Comments on First Corinthians
Written by Paul in A.D. 56
Upon hearing of the factions and their continued misunderstanding of the spiritual life (sanctification, 1:2), Paul writes this corrective letter to heal the divisions, establish unity, and curb the abuses of the Corinthians.
Chapter 1--4: Disunity by Divisions in the Church
After the introduction (1:1-9) Paul addresses the problem of division in the church. He begins with exhortation that they be "restored" (1:10). The formation of various factions (1:12-13) demonstrates worldly wisdom not divine wisdom (1:18--2:16), and spiritual immaturity (3:1--4:21). Certainly Christ is not divided, nor his ministers in competition with each other.
Chapters 5--6 Disunity by Disorders in the Church
Resulting from their spiritual immaturity, the church has not only allowed but boasts of accepting the heinous sin of sex with one's step-mother (5:1-13), suing one another (6:1-11) and sexual immorality in general (6:12-20). Paul expresses shock, and commands church discipline, out of court settlement, and living in appreciation that their bodies are temples of God.
Chapters 7--16: Disunity by Difficulties in the Church
Paul addresses the Corinthians' questions in the areas of marriage, divorce, Christian liberty, worship, and spiritual gifts, providing instructions which will bring unity to the church (7:1--14:40). Paul also instructs them regarding the nature of the resurrection (15:1-58), expecting this instruction to influence their lives. He closes with some final directive advice regarding collection and the ministry of certain individuals (16:1-24).
Quine's view of the key verse: 1 Corinthians 14:33
"For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."