1 Corinthians 9-11
The Good: haha sorry – did you expect anything?
The Bad: V 1 – Paul asks rhetorically if he hasn’t seen Jesus with his own eyes? But let’s answer it straight – no Paul, so far you have presented zero evidence that you have actually seen Jesus with your own eyes. You have mentioned no details about an earthly life at all. The only time you mentioned seeing him was in a vision… In v 3, Paul sounds a little testy – obviously some of his followers have been challenging his authority.
V 4-14 make a case for believers (congregation/church members) supporting clergy. He’s right when he claims that those who work in the temple get their meals from the temple offerings – we figured that out long ago in the OT. Now that same system is being touted in the NT – I don’t remember Jesus ever asking for physical or financial support for his ministry. Paul is making up the rules as he goes along; and in this chapter he’s a mega-church pastor’s ally.
In v 15-18 though, Paul plays the holier-than-thou card, acting the martyr and announcing that although he is entitled to be supported by his flock, he has never accepted money, and horrors!, would never accept any, for preaching the Good News is a sacred duty. Get off the soapbox, Paul, your histrionics remind me of every parents’ “after all I’ve done for you” speech.
The Ugly: In v 9-10 he refers to Deuteronomy 25:4 which allows an animal to eat while it is working on a farm. Sounds like a humane rule, but Paul claims it to his own advantage – to heck with the poor animals! And v 19-27 disgust me. In a nutshell, Paul is a sycophant, sucking up to everyone and becoming part of their culture just to win souls for his cause, like it’s some kind of competition. I guess he’s keeping track – or he thinks god is. What’s changed in 2000 years here? Nothing.
The Good: you’re kidding, right?
The Bad: Another friggin’ rehash of the Exodus. Spare me! And v 4: that rock was Christ – WTF? The ‘warnings’ in v 6-10 are all from Numbers, which only proves that Paul had read the OT; but of course he would have, since he was a Jew. V 11 is another indication that Paul believed the end of the world was near. V 14-33 is another friggin’ rehash of the ‘do we have to keep kosher’ debate.
The Ugly: V 13 “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” Oh yeah? Tell that to someone suffering from depression, alcoholism, PTSD, or any number of other psychological conditions or mental illnesses. Or anyone who has suffered a series of personal tragedies. And how about the intolerance in v 19-22: all those other competing religions are just idol-worship, pagan, demonic, satanic … this attitude hasn’t changed much in 2000 years, either.
Quotes: there’s nothing particularly special about this chapter.
The Good: v 21 isn’t good in any really positive sense, but it’s hilarious – well, I’m trying to look for something good somewhere!
The Bad: The editor blew it again; the first verse seems unrelated to the content of this chapter. Instead, it makes more sense attached to the end of the previous chapter. V 17-18 make it clear that there are serious divisions in the church, even though Paul tries to make light of that fact in v 19.
The section beginning with v 23 is a bit curious. These verses following it describe the ritual known as Holy Communion, and correspond to the gospel accounts. But remember, the gospels were written long after the letters of Paul. So the gospels could have copied from Paul, but not the other way around. Therefore, where exactly is Paul getting this information? He says he received it from the “Lord”, but doesn’t specify the lord’s name nor how exactly it was relayed. Paul never indicates anywhere in his letters that he ever met Jesus (assuming that Jesus is this ‘lord’), nor does he indicate any awareness of the details of Jesus’ life on earth; all of his beliefs come from either OT scriptures or ‘divine revelation’. So maybe he just dreamt this stuff up – or more likely stole it from one of the competing religions in the area; there were lots that featured rituals known as “the Lord’s Supper”.
The Ugly: V 2-16. I don’t think I even have to elaborate here – if you’ve read them you know. But hey, I learned something new! I always knew that there were verses in the bible that prohibited women cutting their hair, but I never knew that there was a verse that prohibited men from growing long hair. Now I know why the long-haired hippies of the 1960’s caused so much stir; I always thought it was just because they flouted convention, and was unaware that there was a religious component. (But what about Samson???) And now I also know why women of my grandparents’ generation always wore hats to church. That has long gone by the wayside… why did women stop following it? Are there denominations that still do? (I’m not referring here to sects like the Hutterites where the women wear a head covering all the time, although this is probably the verse that explains that; but just the fashion of wearing a fancy hat to church.)
Quotes: Mostly the verses about the communion (23-32).