“August 19–25. 1 Corinthians 1–7: ‘Be Perfectly Joined Together’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“August 19–25. 1 Corinthians 1–7,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
During the months that Paul spent in Corinth, “many of the Corinthians hearing [him] believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). So it must have been heartbreaking for Paul to hear, just a few years later, that there were “divisions” and “contentions” among the Corinthian Saints and that in his absence they began to heed the “wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 1:10–11, 20). In response, Paul wrote the letter we now call 1 Corinthians. It is full of profound doctrine, and yet at the same time, Paul seemed disappointed that the Saints were not ready to receive all the doctrine he wanted to give them. “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,” he lamented, “for ye are yet carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1–3). As we prepare to read Paul’s words, it might be helpful to examine our own readiness to receive truth—including our willingness to heed the Spirit and strive for unity within our families, with our fellow Saints, and with God.
We don’t know all the details about the lack of unity among the Corinthian Saints, but we do know about lack of unity in our own relationships. Think of a relationship in your life that could benefit from more unity; then look for what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 1:10–17; 3:1–11 about lack of unity among the Corinthian Saints. What insights can you gain about how to develop greater unity with others?
While it’s good—even encouraged—to seek wisdom wherever we can find it (see 2 Nephi 9:29; D&C 88:118), Paul gave some strongly worded warnings about flawed human wisdom, which he called “the wisdom of this world.” As you read 1 Corinthians 1:17–25, ponder what this phrase might mean. What do you think Paul meant by the “wisdom of God”? Why do we need God’s wisdom to accomplish God’s work?
In your efforts to fulfill your responsibilities in accomplishing God’s work, have you ever experienced the “fear, and … much trembling” that Paul felt when he taught the Corinthian Saints? (1 Corinthians 2:3). What do you find in 1 Corinthians 2:1–5 that gives you courage? Consider how you can show that you trust the “power of God” more than “the wisdom of men.”
See also Doctrine and Covenants 1:17–28.
If you wanted to learn more about something like automotive mechanics or medieval architecture, how would you do it? According to 1 Corinthians 2:9–16, how is learning “the things of God” different from learning the “things of a man”? Why must we have the Holy Ghost in order to understand the things of God? After reading these verses, what do you feel you should do to understand spiritual things more fully? How could Paul’s words help someone who is struggling with his or her testimony?
Most people in Corinth felt that sexual immorality was acceptable and that their bodies were made primarily for pleasure. In other words, Corinth was not that different from the world today. What did Paul teach in 1 Corinthians 6:13–20 that could help you explain to others why you want to live a chaste life?
It might also be interesting to see how Sister Wendy W. Nelson, like Paul, encouraged Saints to be chaste in her talk “Love and Marriage” (Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, Jan. 8, 2017, broadcasts.lds.org). How do the truths about love and intimacy described by Sister Nelson differ from the world’s messages?
Several verses in 1 Corinthians 7 seem to suggest that while marriage is acceptable, remaining single and abstaining completely from sexual relations is preferred. However, Joseph Smith Translation, 1 Corinthians 7:29–33 (see Bible appendix) helps us understand that Paul was referring to those called to be full-time missionaries, observing that they were able to serve God better if they remained single during their missions. The Lord has taught through His servants, including Paul, that marriage is part of His eternal plan and necessary for exaltation (see 1 Corinthians 11:11; D&C 131:1–4).
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
As your family members read these verses, invite them to find an insight that can help them be more unified.
Maybe you could read these verses while eating a snack of milk and meat, and you could compare the way babies grow into adults with the way we grow spiritually.
Paul compared his missionary efforts to planting seeds. What does his comparison suggest about how we should approach sharing the gospel with others?
Comparing our bodies to temples, as Paul did, can be an effective way to teach about the sacredness of our bodies. Perhaps you could show pictures of temples, such as those that accompany this outline. Why are temples sacred? How are our bodies like temples? What can we do to treat our bodies like temples? (See also “Sexual Purity,” For the Strength of Youth, 35–37.) If possible, go to the temple together or visit the temple grounds; this could enrich your discussion about the sacredness of the temple and of our bodies.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.