Introduction to 1 Corinthians
The Apostle Paul first visited the Greek city of Corinth in or around AD51, along with Timothy and Silas. He spent eighteen months there preaching, teaching and establishing the fledgling Christian church made up of both Jews and Gentiles. (Acts 18:1-18)
Paul wrote 1 Corinthians during his stay in Ephesus, it is thought in AD55. He had been intending to visit Macedonia and to return to Corinth. However, he heard news which caused him to change his plans. He learned that divisions, disagreements, wrong teaching and even flagrant immorality had arisen in the church at Corinth. This information came from the letter the church wrote to him, from the report given him by some members of the “household of Chloe” ( 1 Cor 1:11), and lastly from Stephanus and his two friends when they visited Paul. (1 Cor 1:11; 16:17)
Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians to deal with these problems. Broadly speaking the epistle can be divided into four sections.
- 1 Cor 1-4 Paul tackles the problem of divisions and party spirit.
- 1 Cor 5-6 He deals with the flagrant immorality which had become public knowledge among them.
- 1 Cor 7-14 Paul discusses the various questions the Corinthians had raised in their letter to him. He deals with marriage matters, problems concerned with meat offered to idols, the orderly conduct of services:- the Lord’s Supper, the use of spiritual gifts in worship and the differing roles of men and women.. Throughout this section he deals with the need to always show love and concern for the weaker brother. Chapter 13 is the famous chapter about love.
- 1 Cor 15 Paul gives a very full defence of the doctrine of the resurrection which was being questioned by some at Corinth.
- Chapter 16 gives details concerning the collection for the poor Jerusalem Christians and other practical matters.
RBT Reading Plan for 1 Corinthians July 2021
|Thurs 1st||Acts 18:1-18||God uses Paul to plant His church in Corinth.|
|Fri 2nd||1 Cor 1:1-9||Paul writes to the church he founded 4 or so years before.|
|1 Cor 1: 10-17||Paul has heard there are divisions in the church.|
|Sat 3rd||1 Cor 1:18-2:5||Christ the wisdom and power of God|
|Sun 4th||1 Cor 2:6-15||God’s secret wisdom given by the Holy Spirit|
|1 Cor 3||Division in the church|
|Mon 5th||1 Cor 4||The ministry of Apostles|
|Tues 6th||1 Cor 5||Sexual immorality in the church must be dealt with.|
|Wed 7th||1 Cor 6:1-11||Do not go to law against Christian brothers.|
|1 Cor 6:12-20||Your body is meant for the Lord|
|Thurs 8th||1 Cor 7:1-16||Concerning marriage matters|
|1 Cor 7:17-24||Serve the Lord in the place and situation where He has put you|
|1 Cor 7:25-39||Paul’s advice to the unmarried and widows|
|Fri 9th||1 Cor 8||Food sacrificed to idols – Christian love trumps Christian freedom|
|Sat 10th||1 Cor 9||Paul’s example of how he forgoes his rights for the sake of the gospel|
|Sun 11th||1 Cor 10:1-22||Warnings from Israel’s history concerning the consequences of idolatry|
|1 Cor 10:23-11:1||In all things seek the good of others. Copy Paul as he copied Christ|
|Mon 12th||1 Cor 11:2-16||Concerning orderly worship and the differing roles of men and women|
|1 Cor 11:17-34||Instructions concerning the conduct of the Lord’s Supper|
|Tues 13th||1 Cor 12||Spiritual gifts and their correct use in the body of Christ (the Church)|
|1 Cor 13||The best way – the way of love|
|Wed 14th||1 Cor 14:1-25||Instructions concerning the gifts of prophecy and tongues|
|Thurs 15th||1 Cor 14:26-40||How to conduct orderly worship|
|1 Cor 15:1-11||The resurrection of Christ|
|1 Cor 15:12-34||The resurrection of the dead|
|1 Cor 15:35-58||The resurrection of the body|
|Sat 17th||1 Cor 16:1-4||The collection for the poor Christians in Jerusalem|
|1 Cor 16:5-24||Travel plans, final instructions, personal greetings|
Introduction to 2 Corinthians
Following the reception of 1 Corinthians by the church at Corinth, some of the problems continued and required further action by Paul. It is believed that Paul then made a short “painful visit” from Ephesus to Corinth.( 2 Cor2:1). This visit is not mentioned in Acts but seems to be indicted by a careful reading of 2 Corinthians, where Paul refers to his next “coming“ as his third one.(2 Cor12:14,21; 13:1-2) The “painful visit” appears to have been unsuccessful.
Returning to Ephesus, Paul wrote a “severe letter” (2 Cor 2:4,9; 12:18 ) which Titus took to Corinth (2 Cor 12:18). Paul, being impatient for Titus’ return left Ephesus for Troas, from where he travelled to Macedonia. Here he finally met up with Titus from whom he received good news regarding the Corinthian believers. (2 Cor 2:12-13;7:5-16). In response he wrote 2 Corinthians from Philippi (2 Cor 8:1; 9:2-4). Firstly he explained the reasons for having changed his plans for visiting them. His concern to re-established good personal relations with them is evident. Linked with this he aims to defend his apostleship against the false teachers who had infiltrated the church. He also gives details concerning the collection for the relief of the poor Christians in Jerusalem. He concludes by warning them to prepare themselves for his next visit. He does not want to exercise strong discipline but will do so if necessary. Shortly after this he made his third visit to Corinth where he was to stay for the three winter months (Acts 20:1-4; 2 Cor 12:14: 13:1)
As Homer Kent says,” This beautiful letter is the most personal and revealing document we have from Paul’s pen, for it uncovers the affectionate warmth of the man while at the same time showing the anguish of heart which he often suffered.”
RBT Reading Plan for 2 Corinthians July 2021
|Sun 18th||2 Cor 1:1-11||Paul’s opening greetings and thanksgiving for God’s comfort and deliverance in suffering|
|Mon 19th||2 Cor 1:12-2:13||Paul’s change of plans|
|Tues 20th||2 Cor 2:14-3:18||The nature of Paul’s Christian ministry|
|Wed 21st||2 Cor 4||Some obstacles to Paul’s ministry|
|Thurs 22nd||2 Cor 5||The motivation for Paul’s ministry|
|Fri 23rd||2 Cor 6:1-7:1||The hardships of Paul’s ministry|
|Sat 24th||2 Cor 7:2-16||The report brought to Paul by Titus|
|Sun 25th||2 Cor 8||Encouragement to give generously to the collection for the Jerusalem Christians|
|Mon 26th||2 Cor 9||The importance of generosity|
|Tues 27th||2 Cor 10||Paul defends his apostolic authority and ministry.|
|Wed 28th||2 Cor 11:1-15||Paul and the false apostles|
|Thurs 29th||2 Cor 11:16-33||Paul’s “boasting as a fool” about his apostolic suffering|
|Fri 30th||2 Cor 12:1-13||Paul’s vision and his thorn in the flesh|
|Sat 31st||2 Cor 12:14-13:14||Paul writes concerning his coming visit to Corinth.|