Before we look at 1 Corinthians, it may be helpful to look at the account of Paul’s planting of the church in Corinth.
Read Acts 18:1-18
Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half (v11), leaving sometime in AD 51-52. This letter is written approximately three years later. It is the second letter (at least), but the first is now lost. We know this because Paul makes reference to it in 1 Corinthians 5:9
Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-19
- How does Paul identify himself? (v1)
- Given what we know about the importance of status in Corinth, and what we know about Paul’s qualifications as a Jewish and then Christian leader, why do you think Paul chose to identify himself in this way?
- How does Paul identify the Corinthians? (v2)
- In our society, how are we generally defined? What things identify who we are?
- Does society’s definition of your identity influence they way you behave as a Christian?
- How can our lives be different if we base our identity in Jesus, rather than in what our society values?
- What examples of God’s blessing for the Corinthians does Paul use in v5?
- Why do you think Paul chose these two in particular? (Hint: Think about the Corinthians love of rhetoric and Paul’s desire for the Corinthians to shift focus)
- What does Paul mean in verse 7?
- What are some of the joys and the challenges of living in the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’?
- Why do you think cliques had formed around Paul, Apollos and Cephas?
- In what ways do we as a modern church tear apart the body of Christ?
- How can we, the church, be perfectly united in mind and thought?
- CS Lewis said “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else”. How is this quote helpful when thinking about today’s study?