First Epistle To The Corinthians

Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians has throughout the centuries been prized by the Church as one of the most important component parts of the New Testament revelation. There are no solid grounds for doubting that Paul was the author of this document. Indeed, with regard to its authenticity Robertson and Plummer assert that “both the external and the internal evidence for the Pauline authorship are so strong that those who attempt to show that the Apostle was not the writer succeed chiefly in proving their own incompetence as critics.” The letter was written from Ephesus probably in the year 57 A.D.

On two occasions prior to its composition Paul had visited the city of Corinth, in the course, namely, of his second and third missionary journeys; and so he was familiar with the place and its inhabitants. Corinth was not only the metropolis of the Roman province of Achaia but also a great commercial centre on which traders converged from all directions. It was notorious, too, even in the Roman empire, as a centre of extreme profligacy and licentiousness. Beyond doubt Paul regarded it as a key point in the missionary expansion of the early Church, and certainly it was a city which presented a tremendous challenge to the Gospel: if the message of the Cross had power to reach and transform the lives of men and women living in the Corinthian cesspool, then it was powerful indeed! And this is precisely what happened. The Apostle had come to them “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,” determined, however, not to know anything among them “save Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” and therefore to shun the arts of oratory and the persuasions of philosophy (both so attractive to the Greek mentality), ...

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