Index: 1 and 2 Corinthians

1 and 2 Corinthians are "needs-based" epistles (personal letters) to a particular church.

1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Did Paul expect Jesus to return soon?
1 Corinthians 1:11-12, 3:6
Were Paul and Apollos unfriendly rivals? -- part of a reply to Earl Doherty
1 Corinthians 1:17
Is Paul waving off Jesus' command to baptize?
1 Corinthians 1:19
Is it bad to be wise, or not?
1 Corinthians 2:1-2
Do these verses forbid rational apologetics?
1 Corinthians 2:7-8
The "archons": Human or supernatural rulers?
1 Corinthians 2:9
Was Paul a Gnostic?
1 Corinthians 2:15, 4:5
Is Paul contradictory about judging?
1 Corinthians 5:3-5
What did it mean to be delivered to Satan?
1 Corinthians 5:7
Does God endorse human sacrifice?
1 Cor. 6:2
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? A skeptic with little better to do asks how this is reconciled with Hebrews 12:23, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect... It is asked who is to judge - God or the saints. This fails to distinguish between the senses that "judge" is used in each verse. In the former, it is a titular noun (cf. Matt. 5:25, lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer), and does not exclude what the second verse describes, where "judge" is used as a verb. Obviously God may, as supreme Judge, assign judging duties to His subjects. Since in Jewish and ancient thought representation is identification, a saint who judges on God's behalf does so as though God Himself were the judge.
1 Corinthians 6:6-7
Does this absolutely prohibit Christians going to court against each other?
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
How can this be, one Skeptic asks, when Matthew 21:31 says that sinners get into the Kingdom of God? Conveniently, the Skeptic leaves out 1 Cor. 6:11: "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" and Matt. 21:32 "For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did." Obviously, Paul is talking about sinners if they are not saved while Jesus is talking about those publicans and harlots that believed in him. Also, does 6:9 condemn homosexuality?
1 Corinthians 7:6, 12, 25, 40
How could Paul say this and be inspired by the Spirit?
1 Corinthians 7:7-8, 29
For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I...Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. Is Paul contradicting Gen. 2:18, which stated that it was not good for Adam to be alone? To say so is to be falsely generalizing from particulars: Each verse represents a specific situation where the condition described is desirable, not a universal rule. Obviously it is not "good" for the first man ever to be alone. But there is more to this passage, and for that see here.
1 Corinthians 7:29
Did Paul expect Jesus to return soon?
1 Corinthians 9:24
Is Paul contradictory about running?
1 Corinthians 9:20-3
Is Paul being a chameleon and a charlatan? No more so than the teacher who learns the dialect of a student in order to be more effective teachers to them. Is it being a "chameleon" and being "opportunistic" to absorb local customs and behaviors for the sake of viable communication? Not at all. This was especially so in the ancient world. As Malina and Neyrey note in Portraits of Paul, it was natural and expected for persons to submit themselves to and for the good of the group by meeting their expectations for behavior [190]. The "chameleon" insult is a product of anachronism by a Western mindset and in no way reflects any idea that Paul would lie or make up stories.
1 Corinthians 10:1-2
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. It is objected that these events did not happen in Exodus: The cloud was before and behind the forefathers, they were not under it, and they did not pass through the sea. The allegorical nature of this passage becomes more evident in the verses that follow: They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. This is nothing more than a typical Jewish midrashic procedure; a similar interpretation was offered by Philo. It is legitimate literary license, to coin a modern term.
1 Corinthians 10:4
Was this line borrowed from Mithraic scriptures? Analyzed as part of a larger article on whether the figure of Mithras influenced Christianity.
1 Corinthians 10:8
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. How is this reconciled with Num. 25:9, And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.? Most like to resolve this one by saying that the 24,000 deaths were over the more than one day Paul refers to (and this does work -- there is no justifiction for the assertion that the events of Numbers happened in one day because "The narrative of events is quick, brief, and consecutive" -- I could make an account of the creation "quick, brief and consecutive" and eliminate the time markers, that would still no prove that the creation happened in one day).
1 Corinthians 10:14-21
Does this forbid prayer breakfasts?
1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Is Paul seeing himself as a law unto himself? No -- there is a Greco-Roman rheotrical argument pattern here: "All things are lawful for me" is a Corinthian claim that Paul is repeating back and then responding to.
1 Corinthians 10:33
Do we please men, or not?
1 Corinthians 11:3-13
Is Paul degrading women here? -- now also see this addition
1 Corinthians 11:10
What's this passage about?
1 Corinthians 11:14
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? Critics ask how Paul can say this in light of associations of long hair in the OT. But the comparison that Paul makes is to the long hair of a woman - so that this is a matter of what was considered "long" in Paul's day. We find the same issue dealt with in ancient writers like Strabo, who complains of men wearing their like that of a woman. According to one Hellenistic-Jewish writer, "Long hair is not fit for boys, but for voluptuous women." Philo says that a man's hair is too long if it can be piled on top of the head in braids. Therefore, Paul's reference is entirely appropriate in context. (The Greek word here actually refers to tresses of hair; snide observation about portraits of Jesus with long hair are off the mark.)
1 Corinthians 12:13
Does this verse teach that baptism is needed for salvation? -- part of a broad article that also touches on the general faith-works relationship question; related via Gal. 3:27.
1 Corinthians 12:31
Is the Bible contradictory about coveting?
1 Corinthians 13:7
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. One Skeptic quotes the "believeth" part against verses that say to test things, and others may wonder whether this is an admonition against thinking critically. Our answer calls upon an application from elsewhere: "All things" is a general phrase of proverbial hyperbole; it is to be taken no more as exclusive than the idea that Jesus in Mark expounded "all things" (including the habits of sea slugs?) to his disciples. 1 Cor. 13:7 may be taken as a piece with the likewise proverbial admonition in 1 Thess. 5:21 to prove all things. (Does that include gravity and star mass ratios?)
1 Corinthians 13:9-10
Are these verses "anti-intellectual"? Also, what does this passage say about cessation of chraismatic gifts?
1 Corinthians 14:22-25
Is this passage illogical?
1 Corinthians 14:33
If God is not the author of confusion, what about all the wars God encouraged in the OT? Look closely at Paul's word here: akatastasia, meaning confusion or instability. Is war "instability"? Generals might disagree.
1 Corinthians 14:33-6
Is Paul degrading women here? See also our comparative position piece.
1 Corinthians 15:3-11
1 Corinthians 15:5
Is the reference to the Twelve anachronistic?
1 Corinthians 15:20
"Christ wasn't first to rise from the dead!"
1 Corinthians 15:36
1 Corinthians 15:50
Does this verse indicate a non-physical resurrection?
1 Corinthians 16:22
Is Paul violating the command not to curse?
2 Corinthians 3:6
Was Paul a Gnostic?
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Is this "preposterous" in light of slavery and inequality of the sexes and minorities? To say so is to anachronistically put modern definitions of "liberty" back into an entirely different social context, but even so, the context of the statement is in reference to the Mosaic law. Furthermore, Malina and Neyrey note in Portraits of Paul that in the ancient world, people took their major identity from the various groups to which they belonged. Whatever group(s) they were embedded in determined their idenitity. It would have been foreign to the ancient mind to not stand in some sort of dependent relationship. "When ancient Mediterraneans speak of 'freedom,' they generally understand the term as both freedom from slavery to one lord or master, and freedom to enter the service of another lord or benefactor." [163] In other words, it was not a matter of whether you were in service to another, but who you were in service to.
2 Corinthians 10-12
About Paul's "opponents" in 2 Corinthians -- part of a reply to Earl Doherty
2 Corinthians 11
Issues: Acts vs. Corinthians, Paul's trouble in Damascus
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
What was Paul's "thorn in the flesh"?