Wednesday, January 3, 2024

A Church With Problems (1 Corinthians)

"Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast" (1 Cor. 5:7).

Paul deals with eight problems that plagued the Corinthian church. The apostle was informed of these issues by visitors from Corinth and by a letter Paul received from the church. First, he rebuts challenges to his authority as an apostle. After he defends his preaching by proving that its power was not in words of persuasion but in the Holy Spirit, he deals with the divisions in the church. Many false teachers had crept in among them so Paul delineates the marks of a true minister, mainly that they are grounded in sound doctrine and speak by God’s authority, not by their own foolish wisdom.

Second, Paul confronts the church for not carrying out proper church discipline. The congregation had grown lax in its morals, and the loose discipline of the church only made things worse.

Third, some of the Corinthians had been taking their problems with other believers to the civil magistrate instead of dealing with them among themselves. Paul admonishes them for airing their dirty laundry in the courts of unbelievers when they should have been appealing to one another in brotherly love.

Fourth, some in the church had perverted Paul’s teaching that everything is permissible by arguing that even fornication is allowed among believers. The apostle corrects this error by confronting the pride that motivated it and explaining the difference between things of indifference and things that are forbidden.

Fifth, many questions on marriage had been raised by the church, so Paul gives instruction on matters of law and divorce. Sixth, because the Corinthians were surrounded by idolatry, many questions had been raised about the Christian’s role in the society in which they lived, particularly the eating of sacrifices to idols. Paul answers their questions by addressing the role of the conscience in the believer and how he should act toward the weaker brother.

Seventh, public worship had been disrupted by flagrant disregard of God’s design for unity and order. The apostle appeals to mandates God laid down in creation, i.e., male headship and the law of love. Lastly, some Corinthians had gone so far as to deny the resurrection of Christ. Paul takes a great deal of time defending the resurrection, showing that without it the Gospel means nothing.

Quickly skim the book of 1 Corinthians, reading the subtitles of chapters and passages if you have them in your Bible. Do you think there are any of the same or similar problems in your own church that were in the Corinthian church? If so, what does this tell you about the church of God and His Word? Pray about problems in your church.