I. Introduction. A. The object of the letter was to cure the divisions in the Corinthian church by confronting problems among the disciples and correcting them, and by answering questions that troubled these believers. B. Greetings (1:1-9). 1. Paul, in association with Sosthenes, is the writer (1:1). 2. Written to the church of God at Corinth and to all who call on the name of the Lord (1:2-3). 3. Paul is thankful for the saints at Corinth and remembers their acceptance of the gospel and growth in character. (1:4-9) C. Paul touches the central theme of the letter when he begs and commands the brethren to be free of divisions and be perfected in the same mind and judgment (1:10). D. Paul had been informed by some in the family of Chloe that the Corinthians were separating themselves into factions and giving allegiance to men (1:11-17). 1. Division is sinful because it rends Christ (1:13). a. Paul is thankful he baptized only a few of them for fear that some might think Paul baptized in his own name (1:14-15). b. Paul was not sent to personally baptize, though he taught that baptism is necessary to salvation. The person who does the baptizing is not important (1:17). E. The nature of the revealed word (1:18-31). 1. The haughty reject the humbling influence of the gospel, but the poor in spirit gladly receive it as the wisdom and power of God, the preaching of which brings salvation (1:18-25). 2. The wise accept the salvation the gospel produces and glory in the Lord (1:26-31). II. Problems and Questions. A. Paul first lays a foundation by affirming the authority of the revealed word, rebuking the fleshly attitude of many of the Corinthians, pointing to Jesus as the solution of every human problem, and asserting the authoritative position of the apostles in the scheme of redemption (2:1-4:21). 1. Paul did not preach the arrogance of human philosophy (2:1-5). 2. Paul preached a heavenly wisdom revealed to him (2:6- 16). a. Paul's information came from the Holy Spirit (2:13). b. Those who took pride in earthly wisdom rejected the gospel and did not understand it; those who accepted the superior wisdom from above lived by eternal truth (2:14-16). 3. Many of the Corinthians were carnal and therefore could not be instructed in right things (3:1-8). a. They followed human philosophy instead of divine revelation. b. Their allegiance to men instead of to Jesus demonstrated and proved Paul's point (3:4-5). c. Men are nothing. Christ is all (3:6-8). 4. Paul laid a foundation of truth and built upon it by converting sinner to Christ (3:10-23). a. Other teachers (Apollos, Cephas, and others) came later and built on Paul's foundation (3:10). b. Christ is the only right foundation (3:11). c. The final test of a teacher's fruit is how it stands the last judgment (3:13). d. If a teacher's converts are burned (lost), the teacher will feel a sense of regret, but will not necessarily be lost himself (3:15). If a teacher's converts remain faithful, it will please and honor the teacher (3:14). 5. The place of the apostles (4:1-13). a. The apostles were revealers, teachers and keepers of saving truth (4:1-2). b. Some in Corinth condemned Paul, but the apostle was unmoved by their judgment of him (4:3). c. They were attempting to judge things about which they had no knowledge--hidden and secret things-- and Paul observes that all such matters will come to light when Jesus returns and judges the world (4:4- 5). d. Some Corinthian saints were acting as if they were in heaven (4:6-8). e. Paul calls attention to the suffering of the apostles (4:9-13). 6. Paul makes a passionate plea (4:14-20). a. Paul reminds them they had first heard the gospel from him (4:14-15). b. Paul sent Timothy to teach them (4:17). c. He informs them of his intent to come to Corinth and says he will use whatever power is necessary when he arrives to correct and instruct them (4:17- 21). B. The incestuous offender (5:1-13). 1. Fornication among the Corinthians (5:1-2). 2. Discipline of the offender (5:3-5). 3. Tolerating ungodliness brings total corruption and final destruction (5:6-8). 4. The saved are in the world but not of the world (5:7- 12). C. The sin of brothers in the church going to law over matters of religious doctrine and morals (6:1-20). 1. Saints are to judge the world and angels (6:1-3). a. The judgment of the saints is in the area of Bible teaching. Saints do not judge contracts, and other questions of civil dispute. They are not qualified to do so. On the other hand, the civil magistrate is not competent to judge the teaching and morals of the church because he has no knowledge of Bible teaching. b. Saints judge the world and angels by their agreement with what God has revealed in his word and his eventual enforcement of his rules and regulations for spiritual conduct. 2. Wise men of spiritual maturity should decide matters of right conduct, worship and teaching within the church (6:5-6). 3. The decision of spiritual leaders must be accepted (6:7-8). 4. Paul gives a list of what he has in mind when he speaks of brother going to law with brother (6:9-12). 5. The human body must be controlled and used to glorify God (6:12-20). a. Fornication dishonors God and defames the sinner. b. The physical body of the saint is a temple of the Spirit. c. The spirit lives in the body of the saint by means of the word of truth, which is to control the conduct of the saved person (6:19-20). D. Paul answers questions about marriage (7:1-40). 1. The right and advantage of marriage and the advisability of choosing to remain unmarried (7:1-9). 2. The marriage agreement is to be honored (7:10-11). a. The wife is not to leave her husband. b. Should her situation become intolerable and she must leave to protect herself and her children, she is not to remarry. c. She may be reconciled to her husband. d. The husband is not to leave his wife. 3. Treatment of unbelieving husband or wife (7:12-20). a. The marriage rule of God applies to both believer and unbeliever (7:14). b. The saved person is not to change lawful relationships that existed before salvation (7:18-24). 4. Concerning virgins and the question of marriage versus not being married (7:25-39) a. It is better in view of persecution not to marry. b. If a person who has a right to marry decides to get married, it is not sin. c. If a person who has a right to marry decides not to marry, it is better. 5. Concerning widows (7:39-40). a. Christian widows have the right to marry provided they marry "only in the Lord,". E. Concerning things sacrificed to idols (8:1-13). 1. Some Corinthian disciples were saying that since the idols was not being worshipped it is proper to go into the idol temple and enjoy the food (8:1-6). 2. All disciples do not make this distinction and the innocent may misunderstand and think you are worshipping the idol (8:7). 3. Do not destroy for the sake of a good meal a brother for whom Jesus died (8:8-13). a. When Paul says "if eating meat is causing my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat while the world stands," he is not talking about meat on the dinner table, but meat served in idol temples. F. Paul's apostleship (9:1-27). 1. Paul's right to receive support from the church (9:1-14). 2. Paul's right to refuse support from the church (9:15-17). a. It is God's appointment that "they that proclaim the gospel shall live of the gospel" (9:14). b. Using or not using this right is the teacher's choice. 3. Paul's reward for all his labor in the church was the knowledge of the good being done (9:18-27). a. He elected to sacrifice certain things to which he had a right in order to help others (9:20-23). b. He did not do unlawful things in order to please men, nor did he make pleasing men his principle aim (Gal. 1:10). c. Paul did control his body and carefully live according to the right principles of the gospel (9:27). G. Warnings against idolatry (10:1-33). 1. Example of Israel crossing the Red Sea, in the wilderness, and entering Canaan (10:1-13). a. Yielding to temptation is wrong (10:10-12). b. God will not allow you to be tempted supernaturally, and you therefore by your natural powers can reject all temptations that come to you (10:13). 2. Idolatry and the table of the Lord (10:14-33). a. Participation in an activity can mean acceptance and approval (10:14-22). b. The saint must be careful not to approve evil either directly or indirectly. 3. The difference between eating meat that had been sacrificed to an idol in the idol's temple and in eating the same meat in a private home (10:23-33). a. Even if it is granted that eating meat in an idol's temple is not wrong within itself, it still may be wrong because it is not expedient (10:23). b. Give no occasion of stumbling (10:32). H. Rules and advice concerning public worship (11:1-14:40). 1. Relationship between Jehovah, Jesus, men and women (11:1-14). a. Jehovah is the head of Jesus (11:3). b. Man is the head of the woman (11:3). 2. It is wrong to bring shame and dishonor to your head (11:3-6). a. A woman unveiled in public brings shame upon her husband. b. Her immodesty is so bad that as punishment she should be treated like a harlot and have the hair of her head shorn or shaved (11:6). 3. Abuses and misuses of the Lord Supper (11:17-34). a. Some Corinthian sisters were disrobing, the communion service was turned into a common meal and made a festival instead of a time of solemn celebration and self examination. b. They were spiritually sick and dead (11:30). 4. Instructions about spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40). a. Spiritual gifts can be understood (12:1). b. False spiritual gifts and idolatry (12:2). c. We can know the deity of Jesus on the basis of what the Spirit of God reveals to us (12:3). d. Nine spiritual gifts named (12:4-11). e. The church compared to a body that has many parts, but is one body (12:12-26). f. Those possessing spiritual gifts must work together for the purpose of the gifts to be realized. All do not have spiritual gifts (12:27-31). g. All may show love, which is defined (13:1-8). h. Spiritual gifts will cease when the perfect (complete) will of God is revealed (13:9-13). i. Instructions concerning the use and abuse of spiritual gifts (14:1-40). The purpose of the gifts was to edify the church (14:1-19). Rules for using the spiritual gifts (14:20-33). In the public teaching program of the church women are to be silent (14:34-36). All things in public worship are to be done decently and in order (14:37-40). 5. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead (15:1-58). a. Jesus' resurrection proves he is the son of God, and is himself God (15:1-11). b. Testimony concerning the resurrection by the apostles of Jesus and other first century saints (15:12-19). c. The need for resurrection and how it is connected with final salvation and the Lordship of Jesus (15:20-29). d. Urgent appeal to accept the revelation made through apostles and prophets (15:30-34). e. A discussion of how the dead are raised (15:35-58). III. Messages, greetings and final blessing (16:1-24). A. Exhortation to give money to the church upon the first day of every week (16:1-2). 1. In the case of Corinth, some of the money would be carried to Judea to relieve the poor (16:3-8). B. Instructions and advise (16:4-14). C. Greetings and salutation (16:15-24).
Bible InfoNet Home Page