Introduction to 1 Corinthians

An Enduring Relationship

               One of the most unique relationships in all of American history is that of George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin. George Whitefield was a traveling evangelist in the late 1700’s. Ben Franklin initially was attracted to Whitefield because of his reputation of preaching to large crowds. Franklin did not believe the numbers. He wanted to see it for himself.

               Franklin attended some outdoor meetings and calculated the attendance of over 30,000 people. This greatly intrigued him. He began to correspond and meet with Whitefield. They met many times. Many of their letters are still available or for us to read.

               In the end, Franklin never embraced the gospel. This fact is reflected in his striving to provide others with an expansive education that focused on humanities but not on spiritual development. Franklin’s school, which eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, deemphasized Theology and original languages of the Bible. Whitefield, on the other hand, was instrumental in founding Princeton Seminary.

               Whitefield was correct in his view of the impact of Jesus Christ and the gospel on a person’s life. One cannot be truly converted without change being made. In fact, the New Testament describes over 80 things that happen when a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. Change definitely happens.

               The letter of First Corinthians demonstrates how the gospel impacts people. As converted people join together, the gospel impacts their communion with God the Father and with each other. The vertical relationship with God impacts the horizontal relationships with others. In the book of 1 Corinthians, chapters 1-3 describe the significance of a relationship with Christ. The key verse of the book is 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” This fellowship with the Son has implications. The rest of the book shows how the gospel transforms people provides the necessary solutions to the problems faced by this church.

               If you would like more information on how this theme is developed in 1 Corinthians, I invite you to work through the study questions provided on this website or contact me directly. I would love to help you discover how the Christ and the gospel provide solutions to our trickiest problems.

One thought on “Introduction to 1 Corinthians

  1. Wow…I had never heard this story about Ben Franklin and George Whitefield. I knew the Ben F never accepted Christ ( heartbreaking) but not this story. Thanks for sharing. May God bless you as you share His word. Candie Sellers

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