the weblog of Alan Knox

Is this how Paul MEANT to write 1 Corinthians 12?

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in blog links, scripture | 24 comments

Is this how Paul MEANT to write 1 Corinthians 12?

If you enjoy my series “Scripture… As We Live It,” then you will probably enjoy a new post by Ross at “Viral Jesus” called “I Cor. 12 Rewritten to Match Modern Church.”

While I tend to “re-mix” only one or two verses, Ross has modified almost an entire chapter to better match how some in today’s church live. Oh, I’m sure you’ll disagree with him here and there, but that’s not the point.

The point is: do we make Scripture say what we want it to say (and how we already live), or do we allow the Spirit to use what Scripture actually says to change us and how we live?

Here’s a short snippet of Ross’ Modern Ecclesiastical Version (MEV) from 1 Corinthians 12:12-13:

[12] The organization is a corporation with a 501(c)3 tax deductible status, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one organization. This, of course, has everything to do with the way business works. [13] For we were all organized by the denomination into one organization—whether Americans or those other people, rich or poor —and we were all given the one set of doctrines to profess.

Make sure you jump over to Ross’ post and read his entire re-mix of 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

I know that some people disagree with me, but I think this is a great way to help us look at what Paul (or the other New Testament authors) actually wrote and compare that to how we actually live. It’s not always a pretty comparison.


24 Comments

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  1. 5-11-2012

    “I know that some people disagree with me…”

    The elders at my last church certainly did disagree, and they made a big stink about me simply having a blog about theology. Oh, and we don’t attend there anymore. But, I agree with you, Alan. :)

  2. 5-11-2012

    I think this is a good remix, for it reveals the ones fleecing the flock
    And I think the ones that fall into these traps of man are still of the flesh and world, not seeing they were babtized in the Spirit into one body, which is the risen Christ.
    1Corinthians 12:13 for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jew, Greek, or gentiles. And there are many believers all over the world, known to God as us the bride/groom all over. So then once born again we are born of the Spirit, dead to flesh and alive to God and there is no condemnation to those that seek the Spirit and thus deny the flesh Romans 8 whole chapter is good here
    Thanks howard

  3. 5-11-2012

    Alan,

    a few years ago, in an effort to help the congregation I was visiting, to see how we rationalize Scripture to fit the way we live, I read a passage using this same method.

    No one noticed. Even worse, their was a chorus of “Amen!” at the close of the reading!

  4. 5-11-2012

    Steve,

    I’m sorry to hear that you all were not able to work through your differences. I think in the real 1 Corinthians 12, Paul expresses how much you all need each other. (By the way, I’m not saying that you were at fault.)

    Howard,

    Yes, all who are in Christ are also members together with one another in his body and therefore need one another as God places them together.

    Aussie John,

    That’s a very sad story. I think it would be true among many groups of Christians, unfortunately.

    -Alan

  5. 5-11-2012

    What better way to make scripture say what someone wants it to say than to re-write 1 Cor 12:12-26 for your very own post titled “1 Cor 12 Rewritten to Match Modern Church”? That was a very poorly written blog article, and in my opinion it was an amateur post. Are these the kinds of articles we are looking to in order to create “conversation”? Paul (remember that guy who met Christ on the road to Damascus and was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write scripture) was writing about Unity and Diversity in the body. Ross’ post is the kind of discussion that continues to create unhealthy division in the body. I understand the reason you linked to his post. I would have been much more impressed if Ross said “here is what I am doing wrong” … and then re-wrote 1 Corinthians 12 to tell us what his struggle is. But instead his post is an indictment of what everyyone else is obviously doing wrong.

    Alan I wouldn’t put this one in the top 100 of the articles you’ve written and generated discussion on.

  6. 5-11-2012

    Vincent,

    I’m sorry that you’re disappointed. How would you re-write 1 Corinthians 12 to demonstrate what you are struggling with?

    -Alan

  7. 5-12-2012

    I wouldn’t rewrite scripture. That is the biggest point of my frustration. If a man were going to rewrite scripture, wouldn’t he rewrite it in a fashion so as to show he is not struggling or suffering? I would “rewrite” v.26, but I’ll have to explain that in a bit.

    I’ve had many contentions with some who tried to argue to me the Catholic church had the scriptures and re-wrote all of them (hence the need for a revelation in the 1800′s … another conversation. Oh and I was raised Catholic by the way.) My argument back to them was this: “If the Catholic church rewrote scripture to make it favorable to their establishment, why did they leave in the scriptures which are a clear indictment against some of their practices? Why would they leave in the scripture to show Mary was a sinner who received purification after the birth of Christ when they were teaching she was sinless? Would it not make sense to take out these scriptures? It was clear the Catholic church did not rewrite scripture as “some” contend.

    The same here Alan, if I were going to rewrite any scripture, I’d probably take out the scriptures on persecution or even more I’d certainly remove all of the admonitions against false prophets. See then I wouldn’t struggle to make sure I’m not one of the false prophets Jesus warned about. I wouldn’t have this burden for the persecuted church because scripture just wouldn’t contain them anymore.

    People’s struggle with scripture, mine included probably more than anyone else, is what is IN scripture, that at times serves as an indictment. So then to turn to your question, we’ll turn to verse 26 “and if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it”. If I were going to rewrite scripture, this verse would certainly be taken out all together. Then I wouldn’t have had to sit up all night with a hurting heart watching underground video smuggled out of North Korea showing what is happening to the Christians there. Then I wouldn’t have to sit in a Voice of the Martyts prayer conference tomorrow and share with my team my burden for North Korea. See because if the scriptures on persecution were gone, I’d no longer have to worry about the members of our body suffering horrible tortures beyond words that could be written out in this post.

    Remember when Paul said he would not have known what coveting was had the law not said don’t covet? Well I would not have known our body suffers persecution if scripture never said it. I would not have know its a bad thing to be a false prophet had Jesus not given the warning against them.

    Heaven and earth will pass away, but Christ’s words will never pass away. That is warning enough we should never be attempting to rewrite scripture for any cause. It does not ease our burden, it does not make the grace of Christ wider, in my opinion, it serves no purpose to rewrite it. I’d even go a bit further to say there is arrogance in anyone who would attempt to do so. DT 4:2, Moses warned not to add to or take away from the commandment of the Lord. Rev 22:18-19, if you add to the words of the book, God will add the plagues, if you take away from the words of the book of prophecy, God will take away that person’s part in the tree of life. Are these not warnings enough?

    With the advent of the web and the potential these blogs can be read worldwide, then there is the danger “rewritten” scripture can fall into the hands of the unstable and unlearned. There is the chance even the most sincere attempts can cause someone to stumble. You and I would need a whole other chat on the warnings of causing someone to stumble. But are not the warnings of Deuteronomy and Revelation enough?

    Please allow me to live up the Ross’ admonition then. At least in this discussion, allow me to be an eye for our body. I see a clear warning, one we must not cross and I must warn you too brother, let us take the warning of Christ’s prophecy seriously and not add to it, change it or in anyway alter it. We have not been given such authority to do so.

    Thanks for listening.

  8. 5-12-2012

    Vincent,

    Do you understand that Ross was not attempting to change Scripture or change the meaning of Scripture? He was changing the words to show how the modern church has changed Scripture by how it tends to focus on organizations and hierarchies.

    No one here is attempting to add to or change Scripture. In fact, just the opposite, the point here is to point out how people are NOT living according to Scripture.

    -Alan

  9. 5-12-2012

    Vincent, I feel your love brother, I feel your hurt, the hurt you are going through, and have gone through, and seen. stand fast trust please continue in the faith the faith of God in you where you are reborn in the Spirit and thus feel the mighty power of God, leading you to truth.
    I know these posts have sparked your hurt and want to know christ, as you alreadsy do, but your concern is for your brothers and sisters that are not in chhrist, but Brother God hears your prayer and knows before you even ask, and God will do. you will see. Just step out of time with him and see
    Love Howard

  10. 5-12-2012

    Marc, oh and good points on being aware for the evil ones are still roaming about seeking and watching lying in wait to deceive, as has been from the day of Adam and Eve taking eatery of the tree of evil that masquerades as good. The flesh in his sight (GOD”S) shall never ever please God the Father of Christ
    Howard

  11. 5-12-2012

    What a potent parody! Reading the “new version” alongside the actual Scripture passage makes what Paul was saying even more powerful! Sorry that some don’t get the humor.

  12. 5-12-2012

    Hay, Tom i notice we have the same last name. well that makes us brothers, wonder if and where we might be related from, not to go off subject here email me if want to look into this
    Howard

  13. 5-12-2012

    Howard,

    It is possible to serve God and others by the wrong motives and intentions, giving in to the desires of the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit. However, those who fail to serve God and others (regardless of motives or intentions) are giving in to the desires of the flesh and are not walking in the Spirit.

    -Alan

  14. 5-13-2012

    It is only possible to serve others and look like one is serving God, having the wrong intentions, never being born again and acting well to deceive the very elect. the rest of the ? is we are born in the flesh at birth here on earth, and dead to the Spirit of God, needing life in the spirit, born again and those that receive the Born again life learn through seeking after the Spirit not the flesh life everlasting and rest then in him, thus the love of him is poured out on the ones seeking him to freedom in God. the bottom line is to receive life from God, unto the liberty.
    Howard

  15. 5-13-2012

    Alan,

    If I understand you correctly you are arguing two points:

    “He was changing the words to show how the modern church has changed Scripture by how it tends to focus on organizations and hierarchies. No one here is attempting to add to or change Scripture. In fact, just the opposite, the point here is to point out how people are NOT living according to Scripture.”

    So if I understand you:

    1. The modern church’s focus on organizations and hierarchies actually changes scripture by doing so.

    2. These modernd organizations create people not living according to scripture

    Are you arguing for leaderless communities? If not, to what extent should there be leadership and hierarchy?

    Wasn’t the point of Paul’s arguement to show people how to obey scripture, so that even within the structure and its parts, the body functions as a whole?

    “Do you understand that Ross was not attempting to change Scripture or change the meaning of Scripture? He was changing the words …”

    … I think I need more clarification how changing the words of scripture to make an argument does translate into an attempt to change scripture or change the meaning of scripture?

    As one of your readers quipped, I guess I’m not catching the humor.

  16. 5-13-2012

    [Howard, I can't figure out how to get your email address]
    Vincent, no personal attack intended. I too have been criticized for taking Scripture too seriously as “the only rule for faith & practice.” If I understand the initial blog rightly, the point of re-phrasing the Scripture passage was not to show people literally tampering with Scripture, but to show how, despite the clear sense of the passage, people ignore or re-interpret it to suit their personal agenda.

    I for one have suffered under several leadership situations where ANY input from lower in the ranks was unwelcome and even led to charges of sowing dissention and seeking to undermine the ministry. How can there be any accountability in such a setting?

  17. 5-13-2012

    Tom, my email is renewed45@yahoo.com, and I see you have been through through the church setting of your thoughts are not welcomed as well. All my life for me, because it disrupts their business
    Howard

  18. 5-13-2012

    Tom,

    Thanks for the thoughts. But wasn’t the reason for Ross’ post Alan linked to based on the notion people were not taking scripture seriously enough? If the people Ross is criticizing took scripture seriously, he would not have had to criticize them because they would be following what Paul wrote.

    I think the precise problem is a body that is not taking scripture seriously enough and this is the reason we have so much criticism and unhealthy debate among the body. If you were rebuked for bringing out “scriptural issues” then the issue was you obeying scripture and the people you were raising the issue with may not have been.

    Don’t think I don’t understand the point of the original post. It was the method I stand against.

  19. 5-13-2012

    Vincent,

    Sometimes, when people see the Scriptures compared to how they actually live, it’s easier to see the differences.

    Tom,

    If I understand Ross’ purpose, then you are right. You describe my own reason for writing “Scripture… As We Live It.”

    Howard,

    Those who are born in the Spirit continue to struggle with their flesh.

    -Alan

  20. 5-14-2012

    Alan there is a growth that continues to happen and when one gives up and makes the statement that we will continue to deal with the flesh, yes as you live it not dead in the flesh, dead to the law you do.
    Ex: when one thinks they know, and get a little proud or boastful, a meesenger of Satan comes along and buffets that one or even group.
    But brother continue to reckon thy self dead to the flesh in the renewing of your mind as Paul said in Romans 6:11 which is the same as dead to sin. You let the devil win, when you allow your flesh, sinful nature to stay in control, trough disbelief that God says he took you from death to life, Brother Romans 6:2 romans 7:4 Romans 7:6 Galatians 2:19 dead to the law is dead to the flesh. Have we not all fought the law long enough to see that the law won. die to the law go on the cross with Christ and die in yor flesh spirit come back alive in God’s Spirit.
    Our flesh is dead brothers and sisters. Start excercising this belief and wait on God, you will see and it probably will take years of this excercisement of faith that you are dead in the flesh and alive here and now. It took me over 25 years of sinning continuously, not understanding what was holding me captive, and it was my flesh trying to stop what I never could stop, it did not take me and Jesus as I thought, it took God and God alone, in me continuing to reckon me dead in the flesh and to the law, that God has shown me and will show as long as you do not give up, dying to the flesh, thus seeing truth that sets you free from the bondage of sin. The sooner you die to the law the sooner you will be free to do what god wants of you, as you already are doing it, just flesh keeps getting in the way, because you have bought the lie that you are not dead in the flesh, yet alive in the Spirit. Sorry truth is the day you believed you were by God recreated to be dead in the flesh and alive in the Spirit of God free from the curse of the law
    I love you Alan, It is hard for me to convey this truth that I have attained through seeking truth out, and brother it is ecstatic on this side , in the heavens were all believers have been placed yet not all belevers see this for they are as I was still caught up under the law the curse
    Howard

  21. 5-14-2012

    In the old covennant, there was no one not one that could ever obey the law, and the tribe of levites were in charge and all were under the law and the law was out in place to show them their sinfulness and sin much more abounded when the law was put in place, purpose was to show us our sinfulnees and need of God
    The true covenant that had not been put in place yet was the covenant with Abraham, by and through faith, and the law was not put in place until 430 years later. It has never been the law to make anyone righteous rather through the law and our flesh , beacuse of our flesh the law shows us we fall short and become miserable, it is an impssibility through the flesh (law) that anyone shall please God.
    For this impossibility God through Christ made the impossibility possible in him and in him alone, through faith
    Howard

  22. 5-14-2012

    And by the way, Jesus being our high priest is not from the tribe of Levites, the law administers. Jesus is from the tribe of Judah. Since there is a change of the law there must be a change of the priest. so we are not under any man made law or the law of moses. We are free in Christ from the tribe of Judah
    Thanks for listening
    Howard

  23. 5-15-2012

    Howard,

    You said, “there is a growth that continues to happen and when one gives up and makes the statement that we will continue to deal with the flesh, yes as you live it not dead in the flesh, dead to the law you do.” Yes, this is the kind of growth that we should all expect in the Spirit. If we are not maturing in Christ then we are not walking in the Spirit.

    -Alan

  24. 5-15-2012

    Thanks Alan and the growth that is happening here in us all, it is amazing how the Spirit shows each of us differant things to understand, also I just wrote another piece on my blog, called hell, fire and damnation, i encourage anyone to read it, I think there is a lot of meat in it, but anyone reading can decide for themselves
    Thanks Howard