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1 Corinthians - Introduction

Book Introduction - 1 Corinthians

Read first chapter of 1 Corinthians

WRITER: The Apostle Paul. His relation to the church at Corinth is set forth in Acts 18:1-18 and in the Epistles to the Corinthians.

DATE: First Corinthians was written in A.D. 59, at the close of Paul's three year's residence in Ephesus. Acts 20:31 ; 1 Corinthians 16:5-8 .

THEME: The subjects treated are various, but may all be classified under the general theme, Christian conduct. Even the tremendous revelation of the truth concerning resurrection is made to bear upon that theme 1 Corinthians 15:58 . The occasion of the Epistle was a letter on inquiry from Corinth concerning marriage, and the use of meats offered to idols ; 1 Corinthians 7:1 ; 8:1-13 but the apostle was much more exercised by reports of the deepening divisions and increasing contentions in the church, and of a case of incest which had not been judged ; 1 Corinthians 1:10-12 ; 5:1 .

The factions were not due to heresies, but to the carnality of the restless Corinthians, and to their Greek admiration of "wisdom" and eloquence. The abomination of human leadership in the things of God is here rebuked. Minor disorders were due to vanity, yielding to a childish delight in tongue and the sign gifts, rather than to sober instruction ( 1 Corinthians 14:1-28 ). Paul defends his apostleship because it involved the authority of the doctrine revealed through him.

A rigid analysis of First Corinthians is not possible, The Epistle is not a treatise, but came from the Spirit through the apostle's grief, solicitude, and holy indignation. The following analysis may, however, be helpful.

  1. Introduction: The believer's standing in grace, 1:1-9
  2. The contrast of their present factious state, 1:10-4:21.
  3. Immorality rebuked; discipline enjoined, 5:1-6,8.
  4. The sanctity of the body, and Christian marriage, 6:9-7,40.
  5. Meats, and the limitations of Christian liberty, 8:1-11:1.
  6. Christian order and the Lord's Supper, 11:2-34
  7. Spiritual gifts in relation to the body, the church, and Christian ministry, 12:1-14,40.
  8. The resurrection of the dead, 15:1-58
  9. Special directions and greetings, 16:1-24.