Notes on 1 Corinthians 1 and 2

Corinthians 1

1 Corinthians 1:12, I am of Paul. Truly it is amazing how many scriptural admonitions and truths which many in the Christian church totally ignore and walk in direct opposition to. For example, note how many denominations are named after men (e.g. Lutheran, Wesleyan, Mennonite, Amish) and how many follow doctrines named after men (e.g. Calvanist, Arminian)—a practice that is exactly what Paul condemns in this passage. Similar to this is the use of ecclesiastical titles (e.g. father, teacher or rabbi), which Yeshua condemns in Matthew 23:8–10. What does this teach us when people engage in such practices that Scripture forbids? Simply this. Many if not most people don’t take the Word of Elohim that seriously. These people  view the commands and instructions of Scripture more as suggestions than as actual rules and boundaries by which to live. Such people lack a sufficient fear of Elohim and don’t tremble before his Word (Isa 66:2). They also lift up and glory in men and the doctrines and traditions of men, which Jeremiah admonishes us not to do (Jer 9:23), and which Paul alludes to in verse 30, and which Yeshua warns against in Mark 7:13.

1 Corinthians 1:18, The message of the cross is foolishness. Anyone who has preached the gospel to those who are spiritually lost will appreciate Paul’s statement in this verse that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. Why is this? It is because of the mind of man and human pride, which convinces a person (a) that they don’t need saving from their sins because they really aren’t that bad of a person, or (b) because it is incredulous to think that Elohim become a man who died for the sins of the world. 

1 Corinthians 1:21, The wisdom of Elohim. In so many ways, the world has inverted the truth of Elohim. What Elohim calls truth, the world calls error. What Elohim calls riches and life, the world calls poverty and death. Similarly, what Elohim calls light and wisdom, the world calls darkness and foolishness. This teaches us that the carnal mind is in direct opposition to the wisdom, truth and laws of Elohim (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7).

1 Corinthians 1:22, We preach Messiah crucified. This is the essence of the gospel. It is interesting to note that Paul didn’t say, “We preach the Torah-law” or something similar. This is because the Torah cannot save a person; only Messiah can save. In their zeal for restoring the truth of the Torah and their aversion to mainstream Christianity (or churchianity), sadly many Hebraic-minded individuals have forgotten this important truth.

1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2:1, 3–4, Excellence of speech…persuasive words. A preacher’s oratorical, persuasive or rhetorical skills are not prerequisite to bring a person to conviction of their sins and to faith in Yeshua the Messiah. Rather, it is the message of the gospel itself, the Word of Elohim, when preached that brings conviction, repentance and salvation. This is because the Word of Elohim doesn’t return void, but carries its own powerful anointing regardless of the weakness or inabilities of the human vessel doing the preaching. Elohim can use any willing vessel or “Balaam’s donkey” to preach the gospel. 

Spirit and power. The gospel is efficacious not because of one’s ability to preach, but because one is filled with the Spirit of Elohim and is preaching in the dynamic power thereof. Therefore, YHVH can use nearly anyone to preach the gospel, as long as they are full of his Spirit. As the saying goes, Elohim isn’t looking for ability in a person, but availability—a willing human vessel to “go ye therefore into all the world and to preach the gospel.”

1 Corinthians 2:16, Mind of Messiah. (See also Phil 2:5 cp. 1 Pet 4:1.) Mind is the Greek word nooce meaning “1) the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining, the intellectual faculty, the understanding, reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil, the power of considering and judging soberly, calmly and impartially; a particular mode of thinking and judging, i.e thoughts, feelings, purposes, desires.” The implications of this truth, that the redeemed believer has the literal mind of Messiah is astounding. We must, by YHVH’s grace and by faith, appropriate (pray to receive) and then live out this reality.

 

Is Your Personal Spirit Defiled or Clean?

2 Corinthians 7:1, Cleanse…the…spirit. The personal spirit of each person can be defiled by the sinfulness of the flesh, and thus needs cleansing. See notes at Heb. 9:13–14 and Exod 29:13, 17.

Hebrews 9:13–14, Purifying the flesh…cleansing your conscience. The Levitical sacrificial system was never able to atone for sin in the full sense. These sacrifices were effective only temporarily in that they had to be continually repeated. These sacrifices never mitigated YHVH’s judgment against sin. The Levitical sacrifices simply covered over sin, so that the sinner could stand before Elohim without being consumed by his righteous judgments. Only Yeshua’s death could satisfy Elohim’s judgment against sin. Only his atoning sacrifice could thoroughly wash away our sins, remove the death penalty, which is the wages or penalty of sin, and cleanse the sinner of the guilty conscience which resides in his personal spirit, so that one could “serve the living Elohim” with a clean slate. Sin can contaminate the spirit of man, which houses the conscience of man (2 Cor 7:1; see notes at Col 3:10). Only the blood of Yeshua can miraculously cleanse our flesh and spirit and bring us to perfect holiness in the fear of Elohim (ibid.) This Yeshua did in a spiritual sense in the spiritual temple in heaven, which is greater than the physical temple on earth, which was a mere copy or shadow of the one in heaven (Heb 8:3–6). The cleansing the temple system offered was physical and external, while the one Yeshua offers through the heavenly temple gives internal cleansing.

Exodus 29:13, 17, Entrails/inwards…legs. In the process of cleansing the animal to be sacrificed, there are two lessons here for us. First, Yeshua was perfect, totally clean and spotless Lamb of Elohim sacrificed for the sins of man. Second, the saints are to become living sacrifices (Rom 12:1–2). This means we are to be like Yeshua—totally clean on both the inside and outside. Yeshua rebuked the religious hypocrites of his day for being like whited sepulchres and for being like cups that were clean on the outside but dirty on the inside (Matt 23:26–27). As the sacrifice was laid on the alter (Exod 29:18), and as Yeshua went to the altar of the cross, so we must lay our lives down as a living sacrifice as well.


 

Spiritual Gifts from Heaven

1 Corinthians 12 Spiritual Gifts

How do we bring glory to Elohim, live in his river of life and help to advance his kingdom initiatives on earth? By receiving his spiritual gifts and then learning to exercise them.

The spiritual gifts Elohim gives to his children are essential in all aspect of our lives from the time we receive the gift of salvation, but beyond that as well. They establish us in him as a fully functioning and important part of his kingdom being advanced on earth. They help us to be his hands, feet and mouth to reach many people for him.

We must know what our spiritual gifts are so that instead of being a side-lined pew warmer, we are a fully functioning member of the body of Yeshua. Knowing our gift and then functioning in most importantly brings glory to Elohim, and as a by-product gives our life meaning, purpose and direction.

The Gifts (Gr. Charismahtohn) of the Spirit

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. (Rom 12:6) 

So that ye come behind in no gift (charisma); waiting for the coming of our Lord Yeshua Messiah. (1 Cor 1:7)

For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift (charisma) of Elohim, one after this manner, and another after that. (1 Cor 7:7)

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (1 Cor 12:4)

But covet earnestly the best gifts [charisma]: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (1 Cor 12:31)

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts (lit. spirituals), but rather that ye may prophesy. (1 Cor 14:1)

Neglect not the gift (charisma) that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.(1 Tim 4:14)

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift (charisma) of Elohim, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Tim 1:6)

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of Elohim. (1 Pet 4:10)

 Spiritual Gifts (Charisma) in a General Sense

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift (charisma) of Elohim is eternal life through Yeshua Messiah our Lord. (Rom 6:23)

But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of Elohim and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Yeshua the Messiah, abound to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. (Rom 5:15–16 NAS)

Salvation Is Elohim’s Greatest Gift to Man

For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift (charisma), to the end ye may be established. (Rom 1:11)

The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts 

Spiritual gifts help to establish, make firm, make stable, place firmly a person in the body of Yeshua or kingdom of Elohim. They give one a purpose and function. If you know what your gift is, you’ll better understanding your spiritual call and purpose. This will give your life meaning and direction. This glorifies Elohim, helps to advance his kingdom and keep you in his perfect will and in his river of life for you.

I thank my Elohim always concerning you for the grace of Elohim which was given to you by Messiah Yeshua, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowle.g. even as the testimony of Messiah was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Master Yeshua the Messiah. (1 Cor 1:4–7)

Spiritual gifts from Elohim enrich our lives in all that we say and think.

Misc. Spiritual Gifts (Charisma)

For the gifts and calling of Elohim are without repentance. (Rom 11:29)

Israel was YHVH’s chosen and gifted people.

Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. (1 Tim 4:14)

Ministry gifts come by prophecy and the laying on of hands by the elders. 

Word Definitions

The Greek word for gifts (as in spiritual gifts, see Rom 6:23; 2 Cor 12:4, 9, 28, 30, 31; 14:1; 1 Pet. 4:10) is charisma and means the following:

  • a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own
  • the gift of divine grace
  • the gift of faith, knowle.g. holiness, virtue
  • the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Messiah laid hold of by faith
  • grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain redeemed believers and enabling them to serve the church of Messiah, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Spirit of Elohim.

From the study notes found in The Spirit Filled Life Bible in an article entitled “The Holy Spirit and Power,” (by Paul Walker), we learn the following things about spiritual gifts from heaven:

Romans 12:3–8 Lists Seven Gifts from the Father

All born again or redeemed believers should have one or more of these gifts. Often they are innate character traits a person already possesses naturally, but once they are born again by the Spirit of Elohim, these traits will often be employed for ministry purposes. These gifts are basic life purpose or residential motivational gifts that a person is gifted with for the benefit of others.

  • Prophecy
  • Ministry
  • Teaching
  • Exhortation
  • Giving
  • Leadership
  • Mercy

1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 28 Lists Nine Gifts from the Spirit of Elohim

These gifts are a result of receiving the baptism of the Set-Apart Spirit and are used on an as-need basis in ministry situations as the Spirit of Elohim wills them to be used and as the individual allows the Spirit to use him or her (1 Cor 12:11).

Inspirational/Fellowship Gifts ­—Power to Speak

  • Tongues
  • Interpretation of Tongues
  • Prophecy

Gifts of Power—Power to Do

  • Healing
  • Miracles
  • Faith

Gifts of Revelation—Power to Know

  • Discernment of Spirits
  • Word of Knowledge
  • Word of Wisdom

Ephesians 4:11 (also 1 Cor 12:28) Lists the Gifts from the Son

Only selected individuals are chosen by Elohim to fill these governing positions within the congregation of the saints. These gifts are to help facilitate and equip the spiritual body of believers.

  • Apostle brings governmental and spiritual order into the body of Yeshua.
  • Prophet brings divine guidance to the body of Yeshua.
  • Evangelist brings people into the kingdom of Elohim.
  • Shepherd or Pastor brings love and nurturing to the body.
  • Teacher brings stability by grounding believers in Elohim’s word and truth.

 

“Under the law to Christ…” ???

What did Paul mean when he said,

1 Corinthians 9:20

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to Elohim, but under the law to Messiah,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Explanation: It is evident that when Paul uses the phrase, “under the law” in his writings, he at times infuses different connotations into this phrase. Only by studying the context of the surrounding passages in which this phrase is imbedded can we understand the exact connotation that Paul is attaching to the term “under the law.”

In this passage, the phrase “under the law” is found four times, and doesn’t connote “under the penalty of the law,” (as is the case with Paul’s usage of the term in Romans). The first three times this phrase is found here it means “in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah” (as David Stern translates it in his Complete Jewish Bible and then explains reasons behind this translation in his Jewish New Testament Commentary). Here Paul identifies several groups of people, each of which had its own view of the Torah. These groups were (a) ethnic Jews, (b) those (ethnic Jews or otherwise) who had come under a legalistic view of the Torah in that they believed, for example, that circumcision was a precondition for salvation (certain Pharisees believed this [see Acts 15:1], and Paul was dealing with this doctrinal perversion in the first several chapters of Romans), (c) those (presumably Gentiles) who had no knowledge of the Torah, and (d) those new believers who were still weak and unstable in their faith.

In Paul’s final usage of this phrase in this passage he adds to the phrase under the law” [Gr. ennomos meaning “in the law”] the two words “in Christ.” This changes the whole meaning of the term under the law. As we have noted above, “under the law,” as Paul uses it can mean “under the [penalty of] the Torah,” or “under a legalistic perversion of the Torah,” but here Paul is referring to Torah obedience in the context of a faith in Yeshua. Is Paul referring here to Christians who keep the Torah? Yes! This is what the first century redeemed believers were, and what Paul confesses here about himself (1 Cor 9:21). Paul’s pro-Torah stance is totally consistent with other apologetic statements he makes concerning the Torah along with his confession to being totally Torah-obedient himself (e.g. Rom 3:31; 7:12, 22, 25; 1 Cor 7:19; Acts 21:24; 24:14; 25:8). Torah obedience was also to be a normative attribute of the life of the redeemed believer then and now (e.g. Acts 21:20; 22:12; Rev 12:17; 14:12; 22:14).

So what specifically does the phrase “not being without the Torah toward Elohim, but “under or in the law toward Messiah” mean? Simply this. There is a keeping of the Torah that is done through men’s legalistic efforts that is devoid of trusting faith toward Elohim, whereby one hopes to earn Elohim’s grace or merciful kindness through human effort. This approach Paul proves in Romans 3 and 4 was never how Elohim intended men to come into a spiritual relationship with him, since it is impossible for men to keep the righteous requirements of the Torah perfectly without sinning. Thankfully, salvation is by the grace of Elohim through faith in Yeshua (Eph 2:8–10). It is through Elohim working through his Holy Spirit through our relationship with Yeshua that we can do the good works (Eph 2:10) of loving Yeshua by keeping his Torah commandments (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6; 3:24; 5:2–3). When Yeshua and his apostles use the term commandments in their writings, how do we know that they’re referring to the Torah-commandments? In Luke 18:19–20, Yeshua answers this question when he connects the word commandments (Gr. entole) with the laws of Torah (in this case, the Ten Commandments, which is the cornerstone of or the basis for all the other 600 plus commandments in the Torah).

Therefore, when Paul says “not being without the Torah toward Elohim, but under [or, in] the law toward Messiah,” he is referring to Torah obedience within the paradigmatic context of Elohim’s grace toward us (which covers our past sins and delivers us from the penalty for violating the law, which is death), and to Yeshua living in the redeemed believer’s life through his Set-Apart Spirit, which enables one to love Yeshua by obeying his Torah (John 14:15).


 

1 Corinthians and Head Coverings—What Is Paul Really Saying Here?

1 Corinthians 11:1–16, On head coverings for men and women. In Hebraic biblical culture, it was common for a married (or betrothed) woman to wear a veil or head covering to indicate that she was taken sexually or belonged to a man, even as a wedding ring now publicly telegraphs this idea.

At the same time, the Bible nowhere forbids men from wearing hats. It was common in biblical times for men and women to wear head coverings to protect themselves from the weather, since many of their activities occurred outdoors. In fact, the Torah commands the Levites to wear head coverings (like turbans) while ministering in the tabernacle. The Levitical priesthood no longer exists, and the Melchizedek priesthood is now in operational and includes both male and female saints, so the Levitical dress requirements are no longer applicable. Whether a man wears a head covering now while ministering is a matter of personal choice, for the Bible neither commands or prohibits it. So why does Paul instruct women to wear a head covering while ministering?

Similarly, the Bible nowhere prohibits men from having long hair.  If this were true, then the Nazirites with the Torah-prescribed long hair would have been in violation of Elohim’s laws.

To properly understand Paul’s comments in this passage, we must understand some cultural and historical context. First, Corinth was an extremely libertine and licentious city sexually, since it housed a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess of fertility whose worship involved ritual or cultic prostitution and various sex acts. This was socially acceptable and even a social requirement, and a source of revenue for the temple. Second, the Torah and Hebraic biblical culture were very strict about maintaining the distinction between the genders. Any blurring of the lines was forbidden. This is why the Torah forbids crossdressing or one gender wearing the clothes pertaining to the other gender. These two contextual points must be considered when reading Paul’s instructions in this chapter. In other words, men were not to wear veils that covered their faces, while women were to either have long hair or to have head coverings as expressions of their feminity. A study of the Greek words in this chapter bear out this explanation.

With the cultural context in view, Paul was likely prescribing dictums for the Corinthians saints that would help to clearly maintain the distinctions between male and female in accordance with the Torah light and in light of the sexual immorality occurring in the city. For example, temple prostitutes would cross dress to snare people unwittingly into same sex liaisons.

There may be some other spiritual issues that Paul was addressing as well as Dr. Michael Heiser points out in his book, Reversing Hermon. There is historical evidence that the ancient Greek medical experts associated a woman’s hair with her genitalia and her ability to conceive children, and that her hair was viewed as the counterpart to a man’s testicles. At the same time, the Bible is very clear that genitalia is to be covered while one is ministering to Elohim (Exod 20:26; 28:42–43 cp. Isa 6:2), and bodily discharges that proceeded from that area of the human anatomy was considered unclean thus making one unacceptable to YHVH (Lev 15:2, 19; Ibid. page 133). Modesty and cleanliness were the operative issues here when coming into the presence of Elohim. As such, a woman wearing a head covering while engaged in ministry (praying and prophesying or preaching) in the congregation was an issue of modesty and propriety (Ibid. p 135). Heiser goes on to address the meaning of Paul’s curious statement in 1 Cor 11:10, that a woman’s head needs to be covered “because of the angels.” What on earth is Paul talking about here? What piece of information are we missing to help us to understand this enigmatic statement? Heiser explains,

Paul wanted women to have their heads covered as a sign that they were sexually taken, that they belonged to a man, their husbands. Why? Because of the angels. Apparently, Paul was concerned  that if women didn’t show this sign of sexual fidelity and “ownership,” a woman could be at risk of sexual violation by angels. After all, it happened before (Gen 6:1–4). Paul didn’t want to see such a violation of cosmic order happen again (Ibid. page 135).

Biblical author, Gary Wayne, in his book The Genesis 6 Conspiracy, approaches the issue of woman and head coverings from a slightly different angle, while at the same time keeping Heiser’s view in mind. He suggests that since in the context of women’s head coverings, Paul makes the point that the woman came from man and not man from woman (1 Cor 11:8–9), for this reason and because of the angels women need to have a sign of authority on her head (v. 10). “The New Testament is recognizing that without a seal of authority, women are fair game for angels, at least for the misguided fallen angels [or demons].” This was the opinion of the early church father Tertullianus (A.D. 160–230)  who instructed women  to wear veils not to entice the dark angels who loved women because of their beautiful hair (Ibid. p. 18). If this is correct, then a woman who wears a head covering will be less likely to suffer from spiritual demonic attacks that one who doesn’t.

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A Study on 1 Cor 5:7-8 for this last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 For 5:7–8)

1 Corinthians 5:8, Leaven. What specifically is leavening? Leavening is primarily yeast that makes bread rise and, biblically, is the symbol for the sin of pride. Leavening is also a symbol of decay. The rising of the dough is only possible by the natural process of decay. In ancient times, a pinch of fermented or sour dough was placed into a batch of unleavened dough to make it sour and cause it to rise. Yeast is a living micro organism that is classified as a fungi. Fungi feed on both living and dead and decaying organic matter. Yeast turns food sour through the process of fermentation and this begins the process by which something dies. Yeast is an apt metaphor for the corrupting influences of sin, which invades our lives and turns our souls from sweet to sour leading to spiritual death. Were it not for the curse of death because of Adam and Eve’s sin, it’s quite possible that fungi would not exist.

When YHVH commands us to remove the leavening from our homes during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, he’s teaching us an important lesson: We must remove the contagion of sin from our lives if we’re to be sweet, pure, sinless and holy (or set-apart unto YHVH). Sin, like yeast fungi, causes decay and death, and to remove yeast from our homes is like Continue reading


 

Spiritual Gifts from Heaven

Gifts 20391749

How do we bring glory to Elohim, live in his river of life and help to advance his kingdom initiatives on earth? By receiving his spiritual gifts and then learning to exercise them.

The spiritual gifts Elohim gives to his children are essential in all aspect of our lives from the time we receive the gift of salvation, but beyond that as well. They establish us in him as a fully functioning and important part of his kingdom being advanced on earth. They help us to be his hands, feet and mouth to reach many people for him.

We must know what our spiritual gifts are so that instead of being a side-lined pew warmer, we are a fully functioning member of the body of Yeshua. Knowing our gift Continue reading