The Bible Book by BookThe City of Corinth. It contained 400,000 inhabitants and was the chief city of Greece when Paul visited it, being situated on a large isthmus where the commerce of the world passed. The inhabitants were Greeks, Jews, Italians and a mixed multitude from everywhere. Sailors, merchants, adventurers and refugees from all the world crowded the city, bringing with them the evils of every country, out of which grew many forms of human degradation. Religion and philosopy had been prostituted to low uses. Intellectual life was put above moral life, and the future life was denied that they might enjoy the present life without restraint.
The Church at Corinth. It was founded by Paul on the second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-18). His spirit in founding the church is seen in 1 Cor. 2:1-2. While there Paul made his home with Aquila and Priscilla, Jews who had been expelled from Rome (Acts 18:2-3), but who now became members of the church. Apollos preached to this church and aided it in Paul's absence (18:24-28; 19:1). Both Epistles are full of information as to the condition of the church and the many problems which hit had to face from time to time. It must be remembered that Corinth was one of the most wicked cities of ancient times and that the church was surrounded by heathen customs and practices. Many of its members had but recently been converted from heathenism to Christianity and the church was far from ideal.
The Occasion and Purpose of the Letter. Unfavorable news had come to Paul concerning the Corinthian church and he had written them a letter (5:9) which has been lost. In that letter he seems to have commanded them to give up their evil practices and promised to visit them. In the meantime, members of the household of Chloe(1:11) and other friends (16:17) came to him at Ephesus and brought news of their divisions and of the evil practices of certain of their members. Finally, they wrote him a letter asking his advice on certain matters (7:1). From all this we learn (1) that there were four factions among them, 1:2; (2) that there was gross immorality in the church as in the case of the incestuous person, Ch. 5; (3) that they went to law with each other, Ch. 6; (4) that many practical matters troubled them. Paul, therefore, wrote to correct all these errors in doctrine and practice.
Content. This letter contains some of the greatest passages in the New Testament. It is, however, remarkable especially for the very practical nature of its contents. It deals with many of the problems of every day life and has been said not to discuss but one great doctrine, that of the resurrection.
Date. From Ephesus in the spring of A. D. 57.
I. Concerning Divisions and the Party Spirit. 1:10-4.
II. Correction of Moral Disorders, Chs. 5-6.
III. Answers to Questions and Cognate Matters, 7:1-16:4.
IV. Personal Matters and Conclusion, 16:5 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Earthly wisdom and heavenly foolishness, 1:18-25. (2) Spiritual wisdom, 2:7-16. (3) Paul's apostolic labors, 4:9-13. (4) The scripture estimate of the human body, 6:12-20. (5) Marriages and divorce, 7:25-50, letting "virgin" mean any single person, male or female. (6) Paul's practice in the matter of his rights, 9:1-23. (7) The Christian race, 9:24-27. (8) Love and its nature, Ch. 13. (a) Superior to other gifts, 1-3. (b) Its ten marks, 4-6. (c) Its power, 7. (d) Its permanence, 8-13. (9) Spiritual gifts, Chs. 12-14. Name and describe them. (10) The resurrection, Ch. 15. (a) Calamities to result, if there were none-or the other doctrines here made to depend on the resurrection; (b) The nature of the resurrected body.THE BIBLE BOOK BY BOOK: A MANUAL:
For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books by J.B. TIDELL, A.M., D.D. Professor of Biblical Literature in Baylor University, Waco, Texas
1916 BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PRESS Waco, Texas