Introduction to 1 Corinthians

As we have discussed before in Acts 18, Corinth was one of the major cities in the Roman Empire and the major city both economically and politically in the nation of Greece.  Corinth was also a major religious center, home to the temple of Apollo and the temple of Aphrodite and thus was home to considerable pagan worship.  Specifically, in the temple of Aphrodite, it is said that at times over 1,000 priestesses (who were also prostitutes) served which also made Corinth a center for horrific immorality.

This pagan culture and lack of a moral center took its toll on the church in Corinth as well, leading to a number of moral issues that Paul had to address here in this correspondence.  This is one of possibly four total writings that Paul would have sent to the church in Corinth, two (possibly three) of which we have recorded in the Bible as we know it today.

Apart from issues of immorality that were plaguing the church in Corinth, Paul also addresses a considerable amount of other issues.  The congregation there was likely made up of mostly lower class individuals.  However, with some, more wealthy individuals, issues of socio-economic disparity arose and needed to be addressed.

It also seems that there was some disagreement surrounding the nature of the resurrection of the dead, which was, in part, related to the other issues, but also stands on its own.

While Paul’s writing here does take on rather specific issues regarding a particular congregation, his words can really find new meaning in our culture today as well.  We too live in a culture full of rampant immorality, socio-economic disparity, and in a time when the Church itself is dealing with so many disagreements about theological issues.  Paul’s words here, inspired by God, are incredibly needed.