“But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”—1 Corinthians 1:23-24 NKJV
By Leslie M. Grant
First Corinthians (Corinth means “satiated” or “satisfied”) was written by Paul to correct the disorders allowed at Corinth in the early Church. This epistle lays down solid, practical principles of local assembly government and order, most necessary for the Church of God around the world. This authoritative universal application is emphasized in 1 Corinthians 1:2, 4:17, 11:16 and 14:33,37.
The city of Corinth was a center of Greek philosophy, and it was morally corrupt. Hence the world’s wisdom is discarded in chapter 1. Chapter 2 replaces it with God’s revelation by His Spirit because “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God” (v.14).
Human wisdom cannot order the path of the Assembly of God, but the Word of God applied by the Spirit of God to hearts and consciences is sufficient to maintain divine order according to the mind of God. In 1 Corinthians 1-2 intellectual pride is rejected; in chapters 3-7 fleshly corruption is as fully judged; and chapters 8-10 guard against fellowship with any demon influence through idolatry. First Corinthians 11-14 give basic details of assembly truth and practice.
The unity of the body of Christ, in separation from unholy associations, is stressed throughout the book. Yet the unity is seen to be displayed in a wonderful diversity of gifts which call for godly exercise. The importance of sound doctrine also is a vital matter, and chapter 15 strongly stresses the truth of the resurrection both of Christ and of His saints at His coming as being basic to the testimony of the Assembly, or Church.
First Corinthians is a valuable book to encourage appreciation and concern for every member of the body of Christ and to strengthen collective testimony according to the mind of God.