1 Corinthians

series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

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The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible advances the assumption that the Nicene creedal tradition, in all its diversity, provides the proper basis for the interpretation of the Bible as Christian scripture. The series volumes, written by leading theologians, encourage readers to explore how the vital roots of the ancient Christian tradition inform and shape faithfulness today.

In this addition to the series, respected theologian Kimlyn Bender offers a theological reading of 1 Corinthians. As with other volumes in the series, this commentary is designed to serve the church, providing a rich resource for preachers, teachers, students, and study groups. It demonstrates the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.

The general editor for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is R. R. Reno (editor, First Things). Series editors include Robert W. Jenson (1930-2017; Center of Theological Inquiry); Robert Louis Wilken (University of Virginia); Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto); Michael Root (Catholic University of America); and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas).

Volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

R. R. Reno
(editor, First Things) on Genesis
Thomas Joseph White (Thomistic Institute at the Angelicum in Rome) on Exodus
Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Leviticus
David L. Stubbs (Western Theological Seminary) on Numbers
Telford Work (Westmont College) on Deuteronomy
Paul Hinlicky (Roanoke College) on Joshua
Laura A. Smit (Calvin University) and Stephen Fowl (Loyola University Maryland) on Judges & Ruth
Francesca Aran Murphy (University of Notre Dame) on 1 Samuel
Robert Barron (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles) on 2 Samuel
Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Kings
Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Chronicles
Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary) on Ezra & Nehemiah
Samuel Wells (St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, London) and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas) on Esther & Daniel
Ellen T. Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Psalms 1-50
Jason Byassee (Vancouver School of Theology) on Psalms 101-150
Daniel J. Treier (Wheaton College Graduate School) on Proverbs & Ecclesiastes
Paul J. Griffiths on Song of Songs
Robert W. Jenson (1930-2017; Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel
Phillip Cary (Eastern University) on Jonah
Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School) on Matthew
David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke
Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006; Yale University) on Acts
Kimlyn J. Bender (Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University) on 1 Corinthians
Kathryn Greene-McCreight (The Episcopal Church at Yale) on Galatians
Michael Allen (Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando) on Ephesians
George Hunsinger (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Philippians
Christopher R. Seitz (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Colossians
Douglas Farrow (McGill University) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians
Risto Saarinen (University of Helsinki) on the Pastoral Epistles with Philemon & Jude
Douglas Harink (The King's University College) on 1 & 2 Peter
Joseph L. Mangina (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Revelation


"The vision of the Brazos series of theological commentaries is once again vindicated in this dazzling work by the distinguished theologian Kimlyn Bender. The radical nature of Paul's apostolate is illuminated on every page by Bender's focus on Paul's Christ-centered message. This commentary gleams with passion reflecting that of the great apostle as he risks everything to give his whole self for the life of the body of Christ. I particularly urge this book upon preachers looking for larger vistas of proclamation."

Fleming Rutledge, author of The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ

"Kimlyn Bender's commentary both explains and honors Paul's self-description as an apostle: one commissioned by the risen Christ to bear a Spirit-empowered witness to the identity and meaning of Christ's work, an identity and meaning that transcends Paul's own cultural and historical context. The commentary makes it clear how Paul's testimony to the cross and resurrection of Christ challenges the local church--and not only in ancient Corinth but in every time and culture--to decide to follow the way of Jesus Christ. Throughout, Bender does well to keep out of the way in order to let the reader receive the full force of Paul's apostolic preaching and his call to respond to the gospel by living a life of suffering witness."

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Kimlyn Bender has written an illuminating, astute, and potent commentary on Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Unlike many commentators, Bender deeply engages not only contemporary critical scholarship but the exegetical and doctrinal reflections of a wide range of historical figures, from Augustine to Luther, from Calvin to Barth. Bender avoids the temptation to simply catalog past acts of interpretation but instead brings the reader into an encounter with Paul's witness to the gospel of God in Jesus Christ, with profound implications for our theology and discipleship. Highly recommended!"

J. Todd Billings, Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary

"Historically informed, theologically rich, and pastorally wise, this highly accessible commentary offers the attentive reader--whether novice interpreter or seasoned scholar--an invaluable apprenticeship in the art of scriptural interpretation."

J. Ross Wagner, associate professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School

"This commentary displays all the hallmarks of what makes Bender's work so valuable: it is judicious, engaging, crystal clear, and consistently attentive to the gospel and its implications for life. It is informative without getting bogged down in detail. It offers decisive interpretive judgments while maintaining a spirit of humility and charity. It is at once theologically rich and pastorally sensitive. Readers will quickly recognize that they are being ushered through the epistle by a wise and reliable guide who is himself moved and delighted by the subject matter."

Adam Neder, Bruner Welch Professor of Theology, Whitworth University

"In his commentary on 1 Corinthians, Bender effectively demonstrates the truth of his claim that everything Paul wrote is framed theologically and shaped by the apostle's convictions about God; at the same time, he shows how later theological discussions work out implications present in Paul's text. Yet his study remains a responsible commentary on Paul's epistle itself, drawing on (though never weighed down by) discussions of the epistle in current exegetical literature. Most importantly, there is wisdom in Bender's understanding of the epistle's relevance and application today. Serious students of 1 Corinthians cannot but profit by a thoughtful reading of this commentary."

Stephen Westerholm, professor emeritus of New Testament and early Christianity, McMaster University

Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

"What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther's Galatians and Karl Barth's Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time."

Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross

"This series places the accent on 'theological' and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. It may be that scripture interpretation is too important to be left to the exegetes, and so a return to the theologians. We will wait with great anticipation for this new series, at least aware that the outcomes of interpretation are largely determined by the questions asked. It is never too late to ask better questions; with a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators. Brazos has enormous promises to keep with this project, and we wait with eagerness for its appearing!"

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt."

Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

"Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan's splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, is, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church."

Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"Contemporary application of the Bible to life is the preacher's business. But no worthy contemporary application is possible without a thorough understanding of the ancient text. The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary offers just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be."

Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close

"For pastors, wanting to get at the theological heart of a text, there is some good stuff. When I am preaching, I usually try to take a peek at the Brazos volume."

Nijay K. Gupta, Northern Seminary

The Author

  1. Kimlyn J. Bender
    © Baylor University

    Kimlyn J. Bender

    Kimlyn J. Bender (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of Christian theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. He has written numerous books, including Reading Karl Barth for the Church,...

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