Corinth…a city of immorality and religious idolatry; a city that loved “wisdom” and devoted themselves to learning new philosophies. There were temples to Apollo, Hermes, Heracles, Athena, Poseidon and Asclepius, the “god of healing,” among others. The pagan cult of Aphrodite flourished in Corinth, and as the goddess of love and fertility, I’m sure you can guess what worship of this goddess included. More than 1000 “priestesses” worked the streets at night encouraging the Corinthians to participate in their acts of “worship.” This is the setting that Paul writes his letter to. Paul’s main encouragement? Live a life of love! Not the “love” that the priestesses of Aphrodite aspired to, but the love that valued Christ above the cultural immorality and idolatry of Corinth – the life of love that puts others before self. Though we may think we have “evolved” beyond the lifestyle of the typical Corinthian, have we? Our culture, like Corinth, champions immorality through advertising, the film industry, and television. We may not worship Greek gods, but we worship money, popularity, and the idea that we can be “spiritual” without glorifying God. Paul’s letters were addressed to the Corinthians, but there are plenty of similarities between Corinth and the Western world; the message of loving God and others was applicable for the Corinthians, is applicable for us, and is always true and necessary!
The last time I posted about reading the Bible along with me, I forgot to mention you should read Hebrews…so now you can read Hebrews, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy & James. I know it sounds like a lot, but you have four weeks to do it (our Christmas break is fast approaching!), and it should take less than two hours all together!
Main Idea: Paul urges the Corinthians to live lives of love in Christ, lay down their rights for one another and for the sake of the Gospel, to worship in unity, building up one another and the church.
Reason Written: Corinth was an idolatrous and immoral city; Paul urges the believers to live in a way that is different from their culture – in the way of love – and to stand in unity despite the temptations surrounding them.
TT: Believers are called to lay down their rights for the sake of loving others and for sharing the Gospel (1 Corinthians 8:13, 9:15).
Main Idea: God’s power is made perfect in weakness.
Reason Written: It seems that the Corinthians had received false teaching from false apostles, and were questioning as to whether Paul’s Gospel was truth. Paul defends his ministry amongst them, showing them that he has preached the true Gospel to them, and has suffered greatly for it.
TT: Godly grief produces repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Main Idea: Jesus is greater than all!
Reason Written: Written in response to persecution – people were thinking of returning to Judaism; author writes to encourage them to persevere in their faith. Written to encourage faith in Christ as the Great High Priest.
TT: Jesus is better than anyone and anything (Hebrews 1:2-3)!