Book review: Korinth Laihah Khatna Hilchetna by Rev. V. Hangminthang

Bible Commentary/Sunday School Text, MELC, Zou: Korith Laihah Khatna Hilceitna was selected for adult Sunday school text by MELC (Lutheran) for the year 2011. Elected to be Moderator for the current session, Rev. V. Hangminthang authored most of the books of Bible selected for Adult Sunday school by the church: from Isaiah to collective minor prophets in the Old Testaments and the Gospel of John and Acts in the New Testaments. Also, he’s notable for the Children’ senior classes’ text, Na Theina Diing In Zilin (part 1 &2).

Including the introductory of the epistle in the first chapter, and the sixteen chapters comprises the additional 32 lessons of the commentary. And each lesson has memory verse, full verses and questions.  The chapters of the epistle have been divided into more than one lesson which works to its significant. This provides a detailed analysis of the text with affirmative lesson title.

Paul entered Corinth during 49 AD and stayed for 18 months. The letter was written by Paul from Ephesa, and the time period was 50 AD. Corinth was the meeting point of many nationalities, centre for economic exchange. The Asia Minor state during the time have homogenous converts or believers mainly Greeks. The letter discusses problems of division in the church, Immorality, spiritual gifts and resurrection.

After brief salutations, Paul addressed the division within the church, called to used “the wisdom of God – that is our righteousness holiness and redemption”. Paul rebukes them of their pagan roots which lead to the division, and corrected that the collective church out weights any personal greed.  He confidently stated that he ‘fathered’ the Corinthians in Gospel. With that authority, Paul wrote about the prevailing immorality. In chapter 5, asked to ex-communicate the fellow member who had married his father’s wife from the church as step to safeguard from sexual immorality. He rallied against filling lawsuits against each other at the ‘unbelievers’ court’ and suggested to handle the matters inside the church. Further in the discussion on sexual immorality, Paul outline ten sins in chapter 6:9-20. Among other, he particularly urge to avoid immoral sexual behaviors stating that the body must be use to glorify God and not enslave to its desire.

In chapter 7, Paul talks about marriage. He stated that God establishes the first married couple and that one should enjoy the gift of God. A husband and wife must involve each other in their sexual behavior, fulfilling each other needs as marital obligations. And that this mutual understanding leads to healthy life as church. That it help wards off Satan and maintain a healthy prayer life. For those unmarried and engaged, Paul give the option to remain single stating that a single life give immense opportunities to serve the Lord.

In chapter 8, Paul answers the questions regarding food sacrificed to Idols. A believers sanctified in salvation and marked by the Holy Spirit realizes that eating any particular food doesn’t obligated him of anything. However, one should be aware of fellow churchmen and avoid to be judged for it. In chapter 9, Paul clarified his Apostleship: “You are the seal of my apostleship”. And that his occupation and marital status doesn’t come in the way of his work.

Paul re-takes the discussion on sacrificial ceremony of the Pagans in chapter 10. While he reaffirms that they meant nothing to a believers, he caution the ceremonials which are being held for demons’ appeasement. A Christian partakes in the Holy Communion with the blood of Christ which is opposite to that of the pagans’. Paul urges that one should use their conscience and eat and drink responsibly; avoid being a stumble block for other, or a tumor of the church.

In the first half of chapter 11, Paul discourse on the topic relating to appearance of men and women. He urges that propriety in worship relates to one’s appearance as men and women: a long hair for woman is a ‘glory’ for her and a man ‘is the image and glory of God’.  And in the later part, Paul caution about coming together for Holy Communion. He stated that one must examine themselves and remind them of ‘the Lord’s death until he comes’.

In chapter 12, Paul discusses the different spiritual gifts. While assuring that these gifts are of ‘the same spirit’, his discussion was based on that Christ is the head of the Church (Eph 5:22,23) and is the foundation stone of the church (2 Cor 3:11). The Holy Spirit lives within every Christians and that binds them to come together as one; a church which performs as one. Further to the discussion, Paul added that these gifts are ‘nothing’ comparing to Love: God is love. “But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears’, meant to said that with the vast circulations of the Bible, there’s no need of prophesy and tongues to know God’s word. Later in chapter 14, Paul urges the church to value the gift to prophesy. He talks down on Tongues because it’s not understandable to the congregation and the speaker. Paul defends that Tongues were used as sign for the unbelievers during the Pentecost. He forbids its use in unguarded manner and cause disturbance in the church.

The letter is notable for mentioning the role of women in the church in 11:2-16 and 14:34-35; that for instance, they should remain silent. In chapter 15, Paul discusses about the resurrection of the body. It’s resurrection which differentiate Christianity from others. The chapter outlines the second coming of the Christ where the dead will be waken with an imperishable bodies and those alive will be taken to the sky heaven bound, and the physical church will see the spiritual church. Finally, in the concluding chapter, Paul talks about the first day of the week as day of worship for Christians; His plans about visiting the church and reports about works being done by fellow Workers including Timothy. Then, Paul urges the church to stand firm, courageous and always live in love. He sends greetings to every members of the church and closed the letter with a benediction.

Korinth Laihah Khatna Hilchetna merited its exposition with the lesson-wise distributions of the chapters of the epistle. Though this blurred outline studying: Opening Salutation, topics discussed and closing remarks; it is a good Sunday school text book because the lesson’ topics act as Sundays’ sermon. Paul’s exhortation to the church in Corinth in the letter presenting solutions to their problems allows sharp analysis and exposition remarks in the commentary. Rev. Hangminthang, notably, uses it to greater detail.