The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians - Introduction
This letter gives a uniquely comprehensive picture of an early Christian congregation and of its founder ( 3.6, 10 ), Paul. It contains the earliest written tradition of Jesus' resurrection ( 15.3–8 ) and of the Lord's Supper ( 11.23–26 ), as well as the moving “hymn” on Christian love (ch. 13 ). This is apparently the second letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians. The previous letter, mentioned in 5.9 , is lost (unless 2 Cor. 6.14–7.1 is a surviving fragment), but the Corinthians' reply to that letter provides the subject matter for chs. 7–16 of the present letter: marriage ( 7.1–24 ), celibacy ( 7.25–40 ), food offered to idols ( 8.1–11.1 ), worship ( 11.2–34 ), spiritual gifts (especially glossolalia, the gift of tongues; chs. 12–14 ), bodily resurrection (ch. 15 ), the “collection” of money for the Jerusalem Christians ( 16.1–11 ), and Apollos ( 16.12 ). But first Paul reasserts his authority at Corinth by dealing with three disciplinary lapses which have occurred there: congregational factions (chs. 1–4 ), a case of immorality (ch. 5 ), and lawsuits among Christians (ch. 6 ).