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Summary: Introduction to 1 Corinthians

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1 CORINTHIANS - Sanctification

INTRODUCTION: 1 Corinthians was the 4th Epistle written by Paul. It provides an excellent view of the early Church with their struggles for doctrinal and personal purity.

I. The Author of the Book - The Apostle Paul (1:1)

A. Paul (1:1 & 16:21) - Though his name appears 8 times, 1st person pronouns are used 284 times.

B. The Letter identifies him as having:

1. Preached in Corinth (2:1-5);

2. Founded the Church in Corinth (3:10);

3. Written the greeting with his own hand (16:21).

II. The Recipients of the Book

A. The City of Corinth:

1. The Capital City of Achaia (Southern Greece) with 500,000 - 700,000 population, 2/3 were slaves;

2. Two seaports: Cenchrea on the East, & Lechaeum on the West;

3. A land bridge between the Aegean & Adriatic Seas;

4. Commercial & religious center: wealth from the sea trade produced a hedonistic lifestyle, while the Temple of Aphrodite (goddess of love) promoted debauchery;

5. Their athletic stadium was second only to the Olympic stadium in Athens.

B. The Church at Corinth (1:6-7, 15):

1. Established by Paul during his 2nd Missionary journey - 50-52 AD (Acts 18:1-22);

· He lived with Aquilla & Priscilla,

· made tents to support himself,

· taught in the Synagogue until Jewish opposition forced him to turn his attention to the Gentiles , and

· stayed for 18 months evangelizing and teaching .

2. Mostly Gentiles, with a few Jewish converts (Acts 18:8);

3. Seems to have been a large number of Believers (Acts 18:8, 10);

4. The Church was plagued with many of the social ills of the community surrounding it.

III. The Date & Place of Writing

A. Place: The Epistle was written near the end Paul’s three year ministry in Ephesus, during his 3rd Missionary Journey (16:7-8; Acts 19).

B. Date: Probably in the year 56 A. D.

IV. The Purpose of the Book

A. To remind the Corinthians that Jesus is Lord. (1:2; 16:23).

B. To answer questions addressed to him concerning problems in the Church. (7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1).

C. To reprove a spirit of division in the Church, the result of immaturity and following men rather than Christ (1:11-13).

D. To defend his Apostleship and ministry, being attacked by Judaizers (Ch. 9).

E. To urge the Corinthian Believers to discover, develop and use their Spiritual Gifts in an atmosphere of love (Ch. 12-14).

F. To establish the historical and doctrinal basis for believing in the resurrection of Christ (Ch. 15).

V. The Keys to the Book

A. The key thought = Personal, moral & doctrinal errors can be corrected when Believers surrender to the LORD.

B. The key phrase = " The LORD Jesus Christ ". (1:3; 16:22 ).

C. The key verses = 13:13; 14:33, 40

D. Key Words:

1. Lord - 62 times 2. Spiritual - 16 times ;

3. Carnal -5 times 4. Gift - 11 times

VI. The Outline to the Book

A. Rebuke for Disorder within the Church - Ch. 1-6

1. Sectarianism (Ch. 1-4)

2. Sexual immorality (Ch. 5)

3. Suing other Believers (6:1-11)

4. Sensuality vs. Spirituality (6:12-20)

B. Replies to Questions from the Church - Ch. 7-16

1. Questions about marriage (Ch. 7)

2. Questions about offending others (Ch. 8-10)


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