Notes 17 - Letters of Paul cont. - A11

Notes 17 - Letters of Paul cont. - A11 - Letters of...

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Letters of Paul (cont.) While there are numerous epistles by Paul, we only have time to deal with a few selected passages. I do want to look at some of the issues with which Paul deals in the Corinthian correspondence, particularly 1 Corinthians 7, 11, 12, and 14. These will help us to see how Paul tries to deal with questions he is asked. The city of Corinth was a large, cosmopolitan city. At one time, it was the capitol of the Achaian league. Many philosophies and religions competed for prominence. While a myriad of gods and goddesses were worshipped, the chief god was Poseidon, god of the sea. Isis was another important goddess because of the high population of women in Corinth. Most of the Christians in Corinth were converted from various mystery religions. It is to this cosmopolitan setting that Paul writes a series of letters, much of the material addressing specific questions raised by the church members. Among the burning issues for them were questions about marriage, celibacy, and divorce. Paul deals with these questions in chapter 7 of 1st Cor. Paul contends early in the chapter that the ideal is celibacy- no sexual contact whatsoever. His ideas of celibacy in this situation are shaded by the common belief that Jesus would return any day and that Christians would not die of natural causes before Jesus returned. When he says that it is better to remain unmarried, Paul is doing this with the idea that one can give all of her/his energies to the church if not married. While this may be a possibility,Paul is also a realist. He understands that the sexual drive is very strong and, by way of concession, states that one should be married if she/he can not control desires. This way one
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