1 Cor. 13- 2 Cor.3- "In part"?...wait...what?

Here are some verses that I have read several times before but brushed over without much thought:

"For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand.  And I hope that, as you have come to understand us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus." (2 Cor. 1:13-14).

This time, reading those verses I stopped and thought....what on earth is Paul saying??  That was confusing! We can understand, but we only get part of what he is saying?  We won't fully understand everything until Jesus comes back?  I don't get it.  Why would he say he doesn't write things that can not be understood?  In other words, he just got finished saying everything IS understandable.  Well, I needed help in trying to figure out what Paul was meaning.  So, I turned to some commentaries.

I  praise God for the people who have spent a lifetime studying the Bible and then took the time to write down what they learned!  As a result, I got some clarity on these verses.

Paul is right, we can understand the gospel, it's not rocket science. Paul lays out the gospel clearly in 1 Cor. 15.  So, why does he say, "as you have come to understand in part"?

The Pulpit Commentary explained "in part" as, "Not as a whole Church. Only some of the Corinthians had been faithful to his teaching and to himself.

Barne's Commentary writes, "The sense seems to be, "as part of you acknowledge;" meaning that a portion of the church was ready to concede to him the praise of consistency and uprightness, though there was a faction or a part that denied it."

Jamieson's commentary says, "The majority at Corinth had shown willing compliance with Paul's directions in the first Epistle: but some were still refractory. Hence arises the difference of tone in different parts of this Epistle."

So, it seems the consensus among scholars is that it was, some in the Corinthian church accepted Paul's teaching and some did not.  That makes soooo much sense!!  Paul wasn't writing anything complicated.  It was just up to the hearer to believe it and take it to heart.  If one believes and takes it to heart, there will be a lot of joy, and Paul can boast on the day the Lord returns...because the ones who take it to heart will be saved!!

Paul's audience, although it is the "church" in Corinth is a mixed group of believers and nonbelievers (or seekers).  The nonbelievers were still in progress.  After all, they were with the gathered group and listening to the reading of Paul's letters. Don't we all know some people who take longer to believe than others? Sure we do!  They existed back then too.  People were the same back then as they are now! Understanding this actually makes other confusing scripture understandable! (i.e. 1 Cor. 15:2)

I hope those seekers "got it" in full before it was too late for them!


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