Context plus the Holy Spirit

With a few exceptions, the Apostle Paul’s letters were written to meet an immediate situation. Often times, there was some threatening situation in the churches in Corinth, or Galatia, or Philippi, and Thessalonica. And so when we read the Letters of Paul we must keep the context of which they were written in mind. Did anyone have a tough time with I Cor. 11:1-10? What does this instruction mean for us in today’s world? Should women still cover their heads when they pray? Or was there a certain kind of “woman” who uncovered her head in a place like Corinth that Paul is addressing? Context is important…

But we also must remember that a thing is not transient because it was written to meet an immediate situation.
Think of the greatest love songs of the world. Most of them were written about one person, but everyone likes them. We connect with certain songs because we understand the situation. Couples will even claim one as “our song.”

So it is with Paul’s letters. They may have been written to meet a threatening danger, a difficult circumstance, or addressing issues, but we have much to learn from them. For even though human culture changes, the human situation does not. And so God still speaks to us through these letters he inspired Paul to write 2000 years ago. That is why these letters are considered Holy Scripture; they are alive and active.

Context with the Holy Spirit guiding us is important, otherwise we would have a lot of bald women walking around (I Cor. 11:6).

1 comment:

  1. I think it's helpful to know what our spiritual gift is so we can be intentional about using it to build up the body. If anyone's interested, we have a CD set that goes over what they are and how to figure out which one is you.