Summary: Paul starts his first letter to the Corinthians by thanking them for the things they are doing right.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this” (Our Daily Bread, August 26, 1989).
Paul wrote this letter to the Church in Corinth while he was visiting Ephesus during his third missionary journey (Acts 19:1-20:1). He knew the Corinthian Church well because he had spent 18 months in Corinth during his second missionary journey. Paul begins his letter by voicing his authority and explaining that he is truly an apostle (v. 1). Sosthenes may have been Paul’s secretary who wrote this letter as he dictated it. He addresses this letter to the "church of God" which is at Corinth but also stresses that it is to "all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 2). In other words he is making it clear this is not a private letter even though it deals with specific issues facing the Church at Corinth.
Paul opens his letter by commending the church for its good things. Afterward he will rebuke it for the things that were wrong. He commends it and gives thanks:
1. For the grace of God given these people by Jesus Christ (v. 4).
2. For the testimony of Christ confirmed in them (v. 6)
3. That the ones to whom he is writing are expectantly waiting for the Lord’s coming (v. 7).
Paul guarantees the Corinthian believers that God will consider them "blameless" when Christ returns. This guarantee was not because of their great gifts or abilities but because of what Jesus Christ had done for them.
Just as Paul begins his letter by sharing positive things, it helps for me to affirm with people what God has already accomplished in them before I am tempted to correct them.