Paul, the Spirit-People, and People on the Margins
The apostle Paul says that God chose the foolish and the weak to shame the wise and the strong (1 Cor 1:27). He also says that the members of the body of Christ that seems to be weaker are indispensable, and those who are thought to be less honourable are to be given greater honour (12:22, 23). But apparently the Corinthians do not understand this, despite the fact that they are “Spirit-people” (πνευματικοῖς; see 1 Cor 2:13, 15; 3:1). Drawing on the insights of Craig Keener’s Spirit hermeneutics, this essay will study selected passages in 1 Corinthians and Romans in their own socio-historical contexts, as well as discuss relevant readings of the texts by “Spirit-people” today, who stand in continuity with the Spirit-filled first audiences of Paul. It will be argued that Paul envisions a non-hierarchical, cross-shaped community in Christ, where those living on the margins are loved, honoured and respected. This is, in turn, the pattern that Spirit-led Christ-communities today are called to follow.
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