Rare indeed do you find a commentary that is exegetically astute, theologically engaging, pastorally insightful and homiletically valuable. Phil Congdon has provided such a tool to guide pastors and serious students of the Scriptures into a rich and robust quest through First Corinthians. Although many have written on the Corinthian Church caught in a culture of corruption in the first century, this commentary exposits the Apostle Paul’s care and concern for any church in any culture, especially in the twenty first century.
One of the stylistic tools created in this commentary is the “Theological Notes.” In the context of the thorny theological issue of 1 Corinthians 6:9, listen to Phil as he clarifies the dangers of a potential binary theological trap.
“Theological Note: It is essential to guard proper soteriology at this point. Some commentators recklessly suggest that those who persist in sins such as those listed here will be in danger of losing their entry into the kingdom (Fee, 242, 245). Can eternal salvation be lost, after it is once possessed? Or, to borrow Nicodemus’ imagery in John 3, can a Christian ‘crawl back into the spiritual womb’ and be ‘unborn’? Obviously, this violates the heart of the gospel message. Sadly, many arbitrarily assume that abhorrent sinners (in our eyes) are not saved. But we must not limit the grace of God on the basis of the sins of men (cf. Rom. 5:20f). We all sin (and battle with sin daily); why are only those who sin badly (this usually means sinning worse than the one passing judgment) unsaved? It is patently clear that if any kind or amount of sin can cause a Christian to lose his salvation (or indicate he was never saved in the first place, which amounts to the same thing), then there is sin that is not covered by the cross. This passage gives a list of sins which are descriptive of the unsaved; it is not intended as a test of regeneration! It is given as a reminder of the kind of people the Corinthian Christians once were, and the kind of people they should no longer be as a result of their conversions. The motivation for lists like this is not to cause readers to doubt their salvation (a task handled well by Satan), but to stimulate them to holy living.”
In additional to “Theological Notes” there are also a variety or “Homiletical Notes” that help give thought and texture for communicating the relevant truth contained in First Corinthians. Both are combined with clarity and crispness with concern for communicating to the culture of our day.
Dr. Dave Anderson, President of Grace School of Theology and an exemplary exegete in his evaluation and endorsement of this commentary, says,
“What a wonderful contribution Phil Congdon has made to the tools available for anyone wishing to make a serious study of 1 Corinthians. With his comments on translations stemming from his knowledge of the original text and textual criticism to his homiletical suggestions, this work bridges the gap between the seminary and the pulpit. Added to that are his theological sidebars that alert the student to issues he may not have known were even there. It is also the only commentary I know on 1 Corinthians that navigates the calm waters between the rough waves of Calvinism on one side and Arminianism on the other. Well done!”
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Serving Him with you until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor, Grace Theology Press