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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
Today we're starting two new books... which makes choosing a point of focus especially challenging. But for today, let's take a look at some of the setting and an overview of the first book of Corinthians. 1 Corinthians was actually a letter, written by the apostle Paul to the Corinthian believers. Since Paul actually wrote to the Christians in Corinth on two occasions, the letters - or epistles - are numbered first and second Corinthians.
The authenticity of 1 Corinthians is verified in the testimony of a number of early historians. For example, it is authenticated by Clement of Rome in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (47), by Polycarp in his Epistle to the Philippians (11), and by Irenaeus in Against Heresies (4.27.3).
The city of Corinth was well known for its wealth and commerce, in time of Paul. Corinth was ideally situated between the Ionian and Aegean Seas. It was also the capital city of the Achaia province. But all was not glitz and glam in Corinth, for it was a city as infamous for its sin as it was for its affluence. In fact, Corinth was so heathen that the "to Corinthianize" was a proverbial expression meaning to "be a player" or act like a "prostitute". Naturally, all the sinfulness of this city served as danger threatening the purity of the Christian Church at Corinth.
The apostle Paul actually founded the Christian Church at Corinth during his first visit there (Acts 18:1-17). Paul had been used by God to convert many Gentiles (1 Corinthians 12:2) and a few Jews (Acts 18:8). And these converts made up the Corinthian Christian Church. Thus, the Corinthian Church was mostly made up of converted Gentiles.
Paul actually had several purposes for writing to the Corinthians. He needed to address problems and divisions among the believers there. He also needed to respond to some questions which had obviously been asked of him - we must assume that the Corinthians had written to Paul first, asking these questions - but their letter is not available to us to read. However, because Paul addressed their questions one-by-one, we can be certain what questions they asked. And finally, Paul deals with the root issue of pride, showing what has real value in God's Kingdom.
So, as we read the book of Corinthians, let us watch for these blessings and pray for the ability to incorporate the wisdom and instruction we find within. As we do, we will find powerful keys to spiritual growth and protections against becoming imbalanced.