Thus far the New Testament has presented four accounts of the beautiful life, powerful ministry, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), a historical documentation of the transition to and propagation of the church (Acts), and a theological treatise detailing, among other things, the unifying brilliance of salvation by grace through faith (Romans). But now comes Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth and, at first read, it may seem dramatically different as it addresses real-life sin struggles and errors threatening to take down an assembly from within. But, obviously, there’s more to it than that.
According to Greek legend, Sisyphus was a king of Corinth. For defying the gods with his insolent wit he was sentenced to the eternal drudgery of pushing a huge stone up a hill. When he would reach the summit, the stone would roll back to the bottom and force resumption of the task. Camus, a 20th-century philosopher, found in this legend of the Corinthian king a picture of modern man’s condition, the purposeless absurdity of life.
If Camus had read the two biblical letters sent to the Corinthians, he would have gotten a different picture, one with a message of purpose and hope for misdirected people. The attitude of these Corinthians, like their legendary king, smacked of proud self-centeredness. But instead of dealing with a capricious Zeus, these first-century Corinthians interacted with the gracious and loving God and His messenger, the Apostle Paul.David Lowery, “1 Corinthians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, 504–505.
Dr. Ken Gardoski joins us today to help us rightly understand the congregational missteps recorded in 1 Corinthians, the apostolic correctives provided, and its enduring relevance even after two thousand years. Dr. Gardoski currently serves as Professor of Systematic Theology and director of the doctoral programs at Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA. He has previously served as a missionary in Poland and teacher in Belarus, Latvia, and Russia.