A. Ralph Johnson

THEME:  Problems of a divided church.

Written by Paul from Ephesus (1Cor. 16:8), about Easter, 57 AD. (cf. Acts 19:21)




16ch(3) Map (brief)

 1: Division


Credentials—Paul an apostle, and Sosthonese (1)

To the church of God at Corinth with all that call upon the Lord every place (2)

Blessing (3)

Thanksgiving (4-9)


I.         REPORTS PAUL HAD HEARD (1:10--6:20)

A.      Divisions (Chapters 1-4)


1.        Divisions over loyalties to men (1:10-17) 


2.        Relying upon wisdom of men (1:18 -2:16)


a.        God has made foolish the wisdom of men (1:18 -31)

2: Speech

b.       Paul’s example was not wisdom of speech (2:1-5)


c.        Source of true wisdom is God (2:6-16)

3: Carnal

3.        Division is carnal--fleshly (3:1-23)


a.        Carnality is childish (3:1-4)


b.       Who is Paul or Apollos—just servants and fellow-laborers (3:5-9)


c.        The foundation is not men but Christ (3:10-15)


d.       Penalty for destroying God’s temple, the church (3:16-17)


e.        Foolishness of glorying in men (3:18 -23)

4: Servants

4.        Paul’s relationship to them (4:1-21)


a.        Paul and Apollos to be viewed as servants of Christ (4:1-5)


b.       Paul and Apollos’s examples teach humility, not lordship (4:6-13)


c.        His reason for writing –his love as a father (4:14-17)


d.       Warning that when he comes he will deal sharply (4:18-21)



B.       Immorality And Lawsuits  (5:1-6:20)

5: Disfellowship

1.        Fornicator to be removed for his sake and the church (5:1-8)


2.        Shunning for gross sins in the church, not those outside (5:9-13)

6: Lawsuits

3.        Conflicts must be settled in the church, not by Lawsuits (6:1-11)


4.        Fornication –- evils (6:12-19)


7: Marriage



A.      Marriage (7:1-40)


1.        Remaining unmarried is good but better to marry than burn (7:1-9)


2.        Charges to those who are married (7:10-24)

a.        The Lord says not to depart, or to remain unmarried (7:10-11)

b.       Concerning those married to non-Christians (7:12-16)

c.        Be content with the state in which you are called - do not use Christianity as an excuse to escape responsibility (7:17 -24)


3.        Paul’s judgment concerning the unmarried and virgins (7:25-40)

a.        Because of their present distress, if one has self-control, it is good to remain unmarried. (7:25-35)

b.       If the father judges it best, he may permit his daughter to marry (7:36-38)

c.        Marriage is for life and must be only in the Lord. (7:39)

d.       Paul's judgment was they would be happier unmarried (7:40)



B.       Meat Sacrificed To Idols (8:1-11:1)

 8: Knowlege

1.        We know that an idol is nothing” no justification to cause stumbling (8:1-13)


a.        Knowledge puffs up but love edifies ((8:1-3)


b.       Others may not know (8:4-7)


c.        When we cause others to stumble we sin against Christ (8:8-13)

9: Freedom

2.        We have liberty” must not be put ahead of the welfare of others (9:1-27)


a.        Paul had his “rights” to be paid by them (9:1-14)


b.       Paul’s example of forgoing his rights for their welfare (9:15-27)

10: Strong

3.        We are Strong” –Beware of overconfidence (10:1-22)


a.        Remember, those baptized in the wilderness fell (10:1-12)


b.       Flee temptation—God’s way of escape (10:13-14)


c.        Foolish to tempt God by eating at His table and of demons’ (10:15-22)


4.        Follow what is expedient rather than "rights" (10:23--11:1)


a.        Seek your neighbor’s welfare ahead of personal desires (10:23-24)


b.       Eat without asking questions that would raise the issue (10:25 -27)


c.        Don’t eat if questions are raised—for others’ conscience (10:28 -30)


d.       Do all to the glory of God (10:31)


e.        Give no occasion of stumbling (10:32)


f.         Seek the profit of the many (10:33)


g.       Follow Paul’s example (11:1)


11: Communion

III.     ADMONITIONS (Chapters 11-15)


A.      Head coverings (11:3-16)


B.      Lord’s Supper—to proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes  (11:17-34; cf. Mat. 26:26 -29; Acts 2:42 ; 20:7)

12: Spiritual Gifts

C.      Spiritual  gifts (12:1--14:39)


1.        Should not be a source of division (12:1-31)


a.        All gifts came from one Spirit (12:1-11)


b.       All members are part of one body (12:12-31)

13: Love

2.        A more excellent way: Love is greater than spiritual gifts--tongues, prophecy and inspired knowledge will pass away (13:1-13)


a.        Benefit of love is greater (13:1-3)


b.       Nature of love is greater (13:4-7)


c.        Endurance of love is greater (13:8-13)


1)       Prophecying, tongues and inspired knowledge are “in part” and temporary. (8-10)


2)       Things of  childhood will cease when they have grown up (11-12)


3)       When that which is complete comes, only faith, hope and love will remain (13, cf. Rom. 8:24; Heb 11:1)

14: Edify

3.        Proper use of Spiritual Gifts in the church (14:1-25)


a.        Prophecy which edifies is greater than untranslated tongues (14:1-19)


b.       Tongues were designed to speak to unbelievers (14:20-25)


c.        Regulations of tongues and prophecy (14:26-36)


1)       All things must edify (14:26)


a)       Tongues (14:27-28)


(1)     two or three may speak


(2)     each in turn


(3)     one interpret


(4)     if no interpreter, keep silence


b)       Prophecy (14:29-33)


(1)     two or three may speak


(2)     each in turn (Be silent when others speak)


(3)     others discern


2)       Women  keep silent in church (14:34-36; cf. 1Tim 2:11-15)


d.       Conclusion:  (14:37-40)


1)       Those truly guided by the spirit will agree


2)       Desire prophecy and forbid not (true) tongues;

3)       Edify in all things.


15: Resurrection

D.      Resurrection (15:1-58)


1.        The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the Gospel by which we are saved (15:1-11)


2.        Without resurrection all is in vain (15:12-19)


3.        Christ must triumph over death  (15:20-28)


4.        Inconsistency of denial of the resurrection (15:29-34)


a.        Why are they baptized for the dead (ones)?


b.       Why should we stand in jeopardy?


c.        Be not deceived.


5.        How are the dead raised? (15:35-49)


6.        Glory of the resurrection (15:50-58)


16: Conclusion



-A collection to be taken for Jerusalem (16:1-4)


-Paul’s plan to visit them (16:5-8)


-Timothy and Apollos to be received (16:10-12)


-Special exhortation to watch, stand fast and love (16:13-14)


-Be subject to the household of Stephanas (16:15-16)


-Paul rejoyced for the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus & Achaicus  (16:17-18)


-Salutations from the churches in Asia, Aquila & Priscilla and others (16:19-21)


-Final exhortation and benediction (16:22-24)