I have been remiss and tardy in noting the publication of the latest issue of Review & Expositor (Vol. 110, No. 4, Fall 2013). I have a little pride in this particular volume since I was the issue editor. Several excellent scholars have produced insightful works on issues in these Pauline letters. Here is a list of the major articles that might tempt you to do some reading: Jennifer Houston McNeel, “Feeding with Milk: Paul’s Nursing Metaphors in Context,” Katy E. Valentine, “1 Corinthians 7 in Light of Ancient Rhetoric of Self-Control,” Mark D. Nanos, “Was Paul a ‘Liar’ for the Gospel?: The Case for a New Interpretation of Paul’s ‘Becoming Everything to Everyone’ in 1 Cor 9:19-23,” César Melgar, “Paul’s Use of Jewish Exegetical/Rhetorical Techniques in 1 Corinthians 1:10-3:23,” and Albert Paretsky, “’You Are the Seal of My Apostleship in the Lord’: Paul’s Self-Authenticating Word.” Two expository articles are also of interest: Brett Younger, “Ministers Rolling Up Their Sleeves: 1 Corinthians 3:9-17,” and Mike Graves, “The Trouble with Idol Meat: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13.”
All the articles offer some stimulating thoughts, but I would particularly recommend Mark Nanos’ article. We often gloss over the fact of Paul’s claim to become all things to all people. If taken at face value, however, this approach seems to make Paul, in the words of Nanos, “chameleon like” (p. 592). In acting in this way, Paul “misrepresents his convictions about how a Christ-follower should otherwise behave. When the compromise of moral integrity this interpretation requires is recognized (it is not always acknowledged or discussed), it is variously rationalized, for example, by being dismissed as less important than the expedient objective of successfully winning everyone to the gospel message” (p. 592). In order words, Paul is using a crooked stick (by his own hypocritical and false conduct) in order to get people into the kingdom. Read this article, and see one of the best-articulated interpretations of this passage in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 that I have read.