New Testament Reading Guide -March 12-18, 2012

How do I use this reading guide?

1 Corinthians 7:25-31

What is Paul’s advice to those who are single? Married? We normally see singleness as a ‘problem’ to be solved. How does Paul view it? Why does Paul encourage single people to stay single, even though he says it is not a sin to get married?

How does Paul call us to view our lives and the stuff or our world? How do we view our marriages? Our happiness or sadness? Our possessions? Why?

1 Corinthians 7:32-40

Why does Paul encourage unmarried men and women to remain single? What advantages are there to remaining single? For what reason should a single person pursue marriage? What does Paul have to say to widows and widowers? Why do you think Paul is keen on encouraging us to stay ‘as we are’?

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

The subject of eating meat sacrificed to idols was a controversial subject for those living in the pagan Roman world. The meat from animals sacrificed to the local gods were offered for sale in cities like Corinth and Christians fought over whether it was allowable for them to each such meat.

How does Paul answer this question, ‘is it right for Christians to eat meat sacrificed to idols’? How does Paul view these other ‘gods’? Under what circumstances should Christians, who have no problem with eating meat sacrificed to idols, not eat it? Why are Christians sometimes called to lay aside their freedoms? In a church you will have both strong and weak Christians. Who should sacrifice for whom? Why?

1 Corinthians 9:1-15– Sacrificing freedoms and personal rights.

What freedoms did Paul lay aside that were his by right as an apostle (messenger, one who was sent) of Jesus Christ? For what purpose does he surrender these rights? What good does Paul put ahead of his own personal happiness and fulfillment?

1 Corinthians 9:16-27 – Sacrificing freedoms and personal rights.

How does Paul live differently based on who he is preaching to?  Paul says that when he is with the Jews he lives like a Jew and when he is with gentiles (those without the law) he lives like a gentile.  Why?

For Paul to become like a Jew in order to win the Jews meant that in their presence, he held to Jewish customs and practices, such as keeping Kosher. Paul understood that he was no longer bound by these cultural practices, but for the sake of his audience, he keeps their traditions so that they will be able to hear the message of Jesus Christ.

Paul compares the christian life to the life of an athlete in training. What would your spiritual life look like if you approached your faith the way an athlete prepares for the Olympics?

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 – The Desert.

Paul compares the Christian life to the history of Israel. While Israel endured 400 years of slavery in Egypt, we also were slaves to sin. Israel became a free people when God parted the Red Sea and they passed through the waters (were baptized) while the pursuing Egyptian army was destroyed. We became free when we came to faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized in His name. But the Red Sea and our baptism and conversion is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. There is a desert we must cross before we reach the Promised Land (heaven) and eternal life with our Father. How does Israel’s experience in the wilderness serve as a warning to us as we journey towards the Promised Land? What must we believe to overcome temptation?

Romans 8:11-25

What does it mean for us that we have the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead living in us according to verse 11? What is true about us now that we have the Holy Spirit?
In Christ there is now no obligation to _________________. (verse 12)

What will happen if we live according to the sinful nature (flesh in some translations)?  How do you put to death your sin?  How does God’s Holy Spirit go to war against fear, the core of our flesh and sinful nature?  How does God’s Holy Spirit help us in our present struggles with sin and the sufferings we experience in this world?

How does Paul deal with his present suffering in verse 18? What hope does he have for himself in God’s creation?

Paul calls the first signs of the future restored creation the fruits of the Spirit.  In some sense this new world has already begun for ourselves because we have these firstfruits. While the new world has already begun what do we look forward to? How does this hope impact us and the way we live today?

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