Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church were written to a church he knew very well. He wrote to correct problems he had heard about in the church and to instruct and correct believers in their faith. There are significance lessons for the church in these books, especially regarding the Lord’s Table and Spiritual Gifts.
1 Corinthians #1: A Church in Disorder
A Church in Disorder
This lesson introduces us to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian churches and focuses on how Paul deals with several disruptions to the unity among them. He must confront conflicting leadership loyalties, immorality, disagreements over marriage, gender roles, practices of food in both the market place and communion, and doctrines of the resurrection.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Correction and Charisma in Corinth"
1 Corinthians #2: Is Christ Divided?
Is Christ Divided?
This lesson discusses Paul's teaching on division over Christian leaders in his first letter to the Corinthian churches. Leaders like him and his contemporaries are merely God's instruments for the gospel of Christ. It is the power of the Spirit that has made the Corinthians Christians, not some leader’s gifting. He also stresses that the secret to knowing God and living as genuine Christians is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they should follow only Christ and not men.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Is Christ Divided?"
1 Corinthians #3: Love Confronts
This lesson details Paul's confrontation of the Corinthians for their failure to properly address immorality in the congregation. Paul demands severe church discipline, advocating the ex-communication of those who will not repent of their immorality. Paul demands judgment for their ungodly actions now so that they might repent and be saved on the day of the Lord's judgment.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Love That Confronts"
1 Corinthians #4: Singleness and Marriage
Singleness and Marriage
This lesson discusses Paul's detailed response to the Corinthians' false claim that "it is good for a man to not touch a woman." Paul dedicates chapter 7 to discuss issues of sex, marriage, and singleness. He promotes sexual enjoyment in a marriage context, insisting that couples fulfill marital duties and not deprive each other. He discusses the benefits of singleness which permits an undistracted pursuit of ministry if one has self-control. Whether single or married, one should pledge devotion to the Lord.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Marriage Manual"
1 Corinthians #5: To Be Right or Loving?
To Be Right or Loving?
This lesson considers Paul's application of divine love to the Corinthian church’s struggles over meat sacrificed to idols and their indecent celebration of the Lord's Supper. Some are too skittish in their faith to enjoy freedom in the market place. Others, who know “it’s just meat,” are more concerned about their freedom to indulge than how their actions affect weaker Christians. Instead of being selfish, they should ask: What will glorify God? What will foster the salvation of men? And What will benefit my brothers and sisters in Christ?
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "All Things to All Men"
1 Corinthians #6: The Right Practice of Spiritual Gifts
The Right Practice of Spiritual Gifts
This lesson introduces us to Paul's concern with the proper practice of spiritual gifts in the Corinthian churches. The Holy Spirit works both in unity and diversity by offering varied gifts and manifestations so that the church functions like a single healthy and effective body. Therefore, the Corinthians must exercise empathy and value equality as members of one body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are for the mutual benefit of the whole, not markers of special status.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Function of the Unction"
1 Corinthians #7: The Power of Godly Love
The Power of Godly Love
This lesson turns to 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, where Paul interrupts his discussion on spiritual gifts to show how Christian love is the more excellent path. Manifesting Godly love surpasses any spiritual gift and is the ultimate solution to all the problems facing the Corinthian church. The lesson goes on to consider the importance of resurrection hopes for the believer, in chapter 15. The promise of the Christian’s future resurrection rises or falls with Jesus’ own resurrection. It is our hope of eternity with Christ that makes Christian suffering worth enduring.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Core of Charisma"
2 Corinthians #1: The Task of the Minister
The Task of the Minister
This lesson explores the connection between Christian suffering and the work of reconciliation by which the believer helps others find peace with God through Christ. One reason God allows persecution and suffering is because it gives authenticity to our witness and strengthens our dependence on Christ in times of need, finding our true selves.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Task of the Minister"
2 Corinthians #2: Validating a Minister
Validating a Minister
This lesson introduces us to Paul's defense of his apostolic authority, which was challenged by some Corinthians who were offended by Paul’s first letter. This lesson highlights his discussion on what the gospel is, the mission of the church, and the role of suffering in validating a true minister of Christ.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Transparency of the Minister"
2 Corinthians #3: The Transformation of Paul
The Transformation of Paul
This lesson discusses Paul's transformation through his encounter with the risen Lord on the Damascus Road. It changed his heart, renewed his mind, and set him on a new path of ministry marked with the miraculous and the truly wondrous. Even so, Paul is tormented by a "thorn in the flesh," given to keep him dependent on Christ.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Transcendence of the Minister"
2 Corinthians #4: The Generous Steward
The Generous Steward
This lesson unpacks Paul's advice concerning good stewardship and generosity. Although they excelled in other areas of Christian living, the Corinthian believers had, thus far, lacked in selfless giving. Paul reserves chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians to encourage faithful stewardship and generous giving, viewing their resources as an opportunity for the extending their Gospel ministry. Paul uses the generosity of Philippians to stir up the Corinthians’ own giving. Everything we have belongs to the Lord and Christians should use it to glorify God in the world.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Grace of Giving"