Scheduled for study August 19-25, 2019. The Lord’s Church cannot thrive without unity among the members. In these chapters Paul sorrows that the Saints of Corinth have become so divided that he cannot give them the doctrine he would like them to have, because they need to set aside their differences and unite in their understanding of the gospel message.

Day 1

1 Corinthians 1:10-18; 3:1-11 – The members of Christ’s Church are united.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. These impressions may include promptings to study an idea further, to share with others something you learn, or to make changes in your life.

This whole issue of unity can be a tricky idea to wrap our collective heads around. When I think of unity I tend to focus on ideas like the Borg, from the television show of yesteryear called Star Trek, Next Generation. The Borg was a collective where everyone shared each other’s thoughts. There was no individuality among the Borg. Once they got their hands on you, you were “assimilated,” and resistance was “futile.”

Once you have seen a few episodes of the Borg assimilating people and whole cultures, it is difficult to get that image out of your head. But unity in the way God defines it is completely different from the way the Borg define it. During President Russell M. Nelson’s talk at the 110th annual convention of the NAACP, he said the following:

We are all connected, and we have a God-given responsibility to help make life better for those around us,” President Russell M. Nelson said during a nine-minute evening speech. “We don’t have to be alike or look alike to have love for each other. We don’t even have to agree with each other to love each other. If we have any hope of reclaiming the goodwill and sense of humanity for which we yearn, it must begin with each of us, one person at a time.

That doesn’t sound anything like “assimilation,” does it? I think the difference between the Borg and the Lord’s Church’s definitions of unity is like the difference between Satan’s plan for our salvation and God’s plan for our salvation. Satan would have all individuality squelched and subdued to the opinion of the collective, while the Lord would have us unite in our diversity of thought and opinion to accomplish what is best for those around us. The point is that we need to learn to act in unison despite our differences. We can still do that and be independent and different from one another.

Under God’s way of uniting we personally choose to submit our will to the accomplishment of the greater good. It is a matter of personal choice. Each person in the society chooses to act for the welfare of others, subduing our personal wants and desires because we want what is good for others more than we want something for ourselves.

We may find it difficult to comprehend unity growing out of diversity. After all, our primary example of unity is the Godhead where we see no diversity at all, only a complete oneness of consent and action. But if we look a little closer to home, we can see this same principle in action in the quorum of the First Presidency and in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Each person in these quorums have their own areas of expertise. They are all strong minded men who have become accustomed to making decisions in leadership positions. Yet put them together, and once they have all had their say and expressed their opinions, they each seek the will of God, and through the influence of the Spirit come to a unity of thought and a consensus of opinion about what needs to be done next. It is this willing submission to God’s wisdom over their own that makes them such powerful bodies.

Submitting our will to God’s wisdom does not detract from our personal choices, our integrity, our intelligence or our personal opinion. Submitting to God’s will through the influence of the Holy Spirit only unites us with the supreme intelligence in the universe and acknowledges His higher wisdom over our shortsighted perspectives. Someday, when we have reached godhood for ourselves, we will be able to think and act with the same wisdom He now possesses, but in the meantime, learning to rely on His ultimate wisdom is the wisest course of action for each of us.

Day 2

1 Corinthians 1:17-31; 2 – To accomplish God’s work, I need the wisdom of God.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. These impressions may include promptings to study an idea further, to share with others something you learn, or to make changes in your life.

As you read the verses in today’s lesson, think about these basic ideas Paul is teaching.

  1.  The preaching Paul was sent to do is considered foolishness by the world, yet it is that very “foolishness” that leads to salvation.
  2. The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisest of the wisdom of man. The Jews seek for signs and the Greeks for wisdom, yet neither of them see the wisdom placed in all simplicity before them in the teachings of Christ.
  3. God deliberately uses the simple and weak things of this world to accomplish His great purposes so we will always recognize that we have no reason to boast in ourselves, but only in God.
  4. In chapter 2 Paul goes on to teach that nothing spiritual can be comprehended by the carnal or earthly mind. Only through the influence of the Spirit of God can spiritual things be detected and understood. We must submit our wills to God in order to understand and recognize His marvelous works.

Paul is not preaching that there is no wisdom available from earthly sources. What he is teaching is that the highest forms of wisdom can only come from God. God, Himself has commanded us to seek the wisdom of this world, but that we need to remember that His wisdom is always higher, and is always right.

Most of what we need to accomplish in our Church callings is not physical in nature. There are those who have to deal with earthly things, like getting permits for chapels, dealing with governments, etc. But most of us are dealing with relationships, like how to include people who are different from us, how to help people feel loved, how to bolster each other’s testimonies, etc. Those dealing mainly with the world and the world’s governments can do most of their work with the wisdom of man. But those who need to reach the souls of those around them cannot count on the wisdom of man to do the work God needs done. Only God’s wisdom can accomplish those tasks, and only the Spirit can teach us to think and act like God would in any particular situation.

Day 3

1 Corinthians 2:9-16 – I need the Holy Ghost in order to understand the things of God.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. These impressions may include promptings to study an idea further, to share with others something you learn, or to make changes in your life.

Let’s take a look at Moses for our example today. Moses was raised in the palace of Pharaoh, in Egypt, the most academically advanced country in the world at that time. He would have been trained in the wisdom of the day, so Moses was no intellectual slouch. Yet when the Lord revealed just one thing to Moses out of all the creations of the universe … well, here is the account from Moses 1:7-11.

And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.

And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.

And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

In this vision Moses was hit with a lot all at one time. As far as the world goes, he beheld the whole earth, all of it. None of the earth and how it was created was withheld from him. The “wisdom of man” shrunk into wives tales and fables before the truth revealed to him in just this part of the vision. He was also shown every inhabitant of the world from Adam’s day down to the end of the world. He witnessed all the billions and billions of God’s children to come to this planet. Is it any wonder that he marveled and wondered?

Add to his vision of the earth and its inhabitants the glory of God that Moses witnessed first hand, and is there any wonder that his strength was sapped for many hours afterward? He personally stood and spoke with the being who created the universe, a being who possessed glory beyond the imaginings of man to comprehend. He was made to understand that without the Spirit of God to change him so he could stand in God’s presence that His glory would have consumed his flesh instantly. Such a being Moses had never imagined to exist.

This is why Moses said to himself that man was nothing compared with what he had just witnessed. His experience graphically demonstrated to him that there is so much more in the universe than anything man can imagine. He was shown plainly that to comprehend the things of God requires the Spirit of God to reveal it, for man cannot physically comprehend the things that are common to God. They must be revealed to the human mind a little at a time so we aren’t overwhelmed by the enormity of God’s greatness and power, His comprehension and wisdom that stretches across the eternities.

What a blessing it is that we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. Without this supreme gift the true nature of God, His delights, His powers, His dominions, and His glory would be forever hidden from us. Only the Holy Ghost can reveal the truths about God to mankind.

Day 4

1 Corinthians 6:13-20 – My body is sacred.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. These impressions may include promptings to study an idea further, to share with others something you learn, or to make changes in your life.

The worldly definition of the purpose of our bodies is to find pleasure any way you can. There is no physical pleasure that is any more or less defensible if God is not in the picture. More and more the world is promoting physical pleasure as one of the great reasons for existence, mainly because without God, what else is there? It is God and the commandments we receive from Him that gives us purpose and defines our moral compass.

Sister Wendy W. Nelson, President Russell M. Nelson’s wife, spoke at a worldwide devotional for the youth. The following quote is from that devotional. I have only included the parts I wanted to emphasize about personal purity and the difference personal purity makes in the quality of our lives. The trouble the world has in finding happiness lies in their quest to find happiness in things God has told us will only bring us ultimate sorrow. We can never find lasting happiness in sin.

Personal purity is the key to true love. The more pure your thoughts and feelings, your words and actions, the greater your capacity to give and receive true love. … Every time you pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father in prayer and then listen; every time you study the scriptures seeking answers to the questions of your heart; everytime you avoid anything that would wound your spirit, such as pornography; every time you worship in the temple; every time you find an ancestor’s ordinance-qualifying information, you are choosing to increase your personal purity.

As you work to become more pure, you will have the Holy Ghost with you more and more. Your ability to receive personal revelation will increase, which means you’ll have clearer direction for your life. You’ll feel more at peace and more joy, less lonely, and more hopeful about your future. You’ll also have increased mental clarity as you study and work. And in addition to these great rewards for working every day to be just a little more pure, you’ll be increasing your ability to experience true marital intimacy. …

Elder Parley P. Pratt taught that the Holy Ghost has the ability to increase, enlarge, expand, and purify “all the natural passions and affections.” Just imagine: He can purify your feelings! Therefore, anything that invites the Spirit into your life, and into the life of your spouse and your marriage, will increase your ability to experience marital intimacy. It really is as simple, and as profound, as that! On the other hand, anything that offends the Spirit will decrease your ability to be one with your spouse. Things such as anger, lust, unforgiveness, contention, immorality, and unrepented sin will reduce your attempt for marital intimacy to be something that is nothing more than a sexual experience.

The beauty of what Sis. Nelson tells us here is that there is a direct link between chastity, purity, and spirituality. If we want greater spirituality we must also be observing to do those things that creates spirituality. Treating our body, and the bodies of others as something sacred is essential to our personal happiness and our personal spirituality that will create our lasting happiness.

Day 5

1 Corinthians 7:29-33 – Did Paul teach that it is better to be unmarried than married?

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. These impressions may include promptings to study an idea further, to share with others something you learn, or to make changes in your life.

It is easy to read the following verses and think that Paul prefers the members of the Church not marry (1 Corinthians 7:32-34).

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

The manual tells us that Paul was talking to those who want to serve as missionaries. We don’t learn why the manual says this until you read the JST verses in this chapter (JST 1 Corinthians 7:29).

29 But I speak unto you who are called unto the ministry. For this I say, brethren, the time that remaineth is but short, that ye shall be sent forth unto the ministry. Even they who have wives, shall be as though they had none; for ye are called and chosen to do the Lord’s work.

Think of all the confusion and harm the deletion of these phrases has done over the centuries. Whole monastic orders have been founded promoting celibacy and prohibiting marriage simply from the loss of these phrases that clarify what Paul was referring to. Centuries of nuns have gone without husbands, and monks without wives. Both monks and nuns have fought against the natural desires of the flesh and many have lost the battle, leading over the centuries to many thousands of children conceived in secret and who were either killed at birth or were taken and put into orphanages, all because people left out important truths from the scriptures.

Anytime you read a verse or a passage in the scriptures that seems to condemn marriage, you can be sure that something is missing from that passage or that verse. God has created us to have joy, and our greatest opportunities for joy lie within the bonds of marriage.

Scripture Study and Home Evening

1 Corinthians 3:4-9 – Paul compared his missionary efforts to planting seeds.

I would like to point out something by addressing a related issue for a moment. In the early years of the restored Church it was felt that if you wanted to go to the celestial kingdom you needed to be sealed to an apostle or a prophet. Many people, though married to their husband, had themselves sealed to someone of renown in the restoration. It was only after years of this practice that the prophets came out and said that it is appropriate to be sealed as husband and wife to the one to whom you are already married. After all, the point of eternal marriage is for both of you to become gods, not just the Brethren and whoever is sealed to them.

This is the same problem the early Church was having over the issue of who baptized them. Some felt their baptism was somehow better or that they were better Saints because a special person baptized them. Others thought they were better off because a different apostle or Brother baptized them. Paul is telling them in these verses that who baptizes us is of no consequence. Paul points out that those who labor for the Lord are working for the Lord, for it is the Lord who gives the increase, or creates the fruits of repentance.

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

When we think about doing missionary work, sometimes it is easy to fall into this trap to think that because we are not high leaders in the Church our testimony is somehow not as good as or is less effective than someone else’s testimony. Go back to verse six. We may only plant the seed to introduce the gospel into someone’s life, while someone else will come along after us and water the seed we planted. But in any case, it is God who causes the seed of testimony to grow, so none of us can take credit for the fruits that are born from the seeds we plant.

Paul wants us to realize that we work with the Lord to help in bringing His children to the good news of Christ. We can’t take the credit for what only the Spirit can do, which is convert and change the hearts of those we share the gospel with. But the Lord expects us to do the leg work in taking the gospel message to our brothers and sisters, wherever we find them. We are all part of the Lord’s farm or vineyard, and are all laborers in the same farm where the seed of our own personal faith has been planted and is growing. Our covenants require us to participate in cultivating the seed of faith in others. The Spirit will prepare them for that seed, but the Lord uses us to plant it. Once planted He helps the seed we planted to grow, helping them onto the covenant path.

Missionary work is meant to be a cooperative effort between the Lord’s laborers (us) and Himself. We do the physical part that mortality requires we do, and He does the spiritual part that only He can do.

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

New Testament 34