Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Testament survey (07): 1 Corinthians

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)


[1] 1 Corinthians, from Thru The Bible Radio with Dr. J. Vernon McGee ©, with free downloads Notes & Outlines (PDF), Complete 5-Year Study (MP3), The Cross Divides Men (PDF), and Gifts of the Spirit (PDF)

When Paul first came to Corinth, he preached in the synagogue. As usual, a riot was the result. Paul usually had a riot, revolution, and revival wherever he went. Corinth was no exception.

On Paul’s third journey he spent a long period of time in Ephesus. It was in Ephesus that he did some of his outstanding work as a missionary. Probably that area was more thoroughly evangelized than any other. However, this caused the Corinthians to become disturbed. They were baby Christians, and they were urging Paul to come to them. Apparently Paul wrote them a letter to correct some of the errors that had come into that church. They, in turn, wrote to Paul asking questions that they wanted answered about political issues, religion, domestic problems, heathenism, and morality. Paul answered them and responded to more reports which were brought to him. We do not have that first letter which Paul wrote to them. The letter that followed the reports brought to him is the letter we know today as 1 Corinthians. That is the epistle we are about to study. Later on Paul wrote the letter we now call 2 Corinthians.

The keynote of this epistle is the supremacy of Christ, the Lordship of Jesus. That is so important for us to note because that is the solution to the problems. You will find here that He is the solution to correct moral, social, and ecclesiastical disorders. (Read the complete article)
[2] Book of 1 Corinthians, from gotquestions.org (this website is also available in Afrikaans, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese-Myanmar, Cebuano, Chinese - Simplified, Chinese – Traditional, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Malaysian, Persian-Farsi, Portuguese, Quechua, Sesotho, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese, Zulu, and 70 other languages)
The Corinthian church was plagued by divisions. The believers in Corinth were dividing into groups loyal to certain spiritual leaders (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:1-6). Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers to be united because of devotion to Christ (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). Many in the church were essentially approving of an immoral relationship (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). Paul commanded them to expel the wicked man from the church (1 Corinthians 5:13). The Corinthian believers were taking each other to court (1 Corinthians 6:1-2). Paul taught the Corinthians that it would be better to be taken advantage of than to damage their Christian testimony (1 Corinthians 6:3-8).

Paul gave the Corinthian church instructions on marriage and celibacy (chapter 7), food sacrificed to idols (chapters 8 and 10), Christian freedom (chapter 9), the veiling of women (1 Corinthians 11:1-16), the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:17-34), spiritual gifts (chapters 12-14), and the resurrection (chapter 15). Paul organized the book of 1 Corinthians by answering questions the Corinthian believers had asked him and by responding to improper conduct and erroneous beliefs they had accepted. (Read the complete article)
[3] The Epistles to the Corinthians, from Blue Letter Bible
The issue of division and unity is addressed first (1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21). The main body of 1 Corinthians begins with Paul’s appeal to the church to agree that the divisions among them would be eradicated and that they would “be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). People in the church were associating with various leaders and making factions that were tearing down the body of Christ. The problem that Paul points out is that they were acting fleshly when they would take pride in their pastoral preference (1 Corinthians 3:4-5). God is the one that does the work in the church and so God should receive the devotion of the church and not mere men who happen to be his instruments (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).

Paul then addresses sexual immorality and its consequences (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). He seems to have been astonished at the lack of morality displayed by the Corinthians. They were arrogant because they were able to tolerate a man who was committing gross sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5:2). This was not a discreet sin of any kind, but one that not even the pagans would tolerate (1 Corinthians 5:1). The apostle makes it clear that this sort of action should not be tolerated, but disciplined. The one guilty of the act should be delivered to Satan “for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:5). Paul orders the excommunication of the sinning one for two reasons: (1) that the sinner would be saved in end, and (2) that the sinning one would not “leaven the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). The church as Paul states elsewhere is intended to be the pure and spotless bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-27), therefore the evil person must be purged from the church (1 Corinthians 5:13; Deut. 13:5). (Read the complete article)
[4] 1 Corinthians, from Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)
WRITER: The Apostle Paul. His relation to the church at Corinth is set forth in Acts 18:1-18 and in the Epistles to the Corinthians.

DATE: First Corinthians was written in A.D. 59, at the close of Paul's three year's residence in Ephesus. Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 16:5-8.

THEME: The subjects treated are various, but may all be classified under the general theme, Christian conduct. Even the tremendous revelation of the truth concerning resurrection is made to bear upon that theme 1 Corinthians 15:58. The occasion of the Epistle was a letter on inquiry from Corinth concerning marriage, and the use of meats offered to idols ; 1 Corinthians 7:1; 8:1-13 but the apostle was much more exercised by reports of the deepening divisions and increasing contentions in the church, and of a case of incest which had not been judged ; 1 Corinthians 1:10-12; 5:1.

The factions were not due to heresies, but to the carnality of the restless Corinthians, and to their Greek admiration of "wisdom" and eloquence. The abomination of human leadership in the things of God is here rebuked. Minor disorders were due to vanity, yielding to a childish delight in tongue and the sign gifts, rather than to sober instruction (1 Corinthians 14:1-28). Paul defends his apostleship because it involved the authority of the doctrine revealed through him.

A rigid analysis of First Corinthians is not possible, The Epistle is not a treatise, but came from the Spirit through the apostle's grief, solicitude, and holy indignation. The following analysis may, however, be helpful.

1. Introduction: The believer's standing in grace, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
2. The contrast of their present factious state, 1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21.
3. Immorality rebuked; discipline enjoined, 1 Corinthians 5:1-6,8.
4. The sanctity of the body, and Christian marriage, 1 Corinthians 6:9-7, 40.
5. Meats, and the limitations of Christian liberty, 1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1.
6. Christian order and the Lord's Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:2-34
7. Spiritual gifts in relation to the body, the church, and Christian ministry, 1 Corinthians 12:1-14, 40.
8. The resurrection of the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:1-58
9. Special directions and greetings, 1 Corinthians 16:1-24.

[1] Key verses: 1 Corinthians 3:3; 6:19-20; 12:7; 13:1-13; 15:3-4

[2] Summary of the Gospel – life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-58)

[3] Paul reminds the Corinthian believers of God’s grace towards them (1 Corinthians 1:1-9). He then rebukes them for their divisions or contentions (1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21) marked by loyalties to different leaders like Paul, Cephas and Apollos (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:1-6) . Paul exhorted the Corinthians to be united because of their devotion to Christ (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). Christ is the wisdom of the believer as well as his righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Sanctification is positional (1 Corinthians 1:2, 30); practical (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Romans 15:16) and permanent (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 10:10, 14).

[4] The preaching of the Gospel is not with wisdom of words but with Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-31).

[5] The word “charity” in 1 Corinthians 13 should be translated simply as “love.” The Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible and Wycliffe’s English translation, used the word charity, and this word was carried over into the King James Version.

There are four Greek words for love: storge (affection); phileo (friendship); eros (physical love); and agape (divine love).

[6] The whole Old Testament Law can be summed in the word “love” (Leviticus 19:17-18; Matthew 19:19). Love sums up the Christian’s responsibilities in the New Testament (Romans 13:9). Love is the capstone, the crowning virtue, the consummation of all other virtues (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-7; Colossians 3:12-14). Love endures suffering under persecution, and Christians will be persecuted (Matthew 24:10; 2 Timothy 3:12). Love is easily lost, without one’s even being aware of it (Revelation 2:1-7). Love is misunderstood and distorted by the unbelieving world. (From “What Is This Thing Called Love?” by Bob Deffinbaugh, Th.M.)

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6).

[7] Principles of authority (1 Corinthians 11:2-16)
  • Head of every man is Christ
  • Head of the wife is her husband
  • Head of Christ is God (Philippians 2:5-8).
[8] On sexual immorality in the church (1 Corinthians 5:6-8): Paul orders the excommunication (“delivered unto Satan”) of the sinning person so that he would be saved in the end, and that the sinner would not corrupt the whole church (“leaven the whole lump”). The church as Paul states is the pure and spotless bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27), therefore the unrepentant, sinning person must be purged from the church (1 Corinthians 5:13; Deuteronomy 13:5). The result of this disciplinary action is forgiveness and restoration (2 Corinthians 2:4-11; 7:12).

[9] The process of church discipline is outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 (clarified in terms of discipline being administered by those who are spiritual, in a spirit of humility, gentleness and patience and without partiality, with restoration of the sinning member as the goal in Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; Titus 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:20-21; 2 Tim. 2:24-25)
  • Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
  • But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
  • And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
[10] Lawsuits or differences among church members should be settled by other believers (1 Corinthians 6:1-3, 9).

[11] “Speaking in tongues” refers to known languages and not to “ecstatic utterances.” This gift ceased with the completion of the New Testament canon. As Paul himself said, love is better than speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 13:1, 13).

Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Pastoral Counsel for Problems and Questions – Applying the Mind of Christ: Commentary on the Book of 1 Corinthians, by Paul G. Apple

[2] 1 Corinthians: Introduction and Outline, by Hampton Keathley IV, Th.M.

[3] 1 Corinthians: Introduction, Argument, and Outline, by Daniel B. Wallace, Th.M., Ph.D.

[4] Studies in 1 Corinthians

[5] Materials by Bob Deffinbaugh, Th.M
[6] Speaking in Tongues, by Lehman Strauss, Litt.D., F.R.G.S. (also available in Spanish)

[7] What is praying in tongues? Is praying in tongues a prayer language between a believer and God? Is the gift of tongues for self-edification?

[8] Materials on church discipline
Sermons on 1 Corinthians 13 (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] The Greatest Christian Virtue, by Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama

[2] 1 Corinthians 13 What Women (And Men) Really Want Fireproof Your Marriage, by Danny Parker, First Baptist Church

[3] Guided by Love, by Nathan Schneider

[4] Spiritual Gifts 8: Gifts in Love, by Richard DeRuiter

[5] A Portrait of God's Love, by Don Pfleger

[6] Sermon 1 Corinthians 13, by Randy Sabella

[7] These Three Remain, by Andrew T Hamilton

[8] Opposing Players Help Fallen Softball Player, by Ian Forest-Jones

[9] Three Kids and a Pastor, by Rusty Russell

For other available sermons, please surf to Sermon / Preaching resources. Sermons are also available from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee, Arizona; Central Baptist Church, Lowesville; First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Missouri; Swift Creek Baptist Church; Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, Philadelphia; Palm Springs Baptist Church, California; South Woods Baptist Church; Grove Baptist Church, Ulster; Dudley Baptist Church, United Kingdom; Independent Fundamental Baptist Sermons, Fundamental Christian Radio Broadcasts, Off-Site Audio Page and The Christian Radio Tuner

Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.

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