An Expository Study of the First Book of
"Our focus is people--never a building, but it's nice to have
a new facility to meet in."
Isaiah 37:30. "This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah:
'This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second
year what springs from that, But in the third year sow and
reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit."
"The radio is to teach and nourish across denominational lines,
not to just go out to selfishly build churches of our own.
Now we will start to reap in those who have no fellowships--those
we've been feeding [over the radio] who are not of any denomination
or fellowship. We've been in ---- as a very small congregation
for two years. Now we'll start to grow in the 3rd year." [Pastor
---- ---- basically stated what I've noticed (by our actions)
is the mission statement of our fellowship i.e. To nourish
and feed the entire body of Christ the Word of God without
regard to which denomination or fellowship they belong to.
Then to reap those we feed who are unaffiliated and seeking
A Little Background For 1 Corinthians
Acts 18:1-18. "After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had
recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because
Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went
to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were,
he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned
in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When
Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself
exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus
was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became
abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them,
'Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of any responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.'
Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house
of Titius Justus, a worshipper of God. Crispus, the synagogue
ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and
many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be
afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with
you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I
have many people in this city." So Paul stayed for a year
and a half, teaching them the word of God.
While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united
attack on Paul and brought him into court. 'This man,' they
charged, 'is persuading the people to worship God in ways
contrary to the law.' Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio
said to the Jews, 'If you Jews were making a complaint about
some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable
for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about
words and names and your own law--settle the matter yourselves.
I will not be a judge of such things.' So he had them ejected
from the court. Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue
ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed
no concern whatever. Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time.
Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied
by Priscilla and Aquila..."
1. Corinth is on the southern Isthmus
of Greece with the Adriatic Sea on one side and the Aegean
Sea on the other side. Small boats with their goods were
transported overland across this Isthmus, and larger ones,
ships, were unloaded and their goods transported across
and re-loaded on other ships. Corinth thus was in a geographic
location which brought much commerce to this seaport city.
This was what we Navy men called a sailortown. It was
very immoral, which every sailortown is [i.e. Naples,
Italy was a sailortown since Romans times, and is to this
very day.] The population was around 200,000 freemen and
200,00 slaves, 400,000 in all.
I Corinthians covers:
- Division and denominationalism (1:10-4:21)
- Sexual immorality and lawsuits (5:1-6:20)
- Marriage (7:1-40)
- Christian rights & responsibilities (8:1-11:1)
- Christians in public (corporate) worship (11:2-34)
- Spiritual gifts and how they should be used (12:-14:40)
- The resurrection of Christ and believers (15:1-58)
- Conclusion (16:1-24)
vs. 1. We are Christians because of God's
will, grace and love. This Sosthenes may be the Sosthenes
in Acts 18 who persecuted Paul. Those that are really hostile
toward the gospel are often very close to the kingdom of God.
vs. 2. This is addressed to "the Church of God at Corinth,
but also to anyone, anywhere who calls on the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ--i.e. this is written to all Christians
of all ages and places.
I Corinthians 1:1-2. "Paul, called to be an apostle of
Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ
Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere
who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord
Vs. 3, salutation. Vs. 4-9, Paul thanks God for the Corinthians.
Our enrichment is spiritual. Paul is telling them they're
not short on any gift. They're a very gifted Church. (i.e.
they have the spiritual gifts of I Corinthians 12 in full
measure.) But these gifts didn't have anything to do with
how spiritual they were. They had problems. i.e. Just because
we may have a spiritual gift doesn't make you a spiritual
giant. Your spiritual barometer isn't what God does through
you, but what you do in private. Worship teams can be very
carnal inspite of their gifts. Look at the heart of an individual--not
the gift. Those that minister need to abound in love. vs.
8, Paul still at this time thought that the 2nd coming of
Jesus Christ would be in his lifetime. vs. 9, When we are
faithless, God is faithful.
I Corinthians 1:4-9. "I always thank God for you because
of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have
been enriched in every way--in all your speaking and in all
your knowledge--because our testimony about Christ was confirmed
in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you
eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He
will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless
on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you
into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful."
Divisions in the Church
vs. 10-17: Paul names the people who exposed the divisions.
He urges for unity in the body of Christ. I am reminded of
the story of the four bulls and the lion. There were four
bulls who were friends. The lion was hungry and wanted to
kill and eat them, but couldn't get near them as long as they
stood together in common defense. So the lion started to tell
one bull that the others were saying evil, nasty things about
him. He would do this in turn, with each bull. They all ended
up so angry with each other that their friendship broke up.
The lion went and killed and ate each bull, one after the
other. [I am reminded of the story of how the famous legless
British fighter pilot, during the Battle of Britain discovered
how to effectively shoot down many German bombers. One day
when he was flying up to meet a horde of German bombers, he
got so angry that he insanely headed on a collision course
for the lead bomber. The bomber pilot, in panic, wrenched
his aircraft to the right. Instantly, before Douglas's eyes,
the whole bomber formation broke up into little groups scattered
all over the sky. That day they had a fieldday and many bombers
were shot down. He used the same tactic from then on, and
taught fighter command to do the same. On the other side of
the coin, we in the 8th Army Airforce taught our bomber pilots
that at no time was a bomber to break formation, even to try
to rescue a crippled aircraft. The firepower of a B-17 with
all 13 of its' 50-caliber machine-guns is most effective when
it is in combination with the other three B-17's that make
up the box. They were taught, that at no time were
they to break the integrity of the formation! To do so would
jeopardize the forty aircrew members of all four B-17's and
not just their own. Satan's tactics are to divide and conquer.
He can't conquer unless he divides his foes first. Satan does
not want to see unity within the body of Christ, whether we're
talking about our own congregation and Christian fellowship,
or all the Christian fellowships which make up the entire
body of Christ.] Pray for those whom you have an issue
with where you feel uncomfortable about dealing directly,
person to person. Pray that the Church is of one mind, unified.
Pray for more of God's love, you're a Christian within
the body of Christ. We're all sinners saved by grace, no denominations--one
body, unified under one commander, Jesus Christ the Captain
of our Salvation. To quote Jonathan Edwards, "In essentials
unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity."
Good advice we should all adhere to. In Romans 1-8 Paul points
out the essentials of the faith, in Romans 14 the liberties
we have in non-essentials, in 1 Corinthians 13 the charity
we should have toward all men, and what that charity is.
1 Corinthians 1:10-17. "I appeal to you, brothers, in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with
one another so that there may be no divisions among you and
that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers,
some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are
quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says,
'I follow Apollos'; another, 'I follow Cephas'; still another,
'I follow Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for
you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful
that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,
so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes,
I also baptized the household of Stephanus; beyond that, I
don't remember anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to
baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human
wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power."
Ephesians 4:11-16. "It was he who gave some to be apostles,
some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be
pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of
service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until
we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge
of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the
whole measure of the fullness of Christ. [Paul now proceeds
to clarify and define the type of unity in the faith
he is talking about. (unity in the knowledge of the Son of
God is self-explanatory.)]