New Testament Reading Guide – October 24-30, 2011

How do I use this reading guide?

1 Corinthians 15:30-41

Apparently there were preachers at Corinth who denied the resurrection. What kind of life will we live if Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection is not real to us? What will we do? What will we avoid? (Look especially at verses 30-32.)

The idea of a physical resurrection was absurd to a Greek culture like the city of Corinth. The Greeks believed that the spiritual world was good, but that the physical world was bad. Salvation for the Greeks was when our good spiritual souls was liberated from our evil physical prisons, the body. Why would you want a new body, why would you want to be resurrected, if the physical world is what you want to be liberated from? For Christians, the physical world was created good and will be restored by Christ.

What does Paul point to show that resurrection is built into God’s creation? How is our life experience like that of a planted seed?

1 Corinthians 15:41-50

Like a seed, our physical bodies will die, only to have new left emerge with a new “spiritual” body. How will our new bodies compare to the one we have now? How does the first Adam (Adam, the first human being created in Genesis 1) compare to the last Adam (Jesus Christ)? How are we like the first Adam? How will we become like the Second Adam?

In verse 50, what is the problem with the fact that we are “flesh and blood” and “perishable”? How will this problem be solved? You’ll have to read tomorrow’s reading.

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

How will perishable people like us become imperishable and inherit the kingdom of God? Whose victory makes this transformation possible? Who or what was defeated?

How are we to live today in light of this amazing future that Christ has opened for us?

1 Corinthians 16:1-9

As Paul’s letter to the Corinthians comes to a close, we see a glimpse of his close relationship with that church.

The “collection for God’s people.” At the time this letter was written, a great famine was going on in Judea and the church in Jerusalem was on the brink of starvation. Paul was collecting money from the churches he planted to provide for their relief.

Where will Paul be spending his time during the winter? Why?

1 Corinthians 16:10-24

How are the Corinthians to treat Timothy, Paul’s assistant, when he comes to visit Corinth? What are Paul’s final instructions for the Corinthians? How are they to relate to their leaders? Why?

Philemon 1-25

Philemon is a personal letter from Paul to a wealthy slave owner named Philemon, hence the name. Slavery was pervasive in Roman society, and the church was slowly coming to grips with the implications of Christ’s teaching and the institution of slavery. Philemon was a Christian, but he was also a slave owner.

Paul writes on behalf of Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, who has become a Christian through Paul. As a runaway, Onesimus was in serious legal trouble, but under Paul’s guidance, he agrees to return to his master. Paul is not condoning slavery, but is practicing the Christian idea of “submissive subversion”. Just as Christ took down Rome, and the power behind Rome (death), by submitting to death on the cross, so also Christians were called to bring down injustice, not through armed revolution, but by submitting to it. See 1 Corinthians 7:21-24; Ephesians 6:5-9.

Notice that Paul could order Philemon as to what he should do, how does Paul appeal to him instead? How does Paul refer to Onesimus? Does he consider Onesimus to be property or something else? How does Paul want Philemon to consider Onesimus from this point forward?

How does Onesimus’ new identity in Jesus undo his status as a slave? Why do you think Paul and Onesimus decided to ask Philemon for Onesimus’ freedom rather than demand it?

Acts 18:24-19:7

The Apostle Paul always brought a team with him as he planted churches throughout the Roman world. In this case, he brought a couple Aquila and Priscilla to work with him and to learn from Paul. At a certain stage in their development, Paul released Aquila and Priscilla into their own ministry, by leaving them in Ephesus. In Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla encounter a powerful, but inadequately trained preacher named Apollos. (He knew of John the Baptist’s baptism, but he had yet to learn of Jesus’ baptism.) How do Aquila and Priscilla come alongside Apollos and support him in his ministry? What impact did Apollos have on the church in Achaia (a region in Greece)?

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