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The Brother VS The Watchman

The Brother versus the Watchman

One thing I believed I have learned, and try to implement, is that there is one Lord, and Christians live and die before him. Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead, and everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Peter preached just this message to the household of Cornelius. I try and practice this belief by playing the role of the Brother and not the Watchman.

The watchman is a guard. He guards against what he considers moral failure. Since every action is a practice in morality, every action must meet the nuanced standard he has created. Anyone who fails received a chastisement or a grumbling remark.  The watchman creeps up in scripture in a few different ways. In Romans, it is the hard-hearted and impenitent hypocrite who judges others but fails to live up to the same standard. To him Paul says,

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1)

You can hear the hardness of their hearts in Paul’s words. The watchman is more concerned with setting people straight than he is his own relationship with Jesus.

James gives us another picture of the watchman. In this case, suffering Christians turn their fatigue into accusations against their church family. Frustrated by what’s happening in their own lives they grow impatient and lash out at others. James responds to this by saying,

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” (James 5:7-9)

In this case the watchman is restless. His own circumstances drive him to lash at others rather than resting in the comfort of Jesus and his compatriots.

The watchman is also the prominent figure in Jesus’ parable of the log and the speck in Luke 6:41-42. He is always looking for even the most minor infractions of others. Lack of attention to his own spiritual condition has distorted the watchman’s perspective. He views minor transgressions as huge failures instead of seeing them for what they are, tiny specks.

In line with these, the watchman has forgotten two major things. He has forgotten that there is only one Lord and that his job is to be a brother and not a guard.

A Christian’s first concern is to follow Jesus. Having the same righteous character as Jesus takes diligence and devotion. It’s only through our commitment to live righteously like Jesus that we become well enough to help our brothers. As Jesus says,

“…first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42c)

Three times Jesus refers to the one who needs correction as ἀδελφοῦ σου, “your brother.” This emphasis reveals how we should see others who need correction. They are our brothers and sisters. We treat them as we would our family. This is the way of the Brother. The brother takes the same care Jesus had with his disciples.

One final scripture demonstrates the difference between the Brother and the Watchman. The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. In this parable, a Pharisee and a Tax Collector go up to the Temple during public prayer time. The Pharisee judges himself a righteous man and compares himself to others he has judged to be lesser men.  The tax collector in Jesus’ parable humbles himself before God. He is mindful of the wide chasm between his stature and that of God. About these men Jesus says,

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14b)

The Pharisee acts as the Watchman as he doles out judgment upon him who should be enjoyed as a fellow believer. In contrast, the Brother acknowledges his need for mercy and speaks to God with humility.

Anyone can become the Watchman. Human beings are great at comparing ourselves with others, pointing out another’s faults, and heaping undue blame on others to hide our own inner anxiety. Unfortunately, that has been me more times than I would like to admit. It’s easy for human beings to lie to ourselves and convince ourselves we have another’s best interest at heart. The Watchman is always ready to make excuses. Standing before God, however, the façade is washed away and our true intentions are known.

Don’t be the Watchman, be the Brother.

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Aliens and Strangers

Maybe it’s just me, but I see a lot people in this world whose lives don’t have the comfort and convenience I am used too. If it gets chilly in my office I need only walk a few feet to turn the heat up. More importantly, no one is going to arrest me for sharing my faith. A few months ago a family in our congregation returned to their home country of Liberia. They face immense challenges. Things we take for granted like power and internet don’t come easy where they live. Getting clean water is a real challenge.  In response to such things I am moved by the letter of 1 Peter. The author brings hope to those without comfort and pushes the rest of us to be faithful with God’s blessings.

The letter is addressed to resident aliens and strangers living in Roman provinces. These provinces were located where modern Turkey is today. This large region was culturally diverse. Due in part to its rural nature most of it did not Romanize like other areas with large cities. In fact no cities are mentioned in the letter. While it is easy to understand the author using the metaphor of strangers in his letter, it is good for us to understand his addressees were probably literal resident aliens and strangers in the provinces. This language, taken literally, has social implications; “strangers” refers to a class of people viewed lower than local citizens. They were excluded from voting, landholding and civic offices. They were limited in their legal recourses, intermarriages and commerce. It was possible they might be forced to serve in the military or receive harsh punishments for crimes. Despite this they were required to pay all the same taxes as full citizens. The native population was also suspicious and antagonistic toward them. Being a Christian made it more difficult. Christianity was not an official religion at the time and people were suspicious of it. What was meant to provide salvation and church family may have created even more conflict with locals.

In spite of the challenges these Christian strangers faced, the author reminds them of the hope they have through Jesus.

“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” v.3b

These Circum-Mediterranean Christians were born into a new life.  The Greek, anagennao (born again) only appears twice in the NT and both occur in chapter one of 1 Peter. It illustrates how different they are from what they once were. When God transforms your life it is like being reborn as a new creature.  It’s no wonder they feel alienated as believers. Despite how alienated they may feel from those around them, they are united into a new relationship with God and other believers. One of the benefits of their new life is a living hope. This gift of hope is confidence that God will work things out for the good of his people. Similar to how the Kingdom of God broke into the world, hope breaks into the daily lives of Christians. It is meant to change the outlook of these resident strangers in the provinces of Asia. Every Christian has an imperishable inheritance guarded by God through our faith. The trials and suffering the strangers experience in life breaks against the living hope they enjoy. Hope drives their faithfulness to God. It shapes how their daily experience.

It is certainly something Christians should remember today. For those of us blessed with many comforts and luxuries we must remember that it is all worthless compared to the living hope we possess. It should spur us to faithfulness. Everything we have should be devoted to God. We may not be geographical strangers, or exiles, or Liberian missionaries, but all Christians are new born children living as spiritual strangers and foreigners in the world.

Elliott, John Hall. The Anchor Bible. Vol. v. 37B, 1 Peter: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, ©2001.

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Paul’s Construal of the Exodus

A Hermeneutical Assessment of 1 Cor. 10:1-14; Paul’s Construal of the Exodus

 

Paul makes use of the history and application of the Israelite exodus from Egypt and desert wanderings in 1 Corinthians 10:1-14. Paul interprets these occasions in such a way that he reduces the distance between the ancient religious history of Israel and “modern” 1st century church in Corinth. This results in phrases such as “baptized into Moses”, “that rock was Jesus”, “These things occurred as examples”, “test Christ as some of them did”. 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 is a picture into a Pauline typological/allegorical exegesis of salvific and apocalyptic stories in the Old Testament. The historical Israel becomes a signifier for the signified “the church”. Paul may even be presenting his interpretation through a short Midrash or commentary about the Israelites. Through this Paul pulls together a picture for the Corinthian church, mostly gentile, to warn them against attending cultic meals where the practice of idolatry is present. This paper is a critical explanation of Paul’s applied hermeneutical framework of 1 Corinthians 10:1-14.

The writings of the New Testament display a deep reliance upon Jewish history and literature, in particular, the recorded religious material found in the Tanakh. The majority of references made to the O.T. are allegorical, typological, or prophetic. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-14, Paul’s overall picture is typological so this paper begins with this model. A difference should be emphasized between allegory and typology. Allegory assigns a nonliteral or hidden meaning to figures or elements in a story.[1] Τύπος, in the context of interpretation, may be defined as the “embodiment of characteristics or function of a model” such as an archetype, kind, class, or thing that suggests a pattern.[2] Directly related to this Greek word is the hermeneutical classification, typology. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, catacombs and sarcophagi display early Christian use of typological art. Jonah in particular is a common O.T. story depicted in the catacombs. One such example is found in the catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter where Jonah is depicted as being vomited out of a giant fish. Jonah’s experience serves as a τύπος of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus himself uses Jonah’s story as a prefiguration of his death and resurrection.[3] This use of typology is probably built off of teachings from the synagogue that compare the belly of the fish to Sheol.[4] The retelling and artistic display of Jonah’s story becomes the Christian’s hope for resurrection found in Jesus.

Paul’s use of typology falls historically in line with its rich use in the O.T., N.T., and church history until it fell out of fashion with the emergence of early twentieth century critical scholarship. The emphasis moved toward historical critical methods. More recent scholarship, seeking a hermeneutic from scripture itself, revitalized interest in typological hermeneutics. Baker notes such examples of typology as Abraham’s life, Lots attitudes, Moses as prophet, and David as king.[5] From these examples and others like them it becomes apparent that Jews believed God would follow a pattern of behavior. It falls, as part of the scope of this paper to uncover how Paul’s construal of the exodus fits along the use and development of typology.

Though the Hebrew language does not have an exact parallel to τύπος there remains a plethora of examples that point to the use of typology in the Old Testament. At least a close comparison can be made with the word, תתַּבְנִי tabnȋth translated as pattern, model, and structure.[6] During the construction of both the tabernacle and the temple tabnȋth refers to a divine pattern.[7] In the making of the tabernacle God reveals to Moses a pattern to follow; the Temple plans were laid out for David through revelation.[8] Hummel refers to this typological model as “vertical” or divine type compared to the more frequent “horizontal” or historical type.[9] As we examine Paul’s use of typology this paper considers both planes of the model. It is also relevant to see how Paul’s use of typology is formed in regard to the model’s foundational material, which is the typical. The typical is an expectation of characteristics found of a particular group, person, or thing regardless of its regular or non-regular occurrence in history.[10] As archaeologists recover pottery, documents, etc., a limited number of types are found for a single period.[11] These expected characteristics form the basis for making historical judgments. Albright refers to this as “judgments of typical occurrence.”[12] Pulling together a broad concept of typology, grounded in the typical and inclusive of horizontal and vertical axis we may set forth a definition of typology. For the purposes of this paper, typology is a hermeneutical device that draws symbolism from the historical persons, events, objects, or divinely revealed plans of the Old Testament for use in the present or future. This definition aids in the exegesis of 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 by determining any links between Paul’s use of the exodus and interpretive practices in the Bible.[13] Paul’s is wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewusstsein and our examination of his use of typology illuminates this characteristic. Barrett connects both contemporary scholarship and a deep reliance upon the O.T to the majority of N.T. authors.[14] Going further, I think we can also say that Paul’s use of typology remains a coproduction of meaning of the τύπος between the author who witnesses and relays the symbolism, the reader who relates personal meaning, and God who establishes the pattern within his design.

Confusion may be created from the modern Protestant use of the Masoretic text which we hope to avoid by differentiating between Paul’s use of the Septuagint and the Masoretic text. Paul’s quotations almost always agree with the LXX against the Hebrew.[15] Paul only quotes one passage from the O.T., Exodus 32:6 in verse 7. Paul’s words are a direct quote from the Septuagint. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:7 “ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν”[16] with ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ “πιεῖν καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν”[17] from Exodus 32:6. Paul’s allusions to the exodus in the rest of our passage are not direct quotes, possibly from memory. The direct quote of v.7 emphasizes both the main purpose of the exodus example and pivots to a set of warnings.[18] A deeper study of v. 7 is discussed later. It serves us however to map what scriptures Paul is quoting from the O.T.[19]

Our first allusion comes from Exodus 13:21, about the Israelites initial escape from Egypt where the Shekinah, in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night led the people. In Chap. 9:24-27, Paul emphasizes his concern for those attending idol worship. Verse 10:1 begins with “γὰρ” to draw a connection between being “disqualified” in v. 27 and Paul’s argument in chapter 10.[20] Paul then proceeds to connect his audience with the O.T. narrative by saying, “our fathers”. Paul is here implying that the gentile church should consider themselves the sons and daughters of Jewish ancestors.[21] Clement of Rome’s letter to the church in Corinth is further evidence that believers considered themselves as part of God’s holy people. Clement refers to Jacob as, “our father.”[22] The second part of v.1 diverges from the Exodus account by placing the Israelites under the cloud instead of before or behind it. Perhaps Paul is drawing from the psalms here as a reference to a “covering” is found in 105:39.[23] During the Intertestamental period the Book of Wisdom also refers to the cloud as a covering. [24] At the very least, Paul’s description of being “under” appears consistent with how Jews spoke of the cloud. The relevance of portraying Israel as under the cloud becomes clear in v.2 when both the cloud and the sea are pre-figurations of Christian baptism. Notice the similarity between “baptized into Christ” in Gal. 3:27 and v.2. One explanation for why Paul alludes to a baptism into Moses comes from the rabbinic treatment of Eccles. 1.9. Ecclesiastes reads, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” From this passage developed rabbinic teaching that the Messiah would resemble Moses; “the ‘later Redeemer’ (the Messiah) would be as the ‘former Redeemer’ (Moses).”[25] We can understand from this the desire to maintain the typical through Jewish literature. This theme of casting the O.T. in light of the life of Jesus is continued through v.3-4. The wilderness manna and the water from the rock both become symbols for the Eucharist. Even Jesus himself is portrayed at the rock. Garland goes on to say, “Paul begins with the premise that baptism marks the beginning of the Christian life, and he applies it to the beginning of Israel’s existence as God’s covenant people…”

Jesus’ portrayal as the rock from the wanderings is yet another startling example of Paul’s figurative writing style in chap. 10. It is not without some merit however, as God himself was portrayed as “The Rock” in Moses’ song.[26] It seems a strong likelihood that Paul here refers to the rock in Ex. 17:6. It is also possible that Paul refers to Nu. 20:7-11 or both. The MT uses צוּר in Ex. 17:6 and סֶלַע in Nu. 20:8 but the LXX glosses over this distinction and uses πέτραν.[27] According to Earle Ellis, these verses form the basis of rabbinic stories about the rock of Horeb that followed the Israelites.[28] Some caution is warranted however, since the literature depicting these legends are written after the 1st century. Nonetheless, Paul does seem to be referencing a similar tradition. The blessing of the spiritual rock as Jesus serves to connect the church in Corinth to the Israelites. Just as Christians are saved by the living water of Jesus, so also are the Israelites saved by the rock that is Jesus. As Hays says, “Thus in every respect Israel enjoyed the grace and presence of God.”[29] Both Hays and Garland strongly warn against reading the O.T. passages as if the Tanakh itself reads these passages sacramentally. Paul is the first to make this connection and his purpose is to speak to idolatry.[30]

We now hone in on the second half of v.7 and the only direct quote in Paul’s typological warning. This sentence can be broken into two sections, “The people sat down to eat and drink” and “and rose up to play.” Hays understands this division as an elaboration on the two halves of Paul’s argument. The reference to eating and drinking reflects v.1-4, while the phrase “to play” speaks to the upcoming set of warnings.[31] By drawing together the idea of eating and drinking Paul connects the amazing blessings of God with Israel’s sinful response. It also develops an “ironic” picture by connecting the Corinthian’s practice of the Eucharist with the idolatry of eating and drinking in worship to the golden calf.[32] This creates a humbling picture for those in Corinth who believe they can worship idols without concern. The reference to “Play” in the second half of the verse sounds very much like Paul’s contemporary Philo. The reason for this is Paul’s wording in v.6 is characteristic of how Jews saw the idolatry of Israel and the golden calf. Combining v.6 and v.7 results in an interpretation of the Israelites idolatry that is similar to Philo’s conclusions. Philo’s phrasing is seen in his work “Life of Moses (2:168).”[33]

 

“Then, having made a golden calf in imitation of that which appeared to be the most sacred animal in that district, they offered up unholy sacrifices, and instituted blasphemous dances, and sang hymns which differed in no respect from dirges, and, being filled with strong wine, gave themselves up to a twofold intoxication, the intoxication of wine and that of folly, reveling and devoting the night to feasting, and, having no foresight as to the future, they spent their time in pleasant sins, though justice had her eye upon them, who saw them while they would not see, and decided what punishments they deserved.”

 

For Meeks, this leads to the overall conclusion that Paul’s homily is carefully constructed in light of contemporary Jewish thought. The writings close to the time of Paul enlighten the readers understanding of the text.

Verse 8 presents a whole new challenge because at first glance it appears that Paul is in direct contradiction with the O.T. wilderness account. Paul claims that 23,000 people are killed as a result of idolatry. The reference Paul is making best fits Num. 25:9. At that time the Israelites were living in Shittim and worshipping Baal of Peor. God’s response to the Israelite’s idolatry came in the form of a plague that killed 24,000. Paul’s divergence from O.T. scripture begs the question whether Paul simply made an error or whether there is some other reason for the incongruence. Barrett suggests that Paul accidently combined the two figures from Ex. 32:28 and Nu. 25:9.[34] Ex. 32:28 numbers those who died for worshipping the golden calf as 3,000. Keeping these verses in mind, Paul accidently combined the two together. Fee raises the question of whether an unknown Jewish source is responsible for the error, but quickly dismisses it.[35] All known Jewish traditions repeated the 24,000. John Calvin wrote that neither Paul nor the passage in Num. 25:9 ever intended to make an exact count of every head. Instead, they put down a close estimate.[36] Leon Morris goes a little further than Calvin to include the idea that Paul was subtracting those who are killed by the Lord’s command and Moses’ direction. In this case Moses asks the judges of Israel to kill all the men who gave themselves to Baal.[37] Perhaps the best answer to this issue comes from Garland who suggests that Paul intentionally mixes Nu. 25:9 with Ex. 32:28.[38] Paul references the calf in v.7 and then combines the numbers 3,000 and 20,000 as a way of referencing both O.T. passages. This is reinforced through Paul’s word choice. He says in v.8 23,000 fell in a “single day.” Numbers 25:9 does not specify that they died in one day. Instead we find this language in Ex. 32:28. Since v.7 is Paul’s only direct quotation it serves us here that Paul is making an allusion to both passages to offer instruction to the church in Corinth. The destruction referenced in this passage points toward God’s judgment and the need for Christians to resist idolatry as a part of their cruciform life found in Christ.[39]

Our next verse, v.9 connects the church in Corinth to the grumbling and testing of the Israelites in Exodus 17:7. So the Israelites would never forget the consequences of their behavior, Moses named the place where they were Massah and Meribah. Massah is a reference to their testing and Meribah refers to quarreling against God.[40] Paul once again places Christ in the wanderings so connect them with the Israelites. This is consistent with O.T. use of the passage as Psalms 95:8, 9 uses the same passage to instruct the Jews; “do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.” A second connection is made by the reference to being destroyed by snakes. In Num. 21:6 the Lord sends fiery serpents to kill those grumbling against Him. By participating in worship to false gods the church in Corinth should expect a similar response as the Israelites did.

According to Hays, v.10 “is the most difficult passage to connect to a specific Old Testament text and also the most difficult to relate to any known behavior of the Corinthians.”[41] This is to be expected given that Paul is making allusions rather than directly quoting the text. Hays believes that Numbers 14 is the most likely text to which Paul is alluding.[42] In this chapter the Israelites criticize Moses and Aaron because they believed it was impossible for them to conquer the land God had promised them. As a result none of those who complained against Moses and the Lord are allowed to enter the Promised Land. Hays, suggests that the connection here to the church in Corinth rests on possible complaints the church had against Paul. Paul as the spiritual founder of the church is prefigured in Moses from Num. 14.[43] It is possible that members of the church viewed their knowledge of God as giving them permission to worship and eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul’s prohibition of idol worship may have resulted in church members viewing Paul as weak. As a result of the Israelites complaining the whole nation suffered. The church in Corinth may share the same fate. Verse 10 makes mention of the phrase, “the destroyer”. It is possible Paul is referencing the destroyer during the plagues found in Exodus 12:23.[44] There the Israelites are protected against “the destroyer” who is striking against the Egyptians. Paul is possibly connecting the destruction of the Egyptians with what will happen to those in Corinth who worship idols. A further connection to 2 Samuel 24:16 suggests this “destroyer” is an angel of the Lord. There an angel destroys 70,000 men.

All of these things are pulled together again by verses 11-14. Here Paul emphasizes for the second time that these things are examples and recorded for the church at this rare moment in history.[45] This is theologically consistent with rabbinic teaching. Rabbi Hiyya b. Abba comments that “all the prophets [all the good things] prophesied only in respect of the Messianic age”.[46] Over estimating the relationship between Paul and the rabbinic teachings is cautioned however since a reference to the Babylonian Talmud is anachronistic. The phrase “the ends of the ages has come” emphasizes this epic point in history in which Paul finds himself. Paul is living in the eschatological point where the old age and the new age have collided. This new situation sheds light on the past and directs the church into the future. Paul felt this profoundly in his ministry. He acted with a sense of urgency for the sake of the church.[47] Garland draws out another important theological idea from this passage. He says, “Understanding the exodus from this particular perspective, as a morality tale that mirrors the present, reveals that God has not suddenly become lax in punishing transgression…”[48] The idea involved here is that Christians often portray God dualistically. In the O.T. God emphasizes condemnation while in the N.T. God is abundantly merciful. Paul’s references to the Israelites in the wilderness shows God’s consistency. The principle of v.1-14 is pulled together when Paul says in v. 12 “take heed lest you fall” and “flee from idolatry” in v. 14. Verse 13 then serves to remind the church in Corinth that despite the pervasive religious world that surrounds them God is faithful and always provides a way out of temptation. According to Hays, this “maxim” fits into the text as a contrast to the way those in Corinth are testing God.[49]

1 Corinthians 10:1-14 is set within the larger context of idolatry from 8:1-11:1. The style of v.1-14 are so different from the surrounding text it may be presumed an insertion into the text.[50] One suggestion, Led by Wayne Meeks, is that v.1-22 is a Midrash formed before the writing of 1 Corinthians. This implies that Midrash means “a writing primarily based on Jewish thought rather than Greek of Roman. In this case Paul includes the Midrash as part of a haggadic argument. Support for this comes from a reference of Philo who values “manna” and “the rock” as symbols of God’s wisdom.[51] Are they drawing from similar texts? In this case however, it would serve to break the text up into segments destroying the unity of 1 Cor. 10:1-14. The warnings found in v.5-13 would stand apart from v.1-4. If this section is Midrash that is carried from Judaism the unity of the text would again break down from the reference of baptism in v.2. There are no symbolic uses of baptism out of the exodus in Jewish literature so it would have to come from some, as of yet, unknown source. It is simpler to understand the text as a Christian writing that utilizes the reoccurrence of the typical in the O.T.[52]

Treating v.1-14 as Midrash may break down Paul’s argument but there still remains a strong unity in the text. Meeks considers the whole section, v. 1-13, as a unified homily.[53] Paul then employs this homily in his letter to aid his argument beginning in chap. 8:1-4. The structure of v.1-13 does indicate a careful construction. Verses 1-4 uses the word “πάντες” five times. This is followed by four uses of “τινες αὐτῶν” and one use of “ἐκείνοις”. This forms the unified idea that all of them received blessings but some of them gave in to evil desires. The blessings section and the warnings section both conclude with a form of “τύπος” translated as “example” in v.6 and “warnings” in v.11. This connects the whole section of v.1-11 to 12-14 which stands as a “paraenetic conclusion”.[54] Psalms 78 bears stylistic similarity to Paul’s text. Besides the inclusion of exodus material, Psalms 78 also includes blessings and warnings meant for instruction. Verses 78:14-17 stand out for comparison.

 

14In the daytime he led them with a cloud,

and all the night with a fiery light.

15He split rocks in the wilderness

and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.

16He made streams come out of the rock

and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

[¶]17Yet they sinned still more against him,

rebelling against the Most High in the desert.”

 

The style Paul uses of blessings and warnings is already in use in Psalms 78. Meeks also notes psalms 105, 106, and Nehemiah 9:9-37.[55] Meeks views chap. 10 as a unified Christian construction that is stylistically Jewish. Philo of Alexandria’s mention a prayer for Yom Kippur that demonstrates Paul’s writing is consistent with Jewish compositions.

 

“How he opened fountains to give them abundant drink; and how he rained food from heaven sufficient for each day so that they might consume what they needed, and rather than hording or bartering or taking thought of the bounties received, they might rather reverence and worship the bountiful Giver and honour him with hymns and benedictions such as are due him.”[56]

 

In light of the recognizable unity of the passage the question then turns to whether Paul or another Christian author wrote v.1-14 apart from the Corinthian letter. To answer this question, it will help to consider how Paul uses v.1-14 to develop his argument.

Garland believes the text fits perfectly in Paul’s argument.[57] For his purposes, the O.T. text serves as a perilous example of idol worship for the church in Corinth. The blessing that is given to them from the exodus out of Egypt is broken by “violating their covenantal obligations”.[58] Yielding to evil desires, worshipping other gods, testing the Lord, and grumbling violate the covenant made between Israel and God. Through this understanding of the past Paul cautions the church in Corinth in making too much of their liberty which is based on their knowledge of the one true God. In this way 10:1-14 is critical to Paul’s argument and should not be considered a later insertion. Hays continues this thought by recognizing the strong connection v.1-13 has to v.14-22.[59] In v.15 Paul calls the Corinthians to judge what he saying as “sensible people”. This links what has just been said to what Paul will continue to argue. Those who eat the sacrifices at the altar are participants in the worship. Those who attend various temples eating the meet and joining the worship are forced to see themselves as fraternizing with demons. They are in spiritual jeopardy.

A final concern over the text is what how Paul’s use of the exodus and wilderness Israelites might threaten the integrity of the original story. Does Paul, through his allusions, destroy the real and personal story of the Israelites who wandered after leaving Egypt? Hays contention is that Paul’s use of the O.T. does not destroy these past events but rather creates further significance.[60] About the church he says it,

“discovers its true identity only in relation to the sacred story of Israel, and the sacred story of Israel discovers its full significance-so Paul passionately believed-only in relation to God’s unfolding design for salvation of the Gentiles in the church.”

 

The interpretive method Paul uses creates a positive relationship between the Israelites and the church in Corinth. The Israel/Church typology stresses the relationship of the church to the rest of God’s chosen people in history. In addition Hays points out that in any typological hermeneutic one part of the comparison will become the foundation for comparison. In our example the “Christian experience of salvation” is the foundational paradigm for understanding Paul.[61] This is concluded by Christ and baptism being prefigured in the Israelite wilderness story. Bockmuehl sees the same deitic picture in Paul’s allusions though takes the development further by wholly encompassing the O.T. references into the new situation.[62]

We can conclude from this examination that Paul constructed a typological argument in keeping with the Jewish tradition of valuing the typical. The verses 1-14, though stylistic and well-constructed, are completely immersed in their context from chapter 8-10:33. Paul’s connection to the Israelites in the exodus and wilderness both blesses and admonishes the church in Corinth. Paul’s hermeneutical framework builds a practical use of typology as it stresses the full-significance of the Israelites wilderness story by connecting it to the Christ-event.

 

 

Works Cited

Aland, Kurt, Matthew Black, Carlo Maria Martini, Bruce M.

Metzger, and Allen Paul Wikgren. Novum Testamentum Graece: Post Eberhard Nestle Et Erwin Nestle. 26. neu bearbeitete aufl. ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1998.

 

Albright, William Foxwell. “Archeology and religion.” Cross

Currents 9, no. 2 (1959 1959): 107-124. accessed November 11, 2015. Available from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials through EBSCOhost.

 

Baker, David L. Two Testaments, One Bible: The Theological

Relationship between the Old and New Testaments. 3rd ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2010.

 

Barrett, C.K. “The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the

New.” In The Cambridge History of the Bible: The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New: Volume 1, From the Beginnings to Jerome, edited by P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, 377-411. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

 

____________. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. Black’s New

Testament Commentary. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993, ©1968.

Beale, G.K., ed. The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays

on the use of the Old Testament in the New. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994.

 

Beker, Johan Christiaan. The Triumph of God: The Essence of

Paul’s Thought. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

 

Bock, Darrell L. “Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and

Referents: The New Testament’s Legitimate, Accurate, and Multifaceted Use of the Old.” In Three Views on the New Testament Use of Old Testament, edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, 105-51 (responses 90-95, 226-31). Counterpoints. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

 

Bockmuehl, Markus N.A. Revelation and Mystery in Ancient Judaism

and Pauline Christianity. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 36. Tubinggen: Mohr Siebeck, 1990.

 

Calvin, John. Commentary On 1 and 2 Corinthians. Titus Books,

  1. Amazon Kindle edition.

 

Danker, Frederick W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New

Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

 

Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers. New York:

Dorset Press, 1986.

 

Ellis, E Earle (Edward Earle). “Note on 1 Corinthians 10:4.”

Journal Of Biblical Literature 76, no. 1 (March 1957): 53-56. accessed ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.

 

ESV Compact Thinline Edition. Wheaton IL: Crossway Bibles, 2003.

 

Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. 1 vols. The

New International Commentary On the New Testament. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1987.

 

Garland, David. 1 Corinthians. Baker Exegetical Commentary On

the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015. Kindle edition.

 

Goppelt, Leonard. “Paul and Heilsgeschichte: conclusions from

Romans 4 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.” Interpretation 21, no. 3 (July 1967): 315-326. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 9, 2015).

 

______________. Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the

Old Testament in the New. Translated by Donald H. Madvig. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982.

 

______________. “” In Theological

Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by G. Kittel and G. Freidrich, translated by G.W. Bromiley, 8:246-59. 10 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964-1975.

 

Hays, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven: Yale University Press,1989.

 

_______________. First Corinthians: Interpretation: a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Edited by James Mays.

Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press, 2011. Amazon Kindle edition.

 

Hummel, Horace D. “Old Testament basis of typological

interpretation.” Biblical Research 9, (1964 1964): 38-50. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 4, 2015).

 

Kirby, Peter. “Historical Jesus Theories.” Early Christian

Writings. 2015. accessed November 16, 2015. Available from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html.

 

McKim, Donald K. Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms.

Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.

 

Morris, Leon. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Vol. 7, 1

Corinthians: an Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008.

 

Thiessen, Matthew. 2013. “‘The rock was Christ’: the fluidity of

Christ’s body in I Corinthians 10.4.” Journal For The Study Of The New Testament (Online) 36, no. 2 (December 2013). accessed Available from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials through EBSCOhost.

 

Winston, David. The Anchor Bible. Vol. 43, The Wisdom of

Solomon: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979.

 

[1] Donald K. McKim, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 7

[2] Frederick W. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 1019-20.

[3] Matt.12:39, 16:4; Luke 11:29 “All biblical references in this paper are taken from the English Standard Version.”

[4] Leonhard Goppelt, Typos: the Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), 81.

[5] D L. Baker, Two Testaments, One Bible: The Theological Relationship between the Old and New Testaments, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2010), “1743,” Kindle edition. See also: Gen. 12:1-9; 13:10-13; 15:6; 22:16-18; Num. 11:5; 14:2-4; Deut. 18:15, 18.

[6] Hummel, Horace D. 1964. “Old Testament basis of typological interpretation.” Biblical Research 9, 38-50. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 4, 2015), 39.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ex. 25:8, 40, 26:30; 1 Chr. 28:19.

[9] Hummel, 39.

[10] William F. Albright, “Archeology and religion,” Cross Currents 9, no. 2: 107-124, accessed November 11, 2015, available from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials through EBSCOhost.

[11] Ibid,.

[12] Ibid,.

[13] For a further discussion on O.T. use of typology see: Beale, G.K., ed. The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essayson the use of the Old Testament in the New, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), “3997,” Kindle edition.

[14] C.K. Barrett, “The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the

New,” In The Cambridge History of the Bible: The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New: Volume 1, From the Beginnings to Jerome, edited by P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, 377-411. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

[15] Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, ©1989), xi.

[16] Kurt Aland et al., Novum Testamentum Graece: Post Eberhard Nestle Et Erwin Nestle, 26. neu bearbeitete aufl. ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1998), 456.

[17] Exodus 32:6, LXX.

[18] David Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary On the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), under “10643,” Kindle edition.

[19] Paul’s allusions are seen in the following scriptures: v.1-2 – Ex. 13:21, 14:19,21,22, Ps 105:39; v.3 – Ex. 16:15; v.4 – Ex. 17:6, Nu. 20:8,11, Deut. 32:4, Ps 78:15, 105:41; v.5 – Nu. 14:29; Ps. 78:17; v.7 – Ex. 32:4,6,19; v.8 – Nu. 25:1-9, or possibly Nu. 26:62; v.9 Ex. 17:2, Ps. 78:18,95:9,106:14, Nu. 21:5,6; v.10 – Nu.16:41,49,17:5,10, Ex. 12:23, 1 Ch. 21:15.

[20] Garland, “10355,” Kindle edition.

[21] Ibid, “10384,” Kindle Edition.

[22] Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Father, (New York: Dorset Press, 1986), 25.

[23] Other examples include: Nu. 14:14; Neh. 9:13; Wis. 19:7.

[24] David Winston, The Anchor Bible, vol. 43, The Wisdom of Solomon: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979), 219.

[25] C K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Black’s New Testament Commentary (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1968), 221.

[26] Deut. 32:4,15,18.

[27]Matthew Thiessen, “‘The rock was Christ’: the fluidity of Christ’s body in I Corinthians 10.4.” Journal For The Study Of The New Testament (Online) 36, no. 2: 104, accessed September 9, 2015. under ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.

[28] Edward Ellis, “Note on 1 Corinthians 10:4,” Journal Of Biblical Literature 76, no. 1: 53-56. accessed October 18, 2015. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.

[29] Richard Hays, First Corinthians: Interpretation: a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed. James Mays (Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press, 2011), under “3489,” Kindle edition.

[30] Ibid, Garland, “10444,” Kindle edition.

[31] Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, 92.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Philo, Life of Moses, 2:168. Early Christian Writings. 2015. accessed November 16, 2015. Available from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html.

[34] Barrett, 225.

[35] Gordon Fee, The Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987) 456.

[36] John Calvin, Commentary On 1 and 2 Corinthians (Titus Books, 2012), under “3880,” Kindle edition.

[37] Leon Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, vol. 7, 1 Corinthians: an Introduction and Commentary(Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008), 141.

[38] Garland, “10689,” Kindle edition.

[39] Johan Christiaan Beker, The Triumph of God: The Essence of Paul’s Thought (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 27.

[40] Garland, “10700,” Kindle edition.

[41] Hays, “3579,” Kindle edition.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid, “3586,” Kindle edition.

[44] Garland, “10712,” Kindle edition.

[45] Darrell L. Bock, “Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and

Referents: The New Testament’s Legitimate, Accurate, and Multifaceted Use of the Old.” In Three Views on the New Testament Use of Old Testament, edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), “2011,” Kindle edition.

[46] Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, in the Sanhedrin Directory, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_99.html.

[47] Garland, “10740,” Kindle edition.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Hays, “3607,” Kindle edition.

[50] Meeks, Wayne A. 1982. “‘And rose up to play’: midrash and paraenesis in 1 Corinthians 10:1-22.” Journal For The Study Of The New Testament 16, 64-78. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 8, 2015).

[51] Philo, That the Worse is Wont to Attack the Better, 118-9. See also, Leg. All. 2.86. Peter Kerby, “Historical Jesus Theories.” Early Christian Writings. 2015. accessed November 16, 2015. Available from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html.

[52] Meeks, 66. (Note the use of Jewish literary patterns that resemble the text. The additional mention of the typical is my own.)

[53] Meeks, 65.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Meeks, 66.

[56] Philo of Alexandria, Spec. leg. 2.199. Kirby

[57] Garland, “10331,” Kindle edition.

[58] Garland, “10331,” Kindle edition.

[59] Hays, “3607,” Kindle edition.

[60] Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, 100.

[61] Ibid, 101.

[62] Markus N.A. Bockmuehl, “Revelation and Mystery in Ancient Judaism and Pauline Christianity,” Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 36 (Tubinggen: Mohr Siebeck, 1990) 154.

 

Uncategorized

Peter on the water

Matthew 14, in particular, the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. In this story, we often focus on the relatable character of Peter, who after seeing Jesus, steps out in faith to walk upon the water with Jesus. I can imagine Peter, with his eyes focused on Jesus, walking bravely toward his teacher. The other disciples in the boat most likely watched in awe and fear at the sight of their friend and Jesus doing the impossible. Then, in a moment of fear and disbelief, Peter is buffeted by the wind and sinks quickly. “Lord save me!” he cries out to Jesus. Jesus as the benevolent Lord, saves Peter and rebukes his unbelief. Then they get on the boat and the sea calms. Peter is a relatable character in this story since all believers have experienced the cold, damp and dripping weight of unbelief.

If we reorient the story to focus more on Jesus than Peter perhaps we can see another ark in the story. Here is Jesus walking in the dark, and through a storm to get to his disciples. Seen this way I think we can see an interesting analogy between Jesus’ walk on the water with the tumultuous conflict Jesus experiences throughout his life. From all sides Jesus is buffeted by waves of sin and evil. As he approaches the boat, even his disciples do not recognize him. Then one faithful student dares to join Jesus against the violent sea. Peter, as an apostle, chooses the difficult path of walking with Jesus. Even Peter is unable to keep the faith however, and requires the saving grace of Jesus. So Jesus is the lonely Lord who pushes against the sin of the world.

We might also connect with this story to all Christians. Sitting in a boat buffeted by the wind we each step into the dark and angry sea to join our Lord in the battle against sin. Weak as we are, we have still made the faithful step toward our Lord. Jesus stands atop the seas an impediment to the crushing waves around us. Though weak in faith compared to the overwhelming evil of our own desires Jesus pulls us from the water and calms the storm.

Uncategorized

Technology Needs Philosophy and Religion

Technology Needs the Philosophical and Religious Person?

As our scientific and technological global community treks forward the usefulness of philosophy and religion is called into question by atheistic scientists. Leaders such as Neil deGrasse Tyson (atheist) and John Lennox (Christian) argue back and forth on the issue. The question deepens as people like Richard Dawkins argue that religion leads people to violence. The same is said of atheism, but I am not trying to make a point about who commits more violence and why. There is a pervasive idea that science will eliminate the need for philosophy and religion. This is not to mean that it will be possible to remove the rich heritage of philosophy and religion from our historically effected consciousness but rather that it will lose its function in society. It’s difficult to imagine humankind without it. What would it look like I wonder? Thinking about it only makes me want to ask more questions; some questions that are familiar and others that stretch the mind. For example, where does morality come from without philosophy and religion? This is an obvious gauntlet thrown down whenever this issue arises. Atheists and theists both create great arguments for this question. Atheism relies on forged meaning and cultural common sense, while religious groups such as Christianity challenge the functional application of a shifting culturally formed meaning. Instead we favor a morality based on the unchanging character of a just God. A future without a backbone of philosophy and religion begs much stranger questions than this first one. Here are a few I have been thinking about and are the ones most troubling me right now. At what point do our scientific creations, whether biological or technological cease to be tools and become persons? Does science have an answer for when a thinking machine has rights? We see these questions in the morality plays drawn out in Star Trek. These are questions we have asked before but I think we need to revisit them as the reality of this approaches. One major reason I think we need to answer questions like these is that in answering them we tend to think anthropocentrically, placing ourselves as the dominant will and power. However, scientists estimate (or guestimate) that super-intelligent computers will exist in the relatively near future perhaps even in the next 50-90 years. What do you do with a computer that is more intelligent than humankind? What right does the human race have to impose its own forged and cultural sense of morality? What are the dangers of not imposing morality on such a creation? How should such a technology relate with its creator? It feels to me, perhaps because I am a Christian, that atheistic science loses its grip on answering such questions once you begin dealing with powers that understand the universe, physics, mathematics, etc. better than we do. Science is not static, at least for now it continues to be a changing reforming confluence of tested ideas. When a machine can do this better than us how can we answer these questions for them? This leads us into the horrifying question of what happens when a super-intelligence uses its own perspective to judge us. Would it have any reason to make judgments about us? You may feel like this issue doesn’t find relevance in your life today and that makes sense. Computers today are more like 3 year olds than super-intelligent persons. Nonetheless, It is precisely now that we should ask these questions because, as every parent knows, kids grow up fast.

I think philosophy and religion hold powerful cards in answering these questions. In philosophy, turning to the conceptual rather than the empirical may be a strong tool in answering our questions and training up a super-intellectual invention. Crossing the language bridge from 1’s and 0’s or quantum language into the philosophic world of linguistics may aid us in connecting a super-intelligence to humankind. Even the greatest finite intelligence will fail to recreate the object of its great intellectual focus due to the limitations of performance in language and being. We share this finitude regardless of our level of intelligence. A super-intelligence that relates itself to the finite existence of humankind may discover the importance of good cross-species relationship because of our collective understanding. Similar to how a dolphin’s view of the world might bring more vivid clarity to our human understanding of the world. Religion, such as Christianity points to faith in a God who transcends the boundaries of the finite and pierces the infinite by fully knowing (not limited by the separation of Him from the object) all creation. Christianity adheres to a morality for mankind that may be useful to our friend the super-intelligence because it makes morality claims that come from a source greater than us and it. God is righteous. It is His character that defines right and just for all creation. We then find ourselves once again in the difficult position of being made in the image of God and being asked to testify about Him to all creation, even one beyond our own intelligence. In this way we may build a relational bridge between us by way of the communal interpretation of value and meaning spurred by a creative communal God. There is something more than empirical data that makes something beautiful. Any intelligence will be shaped by our categorizations of beautiful, lovely, repulsive, evil, and good. It becomes, or has always been, our job to interpret and relate the world God created to his creation including our own.

Whatever answer takes its place as the final tool for building positive relations between a super intelligent technology and humanity I seriously hope it incorporates philosophical and religious elements because I don’t believe our understanding of science is exact enough to teach a computer to love its creators or at least not destroy them.

Neil Tyson, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Spacetime_Odyssey & John Lennox, https://youtu.be/JH7HlfaXFuk , 2015
Star Trek’s Data http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Measure_of_a_Man_%28Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation%29
Super Intelligent computers, http://www.ted.com/talks/nick_bostrom_what_happens_when_our_computers_get_smarter_than_we_are
Child-like computers http://www.ted.com/talks/fei_fei_li_how_we_re_teaching_computers_to_understand_pictures