Lectionary Year B
March 23, 2003
I Corinthians 1:18-25
Step III: Immediate Context
(EM) Immediate context - vv. 10-17 divisions in this community of faith and vv. 26-31 God confounds through lowliness and weakness so that boasting may be in God only, the source of all life in Jesus Christ.
Overview of whole letter:
Strife and division within the body (1:10-6:20)
Response to their inquiries and needs (7:1-11:1)
Conduct in worship and gifts of the Spirit in the context of love (11:2-14:40)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ (15:1-58)
Personal and practical matters regarding travel and communication (16:1-24)
Time of authorship ca. AD 56-57.
Some questions put to Paul for a response, some things the result of reports to him. Are these typical problems for the early church or are they special concerns for the Corinthian situation?
The city was a large one, a center of Hellenistic culture, philosophy, religion; also popular because of its "entertainment" district!
As pertains to the "wisdom" question in step II the help from step III is crucial:
(LB) our pericope speaks its word in the light of the rest of the letter, especially the calling terminology in vv. 1-9 and the rejoinders regarding divisions among them: we are baptized only into Christ, there is no other Lord but the crucified One.
From start to finish (even in ch. 15) this is Paul's theology of the cross put to the test by an alternate view of the cosmos. What that alternate vision is must be determined by a process of deduction from the statements and expressions of genre variety found in the letter as a whole.
(JA) we need to keep reading I Corinthians to understand it better.
(EM) here Paul uses the "folly" term (Gr. "moria") while elsewhere he uses for the most part that of "unwise" (Gr. "a-phroneo" with an alpha privative). Is this a deliberate choice to introduce an alternate expression here or is this the language of his partners in conversation?
(JA) should we differentiate between our experience of God and the pantheon of the Corinthians as we try to find our way into this kind of wisdom discussion?
(MW) care is necessary, to be sure, but we must keep looking for where we are in this debate or where that other person in the woods of El Salvador is here in the debate.
(JH) amazing how Paul is "one of them" in such extraordinary ways: a Jew, Greek, Roman, intellect, man of the world, communicator...he was such a broad person.
(JA) is the struggle of Romans 9-11 related to this pericope?
(KA) two points of intersection for Paul: preaching and reasoning; he values the ear greatly (cf. Tom Long): preaching of the gospel is foolishness but wise beyond reason.
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