St. Irenaeus Ministries
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In chapter one, Paul introduces himself as an encouraging father. Chapter two shows a more corrective side, outlining the immaturity of the Corinthian community. He highlights their faults even more centrally throughout chapter three. By the end of the letter, he establishes himself as an honorable father who will ever speak honestly to his children, correcting faults when necessary.

In chapter 16, he says, ''I urge you to be subject to such men and to every fellow worker and laborer'' (v. 16). He cites Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaicus as examples of holiness and leadership within the Church.

He closes the letter with, ''I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love will be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen'' (v. 21-24). When Paul says ''If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed,'' he instructs the Church not to tolerate immorality and godlessness.

Ever present throughout this letter is the mind and personality of St. Paul. The letter contains vivid and notable snapshots of the Church that hosted the great missionary-pastor for 18 months, and one can never reach the bottom of its depths. The letter's contents compel the reader to spiritual progress as well as discipleship, service and love. It also demands the resolution of interpersonal disputes and the establishment of the highest standards of sexual morality. The role of women, spiritual gifts and the nature of the Eucharist all have profound places in this letter. Although the letter's chapters build into a sort of crescendo of pastoral correction, Paul always writes with great and genuine love.

Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff's 6 Moments Musicaux Op. 16 - Andantino, from the album Moments Musicaux, performed by Elizabeth Wolff. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 1Cor8b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm EST

This chapter describes a wide-spread collection of funds for the Church in Jerusalem. Giving sacrificially for Christ - who gave Himself for the human race - was ever on the mind of these early Christians who always gave well beyond the 10% tithing requirement. Tithe money never paid for ecclesial luxuries, but for pressing needs like furthering effective missionary activity and sustaining widows and orphans. The offering described in this chapter is a sort of precursor to what we now know as Peter's Pence; Paul and many young men from the various churches throughout Christendom would later carry their offerings to Jerusalem to lay them at the feet of the apostles. Paul also presents the Gentile Christians to the Lord in the Temple, an act which fulfills a prophesy from Isaiah 60 but incites a riot and leaves him imprisoned.

Paul cannot leave his post in Ephesus until Pentecost, but hopes to return to the Corinthians after passing through Macedonia (cf. v. 5-9). He urges the church to ''Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love'' (13-14).

Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians is not a manual of Christian doctrine or rubrics but a personal letter to a specific church with particular predicaments.

Extremely personal, the letter is a riveting apostolic work that arises from love and compels the properly disposed reader to recollect and repent. Although one may not be privy to all the details of the particular Corinthian situation, studying this letter is always profitable. Although focused study is necessary to undermine the full weight of this letter, one's study must never remain purely intellectual but must penetrate to one's spirituality and daily life.

Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff's 6 Moments Musicaux Op. 16 - Andantino, from the album Moments Musicaux, performed by Elizabeth Wolff. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 1Cor8a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:25am EST

Out study continues with the great Resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, verse 23. Christ is the Messiah whose reign must continue until he has triumphed, when eternity begins (cf. v. 23-27). The Father is the font of divinity without having any chronological or hierarchical priority over Jesus Christ. A close reading of this chapter will reveal that there was no "generic God-substance" that created Christ, but rather the one God, a personal moral being who is all-powerful and who eternally begets the Son.

Note that verse 29 does not speak to the common Mormon practice of Baptizing the Dead, and is the only reference of any such a baptismal practice in the Bible.

Paul knows that one is ruined by the bad company he keeps (v. 33), and he mentions it within this chapter for the good of the Church. He chastises them by saying "Come to your right mind and sin no more" (v. 34).

He answers a number of the Corinthians' questions on the resurrection of the dead in verses 35-44. He writes, "Just as we have born the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable" (v. 49-50). In this, he states that all who are raised to heaven will be changed, a change that occurs in the blink of an eye. He concludes the chapter by stating "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (v. 58).

One must never forget that the goal of the Christian life is to remain with the Lord in heaven. With this perspective, one has a life-changing motivation.

Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff's 6 Moments Musicaux Op. 16 - Andante cantabile, from the album Moments Musicaux, performed by Elizabeth Wolff. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 1Cor7b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm EST

Sometimes termed "the great Resurrection chapter," 1 Corinthians 15 accounts just that and more. Certain members of the Corinthian Church, perhaps because of a Greek heritage that often disparages the flesh, take issue with Jesus' resurrection. From the initial verse, Paul affirms that the resurrection is an essential part of the gospel.

He expresses that Christ died for our sins and rose to give us eternal life, appearing to many (v 2-6). Note that Cephas [Peter] is mentioned specifically as well as being included in those "twelve" apostles who witnessed Him (v 5). Paul uses the terms "the twelve" and "the apostles" as two separate categories (v 7). These precise groupings of witnesses serve help establish facts, adding credibility to Paul's argument.

It was only the resurrected Christ who dramatically changed Paul from the Church's greatest persecutor into one of its chief workers. Paul reminds them that a Christian's resurrection will be one of both the spirit and the body, urging them to never overlook the resurrection of the body on the last day. He writes in response to those who question the resurrection of the body, "If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins" (v 16-17).

Christ has trampled upon death through the resurrection and lifts believers from the dead and from sin. By thinking deeply about heaven and the resurrection of the dead, Christians remain focused on their final end throughout the battle against sin.

Music: Moritz Moszkowski's 3 Moments Musicaux Op. 7 - Allegramente, from the album Moments Musicaux, performed by Elizabeth Wolff. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 1Cor7a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm EST