Wednesday, January 6, 2016

1 Corinthians, Day 3 Readings

Living for Others & True Communion   

Today's first reading offers a problem for early Christians -- the question of whether they could eat meat sold in local markets.  The problem was that most meat was sacrificed to one of the gods before it was sold.  However, Christians recognize that such sacrifice is idol-worship. Wouldn't their purchase and/or eating such meat be an endorsement of idolatry?

The problem was more pronounced in the Corinthian church because they had wealthier members who could afford to eat meet more frequently and who also were invited to events where such meet was served more regularly.  In a basic way, Paul dismisses the problem.  Christians know that these false gods do not exist, so they know that there is nothing special about the meat; so they can eat meat, preferably without even thinking about the superstitious sacrifices.

However, if people around Christians make a big deal about how the meat is special because it has been sacrificed to a specific god, then Christians should not eat that meat.  They must always seek to live in ways that can show others the nature of true faith.  In fact, this is the more important thing for Paul -- how the Corinthians treat each other and treat people outside of the congregation.

Read 1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading provides the clearest instructions on how to share Communion in congregations.  Paul focuses on the misuse and abuse of the Lord's Supper among the Corinthians -- the wealthy provide plenty of food and drink, but they eat most of it and get drunk before the working-class Christians arrive after their workdays.  Such behavior is a terrible reflection on the church, and it is unworthy of the name or title of Jesus.  Instead, this sharing of bread and cup in Jesus' name is meant to be a unifying action of the entire community.  Correcting this behavior points toward a better way to be church, and thus a better way to be Christians.

Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34  (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 8-10 today.