Monday, October 27, 2008
**In This Issue**
- The Letters of
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
The Letters of Corinth
Probably one of the most strategic locations in the
Roman world was the isthmus of Corinth. It is the
narrow neck of land between the Corinthian Gulf and the Saronic Gulf
connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with the mainland
of Greece. Its location guaranteed the
continued commercial prosperity that it enjoyed.
isthmus avoided the long and risky voyage around the
rocky, storm-tossed capes at the south of the Peloponnesus. It
was literally the crossroads of the world,
where the north-south trade routes intersected the east-west traffic.
It became one of the most dominant cultural
centers of its day. The area was materially
prosperous, intellectually alert, and morally corrupt. Even
in the pagan world the city was known for its moral corruption.
to imply decadence, living
in debauchery. It was like
having worst aspects of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and New York all rolled
It is no wonder that the letters to the church at Corinth embody so many of the
concerns that plague us today. It is also
exciting to discover how many basic Christian issues are addressed in these two
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, resorting to lawsuits,
marriage and divorce, problems of church discipline, Christian liberty,
the Lord's Supper, and the controversial issues
concerning speaking in tongues.
The Spiritual Gifts
12 through 14 concentrate on the most thorough treatment of the
controversial issue of the spiritual gifts. Keep
in mind that the chapters [in the Bible] were
not divided and numbered until the 13th century;
and the verses not until the 16th
century. Without question, the gifts are
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
gift. Paul indicates that the greatest of the gifts is
found in 1 Corinthians 14 which is prophecy. Prophecy
most edifies the church. Prophecy
is what most convinces non-believers (in Christ
Jesus), and yet, its use should be orderly. It
is extremely important that we all understand that prophecy is not fortune
telling, but God's method of showing us history in advance. Additionally,
an entire chapter concerning "a more excellent way" is
wedged in between these two pivotal chapters on
spiritual gifts... and that is 1 Corinthians 13!
The gifts are valueless without love.
This most famous of all chapters,
called the "Love Chapter", emphasizes the absolute
necessity of love, the moral excellence of love, and the enduring supremacy of
This is exciting 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,
found in 1 Corinthians 15. This chapter
opens with the precise definition of the Gospel. It
is surprising to many to discover that in this chapter, the
exact definition of the Gospel is given to us by Paul.
It is even more surprising to discover that it is not preached
in many of the pulpits in
America! Paul does not
speak of Jesus' teaching. Yet many
acknowledge His profound instruction. Paul makes
no mention of His example. However, many extol
aspects of His personal life. Paul
speaks not of
the miracles of Jesus. But many even acknowledge that
He did miracles. None of these things are
the Gospel. This profound 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 addressed
many of the tensions which entangle all of us. 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, immediately following the definitive
Book of Romans, seems clearly appropriate, and richly
rewarding, to the diligent student of God's Word!
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
printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to
send your question in an email to me at
email@example.com. Of course, you may call me
anytime by phone at 801.302-1111.
The question for this issue is, "I
have heard various answers to the question. How many times has Israel
been exiled from the Promised Land?"
that you hear different answers to this question
lies in the way that the speaker defines "exile",
and whether he is counting only the Biblically
recorded exiles, or the total historical exiles.
The first time that Israel left the land, it was
voluntarily. It was during a time of famine in
the Middle East, when Joseph, who had been sold into
slavery in Egypt, brought his father Jacob, along
with his 11 brothers down to Egypt to be with him
(Genesis 41-50). Although they went to Egypt
freely, the children of Israel were later held in
bondage by the Egyptians, until Moses led them out
of Egypt 400 years later, as recorded for us in the
Book of Exodus. Whether or not this qualifies
as an "exile," again depends on your definition.
After the reign of King Solomon, the nation Israel
was divided, The Northern Kingdom was known as
"Israel," and the Southern Kingdom was known as
"Judah." Israel, which initially was the more
ungodly of the two, was taken into captivity by the
Assyrians in 722 BC. Judah, following Israel's
path of ungodliness, was taken into Babylonian
captivity in several waves lasting form 605-586 BC.
The Assyrians were, in time, conquered the
Babylonians, who in turn were conquered by the Medo-Persians.
It was the Medo-Persians who allowed the Jewish
people to return to the Promised Land around 536 BC.
Although the Jewish people remained under foreign
domination (Medo-Persia, Greece, and then Rome), they
were at least allowed to be in their land. The
Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Following several instances of rebellion by the
people who remained in the land, the Jews were
scattered out of their territory, shortly after that
time. They remained out of the land until the
mid 20th century, specifically until1948, when they
regained their independence for the first time in
two thousand years.
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
HEARKEN to Me, you that
follow after righteousness, you that seek the Lord: look to the rock where your
are hewn, and to the hole of the pit from where you are dug.
We solicit your prayers and support of this ministry. God Bless.
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