Compiled by: Gary W. Summers



The book of 1 Corinthians was written in A. D. 57 or 58. Paul had established this congregation on his second evangelistic tour (Acts 18:1-18). He wrote to these brethren from Ephesus while on his third journey (1 Cor. 16:8, 19). There was a great deal of turmoil and immaturity in this church-more so than in any other congregation addressed.
Corinth had been a powerful and influential city during the time of the Peloponnesian War, in which Sparta became victorious over Athens (431-404 B. C.) (The southern peninsula of Greece is called Peloponnesus.) But in 146 B. C. the city was pillaged and burned by Mummius. One hundred years later (46 B. C.) Julius Caesar rebuilt the city from its old foundations; he established a colony of veterans and freedmen there. At the time of Paul's writing the population of Corinth was 600,000; it was the capital of Achaia, the southern region of Greece.
Corinth is located on an isthmus, called "the bridge of the sea." There were three harbors associated with the city: Lechaeum on the west, Cenchrea on the east, and Schoenus in the narrowest land connection. There was a canal through which the smaller ships could be dragged. Rollers and others devices were used to get the ships through this land channel. Corinth was on the north-south trade routes and on the east-west. Why not sail around Cape Malea? Two common sayings were: "When you round Cape Malea, forget all you have at home" and "Let himwho sails around Malea first make his will." Its waters were considered the most treacherous in the Mediterranean Sea. Behind Corinth on its south side rose a citadel, a natural fortification which was nearly impregnable. The hill rises 2,000 feet above the sea. The summit has a circumference of ten miles. The hill of Athens is visible from there 45 miles to the east. To the North across the sea lie many mountains, including Mt. Parnassus, which towers over Delphi. To the West is the Ionian Sea.
Jews, Greeks, and some who had been expelled from Rome lived in this city. There were merchants, soldiers, sailors, retailers, wrestlers, charioteers, slaves, agents of vice, and parasites of all sorts. There was a fair amount of wealth in the city, and the Isthmian games were conducted every two years. The city was known for its drunkenness and its sensuality. Upon the Acropolis was a temple to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. She had 1,000 priestesses, hieroduli, who would descend each evening to walk the streets like prostitutes. In some Greek plays a Corinthian was stereotyped as a drunk.
1. Unity in Christ (1:1-17) 2. Preaching, The Wisdom of God (1:18-2:16) 3. The Cause and Solution to Division (3:1-4:21) 4. Fornication and Fellowship (5:1-13, 6:12-20) 5. Lawsuits Before Unbelievers (6:1-11) 6. Questions of Marriage and Divorce (7) 7. Meat Offered to Idols (8-10) 8. Women Praying and Prophesying (11:1-16) 9. Abuse of the Lord's Supper (11:17-34) 10.Proper Use of Spiritual Gifts (12-14) 11.The Significance of the Resurrection (15) 12.Giving and Sundry Matters (16)
1:10 "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1:23 "But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness." 3:1-5 Envy, strife, and division are signs of brethren being carnal. 5:11 Do not "keep company with anyone who is called a brother...." 6:12 "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." 6:18-20 "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 9:22 "...I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 9:27 "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." 10:12 "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 10:24 "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well- being." 10:31 "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 12:25 "That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another." 13:1-3 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing." 13:4-7 "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all thing, endures all things." 13:8-10 "Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be done away." 13:11-13 "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 14:37 "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord." 14:40 "Let all things be done decently and in order." 15:1-4 "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

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