I wonder what you found on reading through the two Corinthian letters again. Did you find the themes of Corinthians along the way? Do you remember I told you I would list the themes of Corinthians for you at the beginning of Ephesians. I was pleased with a number of you who responded to me saying you were so grateful that I had not listed the themes for you the next day because you wanted the time to find them for yourself. Good response. You know you grow the most when you do the work.
The topic or theme that is most prevalent throughout the Corinthian letters is that of division, factions, disunity and partisanship. This theme is carried along on the back of the comments from the false apostles and the constant challenge to Paul’s apostleship which becomes a major focus of the Corinthian letters. As I said when we were contrasting the amount of space Paul gave to the matter of incest as compared with divisions, the space given to disunity and division was significant. The theme of disunity and division related to true prophets and false prophets keeps surfacing. Paul does keep referring to “that man”, the one involved in the incestuous relationship but only as the catalyst who stirred up the dissension over the way it was handled. It is not as though Paul has made the issue of incest a major concern. He is concerned however that this issue is fuelling the argument over whether he is an apostle or not. The debate over Paul and his team and the “super apostles” (read: false apostles) is the heart of the issues, fuelled supposedly by Paul and his team’s handling of the matter.
A further theme is that of money or giving. Paul mentions numbers of times about money, receiving a living from preaching the Word, but one he would rather forgo for their sake. So no one can accuse him of being in this for money alone. The issue of the gift for the saints in Jerusalem becomes a part of this debate. It is long and on going. There are veiled references through the two letters but then a major part of 2 Corinthians is given over to the “money issue”. (1 Cor 9, 16:1, 2 Cor 8 onwards)
There is the theme of weakness. This word is woven through the text of the Corinthian letters. Doing a search on “weak” or “weakness” shows how the thread of this runs throughout the Corinthian letters. (1 Cor 1:25, 2:3, 4:10, 8:7, 8:11, 9:22, 11:30, 12:9, 13:4, 15:43, 2 Cor 10:10, 11:21, 11:29, 11:30, 12:9, 12:10, 13:3, 13:4, 13:9. But then there are also the other derivatives such as strength as well as the related concepts like power and wisdom etc. When Paul uses “strong” he intends “weak” to be read. You will recall his comments about God using the weak things to confound the strong, foolish to confound the wise, poor to thwart the wealthy etc. it is a theme woven throughout these two letters.
The second half of 1 Corinthians from chapter 7 onwards is Paul responding to their questions. (See Bible Gem 363) but these above mentioned themes keep surfacing. The money and the false apostles occupy the bulk of second half of 2 Corinthians (Chapt 8 following).
I trust you had time to get a better handle on the Corinthian letters for yourself. The time you have taken to look in depth at the letters will help your understanding of these letters to stay with you into the future. When you do the work you reap the benefit. I hope this turns you on to look further. When you start to see the awe and wonder of the Word it turns you on to want more. That’s what happened to me. I have warned you before, it is addictive. But then God is addictive and there is no better addiction than to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, even weakness too. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to beginning Ephesians. Do you realise I do this more for me than you? Selfish person that I am.
We can’t watch TV for 3 hrs then read the Bible for 3 min and expect to grow spiritually.Rick Warren