Kata Korinthions: A Reflection

Recently I did a study on 1 Corinthians. As usual, studying any Scripture will bring forth some reflections which I would like to share here.

The easiest way to reflect is to look into the mirror

1. Giving Up Our Rights 

This study that I undertook with my school took place at a very busy and hectic season of my life. In work, I was picking up more corporate responsibilities. In my ministry, I was concurrently teaching a course on church history, which requires me to set assignments and grade them. In my personal life, I was preparing for my own wedding and it just so happened that my pre-wedding shoot overlapped with the study, adding on to the busyness and taking away some attention from this particular study.

A preview of the awesomeness of the bride

In such a busy period, there was bound to be tension happening and it did happen between Angelina and her father. On the Saturday before the first day of the class, I had a lunch with my future in-laws and an incident happened which caused me to lose my composure with regard to the tension that was brewing underneath. The loss of composure led to me fantasizing having revenge in the future when I am no longer being "held hostage" by my future father-in-law.

Studying 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 and reflecting on how we should give up our rights for the sake of the body of Christ, I do realise that I need to be proactively deal with this desire to seek revenge for the wrongs being done to me and Angelina. An all-out interpersonal war is probably not what Christ desires for our lives and it is probably not going to be a good testimony to the people outside of the body of Christ. Furthermore, it does make life even more difficult for Angelina.

In conjunction of that, I remember that I did another study on Philemon and it talked about forgiving. One thing I remember from that is that forgiveness is for the mature. It is a sign of maturity that we can forgive one another in the community and this incident helped me to put these principles into practice.

In addition, I also learned that even within the relationship, it is also my prerogative to give up my rights for the sake of my partner. If she is in need of support and having emotional stress, my rights to "relax one corner" because of my busy schedule should take a side seat and as a leader in the relationship, I ought to die to myself and take up a more proactive role in the wedding preparation.

2. Rethinking Group Support

Group project is always one of my dreads in all the block modules. This is no exception. This is primarily because the timing was so tight that there is always the fear that we do not have enough time to suss out all the issues within the passage that we were given to examine. However, I have learned to appreciate group work over the years in my journey and every group project teaches me something new. This one is no exception.

I fully appreciate how group members can come together to support one another in our group work. For this one, I was unable to contribute much in the initial phase of the group project primarily due to my photo shoot. And I was so blessed by my group members who were understanding enough to give me space to concentrate on my photo shoot while they work on the project. This taught me how we can support one another within the group and help to bear one another's load. When we are in the group, we are in this together and we can help one another to grow and learn. This experience does allow me to reflect on this point.

3. Dealing with Death

One of the topics that I got fascinated since my previous job is the topic of death. I remember talking to an ex-colleague on the theology of death and how we should die. We got into the issue of palliative care and how we should have a quality death. One of the discussions in the class touched on how we deal with death in the families pastorally, especially when we have family members who want to baptise the dead.

As I was reflecting on this issue, I realised that any theological understanding that we have is useless in such situation, in the sense that we cannot really argue with the grieving families since the times were emotional and not for intellectual discussions. But as I think through further, I just wonder if performing baptism for dead Christians could be similar to the uses of sacraments back in the Medieval times, when sacraments were used to convey the message of gospel and grace to the recipients since most church goers were illiterate back then? If so, I would like to think that performing baptism for dead Christians is akin to conveying the grace of God in a more physical way to the grieving families, to convey a message of hope for them.

This is something that I find that I have to research more into.

Hopefully I will see them after I'm dead...
4. Musing about Structural Diagramming

Structural diagramming is always something that I am very fascinated with during all the bible study classes I have attended so far. I would have thought that I have became quite good in it, but during this study, I learned something new again when it comes to diagramming the English texts.

You see, one of my dilemmas after my Greek Exegesis class is how I can diagram the English translations when I know that some of the main clauses are actually sub-clauses in the Greek text. I learned that the Greek text should always be the base and should always guide my diagramming of the English translation.

I told my fiancee that I will read Greek to our future kids, on top of Cantonese and Mandarin...
This brings forth an important lesson for me, who has learned how to do exegesis using the Greek text - that it is important to always fall back to the Greek (at least for NT) when I am doing my bible study. While the English translations are often good enough for most people, there is the issue of stewarding what I know so that people around me can benefit. Therefore, I learned to take this seriously when I was doing the group work, trying to help the group by highlighting some of the grammatical issues that do not appear in the NRSV translation.

I just hope that this will encourage my group mates to sign up for Greek class next year...


  1. yes, I agreed with you. With the study of Greek, it truly helps in understanding of the text. In fact, we start to see the different when we study Greek. The structural of the English text have to change, especially, when we start to use understand the meaning of the original Greek text. That is helpful to the members of the group.
    I think it helps my group project as well. :)

    And, thanks for sharing about your application and reflection of applying giving up rights, surely, I agreed with you, in our relations with other, we always need to reflect, and rethink about not insisting that "I" am right, "I" have the right to "xxx". Only by doing so, we could live harmoniously with others.

  2. Hi, Matthias, I did not notice that you were in hot water. You stayed cool, without any "camouflage." People in the secular world are talking about "soft skills" today. Personally I think Christians not only need to apply soft skills in workplace and at home, but also need to imitate the soft heart of Jesus. Unlike you, I am a people-oriented person, I love meeting diff people and co-working with them. I do see amazing glory from God in the fellow Christians. Another reason is that I can learn from them, always. Two heads are better than one, and more heads are better than two. Haha, that's from me. But I have to say to take care of inter-personal and intro-personal wholesomeness are equally important. I do cherish the preciuos time alone with myself and with God.
    Speaking of Christian death, I have been pondering it over too.Actually the life target of a Christian is how to die a Christian death.I will share about "death" in my reflection. Wish you the best in diagramming test. Excel!

  3. Group work is an extension of our 'community living', I like the group but not group work as it can be stressful due to time and expectation demands. Your testimony of giving up our rights is a timely reminder that Jesus gave up His right to save us, Sometimes we can see better results when we gave up and not hold up our rights.

  4. Thanks for helping and guiding me in my structural diagramming patiently even though I make mistakes here and there. Last of all, you are a great leader and classmate. Wish you all the best in your test for diagramming. :)

  5. "performing baptism for dead Christians is akin to conveying the grace of God in a more physical way to the grieving families, to convey a message of hope for them".
    ~ This is true. Silas' comment that we would be doing this "for the living, not the dead" struck a cord in me. It set me thinking although I did say that I would not baptize the dead. Bringing comfort to the grieving family members is important and this really is not the time to explain theology to them. I will always remember this short discussion we had in class.


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