1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection Changes Everything

RPC_tomb_03092014bBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:3-6 ESV)

The Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth reaches its climax in chapter 15.  The first two verses of the chapter build up to a short confession recounting the story of Jesus (vv 3-6).  Scholars believe that this is one of the earliest confessions of the church. Several points are striking about this confession, including:

  • The confession refers to Jesus of Nazareth as Christ.  Modern critics often assert that titles such as Messiah or Son of God are confessions of the latter church.  Here it is immediately confessed by the early church within a couple years of the crucifixion.
  • The use of Cephas to refer to Peter hints at the ancient nature of this confession.  Cephas is Aramaic; Peter is a Greek translation.  Because the entire New Testament (NT) is written in Greek, Aramaic shows up in the NT mostly in quotations where authenticity is important.  Paul uses Cephas 8 times; the Apostle John is the only other NT author to use Cephas. John wrote:  John brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:42 ESV)  By contrast, Peter is used 100 times in the NT.
  • Paul uses the word, scripture(s), 14 times in his letters.  The NT uses it 51 times.  This confession is the only place in his letter to the Corinthians where he uses the word, scripture(s).  Apparently, the early church felt that it was important to tie the Jesus story to Old Testament scripture.
  • This confession links the cross to forgiveness of sin.  This is called the doctrine of the atonement.  Some theologians have recently questioned the doctrine of the atonement because the existence of sin implies an absolute moral standard.  Yet, the confession makes it clear—Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (v 3).
  • The confession makes it clear that Jesus’ resurrection was witnessed by large numbers of people, not just the disciples. While a small group might have made up a resurrection story (or have been delusional), a large public crowd could not (v 6).  Paul’s account accordingly throws cold water on many modern theories disputing the resurrection.

Because Paul’s letter was widely circulated and there were many eye-witnesses to what he wrote about, clearly this confession was a keystone of the early church.

The resurrection was also the key doctrine that Paul taught.  He writes: …if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished (vv 17-18).  In other words, without the resurrection there is no salvation from sin, no victory over death, and no eternal life.  There have been many martyred saints, but only one resurrection.  We remember Jesus.

The resurrection speaks of the power of God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Because Christ is divine, then scripture as understood by the traditional teaching of church provides a reliable rule for life.

Resurrection changes everything.  This is why it is called the Good News.

Questions

  1. How was your week? Did something in particular?
  2. What questions or thoughts do you have about 1 Corinthians 14?
  3. What phases of belief does Paul outline? (vv 1-2)
  4. What is the basic framework of the Gospel according to Paul? (vv 3-8)
  5. Where did this Gospel come from? (v 3)
  6. Why did Christ die? (v 3)
  7. How do we know? (v 3)
  8. Who is Cephas? Why is this name important? (v 5)
  9. Why is important to mention that Jesus appeared to 500 people at once? (v 6)
  10. Why was important that Jesus appeared to James? (John 7:5; v 7)
  11. What does it mean to be untimely born? (v 8)
  12. What does Paul feel unworthy to be an apostle? (v 9)
  13. What sign of God’s grace does Paul mention? (v 10)
  14. What are the points in Paul’s argument about resurrection? (vv 12-14,15-17)
  15. What is the punch line? (v 14)
  16. If there is no resurrection, what 5 consequences follow? (vv 17-19,29,32)
  17. What is a first-fruit?(Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 18:4; Psalm 78:51)
  18. What is Paul’s argument about first-fruit? ( vv 20-21)
  19. What special relationship does Christ share with Adam? (vv 21-22)
  20. What allusion is Paul making about powers and authorities? (Psalm 110:1; vv 24-28)
  21. What is a triumphal victory parade? (2 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 2:15)
  22. What does Paul compare resurrection to? (vv 36-38)
  23. What does Paul mean by different kinds of flesh? (vv 39-41)
  24. What is the transformation in resurrection according to Paul? (vv 42-53)

What is Paul’s conclusion? (vv 54-58)

1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection Changes Everything

First Corinthians 16

First Corinthians 14

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1 Corintios 15: Resurrección Cambia Todo

RPC_tomb_03092014bPor Stephen W. Hiemstra

Porque ante todo les transmití a ustedes lo que yo mismo recibí: que Cristo murió por nuestros pecados según las Escrituras, que fue sepultado, que resucitó al tercer día según las Escrituras, y que se apareció a Cefas, y luego a los doce. Después se apareció a más de quinientos hermanos a la vez, la mayoría de los cuales vive todavía, aunque algunos han muerto. (1 Corintios 15:3-6 NVI)

Primera carta del apóstol Pablo a la iglesia en Corinto alcanza su clímax en el capítulo 15. Los dos primeros versículos del capítulo se acumulan a una corta confesión relatar la historia de Jesús (vv 3-6). Los eruditos creen que esta es una de las primeras confesiones de la iglesia. Varios puntos son sorprendentes acerca de esta confesión, que incluye:

  • La confesión se refiere a Jesús de Nazaret como Cristo. Los críticos modernos a menudo afirman que títulos como Mesías o Hijo de Dios son confesiones de esta última iglesia. Aquí se confesó de inmediato por la iglesia primitiva en un par de años de la crucifixión.
  • El uso de Cefas para referirse a Pedro alude a la antigua naturaleza de esta confesión. Cefas es el arameo; Peter es una traducción griega. Debido a que todo el Nuevo Testamento (NT) se escribe en griego, arameo aparece en el NT en su mayoría en citas donde la autenticidad es importante. Pablo usa Cefas 8 veces; el apóstol Juan es el único otro autor NT para utilizar Cefas. Juan escribió: Luego lo llevó a Jesús, quien mirándolo fijamente, le dijo—Tú eres Simón, hijo de Juan. Serás llamado Cefas (es decir, Pedro).  (Juan 1:42 NVI) En cambio, Pedro se usa 100 veces en el NT.
  • Pablo usa la palabra, de la escritura (s), 14 veces en sus cartas. El NT utiliza 51 veces. Esta confesión es el único lugar en su carta a los Corintios donde se usa la palabra, de la escritura (s). Al parecer, la iglesia primitiva consideró que era importante vincular la historia de Jesús de las Escrituras del Antiguo Testamento.
  • Esta confesión une la cruz para el perdón de los pecados. Esto se conoce como la doctrina de la expiación. Algunos teólogos han cuestionado recientemente la doctrina de la expiación, porque la existencia del pecado implica una norma moral absoluta. Sin embargo, la confesión deja claro: Cristo murió por nuestros pecados, según las Escrituras (v 3).
  • La confesión deja en claro que la resurrección de Jesús fue presenciada por un gran número de personas, no sólo de los discípulos. Mientras que un pequeño grupo podría haber inventado una historia de la resurrección (o han estado delirante), una gran multitud público no podía (v 6). En consecuencia el relato de Pablo lanza agua fría a muchas teorías modernas disputando la resurrección.

Debido a que la carta de Pablo fue ampliamente difundido y había muchos testigos presenciales de lo que escribió sobre, claramente esta confesión era una piedra angular de la iglesia primitiva.

La resurrección fue también la doctrina fundamental de que Pablo enseñó. Él escribe: … si Cristo no resucitó, vuestra fe es vana; aún estáis en vuestros pecados. Entonces también los que durmieron en Cristo perecieron (vv 17-18). En otras palabras, sin la resurrección, no hay salvación del pecado, no hay victoria sobre la muerte, ni vida eterna. Ha habido muchos santos mártires, pero sólo una resurrección. Recordamos a Jesús.

La resurrección habla del poder de Dios y la divinidad de Jesucristo. Porque Cristo es divino, entonces la Escritura tal como la entiende la enseñanza tradicional de la Iglesia ofrece una regla fiable para la vida.

Resurrección cambia todo. Es por esto que se llama la Buena Noticia.

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McManus: Take Risks for Christ

Erwin McManus Seizing Your Divine Moment
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Erwin Raphael McManus. 2002. Seizing Your Divine Moment.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

If you are the kind of person who encourages your child to take a swan dive off the roof of your house and into your arms, then you really need to read Erwin Raphael McManus.[1] If not, perhaps you should think about it.

Introduction

McManus writes:  The divine potential of a moment is unlocked by the choices we make (18).  The Gr

eeks call this kairos time—a moment of crisis or decision.  Kairos time contrasts with chronos time—calendar or clock time which just plods along. When God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in a “garden of choices.”  They choose badly and everything changed (19).  Later, God set choices before the nation of Israel.  Moses wrote:

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.  If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.  But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. (Deuteronomy 30:15-18 ESV)

Likewise, God asks us to make choices (21).  Even the life of Rahab, the prostitute, was redeemed by her choices both a physical and spiritual sense [2]. In joining the Nation of Israel, Rahab became the great, great grandmother of King David which also means that Jesus himself was her descendant (23-24).

McManus warns Christians against getting trapped in passivity.  He writes:

We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good…the great tragedy is not the sins we commit, but the life that we fail to live…There is a subtle danger of hiding apathy behind piety..If there is one secret to seizing your divine moment, it is that you must take initiative (34-35).

McManus focuses his message on 1 Samuel 14:1-23 which is the story of Jonathan, King Saul’s son and friend of David.  This is a saga of competing discernment stories.  King Saul slept under a pomegranate tree with 600 men waiting for a word from God; Jonathan took his armor bearer and went out to challenge the Philistines to a fight asking God to bless his efforts. God not only blessed his efforts (the 2 of them killed 20 Philistines; v 14), God also set off a panic among the Philistine army that resulted in them suffering a huge defeat—the Philistines were so confused that they ended up killing each other (v 20).  Apparently, God is not the god of sleepy Christians.

McManus writes:  I have seen the pomegranate dilemma again and again.  Those who hold the authority and resources of the kingdom are all too often more motivated to make sure that they do not lose them rather than to make sure they are used properly (38).  He concludes:  The more you move with God-given urgency, the more God seems to bless your life.  The more God blesses your life, the more you have to lose… The more you have to risk, the higher the price of following God (39).  Still, McManus observes:  when you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions (47).

Organization

McManus is lead pastor and cultural architect of Mosaic in Los Angeles, California [3].  Erwin comes originally from El Salvador and holds degrees from the University of North Carolina, Southwestern Theological Seminary, and Southeastern University.  Seizing Your Divine Moment is written in 9 chapters which divide, like an earthquake, into sections entitled foreshock, epicenter, and aftershock.  The chapter titles are:

  1. Choices—Choose to Live;
  2. Initiative—Just Do Something;
  3. Uncertainty—Know You Don’t Know;
  4. Influence—Breathe In, Breathe Out;
  5. Risk—Live Before You Die, and Vice Versa;
  6. Advance—Unless You Get a No;
  7. Impact—Leave a Mark;
  8. Movement—Ignite a Reaction; and
  9. Awakening—Wake the Dead (v).

These chapters are preceded by acknowledgments and followed by a write up about McManus.

Assessment

Seizing Your Divine Moment played an important role in my pastoral formation.  In 2005 when I read the book, I was working full-time as an economist and did not enter seminary until 2008.  It helped shape my view of what church can and should be and kept me from despairing about how it often turns out.  I recommend the book to those considering seminary or simply desiring to jump start their faith.  It is a book for the young and the young at heart.

Footnotes

[1] Paraphrase of a story from a sermon.  See: Erwin Raphael McManus 2005. The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Her testimony is striking:  I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.  For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death. (Joshua 2:9-13 ESV)

[3] http://mosaic.org.

McManus: Take Risks for Christ

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Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2018_Lead

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1 Corinthians 14: Spiritual Gifts Build the Body

Diane_painting_flowers_06022014By Stephen W. Hiemstra

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.  Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (vv 18-19)

How do spiritual gifts affect Christian worship?

The weekend last year when I commenced at seminary, I visited a new church.  The guest preacher was a close friend and I sought his blessing over my ministry.  The service was video-taped and streamed online. The music was lively; the prayer was deep; the congregation was engaged. People danced, waved flags, sounded ram’s horns, and testified to God’s power in their daily lives. This congregation actively celebrated the gifts of the spirit [1].

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, he sought to channel the expression of spiritual gifts to build up the church (v 4).  He made his point by comparing two gifts:  speaking in tongues and prophecy.  Paul describes the gift of tongues as the language of angels (13 v 1), a spiritual prayer language (v 13), and a manner suitable for speaking with God (v 28) [2].  He describes prophesy having at least 3 purposes:  building people up, encouraging people, and providing consolation (v 3).  Because Paul engages in both speaking in tongues (v 18) and prophesy (13 v 9) [3], he is using these gifts to make a point, not to discourage their practice.

Paul makes several points in preferring prophecy over speaking in tongues during worship, including:

  • The one who speaks in tongues speaks to God, but the one who prophesies speaks to people (vv  2-3);
  • The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church (v 4);
  • Prophesy is to be preferred to speaking in tongues (unless someone interprets the tongues) because prophesy builds up the church (v 5).
  • Prophesy involves spirit and mind (inferred), but speaking in tongues involve only the spirit (v 14);
  • Prophesy reaches unbelievers, while speaking in tongues does not and may distract them (vv 23-24); and
  • …tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. (v 22)

Paul himself speaks in tongues, but only in private (vv 18-19).

Paul’s teaching on worship focuses on building up the body of Christ, both by encouraging believers and welcoming unbelievers.  He suggests 2-3 people speak in tongues, if they have interpreters, and, likewise, 2-3 people prophesy (vv 27-29).  For Paul, worshiping decently and in order (v 40) accordingly implies moderation in the public display of spirituality, not its absence.

Footnotes

[1] All Nations Church, Charlotte, NC (www.ChavdaMinistries.org).

[2] Elsewhere, the Gospel of Mark reports: And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18 ESV)

[3] Paul’s description of his conversion and call suggests that he viewed himself called to be a prophet in the Old Testament tradition like Ezekiel. For example, the Greek in Acts 26:16 ἀνάστηθι καὶ στῆθι ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας (arise and stand on your feet; Acts 26:16 BNT) compares closely with Ezekiel’s words: στῆθι ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας (stand on your feet; Ezek 2:1 BGT).

Questions

  1. How was your week? Did something in particular?
  2. What questions or thoughts do you have about 1 Corinthians 13?
  3. Does verse 1 belong in chapter 13 or 14? Why?
  4. Which gifts does Paul emphasize? (v 1)
  5. What comparison does Paul make in verses 2 and 3?
  6. Why does Paul spend so much time comparing the gift of tongues and prophecy? (vv 2-32)
  7. What points does he make about prophecy? (vv 2-32)
  8. What points does he make about speaking in tongues? (vv 2-32)
  9. Which gift does prefer? Which gift does he practice?  Why?
  10. What does Paul recommend the church do? (vv 27-33,39-40)
  11. How important are Paul’s instructions on the gifts? (vv 36-38)
  12. How do you interpret verses 34-35? Why?
  13. What is Paul’s summary conclusion? (vv 39-40)

1 Corinthians 14: Spiritual Gifts Build the Body

First Corinthians 15

First Corinthians 13

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1 Corintios 14: Los Dones Espirituales Construir el Cuerpo

Diane_painting_flowers_06022014Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Doy gracias a Dios porque hablo en lenguas más que todos ustedes. Sin embargo, en la iglesia prefiero emplear cinco palabras comprensibles y que me sirvan para instruir a los demás, que diez mil palabras en lenguas. (vv 18-19)

¿De qué manera los dones espirituales afectan el culto cristiano?

El fin de semana del año pasado, cuando comencé en el seminario, me visitó una iglesia nueva. El invitado predicador era un amigo cercano y me pidió su bendición sobre mi ministerio. El servicio fue grabada en video y transmitido en línea. La música estaba animado; la oración era profunda; la congregación estaba comprometida. La gente bailaba, ondearon banderas, sonaron los cuernos de carnero, y dieron testimonio del poder de Dios en sus vidas diarias. Esta congregación celebra activamente los dones del espíritu [1].

En la primera carta del apóstol Pablo a la iglesia en Corinto, trató de canalizar la expresión de los dones espirituales para edificar la iglesia (v 4). Hizo su punto mediante la comparación de dos regalos: hablar en lenguas y la profecía. Pablo describe el don de lenguas, según el lenguaje de los ángeles (13 v 1), un lenguaje de oración espiritual (v 13), y de una manera adecuada para hablar con Dios (v 28) [2]. Él describe la profecía que tiene por lo menos 3 objetivos: la construcción de la gente, animando a la gente, y ofrecer consuelo (v 3). Debido a que Pablo se involucra tanto en el hablar en lenguas (v 18) y profetizan (13 v 9) [3], está utilizando estos dones para hacer un punto, no desalentar su práctica.

Pablo deja varios puntos en preferir la profecía sobre hablar en lenguas durante el culto, incluyendo:

  • El que habla en lenguas habla a Dios, pero el que profetiza habla a los hombres (vv 2-3);
  • El que habla en lenguas edifica a sí mismo, pero el que profetiza edifica a la iglesia (v 4);
  • Profetiza es preferible a hablar en lenguas (a menos que alguien interpreta las lenguas), porque profetiza edifica a la iglesia (v 5).
  • Profetiza implica el espíritu y la mente (inferido), pero el hablar en lenguas implica sólo el espíritu (v 14);
  • Profetiza llega a los incrédulos, mientras que el hablar en lenguas que no y puede distraerlos (vv 23-24); y
  • las lenguas son una señal, no para los creyentes sino para los incrédulos, mientras que la profecía es una señal, no a los incrédulos, sino para los creyentes. (v 22)

El mismo Pablo habla en lenguas, pero sólo en privado (vv 18-19).

La enseñanza de Pablo sobre la adoración se centra en la edificación del cuerpo de Cristo, tanto mediante el fomento de los creyentes y no creyentes de bienvenida. Sugiere 2-3 personas hablar en lenguas, si tienen intérpretes, y, asimismo, para 2-3 personas, profetiza (vv 27-29). Para Pablo, la adoración decentemente y con orden (v 40) en consecuencia implica moderación en la exhibición pública de la espiritualidad, no su ausencia.

 

[1] All Nations Church, Charlotte, NC (www.ChavdaMinistries.org).

[2] Por otra parte, el Evangelio de Marcos informa: Estas señales acompañarán a los que crean: en mi nombre expulsarán demonios; hablarán en nuevas lenguas; tomarán en sus manos serpientes; y cuando beban algo venenoso, no les hará daño alguno; pondrán las manos sobre los enfermos, y éstos recobrarán la salud. (Marcos 16:17-18 NVI)

[3] La descripción de Pablo de su conversión y llamada sugiere que él veía a sí mismo llamado a ser un profeta en la tradición del Antiguo Testamento como Ezequiel. Por ejemplo, el griego en Hechos 26:16 ἀνάστηθι καὶ στῆθι ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας (levántate y ponte sobre tus pies; Hechos 26:16 BNT) compara muy de cerca con las palabras de Ezequiel: στῆθι ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας (ponte sobre tus pies; Ezequiel 2:01 BGT).

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Reynolds: Man up; Get Healthy

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Steve Reynolds and MG Ellis.  2012.  Get Off the Couch:  6 Motivators to Help You Lose Weight and Start Living.  Ventura:  Regal.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Death is personal. At one point as a chaplain intern I ministered to a 400-pound man in the emergency room.  His arms were covered with Band-Aids. The best nurses in the department took turns trying to insert a catheter, but could not find a vein—he was just too fat.  Obesity kills, but before it does, it robs one of all dignity.  There are old people and there are fat people, but there are no old, fat people (71).

Pastor Steve Reynolds is an interesting guy [1].  At one point in his 40s he weighed 340 pounds and was diagnosed with diabetes (15).  It scared him into action.  As a pastor, he turned to his bible for answers and looked up passages dealing with the body.  For example, the Apostle Paul writes:

do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV; 40)

Likewise, the Apostle John writes:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 ESV; 39)

Pastor Steve also noted that the very first sin in the bible had to do with Satan tempting Eve with food (Genesis 3:1-6).  If our forbearers were first tempted with food and over-eating pollutes the body—trashing the temple of God—raising the prospects for an early death, then is it any wonder that Saint Thomas Aquinas referred to gluttony as a mortal sin? [2]

Pastor Steve ended up losing more than 100 pounds.

People noticed.  His congregation asked him to preach on his biblical approach to weight-loss.  A woman in his congregation wrote an article for the Washington Post [3]  and he became an instant media celebrity as the anti-fat pastor (@AntiFatPastor).  Books followed.

Pastor Steve’s most recent book, Get Off the Couch:  6 Motivators to Help You Lose Weight and Start Living, focuses on men.  Because men generally do not read (especially not self-help books), this is curiously what you call a pass-through book—a book purchased by one person for another.  In other words, wives seriously concerned about their couch-potato husbands are an important target audience because, like football, healthy living is a team effort.

Unlike most book focused on weight-loss, Get Off the Couch provides a strategy for achieving the goal that goes beyond changes in diet.  Pastor Steve focuses on an acronym:  ACTION.  “A” is for Aware; “C” is for Commit; “T” is for Transform; “I” is for Incorporate; “O” is for Organize; and “N” is for Navigate.  ACTION is not only a strategy; the 12-chapters of the book are organized around ACTION as well:

Aware (1. Get in the Game; 2.Your Body Matters to God;)

Commit (3. You Gotta Play by the Playbook; 4.  Winning Over Temptation; )

Transform (5. Get Your Head in the Game; 6. Progress, Not Perfection;)

Incorporate (7. Get Buff, not Buffeted; 8. No Pain, No Gain!)

Organize (9. Stronger Together; 10. Drafting Your Team;) and

Navigate (11. Make Your Dash Count; 12. Your Game Plan for Health).

These 12 chapters are preceded by multiple forwards and followed by multiple appendices.  Pastor Steve is as serious about your succeeding in improving your health in a Godly manner as he is about football.

Get Off the Couch is full of testimonials of men who have succeeded in turning their lives around and living healthy.  The book has numerous before and after photographs of these men.  Two-thirds of us, Americans, need to lose weight (26).  We are addicted to inactivity and food.  We need to exercise more and eat less (49). Pastor Steve provides a great playbook for getting started.

[1] www.capitalbaptist.org/pastorsteve.html.

[2] Thomas Aquina’s 7 deadly sin are often described using their Latin names. Those are superbia (pride), invidia (envy), ira (anger), gula (gluttony), luxuria (lust), avarita (greed), and accidia (sloth).  Henry Henry. 2006. The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Orig Pub 1978). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. page iv.

[3] Jacqueline L. Salmon. “Calling the Flock to God, Away From the Fridge” Washington Post, January 22, 2007 (http://wapo.st/SkJ4V9).

 

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1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope, and Love

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV).

Attitudes matter.  When we exercise spiritual gifts, do we seek to glorify God or ourselves?

One of the hardest things to do is to give God the glory and not focus on ourselves.  Praying an ACTS prayer—adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication—is helpful, for example, because our impulse is to cut straight to supplication—the give me (gimme) part of prayer.  Because God already knows our needs, we are better advised simply to praise God and trust that he will meet our needs.  Focusing on the gimme part of prayer hints that we do not fully trust God; the same is true when we express our love for other people.

Two false views of love are very popular today.  One is a grasping, selfish—stalker—kind of love.  Stalker love says:  if I cannot have you, then no one else can either.  For example, Beetle musician John Lennon was murdered in 1980 not by an enemy, but by a fan who earlier in the day had even sought an autograph from him[1].  The stalker’s love is rooted in desire to possess, not to share affection or relationship.

Another false view of love arises not from the desire to possess, but to project self on the object of our desire. The classic example is that of a parent living vicariously through the child. Unfulfilled ambitions are projected onto the child and the child is then manipulated to live out a hidden script.  Alternatively, a child may simply never be allowed to wander outside the shadow of the parent to develop fully as a person.  These same dynamics can also occur for highly dependent spouses.  This false view of love is motivated by a desire to control explicitly or implicitly.

The context for Paul’s comments about love is the expression of spiritual gifts.  In chapter 12, Paul makes the point that the Holy Spirit is the source of all spiritual gifts (12 v 11) and the purpose of the gifts is to serve the body of Christ (12 v 7).  Here in chapter 13, Paul makes the point that spiritual gifts not motivated by love for one another are not so spiritual.  Speaking in tongues without love, for example, is like beating your own drum (gong or cymbal; v 1).  This same theme continues even in chapter 14 where Paul gives explicit advice about using gifts, such as speaking in tongues and prophecy, properly in worship (14 v 4).

Clearly, like us the Corinthians do not have a proper attitude about gifts and they misunderstand the meaning of love.  Paul redefines love using the word, agape[2].  He does not use either phileo[3] often translated as brotherly love (think Philadelphia—the city of brotherly love).  He also does not use eros[4] usually translated as romantic love.  This humble, sacrificial definition of agape is unique to Paul (vv 4-7).

After defining agape, Paul goes on to suggest that he himself at one point held childish views which he gave up in adulthood—a polite way of suggesting they are childish in their view of love (v 11).  He then goes on to attribute this agape love to God himself, alluding to Moses’ encounter—face to face—with God on Mount Sinai (v 12; Numbers 12:8).  The argument is if God expresses a humble, sacrificial love, then we should too.

While Paul’s lesson here is about having a proper attitude about spiritual gifts, he also is careful to balance his view of agape love with faith and hope.  Love is not simply a warm, fuzzy feeling.   Paul balance faith, hope, and love in at least 4 other places in his letters[5].  Faith and hope balance love by anchoring it in our relationship with God.

Footnotes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_John_Lennon

[2] ἀγάπη (BDAG 39)—the quality of warm regard for and interest in another, esteem, affection, regard, love–without limitation to very intimate relationships, and very seldom in general Greek of sexual attraction.

[3] φιλέω (BDAG 7742)—to have a special interest in someone or something frequently with focus on close association, have affection for, like, consider someone a friend.

[4] ἔρως (BDAG 3145)—passionate interest…ardor fondness.

[5] See:  (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 5:8; Colossians 1:3-5; and Ephesians 1:15-21).

Questions

  1. How was your week? Did something in particular?
  2. What questions or thoughts do you have about 1 Corinthians 12?
  3. What is the context for chapter 13? What does this suggest about the topic of the chapter?
  4. What does false love look like? Alternatively, how might spiritual gifts be misused? (v 1)
  5. The three words for love in Greek are: agape, philo, and eros.  What do they mean?
  6. What validates prophecy, knowledge, faith, generosity and martyrdom? (vv 2-3)
  7. What are the attributes of agape love? What are the opposite of these attributes? (vv 4-8)
  8. What is the key attribute of agape love? (vv 8-10, 12) Who does this remind you of?
  9. What does it mean to be a man and not a child? (v 11)
  10. What does the mirror analogy remind you of? (v 12; Numbers 12:8)
  11. Why does Paul group faith, hope, and love (v 13). What is different about Paul’s use of faith, hope, and love here?  (See: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 5:8; Colossians 1:3-5; and Ephesian 1:15-21)
  12. How is this chapter misused?

1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope, and Love

First Corinthians 14

First Corinthians 12

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1 Corintios 13: Fe, Esperanza y Amor

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

El amor es paciente, es bondadoso. El amor no es envidioso ni jactancioso ni orgulloso. No se comporta con rudeza, no es egoísta, no se enoja fácilmente, no guarda rencor. El amor no se deleita en la maldad sino que se regocija con la verdad. Todo lo disculpa, todo lo cree, todo lo espera, todo lo soporta (1 Corintios 13:4-7 NVI).

Las actitudes son importantes. Cuando ejercitamos los dones espirituales, qué buscamos para glorificar a Dios o a nosotros mismos?

Una de las cosas más difíciles de hacer es centrarse en dar gloria a Dios y no a nosotros mismos. Rezar una ACTS oración—adoración, confesión, acción de gracias (thanksgiving) y de súplica.  Es de gran ayuda ya que nuestro impulso es ir directo a la súplica—la dame parte de la oración. Porque Dios ya conoce nuestras necesidades, estamos mejor aconsejaron simplemente para alabar a Dios y confiamos en que va a satisfacer nuestras necesidades. Centrándose en la parte de la oración dame insinúa que no confiamos plenamente Dios; lo mismo es cierto cuando expresamos nuestro amor por otras personas.

Dos puntos de vista falsos de amor son muy populares hoy en día. Se trata de un agarre, egoísta—acosador—clase de amor. Amor Acosador dice: si yo no puedo tenerte, nadie más puede hacerlo tampoco. Por ejemplo, Beetle músico John Lennon fue asesinado en 1980, no por un enemigo, sino por un fan que más temprano en el día, incluso había buscado un autógrafo de él[1]. El amor del acosador tiene sus raíces en el deseo de poseer, de no compartir el afecto o relación.

Otra visión falsa del amor no surge del deseo de poseer, sino para proyectar auto en el objeto de nuestro deseo. El ejemplo clásico es el de un padre que vive vicariamente a través del niño. Ambiciones no cumplidas se proyectan sobre el niño y la niña se manipulan para vivir un script oculto. Alternativamente, un niño simplemente no se puede permitir a vagar fuera de la sombra de los padres para desarrollarse plenamente como persona. Estas mismas dinámicas también pueden ocurrir por cónyuges altamente dependientes. Esta falsa visión del amor está motivado por el deseo de controlar de forma explícita o implícita.

El contexto de los comentarios de Pablo sobre el amor es la expresión de los dones espirituales. En el capítulo 12, Pablo hace que el punto de que el Espíritu Santo es la fuente de todos los dones espirituales (12 v 11) y el propósito de los dones es servir al cuerpo de Cristo (12 v 7). Aquí, en el capítulo 13, Pablo hace el punto de que los dones espirituales no motivados por el amor mutuo no son tan espirituales. El hablar en lenguas sin amor, por ejemplo , es como golpear a su propio tambor (gong o címbalo ; v 1). Este mismo tema continúa incluso en el capítulo 14, donde Pablo da consejos explícitos sobre el uso de regalos, tales como el hablar en lenguas y la profecía, propiamente en la adoración (14 v 4).

Es evidente que, como nosotros los Corintios no tenemos una actitud apropiada acerca de los dones y ellos entienden mal el significado del amor. Paul redefine amor usando la palabra, agape[2]. Él no utiliza ya sea fileo[3] menudo traducido como el amor fraternal (piense Filadelfia—la ciudad del amor fraternal). Él también no utiliza eros[4]generalmente traducido como el amor romántico. Esta definición humilde, sacrificial del ágape es única para Pablo (vv. 4-7).

Después de definir el ágape, Pablo llega a sugerir que él mismo en un momento tenían puntos de vista infantil que dio en la edad adulta, una forma educada de lo que sugiere que son infantiles en su visión del amor (v 11). Luego pasa a la actitud de este amor ágape de Dios mismo, en alusión al encuentro cara de Moisés a cara con Dios en el Monte Sinaí (v 12; Números 12:8). El argumento es que si Dios expresa un amor sacrificial humilde, entonces también debería hacerlo.

Si bien la lección de Pablo aquí se trata de tener una actitud apropiada acerca de los dones espirituales, también tiene cuidado de equilibrar su visión del amor ágape con fe y esperanza. El amor no es simplemente una sensación cálida y difusa. Paul fe equilibrio, la esperanza y el amor en al menos otros 4 lugares en sus cartas[5]. La fe y el balance de la esperanza del amor por su anclaje en nuestra relación con Dios.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_John_Lennon

[2]ἀγάπη (BDAG 39)—the quality of warm regard for and interest in another, esteem, affection, regard, love–without limitation to very intimate relationships, and very seldom in general Greek of sexual attraction.

[3]φιλέω (BDAG 7742)—to have a special interest in someone or something frequently with focus on close association, have affection for, like, consider someone a friend.

[4]ἔρως (BDAG 3145)—passionate interest…ardor fondness.

[5]See:  (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 5:8; Colossians 1:3-5; and Ephesians 1:15-21).

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