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1 Corinthians 6:1-20 Study Guide


1 Corinthians 6:1-20

Opening: Terry opened his sermon talking about “felt needs.” Felt needs are often loud, but they don’t always align with our actual needs. Can you think of some examples of felt needs that we in the church today struggle with? Please share your thoughts.

A Better Alternative to “Felt Needs” In Acts 20, Paul said he didn’t “shrink back from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Paul’s intention was to give them the balance of what God has revealed in the Scriptures. He didn’t pick a topic here and there, but he taught key beliefs, values, and behaviors as revealed by God. His goal was to help believers become more like Christ over time by knowing the truth, learning the truth, and living in line with the truth.

Question: Why is organizing our lives around the full counsel of scriptures a more balanced and better approach to growing in Christ?

Transition:  In chapter 6:1-11 Paul is continuing his discussion on the proper sphere of Christian judgment, Paul expressed his shock and dismay over the fact that the Corinthian believers were taking one another to court before unbelievers. Such lawsuits contradicted Christian teaching and behavior.[1] Then in verses 12-20 he called on the Corinthians to take on a Christian outlook and to reject the views of their surrounding culture.[2]

Objective: As Christ-followers, we belong to Him, and what we do with our bodies must be done under His Lordship. His desire is for us to be free in Him; we must learn to flee from temptation and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. 

Discussion 1: Read verses 1-6.

  • Paul was shocked that believers were taking each other to court. Why does Paul say they should not take their disagreements to court?
  • What do you think would motivate these believers to take their cases to court?
  • How do Paul’s words about judging angels help us do some “cognitive reframing?” Does it help to reframe your own thinking? How?

Discussion 2: Read verse 7.

  • Read verse 7 again. Why would Paul say they are already defeated?
  • Why is this passage not so much about taking someone to court, but rather more about the petty, petulant, childish hearts of these believers?
  • When commenting on verse 7, Terry stated, “When you live trying to ‘win’ your way over others…you are going to perpetually be a loser in what matters most.” What did he mean by this statement?

Discussion 3: Read verses 8-11.

  • In this passage, Paul is casting a vision for what God has already done in their lives. Look at who they were before Christ and who they are after Christ. The same is true for us! Read verse 11. What does it mean to you personally to know that your sins have been washed away, that you’ve been set apart, made holy, and made right with God?

Discussion 4: Read verses 12-17.

  • “’Everything is permissible for me’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’—but I will not be mastered by anything. ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food’—but God will destroy them both.” How does verse 12 reveal the immaturity of the Corinthians? What does it teach us about pride and humility?
  • What is the purpose of our bodies?
  • Discuss ways we can practically put the following statement into practice: “The purpose for our bodies is to honor God by loving others…neither to pursue or avoid pleasure…but to experience joy as we live the great commandment.”

Discussion 5: Read verses 18-20.

  • In this passage, Paul tells us to run from sexual immorality, keep on fleeing, and make it a habit to run from sexual sin. Sexual sin is just as devastating now as it was then. So let’s do some reframing. How does knowing that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, bought with a price, help us live our lives for the glory and honor God?

Application: Beliefs/Values/Behavior

Believe: You belong to Christ, and what you do with your body must be done under his Lordship. There are wide implications for this, but this is especially true in the realm of sexuality. This matters, and it matters a lot. Ongoing freedom has always required diligence, community, faith…a desire for something larger than temporary bodily pleasure.

Value: God’s desire is for you to be free. Whatever he says “no” to is because of a much better, more beautiful “yes.”

Do: Flee from temptation…run from it. “Flee the evil desires of youth, AND pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

We must continually RUN TOWARDS the good.

[1] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 90). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 96). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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