BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 12-14

Summary of passage:  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.

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.

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.

Questions:

9a)  True conversion is where you are sincere in what you are saying and believing.  If the conversion is true, the Holy Spirit will be inside of you and in your heart.

b)  Yes

c)  1 Cor 12:7 says the Spirit is given for the common good.  Different gifts but from the same Spirit.  Through Paul’s analogy of the human body how every part is dependent on the other for survival, we see that every human is dependent on the other as well.  Man was not meant to be alone or live alone.  We are better together instead of alone (think of how easy it is to break one stick but how hard it is to break a bundle of sticks).

Verse 27:  We are all the body of Christ and have a part to play.

10)  The goal of the gifts is to foster love, not the gifts themselves (pride warning here).  Love is ever-lasting.  It will outlive any gift given.  Love is eternal.  And love is God.  Not any gifts He bestows.

11)  Follow love and use your spiritual gifts.  Verse 12 says to try to excel in gifts that build up the church and strengthen it (verse 26).  If you speak in tongues, make sure you can interpret what you say; otherwise, you are not helping others.

Conclusions:  A lot to digest once again in these chapters.  I like the reminder how God has blessed each of us individually but we are to use these gifts for the good of all.

I love the definition of love in Chapter 13.  These days it seems people throw the word around way too much with no meaning behind it.  Here we have it defined.  Love is about actions.  It reminds me of some things I need to work on when showing love.

Even in speaking in tongues it is to me used for good as Paul says over and over again it’s pointless if no one can understand your words and you end up helping no one.

Great lesson on why we’re here again:  for others.

End Note on 1 Corinthians 14:34:  Admittedly, this is the first time I have read this that women are to remain silent.  So, of course, I read up on it and I found various interpretations.

1) This is only pertaining to women staying silent in relations to the role of women (which means men are the head of home and church)

2)  This is actually Paul quoting a question the Corinthians asked him i.e. Paul is not saying this but the Corinthians are and Paul is again answering their question.

3)  How this refutes everything Paul just said in 1 Corinthians 12 since all (men and women) have spiritual gifts they must impart to others.

4)  What the original Greek word for silence actually meant.  This argument I never believe for unless one of these opiners lived in first century AD and knew what the word meant he or she is only guessing.  As we know with our own language, meanings and slang of words are constantly being changed and altered (take gay for example.  No one can use this word any more in casual conversation because most people will miss the first definition of “happily excited; merry”.  So I tend to discount these arguments altogether.

Here are two interesting sites I found:  one supports the gender role and the other supports the refutation and Paul didn’t say this at all.  You can be the judge.

http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/471-1-corinthians-14-34-silence-in-the-church

http://www.gracecentered.com/women_in_ministry.htm

The more and more I delve into BSF the more and more confused I get sometimes (not always, but sometimes).  There are so many interpretations out there it’s hard to decipher what exactly God is saying sometimes.

I tend to lean towards the black and white/simple explanation more.  I’m never trying to find a way to interpret what doesn’t need to be interpreted.  Yet, I am highly cognizant of the “lost in translation” problem that does exist out there and sometimes it is hard to decipher what exactly God was trying to convey through the writers of the Bible.

I pray about an issue that’s bothering me and go with what my heart says is the right meaning when I feel God has impressed upon me His answer.

You definitely can’t believe everything you read out there especially when it comes to God’s word.

I do my best as I await the real answers to my lingering questions when I get to Heaven.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 3: 1 Corinthians 10-11

Summary of passage:  1 Corinthians 10:  Continuing from 1 Corinthians 9 where Paul says it is more important to give up some things for the sake of winning the race Paul uses the Exodus as an example of a people who started strong (under God’s watchful eye, were baptized, and ate spiritual food) but were disqualified in the end and ended up scattered over the desert because:

They were idolaters; sexually immoral; tested the Lord; and they grumbled.

These are warnings for us to stand firm and don’t fall!  We all face temptations but God is faithful and only gives us what we can bear and always with an out.

Therefore flee from idolatry and do not eat of food sacrificed to pagans.  You cannot have your cake and eat it too!

Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.  You must seek the good of others.  Everything in it is God’s and we must do everything for His glory.  Do not seek your own good but the good of others.  Follow Christ’s example.

1 Corinthians 11:  Paul says the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.  Men should not cover their heads in prayer because he is the image and glory of God; whereas, women should because they are the glory of man.  Woman came from man and was created for him.  Thus, women should have a sign on their head.

Yet men and women are interdependent.  They need one another.  Men are to respect women just as much as women are to respect men.

Paul chastised the Corinthians again for their divisions and irrelevance for the Lord’s supper and others.

Paul explains that the body and blood of Jesus were to be taken as a Holy Communion and to proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  If you take communion in an unworthy manner you are sinning.  You must examine yourself before partaking and judge yourself before the Lord (by confessing your sins) so the Lord does not have to.  For the Lord’s judgment is discipline.  So have proper manners when you come together!

Questions:

5a)  Idolaters (Exodus 32:6), Sexual immorality (Exodus 32:6, Exodus 32:28, Numbers 25:1-3, 9), Tested the Lord so were killed by snakes (Numbers 21:4-9), Grumbled and were killed by angels (Numbers 16:41, 16:49, 17:5, 17:10)

b)  People have idols (which can be anything put above the Lord).  Sexual immorality is everywhere today and is being justified.  We don’t have faith so we test God in His Word often with dire consequences.  And we grumble (probably the most common) in the form of complaints when we should we eternally grateful for what Jesus did for us on the cross.

c)  It’s good to know that everyone faces temptations but God will not give us more than we can bear and He always provides an out so we can stand up under the pressure.  The out is usually the harder way so many do not see it.

6)  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  In everything you should do for the good of others not for yourself.  You do it for the glory of God as you follow Christ’s example.  This means putting your needs and wants last.  Think of others and how your actions will affect them.  Resist the little temptations that society says is okay when in your heart you know it is not (lying, swearing, flirting, etc).

7a)  The head of every man is Christ; the head of every woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Head in this sense means authority not inferiority.  Thus, man has authority over women just as Christ has authority over man and God has authority over Christ. (verse 3)

b)  This question is vague in my opinion.  I believe the circumstances are the same in today’s day.  God’s word does not change.  Only the application changes as society changes (which is not necessarily a good thing).  Man is to have authority over women in the home and in church.  This is what the Bible speaks to.

Women are to have their head covered when praying.  In Ancient Times this was signified by a veil.  But what Paul says is this is not necessary as long hair on women serve as a covering.  Thus, in modern times we don’t wear a veil.

Furthermore, this is a matter of the heart.  As long as women pray with the understanding they are under the authority of the male leadership of the church, women are free to pray.

c)  The principle of man having authority over women still applies the same today.  Man is to be the head of the home and church.  Women have clear roles (as created by God to be man’s helper) and men have theirs.  However, in today’s society, women have rejected these roles and expanded it into all realms of society.

God does not speak of man’s authority over women in politics, business, education, health, etc.  God is only speaking of the home and the church.  Well, submission is hard to swallow but since we are required to submit to God we are required to submit to man in the home and church.  No where else though.

This does not mean every woman is under the authority of every man.  This has nothing to do with inferiority only authority.  And here is where God’s Word has been misconstrued and misapplied.

8 )  Holy Communion is a reverent act which we must approach as such.  We must examine ourselves (verse 28), come to Jesus and repent as we are being cleansed of our sins.  Our heart must be right otherwise we are guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord (verse 27).  Here is a place where going through the motions is a bad idea!

Conclusions:  Packed lesson, that’s for sure.  We start out being warned about temptations (but then told God won’t give us more to bear), then told to live for others, cover our heads in worship and respect man’s authority over women as God is over man and then told the proper way to take communion–all great messages we need to heed!

I loved the warning against temptation.  We all need to avoid situations where temptation can take place.  Don’t put yourself with single men or women in a social atmosphere.  Don’t go to a bar if you are tempted by alcohol.  Don’t hang out with people who do drugs.  We are all tempted but God gives us a way out and one of the most common is to avoid the situation all together.

Just because someone says to jump off a cliff, would you do it?  No!  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s right.  This is where strong morals comes into play as well as your gut.  We all have an internal guidance system that alerts us to wrong-doing.  Follow it.

Another great teaching on the authority of man over women.  I think so many people today have been brain-washed by feminism and people who have misconstrued God’s Word and applied it in places God never does.  Both men and women.  We only have to look at society today to see the effects of this:  divorce rates, single parents, lack of personal responsibility, disregard for authority, etc.  We have only to turn to God for the answers.  It’s all in black-and-white but too many people think ignorance is better.

The Lord’s Supper:  I think most churches are getting this right.  They approach it with the reverence it should be and are careful to tell people it’s significance and limit only Christ-followers to Communion.

However, I think it should be taught more.  This was the first time I read this passage in relationship to Communion.  I think there are common misperceptions out there about Communion which should be addressed in churches today.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 8-9

Summary of passage:  1 Corinthians 8:  Paul is answering another question of the Corinthians and first Paul cautions the Corinthians that knowledge can be deceiving.  You think you know when in reality you may not.  But love builds up and supersedes knowledge.

So with respect to eating food for idols:  we (Christians) know there is only One, True God.  But others do not.  Albeit it’s okay for Christians to eat food sacrificed to idols (because we know it’s just another cow basically) others who do not know God are committing a sin because they are looking at it in a religious sense.  They are following the Christians’ example.  (You know, the ubiquitous saying amongst children “But so-and-so ate the apple so why can’t I?”)

This food Christians ate brings us no closer to God; but it brings those unbelievers farther from God.  So Paul says to be careful in exercising your freedom when it could hinder those away from God.  Paul says this is a sin against Christ:  doing something we know can pull others away from Him.  Christians must sacrifice for others.

1 Corinthians 9:  Paul declares he is an apostle with the right to be supported by the church.  By right Paul can share in what he reaps just like a soldier, a farmer, and a shepherd share in what they reap.

But Paul says he did not use this right because it might hinder the gospel of Christ.  It is commanded by the Lord that Paul can receive support but he himself is choosing not to. He boasts of this!

Paul preaches the gospel because he is compelled to spread the Word.  He becomes all things to all people in order to win people for the Lord and share in an eternal reward and not an earthly one.  Paul refuses all things that would hinder his reward or him finishing the race.  His crown is one that will last forever in this race we all run.  Paul runs and fights all for an eternal prize to which he won’t be disqualified from.

Questions:

3a)  Basically, we’re talking about actions speak louder than words and how if you do something others think it’s okay for them to do it as well (crowd mentality).  You show others your knowledge and beliefs by acting as such.  It is our responsibility to lead by example and not provoke others to sin even if we ourselves don’t.

Paul’s example is eating food sacrificed to idols.  It is technically okay to eat this food because you believe in the One, True God.  However, others watching you may not and they see you do it so they do it, not knowing it’s consequences because of lack of knowledge.

We are called to lead others by example especially in terms of kids.  It’s like when you accidentally get something for free like you walk out of the grocery store not having paid for something and then you realize when you get to the car they missed it.  Is it okay to not pay for it?  Yes.  It was their mistake.  But is it right?  No.  It is a form of stealing and you must go back in and pay for the item.

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  Cussing (which I’m working on by the way and have improved on).  Drinking (some people cannot handle mood altering substances).  Eating unhealthily (My body can handle fatty foods.  Others can’t).  Everything in my behavior since my kids are always watching.

4a)  Verse 12 & 19  So he could win as many people as possible.  He became all things to all men in order to win them (verse 22)  All for the sake of the gospel and its blessings, not an earthly reward (verse 23).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We must adapt to those around us in order to bond with them and ask nor receive nothing in return in order to spread the Good News to as many as possible.  Commonality goes a long way to win trust of others and if you receive nothing in return it makes a bold statement that your are not just preaching for a free meal.

We must keep in mind what the goal is.  Not a free meal.  But an eternal prize.  We can get caught up in the accolades of this world and the prizes but Paul says we are working for an intangible goal, one we cannot see until we reach heaven.

Conclusions:  I like 1 Corinthians 8 because it takes into account our actions and others.  We do affect other people and our actions do have consequences, many of which we cannot see.  Society today tells us it’s all about me.  Well, it’s not.  And this passage is a great example of why it isn’t.

The prize is the end game.  Finish strong.  Always keep eternal rewards in mind which will last as opposed to temporal earthly rewards which will all fade away in the end.