Introduction to 1 Corinthians

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.

1 Corinthians 1:1

Today our focus moves from Jeremiah to 1 Corinthians. If you’re new to these Daily Reflections, let me explain why 1 Corinthians is next in line. My ultimate plan is to work my way through all of Scripture. At my current pace, that will take many years. I have not chosen to go through the entire Bible in order, though, but rather to vary the menu a bit.

I do this in a couple of different ways. First, on weekdays I focus on whichever biblical book is next in line, moving through that book passage by passage (at least one chapter a day, though zeroing in on one or two verses). On the weekends, my reflections are based on the Psalms, which encourage a worshipful response to Scripture.

Second, I vary the menu by moving back and forth between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and between different genres of literature. So far I’ve covered: Genesis (Torah); Matthew (Gospel); Isaiah (prophecy); Romans (letter); Exodus (Torah); Mark (Gospel); Jeremiah (prophecy). According to this pattern, it’s time for the next letter of the New Testament, which is 1 Corinthians.

I’m excited to begin this letter of Paul. Let me briefly explain why. First of all, 1 Corinthians contains some of the most influential passages in all of the Bible, including the famous “Love Chapter” that is read in so many weddings. Such passages are always worth our study and reflection.

Second, 1 Corinthians addresses issues that are of pressing importance in today’s world, issues like: the nature of the church, the calling of pastors, sexual morality, the role of women in church, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the challenge of getting along with our Christian brothers and sisters, and the challenge of being a Christian in a hostile culture.

Third, 1 Corinthians was written to a community of Christians that faced challenges not unlike our own. They were living in a multicultural, philosophically diverse world, one that didn’t exactly welcome Jesus Christ and his counter cultural claims. Thus, like us, the Corinthian believers struggled to discover what it meant to be faithful to Jesus Christ, as strangers in a strange land.

If it’s at all possible for you, I’d encourage you to read 1 Corinthians straight through. The book has sixteen chapters and can be read in an hour or less. As you read, pay attention to issues that strike you or questions that occur to you. Try to get a feel of the book and its main purpose. Imagine how Paul felt as he wrote and how the Corinthians might of felt as this letter was read in one of their assemblies.

Ask the Lord to speak to you as we study this book together. Invite the Spirit of God to teach you, convict you, and encourage you. God has great things in store for us.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What is your impression of 1 Corinthians? What helps you to be open to God as you study, reflect upon, and pray over his Word?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the adventure that lies ahead of us as we work prayerfully through 1 Corinthians. Thank you for the things we will learn, for the challenges we will receive, for the encouragement we will take to heart. Thank you for the Spirit who helps us to understand this book, even as the Spirit helped Paul to write it.

As we reflect upon 1 Corinthians, may we reaffirm the classic truths of this letter. Moreover, may we be open to the new things you want to teach us. May our devotional study of 1 Corinthians make a real difference in how we live each day: at work, in our families, among our friends, as members of the body of Christ, and as your representatives in the world.

All praise be to you, O God, because you have made yourself known to us through your written Word! Amen.