The Apostle Paul addressed concerns from the Corinthian Saints about the use of Church resources to provide an allowance for his living expenses. He explained that the purpose of his preaching was to bring salvation to the children of God. He exhorted them to avoid sinning as well as offending others in their religious beliefs.
Have you ever struggled to wake up in the morning and missed something important as a result? How does it feel when you realize you missed something or failed to achieve something important because you failed to prepare?
The most important thing in this life that we should work to achieve is the opportunity to qualify for eternal life.
In your scripture study journal, write why eternal life is something you desire.
Just as struggling to wake up in the morning can result in us missing or even failing to achieve important things, some behaviors can cause us to fall short of achieving the most important thing of all—eternal life. As you study 1 Corinthians 9, look for a principle that can help you know how to ensure that you achieve eternal life.
In 1 Corinthians 9:1–21 Paul responded to various questions from the Corinthian Saints. He wrote that although he would be fully justified in being supported in his temporal concerns by Church members, he had not depended on them for his living expenses. He explained that by adapting to different circumstances without compromising the standards of the gospel, he had been able to help Jews, Gentiles, and anyone else who was weak in the gospel to accept the gospel.
Read 1 Corinthians 9:17, looking for how Paul preached the gospel.
Read 1 Corinthians 9:22–23, looking for why Paul preached the gospel willingly.
Think about when you have practiced or trained for an event. How extensive was your practice schedule or training program? How did working toward a goal motivate you?
Paul explained that athletes can overcome the temptation to not train by focusing on their goal. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24–25, looking for the athletic contest Paul used to teach the Corinthian Saints.
What quality or characteristic did Paul say runners needed in order to be successful?
Being temperate in all things means exercising self-mastery, or self-control. The incorruptible crown Paul referred to that will endure forever is eternal life.
From 1 Corinthians 9:25 we can learn the following principle: To obtain eternal life we must learn to exercise self-mastery in all things. Ultimately, however, eternal life comes only through “the merits, and mercy, and grace” of Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 2:8) rather than through our own self-mastery.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think exercising self-mastery is necessary in order to obtain eternal life?
What aspects of our lives do we all need to exercise self-mastery in so that we can obtain eternal life?
Read 1 Corinthians 9:26–27, looking for how Paul described his own efforts to exercise self-mastery. The phrase “keep under” in verse 27 means to rigorously discipline (see 1 Corinthians 9:27, footnote a).
What do you think Paul meant in verse 27 when he wrote, “I keep under my body and bring it unto subjection: lest that by any means, when I preach to others, I myself should be a castaway”?
Consider the following statements by President Brigham Young:
“You cannot inherit eternal life, unless your appetites are brought in subjection to the spirit that lives within you, that spirit which our Father in Heaven gave. I mean the Father of your spirits, of those spirits which he has put into these tabernacles [bodies]. The tabernacles must be brought in subjection to the spirit perfectly, or your bodies cannot be raised to inherit eternal life. … Seek diligently, until you bring all into subjection to the law of Christ” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 204).
“If the spirit yields to the body, it [the spirit] becomes corrupt; but if the body yields to the spirit it [the body] becomes pure and holy” (Teachings: Brigham Young, 205).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some things you can do to help your body yield to your spirit?
President James E. Faust of the First Presidency warned: “One of the great myths in life is when [individuals] think they are invincible. Too many think that they are [made] of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation. They delude themselves into thinking, ‘It cannot happen to me’” (“It Can’t Happen to Me,” Ensign, May 2002, 46).
Think about situations when people might allow themselves to be exposed to temptation, thinking they are strong enough to withstand it.
As recorded in 1 Corinthians 10:1–5, Paul referred to some things the children of Israel experienced at the time of Moses that should have made them spiritually strong. Even though they were blessed by the Lord in the wilderness and witnessed many miracles, the Lord was displeased with many of them, and they were punished.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:6–11, looking for what Paul wanted the Corinthian Saints to learn from the example of the ancient Israelites.
Although the ancient Israelites experienced great blessings, they chose to give in to temptation. Paul wanted to warn the Corinthians Saints so they would avoid repeating the sins of the ancient Israelites.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:12, and summarize Paul’s message in your own words:
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13, looking for what Paul taught about temptation. You may want to mark what you find.
What can we learn about temptation from this verse?
Consider the following question: If God will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist, why did the ancient Israelites give in to temptation?
Read 1 Corinthians 10:14, looking for what Paul taught the Corinthian Saints to do. Idolatry was a sin both the ancient Israelites and the Corinthian Saints struggled with.
From 1 Corinthians 10:13–14 we can learn that God will provide a way for us to escape temptation, but we must choose to separate ourselves from the temptation.
Respond to the following in your scripture study journal:
You may not always be able to avoid temptation. Because of this, we need to decide now how we will act when we encounter temptation. Consider the following statements by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“Right decisions are easiest to make when we make them well in advance, having ultimate objectives in mind; this saves a lot of anguish [during moments of decision], when we’re tired and sorely tempted. …
“… The time to decide that we will settle for nothing less than an opportunity to live eternally with our Father is now, so that every choice we make will be affected by our determination to let nothing interfere with attaining that ultimate goal” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, , 108–9).
“Develop discipline of self so that, more and more, you do not have to decide and redecide what you will do when you are confronted with the same temptation time and time again. You only need to decide some things once!
“How great a blessing it is to be free of agonizing over and over again regarding a temptation. To do such is time-consuming and very risky” (Teachings: Spencer W. Kimball, 109).
“The time to quit evil ways is before they start. The secret of the good life is in protection and prevention. Those who yield to evil are usually those who have placed themselves in a vulnerable position” (Teachings: Spencer W. Kimball, 109).
Consider which temptations you struggle with the most. What changes can you make to avoid temptation before you are ever faced with it?
Take a moment to read one topic from For the Strength of Youth that can help you know how to separate yourself from temptation. Based on what you read, consider writing a goal and carrying it with you for a time to help remind you to escape temptation.
In 1 Corinthians 10:15–33 Paul counseled the Corinthian Saints to respect the religious practices of others without compromising their own, and he again wrote that he was preaching in order to help many to be saved.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Corinthians 9–10 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: