Finally, we will think about some reasons why the Book of 1 Corinthians is important to study:
(1) 1 Corinthians emphasises the importance of Christís death on the cross. By means of the cross, God has shown his wisdom and power in this world (1:18-24). Paul considered Godís message about Christ and the cross to be more important than anything else (2:2). It is essential for Christians constantly to remember Christís death on the cross (11:23-26).
(2) 1 Corinthians teaches clearly that Christ really did become alive again after his death (15:3-4). It includes a list of people who were witnesses of that fact (15:5-8).
(3) 1 Corinthians shows us Godís attitude towards groups of Christians who oppose each other. Sometimes Christians cannot agree, but still they should not oppose each other in a cruel manner (1:10-13). When such arguments begin, it would be better for Christians to be humble (6:7-8). God has not made all Christians alike; in fact, he has given them different gifts (12:4-12). His desire is that each Christian should benefit from his (Godís) gifts to other Christians (12:12-31). So, Christians should love each other, even when they cannot agree about some things (1 Corinthians chapter 13).
(4) 1 Corinthians contains some important instructions about church meetings. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 explain the purpose, importance and meaning of the communion service. (That is, the meeting where Christians share bread and wine to remember Christís death.) At all their meetings, Christians should be careful to behave in a proper manner (14:40). Christians should use a language that people can understand during meetings (14:6-11). At each meeting, church leaders should try to encourage and to help other people (14:1-5). Especially, they should try to help people who are not yet Christians (14:16-25).
(5) 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is an extremely important passage which explains the nature of true love. Many people wrongly confuse love with emotions. 1 Corinthians 10:6-11 warns that Christians should not follow their emotions. Even a decision such as marriage is a matter for careful thought, where people must not merely follow their emotions (1 Corinthians chapter 7). However, it is always right for people to act in love (16:14).
(6) 1 Corinthians helps us to understand how the Holy Spirit works among Christians. Unlike an evil spirit, the Holy Spirit does not take control of people (14:32). Instead, the Holy Spirit gives gifts to Christians. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 gives a list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The best gifts are the ones that Christians use to help and to encourage other people (14:1-5). Christians should be careful to use Godís gifts in that manner (14:20-33).
(7) 1 Corinthians encourages Christians to become more mature in their relationship with God. A Christian who is not mature cares mainly about his own thoughts, desires, emotions and gifts (3:1-3). A mature Christian always acts in love (1 Corinthians chapter 13; 1 Corinthians 16:14). The mature Christian does this because the Holy Spirit is guiding him. That person has learned what God wants him to do.
(8) From the Book of 1 Corinthians, we can learn many things about Paulís attitudes and actions as a church leader. These can help us to understand why Paul was such a successful leader. Paul did not try to impress people; instead, in Corinth, he only declared the simple message about Christ and his death (2:1-5). He was careful always to explain things so that people could understand them (14:18-19). Paul behaved in a humble manner (4:8-13); he refused even to demand his rights (1 Corinthians chapter 9). He had an attitude of sincere love (1 Corinthians 4:14-15, 1 Corinthians chapter 13; 1 Corinthians 16:24).
(9) 1 Corinthians contains important statements about two subjects which matter very much to people today: peopleís feelings (emotions) and their rights. Today, people insist on their rights and they try to satisfy their feelings. Often, they do this even if other people would suffer as a result. 1 Corinthians encourages Christians to have a completely different attitude towards these things. It is very wrong for Christians to allow their emotions to control their lives (10:1-12). Sometimes they can serve God better if they do not demand their rights (9:1-23). Christians should care about other people even more than they care about themselves (9:19-23). In other words, they should act in love (1 Corinthians chapter 13). It is good and right to learn self-control (9:24-27). In many matters, it is essential for us to learn to control our own behaviour (6:9-20).
(10) 1 Corinthians warns especially strongly about two particular dangers for Christians: wrong sex, and images of false gods. Christians must be especially careful about these matters (6:9-20; 10:19-22). Wrong sex is an evil action against the Holy Spirit, who is present in a Christianís life (6:19-20). To serve a false god is to serve the devil (10:20). So Christians must avoid these things completely (6:18; 10:14). They should stay away from anything that could tempt them to do such things. In fact, we could even say that these two types of wrong behaviour are similar. People who have wrong sex are not loyal to God with their bodies (6:18-19). People who serve false gods are not loyal to God in their spirits (10:21). People used to carry out both these types of wrong behaviour for the purposes of many false religions (10:7-8).
(11) 1 Corinthians teaches us about the resurrection of Godís people. That is, a future time when their bodies will become alive again. Their spirits never die; only their bodies can die (2 Corinthians 5:8). However, God has a future plan to bring a new kind of life to their bodies. This will happen when Christ returns to rule (15:23-26; 15:51-52). Then, God will change them completely; they will never again know weakness, shame or death (15:42-43). That is the final defeat of death (15:54-57).
Next part: 1 Corinthians - a 16 week study guide
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© 2014, Keith Simons.