Summary of 1 Corinthians 16:
Give to God’s people (Jerusalem). Paul says he will try to come to them in person and if Timothy comes make him welcome and have nothing to fear for he is doing the work of the Lord. Apollos will come shortly as well.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous and strong. Do everything in love.
Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (bearers of the letter we’re reading) should be recognized for their service.
Grace and love to all.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 5: 1 Corinthians 16
12) Personal Question. My answer: Truthfully, not a whole lot here besides how Paul let Timothy go where God led him. Where God leads, you follow.
13) Personal Question. My answer: None, right now. I always need help from God to stand firm.
14) Personal Question. My answer: Give more money to charity.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 5: 1 Corinthians 16
I love the idea of giving as you are led and not to feel pressured to give. I personally didn’t get much out of the questions. I feel unhelpful to you all today.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 5: 1 Corinthians 16
Paul refers to a collection he gathered for the saints in Jerusalem. In several other passages it speaks of this effort among many different churches to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30, 24:17, Romans 15: 26, 2 Corinthians 8:13, 9:9-12).
Helping the Poor According to the Bible
- Benevolence distribution is a potential source of conflict and division, and it is the job of deacons to prevent such problems by their wise, Spirit-led actions (Acts 6:1-7).
- The church has an obligation to help the truly needy (James 1:27).
- The church must discern who the truly needy are (1 Timothy 5:3).
- If one can work to support himself, he is not truly needy and must provide for his own needs (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:11).
- If one can be supported by their family, he is not truly needy and should not be supported by the church (1 Timothy 5:3-4).
- Those who are supported by the church must make some return to the church body (1 Timothy 5:5, 5:10).
- It is right for the church to examine moral conduct before giving support (1 Timothy 5:9-13).
- The support of the church should be for the most basic necessities of living (1 Timothy 6:8).
The Corinthians were commanded to take an offering, but not every Christian was commanded to individually give. They had to give as God put it on their heart to give.
Every Christian should be a giver, because God is a giver (John 3:16).
You should seek God about your gift at home, and prepare it at home. This makes one seek the Lord more in their giving, and helps them resist any manipulation to give.
Believers who have more should give more. We should give proportionately; that is, if you give $10 a week when you make $100 a week, you should give more money when you make more money.
Paul didn’t want to manipulate anyone! He wanted giving from the heart, as each heart heard from God, and not in response to a high-pressure fund-raising program.
Paul calls giving a charis – a grace, a gift freely given. Paul calls it a grace, “because it flowed from their free love towards their poor brethren… or because their sense of the free love and grace of God to them, was that which moved them to that charitable act.” (Poole)
Paul leaves all his plans up to the will of the Lord. He planned to go through the region of Macedonia, visiting Corinth. But things happened differently than he planned. Instead, Paul made a soon, painful visit to Corinth to personally confront them in some areas.
Paul asks the Corinthian Christians to respect Timothy when he comes.
This echoes Paul’s later words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12. Apparently, Timothy suffered from both a lack of confidence and a lack of respect. It was important for God’s people to not take advantage of this in Timothy, and it was important for Timothy to never give others reason to despise him.
Wherever Timothy was, he was on his way to see Paul, and would probably stop in Corinth on the way.
Christians are to be like strong soldiers, on guard, watching for their Lord’s return.
Paul warned Christians to stand fast in their liberty in Jesus (Galatians 5:1), in Christian unity (Philippians 1:27), in the Lord Himself (Philippians 4:1), and in the teaching of the apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
Fun Fact: This is the only place in the New Testament where the word translated be brave is used (andrizomai). Literally, it means, “to act like a man.” Be brave in the King James Version is quit you like men. That is a good, accurate translation of the idea behind the ancient Greek word.
These were the three men who brought the questions of the Corinthian Christians to Paul. As Paul sends them back with this letter, Paul asked that they be received as devoted servants of the Lord.
Stephanas was the head of the household, and Fortunatus and Achaicus were two household slaves of his, who accompanied him on his visit to Paul. Fortunatus and Achaicus were common names for slaves or freedmen (former slaves).
Jewish custom and early church tradition indicate that the holy kiss was a common greeting in that culture.
Paul had a secretary write the letters as he dictated them. Often he added a personal note at the end in his own handwriting
Marana tha is Aramaic for O Lord, come! This was one of the earliest words of the Christian vocabulary.
Paul’s final word (before the Amen) is Jesus. He has emphasized Jesus from beginning to end in this letter.
Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58:
Pauld answers the question about what kind of body the raised dead will have. God gives us a body. Paul says there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. All flesh is not the same. God gives each seed its own body. The body on earth is perishable. It will be raised imperishable. It is in dishonor but raised in glory. It is weak but will be powerful. It is natural but will be spiritual. We will bear the likeness of a man from Heaven when resurrected.
The body will be changed as flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Death will end when the mortal become immortal. Jesus will conquer death!
Stand firm and allow nothing to move you. Do the work of the Lord because you know it is not in vain.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
9) Imperishable, glory, power, spiritual, the bodies will be changed.
10) Personal Question. My answer: His ultimate plan is for us to be with Him, which is why we are given new bodies because flesh and blood cannot be with God. God has a plan, as always.
11) Personal Question. My answer: I’m pretty sure we’ve answered this one before. Gives me faith and hope to fight the daily fight.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
It’s cool to think how our bodies will appear in the afterlife.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
God raises the dead is the simple answer here, but Paul elaborates.
“Foolish one” is the correct translation here.
Paul says our bodies are like “seeds” which “grow” into resurrection bodies. When you bury the body of a believer, you are “sowing” a “seed” that will come out of the earth as a resurrection body.
Even though our resurrection bodies come from our present bodies, we should not expect that they will be the same bodies or just “improved” bodies.
There are all different kinds of “bodies” in God’s creation, including celestial bodies. Our resurrection body will be a heavenly (celestial) body, suited for life in heaven, not only life on this earth.
While our present bodies are adapted for the environment of time and earth, our resurrection bodies will be adapted for the environment of eternity and heaven.
Our resurrection body will be glorious!
“Three glimpses of the body’s glory were seen, in Moses’ face, in Christ’s transfiguration, and in Stephen’s countenance.” (Trapp)
The first perfect man, Adam, gave us one kind of body. The second perfect man, Jesus the last Adam, can give us another kind of body. He is a life-giving spirit.
Since sleep is a softer way of describing the death of a believer, Paul tells us that not all Christians will die, but there will be a “final generation” who will be transformed into resurrection bodies at the return of Jesus before they ever face death.
The remarkable, instant gathering of Christians unto Jesus in the clouds has been called the rapture, after the Latin word for caught up in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.
There will come a day when in God’s eternal plan, He gives those dead in the Lord their resurrection bodies, and then in an instant He gathers all His people to meet Jesus in the air. All the redeemed on the earth at that time will rise up to meet the Lord in the clouds, and will receive their resurrection bodies.
Either the present dead in Christ are with the Lord in a spiritual body, awaiting their final resurrection body; or because of the nature of timeless eternity, they have received their resurrection bodies already because they live in the eternal “now.”
The Last Trumpet
Scholars disagree on what is the last trumpet.
Those who believe that Jesus gathers His people after He has poured out His wrath on a Jesus-rejecting world sometimes argue that it is the last trumpet of judgment, cited in Revelation 11:15-19.
- The last trumpet may not refer to the last trumpet of the seven trumpets of Revelation at all, but simply refer to the last trumpet believers hear on this earth.
- This last trumpet may be connected with the trumpet of God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, but not with the trumpets of angels in Revelation 11. A distinction may be made between the trumpet of an angel and the trumpet of God. Chuck Smith points to a grammatical construction that would be different if this trumpet were the trumpet of Revelation 11.
- Ironside says that the last trumpet was a figure of speech that came from the Roman military, when they broke camp. The first trumpet meant, “strike the tents and prepare to leave”; the second trumpet meant, “fall into line”; the third and last trumpet meant “march away.” This last trumpet describes the Christian’s “marching orders” at the rapture of the Church.
Death is defeated by resurrection. Death has no power over the person found in Jesus Christ.
The principle of resurrection also proves that we are not under the law any longer. We are no longer subject to the penalty of the law (death), and we are set free from sin. Sin is the ultimate cause of death (Romans 6:23, Genesis 2:17), and the result can’t be defeated unless the cause is defeated.
Paul brilliantly links together the ideas of sin, death, and our identification with Jesus’ death and resurrection in Romans 6:1-14.
The defeat of death is only possible for those who live through our Lord Jesus Christ. For others, there is resurrection and eternal life, but unto damnation. If you are an unbeliever, death is not your friend; it is your enemy.
Because we know death is defeated and we have an eternal, resurrected destiny with Jesus Christ, we should stand firm and unshakable all the more for Him right now. We should work hard in everything now, working for the Lord, because right now counts forever!
Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:12-34:
Some Corinthians did not believe in the resurrection of the dead which means their preaching is useless and faithless if so. They would be a false witness. Faith is futile and you are still in sin.
All die but Christ will make them alive again. First Christ then those who belong to him. End will come when Jesus has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. He will reign until he destroys his enemy and death. God will be all in all when everything (except God) is under him and then the Son will be made subject to Him.
Paul says if there is no resurrection then everything is in vain. He dies every day. Don’t be misled by those ignorant of God.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 3: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34
6) According to Paul, if Christ has not been raised then the following five things would be true.
Christian preaching is empty and so in anyone’s faith because the object of the faith, Christ, is not whom He said He was.
- The apostles are liars for testifying to a resurrection that did not occur.
- No forgiveness has been granted for anybody’s sin.
- Those who have died believing in Christ have no hope.
- If hope in Christ is limited to this life, Christians are to be pitied above all people.
There Is No Meaning For Humanity If Christ Is Not Risen
Without the resurrection, Christianity has no meaning for humanity – its founder would have been a liar and a failure, and its followers would have no hope. Thus the importance of the resurrection to Christian faith cannot be overestimated.
7) Personal Question. My answer: Jesus died for my sin and eternal life.
8 ) Personal Question. My answer: Relatives, strangers I encounter.
Conclusion BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 3: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34
A hugely important passage in the Bible of Paul explaining why if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, our faith would be meaningless.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 3: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34:
The Corinthian Christians did not deny Jesus’ resurrection; they denied our resurrection. They were influenced either by Greek philosophy (which considered the resurrection undesirable, thinking the state of “pure spirit” superior), or by the thinking of the Sadducees (which thought the world beyond to be just wishful thinking). The bottom line is that the Corinthian Christians believed we lived forever, but not in resurrected bodies.
ii. Remember that resurrection is not merely life after death; it is the continuation of life after death in glorified bodies, which are our present bodies in a glorified state.
If there is no resurrection, then Jesus is not risen, and Paul and the other apostles have preached in vain and are liars. There is no real, resurrected Jesus whom they serve.
Faith is futile and you are still in sin.
Put another way:
- If there is no principle of resurrection, then Jesus did not rise from the dead.
- If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then death has power over Him and defeated Him.
- If death has power over Jesus, He is not God.
- If Jesus is not God, He cannot offer a complete sacrifice for sins.
- If Jesus cannot offer a complete sacrifice for sins, our sins are not completely paid for before God.
- If my sins are not completely paid for before God, then I am still in my sins.
- Therefore, if Jesus is not risen, He is unable to save.
Those who have already died are dead forever as well.
It is true that being a Christian solves many problems; but it also brings many others. Paul, (like the preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes) saw little ultimate value in life if there is only this life to live.
The divinity of Jesus rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 1:4).
The sovereignty of Jesus rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 14:9).
Our justification rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25).
Our regeneration rests on the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3).
Our ultimate resurrection rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 8:11).
Firstfruits is the ancient Greek word aparche. In the Septuagint, this word is used for the offering of firstfruits and in secular usage the word was used for an entrance fee.
Jesus was the firstfruits of our resurrection in both senses. In the Old Testament, the offering of firstfruits brought one sheaf of grain to represent and anticipate the rest of the harvest (Leviticus 23:9-14). The resurrection of Jesus represents our resurrection, because if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:5). The resurrection of Jesus also anticipates our resurrection, because we will be raised with a body like His. “As in the firstfruits offered to God, the Jews were assured of God’s blessing on the whole harvest; so by the resurrection of Christ, our resurrection is insured.” (Trapp)
The Feast of Firstfruits was observed on the day after the Sabbath following Passover (Leviticus 23:9-14). Significantly, Jesus rose from the dead on the exact day of the Feast of Firstfruits, the day after the Sabbath following the Passover.
The offering at the Feast of Firstfruits was a bloodless grain offering (Leviticus 2). No atoning sacrifice was necessary, because the Passover lamb had just been sacrificed. This corresponds perfectly with the resurrection of Jesus, because His death ended the need for sacrifice, having provided a perfect and complete atonement.
The resurrection of Jesus is also the firstfruits of our resurrection in the sense that He is our “entrance fee” to resurrection. Jesus paid our admission to the resurrection!
Paul communicates the same ideas found in Romans 5:12-21. Adam (by man) is one “head” of the human race, and all mankind was brought under death by Adam. The second Adam, Jesus Christ (by Man) is the other head of the human race, and Jesus brings resurrection to all that are “under” His headship.
In Ephesians 1:10, Paul reveals God’s eternal purpose in history: that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him. Paul wrote of the “gathering together” of all things in Jesus, or of the “summing up” of all things in Him. Here, in 1 Corinthians, he looks forward to the time when all things are resolved in Jesus Christ and He presents it all to God the Father, giving glory to the God who authored this eternal plan of the ages.
Paul refers to the one-thousand-year reign of Jesus described in Revelation 20:1-6. After that time, there will be a final, Satan inspired rebellion (Revelation 20:7-10), which Jesus will crush and finally and forever put all enemies under His feet.
The expression under His feet is an Old Testament “figure for total conquest.” (Mare)
Simply put, God the Father will always be God the Father, and God the Son will always be God the Son, and for all eternity they will continue to relate to each other as Father and Son.
What was being baptized for the dead? It is a mysterious passage, and there have been more than thirty different attempts to interpret it.
How can we die daily? Spurgeon gives seven steps to dying daily in a sermon titled Dying Daily.
- Every day carefully consider the certainty of death.
- By faith put your soul through the whole process of death.
- Hold this world with a loose hand.
- Every day seriously test your hope and experience.
- Come every day, just as you did at conversion, to the cross of Jesus, as a poor guilty sinner.
- Live in such a manner that you would not be ashamed to die at any moment.
- Have all your affairs in order so that you are ready to die.
The book of Acts does not record an occasion when Paul faced wild animals in an arena. It may simply be unrecorded, or Paul may mean “beasts” figuratively, in reference to his violent and wild human opponents (as he faced at Ephesus in Acts 19:21-41).
Paul’s third proof for the resurrection in this section is also compelling. If there is no resurrection, then there is no future judgment to consider.
By keeping evil company, the Corinthian Christians were being conformed to this world, and they needed to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Christians must let the Word of God shape their thinking, not the evil company of this world.
This is not a quotation from the Old Testament, or even from the words of Jesus. Paul quotes from an ancient, secular comedy play, Thais, written by Menander. Though he was a pagan, Menander told the truth at this point, and Paul (more properly, the Holy Spirit) had no problem quoting a pagan who did tell the truth at a particular point.
For Christians to resist God’s process of transformation by the renewing of our minds is to neglect the knowledge of God. To remain willfully ignorant of the truth is sin.
Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11:
Paul reminds the Corinthians about the gospel: Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and then raised on the third day. He appeared to Peter, the Twelve, 500 brothers, James, the apostles, and to Paul. By the grace of God Paul was saved.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11:
3a) Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and then raised on the third day. He appeared to Peter, the Twelve, 500 brothers, James, the apostles, and to Paul.
b) If Jesus doesn’t rise from the dead, then we won’t rise from the dead at Christ’s Second Coming. The Resurrection is the subject of every sermon we find in the Book of Acts. (Paul actually answers this very question in the next section (1 Corinthians 15:12-19), so unsure why we are answering it here). If Christ did not rise, then Christianity is a false belief. Our preaching is useless and so is our faith. Worse, we are found to be false witnesses about God. We would still be in our sins and lost forever.
4) This, in part, speaks to the redeeming work of Christ in our lives.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Many ways. You can point to historical records of the time. The truths in the Bible. How history supports Christ’s resurrection.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Last go around in 2012, we did 1 Corinthians 15-16 in one day.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
The word gospel means “good news.” As the word was used in ancient times, it didn’t have to describe the message of salvation in Jesus Christ; it could describe any good news. But the best news ever is that we can be saved from the punishment we deserve from God because of what Jesus did for us.
The Corinthian Christians first received the gospel. The message of the gospel must first be believed and embraced.
You have to receive, stand, and hold fast to the Gospel: past, present, and future. You never stop working for God.
Paul did not make up this gospel. He received it (and not from man, but from Jesus Christ, according to Galatians 1:11-12), and Paul delivered it
At the core of the gospel are things that happened – actual, real, historical events. The gospel isn’t a matter of religious opinions, platitudes, or fairy tales; it is about real historical events.
The victim’s back was first torn open by scourging. As he hung on the cross, with each breath, the painful wounds on the back scraped against the rough wood of the upright beam.
When the nail was driven through the wrists, it severed the large median nerve. This produced excruciating bolts of pain in both arms, and resulted in a claw-like grip in the victim’s hands.
Beyond the excruciating pain, the major effect of crucifixion was inhibiting normal breathing. The weight of the body pulled down on the arms and shoulders and hindered exhalation. The lack of adequate respiration resulted in severe muscle cramps, which hindered breathing even further. To get a good breath, one had to push against the feet, and flex the elbows, pulling from the shoulders. Putting the weight of the body on the feet produced searing pain, and flexing the elbows twisted the hands hanging on the nails. Lifting the body for a breath also painfully scraped the back against the rough wooden post.
“Not uncommonly, insects would light upon or burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears, and nose of the dying and helpless victim, and birds of prey would tear at these sites. Moreover, it was customary to leave the corpse on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals.” (Edwards)
Death was from acute shock from blood loss, being too exhausted to breathe any longer; dehydration, stress-induced heart attack, or congestive heart failure leading to a cardiac rupture. If the victim did not die quickly enough, the legs were broken, and the victim was soon unable to breathe.
We get our English word excruciating from the Roman word “out of the cross.”
Why Does the Death of Jesus Matter?
God the Father laid upon God the Son all the guilt and wrath our sin deserved, and Jesus bore it in Himself perfectly, totally satisfying the wrath of God in our place.
As horrible as the physical suffering of Jesus was, this spiritual suffering – the act of being judged for sin in our place – was what Jesus really dreaded about the cross. This was the cup – the cup of God’s righteous wrath – that He trembled at drinking (Luke 22:39-46, Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15). On the cross Jesus became, as it were, an enemy of God, who was judged and forced to drink the cup of the Father’s fury so we would not have to drink that cup.
Isaiah 53:3-5 puts it powerfully: He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
The burial of Jesus is positive proof that He really died, because you don’t bury someone unless they are really dead, and Jesus’ death was confirmed at the cross before He was taken down to be buried (John 19:31-37).
Jesus’ burial is also important because it fulfilled the Scriptures which declared, And they made His grave with the wicked; but with the rich at His death (Isaiah 53:9). Jesus was buried in the tomb of a rich man (Matthew 27:57-60).
The gospel is that Jesus took our punishment for sin on the cross, and remained a perfect Savior through the whole ordeal – proved by His resurrection. Jesus conquered sin, which is what the resurrection represents.
Eye-Witnesses To Jesus’ Resurrection
Though no one saw the actual resurrection of Jesus, many people saw the resurrected Jesus. Paul now calls forth these witnesses to the resurrection, to establish beyond all controversy that Jesus was raised from the dead in a resurrection body.
Five hundred brethren isn’t detailed in the gospels, but is suggested by Matthew 28:10 and 28:16-17. During the time after His resurrection, but before His Ascension, Jesus met with His followers on many different occasions.
James, the brother of Jesus, who is seen as a prominent leader in the church in Acts 15. Significantly, in the gospels, Jesus’ brothers are hostile to Him and His mission (John 7:3-5). Yet in the first chapter of Acts, Jesus’ brothers are among the followers of Jesus (Acts 1:14). What happened to change them? Certainly, this meeting of the resurrected Jesus with His brother James had some influence.
John 20:26-31, John 21:1-25, Matthew 28:16-20, and Luke 24:44-49. mentions many meetings that are not described in the gospels. These meetings were important in proving to the disciples that Jesus was who He said He was. At these meetings He ate with them, comforted them, commanded them to preach the gospel, and told them to wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit after His ascension.
The changed character of the apostles, and their willingness to die for the testimony of the resurrection, eliminate fraud as an explanation of the empty tomb.
Why didn’t Paul mention the appearances of Jesus to the women at the tomb as evidence of Jesus’ resurrection? Probably because in that day a woman’s testimony was not received in law courts. It was true, and it was good evidence for the apostles at that time, but the world of that day would reject that testimony, because it came from women.
Paul regarded himself as the least of the apostles because he persecuted the church of God. Paul always remembered how he had sinned against Jesus’ church. He knew that he was forgiven; yet he remembered his sin.
Paul felt – rightly so – that his sins were worse because he was responsible for the death, imprisonment, and suffering of Christians, whom he persecuted before his life was changed by Jesus (Acts 8:3, Acts 9:1-2, Galatians 1:13, Philippians 3:6, and 1 Timothy 1:15).
Saving and Changing Grace
The grace that saves us also changes us. Grace changed Paul. You can’t receive the grace of God without being changed by it. The changes don’t come all at once, and the changes are not complete until we pass to the next life, but we are indeed changed.
We work in a partnership with God, not because He needs us, but because He wants us to share in His work. Paul understood this principle well, writing, “for we are God’s fellow workers” in 1 Corinthians 3:9.
Is God supposed to do it or am I supposed to do it? The answer is, “Yes!” God does it, and we do it. Trust God, rely on Him, and then get to work and work as hard as you can! That is how we see the work of God accomplished.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Summary of 1 Corinthians 12:
Gifts given by the Spirit are different for everyone and to be used for the common good. All determined by God.
The body is made up of many parts but all forming one body. Just like mankind. We have many gifts but all of one Spirit. All parts depend on each other in order to properly function. We are all the body of Christ and have a part to play.
Summary of 1 Corinthians 13:
One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible. Paul describes love as indispensable. It must be present in everything we do or it is all for nothing. Love is a verb. It shows action. It is patient, kind, protects, trusts, and perseveres. It does not envy, boast, is proud or rude, or a score-keeper.
Love never fails and is eternal. In Heaven, faith and hope fall away. But love remains.
Summary of 1 Corinthians 14:
Paul says prophecy is better than speaking in tongues because prophecy can be understood by others and helps other. He who speaks in tongues only helps himself. Speak clearly and try to excel in gifts that build up the church and not just yourself.
If you do speak in tongues, pray you may interpret it for the benefit of others.
Prophecy helps the unbeliever for if an unbeliever heard you speaking in tongues he would think you are nuts! But an unbeliever can understand prophecy and will be convinced he is a sinner and repent and turn to God.
Worship should be for the strengthening of the church. An interpreter must be present when speaking in tongues. Prophecy should be instructional and encouraging. Women should not speak in the realm of church authority. This is the word of God.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 23, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 12-14
14) To strengthen the church, to be built up, and equipped as a church family. To focus on God and the truth, not individuals. Spiritual gifts should not be a distraction.
15) So that people can learn and be encourged. Confusion is not from God.
16) Personal Question. My answer: No clue, to be honest. We all like to think we are doing good things in this world and helping others, but are you really? Encouraging others, supporting others, listening to others, offering advice when asked, and just being there are concrete ways to build others up.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 23, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 12-14
Love this part of the Bible. So beautiful and elegant. There are powerful words here, about spiritual gifts, when to use spiritual gifts and their purpose, and of course, how everything is meaningless without love. When we come together at a church, it’s to strengthen us, and it’s not about us.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 23, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 12-14
1 Corinthians 12:
The word “gifts” is added by the translators. Literally, Paul now addresses spirituals, after discussing all the areas of Corinthian carnality. But adding gifts is justified by the context.
Clarke defines spiritual gifts as “Gracious endowments, leading to miraculous results… these all came by the extraordinary influences of the Holy Spirit.”
Paul, in his letters, names three things he does not want Christians to be ignorant of:
- Don’t be ignorant of God’s plan for Israel (Romans 11:25).
- Don’t be ignorant of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1).
- Don’t be ignorant about the Second Coming of Jesus and the eternal state (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Paul lists nine spiritual gifts in the following verses, and more in other places. There is only one Giver, who works through the diverse gifts.
The gifts are diverse, the ministries are different, and the activities are diverse. But it is all the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God doing the work through the gifts, the ministries, and the activities.
Ministries probably has in mind the different “gifted offices” in the church, such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, as Paul also described in Ephesians 4. Paul’s point is clear: though there are different offices, it is the same Lord granting the offices and directing the service.
The Greek word for activities is energemata, where we get our words energy, energetic, and energize from. It is a word of active, miraculous power. Activities is the same word as working in 1 Corinthians 12:10 (the working of miracles). Differences of activities means that God displays and pours out His miraculous power in different ways, but it is always the same God doing the work.
The gifts are the work of the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus, and Father God.
The Holy Spirit is always present in and among Christians. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, He may abide with you forever (John 14:16). However, at some times the Spirit’s presence is more apparent than at other times.
The purpose of the manifestation of the Spirit is to benefit the whole church family, not just a particular individual.
- This is the unique ability to speak forth the wisdom of God, especially in an important situation, as shown in Stephen (Acts 7) and Paul (Acts 23).
- The unique ability to declare knowledge that could only be revealed supernaturally, as shown in Jesus (Matthew 17:24-27) or Paul (Acts 27:10, 27:23-26).
- The gift of faith is the unique ability to trust God against all circumstances, as Peter did when he walked out of the boat onto the water (Matthew 14:22-33).
- Gift of healing — God’s healing power
- Gift of miracles — Literally dynameis, or “acts of power.” This describes when the Holy Spirit chooses to “override” the laws of nature (as a pilot might use manual controls), working in or through an available person.
- Prophecy — The telling-forth of God’s message in a particular situation, always in accord with His Word and His current work.
- Discerning of spirits — The ability to tell the difference between true and false doctrine, and between what is of the Holy Spirit and what isn’t (Acts 8:18-23 and 16:16-18).
- The gift of tongues is a personal language of prayer given by God, whereby the believer can communicate with God beyond the limits of knowledge and understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15).
- The gift of the interpretation of tongues: This gift allows the gift of tongues to be of benefit for those other than the speaker, as they are able to hear and agree with the tongue-speaker’s words to God.
Satan appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He deceives with a false, tempting message (Genesis 2:16-3:5). There can be lying spirits in the mouths of prophets (1 Kings 22:21-23 and 2 Chronicles 18:20-22). Satan can speak right after God speaks (Matthew 16:23). Sometimes people who seem to say the right things are really from the devil (Acts 13:6-12 and 16:16-18). It is important to test the word of anyone who claims to speak from God (1 John 4:1-3). Satan can work deceiving miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 and Revelation 13:11-14). The devil will try to infiltrate the church with false teachers (Jude 4 and 2 Peter 2:1-2).
Tongues have an important place in the devotional life of the believer, but a small place in the corporate life of the church (1 Corinthians 14:18-19), especially in “public” meetings (1 Corinthians 14:23).
When tongues are practiced in the corporate life of the church, it is to be carefully controlled, and never without an interpretation given by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:27-28).
The ability to pray in an unknown tongue is not a gift given to every believer (1 Corinthians 12:20).
Gifts are given by God for His will.
Paul uses the brilliant illustration of the human body to relate the working of the community of Christians. Even as every cell in a human body is linked by a common root (a common DNA code), yet the parts of our body (members) look different, are treated differently, work differently, and accomplish different purposes.
The body must have different parts and gifts, or it would not work together effectively as a body.
The Corinthian Christians should care for one another because they are all part of the same body.
Helps: This has in mind those who help, or assist, others in doing the work of the Lord.
Though the Holy Spirit gives the gifts, it is good and proper for us to desire them, and to ask for them, all in submission to the plan of God.
Paul will explain the more excellent way in 1 Corinthians 13, with a focus on love, not the gifts themselves.
1 Corinthians 13:
Gifts are meaningless without love.
In Paul’s day, many Jews believed angels had their own language, and by the Spirit, one could speak it.
Apparently, there are angelic languages men can speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Paul uses the ancient Greek word agape. The ancient Greeks had four different words we could translate love. It is important to understand the difference between the words, and why the apostle Paul chose the Greek word agape here.
Eros was one word for love. It described erotic love. It refers to sexual love.
Storge was the second word for love. It refers to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child, or between family members in general.
Philia is the third word for love. It speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. It might be described as the highest love of which man, without God’s help, is capable of.
Agape is the fourth word for love. It is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting repayment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given. It gives because it loves; it does not love in order to receive. According to Alan Redpath, we get our English word agony from agape. “It means the actual absorption of our being in one great passion.” (Redpath) Strictly speaking, agape can’t be defined as “God’s love,” because men are said to agape sin and the world (John 3:19 and 1 John 2:15). But it can be defined as a sacrificial, giving, absorbing kind of love. The word has little to do with emotion; it has much to do with self-denial for the sake of another.
We can read this chapter and think that Paul is saying that if we are unfriendly, then our lives mean nothing. But agape isn’t really friendliness; it is self-denial for the sake of another.
Many Christians believe the Christian life is all about sacrifice – sacrificing your money, your life, for the cause of Jesus Christ. Sacrifice is important, but without love, life is useless.
At the beginning, we see love is described by action words, not by lofty concepts. Paul is not writing about how love feels, he is writing about how it can be seen in action. True love is always demonstrated by action.
Eight things love is not: not envious, not proud, not arrogant, not rude, not cliquish, not touchy, not suspicious, not happy with evil.
Moses was kept from the Promised Land because he became provoked at the people of Israel (Numbers 20:2-11).
Four more things love is: strong, believing, hopeful, and enduring. Spurgeon calls these four virtues love’s four sweet companions.
We could replace the word love with the name Jesus and the description would make perfect sense. We can easily say, Jesus suffers long and is kind; Jesus does not envy… and make it through the whole chapter.
Virtually all commentators agree that which is perfect is fulfilled when we are in the eternal presence of the Perfect One, when we are with the Lord forever, either through the return of Christ or graduation to the eternal.
i. The ancient Greek word for perfect is telos. Considering the way the New Testament uses telos in other passages, it certainly seems to speak about the coming of Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:8, 15:24, James 5:11, Revelation 20:5, 20:7, 21:6, and 22:13).
Paul uses this term to describe complete, unhindered fellowship with God. 1 John 3:2 tells us when we get to heaven, we shall see Him as He is. There will be no more barriers to our relationship with God.
What makes heaven really heaven is the unhindered, unrestricted, presence of our Lord, and to know just as I also am known will be the greatest experience of our eternal existence.
It should all come back to faith, hope, and love. If it doesn’t, we need to receive God’s sense of priorities, and put our focus where it belongs.
Love is greatest because it will continue, even grow, in the eternal state. When we are in heaven, faith and hope will have fulfilled their purpose.
Love is also the greatest because it is an attribute of God (1 John 4:8), and faith and hope are not part of God’s character and personality
If you lose love, you lose everything.
1 Corinthians 14:
We must pursue love.
Gift of Tongues
With the gift of tongues, the speaker addresses God, not men. If we misunderstand this, we misunderstand Acts 2 and think the disciples preached to the crowd in tongues on the day of Pentecost. Instead, they spoke to God and the multi-national crowd overheard their praise to God.
In contrast to the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy is directed to men. It is God speaking supernaturally (often “naturally supernaturally”) through people to people. Edification is “building up.” Exhortation is encouragement. Comfort has the idea of not only consoling, but also strengthening.
Paul recognized the gift of tongues was valuable for himself, because in 1 Corinthians 14:18 he wrote I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all. But it was not valuable for him to speak to others with the gift of tongues.
Speaking in tongues at a meeting of the church benefits no one else; it is simply putting sounds into the air, not words and ideas into the minds and hearts of others.
Language itself is a gift from God. We can communicate with language because we are made in the image of God.
The goal must be mutual benefit at church meetings. If there must be tongues, there must be interpretation, so there can be edification.
Speaking in tongues communicates with God on a spiritual level, passing by our understanding.
In the Isaiah 28 passage, tongues were a sign of judgment upon the Israelites.
Paul sees the gathering of the church as a time when people come to participate and to give to one another, not merely to passively receive.
The goal of coming together as a church is not to be entertained, nor even to be “pleased” with a “blessing.” We gather for edification, for the spiritual building up we need to live lives that glorify Jesus Christ outside the walls of the church. As Paul said in Ephesians 4:12, the goal is the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Our Christian lives are lived on the outside, and we come to be strengthened, built up, and equipped when we come together as a church family.
Tongues in a church meeting are to be carefully regulated. If you must speak in tongues at your church meetings, do not do much of it.
Paul believes prophecy should be regulated. The gifts of the Spirit are never to be made the focus of congregational life. Worship and the Word are the focus, and the gifts flow under God’s direction around the focus of worship and the Word.
In the ancient world, just as in some modern cultures, women and men sat in different groups at church. Among the Christians in Corinth, there seems to have been the problem of women chattering or disrupting the meetings with questions.
When you come together as a church, it is far better to be a blessing to someone else; therefore, prophecy is much more useful than tongues.
God is a God of order and peace, and He wants order when the church comes together. When the gifts of the Spirit are given an unscriptural focus, it discredits the true work of the Holy Spirit, and often leads people to deny the gifts because they see unbiblical excess.