1:1 From Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother, 1:2 to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
1:4 I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. 1:5 For you were made rich in every way in him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge—1:6 just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you—1:7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
1:10 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.
1:11 For members of Chloe’s household have made it clear to me, my brothers and sisters, that there are quarrels among you. 1:12 Now I mean this, that each of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with Christ.”
1:13 Is Christ divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? Or were you in fact baptized in the name of Paul? 1:14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 1:15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name! 1:16 (I also baptized the household of Stephanus. Otherwise, I do not remember whether I baptized anyone else.)
1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless.
The Message of the Cross
1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish?
1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching.
1:22 For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, 1:23 but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
1:24 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1:26 Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position.
1:27 But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong.
1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 1:29 so that no one can boast in his presence.
1:30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1:31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Lord, Your gift to us may have been communicated through a fellow human but it is You-alone Whom we should worship. May I keep my eyes on You and not on human leaders.
Paul reiterated one of the titles of Christians as “saints”, noting their parity “… with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”
Paul affirmed that the believers in Corinth had received the indwelling Holy Spirit of God and therefore “… were made rich in every way in Him”.
[Note: Paul didn’t list any special gifts, he merely celebrated that they were filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit and therefore had access to very gift God gives to all believers—in order to serve Him.]
Paul confronted them for their idolatry of leaders “I am with Paul, or I am with Apollos, or I am with Cephas, or I am with Christ”, challenging them “Is Christ divided?”
[Note: A letter of reference from an established leader, e.g. when Barnabas spoke on Paul’s behalf or Paul spoke on behalf of Cephas, may lend to one some degree of credibility, but when any Christian leader allows him or herself to be idolized in the same manner as Paul criticized they are clearly in rebellion against the Word of God.]
Paul reminded them that they were not saved as a result of a mere pagan-like emotional response to “miraculous signs”, as many of the Jews demanded, or clever-sounding human wisdom, as the Greeks sought. For those who accepted the invitation of the Lord “Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
Paul also reminded them that most Christians were not from clever or powerful or wealthy backgrounds, as one might expect of the traditional identity of persons in a royal family, but rather were children “adopted” based on their faith-response to the truth of God. After their faith-response they were “called” or ‘invited’ or ‘summoned’ to be His children for an eternity beyond-time.
In verse 1:24 Paul used the Greek term κλητοις which from the Greek/Hebrew reference at Bible.org means:
1) called, invited (to a banquet) 1a) invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ 1b) called to (the discharge of) some office 1b1) divinely selected and appointed
Please note that the primary definition is “invited” and is not “compelled”. with a secondary
definition “divinely selected and appointed”, a lesser or weaker alternative yet one that still implies a standard-applied rather than a role imposed (as is the case with predestination).
The Lord God levels the social boundaries and traditions, making all who are in His family peers, and providing gifts for ministry to all.
How can Christ truly be preached and people still make idols of the preacher?
The Enemy uses our worldly conditioning to create distractions and dissension inside of the family of believers; looking at mere humans as idols requires one to look away from God.
When have you experienced or observed the idolatry of a religious leader?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone in the business, entertainment, religious, or political world at whom you tend to look at in awe and to whom you give too much power to influence choices that you make.
Today I will reconsider fashion choices I would not make were Jesus standing visibly before me, or entertainment choices, or language I know Jesus would find disagreeable, or political actions in opposition to Biblical teaching, or priority-given to the less-important to the detriment of the more-important (perhaps man’s traditions or buildings or religious institutions). I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement that I break free of any human influence that leads me away from Jesus as the only Lord of my life.
2:1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony of God.
2:2 For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling.
2:4 My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 2:5 so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.
Wisdom from God
2:6 Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing.
2:7 Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
2:9 But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
2:10 God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
2:11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
2:12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.
2:13 And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.
2:14 The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
2:15 The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one.
2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Lord, You have given to humankind a very simple and repeated Word of Your wisdom—to listen to and obey You and You will provide a way back—yet we have refused to listen and obey. May I listen and obey, not merely rest on Your assurance of my salvation, but to share with others Your Gospel.
Paul avoided the use of human wisdom or clever persuasion but the pure Word of God, “… Jesus Christ, and Him crucified … so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.”
[Note: Paul draws a clear line of delineation between what is taught to potential seekers and “baby” believers and what to “the mature”. A non-believer has no chance, without the indwelling Holy Spirit, of comprehending “wisdom” but only the simple saving message of power of God. The baby believer is capable of moving beyond that but few ever choose to do so.]
He taught that believers received the indwelling Spirit of God so that He may teach the things that have been hidden for a time, things that the unbeliever cannot comprehend or accept.
[Note: Paul affirms the “personhood” of the Holy Spirit in verses 2:10-11 “God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”]
Paul also explained the difference between a saved and unsaved person, the reason why he elsewhere teaches that a believer and unbeliever should never marry and never be joined in a business partnership, the unbeliever will never understand the reasons why a believer lives as he or she does.
[Note: There is no Biblical concept as “missionary dating” or “missionary dealing”.]
The Lord God provides wisdom that cannot be found in any human source.
What was the key difference, as Paul presented it, between expectations between the unsaved (perhaps those considering-Christ), baby/new believers, and more-mature believers?
There are different perspectives and priorities between a saved versus an unsaved person and that has an impact on a business partnership or a marriage relationship.
In the fellowships with which you have been familiar, was it clear that the leadership understood Paul’s teaching as to differences between unsaved people versus baby believers versus mature believers?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anything about the way that you interact with "baby" believers, more-mature believers, and non-believers that needs to change. Are my expectations appropriate to what Paul taught about these three different populations? Do I choose my words and the nature of my interactions appropriately?
Today I will alter my interaction, as the Holy Spirit leads, so that I am a more-valuable instrument in His ministry.
Immaturity and Self-deception
3:1 So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 3:2 I fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready, 3:3 for you are still influenced by the flesh. For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? 3:4 For whenever someone says, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” are you not merely human?
3:5 What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us.
3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.
3:7 So neither the one who plants counts for anything, nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth. 3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, but each will receive his reward according to his work.
3:9 We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building. 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds.
3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ.
3:12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 3:13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. 3:14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 3:15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 3:17 If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.
3:18 Guard against self-deception, each of you. If someone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become foolish so that he can become wise.
3:19 For the wisdom of this age is foolishness with God. As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”
3:20 And again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”
3:21 So then, no more boasting about mere mortals! For everything belongs to you, 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future. Everything belongs to you, 3:23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
Lord, You teach through mere humans but the Word of truth is still from You alone. May I be watchful not to allow respect for a good teacher to take my eyes off of You-alone.
Because the Corinthians had resisted separation from the world they had not grown—Paul expressed frustration that he could not lead them to greater maturity because they lacked a foundation upon which to build.
Paul used an agricultural illustration, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.” The human servants are nothing, what is important comes from God alone. “So then, no more boasting about mere mortals!”
Paul called them to seek maturity “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
Finally, Paul warned against self-deception, that baby-believers must never imagine themselves to be wise or mature or strong in-their-flesh, but only wise, mature, and strong becaue of what they have received from the Lord God.
The reason so many who attend fellowships, mislabeled "churches", do not grow is because they look to other humans and their institutions to give growth instead of the Lord God.
When you think about your early walk with Christ and some of the ways that you “got out ahead” of God, presuming maturity, strength, and/or wisdom you did not yet possess—and how the enemy used that to lead you into some difficult situations—what role did the support of fellow believers and the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit play in moving you to maturity?
Spiritual growth is a voluntary partnership between the believer and the Holy Spirit.
When have you observed the idolatry of human leaders in a religious context?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place your life where you are either looking too much to a human leader than directly to God, are resisting the Holy Spirit’s obvious efforts to lead you to greater maturity, or are presuming upon more maturity than you have yet received from the Lord God.
Today I will humbly acknowledge where I am repeatedly finding myself in overwhelming situations. I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement that I reconcile myself to a more Biblical standing.
The Apostles’ Ministry
4:1 One should think about us this way—as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
4:2 Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful. 4:3 So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4:4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this. The one who judges me is the Lord.
4:5 So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God.
4:6 I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn “not to go beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other. 4:7 For who concedes you any superiority? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not?
4:8 Already you are satisfied! Already you are rich! You have become kings without us! I wish you had become kings so that we could reign with you! 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.
4:10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, we are dishonored! 4:11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, and without a roof over our heads. 4:12 We do hard work, toiling with our own hands. When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure, 4:13 when people lie about us, we answer in a friendly manner. We are the world’s dirt and scum, even now.
A Father’s Warning
4:14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to correct you as my dear children.
4:15 For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, because I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
4:16 I encourage you, then, be imitators of me.
4:17 For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
4:18 Some have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 4:19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not only the talk of these arrogant people, but also their power.
4:20 For the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power.
4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline or with love and a spirit of gentleness?
Lord, You expect anyone in leadership to be as humble as those whom they are entrusted to lead. May I always remember my complete reliance upon You for everything of value in my life.
Paul taught that “… what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful.”
He rejected those who condemned him for some worldly reason, saying “The one who judges me is the Lord …”
Paul warned teachers to “… learn not to go beyond what is written.”
He challenged them to avoid pride since nothing they had of eternal value came from their own resources “… What do you have that you did not receive?”
Paul explained his authority to oversee them “… I became your Father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
He offered to serve as a role model of one who was himself humbled by the Lord God “… I have sent Timothy to you… He will remind you of my ways in Christ… I encourage you, then, be imitators of me. ”
Paul cautioned them that Jesus did not come to start a debating-society or a religious institution but rather came with the power to set the captives of sin free and to transform people from meaningless pawns of Satan to purposeful instruments of hope “… the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power.”
He warned that none should presume to judge the eternal standing of another but to wait and allow the Lord to do so at the Final Judgment.
Paul noted that he and Apollos held themselves to the same standard of humility that they asked of others.
Faithfulness to the Word, nothing added or subtracted, is a high priority.
What is the evidence, or lack of evidence, in your current fellowship of a powerful call to all believers to emphasize growth in faithfulness to God and to the priorities of Christ?
Among the religious leaders whom you have observed, do they show the level of humility modeled by Paul or have they fallen prey to a temptation-to-pride?
When have you observed a humble and Biblically-faithful leader—what impact did that have on the health of the fellowship?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your walk with the Lord God where your faithfulness is weak and that you instead turn to worldly sources for provision and ‘wisdom’.
Today I will humbly ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement with me for greater surrender to the Lordship of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
5:1 It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, the kind of immorality that is not permitted even among the Gentiles, so that someone is cohabiting with his father’s wife.
5:2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you have been deeply sorrowful instead and removed the one who did this from among you?
5:3 For even though I am absent physically, I am present in spirit. And I have already judged the one who did this, just as though I were present.
5:4 When you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I am with you in spirit, along with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5:5 turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? 5:7 Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough—you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
5:8 So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
5:9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 5:10 In no way did I mean the immoral people of this world, or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would then have to go out of the world.
5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.
5:12 For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside?
5:13 But God will judge those outside. Remove the evil person from among you.
Lord, You offered us salvation for the same reason that You set-apart Israel, to draw us into an intimate and righteous relationship with You. May I be watchful that I hold myself and fellow-believers accountable for right-relationship rather than pointing fingers at the unsaved.
Paul expressed shock and disappointment that “… sexual immorality exists among you, the kind of immorality that is not permitted even among the Gentiles … someone is cohabiting with his father’s wife”
He challenged them for and attitude of pride rather than of deep sorrow. Their attitude was much like that of Israel when they criticized their pagan neighbors, or the Pharisees when they prayed pridefully that they were glad not to be like “those others”.
Paul instructed them to “ … turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord”
He warned them that … a little yeast affects the whole batch” so they needed to remove him from the fellowship, that allowing unrepentant believers, actively engaged in behaviors offensive to God, will poison the spiritual well-being of the entire fellowship.
Paul instructed them do “ … not associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler … judge those inside … Remove the evil person from among you”, to expel an unrepentant member for sexual misbehavior.
Paul challenged the institutional arrogance of a local fellowship that was more proud of their numbers and their vaunted-tolerance than of their maturity and righteousness.
Paul called for discipline to be exercised by the local fellowship as a warning to others that the same discipline faced them if they were engaged in unrepentant sin.
The Lord God wants us to make two connected-choices, first to repent and to accept His restorative-gift of salvation, and second to surrender to His active Lordship.
What is likely to happen in a situation where an unrepentant believer, actively engaged in behaviors offensive to God, is offered loving reconciliation but refuses and is expelled. Will others decide to break-away from their sin, confess and seek forgiveness, and be reconciled?
How can one criticize the sin of the unsaved, who lack the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and then engage in (or tolerate in other believers) the very same sin?
When have you observed a situation where an unrepentant believer, actively engaged in behaviors offensive to God, was not expelled but allowed to remain. What was the result?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a member of your fellowship who is resisting God’s call to repent of their evil conduct.
Today I will pray for a member of my fellowship who is resisting God’s call to repent of their evil conduct, who has been disciplined, and who is therefore also resisting the opportunity to be reconciled and restored to full fellowship. Or, I will pray for leaders to accept God’s wisdom and that they will deal appropriately with an unrepentant believer-in-sin who is poisoning the fellowship.
6:1 When any of you has a legal dispute with another, does he dare go to court before the unrighteous rather than before the saints?
6:2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent to settle trivial suits?
6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? Why not ordinary matters!
6:4 So if you have ordinary lawsuits, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church?
6:5 I say this to your shame! Is there no one among you wise enough to settle disputes between fellow Christians? 6:6 Instead, does a Christian sue a Christian, and do this before unbelievers?
6:7 The fact that you have lawsuits among yourselves demonstrates that you have already been defeated. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 6:8 But you yourselves wrong and cheat, and you do this to your brothers and sisters!
6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, 6:10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.
6:11 Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Flee Sexual Immorality
6:12 “All things are lawful for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “All things are lawful for me”—but I will not be controlled by anything.
6:13 “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both.” The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
6:14 Now God indeed raised the Lord and he will raise us by his power.
6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
6:16 Or do you not know that anyone who is united with a prostitute is one body with her? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
6:17 But the one united with the Lord is one spirit with him. 6:18 Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin a person commits is outside of the body”—but the immoral person sins against his own body.
6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 6:20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
Lord, because Your Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, we have each become “… the temple of the Holy Spirit”. May I be mindful that there are many things that I choose which offend Him and some places He will not go with me.
Paul chastised the Corinthians for the absence of Christian conciliation, reconciliation, remediation and arbitration but for instead taking one another before a non-Christian authority for the judgment of disputes.
He reminded them that those who are unrepentant in their sin would not be allowed into Heaven.
Paul reminded them that the repentance of believers is a testimony to their salvation, so the corollary was also true, the absence of repentance testified to the absence of salvation.
Paul again challenged them to live righteously as the children of God, and dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit of God, honoring rather than dishonoring their bodies.
The very Holy Spirit of the Lord God dwells in every believer.
How does knowing that the Holy Spirit of God dwells in you help you to make more God-honoring choices?
There is power from viewing every decision with a true sense of the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God—in the context that they see you as already sanctified and made holy in Heaven.
When have you experienced of observed believers taking fellow believers to court? What was the consequence to the fellowship, or fellowships, involved? What was the context of the perceptions of the community?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a bad choice you made because you forgot that the Holy Spirit lives in you and desires that you not take Him into unrighteousness.
Today I will revisit a bad choice that I have been making from the prayerfully-considered perspective that Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God see me as already sanctified and made holy in Heaven. I will describe that experience with a fellow believer and ask them to pray in agreement that I will bring all of my decisions into the same context.
Celibacy and Marriage
7:1 Now with regard to the issues you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
7:2 But because of immoralities, each man should have relations with his own wife and each woman with her own husband.
7:3 A husband should give to his wife her sexual rights, and likewise a wife to her husband.
7:4 It is not the wife who has the rights to her own body, but the husband. In the same way, it is not the husband who has the rights to his own body, but the wife.
7:5 Do not deprive each other, except by mutual agreement for a specified time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then resume your relationship, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
7:6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7:7 I wish that everyone was as I am. But each has his own gift from God, one this way, another that.
7:8 To the unmarried and widows I say that it is best for them to remain as I am.
7:9 But if they do not have self-control, let them get married. For it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire.
7:10 To the married I give this command—not I, but the Lord—a wife should not divorce a husband 7:11 (but if she does, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband), and a husband should not divorce his wife.
7:12 To the rest I say—I, not the Lord—if a brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is happy to live with him, he should not divorce her.
7:13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is happy to live with her, she should not divorce him.
7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified because of the wife, and the unbelieving wife because of her husband. Otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
7:15 But if the unbeliever wants a divorce, let it take place. In these circumstances the brother or sister is not bound. God has called you in peace.
7:16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will bring your husband to salvation? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will bring your wife to salvation?
The Circumstances of Your Calling
7:17 Nevertheless, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each person, so must he live. I give this sort of direction in all the churches. 7:18 Was anyone called after he had been circumcised? He should not try to undo his circumcision. Was anyone called who is uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God’s commandments is what counts.
7:20 Let each one remain in that situation in life in which he was called. 7:21 Were you called as a slave? Do not worry about it. But if indeed you are able to be free, make the most of the opportunity.
7:22 For the one who was called in the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. In the same way, the one who was called as a free person is Christ’s slave. 7:23 You were bought with a price. Do not become slaves of men.
7:24 In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters, let him remain in it with God.
7:25 With regard to the question about people who have never married, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one shown mercy by the Lord to be trustworthy.
7:26 Because of the impending crisis I think it best for you to remain as you are.
7:27 The one bound to a wife should not seek divorce. The one released from a wife should not seek marriage.
7:28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face difficult circumstances, and I am trying to spare you such problems.
7:29 And I say this, brothers and sisters: The time is short. So then those who have wives should be as those who have none, 7:30 those with tears like those not weeping, those who rejoice like those not rejoicing, those who buy like those without possessions, 7:31 those who use the world as though they were not using it to the full. For the present shape of this world is passing away.
7:32 And I want you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.
7:33 But a married man is concerned about the things of the world, how to please his wife, 7:34 and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, to be holy both in body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the things of the world, how to please her husband.
7:35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place a limitation on you, but so that without distraction you may give notable and constant service to the Lord.
7:36 If anyone thinks he is acting inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the bloom of youth and it seems necessary, he should do what he wishes; he does not sin. Let them marry.
7:37 But the man who is firm in his commitment, and is under no necessity but has control over his will, and has decided in his own mind to keep his own virgin, does well.
7:38 So then, the one who marries his own virgin does well, but the one who does not, does better.
7:39 A wife is bound as long as her husband is living. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes (only someone in the Lord). 7:40 But in my opinion, she will be happier if she remains as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God!
Lord, Your greatest desire is that we be in the most-intimate relationship with You, but You will share us with a peer-believer in marriage. May I always has as my first love the Lord God.
Paul calls each to serve God as best they can as He found and saved them “… as God has called each person, so must he [or she] live”, slave or free, married or single, to not be obsessed with altering their worldly condition but to focus on how to best serve the Lord.
He reiterates that the Lord God does not want people to be divorced but that He does allow for divorce, in two illustrations in the case of the unbeliever choosing to leave the believing spouse, and the other the one who divorces a believing-spouse may not marry another so long as the spouse lives—but they may re-marry their spouse.
[Note: Deuteronomy describes a limitation to marrying a former spouse who has been married to another since the divorce. It does not describe “marriage” such that one may consider a ‘marriage-equivalent’ relationship as fitting the limitation. There is no language describing if the restriction of marriage to another exists if the former spouse marries another.]
Paul explains that his recommendation of singleness is “Because of the impending crisis … I want you to be free from concern …”, that he wants them to be undistracted by a spouse or children, and less vulnerable to threats against their loved ones.
[Note: Paul’s reference to getting married is not intended to suggest that people with a lust problem rush into marriage, as that would continue within the marriage and likely tear it apart. He was speaking mostly to engaged couples who - in those times - were all-but married and were highly tempted. Thus his reference to “his virgin” in verse 7:38]
There is potential for a healthier new perspective in the lives of believers if they will place the Lord God ahead of romantic relationships.
How are romantic relationships, both as youth and adults, distracting from spiritual maturity and how does that remain even in a Biblical-Christian marriage?
Reflect upon the
It is important for a couple in marital conflict to engage more-mature members of the fellowship to assist them in an intentional process of reconciliation with a limited time of separation—to prevent a third-party romance from interfering while they are weak and apart.
When have you experienced or observed a romantic relationship interfering with a healthy relationship with the Lord God?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a current, or past, circumstance where a romantic relationship interfered with your relationship with the Lord God.
Today I will pray that I will place God first, in my marriage, or if single in every relationship—that I will desperately seek God instead of a fellow human.
All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org
Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.
Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.
Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2011 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study— “1 Corinthians” — prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in December of 2011. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.