Saints & Sinners
An Opportunity For Growth:
An Indepth Study of the
Book of 1 Corinthians
The Corinthian church got so many things wrong; it was rife with controversy. Yet the apostle Paul loved the believers there! When most would have written them off, God sees them as His redeemed people, saved by grace and in the process of being sanctified!
The book we call 1st Corinthians, like a modern novel, has all the right ingredients to hold us spell-bound (or make us shake our heads): conflict, denominationalism, lust, immorality, incest, selfishness, revenge, pride—you name it, they were guilty of it! The Corinthians doubted some of the basic truths of the Christian faith, abused the gifts of the Spirit, messed up on gender issues and trampled on the spiritually weak.
Basically, they each lived for themselves without regard for anyone else. Sounds like some of the same things Christians wrestle with today, eh?
The depressing backdrop of this immature, ineffective church provides the opportunity for God to extol how to move from acting like sinners to behaving like saints. In this book we find teaching about the centrality of Christ and His resurrection, the importance of serving others, the primacy of love, the importance of worship, the beauty of gender relationships and instructions about how to simply get along with each other.
Did you know that the apostle Paul wrote at least four letters to the believers at Corinth? The letter we call 1 Corinthians was actually his 2nd communication (that we know of). The one we call 2nd Corinthians was probably his 4th letter to them.
The book of 1 Corinthians contains one of the earliest historical evidences of death and resurrection of Christ. Despite all his practical teachings in the book, Paul insists that his primary focus is on Christ and His crucifixion. Even the most practical topics come back to that.
Paul never baptized any of the Corinthians (well, just a few). Yet, there many that idolized him—so that he felt compelled to remind them, “I was not crucified for you!” But others hated him, working behind his back, trying to undermine his influence!
The city of Corinth was a major sea port in the Roman empire with a cosmopolitan population and a continuous flow of sea-hardened sailors and merchants. Immorality was rampant—historians tell us there were over 1000 temple prostitutes residing there at the time of Paul’s writing— that’s how bad it was. In fact, if you wanted to ruin a girl’s reputation anywhere in the empire, you would call her a “Corinthian girl.”
God’s light, as we see in this book, penetrates the darkest places—even today. And that’s what it’s all about. Join us for a challenging and insightful study of the book of 1 Corinthians: Saints & Sinners!
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