Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > Study Guide

1 Corinthians - a 16 week study guide

Please print this section if you would like to study the Book of 1 Corinthians with a group of people.

Week 1 - 1 Corinthians chapter 1 - People may consider Christís death foolish, but Godís wisdom is the only real wisdom.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 1, then discuss these questions:

(1) Compare 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 with Romans 1:16-17. What did Paul mean by Ďthe message of the crossí in 1 Corinthians 1:18? How does that message save people? Whom can that message save?

(2) Read these passages: Mark 10:23-27; Luke 4:18; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; James 2:1-5. Is there any difference between Godís promises to poor people and to rich people? What kind of attitudes do most people have towards rich and important people? What attitudes should Christians have towards poor people? Read how Paul urged the Christians in Corinth to help poor people in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4.

(3) How can we know the kind of wisdom that comes from God? Compare your answer with Proverbs 3:7-8 and James 1:5.

Week 2 - 1 Corinthians chapter 2 - We can only understand Godís thoughts when the Holy Spirit teaches us.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 2, then discuss these questions:

(1) What can we learn from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 about how Paul taught people about God? From the facts in those verses, does it surprise you that his work was so successful? What was the simple message that he declared? Why did Paul believe that his message had such a great effect on so many peopleís lives?

(2) In 1 Corinthians 2:6 and 1 Corinthians 2:8, Paul speaks about the Ďrulers of this ageí. What does Paul mean by Ďthis ageí, and who are these rulers? When, and how, will this age end? How will the future age be different from this age, and who will rule then? Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-54, and use that passage to check your answers to these questions.

(3) Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-14 again. Why is the Holy Spirit important for Christians? What things does the Holy Spirit do in a Christianís life?

Week 3 - 1 Corinthians chapter 3 - Church leaders are Godís servants, who carry out his work among his people.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 3, then discuss these questions:

(1) Compare 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 with Hebrews 5:11-14. Why is it so important for Christians to become mature in their relationship with God? What was the proof that the Christians in Corinth were not yet mature? Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. How would their attitudes and behaviour change when they became mature?

(2) How does God make his people mature? Read Ephesians 4:11-13 and compare it with 1 Corinthians 12:27-31. Why does God appoint some people to be church leaders?

(3) Discuss Paulís word-picture of a garden (or, a farm) in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. Is it necessary for all church leaders to be alike? Who is in charge of the work? How are church leaders like servants? Paul and Apollos worked in Corinth at different times. How can church leaders who never meet be carrying out the same work? What reward will God give to them?

(4) Discuss Paulís word-picture of a building in 1 Corinthians 3:10-17. Why must Jesus Christ be the foundation (strong base) for peopleís lives (see Matthew 7:24-27)? How can we develop our lives in the way that pleases God? What does Paul mean by the fire that tests the quality of our work? What would fail that test?

Week 4 - 1 Corinthians chapter 4 - Christians should not be proud, because God is their master.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 4, then discuss these questions:

(1) Read Paulís attitude towards other peopleís opinions about him, in 1 Corinthians 4:1-4. How can Christians decide when they ought to give attention to other peopleís opinions about them? What should a church leader do if the members of his church do not respect him?

(2) Compare James 4:1-6 with 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, then read again 1 Corinthians 4:6-8. What were the Christians in Corinth saying that showed their proud attitudes? What was the result of those proud attitudes? What is Godís opinion about proud attitudes?

(3) Compare the experiences of the first Christian leaders, in 1 Corinthians 4:8-13, with Jesusí instructions to them in Mark 6:8-11, Mark 10:35-45, and Mark 13:9-13. How should Christians behave when their enemies are cruel to them? Read Luke 6:22-23 and Luke 6:27-35. What will be the reward for those Christians?

Week 5 - 1 Corinthians chapter 5 - When a church member is behaving very wickedly, it may be necessary to separate him from other Christians.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 5, then discuss these questions.

(1) In what circumstances is it right for a church leader to tell church members how they should live? How much authority does the church leader have over the lives of the members? What should the leader do if a member refuses to follow his instructions?

(2) Read again 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. What was Paul telling the church leaders to do? What was he telling them to pray? What did he want God to do for this man in the end?

(3) Discuss Paulís word-picture in 1 Corinthians 5:6. What effect can a small quantity of evil behaviour have on a personís life? What effect could the evil deeds of the man in 1 Corinthians 5:1 have on other people in the church?

Week 6 - 1 Corinthians chapter 6 - God has saved Christians from their evil behaviour, so they must be careful not to follow such behaviour.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 6, then discuss these questions.

(1) In Acts 16:35-38, read about an occasion when Paul insisted upon his legal rights. Why was it wrong for the Christians in Corinth to use their legal rights in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8? What did Paul tell them that they should do instead? Compare his words with Jesusí words in Luke 6:27-31.

(2) What do we learn from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 about the former behaviour of the people who became Christians at Corinth? How had God changed their lives when they became Christians?

(3) Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-13. What should be a Christianís attitude towards freedom?† Read Galatians 5:1. For what purpose has God made his people free? What kind of behaviour would cause them to lose that freedom?

(4) Prepare a list of the reasons why Christians must not carry out wrong sex acts. Discuss how Christians can remain loyal to God in this matter.

Week 7 - 1 Corinthians chapter 7 - Nobody should marry without serious thought about the responsibilities that he is accepting and his relationship with Christ.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 7, then discuss these questions.

(1) What are the benefits of married life for a Christian? What are the benefits of unmarried life for a Christian? How should each Christian decide whether it is best for him or her to marry, or not?

(2) What advice did Paul give to a Christian whose husband or wife is not a Christian? What special difficulties will that Christian have? How can a Christian serve God properly in such circumstances?

(3) Read Ephesians 5:22-33. What duties do Christians have towards their husbands or wives, and towards their families? What can a Christian husband learn from Christís love for the church (that is, Godís people)? How much of their time and energy should Christian husbands and wives give to each other?

(4) Discuss how Paul distinguished between his own advice and Godís commands in 1 Corinthians chapter 7. Why did Paul consider it necessary to do that?

Week 8 - 1 Corinthians chapter 8 - God has made Christians free, but they should always think about the effect of their actions on weaker Christians.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 8, then discuss these questions:-

(1) How can we recognise a weaker Christian? Read Luke 10:29-37. Whom do Christians have a responsibility to look after? Compare Cainís opinion of this matter in Genesis 4:9 with Jesusí words in Mark 9:42.

(2) Read how Isaiah 44:6-20 warns people not to trust in the images of false gods. In Lystra, people thought that Paul was a god. Read his reaction in Acts 14:8-18. What do these passages tell us about the one real God?

(3) Read what Paul writes about the religions of false gods in 1 Corinthians 10:19-22. Explain the reasons why Christians should not normally enter the buildings of false religions.

Week 9 - 1 Corinthians chapter 9 - Paul was careful not to demand his rights, so that he could teach Godís good news more clearly.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 9, then discuss these questions:-

(1) Why did Paul believe that it is right for a church leader to receive his wages from the church? Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 and Acts 18:3. How did Paul earn the money that he needed? Why did he refuse any wages from the Christians in Corinth?

(2) What attitude did Jesus teach that Christians should have towards people from other nations, in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8? Compare your answer with what Paul was actually doing in Acts 18:1-8 and Acts 19:8-10. Then compare your answer with Paulís description of his own behaviour in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

(3) Find the verses in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 where Paul mentioned the gospel (Godís good news). How important did Paul consider the gospel to be? What particular message was Paul declaring? Compare your answer with 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. What effect does the gospel message have on the lives of people who believe it?

Week 10 - 1 Corinthians chapter 10 - Christians who allow their feelings to control them are behaving in a very foolish and dangerous manner.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 10, then discuss these questions:-

(1) What kinds of feelings or emotions commonly control peopleís behaviour? Which of these appear in Paulís list of examples in 1 Corinthians 10:6-11? Which of them has Paul mentioned in earlier chapters because they were having a powerful effect on the Christians in Corinth?

(2) If Christians are free, why should they not follow their own feelings? Do free people have the right to do whatever they want? Who or what should guide a Christianís life?

(3) What does Paul teach about Communion (the meeting where Christians share bread and wine at church) in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 10:21? (There are several important lessons that we can learn from those verses).

(4) Read 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 again. How can we deal with temptation (that is, when something tempts us to do wrong things)? How did Jesus deal with temptation in Matthew 4:1-11?

(5) What does 1 Corinthians 10:19-20 teach us about the nature of false religions?

Week 11 - 1 Corinthians chapter 11 - Christians should behave in a proper manner at their meetings, especially when they share bread and wine to remember Christís death.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 11, then discuss these questions:-

(1) Give examples of the kinds of relationships where one person has authority over another person (or, over several people). Which of these relationships did God originally establish, and which are of human origin?

(2) Compare Ephesians 5:22-33 with 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. What is the proper relationship between Christian husbands and their wives?

(3) Discuss the different ways that women carried out Godís work in the Bible. Make a list of the names of some women who served God in the Bible. What did each of these women achieve?

(4) Read again 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. What was the meaning of each of Jesusí actions in this passage? What was he asking Christians to do? Why must Christians remember Jesusí death, and what effect should this have on their lives?

(5) Read again 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. Why is communion (the meeting where Christians share bread and wine) such a serious occasion? How should Christians prepare before they take communion? How do they judge themselves? Read 1 John 1:8-9. What is Godís promise to people who confess their evil deeds to him? How can people be sure that God has forgiven them?

Week 12 - 1 Corinthians chapter 12 - God has given different gifts to different Christians, so that all Christians need each other.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 12, then discuss these questions:-

(1) What simple lesson does Paul teach about the nature of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:3? How does Jesus teach that same lesson in John 16:13-14?

(2) Read Paulís list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. Try to find an example of the use of each gift in the Bible. (You will probably not be able to find an example for every one of these gifts).

(3) Discuss Paulís word-picture about the human body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. How is each of his statements true about the members of the church? Why has God established a relationship of this kind between different Christians? How can a weaker Christian help a stronger Christian? Why should Christians go to church?

(4) Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-31. Sometimes today we only consider there to be two kinds of Christians: church leaders and church members. Discuss how many different kinds of people really carry out Godís work in churches today. Include people who carry out practical tasks, for example cleaners and workmen. How can every Christian work for God?

Week 13 - 1 Corinthians chapter 13 - Christians should always act in love; nothing else is as excellent as love.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 13, then discuss these questions:-

(1) Read these verses about the kind of love that God shows: John 3:16, 1 John 3:1, Jeremiah 31:3, 1 John 4:8-11. Compare our love for God with his love to us. Explain the relationship between our love for other people and Godís love for us.

(2) Paul wanted to teach the Christians in Corinth that they must not follow their emotions (10:6-11). Discuss how, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul describes love as a good attitude that causes right behaviour, and not as an emotion.

(3) Discuss how each phrase of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes the nature of God. For example, explain how patient God is (see 2 Peter 3:9). How can Christians show Godís love to other people?

(4) Why are the gifts of the Holy Spirit (12:8-10) only for the present age? For what purpose does God give these gifts? When will they end?

Week 14† - 1 Corinthians chapter 14 - Christians must behave properly at church so that everyone present receives the benefit of the Holy Spiritís work.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 14, then discuss these questions:-

(1) What words, activities and ceremonies at church might be difficult for someone who is not a Christian to understand? What can Christians do to make these things easier to understand?

(2) What does 1 Corinthians chapter 14 teach about the use of tongues (unknown languages that a person speaks by the power of the Holy Spirit)? How did Paul use the gift of tongues during private prayer? Why did he urge Christians to be careful about the use of this gift in public meetings?

(3) If God gives a prophecy (a message from God) to someone at a meeting, how should that person behave? Why is it especially important not to be proud in such situations? Why is it necessary for that person to respect the church leaderís instructions?

(4) Discuss whether this statement is correct: 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 is also a good description of how Christians should behave at church meetings. Discuss whether this statement is correct: 1 Corinthians chapter 14 is also a good description of how Christians can act in love at church meetings.

(5) The Christians at Corinth wanted to behave in any way that felt right during their church meetings. Explain why they were wrong to follow their own feelings and emotions. Why should Christians never behave in a wild manner at church? Why is it necessary to do everything in a proper way even when the Holy Spirit is very active in a church?

Week 15 - 1 Corinthians chapter 15 - As Christ became alive again after his death, so Godís people will also live again.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-34, then discuss these questions:-

(1) Why is the death of Christ so important for Christians? What does Paul mean by the words ĎChrist died for our sins (evil deeds)í in 1 Corinthians 15:3?

(2) Why is the fact that Christ became alive again so important? Prepare a list of the witnesses that Paul mentions here. Which other people, whom the Bible mentions elsewhere, were also witnesses to that event? Add them to your list.

(3) Why does Paul compare the death of a Christian to sleep in 1 Corinthians 15:20? Read Luke 23:43, Luke 16:19-26 and Philippians 1:20-24. What happens to a Christianís spirit when that personís body dies? What will happen to that person when Christ returns to rule?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-58, then discuss these questions:-

(4) When God causes his people to live again at Christís return, what kind of bodies will they have? How will their bodies then differ from their bodies now?

(5) Read Hebrews 2:14-15. How has Christ defeated the power of death? When and how will Christ's complete success become clear?

Week 16 - 1 Corinthians chapter 16 - Paul makes arrangements about a gift, and explains the plans of himself and some other church leaders.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 16, then discuss these questions:-

(1) For what purposes should churches collect money? What attitude should Christians have when they give? Read 2 Corinthians chapter 9, which is also about this gift for the poor Christians in Judea. For what reasons did Paul encourage the Christians in Corinth to give generously?

(2) Find out more about Paulís work in Ephesus. Read Acts 19:8-12 and Acts 19:17-20. What did Paul mean by his words in 1 Corinthians 16:9? Explain that verse by reference to the events in Acts chapter 19.

(3) Compare 1 Corinthians 16:10-11 with 1 Corinthians 4:17. What do these verses teach us about Timothy and his work for God?

(4) 1 Corinthians 16:19 mentions Aquila and his wife Prisca (also called Priscilla). Read about how they helped both Paul (Acts 18:1-4; Romans 16:3-4) and Apollos (Acts 18:24-27). How can husbands and wives work together so that they can both serve God better? Discuss how important Aquilaís and Priscaís work was for the success of the church in Corinth.


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© 2014, Keith Simons.