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PROBLEM SOLVING IN THE EARLY CHURCH I: Corinth

TOPIC PROBLEM SOLVING IN THE EARLY CHURCH I: Corinth
TEXT 1Cor 1:10-13 and 3:3-23
MEMORY VERSE 1Cor 1:10
INTRODUCTION
From ascertained historical facts, Corinth was the capital city of Achaia and all Greece in Paul’s day (c. AD 50s) when Gallio ruled there as Proconsul of Achaia (Act 18:12). By its unique geographical location on the Peloponnesian isthmus with two crowded sea-ports (on both Aegean Sea and Adriatic Sea sides), Corinth was the globalised commerce nerve centre of the Mediterranean world: a city of Isthmian international games, sophist rhetoric and hedonist philosophy, a cosmopolitan mega-city of libertine vileness, opulence and profligacy (Rom 1:18-32 described Corinth from where Paul wrote to the Romans). As a no man’s land city and melting pot without ethnic culture where “all things are lawful”, Corinth was inhabited by merchants, scholars, occultists, sports champions, freed slaves, “priestess” prostitutes and lesbians for Aphrodite (Venus, the goddess of sexual love) and effeminate homosexuals for Apollo, god of prophetic ecstasy (1Cor 6:9-11; Rom 1:26-28), retired and serving soldiers, Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Egyptians, Jews, etc..
Therefore, the Church in Corinth was wealthy and rich in manifestation of Spiritual Gifts and had similar (or even worse) environment and problems as those of the modern Church!
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Identify the problems faced by the Corinthian Church especially in relation to:
(a) Divisions due to personalities and Spiritual Gifts (1Cor 3 & 12),
(b) Fornication (1Cor 5),
(c) Quarrels and litigation (1Cor 6),
(d) Marriage and family (1Cor 7),
(e) Food from idolaters (1Cor 8).
2. How did the Church leadership seek to find answers to these problems (1Cor 1:11; 5:1; 7:1; 16:15-18) and how did Apostle Paul address these problems through practical guidance such as:
(a) NT COMMANDS to comply in unity (e.g. 1Cor 7:10)?
(b) NT CONCESSIONS to consider in diversity (e.g. 1Cor 7:6)?
(c) NT COUNSELS for constraint in charity (e.g. 1Cor 7:10)?
(d) And also NT CUSTOMS to conform in similarity (e.g. 1Cor 7:17; 11:2)?
3. What practical lessons could the modern Church learn from these Corinthian problems and Apostolic principles of practical Christian living?

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