Monday, 6 December 2010

Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner on 1 Corinthians

Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids/Nottingham: Eerdmans/Apollos, 2010), ISBN 9781844744848.

With the exception of D.A. Carson’s commentary on John, I was fairly disappointed with the first few volumes in the Pillar New Testament commentary series. However, more recent volumes, in my opinion, have been excellent; the last few years alone have seen the release of commentaries by Douglas J. Moo on Colossians and Philemon, David G. Peterson on Acts, G. Walter Hansen on Philippians, and Peter T. O’Brien on Hebrews (to join his earlier excellent entry on Ephesians). Now the series taken as a whole is shaping up to the best, if not the best, of commentaries written from an evangelical perspective at this level.

Having some familiarity with Brian Rosner’s work elsewhere, I’ve been looking forward to this one on 1 Corinthians. I expect it will become a standard mid-level evangelical work to refer to on the letter for a new generation of students, a position that Gordon Fee’s commentary held for quite a long time.

There is a very generous excerpt available here, which includes the Introduction and part of the commentary on chapter 1. And the bibliography is available here.

The Introduction takes in the church in Corinth, the identity and aims of Paul, the interpretation of 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians in recent research, and some features of the commentary.

A nice paragraph at the end of the Introduction caught my eye, where they describe 1 Corinthians as:

‘Paul’s attempt to tell the church of God in Corinth that they are part of the fulfillment of the Old Testament expectation of worldwide worship of the God of Israel, and as God’s eschatological temple they must act in a manner appropriate to their pure and holy status by becoming unified, shunning pagan vices, and glorifying God in obedience to the lordship of Jesus Christ.’

Here is how they outline the letter:

I. Letter Opening, 1:1-9

A. Salutation, 1:1-3

B. Thanksgiving, 1:4-9

II. True and False Wisdom and Corinthian Factionalism, 1:10–4:17

A. Request for Unity, 1:10-17

B. Condemnation of False Wisdom: The Wisdom of this World, 1:18–2:5

C. Affirmation of True Wisdom: The Wisdom of the Cross and the Spirit, 2:6–3:4

D. Reflections on the Nature of Christian Leadership, 3:5–4:17

III. “Flee Sexual Immorality” and “Glorify God with Your Bodies,” 4:18–7:40

A. Condemnation of Illicit Sexual Relations: “Flee Sexual Immorality” (and Greed), 4:18–6:20

B. Affirmation of Sexual Purity: “Glorify God with Your Bodies,” 7:1-40

IV. “Flee Idolatry” and “Glorify God” in Your Worship, 8:1–14:40

A. Condemnation of Idolatrous Practices: “Flee Idolatry” (Food Offered to Idols), 8:1–11:1

B. Affirmation of Edifying Worship: “Glorify God” in Your Worship, 11:2–14:40

V. The Resurrection and Consummation, 15:1-58

A. Affirmation of the Central Role of the Resurrection of Christ in the Gospel Message, 15:1-11

B. Explanation of the Consequences of Denying the Resurrection of the Dead, 15:12-19

C. Explanation of the Significance of Christ’s Resurrection, 15:20-28

D. Exhortation in Light of Positive and Negative Responses to the Resurrection of the Dead, 15:29-34

E. Answers to Philosophical Objections to Belief in the Resurrection of the Body, 15:35-49

F. Explanation of the Necessity of the Resurrection for the Realization of God’s Ultimate Victory, 15:50-57

G. Final Appeal in Light of the Affirmation of the Resurrection, 15:58

VI. Letter Closing, 16:1-24

A. Instructions for the Collection for the Saints, 16:1-4

B. Travel Plans, 16:5-9

C. Request on Behalf of Timothy, 16:10-11

D. Update regarding Apollos, 16:12

E. Exhortations, 16:13-14

F. Commendation of Stephanas, 16:15-18

G. Greetings from Others in Asia, 16:19-20

H. Paul’s Final Greeting and Farewell, 16:21-24

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