1 Corinthians - Introduction

During his stay at Ephesus (54-57 AD) news reached Paul of trouble in Corinth and he seems to have written them a short letter (now lost) condemning fornicators, urging them to collect money for Jerusalem and promising to visit them; the fact that he did not, even when the abuses got worse, led to accusations of cowardice.

Matters came to a head with the outbreak of partisan strife:

There seems not to have been open schism but breaches of charity. Paul sent Timothy to put things in order. Soon afterwards the Corinthians sent a letter which contained self praise and a set of questions but no mention of their own shortcomings. Besides party strife there was immorality (including a man who had married his step-mother) which prompted the First Letter to the Corinthians around Easter 57 AD.

1 Corinthians is recognised as a great literary work (some say it is Paul's best), particularly Chapters 13 and 15, but its chief importance lies in the unparalleled variety of its theological content. It demonstrates the maturing of Christian theology and the way in which it countered both Jewish and gentile opposition.

It is generally divided into two parts:

Related Study Sheets…