06 | Joy and Tension in Singleness


1 Corinthians 7:25-40

We wrap up Part 2 of our Strong Church series with Paul's reflections on the joys, benefits, and challenges of singleness. Christianity embraces singleness as a unique and beneficial calling - Jesus was single, as was Paul - and Paul argues that it is in many ways preferable to marriage. At the same time, he's wonderfully pragmatic: singleness means celibacy, and that is no easy calling for sexual beings. In the end, we're all made for a love and intimacy with Christ that marriage and sex only hint at, and living in the anticipation of the coming fullness of that love frees us to be single or married with joy, selflessness, and contentedness.


1. Read 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. The best way to understand “the betrothed” is “those who have not married.” Paul’s clarifying for the Corinthians the benefits and pitfalls of singleness, arguing that singleness is uniquely advantageous. What benefits of singleness does he mention?

2. Considering Paul’s positive vision of singleness, why do you think marriage is so often assumed to be the ideal? To what degree does Paul agree or disagree here?

3. What are some of the biggest challenges or tensions for single people in the church and the world?

4. How can single people steward the gift of singleness well? How can married people honor and encourage them?

5. How can we as single and married people mutually encourage one another toward “undivided devotion” to the Lord (v.35)?

March 10, 2019 | Steve Hart


05 | Live As You Are Called


1 Corinthians 7: 17-24

No matter where you find yourself, what ever life situation that salvation now finds you, it finds you for the sake of sharing that salvation where you are. God hasn’t made a mistake in where he has put you, and he fully intends on you living out your salvation exactly where you are: in your family, with your coworkers, at your school, in your neighborhood. A strong church is God’s people living out their salvation right where they are with intentionality and humility.

March 3, 2019 | Scott Cooley


04 | Sex, Singleness, and Marriage


1 Corinthians 7: 1-16

The bible offers a unique view of human wholeness, and no where is that more obvious than in regards to singleness, marriage, and sex. In a culture full of mixed messages, the bible shoots straight: our bodies and our sexuality are gifts from God and need to be stewarded well for the sake of our own and other’s flourishing. In marriage, that means mutual honor, care, and commitment to one another and to the sexual union. In singleness, that means honoring the body in celibacy and learning to cultivate non-sexual intimacy. Surprisingly, married people can worship God by having regular sex and single people can worship God by not having sex! Only the gospel - the good news of God’s intimate love for us in the gift of his Son - can dethrone sex, set us free from the need of it, and free us to enjoy it as God intended.

February 24, 2019 | Steve Hart


03 | Glorious Sex


1 Corinthians 6:9-20

There's no hotter topic than sex and sexuality, and nothing in human experience has the unique ability to be simultaneously profoundly beautiful and powerfully destructive in our lives. How can we account for both the heights of intimacy experienced in sexual union and the depths of brokenness experienced through sexual abuse, confusion, and shame? Our culture has no answer, but the bible does: God made the body good, and his design was that sex would create an indestructible bond between husband and wife. And though we've misused and abused his good gift, the fact remains that our bodies belong to our Creator and he has a good purpose for them. In the gospel, God redeems the body and restores sex to its rightful purpose: worship!

February 17, 2019 | Steve Hart


02 | Collisions in Community


1 Corinthians 6:1-8

Through Jesus, we have been adopted into God’s family. And, like in any family, it is up to the parents to establish the culture of their home. Paul corrects the Corinthian church like a father shapes his family. He wants them to understand who they are (Identity), what the rules are (Morals), and how they are to interact with the world (Ethics). Paul doesn’t ignore the reality that all people, families and communities experience conflict. In these verses, he passionately warns the church that way they handle conflict matters. It matters for those in the family, and those who are outside looking in.

February 10, 2019 | Gabe Shippam


01 | The Goodness of Correction


1 Corinthians 5:1-13

A Strong Church is a family on mission in the world. Like any strong family, the core convictions of the family create a certain kind of culture or way of being together - an ecosystem of sorts. The church is founded on the gospel - the gracious work of God to rescue a people to himself through Jesus - and must learn to live in line with that good news and grand mission. In chapter 5, Paul brings correction and discipline to the Corinthians, so they might learn to live together in sincerity and truth.

February 3, 2019 | Steve Hart