1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Talks for Growing Christians

Understanding the Message of the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

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Lesson Number 2

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The message of the cross is foolishness and powerless for the unbeliever.
  2. The message of the cross is the wisdom and power of God for the believer.

Practical Application

  1. If you're well off in this world, be glad for the letter "m."
  2. Let's boast in the Lord.


  1. What do we know about the ancient city of Corinth?
  2. Why is unity within the Church so crucial?
  3. What is the true message of the cross?
  4. Give at least two Old Testament examples of God making foolish the wisdom of the world.
  5. When is it okay to boast?


  1. Corinth was a pagan society which was characterized by idolatry and immorality. It was a port city and wealthy center of commerce, and the Corinthians were known for their loose living.
  2. Divisions and cliques within the Church fracture the visible body of Christ, tear down the testimony of Christ, and ultimately split the Church. Ephesians 4:3 says we must be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  3. The message of the cross, properly understood, is a message of self-renunciation and dying to self and serving others. The Corinthian believers were putting too much emphasis on the wisdom and glory of man.
  4. The Tower of Babel and Israelís alliance with Egypt against Assyria.
  5. When you are boasting in the Lord!


  1. Discuss how a proper understanding of the message of the cross would eliminate the divisions in the church at Corinth and in any Christian fellowship today.
  2. The unbeliever thinks that the message of the cross is foolish and weak - he cannot understand it! Reflect on the message of the cross and salvation. Then take a few minutes to thank God for enlightening your mind to this truth.


  1. Are you glad that God doesn't say that not any wise, mighty, or noble people are called to salvation? He says not many. Thank Him for calling you.

Key Verses

  • “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
  • “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:25
  • “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:31

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