I now have a bit of a collection of articles on Paul. I have begun to purchase or read up about some of the recommended books. I am looking forward to studying the epistles. They are, of course, a cause for much controversy in the Church, and as I have discovered this week, those controversies are being played out in the very footnotes of our Bible translations. Perhaps politically clutching either our ESV or our TNIV is something akin to arguing over whether it is Paul or Apollos we prefer!
Paul was obviously no stranger to disagreements amongst believers, so I doubt very much that he would be surprised over our hermeneutical wranglings with one another. However, lest we forget, it is worth setting this all down to dwell upon Paul's vision, which was of course never his own but that of Christ's communicated to him by the power of the Spirit so that he only boasts in Christ's death and resurrection.
The epistles demonstrate that love reigns supreme where churches mature in fellowship, where we imitate Jesus in his kenotic obedience (Phil. 2:5–11) so that we welcome one another as Christ has welcomed [them]’ (Rom. 15:7) and ‘bear one another’s burdens’ (Gal. 6:2). We do not talk of our rights but give them up for the sake of the brother or sister 'for whom Christ died’ (Rom. 14:15;1 Cor. 8:11). We look at all times for opportunities to reconcile ourselves to one another (Gal. 5:22–4; Phil. 2:1–4). None of us are to lord it over one another or usurp authority. In fact we are altogether too overly concerned with authority. We should look more to the body imagery and do less to fix our imaginations on any hierarchies, for we are to be in community with one another in service and with humility so that we might honour every member.
(1 Cor. 8:7–13).