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?