Is the Apostle Paul's life and the things he speaks of normative for the Christian life, or is he a super Christian? Paul wrote 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament, spelled out the gospel in the most detailed form, and experienced hardships beyond compare and heights beyond knowledge. Seeing that most of what we call doctrine in the Christian church is shaped by the words of Paul, how are we to interact with him as we read his letter to the Corinthians?
For all his grand experience, Paul is first and foremost a pastor. He feels "a divine jealousy" for the church at Corinth, wanting "to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” That same jealousy for a pure church is apparent throughout Paul's epistles and extends to all churches in the body of Christ. Paul wants us to walk in the purity of Christ. Likewise, he advocates a Christian experience that might seem foreign but could and should be quite familiar to us. This experience is a life marked by suffering for the name of Jesus, yet with indescribable joy. Where does this life come from? Is Paul a stand out? By no means! The life that Paul lived was the life of Christ living through him. And through the great mystery of the Gospel that same life lives in us right now!