This post was first published in tandem with the 2021 spring issue of CBE’s Mutuality magazine, “Making Peace With Paul.”
Did you know Paul had a prodigal daughter? I don’t mean ‘prodigal’ in its literal sense of ‘wasteful.’ Rather, her actions broached a level of hurt and family disgrace similar to the prodigal son in Jesus’s parable.
And, like the loving father who welcomed his son home, Paul longed for restoration and responded to his daughter with immense compassion.
You might wonder how I can say this, given that Paul never married or had his own children. But this daughter I’m referring to was not an individual person. She was the church in Corinth.
A few months ago, I realized Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians was essentially one of loving concern. Not only that, but its later chapters are like that of a father seeking to restore relationship with his prodigal daughter.
Again, how can I say this? Because in 2 Corinthians, I see allusions to one of the harshest laws in Deuteronomy concerning women, sex, and virginity.
Before I go on, I should warn that the laws I’m about to discuss are extremely violent. However, I believe reading Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians through this lens, thinking about what he says and—more to the point—what he doesn’t say, gives insight into his character as a man of compassion, humility and grace.
Because, despite the violence in Deuteronomy, there’s no violence in Paul’s letter.Continue reading Paul’s letter to his prodigal daughter (and the paradigm shift hidden within 2 Corinthians 10–13)