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Bible Study on First Corinthians

A verse-by-verse study of the sixteen chapters of First Corinthians

The City of Corinth

Nelson’s Bible Dictionary describes the ancient city of Corinth in great detail. It was seafarers’ town known for international trade and commerce, but it was also a hotbed of prostitution, gambling and amusements. As one might expect, these types of activities attracted people with sordid reputations and lifestyles. Paul addressed many of their sins in his epistle. The astounding fact is that a strong church was founded and flourished in a city that was arguably one of the most sinful urban centers of ancient times.

Chapter One

Salutation - Chapter 1:1-9

Paul’s Apostleship. Vs. 1.
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,”

The Audience vs 2-3

“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: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. “

Church of God at Corinth

Spiritual description.

  • Sanctified
  • Called to be saints
  • Universal church

Attitude of the epistle 4-9

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  • Grace and peace
  • Thanksgiving for Corinthians
  • Desire for enrichment
  • Confirmation of their testimony
  • Reminder of God’s faithfulness

Appeal to Christian unity. vs. 10-12

“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. 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. 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.”

  • Speak the same thing. vs. 10
  • Joined in same mind and judgement.
  • Contentions among you.
  • Party factions.

Illustration of Christ.

  • Questions Paul asked.
  • Discussion of baptism.

The Gospel

  • The importance of preaching the Gospel.
  • Fallacy of human wisdom.

Requirements of Jews and Greeks

  • Jews want a sign.
  • Long history of signs among Jews Josh. 4:5-6; Jud. 6:15 -17; Matt. 12:38-39.
  • God gave the Jews a sign of Christ. Isaiah 7:14
  • But the Jews crucified the sign.
  • Therefore the sign became a stumblingblock. vs. 23.
  • Tongues as evidence. Acts 10:46
  • Tongues as a sign refers to gift of tongues. 1 Cor. 14:22.
  • Greeks want wisdom.
  • They evidently considered signs superstition
  • Christ crucified appeared as foolishness to them.
  • God’s affection for the foolish. vs. 24-31.

“But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Chapter Two

Addressing the Problem

  • No superficial speech or human wisdom I Cor. 2:1
  • No prying or investigation (vs 2)
  • Great caution and respect (vs 3)
  • Reliance on the Holy Ghost (vs 4)
  • The strongest foundation (vs 5)

Practical Teaching

  • How much should Christians know about each other?
  • Keep your relationships as pure and spiritual as possible. Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. Proverbs 26:20.  Never mock or make light of someone’s experience with God.

Hidden Wisdom

  • Not the wisdom of this world (vs 6)
  • Not the wisdom of worldly leaders (vs 6)
  • God’s secret wisdom (vs 7) What issues did Paul later address that worldly wisdom would not comprehend?
  • The cross due to lack of God’s wisdom (vs 8)

More Practical Teaching

Avoid theological debates with those who have only human wisdom. Recognize that there will be issues that you will not grasp with the human mind. They can be understood in the Spirit alone.

Spiritual Wisdom

  • Revelations of the Spirit (vs 10)
  • Deep things of God (vs 10)
  • Man knows human issues (vs 11)
  • Man does not know Spiritual issues (vs 11)

The Spiritual Man

  • We have received the Spirit of God (Vs 12)
  • We know things freely given to us by God (Vs 12)

“That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Cor 1:5-7

The Spiritual Man (cont’d)

We speak in words that the Holy Ghost teaches (Vs 13)
What are the words of the world?

  • Intuition
  • Heuristics
  • Odds/statistics
  • Cosmic forces
  • Psychology

What Are the Words of the Holy Ghost?

  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness Temperance Galatians 5:22-23
  • Gifts of the Spirit
  • Your vocabulary is predicated upon your belief system.

The Spiritual Man (cont’d)

  • We compare spiritual things with spiritual things (Vs 13)
  • 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
  • 1 Peter 2:1-9

Essentiality of the Spirit

  • Prophecies: Eze. 36:26-27; Joel 2:28
  • Promises: John 7:37-39; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:38-29
  • Fulfillment: Acts 8:14 -17; 10:44 -48; 19:2-7
  • Necessary: Romans 8:9-11.

The Natural Man

  • Does not receive the Spirit (Vs 14)
  • Spiritual things are foolish to him (Vs 14)
  • No spiritual discernment (Vs 14)
  • Spiritual judgment (Vs 15)
  • The mind of Christ (Vs 16)

Spiritual Insight, Spiritual judgment (Vs 15)

In I Corinthians 2, Paul uses anakrinetai which means to examine, call to account, to discern.
“The spiritual man is able to consider and appraise all things because he is not only inspired to understand what he sees, he is also furnished with a moral standard by which all things may be measured.” (Barrett)

Christ: The Only Judge

  • “But we have the mind of Christ”
  • “We” not “I”
  • Mind of Christ: “thoughts, counsels, plans and knowledge of Christ known through the agency of the Holy Spirit” (Rienecker)

Chapter Three

Carnal Christians

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

What is carnality?

  • Sensual, worldly, non-spiritual; relating to or given to the crude desires and appetites of the FLESH or body.
  • The carnal person makes no place for eternal values in his day-to-day life.

Contrast: Spiritual/Carnal

The apostle Paul contrasts “spiritual people”—that is, those who are under the control of the Holy Spirit—with those who are “carnal”—those under the control of the flesh (1 Cor. 3:1-4; Rom. 8:5-7). The word carnal is usually reserved in the New Testament to describe worldly Christians. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

  • Babes: Spiritual immaturity.
  • Envying and strife
  • Divisions
  • Instability (Ephesians 4:14 )
  • Failure to progress (Hebrews 5:12 )
  • Yielding to temptation (1 John 2:14 )
  • Lack of Spiritual Insight
  • Unable to use spiritual weapons (2 Cor. 10:4; Gal. 5:15 -26)
  • Key Truth: Carnality in Christians stops the effective working of the Holy Spirit in the church and in the individual.

The Secret of Growth

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Division of Spiritual Labor

  • Some plant the seed: Witness
  • Others water: Befriend, pray
  • Still others harvest the fruit: Lead to Christ
  • Others cultivate: Disciple, teach
  • There is no place for spiritual pride or a superior attitude in the church

No one person is totally responsible for the success of the church.

  • Nehemiah 4:16-17
  • Matthew 18:19

Every person and every job is important to the work of God.

  • Believe that God knew what He was doing in placing you in the church.
  • Accept the gifts that God had given you.
  • Do not covet other’s gifts, calling or positions.
  • Always remember the overall plan.

Chapter Four

Stewardship Requirements

  • The Steward’s Role 1 Cor 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
  • The Steward’s Requirement I Cor. 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.


  • Will not compromise convictions.
  • Will not become derelict in duties.
  • Will not let discouragement change him.
  • Will not excuse himself.
  • Keeps the call uppermost in his mind.

Characteristics Of Faithfulness

  • Prov 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
  • Prov 14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
  • Prov 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Stewardship Revelations

  • The Steward’s Rating. Vs. 3-4
  • The Steward’s Reward

1 Cor 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

Stewardship Reason

  • The Teaching of the Steward. Vs. 6
  • The Tests of the Steward. Vs. 7
    Are you better than others?
    Are you self-sufficient?
    If you are not self-sufficient, why are you acting like you are?
  • The Steward’s Ridiculousness. Vs. 8

1 Cor 4:8-10 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise …

Paul said, in effect, “I wish you were as smart as you think you are!”

Attitudes That Destroy

  • Exaggerated sense of self-importance.
  • Feeling that you are indispensable.
  • An unteachable spirit.
  • Resistance to leadership.
  • Haughtiness and spiritual pride.
  • Unwillingness to become abased.

A Steward Talks To Stewards

Verses 14-21.

  • Warning
  • Spiritual fatherhood
  • Remember what I taught you.
  • The right to investigate.
  • The authority to enforce the rules.
  • The power to punish.

Chapter Five

Immorality in the church

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.

  • A sin even the Gentiles find abhorrent
  • Common reports vs. gossip

The evils of fornication

  • A sin against God
  • A sin against one’s own body
  • A sin against another’s body
  • An insult to the sanctity of marriage
  • A crime against potential children
  • A disruption to stable relationships
  • A harbinger of disease

No justification for fornication

  • It is lust, not love. I John 2:15-17
  • It is selfish, not caring.
  • The Bible strongly condemns it. (I Cor. 6:18; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3)
  • It maligns the conscience.
  • No privacy from God’s eyes.

Response to condemnation

5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

  • Refusal to admit wrongdoing
  • Failure to repent
  • Unwilling to confront the offender

Apostolic authority

5:3-4 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

  • The sinner is to be returned to the dominion of Satan. (Col. 1:12-13)
  • Destruction of flesh: Repentance
  • Spirit may be saved: The only hope

The purity of the church

5:6-7 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

The lesson of the leaven

  • Like leaven, sin is an active ingredient
  • Exodus 13:7; Galatians 5:7-9
  • Social sins must be confronted by the church.
  • Too many people are at risk
  • The sin is too insidious
  • Open rebuke is a warning to all

Bread of sincerity

5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

  • Feast: Probably Passover/Easter celebration.
  • Sincerity: helikrineias “the quality of having been proven in the sunlight”

Separate from corrupt persons

5:9-11 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world…for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator…

The duty of the church

5:12-13 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Condoning sin eventually destroys the church. Don’t let it happen.

Chapter Six

I. Resolving Conflicts Between Christians

  • Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
  • Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
  • Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
  • If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
  • I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
  • But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
  • 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?
  • Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

The absurdity of going to judgment before the unjust.

  • The saints shall judge the world. vs. 1-2
  • The size of the dispute should not matter. vs. 2
  • If we judge angels, how much more things of this life? vs. 3

The propriety of settling differences before other saints.

  • Even the least esteemed can judge. vs. 4
  • A wise man should be among you. vs. 5.
  • The whole problem exposes an underlying fault. vs. 6-7.

The honorable attitude to possess in conflict.

  • Better to be defrauded. vs. 7.
  • Instead, you defraud your brethren. vs. 8.

The Christ Method of resolving conflicts between brethren.

  • Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, (1) go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
  • But if he will not hear thee, then (2) take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
  • And if he shall neglect to hear them, (3) tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Practical pointers in doing business with other believers.

  • Do not expect favors, discounts or gifts just because someone is in the church.
  • If there is a possibility that a misunderstanding could develop, put it in writing or bring someone else in as a witness to the contract.
  • Remember, people are still people, not angels.
  • Be prepared to suffer loss rather than file a lawsuit. If you cannot take that risk, don’t do the deal in the first place.
  • Even families break up over business deals (or estate settlements!)

Appreciating the Transformation of Christians

  • Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God .
  • 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.

The Kingdom of God

  • Used interchangeably with the Kingdom of Heaven
  • Refers to the present and future state of the saints.

Certain people are disqualified from inheriting the Kingdom of God .

  • Disqualified on the basis of their conduct and deeds.
  • Good qualities do not compensate for wrong doing.
  • What kind of people are disqualified?
  • Fornicators
  • Adulterers
  • Effeminate
  • Abusers of themselves with mankind
  • Thieves
  • Covetous
  • Drunkards
  • Revilers
  • Extortioners

You used to be the same kind of people, but you were transformed

  • Now you are washed.
  • Now you are sanctified.
  • Now you are justified.
  • This happened in the name of our Lord Jesus
  • This happend by the Spirit of our God.

The Question of Expediency

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.

Expedient: ex·pe·di·ent (îk-spê¹dê-ent) adjective

Appropriate to a purpose.

a. Serving to promote one’s interest: was merciful only when mercy was expedient. b. Based on or marked by a concern for self-interest rather than principle; self-interested.

Obsolete. Speedy; expeditious. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition is licensed from Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Many questions are not to be framed in the right/wrong context, but whether they are expedient or inexpedient.

  • Paul shows that going to law against a brother is so inexpedient—-that is that it brings so much shame and injury to the church—-that it has no place in the litany of church behaviors.
  • Addictions, entanglements, unequally yoked relationships spell danger to the Christian.
  • Meats for the belly principle: Don’t lose your soul over something that has no eternal value. vs 13.

The Sanctity of the Body

  • Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
  • Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
  • What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Chapter Seven

The Jewish Religious Practice

  • Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
  • Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
  • External evidences of religion are of no value without keeping the commandments of God. The marks of religion are subordinate to faith and truth.

Stay In Your Calling

Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

The laws of Paul’s day would have made leaving one’s position as a servant a crime. We have freedom of choice today. The spiritual lesson, however, is still important.

  • Do not force changes in your life against the will of God.
  • Pray, prepare, do what you can, and let God open the door.
  • Let spiritual desires, rather than carnal or temporal, drive you.
  • The question is: How can I use my position to serve God better?—-not how can I use God to get a better position?

Marriage is Sanctified

Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Propriety of Marriage

  • Evidently, there was a strong feeling among the Corinthians that marriage was not proper. Paul’s teaching about marriage seems to be as follows:
  • If you are married, stay married. You have made a covenant.
  • If you are single, stay single. You are not encumbered.
  • If you have a desire to marry, go ahead. It is not sinful.
  • If you marry, however, expect trouble.

The Demands of the Married Life

But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

Duties Toward Unmarried Daughters

  • But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
  • Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.
  • So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

Obligations Of Marriage

The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

Til death us do part

  • Widows may re-marry, but only to believers.
  • Widows who remain unmarried may make the better choice.

Chapter Eight

The Knowledge Of One True God

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Knowledge should never lift us up with pride.

  • If we scorn those in this world who do not know God, we should be reminded that even we know nothing in comparison to what we ought to know.
  • Idolatry: The deification of a person, an object or an idea as something to be worshipped. Idols do not have to be images of gods. They can be intellectual concepts as well. Covetousness is idolatry as we see in Colossians 3:5 and Ephesians 5:5. What do people make into idols today?

There is one God manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul makes this point for two reasons:

  • 1) There is not a multiplicity of Gods. Monotheism is the bedrock concept of God in the Bible;
  • 2) This one God will not be manifested in different ways according to different cultures and traditions. (Acts 17:16-31).

The Knowledge That Grants Liberty

  • Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
  • But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
  • Paul is teaching us that food is food. The knowledge that there are no such things as gods besides the one true God, makes worship rites of idols of no consequence. The is no spiritual significance attached to eating or refusing to eat the food offered to idols.
  • Believers need not be afraid of symbols, chants, objects of pagan worship, nor any of the signs of idolatry, witchcraft or satanism. When we say we don’t believe in them, we mean that we don’t believe they hold any supernatural power or meaning. The knowledge of the truth grants us liberty from fear or oppression from idolatry.

The Liberty That Must Not Be Abused

  • But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
  • When we study his words, Paul is still teaching against eating those things offered to idols, but for different reasons. We do not partake because it will put a stumbling block in the path of our brother.
  • We must place the welfare of our brother at the top of our priority list. People who live by the creed that they don’t care what other believers think or say, actually sin against Christ.
  • The church is the body of Christ. If we are truly sensitive to Christ, we manifest it by our treatment of others in the body.
  • “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Cor 12:25 -27

Chapter Nine

Challenges to Paul’s Apostleship

Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

Paul’s Refutation and Defense

Evidently, powerful anti-Paul forces in the Corinthian church were attempting to discredit his apostolic authority. By claiming that he was not responsible for evangelizing Corinth , they were trying to define his role as subordinate to the congregation. Paul refuted their charges in the following way:

  • He is a true apostle.
  • He is Roman born.
  • He is an eyewitness of Jesus Christ. (II Cor. 12; Gal. 1)
  • The Corinthian church is proof of his apostleship.
  • He has the right to eat, drink, get married and work a secular job.

The Care of the Ministry

Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

While the integrity of the ministry has suffered in the last few years, the scriptures are clear that the church ought to support the ministry. Responsibilities to do right lie on both sides of the issue. (I Peter 5:1-3)

The Pure Motives of Paul

But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

Paul recognized the tremendous power resident in his apostleship. This power is not “carte blanche.” It should not be used recklessly or to get personal gain. That is why he took time to establish two things:

  • 1) His right to claim his apostleship, and
  • 2) His record matches his claim.

Soulwinning, the Number One Priority

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Even the Call of God Requires Excellence

  • Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
  • The ordination of God, powerful though it may be, is not enough to survive mediocrity, laziness or lack of integrity. It behooves every child of God to apply discipline, mastery and total dedication to his Christian walk. If Paul could become a castaway, we are not immune to the ravages of spiritual pride and moral failure.

Chapter Ten

The Common Faith

  • Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
  • The Corinthians were not ignorant of the facts, but of the meaning of the facts.
  • “All” indicates the integrity of the church. We are not multiculturalists who celebrate our diversity. We are believers who enjoy the uniform experience of the new birth.
  • “Under the cloud.” He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night. Psalm 105:39 Jesus Christ is our propitiation, or covering. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:2
  • They were all baptized “unto” Moses, meaning that they accepted Moses as their Heaven-sent guide and teacher.
  • The spiritual meat and drink has two references:
  • The communion service. (Vs. 16-17; 11:20 -34)
  • The doctrine (Heb. 5:12 ) and the Holy Spirit (John 4:14 ).

The Consequences of Sin

  • But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
  • Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who passed the test.
  • Lusting for evil, idolatry, fornication and murmuring constitute dangerous practices that will destroy us as well as it destroyed Israel .
  • “Tempting Christ” means to act in an unappreciative, obnoxious way toward God and His offer of salvation. Exodus 21:1-6. Today, people who reject God’s method of salvation put themselves in the same position.

The Defenses Against Sin

  • Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
  • Spiritual arrogance and pride has a blinding effect upon our view of reality. We must always hold in mind our dependence upon Christ.
  • There is an escape route for every fire.

The Purpose of the Communion Service

  • The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
  • For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
  • Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
  • All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
  • But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
  • Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God : Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Chapter Eleven

God’s Order For the Home

  • Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
  • Be ye followers… Paul expected the believers to respond to his leadership. Their submission, however, was not to be based on blind faith, but on the Apostle’s submission to Christ. The rejection of legitimate leadership is a rejection to the theme of unity.
  • Keep the ordinances. We ordinarily think of the ordinances of God as baptism and the communion service. The fact that Paul mentions it in such close relationship to the authority question and the hair question is very significant. He praises the Corinthians for faithfulness in keeping the ordinances, but here he also teaches them to keep their places and relationships in the right way. Doing a few good things does not justify rebellion against the major tenets of faith.

The question of authority.

  • Woman, man, Christ (humanity) and God (Deity). This is the way God intended for it to be.
  • Woman is of man. Genesis 2:20-25.
  • Man is of God. Genesis 2:7
  • Christ is of God. John 1:1, 14; Luke 3:38.
  • God is self-existing. Genesis 1:1
  • The modern feminist movement rejects this structure as sexist and chauvinistic. When this umbrella of authority is respected, however, it is not demeaning, but fulfilling and satisfying. True strength in the home exists when proper authority flows downward from God as He has ordained. This is because God, who is ever faithful, never acts improperly nor does he fail to do the right thing. Thus, the mother and father who stay within this structure, have God’s authority when they raise their children.

The Covering For the Head

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

Facts we can glean from the scriptures:

  • The man that prays or prophecies must not cover his head.
  • The woman that prays or prophecies must cover her head.
  • The woman who uncovers her head dishonors her husband.
  • The woman who uncovers her head may as well shave her head.
  • The woman who uncovers her head may as well be shorn.
  • It is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven.
  • Therefore, the woman must be covered.

The Spiritual Basis For Uncut Hair

  • For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
  • Again, the Apostle Paul refers back to the creation story. The ordinance on cut hair for men and uncut hair for women is not simply a Corinthian, Jewish or Gentile custom. It has its basis in the origin of mankind.
  • Also, uncut hair on the woman bears a relationship to angels. Some scholars see this as a reference back to the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. The angels wings provided a covering for mercy. (The covering of blood on the doorposts and lintels provided a covering of protection against the death angel in Egypt .) Evidently, there is a spiritual power that a woman possesses by virtue of her uncut hair. (Sign of authority: NIV)

The Grammatical Basis for the Hair Question (I Corinthians 11:1-16)

  • The grammar
    • Shaven ( xuraw, exurhmenei, xurasqai) Cut off the hair, shear, shave
    • Shorn ( keirw, keirasqw, keirasqai)
      • Active voice: to cut off, shear, shave
      • Middle voice: cut one’s hair, have one’s hair cut
    • Shame (aiscros)
      • Ugly, shameful, disgraceful
    • Long hair ( komh, koma)
      • Wear the hair long, let one’s hair grow long
      • Uncut hair (Vocab. of the G. N. T., Bauer, Moulton, Milligan)
    • The conclusion

    Long hair is the woman’s God-given glory
    Uncut hair is the only rendering that leaves out any question
    The ministry should not endorse anything that is a disgrace.

    Answering some objections

    Only a Corinthian custom. (Untrue, as earlier stated)

    Shorn means shear, as shearing sheep.

    Active voice means shear

    Middle voice means cut

    Contextual law rules here: Paul is talking about people, not sheep.

    How long is long? As long as uncut hair will grow.

    Should be a personal conviction. (All churches held this custom or practice.)

    Doing That Which Pleases God

    Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

    Man and woman are not independent of each other. What one does has a bearing on the other. A man cannot rebell against his authority and still expect his wife to have the same respect for him as she always did.

    The Apostle Paul appeals to ten principles to establish the truth of his teaching on hair:

    His own authority. vs 1

    God’s authority structure. vs 3

    The shamefulness of being shorn or shaven. vs 6

    The image and glory of God. vs 7

    The glory of the man. vs 7

    Order of creation. vs 8-9

    The angels. vs 10

    Self-evident. vs 13

    Nature. vs 14.

    The glory of the woman. vs 15.

    The covering for a woman is her long, uncut hair.

    A Final Word

    But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

    The Apostle here aserts that contention against his teaching will not be tolerated. He is not saying that we have no custom regarding hair. He is saying that there is no other custom. “If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.” (NIV)

    If you use flawed human reasoning, or if you resort to comparison with the world around you as a benchmark of behavior, you may see no need to observe this passage. In so doing, however, you violate a spiritual principle set forth here in the scripture. It is better it is to submit to the Word of God. But even that is not the full answer. The real power comes when a woman truly celebrates her God-ordained place and wears her long hair as a symbol of glory and power.

    Chapter Eleven, Part B

    The Destructiveness of Disunity

    Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

    Their assembling together should have led to edification, but disunity caused it to be destructive.

    Here are guidelines for coming to church:

    Come to worship.

    Come to fellowship.

    Come to uplift and edify.

    Come to receive instruction and inspiration.

    Come to be changed.

    The dilemma of division:

    If we disagree with someone in the church, how can we continue to fellowship with them as if nothing is wrong? Wouldn’t that be compromising our convictions?

    The strength and depth of feelings about different issues varies between people depending on their background, experience and training.

    If you are right, you must show patience, understanding, spiritual maturity and kindness toward the brother or sister you think is wrong.

    Unless you are the pastor, you are never commissioned to contend for your differing view if it is not the teaching of the church.

    Hierarchy of Essential Beliefs

    Faith in God. Hebrews 11:6

    Belief in the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16

    Primary Bible Commands

    Salvation. Acts 2:38

    Faith in Christ. John 3:16; Acts 4:12

    Secondary Teachings of the Church Body

    (Hebrews 13:7.17; Romans 14:4)





    Personal Convictions

    Law of Respectful Room (Romans 14:5-6)

    Law of Unity (1 Corinthians 12:18 -20)

    Personal Preferences

    Music, Worship Styles, Choices in Life

    1 Corinthians 10:23

    Strictly Individual Beliefs

    John 21:21-22

    Heresies serve the purpose of revealing those who are approved of God.

    Abuses of the Lord’s Supper

    When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God , and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

    Communion service is not for feast and fellowship.

    Everybody was trying to rush in ahead of others to eat.

    Some don’t get anything to eat; others get drunk on the communion wine.

    The communion supper was not be a sort of caste system to give some a higher status than others. (Vs. 22)

    The Pattern and Purpose of the Lord’s Supper.

    The Pattern For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

    The reenactment of the Lord’s supper helps to recreate the meaning of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

    Remembering the actual event keeps us from drifting away from the original purpose of Calvary .

    The Purpose For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

    We must keep (shew) the cross in our lives. (Galatians 2:20)

    Taking communion unworthily is to consider it as just something to eat and drink, without considering the full meaning behind it. Such a person is classified with those who crucified Jesus in the first place. (This should be kept in the context of the Corinthian abuse and not taken to mean that we should be fearful of the Lord’s supper.)

    The need for self-examination. Only the person who takes communion can know his own heart.

    Partaking unworthily causes one to bring damnation to his own soul.

    Discern the Lord’s body:

    Understand the sinless sacrifice of The Lamb.

    Understand that each communicant is a part of that body.

    Understand that the church is the body of Christ.

    Do not abuse the Lord’s Supper. Abuse has caused sickness and death.

    Self-judgement means that we avoid the judgement of God.

    The Lord chastens those whom he loves. (Prov. 13:24; Heb. 12:6-7)

    Behave properly at the communion service

    Don’t make communion a festive occasion. If you do, it only serves to condemn you.

    Chapter Twelve

    Spiritual gifts have a place in the church.

    Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

    We ought to know what and how the spiritual gifts work.

    “Dumb” Greek: aphonos, voiceless. God does speak to us through spiritual gifts.

    The danger of the Gentile idols was that their high priests could say anything they desired. Spiritual gifts, however, cannot be legitimately used to corrupt the true doctrine. If they are abused this way, it is a clear sign that the person doing it is not of God.

    [Of God … Holy.] The same Spirit is called at one time “the Spirit OF GOD,” at another, “the HOLY Ghost,” or ‘Holy Spirit. ‘ Infinite Holiness is almost synonymous with Godhead. The saying, ‘Jesus is accursed’ cannot emanate from “the Spirit of God,” but from the evil Spirit. The saying, ‘Jesus is Lord, ‘ cannot emanate from man’s natural spirit, but from “the Holy Ghost. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

    Spiritual gifts illustrate the theme of unity.

    Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

    Diversities of gifts do not mean a plurality of spirits.

    Differences of administrations do not mean there are different gods.

    Differences of operations means that one God operates in different ways.

    The purpose of the gifts.

    But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

    Spiritual gifts are for the edification of the body.

    Not to advance one’s personal agenda.

    Not to prove one’s spirituality.

    Not to correct, reprove, rebuke, instruct. That is the province of scripture.

    2 Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    Types of the Gifts

    Word of wisdom: The ability to know how to apply knowledge.

    Word of knowledge: The impartation of knowledge not humanly possible to know.

    Faith: Uncommon faith that enables one to believe despite all obstacles or other difficulties.

    Gifts of healing: The act of healing is a spiritual gift from God. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 God is the healer, although He uses people as vessels or instruments to do the work. The plural (gifts) show that one can receive healing many times. It also may indicate that some people are used by God in healing certain kinds of diseases or physical problems.

    Working of miracles: The power to do supernatural acts.

    Prophecy: Not foretelling, but forth-telling. Preaching.

    Discerning of spirits: Insight into spiritual realms, knowing motives.

    Tongues: Speaking in a language not learned.

    Not tongues of initial baptism of the Holy Ghost.

    A message to the church.

    Never disruptive.

    Interpretation of tongues:

    Interpretation, not translation.

    Not by human understanding.

    Has the force of prophecy.

    The unity of the body.

    11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

    12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

    13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

    14 For the body is not one member, but many.

    15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

    16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

    17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

    18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

    19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

    20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

    21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

    22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

    23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

    24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

    25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

    26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

    27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

    Diversity in unity.

    28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

    29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

    30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

    31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

    There is a descending order in the church in terms of the significance of the gifts.

    Everyone does not have all the gifts that are resident in the church.

    Coveting the gifts is not the best way to obtain them.

    Chapter Thirteen

    The Supremacy of Love

    Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    The Word “Love”

    Eros: Physical, fleshly

    Phileo: Brotherly love, family love

    Agape: Love without expectation of return

    What Is Real Love?

    Tells the Truth “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Ephesians 4:15

    Obeys God “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

    Receives Discipline “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Hebrews 12:6

    Description Over Definition

    Charity suffereth long, and is kind;

    charity envieth not;

    charity vaunteth not itself,

    is not puffed up,

    Doth not behave itself unseemly,

    seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked,

    thinketh no evil;

    Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

    Beareth all things,

    believeth all things,

    hopeth all things,

    endureth all things.

    Love is Enduring

    Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;

    Love is a motive, not a gimmick.

    Love is an attitude, not an act.

    Have Tongues Ceased?

    Whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    Tongues will last for the entire church age. I Corinthians 1:7

    If tongues ceased, exactly when and where did it happen?

    Tongues will continue as long as knowledge is incomplete.

    What is “That which is perfect”?

    For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    Is “that which is perfect” the Bible?

    No. That which is perfect is the one who is coming, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The Maturity of Love

    11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
    12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

    Love is the Greatest

    And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

    Faith and hope will become unnecessary at the consummation of the ages. But love will continue throughout eternity.

    Chapter Fourteen

    Prophecy and Tongues

    1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
    2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
    3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort

    He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

    I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

    Confusion in Corinth

    Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

    7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
    8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

    So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

    Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

    There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

    11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
    12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

    Need for Interpretation

    13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
    14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

    Praying in Tongues

    15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
    16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

    17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
    18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

    Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

    The Sign of Tongues

    20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

    21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
    22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

    Tongues in the Church

    If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

    But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

    25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
    26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

    Regulations on the Gift of Tongues

    If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

    But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

    Regulations on Prophecy

    29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
    30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
    31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
    32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
    33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    Role of Women in the Church

    34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
    35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    Jesus’ view of women

    Mary of Bethany . Capable of spiritual worship and intellectual understanding.

    Woman at the well. Received some of Christ’s greatest teaching on the Holy Ghost.

    Woman accused of adultery. Spared her from punishment of the law and illustrated his grace in her.

    Women in Acts

    Acts 1:14 . Inclusion of women.

    Acts 2 was promised to women as well as men. (Acts 2:17-18) This reference to women was deliberate.

    Acts 21:8-9. Daughters of Philip were used in prophecy.

    Apostle Paul’s View of Women

    Romans 16 - Ten of twenty-nine names are of women.

    Four women, Mary, Tryphene, Tryphosa, and Persis “worked very hard” in the cause of the Gospel.

    Pricilla, along with her husband, Aquila , were called “fellow-helpers” (sunergos) with Paul, a term also used for men.

    Women: New Testament Principles

    Speaking: No authoritative teaching

    Obedience: The context of the law

    Submission to husband

    Definitive roles:

    Teaching under submission

    Teaching young women

    Spiritual gifts

    Summary of Thoughts

    36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
    37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
    38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
    39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
    40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

    Chapter Fifteen

    The Imperatives of the Gospel

    Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

    The Definition of the Gospel

    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

    The Eyewitnesses of the Resurrection

    And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

    Paul’s Divine Ordination

    8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
    9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

    The Dividends of Grace

    10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

    General Resurrection

    Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

    Resurrection and Faith

    For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

    Resurrection and Hope

    If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

    Adam and Christ

    For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

    The Ultimate Victory of Life

    But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

    The Subjection of the Sonship

    For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

    Baptism for the Dead

    Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

    Present Advantage of the Resurrection

    I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus , what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communica-tions corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

    Death before Resurrection

    But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

    Transformation through Resurrection

    And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

    Glorified Bodies

    All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

    The Glory of the Resurrrected Body

    So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

    Life-Receiving to Life-Giving

    And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.


    Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

    Impact of the Resurrection

    And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

    The Kingdom Incorruptible

    Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

    Rapture Resurrection

    Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

    Victory Over Death

    So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Labor’s Reward

    Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

    Chapter Sixteen

    God’s Financial Plan

    Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia , even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

    Giving in the New Testament

    Paul was consistent with his Jewish upbringing. (Vs. 1)

    Tithing predated the Law (Gen. 14:20-24)

    Malachi 3:8-10

    Alternative to N. T. Tithing - Acts 2:44 -47

    Prerogatives of the Church

    And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem . And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

    Why Organization?

    “Know them that labor…” I Thess. 5:12

    Approval of the church. (Vs. 3)

    United efforts. (Vs. 19)

    Need for submission. (Vs. 19, Heb. 13:17 )

    Importance of Missionary Plans

    Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia : for I do pass through Macedonia . And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.
    Spirituality vs. Mysticism

    Spirituality does not mean impulsiveness.

    Orderliness and planning is consistent with true spirituality. (I Cor. 14:40. Order used 4 times in I Corinthians.)

    Prove your impulses by prayer, fasting and counsel. (Romans 12:2)

    Opportunities and Obstacles

    But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

    Concerns for the Ministry

    Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.

    Christianity is not for Weaklings

    Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

    Be alert.

    Be steadfast.

    Be courageous.

    Be strong.

    The Highest Motivation

    Let all your things be done with charity.

    Addicted to the Ministry

    I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

    Spiritual Refreshers

    I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

    Careful Salutations

    The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.


    If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

    Anathema (cursed)

    Maranatha (Jesus is Coming

    Closing of the Epistle

    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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