Archive for the ‘Moral Issues’ Category

A general introduction to the relationship of faith and love before proceeding to 1 Cor 13 proper

October 12, 2020

1 Corinthians chapter 13

Where should I start? God is love and being created in his image should love not be the goal of faith? So, we need to start to open up this glorious chapter.   The chapter is full of beautiful language it seems a long way away from earlier book in which there are all these factions vying for who’s preacher or teacher is the greatest.  Paul pushes in the opposite direction and his love for the Corinthians is to bring them to maturity as Christians. 

31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
   And I show you a still more excellent way. 1 Corinthians 12:31

At the end of chapter 12 and halfway through the discussion on gifts we have this excellent verse.   Without this ‘way’ the gifts are no different to the Pagan use of their gifts of the ‘spirit/spirits’.

The way of love! As Bavinck says, ‘the fruit of faith is love’. (Pages 68- 69 of his ethics). 

  1. I think there are different strands we need to look at as a general introduction to the relationship of faith and love and we will do this through Herman Bavinck the great Dutch theologian (What Bavinck says).
  2. Our second stage will be to go through 1 Corinthians 13 and look at especially how he speaks in the negative and those key words.  Perhaps these words will give us a deeper understanding and goal found in Corinthians (What the Greek says).
  3. Our third stage will be to ask the questions; Why this chapter on love bang smack in the middle of the gifts and prophecies; There is a reason (The order and topic of love).
  4. Any other findings (any other Business)
  5. Conclusions

Stage 1

What Herman Bavinck Says

The following quotation is taken from;

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Ethics, created and fallen and converted Humanity, edited by John Bolt.

I hope John Bolt doesn’t mind me using this quote but I seriously would urge anyone to read it who is interested in the relationship of faith and love. 

Page 68

The fruit of faith is love:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good Conscience

and a sincere faith. (1 Tim. 1:5)

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar

and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love

of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he

abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:44

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,

but only faith working through love. (Gal. 5:6)

So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say,

“You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works,

and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18)

Page 69

Similarly, “every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  

A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good

Fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the

fire” (Matt. 7:17=195 cf. 12:33; Luke 3:9; 6:43- 45). A tree is known by its fruit.

The examples of people given in Scripture also demonstrate the same connection

between faith and deeds: Lydia (Acts 16:14-15); Tabitha (Acts 9:36);

Cornelius (Acts 10:2, 48); Zacchaeus (Luke 19:8); the church at Colossae

(Col. 1:4); the church at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:3). New birth brings about

changed lives: “And such were some of you. 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™ (1 Cor. 6:11). Love is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22); faith

in Christ Jesus results in love for the saints (Eph. 1:15). Paul’s prayer for the

Ephesians is that their new faith may bring forth love, “that according to the

riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through

his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through

faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to

comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height

and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that

you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16—19; cf. Col. 1:4).

Love is the highest virtue, the bond of perfection: “And above all these put

on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14).

So, Scripture teaches that also subjectively religion and morality cohere

intimately and inseparably. The one demonstrates itself and is authenticated

in the other. The one is the fruit of the other.

5. The church of all ages has taught this, including Gregory the Great,

Bernard of Clairvaux, Lactantius, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.” Zwingli

showed the relation more psychologically and ethically. For Zwingli, even

the good works of the unbelievers were the fruit of faith. In answer to the

question “What are good works?” the Heidelberg Catechism (Q&A 91) gives

this answer: “Only those which are done out of true faith, conform to God’s

law, and are done for God’s glory; and not those based on our own opinion or

human tradition.” And this is what all the Reformed teach. There is no morality

except what proceeds from faith, but also there is no faith without morality.”

The problem is in a lot of theologies is that we get lots about faith but it seems to be disjointed on how we live this life in God’s way.  This is why Bavincks ethics advice is so important because we have a deeper understanding of this faith love rationale.  Galatians 5 6,another book of Paul’s, he says, ‘faith working through love’.  He then gives examples of people who after conversion lives ‘new lives.’  We are not any different!  Then he quotes;

15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, Ephesians 1:15

Then Bavinck quotes;

14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14

‘put on’ is not in the Greek here but is implied by context.  I think you can see the link between faith and love.  There can be no sacred love without true faith and the outworking of faith is works and love in that order.  Faith is a gift and it comes from A God who is described by John as ‘Love’.  At the end Bavinck says;

There is no morality except what proceeds from faith, but also there is no faith without morality.”

So now we have a deeper understanding of the relationship of faith and love and how it works.  This was important because as we go through this chapter, we have an inkling into Pauls use of faith and love in his other writings.   This is where higher criticism fails: It tries to dissect each text individually and think of the books and letters as separate entities. How Many St Paul’s were there?  There is only one Paul, there are not five or six Pauls. I am stating the obvious, but this needs to be stressed.  The man Paul directed by the Holy Spirit will come to a sanctified understanding of love.

Mariage continued, 1 Corinthians chapter 7, 5

July 1, 2020

1st July 2020

1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 5

5  Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5

In a Christian Marriage prayer is important.  Put God first and seek His advice… It is ok to make agreements with the other half about when to get together.  Not all people have so much self-control.  In any big city there are always places we should stay away from if we have a lack of self-control.  This was good advice to the Corinthians.

The importance of marriage 1 Corinthians chapter 7, 3-4

June 30, 2020

30th June 2020

1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 3

3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:3

Paul follows through good Jewish advice.  The word fulfil here is ‘didomi’ obviously in in terms of conjugal rights.  Both parties are supposed to show affection and love to the other in the physical form.  Maybe render would be a good word here.  Conjugal rights are equal on both the mans and the woman’s side.

1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 4



4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise, also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 1 Corinthians 7:4

There are equal rights on both sides of the gender divide.

Chiasmus continued 1 Corinthians chapter 7, 1-15

June 29, 2020

29th June 2020

I think this is a good overview of the structure as it tells us what some of the main themes are.  It also shows that these themes are important because most of them cover the same ground twice! Obviously.

A: Separation. B: Don’t deprive. C: As Paul does. D: Difference of each life.

So, the centre of this chiasmus is that everyone has a particular gift…

What could that gift be? Is that person already married? Is that person not already married? Is the person married? Not married? Does the person have self-control? Does the person not have self-control?

These are serious and interesting questions for all Christians not only the Corinthians.  So, let us go beyond the greater chiasmus and I am sure there are many more (there are) and start to look at the nitty gritty details!

A Chiasmus in Pauls writing, 1 Corinthians chapter 7, 1-15

June 28, 2020

28th June 2020

Verse 3 with a chiasmus that starts at 1 and ends at 15.

3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:3

When looking at 1 Corinthians it is interesting that here Paul agrees with Jewish opinion on marriage.  C.K. Barrett also says there is a chiasmus literary tool being used here.  I don’t want to go to great deal,

 but I found this…

[9]Directions concerning marriage  1 Cor 7:1-16)
     A(7:1-4)    7:1 It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman (7:1)       B(7:5)       7:5 Do not deprive each other (7:5)          C(7:6-7a)          7:7 Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am (7:7)             D(7:7b)             7:7 each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. (7:7)          C'(7:8-9)          7:8 it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do,(7:8)       B'(7:10-11)       7:10 a wife should not separate from her husband (7:10)    A'(7:12-16)    7:15 If the unbeliever separates, however, let him separate (7:15)
   A: Separation. B: Don’t deprive. C: As Paul does. D: Difference of each life.

Immoralities 1Corinthians Chapter 7 verses 1-2

June 27, 2020

27th June 2020

Verses 1 -2 continued

1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2

Immoralities here means sexual immoralities.  You shouldn’t be surprised with this after all the spadework we did.   If I was to read verse one the mirror of this would be that many of the Corinthians just did not have self-control.  There are men that do have self-control but not all men.  What type of man or woman is he or she when it comes to self-control? If you are a pastor or minister of a church; How do you deal with these situations in your own church?

The Capricious Lifestyle of Corinth

June 25, 2020

I think it is an interesting read… There was not any aspect of human activity that was out of bounds from the gods and goddesses at Corinth… Even though Corinth had the stamp of Julius Caesar on it, it never lost its Grecian appeal.  So then if the gods and goddesses could be capricious (“given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour.” from Google search.)  What then of people who lived in Corinth.  Obviously, they would follow their object/s of worship and behave in the same type of way.  However, there were current of society that pulled in the opposite direction such as Judaism that had strict moral laws in place. 

So as background to 1 Corinthians chapter 7 it is interesting what Barclay says “ We have already seen that in Greek thought there was strong tendency to despise the body and the things of the body; and that that tendency could issue in a position where men said, “The body is utterly unimportant; therefore we can do what we like with it and it makes no difference if we allow its appetites to have their fullest play.” But that very tendency could issue in a precisely opposite point of view. It could move a man to say, “The body is evil; therefore we must bring it into subjection; therefore we must completely obliterate, and if that is not possible, we must completely deny, all the instincts and desires which are natural to it.” It is that second way of looking at things with which Paul is dealing here. The Corinthians, or at least some of them, had suggested that, if a man was going to be a Christian in the fullest sense of the term, he must have done with physical things and must refuse to marry altogether.

Isis the Egyptian goddess and Aphrodite the Cyprian goddess of love and beauty at Corinth

June 24, 2020
Isis Egyptian goddessIsis is a goddess in Egyptian mythology. She was known as the goddess of the moon. As goddess of life and magic, Isis protected women and children, and healed the sick. Closely linked to the throne, she was one of the greatest goddesses of Ancient Egypt.  
AphroditeGreek Goddess of Love, Beauty & Eternal Youth Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love and Beauty and according to Hesiod’s Theogony, she was born from the foam in the waters of Paphos, on the island of Cyprus. She supposedly arose from the foam when the Titan Cronus slew his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea. However, according to Homer, in Iliad, Aphrodite may instead be the daughter of Zeus and Dione. As with so many Greek deities, there are many stories about the origins of the gods.  

Hercules and the Roman god Jupiter in Corinth

June 23, 2020
HerculesHeracles the semi-god  was the most popular Greek hero ever. He was known for his exceptional strength, even surpassing many gods, as well as for his courage, his appetite for wine, food and sexuality with both women and men. It was also believed that despite his ingenuity in several of his quests, he lacked a fair amount of intelligence. He was very passionate, short-tempered and emotional individual, although many comic playwrights described him as primitive, brutal and violent in their games. Heracles was the kind of person who would often get into trouble but was then also determined to resolve the issues and make things right. Actually, many of his good deeds came from solving his trouble. The most famous of these are the twelve labours. After completing many more deeds than anyone else and gained favours by the gods, Heracles eventually ascended to Mount Olympus upon his death in the mortal world.  
Jupiter The roman god = ZeusJupiter, also known as Jove, is the god of sky and thunder, as well as the king of gods in Ancient Roman Mythology. Jupiter is the top god of the Roman pantheon. Jupiter was considered the chief deity of Roman state religion during the Republican and Imperial eras until Christianity became the dominant religion. Zeus is Jupiter’s equivalent in Greek Mythology. The two share the same features and characteristics.

Athena and Hera at Corinth

June 22, 2020
gods/godessesCharacteristics and what roles they played.
AthenaAthena, also referred to as Athene, is a very important goddess of many things. She is goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, strategic warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.  
HeraHera is the Queen of the Gods and is the wife and sister of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon. She is known for being the Goddess of Marriage & Birth. Despite being the Goddess of Marriage, she was known to be jealous and vengeful towards the many lovers and offspring of her husband Zeus.