Monday, January 4, 2016

1 Corinthians, Day 1 Readings

Unnecessary Divisions & What Unites Christians 

Today's first reading provides a brief encapsulation of the main issue that Paul is trying to improve in the Corinthian church: division. Paul has learned that there is open debate in the congregation, with different people siding with different Christian leaders: some with Paul, some with Peter, some with Apollos, and some (probably those trying to stay out of the conflict) with Christ.  Paul contends that such internal conflict goes against the promises of baptism.  He also suggests that there is no reason for these arguments because because God has blessed the congregation with everything that it needs in the gifts and skills of the church's members.

Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-17  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading provides Paul's carefully presented rationale for what unites Christians -- the gospel about the meaning of Christ's crucifixion for people (probably some form of Paul's teaching that he wrote in his letter to the Romans).  Paul says that the importance of Jesus is counter-intuitive; it goes against conventional wisdom.  In fact, it often seems as foolishness.

But this gospel of new life transforms the weak.  Further, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, these people gain new skills and abilities for good within the Christian community and beyond.  These are the things that should unite all Christians.   Even more, these things are much more important than the issues that seem to be dividing the Corinthians.

Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read 1 Corinthians 1-4 today.