BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 1-2

Summary of passage:  Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians:  Paul thanks God for them because through Jesus the Corinthians have been enriched in every way.  They do not lack any spiritual gifts and so will be blameless before the Lord.  However, there are divisions in the church as some are following certain church leaders (Apollos, Peter, and even Paul) instead of Christ.  Paul explains he is merely preaching what Christ did not what anyone else did.  Christ died for their sins not any of these other leaders.

The message of the cross is the power of God.  Christ is the power and wisdom of God.  Man is foolish for man did not know God (which God allowed).  The foolishness of God (which is non-existent) is wider than man’s wisdom.  The weakness of God (which is non-existent) is stronger than man’s strength.  God is that much higher than man.

God chose those deemed foolish by human standards (we’re all foolish in comparison to God) to shame the wise and the weak to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly so that no one will boast before him.  It is because of God that we are in Jesus who had become for us wisdom from God.  So if you boast boast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 2:  Paul says he came to the people in weakness and fear.  Paul’s message of wise and persuasive words were from the Spirit’s power so your faith could rest on God’s power.

Now, they speak of God’s secret wisdom (Jesus).  One that has been destined since before time began.  God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.  No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God so we have received the Spirit of God so that we man understand God’s gift (Jesus and grace).  This is the message Paul speaks.

The man without the Spirit does not understand things that come from the Spirit of God. The spiritual man is not subject to man’s judgments.  But we have the mind of Christ.

Questions:

3a)  Utmost confidence.  They have been called to be holy, enriched through Jesus in every way–in speaking and knowledge–with every spiritual gift.  They will remain strong to the end and blameless.

b)  Quarrels and divisions amongst them.  Some are following particular disciples (Paul, Peter, Apollos, etc) instead of Jesus.

c)  Christ ultimately but following Christ.  Accepting and living by and of the Holy Spirit, which encompasses the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-26:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Here, peace especially.

Note:  Passage reference should be Galatians 5:22-26, not Galatians 6:22-26 which doesn’t exist.

4a)  The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.  God has made foolish man’s wisdom when man did not know Him.  God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise–to prove they were foolish.  The Spirit–or God–that indwells in man is what makes him wise.  Otherwise, he’s a fool.

b)  Through the Holy Spirit that indwells man.

c)  Paul came in weakness and fear with much trembling but God gave him the message in wise and persuasive words.  We can only understand God through God’s Spirit so He gives us words taught by the Spirit.

5a)  Pride can blind a man–even a man who has the Spirit within.  Just because we have the Spirit doesn’t mean the Spirit always speaks.  Man and his free will can and often does usurp God and God’s wisdom.  Man boasts before God and that is why God chose the lowly.  But even the lowly is at danger of boasting.

When man gets on his high horse and pontificates that he knows better than God, then divisions arise.  Paul argues that Christ is not divided.  The message (God’s word) is the same.  It does not change.  It is man’s interpretation of God’s words that causes divisions.  But if we (man) allow the Spirit to speak spiritual truths then unity can and will occur.

b)  If we truly understand the message of the cross and the power of salvation through it; that we all have a new life (one born out of Jesus), then divisions should not exist.  Unity should prevail since this is the ultimate message of God and His word.  If we live like Jesus, the pettiness of these squabbles should be apparent.

Alas, they are not.  We take for granted what Jesus has done for us on the cross and we do let pride hinder God’s wisdom, which makes man act foolish.

Conclusions:  Great eye-opening lesson on God’s wisdom versus man’s.  We often think we are wise when so often we are foolish because we are not acting out of the Spirit.  We are blind to the Spirit within due to pride and every other fault/sin of mankind.

Since I was recently church-shopping again I noticed just how many different denominations are out there nowadays.  Most of the beliefs were similar but everyone tweaked it just a bit.  I like this message of unity.  The overarching message is this:  Christ died for our sins.  If you accept Christ, you will be like Christ with an indwelt Holy Spirit and you will be saved. Everything else (all the other variances on the Bible) is a very distant second.

If we can remember the main message and act out of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, discord and divisions should never exist within the Church.  Of course, this is not reality.  But it’s what Paul’s trying to plead here.

Map of Corinth:  Shows just how strategic Corinth was in relation to the Roman World.

http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CNM21-Pauls3rdJourney.gif

Corinth was second only to Rome with a population of 700,000 in Paul’s time and it was known as a town of sinners much like Las Vegas is today.

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