September 10, 2010

Not Just a Standard Greeting

I find my mind wandering a bit this morning, I'm having a hard time focusing. 1 Corinthians, like most of Paul's books, starts with his greeting. Yesterday I wrote about the Paul being called by the will of God. Today, I want to finish the greeting.

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 is similar to all of Paul's greetings. It's basically the "from", "to" and "greeting" of a letter. After introducing himself, Paul includes in the "from" portion of the greeting a co-writer or fellow Christian he is working with, Sosthenes. I don't know anything about Sosthenes, and I have no books about 1 Corinthians to gain knowledge about him. I turned to the good ol' Internet for some answers and found that the name Sosthenes is mentioned one other time, in Acts 18:17.

Acts 18 talks about Paul's first trip to Corinth, where Paul preaches for a year and a half and many are converted and believe in the Lord. Paul is accused of persuading people to worship God contrary to the the law, but Gallio won't prosecute Paul because it is not a crime against Rome. The Jews get so update they attack and beat the current ruler of the synagogue, Sosthenes. Unless there was a second un-mentioned Sosthenes in Corinth, I think this synagogue ruler was converted, just like the previous one there in Corinth named, Crispus (Act 18:8).

The greeting continues to the "to" portion, where Paul addresses the letter to "the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints..." Key words he uses, that we often overlook are in this description of the believers. "Sanctified", "called". Salvation is from God, given to whom He wills. This is clear in who Paul addresses the letter.

Finally, the "greeting" portion. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Grace, something given not earned, creating peace we could not have without that grace, from God our Father, who loves us as a father loves his children, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our ruler, who understands the human condition, and our savior. That run-on sentence is my attempt at describing all the parts of the greeting at once.