Friday, January 8, 2016

1 Corinthians, Day 5 Readings

Spiritual Gifts in Worship & Resurrection Life   

Today's first reading suggests that some Christians in Corinth believed that the most important spiritual gift was the ability to pray in tongues.  While Paul believes that praying in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit, he believes that it can easily be overdone.  If everyone is focused on praying in tongues, it means that worship is chaos, with everyone praying at the same time, and no one paying much attention to anyone else in the church.

Instead, Paul suggests that they focus on sharing spiritual gifts in ways that are good for the Christian community.  He offers a suggested order of worship, which includes praying in tongues (as long as there is someone to interpret these prayers for those gathered in worship), but encourages prophecy and testimony in equal numbers so that people may continue to learn about God.

Read 1 Corinthians 14:1-40  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading provides the longest description of human resurrection in the Bible.  Evidently, some Corinthian Christians had decided, following the example of a Jewish sect known as Sadducees, that there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul's response is scoffing dismissal because without resurrection there cannot be any Christianity.  From this, though, Paul takes an opportunity to explore what human resurrection is like.  The resurrected body is permanent and imperishable (unable to die).  Somehow -- and Paul insists that it is a mystery exactly how -- we will be changed and given a new spiritual body (which for Paul probably means a physical body given through the Holy Spirit) and then a new home in the Kingdom of God.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-58  (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 14-16 today.