Letters of Paul

1 Corinthians

Paul and Apollos – Discussion Questions

Questions for Further Study:

1. Are there any clues in the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians about what might have been dividing the Corinthian factions from each other—in addition to, or in relation to their loyalty to particular leaders?

2. What picture do you get of the importance of future judgment in Paul’s warning to the Corinthians, especially in 3:10-15?

3. And how does this talk about judgment relate to the traditional Protestant interpretation of Paul as one who insists on salvation by faith and not by good works?

4. What is the function of Paul’s not too friendly reminder to the Corinthians that they are still infants in Christ?

Questions for Discussion:

1. We claim that the church (and our churches) are holy, universal and apostolic. What does an apostolic church look like if the apostles “have become like the rubbish of the world.”? (3:13)

2. What are the divisions we find in our own churches — around leaders, doctrines, disputes about acceptable behavior? Does Paul’s insistence that the church is not defined by its leaders but by its belonging help us in thinking about our own situation?

3. In looking at 4:8 we realize that in important ways Paul’s words speak to our affluent society: “Already we have all you (could reasonably) want! Already you are (relatively) rich.” Should we just rejoice and be glad in that—or does this letter raise some questions about our comfort?

4. Do we get any clues from these chapters about what we might appropriately expect from church leaders—ordained or lay? And do those of us who are leaders learn anything about the appropriate style and strategies and grounds of our leadership?

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One Note

  1. Adrian Bruder

    Questions for Further Study:
    1. Are there any clues in the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians about what might have been dividing the Corinthian factions from each other—in addition to, or in relation to their loyalty to particular leaders?
    a. Paul elaborates in 1Cor3-10:11 that the foundation is CHRIST. It seems like people are concerned with what is being built on the foundation and not focusing on the foundation.
    b. Paul seems comfortable that whatever gets built on the foundation of CHRIST will be tested by fire. All that is done in the darkness will come to light.
    i. Paul seems to show that by belonging CHRIST, one will be saved, it seems like someone who is building a ministry on the foundation of CHRIST should expect their ministry to be tested by fire, what the fire shows will determine this persons reward or loss.
    1. He appears to seem unconcerned with the motivation on those who build because 1. The all-knowing LORD will judge and whatever is built will be tested, and the LORD “catches the wise in their craftiness.”
    2. Fire is a recurring theme throughout the bible as to purify and make holy. If there is no fire…?
    2. What picture do you get of the importance of future judgment in Paul’s warning to the Corinthians, especially in 3:10-15?
    a. See Answer on question 1
    3. And how does this talk about judgment relate to the traditional Protestant interpretation of Paul as one who insists on salvation by faith and not by good works?
    a. Paul’s emphasis on faith and not works I believe remains true based on his words. “If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved.”
    i. If you are JESUS’, your salvation doesn’t seem in jeopardy based on your ministry not surviving the fire. – “All are yours… you are CHRIST’S and CHRIST is GOD’S
    4. What is the function of Paul’s not too friendly reminder to the Corinthians that they are still infants in Christ?
    a. They seem to be focused on the Worldly aspects of being part of The Body, I believe. I think he is chastising the church in ICor4:8-13. This faith, ESPECIALLY at that time was not one of victory but of suffering while they wait (for what they believed to be) the very near return of JESUS. It seems the Corinthians were focusing on the power and the wisdom of belonging to CHRIST so much so that they were forgetting CHRIST himself.
    Questions for Discussion:
    1. We claim that the church (and our churches) are holy, universal and apostolic. What does an apostolic church look like if the apostles “have become like the rubbish of the world.”? (3:13)
    a. If the ones who are leading are lost, imagine the ones who follow…
    2. What are the divisions we find in our own churches — around leaders, doctrines, disputes about acceptable behavior? Does Paul’s insistence that the church is not defined by its leaders but by its belonging help us in thinking about our own situation?
    a. “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”. I see the gospel from a very distinct lens that many people in the body may not agree with; but that my faith journey and experience will not change my lens. Instead of trying to prove those who do not agree with me wrong, I take comfort in knowing, “I am CHRIST’S and CHRIST is GOD’s and I through CHRIST get to be GOD’S also…
    3. In looking at 4:8 we realize that in important ways Paul’s words speak to our affluent society: “Already we have all you (could reasonably) want! Already you are (relatively) rich.” Should we just rejoice and be glad in that—or does this letter raise some questions about our comfort?
    a. 4:8 speaks to the church as members and not leaders. He is telling the church that is focusing too much on the leaders particular gifts and styles that to be a leader of the church is slavery in CHRIST as opposed to being a member. I don’t really think 4:8 is focusing on worldly wealth (that’s talked about all over the place) but I feel like the focus of this passage is showing that it is no prize to be Paul, or Apollos, or Peter. Their crosses are nothing compared to JESUS, but they are most certainly heavy.
    4. Do we get any clues from these chapters about what we might appropriately expect from church leaders—ordained or lay? And do those of us who are leaders learn anything about the appropriate style and strategies and grounds of our leadership?
    a. See Q#3