Preparation Material for the Home-Study Teacher Summary of Daily Home-Study Lessons
The following summary of the events, doctrines, and principles students learned as they studied 1 Corinthians 7–14 (unit 22) is not intended to be taught as part of your lesson. The lesson you teach concentrates on only a few of these doctrines and principles. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you consider the needs of your students.
1 Corinthians 7–8Day 1 ()
From Paul’s instructions to married and single members of the Church in Corinth, students learned that physical intimacy between husband and wife is ordained of God and that faithful followers of Jesus Christ have a sanctifying effect on their families. Students also learned that we can show charity for others by avoiding actions that could lead them to stumble spiritually.
1 Corinthians 9–10Day 2 ()
As students continued their study of Paul’s counsel to the Corinthians Saints, they learned that to obtain eternal life, we must learn to exercise self-mastery in all things. They also discovered that God will provide a way for us to escape temptation, but we must choose to separate ourselves from the temptation.
1 Corinthians 11Day 3 ()
Students learned that in the Lord’s plan, men and women cannot obtain eternal life without each other. They also learned that those who partake of the sacrament unworthily bring condemnation and damnation to themselves. Therefore we should examine our lives as we partake of the sacrament.
1 Corinthians 12–14Day 4 ()
From Paul’s teachings on the gifts of the Spirit, students learned the following truths: Only through the Holy Ghost can we obtain a personal testimony that Jesus Christ is our Savior. As we seek to obtain the spiritual gift of charity, we become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Charity is the greatest gift of the Spirit. As we teach and testify by inspiration, we can help edify and comfort others.
Paul wrote about the numerous gifts of the Spirit. He compared the Church to a physical body and explained that just as the body needs every part to function properly, each Church member can use the gifts of the Spirit to contribute to and strengthen the Church.
Suggestions for Teaching 1 Corinthians 12:1–11 Paul teaches about spiritual gifts
Display a picture of the following stone:
Invite a student to read aloud the inscription at the top of the stone. Explain that while President David O. McKay was serving a mission in Scotland, he saw this stone above the door of a building near Stirling Castle and was inspired by its message (see Francis M. Gibbons, David O. McKay: Apostle to the World, Prophet of God , 45).
Explain that each symbol in the nine squares of the stone represents a numerical value. Ask students to identify the numerical value of each shape. (From left to right, the symbols represent 5, 10, and 3 in the top row; 4, 6, and 8 in the middle row; and 9, 2, and 7 in the bottom row.)
What is the sum of the three numbers represented in the top row? the middle row? the bottom row?
Explain that the three numbers represented in any row, column, or diagonal line on this stone add up to 18. One reason these shapes may have been included with the phrase “What-E’er Thou Art Act Well Thy Part” is that if any of these shapes were rearranged or if their values changed, the rows and columns on the stone would no longer add up to 18 in every direction.
Invite students as they study 1 Corinthians 12 to consider how we as members of the Church are like the shapes on the stone.
Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 12:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why gifts of the Spirit are given to us. (If necessary, explain that “to profit withal” means for the common good of all Saints.)
What truth can we learn from the Apostle Paul about why gifts of the Spirit are given to Heavenly Father’s children? (Students may use different words but should identify a truth similar to the following: Gifts of the Spirit are given to benefit all of Heavenly Father’s children. Write this truth on the board.)
Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 12:8–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the spiritual gifts Paul mentioned.
Invite students to report the spiritual gifts they discovered and the meaning of each gift. As needed, explain that “the word of wisdom” (verse 8) refers to good judgment and the appropriate application of knowledge; the “word of knowledge” (verse 8) refers to a knowledge of God and His laws; “discerning of spirits” (verse 10) refers to recognizing truth and untruth and perceiving the good and evil in others; and “divers kinds of tongues” (verse 10) refers to the ability to speak in foreign or unknown languages.
How can these spiritual gifts benefit God’s children?
Point out that the spiritual gifts mentioned specifically in the scriptures are only a few of the numerous gifts we can receive through the Spirit.
What other gifts could come to us through the Holy Ghost?
What spiritual gifts have you noticed in your family members, friends, and classmates?
What can we do to discover our spiritual gifts? (Ask Heavenly Father about them in prayer and receive and study our patriarchal blessings.)
Invite students to ponder the spiritual gifts they have been given and how they can benefit from them and use them to benefit others.
1 Corinthians 12:12–31 The gifts of the Spirit are given to bless the entire membership of the Church
Ask four students to come to the board. Without letting the rest of the class hear, assign each of these students one of the following words: foot, hand, ear, and eye. Instruct each student to draw a picture of his or her word on the board, and ask the class to guess what each student is drawing. After the class correctly identifies each drawing, invite the students to return to their seats. Ask the class to consider how the feet, hands, ears, and eyes contribute to the work the body does.
Have you ever injured a minor body part, such as a finger, tooth, or toe? How did this minor injury affect even simple daily tasks?
Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 12:12–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul compared the body and its parts to.
What did Paul compare the body and its parts to? (The Church of Jesus Christ and its members.)
Write the following scripture reference and question on the board:
1 Corinthians 12:15–22, 25–30
In what ways did Paul compare the body to the Church?
Divide students into groups of two or three. Ask each group to read 1 Corinthians 12:15–22, 25–31 together, looking for ways in which Paul compared members of the Church to parts of the body. You may want to suggest that students look for what Paul taught about the body and its parts before identifying how he likened parts of the body to Church members. After sufficient time, ask students to report what they found.
Why do you think Paul discussed the roles of individual Church members right after he wrote about spiritual gifts?
What concerns might Church members today have that could be resolved by Paul’s teachings about Church members being like parts of the body?
What principle can we learn from Paul’s comparison of Church members to parts of the body? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but make sure they identify the following principle: As we use our unique spiritual gifts to serve others, we can strengthen the Church. Write this principle on the board.)
Refer to the picture of the stone displayed at the beginning of the lesson.
How are we as members of the Church like the different shapes on this stone? (We are each unique, and we play an important role wherever the Lord calls us to serve. As we combine our gifts and abilities to serve the Lord, the entire Church is blessed. What we do matters, and it can help accomplish the work of the Church.)
How have you seen your family; a seminary, Sunday School, Young Women, or priesthood class; or a ward or branch strengthened by the spiritual gifts of its members?
Ask students to ponder how they can use their spiritual gifts to strengthen the Church and bless the lives of others. Point out Paul’s counsel recorded in 1 Corinthians 12:31 to “covet earnestly the best gifts.” (Explain that covet in this verse means to “seek earnestly” .)
What can we do to earnestly seek “the best gifts” of the Spirit (see also D&C 46:8–9)?
Express your testimony and gratitude for spiritual gifts, and encourage students to earnestly seek for and use their spiritual gifts to serve others and strengthen the Church.
Next Unit (1 Corinthians 15–2 Corinthians 7)
Ask students to consider the following questions as they study the next unit: Why did the Apostle Paul mention baptism for the dead? Who will be resurrected? What glory awaits a resurrected being? Will all resurrected beings have the same glory? Invite students to think about what gives them hope, especially when they experience sorrow, setbacks, or tragedies. Explain that in the next unit they will learn doctrines and principles from Paul’s teachings to the Corinthian Saints that can bring them peace and hope.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul deals with the subjects of sex, marriage, divorce, and singleness, and he reveals his egalitarian views. There is no hint here of the male-only authority and leadership that many Christians assume is part of God’s design in marriage.
Here are some of Paul’s statements taken from the 2011 NIV:
Each man should have his own wife.
Each woman should have her own husband. (1 Cor. 7:2)
The husband should fulfil his duty to his wife.
Likewise the wife to her husband. (1 Cor. 7:3)
The wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband.
The husband’s body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife. (1 Cor. 7:4)
Neither should deprive the other except by mutual consent and for a time. . . (1 Cor. 7:5)
The wife must not separate from her husband, but if she does, she should remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.
The husband must not divorce his wife. (1 Cor. 7:10-11)
If a brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her
If a woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not send him away. (1 Cor. 7:12-13)
The unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife
and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband . . . (1 Cor. 7:14)
If the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances. (1 Cor. 7:15)
How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?
How do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Cor. 7:16)
An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs…
An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs… (1 Cor. 7:32-34)
A married man is concerned about the things of the world: how he may please his wife
A married woman is concerned about the things of the world; how she may please her husband (1 Cor. 7:33)
Philip B. Payne comments on 1 Corinthians chapter 7 and writes:
The strikingly egalitarian understanding of the dynamics of marital relations expressed in Paul’s symmetry throughout this passage is without parallel in the literature of the ancient world. It is all the more impressive because it is focused on the marriage relationship, a relationship that traditionalists regard as intrinsically hierarchical based on the “created order.” Against a cultural backdrop where men were viewed as possessing their wives, Paul states in 7:2, “let each woman have her own husband.” Against a cultural backdrop where women were viewed as owing sexual duty to their husbands, Paul states in 7:3, “Let the husband fulfill his marital duty to his wife.” It is hard to imagine how revolutionary it was for Paul to write in 7:4, “the husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does.”
Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009, 106-107.
Some food for thought here!
The NASB translates 1 Corinthians 7:4 more literally as: “The wife does not have authority (exousia) over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise the husband does not have authority (exousia) over his own body, but the wife does.” I have written about the meaning of this verse here.
The idea that the husband is the final arbiter in difficult decisions has no biblical basis whatsoever. The only biblical precedent I can find for decision-making in marriage is here in 1 Corinthians 7:5 where it speaks about husbands and wives making a mutual decision.
“For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife” (1 Cor. 7:14a). How do Christians who believe that husbands have some sort of spiritual authority over their wives, or some kind of sanctifying role (cf. Eph. 5:26-27) explain 1 Corinthians 7:14a?
Not being “bound” means, in effect, that the believer is free and released from his or her wedding vows (cf. 1 Cor. 7:39). More on Paul’s words on divorce in 1 Cor. 7 here.
© 26th of June, 2010; Margaret Mowczko
Addendum: Someone recently asked me about Paul’s teaching on divorce in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 and whether it allows for an abused spouse to leave their abuser. Here’s my response.
The context of 1 Corinthians 7:1ff is men and women who were renouncing sex and separating from their spouses because they believed they were living in the resurrection era and were like the genderless and sexless angels. The instructions given in this passage must be seen in this light.
The theme of ‘not changing one’s status’ because of some pressing situation is another factor to take into consideration. Paul preferred the singles to stay single and the married to stay married, etc. (It is doubtful that this is a valid concern in most societies today.) 1 Corinthians 7 simply doesn’t consider marital abuse. It wasn’t the situation at hand.
Abuse is an acceptable reason for leaving a marriage. Physical abuse and neglect were acceptable reasons for divorce in ancient Israelite society. They were practically a given, which is perhaps one reason why the Bible barely mentions the reasons.
When a couple married in ancient times, as now, there were expectations and promises, either implicit or articulated. When a spouse repeatedly breaks these promises, the marriage contract is effectively broken and divorce is permissible. (In the Roman colony of Corinth, divorce was easy for both men and women; it was common and relatively stigma-free.)
Paul had a high view of the marriage and was trying to prevent divorce. He was not, however, suggesting an abused spouse should stay with their abuser. He does not cover this scenario in his instructions in 1 Corinthians 7.
Update: I now have a blog post on Paul’s words on divorce: Related Articles
1 Corinthians 7:4, in a Nutshell
Leading Together in the Home
Kephalē and “Male Headship” in Paul’s LettersPaul’s Main Point in Ephesians 5:22-33A Suitable Helper Articles on divorce here.
Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians 19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Or do you not know
Paul calls attention to something important by the phrase “do you not know.” This verse shows why sinning with the body is distinctly different from other sins – immorality defiles the temple of the Holy Spirit, the body of the believer.
that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,
Paul contrasts the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit with the Temple of Aphrodite at Corinth. The temple is a place of worship. The proprietor of the temple of the body of the believer is the Holy Spirit, “who is in you.” Our bodies, therefore, belong to God and are not for our disposal. They are to be used for the purpose for which God designed them. Before a person becomes a Christian, her body is nothing more than a shack; but at conversion her body becomes a cathedral, a temple.
whom you have from God,
The believer receives the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation (Ephesians 1:13, 14). The Holy Spirit seals his eternal salvation immediately at the point of initial salvation. The word “from” emphasizes the supernatural origin of the indwelling Holy Spirit in us.
and you are not your own?
God owns us and not we ourselves. We have no right to do with our bodies what we wish, for they are not our own.
Romans 14; 8For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
For you were bought at a price;
Jesus paid the price for our sins at Calvary. His blood was the purchase price. This caused a change in rights of ownership. The Greek word for “bought” denotes a ransom. Jesus delivered us from our sin by purchasing the price of our sin by shedding His blood. Jesus met all the holy demands of God’s justice by this payment.
Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
1 Peter 1:18 …knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit,
Giving God the glory for the ransom for sin is a matter of gratitude and not a matter of obligation.
which are God’s.
God owns the rights to our bodies. That is why we glorify Him with our bodies.
God is the proprietor of our bodies and therefore owns the rights to our bodies.
God does not dwell in an auditorium but in the body of the believer. A building is not the sanctuary; believers are the sanctuary.
We do not have the right to do with our bodies what we wish. If we borrow our neighbor’s car, we take care not to abuse it. We do not take a chance with someone else’s property. Jesus paid for us as the highest Bidder. Our body is now His, so He says, “Hand it over; it’s mine now.” If we purchase something from the store and wait for the delivery to come but it never comes, we get agitated about that. We paid for it so we deserve to get it. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe.” Some of us have never handed over our bodies to the Lord although we have been Christians for ten years. We have not delivered the goods. Isn’t it about time? God reserves the right to your body.