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Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps
Lesson 36, August 28 — September 3
1 Corinthians 8–13 — “Ye Are the Body of Christ”

1 Corinthians 8 “God, the Father”

The more we learn about Paul’s world, the more we see ourselves in it. For example, in what ways could you apply verses 1-2 to circumstances in our day?

Paul’s teachings in verse 5 are confirmed true by this statement from the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many; and that makes a plurality of Gods…. Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 371). Most importantly for us, Paul certifies in verse 6 that “to us there is but one God, the Father … and one Lord Jesus Christ.”

The issue in verses 7-13 is whether a church member should eat food that was prepared as an offering to a false, graven image. Paul says it is not a sin, but we should be careful how those who are new or weak in the faith might react to such behavior. Can you think of ways to apply this to us today?

1 Corinthians 9 “I Have Nothing to Glory of”

In this chapter Paul makes the following points regarding his labor—and that of others—in the Lord’s true church:

  • Apostles have seen Jesus Christ (verse 1).
  • Some people question the authority or behavior of apostles (verse 3).
  • Paul says apostles have lives (family, etc.) outside their ministry (verse 4-6).
  • It is appropriate for church members to help provide housing, food, and other needs for apostles and others who labor full-time in the ministry. Nonetheless, the Brethren take care not to abuse their authority nor over-partake of members’ goodness (verses 7-15).
  • Paul’s personal feeling is that his apostolic responsibilities earn him no glory, but simply allow him to serve God and help bring salvation to others (verses 16-19).
  • Even apostles are subject to temptation and strive carefully to discipline themselves (verses 26-27).

What are two of Paul’s keys to success in his labors, according to verses 19-23? (See also the motives and actions of Ammon in Alma 17:24-25, 29-30).

Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. We all participate in various life endeavors, but our ultimate goal must be to gain an “incorruptible crown.”

1 Corinthians 10 “That Rock Was Christ”

The history of the children of Israel was important to God’s people in the New Testament, just as it was to those in the Book of Mormon. Read verses 1-11, listing the things Paul cautioned the Corinthians against. In addition to providing us with many positive examples of righteous behavior, the scriptures also warn us through highlighting sinful behavior.

As He was for the Israelites (verse 4), the Savior will always invite, encourage, guide, and help us along our way to the land of eternal promise. The Rock is Christ—read also Helaman 5:12 and Moses 7:53.

Other truths from 1 Corinthians 10:

  • Overconfidence can lead to a downfall (verse 12).
  • The Lord provides us with an “escape” from temptation (verse 13; but see also Alma 13:28, which may be interpreted to mean that in certain cases one can get himself or herself into a circumstance in which he or she can be tempted beyond the ability to resist). Perhaps this is why Paul added, “flee from idolatry” (verse 14).
  • False worship can be tantamount to “fellowship with devils” (verses 19-21).
  • We are to seek the welfare of others, even above our own (verse 24).
  • In our worship and daily gospel living, let us be careful not to offend others who may misunderstand our practices or motives (verses 27-33).

1 Corinthians 11 “Let a Man Examine Himself”

Verses 1-10, 13-15 have perplexed readers over the years, but the chapter heading is helpful, stating, “Paul speaks of certain customs of hair and grooming.” The main point and bottom line doctrinally is the equality and co-dependence of man and woman, as so eloquently declared in verse 11.

Read verses 16-22, in which Paul again addresses “divisions” among church members in Corinth. (Note that the JST changes verse 20 to read, “When ye come together therefore into one place, is it not to eat the Lord’s supper?”) Then, in verses 23-26, Paul goes straight to that which matters most in our congregations.

Being our most important weekly hour of worship, our sacrament meetings should commemorate what Paul outlined in verses 23-28. What does it mean to you to “examine” yourself (verse 28), before and during your partaking of the sacrament?

1 Corinthians 12 Gifts

The gifts of the Spirit are potentially endless in number and references to them are found throughout the scriptures. There are three places where a partial list is offered: Moroni 10; Doctrine and Covenants 46; and 1 Corinthians 12. Here, Paul teaches us:

  • Perhaps the prime spiritual gift is the testimony of Jesus Christ as our Lord (verse 3; note that the JST changes it to read that “no man can know that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost”).
  • Who receives the gifts of the Spirit, and what is the purpose of these gifts? (verses 7, 11).
  • Which gifts of the Spirit does Paul specifically mention? (verses 8-10, 28-30).
  • Paul transitions into an inspired essay about the importance of unity within the church congregation, which Paul calls the body (verses 12-27). Which of these verses can help you most as you interact and serve among your fellow ward or branch members?
  • Verse 31 can be translated, “Seek earnestly the best gifts.” Have you ever sought, prayed for, worked for a spiritual gift?

1 Corinthians 13 A More Excellent Way

Are there people who come to mind when you think of “charity”? What do you admire about them?

  • The chapter division between 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 may be a little awkward, for the phrase at the end of chapter 12 (“yet shew I unto you a more excellent way”) is an ideal lead-in to what Paul subsequently says is among the greatest gifts.
  • In 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, Paul teaches us the hollowness of being possessed of certain traits, while not having charity.
  • Among these “lesser” gifts, Paul mentions speaking with tongues, prophecy, understanding all mysteries, knowledge, and faith to move mountains. Then, Paul states in verse 3 that he might “bestow all my goods to feed the poor,” yet still not have charity. This may be about one’s motivation, more than one’s actions. For example, read Luke 21:1-4; Moroni 7:6-9.
  • Paul next teaches us about some of the manifestations of true, Spirit-given, Spirit-driven charity; plus some of what charity is not. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 and make a list of what we can become when we have the “more excellent” gift of charity.

As a companion teaching to the topic of spiritual gifts, Paul invites us in verse 11 to grow up in Christ and become more mature in our discipleship (see also D&C 50:24; 109:15). In mortality, says Paul, we need the Spirit to teach, guide, and help us, for we merely see “through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12); as if our best view is like looking into a mirror that reflects a dim, dark, distorted reflection. We will one day see God with perfect light and clarity, as Paul says, “face to face.”

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