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I Cor. Chapter 1:1-31

Memory verses for this week: 1 Pet 2:15  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 

Introduction:     We begin a new study on the book of I Corinthians this week.  This is a great book containing the first of the two letters Paul wrote to the church there in Corinth.   This church was known for some good traits, but overall was a carnal church.  This letter was written to encourage the church to correct the problems and to move forward for the Lord.   Paul had began this work (see Acts 18) and preached and taught there for 1 ½ years.  Corinth was one to the largest cities in the ancient world.  During this time, Corinth’s population exceeded 700,000 people, and was known for the people worshipping the goddess Aphrodite.  Aphrodite was the Greek name for the same god Venus that the Romans worshipped.


I.  The Believers Position in Grace 

1 Cor 1:1  Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 

In the letter to Thessalonica, Paul just identified himself and says he is writing unto the church.  Here, he first identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.  Someone had thought to undermine Paul’s influence by denouncing his apostleship. 

1 Cor 9:16  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 

1 Cor 1:2  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

1 Cor 1:3  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

While addressed to the church there in Corinth, Paul meant it to a greater audience as he says to “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus… in every place”.   Each of us should take this a personal letter and realize the teachings are relevant to all of us.  The warnings are still valid to all of us today.  Paul identifies those who had this letter written to them as those that are “sanctified” and “saints.”  Sanctification has several biblical significations: 

i.        Primarily it means to set apart

ii.      In one instance, the word “sanctification” is used as an equivalent of regeneration. (I Peter 1:2)

iii.    The third sense is limited to what is called the doctrine of sanctification is distinguished from justification and regeneration.   In this doctrinal aspect, it is the progressive work of making completely holy that new life which commenced at regeneration.


II.                  The Thanksgiving 

1 Cor 1:4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;


Paul give his thanks to God for the good that there is in the church before he deals with the evil.  While they may have had problems, be sure God was using the good to accomplish His will.  Paul thanked the Lord for the grace of God that had been given the church by Christ Jesus. 

1 Cor 1:5  That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

1 Cor 1:6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 

Paul thanked God that this church had been enriched in everything.   All of us receive special blessings from the Lord when we are saved, and all those in true churches of the Lord are blessed for following God’s will.  After salvation, the first command we have is to follow our Lord in spiritual baptism.  This baptism is the entry way into membership of the church.


1 Cor 1:7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord

Jesus Christ:

1 Cor 1:8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

God had blessed many of the members, and they came behind no church in gifts from the Lord.  While they had many spiritual gifts, they did not use them to become a spiritual church that was known for its faithfulness to God’s commands.  Christ was the one who would confirm them unto the end.  It is He who will present us spotless from sin before God one day.


III.                A Threefold Unity 

1 Cor 1:9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Cor 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 

God’s desire for every church is that they speak the same thing and have unity in belief.  Secondly, He desires that there be no divisions among them.   We should have the same mind, with both unity in purpose and unity in action.  The mind we should have is the mind of Jesus Christ.


IV.               Contentions Among the Church at Corinth 

1 Cor 1:11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

1 Cor 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 

Paul had heard of the problems that had befell the church by one of the faithful members, those of the house of Chloe.  It appears that many were divided in leadership, with many following Apollos while others followed Cephas. (others Paul.) Apparently, Apollos could speak with eloquent words and was might in the Scriptures.   In comparison, Paul was criticized for his manner of ability. 

Acts 18:24  And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:25  This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.  

2 Cor 10:10  For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.


1 Cor 1:13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

1 Cor 1:14  I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

1 Cor 1:15  Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

1 Cor 1:16  And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

1 Cor 1:17  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 

Paul condemns these factions and questions “Is Christ divided?  Was Paul crucified for you?”  Paul had not baptized very man of these Corinthians and he was glad that he had not lest they should say Paul baptized in his own name.  We are to baptize in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.


Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


V.                 The Preaching of the Cross 

1 Cor 1:18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Cor 1:19  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

1 Cor 1:20  Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1 Cor 1:21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1 Cor 1:22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

1 Cor 1:23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1 Cor 1:24  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Cor 1:25  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 

To those who reject Christ and perish, the preaching of the cross is foolishness unto them.  God could have chosen any way He wanted to save the lost, but He chose the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.  It was by the cross that Paul had been crucified unto the world.


Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

 Gal 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  

Paul said that we would have God forbid that he should glory in himself, but his glory was to be in the cross of Jesus Christ. 

VI.               The Corinthian Believers were not of the Wise


1 Cor 1:26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

1 Cor 1:27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1 Cor 1:28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

1 Cor 1:29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

1 Cor 1:30  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

1 Cor 1:31  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 

These Corinthians had the wrong opinion about wisdom and its purpose.  Worldly wisdom will never save one individual.  Only the blood of Jesus can save a lost soul.  God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise so that no flesh might glory in His sight.   J. Vernon McGee had this to say about these verses.


“Paul is not saying the people in the church were weak, but in their estimation of the world they were weak.  This is God’s method.  He even chooses the base things of the world to accomplish His ends.  We have nothing to glory about.  Oh my friend, He is everything that we need.  I wish I could get that over to you.  He has been made to us wisdom.  He is our righteousness.  He is our sanctification and our redemption.  Whatever it is that you need today, you will find it in Him.  Our glory should be in the Lord.  We should glory  in the Lord Jesus Christ today.  Let me ask you, what do you glory in?  What are you boasting of today?  Are you boasting of your degrees?  Of your wisdom?  Of your wealth?  Of your power?  Are you boasting today of your position and your character?  My friend, you don’t have a thing of which you can boast—and I know I haven’t.  But we can boast of Christ.  He is everything.  He is everything that we need.” 

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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.



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