Shalom, shalom; peace, peace in the name of Yeshua. This is Crystal Sharpe and welcome to the Ancients Scrolls program.

I mentioned last program that I would do a teaching on I Corinthians. At some point I am going to have a guest speaker, George Gates, to give us his historical findings on women ministering in the church.  This will help bring some understanding to Paul’s letters.

Paul appears at time to be a contradiction; in one passage he defends and teaches Torah and then in another text gives the message he abolished Torah. Destroying or abolishing Torah is a serious matter since not even Yeshua was able to do that. Yeshua made it clear that he had not come to destroy Torah but to fulfill it, to complete it, to give perfect interpretation of it, being an example of how to live it.

My thoughts are that Paul did not destroy the teachings of God. He did have great comprehension of what would be applicable to all people, Jew and Greek, who followed after Yeshua. He used the Torah, the prophets and writings, plus other Rabbinic writings to form sound doctrines for the assemblies to observe. 

is that we cannot teach Paul’s letters from a contemporary view. We must understand them from an ancient time written to an ancient people who had some specific moral and ethical issues. Different assemblies had different problems going on that had to be addressed. It is like the seven assemblies in Revelation, Yeshua addressed each one’s failures individually. Though the New Testament was written 2000 years ago, the same problems then are the same issues the assemblies or churches are confronting today; same issues different time. Paul uses his knowledge to bring them to a place of being separate from the world while maintaining certain traditions and customs in that Roman environment that did not disagree with Torah.

Some were taking on a more liberal stance while others possessed a more conservative view on how they should conduct their lives as a set apart people.

Before we get started on some of the background of Corinth, let’s do a little personal history on Paul.

Paul was a Hebrew from the tribe of Benjamin. His father was a Pharisee.  He was circumcised when he was eight days old, and given his name of Sha’ul. He was a disciple who sat at the feet of Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee who was intimate with the Torah, the prophets and the writings. He studied Mishnah, and other Rabbinical teachings, he knew the Targum, and understood the Temple service rituals. He observed the traditions and customs of his time. He was likely married close to the age of twenty. There is speculation if he was widowed at some point. You can check out I Corinthians 7:7-8 and chapter 9:5.

He had relatives who knew Christ before himself knew Him, Romans 16:7, Andronicus and Junia who were outstanding among the apostles. Acts 23:16 speaks of his nephew who reported an ambush against Paul.

Not only was Paul a Hebrew, he was a citizen of Tarsus (Acts 21:39; 22:26-27) and a citizen of Rome as well, so he held dual citizenship. He could speak Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and possibly Latin (since Roman citizens were required to speak it.).  He was familiar with Greek literature, he was aware of their philosophies, their ideologies, their isthmus games, their deification and feasts to idols, their involvements with different forms of witchcraft. I am speaking of magic, astrology, sorcery, conjuring of the dead, the roles of men and women in society. He was well acquainted with that society that supported slavery, sex trafficking, prostitution, pedophilia, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, infanticide (little girls were abandoned to die in a private place or on a trash heap), and abortions that mostly killed women.

Reading through these different sources, I thought these ancient people were hardly civilized; but then we aren’t either.  History should be a teacher to us, to help us advance and develop into better people where society is beneficial to all people, even children. The same social ills found in the past are visited upon every generation. Civilizations self-destruct over a period of time, mostly from wealth and carnal indulgences. God is the only cure for our social ills, and history is proof we need His help.

Paul saw Yeshua as the only hope for the Romans, the Greeks and his own people. After coming to salvation through Yeshua, they had to be instructed on how to live according to the Word. There was no New Testament so their instructions came from the Torah, the prophets and the writings. To learn Torah, one had to go to synagogue, a Messianic synagogue was preferable, but at times Jewish synagogues were the only available assemblies. We see the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 encourage the Gentiles to attend synagogues, which they called Moses’ seat.

For the next several weeks I am going to go over I Corinthians and discuss some passages that have been misinterpreted and misapplied.

My research for this teaching came from several sources: Zondervan; BACKGROUNDS of Early Christianity; The World of I Corinthians by Matthew Malcolm; The IVP, The Bible Background Commentary New Testament; I Corinthians for the Practical Messianic; The Complete Jewish Study Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the Jewish Annotated New Testament.

Shema:

Shema O Israel, the LORD God, the LORD is One.

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein.

Father YHVH,

We thank You for being God. You are the King of the universe, King over heaven and earth. Cleanse us all from all unrighteousness. Help us to pursue after righteousness and justice. Allow this teaching to add to the knowledge and understanding of Your hearers. We pray for more understanding, more wisdom, more knowledge. Allow what we learn to change us inwardly. Help us to develop a love and appreciation for truth. In Yeshua’s name, amen.

I am not going to give in-depth information on the history of Corinth: the Persian wars and later the Seleucids and such, but will focus more on the latter years BC and the time of Paul’s letters.

Corinth was a city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joined the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. It lay at the foot of the mountain Akrocorinth, which served as a location for some of the cults for the city.

The history of the city can be traced back to the earliest periods of Greek history. In the archaic period (6th century BC) it was ruled by Kypselid family. During the Peloponnesian War (late 5th century) Corinth fought against Athens. During the second century BC Corinth joined other Greek states to fight against the domination of Rome. The Roman General Lucius Mummius captured the city and razed it to the ground. It was in ruins until Claudius Caesar resurrected it in 44 BC.

Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia. A great lighthouse and Temple to Poseidon guided ships into the harbors, to fill the city markets and the warehouses down on the wharves with merchandise from the around the empire and beyond — spices from India, silk from China, linen from Tarsus, local Corinthian marble and variegated marble from Turkey, Greece, and North Africa, timber from Italy, and wine and olive oil, fruits and vegetables from fertile fields of Corinth. Ships were dragged across the isthmus on a road called the diolkos, and in 67, Nero would begin to build a canal — using the labor of 6,000 Jewish prisoners from Judea — though it was never finished in antiquity. By the mid-first century CE, Corinth had the largest population in Greece, a population that would swell with visiting sailors and merchants to the ports, and tourists attending the festivals of athletic games. At the time of Paul, the population is said to have been estimated at 100,000.

Corinth was a religious society. Excavations uncovered a number of shrines and temples dedicated Apollo, Aphrodite was the city’s patron goddess, Poseidon, Hera/Juno, Athena, Serapes, and to Octavia, sister of Emperor (Caesar) Augustus; various civic monuments; fountains; baths; gymnasium; stoas; and basilicas. North of the city, a sanctuary to the healing god Asklepio was found. On the slopes of Acrocorinth, the city’s acropolis, the remains of several temples. The existence of a Jewish community at Corinth is also attested: the Jewish historian Philo, writing in 281-282 CE, mentions Jewish colonies in Corinth. An inscription on a lintel, reading “Synagogue of the Hebrews,” and an artifact with a menorah have been discovered in the excavations.

Religious Ceremony

Several artifacts found like reliefs and stele depict men wearing head coverings as they approach altars of idols with their sacrifices.

In 1988, Richard Oster published a provocative article detailing the cultural practice of Roman men wearing head coverings in a liturgical setting. His study called attention to the value of the artifactual evidence as well as the many literary texts documenting the widespread use of veiling among Roman men. His purpose was to establish the fact that it was obligatory for elite Roman men in certain ritual settings to wear a head covering. This is in reference to the Corinthian worship, of covering one’s head with a veil.

I Corinthians 11:4

  1. Be imitators of me, just as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with head covered dishonors his head.

5. but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head was shaven. 6. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.

Richard E. Oster, “When Men Wore Veils to Worship: The Historical Context of 1 Corin- thians 11.4,” NTS 34 (1988): 481-5

https://summerstudy.yale.edu/sites/default/files/3masseyveilingmen.pdf

Roman wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities.

In this book the author asserts that in that society a woman was what she wore (and what she didn’t wear). For example, an adulteress wore an amiculum—the linen pallium dress of a prostitute, if you were married you wore a stola, if unmarried one would wear a toga, a child would wear a praetexta.

The veil symbolized the husband’s authority over his wife, the omission of the veil by a married woman was a sign of her withdrawing herself from the marriage.

Sulpicius Gallus, a consul in 166 B.C. divorced his wife because she had left the house unveiled, thus allowing all to see, as he said, what only he should see. (Valerius Maximus)

Let’s look at verse 5 again . . .

5. but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head was shaven. 6. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.

The English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testamen

This is a possibility, Paul is saying in their community, assembly, the married women not being veiled, to visitors and outsiders, it may look like they are promoting loose morals, encouraging divorce, and this would perhaps provoke the community there to persecute them.

Women having their heads shaved was an act of humiliation. Dio Chrysostom noted: a woman guilty of adultery shall have her hair cut off according to the law and play the prostitute. He also wrote: Medea’s own daughter became an adulteress and had her hair cut off according to the law.

So, verse 6 indicates that if a wife will not wear her marriage veil, then she should cut off or crop her hair.

The New American Standard Version says: In Corinth, it was thought to be a sign of male prostitution in the pagan temples. And that in the Corinthian culture, Christian women should keep their hair long. If short hair on women was a sign of prostitution, then a Christian woman with short hair would find it even more difficult to be a believable witness for Jesus Christ.

The English Standard Version has: As a background for understanding Paul’s point in this verse, Roman men sometimes practiced the custom of pulling the loose folds of their toga over their head as an act of piety in the worship of pagan gods. Paul thus draws on the example of this pagan custom to make the point that men should not dishonor Christ by praying according to pagan customs.

5. but every wife who prays or prophesies (some texts say “every woman who prays”, depends on the context of the Greek word goo-nay [gyne] in this passage it should read but every wife who prays or prophesies) with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head was shaven. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.

The custom in Roman society was for a wife to cover her head when she left her home, because this depicted her status in society as a married woman. Paul in this situation concurred with the traditions or customs of the Corinthians under Roman authority.

The ancient customs of the Romans do not apply to our culture today.

https://romanpagan.wordpress.com/head-covering-for-women/

I am at the end of the program. If it is God’s will I will be here next week. Remember to walk by faith, not by sight. Ask God to cleanse you from all unrighteousness every day. Keep your spiritual garments clean from spots, wrinkles and blemishes. Do two things this week: love and forgive. Love God and love your neighbor.

Ricco Cortes will sing the Aaronic blessing.