, wise men, scribes and debaters,
from both Greeks or Jews, are foolish in comparison with the wisdom of God.
"For since, in the wisdom of
God, the world did not know God through wisdom." it was God's wisdom to
save those who believe what people think to be foolish.
"Jews demand signs"
Because Jews think that Christ, who is coming into the world, would certainly
do some signs (Jn 2:18; 6:30). But Jesus seems weak
as he is crucified and dies on the cross. This becomes a stumbling blocks to
Jews. "Greeks seek wisdom," as the Greeks emphasize wisdom and
theory, and the gospel of Jesus' crucifixion is not a highly philosophic
theory, so they thought it foolish.
Those who thought themselves without
ability and wisdom and believe in God will find unlimited power and wisdom of
God in Christ.
characteristics of the chosen people (1:16 -31).
God has chosen what is low in the
world to shame the noble. "The things that are not" means what is
thought nothing and not worth a straw by the world. "All flesh" means
There is real wisdom, righteousness,
sanctification and redemption only in Christ.
cf. Jeremiah 9:23-24.
characteristics of Paul's preaching (2:1; 46).
Corinth is a center of philosophy, so we
should notice what attitude Paul takes there. A man with good looks and
eloquence would be welcome because elocution and sophistry are prevalent.
Instead, Paul is criticized that his physical presence is weak and his speech
is of no account (2 Cor 10:10). In addition, Paul
does not come proclaiming to them the testimony of God in lofty words or
Paul proclaims nothing but Jesus
Christ and his death on the Cross.
The attitude Paul takes is different
from those of the Greek scholars and sophists, so he also feels weak and is in
much fear and trembling. Therefore, he depends on the power of the Spirit and
So his teaching and message depend
upon the witness of the Spirit and of power.
"Before the ages" means
before the world was made (Eph 1:4). "Our glorification" means that
we will enter the Kingdom
"The rulers of this age"
has obvious example; that is, the one who crucified Jesus was not the foolish
populace but the ruler of Jews and Romans.
The quotation is from Isaiah 64:4 in
the Septuagint. It means the redemption of Christ was never thought of.
The secret of God is out of the
realm of men's wisdom, so it has to be revealed through the Holy Spirit.
Just as only the spirits of men can
know the things about men, and other kinds of animals can't understand.
"The spirit of the world"
means the spirit of the devil.
"Words taught by human
wisdom" are technical terms in philosophy. The spiritual words to explain
the spiritual truth are hard to understand, so the Greeks thought them as
The thoughts of Christians are not
understood by others.
The former part is a quotation from Isaiah
40:13. Since we have the Spirit, we have the mind of Christ.
blamed the Corinthian church for being not spiritual (3:1-9).
Paul blamed the Corinthian church
for its being immature and not spiritual.
The church that raises men is not
Paul thought himself as a servant of
The church is like a farm or a
house, and the preacher is like a farmer or a master builder.
pastor is like the master builder (3:10-15).
As to Paul, he is indeed the founder
of the church in Corinth, as well as a sower mentioned above because it is he who lays the
foundation of the church in Corinth.
The foundation refers to Jesus
Christ. Some are built upon the foundation with precious materials like gold,
silver or costly stones; others may use base materials, like wood, hay or
stubble, which will not withstand the testing fire.
"The day" refers to the
"As through fire" means
"scarcely saved" (1 Pet 4:18).
can destroy God's temple (3:16-17).
"You are the temple of God".
The temple refers to the church. The temple in chapter 6, verse 19 refers to
each body of the believer as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Here, it refers to
all of "you" as a temple
of God. The two meanings
are a little different.
"If any one destroys God's
temple, God will destroy him" is a caution. For God's temple is holy and
people cannot destroy it. Macroscopic ally, we may not destroy the church.
Microscopically, we may not destroy our own body where the Holy Spirit dwells
boast of men (18-23).
"Let no one deceive
himself" means we should let no one be self-important and self-deceptive,
because human wisdom is quite little.
It is quoted from Job 5:13. (3:20) It is quoted from Ps 94:11.
"For all things are
yours". It is because God will be glad to give us all things along with
Christ (Rom 8:32).
This verse tells us all are yours
including people, the world, life and death, the present and the future. They
are all done by God for human-beings.
This verse is to show the
respectable position of the believers. Let us combine verse 22 and 23 and get
the illustration: "God-Christ- church (us)-the stuff". Therefore, to
boast of men is wrong. Also, to say "I belong to Apollos"
understanding toward preachers (4:1-5).
"Stewards of the mysteries of
God". Each of us is a good steward of God's varied grace (1 Pet 4:10).
Everyone is given different grace, so, his post is different. The preachers'
post is about mysteries of God, that is, the mission of telling and
interpreting the good news.
The kind of gifts is given according
to God's will and is not our business. Yet, what God requires us is to be
trustworthy. The Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward,
whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food
at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will
find so doing. ...... Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be
required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more" (Lk 12:42-48).
One who behaves himself well won't
be moved by others' judgment, neither does he judge himself. Whatever he does
is to please the Lord. He that judges us is the Lord. Moreover, all things
shall be very clear when the Lord comes. Therefore, the Lord judges people not
according to the frequency of activities, but to his purpose. If one does
anything for vanity or partisanship, he is not trustworthy.
the believers to be imitators and be reminded of Paul (4:6-21).
That "You may learn by us not
to go beyond what is written" means the believers should be imitator of Paul's
behavior but not to be over the teaching in the Bible and become
"Without us you have become
Kings". It means that Paul still suffers for the practice of the Kingdom.
Yet, they are already reigning in glory with Christ. This is an ironic speech.
Paul compares himself to be led to a
theatre, in the end of the parade, shown in front of the public and a prisoner
that is going to be swallowed by lions and tigers.
Paul compares himself with those who
are self-important and looking down upon Paul.
"Guides" refers to the tutors
who are the slaves for taking care of and teaching children. "You do not
have many fathers" means those who love them with a real love heart are
not many. Paul is their father through the gospel because it is he who lays the
foundation of the church
of Corinth. Other
preachers are later to guide them.
Timothy is Paul’s beloved disciple
as John is Jesus’ beloved disciple.
Those who are against Paul think
that Paul will never come.
"If God wills". Paul did
not used to say it. He really does everything under God's will.
The power from God, rather than
beautiful words is important.
"With a rod" means to come
to them with a strict attitude. It's painful both to Paul and to the church.
Paul wishes them to repent, not to be divided, and to practice the harmony of
the church modestly.
B. Not to associate with immoral men (5:1-31).
"A man is living with his
father's wife" is probably in the situation that one lives with his
father's wife after his father died. It's immorality even if his father's wife
is not his real mother. This kind of thing is not found even among pagans.
"Let him who has done this be
removed from among you" refers to the punishment of removal.
"To deliver this man to
Satan" means to remove him from among you. "The flesh" in
"The destruction of the flesh" refers to desire. That is, to make him
know that he is wrong by removing him from you in order to remove his desire.
"That his spirit may be saved in the days of the Lord Jesus" is Paul's
expectation; yet, it doesn't mean that they will surely be saved.
It means that even a little bit of
sin can destroy the church. In the past, the Israelites had to cleanse out the
old leaven before the Passover Feast. Now, we must cleanse out the old leaven
from the church. The so-called old leaven is the sinful life of the past.
"The unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" suggests that the
church must be holy and pure as well as be sincere to each other.
"I wrote to you in my
letter...." The letter did not survive.
"Not even to eat with such a
one" means not to associate with any one of them, including a reviler or
wicked" refers to the man who lives with his father's wife in chapter 5,
verse 1. It tells us Paul doesn't bear with those who are sinful and he orders
to give them a strict punishment.
C. Do not go to the court before unbelievers
"The saints will judge the
world". It means that the Christian shall reign with Christ at the end of
the world (2 Tim 2:12); and shall judge the people (Mt 19:28; Lk 22:30).
"To judge angels" means to
judge the sinful angels and the demons at the end of the world. "How much
more, matters pertaining to this life" means that we shall judge the
spirits, let alone this life.
After we are baptized in the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God our sins are washed away.
D. To shun immorality (6:12-20).
"All things are lawful for
me". It is mentioned again in chapter 10, verse 13. The Christian are
free, yet we may not use the freedom casually. We may not do the things that
are not helpful, and we shouldn't be enslaved by anything. For example,
appetite and desire are humanity, but we still have to tell good from evil.
The relationship between food and
appetite is quite temporary. Both of them will disappear along with the death
of human, while the relationship between body and desire affects our faith and
morality. Our bodies are for the Lord; the Lord is for our bodies because our
bodies will resurrect in the future (Rom 8:11). Moreover, our bodies are the
body of the Christ and also the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we ought to keep
our bodies holy and pure.
"You were bought with a
price" refers to the price of Christ's suffering on the cross. "So
glorify God in your body". It is the purpose for a Christian to live.
E. Answering the questions on marriage (7:1-40).
In the Corinthian church, some stand
for the freedom of desire; others stand for the strict limitation of desire. So
they ask Paul the questions about both in the letter. "It is well for a
man not to touch a woman" means that it's not bad to be single.
This doesn't mean that the purpose
of marriage is to prevent immorality; the purpose of marriage is much more
meaningful (Eph 5:22-23). Yet those who want to live alone but has no this gift
had better get married.
It is not an order that we must get
married but we may get married.
Has Paul been married? There are two
opinions among biblical scholars. One says that he was married but his wife
died early. The other says that he was too young when he was on the way to Damascus to get married,
and later he had no opportunity to get married.
On divorce (7:10-17).
This is in the situation that both
husband and wife are believers. They should do according to the teaching of the
Lord (Mt 5:31-32).
This refers to the situation that
either husband or wife is an unbeliever. Since they get married, they had
better not divorce. "Be consecrated" means to be pleasing because
God's grace will spread to the whole family, due to even one member's believing
in God (Acts 16:31). On the other hand, God will save the generations because
of their fore-fathers' being pious. Especially, God will be pleased by the
prayer of believers (1 Tim 4:5).
When married to unbeliever who later
wants to get divorced, the believer is allowed to do so. "Is not
bound" means that we don't have to force ourselves to maintain the
marriage. "Has called us to peace" means to keep peace in the family.
If asking our partner not to divorce will make our family worse, we had better
It means that only God knows if our
partner will be saved. So, let every one lead the life which the Lord has
assigned to him and in which God has called him. There is no rule, no matter
you get married or not and get re-married or not. Every one is in his position.
Every one should remain in the position in which
he was called (7:18-24).
The principle is mentioned in the
last verse, that is, "let every one lead the life which the Lord has
assigned to him, and in which God has called him." Paul is reminded of the
problem of circumcision and the position of slaves, so he states the following
He who was called in the Lord as a
slave is a freedom of the Lord because he can enjoy the freedom spiritually. On
the contrary, he who was free when called is a slave of Christ because it is
necessary for him to obey Christ spiritually. Therefore, being either a slave
or a free man is about the same.
No matter you are a slave or a free
man, do not become slaves of men because our highest principle is to obey
Christ. The slaves who obey their lords are also under the principle of obeying
Paul didn't encourage the physical
freedom because any one who is in faith can enjoy the freedom spiritually in
any condition. Therefore, we don't have to change our environment but to change
our mind, then we will be happy.
On celibacy (7:25-38)
"The present distress” refers
to the time of distress.
"The appointed time has grown
very short" means the end of the world is near.
"Deal with the world" is
referred to the kinds of pleasure in the world. Verse 29 to Verse 31 suggest us
to view the life of this world in vain.
In the ancient time, the marriage
was decided by the parents. At first many parents decided to keep their
daughters single but changed their minds later. Paul thinks that they can do
what they want and are not sinful.
The question of the re-married. (7:39-40)
If the husband dies, the wife is
free to be married to whom she wishes but it will be better if she remains as
she is. "Only in the Lord" means if it fits God's will.
F. Concerning food offered to idols.(8:1-11:1)
"Knowledge puffs up, but love
builds up." Without love, knowledge will make one puff up and cannot build
The more knowledge we possess, the
more modest we will become. Most people who imagine that they possess much
knowledge are those who know nothing.
"One is known by him
[God]" means that God will reveal to him. Therefore, if one loves God, one
will know God.
"From whom [God]" and
"For whom [God]" indicate that God is the source and the final
resting-place of all creatures.
That "not all possess this
knowledge" refers to the knowledge in verses 4-6. Some eat food as really
offered to an idol because their conscience is weak - they eat the food and
thus participate in the worship of idols - and their spirit is defiled.
"We are no worse off if we do
not, and no better off if we do." This sentence means we shouldn't eat the
food offered to idols.
In order to love one another, one
should exercise self-control when he is likely to harm others' faith. Before
giving an answer about whether we can eat food offered to an idol or not, Paul
exhort them to love one another. In fact, their knowledge is not enough, so they
don't understand that if one eat the food offered to idols, he becomes a
partner with demons (10:19 - 22).
waives his apostolic rights (9:1-27).
The Corinthian church is established
"We have no right to refrain
from working for a living?" "Working" indicates working for
worldly affairs and earning money for a living.
The teachers, after Paul, use their
right. But Paul would not rather use it than have anyone misunderstand his
preaching just for a living.
The Temple provides the living of levities and
priests, who labor for holy affairs according to the law of the Old Testament.
Jesus said, "the laborer
deserves his food" (Mt 10:10) and "the laborer deserves his wages. (Lk 10:7) But we should understand that one should not get
wages without working.
"Those under the law"
refer to those who obey the law of Moses strictly. Although Paul emphasizes
that one would not be justified by the law (Gal 5:2-4), he circumcised Timothy
in order to preach the Gospel (Acts 16:3). Paul also cut his hair at Cenchreae for a vow (Acts 18:18). In Jerusalem, he took four men and purified
himself with them and thus caused the misunderstanding of the Jews who did not
believe (Acts 21:17- 29).
"Those outside the law"
indicates the Gentiles. "Not being without law toward God but under the
law of Christ" means under the binding of Christ's teaching.
There was an athletic meeting every
two years in the suburbs at Corinth
at that time. Here Paul encourages the believers to win and advises them to
exercise self-control (24-25). So what he does is according to the proper
method and the goal, and he pommels himself.
A warning against overconfidence (10:1-13)
"Cloud" prefigures the
Holy Spirit (Ex 13:21-22; 14:19-20). "Pass[ing]
through the sea" prefigures baptism (Ex 14:21-22).
Moses prefigures Christ.
"Spiritual food" indicates
the bread in the Holy Communion which is prefigured by Manna. "Spiritual
drink" indicates the cup of the Holy Communion which is prefigured by the
rock. Moses struck the rock twice. At the first time the rock (Ex 17:6) means
the "lower rock" and prefigures that Christ is strikes to blood. At
the second time, the rock (Num 20:11) means "lofty rock" and
prefigures that Christ is taken up into heaven. The "lofty rock" is
not allowed to be stricken. So God told Moses to yield the rock into water.
Moses struck the rock twice, and the water prefigures the Holy Spirit.
"Spiritual food" and "spiritual drink" correspond to
"true food" and "true drink" (Jn
Those who were over twenty and
murmured against God were not allowed to enter Canaan
evil" indicates what is mentioned in verses 7-10.
The Israelites worshipped a molten
calf (Ex 32:1-6) and about three thousand people were killed (Ex 32:25-28).
And they played harlots, twenty-four
thousand people died because of plague (Num 25:1-9). They hold the teaching of
Balaam, and they ate food sacrificed to idols and practiced immorality (Rev
The third, they put the Lord to test
(Num 21:4-9). The Israelites spoke against the Lord because of lack of faiths.
The fourth, they murmured against
the Lord (Num 16:1-50). Therefore the ground swallowed up Korah
and his company, and the fire consumed two hundred and fifty men, and fourteen
thousand seven hundred men died by the plague because they murmured against
Moses for Korah's sake. "Destroyer" means
the destroying angel (1 Chr 21:14-15).
Concerning what is described in
verses 1-11, Paul advises the believers to stand firm lest they fall, and he
also ask them not to worry too much to keep the hope of salvation in verse 13.
Not to participate in the sacrifice to demons
In order to discuss that whether we
can eat the food sacrificed to idols or not, Paul gives a long talk
(8:1-10:13). And he made two conclusions here : do not be partners with demons,
and do not seek advantages of oneself. Paul exhorted the in practical life
under the two principles. As to idol worship and the food sacrificed to idols,
one should avoid both because of the warning example in verses 7-8.
"An idol has no real existence
(8:4)", but the demon is real. The Gentiles offer the sacrifices to
demons, therefore if one eats the food offered to idols, he participates in the
Not to seek for one’s own advantage
Restating the principle in 6:12.
one's conscience. "But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because
he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is
sin" (Rom 14:23). Therefore, we can apply the knowledge mentioned in next
section. In Gentile cities, merchants often sell the food sacrificed to idols
and they don't mention it to others.
One who has believed cannot avoid
making friends with unbelievers. And if he goes to dinner with them, he would
eat whatever is served without asking any question. We also apply the knowledge
mentioned inverse 26. And here, "conscience" indicates one's own
The "conscience" indicates
other's conscience. And that is the situation mentioned in 8:7.
A discussion about the order of worship
discussion about the veiling women (11:2-16).
"Traditions" indicate the
traditions of apostles, different from the traditions of elders (Mt 15:2), and
we should maintain the traditions of apostles.
That "the head of every man is
Christ" means every man would be submissive to Christ for their faith.
That "the head of a woman is her husband" means that every woman
should be submissive to her husband for the sake of marriage. That "the
head of Christ is God" means that Christ is submissive to God in his life.
We should maintain these orders, but some people consider that a woman does not
have to be modest for the sake of equality of man and woman. If the wife is
submissive to her husband, and the man submissive to Christ, the order can
"For a man ought not to cover
his head, since he is the image and glory of God" This indicates that a
man should respect himself and show the image and glory of God. That
"woman is the glory of man" means that woman shows the glory of man
by being submissive to man.
"Because of the angels"
probably means that angels also take part in the assembly of believers.
Paul proves that a man ought not to
cover his head and a woman ought to do it because of human nature.
The Church should accept and keep
the social practices which are good and abolish those that are not.
the order of the Lord's supper (11:17-34)
The Lord's supper takes place
together with a communal meal, which came to be known as the agape, or love
feast (Jude 12). The Holy Communion was held by Jesus on Passover, and the
"breaking of bread" in Acts (2:42, 46; 20:7) refers to both. Later
the Holy Communion was separated from the supper because there were some
abuses; also it was not always held in the evening. Thus it lost the meaning of
love feast, for one was hungry and another was drunk; and this is not a proper
What "I received from the Lord
what I also delivered to you" refers to the teaching of the Holy Communion
which came through the revelation of Jesus Christ, not from the other apostles
The content of "the new
covenant" is mentioned in Heb 8:10-12, and the main idea is about
As the Holy Communion is a serious
sacrament, we should hold it with a thanksgiving heart.
This is the physical punishment.
spiritual gifts (12:1-31).
There are nine gifts here for
edifying the church. If one is given the utterance of wisdom, he would speak
out to edify the church. There are two kinds of tongues, one of which edifies
oneself by praying and the other of which edifies the church by prophesying
That "by one spirit we were all
baptized" indicates the Water baptism, because the Holy Spirit participate
in the baptism. "To drink of one spirit" means to receive the Holy
The believers are the members of the
body of Christ in the church. Therefore everybody's gift, function, and work
are all different. This is the good will of God to avoid discord in the body.
Therefore the believers should work in cooperation to develop the spirit of one
body. The importance of taking care of and harmonizing with one another is
stated in verse 21.
Presenting many different functions
according to different gifts from God.
"A still more excellent
way" indicates "love" mentioned in the next chapter.
On Love (13:1-13)
This chapter is a psalm of love.
"Tongues" are the Tongues in the Spirit in our church. Without love,
speaking in tongues is useless.
Presenting the behaviors of love.
"Patient" and "kind" are the basis of love, and the below
eight items are what we shouldn't do.
The four items teach us to be
generous toward others (Mt 18:21-22).
Love is eternal and the gifts are
temporary. The gifts become useless when the Lord comes again.
The mirror in the ancient time is a
polished metal surface which doesn't produce a clear image.
application of tongues and prophesies (14:1-40)
This verse is similar to the last
verse of chapter 12, and it is a continuation of the above. It is significant
to insert the discussion of love between chapters twelve and fourteen which
discuss the gifts from God. That means we should make use of the gifts and love
to make the world more beautiful. Here we will discuss the comparison between
the tongues and prophesies.
to God" indicates the prayer, which means that the Holy Spirit intercedes
for us (Rom. 8:26 - 27).
In the church at Corinth, the believers laid more stress on speaking in tongues than on
Indicating the significance of
praying with the mind and the importance
The "law" refers to Is
28:11-12. The Israelites didn't listen to the words of prophets, so the Lord
let the Assyrians to attack them, in order to make those who did not believe
hear the words of the gentiles. Paul used this to illustrate that we gave
unbelievers evidence by speaking in tongues which nobody understand. And we can
see that speaking in tongues does work before unbelievers (Mk. 16:17).
Paul exhorts them to maintain an
order. The Spirit is one, but it can reveal separately (Rev 1:4). That
"the spirits of the prophets are subject to prophets" means the
inspiration of the Spirit can be controlled by the receivers. Therefore we
should keep an order in the church whether we prophesy, speak in tongues or
not. For whoever is inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues can still
Corresponding to 2 Tim 2:11-12. It
emphasizes that a woman's covering her head when she is praying is a virtue of
The word of God did not originate
from the church at Corinth,
so the Corinthians should obey the same rules as other churches did.
Paul hopes that the Corinthians
would admit that his teachings are the command of the Lord.
The conclusion of the whole chapter.
H. On Resurrection (15:1-58)
Jesus' resurrection is the turning point of the
The happenings on the first night
after the Lord's resurrection (Lk 24:34-36)
Probably the happenings on mountGalilee
where Jesus gave His disciples the promises (Mt 2:8-16).
This "James" probably
refers to James the Lord's brother (Gal 1:19; 2:9). "Then to all the
apostles", Jesus appeared when He ascended into the heavens (1:9-14).
The Lord Jesus appeared to Paul when
Paul was heading for Damascus
(Act 9:3-9; 26:16, 19). He refers to himself "as ... one untimely
born" because he was called to be the Lord's disciple unexpectedly.
Paul and the other disciples all
preached the Lord's resurrection, and the Corinthians believed the Lord's
Refuting those who do not believe in resurrection
Some Corinthians do not believe in
the resurrection of the dead.
The resurrection of the believers is
connected with the resurrection of Christ. Therefore those who deny either of
them deny the other.
resurrection of the Lord is the first fruit of the resurrection of all the dead
"The first fruit" is the
fruit or crop that ripens and is harvested before all other fruits and crops.
"Every rule and every authority
and power" refers to all the powers against God.
Death is conquered and no longer
exists (Rev 21:6).
A quotation from Psalm 8:7.
Thus all of Christ's work is
have company with those who don't believe in resurrection (15:29-34)
This is the verse that is very
difficult to understand. "The dead" refers to those who must die. The
meaning is that since all men die someday, it would be in vain to baptize
anyone if there were no hope of resurrection. The number of the two phrases
"the dead" are plural in Greek text.
The fighting with beasts in Ephesus indicates the
fierceness of the persecution. Some people consider this the persecution before
the stir caused by Demetrius, for Paul left Ephesus after the stir (Acts 19:23-41; 20:1).
The hedonistic thought in the last sentence of verse 32 is the consequence of
the unbelief of resurrection.
The sentence "bad company ruins
good morals" is a sentence by Menander the Greek
poet and is a popular saying in Paul's time. Some people don't believe in resurrection
and hold a hedonistic attitude, so the true believers should keep away from
Those who "have no knowledge of
God" are the sinners (1 Jn 2:3,4).
resurrected body (15:35-49)
The first question is: Is
resurrection possible? The second question is: What becomes of the resurrected
The metaphor of plants.
Every creature in the cosmos has its
form and glory, and so does the resurrected body.
mystery of resurrection (15:50-7)
For us the mystery is to believe,
not to ask why. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed". Though the perishable can not inherit the imperishable, death
(sleep) is not inevitable. Some may become the imperishable directly.