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An Argument Of First Corinthians

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Message Statement:

Out Of A Heart Of Love, Paul Exhorts The Corinthians To Cease Exalting Themselves In Accordance With Natural Wisdom, And To Limit Themselves In Accordance With The Wisdom Of God--The Crucifixion

I. Introduction: As Paul and Sosthenes greet the true church of God in Corinth, he prays that they would experience God’s grace and peace and gives thanks to God for the ways He has confirmed the church’s position in Him with spiritual gifts, and will confirm the church’s position when Jesus returns 1:1-9

A. In a greeting sent from the Apostle Paul and Sosthenes to the true church of God at Corinth, Paul expresses a desire for the church to experience grace and peace from God 1:1-3

1. The letter is sent by the Apostle Paul and Sosthenes 1:1

2. The letter is to a true church of God at Corinth 1:2

a. They are the church of God 1:2a

b. The are at Corinth 1:2b

c. They have been set apart by Jesus, Messiah 1:2c

d. They have been called to be saints 1:2d

e. They are part of the larger community which calls upon the Lord 1:2e

3. Paul sends a desire (prayer) for the Corinthian church to experience grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus, Messiah 1:3

B. Paul continually thanks God concerning the Corinthians because He has graciously confirmed his grace to the Corinthians with all gifts until he returns and confirms his church in person 1:4-9

1. Paul gives thanks because God has given them grace through Jesus Christ 1:4

2. Evidence of the grace which was given to the church in Corinth is that it was given enrichment in their relationship with the Lord through speech, all knowledge, and spiritual gifts as they await the return of Jesus 1:5-7

3. God’s grace will be confirmed in the end when God in his faithfulness verifies the church’s fellowship with Jesus at Jesus’ return 1:6-9

II. Divisions In The Church: Paul reproves the Corinthians for their arrogant self-exaltations which are raising divisions in the church because they are contrary to Paul’s gospel ministry, contrary to the significance of the wisdom of Christ’s crucifixion, contrary to the true status of the messengers in the church, and will be dealt by Paul with real spiritual power if the Corinthians will not repent 1:10--4:21

A. Divisions are Contrary to Paul’s Gospel Ministry: Learning of the quarreling which the Corinthians are engaged in, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to unify because their divisiveness over individuals is against the nature of the gospel, and against Paul’s ministry among them 1:10-17

1. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to unity in light of the report from Cloe’s people concerning their quarreling 1:10-11

a. Paul exhorts his brethren in Corinth in accordance with the authority of Jesus Christ to be unified in one mind and judgment 1:10

b. The reason Paul exhorts the Corinthians to be unified is because Cloe’s people have reported to him the quarrels which presently exist 1:11

2. Paul identifies the disunity in the church with groups who identify themselves exclusively with one leader as opposed to another leader 1:12

a. Some are saying they are of Paul 1:12a

b. Some are saying that they are of Apollos 1:12b

c. Some are saying they are of Cephas (Peter) 1:12c

d. Some are saying that they are of Christ 1:12d

3. Paul argues that the division among the Corinthians over men is against the nature of the Gospel and is against the gospel ministry which Paul presented in Corinth 1:13-17

a. Divisions among the Corinthians is against the gospel itself 1:13a-b

1) Christ has not been divided 1:13a

2) Paul has not be crucified for the Corinthians 1:13b

b. The central feature to Paul’s ministry was to clearly proclaim the gospel message and not to baptize 1:13c-17

1) The Corinthians were not baptized in the name of Paul 1:13c

2) Paul’s ministry did not include baptism as a central feature, but clearly proclaiming the Gospel 1:14-17

B. The Reasons/Remedies to Divisions: The divisions over significant leaders in the church reflect the fleshly thinking of the Corinthians who are not applying the wisdom of Jesus’ crucifixion to their arrogance, and thus are exalting in the place of Jesus men who are merely servants of God, and whom God will evaluate 1:18--4:5

1. The Message Is Not Applied: Even though the world considers the message of Christ crucified to be foolish, it is a spiritual wisdom which the Spirit of God revealed to Christian leaders and which they then communicated to the spiritually mature who had the mind of Christ, but the Corinthians in their fleshly divisiveness are blocking their capacity to understand God’s wisdom (the significance of the crucifixion for their present lives [sanctification]) 1:18--3:4

a. Paul argues through a thesis statement, and experience that even though the world considers the message of the crucifixion to be foolish, it is the wisdom and power of God 1:18--2:5

1) Thesis: The world calls the cross foolishness, but those who believe call the cross the power and wisdom of God 1:18-25

a) The world calls the cross foolishness, but it is the power of God for salvation for believers 1:18

b) Scripture (Isa. 29:14) confirms God’s intention to overrule the cleverness of the wise 1:19

c) God has made foolish the best of the Greeks and the Jews who could not find God through their wisdom, but only through the foolishness of belief in the crucified Jesus 1:20-25

(1) Jews sought God through signs 1:22a

(2) Greeks sought God through wisdom 1:22b

(3) The Gospel message of salvation is Christ crucified 1:23a

(4) Jews stumble over the crucifixion of Jesus 1:23b

(5) Greeks consider the crucifixion to be foolish 1:23c

(6) Those who called to God find the crucifixion to be the power and wisdom of God 1:24

(7) The reason the crucifixion is the power and wisdom of God is because God is wiser than man in His foolishness, and stronger than man in His weakness 1:25

2) Experience I: Paul argues through the humble conversion experience of the Corinthians that Christ crucified is the power and wisdom of God 1:26-31

a) The Corinthians own call to God demonstrates that God’s way is not through natural understanding or ability, but through weakness and humility 1:26-29

(1) God did not call many among the Corinthians who were naturally wise, mighty or noble 1:26

(2) God chose the foolish, weak, base and despised things of the world to confound the wise causing humility among all men 1:27-29

b) The Corinthians are humbly related to God through Jesus who through the crucifixion became God’s wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption for them 1:30-31

3) Experience II: The message and the power of Paul’s preaching to the Corinthians was not in natural ability, but in the crucified Christ, and the Spirit’s enablement so that the Corinthians would not trust in him, but in God 2:1-5

a) When Paul came to the Corinthians he did not emphasize natural ability and wisdom, but proclaimed the crucifixion of Jesus 2:1-2

b) Paul himself was weak in his presence and oratory ability, but strong in the power of God so that the Corinthians would trust in God rather than in him 2:3-5

(1) When Paul came to the Corinthians his presence was one of weakness, fear and trembling 2:3

(2) When Paul came to the Corinthians his message was not naturally persuasive, but divinely empowered by the Spirit so that the Corinthians would rest upon God's wisdom rather than Paul's (or another man's) 2:4-5

b. Even though God’s wisdom was hidden from natural men, it was revealed to the Christian leaders through the Spirit of God and they communicate it to mature, spiritual believers who have the mind of Christ, but the Corinthians have blocked their capacity to understand because of their fleshly divisiveness 2:6--3:4

1) Mature believers realize that Christian leaders speak a wisdom of God which was hidden from the world, but was prepared for those who love God 2:6-9

a) Even though the Christian leaders do not speak in wisdom according to the world, they do speak wisdom in the appraisal of those who are mature 2:6

b) The leaders speak God’s mystery which was hidden from the world but kept for those who love God 2:7-9

(1) The leaders speak God's hidden wisdom 2:7a

(2) God's wisdom was a mystery, hidden before the ages resulting in glory 2:7b

(3) Proof that the wisdom which the Christian leaders speak was not understood by the rulers of this age is that they crucified the Lord of Glory 2:8

(4) Scripture (Isa. 64:4; 65:17) foretold that God's wisdom (of salvation) was hidden except from those who love God 2:9

2) The Spirit of God revealed the hidden wisdom of God to Christian leaders who teach it to those who are spiritually minded 2:10-13

a) God revealed His hidden wisdom to the Christian leaders (Paul) through the Spirit who knows the deep things of God being the Spirit of God 2:10-11

b) The leaders do not have the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God who teaches them of God 2:12

c) The leaders teach what they have learned by the Spirit communicating this to the spiritually minded 2:13

3) The natural man is incapable of understanding what the spiritual man is able to understand because the spiritual man has the mind of Christ 2:14-16

a) The natural man regards the things of the Spirit to be foolish and cannot understand them 2:14a

b) The things of the Spirit are spiritually appraised 2:14b

c) The Spiritual man understands the things of the Spirit, and is not understood by the natural man because the Spiritual man has the thoughts of Christ 2:15-16

4) The Corinthians in their “fleshly” condition have blocked their capacity to understand the spiritual and are thus acting like natural men in their divisiveness 3:1-4

a) Paul could not speak to the Corinthians as spiritual men, but as fleshly men, as babies in Christ 3:1

b) When the Corinthians became children of God Paul gave them children’s portions of the word of God, and they are still not able to handle more mature portions because they are walking like mere men in their fleshliness (naturalness) as they group themselves around men 3:2-4

2. The Messengers Are Servants: Paul urges the Corinthians to regard the messengers as servants of God, and not to threaten the unity of the church over them, because Jesus is the foundation of the church, God will judge anyone who destroys the church, and because God will evaluate the faithfulness of the messengers 3:5--4:5

a. Apollos and Paul were servants who worked as fellow workers in God’s field (the church), and will receive reward from God, but God is the One who brings about life and should be honored 3:5-9

1) Apollos and Paul were servants to whom God gave ability and through whom the Corinthians believed 3:5

2) While Paul and Apollos each had a share in the ministry with the Corinthians, God brought about the life, and so God should be honored 3:6-7

3) Paul and Apollos were fellow workers who will be rewarded by God, but simply worked in God’s field 3:8-9

b. Paul warns those who are building upon his foundation of Jesus for the church that they should not try to rebuild the foundation upon others, and that God will hold them accountable for what they do 3:10-15

1) Paul was graciously permitted to serve God by laying the foundation of the church, and others built upon it 3:10a

2) Paul warns those who build upon his foundation to be careful not to try to change the foundation from Jesus to “others” 3:10b-11

3) Paul warns that those who build well upon the foundation will receive a reward, while those who do not build well upon it will suffer loss when God evaluates their work 3:12-15

c. Because of the divine nature of the church, Paul warns those in Corinth to repent of their divisiveness and not to threaten the unity of the church because God will judge the one who divides it, and because all the servants belong to the church, and the church belongs to God 3:16-23

1) Paul reminds the Corinthian church of the indisputable truth that they (plural) are the temple (naos) of God where the Spirit of God dwells 3:16

2) Paul informs the Corinthians that God will destroy anyone who destroys the church (the temple of God) 3:17

3) Paul urges those who consider themselves to be so wise in this age to humble themselves to the “wisdom of God” (become foolish) so that they can truly be wise rather than becoming caught in their foolishness by God 3:18-20

4) Paul urges the Corinthians not to be divisive over men because they all are part of the church which has its focus in God 3:21-22

d. Paul urges the Corinthians to regard the messengers of the Gospel as servants of Christ whom God, rather than they, will evaluate on the basis of their heart motives 4:1-5

1) Paul urges those in Corinth to regard the leaders as servants of Christ responsible for the revelation of Christ for the church (mysteries of God) 4:1

2) Paul agrees that the servants are to be evaluated, but insists that the evaluation is not to be an external one made by the church or even one’s self, but will be made by the Lord as He deals with motives of the heart 4:3-5

C. Exposing the root issue in the Corinthians’ divisiveness as an arrogant self-evaluation, Paul exhorts his dear spiritual children to repent and follow the humble model of Timothy lest he come to them and discipline them with real spiritual power 4:6-21

1. Paul exposes the arrogant self-evaluation of the Corinthians as the root cause of the divisiveness in light of that fact that all that they have is a gift, and the self-abasing lives of the Apostles 4:6-13

a. Paul used himself and Apollos as illustrations of those limited by what is written (not to be overly exalted) in order to prevent the Corinthians from the arrogance of exalting one above the other 4:6

b. Paul exposes the arrogance of the Corinthians self-exaltations against the fact that all that they have was a gift to them, and against the self-abasement which the Apostles submit themselves to 4:7-13

1) Paul questions the arrogant, self-evaluation of the Corinthians because all that they have was given to them 4:7-8a

2) Paul exposes the arrogance of the Corinthians self-exaltations against the abuse to which the Apostles willingly submit themselves 4:8b-13

a) The self-evaluation of the Corinthians exalts them above the Apostles 4:8b

b) The Apostles are those under abuse and self-abasement to the world 4:9

c) Unlike the Corinthians self-exaltation, the Apostles are shown to be constantly humbled and self-abased 4:10-13

2. While Paul only wishes to admonish his dear spiritual children, and to encourage them to repent of their arrogant divisiveness by following the humble model of Timothy whom he is sending, he warns them that if they do not, that they will be confronted by him in real spiritual power when he comes to them 4:14-21

a. Paul’s design in writing is not to shame his spiritual children, the Corinthians, but to admonish them as a father would his dear children 4:14-15

b. Paul has sent the Corinthians the example of Timothy who will model the self-abasement which he lives, and which he desires for the Corinthians to imitate 4:16-17

1) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to be imitate him (in his self-abasement [see above] 4:16

2) Paul has sent Timothy to the Corinthians as one who will model his was before them 4:17

c. Paul warns to Corinthians that if they do not repent that he will come to them soon to discipline them in real spiritual power 4:18-21

1) Some Corinthians have become arrogant because they do not think that Paul will be visiting them again 4:18

2) Paul assures the Corinthians that he will return to them soon (Lord willing), and will confront those who are arrogant in his spiritual power of the Kingdom 4:19-20

3) Paul asks the Corinthians whether they desire him to come with a rod of discipline, or with love and a spirit of gentleness 4:21

III. Disorders in the Church: Paul corrects the Corinthians worldly approach toward dealing with sin in the church, the settlement of personal disputes, and personal immorality because it is action based upon natural, arrogant thinking rather than biblical wisdom 5:1--6:20

A. Discipline: Paul rebukes the Corinthians for being arrogant in their indifference toward blatant immorality in the church, and exhorts them to mourn over the sin, and to discipline the offender under his authority, in accordance with their pure standing in Christ, and as he had previously instructed them to deal with sin in the church 5:1-13

1. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for being arrogant in their indifference toward blatant immorality in the church rather than mourning over it and disciplining the offender 5:1-2

a. Paul raises the issue of the report of gross immorality among the Corinthian church of someone with his stepmother 5:1

b. Paul rebukes the response of the church for being arrogant in their indifference and not mourning over the evil and removing the person from the midst of the church 5:2

2. Paul announces that though he is physically absent, he has already judged this immoral offender in his spirit and urges the church to perform authoritative church discipline by delivering him outside of the protective shelter of the church into the realm of Satan so that the man may repent 5:3-5

a. Paul has already judged the one who is committing this immorality 5:3

b. Paul urges the church to reflect his judgment when they are assembled by refusing him the protection of the body and thus delivering him into the realm of Satan 5:4-5a

c. Paul desires for the man to experience the destruction of his physically life under the hand of Satan (Job 1:12; 1 Jn. 5:19) so that he will repent and experience salvation (cf. 11:30,32; 1 Tim. 1:20; 1 John 5:16) 5:5b

3. In accordance with their standing in Christ and Paul’s previous communication with the Corinthians, he exhorts them to exercise church discipline and thus to remove the man from their midst 5:6-13

a. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for their boasting and exhorts them to judge the immoral man based upon their new standing in righteousness accomplished by Christ’s Passover sacrifice 5:6-8

1) Paul rebukes the boasting of the Corinthians as not being good 5:6a

2) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to deal with the sinfulness in the body through not allowing the sinning brother to be present because they are to be the expression of the true and continual Passover feast inaugurated by the death of Jesus--the Passover Lamb 5:6b-8

a) Paul argues from the image of leaven that a little leaven effects the whole lump of dough 5:6b

b) Paul continues the image of leaven to argue that the Corinthians should clean out the old leaven so that they may be pure (unleavened) 5:7a

c) The reason the Corinthians should “clean out the old leaven” is because they have been saved by Christ the Passover Lamb 5:7b

d) With Christ as the Passover Lamb, the Corinthians should be celebrating the “Passover” with unleavened bread--the purity of the body from sin 5:8

b. Paul wrote to the Corinthians not to disassociate with the sinning people of the world, but to disassociate themselves from the sinning people in the church, especially this one who is living in immorality with his stepmother 5:9-13

1) Paul wrote to the Corinthians in a previous letter to not associate with immoral people 5:9

2) Paul did not mean that the Corinthians were to not associate with sinners who are of this world because that would be impossible 5:10

3) Paul’s admonition related to not associating with those who were carrying on with sin within the church 5:11

4) Paul affirms that he does not have any jurisdiction to judge those who are outside of the church since God judges them, but there is a judgment which should go on within the church 5:12-13a

5) Paul urges the Corinthians to remove the man from the church (Deut. 13:5; 17:7,12; 21:21) 5:13b

B. Litigation: Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking their brothers into litigation before unbelievers because it overlooks their position, and ability, and does evil to their brothers in the Lord which will result in a future loss of reward along with others who act sinfully 6:1-11

1. Paul questions the audacity of Corinthians to take a case between their neighbor and them before “civil” (unrighteous) law courts rather than for arbitration within the church (among the saints) 6:1

2. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking one another to pagan law courts because they will be judges of the world in the future, they are wise enough to deal with the matters now, they to unrighteousness to one another rather than relinquishing their rights and they will thus forfeit reward in the future kingdom along with those who commit other sins 6:2-11

a. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking smaller matters of this life before pagan law courts rather than within the church in view of their future responsibilities as judges and their present abilities with God’s wisdom 2-6

1) Paul affirms that smaller matters ought to be dealt with within the church rather than taking litigation before judges from the world because saints will be judges of the world in the future 6:2

2) Paul affirms that matters of this life ought to be dealt with within the church because saints will judge in matters of angels in the future 6:3

3) Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking matters of this life with believers into law courts with unbelievers judging rather than appointing those with wisdom to decide the matter within the church 6:4-6

b. Paul argues that lawsuits within the church are a defeat for the Corinthians because they are not expressing the willingness to relinquish their personal rights, but they are defrauding and wronging one another, and will thus result in a loss in inheriting the kingdom of God 6:7-11

1) Paul instructs the Corinthians that lawsuits with one another are a defeat for them 6:7a

2) It would be better for the Corinthians to relinquish their personal rights than to enter into lawsuits against one another 6:7b

3) Rather than relinquishing personal rights when wronged, the Corinthians are wronging (adikeite) and defrauding their own brethren 6:8

4) The result of sinning against the brethren will be a lack of inheritance in the kingdom of God 6:8-11

a) Statement: Those who do unrighteousness (the unrighteous--adikoi) will not inherit the kingdom of God 6:9

b) Paul lists the many kinds of sinners which will not inherit the kingdom of God 6:9b-10

(1) Fornicators

(2) Idolaters

(3) Adulterers

(4) Passive homosexual partners

(5) Active homosexuals partners

(6) Thieves

(7) Covetous

(8) Drunkards

(9) Revilers

(10) Swindlers

c) Paul affirms that some of the Corinthians were like those mentioned above, but they were cleansed and justified by the Lord emphasizing that unrighteousness is a survival from a bad past 6:11

C. Immorality: While Paul acknowledges that freedom does exist for believers, he objects to its practice in the realm of immorality (temple prostitution) because it is a sin against the Lord who has divine designs for the body 6:12-20

1. While Paul cites the Corinthian slogan of “freedom” he also argues that there are limits of freedom such as that which is profitable, and such as not being mastered by anything 6:12

2. Paul argues against the Corinthians’ natural understanding about immorality, affirming that they should cease such activity and glorify the Lord with their bodies because it will be resurrected, because it represents Christ on earth today, and because it is a sin against the Lord who has purchased it and dwells within it 6:13-20

a. Citing another Corinthian slogan about the design of one thing for another (e.g., food and the stomach), Paul argues that the body is designed for more than sexual gratification through immorality; it is designed for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body 6:13

b. Paul defends the divine design for the body by noting that it will be resurrected, by noting how it represents Christ on earth today 6:14-17

1) Paul substantiates his thesis about the divine design of the body by noting that the body will be raised (eternal) in the resurrection just as Jesus was raised 6:14

2) Paul substantiates his thesis about the divine design of the body by presenting the inconsistency for one to be part of the body of Christ and then to unit his body, and thus Christ, with a harlot 6:15-17

a) Paul argues that it is inconceivable for one to take his body which is part of the body of Christ, and unit it with a harlot 6:15

b) Paul argues that when one joins himself with a harlot in sexual relations he becomes one with her even though he is one with the Lord 6:16

c. The Corinthians should flee immorality and glorify God with their bodies because immorality is not simply an external issue, but is sin against the Lord who has purchased the body, and dwells within it 6:18-20

1) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to flee immorality 6:18a

2) Citing the Corinthian slogan that all sin is external, Paul argues that the immoral man sins against his body 6:18b

3) Paul defends/argues that one should not commit immorality with one’s body, but should glorify God with one’s body because God has purchased it and dwells within it 6:19-20

a) Paul defends his argument that immorality is a sin against the body by noting that the body the temple (naos) of the Holy Spirit and thus the body is not simply one’s own possession, but was purchased by Christ 6:19-20a

b) In view of the divine ownership of the body, one should glorify God in one’s body 6:20b

IV. Paul answers questions raised concerning difficulties in the church: (1) it is wrong for a husband and wife to deprive one another sexually for ascetic reasons, and it is best to remain where one was in relationships when one was called to the Lord, (2) marriage is permitted, but not preferable for the previously unmarried, and for widows, (3) one should limit one’s liberty with love for other believers, and (4) one should exercise the diverse spiritual gifts through the commitment of love so as to build up the local church 7:1--14:40

A. Paul now takes up issues about which the Corinthians wrote (περὶ δὲ) 7:1a

B. Concerning (περὶ δὲ) those who are/have been Married: Paul exhorts those who are presently married to not abstain from sexual relationships with one another, and those who have difficulty in their relationships to remain in the situation in which they were called to the Lord so that they might not be divided servants of Him 7:1b-24

1. Paul exhorts married couples to not abstain from sexual relationships, except for agreed upon periods of spiritual need, because their asceticism could lead to temptation and immorality 7:1-7

a. Paul quotes a Corinthian saying supporting the good for a married couple to abstain from sexual relations1 7:1b

b. Paul counters the “ascetic” prohibition by arguing that sexual relationships in marriage are preferred because abstinence could lead to the practice of temple prostitution2 (cf. 6:12-20) 7:2

c. Paul exhorts husbands and wives to give themselves to one another (rather than abstaining for “ascetic” reasons) because each partner has an obligation to the other, and each partner has rights to the other 7:3-4

d. Paul exhorts married couples to stop depriving one another, and only allows for abstinence for an agreed upon period because of spiritual needs, but then only by concession, and only to be resumed lest Satan tempt those in the marriage toward immorality 7:5-6

1) Paul exhorts married couples to stop depriving one another 7:5a

2) The only time sexual relationships should be stopped is when a married couple agrees for a season because of spiritual needs 7:5b

3) A married couple is to re-engage in sexual relations after the break for spiritual reasons because otherwise they may find themselves tempted to do evil by Satan because of their lack of self-control 7:5c

4) Paul only allows for abstaining sexual relations by concession; he does not command the abstinence 7:6

e. Paul agrees in principle with the ascetic maxim wishing that all could be single (widowed) as he is, but realizes that it is only for the graced (gifted)3 person who is completely free from the need of sexual fulfillment 7:7

2. Paul exhorts believers to remain in the same situation in life which they were in when they were saved because Christ demands of his servants sole obedience to Him rather than a shared allegiance to other masters 7:8-24

a. Principle applied: Through specific examples Paul affirms that the marital status in which a believer is called should be maintained unless special circumstances dictate otherwise 7:8-16

1) Paul directs widowers and widows4 on the merit of remaining single, but also to remarry if they cannot control their desires 7:8-9

a) Paul ascribes goodness to a single life for widowers and widows 7:8

b) Paul exhorts widowers and widows to marry if they cannot control their desires because marriage is better than unbridled passion 7:9

2) Both Paul and the Lord command believing partners not to seek a divorce, but should a divorce occur, to stay single or be reconciled5 7:10-11

a) Paul and the Lord exhort believing partners to not seek a divorce 7:10

b) If a divorce does occur, the believing partner is to remain unmarried or else be reconciled to their spouse 7:11

3) Paul exhorts believers to live harmoniously with their unbelieving partners in both marriage and separation because their influence may bring the unbeliever to faith 7:12-16

a) Paul now speaks to an issue which the Lord did not address: to those believers married to non-believers [to the rest] 7:12a

b) Believing spouses are not to send their unbelieving spouses away 7:12b-13

c) The reason a believing spouse is not to send their unbelieving spouse away is because they have the ability to set apart for a Christian influence those in the family who do not believe 7:14

d) If an unbelieving partner leaves the marriage, the believing partner is not enslaved (or responsible for the divorce cf. Matt. 5:32) to keep the marriage together--God allows for there to be peace6 7:15

e) The reason one should live harmoniously with one’s unbelieving spouse is because one might have an influence upon their salvation 7:16

b. Principle affirmed: Paul now affirms that the life situation in general when a believer was called should be maintained unless special circumstances dictate otherwise 7:8-24

1) Paul directs all of the churches to walk in the situation in life wherein God called them 7:17

2) Paul applies the principle of remaining in the situation wherein one was called to the realms of one’s religious state and one’s vocational state 7:18-24

a) Religious state: One should not change his natural external state (change to Jew or Gentile), since God is not concerned about the externals, but about the one who follows God by keeping his commandments 7:18-20

(1) A man called as a Jew (circumcised) should remain a Jew, and a man called as a Gentile (uncircumcised) should remain a Gentile 7:18

(2) One's external state does not matter, only that one follows God (keeping his commandments) 7:19

(3) Principle stated: Each person should remain in the state in which he was called to the Lord

b) Vocational state: Slaves should remain slaves unless they are able to become free because every one has true perspective on his place in life through the Lord, and no one should enslave himself to another man since the Lord has redeemed him with a price 7:21-23

(1) One should not worry about being a slave if he was called that way 7:21a

(2) If one is able to become free it is good to become free 7:21b

(3) One should not worry about being a slave because all are equal before the Lord (all slaves are free before the Lord and all free men are slaves before the Lord) 7:22

(4) One was redeemed with a price, so one should not become slaves of men 7:23

(5) Principle stated: Each person is to remain in the state in which he was called to the Lord 7:24

C. Concerning (περὶ δὲ) the Previously Unmarried and Widows:7 Paul argues that marriage is permissible, but not preferable 7:25-40

1. Paul now writes concerning virgins (παρθένων)--those who have been previously unmarried 7:25a

2. To the previously unmarried Paul urges that even though marriage is good, they should remain single so that they may not be distracted in life, but so that they may be able to serve God in an undistracted manner 7:25-35

a. Paul is now not responding to a command from the Lord but is speaking as a trustworthy servant 7:25b

b. Because of distressing times, Paul considers it good to remain as one is (based upon the principle of 7:25) 7:26

c. If one is bound by the promise of engagement, Paul encourages the person to not break the engagement 7:27a

d. If one is not engaged to a woman, Paul does not think that one should seek out a wife 7:27b

e. Paul does not consider it sinful for a man or a woman to marry, but he does affirm that they will have trouble, and thus he wishes to spare them the trouble8 7:28

f. Paul argued that it was better to remain single because of the ability one could have to serve God in the brief time available without being attached to things/events/people of the world 7:29-31

1) The time is shortened (either by Christ’s soon return, or by the brevity of life itself 7:29a

2) Those with wives will be less available to them 7:29b

3) There will be less time to weep 7:30a

4) There will be less time to rejoice 7:30b

5) There will be less time to enjoy possessions 7:30c

6) There will be less time to make full use of the world since it is passing away 7:31

g. Another reason not to marry is because singleness will allow one to be devoted more fully to the service of the Lord 7:32-35

1) Paul desires those previously unmarried to be free from concern9 7:32a

2) When one is married, one is divided in one’s concerns unlike one who is unmarried and who can thus be concerned about the things of the Lord exclusively10 7:33-34

3) Paul is not seeking to restrain a couple, but to promote undistracted devotion to the Lord 7:35

3. Marrying one’s fiancee is permitted, but not preferred11 7:36-38

a. It is permissible for a man to marry his fiancee (cf. 7:27) 7:36

b. One may choose to remain single and not remarry 7:37

c. It is good to marry, but better not to marry 7:38

4. A widow is free to remarry whomever she desires as long as he is a believer, though Paul believes she would be happier if single12 7:39-40

a. A widow is free to remarry someone who is a believer 7:39

b. Paul, and the Spirit of God, affirm that it would be better for a widow not to remarry 7:40

D. Concerning (περὶ δὲ) Christian Liberty: Speaking directly to the Corinthians’ self-centered expressions of liberty with meat offered to idols, and in the worshiping community, Paul exhorts them to limit their liberty with love (concern/commitment) for others because otherwise, God will discipline them for their arrogance 8:1--11:34

1. Regulate liberty with Love: In the realm of meat offered to idols, Paul urges the Corinthians to limit their liberty with love for others just as he and as Jesus have, because to not do so is arrogance before God and could result in His discipline 8:1--11:1

a. Meats offered to idols: Through the principle that love overrules knowledge Paul exhorts the Corinthians to limit their liberty with love for their weaker brothers because even though idols are nothing, a weaker brother may act against his conscience when he sees a stronger brother partaking of meat offered to idols 8:1-13

1) Paul writes concerning things offered to idols (8:1)

2) Paul interrupts his discussion to present the principle that the knowledge is not central to being able to deal with problems nearly so much as loving God and thus being known by God because knowledge puffs up, while love edifies 8:1-3

a) Paul argues that knowledge (which all have and is not the privilege of a few [e.g., the enlightened Corinthians] makes arrogant (φυσιοῖ), while love (ἀγάπη) builds up (οἰκοδομεῖ) 8:1b

b) When one fancies himself as full of knowledge (enlightened), he demonstrates that he does not know as much as he ought 8:2

c) In opposition to arrogance over knowledge, Paul argues that if one loves God, he is known by God 8:3

3) Reassuming the discussion of idols, Paul argues (agrees) that the pantheon of idols is nothing, but that there is one true God--the creator and redeemer 8:4-6

a) Paul reassumes the topic (περὶ) about things offered to idols 8:4a

b) Paul argues that idols do not exist as “God” because God is one (cf. Deut. 4:35,39; 6:4) 8:4b

c) The earthly pantheon of gods are not real as the one true God of creation is, the Lord Jesus Christ who brought redemption 8:5-6

(1) here are many so called gods on earth and in heaven in the pantheon of gods 8:5

(2) There is one true God--the Father who is creator and served 8:6a

(3) There is one Lord--Jesus Christ who is creator and redeemer 8:6b

4) In the matter of meats offered to idols, love must regulate knowledge by giving up rights which will cause a weaker brother to stumble 8:7-13

a) While eating meat is an amoral issue, some do not know this and defile their conscience when they eat 8:7-8

(1) Not all accept the knowledge that idols are not gods 8:7a

(2) Some who eat meat offered to idols defile their weak conscience because they think that the meat was offered to an idol (god) 8:7b

(3) Eating or abstaining from food is not a meritorious issue before God 8:8

b) On should not use his liberty so as to cause his weaker brother to sin against his conscience, because it may destroy him, and that would be a sin against Christ 8:9-12

(1) Paul warns the Corinthians not to let their liberty (in their knowledge about idols) become something which causes their weaker brothers to stumble 8:9

(2) The reason Paul warns the Corinthians not to use their liberty against their brother is because their exercise of freedom may be an encouragement for their brother to act against his own weak conscience and thus be destroyed 8:10-11a

(3) To sin against a brother by wounding his conscience is to sin against Christ since Christ died for him 8:11b-12

c) Therefore if eating food will cause one’s brother to stumble, one should limit his freedom by not eating so that he does not cause his brother to fall 8:13

b. Christian Liberty Illustrated: Through the example of Paul the Corinthians are urged to relinquish their personal rights for the sake of the Gospel, and through the example of Israel, the Corinthians are warned of the consequences of using their privileged position as a base for succumbing to temptation 9:1--10:13

1) The Positive Example of Paul: Paul urges the Corinthians to follow his example of relinquishing personal rights for the sake of the Gospel in order to gain God’s honor (reward) 9:1-27

a) Paul’s position as an apostle entitles him to financial support, but he has not required it because he did not wish to cause the Corinthians to stumble 9:1-14

(1) Paul affirms his position as a free Apostle as one who has seen Jesus and planted the church in Corinth with apostolic works 9:1-3

(2) Paul affirms that as a minister of the Gospel he has a right to receive material payment for his service just as a soldier does, as a vinekeeper does, as a herdsman does, as an ox does, as a plowman does, or as a priest does, but he has not exerted his rights so as to not place an obstacle before the Corinthians 9:4-14

b) Paul relinquishes his rights to renumeration and custom as a minister of the gospel in order to gain a reward 9:15-27

(1) Paul does not boast over his proclamation of the gospel, because he is under necessity, but he will receive a reward for proclaiming the gospel without cost because he is not making full use of his rights 9:15-18

(2) Paul gives up personal rights when with other people for the sake of saving other people: he becomes a Jew with Jews, a Gentile with Gentiles, weak with the weak--all things to all men 9:19-23

(3) Just as an athlete disciplines himself in order to win a perishable prize, Paul gives up his rights (disciplines himself) to gain God's approval (not to be disqualified) 9:24-27

2) The Negative Example of Israel: Paul warns the Corinthians to not use their privileged position to succumb to temptation because as with Israel, their God will judge their evil, and because God has provided a way for them to escape their temptations and to endure for Him 10:1-13

a) The entire nation of Israel received the spiritual privileges of identification with the Lord 10:1-4

(1) All of Israel was under the cloud during the wilderness wondering 10:1a

(2) All of Israel passed through the Red Sea during the exodus 10:1b

(3) All of Israel was identified with Moses as they went under the cloud and through the sea 10:2

(4) All of Israel ate the same supernatural food (manna) [Ex. 16:4,15] and drank the same supernatural water (Ex. 17:6) 10:3-4a

(5) The water was provided through the Rock which was Christ13 10:4b

b) Believers are warned not to do evil against God because even though Israel was privileged, they did evil and suffered judgment from God for it 10:5-10

(1) God was displeased with most of Israel 10:5a

(2) Proof that God was displeased with most of Israel is that he overthrew them in the wilderness 10:5b

(3) The overthrowing of Israel is a warning to believers (Corinthians) today to not desire evil as they did 10:6

(4) The Corinthians are warned not to disobey God as the Israelites did because they suffered judgment for their evil: do not be idolaters; do not indulge in immorality; do not put the Lord to the test; do not grumble 10:7-10

c) In view of the hand of God upon Israel, Paul exhorts the Corinthians not to use their privileged position to succumb to temptation because the same God will judge their evil, and will provide a way for believers to escape their temptation and to endure their pressure 10:11-13

(1) Even though God was warning the Israelites against disobedience through the judgments, they were also written to instruct the Corinthians because The God who is bringing His interaction to a close with mankind is the same God 10:11

(2) Paul exhorts those who are standing in God's privileged position (like Israel) to be careful lest they fall in God's judgment for their evil 10:12

(3) Paul exhorts those under temptation to not see themselves as unique among men, but to have faith that God will provide the means to not sin and to endure the pressure 10:13

c. Principles of Liberty Applied: One is not at liberty to eat meat offered to idols in a temple, and one should limit his liberty with love for his weaker brother when considering eating meat offered to idols outside of the temple 10:14-30

1) It is wrong to partake in meat offered to idols (in the temple) because it is an identification of the believer with demons, and God will judge such a “strong” Christian 10:14-22

a) Based upon the above illustration of Paul and especially Israel, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to put away idols 10:14

b) Paul argues logically that just as one is identified with the Lord through communion (and Israel was identified with the alter of the Lord when they ate of the sacrifices) so is it that by partaking in offerings to idols one is partaking with demons behind those idols 10:15-20

(1) Paul urges Israel to listen to and to judge his logical argument 10:15

(2) Participation in the cup and bread of the Lord is participation in the unifying presence of the Lord 10:16-17

(3) For Israel, those who participated in the eating of the sacrifices were participants in the altar of the Lord 10:18

(4) Paul is not implying that food offered to idols is anything special, or that idols are anything special 10:19

(5) Paul is implying that demons are behind the idols and thus that by partaking in the offerings of the altar, they are partaking in demons 10:20

c) Paul argues that it is wrong for one to partake in communion with demons and with the Lord, and that the Lord will judge such a “strong” Christian 10:21-22

(1) Paul argues that one cannot partake of communion with demons and the Lord at the same time--it is wrong 10:21

(2) Paul suggests that to do so is to provoke the Lord to judge even those who consider themselves to be "strong" as Israel was "strong" in their position 10:22

2) Paul exhorts Christians to exercise their liberty when eating meat offered to idols (outside of the temple), but to limit that liberty with love for their brothers who are weak in their own conscience 10:23-30

a) Paul quotes the Corinthian saying that “all things are lawful” (cf. 6:12), but counters with the principles of love that all things are not helpful, and that all things do not build up 10:23

b) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to not seek their own good, but the good of their neighbor 10:24

c) Paul allows a believer to exercise his liberty of conscience in eating meat offered to idols (outside of the temple) unless it causes a weaker brother to sin against his conscience 10:25-30

(1) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to eat whatever is sold in the meat market without being concerned about conscience because all belongs to God 10:25-26

(2) The Corinthians may eat whatever is placed before them when dining at an unbeliever's house without asking questions for conscience sake 10:27

(3) If another Christian guest makes a point that the meat has been offered to an idol, one should not eat the meat for the sake of the other brother's conscience 10:28-29a

(4) The stronger brother should not let his liberty of consciousness be changed by a weaker brother's scruples, but his liberty should also not become a means for judgment against him by not yielding it to the needs of his brother 10:29b-30

d. Conclusion: Paul urges the Corinthians to act so that God might be glorified by limiting their liberty before all men so that many might profit from salvation 10:31--11:1

1) Whatever one does is to be to the glory (greatness) of God 10:31

2) One should not offend anyone (by eating) whether Jews (cf. Acts 15:20,29), or Greeks, or the church of God 10:32

3) The Corinthians should seek Paul’s example by adjusting themselves to others so that many might profit from salvation 10:33--11:1

2. Liberty and the Worshiping Community: Even though the Corinthians do keep many of the traditions which Paul has given them, he corrects their expression of liberty in the worshiping community when women refuse to wear head-coverings, and when the body sins against itself at the Lord’s supper urging them to limit themselves for the sake of others 11:2-34

a. General Commendation: Paul praises the Corinthians because they remember him in all things and keep the traditions which he delivered to them 11:2

b. Women in Worship: In view of God’s order of authority Paul exhorts the Corinthians when participating in worship to cease expressing their spirit of emancipation, and for women to wear head-coverings in accordance with the order of creation, the pattern of nature, and the practice of all of the churches 11:3-16

1) In contrast to the Corinthians good observances Paul informs them that men and women disgrace themselves (and their superiors) in their expressions of emancipation when praying or prophesying with their heads covered or uncovered, respectively, because they violate God’s order of authority 11:3-6

a) Paul wishes for the Corinthians to know that God has a divine order of authority which is God, Christ, man and woman 11:3

b) The reason men and women disgrace themselves and their superiors is because they violate God’s order of authority in their expressions of emancipation when they pray and prophesy with or without a head covering, respectively 11:4-6

(1) Every man disgraces himself and Christ when he is praying or prophesying with something on his head 11:4

(2) Every woman disgraces herself (and possibly man) when she is praying or prophesying with her head uncovered because she is identifying herself with masculinity, thus she should cover herself 11:5-6

2) Paul affirms that women should wear head-coverings because of the order of creation, because of the pattern of nature, and because of the practice of all of the churches 11:7-16

a) The Order of Creation: Because the angels look for a proper expression of the order of creation in worship, a woman should wear a head-covering realizing that men and women are mutually dependent upon one another and upon God 11:7-12

(1) The reason a man disgraces himself when he leads in worship with his head uncovered is because he is the image and glory of God unlike the woman who is the glory of man 11:7

(2) The reason the woman is the glory of man is because she originated from man and was for his sake (Gen. 2:18-23) 11:8-9

(3) Because of the order of creation, a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head (covering man's glory, and affirming God's authority) which the angles (of creation) may observe 11:10

(4) Women and men are mutually dependent upon one another and upon God for their existence 11:11-12

b) The Pattern of Nature: Urging the Corinthians to judge the matter of head-coverings from a common-sense perspective, Paul affirms that long hair is a disgrace for a man, but is glorious for a woman because it is a natural covering for her head 11:13-15

(1) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to judge in a natural way whether it is proper for a woman to pray with her head uncovered 11:13

(2) Paul affirms that nature teaches that long hair is a dishonor for a man while long hair is glorious for a woman 11:14-15a

(3) Paul affirms that a woman's hair is given to her for a (physical) covering 11:15b

c) The Practice of the Church: In case some wish to argue with Paul, he affirms that head-coverings for women is the position of him and the churches 11:16

(1) Paul knows that some may be argumentative about head-coverings 11:16a

(2) Paul affirms that neither he nor the other churches of God have any other practice than women wearing head-coverings when leading in worship 11:16b

c. The Lord’s Supper: Paul exhorts the church to honor one another as a people whom Jesus died for when they come together for the Lord’s Supper, because otherwise they will experience the judgment of God for their sin 11:17-34

1) Paul refuses to praise the Corinthians’ conduct at the Lord’s supper because they use the gathering to abuse people by arrogantly exalting some and shaming the poor 11:17-22

a) As Paul begins to discuss the Lord’s Supper he can not praise the Corinthians for their conduct because when they come together it hurts the church rather than helps it 11:17

b) Paul has heard that there are divisions among the Corinthians when they come together, and he believes it because of the way that the “approved” ones have risen among the congregation 11:18-19

c) Paul will not praise the Corinthians in their practice at the Lord’s supper because they abuse the opportunity and shame those who have nothing 11:20-22

(1) When the Corinthians gather together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper as they claim 11:20

(2) They reason Paul affirms that they are not gathered together to eat the Lord's supper is because they abuse the time by overeating, not leaving food for the poor, and getting drunk 11:21

(3) Paul will not praise the Corinthians because they use the church of God to shame those among them who are poor 11:22

2) The reason Paul will not praise the Corinthians’ divisive conduct at the Lord’s supper is because the repetition of the event was meant to express Jesus’ costly provision for all in the church 23-26

a) The reason Paul will not praise the Corinthians’ divisive conduct at the Lord’s supper is because at the first Lord’s supper Jesus proclaimed that the bread was to symbolize His bodily provision for all, and it was this provision which was to be remembered by the church 11:23-24

b) The reason Paul will not praise the Corinthians’ divisive conduct at the Lord’s supper is because at the first Lord’s supper Jesus proclaimed that the cup was to symbolize the New Covenant which was inaugurated for all by his blood; and it was this provision which was to be remembered by the church 11:25

c) The reason Paul will not praise the Corinthians’ divisive conduct at the Lord’s supper is because the Lord’s Supper is to be a proclamation of the Lord’s death for all until He returns again 11:26

3) Therefore, Paul warns the Corinthians that to treat one another with honor at the Lord’s Supper because when they sin against one another they enter into divine judgment 11:27-34

a) Paul warns the Corinthians that if they partake in the Lord’s Supper with sin (against the body) they shall be sinning against the Lord who died for all 11:27

b) Paul exhorts the Corinthians that one should examine himself before he partakes of the Lord’s Supper 11:28

c) The reason one should examine himself before partaking of the Lord’s supper is because he will be placing himself under judgment from the Lord for sins which he has done against the body 11:29

d) Proof that one places oneself under God’s judgment for sins against the body is the state of many in Corinth: many are weak and sick, and some are even dead (sleep) 11:30

e) If the Corinthians treated one another as they should, they would not be experiencing the judgment from God which is designed to discipline offenders so that they might not do even worse leading to condemnation 11:31-32

f) Paul exhorts the Corinthians to treat one another well when they come together for the Lord’s supper by waiting for one another, and by satisfying any acute hunger at home before they come together 11:33-34a

3. Paul will arrange the remaining matters (of liberty?) when he comes to Corinth 11:34b

E. Concerning (περὶ δὲ) Spiritual Gifts: Paul urges the Corinthians to recognize that the diversity of spiritual gifts is still an expression of unity in the body of Christ, and thus should be exercised in ways which in accordance with love lead to the building up of the local assembly 12:1--14:40

1. Paul desires for the Corinthians to know that diverse spiritual gifts are not like those which led the Corinthians astray (from demons), but are all given by the same Spirit in order to build up the body of believers 12:1-11

a. Paul does not wish for the Corinthians to be unaware about spiritual gifts (πνευματικῶν) 12:1

b. Spiritual gifts are not like those (from demons cf. 10:20) which led the Corinthians away to demons when they were pagans, but are from the Spirit of God when they exalt Jesus as Lord 12:2-3

1) When the Corinthians were pagans they were led astray to dumb idols (by demon idols; cf. 10:20) 12:2

2) Those who speak (spiritual gifts) from the Spirit of God do not curse Jesus but exalt Him as Lord 12:3

c. The variety of gifts which each person has are worked through the triune God for the common good because they are sovereignly given through the One Spirit 2:4-11

1) While there are varieties of gifts, ministries and effects, they are all worked through the triune God 12:4-6

2) Spiritual gifts though manifested in diversity are unified for the common good because they are sovereignly given through the One Spirit 12:7-11

a) Each person is given the manifestation of the Spirit toward (πρὸς) the common good (συμφέρον) 12:7

b) The reason Paul says that each is given a manifestation of the Spirit is because each person is given a spiritual ability by the same Spirit 12:8-11

(1) One person is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit 12:8a

(2) Another person is given the word of Knowledge by the same Spirit 12:8b

(3) Another person is given faith by the same Spirit 12:9a

(4) Another person is given gifts of healing by the one Spirit 12:9b

(5) Another person is given the effecting of miracles 12:10a

(6) Another person is given prophecy 12:10b

(7) Another person is given the ability to distinguishing spirits (cf. 14:29) 12:10c

(8) Another person is given various kinds of tongues 12:10d

(9) Another person is given the ability to interpret tongues 12:10e

(10) The same Spirit works all of these manifestations out in each individual as he wills 12:11

2. As with the physical body, so is it that the church comprises a single, spiritual body of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit, and is mutually dependent upon one another 12:12-31a

a. The many believers form a single, spiritual body because they have all been identified together by the Holy Spirit regardless of their previous differences 12:12-13

1) Just as the human body is one, even though it has many members, so is the spiritual body of Christ one 12:12

2) The body is one because every believer was identified (baptized) by the Holy Spirit with the one (spiritual) body of Christ regardless of their previous differences: Jew/Greeks, slaves/free 12:13

b. The physical body has many members, each designed by God so that the body can function as one in mutual dependence upon one another 12:14-26

1) The body is not one member, but many members 12:14

2) Regardless of the role one might wish, one has his part in the body as God has designed it so that the body can function as a full body 12:15-20

a) Regardless of the role which one might want, one is still a part of the body 12:15-16

(1) A foot is still a part of the body even though it may wish the prominent role of the hand 12:15

(2) An ear is still a part of the body even though it may wish the prominent role of an eye 12:16

b) The whole body depends upon all of its members to be a body 12:17

(1) If all of the body were an eye, it would not be able to hear 12:17a

(2) If all of the body were an ear, it would not be able to smell 12:17b

c) God has placed the members of the body as he desired them to be 12:18

d) There is not one member, but many members which make up one body 12:19-20

3) The body does not have unnecessary members, but members who are cared for by one another since what happens to one affects the others 12:21-26

a) The more prominent members of the body cannot regard the less prominent members of the body as unnecessary 12:21

(1) The eye cannot tell the hand that it does not need it 12:21a

(2) The head cannot tell the feet that it does not need them 12:21a

b) The weaker members of the body are necessary 12:22

c) The less honorable members are actually given more honor and the honorable members need less honor as God has made the body so that the members should care for each other 12:23-25

(1) The less honorable and seemly members of the body are given more honor in that they are clothed 12:23

(2) The honorable members of the body have not need of more honor 12:24a

(3) God has made the body to honor those members which lack honor so that the body should not be divided but its members should care for one another 12:24b-25

d) What happens to one member of the body effects the entire body 12:26

(1) If one member suffers, all of the members of the body suffer with it 12:26a

(2) If one member is honored, all of the members of the body are honored with it 12:26b

c. As with the physical body so is it that the church is the spiritual body of Christ, and God has appointed each member with spiritual gifts so that they might be in mutual dependence 12:27-31a

1) The church is the spiritual body of Christ, and each person is an individual member in the body 12:27

2) God has appointed spiritual gifts to people in his church ordering in importance from those which all profit from to personal gifts like tongues 12:28

a) God has first appointed apostles 12:28a

b) God has secondly appointed prophets 12:28b

c) God has thirdly appointed teachers 12:28c

d) God then appointed miracles 12:28d

e) God then appointed gifts of healings 12:28e

f) God then appointed helps 12:28f

g) God then appointed administrations 12:28g

h) God then appointed various kinds of tongues 12:28h

3) No one person has all of the gifts 12:29-30

a) All are not apostles 12:29a

b) All are not prophets 12:29b

c) All are not teachers 12:29c

d) All are not workers of miracles 12:29d

e) All do not have gifts of healings 12:30a

f) All do not speak in tongues 12:30b

g) All do not interpret tongues 12:30c

4) The church should desire the greater gifts of edification (12:28) rather than the lesser gift of tongues 12:31a

3. Even though all members of the church do not have all of the spiritual gifts, all are to pursue love because love is superior to spiritual gifts since it helps the body 12:31b--13:13

a. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to pursue love even more than spiritual gifts because it will have the most value of character for them, because of its excellent, selfless character, and because it will endure beyond spiritual gifts 12:31b--13:3

1) Even though Paul exhorts the Corinthians to continue to seek the greater gifts (12:31a) he now offers to show them a more excellent way than the pursuit of spiritual gifts 12:31b

2) As Paul deals with spiritual gifts from the least important to the most important (cf. 12:28) he affirms that while their exercise apart from love (ἀγάπη) may have value for others, it will have no value for him 13:1-3

a) Speaking in a merism Paul affirms that if he speaks in the widest possible sweep of languages (men and angels), without love, he is of no more service to the congregation than an empty sounding gong, or a noisy sounding cymbal (used in the pagan worship of Dionysus, Cybele, and the Corybantes) 13:1

b) Speaking of all kinds of spiritual instruction Paul affirms that if he has the ability to prophecy (speaking with special inspiration), and all wisdom (like the apostles?), and all knowledge (like the teachers cf. 12:8,10,21), or if he has miracle working faith, he is nothing without love 13:2

c) Speaking of administrative gifts Paul affirms that if he denies himself by selling all to feed the poor, or voluntarily suffering (cf. Dan. 3:28) without love, it is of no profit to him 13:3

3) Paul affirms that love is superior to the gifts because of its excellent, selfless character 13:4-7

a) Positively: love is characterized by patience, and kindness 13:4a

b) Negatively: love is characterized by not being jealous, not bragging, not being arrogant, not acting unbecomingly, not seeking its own, not being provoked, not taking into account a wrong suffered, and by not rejoicing in unrighteousness but with truth 13:4b-6

c) Positively: love is characterized as bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things 13:7

4) Paul affirms that love is superior to spiritual gifts because it will endure beyond the gifts 13:18-13

a) Statement: love never fails 13:8a

b) Paul provides specific examples of gifts which will pass away 13:8

(1) Gifts of prophecy will be done away with (passive voice from καταργέω) 13:8b

(2) Tongues will cease of themselves (middle voice from παύσονται) 13:8c

(3) Knowledge will be done away (passive from καταργέω) 13:8d

c) Knowledge and prophecy are only in part, and thus are to be done away with (passive of καταργέω) when the perfect (Jesus) comes 13:9-10

Note Well:

(1) The perfect is not the canon because it is complete but we still only know in part (13:12)

(2) The perfect is not the mature church because its growth will not lead to a face to face understanding; we still only know in part (13:12)

(3) Paul describes the second coming in terms of coming to us rather than our coming to the perfection of the other world (13:10)

d) Paul illustrates the temporary nature of gifts through the image of personal growth emphasizing that when we arrive with God we will do away with our partial understanding which comes now through the gifts 13:11-12

(1) Paul illustrates the partialness of spiritual gifts through the analogy of human maturity which causes one to do away with (καταργέω) childish things 13:11

(2) The reason Paul has used personal growth as an illustration is because there will be a future time when one will know fully 13:12

e) Logically after the spiritual gifts are gone love will endure as the source of faith and hope (cf. 13:7) 13:13

4. Paul urges the Corinthians in accordance with the principle of love to pursue prophecy and the interpretation of tongues because these gifts will benefit the entire body whereas uninterpreted tongues will only speak of judgment and bring derision 14:1-25

a. Paul urges the Corinthians in accordance with the principle of love to pursue prophecy and the interpretation of tongues because these gifts will benefit the entire assembly 14:1-19

1) One’s pursuit of love does not prohibit one’s pursuit of spiritual gifts but moves one toward pursuing the gift of prophecy over the gift of tongues because the former edifies an assemble 14:1-5

a) One’s pursuit of love does not prohibit the pursuit of spiritual gifts, but regulates the pursuit toward those which edify the body--especially prophecy 14:1

b) The reason one should not pursue tongues as a gift is because they are toward God rather than for the good of men who are listening 14:2

(1) If one speak in a tongue, he speaks to God and not to men 14:2a

(2) The reason he speaks to God is because men do not understand the tongue; it is a mystery to them 14:2b

c) The reason one should pursue prophesies is because they are for men in order to edify, to exhort, and to console 14:3

d) The reason one should not pursue tongues is because they edify only one’s self (as a confirmation of God’s grace [12:18,28], and in ability to praise God [14:16]), but one should pursue prophecy because it edifies an assembly 14:4

e) Paul is not against the gift of tongues, but prefers prophecy because only it edifies the church, unless tongues are interpreted 14:15

(1) Paul is not against tongues in that he wished that they all had this gift 14:5a

(2) But Paul wishes that they all prophesied even more than they spoke in tongues 14:5b

(3) The reason Paul believes that the one who prophecies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues is because unless tongues are interpreted, it is only the one who prophecies who edifies the church 14:5c

2) Through several analogies Paul urges those who speak in tongues to seek their interpretation for the sake of the assembly because otherwise the gift will be unprofitable to them 14:6-19

a) Paul illustrates the unprofitable nature of speaking in tongues by hypothesizing about the lack of advantage which the Corinthians would gain by his speaking in tongues to them rather than teaching them 14:6

(1) Paul argues that if he spoke in tongues to the Corinthians it would be of no advantage to them 14:6a

(2) Paul argues that advantage will only come to the Corinthians if he speaks by way of revelation, knowledge, prophecy or teaching 14:6b

b) Paul illustrates the unprofitable nature of speaking in tongues through the analogy of the unprofitability of hearing instruments which do not make clear distinctions in sound 14:7-9

(1) Instruments, like the flute or the harp, must produce distinctions in sounds to be understood 14:7

(2) If the bugle produces an indistinct sound, no one will know to prepare for battle 14:8

(3) As with instruments so is it when one uses his tongue that no one knows what is being spoken unless it is clear to them 14:9

c) Paul illustrates the unprofitable nature of speaking in tongues through the analogy of the critical judgment of people (as barbarians) who hear others speaking in languages which they do not understand 14:10-12

(1) While there are many languages (human sounds; cf. 13:7,8) in the world, none are without meaning 14:10

(2) If one does not know the meaning of a language which someone is speaking, each party will view the other as a barbarian (foreign) 14:11

(3) So also should the Corinthians who are zealous for spiritual gifts seek the edification of the church lest each view each other as barbarians 14:12

d) Therefore, Paul urges those who desire to speak in tongues to also desire to interpret the tongues so that those who are part of the assembly and do not understand the tongues may be edified 14:13-19

(1) In view of the above illustrations Paul concludes that those who speak in tongues should pray that they may also interpret 14:13

(2) The reason one should pray that they may interpret if they speak in a tongue is because it will be even more beneficial for them in that not only will their feelings be involved (their spirit), but their minds will too 14:14

(3) Paul argues that it is better to pray and to sing with the spirit and the mind (with interpretation) than to do so only in one's spirit because it allows the congregation to take part in the blessing by being edified 14:15-17

(4) Even though Paul speaks in tongues more than any of the Corinthians, he would rather limit himself in the church to speaking that which will edify the body 14:18-19

b. An area of maturity which Paul exhorts the Corinthians to consider is the negative impact of untranslated tongues as a sign of judgment upon Israel and as a source of derision against the church as opposed to the positive impact of prophecy upon believers and unbelievers as they are convicted of their need of God 14:20-25

1) Paul argues that although it is permissible to play the part of children in the realm of evil, that they should be mature in their thinking toward one another 14:20

2) Paul argues that prophecy is to be preferred over untranslated tongues because prophecy convicts all people of their need of God while untranslated tongues are as a sign of judgment upon Israel, and bring about derision upon the church by both believers and unbelievers 14:21-25

a) Through a citing of Isaiah 28:11-12 Paul describes how the hearing of strange tongues (languages) by the Assyrians was a judgment from God upon Israel for their rebellion against His word (cf. Isa. 28:9-10) 14:21

b) From the use of Isaiah 28 Paul concludes that (uninterpreted) tongues serve as a sign (of judgment), not for believers (the church), but for unbelievers (of Israel; cf. “this people” in 14:21 above) 14:22a

c) In contrast to the place of tongues which serve as a sign of judgment for unbelieving Jews, Paul affirms that prophecy serves as a sign for believers rather than unbelievers 14:22b

d) Prophecy is profitable for both unbelievers and for believers because unlike tongues which will bring forth derision of the body, prophecy will convict the listeners of their sin and bring about the honor of God 14:23-25

(1) If the entire Christian service consisted of speaking in tongues, then all who attended (believers without the gift of interpretation, unbelievers) would consider those present and active as mad 14:23

(2) If the Christian service consists of prophecy, then all of those (believer and unbeliever) will be convicted and judged by the words which reveal his heart and will worship God as among the Corinthians 14:24-25

5. Paul urges the Corinthians to conduct their expression of gifts through the limitation of love by conducting the services in an orderly manner for the edification of the church 14:26-40

a. Concluding his larger discussion on spiritual gifts Paul affirms that even though each person may have a self concern to share a spiritual insight, the way of love should provide a focus which leads to the edification of the assembly 14:26

b. Tongues: Paul prescribes an order with the gift of tongues that will edify the body in that they should be exercised by two or three men in turn with a necessary interpretation to follow 14:27-28

1) Paul regulates public speaking in tongues to that which is done by two or at most three in turn, and then to be interpreted by one 14:27

2) If there is not an interpreter, than the one who has the gift to speak in tongues is to keep silent and speak to (for) himself and to God (in the silence or possibly at home) 14:28

c. Prophets/Married Women: Paul prescribes an order which will edify the body in that the gift of prophecy should be exercised by only two or three in an assembly with an evaluation by those listening, and that the speaker should yield when another in the assembly receives a revelation because God has given this ability as a God of order in all of the churches, thus married woman should reflect the order of submission to their husbands and not speak in the assembly, but ask questions of their husbands in their homes as in the other churches 14:29-36

1) Only two or three prophets are to speak (during a meeting), and the rest are to pass judgment (discern as to the truth/inspiration of what is being said [cf. 12:10]) 14:29

2) If while one is giving his revelation, an other person who is seated and listening receives a revelation, than the first one who is speaking is to draw his talk to a close to make room for the next one with a revelation 14:30

3) The reason the speaker should yield is so that everyone with a prophecy may prophesy in turn (one by one) in order that they and the assembly may be exhorted 14:31

4) Another reason the speakers should yield is because their spirits are still subject to themselves even though God has given them a gift because God is not on the side of disorder but of peace in all of the churches 14:32-33

5. In the case of married women, they should not speak in the assembly, but demonstrate the higher order of submission to their husbands 14:34-36

a) Wives (αἱ γυναῖκες; in view of “submission” [14:34], and “their own husbands” [14:35]) should remain silent (σιγάτωσαν, cf. 14:28) in the assembly (churches [ἐκκλησίαις]) 14:34a

b) The reason wives are to remain silent is because they are to reflect their subordinate (but not inferior) relationship to their husbands (cf. Gen. 2:18-23; 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:8,12) 14:34b-c

(1) Wives are not permitted to speak in the assembly (because silence is an evidence of submission) 14:34b

(2) In contrast to speaking in the assembly, wives are to submit themselves to their husbands in accordance with scripture 14:34c

c) A married woman is to ask her own husband questions at home if she desires to learn anything rather than improperly (αἰσχρὸν, cf. 11:6) exerting herself over his leadership in the public assembly14 14:35

6) Paul urges the Corinthians (through sarcasm) to not consider themselves as unique among the churches (those who have received revelation) 14:36

d. In summary, Paul urges the Corinthians to receive his words as from the Lord and thus that the gifts should be preferred according to their respective value for the church and should be exercised in a proper and orderly way 14:37-40

1) Paul urges those among the Corinthians who consider themselves to be “prophets” and/or “spiritual” to recognize Paul’s directions to be commandments from the Lord because if they do not, their words are not to be recognized as from the Lord 14:37-38

2) Paul again urges the Corinthians to desire the greater gift of prophesy, and to allow tongues to have its proper place in the assembly 14:39

3) Even though Paul urges the Corinthians to continue to pursue spiritual gifts he insists that they be done in a way which is edifying to the body: properly and in an orderly manner 14:40

V. Concerning (δὲ cf. 15:12) the Resurrection: Paul argues that the resurrection body is central to Christianity in spite of the affirmations of false teachers, and should motivate the Corinthians (believers) to steadfast, sacrificial service because the natural body will be instantly changed to a heavenly body at the return of Christ 15:1-58

A. Paul urges the Corinthians to turn from the false teachers who deny the resurrection because historically, logically, theologically, and experientially the bodily resurrection is central to Christianity 15:1-34

1. Historically Paul argues that the gospel which the Corinthians received and now stand in is that Jesus died and was raised again in accordance with Scriptural, historical, and eye-witness evidence 15:1-11

a. Paul now reminds his Corinthian brothers of the Gospel which he proclaimed to them, which they received, by which they stand, and by which they are saved if they hold to it (unless it is a vain/empty gospel) 15:1-2

b. Paul delivered the gospel which he had received that Jesus died and rose again which was validated by the Scriptures, historical events, and many witnesses 15:3-10

1) That which Paul delivered to the Corinthians as of central importance was that which he had received 15:3a

2) The primary content of the gospel is the death and resurrection of Christ which is validated through Scripture, historical events, and witnesses 15:3b-10

a) Statement one: Christ died for our sins 15:3b

b) Verification one: The Scriptures affirm that Christ died for our sins (Isa. 53:8-10) 15:3c

c) Verification two: Christ’s burial affirms that Christ died (for our sins) 15:4a

d) Statement two: Christ was raised on the third day 15:4b

e) Verification one: The Scriptures affirm that the Christ was to be raised (Psalm 16:10) 15:4c

f) Verification two: Jesus appeared to many witnesses after His resurrection 15:5-8

(1) Jesus appeared to Cephas 15:5a

(2) Jesus appeared to the Twelve 15:5b

(3) Jesus appeared to more than five hundred brethren most of whom were still alive at the time of Paul's writing 15:6

(4) Jesus appeared to James 15:7a

(5) Jesus appeared to all of the apostles (either the Twelve including Thomas or those sent as authoritative delegates in addition to the Twelve such as James, Barnabas, Andronicus, Junias, and possibly Silas, Timothy, and Apollos) 15:7b

(6) Jesus lastly appeared to Paul by God's grace 15:8-10

c. Paul and the other witnesses all preached the risen Christ so that the Corinthians would believe 15:11

2. Logically, Paul argues that when the doctrine of the resurrection is denied (as some were doing) that the implications were enormous: (1) Christ is not raised, (2) the gospel is false, (3) the followers of the gospel are empty, (4) the preachers are false witnesses, (5) believers are still in their sin, and (6) pagans should pity Christians in their false restraint. The Gospel has become groundless and worthless 15:12-19

a. Paul questions how some Corinthians could logically say that there is no resurrection from the dead if Christ is proclaimed as having been raised 15:12

b. Paul logically argues that the doctrine of the bodily resurrection cannot be denied without rendering the Christian gospel groundless, false, and its followers empty and to be pitied 15:13-19

1) Paul argues that Christ is not raised if their is no resurrection of the dead 15:13

2) Paul then concludes that if Christ is not raised than Christianity is empty (in vain) whether it is expressed in preaching or in believing 15:14

3) Paul continues his conclusion that not only is the preaching of the gospel in vain, but Paul and those who proclaim the resurrection are false witnesses to the work of God in the resurrection and particularly with reference to Christ because no resurrection means that Christ was not raised 15:15-16

4) Paul argues that if the resurrection of Christ has not occurred, than one’s faith is worthless because God has not proclaimed the certainty of the atonement (cf. Rom. 5:25), thus the Corinthians were still in their sinful state before God 15:17

5) Therefore Paul concludes that those who have died (fallen asleep) have perished rather than been saved 15:18

6) Finally Paul affirms that if Christ is not raised than Christians have been foolish in their hope in Christ (and the wisdom of the crucifixion), and should be pitied by the pagans for their self-sacrifice 15:19

3. Theologically, Paul argues that the bodily resurrection of Christ will lead to the resurrection of all of those who believe in Him, and that after the resurrection of men Jesus will complete the kingdom program by abolishing death before he gives the Kingdom over to the Father to reign in pure goodness 15:20-28

a. In contrast to the conclusions about the absence of a resurrection Paul argues that Jesus is the first of later resurrections because He, like Adam, has affected all who are related to Him 15:20-22

1) In contrast to conclusion from the false premise that there is no resurrection, Paul argues that Christ’s resurrection is the first (first fruits) of later resurrections to follow (of those who are asleep) 15:20

2) Just as one man (Adam) brought death to the entire human race which was related to him, so is it that one man (Jesus) brought the resurrection of the dead for those who believe in Him 15:21-22

b. The certainty of the resurrection is true because after the resurrection of all men in their prescribed order, Christ will abolish death as He completes His restoration of the Kingdom program for the Father 15:23-28

1) The resurrection of all men will occur in their prescribed order: Christ first, and then those of the church to follow 15:23

a) Statement: All will be resurrected in their own order 15:23a

b) Christ was the first fruits 15:23b

c) After Christ those who belong to Him at his coming will be raised (cf. John 14; 1 Thess. 4:16) 15:23c

2) After the resurrection of the church Christ will consummate His rule over evil (including death) and give it to the Father so that God may rule in His pure goodness 15:24-28

a) After the resurrection (of the church) the end will come when he will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father having abolished all rule, authority and power15 15:24

b) The reason Christ will deliver up the consummated kingdom to the Father is because He has been given authority to defeat His enemies (including the last--death) so that He can than submit Himself to God the Father and the Father can once again reign over creation in pure goodness 15:25-28

(1) The reason Christ will deliver up the consummated kingdom to the Father is because it is necessary for Him to reign until He has defeated all of His enemies (Ps. 110:1) 15:25

(2) The last enemy which will be abolished is death for he must put all things in subjection to himself (cf. Ps. 8:6) 15:26-27

(3) After Jesus has put all things in subjection to Himself, He will then be subject to the One who subjected all things to Him (Phil. 3:21) so that God will reign in His pure goodness 15:28

4. Experientially Paul argues that the practice of the Corinthians and Paul himself affirm the truth of a bodily resurrection 15:29-32

a. Arguing from a practice (by the Elusinian cult north of Corinth) which Paul does not approve (note “they”; see also 8:10; 10:21), Paul affirms that the practice of washing bodies on behalf of the dead (in the sea) implies confidence in a bodily resurrection 15:29

b. Paul affirms that the endurance of danger and suffering for the sake of the gospel is motivated by confidence in a bodily resurrection 15:30-32

1) Paul questions why the spiritual leaders endure constant dangers if there is no hope of a bodily resurrection 15:30

2) Paul protests against the lack of a resurrection because he is constantly in peril of his life for the sake of the gospel 15:31

3) Paul affirms that if there is no resurrection, than the risking of his life at Ephesus was of no profit; it would be better to pursue pleasure and avoid pain as the Epicureans affirmed 15:32

5. Concluding Paul urges the Corinthians to sober up and stop sinning by separating from the false teachers who do not know God 15:33-34

a. Paul urges the Corinthians to not deceive themselves because they will be corrupted if they continue to associate with those who deny the resurrection 15:33

b. Positively Paul urges the Corinthians to become sober minded in this matter of the resurrection and to stop sinning, because those whom they are following with respect to the resurrection have no knowledge of God 15:34

B. Objections to the Resurrection: Answering two questions in inverted order Paul affirms that the resurrection body is not a natural body, but a heavenly body which will be instantaneously changed at the Lord’s return, and which should thus encourage believers to abound in faithful, sacrificial service because that which is lost in this life is not permanent 15:34-58

1. Questions are raised as to (1) how the dead will be raised and (2) as to the kind of body which the raised will have 15:35

a. Some question how the dead are raised 15:35a

b. Some question the kind of body the raised will have 15:35b

2. Identifying the Corinthians as thoughtless in their questions, Paul affirms that the resurrection body is tied to its natural body, but is different than it because it is a heavenly body through the work of Christ 15:36-49

a. Paul calls the Corinthians thoughtless in their questions 15:36a

b. Paul argues that belief in the resurrection is like belief in seedtime and harvest in that the seed must die to live, and in that the grown state of the plant is given by God and is tied to the seed 15:36b-38

1) Paul affirms that for seed to come to life again it must die 15:36b

2) Paul continues his analogy by affirming that the seed sown is not in the form of the plant harvested, but God gives it a grown state that is tied to the seed 15:37-38

3) Using the known analogies of different kinds of bodies and different kinds of glory, Paul affirms that the natural body is sown through its identification with Adam, but is raised as a heavenly body through Christ 15:39-49

a) Paul affirms that there are many different kinds of flesh 15:39-40b

(1) Paul affirms that all flesh is not the same 15:39a

(2) There is a flesh of man 15:39b

(3) There is a flesh of beasts 15:39c

(4) There is a flesh of birds 15:39d

(5) There is a flesh of fish 15:39e

(6) There are heavenly bodies 15:40a

(7) There are earthly bodies 15:40b

b) Paul affirms that not all glories are the same 15:40c-41

(1) There is a glory of the heavenly bodies 15:40c

(2) There is another glory of the earthly bodies 15:40d

(3) There are different glories of the heavenlies too in that the glory of the moon is different than that of the stars, and than that of other stars 15:41

c) Just as there are different bodies and different glories, so is the body in that it is sown a body with the glory of earth through Adam, but it is raised as a body with the glory of heaven through Jesus 15:42-49

(1) Just as there are different bodies and different glories, so is the resurrection of the dead 15:42a

(2) Different bodies: The body is sown one kind of body (perishable, in dishonor, in weakness, natural), but raised another kind of body (imperishable, in glory, in power, spiritual) 15:42b-44a

(3) Conclusion: As with a seed, the existence of a natural body affirms the existence of a spiritual body 15:44b

(4) Different Glories: the risen body is not earthly like that which came through Adam, but heavenly like that which came through Jesus 15:45-49

3. Paul explains “how the dead are raised” through a new revelation which affirms that God will instantaneously change the natural body to a heavenly body for the dead and the living at the return of Christ so that they can inherit the kingdom of God and so that death for sin can finally be defeated 15:50-57

a. Paul affirms that there must be a radical change in the body for it to inherit the kingdom of God because the natural body cannot inherit the kingdom of God any more than the perishable can inherit the imperishable 15:50

b. Revealing that which was unknown in the OT, Paul teaches that many believers will be instantaneously changed from an earthly body to a heavenly body along with the dead who are raised at the appearing of Christ 15:51-53

1) Paul now speaks of a mystery (that not known in the OT) that all believers will not die (sleep), but (some) will be changed 15:51

2) The change will come quickly at the appearance of Christ 15:52a

3) The dead will be raised with imperishable bodies, and those alive will be changed 15:52b

4) The reason this change must occur is because that which is earthly (perishable, mortal), must become heavenly (imperishable, immortal) 15:53

c. The believer’s reception of a resurrection body through Jesus is man’s ultimate victory over his greatest enemy, death because of sin against God’s law 15:54-57

1) When the earthly body is changed to a heavenly body, death will finally be defeated as promised in Scripture (Isa. 25a; Hos. 13:14) 15:54-55

2) The Law stirs up sin, and sin leads to death, but God has given believers victory over death through Jesus 15:57

4. Paul affirms that the assurance of a bodily resurrection ought to lead the Christian to a life of steadfastness and abundant service for the Lord because that which is lost in this life is not permanent 15:58

VI. Specific Council for the Corinthians: Paul councils the Corinthians about how to care for the upcoming, Jerusalem collection in an orderly manner, and that he and his associates will be coming to visit them soon as the Lord wills 16:1-12

A. Concerning (περὶ δὲ) the Collection: Paul urges the Corinthians to set aside their offering for the Jerusalem saints in an orderly manner, and to appoint those to carry the gift along with him if it is an appropriate gift 16:1-4

1. Paul urges the Corinthians as he did the churches of Galatia to set aside money in accordance with one’s prosperity for the saints (of Jerusalem) on the first day of the week in order that there might not be a collection when he arrives 16:1-2

2. Paul urges the Corinthians to appoint those to carry their gift to Jerusalem along with letters from Paul, and with Paul himself if it is an appropriate gift 16:3-4

B. Concerning Future Visits: Paul informs the Corinthians that he and his associates (Timothy, and Apollos) will be visiting them as the Lord wills 16:5-12

1. Paul’s personal travel plans include an extended visit to Corinth after some additional ministry in Ephesus and a summer tour through Macedonia 16:5-9

a. Paul intends to come to the Corinthians after he has gone through his intended trip through Macedonia 16:5

b. Paul hopes to stay with the Corinthians for a while, even through the winter, before he departs, because he wants more than a brief visit with them if God permits it 16:6-7

c. Paul intends to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost (spring) because of the great opportunities of ministry available there as well as opponents to his ministry 16:8-9

2. Paul informs the Corinthians that Timothy and Apollos will be visiting them soon 16:10-12

a. Paul urges the Corinthians to not treat Timothy with contempt, but to honor him as a minister of the Lord and to send him back to Paul, along with the traveling party, in peace 16:10-11

1) Paul urges the Corinthians to make Timothy feel welcomed without fear if he comes to them because he is doing the Lord’s work just as Paul is 16:10

2) Paul warns the Corinthians not to despise Timothy, but to send him on his way in peace back to Paul who is expecting him with others from Paul’s traveling party 16:11

b. Even though Apollos did not desire to come to Corinth at the present time, he will come when he has an opportunity 16:12

1) Paul now writes concerning (περὶ δὲ) Apollos 16:12a

2) Paul has encouraged Apollos to come to the Corinthians 16:12b

3) Apollos did not desire to come to Corinth at the present time, but he will come when he is able 16:12c

VII. Conclusion to the Book: Paul exhorts the Corinthians to maturity of ministry, and closes with greetings, exhortations, a prayer for grace, and an expression of his love for the Corinthians 16:13-24

A. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to maturity of ministry and to honor their leaders 16:13-18

1. Paul gives several exhortations to the Corinthians: to be diligent (to God’s work), steadfast (in the faith), manly, morally strong (in maturity), and to live in love 16:13-14

2. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to respect and to submit to their spiritual leaders whether they be Stephanas, Fortunatus, or Achaicus 16:15-18

a. The household of Stephanas was the first of the believers in Achaia, and has devoted itself to ministry to believers 16:15

b. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to subject themselves to the household of Stephanas and to every one like them who assists in the ministry (work an labors) 16:16

c. Paul rejoices over the coming to Ephesus of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus because they have refreshed and encouraged him in a way that the Corinthians had not, so the Corinthians are to acknowledge them 16:17-18

B. In conclusion Paul sends greetings from those in Asia, exhorts the Corinthians positively and negatively, expresses his desire for the Lord to return, prays that they will receive God’s grace, and expresses his fatherly love 16:19-24

1. Paul sends greetings from the churches in Asia, Aquila and Prisca, the church in their house, and all of believers 16:19-20a

2. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to show love and unity to one another by greeting one another with a holy kiss 16:20b

3. Paul now stopped dictating his letter to a secretary and began writing in his own handwriting 16:21

4. Paul curses anyone (false teachers?) who does not love the Lord 16:22a

5. Paul prays for the Lord to return (μαράνα θά) 16:22b

6. Paul prays for grace from the Lord Jesus upon the Corinthians 16:23

7. Paul proclaims his love (as a father) for the believing Corinthians 16:24

1 “Not to touch” is the figurative sense of ἅπτεσθαι for sexual intercourse (cf. LXX of Gen. 20:6 ἅψασθαι) and relates to the understanding of the “ascetics” who prohibited sexual relations which Paul counters in verse two (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12, 13, 18).

To have ones ‘own wife’ refers to sexual relations rather than the permission to marry (cf. 5:1)

2 The “immorality” mentioned in 7:2 probably is a direct reference back to 6:12-20 where men, in all probability married, were going to the prostitutes (and possibly even at the suggestion of their ascetic wives!).

3 This is not describing a Spiritual gift because this context is not addressing “spiritual gifts” and there is an entire upcoming section which talks about this subject. It is describing the grace (χάρισμα) given by the Lord for a person to remain celibate or to choose marriage in life. It is almost as though Paul was describing the Lord’s will in terms of grace which He gives to accomplish that will (cf. Matt. 19:12 where, “there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”).

4 The masculine term for “unmarried” (τοῖς ἀγάμοις) seems to be in parallel with the feminine term “widows” (ταῖς χήραις) and means “widower.” Note well that the New Testament does not use the classical Greek term for “widower” (χηρος), but places “unmarried” in parallel with “widow” for this concept. This may mean that Paul was once married, but was now widowed.

5 Note well that some say that Paul is not considering the matter of divorce for adultery, but Paul only understands the Lords teaching to permit two courses of action: remain single/unmarried or be reconciled. The fact that Paul adds ‘remain unmarried’ indicates that we are in the realm of legal divorce procedure that permitted remarriage.

6 Some understand this verse to teach that Paul allows the believer to remarry after the divorce which he permits in verse 15. But this verse does not seem to permit remarriage to the deserted Christian for the following reasons:

(1) The nature of marriage is a creation ordinance and is binding on all of mankind irrespective of one’s faith or the lack thereof (Genesis 1:27; 2:24).

(2) The entire context of 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 revolves around, and does not depart from Paul’s and the Lord’s command that a believer must not divorce. Therefore this unit is saying that “in the case of an unbelieving partner who deserts, one need not feel so bound by Christ’s prohibition of divorce as to be afraid to depart.

(3) Paul uses the same word for divorce in verse 15 as he did in verse 11 (χωρίζω--’to separate/leave’) where he clearly states the content of his use of it, and it does not include remarriage. The point is that the believer need not feel that they have to change the desire of their mate, but is still not to remarry.

(4) There is a similar hopeful outlook in 7:11a by not remarrying (‘let her be reconciled to her husband’) and 7:16 (perhaps conversion will occur of the departing spouse, cf. 7:12-13).

(5) The freedom of 7:15 (οὺ δεδούλωται “is not bound”) is not the same as the freedom of 7:39 (ἐλευθέρα ἐστὶν “she is free”) because there is a different concept involved in the binding: (a) in 7:39 Paul discusses legal aspects through the term δέω [deo]--”to be bound or tied to a law or promise as in 7:27--cf. Romans 7:2 (b) in 7:15 Paul discusses the relationship in terms of “enslavement” using the term δουλεύω [douloo]--”to be enslaved, subjected, to serve.” Therefore Paul is saying that the person is not ‘enslaved’ to the departing spouse (i.e., he is not responsible for the divorce as in Matthew 5:32), not that one is freed from being bound to the “law/promise” of marriage.

(6) The Church Fathers of the first century regarded marriage as permanent even with non-Christian spouses (see Heth, Jesus and Divorce, pp. 22-44)

(7)The principle in 7:17-24 argues that Paul did not permit the deserted believer to change his status.

7 Paul uses the structural marker Περὶ δὲ (“Now concerning”) to identify a new subject in verses 25-38. This is the first place where Paul begins to discuss the situation of the previously unmarried. Note that Paul is addressing “virgins” in this unit--the previously unmarried. The term for virgins (παρθένων) should not be translated as “unmarried” allowing for the case of one who is divorced as in 7:11 (“remain unmarried”).

8 In view of the new subject in 7:25 to the “previously unmarried,” 7:27 does not apply to the “divorced” when Paul uses the term “released” (λύω). Rather, he is describing, contextually, those who are bound by the promise of “engagement”! Note also that the term for being loosed (λύω) is not the term he used elsewhere for divorce (χωρίζω, cf. 7:11, 12, 13, or ἀφίημι, cf. 7:11, 12, 13). Finally, the “you” in 7:28 is singular referring to the man, and is in parallel to the case of the “virgin” (ἡ παρθένος).

9 Verse 32 refers to the male: The gender of “unmarried” is masculine (ἀμερίμνους) and refers to the man who is still single, though engaged.

10 Verse 34 refers to the unmarried betrothed woman (ἡ γυνὴ ) or virgin (ἡ Παρθένος). What characterizes the life of the single individual and the engaged person is the fact that they are still free to serve the Lord with full devotion.

11 There are many, many views on the meaning of this unit:

(1) Paul is giving advice to the father of a girl who is beyond marriageable age (NASB). In this case “anyone” in verse 36 refers to a father. This view is more consistent with the verbs of the passage (especially verse 38 where the idea is to give in marriage). The father may be acting unbecomingly in that he has determined that she should not marry and thus forbids her to do so, but now sees that she needs to marry (36). With this view if the father (a) had a settled and firm conviction about the propriety of her celibacy, (b) was in a position where he was free to exercise his authority in that he was not a slave and (c) was under no compulsion from evidence which spoke otherwise about his daughter’s need, then he does well to remain confirmed in his stance (37). Neither giving or not giving one’s daughter in marriage is good but the latter is better (38). A problem is with the use of γαμείτωσαν in 7:36 (let them marry) which is 3 pl. pres. act. imper. implying that the certain one and the girl are to be married. However this could refer to the daughter and her fiancee.

(2) Paul is describing a kind of spiritual marriage in which couples live together without having sexual relations

(3) Paul is speaking about a widowed sister-in-law and the Corinthians want to know if they are bound by the Jewish custom of Levirate marriage

(4) Paul is addressing engaged men and women concerning whether they should fulfill their promise in view of the present distress. In this case “anyone” in verse 36 refers to a bridegroom. A problem is in the verbs which are used where γαμεω means to marry (v. 36) and γαμιζω means to give in marriage (v. 38) [cf. BAGD pp. 150-151; also Matt. 24:38; Mark 12:25]. The descriptions of the man seem more natural for a fiancee than for a father. This view fits the broader argument better: (a) Remaining unmarried is preferred [25-35], (b) Marrying one’s fiancee is permitted but not preferred [36-38], (c) Remarriage of widows in the Lord is permitted but not preferred [7:39-40]. This view presents a consistent use of subject for the verbs which are used throughout the passage (cf RSV and NIV). Problems with this view are: (a) “His virgin” seems odd for a fiancee: but it is commonly used for a betrothed girl (cf. Luke 1:27; Matt. 1:18, 23; 25:1-13; 2 Cor. 11:2), (b) it is odd to consider it okay to remain single with one with whom you are engaged to be married. But this is the point of the passage--there is a freedom to serve God as a single person.

12 Cf. Romans 7:1-3.

13 Christ was with them in that they had the water from the rock at the beginning of the wilderness wandering (Ex. 17:1-7) and at the conclusion of the wandering (Ex. 20:1-13).

14 This is not contradictory to 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. On the contrary, Paul permitted the participation of women in the service when they were properly adorned, but if their husbands were in attendance, then it was of a higher order to express their submission to them rather than to publicly speak in the assembly (cf. 2 Timothy 2:11-15).

15 There could be 1,000 years between verses 23 and 24 just as there have been almost 2,000 years between 23a and 23b!

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines

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