1 Corinthians

Context

Purpose

To answer some questions and correct some mistakes that had been coming up in the Corinthian churches.

About the Author

Paul.

Audience

The churches in Corinth.

Cultural Climate

Corinth, a huge center for international commerce, was known for its gross immorality. In fact, a verb was coined korinthiazomai, which meant to lead a debased life.

Political Climate

Quick summary with links.

Chapters

Outline

  1. Greeting
  2. Divisions in the Church
    1. 1:10 Addressing the issue of divisions
    2. 3:18-3:23 Conclusion of the argument
    3. 4 Application of argument
  3. Issues Addressed
    1. 5 Addressing sexual immorality by one of the members
    2. 6 Addressing bringing Christians to court
  4. Marriage
    1. 6:9 Avoiding sexual sin
    2. 7 Q&A about marriage, sex, celibacy, etc.
  5. Eating Meats Offered to Idols (General application to our Freedom in Christ)
    1. 8 Knowledge of our freedom in Christ can be used for evil (causing a weaker brother to stumble)
    2. 9 Paul, as an example, gives up his rights, such as for payment from those he ministers to
    3. 10:1 Note about idolatry
    4. 10:19 Point about idolatry, sacrifices offered to idols have no value.
    5. 10:27 Conclusion of "eating sacrificial meats" argument
  6. Church Order
    1. 11:2 Instructions for men and women in public prayer
    2. 11:17 Rebuke about Lord's Supper
    3. 12 Spiritual gifts
    4. 13:1 Supremacy of the gift of love
  7. Resurrection
    1. 15:1 Reminder of Christ's resurrection
    2. 15:12 Resurrection must be possible, else Christ was not resurrected
    3. 15:35 The resurrection body
    4. 15:51 The secret of the rapture
  8. Concluding Thoughts
    1. 16 The collection for the Christians in Jerusalem
    2. 16:5 Some final things

"Proof texts" to pay attention to

  • 3:16 This is really talking about the church, not the believer's physical body, and "ruining the temple" was happening by following different leaders in the church, not Jesus.
  • 11:27 Eating or drinking the Lord's supper unworthily. Does it really mean to examine yourself to see what sin is in your life? This may be going beyond what is meant. The problem being addressed here is that some of the members started before the others and would get drunk and full while others would get nothing. The point of the Lord's Supper was remembrance of Christ's death, and they were profaning it by treating it as just another meal which they could have had at home.
  • 15:29 Being baptized for those who are dead. On my first reading, this seems only to refer to Jesus-in other words, what's the point of being baptized in His name if he never arose from the dead?

Difficult Passages

  • 5:5 Handing a man over to Satan for the destruction of his sinful nature? Maybe this is whom Paul was talking about in 2 Cor 2:5-11, in which case, Paul says he was giving these instructions as a test, in which case it is not doctrinally good to continue a practice of handing people over to Satan.
  • 5:8 Therefore let us keep the Festival - Surely Paul is not recommending that the church celebrate Passover, which was full of gentiles. He seems to be using it as a metaphor — Christ = the Passover Lamb, Passover =
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