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Durham e-Theses
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The holy spirit in 1 Corinthians

Watkins, P. L. (1972) The holy spirit in 1 Corinthians. Masters thesis, Durham University.



When Paul wrote his First Letter to the Corinthians he did so as their father in Christ, continuing his founding mission through his letter. Thus, his missionary zeal to be “all things to all men” directed the form and content of what he wrote. It follows then that he referred to the Spirit mainly in the past tense recalling the events of his original mission. In 1 Corinthians there is no mention of the idea that the Spirit performs any activity, either present or future, within the believer. This is probably not due to lack of development in Paul’s thinking or to the expectation of an imminent parousia, but to deliberate omissions for pastoral reasons. The believers at Corinth, in a spirit of pride and divisiveness, had over emphasised the Spirit’s indwelling and his miraculous manifestations and at the same time had severed their thinking about the Spirit from Christ crucified and from God. Thus, Paul purposely omitted any mention of the Spirit’s present activities within the believer to direct their allegiance and attention back to Christ and God. Hence, the ethical motivation given by him in 1 Corinthians is basically the injunction to obey the Lord who is coming in judgment rather than to follow the guidance of the indwelling Spirit. Paul does not have a fixed use of πυευμδ for Spirit of God. For example, πυευμδ in 1 Cor. 2:4 has little theological content for it is simply used here in a general historic way. Instead of referring to the Spirit of God as being similar to the free-acting spirits of the world he described Him in terms of the human spirit. Jut as the human spirit is man’s invisible self within a body, so the Spirit of God in revelation is God’s self within a singular or corporate body.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1972
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:49

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