Introduction to First Corinthians Studies in 1 Corinthians Series  1 Corinthians 1:1-3 April 27, 2014 Pastor Paul K. Kim
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS 1)Ancient City Of Corinth in the First Century It was the capital of the Roman colony, Achaia located close to the isthmus between Adriatic and Aegean Seas.
* Source: ESV Study Bible Online (www.esvbible.org/) ANCIENT CORINTH IN THE FIRST CENTURY * Source: ESV Study Bible Online (www.esvbible.org/)
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS 1)Ancient City Of Corinth in the First Century It was the capital of the Roman colony, Achaia located close to the isthmus between Adriatic and Aegean Seas. It was the center of commerce where international trades took place through the two harbors—on west (Lechaeum) and east (Cenchreae). It was a cosmopolitan city, proud of its wealth, philosophy and culture; famous “Isthmian games” were held every other year. It was the center of sensuality and immorality (temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sex); to corinthianize [Gk. korinthiazomai] meant “to practice fornication.”
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS 2)Historical Background of 1 Corinthians Paul planted the Corinthian church during his second missionary journey while staying in Corinth for a year and six months—approx. from A.D. 49-51 (Acts 18:1-17). Paul wrote this letter during his third missionary journey while he was in Ephesus for three years (cf. Acts 19:1-41)—it was probably written in the spring of A.D. 55 (1 Cor. 16:8). Paul actually wrote four letters to the Corinthian church: Letter A: ineffective in correcting the problems Letter B: 1 Corinthians (ineffective) Letter C: “severe letter” (effective) Letter D: 2 Corinthians (after hearing the good report from Titus about how his “severe letter” was received by the church)
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS 3)Purpose and Structure of 1 Corinthians The purpose of the letter was to reply to the problems and inquiries of the Corinthian church—from beginning to end. 1 Corinthians 1-6: Replies to the reports of Chloe’s household. Divisions in the church (1:10-13) Worldly wisdom (1:17-2:16) Spiritual immaturity (3:1-4) Doubts/Challenge against Paul’s apostleship (4:1-7) Incest in the church (5:1-13) Lawsuits between believers (6:1-8) Sexual immorality (6:15-20)
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS 3)Purpose and Structure of 1 Corinthians The purpose of the letter was to reply to the problems and inquiries of the Corinthian church—from beginning to end. 1 Corinthians 1-6: Replies to the reports of Chloe’s household. 1 Corinthians 7-16: Replies to the letter from the church. Singleness, marriage and divorce (7:1-40) Meat offered to Idols/“gray” areas (8:1-13) Head covering/gender roles (11:1-17) The Lord’s Supper (11:20-34) Spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40) Resurrection of the dead (15:1-58) Collection for the Jerusalem church in need (16:1-3)
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS 4)Key Themes of 1 Corinthians * Two root problems of the Corinthian church were (1) influence of worldly philosophy & lifestyle and (2) “over-realized eschatology.” Unity of the Church: We are called by God into One Body of Christ so we must be of same mind in keeping the unity. Hope of Resurrection: The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is essential not only for Christian faith and doctrine but also for the lasting hope for all believers’ resurrection in Christ. True Spirituality: True spirituality requires a “Theology of the Cross” not a “Theology of Glory” —i.e., a truly spiritually mature person does not seek glory now but willingly takes the way of the cross now for the lasting full glory later (by holy living, serving the weak & the lost, building up the church, practicing love and orderly worship, and seeking God’s glory in all things.)
THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.What about this series on 1 Corinthians excites you the most? Why? 2.What would it mean for you to live out a “Theology of the Cross”? In what ways will you be vigilant against a “Theology of Glory” this week? 3.In what ways will you pursue a holy living as a saint this week? What is your first step?
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