1 Corinthians 3-4 {Bible Study Recap}

Okay – so I’m going to try something.

I teach a bible study on Tuesday mornings (well – “teach” is a relative term) and I send out weekly recaps by email.  I have been going back and forth about whether or not I should post the recaps here and one of my church members encouraged me to last week so we could continue the discussion via the comment section.

SO – here is the recap, with some discussion questions that I felt came out of our discussion.  Please feel free to join the conversation!

1 Corinthians Bible Study
Weekly Recap – Tuesday, April 8, 2014
1 Corinthians 3-4

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1 CORINTHIANS 3

Simple Preaching – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

1 Corinthians 3:1-2
Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet.

  • Paul had been criticized for preaching in a way that was too “simple” but he wanted the people in Corinth to know that they weren’t ready for something more complex.  They needed to understand the basic foundation of their faith before they moved on.

1 Corinthians 3:3
Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual.

  • This comes across as harsh, but I don’t think that Paul meant for it to be harsh. I think he really did want people to nurture the basic foundations of their faith before they moved on to more complicated theological discussion.

Discussion Questions:

  • Do you feel like you are a spiritual or unspiritual person?
  • Are you still nurturing the basic pieces of your faith or are you ready for “solid food”?

The Spirit – 1 Corinthians 3:4

1 Corinthians 3:4
When someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and someone else says, “I belong to Apollos,” aren’t you acting like people without the Spirit?

  • We belong to Christ
  • Paul was addressing pedagogical divisions within the church – it doesn’t matter who is teaching you about your faith or leading your faith community, God should still remain at the center.
  • Think about some of the popular authors, teachers or preachers in our country – as wonderful as they may be, we need to worship God and not them!

Discussion Questions:

  • Do you ever find yourself putting more of a focus on a person or leader and not God?

Growth From God – 1 Corinthians 3:5-7

1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow.

  • It’s not about the minister
  • This is a great passage for talking about a personal relationship with God
  • Our growth comes from God, not necessary people
  • It’s also not about public figures! We may cheer for sports figures and read about celebrities, but it’s so important to let God be our center of gravity.
  • Ecumenism
  • We are all working as different pieces of the Body of Christ – God is giving growth to all of those pieces
  • We need to shy away from judgments of other traditions that may be different from ours – God may be using them for growth in other ways
  • Lives Our Seasons
  • God is constantly nurturing growth – sometimes it happens below the surface and we don’t see it, but it is always happening

Discussion Questions:

  • How difficult is it for you to focus on God and not a person?
  • Have you ever found it difficult to let go and truly allow God to nurture growth in your life?
  • Do you feel as though this takes away from the importance of the ministry we live out on earth?

Personal Faith – 1 Corinthians 3:8-9

1 Corinthians 3:8
The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor.

  • We are all called to nurture our OWN faith
  • This reminds us that we need to speak to God and listen to God calling US into ministry
  • Our faith and ministry won’t look like someone else’s

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to nurture your own faith?
  • How is your faith unique?

A Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock – 1 Corinthians 3:10-11

1 Corinthians 3:11
No one can lay another foundation besides the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ

  • Listen to the song, “A Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock” – there is a cute YouTube video available here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu5bBDRpzPM
  • The foundation HAS ALREADY BEEN LAID.  We do not need to work to lay the foundation or ask God to lay the foundation – it is something God has already done for all of us!

Discussion Questions:

  • What does this foundation look like?

Remember Your Foundation – 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

1 Corinthians 3:12-13
So, whether someone builds on top of the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, or hay, each one’s work will be clearly shown.

  • We can’t hide our foundation with what we build on top of it

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you want to build on top of your foundation?

We Are God’s Temple – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

1 Corinthians 3:16
Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and God’s Spirit lives in you?

  • So much in such a short passage! This reminds us that we have to take care of our bodies – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A great advocate for …
  • Clean eating
  • Exercise
  • Making smart choices with substances
  • Daily spiritual sustenance
  • This passage is a great reminder that not only is God within us, but God is also within the people around us – both our friends AND our enemies

1 Corinthians 3:17
If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person, but God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.

  • Don’t let anyone tear you down – they are not tearing you down, they are actually attacking God. Don’t take personally what other people do or say to you – be true to who you are and who God is calling you to be.

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to you that you are God’s temple?
  • What do you do in your life to protect and care for your body?

God’s Wisdom vs. Human Wisdom – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23

1 Corinthians 3:19
The world’s wisdom is foolishness to God.

  • I think humility is allowing yourself to be God’s fool and embracing that!
  • We need to think about the things that we value – not only our material issues, but also our traditions within the church. Do we carry out these traditions because of God’s wisdom or our widom?
  • In the end, it’s not about worldly things, it is about who we are in relation to God.
  • This is a really good reason to come to church – it resets us! We live in a culture that is saturated by wants and material possessions, it’s hard not to get caught up in that. Coming to church and being part of a community of faith helps us re-set every week and re-evaluate who we are and who we want to be.

1 Corinthians 3:23
But you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

  • We belong to God before anything else
  • We need to remember that we are God’s children and let that center our lives – not the pursuit of success or perfection
  • This is a balance – it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try our best or be proud of our accomplishments – but it does mean that we need to be humble in what we achieve, how we achieve it and how we celebrate those achievements

Discussion Questions:

  • Are you okay with being God’s fool?
  • Do you think pride is okay in certain situations?
  • How can we find balance between living in the world and living as spiritual people?

1 CORINTHIANS 4

Judgment – 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

1 Corinthians 4:5
So don’t judge anything before the right time—wait until the Lord comes.

  • We are too quick to judge
  • One of the problems is that judgment is saturated in our language today
  • This is especially true in the schools today – bullying is extremely prevalent
  • Adults are not immune from bullying – internet anonymity makes things worse, there is no accountability for a lot of judgment that happens today
  • It’s simple – be kind
  • We need to let go of our judgment of how other people act – it’s not our place to judge, it’s Gods

Discussion Questions:

  • How do you react to judgment in your life?
  • Have you ever found yourself judging someone?

Apostolic Tradition – 1 Corinthians 4:6-14

  • I would encourage you to read through this a few times – it’s a little sarcastic, but sometimes people need tough love and I think Paul was trying to pass along a very important message.  The apostles did not have an easy job and I think Paul was trying to open up the eyes of the Corinthian people to how difficult things had become in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 4:14
I’m not writing these things to make you ashamed but to warn you, since you are my loved children.

  • A sign of Paul’s compassionate leadership

Discussion Questions:

  • Have you ever needed this kind of tough love or sarcasm?  How do you respond to it?
  • Do you more often feel like Paul or the people he is speaking to?

Timothy – 1 Corinthians 4:15-17

1 Corinthians 4:15
You may have ten thousand mentors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers.

  • Choose your spiritual mentors carefully
  • Paul was sending Timothy to work in Corinth and encouraging people to welcome him and be open and humble to the work that he is going to do.

Discussion Questions:

  • How do you choose your spiritual mentors?

Paul’s Visit – 1 Corinthians 4:18-21

1 Corinthians 4:20
God’s kingdom isn’t about words but about power.

  • Words vs. Actions – God knows what is on our words (good AND bad) and will see through our words if they are not genuine

Discussion Questions:

  • Have you ever said one thing and done something else?
  • How do you stay true and genuine to the person you are on the inside?

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Please feel free to discuss in the comment section!  If you would like to be added to my email list (I send out a PDF version with it), let me know!

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