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1 Corinthians
Discipleship Lessons from a Troubled Church

1 Corinthians: Discipleship Lessons from a Troubled Church, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Book front cover | back cover

One of the foundational letters of the New Testament

The church at Corinth was troubled. It was five years old, but had divisions, doctrinal problems, and all kinds of disorder. One faction tried to justify going to prostitutes, which was widely accepted in their culture. Others thought they were so spiritual that they should avoid sex in marriage in favor of celibacy. Speaking in tongues was rampant, while most other spiritual gifts were being neglected. Idolatry was reclaiming some of the new believers. Observing the Lord's Supper was a farce. This church had serious problems. More than that, many of the Corinthians resented Paul's influence and tried to minimize his apostolic authority.

This is one of Paul's most spirited letters -- harsh in spots as he seeks to steer this young congregation away from pitfalls that threaten to destroy it. More than anywhere else in Paul's letters, you'll find instruction on church unity, balanced worship, the Lord's Supper, church discipline, the resurrection and Christ's coming, divorce and marriage.

The Letter contains numerous notable verses.

  • "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" (9:22).
  • "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man..." (10:13).
  • "The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread..." (11:23-26).
  • "Love is patient, love is kind..." (13:4-8).
  • "We shall all be, changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet..." (15:51-52).
  • And many, many more....

1 Corinthians is a long letter -- sixteen chapters -- but Paul's most important epistle for shaping the Christian church. This study explores First Corinthians in 15 lessons. Helpful thought and discussion questions make it useful for personal enrichment and by small groups and classes. Extensive research contained in the footnotes makes it a goldmine for teachers and a boon to preachers involved in sermon preparation.

Here's the abbreviated table of contents of this 308-page book:

Preface 4
Introduction to 1 Corinthians 16
I. Healing a Divided Church (1 Corinthians 1-4) 21
  1. Healing Church Divisions (1:1-17a) 22
  2. Human vs. Spiritual Wisdom (1:17b-2:16) 33
  3. Building a Healthy Church on Christ's Foundation (3:1-23) 49
  4. The Struggles and Joys of Christian Leaders (4:1-21) 62
II. A Christian View of Sex and Marriage (5:1-7:40) 74
  5. Confronting Immorality in a Cleansed Church (5:1-13) 75
  6. An Exhortation against Sexual Sin (6:1-18) 89
  7. Marriage and Divorce at the End of the Age (7:1-40) 106
III. Idolatry and Christian Freedom (8:1-10:33) 132
  8. The Case for Spiritual Purity (chapters 8 and 10) 133
  9. Understanding a Leader's Passion (9:1-27) 156
IV. Public Worship and Its Worthy Conduct (11-14) 176
  10. Worship and Communion in the Early Church (11:1-34) 177
  11. Diverse and Unifying Gifts in the Church (12:1-31) 198
  12. Love -- A More Excellent Way (13:1-13) 219
    Excursus on the Meaning of "That Which Is Perfect" (13:10) 234
  13. Prophecy and Ministry by the Holy Spirit (14:1-39) 237
V. The Resurrection and Conclusion (15-16) 259
  14. Resurrection and the Coming of Christ (15:1-58) 260
  15. Giving and Personal Matters (16:1-24) 289
Appendix 1. Participant Handout Guides 304
Appendix 2. The Author's Personal Experience 305
Appendix 3. Tentative Chronology of Paul and the Corinthians (50-56 AD) 306

Detailed Table of Contents

Participant lesson handouts can be downloaded and printed for your group or class at no charge.

The book is available in both paperback and e-book formats.

  1 Corinthians: Discipleship Lessons from a Troubled Church, by Dr. Ralph F. WilsonPaperback format, $18.95, must be ordered through Amazon.com and other online booksellers. You may also ask your local bookstore to order it. The paperback book has 308 pages and is 7.5" x 9.25".  (978-0-9847340-9-2  0984734090). Available now.

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Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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