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Status and Authority in God’s Realm
(1 Corinthians 1-4)

In the opening section of the letter, Paul addresses the central problem afflicting the church: divisions among its members into competing groups (1:10). Status competition was endemic to the culture, but it was antithetical to the spiritual health of the church, so Paul’s first concern was to eliminate this behavior and promote unity among its members. Ironically, though, in order to do this, Paul had to assert his own status and authority, which had eroded in his absence. It is not surprising, then, that his argument takes a number of somewhat contradictory twists and turns…

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