Monday, February 13, 2017

1 Corinthians 3:10-11;16-23

This passage occurs in the RCL during the Year A Epiphany Cycle, most recently February 2017.

Some brief commentary:
All of the "You"s in this section (You are God's building, you are God's temple, God's spirit live in you) are you plurals.  Paul argues that God's Spirit dwells in the collective, not the individual.  Interestingly, there is individual judgment, but there is collective blessing!  Furthermore, Paul reserves his judgment it seems, for church leaders.

σοφος αρχιτεκτων ("wise architect" or "master builder", 3:10)   Hebrews will call God the master builder and Jesus; Paul does not declare himself to be a master builder, but says he was like/as a master builder.  Important distinction!  We fill roles within the church, but God is the builder and ultimately, owner.

πυρ ("fire", 3:13;14)  Paul offers that we will be cleansed as if by fire.  For Paul judgment does not preclude salvation, but may in fact, be part of salvation!  This is a massive point that I will need, someday, to expand upon!

υμεις ("you"; 3:17)  To remind us all -- "you" in English can be translated a number of ways in Greek -- you individual (συ), you plural (υμεις), you in all sorts of cases  (υμιν e.g.)  In this case, the English translation: "You are God's temple" will almost certainly be heard by English ears as meaning "You individually are God's temple" rather than what the Greek suggests "You all are God's temple." 

Paul will pick up on the idea that our individual bodies are temples (νοας) of God (1 Cor 6:19) but in this section (3:10-23), Paul addresses our unity within the body of Christ.  Paul is able to tie together our individual responsibility with our collective unity.  I would offer that most of us as Americans need far more discussion and contemplation of our collective unity.

Grammar tid-bit
παρα (3:11)  This preposition can mean many things; in this case it means "outside of" more than "alongside of." 

No comments: