Bible Study-St Paul
26th February 2023
Romans 5:12:21 Adam and Jesus Christ
V. 12: ‘sin’, that what divides man from God‘; ‘death’ i.e. spiritual death which separates
man definitely from God; ‘one man’, Adam; ‘and thus’, this adverb connects Adam’s sin
with ‘everyone’; ‘because’, renders the meaning that either all have sinned (collectively)
by sharing Adam’s sin, or else by their own personal sins.
V. 13: ‘no one could be accused of the sin of ‘law-breaking’’, i.e., before the Mosaic Law,
sinning was not considered as contributing to death.
v. 14: ‘from Adam to Moses’, the 2000 years of chaos of which rabbis often divided their
6000 years of human history; ‘breaking the law’, literally ‘transgressions’.
V.15: ‘prefigured’, the resemblance of Adam as head of humanity is incomplete, when
compared with Christ who perfects original man; ‘so many’, i.e. ‘all’; ‘abundant free gift’,
God’s benevolent favour, guaranteeing justification, which exceeds any mercy that
might be evoked through sin and which justifies the condemnation not only of Adam's
transgression, but through our own personal offences (v.16).
V.17: ‘everyone to reign in life’., i.e. the life obtained in Christ’, as contrasted with the
death brought on by Adam’s offence.
V.19: ‘were made sinners’, mankind was not only liable for punishment, but became
actual sinners; ‘will be made righteous’, the use of the future tense here probably refers
to the final judgement, but could also refer to the future generations of Christians,
benefiting from Christ’s death and resurrection.
V.20: ‘When law came’, without the definite article, ‘law’; would refer to a state of things,
where it is the determinant factor, but some commentators understand that St. Paul is
referring to the Mosaic Law, which multiplied the offences in man’s religious history.
V.21: ‘eternal life’, indicates more the quality, rather than the length, as it is the life of God himself
19th February 2023
1 Corinthians 3: 1 - 23 The Spiritual Childness of the Corinthians and the Place of the
V. 1: ‘sensual men’, literally, ‘men of the flesh’, that is weak, sinful and transitory.
V. 3: ‘still unspiritual’, literally, ‘still fleshy’, or ‘still worldly’’.
V. 5: ‘servants’, “diakonoi” in Greek, employees of their master, Christ; who has
assigned to them their separate and distinct missions: Paul founded the Corinthian
Church and Apollos developed it (v. 6).
V. 8: ‘all one’, both Paul and Apollos have equal standing, because they have the same
master and the same aim; ‘the work’, literally ‘hard work’, a term Paul uses for the
V. 9:’fellow workers with God’, i.e. cooperating with God, who acts in and through his
V. 11: ‘this foundation’, as this is Christ, successive builders must be careful how they
build on it.
V. 13: ‘That day’, when Christ will come again; ‘fire’, the element in the O.T. associated
with testing and purifying and which, therefore, will test the quality of the building
V. 15: Paul teaches that although the preacher’s work of building up the community may
not have withstood the quality test expected for which he should be punished, he
himself will not be excluded from salvation.
V. 16:’you were God’s temple’ literally ‘you are God’s sanctuary’, referring to the Holy of
Holies where God was thought to dwell in the Temple at Jerusalem. Here it is applied to the community as a whole. If applied individually, it could be referred to the Christian‘soul’.
V. 18: ‘fool’, one who judges things by worldly standards.
V. 22: ‘to boast about anything human’, of being a disciple of Paul, Apollos, Cephas,
etc., to the detriment of the unity of the Church.
V. 13:’but you belong to Christ’, through faith and hope in Christ’s triumph (over sin and death).
12th February 2023
1 Corinthians 2 6 - 16 True and False Wisdom V. 6: ‘maturity’, literally ‘perfection’, i.e. those who have reached maturity in Christian life and thought; ‘of our age’, the world that has not yet been transformed by Christ’s redemptive power; ‘the masters of our age’, the evil powers of this world, but perhaps also the rulers and governments, who are under the control of these evil powers. V. 7: Christ, the Wisdom of God, can only be known through revelation, which is the mystery of the scandal of the cross. V. 8: ‘the Lord of Glory’, implies Christ sharing the same attribute of God’s divine power. V. 9: ‘what scripture calls’, the quote seems to be a combination of Isaiah 64:3 and Jeremiah 3:16, but also could be taken from apocryphal writings. V. 10: ‘to us’, i.e. to Paul and his fellow preachers; ‘the depths of God’, the mystery of God’s love and saving power in Christ. V.11: ‘his own spirit’, in Christian terminology this could mean ‘his own soul’. V.12: ‘the Spirit that comes from God’’, the Holy Spirit received at baptism with His gifts make the Christian aware of the graces received through the sacrament, and especially of the glory that awaits them. V:13: ‘we teach spiritual things spiritually’, addressed to the ‘perfect’ and considered to be a ‘charismatic discourse’, as opposed to the ‘kerygma’, and which teaches that the gifts which lead to ‘glory’ have been given by God’ (and not acquired via ‘philosophy’); the phrase can be interpreted as ‘’interpreting spiritual truths to the spiritual’, or comparing spiritual things with spiritual’, or ‘ how spiritual things hold together’. V.14: ‘An unspiritual man’, literally, ‘a natural man’, but in the sense of ‘a material man’ animated only by the life received from Adam, and has only natural knowledge and understanding. V.15: ‘A spiritual man’, one whose intellect has been elevated (beyond the senses), through the Spirit, to know and appreciate the mysteries of faith. The Spirit only enables a person to discern, according to God’s plan, not the knowledge obtained through study, science and industry; ‘not to be judged by other men’, possibly, Paul, ‘a spiritual man’ cannot be judged by the Corinthians, who are ‘sensual’ (see 1 Cor 3:2). V.16 : ‘the mind of Christ’, can also mean ‘the Spirit of Christ’.
4th February 2023
Introduction to 1 & 2 Corinthians Date & Place: 1 Cor. : Easter 57 AD at Ephesus. Background: Corinth evangelised by Paul 50-52 . Port city, centre of Hellenism, but also of immorality, causing crises among the Christian community for which 2 Cor. written, before Paul eventually visited the city again before his arrest in Jerusalem. Themes: moral conduct, marriage & virginity, liturgical and eucharistic meetings of the charismata, questions of appeal to public courts and eating foods sacrificed to idols.,all of which Paul uses as a means to deepen doctrine of Christian liberty, the sanctification of the body , the supremacy of love and union with Christ. The resurrection of the body is explained philosophically to make the argument intelligible to the Greek mind. Stresses also that the life here and now is already life in union with Christ through faith. 1 Corinthians 1:1 - 9: Address, greetings and thanksgiving v. 1: ‘an apostle’, Paul, by virtue of his divine calling is an ‘authentic’ apostle, like the Twelve. v. 2: ‘the Church of God’, a favourite Pauline expression recalling the assembly of the Lord in the Greek version of the O.T. and the assembly of Yahweh for the Jews; ‘the holy people of Jesus Christ’, by virtue of their baptism, Christians are holy, just as the Israelites were holy through divine election;’are called to take their place’, i.e.,, the faithful united in their adoration of Christ as ‘Lord’. v. 3:’grace and peace’, Paul’s customary greeting, with ‘grace’ being the salvific gift of God’s goodness, and ‘peace’, the fruit of God’s salvation in Christ,including, the forgiveness of sin, the reconciliation with God and harmony among people. v. 5:’enriched … in your teachers and preachers’, literally ‘with all speech and with all knowledge’, referring to the charismatic gifts of speech and of tongues. v. 6:’the witness to Christ’, i.e. Paul's proclamation of the ‘kerygma’ has resulted in the profusion of God’s grace. v. 7:’waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed’, the ‘parousia’ was central to Paul’s teaching and the object of Christian hope. v. 9:’ has joined you’, the union among the believers is a result of their union with Christ; ’and God is faithful’, Paul’s hope for the Corinthians remaining blameless (v. 8) till the last day, depends more on God’s fidelity, rather than on their moral efforts. 1 Corinthians 1:10 - 17 Dissensions among the faithful v. 10 : ’to be united’, the Greek verb implies a readiness to compromise for the sake of harmony. v. 12: ‘I am for Apollos’, an Alexandrian Jew who through his skillful oratory made a deep impression on the better educated minority of Corinthian Christians;’ I am for Christ’, possibly Christians that claimed there was no intermediary between themselves and Christ. v.14: ‘Crispus’ former head of the Corinthian synagogue converted to Christianity; ‘Gaius’, a wealthy man whose house was large enough to accommodate the Christian assembly; ‘Stephanus’, first Christian convert in Corinth. v. 17: ‘not to baptise’, there was no special mission to do this and paul left the administration of the sacrament to others; ‘in terms of philosophy’, literally ‘in terms of wisdom’, i.e. the human wisdom with all its play on words, speculation and rhetoric, contrasted with the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18 - 25 The Message of the Cross V. 18: ‘illogical’, or foolish, i.e. anything that passes human understanding (St. Thomas Aquinas). V. 19: quotation taken from Isaiah 29:14, on the occasion of the invasion of Sennacherib, when the prophet convinces the king to trust in God only. V. 21: ‘human wisdom’, :either Jewish,i.e., through the Law, or Greek, i.e. through philosophy, or through the created universe and history, or even through the carnal, sinful world (kosmos); ‘know God’, not merely, speculative knowledge, but through a personal involvement; ‘those who have faith’, i.e. those who surrender to God’s wisdom and love of Christ are saved through the preaching of the cross. V. 22: ‘the Jews demand miracles’, i.e. the Jewish nationalism,in their belief in a messiah who would restore the Davidic kingdom through ‘signs’ of miraculous power; ‘the Greeks look for wisdom’, philosophies that pretend to explain humanity and the cosmos. V. 23: ‘an obstacle’, literally, ‘a scandal’, a cause of offence and revulsion, which should be opposed vigorously. 1 Corinthians 1:26 - 31 The Message of the Cross applied to the Corinthian community V. 28: ‘those whom the world thinks common and contemptible’, literally, ‘the nonentities’, i.e. the Gentiles, whereby Paul is alluding to his basic doctrine that whether a person is naturally good, or follows the Law, they are saved by faith through God’s goodness. V. 30: ‘by God’s doing’, God is the effective cause of the Corinthians transformation into a new creation; ‘our virtue’, literally ‘our righteousness’, ‘i.e. the justice that has come above by God fulfilling his promises in Christ; ‘our holiness’, literally, our sanctification, i.e.at baptism Christ becomes holiness for us, as he is its dispenser and embodiment of God’s holiness; ‘our freedom’, literally,, ‘our redemption’, i.e. the freedom from sin, the flesh, the Law, and death, all of which the Jews and the pagan faiths strove for, but are now consumed in Christ. 1 Corinthians 2: 1 -5 Paul’s methods of preaching V. 1: ‘what God has guaranteed’, the apostolic preaching of the crucified and risen Christ (the Kerygma). V. 3: ‘’’fear and trembling’’, probably referring to some difficulties Paul may have had in converting the Corinthians. V. 5 : ‘ only a demonstration of the powers of the Spirit’, and not rhetorical eloquence or philosophical reasoning.