While intending to mention this volume before, I only recently picked it up from the stack of books to review and began to read different passages. Richard Pratt is a familiar name to us, being a teaching elder in the PCA. This is only one volume in the commentary series, some being more helpful than others, and it is worth knowing about and having available for preachers and teachers. While not being a distinctive exegetical commentary format, these commentaries are easy to follow, even without knowledge of the original languages.
I mention 1 and 2 Corinthians by Pratt here because Corinthians are important books for Christians to study today. The setting in which they were written has so many similarities to ours today. The issues that the apostle Paul addresses, the challenges he faces, including accusations and very relevant moral issues, make both 1 and 2 Corinthians a must for preaching and teaching today in making kingdom disciples.
While we are featuring the theme of the church in this year’s Equip to Disciple magazine, Corinthians speaks to so many issues. For example, Pratt begins with a quote from John Murray, former professor of theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. “The church of the apostolic days embraced all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues. There is no evidence in the New Testament for the diversification of distinct denominations, and anything tending to such diversification was condemned. The emphasis falls upon the oneness of the faith and the oneness of the fellowship of the saints.”
In the introduction, which sets the stage for what follows, Pratt writes, “Today the church has many problems. Some of them are small, and we can afford to take them in stride as we focus on other things. But the church also has some large problems which it needs to address directly and immediately. One of these is disunity.” He goes on to say, “In individual churches, we see strife over building programs and mission statements. People divide over minor theological issues, and even over personal incompatibility. Sometimes church politics cause factions within our ranks.” Pratt then says, “Paul opened his letter to the Corinthians by declaring, ‘Hello, we’ve got a big problem.'”