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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, October 27, 2008

**In This Issue**

  1. The Letters of Corinth
  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 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.  Transiting the 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.  'Corinth' came to imply decadence, living in debauchery.  It was like having worst aspects of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and New York all rolled into one.

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


Chapters 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 love.

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!

 


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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 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 have heard various answers to the question.  How many times has Israel been exiled from the Promised Land?"

The reason 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.

 

 

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

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.

Isaiah 51:1  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