Chapter 1:1–9

1:1–7. The “problematic” community at Corinth - that gave Paul such a hard time - is called “the church of God”. This is a Greek translation of the term “kahal YHWH”, translated in LXX as “the church of the Lord” - ekklesia kyriou” (Deut 23:1–9, LXX).

The church of the Lord were the people that God gathered in the desert liberating them from the slavery in Egypt. In the case of 1 Cor 1:2, “the church of God which is in Corinth” refers to a local community of Christians, united with the whole Church through the same proclamation of faith “with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (like in the OT - Is 12:4).

Israel before was called to be holy (Lev 19:2; 20:26). The church of God in Corinth is “sanctified in Christ Jesus” and “called [to be] saints”. The first phrase refers to their baptism, the second to a new life style that should differ from the worldly pattern.

Paul calls God - his God. Is it a reference to his Jewish inheritance, with God understood as the God of the Jews?

“Thanks” (1:4) - in Greek “eucharisto” - from which come the word - Eucharist (2 Mach 1:11; 12:31; Rom 1:8). This “Eucharist” goes to God, thanking Him for the Corinthians, that God has given them the “grace in Jesus Christ”.

The phrase “in Jesus Christ” is one among the fundamental concepts of Paul’s spirituality. Basically, everything that has happened in the life of a believer is “in Jesus Christ”. It is a sort of new identity of a Christian. Not “in sin” anymore, not “in the world anymore”, not “in Roman Empire” anymore, but “in Jesus Christ”. And being/living “in Jesus Christ” brings with itself “grace”, and “all word - logos”, and all “knowledge - gnosis”. These two words will feature prominently in this letter related to charismatic gifts discussed later.

“Testimony” (1:6) - martyrion” in Greek - the root of the word martyr. Here, it refers to the beginning and development of the community. The Gospel of Christ that came to them through Paul’s preaching - testimony - has rooted itself well.

“Charismata” (1:7). Paul for the first time uses the word that will be explained further in chapter 12. It seems that the Corinthians were equipped in all charismatic gifts.

Warning. That a community possesses all charismatic gifts does not mean that it is a perfect and holy community. The Corinthians are the perfect example that it is not so. That charismatic gifts in itself are not a testimony to the holiness of a community.

Paul never fails to mention the eschatological dimension of Christian faith - the coming of the Lord. The word “awaiting” in Greek indicates awaiting with attention and eagerness. This eager “awaiting” will be supported by Christ and God’s faithfulness.

The aim of our faith (1:8–9)

  1. To be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. On the day of YHWH see Amos 5:18; Zach 1:14–18; 1 Thess 5:4. It is the day of final judgement.
  2. To have fellowship of God’s Son Jesus Christ. It was God, who has begun the work of salvation in the Corinthians by calling them to the Church. It will also be God, who will complete this work (see Phil 1:6).

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