IT’S DONE. I’ve posted the beta edition of 1, 2 Corinthians live on the Casual English Bible website. It comes with free maps, notes, and discussion questions. A 72-page leader’s guide and atlas is available as a PDF download for $1.
Here’s part of the letter, with Paul defending himself against what he calls supposed “super apostles.” They’re apparently trying to steal away the church at Corinth, Greece while Paul is on the other side of the Aegean Sea, in Ephesus, a west coast city in what is now Turkey.
Those “super apostles” are frauds
I’m about to say some things that are going to sound a little crazy. I’m asking you to please hear me out…
Listen, those so-called “super apostles” are no bosses of mine. I might sound like an amateur public speaker, compared to them. But I’m no amateur when it comes to the knowledge I have. You know what I’m talking about because we’ve already made it perfectly clear to you…
Those men are frauds. They’re fake apostles—liars who only pretend they’re messengers of the Messiah…
Beaten, stoned, shipwrecked
Are they working for the Messiah? Well, I’m working harder. And, yes, I know I sound like an idiot. But I do more kinds of jobs. I’ve spent more time in prison. And I’ve been beaten so many times that I’ve lost count. Some of those beatings nearly killed me.
On five different occasions the Jews gave me their max beating: 40 lashes minus1.1
I got beaten with a rod three times.2 I got stoned once.3 Shipwrecked three times. I managed to survive 24 hours adrift at sea.
I’ve traveled plenty.4 And I’ve faced plenty of danger along the way. Oceans. Rivers. Robbers. Jews. Non-Jews. City folk. Country folk. Fake Christians.
I’ve worked long and hard. I’ve worked all night long, through hunger and thirst—often without any food at all. I’ve been cold, without nearly enough clothes to keep me warm.
On top of all this, I carry a heavy burden. It’s my constant concern for all the churches.
- Jewish law limited the number of lashes: “Never give more than forty lashes” (Deuteronomy 25:3 NLT). Jews typically limited the lashes to 39, to make sure they didn’t miscount and break the Jewish law by going over 40.
- Romans often beat law-breakers with rods. He may have gotten beatings like that in some of the predominantly Roman cities he visited. This happened at least once in the city of Philippi. City officials ordered the clothes ripped off of Paul and Silas and “ordered them beaten with rods” (Acts 16:22).
- Paul was stoned nearly to death in the city of Lystra. “A mob snatched Paul, stoned him, and dragged him out of town. They thought he was dead so they left him there” (Acts 14:19).
- Paul traveled an estimated 10,000 miles (16,000 km) during his three missionary trips and his voyage to Rome for trial.