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The New Testament | The Letters of Paul

1 Corinthians

Things to know

Where does the book begin?

Paul began the book with a greeting and a warning.

Places to go

The church* should not be divided
1 Corinthians 3:1-23

The church* should not accept sin*
1 Corinthians 5:6-13

Have good manners at the Lord's* table
1 Corinthians 11:17-34

What is the best gift?
1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Do not forget the gospel*
1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Where does the book end?

Paul ended the letter with a warning and a greeting.

People to know


The Story of 1 Corinthians

When Paul wrote this letter, he did not seem very happy. He wrote to the people in a city named Corinth. Corinth was a city in the country of Greece. Paul knew these people very well. In fact, Paul once lived in Corinth. He was there for many months. When he lived there, the church at Corinth was healthy and strong.

But now the church* in Corinth was not strong and not healthy. Someone from Corinth told Paul about many problems in the church*. So Paul wrote this letter to the leaders there. Paul wrote the letter to help them. Paul begins and ends his letter with a greeting and a warning.

The people in the church* at Corinth were not getting along. They argued with each other. Some of the people were doing things that did not please God. So Paul wrote a very strong letter. He wanted them to stop doing wrong. He told them to start living the way that God has taught them.

Some of the people in the church* thought that they were very wise. They sometimes argued about who was the wisest. Paul told them that the wisdom that men had was foolish when you compared it to the wisdom that God had. Jesus was Lord*. He was the one who was wise. The people in Corinth should listen to what God said. When they knew God’s wisdom, they were to obey what his wisdom taught them.

Paul talks about unity in this letter. [1] He wanted the people in the church* to get along with each other. They should not be angry or argue with each other. They should care about each other and help each other. They needed to build each other up. Paul knew that this would not always be easy. But God would reward the work that they did for him. [2] He would see how they cared for each other. When Jesus returned to earth, he would remember them. [3] He would reward their work.

There were many problems in the church* at Corinth. So Paul wrote to help them. God wanted the church* to be holy. He wanted them to be loyal to their husbands and wives. [4] He wanted them to be pure and not use their bodies to sin*. [5] The leaders in the church* should help people remember this. They must correct the people if they refused to obey God in this way. The church* must call people to repent* when they acted in wrong ways.

Many of the people in Corinth followed false Gods. Many of them prayed to an idol*. The people in the church* did not bow down to an idol* any more. But they did not always know what to do about their old ways. So Paul helped them. He showed them how to think about what to do. Helping other people in the church* to grow was important. They should not do things that made people fall. They should always show respect for each other. [6]

Paul said that the church* is like a body. All of the people were different. Every person had a part to play. Every person was important. The Holy Spirit* helped every person that was part of the church*. He helped the church* to do the work that God gave them to do. He helped people to serve each other. [7]

But there was another problem in the church*. Some people said that Jesus did not come alive again after he died. They said that no one would come alive again after they die. A body would never come out of the grave alive. Paul also wrote to remind the church* that Jesus was alive. The good news about Jesus was that Jesus was alive. Jesus rose from the grave in a real body. And, some day, God would make everyone live again. Jesus would come to earth again. He would gather all of his people to live with him for ever. Then God would judge the people who did not follow Jesus.

The church* at Corinth could have hope*. They did not need to be afraid to die. They could obey God even when that was hard to do because they knew that Jesus was alive. He saw how they served him. And, some day, they would live again too.

‘My dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Do not let anything move you. Always give yourselves completely to the work of the Lord*. Because you belong to the Lord*, you know that your work is not empty.’ [8]


[1] 1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:58

[3] 1 Corinthians 15

[4] 1 Corinthians 7

[5] 1 Corinthians 5-6

[6] 1 Corinthians 10:14-33

[7] 1 Corinthians 12-14

[8] 1 Corinthians 15:58

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