Verses about the Apostles' "TRAVELS and ACTS"
Part 10 - PAUL'S FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS
Introduction to 1 Corinthians & Location Map
Book 7 of 27 - PAUL'S FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS
Writer: The apostle Paul
Date: c AD56-57 during Paul's Third Missionary Journey
Where written: Ephesus in modern western Turkey, during his nearly 3 year stay there
Readers: The largely Gentile church established at Corinth, a major commerce centre and capital of Achaia, when Paul stayed there for 18 months during his Second Missionary Journey (Acts 18:11)
Why: Paul is aware from a number of sources, including letters and visitors from Corinth, that the church has serious problems with false teachers and trying to live the Christian life in a liberal and pagan city. In this letter, and perhaps with limited knowledge of the real situation, he deals guardedly with the issue of false teachers (2 Corinthians is far more direct). However he does not hesitate to tackle problems of sexual immorality, lawsuits, the Lord's Supper, and resurrection, while also answering the Corinthians questions about marriage, eating and socialising between Jews and Gentile Christians, and spiritual gifts and worship. This Letter includes Paul's famous chapter 13 on love.
According to Some Modern Scholarship: The First and Second Letters to the Corinthians could be part of a series of four or more letters sent by Paul to Corinth as the church's problems were first identified and then resolved - all at heavy emotional cost to Paul and no doubt the Christians of Corinth. At an earlier stage in this saga, Paul may have made a short, unrecorded visit from Ephesus across to Corinth.
The four letters could be:
(1) A letter, now lost but referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:9, warning against relationships with sinners and the sexually immoral. Parts of this "lost" letter might have been preserved in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1;
(2) Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians here. This addresses specific questions raised in a letter sent from Corinth, and even more serious issues reported to Paul by visitors from Corinth;
(3) A "stern" letter, referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:3 and 7:12 which deals with the problem of false teachers who are attacking Paul. This is possibly preserved in part as 2 Corinthians 10:1-13:10; and
(4) A "glad" letter that is mainly the first part of the Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapters 1 to 9, plus 13:11-14. In this, Paul appears to be reconciled with the church following the return of Titus from Corinth with a positive report, 2 Corinthians 7:6)
Map - Paul Writes his First Letter to the Corinthians
Map Key: Letter sent from 1 to 2
GREETINGS AND THANKSGIVING
10.1 GREETINGS TO THE CHURCH IN CORINTH
1 Corinthians 1:1-3 - Paul, commissioned by the will of God as a messenger of Jesus Christ, and Sosthenes, a Christian brother, to the church of God at Corinth - to those whom Christ has made holy, who are called to be God's men and women, to all true believers in Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours - grace and peace be to to you from God the Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ!
10.2 PAUL GIVES THANKS FOR THEIR CHRISTIAN STRENGTHS
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 - am always thankful to God for what the gift of his grace in Jesus Christ has meant to you - how, as the Christian message has become established among you, he has enriched your whole lives, from the words on your lips to the understanding in your hearts. And you have been eager to receive his gifts during this time of waiting for his final appearance. He will keep you steadfast in the faith to the end, so that when his day comes you need fear no condemnation. God is utterly dependable, and it is he who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I - MAJOR FAULTS CONDEMNED
SERIOUS DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH
10.3 THE FIRST REFERENCE TO THE DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH
1 Corinthians 1:10-12 - Now I do beg you, my brothers, by all that Christ means to you, to speak with one voice, and not allow yourselves to be split up into parties. All together you should be achieving a unity in thought and judgment. For I know, from what some of Chloe's people have told me that you (the Christians of Corinth) are each making different claims - "I am one of Paul's men," says one; "I am one of Apollos' (the eloquent Jewish Christian from Alexandria, Acts 18:24-28)," says another; or "I am one of Cephas' (the apostle Peter)"; while someone else says, "I owe my faith to Christ alone."
10.4 PAUL'S ROLE IN FOUNDING THE CHURCH
1 Corinthians 1:13-17 - What are you saying? Is there more than one Christ? Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul?
It makes me thankful that I didn't actually baptise any of you (except Crispus and Gaius), or perhaps someone would be saying I did it in my own name. (Oh yes, I did baptise Stephanas' family, but I can't remember anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to see how many I could baptise, but to proclaim the Gospel. And I have not done this by the persuasiveness of clever words, for I have no desire to rob the cross of its power.
1 Corinthians continues
in Part 41 with verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus"
1:18-25 Christ crucified is madness in the worlds eyes; to those who are saved it is the wisdom of God then:
10.5 THE UNIMPORTANCE OF MOST OF THE CORINTHIANS IN WORLDLY TERMS
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 - For look at your own calling as Christians (mostly from humble backgrounds), my brothers. You don't see among you many of the wise (according to this world's judgment) nor many of the ruling class, nor many from the noblest families. But God has chosen what the world calls foolish to shame the wise; he has chosen what the world calls weak to shame the strong. He has chosen things of little strength and small repute, yes and even things which have no real existence to explode the pretensions of the things that are - that no man may boast in the presence of God. Yet from this same God you have received your standing in Jesus Christ, and he has become for us the true wisdom, a matter, in practice, of being made righteous and holy, in fact, of being redeemed. And this makes us see the truth of scripture:
'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24).
10.6 PAUL'S PREACHING WAS NOT ELOQUENT BUT IN WEAKNESS TO SHOW GOD'S POWER
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 - In the same way, my brothers, when I came to proclaim to you God's secret purpose (in Corinth, Acts 18:1-18), I did not come equipped with any brilliance of speech or intellect. You may as well know now that it was my secret determination to concentrate entirely on Jesus Christ and the fact of his death upon the cross. As a matter of fact, in myself I was feeling far from strong; I was nervous and rather shaky (probably the result of Paul's treatment in Macedonia and his lack of success in Athens before arriving in Corinth, Acts 16 and 17. He might also have been ill). What I said and preached had none of the attractiveness of the clever mind, but it was a demonstration of the power of the Spirit! Plainly God's purpose was that your faith should not rest upon man's cleverness but upon the power of God.
10.7 THE GOSPEL IS NOT EARTHLY WISDOM BUT THE HIDDEN WISDOM OF GOD
1 Corinthians 2:6-8 - We do, of course, speak "wisdom" among those who are spiritually mature, but it is not what is called wisdom by this world, nor by the powers-that-be, who soon will be only the powers that have been. The wisdom we speak of is that mysterious secret wisdom of God which he planned before the creation for our glory today. None of the powers of this world have known this wisdom - if they had they would never have crucified the Lord of glory!
including 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 6-8 above, all of Chapter 2 is
in Part 41 with verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus"
2:1-5 Paul came in weakness & fear, preached nothing but the death of Jesus on the cross 2:6-10a Only God's chosen people can understand this mystery; the world cannot 2:10b-16 God's Spirit, giving us the mind of Christ, he grants us this understanding then:
10.8 THEY ARE STILL IMMATURE CHRISTIANS; THEIR DIVISIONS COME FROM EARTHLY JEALOUSY AND QUARRELLING
1 Corinthians 3:1-4 - I, my brothers, was unable to talk to you as spiritual men: I had to talk to you as unspiritual, as yet babies in the Christian life, And my practice had been to feed you, as it were, with "milk" and not with "meat". You were unable to digest "meat" in those days, and I don't believe you can do it now. For you are still unspiritual; all the time that there is jealousy and squabbling among you you show that you are - you are living just like men of the world. While one of you says, "I am one of Paul's converts" and another says, "I am one of Apollos'", are you not plainly unspiritual?
10.9 EACH OF THEIR CHRISTIAN TEACHERS HAD A PART TO PLAY IN THEIR CONVERSION
1 Corinthians 3:5-10a,21-23 - After all, who is Paul? Who is Apollos? No more than servants through whom you came to believe as the Lord gave each man his opportunity. I may have done the planting and Apollos the watering, but it was God who made the seed grow! The planter and the waterer are nothing compared with him who gives life to the seed. Planter and waterer are alike insignificant, though each shall be rewarded according to his particular work.
We work on God's foundation
In this work, we work with God, and that means that you are a field under God's cultivation, or, of you like, a house being built to his plan. I, like an architect who knows his job, by the grace God has given me, lay the foundation; someone else builds upon it. ....
(Verse 21 .....) So let no one boast of men. Everything belongs to you! Paul, Apollos or Cephas; the world, life, death, the present or the future, everything is yours! For you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God!
including 1 Corinthians 3:1-10a and 3:21-23 above, all of Chapter 3 is
in Part 41 with verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus"
3:1-9 Be mature enough to understand that those who preach the Gospel are not important 3:10-15 You can only be built up on the foundation that is Christ; any other way will fail 3:16-17 Every Christian is God's holy temple, and home to his Holy Spirit 3:18-23 Become a Godly fool, not worldly wise; in God, through Christ, you have everything then:
10.10 CHRISTIAN TEACHERS ARE SERVANTS OF CHRIST, JUDGED ONLY BY GOD
1 Corinthians 4:1-5 - You should look upon us as ministers of Christ, as trustees of the secrets of God. And it is a prime requisite in a trustee that he should prove worthy of his trust. But, as a matter of fact, it matters very little to me what you, or any man, thinks of me - I don't even value my opinion of myself - but that doesn't justify me before God. My only true judge is God himself.
The moral of this is that we should make no hasty or premature judgments. When the Lord comes he will bring into the light of day all that at present is hidden in darkness, and he will expose the secret motives of men's hearts. Then shall God himself give each man his share of praise.
10.11 APPLY THIS CRITERIA TO YOUR OWN TEACHERS
1 Corinthians 4:6-7 - I have used myself and Apollos above as an illustration, so that you might learn from what I have said about us not to assess man above his value in God's sight, and may thus avoid the friction that comes from exalting one teacher against another. For who makes you different from somebody else, and what have you got that was not given to you? And if anything has been given to you, why boast of it as if it were something you had achieved yourself?
10.12 PAUL'S HARD-HITTING COMPARISONS - THE APOSTLES ARE NOTHING; SOME OF THE CORINTHIANS THINK THEMSELVES EVERYTHING
1 Corinthians 4:8-13 - Oh, I know you are rich and flourishing! You've been living like kings, haven't you, while we've been away? I would to God you were really kings in God's sight so that we might reign with you!
I sometimes think that God means us, the messengers (or apostles), to appear last in the procession of mankind, like the men who are to die in the arena. For indeed we are made a public spectacle before the angels of Heaven and the eyes of men. We are looked upon as fools, for Christ's sake, but you are wise in the Christian faith. We are considered weak, but you have become strong: you have found honour, we little but contempt. Up to this very hour we are hungry and thirsty, ill-clad, knocked about and practically homeless. We still have to work for our living by manual labour. Men curse us, but we return a blessing: they make our lives miserable but we take it patiently. They ruin our reputations but we go on trying to win them for God. We are the world's rubbish, the scum of the earth, yes, up to this very day.
10.13 PAUL CALLS THEM BACK TO THE GOSPEL; TIMOTHY WILL HELP THEM WHEN HE ARRIVES
1 Corinthians 4:14-17 - I don't write these things merely to make you feel uncomfortable, but that you may realise facts, as my dear children. After all, you may have had ten thousand teachers in Christian faith, but you cannot have many fathers! For in Jesus Christ I am your spiritual father through the Gospel; that is why I implore you to follow the footsteps of me your father. I have sent Timothy (who has already left Ephesus for Macedonia, Acts 19:22, presumably on his way to Corinth) to you to help you in this. For he himself is my much-loved and faithful son in the Lord, and he will remind you of those ways of living in Christ which I teach in every church to which I go.
10.14 WHEN PAUL ARRIVES HE WILL TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS NECESSARY
1 Corinthians 4:18-21 - Some of you have apparently grown conceited enough to think that I should not visit you. But please God it will not be long before I do come in person. Then I shall be able to see what power, apart from their words, these pretentious ones among you really possess. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of a spate of word but of the power of Christian living.
Now it's up to you to choose! Shall I come to you ready to chastise you, or in love and gentleness?
10.15 THE CURSE OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY IN THEIR MIDST; IT MUST BE DEALT WITH
1 Corinthians 5:1-8 - It is actually reported (probably by the three visitors from Corinth) that there is sexual immorality among you, and immorality of a kind that even pagans condemn - a(n immoral) man has apparently taken his father's wife! Are you still proud of your church? Shouldn't you be overwhelmed with sorrow and shame? The man who has done such a thing should certainly be expelled from your fellowship!
The "immoral man" - In his Second Letter to the Corinthians 2:5, Paul recommends that the repentant man should be received back into the church in love -
I know I am not with you physically but I am with you in spirit, and I assure you as solemnly as if I were actually present before your assembly that I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done this thing, and I do this with full divine authority. My judgment is this: that the man should be left to the mercy of Satan so that while his body will experience the destructive powers of sin his spirit may yet be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Your pride in your church is lamentably out of place. Don't you know how a little yeast can permeate the whole lump? Clear out every bit of the old yeast that you may be new unleavened bread! We Christians have had a Passover lamb sacrificed for us - none other than Christ himself! So let us "keep the feast" with no trace of the yeast of the old life, nor the yeast of vice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of unadulterated truth!
10.16 PAUL HAS ALREADY TOLD THEM TO AVOID IMMORAL CHRISTIANS; GOD WILL DEAL WITH THE NON-CHRISTIANS
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 - In my previous letter ....
- according to many commentators, this is the "Lost" Letter to the Corinthians warning them about relations with sinners and the sexually immoral. It may be preserved in part in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
... I said, "Don't mix with the immoral." I didn't mean, of course, that you were to have no contact at all with the immoral of this world, nor with any cheats or thieves or idolaters - for that would mean going out of the world altogether! But in this letter I tell you not to associate with any professing Christian who is known to be an impure man or a swindler, an idolater, a man with a foul tongue, a drunkard or a thief. My instruction is: "Don't even eat with such a man." Those outside the church it is not my business to judge. but surely it is your business to judge those who are inside the church - God alone can judge those who are outside. It is your plain duty to
'put away from yourselves that wicked person' (Deuteronomy 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21,24; 24:7).
TAKING CHRISTIANS TO COURT
10.17 CAN'T THEY DEAL WITH THEIR OWN DISPUTES? WHY GO TO PAGAN LAW?
1 Corinthians 6:1-8 - When any of you has a grievance against another, aren't you ashamed to bring the matter to be settled before a pagan court instead of before the church? Don't you know that Christians will one day judge the world? And if you are to judge the world do you consider yourselves incapable of settling such infinitely smaller matters? Don't you also know that we shall judge the very angels themselves - how much more then matters of this world only! In any case, if you find you have to judge matters of this world, why choose as judges those who count for nothing in the church? I say this deliberately to rouse your sense of shame. Are you really unable to find among your number one man with enough sense to decide a dispute between one and another of you, or must one brother resort to law against another and that before those who have no faith in Christ! It is surely obvious that something must be seriously wrong in your church for you to be having lawsuits at all. Why not let yourself be wronged or cheated? For when you go to law against your brother you yourself do him wrong, for you cheat him of Christian love and forgiveness.
10.18 THE PREVIOUS CONDITION OF MANY OF THEM
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - Have you forgotten that the kingdom of God will never belong to the wicked? Don't be under any illusion - neither the impure, the idolater or the adulterer; neither the effeminate, the pervert or the thief; neither the swindler, the drunkard, the foul-mouthed or the rapacious shall have any share in the kingdom of God. And such men, remember, were some of you! But you have cleansed yourselves from all that, you have been made whole in spirit, you have been justified before God in the name of the Lord Jesus and in his very Spirit.
10.19 CHRISTIAN FREEDOM; SEXUAL IMMORALITY
- Possibly a fragment of the "Lost" Letter referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:9:
1 Corinthians 6:12-20 - As a Christian I may do anything, but that does not mean that everything is good for me. I may do everything, but I must not be a slave of anything. Food was meant for the stomach and the stomach for food; but God has no permanent purpose for either. But you cannot say that our physical body was made for sexual promiscuity; it was made for God, and God is the answer to our deepest longings. The God who raised the Lord (Jesus) from the dead will also raise us mortal men by his power. Have you realised the almost incredible fact that your bodies are integral parts of Christ himself? Am I then to take parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute? Never! Don't you realise that when a man joins himself to a prostitute he makes with her a physical unity? For God says, 'the two shall be one flesh'. On the other hand the man who joins himself to God is one with him in spirit.
Avoid sexual looseness like the plague! Every other sin that a man commits is done outside his own body, but this is an offence against his own body. Have you forgotten that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at what a price! Therefore bring glory to God both in your body and your spirit, for they both belong to him.
II - ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS FROM CORINTH
THE MATTER OF MARRIAGE
10.20 PAUL REFERS TO THEIR QUESTIONS ABOUT CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
1 Corinthians 7:1-2 - Now let me deal with the questions raised in your letter (carried from Corinth to Ephesus by Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus who are listed in 1 Corinthians 16:17 - 10.37 following). It is a good principle for a man to have no physical contact with women. Nevertheless, because casual liaisons are so prevalent, let every man have his own wife and every woman her own husband.
including 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 above, all of Chapter 7 is
in Part 23 with verses teaching about "Christian Life & Worship" 7:1-16 Marriage 7:17-24 New Christians 7:25-40 Marriage then:
THE MATTER OF MEAT SACRIFICED TO IDOLS - RELATIONS WITH PAGANS AND CHRISTIAN FREEDOM
10.21 THEIR QUESTION ABOUT EATING MEAT OFFERED TO IDOLS IN PAGAN CEREMONIES
1 Corinthians 8:1a - Now to deal with the matter of meat which has been sacrificed to idols (... also raised in the recently delivered letter from Corinth).
including 1 Corinthians 8:1a above, all of Chapter 8 is
in Part 23 with verses teaching about "Christian Life & Worship" 8:1-3 Maturity 8:4-13 Responsibility for others then:
10.22 PAUL'S DEFENCE OF HIS RIGHTS AS AN APOSTLE
1 Corinthians 9:1-14 - Is there any doubt that I am a genuine messenger (or apostle), any doubt that I am a free man? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Are not you yourselves samples of my work for the Lord? Even if other people should refuse to recognise my divine commission, yet to you at any rate I shall always be a true messenger, for you are a living proof of God's call to me. This is my real ground of defence to those who cross-examine me.
Aren't we allowed to eat and drink? May we not travel with a Christian wife like the other messengers (apostles), like other Christian brothers, and like Cephas (Peter)? Are Barnabas and I the only ones not allowed to leave their ordinary work to give time to the ministry?
Even a preacher of the Gospel has some rights
Just think for a moment. Does any soldier ever go to war at his own expense? Does any man plant a vineyard and have no share in its fruits? Does the shepherd who tends the flock never taste the milk? This is, I know, an argument from everyday life, but it is a principle endorsed by the Law. For is it not written in the Law of Moses:
'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain' (Deuteronomy 25:4).
Now does this imply merely God's care for oxen, or does it include his care for us too? Surely we are included! You might even say that the words were written for us. For both the ploughman as he ploughs, and the thresher as he threshes should have some hope of an ultimate share in the harvest. If we have sown for you the seed of spiritual things need you be greatly perturbed because we reap some of your material things? And if there are others with the right to have these things from you, have not we an even greater right? Yet we have never exercised this right and have put up with all sorts of things, so that we might not hinder the spread of the Gospel.
I am entitled to a reward, yet I have not taken it
Are you ignorant of the fact that those (the Jewish priests) who minister sacred things take part of the sacred food of the Temple for their own use, and those who attend the altar have their share of what is placed on the altar? On the same principle the Lord has ordered that those who proclaim the Gospel should receive their livelihood from those who accept the Gospel.
10.23 YET PAUL RENOUNCED HIS RIGHTS; HIS REWARD IS TO PREACH THE GOSPEL IN ANY WAY HE CAN
1 Corinthians 9:15-23 - But I have never used any of these privileges, nor am I writing now to suggest that I should be given them. Indeed I would rather die than have anyone make this boast of mine an empty one!
My reward it to make the Gospel free to all men
For I take no special pride in the fact that I preach the Gospel. I feel compelled to do so; I should be utterly miserable if I failed to preach it. If I do this work because I choose to do so then I am entitled to a reward. But if it is no choice of mine, but a sacred responsibility put upon me, what can I expect in the way of reward? This, that when I preach the Gospel, I can make it absolutely free of charge, and need not claim what is my rightful due as a preacher. For though I am no man's slave, yet I have made myself everyone's slave, that I might win more men to Christ. To the Jews I was a Jew that I might win the Jews. To those who were under the Law I put myself in the position of being under the Law (although in fact I stand free of it), that I might win those who are under the Law. To those (the Gentiles) who had no Law I myself became like a man without the Law (even though in fact I cannot be a lawless man for I am bound by the law of Christ), so that I might win the men who have no Law. To the weak I became a weak man, that I might win the weak. I have, in short, been all things to all sorts of men that by every possible means I might win some to God. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel; I want to play my part in it properly.
10.24 PAUL'S STRICT AND DISCIPLINED LIFE AS AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 - Do you remember how, on a racing-track, every competitor runs, but only one wins the prize? Well, you ought to run with your minds fixed on winning the prize! Every competitor in athletic events goes into serious training. Athletes will takes tremendous pains - for a fading crown of leaves. But our contest is for an eternal crown that will never fade.
I run the race then with determination. I am no shadow-boxer, I really fight! I am my body's sternest master, for fear that when I have preached to others I should myself be disqualified.
1 Corinthians continues
in Part 62 with verses teaching about "Christian Life & Worship" 10:1-12 Religious complacency 10:13 Temptation then:
in Part 41 with verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus" 10:14-22 You cannot attend both the Lords Supper and pagan sacrifices
in Part 62 with verses teaching about "Christian Life & Worship" 10:23-24 Freedom as Christians 10:25-26 Food 10:27-33 Responsibility for others
10.25 PAUL ASKS THEM TO FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE AND REMEMBER HIS TEACHING
1 Corinthians 11:1-2 - Copy me, my brothers, as I copy Christ himself.
I must give you credit for remembering what I taught you and adhering to the traditions I passed on to you.
1 Corinthians continues
in Part 62 with verses teaching about "Christian Life & Worship" 11: 3-16 Women then:
10.26 THE UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR OF THE CORINTHIANS AT THE TABLE OF THE LORD'S SUPPER
1 Corinthians 11:17-34 - ... in giving you the following rules, I cannot commend your conduct, for it seems that your church meetings do you more harm than good! For first, when you meet for worship I hear that you split up into small groups, and I think there must be truth in what I hear. For there must be cliques among you or your favourite leaders would not be so conspicuous. It follows, then, that when you are assembled in one place you do not eat the Lord's supper. For everyone tries to grab his food before anyone else, with the result that one goes hungry and another has too much to drink! Haven't you houses of your own to have your meals in, or are you making a convenience of the church of God and causing acute embarrassment to those who have no other home?
Am I to commend this sort of conduct? Most certainly not!
To partake of the Lord's supper is a supremely serious thing
The teaching I gave you was given me personally by the Lord himself, and it was this: the Lord Jesus, in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is my body which is being broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me." Similarly when supper was ended, he took the cup saying, "This cup is the new agreement in my blood: do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.
This can only mean that whenever you eat this bread or drink of this cup, you are proclaiming that the Lord (Jesus) has died for you, and you will do that until he comes again. So that, whoever eats the bread or drinks the wine without due thought is making himself like one of those who allowed the Lord to be put to death without discerning who he was.
No, a man should thoroughly examine himself, and only then should he eat the bread or drink of the cup. He that eats and drinks carelessly is eating and drinking a judgment on himself, for he is blind to the presence of the Lord's body.
Careless communion means spiritual weakness: let us take due care
It is this careless participation which is the reason for many feeble and sickly Christians in your church, and the explanation of the fact that many of you are spiritually asleep.
If we were closely to examine ourselves beforehand, we should avoid the judgement of God. But when God does judge us, he disciplines us as his own sons, that we may not be involved in the general condemnation of the world.
Now, my brothers, when you come together to eat this bread, wait your proper turn. If a man is really hungry let him satisfy his appetite at home. Don't let your communions be God's judgment upon you!
The other matters (... Paul is probably still referring to the Lord's Supper), I will settle in person, when I come.
THE VALUE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS, BUT THE PREEMINENCE OF LOVE
10.27 THEIR QUESTIONS ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND WORSHIP
1 Corinthians 12:1 - Now I want to give you some further information in some spiritual matters (... probably also raised in the letter to Paul brought from Corinth).
including verse 12:1 above, 1 Corinthians continues
in Part 41 with verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus"
12:1-3 Only through the Holy Spirit can we really know who Jesus is then:
in Part 62 with verses teaching about "Christian Life & Worship" 12:4-13 The Body of Christ - the Church which overlaps with: 12:12-26 Every Christian has a role in the Church 12:27-30 The Body of Christ - the Church concluded 12:31, 13:1-13, 14:1a Love - its preeminence and including 1 Corinthians 14:18-19 following: 14:1b-28 "Tongues"
10.28 PAUL'S ABILITY TO SPEAK IN TONGUES
1 Corinthians 14:18-19 - I thank God that I have a greater gift of "tongues" than any of you, yet when I am in Church I would rather speak five words with my mind (which might teach something to other people) than ten thousand words in a "tongue" which nobody understands.
After verse 14:28 ends, 1 Corinthians continues
in Part 62 with verses teaching about "Christian Life & Worship" 14:29-33 Preaching 14:34-35 Women then:
10.29 HIS AUTHORITY AS AN APOSTLE; A FINAL WORD ON WORSHIP
1 Corinthians 14:36-40 - Do I see you questioning my instructions? Are you beginning to imagine that the Word of God originated in your church, or that you have a monopoly of God's truth? If any of your number thinks himself a true preacher and a spiritually-minded man, let him recognise that what I have written is by divine command! As for those who don't know it, well, we may just leave them in ignorance.
In conclusion then, my brothers, set your heart on preaching the world of God, while not forbidding the use of "tongues". Let everything be done decently and in order
III - OTHER MATTERS
DEATH AND RESURRECTION
10.30 PAUL SUMMARISES CHRIST'S REASON FOR DYING; HIS SUMMARY OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION APPEARANCES
- Paul now tackles the last major subject of his letter - resurrection and immortality:
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 - Now, my brothers, I want to speak about the Gospel which I have previously preached to you, which you accepted, in which you are at present standing, and by which, if you remain faithful to the message I gave you, your salvation is being worked out - unless, of course, your faith had no meaning behind it at all.
For I passed on to you Corinthians first of all the message I had myself received - that Christ died for our sins, as the scriptures said he would; that he was buried and rose again on the third day, again as the scriptures foretold. He was seen by
Cephas (the apostle Peter),
then by the twelve (apostles), and
subsequently he was seen simultaneously by over five hundred Christians, of whom the majority are still alive, though some have since died.
He was then seen by James,
then by all the messengers (apostles).
And last of all, as if to one born abnormally late, he appeared to me! (Paul).
10.31 PAUL, AN UNDESERVING APOSTLE
1 Corinthians 15:9-11 - I am the least of the messengers, and indeed I do not deserve that title at all, because I persecuted the Church of God (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2). But what I am now I am by the grace of God. The grace he gave me has not proved a barren gift. I have worked harder than any of the others - and yet it was not I but this same grace of God within me. In any event, whoever has done the work whether I or they, this has been the message and this has been the foundation of your faith.
including 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 above and 15:29-34, 58 following, all of Chapter 15 is
in Part 41 with verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus" 15:1-11 Christ died for our sins and rose again 15:12-19 If there is no resurrection, Christ cannot have risen 15:20-28 As death came through Adam, so life comes through Christ 15:29-34 Without the resurrection, it is pointless being persecuted for preaching the Gospel 15:35-41 A resurrection analogy - the sown seed dying to grow into new life 15:42-44a Resurrection transforms the mortal body into a glorious spiritual body 15:44b-49 We have shared the natural body of Adam, we will put on the spiritual body of Christ 15:50-53 Only the imperishable spiritual body will enter heaven 15:54-58 Death is defeated, sin overcome, we have total victory through Christ then:
10.32 A SEARCHING QUESTION - WHY BOTHER TO BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION?
1 Corinthians 15:29-34 - Further, you should consider this, that if there is to be no resurrection what is the point of some of you being baptised for the dead by proxy? Why should you be baptised for dead bodies? (A practice, soon dropped, of being symbolically baptised for those who had died unbaptised) And why should I live a life of such hourly danger? I assure you, by the certainty of Jesus Christ that we possess, that I face death every day of my life! And if, to use the popular expression, I have "fought with wild beasts" (and lived an insecure and continually threatened existence) here in Ephesus, what is the good of an ordeal like that if there is no life after this one?
'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!' (Isaiah 22:13)
Don't let yourselves be deceived. Talking about things that are not true is bound to be reflected in practical conduct. Come back to your senses, and don't dabble in sinful doubts. Remember that there are men who have plenty to say but have no knowledge of God. You should be ashamed that I have to write like this at all!
10.33 ANOTHER ENCOURAGEMENT FROM PAUL
1 Corinthians 15:58 - And so brothers of mine, stand firm! Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the Lord's work. Be sure that nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted.
VARIOUS BUSINESS AND PERSONAL MATTERS
10.34 PRACTICAL ADVICE ON COLLECTING FOR THE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM
1 Corinthians 16:1-4 - Now as far as the fund for Christians in need is concerned, I should like you to follow the same rule that I gave to the Galatian church.
On the first day of the week let everyone put so much by him, according to his financial ability, so that there will be no need for collections when I come. Then, on my arrival, I will send whomever you approve to take your gift, with my recommendation, to Jerusalem. If it seems right for me to go as well, we will make up a party together (... which Paul in fact does with a number of fellow Christians at the end of his forthcoming visit to Corinth, Acts 20:2b-3a. His journey back to Jerusalem is then described in some detail in Acts 20:3b-21:17).
10.35 PAUL'S IMMEDIATE TRAVEL PLANS FROM EPHESUS INCLUDING VISITING CORINTH
1 Corinthians 16:5-9 - I shall come to you after my intended journey through Macedonia (Acts 20:1-2a) and I may stay with you awhile or even spend the winter with you. Then you can see me on my way - wherever it is that I go next. I don't wish to see you now, for it would merely be in passing, and I hope to spend some time with you, if is God's will. I shall stay here in Ephesus (towards the end of Paul's three years there, c AD54-57) until the feast of Pentecost, for there is a great opportunity of doing useful work, and there are many people against me.
10.36 PROPOSED VISITS TO CORINTH BY TIMOTHY AND APOLLOS; A SHORT SERMON
1 Corinthians 16:10-14 - If Timothy comes to you (... Paul, on this, his Third Journey, has by now sent Timothy & Erastus from Ephesus ahead of him to Macedonia - Acts 19:22 and 1 Corinthians 4:17, and also suggests the young Timothy will reach Corinth before him), put him at his ease. He is as genuine a worker for the Lord as I am, and there is therefore no reason to look down on him. Send him on his way in peace, for I am expecting him to come to me here with the other Christian brothers. As for our brother Apollos (already popular with at least some of the Corinthians, and in spite of the divisions associated with his name, still trusted by Paul) I pressed him strongly to go to you with the rest, but it was definitely not God's will for him to do so then. However, he will come to you as soon as an opportunity occurs.
A little sermon in a nutshell!
Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, live like men, be strong! Let everything that you do be done in love.
10.37 THE WELCOME VISITORS FROM CORINTH
1 Corinthians 16:15-18 - You remember the household of Stephanas (introduced in 1 Corinthians 1:16), the first men of Achaia to be won for Christ? Well, they have made up their minds to devote their lives to looking after Christian brothers. I do beg you to recognise them as Christ's ministers, and to extend your recognition to all their helpers and workers.
I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus have arrived (with their letter asking various questions about Christian life and worship, but also reporting verbally on the far more serious problem of false prophets and false teaching). They have made up for my not seeing you. They are a tonic to me and to you. You should appreciate having men like that!
10.38 GREETINGS FROM ASIA; A CURSE; A FINAL BLESSING
1 Corinthians 16:19-24 - Greetings from the churches of Asia. Aquila and Prisca (or Priscilla) send you their warmest Christian greetings and so does the church that meets in their house. All the Christians here send greetings. I should like you to shake hands all round as a sign of Christian love.
Here is my own greeting, written by me, Paul. If any man does not love the Lord, let him be accursed; may the Lord soon come!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and my love be with you all in Jesus Christ.
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continuing the Apostle's "Travels and Acts", on to Part 11, 2 Corinthians OR back to Harmony of Jesus & Early Church