1 Corinthians 6

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These small group studies of 1 Corinthians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

1 Corinthians 6 Inductive Bible Study and Discussion Questions

Outline:

  1. Do not sue each other; instead judge among yourselves (1-8)

    1. It is taking a case before unrighteous instead of righteous (1)

    2. Believers are capable of judging and will even judge the angels (2-3)

    3. Another reminder that believers shouldn’t subject themselves to worldly judges (4)

    4. The church surely has people capable of judging and who are not unrighteous (5-6)

    5. It is a mark of disgrace and better to lose out than sue brothers (7)

    6. Suing other believers itself is wrong (8)

  2. The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (9-11)

    1. The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (9-10)

    2. Some of them were like this, but had been washed clean by Christ (11)

  3. Use our body to glorify God (12-20)

    1. We should not be controlled by any worldly desire (12)

    2. The body is not to be separated from the spirit; it is also for the Lord (13)

    3. One day God will raise up our bodies (14)

    4. Immorality is joining Christ to wickedness (15)

    5. Immorality is becoming one with the harlot (16)

    6. But the believer is one with the Lord (17)

    7. Flee immorality; it is about the most destructive sin (18)

    8. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and should be used to honor the Lord (19-20)

Discussion Questions:

I.

What is the problem that Paul addresses in the first part of chapter 6?

Why is this a problem?

What negative reasons can you think of why Christians shouldn’t sue each other in court?

If they can’t go to court, what is the solution?

Is it practical to think that there will be elders/judges in a church who can settle disputes?

Is this a reasonable goal? How can it be accomplished?

What should you do if your church isn’t set up for this?

What should you do if your church is set up for this, but the other believer is unwilling to listen to the elder?

How about suing an unbeliever?

Explain verse 8.

Besides lawsuits, can we get any other principles for believers by implication? (Better to keep church matters inside the church as much as possible, better to be wronged than to wrong others, important to be a good testimony, believers should just accept wrongdoing by the hands of others rather than make a big stink about it which could bring dishonor to the church and the name of God)

II.

How do verses 9-11 fit into Paul’s discussion on lawsuits, or do they?

What does this mean that these kinds of people will not come into the kingdom of God?

Can’t anyone enter?

How about a believer who keeps doing these things?

What about “once saved always saved”?

III.

What is Paul’s main point in verses 12-20?

Explain verse 12, specifically “all things are lawful for me”. Does that mean everything is OK for believers to do? (My first thought, clearly not everything is OK for believers since the Bible clearly prohibits us from doing anything. So I would interpret this to mean “Everything that is not precluded by Scripture is lawful.” We can use our Christian freedom in many areas. This would include things like television, movies, which job we should take, where to go on vacation, what we should do in free time, doing exercises, etc. Any of these things are not in themselves inherently sinful, BUT we must not be mastered by them, or addicted to them. I must not give my life to exercise or TV or sports or vacations.)

Explain the second part of the verse “I will not be mastered by anything.”

What was the Corinthians attitude as seen in verse 13? (body-spirit, or physical-spirit dualism)

Is this same attitude present today? In what ways have you seen it?

How are our bodies members of Christ? So how should we treat our bodies?

Why is sexual immorality such a destructive sin (unites us with harlots, is committed physically in the body, is such an intimate, personal thing that affects us mentally and physically)

What should we do when faced with sexual temptation?

How can we protect ourselves from this ahead of time?

Why is this such a tough issue, especially for guys?

Is this a personal thing, matter of conviction, or an area where we can exercise personal freedom?

Does this mean only that having sex with a prostitute is wrong? How about other sexual sins?

What is the final and most important reason given why we should avoid sexual sins?

What is the conclusion on how we should use our body? How can this be applied to other areas besides sex?

Cross References

I.

Matthew 18:15-17 – If a brother sins against you go in private, then take two, etc. This can apply to sinful, lying, cheating business dealings as well.

Luke 19:17-19 – Parable where the servants can rule over 10 and 5 cities.

1 Corinthians 5:12 – What business is matters outside the church; we are to judge the things inside it.

Colossians 3:25 – Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for it by God. There is no favoritism, even for the big bosses!

II.

Galatians 5:21 – This kind of evil people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Revelation 21:8, 22:15 – This kind of evil people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Ephesians 2:1-3, 5:8 – We were dead in sins and children of darkness, but are now of the light.

Titus 3:5 – Washed by regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

III.

1 Corinthians 10:18-33 – A more complete discussion of the phrase “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”

1 Timothy 1:9 – The law is for the unrighteous, for sinners.

1 Corinthians 9:27 – Paul beats his body and makes it is his slave.

Titus 1:15 – To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted nothing is pure. Their consciences are corrupted

Romans 12:1-2 – Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.

Romans 6:12-14 – Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body or be a slave to it.

Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:27 – We are part of the body of Christ.

Ephesians 5:30 – We are part of His body. Marriage is picture of our relationship to Christ so sexual sin is also prostitution against God.

Genesis 2:24 – The two shall become one flesh.

2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Peter 2:11- Flee/stay away from sensual temptations.

Acts 20:28 – The price is His own blood.

Teaching Points:

  1. Do not sue each other; instead judge among yourselves.

Matthew 18:15-17 – If a brother sins against you go in private, then take two, etc. This can apply to sinful, lying, cheating business dealings as well.

Luke 19:17-19 – Parable where the servants can rule over 10 and 5 cities.

1 Corinthians 5:12 – What business is matters outside the church; we are to judge the things inside it.

Colossians 3:25 – Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for it by God. There is no favoritism, even for the big bosses!

What is the problem that Paul addresses in the first part of chapter 6?

Why is this a problem?

What negative reasons can you think of why Christians shouldn’t sue each other in court?

If they can’t go to court, what is the solution?

Is it practical to think that there will be elders/judges in a church who can settle disputes?

Is this a reasonable goal? How can it be accomplished?

What should you do if your church isn’t set up for this?

What should you do if your church is set up for this, but the other believer is unwilling to listen to the elder?

Explain verse 8.

At the beginning of this chapter Paul continues his thought on “do you not judge those who are within the church?” Apparently it was becoming a problem in the Corinthian church where believers were taking each other to secular courts in order to solve business disputes. In this section Paul lists several reasons why believers should not do this and also gives the solution.

The first problem is in verse 1. In taking cases before the world’s courts, it is letting unrighteous people with unrighteous standards judge over believers who should have righteous standards. Problem 1: courts in the world are unrighteous. (vs 1) What are some of the laws in this world that go against the Bible and some of the unrighteous practices that are common? Abortion, bankruptcy, bribery, following the letter of the law while cheating against the spirit of the law, lying in business is OK as long as it doesn’t break the contract, etc. etc. It’s not saying that law is bad. It is necessary. But it is not always perfect. Shouldn’t believers who have godly principles from God’s Word be able to judge in these types of disputes better? Unbelievers follow ungodly principles and therefore do not make good judges over believers.

Solution first proposed (vs 1): “not before the saints”. The solution is for the saints to deal with these matters internally as we will see throughout this section.

Saints are capable for this job. One day we will judge the world. One day we will even judge angels. God gives this ability to us. If we can judge the world and angels, then surely we can judge some small disputes in the church

Is there not a wise man in the church who can do this job? In ancient Israel elders were men of repute and good character who were largely responsible to judge their local area. The church also is supposed to have elders over it at the local level, godly men who can guide, serve, and even judge inside their own local congregation. Suing each other is not only wasting the opportunity to have it judged righteously, but it is begging for an unrighteous solution. Moreover, it is an extremely bad testimony to the world and shows them that Christians are bickering and fighting and not getting along. Did Jesus say it is by our suingof each other that the world will know we are His disciples? No, Jesus said that by our love the world will know we are His disciples.

  1. The church should be set up with elders to do this internally. This is the goal.

  2. If it is not and the other brother is willing we can go to any godly, mature brother to have the conflict resolved biblically.

  3. If the other brother is not willing and the church is not set up for it, we sue. No, we let them wrong us and just let it go. It is better to be wronged than to strive and have a bad testimony in front of the world.

  4. If we persist to sue in the world’s courts, we ourselves are doing wrong and to the brethren.

How about suing an unbeliever?

Besides lawsuits, can we get any other principles for believers by implication? (Better to keep church matters inside the church as much as possible, better to be wronged than to wrong others, important to be a good testimony, believers should just accept wrongdoing by the hands of others rather than make a big stink about it which could bring dishonor to the church and the name of God)

  1. The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (9-11)

How do verses 9-11 fit into Paul’s discussion on lawsuits, or do they?

What does this mean that these kinds of people will not come into the kingdom of God?

Can’t anyone enter?

How about a believer who keeps doing these things?

What about “once saved always saved”?

Galatians 5:21 – This kind of evil people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Revelation 21:8, 22:15 – This kind of evil people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Ephesians 2:1-3, 5:8 – We were dead in sins and children of darkness, but are now of the light.

Titus 3:5 – Washed by regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible makes it make clear that people who practice this type of behavior will not go to heaven. Read some cross-references. Notice that verse 11 says some of the Corinthians were like this before. We are all sinners, some worse than others, but all are sinners. Yet we can be sanctified, washed, justified if we trust in Christ. Then we are no longer that type of person. What about a believer who keeps doing these things? Well, a good tree will bear good fruit. A true believer will resent the sin, resist the sin, and repent when he sins. A true believer is a reforming believer, reforming our behavior. There is definitely a solid argument that if someone supposedly trusts in Christ yet keeps on in this kind of behavior then he is not a true believer. The warning is very clear and very serious. If you are a believer, act like it! Don’t go back and commit the sins of the world. Truly repent. Truly embrace Christ. Change.

  1. Use our body to glorify God (12-20)

1 Corinthians 10:18-33 – A more complete discussion of the phrase “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”

1 Timothy 1:9 – The law is for the unrighteous, for sinners.

1 Corinthians 9:27 – Paul beats his body and makes it is his slave.

Titus 1:15 – To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted nothing is pure. Their consciences are corrupted

Romans 12:1-2 – Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.

Romans 6:12-14 – Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body or be a slave to it.

Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:27 – We are part of the body of Christ.

Ephesians 5:30 – We are part of His body. Marriage is picture of our relationship to Christ so sexual sin is also prostitution against God.

Genesis 2:24 – The two shall become one flesh.

Acts 20:28 – The price is His own blood.

What is Paul’s main point in verses 12-20?

Explain verse 12, specifically “all things are lawful for me”. Does that mean everything is OK for believers to do?

Explain the second part of the verse “I will not be mastered by anything.”

What was the Corinthians attitude as seen in verse 13? (body-spirit, or physical-spirit dualism)

Is this same attitude present today? In what ways have you seen it?

How are our bodies members of Christ? So how should we treat our bodies?

Why is sexual immorality such a destructive sin (unites us with harlots, is committed physically in the body, is such an intimate, personal thing that affects us mentally and physically)

Does this mean only that having sex with a prostitute is wrong? How about other sexual sins?

What is the final and most important reason given why we should avoid sexual sins?

What is the conclusion on how we should use our body? How can this be applied to other areas besides sex?

Verse 12: My first thought, clearly not everything is OK for believers since the Bible clearly prohibits us from doing anything. So I would interpret this to mean “Everything that is not precluded by Scripture is lawful.” We can use our Christian freedom in many areas. This would include things like television, movies, which job we should take, where to go on vacation, what we should do in free time, doing exercises, etc. Any of these things are not in themselves inherently sinful, BUT we must not be mastered by them, or addicted to them. I must not give my life to exercise or TV or sports or vacations. I can dance, I can go to the grave-sweeping ceremony, I can play mahjong, I can go to a bar or karaoke, I can eat foods sacrificed to idols, etc. etc. BUT not all of these things are necessarily profitable. We have to look at them case by case to see if they are glorifying to God or not. See 1 Corinthians 10:18-33.

In Verses 13-17 Paul is slamming the Corinthians’ attitude of dualism between body and spirit, especially as shown in sexual immorality. Then and now certain people have separated body or physical things from spiritual things. In other words faith in God is spiritual so what I do on a physical level is not important. My body is going to waste away and won’t last. Have you seen this thought process before? How and when? I’ve had someone tell me that who they marry isn’t important to God because marriage is a physical thing and not related to our faith in God. Others have proposed that pornography, self-gratification, sleeping with prostitutes etc. is a matter of Christian freedom. This thought process can show itself in any area. Work: I can lie and be selfish and greedy to get more money, because this is only a physical thing and God is not concerned with money. In verse 13 he specifically mentions “food”, but this is evidently also a metaphor for sex. Paul mentions several reason why this mindset is wrong.

  1. The body is for the Lord. We can use our body either to glorify Him or bring dishonor to His name.

  2. God is going to raise us up with new bodies one day, meaning that even after death the soul-body division isn’t permanently true.

  3. Our bodies are members of Christ. We are part of the body of Christ.

  4. We can either be one with a prostitute or one with the Lord.

Having the thought that I will do what I want in my “real” life, while in my mind I will believe in God is an extremely dangerous one and one that is never supported in Scripture. Some cults taught this, but not God. This always has been and always will be an EXCUSE TO GRATIFY THE FLESH. Much of the time you hear a Christian kind of proudly saying they are exercising their Christian freedom, they are doing something that is wrong. Faith in God is not a metaphysical thing, but is meant to be exercised in our life. It is not just theory to put in minds. It is meant to be practiced and lived out. We don’t live in the Bible. We live out the Bible in our lives. God’s Word should touch every part of our lives, inside and out, not only Sundays, not only Friday evenings, not only a slot for our Quiet Time.

Verses 18-20 continue this thought. Flee from sexual immorality. Read cross-references. 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Peter 2:11- Flee/stay away from sensual temptations.

Ask questions. Do any of you here face sexual temptation?

What should we do when faced with sexual temptation?

How can we protect ourselves from this ahead of time?

Why is this such a tough issue, especially for guys?

Is this a personal thing, matter of conviction, or an area where we can exercise personal freedom?

God wants us to be holy. He wants us to use our bodies for His glory. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Think about this next time you are tempted. No guy is immune. I really suggest safeguards and limits. For example: if prostitution is a temptation, don’t walk by the way! Proverbs 7 tells us only a fool will do this. Avoid going out in those areas late or night or take along another person with you. If pornography is a temptation you can install some Christian monitoring service on your computer and link it to some accountability partners. I suggest we all do this to help limit temptation. That is what fellowship is for. Find some accountability partners and ask them to keep you accountable in your use of computer and internet. If immorality is a temptation, avoid meeting one on one with ladies, especially late at night or in possible romantic situations. If you a businessman that means DON’T go traveling with a female, young, attractive, secretary. That is a recipe for disaster! Use sense. Realize that as a guy we all face this temptation. Don’t just ignore it and think you will never fall. Take steps to prevent it.

Also, don’t only not do the negative thing. Instead do the positive thing. Make use of your time and fill your mind with the Word. Where the mind is idle trouble will come. If you struggle with porn and then get on your computer late at night with no one else around to surf for a long time, you can be sure the temptation will come. Meditate on holy, righteous, pure things. Fill your mind with Scripture.

You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Study 1 Corinthians 7:1-16

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