The Church in Corinth faced a culture that was morally corrupt even in the eyes of the world and the culture around them was having an affect on them. They had accepted Christ. They had been “born again” into God’s kingdom. Paul mentions the spiritual gifts and how “the testimony about Christ has been confirmed in you”. But somehow the Corinthian Church had fallen into division based on who they had received the gospel from. This was the way of the world around them, whose name could you drop to raise your status? That isn’t the way in God’s Kingdom and Paul reminds them, it was Christ crucified for them. It was in the name of Jesus Christ that they were baptized. Paul united them by reminding them that it is the name of Jesus Christ that is the power of God to save.
Paul Returns to Antioch, Then on to Ephesus
Acts 18:18-28 Paul Begins His Return to Jerusalem
Acts 19:1-41 Paul in Ephesus
1 Corinthians Introduction
Even worldly people understand the difference between righteousness and debauchery and much as it is also today, there were cities known for their sin one commentator says, “to “Corinthianize” was popular Greek for “go to the devil” … The city to which Paul came preaching the gospel was, then, a very cosmopolitan place. It was an important city. It was intellectually alert, materially prosperous, but morally corrupt”.1
This might be what we today would call “Sin City” but unlike the namesake we know in the United States, this city was located on a major trade route and “In Paul’s time it was the capital of the province Achaia and the seat of the Roman proconsul (Ac 18:12)”.2
Called Through the Will of God
1 Corinthians 1:1–3
When writing to the people in this city, Paul invokes his Apostolic calling and names the one who has set him in this position, Jesus Christ and seals it in 1 Corinthians 1:1 with “through the will of God”. There isn’t any higher authority or higher rank in God’s kingdom or in any other. Then he names them, “the Church of God”, “together with all those that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
As we read through this letter and understand the division that Paul is writing to address, we better understand Paul’s opening. Yes, he is the Apostle sent by God, but they, everyone are members of the body of Christ. When we stand, forgiven in Christ, or as Paul writes it in 1 Corinthians 1:2 “called to be saints” there isn’t any room for division.
You Do Not Lack in any Spiritual Gift
1 Corinthians 1:4–9
Paul recognizes in 1 Corinthians 1:4-7 “the grace of God which was given to you in Christ Jesus” and that they “were made rich in him, in all speech and all knowledge” and “that you do not lack in any spiritual gift” which validates what Paul knows happened with them as he brought them the gospel. God had confirmed his word in them. God had called them and given them gifts as we find in other places, “When he ascended he gave gifts to men (Eph. 4:8); concerning spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1–31); we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us (Rom. 12:6); … there are various gifts but the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4)”.3
In the Same Mind and With the Same Purpose
1 Corinthians 1:10–17
Here Paul gets to the reason for division among them. They are banding into groups based on who brought them the gospel. Isn’t it his way today where each group jealously defends their doctrine as the one and true way? So Paul answers them in 1 Corinthians 1:13 “Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” Of course not, it was Jesus Christ crucified for them and they were all baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Message About the Cross is the Power of God
1 Corinthians 1:18–25
Paul makes an important point here in 1 Corinthians 1:21 “the world through its wisdom did not know God”. So, God introduced a message in 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 “Christ crucified, to the Jews a cause for stumbling, but to the Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God”. What the world in its wisdom fails to recognize and calls foolishness is the very wisdom and power of God to save.
Consider Your Calling Brothers
1 Corinthians 1:26–31
The world around the Church in Corinth was full of people with position and power and business success and every indulgence. What the world calls wisdom and success, they had in abundance. But Paul tells them to look around and take notice in 1 Corinthians 1:26 “not many were wise according to human standards, not many were powerful, not many were well born”. Now they might have taken offense, but they understood that it was the truth because as Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 “the foolish … God chose … the weak … God chose … the insignificant … and the despised … God chose”. And this is because there is a different standard that God has for us. It isn’t about what we have done, it is about what God has done for us in
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 But from him you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “The one who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”
Demonstration of the Spirit and Power
1 Corinthians 2:1–5
We Have the Mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:6–16
We Are God’s Fellow Workers
1 Corinthians 3:1–11
- 1 Corinthians 1:1–3 Called Through the Will of God
- 1 Corinthians 1:4–9 You Do Not Lack in any Spiritual Gift
- 1 Corinthians 1:26–31 Consider Your Calling Brothers
- 1 Corinthians 1:1-31
- 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
- 1 Corinthians 3:1-11
- 1. Morris, L. (1985). 1 Corinthians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 7, p. 21-22). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 261). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- 3. Day, A. C. (2009). Collins Thesaurus of the Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.