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The Bible
New Testament


The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, usually referred to simply as First Corinthians and often written 1 Corinthians, is the seventh book of the New Testament. The book, originally written in Greek, was a letter from Paul of Tarsus and Sosthenes to the Christians of Corinth, Greece.

This epistle contains some of the best-known phrases in the New Testament, including (depending on the translation) "all things to all men" (9:22), "without love, I am nothing" (13:2), "through a glass, darkly" (13:12), and "when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child" (13:11).

Contents

Composition

There is scholarly consensus that Paul is the actual author. (See Authorship of the Pauline Epistles) The letter is quoted or mentioned by the earliest of sources, and is included in every ancient canon, including that of Marcion.

The epistle was written from Ephesus (16:8). According to Acts of the Apostles, Paul founded the church in Corinth (Acts 18:1-17), then spent approximately three years in Ephesus (Acts 19:8, 19:10, 20:31). The letter was written during this time in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of 53 to 57 AD.[1][2]

The traditional subscription to the epistle, translated in the Authorized Version, states that this epistle was written at Philippi, perhaps arising from a misinterpretation of 16:5, "For I do pass through Macedonia," as meaning, "I am passing through Macedonia." In 16:8 Paul declares his intention of staying in Ephesus until Pentecost. This statement, in turn, is clearly reminiscent of Paul's Second Missionary Journey, when Paul travelled from Corinth to Ephesus, before going to Jerusalem for Pentecost (cf. Acts 18:22). Thus, it is possible that I Corinthians was written during Paul's first (brief) stay in Ephesus, at the end of his Second Journey, usually dated to early 54 AD. However, it is more likely that it was written during his extended stay in Ephesus, where he refers to sending Timothy to them (Acts 19:22, I Cor. 4:17). Also, his references to Apollos (1:12, 3:4, etc.) show that Apollos was known to Paul and the church at the time of writing, which would preclude the first recorded visit to Ephesus (See Acts 18:24-28).

Outline

The epistle may be divided into six parts:[3]

  1. Salutation (1:1-9)
    1. Paul addresses the issue regarding challenges to his apostleship and defends the issue by claiming that it was given to him through a revelation from Christ. The salutation (the first section of the letter) reinforces the legitimacy of Paul's apostolic claim.
  2. Thanksgiving
    1. The thanksgiving part of the letter is typical of Hellenistic letter writing. In a thanksgiving recitation the writer thanks God for health, a safe journey, deliverance from danger, or good fortune.
    2. In this letter, the thanksgiving “introduces charismata and gnosis, topics to which Paul will return and that he will discuss at greater length later in the letter” (Roetzel, 1999).
  3. Division in Corinth (1:10–4:21)
    1. Facts of division
    2. Causes of division
    3. Cure for division
  4. Immorality in Corinth (5:1–6:20)
    1. Discipline an Immoral Brother
    2. Resolving personal disputes
    3. Sexual purity
  5. Difficulties in Corinth (7:1–14:40)
    1. Marriage
    2. Christian liberty
    3. Worship
  6. Doctrine of Resurrection (15:1-58)
  7. Closing (16:1-24)
    1. Paul’s closing remarks in his letters usually contain his intentions and efforts to improve the community. He would first conclude with his paraenesis and wish them peace by including a prayer request, greet them with his name and his friends with a holy kiss, and offer final grace and benediction:
Now concerning the contribution for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia… All the brethren send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss… I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If any one has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen." (1 Cor. 16:1-24).

Content

The foundation of Christ 1 Corinthians 3:11; posted at the Menno-Hof Amish & Mennonite Museum in Shipshewana, Indiana

Paul wrote this letter to correct what he saw as erroneous views in the Corinthian church. Several sources informed Paul of conflicts within the church at Corinth: Apollos (Acts 19:1), a letter from the Corinthians, the "household of Chloe," and finally Stephanas and his two friends who had visited Paul (1:11; 16:17). Paul then wrote this letter to the Corinthians, urging uniformity of belief ("that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you," 1:10) and expounding Christian doctrine. Titus and a brother whose name is not given were probably the bearers of the letter to the church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:13; 8:6, 16–18).

In general, divisions within the church at Corinth seem to be a problem, and Paul makes it a point to mention these conflicts in the beginning. Specifically, pagan roots still hold sway within their community. Paul wants to bring them back to what he sees as correct doctrine, stating that God has given him the opportunity to be a “skilled master builder” to lay the foundation and let others build upon it (1 Cor 3:10).

Later, he discusses immorality in Corinth by discussing an immoral brother, how to resolve personal disputes, and sexual purity. Regarding marriage, Paul states that it is better for Christians to remain unmarried, but that it is better to marry than sin. The Epistle may include marriage as an apostolic practice in 1 Corinthians 9:5, "Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas (Peter)?" However, the Greek word for 'wife' is the same word for 'woman.' The Early Church Fathers including Tertullian, Jerome, and Augustine state the Greek word is ambiguous and the women in 1 Corinthians 9:5 were women ministering to the Apostles as women ministered to Christ (cf Matthew 27:55, Luke 8:1-3), and were not wives,[4] and assert they left their 'offices of marriage' to follow Christ and to preach.[5]

Paul also argues unmarried people must please God, just like married people must please their spouses. The letter is also notable for mentioning the role of women in churches, that for instance they must remain silent (1 Cor. 11:2-16, 14:34-35), and the role of prophecy and speaking tongues in churches. After discussing his views on worshiping idols, Paul finally ends with his views on resurrection. He states that Christ died for our sins, and was buried, and rose on the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3). Paul then asks: “Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Cor. 15:12) and addresses the question of resurrection based on his interpretation of scripture.

Throughout the letter, Paul presents issues that are troubling the community in Corinth and offers ways to fix them. Paul states that this letter is not meant to make them feel ashamed but to “admonish” them as beloved children. They are expected to become imitators of Jesus and follow the ways in Christ as he, Paul, teaches in all his churches (1 Cor. 4:14-16).

According to a writer cited by the author of the Easton's Bible Dictionary, this epistle

"shows the powerful self-control of the apostle in spite of his physical weakness, his distressed circumstances, his incessant troubles, and his emotional nature. It was written, he tells us, in bitter anguish, 'out of much affliction and pressure of heart . . . and with streaming eyes' (2 Cor 2:4); yet he restrained the expression of his feelings, and wrote with a dignity and holy calm which he thought most calculated to win back his erring children. It gives a vivid picture of the early church... It entirely dissipates the dream that the apostolic church was in an exceptional condition of holiness of life or purity of doctrine."

The author of the Easton's article concludes, "Many Christians today still find this letter to speak to modern-day problems within church communities."

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Corinthians, First Epistle to the, "The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia", Ed. James Orr, 1915.
  2. ^ Pauline Chronology: His Life and Missionary Work, from Catholic Resources by Felix Just, S.J.
  3. ^ Outline from NETBible.org
  4. ^ Tertullian, On Monogamy "For have we not the power of eating and drinking?" he does not demonstrate that "wives" were led about by the apostles, whom even such as have not still have the power of eating and drinking; but simply "women," who used to minister to them in the stone way (as they did) when accompanying the Lord."
  5. ^ Jerome, Against Jovinianus, Book I "In accordance with this rule Peter and the other Apostles (I must give Jovinianus something now and then out of my abundance) had indeed wives, but those which they had taken before they knew the Gospel. But once they were received into the Apostolate, they forsook the offices of marriage."

Further reading

External links

Online translations of First Epistle to the Corinthians:

Related articles:

This article incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), a publication now in the public domain.

First Epistle to the Corinthians
Preceded by
Romans
New Testament
Books of the Bible
Succeeded by
2 Corinthians
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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

1 Corinthians
disambiguation
This is a disambiguation page. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.

1 Corinthians is a book in the Bible. The following English translations may be available:

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First Epistle to the Corinthians.

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wiktionary has an Appendix listing books of the Bible

English

Proper noun

Singular
1 Corinthians

Plural
-

1 Corinthians

  1. (Biblical) The first book of Corinthians in the New Testament of the Bible, an epistle to the people of Corinth attributed to Paul the Apostle and Sosthenes.

Related terms


Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

This is an accessible chapter-by-chapter commentary on 1 Corinthians. It attempts to reflect a broad and even-handed presentation of scholarly opinion (ancient and contemporary) about the book. And it attempts to do so with the clarity necessary to make it fully intelligible to non-specialists in biblical studies.

Three major sections may be expected within the commentary on each chapter:

Background Information
Historical Context: What do contemporary readers need to know that author assumed his first readers probably took for granted?
Literary Context: How may the constituent parts of a given chapter be better appreciated by information about the structural organization of the book as a whole?
Explanation
Analysis: What does a verse-by-verse examination of the constituent words and phrases suggest about the meaning of the chapter? Consideration will be given to their use in the Old Testament and other nearly contemporary literature.
Paraphrase: In light of these considerations an expansive, highly interpretive paraphrase of each chapter will be offered. The paraphrase attempts to avoid technical, theological jargon so as to allow contemporary secular English readers to understand the point of the chapter.
Implications
Reception: How has this chapter been received and understood by readers across the centuries since its origin?
Influence: What are the apparent theological and practical implications of this chapter within the entire Christian canon of Scripture? What has this chapter contributed to the views of contemporary Christianity?

Not a book title page. Please remove {{alphabetical}} from this page.


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