WRITER: The Apostle Paul
DATE: A.D. 60; probably from Philippi, after the events of Acts 19:23-20:1-3 .
THEME: The Epistle discloses the touching state of the great apostle at this time. It was one of physical weakness, weariness, and pain. But his spiritual burdens were greater. These were two kinds--solicitude for the maintenance of the churches in grace as against the law-teachers, and anguish of heart over the distrust felt toward him by Jews and Jewish Christians. The chilling doctrines of the legalizers were accompanied by detraction, and by denial of his apostleship.
It is evident that the really dangerous sect in Corinth was that which said, "and I of Christ" ( 1 Corinthians 1:12 ). They rejected the new revelation through Paul of the doctrines of grace; grounding themselves, probably, on the kingdom teachings of our Lord as "a minister of circumcision" ( Romans 15:8 ); seemingly oblivious that a new dispensation had been introduced by Christ's death. This made necessary a defence of the origin and extent of Paul's apostolic authority.
The Epistle is in three parts:
- Paul's principles of action, 1:1-7-16.
- The collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, 8:1-9:15.
- Paul's defence of his apostolic authority, 10:1-13:14.