Last Updated November 28, 1998
Chapter 1: 18 (KJV)
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."
This text focuses on Paul as he writes to the church at Corinth about
the wisdom of preaching about the cross of Christ.
Paul explains that those who are saved recognize the Christ as a symbol
of the power of God. To those outside of the faith the church is involved
in foolishness. There are several key words in this single verse which
should be noted for fuller understanding:
PREACHING:(Greek: Logos) Preaching is the expression of divine truths
through the spoken or printed word. It takes on various forms such as:
sermons, lectures, talks, narratives, speeches, drama, commentaries. Sometimes
when we do not hear the words, situations preach to us. Jonah tried to
avoid his mission from God, but his three journey in the belly of a fish
let him hear a long sermon. The situation preached to him. Actions preach
much louder and more effectively than spoken or printed words. A sermon
lived is better than one preached any way. Preaching, according 1 Corinthians
14:3 has three purposes: edification, that is to build them up, enlighten
and improve them; exhortation, that is to inspire and life them; and comfort.
To those out of the faith preaching is unnecessary, foolish and wasteful.
However Romans 10:14 reminds us that the first step to releasing the power
of God is through hearing the preached word: "How then shall they call
on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him
of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Singing, praying, testimonies and other forms of worship are inspiring
but preaching is the source of our power, because in those moments we hear
inspired expressions that direct us in the Godly path.
CROSS:(Greek: Stauros) Is simply a stake, pole or post in the ground
that was used for capital punishment. When Paul spoke of the cross as the
power source of Christians, he was not referring to the wooden stake itself,
but the entire range of ideas associated with symbolized by the cross which
include the sacrifice of Christ, his blood shed, his death, burial and
resurrection. Some denominations teach that the cross should not be a Christian
symbol because it symbolizes death, but the word of God says it is a symbol
of the power of God. The crucifixion of Christ transformed the cross from
a symbol of shame and embarrassment to a symbol of the power of God. The
cross has this symbol because Christ's death on the cross blotted out our
sins and obligation to ritual, in effect, nailed them to his empty cross.
(Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,
which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his
Moreover, the cross is the means by which we are able to make peace
with God. (Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross,
by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they
be things in earth, or things in heaven.) Christ, because of Calvary is
able to justify us, to make peace for us before God.
The cross symbolizes the establishment of the Lordship of Christ and
therefore his ability to intercede and mediate for us before God.( Phil
2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath
highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That
at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things
in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians
Paul said the preaching, teaching, and promoting the cross and the power
it symbolizes believers glorify God because we recognize the cross as a
symbol of the power of God himself.
--PERISH, (apollumi) FOOLISHNESS ( moria ): Those who do not share the
faith of believers think that the inordinate amount of time spent studying
the word, listening to sermons, attending classes, and otherwise sharing
in the expression of the word is a literal waste of time. When Paul preached
about Christ and his crucifixion the Jews considered it a stumbling block
or an obstacle the interrupted their routine and threatened the status
quo. The Greeks simply considered the possibility of the resurrection from
the dead, a risen Lord, and divine intervention by a once crucified leader
as absurdity and "foolishness." (1 Cor 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified,
unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;) Those
who perish are those who reject the power of the cross. They have heard
the story but they do not accept it as truth, therefore they consider preaching
in all of its forms, is a waste of time.
It is not foolish to talk about God!
It is not foolish to preach and teach about his wondrous works! It is
not foolish for us to believe that God hears and answers prayers It is
not foolish for us to believe that God performs miracles It is not foolish,
it is faith, that God is the same today as he was yesterday!
POWER:(Greek: Denims) Those who are believers know that the cross is
the source of ability, energy, inspiration, and imagination. However, the
word "Denims" suggest more than the ordinary. It suggests miraculous power
supplied by God. The word Denims is talking about the spiritual Energizer!
The spiritual "bunny rabbit" that just keeps going and going and going!
Those who are anointed with the power of God act in miraculous ways! Abilities
are expanded when anointed by the power of God! Energy seems endless, inspiration
flows, and imagination seems boundless when anointed by the power of God.
Chapter 2: 9 (KJV)
2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
for them that love him."
Little is known about how we shall look in the life to come. While we
don't know every detail as to how we will look, how we will get around
and what we will do every day, we do know that when Jesus makes his appearance
we shall understand many things that we don't understand now. Today, it
is difficult for any of us to visualize all that God ha in store for us.
We cannot picture it. We cannot imagine it because there is nothing in
this life comparable. There is no scene so beautiful that it can approach
a description of the heavenly life. There is no thrill or joy in this life
that can adequately equal what we can expect in the kingdom of Heaven.
There are no words that paint us a mental picture of our heavenly estate.
That is why Paul wrote: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them
that love him." We can only imagine caricatures of what will be. Even these
are just dark images of what God is planning. Paul summed it this way:
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know
in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Corinthians
Chapter 3: 10 (KJV)
3:10 "According to the grace of God which is given unto me,
as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth
thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
This text focuses on Paul as he explains his role in the kingdom building
process as being that of the master builder, laying the foundation.
The immediate circumstance addressed by this text involved the relationship
between Paul and Apollos. Apollos had gained fame among the Corinthians
for his oratory and some considered him greater than Paul. Addressing this
sentiment in his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul made it clear that
his work in the kingdom was that of laying the foundation, setting the
tone, and pointing the direction. Others who would follow him had the task
of building upon that which he began and expanding. He warned however,
that any that should attempt to follow him should attempt nothing short
of leading the people in the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
In explaining his relationship, Paul constantly characterized himself
as a master builder, who followed the plan given to him by the grace of
God. As a master builder he recognized that he was not the architect or
designer of the plan, but the one who saw to it that the plan was carried
out in all of its finest details. The master plan he received was that
the Gospel of Jesus Christ was to be spread throughout the known world.
It would apply to both Jews and Gentiles, breaking down racial and sexual
barriers, forgiving sins and helping believers to build new lives. During
his life he moved from church to church with this message, building the
spiritual strength of believers at every stop, according to the master
plan. Even while imprisoned he spent his confinement writing letters to
believers, constantly encouraging them to build, build and build!
Chapter 5: 6, 7 (KJV)
5:6-7 "...Know ye not that a little leaven, leaveneth the
whole lump. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump,
as ye are unleavened."
There are persons in the church who do not hold the faith dear and who
openly live contrary to principles of God's word. But how did they get
among us? First, they came among us because they came in without our knowing.
The fact that we were unaware of the kind of person they were, does
not mean that we could not have known. Our standard for membership in the
fold is slack. Often we require no more information about a person than
their name, address, and phone number. We don't interview as we should.
A person can be a teacher, preacher, deacon or leader among us, with little
training, and less strength of character. Too often we elevate before we
evaluate and the results is that we degenerate our flock.
Secondly, they get among us by our indifference. 1 Cor. 5:1-2 speaks
of the impurities of the Corinthian congregation. A variety of impurities
had set in which were generally described as "fornication". The Church
stands guilty too often of indifference. Because we are indifferent,
all kinds of sins are indulged by the weak members of our congregation
without fear of reprimand by the congregation of Christ.
Chapter 6: 11
6:11 "and such were some of you: but ye
are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of
the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
This text focuses on Paul as he reminds Christians of the power
of God to transform lives.
In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul addressed the subject of immorality,
focusing particularly upon incest. Chapter 6 begins by changing the subject
to: "Christians and lawsuits", then at the latter part of the chapter he
resumes his explanations of Christians and immorality.
Verses 9-11 mark the transition from the explanation of
Christians and lawsuits back to the discussion of immorality. Paul
urged Christians to avoid airing their civil disputes in public courts,
demanding satisfaction, payment and control. He made this warning because
the world, which perceives Christians to be above disputes that reach the
litigation level observes their feuding nature and questions whether their
lives are truly transformed as they claim. Moreover, Christians who resort
to the courts for revenge or personal gain exhibit worldly attributes that
place them in the ranks with those in the world. He suggested that Christian
resolve differences among themselves, privately with other Christians as
arbitrators using the Word of God as they guiding principle. All of this
would be a way to draw a line of distinction between the Christian that
is today and the person he "used" to be.
Paul begins to address morality again when he offers
a truncated list of practicing sins that indicate that a person is not
a part of the kingdom of God. The list given here is not all inclusive
because there are places that he includes more items. These are samples
of deviant lifestyles not practiced by people who are part of the kingdom
Remember, the "kingdom of God" is a reference to
God's spiritual kingdom that exists at the present. The "kingdom of heaven"
is a physical place that will be occupied by the kingdom of God once it
comes into being. A person who claims to be a part of the kingdom of God
cannot be a practicing sinner. "Practicing" means a person who repeatedly
sins, without remorse and has adopted a particular sin or sins as an acceptable
part of his or her lifestyle. That does not mean that a person in the kingdom
of God does not sin, for all have sinned, but it does mean that the sin
committed is not a part of the lifestyle of the believer because the holy
spirit will convict and the righteous will repent once convicted.
Under the general category of "unrighteous" Paul
points to those who abuse the privilege of sex as a matter of lifestyle
as not being a part of the kingdom of God. This includes those who involve
themselves in sex without benefit of marriage or adopt a preference for
same sex relationships or even adopt physical habits and mannerisms of
the opposite sex as a matter of lifestyle. Also included in this category
are thieves, drunkards, greedy, and those who cheat and rob others. In
1 Timothy 1:9-10 the list also includes: people with rebellious hearts,
those who curse and swear, those who attack their parents and murderers.
The list of "unrighteous" activity, if enumerated would be endless. Certainly
it is not limited to just the activities listed in these two verses.
The believer has reached a point in life where
he or she has evolved from the "unrighteous" state into the full knowledge
of God as they live and walk in the spirit. Having once been a practicing
sinner, the believer has moved to a higher level, that of knowing Christ
fully. He or she has stepped forward and up to a better life. Thus Paul
says "and such were some of you!" He seemed to say you have been there!
You have done that! You have the tee-shirt! But you have stepped out of
darkness into the marvelous light!
Paul indicates the three fold
state of every believer who is a part of the kingdom of God. He gives a
list of the three states, which actually incur in the reverse order. 1)A
person is justified, meaning that God's affirmative action program has
made up for his short comings and
mistakes. 2) A person is sanctified, that means he or she has changed
their life path and modified their list of concerns to include only
those things which would be pleasing to God. They become special and set
apart. 3)A person who is washed by the spirit of God is no longer of the
world but is a new creature.
The believer's best testimony to a non-believer
is that we have not always lived in an isolated world of bible classes,
hymns and church services, but that the believer has experienced the world
enough to know that God offers a better way. The believer's testimony to
a non- believer is simply Where you are I have already come from, I've
"been there, done that and I've got the tee shirt!"
Chapter 10: 10 (KJV)
10:10: Neither murmur ye, as some of them
also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.1 Corinthians 10:10
Murmuring is defined by Vines as "indignant complaining" Indignant means:
angry, incensed and offended. Indignant complaints are those rooted in
anger or are in response to feeling of having been offended. Paul, writing
to the Corinthians urged them not to murmur. He referred them to their
history, showing them how the Israel constantly murmured and complained
in the wilderness.(Numbers 14) They complained of no water and God provided
them water. They complained about a lack of meat and bread and God provided
them these needs. Their clothing, health, and all other physical needs
were provided for, despite the fact that there were 600,000 people wandering
in a dessert without vegetation or animal life to feed, nourish and sustain
such a large army of people. When they reached the Jordan river, again
they complained. Some wanted to go back to Egypt. Some complained and murmured
against Moses, Aaron and God. Many were destroyed in their anger and anxiety
as the Lord opened up the ground to swallow some and caused snakes to destroy
thousands of others.
Their murmurings did not stop at the Jordan. In the promised land they
complained that the crops of the Canaanites were more prosperous than theirs
and began to worship idols. They complained that they did not have a king
like all other nations and God gave them exactly what they asked for when
he named Saul their first king. They complained in their prosperity under
King Solomon because the taxes were too high. They complained in their
exile, weeping for the deteriorated condition of Jerusalem. Their complaints
were endless. Almost always, the underlying sentiment of all of their complaints
was their feeling that God had wronged them in some way.
So, Paul warned New Testament Christians against complaining. The tone
of his teaching was simple: God will always do that which is best for us,
even when we don't understand or appreciate the circumstance. Therefore,
we should labor with a spirit of gratitude for what we have while we strive
to reach higher heights. Whether we have an abundance of material things
or whether we get along with meager fare, in "every thing give thanks!"
The attitude of perpetual thanks supersedes and overrides complaining
because complaining by nature requires us to believe that God has wronged
us, while gratitude comes from an attitude that God cannot and will not
wrong us in any way because it is against his nature. Therefore, the believer
is urged to give thanks "in every thing."
11:28 But let a man examine himself and
so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup
Spiritual table manners in the Old Testament focused on the table
and making sure it was pure, but table manners in the New Testament
focuses not so much on having a pure table as it does insuring that those
sit at the table are pure at heart.
Paul, writing to the Corinthians reminded them about their manners
at the Lord's supper. Paul reminded them that the Lord's supper was not
the place for feasting or drunkedness. If any man was hungry, Paul said,
let him eat in his own house; drunks were warned to stay at home!
In the 10 verses of 1 Corinthians 11:20-30 where he gives detailed
descriptions of the Lord's supper, he never once emphasized the importance
of the table, but rather he talked about what the table represented.
He never mentioned that the table had to be made of pure gold,
but what he talked about was the purity of those sitting at the table.
I hear him declaring "let a man examine himself, before he eat of that
bread and drink
of that cup."
He wasn't concerned about a pure table as he was with a pure
What Paul said in so many words was that good table manners
at the Lord's table requires that you wash up before you eat. Not just
our hands, but we should make sure that our lives have been washed in the
blood of the lamb.
Chapter 13: 12 (KJV)
13:12 For now we see through a glass,
darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know
even as also I am known.
This text finds Paul writing to the Corinthians concerning maturity
in the faith.
The 13th Chapter of Corinthians is the second of three in which Paul
examines the gifts of the spirit and compares them to spiritual graces.
The Corinthian church had been divided into four parts over issue acquiring
and use of gifts of the spirit.
In chapter 12 Paul listed nine categories of gifts that believers
received, each having the purpose of expanding the kingdom. Those who had
one gift or another suggested to other members of the body of Christ that
they had achieved or received something that made them spiritually superior
This prompted Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit,
to write chapters 12-14 noting that all gifts come from the same spirit
but have different functions. Since gifts will one day fade and diminish
in use, acquiring the graces should be the goal of every believer, not
gifts. Even the idea that some believers have something that others don't
have divides the body of Christ but the graces of God form the basis of
real Christian living.
Paul discussed the full range of graces in Galatians 5:22-23.
Here he notes that the "fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law." Without these qualities, commonly described as graces, the Christian
life is empty.
Thus Paul, in the 13th Chapter focuses on one of the graces
"love" showing how it is superior to any of the gifts such as tongues,
prophecy or knowledge. He noted that some gifts, like tongues, or prophecies
would cease to exist (13:8) but the real strength of the Christian life
would never be diminished by time or condition. He showed how the grace
of love, for example is far more important to acquire than gifts. As he
detailed how love operates he noted that if he had all of the gifts but
didn't have the grace of love, instead of operating on a higher level,
he would be empty. His words in verse two " And though I have the gift
of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though
I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity,
I am nothing."
Many in Paul's time were unable to understand the differences.
They were caught up and divided over the issue (1:10-13). They were blinded
by false teachings and could not see otherwise, especially those who had
received the gift of speaking in foreign languages.
Paul noted, that a time would eventually come when every
believer would be able to see clearly the truths of God's word. Diminished
perspective is common, but those who come to know God fully get a new perspective.
The new perspective gives them a new appreciation of what is truly important,
lasting and most effective in the service of God. He compared the new perspective
to that of a mature person over a child. Perspective makes the difference.
The carnal man sees life as though looking through a dark
glass. The perspective is not godly. However, Paul reminds us that the
time is coming when all will share the same perspective and see the same
things. That day will come when all see Jesus face to face!
This passage is generally remembered for its emphasis
on the importance of love in all we do. The Corinthians like other Christians
were moving from their Old Testament experience to their new covenant life
in Christ. They had been accustomed to gauging every act by the standards
of the law. Paul, however, suggests that charity rather than the law should
be the guide. Charity, which means love, is the guiding principle now,
the law was the guiding principle then. Then, one's only responsibility
was to speak in a tongue, give to the poor and obey the strict letter of
the law. Now, the criterion has changed, we must love.
Paul concluded from his comparison that then he was a
child, he thought like a child and spake as a child, but when he grew up
in the faith, he put away childish things.
The principles that guide the here are now may appear
dark and unclear, as if we were looking through a foggy mirror, but when
we see Jesus, face to face, then we will understand it all.
Chapter 15: 57,58 (KJV)
15:57-58:"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know
that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
In Corinthians Paul reassures believers that each has a right to expect
victory over every enemy and foe. This was written in the context of great
persecution of Christians by both Gentiles and Jews. They were ostracized,
humiliated and suffered great losses of freedom and property. Many lost
their lives. Many worried about whether their sacrifices were in vain.
Repeatedly, Paul reminded all believers that no obstacle they encountered
would stop them from achieving victory because Christ had insured it through
his life, death and resurrection. That even applied to death. When the
Romans were concerned about the same problem Paul wrote in Romans 8:35-37
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress,
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep
for the slaughter.Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him that loved us."
He encouraged the Corinthians to continue doing the work of the Lord
with the full knowledge that their labor is not in vain, but would be rewarded
by Christ who has guaranteed the victory to every believer.
Saint John, in his epistle, identifies those who are guaranteed the
victory. Generally, those individuals that are "born of God" are the victorious.
To be born of God is to have the mysterious rebirth that Christ spoke of
to Nicodemus as he reminded him that to enter the kingdom of God he must
be "born again."
Return To Bible Index