Reading Plan for Days 57 to 63:
Sunday, 3/05: Romans 14-16
Monday, 3/06: 1 Corinthians 1-3
Tuesday, 3/07: 1 Corinthians 4-6
Wednesday, 3/08: 1 Corinthians 7-8
Thursday, 3/09: 1 Corinthians 9-11
Friday, 3/10: 1 Corinthians 12-14
Saturday, 3/11: 1 Corinthians 15-16
Some Introductory Comments:
Introduction to Corinthians
Although the New Testament letters are not generally arranged chronologically (but, rather, by length), the order of Paul’s two letters to the Corinthians does seem to be chronologically accurate (though there is the suggestion of a third, non-existant letter, that was sent between these two).
Like Romans, both letters to the Corinthians are widely accepted to be authentically Pauline (written by Paul), and were sent to a congregation of Jewish and Gentile Christians that Paul helped found around the year 50AD. This first letter was likely written around 56AD, from Ephesus.
In addition to dealing with reports of conflict within the church, 1 Corinthians also shares Paul’s thoughts in response to issues raised regarding marriage, food sacrificed to idols, public worship, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection.
Our earliest references to the ritual/tradition of the Eucharist (or holy communion) are found in Paul’s letters, such as this week’s letter to the Corinthians. After touching on the presence of “divisions” in the local church (in ch. 3), Paul later writes a critique of their eucharistic practices, a summary of the tradition as he handed it on to them, and warning about partaking in the ritual in a “worthy” manner (11:17-34).
In this early church, the celebration of holy communion was done in the context of a communal meal. Unfortunately, at least as Paul has been led to understand, the church in Corinth was not being equitable or just in their gathering or sharing of the meal. Paul encourages the ritual of communion to be seen as an important element of the “koinonia” of the early church, the bonds that tied the community together, and thus encourages the practice of communion to be carefully considered as contributing to that bond.
Blessed reading to you this week! Please post any comments, insights, or questions you might have in the comments section below.