1 Corinthians
Discipleship Lessons from a Troubled Church

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Eduard Burne-Jones, detail of Apostle Paul (1873), mosaic, the Apse of St Paul's within the Walls (American Episcopal Church), Rome
Eduard Burne-Jones, detail of Apostle Paul (1881-1898), mosaic, the Apse of St Paul's within the Walls (American Episcopal Church), Rome. Larger image.

What was the most troubled church plant in Paul's ministry? It could very well be the Church at Corinth, planted in the midst of a city known for its immorality and pagan temples. If you were to make a list of the church's problems, it wouldn't be short.

The wonderful thing is, that from Paul's response to the problems of this troubled church you and I learn a great deal! 1 Corinthians is indeed one of the foundational letters in the New Testament. We neglect it at our peril.

I encourage you to sign up for this 15-week study that will begin on this coming Friday. Here's the tentative outline of our study together:

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

Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
This is our 40th online Bible study since 1996. If you've participated in one before, you know how God can use them in your life. If not, then you have a treat in store for you. This is an cross-denominational study designed to help you grow as a disciple of Christ. -- Dr. Ralph F. Wilson. About the leader.
Here's how we'll study together.

  • Each Saturday I'll e-mail you the lesson for the week. Then you'll read the Bible passage and use my notes to help you understand it better.
  • If you sign up for the daily questions version, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you'll receive a question from that week's lesson to think about and answer. This is designed as a "total immersion" approach to Bible study, since I believe God wants to use these lessons to work real and permanent change in your life. (You can opt out of the daily questions if you like, however, and just receive the weekly lessons.) You'll be thinking about these passages constantly over these weeks -- long enough for God to work his Word into your life and lifestyle.
  • You can respond to the questions and exercises using the Joyful Heart Bible Study Forum -- and read others' answers to reinforce your own understanding.
  • 1 Corinthians: Discipleship Lessons from a Troubled Church, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
    Available as a book in paperback, PDF, and Kindle formats.
    With each lesson you'll receive a link to a 20- to 30-minute audio teaching that sums up the passage you've been studying that week. Some who learn better from hearing than from reading really appreciate this.
  • Then on Saturday, I'll send you the next week's lesson.

As of February 17, 2014, we had 2,352 subscribers from more than 83 countries:
United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Netherlands Antilles, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Brazil, Bahamas, Botswana, Belize, Canada, Switzerland, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Algeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Fiji, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Cambodia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Kuwait, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Myanmar, Malta, Mauritius, Malawi, Mexico, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pakistan, Poland, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Singapore, Slovenia, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (U.S.), South Africa, Zambia, Zaire, Zimbabwe.

Sign up now!

To sign up, start by clicking on your e-mail frequency preference:

You'll receive your first lesson the Friday after you sign up. There is no cost to participate in the study, though donations are encouraged so we can create more studies and reach more people.

We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.

Please don't sign up for more than one of my Bible studies at one time. There's no penalty, but each of them is pretty intensive. If you try to do too many studies at the same time without adequate reflection, you'll miss out on God speaking to you.

Copyright © 2022, 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.