Map of Corinth / Map of Corinth's Location / Picture of the Temple of Apollo / Outline Chart/ Read The Letter

This lesson is slightly different to the other ones because we have three cases of church discipline which need to be looked at to understand how to apply the principles in church discipline today. The three cases are:

(1) The case of INCEST (immorality within a family)

(2) The case of LAWSUITS.

(3) The case of FORNICATION.

We will look at each case separately and do detective work to find out exactly what has been happening and see what principles Paul offers in dealing with such matters in the church. As we go through important principles will be learnt and we will explore how to apply these principles in today's context.

But before we look in detail at each case there is one important thing we need to know about the Corinthian's view of the body. This view affected their whole outlook as to how they treated their body...

The 'Gnostic' View of the Body

The Corinthians had what is called a GNOSTIC view of their own body. That is, the body was seen as evil and destined for destruction. Consequently they thought that it didn't matter what they did with their bodies as long as their spirits were pure. This led them to see sexual immorality as not being a big problem and they were even boasting that they were still 'spiritual' even with such immorality in their midst.

This false view of the body was what Paul was attacking. He told the Corinthians that actually our bodies belong to God and by abusing our bodies we are abusing what God has given to us... hence we abuse God! As Christians we have the responsibility of taking care of the bodies that God has given us. If we see our body as the TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) then this should dramatically change our attitude to our bodies.

Lying behind Paul's statement in 6:13-14 is the Christian viewpoint of creation - that God made the material world and pronounced it good. He also made man a whole being (body, soul and spirit together in unity). But the human body also suffered from the effects of the Fall. As such it now decays and is destined for death, but, in the cross and resurrection , Christ redeemed the whole man. In this context, where he is dealing with the body, Paul says, 'You were bought at a price' (6:20). Both body, soul and spirit are destined for glory. The body belongs to Christ, therefore He will raise it!

Click here for more details on Gnosticism.

Now we will look at the first of the three cases...the case of INCEST.

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