1 Corinthians; The fellowship and the common Spirit

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posted on Nov, 4 2013 @ 05:27 PM
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Among the writings of Paul, 1 Corinthians is the letter which teaches the church what it means to be a Christian community.
The opening verses (ch1 vv1-9) have the effect of defining where the church comes from and what it’s based on, and I will want to show how the rest of the teaching follows on from that.
I was drawing out a definition of the church in the attached thread;
Defining the church
Part of the definition was that the church is a “gathered assembly”, an EKKLESIA.
So the next concern is how this assembly gains unity from the presence of the Spirit (ch3 vv16-17).

Paul describes the believers as the “Spirit-governed”, the PNEUMATIKOI.
In their understanding of God, that should separate them from the “soul-governed”, the PSYCHIKOI, who are simply baffled (ch2 v14).
In their relation to each other, that should separate them from the “flesh-governed”, the SARKIKOI, who are full of “jealousy and strife” (ch3 v3).
Their failure to live up to this “freedom from strife” compels him to press the point more emphatically.

Therefore Paul asks, in v16;
“Do you not know that you [in the plural] are God’s Temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
That’s really a condensed version of a much longer implied argument, which ought to be spelled out in detail.

1) In principle, each member of the Christian community has received the Spirit.

2) It follows, in principle, that the Spirit is present in every member of the community.

3) In other words, the Spirit is present, in principle, in the whole community as a group.
This is the real point of the declaration that “God’s Spirit dwells in you people”.

This is a very important consideration, because it means that the Spirit is present as a bond of union between the members of the community.
In modern times, the idea that a group of people “share a common spirit” is used metaphorically. It just means they have the same aims and ideals.
But if the one Spirit present in each individual is an objective reality, then the link between them is also an objective reality.
There is an invisible, non-physical connection which binds them together as one group.

Moving on to the next part of the argument;

4) Earlier in the chapter, Paul was comparing the church to a building.

5) But we have already established that the Spirit of God is present in the body of the church.

6) The result of combining those two ideas is that the church is a building occupied by the Spirit of God

7) But the Spirit of God is God.
This premise needs to be one of the links in the chain, in order to make Paul’s conclusion possible.
We’ve already seen it in the argument of ch2 vv10-11.

8) Combining the last two statements, the church , as a metaphorical building, is a building occupied by God.

9) But being “a building occupied by a god”, in one sense or another, is what constitutes a temple.

10) Therefore the church, the Christian community, is the Temple of God.

Then Paul takes that thought, in the next verse, and follows through the consequences;
“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple are you”.

10) “You people are God’s Temple” was the point established in the previous verse.

11) But the temple of any god is “holy”, the sacred property belonging to that god, and jealously guarded.

12) Therefore the Christian community, the church, is also “holy”, the property of their God.

13) Any god would be angry with a man who destroyed one of their temples.
The ancient world would have understood this point better than we can.
We need to have some sense of the importance of a temple before we can grasp the enormity of the offence.

14) It should be expected, then, that God would be angry with anyone who destroys his Temple, the church.

15) So the warning that God would “destroy” that man should not come as a surprise.

16) And what is meant by “the destruction of God’s Temple”?
In other contexts, this could have been about God’s response to the persecution of the church.
But in the context of this present letter, Paul’s main concern is clearly the divided state of the Corinthians.

17) The logic must be that the division of the church is the destruction of the church
At least, if you break up the unity, the unity no longer exists.

18) In other words, if you divide the church., you are committing one of the greatest religious crimes known to the ancient world, the act of sacrilegious destruction.
You have destroyed the Temple of God

19) Therefore anyone who breaks down the unity of the church is inviting his own destruction

20) So now, Corinthians, do you understand why allowing division to appear in the community is such a bad idea?

The presence of the Spirit in the church should be the bond of union in the church.
While conversely the prevalence of disunity will be one of the symptoms that people are not acting in accordance with the Spirit.
A divided church is one which has been taken over by the quarrelsome SARKIKOI; that is to say, "those who are governed by the flesh".




posted on Nov, 4 2013 @ 05:29 PM
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The current state of the modern church is that the visible church is divided into a number of human institutions, which misleadingly and confusingly label themselves as “church”.
So when we try to apply Paul’s warning to this situation, there will be a danger of oversimplification, both in identifying the cause of the problem and in proposing a remedy.

For example, if one of these human institutions defines itself as “the church”, and labels the rest of the Christian world as “outside the church”, then they are over-simplifying the causes of division.
If some of them are outside that institution because it expelled them unjustly, then the guilt of causing division might rest upon the authorities of that institution rather than upon those who were expelled.
Or if they are a small group, separating themselves under a charismatic leader, regarding themselves as the only pure community, and devising idiosyncratic doctrines to improve their claim to uniqueness, then the responsibility for division may rest on their own shoulders.

Similarly the twentieth century project of curing the visible disunity of the church by bringing all Christians under organisational umbrella is over-simplifying the problem.
A visible structure of organisation is not of the essence of the church.
The early church managed without it.
It would only be a superficial answer to the problem of disunity, because “Unity” is more about attitude than it is about organisation.

In fact the key to both kinds of over-simplification is that they define unity or division in terms of accepting or not accepting the same human leadership.
But human leadership is not part of Paul’s definition of the church.
In these early chapters, he takes great pains to downgrade the importance of human leadership, because he sees the Corinthian obsession with human leaders as the main cause of the problems he’s addressing.

We find a better path to unity by paying more attention to the common Spirit, and defining unity in terms of mutual acceptance and co-operation.
We need to acknowledge the church (in the words of one Anglican prayer) as “the blessed company of all faithful people”.



posted on Nov, 4 2013 @ 06:36 PM
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Been a stalker on here for a few years and this is the first time I have felt compelled to join.
I have nothing to add to what you have said, except to say I and I believe many, would agree whole heartedly. That includes the ones who for ever reason, are not wholly Pneumatikoi presently.
Thank you.



posted on Nov, 4 2013 @ 06:51 PM
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reply to post by jmc0007
 

Thank you for those encouraging comments, and welcome to ATS.

PS; This is one of a series on 1 Corinthians, so you may be interested in the previous entries as well.

edit on 4-11-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2013 @ 07:19 PM
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yup, yup....good subject for a deep discussion......let me get set-up here a minute.....OH...the catholic machine.....claims apostolic succedssion as their one and only.....
more....s & flagg



posted on Nov, 4 2013 @ 07:22 PM
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reply to post by GBP/JPY
 

Yes, the catholic machine was operating just now on one of my other threads.
Told me at one stage that I should not be quoting from the Bible because it was a Catholic book.



posted on Nov, 4 2013 @ 08:36 PM
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DISRAELI
reply to post by jmc0007
 

Thank you for those encouraging comments, and welcome to ATS.

PS; This is one of a series on 1 Corinthians, so you may be interested in the previous entries as well.

edit on 4-11-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)


Yes, just been reading a the first few in order; as sound and succint as this one I do believe.
I will continue to read them over the next couple of days. Again I appreciate your breaking down of 1 Corinthians, it is refreshing to me.Thank you for your work.



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 09:07 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


In your best understanding and articulation: What is church?

What is the purest most true understanding for it and why does it exist?



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 09:28 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Hey Disraeli!
I always thought of it this way:
The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
My body.
Your body.
Anybody's body.
Murdering another is destroying the temple.
Your interpretation is interesting as well!



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 09:47 AM
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reply to post by new_here
 


And the Father and the Son. The Son being the head of the spiritual judiciary system that is church. He is the head judge of the church practices.

That is, our body is the temple for our God's practice and rule of the church judiciary system - of spiritual practices. Our body is where his rule of church takes place.

But why does it please God that Jesus should wed the church? What about spiritual hierarchy, and laws of justified good, is appealing to Jesus? Do you know, please?

Or have I misunderstood church entirely?



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by Bleeeeep
 

have you read the first thread in the series?;
Defining the church

Briefly summarising, the church is an assembly of people called by God to be separate from the rest of the wrold, to enter into fellowship with Christ, and to wait for the return of Christ.
It's all in the first nine verses of the letter.



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 10:22 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Where you mentioned “in Christ Jesus” you should view this as a literal expression. Jesus is the body of all - all fullness of heaven and earth dwell within the Son, who is the image of the Father - he is even the godhead bodily.

It works like this:
Father = Awareness, Mind, Consciousness, Image creator, Concept creator, Rule maker, Order giver

Holy Ghost = manifested Will, Spirit, Function, Ability to be, Desire for good

Son = Body, Mental Image, Form, Concept, Word, Symbol which represents a concept

Church is the rule set of spiritual(will) justice. The court and principle of judging just good.

The body is to judge the mind and will - why?

Oh I should emphasize that it will all be turned back over to Father so this intermission state of Jesus being judge could possibly be to wed what he judges is good. However, I do not understand why this is taking place. Why Father has made church for Jesus? This seems to be what church is for, I just don't understand why.

www.biblegateway.com...

And then in Revelations where it mentions all the powers and principalities will be removed - the hierarchy of the system to produce church is demolished leaving, I assume, church for Jesus but the powers within the body, are idk, made manifest as bride?

And I express powers and principalities as not the angels themselves, but of their ability and will - their spirit - not their soul(mind) or body(form).

Anyone out there know these answers?
edit on 11/5/2013 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 05:10 PM
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reply to post by new_here
 

Paul uses the "temple of the Holy Spirit" idea twice over, and there may be a slight confusion between the two instances.
In ch6 v19, he is definitely talking about the individual body, and uses the thought as an argument against immorality. I used that passage in the earlier thread about "The saint and his holiness".
That verse gets quoted more often than this passage, and you may be influenced by memories of it.

Whereas here, in ch3 v16, the translation depends on two points which are more obvious in the Greek than they are in English.
In the phrase "You are God's temple";
On the one hand, "You are" is in the plural.
On the other hand, "God's temple" is in the singular.
So, taking the whole phrase, the meaning is that the whole group of them, together, add up to just the one temple.
That's what swings it in favour of my interpretation.



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 06:20 PM
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Bleeeeep
Father = Awareness, Mind, Consciousness, Image creator, Concept creator, Rule maker, Order giver

Holy Ghost = manifested Will, Spirit, Function, Ability to be, Desire for good

Son = Body, Mental Image, Form, Concept, Word, Symbol which represents a concept

Church is the rule set of spiritual(will) justice. The court and principle of judging just good.

The body is to judge the mind and will - why?... However, I do not understand why this is taking place. ... This seems to be what church is for, I just don't understand why...Anyone out there know these answers?

I think you get yourself into this state of puzzlement by trying to turn everything into symbols, leaving yourself with nothing to guide you.
You need to go back to thinking in terms of personal relationships.
The relation between the person Jesus and each individual believer.
The relation between the Spirit and each individual believer.
The relationship which necessarily follows between believers (a large group of people cannot be close to a central figure without being close to each other at the same time).
All this adds up the "fellowship".
All for the purpose of detaching them from the world alienated from God, and bringing them all into relation with the Father.
This is about personal relationships, not about the connections between symbols.

edit on 5-11-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


If it is a personal relationship with God, my neighbors, etc, then shouldn't I seek to know what the relationship means to them?

Should I focus only on the feeling, and not try to understand it?
edit on 11/5/2013 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


If you want to simplify things, Yeshua forbade sectarianism. So, denominationalism and any other church that calls itself other than the "Church of Christ" is wrong. There is only 1 church, and you're either Orthodox which is to say you believe he died for your sins, rose on the 3rd day and sits at the right hand of the Father, or you do not belong to the Church of Christ but some daughter of the whore of Babylon.



posted on Nov, 5 2013 @ 09:24 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Thanks for that explanation about the Greek translation and plural 'you' ...yes I see that your interpretation applies here!



posted on Nov, 6 2013 @ 05:09 PM
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reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 

Yes, the main problem with having denominations is the hostility which arises between them.
Being in different organisations would not matter, in itself, if only they were able to accept one another as fellow-Christians.

Also their use of the word "church", which is misleading and confusing.
This came up in my "Defining the church" thread, and I suggested that there were four different meanings in use for the word "church", in order of origin;
1) The community of all Christians
2) The local community of Christians (these two being the only two usages which are Biblical)
3) One of the buildings
4) Various human organisations mid-way between the first two.
I was arguing that this fourth usage was so misleading and confusing that it ought to be abandoned.
It allows the confusion of language which encourages people to argue "Christ founded the church, and our church is the church he founded", oblivious to the fact that they are changing definitons half-way through the argument.




edit on 6-11-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 6 2013 @ 06:22 PM
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reply to post by Bleeeeep
 

Where did I say you shouldn't try to understand the relationship?
It was a question of finding the best way of understanding it.
In fact my point was that dissolving everything into symbols and concepts was the reason why you were finding it difficult to understand the connection. You were expressing puzzlement, and that was because your approach wasn't helping you to understand.

When you deal with your mother, or your child, do you understand them as concepts or as people?
If you treat it as a personal relationship instead of a set of concepts, you'll be able to understand it better.



posted on Nov, 7 2013 @ 12:46 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


I'm just going deeper than you are to get to the concepts.

What does a bond of union represent to God? What does bonds of union in fellowships, churches, mothers, siblings, children, grooms, and bribes, mean unto God? Why did he choose to represent them as he did?

We first look at an image (fellowship), to find its will: bond of union. Next, we look at its will (bond of union), to find its concept: concept unknown.

I think I understand the will, or function, but the will and function is but a delivery system of a concept, or purpose, unto God.

I think you see the images as if they are meant to be representative of will, when, instead, you should see that they are willed to be images that are representative of concepts.

Do not think like they are meant to be images of will, think that they are willed to be images of concepts. Father translates his concepts, byway of The Holy Ghost(will), into the Son(images).

Genesis 1:26, describes the will of the concept, but obviously, there is already a concept that they are talking about willing into an image.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13, describes us being baptized(willed) into one body(image), and, of course, that one body is Christ. To baptize someone you must have a concept of that someone and a concept of what it means to baptize them into one body.

Colossians 1:13, described the Father translating (willing) us into the kingdom of his Son (body or image). And again, to translate something into something, you must already have a concept of the thing you are translating.

See Ephesians 5:25-32

Ephesians 5:32

This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.


There is concepts behind the will - I want to know what the concepts are.





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