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What do we know about the disunity that affected the Corinthian Christians? (1 Corinthians 1:10–17)

Richard D. Draper

While Paul labored in Ephesus, reports soon came to him that the troubles had again boiled up among the Saints. Either a Christian visitor or a local leader began to attack Paul and his teachings and was successful in leading a number of members away from the truth.

Paul had already faced opposition. By and large this came from the Judaizers, those rigorist Christians, mostly former Pharisees, who continued to insist that Christianity was a subset of Judaism and that the Saints had to obey the Mosaic law, albeit as interpreted by Messiah Jesus. The new attack, however, did not come from that source. It was grounded in a perversion of certain doctrines, chief among them the resurrection of the dead, but followed closely behind by the nature and importance of spiritual gifts and the propriety of eating food stuffs once offered as sacraments to idols.

The seat of the issue, however, came from just one problem—a number of the Saints continued to hold to some of the attitudes of the secular, immoral, materialistic, status-loving culture in which they lived. Because they did not give these up, they caused a devaluation of the universalism, including key truths and growing traditions, that the Church was promoting.

Exacerbating the problem was the lack of chapels where the Saints could meet together as a whole. At this period of time, they met, as noted above, in the more spacious homes of the wealthy. These homes, however, could not accommodate more than a couple dozen families. Therefore, a number of homes had to be used. When troubles developed, it was easy for the members to congregate with those who believed as they did while ostracizing those who did not. This condition allowed the fissures to widen, threatening the very foundation of the Church.

These problems sparked a response from Paul, who wrote a letter which has now become lost. In the lost epistle, it seems that Paul addressed specific concerns of the Saints and hoped his instruction would have settled these matters once and for all. Unfortunately, it did not, for there came another report to him “by them which are of the house Chloe” that the branches were further fracturing (1:11). Sometime in AD 55, the Apostle wrote this epistle, now preserved as 1 Corinthians.

Paul is clear that a major cause of his writing was the report of “Chloe’s people” that is, her business agents or managerial servants who oversaw her affairs at Ephesus and other ports. These brought word that conditions had worsened to the point that there were “quarrels” among the Saints (1:11). But there was another impetus, namely that of at least one letter he had received from branch members (see 7:1). It is likely that chapters 1–6 are a response to problems mentioned by Chloe’s people while chapters 7–16 respond to items in the letter.94 Given the organization of the letter, one thing seems sure: Paul organized his thoughts to meet all the concerns with memorable force.

Material adapted from Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes, Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, BYU Studies, 2010) in the BYU New Testament Commentary Series.

Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32)

This is excerpted from The Testimony of Luke by S. Kent Brown. It includes the New Rendition, Analysis, and Notes on each verse.

New Rendition

11 And he said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give to me that portion of the estate which falls to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 And after a few days, when the young man had gathered everything, he went abroad into a far land, and there he squandered his goods by living dissolutely. 14 When he had exhausted everything, a serious famine arose across that land, and he began to be in short supply. 15 And he went and joined with one of the citizens in that land, and he sent him into his fields to tend swine. 16 And he desired to eat his fill from the carob pods which the pigs were eating. And no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am perishing here from hunger. 18 I will rise up and go to my father and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’ 20 And he rose up and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and felt compassion and, running, fell upon his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and clothe him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf, slaughter it, and we will rejoice while eating it, 24 because this, my son, was dead and has come alive again, he was lost and was found.’ And they began to celebrate. Continue reading

Selected New Renditions available as Free Ebooks

We are happy to announce that New Renditions of the New Testament books Mark, Luke, First Corinthians, and Revelation are now available as free ebooks, as Kindle books at Amazon and on the Deseret Bookshelf e-reader.

These New Renditions come from the BYU New Testament Commentary volumes. They are modern English versions translated by Latter-day Saint scholars based on the most reliable Greek texts while taking into account the Joseph Smith Translation and the King James Version. They aim to be as close as possible to the way they were composed by their original writers. These renditions provide a new reading experience for people of all ages who want to embrace each of these New Testament writings.

The Gospel according to Mark: A New Rendition, by Julie M. Smith, at Amazon

The Testimony of Luke: A New Rendition, by Eric D. Huntsman and S. Kent Brown, at Amazon

Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians: A New Rendition, by Michael D. Rhodes and Richard D. Draper, at Amazon

The Revelation of John the Apostle: A New Rendition, by Michael D. Rhodes and Richard D. Draper, at Amazon

The Gospel according to Mark: A New Rendition, by Julie M. Smith, at Deseret Book

The Testimony of Luke: A New Rendition, by Eric D. Huntsman and S. Kent Brown, at Deseret Book

Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians: A New Rendition, by Michael D. Rhodes and Richard D. Draper, at Deseret Book

The Revelation of John the Apostle: A New Rendition, by Michael D. Rhodes and Richard D. Draper, at Deseret Book

The New Renditions of the books of Epistle to the Ephesians and the Epistle to the Hebrews are expected to be available later in January 2019.


S. Kent Brown Interview

S. Kent Brown was recently interviewed by Kurt Manwaring about his publications on the period between the Old and New Testaments.

Read the full interview here:

When Kurt asked how his research affected his feelings about the Savior, Dr. Brown replied, “I gained a deeper appreciation for what challenges Jesus was facing when trying to bring gospel truth to his hearers because I came to a firmer grasp of the often misguided traditions of his people and how those traditions gripped them.”


Los Angeles presentations October 2017

There will be two events in the Los Angeles area:

Friday, October 27, 7 pm, Saugus Building, 27405 Bouquet Canyon Rd., Saugus, CA 91350. There will be a lecture by two of our BYU New Testament Commentary committee. Richard Draper will present “Paul’s Testimony of the Living Christ.” Dr Draper is a co-author of our newest volume, Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. John Welch will present “Chiasmus in Scripture.”

Sunday, October 29, 7 pm, Los Angeles Temple visitors center, Richard Draper will give the same presentation, “Paul’s Testimony of the Living Christ.” 


Open House to celebrate the arrival of our First Corinthians volume

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, come visit with New Testament Commentary authors Richard Draper, Michael Rhodes, Julie Smith, John Welch, S. Kent Brown, and Eric Huntsman. Help us celebrate the arrival of our latest volume, Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, by Richard Draper and Michael Rhodes. Location: the Joseph F. Smith Building (JFSB) in the Education in Zion Gallery, ground floor lobby on the east side of the building, by the spiral staircase. Light refreshments. For parking, this map shows several lots that are open to the public starting at 4 pm: [select “Parking”]. We recommend the lot close by at the N. Eldon Tanner Building, Lots 40A and 40G. You do not need to be registered for Education Week to attend the open house. Authors Eric Huntsman, Julie Smith, and Richard Draper will be present Education Week classes on their books. Visit the Class Schedule for times and locations.

Who is Mark? What does the rest of the New Testament have to say about the author of Mark’s Gospel?

By Julie M. Smith

“Mark” was one of the most common male names in the Roman empire, so we cannot be sure that every reference to Mark in the New Testament is a reference to the same person. (Some scholars think it is likely—but still not certain—that all of references are to one person.[1]) With those caveats, here is what the New Testament references to Mark might suggest about the author of the Gospel:

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