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1 Samuel 12:23-24 1
23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

img223Background 2

The books of 1 and 2 Samuel used to be one book. The writer wrote the book in the Hebrew language. Many years later, men translated the Bible into the Greek language (the language of the New Testament). These men divided this book into two parts. The name of the book comes from the first important person in this book. He was Samuel the prophet. But Samuel did not write the book. He died before the end of it.

We do not know who wrote the book. The author lived after King Solomon had died in about 930 BC (930 years Before Christ). After Solomon died, the country of Israel divided into two countries, Israel and Judah. The country of Judah included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (see 1 Kings 12:1-24). In 1 and 2 Samuel the author often refers to Judah as a country.

In those days, the kings and leaders employed writers. They wrote about the events in their country. The prophets also wrote accounts of events. 2 Samuel 1:18; 1 Kings 11:41; 14:19, 29; 1 Chronicles 27:24; 29:29 all refer to these writers and their books. The writer of 1 and 2 Samuel probably got most of his information from these accounts. The book of 1 Samuel records a major change from the time of the judges to Israel’s first king. The judges had led the Israelites for about 350 years after the death of Joshua. During this time the Israelites called their leaders ‘judges’. Samuel was the last of the judges. He was also a prophet and a priest. Samuel anointed Saul, the first king of Israel. But Saul did not obey God. So, God chose another king, David, who would obey him. 1 Samuel ends with the death of Saul. The book of 2 Samuel records the life of David as king.

Biblical Truth 3

The work of ministers is to reason with people; not only to exhort and direct, but to persuade, to convince men’s judgments, and so to gain their wills and affections. Samuel reasons of the righteous acts of the Lord. Those who follow God faithfully, he will enable to continue following him. Disobedience would certainly be the ruin of Israel. We mistake if we think that we can escape God’s justice, by trying to shake off his dominion. If we resolve that God shall not rule us, yet he will judge us. (1Sa 12:16-25)

Items for Discussion

  • What are the responsibilities of leadership?
  • What are the tools available to leaders to move people under them? Which are the most effective?
  • What are the skills necessary to reason with someone and then convince them to change behavior?
  • How does a leader demonstrate a strong faith? Is this the same as being confident?
  • Why does God want His leaders to pray for His people? Can’t they just pray for themselves?

 

1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Background 4

The letter was written from Ephesus (16:8), a city on the west coast of today’s Turkey, about 180 miles by sea from Corinth. According to Acts of the Apostles, Paul founded the church in Corinth (Acts 18:1–17), then spent approximately three years in Ephesus (Acts 19:8, 19:10, 20:31). The letter was written during this time in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of 53 to 57 AD.

Corinth was the meeting point of many nationalities because the main current of the trade between Asia and western Europe passed through its harbors. Paul’s first visit lasted nearly two years and his converts were mainly Greeks. Some time before 2 Corinthians was written he paid them a second visit (2 Cor. 12: 14; 2 Cor. 13: 1) to check some rising disorder (2 Cor. 2: 1; 2 Cor. 13: 2), and wrote them a letter, now lost (1 Cor. 5: 9). They had also been visited by Apollos (Acts 18: 27), perhaps by Peter (1 Cor. 1: 12), and by some Jewish Christians who brought with them letters of commendation from Jerusalem (1 Cor. 1: 12; 2 Cor. 3: 1; 2 Cor. 5: 16; 2 Cor. 11: 23).

Paul wrote this letter to correct what he saw as erroneous views in the Corinthian church. Several sources informed Paul of conflicts within the church at Corinth: Apollos (Acts 19:1), a letter from the Corinthians, the “household of Chloe”, and finally Stephanas and his two friends who had visited Paul (1:11; 16:17). Paul then wrote this letter to the Corinthians, urging uniformity of belief (“that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you”, 1:10) and expounding Christian doctrine. Titus and a brother whose name is not given were probably the bearers of the letter to the church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:13; 8:6, 16–18).

Bible Truth 5

The first nine verses of 1 Corinthians is a salutation and thanksgiving by the Apostle Paul. All Christians are by baptism dedicated and devoted to Christ, and are under strict obligations to be holy. But in the true church of God are all who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, and who call upon him as God manifest in the flesh, for all the blessings of salvation; who acknowledge and obey him as their Lord, and as Lord of all; it includes no other persons. Christians are distinguished from the profane and atheists, that they dare not live without prayer; and they are distinguished from Jews and pagans, that they call on the name of Christ. Observe how often in these verses the apostle repeats the words, Our Lord Jesus Christ. He feared not to make too frequent or too honorable mention of him.

To all who called upon Christ, the apostle gave his usual salutation, desiring, in their behalf, the pardoning mercy, sanctifying grace, and comforting peace of God, through Jesus Christ. Sinners can have no peace with God, nor any from him, but through Christ. He gives thanks for their conversion to the faith of Christ; that grace was given them by Jesus Christ. They had been enriched by him with all spiritual gifts. He speaks of utterance (the power of speaking) and knowledge. And where God has given these two gifts, he has given great power for usefulness. These were gifts of the Holy Ghost, by which God bore witness to the apostles. Those that wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be kept by him to the end; and those that are so, will be blameless in the day of Christ, made so by rich and free grace. How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ, from the power of our corruptions and Satan’s temptations! (1Co 1:10-16)

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it so hard to understand the message given through just answers (Paul’s letter) without knowing the questions (what the Church in Corinth was asking of Paul)?
  • This is Paul’s greeting to people he loved – What can you learn about those people and Paul from this greeting?
  • Why is it important to greet people in a positive and affirming way, even today?
  • What happens to relationships between people when the focus is only on negative things?
  • In today’s world of tweets, facebook postings and emails, what is the risks associated with the “forced brevity” or minimization that occurs?
  • If one was sharing their faith with others, what would this lesson from Paul tell us to do?

Discussion Challenge

  • If Paul were greeting new visitors to a church or to your home, how do you?

 

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