1 Corinthians 1

Called To Be Saints

There is no such thing as a perfect church. Churches are made up of people and people fail, experience conflict, and struggle. Corinth was a wealthy metropolitan city that also had a reputation for its sexual immorality, religious diversity, and corruption. The church in Corinth was struggling with the many ungodly influences surrounding them. Paul writes to address and correct the issues and challenges facing this fledgling faith community. Paul begins the letter to the Corinthian church with an appropriate greeting and introduction. Paul establishes his authority to write to them by reminding the people that he is an apostle called by God. He and Sosthenes are sending this letter to the church at Corinth. God had chosen and called Paul as an apostle. Paul did not seek this role; he was called just as the church in Corinth was called to be saints. Christians are set apart for holiness and to become more like Christ. This letter is for all who call on Christ as Savior and Lord as they experience the grace that comes through Christ and the ensuing peace that results from their salvation. Paul is thankful for his Christian family, and he acknowledges the evidence of grace in their midst and the giftedness of this fellowship. Christ will save his people to the uttermost, and he will keep them until the end where they will be presented guiltless. 

No Divisions

Paul appeals to the church to be united in mind as well as judgment and instructs them to be free from divisions. Paul is forced to address the divisions within the Corinthian church because if the report of quarreling brought by Chloe's people. Paul speaks directly to the factions which claimed to follow Paul, Apollos, Peter, or Christ. Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions in order to point people to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul emphasizes the preaching the gospel over the baptizing of believers. It seems he refrained from personally baptizing individuals with a few exceptions like Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas. The people were not baptized in Paul’s name. It is the gospel that is the power of God to salvation, not baptism. Nothing should detract from the gospel, and it is not dependent upon the preacher for its power. 

Wisdom And Power

The word of the cross is unique in its ability to address the problem of human sin and its remedy. To those perishing, the cross is foolish and contrary to what human wisdom may think, the cross is the power and wisdom to be saved for all who believe. To believe is to be justified, to be set apart for God’s possession and to be assured of the future. The wisdom of this world, whether it is the philosopher, the Jews who demand signs, the folly of the Gentiles, or the wisdom of the Greeks has been supplanted. Preaching Christ's life, death, burial, and resurrection as the way to salvation is a stumbling block to the lost and folly to Gentiles. However, to the called, the gospel is the power and wisdom of God. The gospel was given to those who were not necessarily wise, powerful, or noble according to worldly standards and yet God uses foolish, weak, low, and despised things to remove any boasting by man. Christ Jesus is the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of God. People are saved by grace through faith so that all the glory belongs to God.

Things To Consider:

  • How does Christ make us holy?
  • Why does God give spiritual gifts to Christians?
  • Why must Christ sustain us to the end?
  • What divisions exist in the church today?
  • Why must we be careful not to follow man?
  • Why is preaching important?
  • How can the wisdom of man empty the cross of its power?
  • How should the church prioritize gospel preaching? Why?
  • Why must salvation belong to the Lord?
  • What are things we boast in other than the Lord?