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Pastors with a passion for sound exposition and scholars with a heart for pastoral leadership have joined forces to produce this exciting, accessible, and informative commentary series.
Each volume, informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues. A unique format allows the main commentary to focus on the vital message of the New Testament book being studied for today's church, while bottom-of-the-page notes include valuable scholarly information to support those who use the volumes as a resource for preaching or teaching preparation.
Who Should Use it?The series is accessible to all people who wish to use it for biblical study whether they are pastors, students, or laity. Christians new to Bible study may find it challenging as a starting point for biblical study, but should be able to adapt to it with the help of a Bible study teacher. Those who have used Bible study guides in the past will find this series particularly helpful in taking the next step into deeper biblical study.
About: 1 Corinthians
First-century Corinth and its challenges were not so different from our own. Upwardly mobile Christians facing radically diverse ethnic, religious, economic and social conditions. The church divided over issues of leadership and authority, sexual morality, gender and worship, marriage and divorce. Sound familiar?
Yet as Alan Johnson highlights in this excellent commentary, in the midst of this detailed, practical letter to a church in crisis Paul has penned one of the greatest paeans to love ever written. And, of course, love is just what is needed to address complex human issues--whether in the first century or the twenty-first.
Johnson's deft analysis of 1 Corinthians features an introduction that explores the social, cultural and historical background of the city and its people. Rounding out the introduction, Johnson discusses the letter's occasion and date, authorship and purpose, and major theologicall themes. His passage-by-passage commentary follows, seeking to explain what the letter of 1 Corinthians means for the church today as well as what it meant for its original hearers.
Use this resources in your own studies of 1 Corinthians, and you may be surprised how relevant it is to the issues you face today as well.
|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2010
Series: IVP New Testament Commentary
The InterVarsity Press New Testament Commentaries target pastors, teachers, students, Bible teachers, and small group leaders of all sorts with a combined appeal to heart and scholarship. Two observations stand out about the series in general. First, Johnson and the other authors have successfully been able to present biblical exegesis and discuss thorny interpretive issues in language that is engaging and accessible. Second, the authors who have been selected to write the commentaries on the books that play a major role in the egalitarian conversation are evangelical egalitarians. So much of the discussion surrounding the relationship of men and women in the church, home, and society is not an "easy read," so these presentations are welcome and effective additions to the conversation.
Alan Johnson is emeritus professor of New Testament and Christian ethics at Wheaton College and Graduate School. His work on 1 Corinthians is particularly engaging. His reference notes and bibliography provide an entry into further study if desired, all while maintaining an appealing readable style. He deftly bridges the two horizons of the Greco-Roman culture and American culture. He skillfully selects and integrates patristic support and anecdotes from church history with his own story, observations, and critiques of our contemporary culture.
Johnson's treatment of women in the home, church, and society is of special interest. He devotes a significant amount of space to the most relevant passages: 7:1-40, 11:2-16, and 14:34-35, and makes egalitarian observations, connections, and applications in other related passages.
Johnson summarizes with fairness a selective range of the major interpretive views in these highly controversial passages, interacts with them, and then states his own position. Concerning Paul's discussion on marriage, divorce, remarriage, and singleness as a calling in 7:1-40, he observes that Paul's egalitarian emphasis in verse 5 "is nothing short of amazing" (110). Johnson's discussion on the dispute over head attire for men and women in worship in 11:2-16 begins with his personal journey, wherein he went from rejecting women's leadership in worship to affirming men and women leading in worship as equals. He concludes that women are to pray and prophesy in the church service and have authority over their heads, but reflect their sexual identity in their dress and outward appearance. However, he is especially critical of both subordinationist and egalitarian readings of the passage and claims, "We must acknowledge that there is some sort of patriarchal ordering in Paul's argument in verses 7-9," a tension which he fails to resolve or expand theologically or practically. The brief but widely discussed command for women to keep silent in the churches in 14:34-35 is constrained by the reference to women praying and prophesying in 11:2-16 and is placed in the context of the discussion on tongues, prophecy, and maintaining order in the church service in chapter 14. Johnson concludes that the issue is circumstantial in Corinth. The women wanted to learn, but they were not as well educated as the men, and their manner of interrogation in the church service was disruptive.
Johnson also refers to the position and function of women in other verses and passages, making connections and drawing inferences. He includes patristic citation to show that the manifestations of tongues, as well as the other "spiritual gifts" in chapters 12-14, were gender inclusive. The unity of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is paralleled with Galatians 3:28 (neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female), which he sees as "not merely a unity of diversity of gifts, but...social and political in nature" (231).
Most important is his discussion of 1 Corinthians 15:28, which often is used to support a functional hierarchy in the Trinity, with a subordination of Christ to the Father being used to justify subordination of women to men (cf. 11:3). His discussion is a clear and compelling rejection of subordinationalist Christology as "unbiblical and heretical" (295). Johnson shows that the command in 16:16 to submit to every worker and laborer in the ministry included submission to certain women (cf. Rom. 16:1-2). Finally, he offers a reconstruction of Paul that counters mythical views of him as a misogynist, based on Paul's relationship with Priscilla (16:19, cf. Rom. 16:3-4).
The reader would be helped by continual reference to the book outline that is located in the introduction.
---Cynthia Long Westfall, Assistant Professor at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario
---Used with permission from Christians for Biblical Equality