To explain why the Holy Spirit was so central to the earliest Christian communities we know about, we have to explore what we can know about earliest churches. The ones we know best about are those associated with Paul, since Paul is our earliest Christian author, and in his letters he refers to church activities. Nowhere is that more true than in the two-letter correspondence with the Corinthians.
1 and 2 Corinthians gives us a lot to go on when we want to know what this particular Christian community was like – that is, how it did as a distinct and coherent religious group in the midst of its wider society, what activities it engaged in as a group, how it was organized, how it worshiped, and so on. We know so much about such issues because the community was riddled with problems. Paul wrote his letters to address the problems, and so by looking carefully at what he wrote, we can understand not only what he thought was going wrong in the church but also what was actually happening and – in his view, supposed to happen – in them.
Now that I have looked, I realize I have not written much on the blog about these two letters over the years. But there’s a lot to say. To set up my discussion of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians, I need to give some introductory comments on the church in Corinth in general. That in itself will take a few posts, after which I’ll return to the question of the larger thread, how the Spirit rose to such importance in the Christian church that it eventually was granted a place in the Trinity; to answer that we will need to look at the key passages in 1 Corinthians 12-14.
Here is the overview I give
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