1 Corinthians 6 – Lawsuits Among Brethren 7 Roman Archaeologists Find Oldest Images of Apostles in a Catacomb

Tomorrow we’ll look at…

1 Corinthians 6
Lawsuits Among Brethren

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

“A matter against another” – Paul seems to be talking about various kinds of property court cases here, not criminal cases that should be handled by the state.

“Before the saints” – the Corinthians should take their property cases before qualified Christians for settlement. 

In Paul’s day the Romans allowed the Jews to apply their own law in property mattes, and since the Romans did not yet consider Christians as a separate class from the Jews, Christians no doubt had the same rights.

2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

“Are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” – Paul views believers as fully competent to judge cases where Christians have claims against each other because they view matters from a godly vantage point.

In comparison with their future role in the judgment of the world and of angels, judgments concerning things of this life are insignificant.

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?

4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

The Catacomb of Saint Thecla is a Christian catacomb in the city of Rome, near the Via Ostiense and the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, in the southern quarter of the ancient city. The catacomb was constructed in the fourth century of the Common Era, linked with a basilica to the saint that is alluded to in literature. Because of the enigmatic endings of the legends of Saint Thecla of Iconium, it is still unknown whether the tomb belongs to the saint or if it belongs to a different noblewoman. Regardless, the tomb is an example of early Christian funerary practice and artwork. The most recent discovery in the catacomb was the depiction of several apostles, hypothesized to be their earliest portrayals. Of particular interest to many is the portrait of the Apostle Paul.
The Catacomb of Saint Thecla is a Christian catacomb in the city of Rome, near the Via Ostiense and the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, in the southern quarter of the ancient city.
The catacomb was constructed in the fourth century of the Common Era, linked with a basilica to the saint that is alluded to in literature. Because of the enigmatic endings of the legends of Saint Thecla of Iconium, it is still unknown whether the tomb belongs to the saint or if it belongs to a different noblewoman. Regardless, the tomb is an example of early Christian funerary practice and artwork.

The most recent discovery in the catacomb was the depiction of several apostles, hypothesized to be their earliest portrayals. Of particular interest to many is the portrait of the Apostle Paul.

6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

“Utterly a fault” – most likely by greed, retaliation and hatred, instead of practicing unselfishness, forgiveness and love – even willingness to suffer loss.

8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

“Fornicators” – Paul here identifies three kinds of sexually immoral persons: adulterers, male prostitutes and males who practice homosexuality.  In Rom 1:26 he adds the category of females who practice homosexuality.

People who engage in such practices, as well as the other offenders listed in vv. 9-10, are explicitly excluded from God’s kingdom (but see next note).

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

“Such were some of you” – God, however, does save and sanctify people like those described in vv. 9-10 if they repent, i.e., ask for forgiveness and stop committing the sin.

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats” – Paul quotes some Corinthians again who were claiming that as the physical acts of eating and digesting food have no bearing on one’s inner spiritual life, so the physical act of promiscuous sexual activity does not affect one’s spiritual life.

“The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord” – Paul here declares the dignity of the human body: It is intended for the Lord.  Although granting that food and the stomach are transitory, Paul denies that what one does with his body is unimportant. 

This is particularly true of the use of sex, which the Lord has ordained in wedlock for the good of mankind.

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

“God…raised up the Lord…also raise up us” – as an illustration of God’s high regard for the body, Paul cites the resurrection of Christ’s body and eventually, the believer’s body.  A body destined for resurrection should not be used for immorality.

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid.

“Members of Christ” – It is not merely the spirit that is a member of Christ’s body; it is the whole person, consisting of spirit and body.  This fact gives dignity to the human  body.

16 What? Know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

“One body” – in sexual relationship the two bodies become one and a new human being may emerge from the sexual union.  Sexual relations outside the marriage bond are a gross perversion of the divinely established marriage union.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

President Barack Obama speaks at a fundraiser in New York City, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

“Every sin…without the body” – perhaps means that in a unique way, sexual immorality gratifies one’s physical body.  Paul may be quoting a Corinthian slogan which he refutes in the second half of the verse.

“But he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” – the body is a temple of the Holy Ghost; thus to use it in prostitution disgraces God’s temple.  Furthermore, the prostitutes of Corinth were dedicated to the service of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sex.

19 What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Roman Archaeologists Find
Oldest Images of Apostles in a Catacomb

ROME — The earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul have been discovered in a catacomb under an eight-story modern office building in a working-class neighborhood of Rome, Vatican officials said Tuesday.
The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb that also includes the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew.

They were uncovered using a new laser technique that allowed restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath.

Archaeologists and art restorers using new laser technology have discovered what they believe are the oldest paintings of the faces of Jesus Christ’s Apostles. 

The images in a branch of the catacombs of St Tecla near St Paul’s Basilica, just outside the walls of ancient Rome, were painted at the end of the 4th century or the start of the 5th century.

Archaeologists believe these images may have been among those that most influenced later artists’ depictions of the faces of Christ’s most important early followers. 

“These are the first images that we know of the faces of these four Apostles,” said Professor Fabrizio Bisconti, the head of archaeology for Rome’s numerous catacombs, which are owned and maintained by the Vatican.

The full-face icons include visages of St Peter, St Andrew, and St John, who were among Jesus’ original 12 Apostles, and St. Paul, who became an Apostle after Christ’s death.

The paintings have the same characteristics as later images, such as St. Paul’s rugged, wrinkled and elongated forehead and balding head and pointy beard, indicating they may have been the ones which set the standard.

The four circles, about 50 cm in diameter, are on the ceiling of the underground burial place of a noblewoman who is believed to have converted to Christianity at the end of the same century when the emperor Constantine made it legal.

The tomb, in a web of catacombs under a modern building, is not yet open to the public because of continued work, difficult access and limited space. Bisconti said the new discoveries will be made available for viewing by specialists for the time being.

…marriage in Ancient Rome.

1 Corinthians 5 – Judgment of the Immoral & The Consequences of Sin

The choice is yours!

All of the below is true, but as the last paragraph states; it is very unlikely for an entire city or nation to repent.  If there is one country that will do that, it isn’t the United States; our country is slowly going downhill.

Tomorrow we’ll look at what some…

1 Corinthians 5
Judgment of the Immoral

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It kills or damages the body’s immune system cells.
AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the most advanced stage of infection with HIV.

HIV most often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person.

Women can give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth.

1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

“Not…named amongst the Gentiles” – the Roman orator Cicero states that incest was practically unheard of in Roman society.

“His father’s wife” – who this expression was used rather than “his mother” suggests that the woman was his stepmother.  The Old Testament prohibited such sexual relations (Lev 18:8; Deut 27:20).

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

“Puffed up” – evidently proud of their liberty – a distortion of grace.

3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together” – the Corinthians are to pass judgment on the man by the authority of the Lord Jesus, not by their own because man has no authority.

“The power of our Lord Jesus Christ” – Jesus’ power is present through His word and His Holy Spirit.  All people have the authority to judge another as long as they judge by the words of Jesus.

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

“Deliver such a one unto Satan” – abandon this sinful man to the devil that he may afflict the man as he pleases.  This abandonment to Satan was to be accomplished, not by some magical incantation, but by expelling the man from the church.

To expel him was to put him out in the devil’s territory, severed from any connection with God’s people.

“For the destruction of the flesh” – Satan is allowed to bring physical affliction on the man, which would bring him to repentance.

“The spirit may be saved” – the person put out of the church may well be a Christian.

6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

“A little leaven…the whole lump” – to illustrate Christian holiness and discipline, Paul alludes to the prohibition against the use of leaven (or yeast) in the bread eaten in the Passover feast (see Ex 12:15).

Leaven in Scripture usually symbolizes evil or sin called on to get rid of the leaven of sin because they are an unleavened batch of dough – new creations in Christ.

7 Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:

8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

“Let us keep the feast” – keeping the feast of unleavened bread.  This symbolizes living the Christian life in holy dedication to God, not just a feast once a year, and not getting involved in such sins as malice and wickedness and incestuous relations.

9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

“I wrote unto you in an epistle” – Paul here clarifies a previous letter (one not preserved).  The Corinthians mistook that letter to mean that, on separating from sin, they should disassociate themselves from all immoral persons, including non-Christian people.

Instead, Paul meant that they should separate from immoral persons in the church who claimed to be Christian brothers.

10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

“With such a one no not to eat” – calling oneself a Christian while continuing to live an immoral life is reprehensible and degrading, and gives a false testimony to Christ. 

If the true Christian has intimate association with someone who does this, the non-Christian world may assume that the church approves such immoral, ungodly living and thus the name of Christ would be dishonored. 

12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?

“Judge them that are within” – the church is to exercise spiritual discipline over the professing believers in the church, but it is not to attempt to judge the unsaved world.

There are governing authorities to do that (Rom 13:1-5), and the ultimate judgment of the world is to be left to God (cf. Rev 20:11-15),

13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

To show the severity with which sin in the assembly must be treated Paul parallels this to the stonings of the Old Testament (Deut 13:5, 17:7, 12, 22:21, 24).

The Consequences of Sin

Many people suffer because of the actions of others. Be it genocide, mass starvation, disease, greed, or pollution, there are real consequences to sinful actions.  

The various evils affecting our planet today such as, murder, robbery, theft, kidnapping, rape, deceit, or any other sin, all have devastating effects not only on the “sinner” but on society at large.

Greed and Dishonesty

Greed, as with other sins, is at the root of many of today’s ills. As an example, many people have become addicted to gambling and often lie to hide their habit from loved ones.

Even farmers and those involved in agriculture who supplies the foods we eat everyday have been known to abandon safe agricultural practices for quick money.

Many commercial farms feed their animals a high calorie grain instead of natural feed so animals can gain weight in the shortest time possible.

On top of that, sometimes parts of dead animals are added to animal feed to increase their growth while other commercial farms use growth hormones to fatten the animals quickly.  

No wonder maladies like Mad Cow Disease (BSE) have been linked to such practices.

There is another example of greed and dishonesty that hits a little closer to home. Each year, thousands of people cheat on their income tax returns as dishonesty becomes the acceptable norm in society.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease (encephalopathy) in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord.

BSE has a long incubation period, about 30 months to 8 years, usually affecting adult cattle at a peak age onset of four to five years, all breeds being equally susceptible. In the United Kingdom, the country worst affected, more than 180,000 cattle have been infected and 4.4 million slaughtered during the eradication program.

The disease may be most easily transmitted to human beings by eating food contaminated with the brain, spinal cord or digestive tract of infected carcasses. However, it should also be noted that the infectious agent, although most highly concentrated in nervous tissue, can be found in virtually all tissues throughout the body, including blood.

Humans can get chronic wasting Disease from consuming milk from cows infected with “Mad Cow” Prions.

Also, many western companies, in pursuit of cheap labor, exploit foreign employees abroad to increase their profit margins. Greed reigns in the marketplace.

For instance, nations in need are denied food and medicine, which are readily available elsewhere in the world because profit driven companies only want to provide for those who can pay for them.

Charity is often ignored for the sake of profit! Simply stated, by being so covetous, much of this world’s business violates God’s commandments about stealing, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Sexual Immorality

Consider the consequences of sexual immorality. Persons engaging in such activities put themselves at risk of contracting an STD. AIDS, for example, are taking a staggering toll on human life and are among the deadliest epidemics in modern history.

Sexual activity outside of marriage may also result in unwanted pregnancies. This in turn often leads to abortions. Many marriages are being destroyed because of adultery, which is unequivocally condemned by the word of God.

Sexual immorality has led to many single parent homes, causing many negative effects on children.

There are other costs, too. Many suffer emotional pain and live with tremendous regret because of illicit sex. Ultimately, these behaviors place an extra financial burden on health care systems.

Meanwhile, millions of dollars are spent on research, hoping to find a cure for STDs such as HIV/AIDS. Although HIV can be transmitted through non-sexual means, if there were no sexual sins, there would be no HIV/AIDS pandemic; transmission rates would be extremely low.

Thou Shalt Not Murder

No one can dispute the emotional pain that results from losing a loved one. In spite of this, our society is plagued with murder and violence. Wars throughout the world, for example, are taking lives at a staggering rate.

World War II alone claimed an estimated 62 million lives globally. The destruction of economies, disruption of food and medical supplies, and untold human suffering are all terrible consequences of war.

War generates countless hardships: women are beaten and raped, property is destroyed or lost, environmental damage occurs, and millions of refugees fleeing their homeland are all testaments to the tragedy of war and its toll throughout history.

Understanding gambling addiction and problem gambling
Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder.

Compulsive gamblers can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones.

Gambling is all they can think about and all they want to do, no matter the consequences.

Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can’t afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can’t “stay off the bet.”

Gamblers can have a problem, however, without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that disrupts your life.

If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem.

Monetary Costs

Sin has a very high monetary cost. This is evident when considering the cost of crime within a city or nation. While it is impossible to calculate an exact financial figure for the pain and suffering resulting from sin, there are studies that attempt to estimate the monetary cost of crime.

A study released in 2004 by the Canadian Department of Justice entitled, The Cost of Pain and Suffering from Crime in Canada estimated that the cost of all crime occurring in 1999 in Canada was $35.8 billion CAD.

This number includes the offences of homicide, assault, sexual assault, robbery, property, and vandalism.

In the United States, a National Institute of Justice report, Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look released in 1996 reported that the cost of personal crime for Americans including pain and suffering totaled $450 billion USD per year.

Undeniably, sin levies a high price on society that we all must bear.

The Real Costs

However, the real costs of sin cannot be reduced to a dollar amount because of the incalculable spiritual consequences. Mankind has pursued a way of life that is contrary to that which is revealed in the pages of the Bible.

Society’s way of life, anchored in a “get rather than give” mentality is paved with sin, focusing on concern for oneself rather than others. Sin produces a myriad of costly and detrimental effects on us and our environment.

 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov 14:12).

The end result of sin, if left unchecked, leads to suffering, pain, death, and eventually complete destruction. There is a way to live that leads to long lasting peace and happiness.

However, to achieve such results, like the city of Nineveh, we must collectively turn to the God of the Bible and repent of breaking His laws.

In today’s world, it seems unlikely an entire city or nation will turn to God and repent; but individually we can.

You can reject a life that leads to the tragic consequences of sin, and begin a new life in Christ, that leads to good health, peace, happiness, and prosperity (3 Jn 1:2).

…Roman Archaeologists find the oldest images of Apostles in a Catacomb.

1 Corinthians 4 – Apostles of Christ & Tomb of Apostle Philip Found

The Martyrium of St. Philip
The imposing remains of the martyrium constructed in the first half of the 5th century in memory of St. Philip can be seen on slightly higher ground just outside the city defence walls.

The efforts of St. Philip resulted in the foundation here of one of the first Christian communities and one of the first Christian churches. After Philip’s I crucifixion by the Romans in 80 his son continued the work of proselytism.

Although it would seem reasonable to assume that St. Philip was buried on the site of the ruins of this martyrium no trace has been found of his grave.

The martyrium itself is an octagonal structure on foundations measuring approximately 20 x 20 m.

Access to the martyrium is afforded by a monumental flight of steps leading up to the building on the side towards the city.

It’s pretty clear that many of the Corinthians basically ignored Your commands so tomorrow I would like to look more into…

1 Corinthians 4
Apostles of Christ

1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

“Mysteries” – things that human wisdom cannot discover but that are now revealed by God to His people.

2 Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

“Judge not mine own self” – his judgment was merely human, and his conscience may be mistaken.  Only God is fully qualified to judge.

4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

“Learn in us not to think of men above that which is written” – perhaps a proverb common among the rabbis.

“Which is written” – in Scripture.  Our view of man should be Biblical.  We should recognize man’s weakness and ever-present limitations.

“Be puffed up” – one of the root causes of divisions, e.g., different religions, government and state laws, etc.

7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Mythical ‘Gate to Hell’ uncovered in Turkey
Archaeologists reportedly have uncovered the cave believed to be Pluto’s Gate, the mythological portal to hell, in the ancient city of Hierapolis in southern Turkey.

The site was located among ruins in the area, Italian archaeologists said, according to a report on Discovery.com. Hierapolis is now known as Pamukkale.

Pluto’s Gate was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology. Pluto was the Greek god of the underworld.

8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

Paul uses irony and sarcasm here to get the Corinthians to see how poor they are because of their haughtiness and spiritual immaturity in comparison with apostles. 

In the Corinthian epistles, Paul repeatedly uses a subtle form of irony (the use of a positive statement when a negative idea is intended).

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised.

11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;

4:11-13 – a graphic description of Paul’s condition in Ephesus right up to the writing.

12 And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

13 Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the off scouring of all things unto this day.

14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

Two unique marble statues which once warned of a deadly cave in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, near Pamukkale.
Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.

“The statues represent two mythological creatures,” D’Andria told Discovery News. “One depicts a snake, a clear symbol of the underworld, the other shows Kerberos, or Cerberus, the three-headed watchdog of hell in the Greek mythology.”

17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.

18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

“Some” – some of the Corinthians who were trying to undercut Paul’s authority were teaching that he was unstable (2 Cor 1:17) and that his ministry was not important (2 Cor 10:10)

19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.

20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

“Kingdom of God” – God’s present reign in the lives of His people – that dynamic new life in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), the power of the new birth (Jn 3:3-8), showing itself in humble life, dedicated to Christ and His church.

“Not in word, but in power” – idle, empty talk is contrasted with the genuine power of the Holy Ghost.

Idle talk, like you hear come out of Obama’s mouth.

21 What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Tomb of Apostle Philip Found

Amid the remains of a 4th or 5th century church at Hierapolis, one of the most significant Christian sites in Turkey, Francesco D’Andria found this 1st century Roman tomb that he believes once held the remains of the apostle Philip.

Amid the remains of a fourth or fifth century church at Hierapolis, one of the most significant Christian sites in Turkey, Francesco D’Andria found this first-century Roman tomb that he believes once held the remains of the apostle Philip.

At about the same time as the July/August 2011 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review was hitting the newsstands, containing an article about St. Philip’s Martyrium, author and excavation director Francesco D’Andria was making an exciting new discovery in the field at Hierapolis, one of the most significant sites in Christian Turkey.

The tomb wasn’t discovered at the center of the octagonal hilltop martyrium as long expected, however, but in a newly excavated church about 40 yards away. D’Andria’s team found a 1st century Roman tomb located at the center of the new church, which he says originally contained Philip’s remains.

This early church of Christian Turkey was built around the tomb in the 4th or 5th century, and the nearby martyrium was built around the same time, in the early 5th century.

A team led by excavation director Francesco D’Andria in Hierapolis also uncovered the remains of Pluto’s Gate, a site considered an entrance into the underworld in the Greco-Roman period.

The remains of the apostle Philip are no longer in the tomb, however. According to D’Andria, the saint’s relics were very likely moved from Hierapolis to Constantinople at the end of the 6th century

This sixth-century bread stamp shows two churches from the site of Hierapolis in Christian Turkey: the domed martyrium on the right, and the newly-discovered church containing Philip’s tomb on the left.

And then possibly taken to Rome and placed in the newly dedicated Church of St. Philip and St. John (now the Church of the Holy Apostles), although 12th century reports describe seeing Philip’s remains still in Constantinople, the seat of Christian Turkey.

This new discovery also sheds light on the wonderful imagery of the rare 6th century bronze bread stamp from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The structures on either side of the saint can now be identified as the domed martyrium (on the right) and the new Byzantine basilical church containing the tomb of the apostle Philip (on the left), both of which were important Christian sites in Turkey. 

…the Consequences of Sin.

1 Corinthians 3 – Fellow Laborers for God & Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

The opinion of the below article does not make sense to me, I mean, why bring arthritis medicine to a baby, but you never know.

I believe the gifts were brought to Jesus simply to show their respect and honor of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16).

Tomorrow we’ll look at…

1 Corinthians 3
Fellow Laborers for God

Kingdom of Lydia El Third Stater struck from Electrum (610-546 B.C.) NGC – Choice About Uncirculated.
This was the first coin struck with an obverse portrait produced for commerce, and it is remarkably preserved.

It is composed of a electrum, which is a mixture of Gold and Silver occurring in nature.

While crudely produced, the detail is extraordinary and it is hard to believe it was struck over 2,600 years ago.

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

“Walk as men” – like men of the world instead of men of God.  They were following merely human standards.

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

“I have planted” – Paul’s work was of a pioneer nature, preaching where no one had ever preached before.

“Apollos” – Apollos worked in the established church, edifying the converts Paul had won.

7 So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.

Kingdom of Macedon; Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) AV Distater NGC Choice
Extra Fine

This Gold Distater, or double-stater, is one of the most remarkable coins in the Ancient world.

In fact, some refer to it as the “High Relief” of the Ancient coin world as it appears three dimensional due to an extraordinary level of craftsmanship and size.

Containing over a half-ounce of pure Gold, the obverse features Athena the Goddess of War and Nike, the Goddess of Victory on the reverse.

This is the most impressive, notable and desirable coin issued during the reign of Alexander the Great and is highly prized today.

9 For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

“God’s husbandry” – the people are God’s farm.

“God’s building” – they are also depicted as God’s temple.  He owns the farm and the building where both Paul and Apollos worked.

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

“I have laid the foundation” – by preaching Christ and Him crucified.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

“Fire” – God’s judgment.  The work of some believers will stand the test while that of others will disappear – emphasizing the importance of teaching the pure word of God.

For example, those that preach the “complete” word of God and without any alterations will stand the test, and those that make alterations or leave parts out, such as the Catholics and Rick Warren, will not find their way to heaven.

The Incas referred to gold as the “tears of the Sun.”
Homer,in the “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” makes mention of gold as the glory of the immortals and a sign of wealth among ordinary humans.

In Genesis 2:10-12, we learn of the river Pison out of Eden, and “the land of Havilah, where there is gold: and the gold of that land is good?”

As far back as 3100 B.C., we have evidence of a gold/silver value ratio in the code of Menes, the founder of the first Egyptian dynasty.

In this code it is stated that “one part of gold is equal to two and one half parts of silver in value.”
This is our earliest of a value relationship between gold and silver.

In ancient Egypt, around the time of Seti I (1320 B.C.), we find the creation of the first gold treasure map now known to us.

Today, in the Turin Museum is a papyrus and fragments known as the “Carte des mines d’or.” It pictures gold mines, miners’ quarters, road leading to the mines and gold-bearing mountains, and so on.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

“Yet so as by fire’ – perhaps a Greek proverbial phrase, meaning “by a narrow escape,” with one’s work burned up by the fire of God’s pure justice and judgment.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

“Temple of God” – God’s church.  Paul does not mean here that each of his readers is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  He says, “Ye (plural) are God’s temple (singular).”  In 6:19 he speaks of each Christian as a temple of the Holy Ghost.

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

“Him shall God destroy” – Strong language, indicating that such a foolish laborer is not one of the Lord’s true servants.  This is in contrast to the thought of v. 15, where the faulty Christian worker is saved, but his work is destroyed (he suffers loss of reward). 

In the contrast of chapters 1-4 Paul here refers to people who tear the local church apart by factions and quarrels.

18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

Why Did the Magi Bring
Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

Medicinal uses of frankincense may help explain the gifts of the magi.

Skopje – Macedonian archaeologists have discovered 17 tombs dating from the 5th century B.C. in Ohrid, southwestern Macedonia, local media reported Monday.
In one tomb, archaeologists found bones of a 15-year-old girl with a unique funeral mask made up of thin gold eye-covers, gold plate for the mouth and a plaque with an engraved sun placed on her chest.

Precious metals have long been valued, treasured and used as a medium of exchange. Sometime around 650 B.C. coins made their first appearance, and they were used both in commerce and as a means of promotion or propaganda–a purpose they continue to serve today.

Were the gifts of the magi meant to save Jesus from the pain of arthritis? It’s possible, according to researchers at Cardiff University in Wales who have been studying the medical uses of frankincense.

Since the early days of Christianity, Biblical scholars and theologians have offered varying interpretations of the meaning and significance of the gold, frankincense and myrrh that the magi presented to Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew (2:11).

These valuable items were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil.

In fact, these same three items were apparently among the gifts, recorded in ancient inscriptions that King Seleucus II Callinicus offered to the god Apollo at the temple in Miletus in 243 B.C.

 The Book of Isaiah, when describing Jerusalem’s glorious restoration, tells of nations and kings who will come and “bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord” (Isaiah 60:6).

Although Matthew’s gospel does not include the names or number of the Magi, many believe that the number of the gifts is what led to the tradition of the Three Wise Men.

In addition to the honor and status implied by the value of the gifts of the magi, scholars think that these three were chosen for their special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself—gold representing his kingship, frankincense a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming—an interpretation made popular in the well-known Christmas carol “We Three Kings.”

The traditional gifts of the magi—gold, frankincense and myrrh—may have had symbolic as well as practical value. Researchers believe the medicinal uses of frankincense were known to the author of Matthew’s gospel.

Kingdom of Macedon King Phillip II (359-336 B.C.) NGC – AV Stater – Choice Mint State Star
Absolutely phenomenal and extremely rare Gold Stater of the highest quality.

The overall look is simply phenomenal given it was issued over 2,300 years ago. Struck during the reign of Phillip II, the father of Alexander the Great, it is without question a museum quality antiquity.

Comprised of approximately ¼ ounce of pure Gold, the obverse features the head of Apollo and the reverse a charioteer with two intricately etched horses.

There is no question the artist who carved these dies was one of the finest of his time.

Still others have suggested that the gifts of the magi were a bit more practical—even medicinal in nature.

Researchers at Cardiff University have demonstrated that frankincense has an active ingredient that can help relieve arthritis by inhibiting the inflammation that breaks down cartilage tissue and causes arthritis pain.

The new study validates traditional uses of frankincense as an herbal remedy to treat arthritis in communities of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where the trees that produce this aromatic resin grow.

Did the Magi “from the East” know of frankincense’s healing properties when they presented it to young Jesus?

…the tomb of Apostle Philip found.

1 Corinthians 2 – True Wisdom the Gift of God & The City of Corinth When Paul Was There

The Corinth Canal, carrying ship traffic between the western Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, is about 2.5 miles east of the city, cutting through the Isthmus of Corinth that connects the Peloponnesian peninsula to the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island.
The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level; no locks are employed. It is 4.0 miles in length and only 70 feet wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships.

It now has little economic importance.

The canal was mooted in classical times and an abortive effort was made to build it in the 1st century A.D.

Construction finally got underway in 1881 but was hampered by geological and financial problems that bankrupted the original builders. It was completed in 1893, but due to the canal’s narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repair landslips from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic anticipated by its operators.

It is now used mainly for tourist traffic.

Today, as well as through out the history of time, valuable gifts were usually only given to important people, such as kings and queens.  They certainly weren’t given to children, let alone babies.

Yet, Jesus, even as a baby was a king so tomorrow we’ll look at…

1 Corinthians 2
True Wisdom the Gift of God

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

“When I came to you” – on his initial trip to Corinth 51 A.D.

“With excellency of speech or of wisdom” – perhaps Apollos had influenced the Corinthians in such a way that they were placing undue emphasis on eloquence and intellectual ability.

2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

“Not to know anything…save Jesus Christ” – Paul resolved to make Christ the sole subject of his teaching and preaching while he was with them.

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

“Not with enticing words of man’s wisdom” – this does not give preachers a license to neglect study and preparation.  Paul’s letters reveal a great deal of knowledge in many areas of learning and his eloquence is apparent in his address before the Areopagus.

Paul’s point is that unless the Holy Spirit works in a listener’s heart, the wisdom and eloquence of a preacher are ineffective.  Paul’s confidence as a preacher did not rest on intellectual and oratorical ability, as did that of the Greek orators.

“Demonstration” – the Greek word is used of producing proofs in an argument in court.  Paul’s preaching was marked by the convincing demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Corinth is a major road hub. The A7 toll motorway for Tripoli and Kalamata, (and Sparta via A71 toll), branches off the A8/European route E94 toll motorway from Athens at Corinth.
Corinth is the main entry point to the Peloponnesian peninsula, the southernmost area of continental Greece.

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

“Perfect” – wise, developed Christians; contrast the “babes” mentioned in 3:1 (see Heb 5:13-6:3).

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

“Mystery” – the mystery, or secret, was once hidden but is now known because God has revealed it to His people.  To unbelievers it is still hidden.

“Unto out glory” – God’s wisdom will cause every believer to share eventually in Christ’s glory.

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

“Princes of the world” – rulers of this age, such as the chief priests, Pilate and Herod Antipas, and the politicians, the Pope and certain evangelists of this age.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

The city has been connected to the Proastiakos, the Athens suburban rail network, since 2005, when the new Corinth railway station was completed.

“Spirit searcheth all things” not in order to know them, for He knows all things.  Instead He comprehends the depth of God’s nature and His plans of grace; so He is fully competent to make the revelation claimed here.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

“Spirit of the world” – the spirit of human wisdom as alienated from God – the attitude of the sinful nature.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The city was largely destroyed in the earthquakes of 365 and 375, followed by Alaric’s invasion in 396.
The city was rebuilt after these disasters on a monumental scale, but covered a much smaller area than previously.

Four churches were located in the city proper, another on the citadel of the Acrocorinth, and a monumental basilica at the port of Lechaion.

“Which the Holy Ghost teacheth” – the message Paul proclaimed was expressed in words given by the Holy Spirit.  Thus spiritual truth was aptly combined with fitting spiritual words.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

2:14-3:4 – this passage explains why many fail to apprehend true wisdom.  It is because such wisdom is perceived by the spiritual (mature) Christian.  The Corinthians, however, were worldly (infant) believers and the proof of the immaturity was their division over human leaders.

“Natural man” – described in Jude 19 as one who is “sensual”.  The non-Christian is basically dominated by the merely physical, worldly or natural life.  Because he does not possess the Holy Spirit, he is not equipped to receive appreciatively truth that comes from the Spirit.  Such a person needs the new birth (Jn 3:1-8; Tit 3:5-6).

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

“Is judged of no man” – one who does not have the Spirit is not qualified to judge the spiritual person.  Thus believers ware not rightfully subject to the opinions of unbelievers.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The City of Corinth When Paul Was There

When Paul arrived in 51 CE, the Corinth he saw was little more than 100 years old, but was five times as large as Athens and the capital of the province.

Roman imperial ruins: the spring of Peirene.
The arched openings led to bowls carved in the rock where water collected.

Ancient Corinth, the original Corinth, founded in the 10th Century B.C., had been the richest port and the largest city in ancient Greece.

Strategically located guarding the narrow isthmus that connects the Peloponnesus (as southern Greece is called) to the mainland, it was a powerful commercial center near two seaports only 4 miles apart.

Lechaeum, the western harbor in the Corinthian Gulf was the trading port to Italy and Sicily, and Cenchreae, the eastern harbor in the Saronic Gulf, was the port for the eastern Mediterranean countries.

Periander (ca. 625-585 BCE) had constructed a five foot wide rock-cut tract (Gk. diolkos) for wheeling small ships and their unloaded cargo from one gulf to the other.

By 400 B.C., a double wall ran from the city to Lechaeum to protect a two mile rock paved street, about 40 feet wide, leading to the port.

When Rome demanded the dissolution of the Achaian League, Corinth, the leader, resisted and so Lucius Mummius, the Roman consul, leveled the city in 146 B.C., killed the men and sold the women and children into slavery. Some of the wealthier families escaped to the island of Delos.

For the next 100 years, only a handful of squatters occupied the site. Julius Caesar refounded the city as a colony in 44 B.C., named it Colonia Laus Julia Corinthiensis and populated it with conscripted Italian, Greek, Syrian, Egyptian and Judean freed slaves. New Corinth, as Ancient Corinth, thrived.

The Acrocorinth, the acropolis of the ancient city, was heavily fortified during the Middle Ages. Nothing is left of the fabled temple to Aphrodite, but remains of the medieval fortifications, which were built on earlier foundations, may still be seen from the western side.

“Within just a few years, new Corinth’s settlers’ enormously profitable commerce at this crossroads of the nations had brought thousands more eager settlers from all over the Mediterranean and enormous personal wealth to a local ruling class of self-made women and men.” [Horsley and Silberman, The Message and the Kingdom, p. 163].

The wealthy Greek families who had fled to Delos also returned.

Commentators usually assume that Corinth was an especially licentious city, a reputation it seems to have had in ancient times. Indeed, one of the Greek verbs for fornicate was korinthiazomai, a word derived from the city’s name.

Apparently this estimation was based on Strabo’s report of 1,000 sacred prostitutes in the temple of Aphrodite on the Acrocorinth, an 1886-foot hill that rises above the city to the south.

Recent scholars point out, however, that the charge was more likely an Athenian slander against the pre-146 B.C. city since sacred prostitution was a Middle East custom, not a Greek one.

Little remains of the ancient city of Corinth.

No doubt Corinth, like other large port cities, had plenty of prostitutes to service the sailors, but they were not sacred.

Paul Settles Down

It’s easy to see why Paul chose Corinth as headquarters for his mission to the west.

The city was young, dynamic, and not hidebound by tradition, a mix of dislocated individuals without strong ethnic identities seeking to shed their former low status by achieving social honor and material success.

Paul was not intimidated by a big, bustling, cosmopolitan hub city, with no dominant religious or intellectual tradition, for Corinth shared many characteristics with Tarsus, his home town, and Syrian Antioch, his home church city.

The heart of the city, the forum, was filled with temples and shrines to the emperor and various members of his family, built alongside temples to the older Greek gods such as Apollo.

Apollo’s son, Asklepios, the god of healing, had a shrine there as well as at Epidaurus, the ancient site of miracle healings, about 50 miles southeast.

These ruined arches and entryways to shops on what was once the agora call on the tourist’s imagination to see the gleaming buildings, complete with statuary, they once were.

Luke’s account of Paul’s stay in Corinth is found in Acts 18:1-18. According to the story, after some initial success in the synagogue, but with considerable conflict, he decides to concentrate on the non-Jews, apparently with significant success.

He settles in and stays for 18 months, working as a tentmaker and living with fellow tentmakers, Aquila and his wife Pricilla (Prisca in his letters), two of the Jews expelled from Rome by Emperor Claudius in a general expulsion.

His success may have led to his being dragged before Gallio, the Roman proconsul, by the local Jews for heresy. Gallio dismisses the charge as a purely intra-Jewish affair.

Soon afterwards Paul leaves, accompanied by Aquila and Pricilla, bound for Antioch, but on the way they stop over in Ephesus.

Changes

Today, the Corinth Canal had been cut through the isthmus since Paul crossed over. Even Periander had envisioned the canal, but lacking the technology, he settled for the marble tramway.

Temple of Apollo, Ancient Corinth.

At the time, it was also thought that Poseidon, god of the sea, opposed joining the Aegean and the Adriatic.

Others dreamed of constructing the canal, including Julius Caesar, because it saved 200 miles of sailing around the Peloponnesus, but it was Nero who actually attempted it in 66 CE.

Included in his workforce were 6,000 young Jewish slaves recently captured by Vespasian in Galilee, where the Jewish war had begun.

His attempt was soon abandoned on the belief that if the seas where connected, the more northerly Adriatic, mistakenly thought to be higher, would flood the more southern Aegean.

A French company, which began the work in 1881 where Nero’s crew had stopped, completed the canal in 1893.

What finally killed ancient Corinth was the earthquakes, but it has been extensively excavated.

The museum contains many intriguing artifacts found there, e.g., a room of items used in healing ceremonies and a room of sculptures, including the beautiful Corinth sphinx and a portrait of the young Nero.

…why the Magi brought gifts to baby Jesus.