First Corinthians – Correction of Carnal Living

first corinthians

In the epistle of First Corinthians, the Corinthian church had fallen into divisiveness and disorder. This resulted in many problems, which Paul addressed squarely. We must be concerned about unity and order in our local churches, but we should not mistake inactivity for order and cordiality for unity. We too must squarely address problems in our churches.

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 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 of 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 of 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 for First Corinthians

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Book of First Corinthians, and why is it significant? The First Epistle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians, is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Christian community in Corinth. It addresses various issues and concerns within the church, offering guidance on matters of theology, morality, church discipline, and Christian living. Its significance lies in its enduring relevance to contemporary Christian life and its insights into the challenges faced by early Christian communities.

What are some of the key themes addressed in First Corinthians? First Corinthians covers a wide range of topics, including divisions within the church, the importance of unity and love among believers, sexual ethics, marriage and celibacy, the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts, the resurrection of the dead, and Christian freedom and responsibility. The overarching theme is the call to live out the gospel in every aspect of life, both individually and as a community.



What is the historical and cultural context of First Corinthians? Corinth was a cosmopolitan city known for its diversity, commerce, and cultural pluralism. The Corinthian church faced challenges related to its socio-economic diversity, pagan influences, and conflicts arising from different cultural backgrounds and spiritual practices. Understanding this context helps to interpret Paul’s instructions and admonitions to the Corinthian believers.

How does First Corinthians apply to modern-day Christianity? Despite being written nearly two millennia ago, First Corinthians addresses issues that are still relevant to contemporary Christians. Its teachings on love, unity, church discipline, spiritual gifts, and ethical living offer timeless principles for navigating the complexities of Christian community and engaging with the broader culture.

What can readers learn from First Corinthians for personal growth and spiritual maturity? First Corinthians provides valuable insights into the nature of Christian faith, the dynamics of Christian community, and the challenges of living faithfully in a secular society. It encourages readers to prioritize love, pursue spiritual gifts for the common good, embrace diversity within the body of Christ, and hold fast to the hope of the resurrection. Studying this epistle can deepen one’s understanding of Christian doctrine and equip believers to live out their faith with integrity and wisdom.

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