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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 305-page book:

  • Preface
  • 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)

  1. Confronting Immorality in a Cleansed Church (5:1-13) 
  2. An Exhortation against Sexual Sin (6:1-18)
  3. Marriage and Divorce at the End of the Age (7:1-40)

III. Idolatry and Christian Freedom (8:1-10:33) 

  1. The Case for Spiritual Purity (chapters 8 and 10)
  2. Understanding a Leader's Passion (9:1-27)

IV. Public Worship and Its Worthy Conduct (11-14) 

  1. Worship and Communion in the Early Church (11:1-34)
  2. Diverse and Unifying Gifts in the Church (12:1-31)
  3. Love -- A More Excellent Way (13:1-13)
    Excursus on the Meaning of "That Which Is Perfect" (13:10)
  4. Prophecy and Ministry by the Holy Spirit (14:1-39)

V. The Resurrection and Conclusion (15-16) 

  1. Resurrection and the Coming of Christ (15:1-58)
  2. 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)
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, $19.95, must be ordered through  The paperback book has 305 pages and is 7.5" x 9.25".  ISBN: 979-8863776989. ASIN: B0CKQK6694

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Kindle e-book formatKindle E-book format, US $8.95. You may purchase this version directly from Amazon USA (SKU = B00IBUBFEG) or from national sites below. This is read using a your Kindle or a Kindle Reader program installed on your computer, tablet, or phone. It cannot be printed out. ASIN: B00IBUBFEG

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PDF E-book format, $8.955. You purchase this 308-page e-book and can download it within minutes. You can read it on your computer in PDF format if you like, or print out a single copy on your printer, either 8-1/2 x 11" or A4 paper. To make multiple copies, get reprint licenses below. No tax is charged on e-books.

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Reprint license to make copiesReprint License, $2.50 per copy. This allows you to print additional copies for your own group. Once you've ordered this item, set quantity field for the number of reprints you plan to make and click on "recalculate." One license is required for each additional copy you make beyond the initial book you purchased. This reprint license prohibits sale of the book to individuals outside your local area or congregation. You'll probably want to order a single copy of the e-book also, so you'll have the text from which to reprint. 

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Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <> 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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