Get your travel planner out for our forty-ninth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet! As we look at 1 Corinthians, we'll see Paul's letters to the church at Corinth. His letters to the influential church confront their "religious" and arrogant mindsets and defend his ability to be an apostle of Christ. Through God's grace and use of Paul, he is later able to rejoice over the turnaround and acceptance of his God-given authority. The key chapters to review are 1 Corinthians 2-3 & 12-13.
DESTINATION: 1 Corinthians
This Epistle was written at Ephesus while Paul was engaged in his three-year ministry in that city. Corinth was a commercial crossroads and a melting-pot full of devotees of various pagan cults and marked by a measure of moral depravity not unusual in a great seaport. "To live like a Corinthian" meant to live in gross immorality, and the many pagan temples in Corinth encouraged a life of licentiousness through temple prostitution. Corinth was filled with many nationalities, and tens of thousands of slaves.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
c. 35-67 A.D.
Ministry of Paul
c. 53-57 A.D.
Paul's third missionary journey
c. 56 A.D.
Writing of 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians is one of a number of letters Paul sent to the Christians at Corinth. In this letter Paul takes up a series of issues confronting the congregation. Factions in the congregation exhibited arrogance and misplaced confidence, but Paul declares that the message of the Cross makes foolish the wisdom of the world. He calls the Cross a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, yet through it God's power is revealed.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
Corinth – A city located in southern Greece about 50 miles from Athens. It was a major seaport and crossroads in the ancient world.
Ephesus – The chief commercial city of Asia Minor and the fourth greatest city in the ancient world, after Rome, Alexandria and Antioch.
Philippi – Ancient city in northern Greece where Paul preached the Gospel on European soil for the first time.
PEOPLE OF INTEREST:
Paul – A rabbi who studied Jewish Law under Gamaliel. He was present at the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Later he was converted on the road to Damascus and thereafter zealously proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ.
Barnabas – The name may be translated "son of exhortation." Barnabas accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey, to Cyprus and Asia Minor (Turkey).
Aquila and Priscilla – Husband and wife in Corinth who were tentmakers like Paul. They may have been Christians when they met Paul, or they might have been converted through his preaching.
Synagogue – A Greek word referring to a gathering of people. It was applied to the local assemblies of Jews who gathered to pray and read from the Scriptures.
Gentiles – The word "Gentiles" means "nations." Israel was called by God to be a people who were set apart from other nations, and to worship the one true God. God promised that He would bless the nations through Abraham and his descendants (Gen 12:3).
Corinth is situated on an isthmus less than four miles wide that separates two major harbors. In ancient days small ships were dragged across the isthmus on a paved road from one harbor to the other.