Corinthians: (n) either of two books of the New Testament, I Corinthians or II Corinthians, written by Paul.
Whenever I talk to young—or just new—writers, I offer a single piece of advice. And it isn’t the classic comment normally passed along, which is, “Write what you know.”
Hell, I write a lot of things I don’t know about.
But you see, the key is—I just told you. I purposely shared that I don’t know anything about the subject; I am merely giving you my reaction.
What every writer needs to be is painfully honest—about both discovery and ignorance.
If a writer is bruised, he will post paragraphs filled with defensiveness.
If a writer is prideful, his scribblings will be speckled with condescension.
When Paul, the Apostle, who was originally Saul of Tarsus, sat down to write the Corinthians, he allowed himself to don more than one persona.
His feelings got hurt because the Corinthians found a preacher who they liked better than him, so he reminded them, in a very petty way, that he was the one that first brought the Gospel to them.
He tried to deal with a controversy of immoral proportions, which should only be handled on-site in the moment.
And he certainly was wounded and complained about their lack of financial assistance to his wandering mission.
Yes, the books of First and Second Corinthians are a study for any writer in comprehending that some mornings, when you get up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s better to roll back over.
And yet, in the midst of that—even with the upheaval he was feeling in his soul toward these people, he still managed to write one of the most beautiful passages of all time:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love, I am sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.”
It’s referred to as “the love chapter”—the thirteenth of First Corinthians. It is brimming with humility, passion, wonder and, dare I say, precious honesty.
It is the reason we remember Paul in history as a great teacher of peace instead of a cranky, aging Jew who was having trouble making budget.
“Now abides faith, hope and love…” but as Paul said truthfully, “the greatest of these is love.”
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