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The Church, itsConduct and Activity

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Four Talks on 1 Corinthians

The Church, itsConduct and Activity

David Gooding

Synopsis

Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth is the longest in our New Testament and covers a wide range of issues, some of which had been brought to Paul’s attention by concerned members of the church itself. As a result, the letter provides important teaching on what are—or ought to be—the characteristics and conduct of any Christian church. In surveying the main elements of the letter, David Gooding points out that Paul does not give merely ad hoc guidance on the issues he faced, but bases his responses on fundamental spiritual principles which by their nature are permanent and thus go beyond the particular circumstances at Corinth. Thus they provide a template for dealing with these or similar issues wherever they occur.

Among other things, Paul is concerned that the government and operation of the church should reflect its relationship with divine persons —‘Christ is its foundation; its occupant is the Holy Spirit; and its proprietor is God.’ And it should function in a manner which facilitates and encourages the practical exercise of those spiritual gifts which the Holy Spirit has seen fit to distribute among its members.

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When it comes to Bible study, these three remain: structure, pattern and thought flow; but the greatest of these is thought flow.

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