Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians was written to deal with problems of Christian life and faith that had arisen in the church which Paul had established at Corinth. At that time Corinth was a great cosmopolitan Greek city, the capital of the Roman province of Achaia. It was noted for its thriving commerce, proud culture, widespread immorality, and variety of religions.
The apostle's chief concerns are with problems such as divisions and immorality in the church, and with questions about sex and marriage, matters of conscience, church order, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the resurrection. With deep insight he shows how the Good News speaks to these questions.
Chapter 13, which presents love as the best of God's gifts to his people, is probably the most widely known passage in the book.
Outline of Contents
Factions in the church (1.10—4.21)
Sexual morality and family life (5.1—7.40)
Christians and pagans (8.1—11.1)
Church life and worship (11.2—14.40)
The resurrection of Christ and of believers (15.1-58)
The offering for the Christians in Judea (16.1-4)
Personal matters and conclusion (16.5-24)
Paul had personally helped found the church in Corinth, a bustling Greek port city. The letters Paul wrote to this church are evidence that Paul cared deeply about the way the believers there lived out their faith. In these letters, he tries to resolve a number of disputes on religious and ethical matters. In 1 Corinthians, he encourages the Corinthian Christians to live in unity and to love one another. He also provides instruction about proper worship and the Lord's Supper and describes how the dead will be raised to life.