BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 5: 1 Corinthians 7

Summary of passage:  Paul says it’s good for a man not to marry.  But if you do each man should have one wife and each wife one husband.  The husband should fulfills his marital duties to his wife and the wife to her husband.  The wife’s body does not belong to just herself but to her husband as well and vice versa.  Therefore, do not deprive each other except by mutual consent so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of control.  He wishes all to be unmarried but each has a different gift from God.

The unmarried and widows should stay unmarried but it’s better to marry than to burn with passion.

A wife must not separate from her husband but if she does she must not marry again or she must reconcile.  A husband must not divorce his wife.

Any one in a marriage with an unbeliever should stay married if the other is willing for you may be the one to save the other.  However, if the unbeliever leaves let them for they are not bound like believers are.  Also, the unbeliever is sanctified through the other and their children will be holy as well.

Every one should stay in the role God has called them.  Keeping God’s commands is what counts.

Paul wishes virgins would remain so and not marry for in marriage you will face many troubles in life.  Time is short and marriage divides a person’s attention from the Lord for you must please your spouse.  An unmarried person is only concerned with the Lord and can be devoted to Him in every way, undivided.

Paul clarifies that marriage is not a sin it’s just better to be single.

If a spouse dies, one can marry again but Paul advises against it so he or she can be devoted solely to the Lord.

Questions:

13a)  Each man should have one wife and each wife one husband.  the husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife and the wife to her husband.  The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband and vice versa.  Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent so Satan will not tempt you.

A wife must not separate from her husband but if she does she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.  A husband must not divorce his wife (Jesus says in Matthew 19:9 that any man who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness and marries another commits adultery).  The same is try of the wife (Mark 10:12).

b)  Both man and wife should if at all possible stay with the unbelieving spouse for through the other the unbelieving has been sanctified.  Also, your children will be clean.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so for he is not bound in the marriage vow like a believer.

c)  Jesus said those who have received a word not to marry because they want to devote themselves to the kingdom of heaven should not.  But not everyone can or even should do this.  Paul believes people should not marry because marriage causes many troubles in life.  He believes life is short and as all married people know marriage is a lot of work.  It takes away from time devoted to the Lord.  An unmarried person is concerned only about the Lord’s affairs and how he or she can please the Lord.  A married person must also worry about pleasing their spouse so his or her interests are divided.  Paul believes in living in undivided devotion to the Lord (like he does).

Paul believes a widow who could marry again should not because she or he would be happier staying single and devoted wholly to the Lord and not have divided attentions.

14)  I think telling people who are married or engaged to get married that they should remain single would be fruitless.  So what I get out of these passages is the commandment by Jesus that one should not divorce unless there is infidelity.  So many divorces these days are due to “irreconcilable differences” which is another word for laziness and selfishness.

I would impress upon engaged couples that marriage is for life unless you die or you cheat.  Period.  Think hard before you get married.  Don’t take it lightly.  Don’t rush into it.  Do pre-marrital counseling.  Make sure of your choice because it is a life-long one.

Conclusions:  Marriage is work and it does take time.  No question Paul is right.  I like how Jesus puts it that people are called to remain celibate and unmarried.  Because as we all know God created marriage and man and woman to be together, not apart.  Mankind is a social creature just like horses and herd animals.  He’s not meant to be alone.

I think this is true for widows as well.  When your life partner dies, there is a void left that will probably never be filled but finding someone else can ease the pain and heartache and possibly fill the void.

So many people these days take marriage lightly that I wish more would be said in society about these passages and what marriage was meant to be.

I do like Paul’s advice not to deprive your spouse of each other.  This is so prevalent in today’s marriage that it does cause many infidelities.  We all need intimate contact with our spouse and when this is withheld I believe the other person starts to wilt like a flower does with no water.  It is a NEED, not a want and some people believe this.  God created man and woman to be together, physically.

Many good marriages are broken up because the spouse is neglected and starts to look elsewhere for affection he or she should be getting at home.  I wish this were highlighted as well more in our society.  Once the passion of first love wears off it is not okay to shut down.

A flower must be tended in order to bloom.  So must a marriage and this means each partner in the marriage (who are one now) must be tended for the flower will not bloom if one half is wilting.

Clarification points:  Verses 1-7:  Paul is addressing here sex within a marriage.  The Corinthians were asking if they should abstain from sex within a marriage and Paul says absolutely not in Verse 2.  Sexual immorality is what Paul is referring to here and it was very rampant in Corinth in the first century AD (some things never change, do they?).  People were worried and wanted to know God’s take on the matter which Paul answers here.

The word concession tripped me up in verse 6.  Concession means to grant so Paul is saying he is granting a temporary reprieve from abstaining from sex in a marriage but only for a short time for prayer.  They they are to come together again.

Verse 14.  This does not mean that the unbelieving spouse is saved simply by being married to a Christian.  Paul is saying that because the unbeliever is so close to a Christian he or she has special work.

Verse 14:  I found the part about the kids relieving.  This is saying because you are a believer your kids are automatically believers until they are of an age to do this themselves.  I have wondered about this in terms of little kids who die early and whether or not they go to Heaven.  Now I know the believers’ children are there.  This applies to me as well.  Something I worry about just in case God does take my kids early.

Verse 15:  I also did not know that God’s institution of marriage does not apply to unbelievers. This was fascinating.  That if you do marry an unbeliever and he or she leaves you may marry again because the spouse is not under the same covenant.  Yet the believer should keep the faith in the marriage up until that point.

Verse 17:  A great reminder to walk with God right now where He has placed you.  Quit waiting till you find the perfect spouse or anything else in life and live the life God has called you to RIGHT NOW.  Paul is right when he says life is short. Don’t waste another minute!

Verse 19:  Keeping God’s command is what counts!  I think this gets lost in the rest of the text so I wanted to highlight it.  This is the overarching command in our lives no matter what else.

BSF Study Questions Lesson 18, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 5-6

Summary of passage:  Paul to the Corinthians says there is a report of sexual immorality amongst you or a man with his father’s wife of which the Corinthians are proud of!  Paul says they should be filled with grief and put the man out of fellowship the man who did this.  Paul says this is what he would have done in his judgment.  This man needed to be pushed out into the world of Satan so that his spirit will be saved on the day of the Lord.

The boasting is a sign that this immorality could spread amongst them.  (A rotten apple spoils the bunch). Act as if it is always Passover and eat the bread of sincerity and truth.  Be what you are.

Paul clarifies a previous point in a previous letter (lost to us) that he is not saying to not associate with sinners of this world.  That would be impossible.  He is saying to not associate with Christians who are sinning and know they are sinning regularly.  Committing sins repeatedly that they can turn from.

For it is a Christians’ business to judge those within the Church but not outside the Church (i.e. believers and non-believers) and expel the wicked amongst you.

1 Corinthians 6:  Paul tells the Corinthians if there is a dispute amongst believers to settle it amongst believers and not amongst the ungodly.  For saints judge the world and as a saint aren’t you competent to judge trivial cases?  You will judge angels!  The fact you have lawsuits means defeat already.  Why not be wronged instead?  (This is talking amongst believers only not amongst a believer and a non-believer).

The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God:  adulterers, prostitutes, thieves, drunkards, slanderers, homosexuals, etc.  The Corinthians were these things but they have been sanctified by Jesus and the Spirit of God.

Paul refutes common Corinthian sayings with the body is God’s.  It does not belong to man.  It is a member of Christ himself.  Why unite Christ with a prostitute?  We need to unite ourself with the Lord instead.

Paul advises to flee from sexual immorality because this sin is against his own body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  We are not our own.  Jesus bought us with a price.  We must honor God with our bodies.

Questions:

11a)  Those who fornicate or engage in immorality should be expelled out of the church and into the world ruled by Satan.  Christians should not associate with them.

b)  Christians should appoint Christians to judge the disputes and not take it to the civil courts.  A lawsuit means you have been defeated already and Paul suggests it is better to be wronged than to sue another believer.

c)  Since we will one day reign with Christ Paul says we will one day judge the world and angels.

d)  Our bodies are God’s temple where the Holy Spirit dwells.  Therefore we should treat it just as we would an earthly temple–with reverence and respect and honor.

e)  We must flee from sexual immorality because it is a sin against our body which is God’s temple and a part of Christ himself.  Also, it is a sin that affects people in more ways than say food does.  It affects the Spirit, the mind, the soul, everything. It’s dangerous.

12)  To remember the price Christ paid for our sins.  To remember we are not our own.  We are God’s.  We live for Him not us.  To honor God in every way, including our bodies.

Conclusions:  1 Corinthians 5 was eye-opening for me in terms of judgment, which I wish BSF would have spent more time on.  See this POST for my complete thoughts as it is too long to post here.

I like the reminder we are not our own.  We are God’s.  This is something I must remind myself.  Recently, I’ve been struggling with some food issues (read post HERE) and this is a powerful reminder.  I’ve also been struggling with getting up early to exercise because truthfully I’d rather be doing my Bible Study or working on my novel.  But I also know I’m not getting any younger and I need to take care of that which God has given me.

In every way.  Spiritual is most important.  But we can’t neglect the physical either.  We have been blessed with one body that works in a way only God could design and we must treat it as our temple for Jesus sacrificed for it.  We must remember this.

This is also a great passage for this culture in terms of sexual immorality.  It reminds us just why this is so important to God.  I know a lot of people struggle with this because of our society today.  It’s a constant fight we must forever be vigilant against.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 3: 1 Corinthians 3-4

Summary of passage:  Paul still speaking to the Corinthians:  I addressed you as worldly because you are mere infants in Christ.  I could not give you solid food for you were not ready and still are not ready based on your jealousy, quarreling, and divisions.  You are acting like men!

Paul once again says he and Apollos are merely servants and seeds planted by the Lord.  God made them grow.  Paul and Apollos have one purpose which will be rewarded which is to work God’s field (his people).

Paul only laid the foundation (which is Christ) and we must build upon it.  But we must be careful what we build.  It must withstand fire in order to receive a reward; otherwise, it will burn and you will suffer loss.  Good things not bad.

We are God’s temple and if anyone destroys us God will destroy them.

God sees this world’s wisdom as foolish.  Putting Paul or Apollos above God or others is foolish.  For God is ours.

1 Corinthians 4:  Believers are servants of Christ and entrusted with the secret things of God.  We must be faithful and not judge others including ourselves for that is God’s job.  Do not put men above one another for it is God who has made all men equal.  Only God should reign above.

The Corinthians have all that they wish.  Sarcastically, the apostles who all walk in the Spirit are treated as the scum of the earth and the Corinthians who lead a nice life but walk in the Earth believe themselves better than the apostles because of these things they do.  God has made the apostles so low while the Corinthians believe themselves so high.  Paul lists things Greeks would never do:  work with their hands, go hungry and thirsty, speak kind words to persecutors, and be homeless.  They should be ashamed of this attitude and behavior.

Yet, this is to warn the Corinthians to live a life like Paul’s which Timothy will show you how.  A spiritual life and not an earthly one.  Paul held the true power of God.  The arrogant ones are merely all talk.

Questions:

6)  The Corinthians were still worldly (of this world) or still mere infants in Christ.  They had not yet matured into adults and into the spiritual realm of submitted Christ-followers yet.

7a)  Paul only gave the Corinthians what they could handle.  A newborn can only drink milk.  A new Christian needs the basics before he or she can go deeper with God.  So Paul has only given the Corinthians enough information that they could digest as new Christians.  They have yet to taste solid food or the meat/heart of God’s wisdom, Spirit, and glory.

b)  If you are indwelt with the Spirit, you are expected to walk with the Spirit.  By calling the Corinthians “worldly” Paul says they are not walking with the Spirit but walking of the flesh, of man, of this temporal world and not of God’s eternal world.

My favorite analogy is where Paul says Christ is the foundation but you must build upon Christ with something that survives the fire (Spiritual deeds) such as gold, silver, or costly stones and not with wood, hay or straw.  I would say you must use diamonds (the strongest mineral here on earth) instead of tin.

For Romans, read Romans 8:5-8.  Romans 8:5 says it best, “Those who live according to the sinful (worldly in our comparison) nature have their minds set on what that nature desires (worldly things); but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

The other passages reference how we will all be judged by what we do here on Earth.  We are not to judge others.  “A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.”  Galatians 6:7-8

8a)  Jesus Christ

b)  If the work survives the fire, man shall receive his reward. Verse 14.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss (verse 15) but still be saved.  Basically, your work on Earth will be judged.  All who accept Jesus as their Savior will go to Heaven but Jesus will judge us based on our human life.  So some who only build with wood, hay or straw will barely make it.  Those who build with gold, silver, or costly stones will receive their reward (which we don’t know what that is but we are told it is good).

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Again, it shows us that we do matters here on Earth to God.  We are just not put here to live our lives with no purpose.  We are to make a difference, to do God’s work, His calling on our lives while we are here.

I am driven by my purpose but often other things crowd in.  I have to remain diligent to keep the faith in God’s plan for my life.  And a lot is timing.  I must wait on Him even though most times I don’t want to.  I try to focus on my immediate impact (my family) first and then others.  It often feels like I’m accomplishing nothing but I know bit by bit it will all happen for His glory.

9)  As servants of Christ and those entrusted with the secret things of God.  One who is faithful and non-judgmental or anything or anyone including yourself for that is God’s job.

10a)  The Corinthians were judging the apostles and taking pride in who they followed.  They were going beyond what is written (elevating the messenger above each other).  The differences if any in the apostles (and in themselves) are from God so they should be humble and not prideful.  Those who have true spiritual power have everything they want.  They are rich!  Those inflated with pride put themselves above others.

Look at Paul and his life.  He and other apostles are horribly treated everywhere they go–the low of the low and the Corinthians see themselves as the high of the high.  Yet it is Paul and the apostles who are walking spiritually not the Corinthians.  Paul in reality has everything when it is the Corinthians (who appear to have everything) who have nothing.

b)  To warn the Corinthians as a parent would a child.  To keep them safe.  To urge them to imitate him (Paul) in terms of his way of life in Christ Jesus.

Conclusions:  I loved that we are entrusted with the “secret things of God.”  I tend to think that God is for everyone (which He is) and there’s no secret there.  But the secret lies once you accept God and Jesus.  Then, only then, do you realize God’s true power and glory, which in essence is a secret.  I never thought of it like that!

I liked how Paul says he doesn’t even judge himself.  This is hard for most of us.  I judge myself based on what I accomplish in a day and other areas of my life.  I must remember not to judge myself.  To offer grace to myself just like God does.  To not be so hard on myself when something does not get done or I do sin.  For God forgives me and therefore I must forgive myself as well.

And, of course, the over-arching theme of pride.  We all must guard against pride and practice humility every chance we get.  Put others first.  Live for others.  Walk daily spiritually and not earthly.  Small steps will lead to great rewards.

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.