top of page

1 Corinthians Introduction

The writer, Paul, was the greatest evangelist of the first century, maybe of all time. He was writing to a church that he founded, as described in Acts 18. He was there for over a year and a half before he left for Ephesus. The church in Corinth, at least initially was next door to the Jewish synagogue, and Paul’s converts were a mixture of former Jews, former pagans, and so-called God-fearers.

Corinth, in the time of Paul, was a Greek seaport at a highly visited location on the isthmus to the Peloponnesian peninsula.  It was a place of high commerce, known for its sexual immorality, and its large number of temples to the Greek gods.

It is clear that the church was spiritually successful, and that many gifts were in evidence. Paul was proud of this church for its spiritual attainment, but deeply concerned about their lack of understanding about how to be a body of loving believers who put each other first and knew how to build up the whole body. As a result, he presents many corrective principles, which present useful guidelines to churches of today, as long as they are not used to justify a new Book of the Law, which Paul would surely have rejected.

Did Paul teach that women must be submissive to men and be silent in the church? Large segments of the Church have taught so for centuries in part on the basis of this letter to the Corinthian church. It seems rather that Paul was a champion for women, allowing them to prophesy and even teach. But, under the principle of “becoming all things for all people that some might be saved”, he wanted the church to not break the built-in guidelines of local society. In Corinth, women were not allowed to speak publicly, so Paul places some restrictions for the protection of women and the church. He seems to have been more definitive when it came to relationships of men and women, seeking for clear distinctions and a degree of hierarchy, but again it is for the protection more than the restriction of women. 

1 Corinthians Introduction

It is a highly interactive letter, in the sense that, in much of it, Paul is clearly responding to questions that were posed to him, possibly in the form of a letter to him or relayed to him by representatives who had visited the church in his absence. Because Corinth was such a mixing bowl of people, it is not surprising that so much of his instruction relates to moving from pagan ways of life to learning how to be the people of God. For that reason, it is probably the most instructive work in the New Testament for presenting the principles for church life in a non-Christian society. As an expert builder, he lays out his approach for unity, morality, marriage, communion, worship, and many peripheral subjects. Paul steered a clear course between order and freedom.

Paul was excellent at finding elements of a culture’s customs to use as a basis for strengthening the church, which he could then underline by providing a theological basis from scripture. If Paul were to write to the church of today, no doubt he would find much to correct but much to highlight so that he could strengthen us. Possibly his writing to us would have some elements the same and some quite different as he would become one of us in order to help us find Jesus. Paul sets a middle road, providing an authority structure which protected the church from becoming a free-for-all, but still provided much room for the movement of the Spirit.

1 Corinthians Guide to the Transcommentary

1 Corinthians Guide to the Transcommentary

This is a little bit more than a translation and a bit less than a full commentary.  It serves a similar function to the Amplified Bible, though that work’s purpose was to provide a complete sense of the meaning of the words used by the writers of scripture.  This work has a somewhat different purpose:

  • To convey as close as possible the actual meaning of the sentences as they would have been understood at the time they were originally spoken or written.  To accomplish this for twenty-first century Americans, dynamic equivalent words and sayings have been used at a sentence level.  An attempt has been made to preserve intended wordplay and irony from the original author.

  • We have attempted to clarify ideas, references, and thought sequences that would have been clear to first century audiences but are not clear to modern audiences because of differences in culture, customs, language, or degree of familiarity with Old Testament scriptures and Messianic prophecies.  The phrasing of the translation itself aims at that clarity, but we have also added words, phrases, and sentences to the narrative for improved understanding.  All such additions are in brackets [].  This allows the reader to have the explanatory additions when reading but also insulate these additions from the translated scripture – indeed, with a little effort they can be skipped entirely when reading aloud.

  • Color codes for different types of additional material are intended to further aid understanding:

- Green is used for words added to descriptive narrative because they are implied or as commentary to explain the context.

References to scriptures are shown in gold.

  • As in many translations and editions, we have added headings in bold to help understand when a new theme is introduced by the author.

  • The author frequently refers to "Christ" or to "Jesus Christ".  We have employed the words “the Anointed One” rather than "Christ", since that is the meaning of “Christ”.  We wanted to avoid the sense of "Christ" as Jesus’ surname, yet still recognize it as a well-known title.

  • We have also added study questions at the end of each chapter to help you think more thoroughly about the meaning and application of the author’s writing.

We will have succeeded in this translation if you the reader find that you can read this work of scripture with greater comprehension and enjoyment than ever before. Please let us know if you find the various supplementary materials helpful. or too distracting, or if you have any other suggestions about how to improve this approach to translation.

Richard Tittle, pneuma9@gmail.com

1 Corinthians Chapter 1

1 Corinthians Chapter 1

Greeting

1 [This letter is from] Paul, appointed and sent out with the message of Jesus, the Anointed One, by the will of God, and from our brother Sosthenes [a fellow minister and former synagogue leader from Corinth].

Greeing

2 To the assembly of God in Corinth, those set aside as holy by God and appointed to be his people [since once we decide to follow him he appoints and anoints us]. And to everyone everywhere who calls on the name of Jesus, the Anointed One, who belongs to all of us.[This letter is addressed to the church of Corinth but is intended to be read by all the churches.]

The blessings already received by the Corinthian church

3 Blessings and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed One. In fact I thank my God about you all the time for how generously he has gifted you through Jesus the Anointed One. He has made you rich in everything, with every type of speech and every type of knowledge [the spiritual gifts of preaching, tongues, interpretation, wisdom, and understanding], confirming in you the original testimony about the Anointed One [given on the Day of Pentecost through the outpouring of these same gifts]Thus you will lack in no gift while you are waiting for the appearance of the Lord, who will continue to confirm his blessing of you all the way to the end, so that no one can find you lacking in any way when the Lord Jesus the Anointed One returns. [No one could ever doubt that God is pouring himself out among you.]  You can trust the same God who called you into close relationship with Jesus the Anointed One, his son [to complete your maturing].

The blessings already received by the Corinthian church

Coming into alignment and unity

10 [As an essential part of your maturity,] I urge you, now, brothers, in the name [and as the representative] of the Lord Jesus the Anointed One, that you reach agreement [within the assembly] in what you believe and say, avoiding divisions between you. Instead, allow both your thoughts and conclusions to be brought [by God] into perfect alignment with one another. 11 I say this because I have heard from Chloe's household that there is competition among you, 12 each of you saying either, “I follow Paul” or, “I follow Apollos” or, “I follow Peter” or, “I follow the Anointed One.”

Coming into alignment and unity

13 [You know that all who believe are one body in the Anointed One.] Can the Anointed One be divided into parts? Was it Paul who hung on the cross for you? Was it Paul's name and character into which you were baptized? 14 I thank God that I didn't myself baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one could say that I created a church in my own name. 16 Oh, I guess I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but if I baptized anyone else, I don't remember. [When you were baptized, it was into a single united body, under the name of Jesus. If you resort to political factions, you are dividing that body, and no longer representing Him well.]

The power and wisdom of the cross

The power and wisdom of the cross

17 For the Anointed One didn't send me out to baptize but rather to proclaim the good news, but not with eloquent or wise words, or else the cross would have had no meaning. 18 For the [concept of the} cross seems foolish to those on the path to destruction, but to us it is God's power to save, heal, and deliver. [People do not believe that a man, even God’s son, would die a brutal death to take our place. Could God’s plan really be that simple and good?] 

19 It is written [Isaiah 29:14], “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will make nothing.” 20 Where does this leave the wise men, the scholars, the brilliant debaters of this age? Hasn't God made the wisdom of this world foolishness? 21 For, it is the wisdom of God that the world did not gain understanding of him through [man's] wisdom, but it pleased God through the [apparent] foolishness of what we proclaim to bring to wholeness those who believe our word. [People despise the message of the Anointed One because it doesn’t seem sophisticated enough nor does it emphasize their own knowledge or effort.]

22 For the Jews must have miracles to believe and the Greeks are satisfied only with careful reasonings. 23 But we proclaim the truth of the Anointed One nailed on the cross for us, which is a stumbling block for the Jews and incomprehensible to the Greeks. 24 But for those ready [to trust God and receive salvation], the [crucified] Anointed One is both the power of God [to achieve this salvation] and the wisdom of God [in fulfilling his plan of salvation]25 For the [apparent] foolishness of God is both wiser and stronger than what men achieve.

26 Brothers, if you reflect on your standing at the time of your calling, by worldly standards not many of you were considered wise, or powerful, or of high standing. 27 But God has selected the foolish things of the world [us men of no account who have gained everything just by surrendering to God] to embarrass the wise, and the weak things to embarrass the strong. 28 And he has selected what is inferior or worthless - even that which is nothing at all -  to bring to nothing things that are considered of value.

29 Thus, no person has any right to be proud before God. 30 For you have received everything you need from God in Jesus the Anointed One - wisdom, purity, deliverance from your evil past, and payment for your sins. 31 So, as it is written, if you are going to be proud of anything, be proud of the Lord.

Discussion questions

1. What does Paul say is the value of the spiritual gifts that the Corinthian church has received (v 8)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 1 discussion questionsns

2. When there is disagreement or competition in a church, how do you think that can be changed (v 10)?

3. Why does God want to bring the wisdom of men to nothing (vs 17-31)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 2

1 Corinthians Chapter 2

Demonstration through the power of the Spirit

When I first came to you, brothers, it wasn't with fancy preaching or brilliant reasoning [things of which I could be proud], when I presented to you the hidden truths about God. For, when I was with you, I had decided to forget everything I knew except Jesus, the Anointed One, and what he accomplished through his death on the cross. [I’m proud of what God did, not what I did.] And I came before you in weakness, with much fear and trembling. What I said and how I said it were not to convince you with convincing words, but instead with the demonstration of the Spirit's presence and power, so that your belief would not be based on man's wisdom but rather on the power of the Spirit.

Demonstration through the power of the Spirit

6 However, I do speak a wisdom among those who are fully introduced to the faith, though not the wisdom of this world or of the rulers of this world, both of which amount to nothing. The wisdom of God that I speak about has been a secret, hidden until now but destined since the beginning of time to bring us [believers] great honor [because of his revelation of the amazing destiny he has for us]. None of the rulers of this world understood this wisdom. If they had, they wouldn't have crucified the Lord of Glory. [When Satan and those who were under his influence crucified Jesus, they thought they were stopping him, but they totally played into his hands. It was his death following a sinless life as a human being that allowed him to die in our place and give us his place as God’s sons and daughters.]

Revelation through the Spirit

But as it written [Isaiah 64:4], “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no man's heart has yet received, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 10 Yet it has been revealed to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit examines all things, even the very depths of God. 11 For who really knows what's in a man except a man's own spirit? In the same way, no man knows the things that are in God, but God's own Spirit knows.

Revelation through the Spirit

12 It's not the spirit of the world that we have received, but indeed we have received the Spirit of God, so that we can know the things of God that have been freely given to us. 13 These are the things we have been telling you about, teaching not with man's wisdom, but teaching spiritual things with words full of the Spirit.

14 A man, through his lower nature unaided, cannot understand the things of the Spirit, for they make no sense to him, for the truth about them can be judged only through the Spirit. 15 But a man operating through his spirit can judge the truth concerning absolutely anything, though no one [without the Spirit] is capable of judging the truth about him [because people filled with the Spirit can accomplish beyond what can be anticipated]16 ”For who knows what is in the mind of the Lord so well that he can offer Him counsel?” [Isaiah 40:13]  But, in fact, we have access to the mind of the Lord [through God’s Spirit].

Discussion questions

1. Why do you think Paul had decided not to try to use brilliant arguments to convince the Corinthians the truth about Jesus (vs 1-5)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 2 discussion questions

2. How does Paul say we receive spiritual truth (vv 9-16)?

3. What is the secret wisdom Paul is referring to that God has now revealed (vv 6-8) [Hint: You’ll have to read beyond Chapter 2]?

1 Corinthians Chapter 3

1 Corinthians Chapter 3

Division comes from immaturity

Brothers, I haven't been able to speak to you as though you were spiritual, but only as ones still occupied with your lower nature, fleshly, still immature in the Anointed One. Until now, I have given you only milk to drink, not solid food, because you couldn't handle it, and apparently you still can't. You are still fleshly - for in you there is envy and competition. Aren't you still fleshly if you walk just as other people [unbelievers]? For when one of you says, "I am following Paul," or "I am following Apollos," aren't you acting just like other people [who are not followers of Jesus]?

Division comes from immaturity

The importance of building on the right foundation

Who is Apollos? Who is Paul? Ministers by whom you believed. God has appointed each of us our task. I have planted, Apollos watered, but God has granted the growth. 7 So neither he that plants nor he that waters amounts to anything, but only God who gives the growth.

The importance of building on the right foundation

8 He who plants and he who waters are equal, and we will each receive a reward from God for our labor, for we are both laborers employed by God. You are the field cultivated by God. You are his building as well. 10 With the gift given to me as a wise chief builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.

Each person should take care exactly how he builds. 11 No one should try to lay any foundation other than what has already been laid - which is [living life according to the instructions and example of] the Lord Jesus the Anointed One. 12 Someone who adds to the foundation may use gold, silver, precious stone [like marble], or wood, hay, or straw, but each person's work will be revealed, for the Day of Judgment will make it clear.

[Our way of living is what is judged, and God will quickly show whether what we did was based on Jesus or something else that we added for our own purposes.] 13 The fire of that day will be used to expose our work, and each one's work will be shown for what it is, as it is tested by fire. [When we are before God after this life is over, our entire life will be examined, and all that we did for ourselves will be burned away, and what we did for God will remain. This examination is for the purpose of rewarding us, since we already were awarded eternal life as soon as we first believed in Jesus.] 14 If a person's work lasts through the test, he will receive a reward for what he has built. 15 If a person's work is consumed by the fire, he will lose the reward he might have earned, as one barely saved from the fire.

16 Don't you realize that you yourselves [the Church] are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone brings destruction to the temple by corrupting it, God will destroy him, for the temple is sacred, and you together are that temple! [We are all builders as well as part of the building, so our contributions must be based on and consistent with God.]

18 No one should be under an illusion - if anyone seems wise by the world's standards, he should become a fool [following God wherever he takes you both in understanding and action], so that in fact he will be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As it is written [Job 5:13], “God traps the wise in their own cleverness”. 20 And also [Psalms 94:11], "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are of no value."

21 So no one should boast about the person he is following, for why limit yourself. You own everything! 22 Including Paul, or Apollos, or Kephas [Peter], or the world, or life, or death, or the present, or the future. All belong to you. 23 And you belong to the Anointed One, and the Anointed One belongs to God. [Each one contributes to the building and we have access to each one's contribution and it all is orchestrated by God.]

Discussion questions

1. If competition is a sign of immaturity, what would be the signs of maturity (whole chapter)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 3 discussion questions

2. How do you think we are “to build” according to Paul (vs 10b-14)?

3. On what basis does Paul say that “you own everything” (vs 21, 16-17)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 4

1 Corinthians Chapter 4

Qualification for a caretaker

Think of us [leaders] as servants working for the Anointed One - caretakers of the mysteries of God. The qualification for a caretaker is that he be found faithful to his master [Proverbs 27:18]But in [meeting] this [qualification] I consider your evaluation of me of little importance. In fact, I don't even evaluate myself, though I am not aware of any lack, but this doesn't prove I am innocent. Indeed, the only evaluation that counts is the Lord's. Therefore, hold your final evaluation [of yourself or others] until the Lord comes, who will bring to light what is hidden in the darkness, including the intentions of hearts. Then everyone will receive whatever praise from God he has truly earned. And I have described these things, applying them to myself and Apollos, so you could learn to apply what I have written here to yourselves. [I am telling you not to make Apollos and I leaders of factions among you and it’s just as harmful if you yourselves lead factions.] Don’t go beyond what is written [by Paul about being servants and] you will not end up in pride, comparing yourselves against each other.

Qualification for a caretaker

7 For what makes you stand out from everyone else? And what do you possess that wasn't given to you, and if it was given to you, why do you brag?  Do you now have everything you want? Are you wealthy without us? Are you ruling like kings? I wish to God you did rule [over yourselves, your families, your communities], for then we could rule along with you.

How apostles are dishonored

For it seems to me that God has appointed us apostles as the last performers in line to come into the arena, the ones appointed to a certain death. We are made a spectacle to everyone, both to angels and to men. [Heaven is watching as well as earth.] 10 We [apostles] are fools for the Anointed One [we will do anything for him regardless of how it makes us appear], but you [in the Corinthian church] are wise in the Anointed One [at least in your own eyes]. We are weak [because we lay down our lives for others], but you are strong [because you live for appearances]. You are honored [even by us for being faithful], but we are dishonored [by you because you’d rather not be accountable to us].

How apostles are dishonored

11 Even to this present time, we [myself and my apostolic team] have been hungry and thirsty, dressed in rags, often beaten, and have no place to call home. 12 Yet we work, earning our keep with our own hands [rather than taking pay from those we serve]. When cursed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when insulted, we intercede. We are treated like trash, like dirt [to be swept away].  In fact, you are doing that to us right now [by not treating us with love and respect].

A reminder to follow your father in the faith

14 I am writing you these things, not to shame you, but as my sons whom I love, to set you straight [as a father does his children]15 For even though you may have ten thousand teachers in the Anointed One, you don't have many fathers.  For in the Anointed One, Jesus, it was I who brought you forth [into new birth] through [the preaching of] the Good News. 16 Thus, I have a right to call on you to become followers of me.

A reminder to follow your father in the faith

17 For this purpose, I am sending you Timothy, my dear son, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of all I have learned to do in the Anointed One, Jesus, [so that you will become mature by imitating me] and what I teach in all the churches everywhere else.  18 Now some of you are acting like big shots, as though you don't expect me to come [and to do anything about it]19 But I will be coming soon, if the Lord wills, and I will test the power rather than the speech of you big shots. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in speech, but in power. 21 And when I come, would you rather it be with a rod of discipline, or in a spirit of love and humility?

Discussion questions

1. What does Paul say is the basis for qualifying as a good caretaker (v 2)? How can you tell if you are? (vs 1-6)

1 Corinthians Chapter 4 discussion questions

2. What would you say is the purpose for apostles “being in the arena” (vs 9-13)?

3. What do you imagine might happen between Paul and those who resist him when Paul comes in person (vs 18-21)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 5

1 Corinthians Chapter 5

Handling immorality within the church

1 I keep hearing about sexual immorality among you, and of such a type not even found among unbelieving peoples - that a man is living with his father's [former] wife [as though married]While you were busy being puffed up about your political party, shouldn't you have been grieving over this deed that he has done, so that you could have already removed the man who did this from among you. To tell you the truth, even though I'm absent in body, I am present in spirit, and I have already made a judgment of the man who has committed this act as though I were present among you.

Handling immorality within the church

4 Therefore, gather the whole assembly together, knowing that you have my apostolic authority, and in the name of the Lord Jesus, with the full power of the Lord Jesus, commit this man over to Satan so that his fleshly appetites may be destroyed, that his spirit may still be delivered at the day of our Lord's return. [The entire process for addressing sin within the church is laid out by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17When a believer refuses to submit to the whole church and therefore to God himself, who is kind, then he will have to learn from the cruel taskmaster Satan. This may also explain one reason why God allows Satan to remain on the earth - to harass people until they learn to submit to God.]

6 Do you understand how bad your boasting sounds? Don't you know that[, just as] a little yeast goes through the whole lump of dough [, a single sinful act can affect the whole church]Get rid of the yeast as in the preparation for the Passover, so that you can be the new, unleavened dough [Deuteronomy 16:3], pure and uncorrupted – [especially since] the Passover lamb, the Anointed One, has already been sacrificed for us. We want to celebrate the feast, not with yeast, especially not the yeast of evil and sinfulness, but with the unleavened bread of purity and truth.

9 I wrote to you previously not to associate with anyone who is sexually immoral. 10 Yet you can't avoid everyone in the world who is sexually immoral - or for that matter everyone who is greedy or takes advantage of others or is an idol worshipper - you would have to leave this world! 11 But I am writing you now - don't associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian brother - but who is sexually immoral or greedy or is an idol worshipper or spreads lies about others or is a drunkard or who takes advantage of others. Don't even eat with such a person! [This is how you keep the yeast from spreading. Excluding the person from fellowship may also lead them to repentance. But please make sure that you don’t judge them on rumors alone.]

12 For I have no grounds to judge those outside the church, but you have a responsibility to judge those inside the church. [We are not to put up with sin in the church, but we are also to be open to people’s repentance and reform.] 13 God will judge those outside the church. Therefore render your judgment and expel the immoral brother!

Discussion questions

1. If we are not even to judge ourselves (1 Cor 4:5) and Jesus told us to “judge not” (Mat 7:1), then how is the judging we do inside the church different, and why does Paul insist it’s our responsibility (vs 1-5, 12)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 5 disussion questions

2. Why does Paul say we would turn over a Christian brother to Satan (v 5)?

3. How would associating with an immoral brother “spread the leaven”? (vs 6-11)

1 Corinthians Chapter 6

1 Corinthians Chapter 6

More reasons to render judgment within the church

[By the way,] how does any of you dare, if you have something against someone in the church, to bring the matter before unjust unbelievers rather than before the believers? 2 Don't you know that it is the destiny of believers [on the Day of Judgment after Jesus returns] to render judgments for every person in the world [Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30], and if you will be judging the whole world, are you inadequate to judge such small matters? 

More reasons to render judgment within the church

3 Don't you know that we will judge even angels? [There is no place in scripture that clearly describes our judging angels. We know from Daniel 10:13 that dark angels have opposed God's work and 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 do tell us that dark angels will be judged. Revelation 3:21 tells us will sit on the throne with Jesus. From there he will involve us in the judgment of angels.] How much more then do we need to judge matters pertaining to ordinary life? [With the Holy Spirit living in us and our together being his body, that we have the ability to govern among ourselves.]

And since judgments are needed for the small things concerning ordinary life, perhaps you should appoint the most ordinary people in the church to judge them. I say this to shame you - can't you find at least one person you consider wise enough to judge between two brothers in the church, 6 rather than one brother taking another to court in front of unbelievers?

7 You have already completely failed as a church if you have to go to court. Why not rather allow yourselves to be hurt or be cheated? Instead, you go right ahead and hurt and cheat your own brothers.

Avoiding immorality

[Those of you who resist setting a different standard from the world,] don't you realize that those who are living a life of sin are not sons of God who will receive the inheritance of God's kingdom[, either now or later]? [So you won't be confused, let me be more specific -] those who sin sexually, idol worshippers, adulterers, those who submit to or commit homosexual acts, 10 those who steal from others or seek to gain more than their share, addicts, those who spread lies about others, cheaters - none of these shall receive God's kingdom [Galatians 5:19-21]11 There isn't a single one of these sins that some of you didn't used to commit. But since those days, you have been washed clean, made holy, made righteous, just as if you had never sinned, in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus and through the action of the Holy Spirit. 

Avoiding immorality

[The community of believers, the local church, is to be a holy place, where we don’t put up with compromise in ourselves or in one another. Because the basis of our unity is our love for Jesus and for one another, we can risk speaking truth and not covering up sin. And because we live as a community of love, we can trust one another to work out problems that arise, rather than having to seek judgments under secular law. As we hold ourselves and one another accountable, we are careful not to see ourselves as better than another, or to put up roadblocks to restoring one another quickly.]

12 You may say, “Isn’t everything permissible to me? [Paul, you yourself have told us we aren’t under the Law.  So, for example, is sex outside of marriage a violation of civil law?”] Sure, but that doesn't mean that it's good for me! It may not be against the law, but I'm not going to make myself the slave of any harmful habit. 13 [Others may refer to the saying,] ‘Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food’[, so likewise the sexual organs are designed for sex and sex is good for the body]. But these are all non-eternal things that God will eventually destroy [so why focus on them?]. The purpose of the body is not for food [or sex]. The body is for God, and God is for the body. 14 And God has raised up our Lord to eternal life, and he will raise up our bodies too by his own power.

15 Don't you know that your bodies are united with the Anointed One [ever since you surrendered yourselves to him]? Should I take that which is united with the Anointed One and unite with a prostitute? Never! 16 You do realize that when a man is joined with a prostitute he becomes one body with her – “The two shall become one flesh.” [Genesis 2:24] 17 But when a man is joined with the Lord, they become one spirit. [Therefore join yourself to the Lord and make yourself strong rather than satisfy your fleshly urges and make yourself weak.]

18 Run away from sexual sins - every other sin is outside your body, but when you commit a sexual sin, you are doing it against your own body. 19 Don't you realize your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is given to you by God and lives within you. 20 Your bodies were bought with a price - therefore glorify God with your bodies.

Discussion questions

1. Why does Paul want disputes settled inside the church (vs 1-8)?

Romans Chapter 6 discussion questions

2. If entrance into the kingdom is based on belief in Jesus (Rom 10:9), then why does Paul seem to say that those who commit specific sins will not inherit the kingdom (vs 9-11)?

3. Why would you want to avoid sexual sin?  In what ways would it have a negative effect on your life? (vs 12-20)

1 Corinthians Chapter 7

1 Corinthians Chapter 7

Relations between men and women

Now let's address the things you wrote about. [You say,] “It's better for a man never even to touch a woman.” Yes, but because of [the temptation of] sexual sin, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should not refrain from sex but owes his wife great tenderness, and likewise the wife towards her husband. For the wife's body doesn't belong to her but is under her husband's care. And likewise, the husband's body does not belong to him but is under his wife's care. Don't deprive each other unless you've agreed to devote a specific time to prayer. Then reunite so that Satan can't tempt you through your lack of self-control. This is not a command from God [to spend these times of abstinence], but a concession to your desire to spend time with him [God].

Relations between men and women

I wish that everyone were [able to maintain self-control and refrain from sex] just like me. But God grants each person his own gift of grace - some will get one gift, and others another gift. But I say to those who are unmarried or widowed, it's good for you to remain single like me. On the other hand, if you can't control your desires, it is better you should marry than to burn [with desire].

Difficulties between husbands and wives

10 If you are married, I provide you this command, from the Lord, not me - wives, don't leave your husbands! 11 But if you do leave [to protect yourself from abuse or because you are unable to keep this command], then remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to your husband. Likewise, husbands don't divorce your wives. [For this to be a command from the Lord means it is very important. If a husband or wife is an adulterer or abuser, in some sense they act as an unbeliever. However, even then it is better not to divorce. If you are the believing spouse, don’t put yourself in danger, yet practice forgiveness and seek reconciliation and pray for the salvation and healing of your spouse. Yet, Paul’s purpose is not to punish us, it is to take our vows in marriage so seriously that we lead our spouse to faith in God. If our spouse divorces us and remarries, we are then free to remarry.] 

Difficulties between husbands and wives

12 To everyone else, I have something to say myself, though not a command from the Lord. If a man who is a believer has an unbelieving wife, and she is satisfied to live with him, then he shouldn't divorce her. 13 And if a believing woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is satisfied to live with her, then she shouldn't leave him. 14 Rather than the believer being polluted by the unbeliever, the unbelieving husband is made holy [and is therefore part of the church] because of his [union with a believing] wife, and likewise the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her [union with a believing] husband. If this weren't the case, their children would be unclean and not be part of the church [because they haven’t yet made a confession of faith], but they are part of the church [because they are under the authority and therefore are a part of their parents until they reach the age of accountability]15 But if the unbelieving spouse leaves, don't resist. The believing spouse should not be bound in such a case, for God has called us to live in peace. 16 [But] if you are able to stay together, how do you know that your unbelieving husband or wife might not become saved?

Bloom where you are planted

17 Let everyone else live the life that God has provided him, continuing to live in the same status as when God called him. That's the principle I set forth in all the churches. 18 Was a man a circumcised Jew when he was called? Let him not try to remove the marks of circumcision [either physically or spiritually]. If a man was uncircumcised, let him not be circumcised to show he is Jewish. 19 It is not being circumcised or uncircumcised that makes a difference; it is keeping God's commandments.

Bloom where you are planted

20 Everyone should continue in the calling of life they were in when they responded to God's call. 21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let that bother you. However, if you can obtain freedom, then make use of it. 22 For he that is a slave when called is free in the Lord, and likewise he that is a free man should consider himself the slave of the Anointed One. 23 You were bought with a price; therefore don't become slaves of men. 24 Whatever your situation when you were called, brothers, remain in it, but do so in God. [God chose the circumstances of our life, so that once we know him, we can then become one who changes all those around us who are part of our circumstances.]

Instructions to the unmarried and widowed

25 Now, concerning your questions about those who are unmarried, I have no specific commandment from the Lord. However, I will give you my opinion, as one who through God's mercy has remained faithful. 26 [This then is what I am thinking -] because of the present level of difficulty in the world, it is better for each of you to remain just the way you are. 27 Are you married? Don't seek to be unmarried. Are you unmarried? Don't seek to be married. 28 But if you do marry, you haven't sinned, and if a girl marries, she hasn't sinned. However, there will be many trials in the flesh for those who marry, and I want to spare you from such troubles.

Instructions to the unmarried and widowed

29 Let me put it this way, brothers. The time we have remaining is short. Therefore, even if you are married, live [with the same focus] as someone who is not married. 30 You don't have time to indulge in grieving or even joy. When you purchase things, act like you don't even own them. 31 And in whatever ways you have to deal with the world, act like someone who is not caught up in the world. For the world the way we know it is passing away. [This is true even if we have a relatively long life and even if the Lord doesn’t return in our lifetime.]

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. An unmarried man thinks about the things of the Lord - how to please the Lord. 33 But a married man focuses on the things of the world - how he may please his wife. 34 His interests are divided. Likewise, there is a difference between a married woman and an unmarried one. The unmarried woman thinks about the things of the Lord - how to be pure in body and spirit, but the married woman thinks about the things of the world - how she may please her husband. 35 All this [I am saying] is for your own benefit, not that you would feel hampered. I want you to have the best chance for an orderly life, with full devotion to the Lord and no distraction from your goal.

36 But if a man is treating his girlfriend improperly, with a passion that he cannot control, then let him marry her if he wishes. It is not a sin. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart and is not controlled by his passion but has it under control, does well if he chooses not to marry a girl. 38 So, he that marries his girlfriend does well, but he who chooses not to marry does even better.

39 [Now, concerning married women,] a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives [even if he is an unbeliever], but if he has died, she is free to marry anyone as long as it is in the Lord. [However, if he has divorced her and remarried, she is also free.] 40 But in my opinion she will be happier if she remains unmarried, and I too have the Spirit of God [to guide my opinion].

Discussion questions

1. What does Paul say are the advantages and disadvantages of marriage (vs 1-9, 25-38)?

1 Corinthians Chapter 7 discussion questions

2. Why does Paul think that sexual self-control and celibacy are an advantage (vs 5-9, 32-40)?

3. Why does Paul emphasize remaining in the same circumstances from the time we are saved (vs 10-24)? What does this imply about the purpose of our lives?

bottom of page