Click on the order button below to download this 9-session study as a PDF file. This InterVarsity Bible-based guide can be used for personal study or group discussion.
John Stott offers 9 studies that invite you to read 1 Corinthians 1-4 as an object lesson from the early church’s most influential leader—the apostle Paul.
Getting the Most Out of Christian Leadership
This section introduces the topic, explains the structure followed in each study and offers tips for those approaching the study on their own as well as those participating in a group.
Seeing Gifting in God’s Imperfect People
Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians by describing himself as “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” What difference does it make in your own leadership to remember that God was the one who called you into your role?
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Bringing Unity in the Midst of Division
How might conflict between Christians over which leader to follow cause “the cross of Christ [to] be emptied of its power”?
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Finding Power in Weakness
To Jewish minds, messiah meant power and triumph. Crucifixion meant weakness, humiliation, defeat. How would you try to explain to a Jew of the New Testament era what Paul might mean by the power of the weakness of the cross?
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Placing Confidence in Christ
Review Paul’s description of himself and his preaching in 2:1-5. Do you think he would be well received as a guest speaker at your church? Why or why not?
1 Corinthians 1:26—2:5
Being Led by the Spirit
Paul contrasts “the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age” with “God’s secret wisdom.” Where have you seen the “wisdom of this age” displayed recently?
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Moving Toward Maturity
How does Paul address the moral failure of Christians who become jealous of one another or who quarrel with each other? Do you think that there are excusable divisions between Christians? If so, give an example.
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Leading in Ways That Last
Focus on verses 10-15 where Paul pictures the church as a building under construction. What do various terms in the passage represent: expert builder, foundation, various building materials, revealed, fire, the Day?
1 Corinthians 3:10-23
Keeping a Clear Conscience
Paul says that Christian leaders have one responsibility: they “must prove faithful” to God. What did that mean to Paul? What does it mean to you?
1 Corinthians 4:1-7
Cultivating a Gentle Spirit
“I urge you to imitate me,” says Paul in verse 16. What would it take for you to be able to say these words with some degree of integrity as a spiritual leader?
1 Corinthians 4:8-21
Total number of pages - 63 pages
John R. W. Stott was known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry and launched the Langham Partnership to equip pastors and Bible teachers worldwide. This study guide is based on his book Basic Christian Leadership.
Carolyn Nystrom is a freelance writer based in the western Chicago suburbs. She has written more than seventy-five books and Bible study guides and served as general editor for the Christian Classics series.
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