Chapter 1: Introduction:
Author, Date, Recipients, setting
The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian church in the spring of between A.D. 53-55 AD, during his third missionary journey, near the end of his three-year ministry in Ephesus, Acts 19: 21-22. Paul wrote four letters to the Corinthian church, but only 1 and 2 Corinthians had survived.
Acts 19: 21-22, When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.
Ancient Corinth and Ephesus are influential cities notorious for pagan worship and philosophy. Corinth is located near the isthmus connecting the southern Greek peninsula to the mainland. It has two ports, on the east and west, across the four-mile wide isthmus. Cargo ships on either port uploaded their cargo and transported them across to the other port by land.
Ancient Corinth is notorious for sexual immorality. To be a Corinthians means to be an immoral person. It was home to the temple of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Every night, temple prostitutes offered their services on the streets of Corinth.
Paul encouraged the divided Corinthian church to close ranks, restore the faith of the weak, and work together in the ministry.
Paul was informed by an oral report and a letter from the Corinthian church regarding issues on church division, spiritual immaturity, sexual immorality, idolatry, controversies over eating foods offered to idols, disagreements on head covering for women, confusion over spiritual gifts, denial of the resurrection, doctrinal and theological other issues. Paul wrote this letter to encourage, admonish, instruct and address these issues.
1:1-31, Salutation, spiritual gifts, factionalism, power of the gospel, glory in Christ
2:1-16, Godly wisdom and earthly wisdom.
3:1-23, Evangelism a team effort, the foolishness of worldly wisdom
4:1-21, Servants and stewards, warning against pride
5:1-13. The cancer of sexual immorality
6:1-20, Lawsuits among Christians, glorifying God in body and spirit.
7: 1-40, Marital relationship, sexual purity, divorce, remarrying, instructions to the spouse with an unbelieving partner, celibacy
8: 1-13, Knowledge puffs up, love builds up, instructions on eating food offered to idols
9:1-27, The rights of an apostle, be all things to all people, run to receive the imperishable crown
10:1-33, Old Testament types, instructions on overcoming temptation and idolatry
1 Corinthians 11:1-34, Instructions on head covering, misconduct, instructions, and appropriate conduct at the Lord’s Supper
12:1-31, Spiritual gifts, one Body, diversity of members, one Holy Spirit, diversity of spiritual gifts and ministries.
13:1-13, tongue, prophesy, faith, hope, and love
14:1-40, Prophesy and tongue
15:1-28, Risen Christ, victory over death, resurrection body, final victory
16:1-24, Collection for the mother church, final encouragements, farewell