Study. Corinthians: A troubled congregation. By Fabian Massa.

Translated from Spanish to English with Google Translator. 


About 1 Corinthians. 


The city of Corinth was located on the eponymous isthmus. The isthmus connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece and has a length of 6 km. The lands surrounding the city were very productive. In a rock called Acrocorinto [1] very high and surrounded by a steep slope, the city had its strength, it was almost impregnable. 

The city had two harbors, the output Lequeo with the Ionian Sea and the Cenchrae, in the Aegean Sea. 
The city was very rich, for its two ports entered many merchant ships. I had the problem of social inequality were almost 100.00 slaves, corruption and moral decay: In fact, his name became synonymous with corruption (korinthiazesthai amounted to "prostitution"). The population was Greek religion and had many famous temples such as [2]: 

Temple of Olympian Zeus 
Statue of Poseidon with trident and dolphin Ephesian Artemis 
Temple of Tyche (Fortuna). 
Poseidon bronze. 
Clàrios statues of Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes and Zeus. 
Statue of Athena and the Muses. 
Octavia Temple (dedicated to the sister of Augustus). 
Temple of Athena Calinitis 


The culture of the city was completely contrary to the Word of God, idolatry was "made ​​flesh" in the Corinthians. 
The Church was born of the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy on the second missionary journey (Acts 18: 1-5.). However, a few years later, the Church had lost most of his anointing, as is reflected in the first letter he writes the Apostle Paul in 59 AD 
If we analyze the 1st letter we can see how Paul addresses a problem in each chapter. It is also understood that the problems are presented in order of appearance, ie from the first are generated and chaining everyone else. 


The problem of the Corinthian Church view by chapter [3] 

Chapter 1: The Division in the Church 
The Church had been planted by Paul in the power of the Holy Spirit, with the foundation of Christ and the Word of God. (Acts 18) The Church began to work in the house of Titius Justus, who lived next to the synagogue in Corinth. 
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Fear not; but speak and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you. While attacking you, I will not let anyone hurt you, because I have many people in this city. "(Hch.19.9-10). 

Paul spent a year and a half preaching in Corinth, he departed thence to Ephesus where he remained three years. After Paul left Corinth, soon, in the Church serious problems begin to appear, the first of which Paul mentions is the division: 

11 I say this, brethren, because some of Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 I mean, some say, "I follow Paul"; others say: "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; and another, "I follow Christ." (Hch.18.11-12) 

The congregation was divided and disagreed on theology: Each had its own "Vision" which gave him a different purpose to things, the result being that lived in disharmony: 
10 I beseech you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who all live in harmony and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. Acts. 18.10 

Paul was a man of God, had given up on having a "proper vision [4]" to take Christ had given him: Unit represented by Christ and the Church. 

The Corinthians had ceased to look to Christ and put their eyes on men. Paul asked: "How 13! Is Christ divided? (1 Co.1.13 A) "We appreciate that this is something that continues in the Church today: Having one Bible, we have hundreds of denominations competing with each other. 

From this, is when you start to complicate things. 
The Corinthians had begun to reject the preaching of the Cross, who did not want to talk about sin, repentance, they just wanted to preach to speak of "Blessings and Miracles" wanted to hear a different Paul's theology: Does not this sound familiar today ? But the Apostle insists relocating the foundation: 

18 I For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; however, for those who are saved, that is, for us, this message is the power of God.19 For it is written: 
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent. "1 Corinthians 1.18-19 

The Corinthians had a problem of snobbery [5] despised Paul, because he lacked the excellence of a Greek orator (1 Corinthians 2.1-5, 13.1), and some felt that the emphasis that Paul faced the cross was an offense to the Greek mind (1 Corinthians 1.26-31, 3.1-10). Exhibited a perverse intellectual pride that made being arrogant (1 Corinthians 8.1b), and promoted conflict and internal rivalry (caps. 3-4). Some seemed to be more interested in credentials and prestige in the good character of the person (1 Corinthians 9, 2 Corinthians 10-12). 

Chapter 2: The secular philosophy in the Church 
Paul mentions that the basis on which he founded the Church in that city was his testimony and signs of power in the Holy Spirit: 

2 I, brethren, when I came to announce the testimony [a] God, did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom. 2 is I determined, being among you, not to know anything except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 It is, I came to you in weakness so trembling with fear. 4 Not talked and preached them with wise and persuasive words, but in demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. 

But the Corinthians were suddenly dazzled by Greek rhetoric, and other preaching, thus deviating from the path initially by Paul. 

Chapter 3: Spiritual Immaturity and sectarianism 
In this chapter from the vv. 1 to 9, Paul tells the Corinthians were behaving immaturely, to be jealous, selfish, competitive attitude between them and being sectarian (ie establish divisions) to say, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos. "
In 3.10 to 15 the Apostle a warning to preachers who want to bring a different doctrine to the Bible: 

10 According to the grace God has given me, I, as master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver and precious stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, then the judgment day will reveal. The fire will be revealed, and will test the quality of work of each. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward, 15 but if your work is burned up, he will suffer loss. It will be saved, yet so as by fire. 

With respect to snobbery, Paul advises that no longer dazzled by the fashionable philosophies (3.18), "19 For the eyes of God the wisdom of this world is foolishness. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their own craftiness'" 



Chapter 4 
The congregation has become presumptuous and had at least Paul, not recognizing his Apostolate and its authority over the Church. The comfortable economic situation of the Corinthians (in contrast to the hardships that sometimes passed the Apostles), his love of Greek rhetoric, their spiritual immaturity, his snobbery was playing against them but they do not perceive. Paul says, "14 I do not write these things to shame you but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 In fact, though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, parents do not have many, because through the gospel I was the father who begot in Christ Jesus. "



Chapter 5 A case of sexual immorality 
A member of the congregation was living with his father's wife and the Church tolerated. It is unfortunately what we see today in the churches are tolerating sexual immorality. 



Chapter 6 Lawsuits among believers, sexual immorality and idolatry. 
Spiritual immaturity is that believers continue behaving in many ways like the mundane: jealousy, anger, selfishness, idolatry, deceit, sexual immorality, divisions, factions, etc ... (Galatians 5:19) It was bad enough they had quarrels among themselves, but that they could not resolve in the light of the Word and had to go to secular courts it was too much for the Apostle. 
Despite having confessed Christ, many of these brothers were participating in the banquet given in many pagan temples in the city. When you talk about joining a prostitute, does that in some idolatrous pagan worship was practiced prostitution. 


Chapter 7 Marriage Tips 
Paul gives a number of tips relating to marriage. 


Chapter 8 against idolatry 
Paul advised not to participate in the meals that are known to have been consecrated to idols. Again referring to the haughtiness of the Corinthians, 2 who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But he who loves God is known by him. 



Chapter 9 Defense Paul 
Paul feels the need to defend their rights as an Apostle. The Corinthians were not recognizing his ministry or his paternity of the congregation. For this reason they had no care of the basic needs of Paul. It is the responsibility of the Church, ie the congregation, for the expenses of the same and to ensure the needs of the Pastor and his family, which the Corinthians were doing. 



Chapter 10 Warnings to the Church 
Paul reminds the Corinthians errors committed by Israel in the wilderness by the way of the "Promised Land" where because of unbelief, of the generation that left Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb arrived. Israel's sin was unbelief. The Corinthians were missing the mark by not believing the Word of God. 


Chapter 11-15 Paul touches various issues related to order the services. 

Chapter 11: 
In the marital relationship the correct order: Husband Jesus subject and wife subject to the husband. 
Disunity, sectarianism and competition became a bad atmosphere at worship. Paul warns them that way is not worth taking the "Lord's Supper". 



Chapter 12 [6]: 
The Corinthians were wrong about spiritual gifts, so Paul says, "12 I do not want you, brethren, have you ignorant concerning spiritual gifts. 1 Co.1.1 RV60 

a. They did not understand that they were building up the Church and not for bragging 
b. They did not understand that the gifts are just that: A gift of God and not our own merit. 
c. They did not understand that the gifts are all of equal importance, because all God gives. 
d. Did not understand that every gift is a manifestation of Spirit baptism. 
e. The Corinthians gave too much importance to the gift of tongues, but Paul put this gift in the last place of importance to the growth of the Church. 
        
                                                                                    
Chapter 13: The supremacy of love. 
In one sentence Paul reflects the spiritual state of the Corinthians: "13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am nothing more than a sounding brass or cymbal noise." The Corinthians prided themselves the gift of tongues, but Paul says that without love, even with all the gifts, they are just noise. Love was the medicine for the problems of the congregation: "4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not envious or boastful or proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, is not easily angered or resentful. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the verdad.7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. "


Chapter 14 
The prophecy which is most important in the Church that the language (unless you have interpreters) that builds what is meant. 

Maintaining order in worship: "27 If you talk in tongues, speak two, or at the most three, each in turn; and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church and each speak to himself and to God. "



Chapter 15 
Inside the church had infiltrated Gnostics who denied the resurrection of Christ. This is serious because they are denying all the prophecies and the effectiveness of the Word of God. 
3 For above all [a] I passed on to you what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and finally, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me me. 



Conclusion 
The problems they had were many and they were serious. However, despite all their immaturity and carnal mind, Paul considered: 
The Holy Spirit had given them gifts (1 Corinthians 1.4-9) 
The Lord had called to be holy (1.2), and in whom he had confidence the apostle (2 Corinthians 7.16). Paul spoke not only grace, but practiced it with them - even though they were ungrateful. 

Although the powerful Church of the Acts under 30 years separated the Corinthian church is extremely similar to the Church of the XXI century. We can see that the problems between the brotherhood are not new: 
sectarianism 
snobbery 
Do not want to hear of sin and repentance 
Preferring "Sermons of Power (economic and financial, of course)" 
The tolerance of immorality within the Church. 
But God still work in the midst of the brotherhood of the saints, and it is he who must go to grow spiritually (1 Corinthians 3.7-9), knowing that He will sustain us to the end (1 Corinthians 1.8-9). 


______________________________

[1] Acrocorintio: From Greek Acro = High.
[2] http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corinto
[3] Unless otherwise indicated, all fares are taken from the NIV Bible https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hechos+18&version=NVI
[4] http://www.tesorosdesabiduria.com/2014/08/refelxion-vision-pastor-by-fabian-massa.html
[5] Admiration exaggerated by anything new or considered refined and elegant. http://www.wordreference.com/definicion/esnobismo
[6] http://www.tesorosdesabiduria.com/2014/08/reflexion-the-spiritual-gifts-and-las.html
English http://www.tesorosdesabiduria.com/2014/08/reflection-spiritual-gifts-and.html



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