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1 Corinthians (Part 2)

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Paul addresses the extremes of asceticism and hedonism, as well as concerns regarding marriage, spiritiual gifts and the resurrection.


Letters of Paul

Part 3

III. 1 Corinthians: Countering Misguided Views about Christian Maturity

A. 1 Corinthians Outline

1. Introduction (1:1-9)

2. Paul responds to news from Chloe (1:10-6:20)

a. Divisions in the Church (1:10-4:21)

b. Incest (5:1-13)

c. Lawsuits (6:1-11)

d. Sexual immorality in general (6:12-20)

3. Paul responds to the letter from Corinth (7:1-16:4)

a. Marriage (7:1-40)

b. Food sacrificed to idols (8:1-11:1)

c. Worship (11:2-14:40)

i. Head coverings – men and women (11:2-15)

ii. Lord's Supper – use and abuse (11:17-34)

iii. Spiritual gifts – (12:1-14:40)

d. Resurrection (15:1-58)

e. Offering for Jerusalem (16:1-4)

4. Conclusion (16:5-24)

B. The Results of a too Sharp Division Between Body and Spirit

1. Asceticism – denying desires/humanity

a. False sense of maturity

b. Claims to special wisdom

c. Advocating celibacy

d. Forbidding certain food and drink

e. Believing in only spiritual resurrection

2. Hedonism – indulging desires/humanity

a. Sexual sin

b. Lawsuits

c. Eating food without concern for others

d. Requiring pay for Christian work

e. Drunkenness at the Lord's Table

f. Disrespect for appearance of sexual propriety

g. Worship chaotic

C. Patron/Client (Rich/Poor) Problems Behind 1 Corinthians

1. Factions

2. Incest

3. Lawsuits

4. Prostitution

5. Idol meat

6. Not accepting money for ministry

7. Unruly women leaders

8. Abuse of Lord's Supper

9. Flaunting spiritual gifts

D. Divisions in the Church (1:10-4:17)

1. The problem: rival factions (1:10-17)

a. Exalting certain leaders (1:10-12)

b. The role of baptism (1:13-17)

2. The necessary center of the Gospel: the wise foolishness of the cross (1:18-2:5)

a. Destroying non-Christian "strength" (1:18-25)

b. Exalting Christian "weakness" (1:26-31)

c. Proclaiming Christ crucified (2:1-5)

3. Three kinds of People in 1 Corinthians 2-3

a. Natural

b. Carnal

c. Spiritual

d. But also…

i. Non-Christian

ii. Christian

4. The necessary growth: Christian wisdom (2:6-3:23)

a. Spiritual vs. natural people (2:6-16)

b. Spiritual vs. carnal people (3:1-23)

i. Milk vs. meat (3:1-5)

ii. God's field (3:6-9a)

iii. God's building (3:9b-17)

iv. Summary (3:18-23)

5. The right attitude of and for the Apostles (4:1-21)

a. Faithfully serving (4:1-5)

b. Scripturally based (4:6-7)

c. Unjustly suffering (4:8-13)

d. Specially related (4:14-21)

E. I Corinthians 5-6

1. Church discipline (5:1-13)

a. Presupposes Matthew 18:15-18

b. Hence no list of specially serious sins

c. Application especially requires contextualization

2. Lawsuits (6:1-11)

3. Sexual immorality in general (6:12-20)

F. Paul on Marriage (1 Corinthians 7)

1. To married Ascetics: do not deprive each other sexually (vv. 1-7)

2. To the widowed: remarry rather than lust (vv. 8-9)

3. To the married: don't divorce (vv. 10-16)

4. Preliminary summary (vv. 17-24)

5. To the unmarried: marriage is no sin (vv. 25-38)

6. Conclusion: marriage is a lifelong commitment (vv. 39-40)

7. Notes

a. These are the basic concerns of each section; in each case Paul permits certain exceptions.

b. Paul's own sympathies agree with the ascetics up to a point, but for different reasons.

G. Marriage and Divorce in Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7

1. Forming a marriage

a. Leave and cleave

b. Become one flesh

2. Rupturing a marriage

a. Physical presence but sexual infidelity

b. Sexual presence but physical desertion

c. Other items equivalent in destructiveness

H. On Food Sacrificed to Idols (1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1)

1. The problem: Christian liberty can become license (8:1-3)

2. The main application: food inherently neutral, but avoid hurting weaker brothers (8:4-13)

3. A second application: ministers earning their living by the Gospel (9:1-18)

4. The motive: all things to all men so as to save some (9:19-27)

5. The danger of license: the havoc sin can wreak (10:1-13)

a. The warning (10:1-12)

b. The promise (10:13)

6. An absolute prohibition: no feasts dedicated to idol worship (10:14-22)

7. Summary (10:23-11:1)

a. Freedom from legalism

b. Voluntary curtailment of freedom

c. Only if clear another would be hurt

I. On Spiritual Gifts (1Corinthians 12-14)

1. Recognition: acknowledge Jesus' Lordship (12:1-3)

2. Distribution: diversity in unity (12:4-11)

a. Not all have the same gifts (vv. 4a, 5a, 6a)

b. All come from triune Godhead (vv. 4b, 5b, 6b)

c. All have at least one (v. 7a)

d. To be used for mutual edification (v. 7b)

e. Given by Spirit as He determines (vv. 8-11)

3. Importance of all the gifts (12:12-26)

4. Hierarchy of gifts (12:27-31a)

a. In importance?

b. In chronology?

5. Love: without it the gifts are worthless (12:31b-13:13)

a. Examples (vv. 1-3)

b. Positive and negative qualities (vv. 4-7)

c. Timelessness (vv. 8-13)

6. Comparing tongues and prophecy (14:1-40)

a. The superiority of prophecy (vv. 1-25)

i. Understandable without interpretation (vv. 1-19)

ii. Tongues as a sign of judgment (vv. 20-25)

b. The proper exercise of both (vv. 26-40)

i. Tongues (vv. 27-28)

ii. Prophecy (vv. 29-38)

iii. Conclusions (vv. 39-40)

J. Classification of Spiritual Gifts (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4)

1. Virtues commanded of all Christians

a. Wisdom

b. Knowledge

c. Faith

d. Service

e. Exhortation

f. Giving

g. Sharing

h. Mercy

2. Special roles for leadership

a. Apostles

b. Evangelists

c. Pastors

d. Teachers

e. Administrators

3. "Supernatural" charisma

a. Healing

b. Miracles

c. Prophecy

d. Distinguishing spirits

e. Tongues

f. Interpretation of tongues

K. The Resurrections of Jesus and Believers (1 Corinthians 15)

1. The fact of Christ's bodily resurrection (15:1-11)

a. Support from tradition (vv. 1-7)

b. Support from revelation (vv. 8-11)

2. The implications for the general resurrection (15:12-34)

a. The credibility of Christian faith rests on it (vv. 12-19)

b. The chronology of the coming resurrection is established (vv. 20-28)

c. The concern for those who are dead and dying proves it (vv. 29-34)

3. The nature of Christian resurrection (15:35-58)

a. Continuity and discontinuity (vv. 35-49)

b. The need for this re-creation (vv. 50-58)

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