398 pgs. The thesis of this book is that Paul thought, wrote and taught that some of the leaders of the Corinthian church had things arsy varsy or ass backwards. And the reason that First Corinthians has been valued over the centuries is that many Christians have found Paul's insights and teachings to be valuable. This getting things backwards is a common problem that has plagued Christianity since the time of the Corinthian church, and before that back into the history of the Old Testament to the Fall of Adam. Being a sinner means getting things wrong. Paul was trying to help the Corinthians get things right, and their getting things right meant that they first come to understand that they had things wrong.
What kind of title is Arsy Varsy? It’s an old Puritan word similar to vice versa. Where visa versa means conversely or a change in order, arsy varsy (pronounced ahr-see-vahr-see) means wrong end foremost or ass backward, which suggests that something is happening the wrong way, with the rear coming first. It indicates the complete reversal of the correct order. Paul was addressing a kind of arsy varsy confusion in the Corinthian church.
The contemporary American churches in the Twenty-First Century are in a situation that is remarkably similar to that of the ancient Corinthian church. So, I decided to preach my way through Corinthians with the hope that Paul’s work with the Corinthians might have some pertinent analysis of and application to our own contemporary situation.
My approach has not been to read everything I could find about Corinthians in the hope of adding something new to the historic dialog. Rather, my intention is less grand. I hope to see and reveal the trouble the Corinthians had gotten into as a church as clearly as possible in order to understand what Paul was saying to them in the hope of shining some light on our own problem because their problem is our problem. It’s a recurring problem because it is a problem of gospel reception and transmission.