New Testament Lesson 36 (1 Corinthians 8–13)
August 28–September 3
SEEKING TO OBTAIN EXALTATION
● 1 Cor. 9:24 The Greeks were great fans of athletic competitions such as those associated with the Olympics. Paul, therefore, using the analogy of a race to encourage the Saints to strive to obtain their crown: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the price? So run, that ye may obtain.”
● 1 Cor. 10:1–12 Paul rehearses the many ways that the children of Israel offended God with their rebellion and sins. He says, “Now all of these things happened unto them for [an example] and they are written for our admonition” (v. 11).
● 1 Cor. 10:13 All possible temptations are common to man; they were among the Israelites, they were among he Corinthians, and they are among us today.
● 1 Cor. 10:13 We are never tempted more than we can handle with God’s help. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
THE SACRAMENT UNIFIES US
● 1 Cor. 10: 16–17 We come together to partake of the blood and body of Christ (v. 16). And in so doing we become one in body and blood (v. 17).
GENDER ROLES IN THE CHURCH
● 1 Cor. 11:3 Everyone is accountable to somebody else; even Christ to the Father. A woman’s head is the husband (see also Ephesians 5:22–33).
● 1 Cor. 11:4–10 Cultural practices of the day concerning proper worship; the point is that we should not behave unseemly or draw attention to ourselves.
— Note that Paul acknowledges that women both pray and prophesy (v. 5).
● 1 Cor. 11:11 Men and women cannot be with the Lord eternally without each other (see additional ideas under Doctrinal Insights below).
● 1 Cor. 11:14–15 Grooming: It was the custom then for women to have long hair which they kept covered in public. It was considered immodest not to do so. But for men, long hair was considered shameful.
● 1 Cor. 14:34–35 Joseph Smith changed the word “speak” to “rule” (see JST).
— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “May women speak in Church? Yes, in the sense of teaching, counseling, testifying, exhorting, and the like; no, in the sense of assuming rule over the Church as such, and in attempting to give direction as to how God’s affairs on earth shall be regulated . . . Paul is here telling the sisters they are subject to the priesthood, that it is not their province to rule and reign, that the bishop’s wife is not the bishop.”1
The Diversity of Gifts
● 1 Corinthians 12 Paul sought to eliminate the Corinthians’ contentions about the importance of various spiritual gifts. His goal was unity among them, which he illustrated by comparing them to the members of the body, all of which are important and interdependent.
● 1 Cor. 12:1–3 The Prophet Joseph Smith said that 1 Cor. 12:3 should be translated “no man can know that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”2
● 1 Cor. 12: 4–11 Spiritual gifts are “given to every man to profit withal.”
— 10 gifts are listed by Paul.
— 9 gifts are listed by Moroni (Moroni 10:8–18).
— 14 gifts are listed by the Lord (D&C 46:8–33).
● Other gifts are identified elsewhere in the scriptures:
— Discernment (Alma 11:21–25).
— Faith ( 1 Nephi 3:7).
— Teaching ( Acts 2:14–41).
— Knowledge ( D&C 76:5–13).
— (See additional gifts in the Doctrinal Insights below)
● 1 Cor. 12:12–26 The Church has need of all members and their gifts.
— President Heber J. Grant said, “I rejoice . . . that every Latter-day Saint, every humble son and daughter of God that has embraced the Gospel and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received the witness of the Holy Spirit, that the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy, of healing, and other gifts and blessings, are found in the Church, and are not confined to men that hold responsible positions in the Church.”3
● 1 Cor. 12:27–31; D&C 46:8–9 We should seek after spiritual gifts earnestly, at the same time remembering why they are given: so that all members may be benefitted.
— President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901) of the First Presidency said that it is our duty “to pray to God to give [us] the gifts that will correct [our] imperfections. . . . They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will educate them. If a man lack wisdom, it is his duty to ask God for wisdom. The same with everything else.”4
How Gifts Are Obtained and Used
● D&C 46:11 The Spirit of God gives every individual a gift.
● D&C 46:7–8 What we must do to obtain these gifts without being deceived.
● D&C 46:9 The purpose for which we should seek these gifts.
● D&C 11:10 How we may obtain our gifts.
● D&C 130:20–21 What must a person do before he may acquire any gifts of the Spirit?
● D&C 50:26–28 How a person may acquire and use these spiritual gifts.
● Moroni 10:24 The primary cause of losing these gifts
● 1 Cor. 12:31 Charity is “a more excellent way.”
● Moroni 7:47–48 Charity is the pure love of Christ.
● 1 Cor. 13:1–13 Paul’s definition of charity.
— The pure love of Christ does not . . .
• Envy (v. 4).
• Vaunt (or exalt) itself—“vaunt” is translated from the Greek for “braggart” (v. 4).
• Have puffed up or inflated ideas of its own worth (v. 4).
• Behave itself unseemly (v. 5).
• Seek its own ends (v. 5).
• Provoke easily—“easily provoked” is translated from the Greek for “irritable” (v. 5).
• Think evil—“think” would be better translated as “reckons” or “takes notice of” (v. 5).
• Rejoice in iniquity (v. 6).
• Beareth comes from the word meaning “to cover” and is used of roofs and the hull of ships—keeping out resentment as the roof does the rain (v. 7).
• The word translated faileth really means “to fall off” as applied to leaves or flowers (v. 8). In other words, love is not removed from its place.
• The word translated “glass” is actually “mirror” (v. 12). To those of us accustomed to the high quality mirrors of today, Paul’s imagery is not clear. “The ancient mirror . . . was of polished metal, and required constant polishing, so that a sponge with pounded pumice-stone was generally attached to it.”5
— The pure love of Christ does . . .
• Have preeminence among the spiritual qualities (vv. 1–3).
• Have patience (is long-suffering) (v. 4).
• Rejoice in the truth (v. 6).
• Bear all things (v. 7).
• Believe in all things (v. 7).
• Hope for all things (v. 7).
• Endure all things (v. 7).
• Persist without failing (v. 8).
● 1 Cor. 13:13 Faith and hope are predecessors to charity
● Men and women cannot be exalted without each other. President Joseph F. Smith said, “The house of the Lord is a house of order and not . . . of confusion; and that means that the man is not without the woman in the Lord, neither is the woman without the man in the Lord; and that no man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can reach the perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God alone . . . God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in his own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other. Furthermore, it means that there is no union for time and eternity that can be perfected outside of the law of God, and the order of his house. Men may desire it, they may go through the form of it, in this life, but it will be of no effect except it be done and sanctioned by divine authority. . . .”6
● Less conspicuous gifts. Elder Marvin J. Ashton shared these examples of what he called “less conspicuous gifts” of the Spirit. “The gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using the still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.”7
1. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 2:387–388.
2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith , 223).
3. In Conference Report, April, 1901, 64.
4. Millennial Star, Apr. 23, 1894, 260.
5. Vincent, Word Studies, 2:795–96.
6. “Come, Follow Me”, 5th ed. , 272.
7. “There Are Many Gifts,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20.