The transformation of power through the cross (Richard Hays on 1 Corinthians)

I am reading Richard Hays’ commentary on 1 Corinthians in the Interpretation series (2011). It’s an excellent book. Hays lists the major theological themes of 1 Corinthians, and one of them is the following.

The transformation of power and status through the cross … Paul repeatedly argues that the gospel overturns the world’s notions of power and social standing. Those who acclaim a crucified Christ as Lord find that God has chosen what is “low and despised” in the world to “reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God” (1:28–29). This has earth-shaking implications for the social structure of the community of Christ’s people; As the body of Christ, they are linked together—rich and poor, slave and free—in a network of mutual love and concern. Old status distinctions no longer count “in the Lord,” and all power relations must be reinterpreted in light of the cross. The Corinthians had some difficulty grasping this vision (e.g., 11:17–22, 27–34), but Paul insists that it is a necessary entailment of the gospel.

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