First Corinthians: Correction of Carnal Living

first corinthians

Without Paul’s presence, the Corinthian church had fallen into divisiveness and disorder. This resulted in many problems, which Paul addressed squarely. In First Corinthians Paul calls all Christians to be careful not to blend in with the world and accept its values and life-styles. We must live Christ centered, blameless, loving lives that make a difference for God.

The Corinthians had sent Paul a list of questions, and he answered them in a way meant to correct abuses in the church and to show how important it is that they live what they believe. Paul gives us a Christian approach to problem-solving. He analyzed the problem thoroughly to uncover the underlying issue and then highlighted the Biblical values that should guide our actions.

Writer of First Corinthians

Written by the apostle Paul, in the company of Sosthenes (I Corinthians 1:1). First Corinthians and Second Corinthians bear the unmistakable marks of Pauline authorship. This first epistle was written from Ephesus during Paul’s third missionary journey, perhaps A.D. 55. The second letter followed some 12 to 15 months later from Macedonia, where Paul met Titus and received news of the church’s repentance.

Date Written

About A. D. 55, near the end of Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus, during his third missionary journey.

To Whom Written

To “the ekklesia of God which is at Corinth… with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Purpose for First Corinthians

The purpose of the book of First Corinthians was to correct many problems that had developed among the believers in Corinth and to answer the letter that the leaders there had written to Paul, after his visit. Most importantly, Paul had heard of the many divisions among the Corinthians. They were allowing gross sexual immorality in one their number and were not correcting him. Secondarily, they had written him a letter with several questions, none of which had to do with the significant problems that were extant among them.

Theological Setting

The problems which Paul faced in the church of Corinth were complex and explosive. The correspondence resulted in rich and profound theological insight. Corinth, like its neighboring city of Athens, symbolized Greek culture in its desire for wisdom and power. Paul relied on the irony of the cross, “to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness”.

The foolishness of the gospel – indeed, its offensiveness to cultured Greeks – was the indication of its power to save.

Scripture Study Resources

ESV Study BibleStudy Bibles give you a deeper understanding of God’s Word with tools for life application like commentary, maps, charts, concordance, and study notes. Search our popular translations- NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV and more!

Believer’s Bible Commentary: Second Edition – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture.

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – The best concordance for word study! This exclusive new edition of a legendary classic puts generations of biblical research at your fingertips. A valuable tool for pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – This classic word study resource allows you to study the meaning of biblical words in the original languages without spending years learning Greek or Hebrew. A great resource for students, seasoned pastors, and anyone who enjoys biblical word studies–even if they have little to no formal training in Hebrew or Greek.

Halley’s Bible Handbook – The beloved and classic Bible companion has been thoroughly updated, while retaining its time-honored features and Dr. Halley’s highly personal style, to offer even greater clarity, insight, and usefulness.

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