Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes–a Review Part Eight


The treatment of 1 Cor. 12 is somewhat more helpful. I like Bailey’s coining of the term ‘energizings’ for the translation of 12.6 (p. 326). Bailey is right that in 2.6-16 and here in 1 Cor. 12 we have implicit references to the Trinity--- the Spirit gives the gifts, the Lord assigns the tasks, and the Father energizes the activity (p. 334). On p. 335 we have an odd discussion about the Holy Spirit. Bailey argues that while the term pneuma is not feminine, “NT writers were often thinking in … [Read more...]

Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes– A Review Part Seven


At several junctures in the book, Bailey assumes that the temple of Aphrodite had numerous sacred prostitutes in Paul’s day (see e.g. p. 276). The problem is, this temple was apparently destroyed in the second century B.C. and all textual references to the hierodulae of that temple are referring to the situation prior to 146 B.C. There may have been such a temple in Paul’s day, but we would need some concrete evidence that it was a ‘business as usual’ situation when it came to the prostit … [Read more...]

Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes– Review Part Six


The discussion of food offered to idols comprises one of the longer continuous discussions of Bailey (pp. 229-92), and it begins with his usual assertion that Paul starts out by citing a church tradition. This is not quite correct for it is not until 8.5-6 that we hear Paul recite the so-called Christian Shema where the term God is predicated of the Father and Lord of Jesus Christ, whereas in the OT Shema (Dt. 6.4) both the terms God and Lord refer to Yahweh. Bailey suggests at 8.6b that we … [Read more...]

The American Bible Challenge Show— with Jeff Foxworthy

Finally... you may be saying. A game show for Bible nerds. It's an idea whose time has come, and tomorrow August 23rd it will debut on the Game Show Network (obviously a channel all thinking Christians will need to now request from their cable networks). And Jeff Foxworthy is the host! I can see the opening monologue now--- 'you might be a redneck Christian if.....'Here's a trailer to check out … [Read more...]

Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes— Review Part Five


One of the implications of Bailey’s insisting on two audiences for this discourse is that he thinks that when Paul is referring to the mature, Paul is not talking about anyone in Corinth, but when he is talking about the immature he is. By the same token he thinks that the Corinthians have not received various spiritual gifts given by God to other Christians (p. 121). This, it has to be said, does not make sense of 1 Cor. 11-14 where actual instances of Corinthians prophesying, speaking in t … [Read more...]

Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes– A Review Part Four


On pp. 79-80, Bailey addresses one of the more controversial phrases in all of 1 Corinthians--- 1 Cor. 1.30. He translates it “Christ Jesus who became wisdom for us from God (that is, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption), therefore it is written…..” While it is certainly true that the Greek phrase te kai can mean ‘that is’, providing an explanation for what has come before, it is also used in other ways. The sentence actually predicates wisdom of one subject (Jesus), and righteous … [Read more...]

Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes– A Review Part Three


One of the keys to understanding 1 Corinthians is recognizing the very nature of ancient texts like 1 Corinthians. They were written in scriptum continuum, a continuous flow of letters and lines. The problem with ring or chiastic structure is it needs to be seen to be recognized. But when you have scriptum continuum, even the person who is literate and has eyes to see would have a very difficult time finding chiasms that stretch over whole chapters and more. It has been said that a chiasm is … [Read more...]

Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes– A Review Part Two


While I commend Bailey for his observation that 1 Corinthians “has a carefully designed inner coherence that exhibits precision in composition and admirable grandeur in overall theological concept” (p. 25), the structure he finds in 1 Corinthians owes more to modern interests in ring compositions and chiasms that the largely Gentile audience in Corinth would be unlikely to recognize, especially when one considers this was a document meant to be delivered orally to an audience, many of whom, per … [Read more...]

Paul thru Mediterranean Eyes– a Review Part One


What follows in the next ten days, is my extended review and critique of Ken Bailey's latest book, which won a Christianity Today book award this past year. I have appreciated many of Ken's interesting insights and perspectives over the years, and nothing I say in this review should be taken to mean that I have changed my mind about that. It is just that this book is not up to the rather high standards he has previously set and has some real issues that should be pointed out. Along the way, I … [Read more...]