Gluttons and Drunks in the Church – 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Drunken SatyrWhen he writes to the Corinthians, Paul must correct the church because of of their behavior at private banquets (6:12-20). The issue here is going to banquets given by the rich and elite of the city. There is a great deal of evidence concerning the types of things that went on at a Roman banquet of the first century from contemporary writers.

Bruce Winter gathers a number of references from Plutarch describing the combination of gluttony, drunkenness and sexual immorality that were a part of the “after-dinners” as he calls them. There was an association between gluttony and sexual excess, as is seen from the well known saying reported by Plutarch, “in well-gorged-bodies love (passions) reside.” The writer Athenaeus said that the goddess Cypris (Aphrodite) does not visit the poor, “in an empty body no love of the beautiful can reside.” Plutarch also said that in “intemperate intercourse follows a lawless meal, inharmonious music follows a shameless debauch” (Winter, After Paul Left Corinth, 84).

These banquets would only have been attended by the rich elite of the city of Corinth. The poor were not invited, only those of some social standing. In Corinth there was a major city-wide banquet for all citizens celebrating the games. Not only would there have been pressure to attend these banquets on a social level, there was the added pressure of begin a good citizen of Corinth and of Rome.

These sorts of banquets are in the background of 1 Corinthians. Members of the church are not visiting brothels as we might think of it today. They are attending meals with the elite of Corinth, either hosted in the home of a wealthy patron of the city or in a temple. The practice was considered not only acceptable, but in some cases required for social mobility. If one wanted to gain the favor of a wealthy patron in order to advance a business plan, then attendance at a banquet hosted by the patron was a necessity.

Why would the Corinthian Christians think that they had a right to participate in these banquets? Paul seems to have taught them that Christians are to be separate from such activities, and the strong Jewish ethic of many of the founders would have argued against going to a temple, eating food sacrificed to idols, and participating in the “after-dinners.”

It appears at the very least that some Gentile converts to Christianity did not see this kind of activity as “sin.” As with most of the problems Paul treats in 1 Corinthians, the congregation was slow to de-paganize and think about these behaviors through the lens of their new faith. The practice of going to temples to share meals with the elite of Corinth was socially desirable for the wealthy (and “wanna-be” elite). Perhaps individuals in the church thought they had to do their civic duty by doing to the banquets (a virtue) and did not yet see the additional practices as a vice yet.

This is a very challenging point for contemporary church life. While I do not think that many evangelical Christians are participating in civic orgies, we do seem to tolerate immoral actions among those who are elite citizens (or think that they are elite). A very obvious application is attitudes towards people in public office. The ones who agree with our politics are held to a far less rigorous moral standard than those we disagree with. It does not take too long to think of many examples if this sort of thing.

What are the sorts of behaviors that are accepted (or forbidden) by local congregations in order to better fit into contemporary culture?

31 thoughts on “Gluttons and Drunks in the Church – 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

  1. The church in Corinth was struggling with what many Christians struggle with today. How much of modern society meshes with what we believe? There seems to be the tension of taking what one wants from the Bible and leaving what they do not want- especially if it goes against societal norms. When thinking of the elite in Corinth participating in ceremonial gluttony and orgies, it is easy to think about how blind they were to their sins. Yet, often we are blind to our own sin that is accepted in our culture. As mentioned in the post, those in political office are often held to less of a moral standard, as it is common that politicians lie, manipulate, have affairs which are later exposed to the media, and many other scandalous activities. We also see churches who very passionately and openly advocate for homosexual rights, displaying pride flags outside of their building. Homosexuality is becoming an increasingly acceptable thing in our society, and it is becoming an increasingly acceptable thing in our churches. I live near a church that has a carnival every summer, with a beer tent, which seems ironic, yet acceptable to society. I think it is really important to ask ourselves what sins we are making acceptable inside of Christianity, and what message that sends to those outside of Christianity. In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul writes that they must expel from the church the one who is defiling the Lord’s temple. Possibly, this is something we need to further examine in our churches today.

  2. This is not all all surprising to understand from a first or twenty-first century perspective. On one hand we have churches that avoid anything that distinguishes them from the culture they are ministering to in order to gain acceptance by the culture. They want to gain converts by making it as easy as possible for them to convert without having to change much. One might question the legitimacy of a conversion based on “changing as little as possible”. The reverse of this is of course churches that tow a hard line of morality and separation from the culture to the point of not accepting anyone till they look and act just like them. On the other hand we have people attending Churches completely oblivious to the need for change in their own lives. They want to be saved but they don’t want to change. Their lives don’t show that they have Jesus as their Savior now. They still want to engage in course language and media that is not God-honoring(is any mass media God-honoring?) and still be a Christian. Why is it so hard to be different from others and still accepting of others that are different?

  3. ‘This is a very challenging point for contemporary church life, we do seem to tolerate immoral actions among those who are elite citizens. A very obvious application is attitudes towards people in public office. The ones who agree with our politics are held to a far less rigorous moral standard than those we disagree with. It does not take too long to think of many examples if this sort of thing’ (Plong).

    I agree with you Plong 100%, but I don’t and will not ever hold someone in political position who agrees with some political view of mine in some other rigorous moral standard than what the Bible teaches. We are all held accountable by the same standard, Christ. Those who let down their guard to this and start being ok with unbiblical teaching are ‘getting comfy’ and lead astray by some secular worldview.

    I will go with the obvious here, homosexuality and abortion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the United Church of Christ are the only two I really know their stance on these subjects. And they are not biblical. Certain circumstances can justify abortion, like pregnancy that endangers the life of the mom or a pregnancy that happened from the cause of rape or incest (TCJCLS view). UCC view is that homosexuality is encouraged, there should be equal marriage rights for all people no matter the gender. These people are calling themselves Christian’s, and what they are standing for in fact does not exemplify what Christianity is in a truthful way. It is very misleading, for someone who wants to know the core of Christianity. I feel ‘churches’ like this, are willing to sacrifice clear cut commands from God at an attempt to secure more followers, drones if you will. Not targeting people who choose to follow an un-tampered type of ‘relationship’, one that is just and comforting and not just comforting and accepting you to continue in the wrong. Should people keep sinning to better fit into contemporary culture, just because they are saved?

  4. While looking at this blog, the issue of homosexuality cannot help but come up. This would be a modern day Corinth issue. It is one of those issues that are getting more and more accepted in todays world. It is as if it is the norm now. This is a hard issue because if you talk to someone that has lived this way their whole life, this is their culture. just as the Corinthians finding it hard to turn away from their culture, the culture of today is being more and more pro gay rights. This is an issue that we can safely say that is not ok for in a Christians standpoint. So this is where we come to ask, is it ok to live this way if they are Christians also? I would not say that we need to completely accept their life style but I will say that if the big issues can be changed as this, we need to change the so called little sins that we commit everyday. IF we are not living a Christ worthy way of life, then how can others see how God wants them to change and live like?

  5. While reading this blog post, one of the largest things that we push in churches today is drinking. I believe that we say that it is okay, but we should not be drunk. As in Ephesians 5:18 it says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (ESV). I think that we take this to a different level, so that we can “fit into” society. I can recall some times where the issue of drinking has come up in the church, and we just read the first part of this verse, and disregard the second part. Yes, we are not to be drunk, but we are to fill ourselves with the Spirit. I believe that if we fill ourselves with the Spirit, then we will not have the urge to drink. The Spirit will fill all void from what the “contemporary culture” sees fit to make the hard times better. We as a church look at this, and say that drinking is okay just as long as we don’t get drunk, because that is what the verse says. It specifically says, “do not be drunk with wine”, but if you continue to read it says to be “filled with the Spirit”.
    If you look at what drinking is mainly used for in our contemporary culture these days, it is used for after a long week at work, a hard day at work, or a hard day at home. It is used to wash away the hard times, and “make you forget” reality for just a little bit. I believe that if we forget about the alcohol and fully rely on the Spirit in the hard times, we do not need to let the alcohol solve our problems for us. If we are saying that alcohol is okay, then I believe that in a way we are saying that the Spirit is not enough to help us through our rough days.

  6. Just as everyone seems to argue for, it is not difficult to correlate the struggle between the Church in Corinth and today’s contemporary Church. Albeit, the cultural and societal influences have changed over time, it is not arduous to link the two churches. Nevertheless, one of the major concerns brewing in the Church is sexual immorality. Though an age-old issue, it is still very much alive and still devastating. In Corinth’s time, sexual immorality was found all through the church members. Most of them justified their dualistic point-of-views by proclaiming that they had the freedom to do what they wanted with their bodies because they lacked the belief in a resurrected body. Even “Paul knew that one could become a slave to one’s freedom (Polhill, 240).” Whatever it would take to employ their freedom, the Corinthians would do.
    Similarly, the Church in the current age struggles with the same type of ordeal, unfortunately. With technological advancements serving as an impetus to the downfall in the area of sexual immorality in this dane age, impurity has become nothing short of mediocre. With sexual imagery dominating this new culture, especially younger citizens to this new era (our kids, teednagers, etc.), it is becoming easier to justify actions as sexual impurity. The same people who bow to keep the promise to stay sexually pure for their faith in Jesus Christ are the same people who are pushing the boundaries of “self-restraint.”

  7. Courtney, you are saying a lot of different things in your post. First you are saying drinking is a means to ‘fit into’.

    Then you say, ‘The Spirit will fill all void from what the “contemporary culture” sees fit to make the hard times better’.

    After this you say, ‘If you look at what drinking is mainly used for in our contemporary culture these days, it is used for after a long week at work, a hard day at work, or a hard day at home.’ “””It is used to wash away the hard times, and “make you forget” reality for just a little bit.”””

    ..’we do not need to let the alcohol solve our problems for us. If we are saying that alcohol is okay, then I believe that in a way we are saying that the Spirit is not enough to help us through our rough days.’

    I am struggling to figure out what you are really talking about here. Are you talking about alcoholics? Is drinking or getting drunk the problem? Are they the same things? Are you looking at the use of alcohol in the wide-scope of human history or are you looking at the use of it be a segregated few? Is alcohol replacing the Holy Spirit, or is ‘being drunk’ taking away our sense of urgency? What is the actual focus of the passage? Don’t surrender your powers of judgment to alcohol, by getting drunk; loosing your sense of urgency? Or is it saying cease to drink even a drop, because you’re only drinking to rely on alcohol to relieve you of your problems, you are afraid the Holy Spirit will not satisfy?

    Help me understand what you are getting at and who you are talking about.

  8. Christianity is relatively easy to enter into. We have to believe, trust, and have faith in Christ and we are considered Christians. After that there is a lot of gray area. Often Christianity is shaped by our cultures, as it seems that it was in the ancient church. To what extent do we let it conform to the culture is the question that has to be asked. Back then, as the post explains, it was hard for people to get anywhere socially if they did not attend these parties, but what was the cost? If our goal is to continue to grow closer to Christ, then we shouldn’t let mere social growth drive our decisions, that isn’t the point. Paul says he counts all things as a loss for the sake of knowing Christ. I often wonder if I could truly say that. Here in america we are pretty comfortable and if we follow certain social behaviors then we can “get ahead” in our culture. Our goal as Christians, though isn’t to get ahead, but to humble ourselves to one another and be like Christ. This requires examination of just how far we follow our culture and let our Christianity form to that culture.

  9. The question of, what are the sorts of behaviors that are forbidden by local congregations is about the same as that of those things that are accepted. There are so many things that I think are being accepted that are absolutely bad and should be forbidden. SOme of the things that are being forbidden that I think shouldn’t be forbidden is things of how people dress. I don’t think that it matter about how people dress if they are modest. I believe that the people that are deacons or in the band or the pastor should dress better then the congregation however but I have been to some churches that have asked me to not wear jeans if I wanted to attend there again. I have been to some churches that are bothered too much about what you are wearing and show no concern for where you are spiritually. I could honestly care less if people came to church with a shirt sponsoring cigarettes or beer. There are girls wearing short shorts, which is one of the worst things that is accepted today. Churches are being accepting of out of wedlock children or living situations and I think that if they are deliberately not getting out of that arrangement when they easily could, should be forbidden. I believe that Churches should show grace to those that are in a sin or are stumbling, but if they are not changing it or do not want to change, then it should be forbidden.

  10. I think that churches have come full circle since Paul’s time. The gluttonous behaviors were prominent then, and it seems that for a while churches were very very conservative. And now they are back to being more accepting of the pleasures that the world has to offer. The problem is that now, churches want to please everybody. They don’t want to OFFEND anybody. So elders pretend to not see what is going on amongst the congregation. Like Kody was saying, I see it too now that churches have become much more accepting of homosexuals. And I do see how a situation like that can be difficult…you want them to be at church and be in an environment that will uplift them, but at the same time its wrong to pretend that there is no problem. Its contradicting. Christians are beginning to remind me of Amish people using cell phones. In fact, I know of a small church in GR that goes out to the bar after Sunday night services! I think that to try and solve the problem it is important to make decisions based on your convictions. It is important to hate the sin and love the sinner.

  11. The start of the after party. Paul talks about living in the world but not in the world, but sin was fully welcomed in the church then, and today. Sin was rampant and Paul had enough, but today who is ready to say they have had enough? Often in the modern church we are quick to attack the sins we can see like homosexuality, drinking, smoking, changing the carpet color; but their are a multitude of sins that are going unaddressed. Paul in his time was addressing the things that people didnt talk about the elephant in the room that caused divisions and fighting. When is the church going to address its congregants using porn, or lying, or even gossip. The bible lays out in romans “the wages of sin is death” it doesnt say the wages of some sin, it doesnt say most sin, it says “the wages of sin is death”. Paul took holiness seriously when is the church?

  12. Colossians 2:8 comes to mind when I think about this stuff: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” It is easy for us to rationalize our “after-dinners,” as I’m sure they Corinthians could do as well. Courtney hit on alcohol consumption, and Kodie hit on homosexuality, a couple very common gray areas that some Christians have a hard time addressing. I would say the thing that sticks out to me though, as far as Christians accepting certain behaviors to fit in with the culture revolves around entertainment. There are probably a lot of movies or television shows we shouldn’t watch, or music we shouldn’t listen to, but we let it slide to fit in with the culture.

  13. The problems that the congregations of Corinth were facing are incredibly similar to the conflicts we have in the modern church. How much of society should we be conformed to or accept into our daily lives? On the other hand, do we exclude ourselves to the point of losing our ministry to those people? A lot of the time people dont know how to relate to those of us minksterimg because we have spent so much time trying to stay away from the sinful patterns of this world. I, honestly, dont think that there is sure answer to these problems. I do, however, think that it is something we should be constantly seeking God after. I think that 1 Corinthians is a letter that we can almost dread directly to the problems in church today. While we often dont wsee our problems as bad as those in the early church, they are. The only difference is the societal context of those issues.

  14. How we address issues like Paul what is dealing with in 1 Corinthians 6, starts with noting whether believers think something is a sin and do it anyway, or they’re participating in sinful activities because they don’t think it’s wrong or sinful. This differentiation largely changes a person’s motives and can assist in determining how the issue is confronted. The new Corinthian Gentile converts fall into one of these categories and Paul looks to address it accordingly in a way that will change their motives to their sinful party actions. Paul condones this behavior because he is more concerned with the Corinthian Christians being obedient than his reputation and likability.

    There are many issues today that churches neglect to condone because they want to be accepted into the surrounding communities. A major one that I believe churches today are struggling with is homosexuality. Churches get a horrible reputation for being hateful, unloving, and judgmental when it comes to this cultural topic. In order to avoid that and be welcoming to the community, some churches accept homosexuality despite how straightforward the Bible is on the topic (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Rom. 1:24-29; 1 Tim 1:9-10). I know that certain churches and Christians need to be more loving towards homosexuals; however, I don’t think that churches should be in support of that lifestyle either. I think the reason why this particular issue has become such a “hot-topic” is because few sins are actually celebrated in our society. This leaves some churches to despise it and others to accept it. Some people think homosexuality isn’t wrong, and therefore will participate or accept it. In order to address the issue, I believe that churches need to take a loving approach, but also stand firm in Biblical teachings and understand the core nature as Paul teaches rather than be swayed by what our culture is claiming.

    • Good post Kylee. I agree that homosexuality is a big topic these days that can have churches divided. There are multiple verses that talk about how this sin is wrong, as you stated, but the argument states that we need to show love to everyone. I do not think that there should be division between these two sets of verses, but instead they should be working together. It should not be either or between love and believing what is right or wrong. Jesus was able to boldly let people know about sins in their life, and yet He was still known for His great love. There are going to be controversial topics throughout any church, and not everyone is going to handle them the same way. It is important that the church stands firm on what is a sin and what is not, I think that when there are gray areas, then it gives people excuses to allow sin. When someone is dealing with a sin and they know where a church stands, they might be hesitant to attend that church. This is where we need to be overflowing with love. As a church we need to let people know that even though there might tension with the sin they are dealing with, the love shown by the church will be more noticeable.

  15. The Corinthian Christians of this time definitely struggled to de-paganize. This is something that is seen in today’s society as well. When an individual becomes a Christian and decides to devote their life to honoring and loving Jesus Christ, it can be difficult to transition from one’s worldly lifestyle and worldly perspective that dominated their life for so long. Humans are considered creatures of habit, and for the Corinthians, as well as newly-transformed Christians today, there are common old habits that do not reflect the teachings of the Bible. That is okay, but when one devotes their life to Christ, it is expected that they will do their best to transition away from any and all sinful habits that hinder their pursuit and relationship with Jesus Christ. I do not think it is bad that the Corinthian Christians struggled to de-paganize because I find this to be a typical concept when one first transitions to a life in Christ. That being said, there is a deeper rooted issue in the hearts and minds of the Corinthian Christians that caused this process to be even more difficult. The Corinthian Christians denial of the need for resurrection was at the heart of this deeper rooted issue. According to Longenecker & Still (2014), “For Paul, this (their denial of the need for resurrection) is a betrayal of the whole of their identity in Christ” (p. 132). I agree with Paul wholeheartedly on his sentiment in this scenario. Longenecker & Still (2014) mention that the Corinthian Christians denied the necessity of the resurrection of Christ, as well as their own resurrection. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul calls for the transformation of one’s body and mind. He wants Christians and followers of Christ to stray away from the patterns of the world and pursue Christ. It seems as if the people of Corinth struggled in this area of their spiritual walks. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the absolute heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How can one claim to be a Christian and deny the need for the resurrection of Jesus Christ? This is why I agree with Paul in that quote with Longenecker & Still (2014). Moreover, the fact that they deny the need of their own resurrection makes it easier to understand why they struggled to de-paganize.

    In order to fit into contemporary culture, it seems as if local church congregations have accepted the pursuit or idolization of money. Sometimes, it seems as if some churches run a for-profit business because the pursuit of money seems evident. I could be wrong in this sentiment, but it appears this way at times, from the outside looking in. The Bible is clear that money itself is not bad, but idolizing money is a sin (Proverbs 11:28). It seems as if the church has embraced the need and pursuit of money in some congregations, which definitely follows the pattern of modern society today.

  16. P. Long’s blog post on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is a clear and understandable explanation of the struggles Christians faced as they came from a pagan background and had not become mature within their faith. Bruce Longenecker and Todd Still address the issue of sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 1:12-20 in their book Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology stating that Corinthian Christians may have viewed sexual appetite like hunger, you simply indulge in food or intercourse with the temple prostitutes to fulfill that particular hunger (Longenecker, Pg. 122). Obviously, this is counter Biblical teachings, including Paul’s writings, and are dealt with by Paul. An example of attitudes acceptable by contemporary culture and by have been accepted by the church in America, as mentioned by P. Long in class today, is the attitude of discontentment especially around holidays such as Christmas. It is extremely common and cultural that around Christmas we all break the bank by giving expensive, often unnecessary, gifts. This comes of an America culture of desiring the best and newest items, that what we own is what defines us. And though it is an easy attitude to fall into without even realizing it, the church as accepted and often fails to address how counter this attitude is to the Bible’s teachings. Paul writes in Philippians 4 that, in context to being context, he can do all things Christ who strengthens him. We as Christians are to be content in God and what He has already given us, but instead we easily fall into the cultural attitude of discontentment and wanting what we do not have.

  17. I think that part of the reason why some of the Corinthian believers might have been involved in this gluttony and sexual immorality would be because they had an incorrect view of the freedom that they had in Christ. After all, Paul had already made a big deal about gentile believers not being under the Jewish Law (see Galatians), and since they were free in Christ then surely “all things are lawful” for believers (1 Cor. 6:12). In addition, in chapter 8 it is evident that some of the Corinthian believers had already come to understand that idols were mere wood and stone which made the food offered to them no different than any other food. I am sure that this would have helped rationalize at least part of the participation with these banquets. Regardless, however, Paul makes it very clear in 6:12-20 that even though we have great freedom in Christ, nothing should master us or defile us.

    Longenecker makes an interesting observation about 1 Corinthians 5-6’s structure. In this analysis, he concludes that 6:9-11 is the centerpiece that this whole passage reflects on (p. 121). This analysis puts an emphasis on Paul’s teaching that I think fits rather well. In 6:9-11 reminds the Corinthian believers that they are no longer adulterers, drunkards, revilers, or the like. Instead, they were washed of these ways and were sanctified and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (v. 11). Therefore, because of this new identity in Christ, the Corinthian believers were to stop living according to those old, unrighteous ways of life and instead live according to our new, purified state. Paul makes a similar argument in Ephesians 4-5.

  18. It can sometimes be easy to tell what actions are considered sinful, and what actions are accepted as a Christian. If someone is just transitioning into a life of Christianity, they might not know everything that is a sin and everything that is not. This is something that the church needs to work on understanding before being quick to rid someone of the church. A big topic that I can think of is homosexuality. Some churches are very strictly against this behavior, while other churches are more accepting of it. I do not think it would be right of a church to kick someone who is homosexual out of the church just for taking part in this sin, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be ignored. A new Christian might not view this as a sin, but that does not make it right. With so many movements that make this socially acceptable in the world, the church has the option to stand firm against this behavior or support them so that the world accepts this church. Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world”. I believe this is telling us not to just go along with what the world is doing because it may make the church more popular or fit in better among contemporary culture, but instead stand out. This may seem obvious to some, but just like the people of Corinth, when dealing with the issue personally, your view can be distorted. Longenecker 2014, p122 says that “For Paul, damaging sexual practices emerge from and perpetuate a fractured spirituality”. I think that this is telling the church to have patience with new believers, as they are still building a new relationship with the Spirit.

  19. The whole of America, I think I can say, is money. People want money, we want status, and we want to belong in this world and do anything to feel that way, to feel complete. I think these banquets P. Long mentions, or “after-dinners” as Plutarch calls them, is exactly that. A desperate way to try and feel complete. Only the rich and well-known were the ones to attend these banquets and it’s the same way now. If you have money you can afford to go to fancy places and get into special parties because of your money. Even to get out of trouble or jail, if you had money, no problem. It was the same way in Corinth if you had money you were an elite and everyone strived to be like you. As Christians in Corinth, it was probably really difficult to know where to draw the line on what was okay to do and what was not okay. But it is exactly the same now here in America in 2019. The church has adapted to the world around them in order to ‘survive’ and ‘connect’. In 1 Corinthians 6:17, Paul basically tells the church to live differently because each person needs to live as a follower of Christ in any setting they are in because this is what the Lord commands. It is also stated in 1 Peter 1:16, God says, “be Holy because I am Holy.” But it is hard to live Holy when you are surrounded by unholiness.

    Like in Corinth, the church has adopted a way of life where they can be in contemporary culture but still be considered followers of Christ. Some behaviors that can show this can include tattoos, drinking alcohol, being involved with social media, watching questionable movies, and listening to secular music. These behaviors are (some more than others) here and there accepted because it is part of the world around us and we don’t think of them as ‘wrong’ or something that can get in the way of Christ when in reality they are what is blocking us from a closer relationship with God. Romans 12:2, “do not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Paul emphasizes in Corinthians that Christians are to be different, that may include actually stepping out against society and living a life conscience of God’s thoughts on our secular world.

  20. While it is understandable to some degree that a new or just recently converted individual to Christ might “hold on” to their sins more than a more established or perhaps mature believer, this is still no excuse to sin. We know that if one truly loves the Lord, there will be an earnest and heartfelt desire to turn away from sin. Continuously sinning after coming to saving faith cannot be labeled a “mistake” as some do. It is a choice. A choice to choose sin over God, and from this one must ask themselves if they are truly saved or not. Matthew 7:17: “A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit”. In regards to the sin of sexual immorality that some of the Corinthians were partaking in, Paul no doubt was as stern as he was because he knew the consequences of this type of evil practice. As author Longnecker states perfectly, sex “involves the essence of one’s identity” (Longnecker, p.122). When a man and a woman have sex together, there is a deep spiritual bond formed between the two of them, as God intended. However, when it is performed outside of marriage in a careless, causal way, it damages both men and women, emotionally and spiritually, sometimes with lifelong, lasting after-effects. This is not what God intended for anyone, which is why we have marriage in the first place. “Damaging sexual practices emerge from and perpetuate a fractured spirituality” (Longnecker, p.122). As we continue to advance in time, as well as continue to approach the end times, marriage is view (from both within and outside the church) with less and less value. Despite this, those who are genuinely and truly seeking to follow God with all their heart, soul, and mind will bear reverence and respect for it as the covenant God designed and created it to be for us.

  21. It seems as if being a Christian you are under a spotlight. As a g=Gentile becoming a Christian there are cetian ways that they still need to understand in life. Some sins may not come to their eyes right away as they should. All that has to be done here is the simple favor of being reminded. God did not put us here to be perfect and Paul tried to help out with that as well. As he denied them to not go to those rich outings. New Christians do not always realize when they make a mistake or commit a sin. God allows everyone a second chance and wants everyone to be successful. Are churches too harsh on those that may mess up once or twice? Is there something that needs to be changed in some communites? I believe that sometimes there is a small forgiving gap in some church communites. Maybe some of these communities should ease up just a tad for the new culuture of life. Topics like homosexuality and abortions are huge in life but if they come about in some churches it is like you are in the wroing for bringing them up in the topic of discussion. When in realality, these are topics that need to be discussed.

  22. For centuries, the Bible has been revered and used as the moral code and ethical guide to the life of Christians, and sometimes more than just those who proclaim to be a Christian. The United States was founded as a Christian nation, and initially held very similar standards. Fast forward to modern-day beliefs and culture. There is been a drastic change in how people behave, the acceptable behavior, and the priorities of our nation. With these changes among unbelievers, there has been a change within the church to promote acceptance of those who have not found Christ, in order to evangelize without offending. The problem with this mentality is that the Bible was never intended to be changed in order to fit the culture or time period; it was created to transform lives – something that I believe our culture is slowly losing sight of. While sexual immorality was an issue that Paul addresses in this time period and within a specific context, I think that it is still an issue in our churches and culture today.
    In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul addresses the Corinthian believers, addressing their tendency to attend parties that included gluttonous eating, excessive drinking, and sexually immoral actions. While to the newly-converted gentiles this may have been simply another social event, Paul knew that it was against what God desired, and addressed the issue promptly. While in the modern-day church, sexual sins can be agreed upon among churches and Christians that they are morally wrong, the newly-converted Gentiles may not have seen it as a sin. As Longenecker points out, “Some Corinthian Christians probably compared sexual appetite to hunger” (Longenecker & Still, 2014), and as a result, may have simply equated satisfying a sexual need to hunger and eating to be filled during a meal. While the people of Corinth have a reason why they are continuing to do the things that they are doing despite it still being sinful behavior, I believe that we as Americans do not have an excuse. We are given the Bible as the framework to our faith, and Paul very clearly states, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Cor. 6:13). He goes on to describe how we as members of the body of Christ are temples of the Holy Spirit and how we should be fleeing from sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18-19). It is becoming more and more difficult for those within our culture to avoid temptation when it comes to this issue; whether it is the media, pictures, movies, or the accessibility of sexual content online, it’s everywhere. This is why it is all the more important to solidify what we believe, and have a firm foundation in the Bible that cannot be swayed by what our culture says.

  23. Living in the 21st century, it is not at all hard to understand the people of Corinth’s struggle to rid themselves of the paganized ways of the Roman society – especially when looking at their struggle with the eyes of a young college student. When Phil Long explains in this blog post that these banquets Paul explains as taking place in the background of the city and mentions that these banquets were for the elite members in society, I immediately think of college students living on campus when fraternities and sororities. The fraternities and sororities of modern-day college campuses have many similarities with the banquets Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians – the overindulging of a human on pleasures such as drinking, pre-marital sex, and gluttony. The problem with these parties in Corinth, and in present day, is that these gatherings are socially acceptable. It becomes almost a game to overly consume alcoholic drinks and what follows being drunk. It is a way that the socially non-elite can mingle and feel as if they belong with the elite members. Now when we are drinking, moderation is the key. When we believe it is socially acceptable to overindulge is where the issues seem to come in a slippery slope. When one goes past the moderate amount of alcohol consumed it can set up instances where they are ready to engage in sexually impure actions. In the blog post, Phil Long explains that Bruce Winters gathered several references from Plutarch on these after dinners and this resulted in the conclusion that there was an association between gluttony and sexual excess (P Long). This is a problem in Corinth that is addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18 where Paul states, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[b] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” As a church community we need to be better in making activities that involve excess drinking more addressed. We also need to be clearer to young adults concerning sexual immorality. I have heard many Christians that say their parents allow them to have sex before marriage if they use protection. This is wrong. It is immoral to have sex before marriage. We as a church society need to make clear that there is no exception to this rule – sex is reserved for marriage and any activity concerning immoral activities is a detriment to the holy body.

  24. In the city of Corinth, one’s social status was of the utmost importance. The believers in Corinth knew this well and, in many ways, it remained a struggle for them and a hinderance in their walk with Christ. Paul addresses the feasts and banquets of the more influential believers of Corinth and recognizes that these events were often more than just eating. They included a great deal of sexual indulgence as well. One could easily fall into sin at an event such as this – whether through drunkenness or through sexual immorality.
    Many of the believers had an abuse of their freedom in Christ. They were living a life that simply put had an overt focus on the freedom they had under the Roman legal system was the same freedom they had in Christ. However, Paul reminds them of the moral depravity of the sins which take place at these events and the sheer amount of damage it not only does to them, but also to their families and to their relationship with God.
    We can only hope that the believers of Corinth read the words of Paul and were convicted by them and changed their lives and behavior. In a similar fashion we need to maintain the same attitude when being convicted by the words of Scripture – allow God to speak to us and mold us into his image and shape us into the people he desires us to be.

  25. This letter written by Paul needed to correct the church of its wrong doings. Private banquets were put on by the rich and for the rich. These Roman banquets consisted of many things that were ungodly which was concerning to Paul. Church goers back then were not just going over to families’ homes like some families do today. These are meals for the elite families in Corinth. Paul’s teachings tried to turn them away from these activities which were ungodly at times where they tend to get out of hand. Converts were not seeing the sin that this action brought due to the switch in faith and beliefs. There are many times in the Bible where Jesus explains that a few drinks here and there are not bad if soberness is still active. In 1 Corinthians 6:15 Paul says “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” (1 Corinthians 6:15). Our bodies are members of Christ meaning that everyone that we do and put in our bodies should be approved by Jesus. Just like I had said in the last post, living in the image of God is probably the most important thing that we can do as Christians for ourselves and others around us.

  26. It is very easy to understand why the people of Corinth struggled with the things that they did because it is so easily related to the way we struggle with certain things in today’s society. When learning and reading this blog post, it really helped me realize how prevalent these things are in our world today especially in the lives of young adults. When growing up we are typically raised with our family learning to do the right things by following the ways of our parents but as we get older into our late teens and early twenties, we begin to make our own choices and are influenced heavier by the outside world than ever before. We believe that trying to fit in is a crucial part of living and if you don’t follow the crowd, you are cast aside, and people don’t want to deal with you. This is why in college people try to make a name for themselves by joining fraternities and sororities which have a reputation that they can live up to and be valued by others of “high social status”. In the city of Corinth, the people that attended their banquets were the rich and the poor were not. Just like in the Greek life, those who are able to afford this lifestyle are they brought into and treated like one of their own while those that do not participate in this lifestyle are not invited to such events and activities. It is very easy to fall into this lifestyle as you seek for the affirmation of others and the pressure trying to fit in, similar to the citizens of Corinth and of Rome. When we spend time around these people, they can begin to change our views on things such as gluttony, drunkenness, and sexual immorality. This is why we must surround ourselves with those who build the body of Christ in order to keep our minds and actions pure in order to represent God for what He is truly worth. Only then when we change our views to be aligned with our newfound faith can we begin to have a change and impact on those around us.

  27. One of the most prominent sins that the contemporary culture commits today is also found within the church culture. Gossiping is such a popular act it’s become common practice. I think it has even become conversation starters. If politics are involved, there’s always articles click baiting us into seeing what Joe Biden said or Trump’s newest endeavor blown out of proportion. Which celebrity is fooling around with who based off a picture. The latest scandal heard through the grapevine. And it’s seeped into the church culture easily enough seemingly in the first century (2 Cor. 12:20) and stuck around in the church today. But it is not just what a politician said or what a celebrity did, but what a fellow Christian has done. Certainly, it is not biblical, Proverbs can attest to that, “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28). Gossip splits the church and the church doesn’t even realize it. Because of gossip, people tend to think they know all that needs to be known about that person and don’t lovingly walk with them, instead shunning them. I think the sin that is forbidden from church culture nowadays is sin where it’s seen as not coming back from (best way I can explain it). I’m thinking of sex out of marriage, having an affair, or abortion as being the ones the church absolutely forbids and can’t have a relationship with that person anymore.

  28. This passage fits snugly with the rest of Paul’s theology, as the reasons for it mesh perfectly with many of the things Paul emphasizes. For one, it emphasizes the distinguishing of Christians from pagans. As Paul writes in Romans 12:2, we are not to be of this world, but we are instead to be transformed and renewed by God. Secondly, this verse emphasizes treating God properly, a theme that runs through the entirety of the bible. I am reminded of Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-7), who did not give God the proper sacrifice (perhaps because they were drunk, as many people believe due to the strangely strong pronouncement by God in the verses immediately following the story). Because they were perhaps not in a clear-minded state and because the offered improper sacrifices (God refers to there being a difference between “common” and “holy” sacrifices in verse 10), they were burned by the holy fire of God’s wrath despite their elevated status as chosen priests. The third emphasis of this 1 Corinthians passage that fits in with the rest of Paul’s theology is the prioritization of righteous living. Though some unlearned people see Paul as “the grace guy that lets us do whatever we want as long as we believe in Jesus”, he actually talks at great length about righteous living, as any reader of the bible quickly understands. Paul wishes for the Corinthian church to be set apart from the ways of the Roman pagans because their lifestyles were sinful, displeasing to God, and devoted to the worship of various elohim who steal honor from Yhwh. It is understandable that Paul would want all the honor from Christians to go to Yhwh instead of other divine beings as the ancient near east was an honor-shame culture that prioritized avoiding public shame as opposed to an individualistic culture that prioritizes following one’s own moral compass no matter what society may say.

  29. Just as the Christian converts in Corinth participated in sinful activities, so also do Christians in modern society despite the activities varying due to culture and era. For example, many of the Christian converts in Corinth often participated in sinful activities either because certain activities were entwined within daily life and Greco-Roman culture making it difficult to separate the two. Or another reason was due in part to their ignorance of the scriptures which teaches that Christians are to live in the world but are not to live according to the world. In comparison, Christians in modern society also participate in sinful activities. Some of these activities include: supporting rights to abortion or homosexuality, dressing in apperal that is acceptable based on worldly standards, or participating in worldly activities in order to so-called “share the gospel” to unbelievers. Therefore; with just these few examples, the Christians of modern society are really no different than the Christian converts in Corinth. Yet; what makes this reality so difficult to see is that unlike the culture in which the Christian converts in Corinth lived in, there were still morals which existed that even the unbelievers knew were wrong. But for the Christians living in modern society, there is hardly any distinction in morals because the line between right and wrong has been blurred completely.

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