The ancient city of Corinth is steeped in Greek philosophy, idol worship and sexual immorality. The new believers there have much to learn about life in Christ.
The people of Corinth pride themselves on their intellectualism. Impressed with eloquent speakers, groups would often align themselves with traveling speakers who came to share ideas. The Corinthian church is doing the same with the teachers of the gospel—Paul, Apollos, Peter, even Jesus—and it’s causing divisions in the church. Paul wants them to follow God’s Spirit.
Paul explains that his teachings about God and his kingdom, and especially about the cross, may seem foolish for some; but for believers—those who have God’s Spirit and therefore eyes to see—it’s full of God’s secret wisdom. There’s a way for a person to live where they follow God’s Spirit, and there’s a way for a person to live that’s simply “human,” a kind of intellectual “soul care” that focuses on a person’s inner life without acknowledging God. Paul calls the believers in Corinth to be Spirit-driven because, with the Spirit, they have access to God’s very mind.
The church’s focus is wrong: They’re boasting of their super-intellectualism while they’re tolerating a sexual scandal and suing each other. Certain lifestyles don’t fit in God’s kingdom, where citizens are temples of God’s Spirit.
The King’s Heart
It was always God’s intention for us to be close. When he sent his Spirit to live within us, he showed just how close he intended.
Inside us, God dwells. He speaks to us, teaching us. Even though we live in the kingdom that is already here but has not yet fully come, he speaks. He is the joyful, tender, loving, peaceful Voice. The warm Truth.
Through God’s Spirit, he gives us open access to his mind—the endless brilliance of the deep things of God. From the moment we believed in Jesus, we began a journey of exploring God’s good heart. And this journey will last through eternity because with the Infinite One there’s always more to delightfully explore.
In 1 Corinthians 1:12, Paul names the teachers that believers were identifying themselves with. Apollos was a Jewish believer from Egypt who taught in Corinth after Paul’s visit. Cephas is the apostle Peter’s Aramaic name. There’s no record that Peter ever went to Corinth, but believers who knew him possibly claimed to teach in his name.