Skip to comments.Paul's Strange Mention of Co-Senders: What It Might Mean
Posted on 04/23/2012 6:56:41 AM PDT by NYer
This quarter I am teaching a graduate course on the Pauline Epistles. Today we began working through 1 Corinthians. Here I wanted to touch upon something we examined in class today: Paul's co-workers.
Paul begins 1 Corinthians by doing something he often does in his epistles: he mentions a co-worker.
"Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God which is at Corinth. . ." (1 Co 1:1–2).The question of Sosthenes' identity is an extremely interesting one. Is he the same figure who gets beaten in Acts 18? Is he the amanuensis of 1 Corinthians? Frankly, we just can't know the answers here.
"Paul does not perceive himself as commissioned to lead or to minister as an isolated individual, without collaboration with co-workers." (The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text [NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000], 69).In short, Paul is an ecclesial thinker. Paul is a not a "lone ranger", but works as a member of the household of faith, the community of believers--he is one member of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. . . . Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. (1 Cor 12:12, 27–28).
Something to nosh on with your morning cup of joe.
I find this hard to accept given that Paul did not hesitate to break with Barnabas and go it alone after their dispute over John Mark.
Isn’t it possible that the reference of co-authorship of Sosthenes by Paul has a somewhat simpler answer? Sosthenes was the “Ruler” of the Synagogue at Corinth, a man who was beaten for failing to prosecute Paul. Perhaps the use of a co-author was to show to the reader that Paul and Sosthenes were speaking as one to both gentiles, (Paul being an Apostle to the Gentiles) and the Corinthian Christian Jewish community?
Just a thought; thanks for the nosh.
I believe that rather makes the opposite point you intend to make. Paul chose a partner to replace John Mark and Barnabas, with the approval of the community. It’s unclear whether this is approval is before or after the fact, but even if it’s after the fact, the inclusion of it may be noteworthy.
I’m not sure what you are referring to. The “community” specifically “approved” of a specific person to be Paul’s official evangelism partner? What part of Acts are you referring to?
Do not some people realize that these co-senders were also presbyters (what we call priests) and in come cases, even Bishops, of those communities that Paul visited.
It would be like the letter from the Connecticut Bishops this last week.
Archbishop Lori was the leader, but all the bishops of Connecticut signed the letter.
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Not so much that they approved a specific person, but that both received the authority of the communities.
Yes, certainly in Galatians, Paul explicitly writes for the entire community.
Can you please source that fact? Thanks.
What’s not clear to me is the link between Crispus and Sosthenes. I “think” at this point they were two different people(?).
Also, there’s http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apostle_Sosthenes
I usually look at multiple sources to get different perspectives in my own, rather crude effort to flesh out a picture of the “times” and historical context. Maybe that’s a mistake. Even though I’m Roman Catholic, I’m not afraid to look at the Greek Orthodox sources. A possible “error” I may be making is that while I’m not a “literalist”, I do view the Bible as a near historically accurate collection. Guess that’s a story for a different day.
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