These chapters immediately show that Paul's thinking is not limited to the subjects of the treatise-like letter to the Romans. It's not just that Paul addresses very understandable practical problems, almost right off (1:10ff) in 1 Corinthians. The theology of Paul is significantly increased by 1 Corinthians. Reading in canonical order helps see that!
For example, the whole theme of nullifying (1:28), and its relationship to God's calling of the "things that are not...." Could we have guessed this from Romans? The closest parallel might be the idea that all the world is accountable to God, in Romans 3, or even better, the verse that formed the idea for the title of my blog, Romans 3:27. Boasting is excluded. Boasting is nullified. But nullification directed toward not an attitude but an "existent" thing (1:28) and its relationship to what the makeup of the called Christian body is? That's new.
Some things are wonderful elaborations of the thoughts that also occur in Romans. At the end of 1 Cor 3, there is a great elaboration of Romans 8's "will he not with Him freely give us all things?" in Paul's very memorable "all things are yours...."
- New Year: 1 Cor 1-5 for Dec 1
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