Theology In 1 Corinthians Essay

1286 words - 6 pages

The study of theology, as defined by Merriam Webster, is the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; specifically, the study of God and of God’s relation to the world. The difficulty of this field of study in today’s era is that we often become immune to new thoughts or beliefs, and instead fully accept the ideas that have been introduced before us. That is exactly what Victor Paul Furnish is trying to do in his work, “The Theology of the First Letter to the Corinthians,” which challenges a number of common views regarding New Testament literature. The piece of this book that I will analyze deals with 1 Corinthians specifically. In this section, Furnish challenges the common ...view middle of the document...

This begins what many scholars and interpreters refer to as Paul’s “theologia crucis (theology of the cross)” (Furnish, 124). 1 Corinthians has also been noted as accurately portraying what many people call Paul’s “theologia resurrectionis (theology of the resurrection)” (Furnish, 124). Realizing these various elements is crucial to the argument because apart from the previously stated references to the cross, there are very limited mentions of this theology elsewhere in the disputed letters and the New Testament in general. Another theological idea that is mostly unique to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is Paul’s identification of Christ as a second Adam. He makes reference to this on a number of occasions throughout the letter (1 Corinthians 15: 21-22, 45-47). This is brought to light in a few other spots in the Bible, but not as detailed and unique as it is in 1 Corinthians. One last aspect that distinguishes 1 Corinthians in terms of Christological orientation is the way in which Paul speaks of Christ’s relation to God. There are three very unambiguous statements regarding this found in the letter. The first being towards the beginning, when Paul emphasizes the notion that believers belong to Christ. He then continues to claim that Christ belongs to God. This can be found in 1 Corinthians 3:23. Paul then declares later on in the letter (1 Corinthians 11:3) that, “the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” The third statement is found towards the end of the letter when Paul proclaims that when the end comes, Christ will hand over the kingdom or the reign to God the Father, and after doing so will be made subject to him (1 Corinthians 15:24,28). The reason that these statements are so profound and important is because these ideas are not evident in any of the other letters, disputed or undisputed, of Paul. These theological views are unique to 1 Corinthians, further enhancing the earlier claim. While there are a number of Christological elements unique to the letter, there are limited theological aspects related to soteriology unique to 1 Corinthians.
In regards to soteriology, the study of religious doctrines of salvation, 1 Corinthians is not vastly different from the other letters authored by Paul. One important element to note is that Paul does not make use of the specific word “salvation” in 1 Corinthians. He references it in various verbal forms but does not engage the actual noun. Because of this, 1 Corinthians is not very different from the other Pauline letters. Instead of making reference directly to the idea of salvation Paul employs the use of a number of terms and phrases to describe or teach others about salvation. For instance in 1 Corinthians 15:3 Paul informs the people of Corinth that, “Christ died for our sins…” It is also made known in 1 Corinthians 1:30 that God is, “our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” So as you can...

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