First Corinthians is the New Testament letter for our times.
The city of Corinth, founded by Julius Caesar just decades before the birth of Jesus, was a cultural and commercial center by the time it was visited by the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey. It was the wealthiest city in ancient Greece and a multicultural urban center that included the dramatic arts, music, and Olympic sports.
Corinth boasted many religious shrines, but even more pervasive within it were Greek ideals of individualism, equality, freedom — as well as a distrust of authority. Pluralism was the cultural climate of Corinthian society, and that was reflected in many ways in the young church located there.
It is to this world, not the limited world of Israel, that this letter from the Apostle Paul was written. It was a world not unlike our own — one desperately in need of a true encounter with God and His truth.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered stupid—preaching, of all things! —to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.1 Corinthians 1:20-21, The Message
We see here that the Apostle Paul believed the Gospel is tested in its ability to address the issues of contemporary life. If we hope to be true Christians and reach more people, we must work to bring the Gospel to bear on the issues of our day.
Our newly launched message series titled “Seeing All of Life Through the Gospel” is the start of our exploration of 1 Corinthians. Overall this study will include 5 separate message series and cover most of the book’s 16 chapters.
- Part 1: Seeing All Of Life Through The Gospel – Chapters 1-4 (September/October)
- Part 2: Sex And Relationships – Chapters 5-7 (January)
- Part 3: Rights And Freedoms – Chapters 8-10 (February)
- Part 4: The Gathering – Chapters 11-14 (March)
- Part 5: Resurrection – Chapter 15 (April)
This autumn’s 7-week series will lay out the fundamental problem and solution that will be applied to specific questions and behaviors in the following sections of the book. And the final series — just 2 weeks long — will be on the Resurrection and will include Easter Sunday.
We will address several contemporary topics that may be of particular interest to inquiring friends. If you know someone wondering if the Christian faith is relevant to issues in modern life, then I encourage you to invite them!
We will also have some extra resources for you to dig deeper during this time.
Over the next 7 weeks we are experimenting with a new digital resource called “Between 2 Sermons” that will offer informal discussion of topics or ideas only lightly touched or left out during the Sunday sermon. You can find this video conversation on our Browncroft YouTube channel on Wednesdays. The first one is linked below:
In addition, I encourage you make time on your calendar for our upcoming 1 Corinthians Workshop on the morning of Saturday, October 1 at the church. This workshop will help you better grasp the purpose, context, structure, and theological principles of this book of the Bible — and how to engage it yourself or in your small group. Please click the button at the end of this post to register.
I look forward to learning and growing with you in the year ahead!