By the time Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, the church had already wandered from its foundation. Novel ideas were favored over solid, biblical teaching, resulting in confusion, division, and spiritual infancy. With a desire to help them mature, Paul addressed a number of very practical elements of faith. Noting similar struggles within the Church today, Alistair Begg walks us through the warnings and exhortations of 1 Corinthians.
In volume one of this series, we meet a prideful, divided church whose people had divorced belief from behavior, preferring self-promotion over service. In contrast to such spiritual darkness, Paul taught that the light of God’s wisdom, faithfulness, and power exposes hypocrisy, reminding us that the Church’s only firm foundation is in the finished work of Christ.
In volume two of this series, we consider 1 Corinthians 5-6, in which Paul confronts sexual immorality and lawsuits within the church. Exploring the biblical meaning of Christian freedom, Alistair Begg reminds us that once we become believers, we are not merely patched up versions of our pre-converted selves. Instead, we are brand new creations and should live in light of our redeemed nature.
In Volume Three we examine God’s plan for marriage and singleness, Christian contentment and what it means to have freedom in Christ, and the rights and responsibilities of pastors and churches. We’re reminded that adaptability and discipline are necessary as we strive to reach others and run the race of life. In all, we must remain focused on eternity and compelled by the love of Christ.
It’s said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. In 1 Corinthians 10–11, Paul warned the church that they were flirting with the same issues that had tragic consequences for their ancestors. These messages review Paul’s warnings and ground rules for Christian freedom, biblical headship, and communion. In all things, love and God’s glory must take precedence over selfish indulgence.
In volume five of this series, we examine spiritual gifts: What are they? What purpose do they serve? Are some better than others? In Corinth, misguided answers to these questions produced discrimination and pride rather than unity in purpose and spirit. Paul, however, taught that when we use our gifts and fulfill our roles, the Church can most effectively reflect Christ to the world.
Paul continues his challenge to the Corinthian church in chapter 14 by giving them specific instructions on how to conduct themselves in worship. Since the function and focus of the church has not changed since the writing of this letter, Paul’s words on love and the gifts of the Spirit remain equally applicable to us today.
What does the Bible have to say about life after death? What will happen to our bodies? Do believers go immediately to be with Christ? In volume seven of this series, we turn to Paul’s teaching on Christ’s death and resurrection to discover the significance of these events for the Christian. Because Jesus conquered death, we no longer need to fear it.
In closing his letter to the Corinthians, Paul taught that the reality of Christ’s resurrection has a direct impact upon ordinary life. Some consider the study of doctrine a “Sunday-only” activity, but Paul’s final words challenge such a mindset. In volume eight of Firm Foundation, we learn that if our faith is to be believable, our behavior must reflect our beliefs.