1 Corinthians Women's Study
Week Twelve: 1 Corinthians 15-16
April 7, 2022 • Jaime Carnaggio • 1 Corinthians 15—16
• Paul is helping them to see how this concept of something dying giving way to new life is not as absurd as they think. This happens in nature all the time. Seed that is sown dies in the ground before the plants grow and come alive. • There’s a clear physical difference in what goes in the ground and what comes out of it, and yet the essence of it remains intact. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. Our physical bodies die and rise again to new life. There is continuity between our earthly body and our resurrected body . . . and yet there are physical differences. • We inherit our earthly, natural bodies from Adam, who came from the dust, and these bodies reflect the reality of a fallen, broken, sinful world. Our bodies are weak, we have limitations, our bones can break . . . and eventually they will perish . . . to dust we will return. But we inherit our heavenly, spiritual bodies from Jesus (the last Adam), who came from heaven, but took on a body of dust (a weak, perishable, earthly body) and did what the first Adam could never do, he paid the penalty of death, he reversed the curse, and his earthly body gave way to a resurrected one. On Easter morning, he didn’t appear as a disembodied spirit floating around. He was once again embodied, people could see him and touch him, they recognized him!! • What happened to Jesus, will happen to us. Our resurrection bodies will “bear the image of the man of heaven!” Philippians 3: 20-21: 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body… • My current, earthly body is like the acorn, which will die in the ground, but will eventually give way to a resurrected body, which is like the oak tree: identifiably the same, but greater to an unimaginable degree…a body that is mysteriously in continuity with the body we have now but also gloriously different, one that’s imperishable, unbreakable, incorruptible, immune to disease and sickness . . . it will be raised in glory and power and honor. • Our resurrection is like trading in a set of dusty, moth-eaten, moldy clothes that will rot and decay (which aren’t allowed in a holy, perfect heaven) for a brand-new, royal robe that will never perish or degrade. What a marvelous exchange! • Despite all the mysterious nuances that we really can’t fully know on this side of heaven, we CAN be certain that our resurrection is a future reality, we CAN be united in the hope that one day ALL in Christ will be raised imperishable and clothed with immortality, in a real resurrected, eternal, body in heaven. “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Week Eleven: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-34
March 31, 2022 • Jaime Carnaggio • 1 Corinthians 15:1–34
• Paul reminds us we’re being saved by the gospel. Our salvation isn't just a past reality, accomplished on the cross, once-for-all. It has present significance, the gospel saves and sanctifies us, transforms us and guides us every day. • The eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection validated that it really happened, it wasn't just an allusion or an urban legend. It was a real, unmistakable event that happened in history. He really is who he said he is. • "God’s moment-by-moment, ever-arriving grace fueled Paul’s obedience. God’s unmerited, transforming GRACE is the decisive doer in ALL of Paul’s work.” John Piper • We have faith in the gospel both with our left-brain and right brain – we believe because it’s a historical reality, we trust that these things truly occurred, but we also believe because we EXPERIENCE it . . . because God burns the gospel deep into our hearts, changing us forever. We CANNOT encounter God’s grace and remain unchanged. We are who we are because of God’s grace. • Paul makes it clear that, without the resurrection, the gospel completely falls apart. Without the resurrection, there is no gospel at all. Tim Keller says, "The gospel can’t survive a dead Savior. Everything hangs on whether or not Christ came out of the tomb.” • The reality of Christ’s resurrection means that we, too, will be resurrected. We can be certain of our salvation, of our future victory over death . . . even though we’re still waiting for all things to be put under Christ’s feet. John Piper says, “we can sleep the sleep of the saved and thankful.” • “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said: if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? If Jesus didn’t defeat death, every claim he ever made is proven false. If Christ is risen, then nothing else matters. And if Christ isn’t risen – then nothing else matters. The resurrection is the hinge upon which the story of the world pivots.” Tim Keller
Week Ten: 1 Corinthians 14
1 Corinthians 14
• John Piper defines speaking in tongues as “ecstatic and divine utterances where your heart is so full of the Holy Spirit that he looses your tongue in praise to God.” I love that definition. It’s a beautiful gift that strengthens your bond with the Lord. But it's more of a personal, intimate practice, between the person holding the gift and God. It works It works more to edify the specific individual, and less to edify the body. It also requires interpretation, at least publicly. When someone is speaking in tongues publicly and there’s no one present to translate or interpret it, it can cause much confusion among those who hear it • Paul’s problem isn’t with the gift of tongues itself; his problem is with the MISUSE of it, the self-indulgent flaunting of it in public, without interpretation . . . those that used it to show-off, to impress. • Reflection Question: What are some ways spiritual gifts are misused or abused? How can misusing our gifts damage the body instead of build it up as intended, do more harm than good? • When we misuse our gifts (or lack love in using them), we’re clanging symbols, babble, just noise, which is a nuisance, it’s annoying, which can repel people from Christ instead of compelling them toward him. But when we use our gifts rightly, the way they were intended (with love, and with full dependence on the Spirit), we’re a harmonious hymn. We make God known and edify the body. Using our gifts wrongly results in noise, using them rightly results in SONG. • The Bible is complete and sufficient, no future prophecy carries the divine weight like the Bible does; these are God’s breathed words. That being said, prophecy still exists today. What we see more often today is perhaps a bit less “predictive” but still powerful, “God-given revelations,” that work to build up the church and provide encouragement and consolation (reassurance, strength) to believers. • Those that experience prophecy (both the giver and receiver) usually can't deny God's presence. Things that feel like coincidences, are often more likely God’s providence, his prophetic power at work! Paul says with prophecy, our hearts our exposed, we experience conviction and clarity, we’re affected by it, certain that “God is really among us.” • However, prophecy must be weighed by others. It must be tested. Paul makes this clear in 1 Thessalonians 5: 19-20. He says, “Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.” Because prophecy today is not the authoritative, infallible word of God, it needs to be tested by (measured against) Scripture (because true prophecy would never conflict with God’s holy Word), and it may even need to be evaluated by wise, pastoral counsel. • So with both of these gifts, we don’t just go out and about flaunting them with abandon, they both require restraint and discernment (and often silence) and a complete dependence on the Spirit. • Paul’s primary concern was establishing peaceful order. He doesn’t want our worship or our church experiences to be chaotic and confusing, because God is not a God of confusion but a God of PEACE. And this instruction applies to everyone, both men and women. • Just because you have one of these valuable speech gifts, doesn’t mean you use them every chance you get. Sometimes the more loving thing to do, the more edifying thing to do, is to keep silent, because it keeps better order, it’s more peaceful. If the goal is ultimately for us to use our spiritual gifts to make God known to others and build up the body of Christ, then we are to pursue love and peace and order, we should earnestly desire to rightly exercise the gifts given to us, to fully rely on the Spirit’s guidance.
Week Nine: 1 Corinthians 13
March 16, 2022 • Mitzi Barber • 1 Corinthians 13
• God's love activates the power in our God-given spiritual gifts (chapter 12). Without love, our gifts are nothing. The Corinthians were seeking status & power, using their gifts to be "puffed up," rather than to build up one another in LOVE. Love is power in God's economy. • We cannot manifest love in our own power. We experience God's radical love in order to be a conduit of his love to others. When his love is at the center of our spiritual gifts, we are NOT noisy gongs or clanging cymbals. • Love endures all things: This doesn’t mean just grin and bear it, but rather endure here means "abide, tarry with." • Vs. 10 tells us, "when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away." What is Paul referring to? Perhaps Jesus' second coming? When Jesus' comes again, all of our spiritual gifts (prophecy, knowledge) will fade away. But love never ends. • We are fully known and fully loved now. We only "see this in a mirror dimly" now, but eventually will we come to experience this truth face to face (vs. 12). In our pursuit of love, our pursuit of God, we realize that God is continually pursuing us! • Reflection Question: How have you felt God's love in your life? What characteristics of his love that are listed in the text have you experienced? • Reflection Question: We are each on uniquely personal journeys with God. On YOUR journey with the Lord, what might he be calling you further into as you pursue LOVE? As your heart dwells in the Scripture this week, ask Jesus: Lord, how are you inviting me to lean into Love?
Week Eight: 1 Corinthians 12
March 10, 2022 • Jamie Carnaggio • 1 Corinthians 12
• What makes our gifts so special and powerful is not the receiver (us), but the giver (the Holy Spirit). God manifests in our lives through the Spirit so that he is visible to others. He has given himself to us and given each of us a gift, so that we can make him known to others. • We need to have a water pitcher in one hand, ready to pour into others, because we all have something to give, something to offer that others need . . . and we need to have an empty cup in the other hand, because we also all need to be poured into, to be filled up by others. We all form ONE body, and all members are needed to form that body, we all depend on one another to make the body function properly. • When one member is suffering, we all share in that suffering. When one member is honored, we all rejoice. When one member has difficulties or deficiencies, others will naturally compensate. We were created to fill in the gaps for one another. • Our unity isn’t lost because of our diversity. In fact, our diversity actually strengthens and serves the unity of the body. The reverse is true too . . . our diversity doesn’t hinder our unity, it’s absolutely necessary for it. • God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. God gave each of us what he willed, and he gave us these gifts for one, shared purpose, to make him known for the building up of others. He didn’t make any mistakes when he placed you where you are. • Ephesians 4:15-16. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” • Consider the gifts God has given you. How will you seek to use those gifts?
Week Seven: 1 Corinthians 10 & 11
Jaime Carnaggio • 1 Corinthians 10, 1 Corinthians 11
• The warning (in 10: 12) and the assurance (in 10: 13) work together to pull us toward Christ. The warning reminds us that we're not invincible, that our idolatry has consequences. The assurance reminds us that we are secure in Christ, that God will provide an escape from our temptation. We need both! • Paul famously proclaims in 10: 31, "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." And we give him glory when we love and serve his body well, when we put others’ needs above our own. (Read John 12: 15-17, Mark 12: 28-31.) • How we present ourselves should be glorifying to God (and not take the attention off him) and it should be loving to our neighbor . . . we don’t want to OFFEND our unbelieving neighbors, we want to COMPEL them to Christ. • The Lord's Supper is a sacred meal, where bruised and broken sinners come together, in need of a Savior, no one in greater need than another, to share in the body and blood of Christ. The Lord's Table is a place where every barrier (socioeconomic, racial, class, gender, and age) is removed . . . it represents the fact that all our division and disunities are overcome in Christ. • The Lord's Supper isn't just a meal, it's an experience where we're invited to taste and consume and digest Jesus Christ, to participate in our divine union with him, to remember that his body was broken for us, to acknowledge the forgiveness and redemption his life grants us every day, and to acknowledge that he is our sustenance in this world, that all we need (or will EVER need) is found in him.
Week Six: 1 Corinthians 8 & 9
February 17, 2022 • Jaime Carna • 1 Corinthians 9, 1 Corinthians 8
• Just because we have the "right" to do something, doesn't mean we should, especially when exercising that right causes our "weaker" brother or sister to stumble in his or her faith, or when refraining from that "right" removes obstacles to the gospel and helps us better build up the body. “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.” There are some things that we may need to set aside (even if it’s within our rights) for the sake of the gospel, out of love for the body of Christ. Read Romans 14: 1-21, where Paul expands on this point. • When we place other’s needs and concerns above our own, when we’re sensitive to other’s “weaker” consciences,” when we avoid placing unnecessary “stumbling blocks” in the way of a believer . . . we strengthen the body. • Never assume the gospel, even in your own heart. Even though salvation is guaranteed for all who claim Jesus as Savior, even though we can live confidently that nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ, we still run toward the finish line, toward our prize, our heavenly crown. Even though we know this victory is ours, we still run the race “for the sake of the gospel, that we might share in its blessings.” Reflection Questions: • Are there any “rights” you are holding on to which could upset the faith of others or cause another to stumble? What needs to change? • How can we get to a point where we use our rights to “build up” the body of Christ? How can our inward-bent use of rights begin to bend outward toward love? • In what specific ways are you being called to “become all things to all people” for the sake of Christ? In what ways is this challenging? • Is there a particular area of life where you need to pursue greater self-discipline in order to “run the race that's been set before you”? "We run the race that’s been set out before us, that we might share in the gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to us by becoming one of us, an insider who felt our deepest hopes and aspirations, who learned the questions we were asking, and the things that troubled us, a witness that immersed himself so deeply in our fallen world, speaking and giving, living and love in ways we could understand – sharing everything with us, becoming weak for us, sacrificing all his freedoms and rights on our behalf, not just setting them aside but losing it all, giving his life for us and for our sins, in order to win us to him forever." (Paraphrased from Steven Um)
Week Five: 1 Corinthians 7
February 9, 2022 • Jaime Carnaggio • 1 Corinthians 7
• The Biblical views of marriage, sex, and singleness are all very countercultural, and all much higher than the world makes them out to be, but not in the ways we expect. • Marriage is a one-flesh union (where "two become one flesh") in both body and soul. Sex is a unique and beautiful blessing that was designed to be enjoyed within the sanctity of marriage. It's a shared intimacy, a gift we give each other. • It's unfortunate that the church doesn't have a louder voice when it comes to the BEAUTY of sex, to combat our seemingly stuffy and rigid reputation. The fact that we only celebrate sex within the bounds of marriage may seem limiting to the world, but it actually frees us to enjoy it more fully, the way it was intended. • Marriage requires a heightened level of commitment. We don't take it lightly; it's not something we come in and out of casually, so ending a marriage requires much prayer, discernment and Godly counsel. • Singleness is not a trial to be endured; it’s a gift to be cherished and maximized. It allows for undivided devotion to the Lord, undistracted freedom to serve Christ, and uninterrupted time to focus on what God is calling you into. • Both marriage and singleness are highly valuable (and beautiful!) in God’s eyes, for much more important reasons that the world’s reasons. They are also both hard, in their own ways, and they both require much humility, patience and self-sacrifice. • There is purpose in where you are, and purpose in the place God has you. And yet we can’t cling to this place (the present "status” we're in) because at any point that may change. Our statuses (and everything in this world) is fleeting. So whatever the Corinthians were seeking, whatever WE are seeking, and for whatever reason (it may be a good and right reason!), know this: Our ultimate satisfaction will not be found in a spouse, in a marriage, in sex, in singleness, in celibacy, or even in ourselves.... but in Jesus Christ. We ALL find our satisfaction in Him. • Jesus Christ our Lord, is our bridegroom, and we (the church), are his bride… his adulterous, sinful, idolatrous, undeserving bride. And he took you and washed you clean so that you are spotless, he clothed you in his righteousness, justified you in His name, joined himself to you forever, and will NEVER leave you or let you go no matter what. Even when he was staring death square in the face, he refused to let you go. Even when you run or pull away, he relentlessly pursues you, he sanctifies you, transforming you from one degree of glory to another, he loves you more than you could ever understand.
Week Four: 1 Corinthians 6
February 2, 2022 • Jaime Carnaggio
• The Corinthians have an identity crisis. They've forgotten who we are and to whom they belong. Stephen Um says the Corinthians were suffering from "gospel amnesia." They were living their lives with the WORLD in view instead of the GOSPEL in view. Paul wants to change that. • When we seek to resolve internal trivial disputes outside of the church walls, we imply that the gospel is insufficient to do so, and that we value and trust the world's wisdom and counsel more than the Lord's. Why would we seek to handle disputes to an unbelieving world "whose way of life is scorned by the church?" • “The church is a place where radically broken individuals are restored, a place where the default position is forgiveness rather than rejection." (Stephen Um) • The list of sins in verses 9-10 make us uncomfortable because Paul lumps them all together as if they all carry the same weight. We'd like to believe that certain sins are less severe than others. And although some sins do carry heavier consequences, God hates ALL sin. God judges ALL sin. ALL sin separates us from him. Thankfully, the story doesn't end there . . . we have the hope of verse 11, which reminds us that we've been washed clean, sanctified, justified by the Lord Jesus Christ. We still wrestle with sin, but we are no longer enslaved to it or defined by it; we've been given a new identity in Christ. Amen to that! • The Corinthians (and our current culture today) have a very casual, cheap, devalued view of sex, believing "I have the right to anything" (vs. 12). But Paul reminds us, our bodies are not our own, they belong to God. More than that, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Think of the significance of this . . . how sacred the inner room of the temple, the Holy of Holies, was . . . it was the place where the very presence of God dwelt. And now, WE are the temple. We house the Holy of Holies! By the blood of Jesus, we've been washed clean so that we can be forever joined to our Triune God, we are ONE with him. Wow. How does this combat the worldview of our bodies and of sex? • Reflection: How do we overcome our identity crisis and remember who we are? How do we resolve our "gospel amnesia?"
Week Three: 1 Corinthians 4-5
January 26, 2022 • Jaime Carnaggio
• Paul does well in these chapters to humble them and deflate their view of themselves (and their leaders), and shift their focus back on Christ . . . but at the same time, he reminds them of how important they are to the body of Christ, why it's necessary to hold them accountable for their actions because their obedience matters, the way they live their lives . . . matters. • Paul doesn't just preach the gospel. He lives it out faithfully, with two feet in the kingdom of God. Take notice of how Paul describes this gospel-driven life in chapter 4. What a counter-cultural way to live . . . to count it a blessing to be humbled and called the “scum of the earth” in the eyes of the world for the sake of the Kingdom?! This is the upside-down life we've been called to. This is what it looks like to be "a servant of Christ, and a steward of the mysteries of God." • In chapter 5, we see not only Paul's love and care for the body of Christ, but also his willingness to hold them accountable to their sin. Paul shows us that what's so dangerous is not as much the sin itself, but the church's tolerance of sin. Our tolerance of sin suggests we condone sin. The real danger is when we aren't convicted by our sin, when we overlook it, excuse it, or worse, celebrate it. • If a person’s sin is left unchecked, it can compromise and weaken the whole church body. If sin is left uncorrected, it can spread and contaminate the rest of the body and destroy it from the inside out. What we do matters to the health of the body of Christ, and to protect the body from harm. • Read Matthew 7: 3-5. How does this passage add to understanding of how we are to handle accountability? • It's so tricky to get this right. What we do know is that it takes a complete reliance on the Holy Spirit and a huge dose of humility, love and grace. We also know that accountability comes into play when there's a lack of conviction and repentance. And we know that this only applies to those in Christ, not the outside world. • Read Matthew 18: 15-17 and 2 Corinthians 2: 5-11. How do these passages add to our understanding of how are to handle accountability? • Reflection Question: What can we do to view our sin more seriously, both in our own lives and in the church as a whole? • Reflection Question: How can we better practice loving accountability within the body of Christ? What does that look like practically?
Week Two: 1 Corinthians 2-3
January 19, 2022 • Jaime Carnaggio • 1 Corinthians 2, 1 Corinthians 3
• The problem wasn't that the Corinthians were seeking and desiring wisdom; the problem is that they were looking for it in the wrong places. The "wisdom of this age" is insufficient, limited, fleeting, changing, and unreliable. By contrast, the "wisdom of the Lord" is certain and eternal; it doesn't wax and wane with time. • Reflection: In what ways are you tempted to rely on the "wisdom of this age" rather than "the wisdom of the Lord"? • God has made Himself known to us by his Spirit. The Holy Spirit, dwelling inside of us, enables us to experience and understand God in a such a personal, intimate way that would be impossible in our own power. The Spirit bridges the gap between the deep things of God and the human heart. • Reflection: How do you know that the Spirit is at work in your life? How do you know God is revealing Himself to you? • The Corinthians were seeking wisdom, power, direction, and fulfillment from the world, but the real source of those things were already dwelling within them. • Only by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us, can we come to know and understand God and His Word, can we mature and grow in Christ, can we come together as a body of Christ and build up that body with care. Our lives as Christians completely rely on a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. • How comforting to know that we aren't ultimately responsible for our own growth or the growth of others: God is! He gets all the credit and the glory! And yet, how encouraging that God invites us to be part of that work. We all work together as a body to care for it and build it up, some of us plant seed, some water the seeds, some till the soil... but it is God that does the growing. • We are not to build on our own foundation. There is only one foundation, and that's the person and work of Jesus Christ, who is unshakeable and unifying. • The "church" isn't a building, it's the body of believers! We are the church! “When the church joins together on the foundation of Christ, it’s the very container in which God chooses to dwell on earth!” (Stephen Um) We make up the very “dwelling place” of God himself! • There’s no need to go out and search for wisdom or identity, there’s no need to “boast” in men or anything else in this world, because God has given us “all things.” All things belong to Christ, and WE belong to Christ! • Reflection: What is preventing you from growing in the Lord? What are you “boasting” in outside of the Lord? (The answers to these questions will reveal where your loyalties lie, where you're seeking wisdom outside of Christ, and where you're relying on the world instead of the Lord.) May we remember that regardless of these answers, it doesn't change the fact that our past, present, and future has been confirmed, secured, and sustained in Christ. Amen to that!
Week One: 1 Corinthians 1
January 12, 2022 • Jaime Carnaggio
• We need to understand that this as a letter addressed not just to the Corinthians back then, but to all “Corinthians” everywhere . . . it’s a letter for you and me and for the church today, and for “all those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." • How encouraging that Paul begins his letter with such love and tenderness. He tells a troubled, broken and confused church, that our past, present and futures have been confirmed, secured and sustained in Christ. • “Paul looked at the Corinthian church, and although there were many flaws that needed correcting, he saw first the evidences of God’s grace” (Andrew Murray). Which are we more aware of in our church? The flaws that need correction or the evidences of God’s grace? • Paul (and more importantly, Jesus) longs for us to be unified, to be “one with one another.” One reason they’re divided is because they have individual loyalties to different people (Paul, Apollos, Cephas . . . ), and this behavior “empties the cross of its power.” Although we may have differing preaching preferences, we should never allow those preferences to divide us as a body of Christ. We should never be clinging to anything tighter than we are clinging to the Lord. The gospel of Christ is what will bring us back together and set us apart as Christians in the world. It’s the solution to our division. • “This isn’t an argument for uniformity, for them to all look and act the exact same. It’s an argument for unity in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it isn’t an argument for long, dull, unimaginative sermons. It’s an argument for recognizing where the power to save really comes from: not from the presentation, but from the proclamation of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected” (Stephen Um). • We are to live in the world but not of it. How do we do that? How can we find our “cultural blind spots,” the ways in which we’ve over-accommodated with world or isolated ourselves too much from it? • We need to understand that the world has a right-side-up culture, and God presents us with an upside-down gospel. If we measure the wisdom of God against the world’s standards, it appears foolish! If we measure the power of God against the world’s standards, it appears weak! Jesus became the “power of God and the wisdom of God” and turned everything upside down. The gospel is completely counterintuitive. • What other areas of God’s economy (of the upside-down gospel) does the world regard as foolish or weak? • “The ways of the world have only been turned upside down once, and that was at Calvary.” He said, “The cross presents us with the most extraordinary inversion in history. It pits the epitome of weakness against the epitome of strength. It takes a bleeding, naked, brutalized and dying, innocent man, and puts him next to the military and legal might of the most powerful, wealthy, and unstoppable empire the world had yet known . . . And yet, this cross of Christ – seemingly the symbol of weakness – became the means of victory” (Andrew Wilson). • How can we live counterculturally as God’s people? How can we have an upside-down gospel-centered view of the world (as God does) rather than the world’s right-side-up view? • In what ways is your life shaped by the cross?