Hello, Winn here. Welcome to the inaugural podcast for AskDrWinn, where you can ask questions and get some beginning answers. I am happy that you are listening.
Here’s our question for today:
Why a podcast that focuses on asking questions that deal with the Bible?
It has occurred to me over the years that one of the reasons that there are very few church venues that allow their congregants to ask questions is because the leaders like things that are status quo and don’t want to rock the boat by challenging the assumptions of congregants or somehow make them uncomfortable in their current thoughts about the Bible.
However, in my own teaching career in churches, Bible schools, and the University, I have discovered that church congregants are often frustrated by not having a place or a person to ask questions that are pressing on them.
So, in a way, this is a response to a possible failure within the ChurchWorld to give a venue for folks both in the institutional church and not in the institutional church and those who are not Jesus followers to ask questions and hopefully find a beginning answer and focus on finding answers to their questions.
Often the Second Testament books are thought of as “problem solving literature,” that the newly formed church within the first century had difficulties changing from their own Hebrew roots and Greek roots to a different way of thinking that produced a different way of life.Often the Second Testament books are thought of as “problem solving literature,”
First Corinthians plainly demonstrates how that pattern was alive and well. Actually all the books in the Second Testament are based on solving church problems, yes, even the Gospels. Think of these books in this way and it opens up a whole new way of reading and reflecting on the books.
So, here briefly is the background of 1 Corinthians, which produces the model for church folks to ask questions and receive a response.
In the book of Acts, Luke offers us a story of the how the church grew from Jerusalem to the end of the known world. Beginning in Acts 18.18b-21.14, Luke provides the larger background for the writing of the book of 1 Corinthians. This section of Scripture took place during the timeframe of AD 52-57.
After staying in Antioch for a short period, Paul began his Third Church Planting Mission. He left Antioch and traveled back through Cilicia, the cities of Galatia and Phrygia, and returned to Ephesus. Upon arrival in Ephesus, he began working with the church, which had been started by Aquila and Priscilla, and a group of disciples of John the Baptist who had received the Spirit.
Remember, Paul evangelized Corinth during the Second Church Planting Mission (Acts 18:1-18a). His second journey brought him to Ephesus. During his time in Ephesus, Paul preached in the School of Tyrannus for two years and three months, about four hours a day. The seven sons of Sceva were delivered and there was a book burning of many sorcery books. This caused a riot, which was led by Demetrius the silversmith on behalf of the goddess Artemis/Diana.
Sometime during the last part of his trip that brought him back to Ephesus, he received a message that there were some problems back in Corinth. He wrote a letter to that church during this period, which he referred to in 1 Corinthians 5.9, in which he commanded disassociation from professing Christians who lived immorally. Moffat suggests the following about the church at Corinth: “the church was in the world as it had to be, but the world was in the church as it ought not to be.” Some scholars believe that 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 is a fragment of the lost letter, which was inserted in 2 Corinthians when Paul’s Letters were collected and published to which Paul is pointing in his reference to writing to them a former letter. What we call 1 Corinthians is not the letter to which Paul was pointing in the text of 1 Corinthians 5.9.
Remember, New Testament literature is best understood as problem-solving literature. This is certainly true of the Corinthian correspondence.
Let me reconstruct the writing of 1 Corinthians in the following way.
The first four chapters is Paul’s answer to the question that Chloe’s people brought to Paul and asked for his guidance about a problem of unity in the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 1.11).
Just as a brief aside.
Unity is the quality of having the same passion. This was not the case in Corinth (1 Cor. 1.11-12). In the pages of Scripture, unity is never organizational, but rather an expression of love and consideration of other believers because we are all a part of one family. It is not uniformity or the sharing of one opinion on a matter. It is the God-given capacity to put aside differences because of a shared common goal. Jesus prayed that the believers have unity so that the world may see the love of God. Paul wanted the Corinthians to experience this kind of unity.
Unity is the quality of having the same passion…It is not uniformity….Second, before he could send his message back to them, three other folks from the Corinthian church, Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, (1 Cor. 15.15-18) arrived bringing a letter asking Paul for his guidance in some other problems the church was also facing. The response to those problems is found in 7.1-16.24.
- 1 Corinthians 7.1: Marriage (Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” NIV)
- 1 Corinthians 7.25: The unmarried
- 1 Corinthians 8.1: Food offered to idols
- 1 Corinthians 12.1: Gracelets (See GRACELETS link below
- 1 Corinthians 16.1: Money
- 1 Corinthians 16.12: Apollos
Finally, they also brought him news of three current problems, which also needed attention. The response to this oral material is found in 5.1-6.20. The visit and letter disclosed twelve problems within the church to which Paul responded to their questions and gave his response to Timothy to deliver back to the Corinthian church. This response is our 1 Corinthians.
So you can see from this brief overview that when the Corinthian church had difficulties, they asked questions and 1 Corinthians demonstrates that they received some answers.
I personally think that gatherings that include Bible study should not be a one way communication, but should allow for a Q&A so that everyone can clarify what has been said.
I would like to thank you for tuning in to our first inaugural podcast. I hope it has been helpful.
If you would like to keep up with the questions that are being asked you can go to AskDrWinn.com/updates and leave us your name and email address and you will receive an email in your inbox each time a new podcast is published.
See you next time.