One of the most transformative experiences I have ever had was reading through the New Testament while I was deciding whether or not to become a believing Christian. The Word of God is powerful. It transforms us. It transformed me from being someone who did not believe into someone who believed. But just as transformative as reading through the New Testament all those years ago has been my experience slowly and deeply reading one book of the Bible at a time. Immersing yourself in one book of the Bible allows you to understand that book’s time, place, & culture. You become familiar with the author’s voice and the community they were addressing. You begin to understand the issues their community face. More importantly, you allow time for the message of that book to penetrate your own heart and mind and reshape your perspective on your own time, place, & culture. You start to see the circumstances of your life from God’s perspective, not just your own.
This fall we will be digging deeply into one book of the Bible together: 1 Corinthians. I can’t think of a book that is more relevant to our time, place, and culture than 1 Corinthians. Many of the issues that Paul was addressing in this letter to the church in Corinth are issues that we are facing today. How do we respond to and engage with a shifting and divided culture? What role does the Christian community play in forming Christians to live in the world, but not be defined by the world? Is culture good or bad? How do we love people inside and outside the Christian community? What makes Christians different from everybody else? What do we have in common with everybody else? Are we saints or sinners?
Beginning on Wednesday, September 5 we will spend the next two months journeying through 1 Corinthians together. I will be preaching through portions of 1 Corinthians on Sunday mornings. We will have additional teaching on 1 Corinthians at our Wednesday night suppers. Our community groups will be studying and discussing the book together. We are going to live in 1 Corinthians this fall. I am convinced that this is a book for our time, place, and culture. It is a book for our Trinity community.
As we prepare for this journey, I want to challenge you to read through 1 Corinthians on your own or in your families. If we all read one chapter of 1 Corinthians each day, starting tomorrow (8/20), we will have read the entire book before we start our 1 Corinthians series on September 5. It takes less than 5 minutes to read a chapter. Do you have 5 minutes a day to read through 1 Corinthians over the next three weeks? I know I do. Join me as we begin this journey to learn what God has to say to us in our time, place, and culture.