Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:1-17:
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.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 21, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 1:1-17
3a) Through Jesus the Corinthians have been given grace and enriched in every way, such as speaking and knowledge. They do not lack any spiritual gifts, and they are made strong to the end so that they will be blameless before the Lord. God is faithful
b) Personal Question. My answer: Made strong because otherwise, I wouldn’t make it every day.
4a) Disagreement amongst members of the church and divisions. Some are following particular disciples (Paul, Peter, Apollos, etc) instead of Jesus. We are weaker when dividied and cannot get much done of the kingdom of God on our own. We spend all of our time arguing instead of acting (Congress is a great example). Only together can we grow in Christ.
5) You put all of your allegiance in a person instead of THE person of Jesus Christ. Christ saves; the messenger does not. You risk not being saved if you don’t understand the heart of the gospel.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 21, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 1:1-17
Last time through Acts, we did 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 in one day.
The idea of independence sometimes superceded unity in today’s world. Independence does not mean do life by yourself. You will be miserable that way. Stand firm, and together you are unstoppable.
Great Overview of 1 Corinthians Here:
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 21, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 1:1-17
The apostle Paul follows the normal pattern for writing a letter in ancient times. We write a letter by saying who the letter is to first, and we conclude with writing who the letter is from. In the ancient culture of Paul, a letter began with writing who the letter is from, and then stating who the letter is to.
No other letter in the New Testament reveals such a wide range of Paul’s emotions. At his own expense, he spends 18 months in Corinth, whereby he was thanked by being personally attacked by the Corinthians. He is angry, ashamed, and sad.
Paul established the church in Corinth, coming there after Athens and staying a year and a half (Acts 18).
Paul received reports from people in Chloe’s household about disturbances in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:11); and he may have received a delegation from Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:7) who brought him questions from the congregation (1 Corinthians 7:1).
Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to respond to these reports. But because of all the time Paul spent in Corinth, and all the letters he wrote them, we know more about the Christians at Corinth than we know about any other church in the New Testament.
Paul fearlessly declares his apostolic credentials. As is evident from 1 and 2 Corinthians, Paul’s standing and authority as an apostle were not appreciated among the Christians of Corinth.
This man Sosthenes is perhaps mentioned in Acts 18:17, as the head of a Corinthian synagogue who was beaten because he protected Paul.
- When Paul first came to Corinth, the ruler of the synagogue was a man named Crispus. Crispus believed on the Lord with all his household (Acts 18:8), and was saved.
- Now, a man named Sosthenes, who was beaten by the Roman officials, is in charge.
- It was common in the ancient world to dictate a letter to a scribe who would write it all down. Probably, Sosthenes was Paul’s scribe (or, more technically, his amanuensis).
the ancient Greek word for church (ekklesiai) was a non-religious word for an “assembly” of people, typically gathered together for a specific purpose. It was not a building, like we think of today.
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. The Romans destroyed Corinth in 146 B.C., but Julius Caesar rebuilt the city a hundred years later.
Many things made Corinth famous. Pottery and “Corinthian brass” (a mixture of gold, sliver and copper) from the city were world famous. Famous athletic contests known as the Isthmian Games – second only to the Olympian Games – were held at the temple of Poseidon in Corinth every two years. Athena, Apollo, Poseidon, Hermes, Isis, Serapis, and Asclepius, among others, had temples to their honor in Corinth. But most prominent was the worship of the Corinthian Aphrodite, who had more than 1,000 hierodouloi (female prostitutes and priestesses) in her service.
Corinth was a major city of business, especially because of its location. It was on a four-and-one-half mile-wide isthmus of land. “At its narrowest part the isthmus was crossed by a level track called the diolcus, over which vessels were dragged on rollers from one port to the other. This was in constant use, because seamen were thus enabled to avoid sailing round the dangerous promontory of Malea.” (Vincent) Sailors wanted to avoid the dangerous journey around Malea, which was indicated by two popular proverbs: “Let him who sails around Malea forget his home,” and “Let him who sails around Malea first make his will.” If the ship was too large to be dragged, the cargo was unloaded and loaded onto another ship on the other side of the isthmus.
The Corinthian people were also world known for partying, drunkenness, and loose sexual morals. The term Korinthiazomai was well known in the Roman Empire and it meant literally “to live like a Corinthian.” But everyone knew it really meant “to be sexually out of control.” “Aelian, the late Greek writer, tells us that if ever a Corinthian was shown upon the stage in a Greek play, he was shown drunk.” (Barclay)
Understanding the tension between the church and the city is important to understanding the letter of 1 Corinthians.
The Corinthians were called saints, not called to be saints.
Fun Fact: Grace and peace — Paul uses this exact phrase five other times in the New Testament.
Paul will later spend most of this letter rebuking sin and correcting error, yet he is still sincerely thankful for God’s work in the Corinthian Christians. Paul praises God for their positives, and expresses confidence that God will take care of their weak points,
In these first 10 verses, Paul refers to Jesus in every verse, for a total of 11 times. In this emphasis on Jesus, Paul promotes the sure cure for the problems of the Corinthians: getting your eyes off self and on Jesus.
Divisions is “schismata.” Although we derive our English word “schism” from this Greek word, it does not really mean a “party” or a “faction”; it properly means “tear or rend.” Paul’s plea is that they stop ripping each other apart, tearing up the body of Christ.
Chloe was a woman (probably a Christian) whose business interests caused her representatives to travel between Ephesus and Corinth. Paul writes this letter from Ephesus, where these people from Chloe’s household visited and told him about the condition of the the Corinthian church.
Though division is ungodly, it is not wrong to make distinctions between churches and ministers. God has made different churches and different ministries with different callings and characters, because the job of preaching the gospel is too big for any one group.
For Paul, preaching was more important than baptizing, though he was certainly not opposed to baptism. Yet, we can see by this that baptism is not essential to salvation.
Paul came to Corinth from Athens, where he contended with the great philosophers of the day in terms they could understand (Acts 17:16-34).
Paul makes it clear that it is possible to preach the gospel in a way that makes it of no effect. If one preaches the word with a reliance on wisdom of words, they can make the gospel of no effect.