1 Corinthians: Judging


Scripture verse: “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?”



  1. Students should memorize the verse and understand its meaning and context.
  2. Students should know a bit of the history of the book of I Corinthians.
  3. Students should have some concrete ideas about how they can talk to their friends about wrong behavior.

Background on the book:

            This letter was written by St. Paul to the struggling church at Corinth while he was staying in Ephesus for 2 ½ years during his third missionary journey around 55 AD. Paul had visited Corinth for about a year and a half during his second missionary journey and planned to visit again the following winter.  Corinth was one of the greatest trading centers of the world. It was located on a 4-mile-wide isthmus separating northern and southern Greece; because of the dangers of sailing around the tip of Greece, many ships were pulled out of the water at Corinth and hauled on rollers across the land bridge! Corinth was famous for its markets and luxuries, but also for drunkenness, pagan idols, and immorality. The young church there had serious problems dealing with these issues. Find Corinth on a map.

Possible Lesson Plan:

1.      Open with prayer.

2.      Review the background of the book. Trace the journey of Paul and the city of Corinth.

3.      Have each student read a chapter, summarizing it for the class. Too many or few students? Divide the longer chapters or have the teacher summarize the shorter chapters (or less important ones), asking some questions for discussion on each chapter to bring home the salient points.

·         Chapter 1: Disunity in the church – Who were some of the apostles who preached in Corinth? What has happened to the Corinthian church as a result? What do ALL of the apostles preach? (Christ crucified) WHOSE is the church? Do we see any of this today? I am of Russia, I am of Greece, I am Roman Catholic, I am Baptist, I am Methodist – is this a unified Christian church?

·         Chapter 2 and 3: The foundation of the apostles – What did Paul preach? Who reveals the truth to man? (Holy Spirit) In whom do we boast? What’s the job of the apostles? (to lay the foundation) What’s our job? (to build on it) How is each of us building?

·         Chapter 4: The life of an apostle – of what did Paul’s life consist? Does he live a life of wealth and honor? Of comfort? Contrast with our own lives.

·         Chapter 5 and 6: The multitude of sins of the Corinthian Church – Paul has heard some very sad things about his children in Corinth, among these are sexual immorality, idolatry, excessive drinking – all of us can agree here. What about LAWSUITS, listed right along with the others. Do Christians even today sue other Christians?

·         Chapter 7: A difficult chapter to discuss with teens due to its sexual explicitness. If your teens are young, SKIP this one.

·         Chapter 8: What to eat and not eat – Also read before Great Lent, Why? We no longer have meat sacrificed to idols…but we do have fasting periods. Are we “better” if we fast better? Should we boast? Should we look down on those who fast less carefully?


4.      Scripture verse: I Corinthians 5:9-6:3.  Now Corinth is facing a problem. In trying to be loving, they were allowing members of the body to live in sin rather than “hurt” them by judging their actions. Paul knew the importance of a godly life as a witness to the world. But how do we “lovingly” judge each other? Read Ephesians 4,15, 25, Proverbs 15:1. What does Jesus Himself say about judging others? Who is our judge?


5.      Should we talk to our friends about wrong behavior? Under what circumstances? Make a list on the board of several potential situations and poll the class as to whether they would approve or disapprove of these actions if witnessed in a friend: shoplifting a small piece of jewelry, told an off-color joke about another person, lied to his parents about where he was, smoked cigarettes, cheated on a test, gossiped something told in confidence, failed to do his homework, took his parents’ car without asking, other situations suggested by the class? Were some easier to decide on than others? How should a teen respond when seeing a Christian friend in each of these situations? A non-Christian? What would be some possible ways to approach these situations? What do you risk by talking to your friend about his sin? Is it worth the risk? Should you go to his parents, priest? Under what circumstances? (e.g. taking car and not licensed to drive? What if he were killed? How would you feel then if you had/had not “tattled”?) Try role-playing some of these situations to see how they play out. Should Paul have just let the Corinthians go their merry way in love?


6.   Close with prayer.