1 Corinthians. By Mitch Kuhn. Introduction

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1 1 Corinthians By Mitch Kuhn Introduction Author: The Apostle Paul Audience: The Church in Corinth Corinth was a large, bustling, wealthy city. Because of its location, goods and people from around the world flowed in and out of its ports. It was a center for art, philosophy, and religion. It contained a number of pagan temples including large ones to Apollo and Aphrodite. The city had a reputation for vice, immorality, and debauchery. ( Date written: Est. 54 AD while in Ephesus on his third missionary journey. (1 Cor 16:8) Background: Paul visited Corinth around AD while on his second missionary journey. He preached in the city and was told by the Lord to remain there because the Lord had many people that would believe in this city. Act 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; Act 18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: Act 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. Act 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. There were others that ministered in Corinth as well: Silas, Timothy, Appolos, and Cephas (Peter). Acts 18:5, 1 Cor 3:4 There was at least one letter written to Paul prior to 1 st Corinthians because he references a previous letter. 1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 1

2 Purpose of the Letter: Paul got word from some people in Corinth that there were issues which needed to be addressed. He covers this in chapters 1-6. Contentions/ Divisions 1Co 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Fornication 1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. Lawsuits among believers 1Co 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before The unjust, and not before the saints? 1Co 6:6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 1Co 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? ore the saints? Paul also needed to clear up something he said in a previous letter. 1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 1Co 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. Chapters 7-16 cover a variety of issues that the Corinthians wrote Paul about. 1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: Chapter 7: Marriage Chapter 8: Things offer to idols Chapter 9: Rights and conduct of an Apostle 2

3 Chapter 10: Warnings from Israel s history/ The Lord s supper Chapter 11: Roles and conduct for Men and Women/ Rules for Church gatherings Chapter 12: Spiritual gifts/ One body with many parts Chapter 13: Love Chapter 14: Tongues and Prophecy Chapter 15: Resurrection Chapter 16: Collection of gifts/ Greetings I Corinthians Chapter 1:1-9 1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 1Co 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Greeting 1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Paul s Apostleship is being brought into question my some in Corinth, so Paul starts laying the foundation of his response in the very first verse of this letter. He says here that he is called to be an apostle, but there is so 3

4 much more to being an Apostle than simply being called. Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen (G1588). (1Pe 2:9 KJV) But ye are a chosen (G1588) generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: (Rev 17:14 KJV) These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen (G1588), and faithful. In defense of his Apostleship, Paul makes it clear that a good steward is required to be faithful. He is letting his actions confirm his Apostleship. 1Co 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (Mat 24:13 KJV) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. The Lord causes Paul to be faithful to the end of his life. This is what we should all pray and strive for. Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Here is an expert from one of Larry Groenewald s study about Apostles. Apostles (and prophets) built upon the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ Apostles (Greek: apostolos = 'sent one') are always sent by God to lay the foundational principles for the spiritual household of God in us and joining us with the fellow citizens of that household of God: 4

5 Eph 2:19-20 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; This foundation is the preaching of the gospel on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ: Rom 15:19-20 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: There is no other foundation than Jesus Christ: 1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. The number 12 (number of the first apostles of Jesus) is also used as the number for foundations, and in this case the foundation for our spiritual life in the resurrected Christ. 1 Cor 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God... Paul is making it very clear right from the start that this Apostleship does not depend on man, but is by the will of God. Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: He makes the same point very clear to the Church in Galatia. Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 5

6 1 Cor 1:1 and Sosthenes our brother, Paul often wrote letters with others as he does in this case. 2Co 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ Col 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, Sosthenes was the ruler of a Jewish Synagogue in Achaia (modern day Greece) when Paul was there in Acts 18. Corinth was located in Achaia. After the Ruler of Achaia, Gallio, refused to judge Paul for the accusations of the Jews, Sosthenes was beaten by the Greeks. Sosthenes was likely sympathetic to Paul s message, thus beaten by his own people, the Greeks, who had not converted from Judaism. Sosthenes was a common Greek name. Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Act 18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things. Now three to four years later, Sosthenes is doing the will of God and proving faithful, laboring with Paul in the Ministry. (Act 18:12-17) Luk 8:21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. 1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Paul has some pretty harsh words for the Corinthians in his letter so he starts off by reminding them who they are and what they have been called 6

7 to by God. To be sanctified means to be made holy, or pure. This is the process that we all go through as our old man dies and the new man Christ is birthed in us. G37 α hagiazo hag-ee-ad'-zo From G40; to make holy, that is, (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: - hallow, be holy, sanctify. We are sanctified by the Word of God. Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. As we ll see in this letter, there are a lot of things that are not very holy about the Corinthians. Paul even calls them at one point carnal babes in Christ. However, as we see in verse 6:11 some change has taken place in these people. Sanctification, or being made holy, is not a quick and easy process, it is he that endures to the end that shall be saved- made holy. Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. We must go through this same process ourselves. 1 Co 1:2 called to be saints (G40) 7

8 The word Saints means holy. G40 αγιος hagios hag'-ee-os From αγος hagos (an awful thing) compare G53, [H2282]; sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): - (most) holy (one, thing), saint. Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy (G40) Ghost, and with fire: 1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. So how is someone that is called to be holy actually made holy? Tit 2:11 For the grace (G5485) of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit 2:12 Teaching (G3811) us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened (G3811) of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth (G3811), and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening (G3811), God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. The Lord chastens his people and judges them, so that they forsake their evil ways and live obedient lives. God s grace, or favor, is an active process of making us different. It is not simply a pardon purchased for us by Christ 8

9 dying on the cross. We must live by every word of God and have our old man crucified on the cross with Christ. This means that all of our lust of the world, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, must be destroyed. Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. Paul s letter is for this very purpose. He is correcting his brothers and sisters in love that they might overcome their flesh and live righteous lives. God teaches us in many ways, one of which is through the foolishness of preaching. 1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe 1 Co 1:2 with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Paul is foreshadowing a point he going to make in Chapter 12 about all of those in Christ being a part of one Body. All men at some point are going to be called, chosen, and faithful to Christ, some in this life and some in the lake of fire. God is going to save everyone eventually, from every part of the earth. For now, there are only some in this life that are calling upon the name of Christ to be made holy. Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 1Co 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 9

10 1Co 12:20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 1Ti 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. The Corinthians are not alone in this calling to be holy now in this life. It is very encouraging to realize that there are a number of us that God is working with in this life now. We have others that can identify with our struggles and share in our reward. This is our new family- The Body of Christ! 1Co 1:3 Grace (G5485) to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The word used for grace in 1 Co 1:3 really just means favor. Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour (G5485) with God and man. Act 7:46 Who found favour (G5485) before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. So what does God do to those He shows favor towards? He teaches and disciplines them, that they would be like him- righteous and godly in this evil world. This is the favor that God is showing us now, Lord willing. Tit 2:11 For the grace (favor- G5485) of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit 2:12 Teaching (G3811) us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; This chastening and judgment come to us through Jesus Christ. 10

11 Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. As God has given all power and authority, so does Christ give power and authority to his disciples. Joh 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. God works through the Body of Christ, and we as members of that Body each have a particular role to play. We are all called to admonish one another in love and represent God s truth well. He will do this in and through us. Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching And Admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. This ability to judge righteously has nothing to do with our weak and marred flesh or carnal minds, it is only through God working in us. Our weakness reveals his strength. Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 11

12 2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Both the ability to speak what we know, and to have the knowledge itself, are a gift from God through Christ Jesus. Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: Speaking (utterance) the truths of God s words is so much more than just Saying what is right. To be able to speak what is right at all times is a miracle of the Lord, resulting from a changed heart. Jas 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, The same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Knowledge of the truth is unattainable for us, without God giving it to us. Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! We are given knowledge slowly over time as we are brought into maturity. 2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 12

13 1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming (G602) of our Lord Jesus Christ: Christ within us is confirmed by the fruit we are caused to bear, as a sign to ourselves and others. Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, Or figs of thistles? Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree Bringeth forth evil fruit. Mar 16:20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming (G950) the word with signs following. Amen. Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed (G950) unto us by them that heard him; Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? Gifts are covered in 1 Cor 12 in detail. Gifts do not mean maturity; we must learn how to use the gifts God gives us. Paul is setting the stage for his harsh rebuke of the Corinthians by reminding them of the progress they have made. Their lives have indeed changed to some degree, but there is more change required. 1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Just like the Corinthians, we have changed to some degree, but have much 13

14 more to learn. Through experience and suffering, Christ is revealed in us, giving us the ability to properly understand and use our gifts. 1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing (G602) of Jesus Christ: 1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed (G602), ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1Co 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Lord who has begun this good work, and it is he who will finish it. Paul knows that if this rebuke is received by the Corinthians, then there will be great sorrow when they realized how beastly they are behaving. A reminder of God s sovereignty is good medicine for a sorrowful and discouraged soul. Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: To be confirmed to the ends means to be faithful in God s commandments. We only obey his commandments through his chastening grace. Heb 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; Heb 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. 1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 14

15 Salvation is to be given life- to know Jesus Christ and his father. If we know him, we obey him. Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal (aionios), that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments See the studies on Resurrection from the Dead and Eternal Judgment to learn more about life and how the word eternal does not mean eternal. 1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Paul is telling the Corinthians that is it God who has called them into fellowship with Christ, and he will prove faithful. To be in fellowship with Christ is to be made holy by suffering with Christ and being cleaned from our sin. 1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have Fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. The Corinthians first have to realize that if they are going to claim to be in fellowship with Christ, then they must forsake their ungodly ways. Then the process of becoming righteous requires suffering. Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 15

16 Paul eagerly desires to be delivered from his body of death. We must all be made sorrowful to come to that point of begging for deliverance. Paul s intent of writing to the Corinthians is not to just make them sorrowful, but to help them see their sin and be lead to repentance. Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 2Co 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. As we will see through this letter, the Corinthians are ignorant, rebellious, and self-righteous- badly in need of a harsh rebuke and sound teaching. We all find ourselves in this place of strong delusion when the Lord sends us preachers to rebuke us and open our eyes to the true depravity of our condition, which will lead us to life, Lord willing. Next week we will study Paul s first rebuke: 1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1Co 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 1Co 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 16

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