1-2 Corinthians: 5 Books Every Pastor Should Read

1-2 Corinthians: 5 Books Every Pastor Should Read June 5, 2020

First & Second Corinthians: Great Resources 4 Pastors


Alexandra Brown, The Cross and Human Transformation: Paul’s Apocalyptic Word in 1 Corinthians

An inspiring and challenging monograph of 1 Corinthians. An incisive study that has shaped how I look at 1 Corinthians and Paul’s theology overall.


Bruce Winter, After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change

Winter uses his socio-historical knowledge to paint a picture of the situation in Corinth around 1 Corinthians.

Andrew Clarke, Serve the Community of the Church: Christians as Leaders and Ministers

This book is not exclusively on 1-2 Cor, but offers lots of insight into leadership and authority structures in the ancient world. There is, of course, lots of engagement with 1-2 Cor.

Michael J. Gorman, Participating in Christ: Explorations in Paul’s Theology and Spirituality

More wide-ranging, but lots of theological study of 1-2 Corinthians. Here is the official blurb I wrote for this book: “Gorman is America’s leading Pauline theologian. I have been following his work on Paul for over fifteen years. Each installment of his research adds fresh and stimulating ideas to the conversation, and Participating in Christ is no exception. This is more than just a book on a narrow topic called ‘participation’; rather, Gorman both addresses this master concept and draws in many other key topics in Paul, such as justification, reconciliation, covenant, and mission.”

Cynthia Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ

I have been recommending this excellent book a lot for those interested in what Paul says about men and women in 1 Corinthians in particular (1 Cor 11 and 1 Cor 14). Westfall’s book covers many other key texts in Paul’s letters overall.

Special Sneak Peek!

Timothy Gombis, Power in Weakness: Paul’s Transformed Vision for Ministry

OK, this book is coming late 2020 (Eerdmans), but I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. Dr. Gombis let me read this excellent book in advance. He covers all of Paul, but there is a clear focus on 1-2 Corinthians as prime material for understanding how Paul lived out cruciform ministry. This has been one of the best treatments of Paul’s theology of ministry I have ever read. Be on the lookout (#ChristmasWishlist)!

Here is my endorsement: “Most of the books I have read on pastoral leadership suffer from a fatal flaw. They try to “use” Scripture to help pastors “succeed.” But success is often connected to church size, money, power, and popularity. These kinds of books are misguided because they try to squeeze biblical material to fit into a worldly mold. Gombis subverts that approach by demonstrating the cruciform spirit of Paul’s ministry. Power in Weakness blends biblical insight with numerous case studies in real-life ministry today. This is not only one of the best ministry books I have read, but it is also an incisive study of Paul’s theology as well.”




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