Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
1 Corinthians 1-3:23
Questions & Observations
Q. (Acts 19:6): I didn’t speak in tongues after I got baptized. I haven’t heard of anyone getting this gift that I know of. What is the purpose of it anyway?
A. We looked at this in Acts 2 (Pentecost), but the purpose of speaking in tongues in the book of Acts is to proclaim God’s message in a miraculous way, by doing so in a language that the speaker does not speak. Paul will actually address this gift (and gifts in general) in the near future of this work, so let’s hang in there for that. There are various theories about why people baptized today do not speak in tongues, among them that these gifts are no longer commonly given by the Spirit (a position known as Cessationalism- the gift has ceased), and others that it is still given, but rarely manifests itself. The Charismatic Movement and Pentecostal Churches would argue that speaking in tongues is the proof of the Spirit’s presence, but I disagree with that stance for many reasons. It is, frankly, somewhat of a profound mystery, but as Jesus told us about the Spirit in John 3, He has a will of His own, and does as He pleases, not as we might like Him to.
Q. (19:13-20): Were the Jews not properly casting out the evil spirits? Why would an evil spirit overpowering the group of Jews make them honor God. I take it they were looking for God to protect them?
A. The story is implying that they saw the error of their ways when they were defeated by the demon, and turned to Christ for true salvation.
Q. (1 Corinthians 2:6-9): So here goes the free will v. predestination argument. Here it says that the crucifixion of Jesus was planned all along. But, it says that the “rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.” So, can we say that God knew these leaders would not be righteous and He knew He would have to make the world right through the ultimate king?
A. Actually, both Calvinist (Predestination) and Armenian (Free Will) camps argue that the cross was God’s plan all along- neither position holds that God is not sovereign and can do as He pleases, the fault line is over what place HUMAN free will has in the place of God, so I don’t see the declaration of Jesus being crucified as being especially controversial. I think you can see, however, that this argument can be extended either way to the scripture you ask about: either their fate was preordained (that would be Calvinist) to reject and crucify Jesus, or that they made up their own minds to kill Jesus (Free Will) and God merely knew in advance what they would do. This scripture doesn’t solve your dilemma, sorry.
Q. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23): I don’t understand what Paul is saying when he says “everything belongs to you.” Does it have something to do with v. 16, because it says that all believers together are the temple of God?
A. Paul is reinforcing the call for unity by saying basically, “you are all heirs in Christ, together — everything, every teacher, every blessing, etc, it belongs to all of you, so why waste time on divisions?”