Copr. 1998, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society,  unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION: This week we end out study of 1 Corinthians by reviewing a few verses and ending up in chapter 16. Let’s see what we can learn!


     A. Tell me about the impression you have of
the Corinthian church based on our study together of thebook of 1 Corinthians?

          1. Is this a
church racked with problems?

          2. What are some
of the leading problems you remember from our studies?(Factions-chapts.1 & 3; Arrogance- chapt.4; Immorality-chapt.5;Lawsuits and prostitution- chapt.6; Foodsacrificed to idols-chapt.8; Abuse of the Lord’s Supper-chapt.11;Lack of love-chapt.13; Tongues abuse and disorderin worship-chapt.14.)

     B. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 1:4-9. Read.
When we read this the first time, we did not have a clearvision of what was to follow. Does this square with whatyou now know about the Corinthians?

          1. What is the
first thing for which Paul is thankful when it comesto the Corinthians? What does Paul mean in verse 4 whenhe says, “I thank God for you because of His grace givenyou in Jesus Christ?”

          2. What does
this teach us in dealing with individuals who have “slipped”and “need correction?” (We have this list of “terribles”about the Corinthians that follow in this letter,yet Paul starts out saying that he is thankful whenhe thinks of them!

a. Does this reveal God’s approach to sinners?

b. Does God approach all sinners this way? Or were the Corinthians “special?”

          3. When Paul
says in verse 8 that God will “keep [the Corinthians]strong to the end,” what does he mean?  They do not seemvery strong now!

          4. Does verse
8 say that they are “blameless” now — and should just”stay the course?”

          5. Who does verse
9 say is faithful?  The Corinthians or God? (Thereis a pattern in these verses. Paul talks to the Corinthiansin words (in these verses we are looking at) that leavelittle doubt that they are saved. However, heis beginning his discourse on how they urgently needimprovement in their lives. For example, v.8, “so thatyou will be blameless.” Verse.9, “God…has called you intofellowship with…Jesus.”  Our walk with our Lord isan ongoing process of improvement.)


     A. Turn next with me to 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.
Read. Why do you think Paul puts these two texts together?(Twin problems. One group may has an overconfident, unrealisticview about temptation. The second group lacks confidenceabout their ability to face temptation.)

     B. When Paul says “NO temptation has seized
you except what is common to man,” what does he mean? What isthe message for us?

     C. We often read and hear about “victims” who
are charged with extremely sinful behavior.  In our areaa prominent “late middle age” lawyer, who ran for a seat inthe United States Senate, has been on trial for the chargesof attempting to hire a “hit man” to kill her physician husbandand another lawyer.  As I understand the newspaperaccounts, her act of attempting to hiring a “hit man” is not seriouslycontested. (She managed to “hire” a police officer!)Instead, the defense is based upon suggestions that she sufferedsome sort of abuse as a child.

          1. How do you
think Paul’s “No temptation” words apply to this situation?(I think Paul is saying, “no excuses, Corinthians.”You not have to engage in these sins. Your temptationsare not unique.  You are not the only person who ever livedwho has faced this problem.)

a. When approaching a sinner in the church, how would you mix what we just learned from 1 Corinthians 1 with what we are reading now? (Kind, encouraging, but not coddling or compromising.)

          2. What gives
you the most comfort from verse 13? (God’s hand is on thethrottle. He will not let the temptation become too extremefor us, and He will give us a way out!)

     D. Put the verses we studied from chapter 1
together with verse 13, what picture is Paul painting aboutGod’s attitude towards sin? (That He accepts us sinners intofellowship with Him right now, big old ugly warts and all,but calls us to a partnership with Him to put sin behind us!)

          1. Be honest.
Do you look for a “way out” of temptation? Or do you generallylook for a “way into” temptation?

          2. If you are
looking for a “way in” have you entered into a “salvationpartnership” with God?

III. THE FINAL INSTRUCTIONS A. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 16. Read verses 1-4. Notice Paul’s introduction, “now about the collectionfor God’s people.”  What did we previously learnthat this meant? (Remember we have exchanges of letters betweenPaul and the Corinthians. In answer to one or more of theCorinthians’ letters, Paul writes his response. This isa response to one of their questions. See the similar patternin 1 Corinthians 12:1, 1 Corinthians 8:1, 1 Corinthians 7:1)

     B. Why does Paul tell them to collect their
money “on the first day of the week?”

          1. Is it because
they are all together in church?

          2. If they were
turning in their money at church (like you do eachweek), would that be consistent with the other instructionthat “each one of you should [be]… saving it up…?”

a. Most translations that I checked (NAS, RSV, NKJV, KJV, CEV, Phillips, Jerusalem, NIV) do not give the complete picture. The Greek (v.2) is literally (in part) “every one of you by himself.” The last word of this phrase, “heautoo,” is properly translated “himself.” (See, Strong’s, Thayer’s, Mare & Harris, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p.121.)  The KJV comes the closest to acknowledging this by saying, “lay BY HIM in store,” but the way it says it is confusing. Apparently, these translators did not think “by himself” added anything to the meaning, but it seems to me (in my vast ignorance) this is critical to the issue of whether they are, in fact, together in church. How can a person be laying in store, “by himself” and be in a crowd at church?)

          3. How did they
know how much to give? (v.2 “in keeping with his income….”It was tied to the amount of their income.)

          4. Do you figure
that these guys were on “direct deposit?” Did they get a weekly paycheck from their employer? (Ifyou think about the practicality of this, it hardly seemsthat they could be in church. Their income probablyvaried each week.  This would require a calculation. The idea that they were doing the math, “saving it up””by themselves” points unmistakably to home activity.)

          (5. Those teachers
who are proficient in Greek should consider whetherv.2 is properly translated “first Sabbath.” As I understand it, the word translated “week” can refer toeither seven days or the seventh day. The word “day” issupplied in the translations.)

     C. Why does Paul tell the church (v.3) to designate
local church members to take this collection toJerusalem?

          1. Why does Paul
(v.4) leave open the possibility that he might not goto Jerusalem with this gift?

          2. From an accountant’s
point of view, what do you think of this arrangement?(Paul was above reproach. An accountant wouldcall this idea of having the people who “owned” themoney designate representatives to handle the money an accounting”control.” You have more than one person handlingthe money so that you can have a “check” on what is done.If one person collects, counts and records themoney, you have inadequate accounting controls –and you can quote Paul in addition to the AICPA!)

     D. Do you see any eternal principles in Paul’s
overall instructions in these verses?

          1. What do we
learn about spur of the moment contributions?

          2. What do we
learn about the amount of the contribution?

          3.  What
do we learn about collections during church services?

          4. What do we
learn about protecting reputations and God’s money?(a) How much you contribute should be carefully calculated,in keeping with your income; b) Offering collectionsshould not interfere with the church service; and,c) Adequate accounting controls should be in place inthe church family so no one can be accused of misappropriation.)

IV. NEXT WEEK: New quarter and new study!  We will be studying

Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).

ounting controls should be in place inthe church family so no one can be accused of misappropriation.)

IV. NEXT WEEK: New quarter and new study!  We will be studying

Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).