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  • Gwen Diaz

A Letter Addressing Problems in Corinth (Part 1)

November 9 - Nº 313 1 Corinthians 1:1 – 6:11

While in Ephesus, Paul was told that there were serious problems in the church he had started five years before in Corinth (see #309 - November 5). Not long after getting that report, he received a letter from some of the church leaders that was filled with questions they could not answer. So, Paul sat down and wrote a long letter to the Corinthians. His primary goal was to convince the believers to live in peace with each other. He started by reminding them that God had blessed them in many, many ways. There was nothing they needed that He had not given them. Paul challenged them to use these gifts to honor Jesus and bring unity. A large part of the letter dealt with divisions that had been created when church members began to argue over which apostle or teacher they should follow. Some championed Paul, who had started the Corinthian church. Others spoke up for Apollos, who was a great orator (see #312 - November 8). A third group defended Peter (Cephas), the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Still others piously claimed that they were loyal only to Jesus—implying that the others were not. Paul insisted that these divisions were a result of pride and that bickering over this matter would destroy the church. He told them, “Only God is sovereign, and the apostles are His servants. They are nothing more and nothing less. As a servant to the Lord, my job was to plant seeds of faith in your lives,” he continued. “I didn’t come to you with scholarly words. You believed because you saw the power of the Holy Spirit despite my weakness. He helped you see and understand things that are far beyond what most human beings will ever experience! Later, Apollos was sent by God to water the plants that grew from those seeds. But God is the One who made them grow. Only He should receive any credit!” Paul reminded them that none of the apostles were looking for glory or earthly reward. Quite the opposite. What they received on earth was hunger, homelessness, and persecution. “But we are willing to be seen as fools for Jesus Christ,” he said. He urged the believers to get rid of their pride and imitate him—after all, he was their spiritual father—and to listen to Timothy who would soon be there to teach them more. Then Paul addressed two more issues that were causing divisions. The first had to do with sexual sins that they knew were taking place among their members, but no one would confront. “You should not be associating with people who claim to be Christians but are living immoral lives,” he insisted. “These people should be removed from the church! They will just divide it!” The other issue had to do with taking each other to court. Instead of allowing non-Christian judges to settle their cases, they should find godly people in the church to help them resolve their disputes. Paul reminded them that their lives should be different from the lives of non-believers. Not only had they been set free from sin, but the power of the Holy Spirit also now lived inside them.

Are there issues that keep you from enjoying fellowship with other believers? Is there something you need to say or do to help resolve any of these issues? One of the unique characteristics of believers is the unity we can and should experience through the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 133:1; John 13:35; Romans 14:19; Philippians 2:1-2

313 - A Letter Addressing Problems in Corinth Part 1
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