I Corinthians

The book of Corinthians is a record of letters that Paul wrote to the Christians residing in the city of Corinth. A Christian church there wrote to Paul with their concerns and questions. The residents of Corinth were primarily Greek and had a long history of worshipping Greek gods. Part of their worship practices involved temple prostitution. Corinth, a busy and thriving port center, became known for sexually immoral practices. In spite of the setting, a Christian church was organized in Corinth.

The Corinthians write to Paul about many concerns, among them division in the church. Paul writes back and tells them that each member of the church represents the entire body of Christ and that all members of the body of Christ need to work together for the greater good of one another and to glorify God. Paul further instructs the Corinthians to remain humble and grateful to God for provision and His gift of salvation to them.

In 1 Corinthians 5:11 Paul advises members about other members of the church who are not truly following the Lord, "But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolator or a slanderer, a drunkard, or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." He also tells Christians to settle differences without suing one another, to respect their bodies as temples and to practice appropriate marriage behavior. He cautions them not to engage in idol worship of any kind and uses illustrations from the OT to show the consequences that can come from that behavior.

As in Romans, Paul writes about the spiritual gifts which God bestows on His people. He makes clear that the end purpose of these gifts is to glorify our great Creator. Paul stresses to remember that love is the cornerstone of Christian faith when using gifts, dealing with one another and our attitude toward God. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul eloquently teaches, "Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres." He further reminds the Corinthians that in 1 Corinthians 13:13 "...and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

As in the letters to Paul from the Corinthians, new Christians and more savvy Christians experience difficulties in their walk with God. These Corinthians did the right thing, they asked for help and guidance from their brother Paul. Paul, although he can't visit them right away, sends them words of wisdom and advice to help. We, too, can ask for help from Christian brothers and sisters in the church, pastors, leaders, etc. when our walk becomes difficult or unclear. As Paul clearly points out, being born again isn't the end of the road for a Christian. We use that exuberant, undying love that Jesus puts in our hearts to help others on their walk and into the kingdom of God!

Authored by LB