Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 6:13-20


As Paul was writing this Epistle, he must have been exercised to consider in what sequence he should deal with the different problems among the believers at Corinth. The order in which Paul deals with the problems is not careless or insignificant. On the contrary, the sequence is full of significance. First, Paul deals with the soulish desires and aspirations; second, with the fleshly lusts; third, with the claiming of rights; and fourth, with the abuse of human freedom in the God-ordained matters of eating and marriage. As we shall see, Paul goes on in chapter seven to deal with married life and in chapters eight, nine, and ten, to deal with the eating of meat sacrificed to idols. These six dealings form a group. Every matter in this group is a matter of life. The soul, the flesh, rights, freedom, marriage, and eating are all related to human living.

In chapters eleven through sixteen Paul deals with five other problems. In chapter eleven he deals with head covering and the Lord’s table. Head covering is related to Christ as the Head, and the Lord’s table is related to the church as Christ’s Body. In chapters twelve, thirteen, and fourteen Paul deals with spiritual gifts; in chapter fifteen he covers the doctrine of resurrection; and in chapter sixteen he comes to the last matter, the giving of material things. These five matters form a second group and are all related to spiritual things concerning God’s administration. The more we consider the sequence in which Paul deals with problems in this Epistle, the more we realize the significance of this sequence. We shall see that the first six problems are a group related to human life and that the last five are a group related to spiritual things, in particular related to God’s interests on earth.

One way to study 1 Corinthians is to trace the sequence of the eleven problems dealt with in this book. This is not merely to study the Bible according to the black and white letters; it is to see the light which brings in life. When we see light in the Word and receive life, we shall grow.


In chapters five and six Paul deals with the matters of gross sin, the claiming of rights, and the abuse of human freedom. But when he deals with these things, he uses certain excellent expressions and utterances to present matters that are not covered elsewhere in the New Testament. For example, in 5:8 Paul says, “Let us therefore keep the feast.” We have seen that this feast refers to the feast of unleavened bread as a continuation of the Passover (Exo. 12:15-20). It lasted seven days, a period of completion, signifying the entire period of our Christian life, from the day of our conversion to the day of rapture. This indicates that the entire Christian life should be a feast, an enjoyment of Christ as our banquet.

Although keeping the feast of unleavened bread is a matter of great importance, most Christians pay little attention to Paul’s word concerning it. Instead, they concentrate on Paul’s commands for wives to submit themselves to their husbands and for husbands to love their wives. These concepts are already part of the natural understanding both of believers and of unbelievers. The Chinese began to practice these things thousands of years ago. If from the Bible you teach certain ethical Chinese that wives should submit to their husbands and that husbands should love their wives, they may tell you that they already know these things and practice them.

Although Christians pay attention to verses about submission and love, who pays adequate attention to Paul’s word about keeping the feast? Do the professors in Bible schools and seminaries teach their students what it means to keep the feast and how to keep the feast? It is doubtful that any professor instructs his students concerning these things. Furthermore, I doubt that anyone has ever told you what it means for your body to be a member of Christ, to be joined to the Lord as one spirit, or for your body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. How sad that today’s believers have been distracted from these crucial matters! We also have been hindered by the influence of our religious background. Thus, there is the need for us to get into verses 15, 17, and 19. We can no longer afford to neglect such verses; these are some of the deepest verses in the Bible.