Monday, March 12, 2018

Year 8, Day 71: 1 Corinthians 2

Theological Commentary: Click Here

As Paul moves into chapter 2 of his letter, he talks about how he came to Corinth.  Notice a few things.  First, Paul did not make himself a burden on anyone.  He worked for his living rather than depending on the donations of other people.  He didn’t rely on popularity or social pressure.  What Paul relied upon was his words.  To those whom his words made sense, Paul taught deeply.  To those who scorned his words, he moved on.

What did Paul teach?  Paul teaches what he calls a mystery.  In calling it a mystery, Paul is acknowledging that we as human beings cannot comprehend it.  We can make approximations.  We can make comparisons through simile and metaphor.  We can make grow into a more complete understand by starting with basics and growing into the depth.  But to even Paul the message of the cross is a mystery.

Therefore, the point of Paul’s teaching isn’t to look for people who master it.  What Paul looks for are those whoa re curious.  He is looking for the people who want to partake of the journey knowing that complete understanding will elude us.  He is looking for people who are teachable.  He is looking for people who are willing to grow, learn, stretch, and pass along what they have learned along the way.

This leads us to the conclusion.  Paul tells us that those who are not in the spirit cannot understand.  However, those who are in the spirit make judgments about all things regarding what is right.  This is why he is looking for people who realize that he teaches a mystery.  When we realize we cannot understand God’s hand at work fully, we realize the importance for being humble.  When we are humble, we are in the best place to make judgements.  We can make judgments humbly and with respect instead of arrogantly and with self-righteousness.

Note, however, that Paul assumes that making judgments is a given.  Followers of God will have to make judgments.  Paul says we will make judgments about all things.  We need to know what is right and wrong.  But we must do so in humbleness, knowing that we cannot fully comprehend as we make such judgments.