March 8, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for 1 Corinthians 5-6
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Context: In addition to division within the church, Paul is concerned about some accepted behavior within the church, namely the acceptance of a man who was sleeping with his father's wife (likely his step-mother). Paul was not surprised that such a thing was happening, but rather that the church willingly accepted it! How does this reflect on our society today? Immorality cannot be accepted by any Christian, or it will spread like a disease. Paul then turns his attention to lawsuits among believers. No doubt Paul would be astounded at the frequency of the use of courts to solve problems today, just as he astounded that the Corinthian Christians would even consider taking their matters before a secular court. Secular courts use the wisdom of the world to make decisions. Christians are held to a higher standard, the wisdom and judgment of the Lord. This highlights the underlying problem with the Christians in Corinth: they do not study God's word and therefore do not live God's word. Same as the Corinthians, we are expected live our lives to honor the Lord God. How can we do that if we do not regularly study the word of God? The secular world frequently presents actions as acceptable in society, when they are not acceptable in the eyes of the Lord. These cultural blind spots are something of which every believer must be aware and for which every believer must be constantly considering. The Corinthians had this problem concerning sexual immorality, specifically prostitution. Paul reminded them that their bodies belonged to the Lord and should be honored as such.
World History: According to Old Testament laws, a man caught sleeping with his father's wife would be executed. In Corinth, and many other pagan cities, sleeping with a religious prostitute was thought to bring good fortune and blessing upon the man and his family. It has been speculated that the Corinth Christians had continued this practice.