Dear Church Family,
As we begin a new year, our Sermon Series, with accompanying Bible Ready Plan and Daily Devotionals, will take us through First Corinthians. The letter was written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth he had founded, and the story of the beginnings of this church is recorded in Acts 18:1-7. In Corinth Paul participated in the activities of the Jewish synagogue where he was often found on the Sabbath sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with his fellow Jews. As people began to be converted, opposition arose within the Jewish community, and Paul turned to the Greeks with the gospel.
Paul wrote his letter from Ephesus, about four to six years after his two-year ministry with the Corinthians. The need for the letter was created by a report he had heard and a letter he had received. The report expressed concerns about factions in the church, a case of incest, members suing each other, problems with sexual impurity, and the spread of an argumentative spirit. First Corinthians was also written to answer specific questions that the church had raised in a letter to Paul about the Christian life and church life. These included questions about marriage and divorce, the eating of food that had been offered to idols, the value of different spiritual gifts, and belief in the resurrection of the body. While the letter was precipitated by these two specific occurrences, it was Paul’s great love for the church at Corinth and his concern for the witness of the believers that were uppermost on his mind as he wrote to them.
A study of Corinthians is relevant to us today. The questions that were being asked and the problems that were being faced by the Corinthians are similar to those for Christians today. On the surface it may seem that Paul’s letters deal with a lot of “antique matters,” but when we look at the underlying ethical and theological issues, they seem much more contemporary. Furthermore, Paul’s style for dealing with the questions and problems makes Corinthians helpful for today. While he started with some everyday concern like, “What should you do if you become a Christian but your spouse does not?” he would usually probe to see if there was some theological understanding that could be reached. Only then would he apply the principle to the particular experience of the Christian.
May our journey through this letter help us to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ, seeking to become more and more like him, while living in an increasingly secular world.
Yours in Christ,