1 Corinthians 5 & 6
- Notice in chapter 5 the distinction in the attitudes enjoined towards sinning Christian and sinning non-Christians. What special actions are demanded here of the local church, and why are such actions necessary?
- 6:12-20.These verses stress the permanent significance of the Christian’s body. List the points mentioned here. What does it mean to glorify God in your body? What kind of actions are: (a) appropriate, and (b) undesirable or even unthinkable?
- 6:1-11.What reasons does Paul give here for viewing the public washing by Christians of their dirty linen as a denial of the church’s mission in the world?
1 Corinthians 7
In this chapter Paul is answering specific questions about marriage. These questions had been sent to him by the church at Corinth. His instructions are strict in view of the moral laxity of pagan Corinth and the ‘distress’, etc., referred to in verses 26-35. He shows that marriage and the single life are equally permissible and that each person must find out in which state God intends them to live (see verse 7).
- Why did Paul remain single (verses 7, 8)? See verses 25-35. Are his reasons relevant for us today?
- In verses 17-24 Paul is dealing with the wider question of the Christian’s position in the society of his day. What rule is laid down for the Christian three times in theses verses? How does this apply to us?
- Gather out Paul’s practical teaching about married life (2-5, 10-16) and compare his more theological treatment in Eph. 5:22-33.
- Verse 14. There seems to have been a fear in some minds that continued union with an unbeliever after conversion to Christ might be defiling to the Christian partner. Paul says the opposite can happen.
- Verses 17-24. Being ‘called’ in this section refers not to a person’s place and function in human society, but to god’s call through Christ to sinners.
- Verses26, 28, 29,31-35. The trying and transitory character of this present world, the added anxieties of married life, and desire to give undivided devotion to the Lord may provide reasons for abstaining from unnecessary change or involvement.
- Verses 36-38. A difficult section. Paul was probably advising a young man about his fiancée. But he could have been advising a father or guardian about a girl under his care (see RV).
1 Corinthians 8 and 9
The church in Corinth had asked about the eating of food which had been offered before an idol. Picture yourself as a Christian in Corinth, invited to a social banquet in a temple, or seated as a guest in the house of a non-Christian friend, and offered food which had been presented in sacrifice to an idol.
- 8:1-13. Using the knowledge of truth as their sole guide (such truth as is stated in verses 4-6), what decision did the Corinthians come to about eating food offered to idols? Did Paul agree? List the reasons why he also says that in certain circumstances he would abstain from such eating.
- 9:1-27.What basic principle which should govern Christian action does Paul illustrate here from his own conduct? In particular what rights does he show Christian workers to have, and what are his reasons for not using them?
- 8:12. ‘Wound their weak conscience’: note the contrast. What requires tender handling is brutally treated. Cf. 9:22. The ‘weak’:i.e, those whose grasp of Christian truth is feeble, and who are timid in exercising their liberty in Christ. Cf. Rom. 14:1-3.
- 8:13.This declaration is conditional and personal, not absolute and general. The significance of this should not be overlooked. Cf. 10:27-30.