1 Corinthians With Mark Dever: When Church Hurts

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading



Read 1 Corinthians 1 v 1-3

The church Paul had established in Corinth was young, full of life, and just as full of problems. As Paul sat down to write to them, they were threatened with self-destruction.

How should Paul start? Which of the deadly issues would he tackle first? None…

  • Who does the church in Corinth belong to (verse 2)?

  • Which means that God cares about their church—and yours and mine, too.

  • What word does Paul next use to describe them (verse 2)?

  • This word means “declared holy and righteous”.

  • Where is this made available (verse 2)?

  • Christians, whatever their weaknesses, mistakes and challenges, don’t need to labour under condemnation. Through faith in God’s Son, Jesus’ holiness and righteousness are given to us. If we are Christians, we are sanctified. Not through the goodness of our efforts, but through the object of our faith—the Lord Jesus.


  • God sees you as “sanctified in Christ Jesus”. How should this affect the way you see yourself?

  • What are the Corinthian Christians “called to be” (verse 2)?

  • They need to become set apart, pure, godly, in how they think and speak and live. But aren’t they already sanctified?! Are Christians set apart, or not?!

    God has declared Christians holy through faith in Christ. Our status is “holy”. But God also calls Christians to become holy, to have lives which more fully reflect Christ. We’re to live more and more as the people God has made us to be.


  • In what three areas do you most struggle to live in a holy way?

  • How will knowing you are already sanctified motivate you to live in a more holy way; and then comfort you when you fail to?

  • What two things does Paul say the Corinthian Christians enjoy (verse 3)?

  • As we’ll see, neither undeserved mercy nor friendship and calm were hallmarks of this congregation!

  • So why do you think Paul begins by reminding them that these are the product of their relationship with God, through Christ?

  • With all the problems evident in Corinth, we might expect Paul to skip his opening encouragements. But the reason he doesn’t is because of all the problems there. When we face difficulties as Christians, we need most of all to remember we are Christians: sanctified, called to be holy, enjoying grace and peace. Thank God that these things are true of you right now!