Summary: A study of chapter 1 verses 1 through 9
1 Corinthians 1: 1 – 9
You Got A Problem?
Greeting 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
What would be your answer to this question, ‘How many letters did Paul write to the Corinthians?’ Most of you might be thinking ‘duh! There’s two.’ Is this your final answer? Well please turn to chapter 5 and let us see what it says in verse 9, “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.”
Hymm! If we are studying 1st Corinthians and then following there is a 2nd Corinthians and we read that Paul previously wrote to the Corinthians, then my friends there were three letters or epistles. This first letter disappeared. Our Precious Holy Spirit didn’t want it included in His Bible. Someday, I would love to know what was in it besides this comment in chapter 5. However, that will have to wait.
So, as we begin I think that it would be beneficial that we did a little preliminary overview.
Corinth was an important city situated on the land bridge between the Corinthian Gulf and the Saronic Gulf, across which freight was transferred from ship to ship on its way to the world’s trade centers in order to avoid the dangerous and feared Cape Malea on the Peloponnese peninsula. It was thus itself an important trade center and grew rich. It was a pagan headquarters of the worship of Aphrodite which involved a high degree of sexual perversion, such that ‘a Corinthian’ became a byword for loose living. Corinth was famous for its schools where great men came to expound ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’, some of value and much of little value, and people followed their favorite philosophers and spent much time in discussing and arguing their case for their differing views. This was a popular leisure activity. It was also heavily influenced by mystery religions which drew men into exotic experiences.
You have heard of the Olympic Games, well, another type of these types of games was the Isthmian Games to which men came from far afield to partake in serious sporting activity. It was thus considered to be a highly civilized city, especially by its inhabitants. And it was, although very old, in essence a new city, simply because of its recent history. Its inhabitants were mainly without old roots, so that it was not bound by ancient customs.
Paul had already gone on his first missionary journey. Now our Wonderful Holy Spirit placed it in Paul’s mind to go on a 2nd outreach.
After being divinely prohibited from preaching in Asia which we read about in Acts chapter 16 verse 6, “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia,’ Paul, Silas, and Timothy finished up at Troas, where Paul received the ‘Macedonian vision’ which is bought our in verses 9-10, ‘And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
This direction from the Blessed Third Person of The Holy Trinity – The Holy Ghost - brought them to Philippi where a number were converted to Christ and a church was established. From Philippi, Paul and his party went to Thessalonica, then to Berea, and finally to Athens.
After a ministry in Athens, Paul went to Corinth, which was an ancient city of Greece, and the seat of government of the Roman province of Achaia. It was there that he first met up with a Jew named Aquila and his wife Priscilla. Like Paul, this man was a tent-maker. He and his wife had fled from Italy because of a command from Claudius that all Jews must leave Rome. Every Sabbath day Paul went to the synagogue, where he sought to evangelize Jews and Greek God-fearers. Eventually he was joined by Silas and Timothy, who had just arrived from Macedonia. They providentially brought a gift from the Macedonians which enabled Paul to fully devote himself to the Word, so that he could give all his efforts to preaching Christ.