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Deepen Discipleship

1 Corinthians

Introduction to 1 Corinthians

In roughly AD 56, the Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians to address immorality and divisions within the young church. Chapters 1-4 address the church’s problems, as Paul calls them to unity and reminds them of who they are as followers of Jesus.

Chapters 5-10 spell out the blatant sexual immorality within the church. Instead of mourning over the sin, the church was arrogant and boastful. In no uncertain terms, Paul reminded the church that sexual immorality is sin, and believers living in open, unrepentant sin should not be allowed to remain members of the church. These words were harsh but necessary to help young believers understand the importance of living holy lives.

In Chapters 11-14, Paul cleared up confusion about worship practices and corrected difficult doctrines that caused division, including gender distinction. Paul taught the Corinthians that God does not value people differently based on their gender, economic status, or cultural background. However, he strongly warned the church against obliterating gender distinctions because they’re a purposeful part of God’s good creation. He also dealt with issues surrounding the Lord’s Supper and the purpose of spiritual gifts.

Paul concludes his letter in 1 Corinthians 15-16 and directs their focus back to the heart of their faith—the gospel itself. Using Old Testament prophecy as the background, Paul positioned Christ’s death and resurrection as the event toward which all Scripture and all history points. Christ’s resurrection, Paul taught, is the heart of the gospel and the reason for hope.

James 4:1-3

1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

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