Good morning Church,
It is a yucky day out there weather wise but hope you are doing well. We have moved into a new section of our reading this week, moving from the gospels and acts to the letters of the apostles. Paul's writings make up a majority of the NT letters, with some others from other apostles as well. We are reading this week 1 and 2 Corinthians and Galatians. This weeks reading is a little heavier than last yet it provides us some benefit by getting the larger story in a shorter amount of days. Before we look at these, let's look at last week's book, Romans.
Romans has been said to be the theology book of the New Testament. Beyond the opening and closing remarks, the thought process behind the book is as follows:
Romans 1-4 - The Heart of the Gospel (We are all sinful, no one is righteous, we are justified or made right with God through faith in Christ)
Romans 5-8 - The Essence and Assurance of Salvation (We have become friends with God, we are freed from bondage to sin, we can experience life in the Spirit, nothing can separate us from God's love)
Romans 9-11 - The Problem of Israel - God still has plans for his treasured possession
Romans 12 - 15 - The Transforming Power of the Gospel (In Christian Conduct, with other believers, with government and society, in the way we treat one another)
In Acts 18, you read about the formation of the church at Corinth. Corinth was an important port city that benefited from trade from the north and south. It was widely known for prostitution and other vices. There was even a verb in greek (korinthiazomai) which meant to act like a Corinthian in terms of sexual immorality. Paul started a church here and stayed here for 18 months preaching the gospel from AD 50-52. After he left, he got word there were divisions in the church in relationship to sex, marriage, eating food sacrificed to pagan idols, worship, the Lord's supper, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection. He wrote to address these issues.
It appears that many people rejected Paul's letter and he writes in 2 Cor 2:1 that he apparently visited the church in Corinth. He describes this visit as "painful" and we see the church responded to this visit. Therefore the motivation behind this letter is to reaffirm his commitment to this church as well as address generosity and those who still reject him.
This book was written about AD 48-49 to the church he started in Galatia. This book is like many of the books you will read in the coming weeks. Half of the content addresses and area of teaching they either had had questions about or Paul wanted to address. In Galatians, Paul addresses a question they had and one that shows up today, "Are we saved by the work of Christ on the cross or is something else necessary?" Paul declares that salvation is available to all by faith in Jesus Christ and not by observing the law. We fulfill Christ's law not by human effort but by living by faith and love by the Holy Spirit.
Keep on reading. I'm happy for accounts I heard how reading the Bible is becoming more normative and do-able in your life.
Keep pressing on!
Yours in Christ,