All the first Christians were Jews. Therefore, of course, all the original leaders and teachers in the churches were Jews. The Jews are the people from Abraham’s family who belong to the nation called Israel. Paul was a Jew; so were Jesus and all the apostles (first Christian leaders).
The teachers who wanted to control the church at Corinth were also Jews. Those teachers considered that fact important. They were explaining why they should have authority over the ordinary church members. Most of the church members at Corinth were not Jews. They respected greatly those Christians who were also Jews.
Paul was warning Corinth’s Christians about those teachers and their wrong use of authority. The Christians respected those teachers because they were Jews; therefore, they should respect Paul’s advice, too. Paul reminds them that he too is a Jew. He explains it in three different ways, perhaps to emphasise his meaning. A ‘Hebrew’ means a Jew; but especially one that uses the language and culture of Israel*. Many Jews at that time preferred the language and culture of Greece*.
Israel was the name that God gave to Jacob*. It became the name of the Jews as a nation. For Paul, that title may express their rights to a place in the country that God has promised them*.
Paul’s last title for the Jews shows their relationship with Abraham. They have the benefit of God’s promises to Abraham*. God wants to use them to show his kindness to people from every nation.
However, none of these things gave those wrong teachers the right to lead Corinth’s church. The man whom God really had sent to Corinth’s church at that time was Titus*. Titus was not a Jew*.
Next part: Paul, the servant of Christ (11:23)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.