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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, April 27, 2009

**In This Issue**

  1. The Letters to the Corinthians
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...?

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.
 


The Letters to the Corinthians

One of the most strategic locations in the Roman world was the isthmus of Corinth.  This narrow neck of land between the Corinthian Gulf and the Saronic Gulf guaranteed its continued commercial prosperity.  The transit across this isthmus avoided the long, risky voyage around the rocky, storm-tossed capes at the south of the Peloponnesus.  It was literally the crossroad of the world where the north-south trade routes intersected the east-west traffic.  Thus it became one of the most dominant cultural centers of its day.  It was materially prosperous, intellectually alert, and morally corrupt.  Even in the pagan world, the city was known for its moral corruption.  "Corinth" came to imply licentiousness.  The term "Corinthianize," a new word, (hope you like it), could be meant to live in depravity and corruption.  It was wicked sides of Hollywood, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York all rolled into one.

It is no wonder then that the letters to the church at Corinth embody so many of the concerns that plague us today.  It is also impressive to discover how many basic Christian issues are addressed in these two (remaining) letters Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, including the "foolishness" of God contrasted with the "wisdom" of man, the distinction between salvation and rewards, problems of church discipline, resorting to lawsuits, marriage and divorce, Christian liberty, the Lord's Supper, and the troublesome issues concerning speaking in tongues, not to mention Paul's defining the Gospel for us.

The Spiritual Gifts

The most thorough treatment of the controversial issue of the spiritual gifts is the focus of Chapters 12 to 14.  Remember, the chapters were not divided up until the 13th century; and the verses not until the 16th.  The gifts are, indeed, also for today, but are as diverse as there are ministries.  The Spirit divides them as He will (1 Corinthians 12): there is a diversity of gifts, but one spirit; there is a diversity of members, but one body; there is a diversity of service, but one church.  Despite an excessive focus by some, the gift of tongues is not the most important.  Paul indicates that the greatest of the gifts is prophecy (1 Corinthians 14): it most edifies the church; it most convinces outsiders; and yet, its use should be orderly.  Furthermore, an entire chapter on "a more excellent way" is wedged between these two pivotal chapters on spiritual gifts... 1 Corinthians 13.  The gifts are valueless without love: this most famous of all chapters emphasizes the utter necessity of love, the moral excellence of love, and the abiding supremacy of love.

Indeed, this is  remarkable stuff.  However, there is yet another chapter that Paul seems to insist is the most important chapter in the Bible.  It deals with a subject without which we have nothing.  The Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15.  This chapter opens with the precise definition of the Gospel.  It is surprising to many to discover what, in fact, how the Gospel is actually defined.  Paul does not mention the teaching of Jesus, but many will acknowledge His profound instruction.  Paul makes no mention of His example, but many will extol aspects of His personal life.  Paul makes no mention of His miracles, but many will even acknowledge that He did miracles.  None of these things are the Gospel (Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  This insightful chapter then goes on to reveal the seven transitions which are destined for the believer.

Relevance to Today

As the "worldly church," Corinth certainly becomes increasingly relevant to us in our own day of materialism, moral decay, and church controversies.  Paul courageously addresses many of the tensions which entangle all of us, and the careful study of the Corinthian letters is guaranteed to impact each of us in our own walk and fellowships.  The placement of these letters that immediately follow the definitive Book of Romans, seems obviously appropriate, and richly rewarding, to the diligent student of God's Word.



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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


What Does the Bible Say About...?

 

In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having it printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at biblequestions@reflecthisglory.org.  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801.302 -1111.

The question for this issue is, "I know that the genealogies of Jesus are presented differently in Matthew and Luke.  But isn't there another element to the equation missing - that Jesus was partially a Levite, as well?"

It is true that the genealogies of Christ Jesus in Matthew and Luke are different.  The basic difference is that in Matthew, Jesus' genealogy is presented through Joseph, and Luke's genealogy of Jesus runs through Mary, although both trace their roots through David, the tribe of Judah, the royal line of Israel.  When Joseph is spoken of as the "son of Heli" in Luke 3:23, he is actually Heli's son-in-law, making Mary the daughter of Heli.

Regarding the possible Levite roots of Christ Jesus, we know from Luke 1:36 that Elisabeth, Mary's  cousin, was married to Zacharias, who was a priest, as told to us in Luke 1:5.  Because there was an injunction against priests marrying outside of their tribe, Elisabeth must have been a Levite.  Since Elisabeth was Mary's cousin, Mary was at least partially a Levite as well.

In ancient Israel, the functions of the priest and king were carefully segregated.  Kings came from the tribe of Judah, and priests came from the tribe of Levi.  The important thing to remember is that the roles of the two were never to overlap.  One king, Uzziah, attempted to offer incense in the Temple.  He was instantly smitten with leprosy, and remained a leper until his death.  This is found in 2 Chronicles 26:16-21.

This prohibition was really enacted to preserve the way for the One would truly come to fulfill  both roles to their fullest extent... Christ Jesus.  As High Priest, Jesus offered His own life for our sins.  As King, He will come to rule and reign in the Millennial Kingdom.  the information presented in the early parts of the Gospels really authenticates His right to do so.

 

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

Exodus 12:12  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory