Andrew Wilson – 1 Corinthians for you
Good Book Company
ISBN 978 1 78498 623 1
There are some huge themes in 1 Corinthians that are of great contemporary relevance: the nature of the gospel, the church, authority, revelation, sexuality, freedom, idolatry, the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts and the resurrection. There is no shortage of commentaries on 1 Corinthians. What is distinctive about this one?
It is written by a wise teacher
Andrew Wilson writes that 1 Corinthians is his favourite New Testament letter by Paul. His enthusiasm for the letter is obvious; he has grasped its DNA and felt the pulse of the Apostle Paul as he wrestles with what it means to be Christian in an environment hostile to Christ.
It models how to read a New Testament letter well
One example of Wilson’s wisdom is retaining Paul’s balance of warning and encouragement in the letter. Another example is his careful navigation of 1 Corinthians 12-14. He writes as a responsible, thought-through charismatic, who is self-critical and taken time to listen to other perspectives.
It is brief
Many commentaries on a letter as big as 1 Corinthians can be overwhelming, with 1000+ pages of detailed argument that explores every exegetical rabbit hole. The one is a lean 203 pages, and the author makes each page count. The commentary is divided into twelve two-part sections. Each of these bite-sized sections conclude with helpful questions for reflection.
It has a good blend
This commentary manages both to retain the big picture while knowing when to pause and highlight a particular detail.
One example of this is the section on the role of woman in the church, where an interesting distinction is made between, “cultural interpretation” and “symbolic translation’.
One area where I would have liked to have seen a bit more amplification is in the discussion of “shame and honour’ culture in relationship to Corinth. This is an important area that can be useful in cross-cultural contexts but one that needs to be handled with care.
I really enjoyed reading this book – what a pleasure to revel in a letter so full of insight.
John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers, in Riga, Latvia