Things Paul Wrote About – One

One 

Poetically we know one as the “loneliest number”.  It is a concept we learn very early in life when we discover “me”. One can be a number or type of pronoun. Calculating with “one” is a major part of math that is done in science class.  In the New Testament “one” stands in contrast to “many” the example here is “one Lord”.  In Greek it is used with other words to be “everyone” or “one another”.  Greek has three different words that are used for one – heis, mia, hen; these are male, female, and neutral forms of the word.

When Many are One

Ephesians 5:31 uses marriage to stress the point of “many can be one”.  This verse on marriage was first stated in Genesis 2:24. Paul, however, expands this idea to cover the Body of Christ in numerous places: Romans 9:25, 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:12,13,14-27; Galatians 3:28; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 2:14.  To show the importance of one Paul uses the concept of marriage again but he does this with a negative – why not to visit a prostitute – 1 Corinthians 6: 15 – 17.

This whole line of thought may seem to contradict my earlier statement about one not being many!  It is just the opposite, it shows us how we are to act within the Body of Christ. Jesus is coming for “A” bride.  One bride! 

Now, we are made of many parts but that does not mean we should not be one.  Jesus being (your) Lord is more important than slight variations in personal or church doctrine.  

Things That are One

Yes, Paul does talk of many things that are “one” but if you really look at what he says it will beat up many of the things Christians chose to fight about. In Acts and his letters Paul spends time addressing divisions in the Body.  He condemns false teachings and teachers and corrects Peter and Barnabas about separating themselves from other believers.  (Using Bible Gateway can make a hunt for these very easy.)  Here are some of the things that Paul declares and teaches are one (not many): God, Father, Spirit, Lord, gospel, faith, baptism. Many of those “ones” are in Ephesians 4. In Ephesians 6:16 Paul reduces warfare and who we are to be fighting very nicely to the “evil one”.

One Another

This phrase is complicated!  My Strong’s concordance puts the words “one” and “another” into the dreaded appendix section, while the Goodrick and Kohlenberger concordance (Zondervan NIV Concordance) does list them individually for better referencing.  It also has a reference tool so you can find the words meaning in the Strong’s.  This helped, but that shows there are three main words for “another”:  Allelon which comes from allosand heteros.  Allos and allelon should/could be understood as “another of the same sort” while heterosis “another of a different sort”.

I will use 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 (NIV) as an example.  I am adding the bold and alternate words.

Now to each one  the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

To one (hos) there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom,

to another (same sort)a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,

 to another (different sort) faith by the same Spirit, 

to another (same sort)gifts of healing by that one (heis) Spirit, 

10 to another (same sort)miraculous powers, 

to another (same sort)prophecy, 

to another (same sort)distinguishing between spirits, 

to another (different sort)speaking in different kinds of tongues,

and to still another (same sort)the interpretation of tongues.

11 All these are the work of one(heis) and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Hos is a “female” word for who, etc.  The “one” in vs.7 and the second “one” in vs. 11 are added for better reading in the NIV. 

Reflection: Doing this is challenging some thoughts on the Gifts of the Spirit.

Things Paul Wrote On: Hope

Paul writes often about “the hope” that is part of the Gospel message.  His best-known reference is in 1 Corinthians 13 (Faith, Hope, Love) but Romans and 2 Corinthians certainly have many references to this Hope.  This theme is not new with Paul or the New Testament so for further study see Hope and LORD God and the links at the bottom of the page.

Hope is not used in OT until Judges/Ruth (so there is no “hope” in the Law) and is not used in Revelations (Hope is being fulfilled). The word hope is used the most in Psalms and Romans.  1679/1680 (elpizo/elpis) is used sparingly in the Gospels (mostly by Luke) and most of these refer to the future or the past, from their perspective.  The KJV translates 1679 as trust, which is also used sparingly in the Gospels. (Since you could see Jesus you did not need hope.)

The use of the word is easily separated into two categories:  the “hope” of the Gospel and non-gospel “hopes”.  Below are several of the Gospel “hopes”.

*Romans 8:23-25  23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

*Romans 12:12 be joyful in hope

*Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with joy

*Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called (all scripture are from the NIV)

*Colossians 1:5, 23, 27

*1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8

*1 Timothy 1:1; 4:10

*Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7

Does hope have a measure?   Faith and love can be given “quantities” like: “great faith”, or as a “mustard seed”, or “greater” love hath no man.  Hope does have descriptors and is used as a descriptor of Jesus: 2 Thessalonians 2:16 – good hope;1 Timothy 1:1 Jesus Christ our hope; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7 hope of eternal life, blessed hope; 1 Peter 1:3 living hope.  If you have not quit you have some measure of hope, however little.  Maybe, that is why Paul will use terms like patience and endurance with the concept of hope.

(You will need your Bible for this!).

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3:7 through the end of chapter 4, uses hope to bring together several concepts.  In verse 3:12 he talks about hope making him bold.  This refers to 3:7-11 and the “ministry that brings righteous” and how glorious this should be in comparison to the old covenant.  In 4:1 he again refers to this ministry and how he does not “lose heart”. (He repeats this term in 4:16.)  4:8-10 is showing what has happened to him and basically, he did not lose “hope” because of these problems.  He did not let them overwhelm him because he wanted Jesus.  That list includes many indicators of someone who is losing/lost hope. Because Paul worked through them he developed endurance.  Finally, in verse 4:18 he brings up the “unseen” part of hope by not losing heart (verse 16). May I suggest using Bible Gateway and use the search terms “lose hope” and “grow weary” to add to this study.

Thoughts: If you have a vision of what you are to be doing in the kingdom you have hope.

http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/hope

https://bible.org/article/hope

Things Paul Wrote About – 1 Corinthians 12

Chapter 12 starts a three-chapter discussion of gifts.  The “Love Chapter” is sandwiched between gifts and offices and an explanation of prophecy and tongues.  Verses 1-3 have puzzled me in this study, it is amazing how you can read something and not think about it.  Paul clearly states why he is writing this section, “so we are not ignorant of spiritual gifts”.  He then discusses idols and what the Spirit will and won’t do.  I realized verse 2 and 3 are there because people claiming to have gifts from the Spirit were trying to make much of idols and cursing Jesus while claiming they have a spiritual gift.  They could have also been giving credit to an idol while claiming it was from God.  The test of Spiritual things is very simple – can/will/do the people proclaim Jesus as Lord! Some will not be able to say the words, others will not live the words.

Verses 4 – 6 seem to be an outline for what is coming and gives you a clear look at what the Spirit, Jesus, and Father God do for the Church.  The repeating of the word “same” might alert us to what those people in 2 +3 were doing and saying.

We like to make list and when we make those lists it seems that the reason for making the list is the first thing on it.  If we take time to edit our list how does the order change?  Do we go most important to least important or the other way around?  It always seems to me that Christians tend to take the first thing in Paul’s list as the most important and then diminish everything after that as less important. (See Things Paul Wrote About).  Since I have done that also I can’t/won’t “throw rocks”.  But, verses 12 – 26, the part done by the Lord Jesus should give us a different perspective.  One part of the body is not more important than another, all are parts of the Body.  (We should honor those who labor among us and verse 28 does show an order when God choose workers.  But does that make them more important?)  So, when verse 29 + 30 ask “are all” it is possible in response to “people choosing” what they “wanted to be” so they could be more important. Those offices will show themselves from “doing” the work, not from self-proclamation.

Why Did I?

  1. The reason I put Jesus with the Body part (v.12-26) which is labeled “service” is our service is to the Body.
  2. I called chapters 12 -14 a unit of thought because of chapter 12 starting with “Now”. Even though there are other “now’s” before chapter 15, at fifteen the thought changes and Paul reminds them of the Gospel he preached to them.

For other references to gifts see (Passover to Pentecost – Gifts from the Spirit) and Isaiah 11:1.

Things Paul Wrote About – Reflections on Slaves

The first thing that caught my attention in this study of slaves was that the KJV only used the term once, in the Book of Revelation.  Some research I did revealed that King James’ England was a land with slaves that would have qualified as doulos.  Were the writers of James’ Bible trying to downplay slavery?  I cannot answer that question but it does show that you need to study the things you read, especially the Bible.

The second thing that stood out was that our paradigm of slavery was not condemned and denounced.  Paul clearly spoke against the slave traders but not owners.  The instructions to both the owner and the slave were to do right by the other.  Paul did encourage slaves to gain their freedom, if possible.  Slavery was a complex part of that society.  In the Greco-Roman world it is clear that there were levels of slavery.  In Israel, by Law, you could own foreign slaves and you could have Jewish slaves.  The Jewish slaves were to be freed every seven years, that may not have been obeyed as it is one of the things that brought about the downfall of Judah in the Book of Jeremiah.  To add to this thought a Jew could choose to stay the property of someone by having his ear pierced on the owner’s door frame.

The third thing that is challenging my thoughts is the terms lord and master. Those terms are easy to throw around, but in calling Jesus Lord and Master we are identifying ourselves as His. We are His doulos and need to look to Him as the one who controls ALL aspects of our life.  That is a very deep thought and one that is very easy to downplay. (see Slaves to Righteousness)

Things Paul Wrote About – (Other) Slaves

In this study the version of the Bible is a factor when you are looking for slave, servant, or bond servant; KJV renders doulos as servant while more modern translations use slave.  (See the post – Slaves) Paul used the term doulosmost of the time even when referring to his relationship with God.  But, Paul used several other terms that are translated servant/slave: 3610 – oiketesin Romans 14: 4 and once in Philemon; 1248 – diakoniain Romans 16: 1.  He also used 3000latreuo(to serve for hire, minister, worship) in Romans 1:9 and 1 Timothy 1:3; 1398 – douleuoin Romans 6:6, 7:6, 7:25, 9:12, 16:18; Galatians 5:13; Colossians 3:24; 1 Thessalonians 1:9. ( See Slaves, these are from a Strong’s Concordance KJV and the italic numbers are the New Testament references.)

Paul wrote to believers who were gentiles in a Greek and Roman world.  Many of churches had slaves or slave holders, so in a sense some of what he was writing would have been very unusually to them.