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.