fire03I was asked the following questions about I Corinthians:

In 1 Cor. 3: does the person escaping through the flames end up saving himself?

15. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

What is being tested in this verse is a believer’s work. This has to do with our service after we believe. If the work is unworthy, it is burned, and the believer suffers loss. He himself is delivered, yet so as through fire. That is, when you are saved from a fire in your house, you will still be alive, but everything you own is destroyed in the blaze. So, the one whose work is unworthy is saved, but he loses all the rewards he might have gained by faithful service. He is saved, but to shame rather than reward.

In ch. 5 about man’s body destroyed for his sins but his spirit goes to heaven?

5. deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

You have to remember that this was taking place during the Acts period. The believers all had miraculous powers, and were supposed to use them. One of the powers they had was of Divine judgment. Paul wanted them to condemn the man who had sinned so greatly, and there could be no doubt but that his crimes made him worthy of death. However, since he was a believer, if they destroyed his body now, he would still have hope of his spirit, that is, his mind or his being finding salvation in the day of the Lord Jesus. This has nothing to do with heaven, and heaven is nowhere in the chapter. The day of the Lord Jesus is something that happens on earth, when God’s Kingdom comes at last. That is when this man’s spirit might be preserved, though his body would be judgmentally destroyed in the Acts period.

In ch. 7 what is with “I, not the Lord”?

10. Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
12. But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.

I believe in verses 10 and 11, Paul is referring to commands the Lord gave while He was on earth. Compare this with Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, and Luke 16:18. This was teaching that Christ had shared with them while He was on earth. In verse 12, though, Paul goes on to reveal something new, that Christ had not taught while He was on earth. This does not mean that these words are only Paul’s or that they are not inspired. What this means is that this is not something that was already revealed during the Lord’s earthly ministry. It was still the word of the Lord, but it was not something Christ said while He was on earth.

Generally, the things Paul said were not things that Christ had already taught. Paul was teaching new revelations of Jesus Christ, not repeating what the Lord had already taught while on earth. In this case, however, Paul refers back to something that Christ had set forth during His earthly ministry, and he makes special note of this fact. It was not Paul’s other words in this chapter that were odd or unique, but the fact that he was repeating teaching that Christ had already given while on earth that was different from the norm. That was not generally what Paul did. But every word in I Corinthians is given by inspiration. This was not just “Paul’s opinion.”

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