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The No-Name God

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

17  Corinthians


The God is supreme; Jesus is subordinate

 

 

I Corinthians

II Corinthians

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 17

 

 

I Corinthians

 

For further revelations of The God, we now turn our attention to the two letters Paul wrote to the assembly at Corinth. To introduce himself, Paul said he was,

"a called apostle of Jesus Christ, by [the] will of god." (I Corinthians 1:1).

 

Paul had been called. He was an apostle of Jesus, the Christ, or a "sent one" to share the gospel of the kingdom. The definite article "the" does not appear in the Greek text.  Therefore, this would be more properly translated as, "an apostle of Jesus Christ by a divine will."

 

This is a prepositional phrase without the definite article, which has the force of an adjective. This is another example of the use of the word "god" which does not refer to The God. In this case it was speaking of something divine, or something of a god.

 

I Corinthians 1:4-9 says,

"I thank my god always concerning you, for the grace of the god that was given to you in Christ Jesus, that in everything ye were enriched in him, in all discourse and all knowledge, according as the testimony of the christ was confirmed in you, so that ye are not behind in one gift, awaiting the revelation of our lord Jesus Christ; who also will confirm you to [the] end, unimpeachable in the day of our lord Jesus Christ. The god [is] faithful, by whom ye were called into fellowship of his son, Jesus Christ our lord."

 

In this passage, Paul told the Corinthians several truths about The God. First, the grace of The God was a gift. Second, it was wrapped up as a gift in Christ, Jesus. Third, they were "enriched in everything in him."  Fourth, all discourse and knowledge was conditional since it was "according as the testimony of the Christ was confirmed in them."  Fifth, their confirmation of the testimony, if done, would result in them awaiting the "revelation of the lord, Jesus, the Christ."  Sixth, The God is faithful, by whom they were called into fellowship with the lord, Jesus.

 

All of the above came as a result of grace, with the possible exception of number four, which was conditional upon their faith. However, we discovered in Romans that even faith was a gift also from The God. Even unbelievers must be considered to be in rebellion against The God because a measure of faith has also been bestowed upon them.

 

I Corinthians 1:12-13 says,

"But I say this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of christ. Has the christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized to the name of Paul?"

 

Why was Paul as hard on those who said they were of Christ, as he was on those who said they were of Paul, Cephas, and Apollos? The reason is that any name to which people claim allegiance creates a division. Even today, when people say they are Christians, it creates a division in the body of the christ.

 

When Paul used the term "body of the christ," he was not always referring to Jesus, but to all the people who have received a portion of holy spirit, and have therefore been baptized into the group that comprises the body of the christ. This term also refers to all those reconciled to The God by the death of his son, Jesus, which includes everyone (see Ephesians 2:16). Therefore, The God does not abide any division in that complete body, composed of all the Jews and all the Gentiles.

 

Since all people have received a portion of holy spirit, and since all people have been reconciled to The God, then all the religions of the world are actually divisions in the body of the christ. All the people comprise the office of christ. Jesus is the head of that body, but everyone is part of the body, or office, of christ, by the grace of The God. Therefore, those who profess Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and a multitude of different beliefs are all dividing the Christ. He died for all, not some.

 

I Corinthians 1:20-21 says,

"Where [is the] wise? Where [the] scribe? Where [the] disputer of this age? Did not the god make foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of the god, the world knew not the god by wisdom, the god was pleased by the foolishness of the proclamation to save those that believe."

 

This clearly states that the world by its wisdom did not know about The God. There were many worldly-wise people, such as philosophers, who constantly sought wisdom, but the wisdom of the carnal mind never brought them knowledge of the invisible god of heaven. It took Jesus to reveal the invisible god of heaven, and that proclamation, when believed, allows those who believe to experience the salvation given them by grace. In believing, they unlock the power of the portion of holy spirit already granted to them. This is the "saved" used above.

 

Paul was not referring to the current evangelical fad of walking down the aisle and "accepting Jesus as your personal savior."  Paul never even hinted at such a thing. Paul spoke of salvation as staying fit by faith to enter the next age in a place of blessing whenever Jesus, the Christ, returns to rule and reign over this earth.

 

Faith is the under-girding which allows us to commit ourselves to The God. When we allow ourselves to be used of The God, by Jesus and holy spirit, we retain our gift of salvation. To do otherwise is to waste our gift of salvation through unbelief.

 

I Corinthians 2:11-12 says,

"For who knows of men the things of man, except the spirit of the world; but [we] received the spirit which [is] from the god, that we might know the things of the god. But we received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which [is] from the god, that we might know the things granted to us by the god."

 

This is a great explanation of why Jesus walked under the guidance of holy spirit while on this earth as a man. Jesus did not know the things of The God! Being a man, he could not know the things of The God. Therefore, to do and say only what the Father told him, he had to rely completely upon the totality of holy spirit given to him for guidance. He had holy spirit without measure, which is not true for any of us.

 

Paul also revealed that the spirit is from The God. This might be translated as emanating from The God and imparted to men. To some extent, Paul was repeating the meaning of what happened on the day of Pentecost when holy spirit was poured out upon all flesh. The God emanates the holy spirit, or the truth, constantly to us that "we might know the things that are freely given to us."

 

The words freely given, or granted, come from charisthenta, an aorist passive participle, meaning those things already given, not those to be given. The God has already fully furnished everything people need to retain the gift of salvation freely bestowed upon them.

 

I Corinthians 2:14 points out that the,

"... natural man receives not the things of the spirit of the god, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know [them], because they are spiritually discerned."

 

This explains why it is so difficult to teach spiritual truths to many "christians" who are still living according to the flesh. So-called "carnal christians" accuse those who attempt to teach spiritual truths of only "splitting hairs."  They do not recognize the deeper, spiritual things the word teaches about The God. They can not recognize them because such things are spiritually discerned.

 

Verse 2:14 uses ouk, the absolute no in Greek. It is an absolute impossibility for carnal people to understand spiritual truths. Many churches today err at this point. Because so many people in church congregations are carnal, the preachers and teachers should begin by teaching them how to become spiritual people, and then approach them with the deeper truths of the scriptures.

 

Unfortunately, many pastors are themselves carnal, and do not even realize a further need, either for themselves or for their people. This is not the fault of The God since he has furnished all of his human creation with a portion of holy spirit to guide those who desire to be guided by him. The Godís spirit, or his truths, are constantly flowing from him to his human creation (see also I Corinthians 3:1-4).

 

I Corinthians 3:16-17 tells what has replaced the earthly tabernacle and temple of the Israelites. Recall that in the Old Testament, the presence of Jehovah was signified by a cloud above the mercy seat in the holy of holies.

"Know ye not that ye are godís temple, and the spirit of the god dwells in you? If anyone corrupt the temple of the god, the god shall bring corruption to him; for the temple of the god is holy, which ye are."

 

Although many misconstrue this scripture to teach that each personís body is a temple of The God, the Greek grammar will not support such a conclusion. In the phrase "ye are the temple of god," the ye is plural, not singular. "Of god" is also a prepositional phrase which can be used as an adjective. This passage should read, "know ye not that ye (all of you) are a divine temple, and that the spirit of the god dwells among you?"

 

The phrase translated in you comes from en, and is also plural. When this occurs, en should be translated "among you."  In other words, the spirit of The God dwells among you, not in you. That is why this scripture cannot be used as proof that each personís body is a temple for The God. The truth of this passage is that the whole of humanity is the temple wherein dwells the spirit of The God.  Since The God has poured out some of his spirit upon all flesh; therefore, each is subject to him.

 

To summarize the attribute of The God delineated above: The God dwells among humanity today by his spirit, and considers them, as a group, to be his temple on earth. Furthermore, as Paul taught earlier in this letter, claiming to be of anyone, even Christ, causes division, or defiles the temple of The God, which has severe consequences.

 

This is a serious matter, but few seem to pay any attention to it. The God sees all humanity corporately, while we are busy creating trivial divisions among ourselves. Jesus died for the whole world, and The God reconciled the whole world to himself through that sacrifice.

 

I Corinthians 4:6-7 describes why divisions are so wrong in any congregation, why we should not set ourselves apart from others in a way that would cause a division in the body.

"Now these things, brethren, I transferred to myself and Apollos on account of you, that in us ye may learn not to think above what has been written, that ye be not puffed up one for one, against the other. For who makes thee to differ? And what hast thou which thou didst not receive? But if also thou didst receive, why boastest thou as having not received?"

 

This should be emphasized in every congregation today. They, or us, could not have done anything except it was given to each of us by The God. Some are called to teach, others to exhort, and still others are given a gift through holy spirit to fulfill whatever their particular ministry to The God might be. But, when we have fulfilled our calling, we cannot take any credit since all the abilities necessary for that fulfillment have come from The God as a gift of his grace. No one has anything that they have not received from The God. Thus has Paul brought forth another attribute of The God: it is he who furnishes mankind with all their abilities.

 

I Corinthians 8:6 says,

"But to us [there is] one god, the father, of whom [are] all things, and we for him; and one lord, Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him."

 

The attribute of The God revealed in this verse is that he is one god. Another revelation is that all things are of, ek, him. To understand the word ek, usually translated as out, or out of, draw a circle and put a dot in the middle of it. Then, draw a line from the dot to some area outside the circle. That is the concept expressed here: all things are out of The God who is the power from which everything flowed, and yet flows.

 

Several items should be noted about the latter part of the verse. First, Paul made a definite distinction between The God and Jesus. There is one god, and one lord Jesus. There is not even a hint of some kind of trinitarian entity. The God is one.

 

Second, a different Greek word, dia, by, was used, which shows a secondary influence. The God was the primary mover, and Jesus was the secondary influence. As stated so often before, Jesus, as the word, or logos, of The God, is the one who speaks for The God, and brings into being, or gives concrete expression to, the will of The God. The scriptures never indicate that The God and Jesus are one and the same.

 

The phrase "and we by, dia, him" is a confirmation that it was Jesus, acting as Jehovah, who gave form to mankind. It was the will of The God, but it was the word, Jehovah, later Jesus, who gave form to that will.

 

I Corinthians 11:3 reports,

"But I wish you to know that the christ is the head of every man, but the man [is] head of [the] woman, and the god, head of christ."

 

The word head comes from kephale, which is the same word used to indicate a personís physical head. It is used here metaphorically rather than literally. If this were literally true, then every man would have the Christ on his shoulders in place of his physical head. And, the glorified Jesus would have The God on his shoulders instead of a human head. And, every woman would have a man sitting on her shoulders instead of her usual head.

 

Thayer (p. 345), defines head as,

"Metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent; of persons, master, lord: tinos, of a husband in relation to his wife, l Co. xi. 3."

 

Without question, The God is the head of christ.

 

I Corinthians 11:12 is a repeat of the substance from I Corinthians 8:6, but in a somewhat different manner.

"For as the woman [is] of the man, so also the man [is] by the woman; but all things of the god."

 

If prepositions bother you, perhaps this will help. Woman was out of, ek, the manís rib; but man is dia, through, the woman by birth; and all things are ek, out of, or finding their origin in, The God. He is the primary power for the creation of everything.

 

I Corinthians 12:18-20 points out that,

"... now the god set the members, one each of them in the body, according as he would. But if all were one member, where the body? But now many [are the] members, but one body."

 

The God clearly desires diversity in the body of christ. Organized religions, however, desire conformity. Therefore, if there is someone in your congregation who disturbs your spiritual tranquility, perhaps The God placed him or her there to bring diversity to that church body.

 

I Corinthians 15:28 says,

"But when all things shall have been put in subjection to him, then also the son himself will be put in subjection to him who put in subjection to him all things, that the god may be all in all."

 

This verse could be considered a short summary of what will happen to the christ at the end of the 1,000 year reign. At the present time, The God has put all things in subjection to Jesus. When Jesus has brought all things on earth into subjection to himself, then Jesus will also be put in subjection to The God, so that The God may be all in all.

 

Once the kingdom of The God comes to fulfillment, and this earth has been brought into subjection to the will of The God, then Jesus will himself be put under subjection as a glorified man. There will no longer be any need for him to act as a king. However, throughout the eternities of eternities, he will still manifest the hidden, invisible god to mankind. No man will ever see The God, nor comprehend any more of him than he deigns to reveal to us through his son, Jesus, the Christ.

 

Another blessing of The God is revealed in I Corinthians 15:56-58.

"Now the sting of death [is] sin, and the power of sin the law; but thanks [be] to god, who gives us the victory by our lord Jesus Christ. So that, my brethren beloved, be firm, immovable, always abounding in the work of the lord, knowing that your toil in [the] lord is not void"

 

Victory over death is a gift from The God. It is given to us by Jesus, with dia again indicating a secondary influence. First, The God, and then his son, Jesus, brings his gift to fruition. We shall be saved by his life!

 

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II Corinthians

 

II Corinthians 1:3-4 says,

"Blessed [be] the god and the father of our lord Jesus christ, the father of compassions, and god of all encouragement; who encourages us in all our tribulation, for us to be able to encourage those in every tribulation, through the encouragement with which we are ourselves encouraged by the god."

 

The last two uses of the word "god" should be understood as "a god."  The last "god" is a renewed mention and points back to "god" as being the same as the last "the god."  Therefore, each of them should read as "a god." 

 

This is another example illustrating that every use of the word "god" does not necessarily require translation as The God. Here, The God is revealed as a god of compassion and encouragement through all our troubles. This is quite a different view than many have of The God. He is not a god of judgment, because he has turned all judging over to his son, who will judge our works when he returns to earth.

 

II Corinthians 3:5-6 tells us where the ability comes from which enables us to successfully serve The God.

"Not that we are competent from ourselves to reckon anything as of ourselves; but our competency [is] of the god; who also made us competent [as] servants of a new covenant; not of letter, but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the spirit quickens."

 

No matter what our calling, and no matter how great we may consider our fleshly abilities to be, we can only serve The God competently in the knowledge that all such abilities are gifts to us from The God.

 

II Corinthians 4:5-6 says,

"For we do not proclaim ourselves, but christ Jesus lord, and ourselves your bondmen for the sake of Jesus. Because [it is] the god who spoke out of darkness light to shine, who shone in our hearts, for [the] radiancy of the knowledge of the glory of the god in [the] face of Jesus Christ."

 

Earlier in the study, we noted that the word was created when The God spoke; that later the word came to be called by the name, Jehovah; and after the word became flesh, it was called by the name, Jesus.

 

Reading the above scripture carefully reveals that the light referred to is the knowledge of The God, not the light of the sun. That light was first disseminated by Jehovah in the Old Testament. Now, it is disseminated in the face of Jesus, the Christ. The light was first revealed by a spiritual Jehovah, then by a Jehovah who became flesh, the man named Jesus.

 

II Corinthians 5:18-19 says,

"And all things [are] of the god, who reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and gave to us the service of reconciliation; how that god was in [the] christ reconciling [the] world to himself, not reckoning to them their offences, and having put in us the word of reconciliation."

 

Again, notice the Greek prepositions used: ek, dia, and en, or in the sphere of Jesus, or in that of his work on the cross.

 

Another attribute of The God is that he is not reckoning offences to anyone. Also, that he has reconciled the world to himself.

 

Not reckoning offences was mentioned first because this requires putting away anything that stood between us and The God. He is no longer holding anything against anyone. Jesus paid the price, and bore our penalty. Thus, sin must first of all be dealt with before reconciliation could take place.  [For more on this topic, see our book, The Hidden Meaning in Hebrews.]

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 17

 

# Even faith was a gift from The God. Even unbelievers must be

     considered to be in rebellion against The God because a measure of

     faith has also been bestowed upon them.

 

# Any name to which people claim allegiance creates a division. Even

     today, when people say they are Christians, it creates a division in the

     body of the christ.

 

# When Paul used the term "body of the christ," he was not always

     referring to Jesus, but to all the people who have received a portion of

     holy spirit, and have therefore been baptized into the group that

     comprises the body of the christ. This term also refers to all those

     reconciled to The God by the death of his son, Jesus, which includes

     everyone (see Ephesians 2:16). Therefore, The God does not abide any

     division in that complete body, composed of all the Jews and all the

     Gentiles.

 

# Since all people have received a portion of holy spirit, and since all

     people have been reconciled to The God, then all the religions of the

     world are actually divisions in the body of the christ. All the people

     comprise the office of christ. Jesus is the head of that body, but

     everyone is part of the body, or office, of christ, by the grace of The

     God.  Therefore, those who profess Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic,

     Protestant, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and a multitude of

     different beliefs are all dividing the christ. He died for all, not some.

 

# It took Jesus to reveal the invisible god of heaven, and that

     proclamation, when believed, allows those who believe to experience

     the salvation given them by grace. In believing, they unlock the power

     of the portion of holy spirit already granted to them.

 

# Paul spoke of salvation as staying fit by faith to enter the next age in a

     place of blessing whenever Jesus, the Christ, returns to rule and reign

     over this earth.

 

# Faith is the under-girding which allows us to commit ourselves to The

     God. When we allow ourselves to be used of The God, by Jesus and holy

     spirit, we retain our gift of salvation. To do otherwise is to waste our gift

     of salvation through unbelief.

 

# The God has already fully furnished everything people need to retain

     the gift of salvation freely bestowed upon them.

 

# It is difficult to teach spiritual truths to many "christians" who are still

     living according to the flesh. So-called "carnal christians" accuse those

     who attempt to teach spiritual truths of only "splitting hairs."  They do

     not recognize the deeper, spiritual things the word teaches about The

     God. They can not recognize them because such things are spiritually

     discerned.

 

# Unfortunately, many pastors are themselves carnal, and do not even

     realize a further need, either for themselves or for their people. This is

     not the fault of The God since he has furnished all of his human creation

     with a portion of holy spirit to guide those who desire to be guided by

     him.

 

# Although many misconstrue I Corinthians 3:16-17 to teach that each

     personís body is a temple of The God, the Greek grammar will not

     support such a conclusion. In the phrase "ye are the temple of god," the

     ye is plural, not singular.  In other words, the spirit of The God dwells

     among you, not in you. The truth of this passage is that the whole of

     humanity is the temple wherein dwells the spirit of The God.  Since The

     God has poured out some of his spirit upon all flesh; therefore, each is

     subject to him.  The God dwells among humanity today by his spirit,

     and considers them, as a group, to be his temple on earth.

     Furthermore, claiming to be of anyone, even Christ, causes division, or

     defiles the temple of The God, which has severe consequences.

 

# Some are called to teach, others to exhort, and still others are given a

     gift through holy spirit to fulfill whatever their particular ministry to

     The God might be. But, when we have fulfilled our calling, we cannot

     take any credit since all the abilities necessary for that fulfillment have

     come from The God as a gift of his grace. No one has anything that

     they have not received from The God.

 

# The God clearly desires diversity in the body of christ. Organized

     religions, however, desire conformity.

 

# At the present time, The God has put all things in subjection to Jesus.

     When Jesus has brought all things on earth into subjection to himself,

     then Jesus will also be put in subjection to The God, so that The God

     may be all in all.

 

#  The God is not reckoning offences to anyone; he has reconciled the

     world to himself.

 

 

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October 2009

 

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