1. SERIOUS DIVISIONS AT CORINTH
a. What disturbing news did Paul receive from the church at Corinth? 1 Corinthians 1:11, 12.
“The church was rent by divisions. The dissensions that had prevailed at the time of Apollos’s visit had greatly increased. False teachers were leading the members to despise the instructions of Paul. The doctrines and ordinances of the gospel had been perverted. Pride, idolatry, and sensualism, were steadily increasing among those who had once been zealous in the Christian life.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 300.
b. How does the Lord consider those who cause divisions in the church? Proverbs 6:16–19; Romans 16:17, 18.
“In all ages of the world there have been men who think they have a work to do for the Lord, and show no respect for those whom the Lord has been using. They do not make right applications of Scripture, they wrest the Scriptures to sustain their own ideas.”—This Day With God, p. 172.
2. SOLUTIONS TO DIVISION
a. What solution did Paul present for the divisive believers at Corinth? 1 Corinthians 1:17, 18.
“The proclamation of the gospel was to be worldwide in its extent, and the messengers of the cross could not hope to fulfill their important mission unless they should remain united in the bonds of Christian unity, and thus reveal to the world that they were one with Christ in God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 90.
b. What did Paul say about the cross of Christ? 1 Corinthians 1:18–24.
“The cross of Calvary appeals in power, affording a reason why we should love Christ now, and why we should consider Him first, and best, and last, in everything. We should take our fitting place in humble penitence at the foot of the cross. We may learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind as we go up to Mount Calvary, and, looking upon the cross, see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the Just for the unjust. . . . Look, O look upon the cross of Calvary; behold the royal victim suffering on your account.”—That I May Know Him, p. 65.
c. Where was the glory of Paul? Galatians 6:14.
“The Son of God had to die for the sins that Paul had committed; the blood shed on the cross was for him, to save him from eternal ruin. The precious blood of Christ was of such value that a full atonement was made for the guilty soul, and this was to Paul his ‘glory.’ It was through the blood of Christ that he had redemption, even the forgiveness of sins.”—The Signs of the Times, November 24, 1890.
“Through the cross we learn that the heavenly Father loves us with a love that is infinite. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’? Galatians 6:14. It is our privilege also to glory in the cross, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to Him who gave Himself for us. Then, with the light that streams from Calvary shining in our faces, we may go forth to reveal this light to those in darkness.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 210.
3. GOD’S WISDOM VS. THE WISDOM OF THE WORLD
a. What is the chief aim of most people? Jeremiah 9:23. In contrast, what is God’s purpose for us all? Jeremiah 9:24.
b. How does Paul make a clear contrast between human “wisdom” and divine wisdom? 1 Corinthians 1:20–25.
“With such a leader—an angel expelled from heaven—these supposedly wise men of earth may fabricate bewitching theories with which to infatuate the minds of men. Paul said to the Galatians, ‘Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?’ Satan has a masterly mind, and he has his chosen agents by which he works to exalt men, and clothe them with honor above God. But God is clothed with power; He is able to take those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and by the operation of the Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead, transform the human character, bringing back to the soul the lost image of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are changed from being rebels against the law of God into obedient servants and subjects of His kingdom. They are born again, regenerated, sanctified through the truth. This power of God the skeptic will not admit, and he refuses all evidence until it is brought under the domain of his finite faculties. He even dares to set aside the law of God, and prescribe the limit of Jehovah’s power. But God has said, [1 Corinthians 1:20–24 quoted].”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 332, 333.
c. How only can we find real wisdom? 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Colossians 2:3.
“In Christ are ‘hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ Colossians 2:3. He is ‘made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.’ 1 Corinthians 1:30. All that can satisfy the needs and longings of the human soul, for this world and for the world to come, is found in Christ. Our Redeemer is the pearl so precious that in comparison all things else may be accounted loss.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 115.
4. THE PRINCIPLE OF TRUE WISDOM
a. What is the basic principle of divine wisdom? Proverbs 1:7.
“One sentence of Scripture is of more value than ten thousand of man’s ideas or arguments. Those who refuse to follow God’s way will finally receive the sentence, ‘Depart from Me.’ But when we submit to God’s way, the Lord Jesus guides our minds and fills our lips with assurance. We may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Receiving Christ, we are clothed with power. An indwelling Saviour makes His power our property. The truth becomes our stock in trade. No unrighteousness is seen in the life. We are able to speak words in season to those who know not the truth. Christ’s presence in the heart is a vitalizing power, strengthening the entire being.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 71.
b. How does Jesus (referred to here as Wisdom) warn each of us to take heed to His pleas? Proverbs 1:20–23.
“The Saviour of the world offers to the erring the gift of eternal life. He watches for a response to His offers of love and forgiveness with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, repenting, suffering son. He cries after the wanderer: ‘Return unto Me, and I will return unto you.’ If the sinner still refuses to heed the voice of mercy which calls after him with tender, pitying love, his soul will be left in darkness. If he neglects the opportunity presented him, and goes on in his evil course, the wrath of God will, in an unexpected moment, break forth upon him.”—Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 207, 208.
c. How does Wisdom (Jesus) address children and youth? Proverbs 2:1–6.
“No one can search the Scriptures in the spirit of Christ without being rewarded. When man is willing to be instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God, he will find the truth in His word. If men would be obedient, they would understand the plan of God’s government. . . . The mystery of redemption, the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice, would not be as they are now, vague in our minds. They would be not only better understood, but altogether more highly appreciated.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 114.
5. GLORY IN THE LORD
a. What is justification by faith? Romans 3:21–24.
“As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith. Every believing soul is to conform his will entirely to God’s will and keep in a state of repentance and contrition, exercising faith in the atoning merits of the Redeemer and advancing from strength to strength, from glory to glory.”—Faith and Works, p. 103.
“What is justification by faith?—It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. When they begin to praise and exalt God all the day long, then by beholding they are becoming changed into the same image. What is regeneration?—It is revealing to man what is his own real nature, that in himself he is worthless.”—Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, Series A, No. 9, p. 62.
b. How can we reveal God’s glory in our daily life? 2 Corinthians 3:18.
“The Corinthian believers needed a deeper experience in the things of God. They did not know fully what it meant to behold His glory and to be changed from character to character. They had seen but the first rays of the early dawn of that glory. Paul’s desire for them was that they might be filled with all the fullness of God, following on to know Him whose going forth is prepared as the morning, and continuing to learn of Him until they should come into the full noontide of a perfect gospel faith.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 307, 308.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What warning should I take from the divisions that existed in Corinth?
2. Name some vital points we need to realize about the cross.
3. Explain the danger of focusing more on man’s wisdom than God’s.
4. Why is God’s wisdom so immensely valuable?
5. Describe the glory that is to radiate from God’s people.