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Shadows of Divine Things

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This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Paul’s Basic Kerygma in First Corinthians 15:3-8

I wanted to post this and get my questions out there to see how you all might answer. I am posting this in hopes that your thoughts may help me develop more thoroughly my thoughts on these passages from Paul’s epistle to the Corinthian Church.

It seems clear; to me anyway, that Paul’s audiences in both his epistles to the Church at Corinth are to Pagan converts to Christianity. That being the case, is Paul’s basic kerygma, which seems to be centrally focused in his first epistle around chapter 15, verses 3 through 8, one of pure fact being a list of events within a certain framework (as N.T. Wright seems to declare) in an attempt to explain to his pagan converts the importance of these events? Or, is this a type of creed which could ultimately be considered the gospel in so far as agreeing to these things/facts we are “saved?” Or is it perhaps, both? [I hope these questions make sense – if not post a comment and I’ll try to clarify them].

Also, when Paul declares, in these passages, according to the Scriptures, is Paul referring to the Old Testament Scriptures? Or is he essentially calling the deposit of the Apostles which was given to them from Christ, Scriptures?

6 Comments:

Blogger Chris Tilling said...

1st Para: Well, a small Jewish contingent cannot be ruled out, in fact is likely.

2nd Para: As for your main question, I guess I could do with a bit of clarification.

3rd Para: He is referring to the Hebrew Scriptures, but not in a proof-texting fashion – something that Wright is helpful in explaining.

I hope that helps!

But do expand your thoughts in the 2nd paragraph. I’m thrilled you’re looking at the apostle Paul, and even at 1 Cor, which I’m working through myself at the moment. The Corinthian correspondence is truly a letter for today!

3:52 PM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Thanks for your response, Chris.

In the context of this letter, Paul has been correcting certain practices at the Church in Corinth, he's discussed orderly worship, spiritual gifts, etc. Further, his audience is already Christians. Then, suddenly, Paul begins to discuss "the gospel" he declares that he preached to to them (the Corinthian Church).

It is in this context that Paul begins to make certain proclamations (almost in a type of "creed" fashion) about events that actually occurred, vs. 3-8.

Is Paul doing this because he has been working in a certain "framework" of correcting the Corinthian's behaviors and practices? Or does he shift gears to proclaim that this is "the gospel" and this is where your salvation lies, and that's what they need.

I guess my thinking on this is that Paul is not proclaiming these things in these passages (vs. 3-8) in order that his readers (or listeners since the letter was probably read to everyone) would know what "the gospel" is because Paul thinks the Corinthians need to hear these things in order to "be saved" or to come to "saving knowledge of Christ."

My thoughts are that there is something else going on in these passsages. So I am trying to figure out what is going on. I have tried to simplify my questions and answers as best I can w/o losing my main intent - I hope this helps, if not let me know - perhaps we can correspond via e-mail if the above comments do not help.

4:42 PM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger Mowens said...

If I understand your questions correctly, I would suggest that v. 12 is important to the discussion. It seem to imply that Paul is continuing what he has been doing all along-correcting problems in the church that have come to his attention. 15:1-11 would then seem to function as a reminder of what they accepted as true and valid in the hopes that would aid in his defense of the resurrection (which Paul would seem to suggest is a vital aspect of the gospel). Hope this helps.

MO

5:32 PM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Mowens,
yes, that helps a bit. It makes sense that Paul would be correcting their views about the resurrection (or their rejection of it) - this also makes sense in light of his audience being mostly pagan, since most pagans (in that century) rejected a notion of resurrection to begin with.

It also helps in light of "the gospel" Paul is preaching since it hinges on the resurrection of Christ (v.17).

So this is corrective on Paul's part and should not be taken as a message to the Corinthians as to what they need to do in order to be "saved."

I also agree with Chris, that Paul is refering to the Hebrew text, but not in a proof-text fashion (as certain scholars seem to think).

6:34 PM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

I believe Paul is correcting the Corinthians on the issue of the resurrection of the body, and to do so he lays out the Gospel as he had received it as an
Apostle of Jesus Christ (which may also be strength for his argument, since Apostleship is based on being comissioned by the resurrected Christ) for his foundation.

As if I know anything.

8:33 AM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Doxoblogist,
I agree. That is pretty much what Mowens said above. I have been doing some research in First Corinthians and when I got to this passage is stuck out like a sore thumb.

Several of the people I had read declared that the passage was Paul declaring to the Corinthians what they needed to do to be "saved." This just did not seem like an accurate interpretation.

Paul had been correcting so much up to this point that when I reached these passages I knew he was setting up for something (some kind of further correction). However, to suddenly restate the gospel that he declared he had already preached to them seemed a bit odd, prima facie, but in the context I see what Paul was getting at.

When I read N.T. Wright he declared that Paul was correcting the Corinthians inside the same framework he had been correcting them, only reiterating the gospel he had preached to them prior in order emphasize the bodily resurrection of Christ. This I agree with.

So. . . thanks to everyone for the comments . . . they helped confirm what I was thinking all along!

2:00 PM, February 10, 2006  

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