Gospel Culture 101 - An Invitation
When the gospel changes lives and brings people together it creates a gospel culture. It transforms our relationships, families, and churches. It creates a culture of unity, grace, love, and hope flowing from the gospel. Whether you've been a Christian for a month, a year, or a decade, this is a class worth taking.
But this class comes to us in the form of a letter to a very troubled church.
Paul saw God do amazing things when he came to preach the gospel message of Jesus in the city of Corinth. God saved many different kinds of people -- rich and poor, slave and free, Jewish and Greek. The gospel united them around Jesus and into one church.
But soon afterward, the church went off the rails. If the Christian life was a series of classes they failed just about every one. They had problems with rivalry, with discrimination, with pride. Some were suing one another. Some were so sexually promiscuous in ways that made even a pagan culture blush.
How do you help Christians and their church who find themselves so far from where they started? Paul takes them back to where they started--back to the gospel.
Section by section Paul writes about two things: gospel truth and how to live in line with that church. He shows them that the gospel transforms the way they relate to one another, the way they think about leaders, the way they think about marriage and singleness and sexuality, the way they think about spiritual gifts. Every part of life gets transformed by the gospel of Jesus and in 1 Corinthians Paul gives us a master class in how that works.
Whether you've been a Christian for a short time or a long time this is a class you don't want to miss. If you're looking for a good foundation for what it means to follow Jesus, start here. If you've gotten off track in your walk with the Lord, return here. If you've been a Christian for decades, this is never something you move beyond.
Resources to Study 1 Corinthians
Want to dig in a little deeper to this letter? Here are some resources to check out.
Watch a short video introduction to the book from The Gospel Project
Grab a good study Bible. We recommend the ESV Study Bible. Read the introduction to 1 Corinthians and take advantage of the study notes as we work through the book together.
Understand and apply leadership lessons from 1 Corinthians. D.A. Carson's classic work "The Cross and Christian Ministry" helps you grasp how the truths of 1 Corinthians affect the way we minister and lead in the church. (And there are several applications for leading outside the church as well!) This is one I make it my goal to re-read every 1-2 years.
Get a good, accessible commentary. While I haven't finished it I appreciate the style and substance of Stephen Um's commentary. Each chapter reads and feels like a sermon, with illustration and application sprinkled in to help you bring the message home.
Get a reliable academic commentary. If you're looking for more advanced studies in this letter we recommend Gordon Fee's commentary. It's a resource you can refer to for a lifetime. This commentary helps the reader understand textual issues but never loses the main thread of Paul's argument and why it matters.
Have questions or get stuck? Reach out to our pastors and we'd love to help you!