Location, Location, Location
I. The STORY behind the LETTER. (Acts 18:1-18)
A. UNDERSTANDING the CITY itself. (18:1)
B. Paul MAKES a lot of CONNECTIONS. (18:2-11)
C. The BIRTH of a new CHURCH. (18:7-11)
D. The TENSIONS that inevitably FOLLOW. (18:11-17)
When we approach the Bible we often subtly read into the text thoughts and feelings from our own personal context. If we are going to be faithful, honest, and intelligent readers of Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, it only makes sense that we would start by getting at the backstory.
1. Kid’s Question: Have you ever received a letter in the mail? Who from? What was that like for you?
2. In what ways do you see similarities between Corinth and Western Canada today? What things are different?
II. The INTRO to one of SEVERAL letters. (I Cor. 1:1-8)
A. Paul SEES what isn’t YET. (1:1-9)
B. GOD at the BEGINNING. (1:4)
C. God ALONG the WAY. (1:5-7)
D. God FAITHFUL to FINISH the task. (1:8-9)
1 Corinthians is one of several letters that Paul wrote to this church. We have two of them, but scholars think there was definitely a third and most likely a fourth that we don’t have today. His intro to this one, however, conveys some basic truths about how Paul sees the world around him and his role as a church planter.
3. Is “seeing with faith” different than just positive thinking? If so, in what ways? Isn’t there a danger in minimizing the real issues if we do this too often?
4. As you look back toward your early life and the beginning of your faith journey, where was God in that and what did He do?
5. How does 1 Cor.1:5-7 jive with the rest of what you know of the church at Corinth? How does those verses relate to the church that you know today?
III. The TRUTH about Corinth and HOPE.
A. The GOSPEL grows in DIFFICULT places. (Acts 18:1-18; I Cor. 1:1-9)
B. See with the EYES of FAITH. (2 Cor. 5:15-17,21)
C. Live INTO what God is DOING. (1 Cor. 1:9; Col. 3:12-17)
2000 years ago, and yet the world of Corinth has many similarities to the world we inhabit today. How do we seek to build up the church in our world today? How does the gospel shape the way we view this world and the people in it? How are we called to live?
6. What are the struggles, challenges, and situations that the gospel confronts in our world today? What are the ones that are specific to your own life?
7. Where is God calling you to see more with faith and less with your own perspective?
8. Read through the passage in Col. 3:12-17. What are the specifics that you sense God calling you to in the list that follows verse 12? What steps will you take to respond?
“Although they were the Christian church in Corinth, an inordinate amount of Corinth was yet in them, emerging in a number of attitudes and behaviours that required radical surgery without killing the patient. This is what 1 Corinthians attempts to do.”
— Gordon D. Fee