1 CORINTHIANS - INTRODUCTION
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
separated from it by two thousand years, life in Corinth, the capital of Achaia, had
much in common with life in our modern western world, for it was one of the principal
centers of wealth, learning, and culture, but also of moral depravity, so much so
that the very word Corinth had come to be synonymous with every form of immorality.
But it was, nonetheless, the object of God's watchful care, as is declared in His
assurance to Paul, "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am
with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this
city," Ac 18:10.
spite of the violent opposition of the Jews, of whom there were many in Corinth, Paul
preached the gospel, with the result that, "many of the Corinthians hearing
believed, and were baptized," Ac 18:8, as a result of which Paul remained for
eighteen months "teaching the word of God among them," Ac 18:11.
he had much about which to teach the new converts: the Jews had to be taught that the
Jesus Who had been crucified by them in Jerusalem was the Savior Messiah foretold by
their own prophets.
Gentiles had to be taught the truth relative to the idols they had formerly
worshiped, and in connection with that heathen worship, truth concerning the eating
of food sacrificed to those imaginary gods. They
had also to be taught God's standards of morality relative to marriage, their own
indifference to sexual sin being demonstrated in the fact that they had amongst them
a man living in an incestuous relationship with his father's wife.
low moral standards may also be gauged from the fact that some were even coming drunk
to the Lord's table; and in connection with that same table they were apparently
abysmally ignorant even in regard to the order relative to worship.
Nor were they any better informed in regard to such things as the
resurrections, and the Lord's return, the use of spiritual gifts, the woman's place
in the church, etc. And probably of
paramount concern to Paul was the havoc being wrought by their division into groups,
each group claiming a human head, while one went so far as to claim that it alone had
Christ as Head. But perhaps their
greatest lack was to be taught the value of love, the subject dealt with by Paul in
chapter 13, that short chapter being described by one as "the most beautiful essay on
love, not just in the Bible, but in all literature," Macdonald in Believer's
is, however, in this Epistle a demonstration of the fact that God can bring good out
of evil, for had it not been for the evils rampant in the Corinthian assembly, the
letter would not have had to be written, and without it believers would have been
left without an extensive essential body of teaching on Church truth, which has never
been more needed than today.