Lesson 105: 1 Corinthians 5–6

“Lesson 105: 1 Corinthians 5–6,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)

“Lesson 105,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 105

1 Corinthians 5–6


The Apostle Paul cautioned the Saints against allowing wicked people to influence them. He warned the Saints to avoid the immoral philosophies and practices prevalent in Corinth.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Corinthians 5

Paul cautions the Saints against keeping company with those who willfully choose to sin

On the board, draw a simple picture of a bowl of fresh fruit with one rotten piece of fruit in it. Alternatively, you could display a rotten piece of fruit.

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  • What would happen if you allowed a rotten piece of fruit to remain in a bowl with other fresh fruit?

  • What could the rotten piece of fruit represent in our lives? (Influences that could harm us.)

Invite students to look for truths as they study 1 Corinthians 5 that can help them better respond to harmful influences in their lives.

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 5:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a wicked practice among the Corinthian Saints.

  • What wicked practice existed among the Corinthian Saints? (Explain that fornication refers to any sexual relations outside of marriage. One of the Church members in Corinth had engaged in sexual sin with his stepmother.)

  • According to verse 2, what did Paul counsel Church leaders to do with this person? (Explain that the phrase “taken away from among you” in verse 2 means the sinner should be excommunicated from the Church.)

Point out that Church leaders carefully consider many factors before excommunication or any other form of Church discipline takes place. In addition to considering how serious the transgression is, Church leaders consider the various purposes for Church discipline: to help a person repent, to protect those who would be negatively affected by a person’s actions or the spreading of that person’s beliefs, and to protect the integrity of the Church’s teachings (see “Church Discipline,”

Invite students to read 1 Corinthians 5:6–7 aloud, and ask the class to look for the analogy Paul used to explain why this individual needed to be removed from the Church.

  • What did Paul compare unrepentant sinners to? (Explain that leaven, or yeast, eventually causes bread to spoil or become moldy.)

  • How much leaven is needed to affect an entire lump of dough?

  • What does the lump of dough represent? (The Church of Jesus Christ.)

  • How would you summarize the meaning of this analogy as a principle? (Using their own words, students should identify a principle similar to the following: If we choose to closely associate with those who embrace sin, we can be influenced by their wickedness. Write this truth on the board.)

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 5:9–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for counsel Paul gave the Corinthian Saints.

  • What did Paul instruct the Corinthian Saints to avoid?

To help students further understand Paul’s counsel not to keep company with fornicators or others who embrace sin, provide students with a copy of the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask a student to read it aloud:

Maxwell, Neal A.

“Do not company with fornicators—not because you are too good for them but, as [C. S.] Lewis wrote, because you are not good enough. Remember that bad situations can wear down even good people” (“The Stern but Sweet Seventh Commandment,” New Era, June 1979, 42).

  • How might closely associating with those who embrace sin weaken our ability to make righteous choices?

  • What are some examples of bad situations that can wear down good people?

  • What can we do without compromising our standards to help individuals who have embraced sin? (We can pray for them, show kindness and respect for them as children of God, and set a righteous example of keeping the commandments.)

Invite students to prayerfully consider what they can do to influence others in a positive way without compromising their standards.

Summarize 1 Corinthians 5:12–13 by explaining that Paul taught that the Church has a responsibility to call members to repentance and in some cases to “put away from among [the Church]” (verse 13) those who commit serious transgressions.

1 Corinthians 6

Paul teaches the Saints about unity and the law of chastity

Draw another simple picture on the board of a bowl of rotten fruit with one fresh piece of fruit in it. Invite students to consider if they have ever wondered how to avoid sin when it is all around them. Point out that this was a challenge the Corinthian Saints faced.

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As students study 1 Corinthians 6, invite them to look for truths Paul taught that could help them live righteously despite being surrounded by wicked influences.

Summarize 1 Corinthians 6:1–8 by explaining that Paul counseled the Corinthian Saints to righteously resolve disputes among themselves rather than immediately resorting to civil courts.

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for sinful practices in Corinth that Paul taught Church members to avoid.

  • What types of sinful behaviors did Paul teach Church members to avoid?

  • According to verse 11, what did Paul remind these Saints about themselves? (Many converts from Corinth had participated in these sinful behaviors before joining the Church, but they had repented and been cleansed from their sins.)

Explain that ancient Corinth had a reputation for immorality, and many Corinthians promoted the idea that our bodies were made for pleasure. Summarize the Joseph Smith Translation of 1 Corinthians 6:12 by explaining that Paul taught against the philosophy that there is no right or wrong.

  • How were the ideas and practices in Corinth similar to trends we see in the world today?

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 6:13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul taught about the purpose of our bodies.

  • What did Paul teach about our bodies? (While many of the Corinthians apparently believed that the body was made simply for physical pleasures, Paul corrected that view by teaching that our bodies were created to accomplish the Lord’s purposes.)

Summarize 1 Corinthians 6:14–17 by explaining that those who join the Church become one with Christ as spiritual “members” of His body. Paul also explained that sexual immorality is incompatible with a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 6:18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul taught the Corinthian Saints to do. (You may want to point out that the Joseph Smith Translation of 1 Corinthians 6:18 changes the phrase “without the body” to “against the body of Christ.”)

  • What did Paul teach the Corinthian Saints to do?

  • What truth did Paul teach about those who commit fornication? (You may want to suggest that students mark the words in verse 18 that teach the following truth: Those who commit fornication sin against their own bodies.)

Explain that Paul next taught why fornication, or sexual immorality, is a sin “against [the person’s] own body.”

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 6:19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul compared our bodies to.

  • What did Paul compare our bodies to?

Display a picture of a temple.

  • What is the difference between a temple and any other building?

  • How would you summarize the truth Paul taught in verse 19? (Students may use other words but should identify the following doctrine: Our bodies are temples of God in which the Spirit can dwell.)

  • How can understanding that our bodies are temples influence how we treat our bodies and the bodies of others?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for additional insights about how understanding this truth can influence how we treat our bodies.

Christofferson, D. Todd

“Acknowledging these truths [from 1 Corinthians 6:19–20] … , we would certainly not deface our body, as with tattoos; or debilitate it, as with drugs; or defile it, as with fornication, adultery, or immodesty. … As our body is the instrument of our spirit, it is vital that we care for it as best we can. We should consecrate its powers to serve and further the work of Christ” (“Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 17).

  • What do you think Paul meant by the phrase “ye are not your own” in verse 19?

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 6:20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why our bodies are not our own.

  • What phrase indicates why our bodies are not our own? (Explain that “bought with a price” means to be redeemed or bought back through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)

  • How would you summarize a truth from verses 19–20? (After students respond, consider inviting them to write the following truth in their scriptures near verses 19–20: Because we have been bought with a price through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our bodies are not our own.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Holland, Jeffrey R.

“Please, never say: ‘Who does it hurt? Why not a little freedom? I can transgress now and repent later.’ Please don’t be so foolish and so cruel. You cannot with impunity ‘crucify Christ afresh’ [see Hebrews 6:6]. ‘Flee fornication’ [1 Corinthian 6:18], Paul cries, and flee ‘anything like unto it’ [D&C 59:6; emphasis added], the Doctrine and Covenants adds. Why? Well, for one reason because of the incalculable suffering in both body and spirit endured by the Savior of the world so that we could flee [see especially Doctrine and Covenants 19:15–20]. We owe Him something for that. Indeed, we owe Him everything for that” (“Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 76).

  • How should remembering that our bodies are not our own influence the choices we make regarding our bodies?

Refer students to the picture on the board of the fresh piece of fruit surrounded by rotten fruit.

  • How can understanding these truths about our bodies help us remain pure when we are surrounded by wickedness?

Testify of the truths you have discussed. Invite students to ponder the impressions or promptings they may have received during the lesson and to act on those promptings.

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Scripture Mastery—1 Corinthians 6:19–20

Invite students to write a brief talk based on 1 Corinthians 6:19–20. Encourage them to include the following: (1) the background information related to this passage (background information can be found on the scripture mastery card), (2) the principles that it teaches, and (3) a personal experience that illustrates the truth that this passage teaches. You could invite a few students to present their talks to the class. Encourage students to consider opportunities they may have to present their talks at home or at Church.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Corinthians 5:9. “Not to keep company with fornicators”

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that as members of the Church, we believe in “a doctrine of inclusion.” In teaching this doctrine, Elder Ballard said:

“[The Savior’s] deliberate use of Jews and Samaritans clearly teaches that we are all neighbors and that we should love, esteem, respect, and serve one another despite our deepest differences—including religious, political, and cultural differences. …

“[However,] I am not suggesting … that we should associate in any relationship that would place us or our families at spiritual risk” (“Doctrine of Inclusion,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 37).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also taught about respecting others, even if they believe or act differently than members of the Church:

“Many teachers in church and school have grieved at the way some teenagers, including LDS youth, treat one another. The commandment to love one another surely includes love and respect across religious lines and also across racial, cultural, and economic lines. We challenge all youth to avoid bullying, insults, or language and practices that deliberately inflict pain on others. All of these violate the Savior’s command to love one another” (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 27).

1 Corinthians 5:13. “Put away from yourselves that wicked person”

When the Church formally puts away a person who is embracing serious sin, it is called Church discipline. The following entry from True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference explains the process of Church discipline:

“Bishops and branch presidents and stake, mission, and district presidents have a responsibility to help members overcome transgression through repentance. The most serious transgressions, such as serious violations of civil law, spouse abuse, child abuse, adultery, fornication, rape, and incest, often require formal Church discipline. Formal Church discipline may include restriction of Church membership privileges or loss of Church membership.

“The process of formal discipline begins when a presiding priesthood leader calls for a disciplinary council. The purposes of disciplinary councils are to save the souls of transgressors, protect the innocent, and safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the Church.

“Church discipline is an inspired process that takes place over a period of time. Through this process and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, a member can receive forgiveness of sins, regain peace of mind, and gain strength to avoid transgression in the future. Church disciplinary action is not intended to be the end of the process. It is designed to help Heavenly Father’s children continue in their efforts to return to full fellowship and the full blessings of the Church. The desired result is that the person make whatever changes are necessary to repent completely” (“Church Disciplinary Councils,” True to the Faith [2004], 37–38).