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Introduction to the letter to St. Paul to the Corinthians

What does spiritual mean to a new Christian? When everyone around is caught in immorality, and youre bombarded with constant temptation, how do you stand for righteousness? The fledging church in Corinth was floundering with these questions, as the believers struggle to sort out their new found faith while living in a city over taken with corruption and idolatry.
a. Overview of the letter

t. !aul is psyched to be writing in Corinth. "e founded the church there. #ven though there have been some rumblings about his credentials, !aul assures everyone that hes ironclad. That he and god are on the same page. "e may not be the fanciest apostle out there, but he has devoted his whole life to $esus.

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The )postle !aul had planted the church in Corinth, and now, $ust a few years later, he was receiving questioning letters and reports of problems. The church was troubled with division, lawsuits, se*ual sins, disorderly worship, and overall spiritual immaturity.

+agkaroon ng maraming problema sa Corinthian church na nagresult sa pride and so much emphasis on social status. )yun nga, nagsimula yung mga problema sa divisions, lack of church discipline, lawsuits and abuse of Christian liberty. t. !aul dealt with these problems separately... and perhaps the clima* of this argument will be found in chapter ,- where he the importance of love//// 0'ove is patient, love is kind, it does not envy,it 1oes not boast,it isnot proud,it isnot rude 2t is a not self/seeking, it is not easily angered,it

3eepsnorecordofwrongs'ovedoesnotdelightofevil,butre$oiceswiththeTruth 2t always protects, always trusts, always hopes and )lways perseveres.4 'ove of others is incompatible with pride and it is to be the fundamental principle that guides all actions.

% econd 'etter( / econd Corinthians is a deeply personal and arousing letter//a response to the comple* history between the )postle !aul and the church he had established in Corinth.

The circumstances behind this letter reveal the difficult, often painful realities of life in the ministry. 5ore than any of his letters, this one shows us the heart of !aul as a pastor.

/This epistle is actually !aul6s fourth letter to the church in Corinth. !aul mentions his first letter in , Corinthians 789. "is second letter is the book of , Corinthians. Three times in : Corinthians !aul references a third and painful letter8 ;&or 2 wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears ...; %: Corinthians :8<, # =(. )nd finally, we have !aul6s fourth letter, the book of : Corinthians.

)s we learned in , Corinthians, the church in Corinth was weak, struggling with division and spiritual immaturity. !aul6s authority had been undermined by an opposing teacher who was misleading and dividing with false teachings. 2n an attempt to solve the turmoil, !aul traveled to Corinth, but the distressing visit only fueled the church6s resistance. When !aul returned to #phesushe wrote again to the church, pleading with them to repent and avoid >od6s $udgement. 'ater !aul received good news through Titus that many in Corinthian had indeed repented, but a small and fractious group continued to cause problems there.

2n : Corinthians, !aul laid out his defense, refuting and condemning the false teachers. "e also encouraged the faithful to stay committed to the truth and reaffirmed his deep love for them.

b. Who is St. Paul

!aul, an apostle of Christ ?esus by the will of >od, and Timothy our brother

c. Date and Place of Writing

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&irst 'etter / 7-/77 ).1 econd 'etter / 77/7A ).1

!aul was in 5acedonia when he wrote : Corinthians, responding to good news from Titus that the church in Corinth had repented and was longing to see !aul again. The young Corinthian church was located in the midst of a large, decadent seaport//a city deeply immersed in pagan idolatry and immorality.

d. Purpose of Writing

%&irst 'etter( !aul wrote this uncompromising letter to confront and correct these Christians, answer their questions, and instruct them in several areas. "e warned them not to be conformed to the world around them, but rather, to live as godly e*amples, reflecting Christ likeness in the midst of an immoral society.

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To e*press the comfort and $oy !aul felt because the Corinthians had responded favorably to his painful letter %,8-B<C D8EB9, ,:B,-(. To let them know about the trouble he went through in the province of )sia %,8EB,,(. To e*plain why he had changed his travel plans %,8,:F:8<(. To ask them to forgive the offending party %:87B,,(. To warn them not to be 0yoked together with unbelievers4 %A8,<FD8,(. To e*plain to them the true nature %its $oys, sufferings and rewards( and high calling of Christian ministry. This is the so/called great digression, but it turns out to be in some ways the most important section of the letter %:8,<FD8<C see note on :8,<(. To teach the Corinthians about the grace of giving and to make sure that they complete the collection for the poor Christians at ?erusalem %chs. EB9(. To deal with the minority opposition in the church %chs. ,GB,-(. To prepare the Corinthians for his upcoming visit %,:8,<C ,-8,B-,,G(.

e. Theme/ Theological Teaching of St. Paul

The book of , Corinthians is highly applicable for Christians today. everal important themes emerge as !aul reaches out to this spiritually troubled body of believers8

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The Corinthian church was divided over leadership. Some followed the teachings of Paul, others favored the words of

Cephas, and some preferred what Apollos had to say. Intellectual pride, Paul pointed out, was firmly at the center of this spirit of division. In his letter, Paul urged the Corinthians to focus on Christ and not his messengers. The church is Christ's body where od's spirit dwells. If the church family is separated by disunity, then it ceases to wor! together and grow in love with "esus Christ as the head.
-Spiritual #reedom

The Corinthian believers were divided on certain practices not e#pressly forbidden in Scripture, such as eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Self$centeredness was the root of this division. In such matters, Paul stressed spiritual freedom, although not at the e#pense of other believers whose faith might be fragile. If we have freedom in an area that another Christian might consider sinful behavior, we are to be sensitive and considerate, sacrificing our freedom out of love for our wea!er brothers and sisters.
-$ol! %iving

The Corinthian church had lost its appreciation for the holiness of od which is our standard for holy living. In doing so, the church could no longer effectively minister to one another or be a witness to unbelievers outside the church.
-Church Discipline

%y ignoring blatant sin among its members, the Corinthian church was further contributing to division and wea!ness in the body. Paul gave practical instructions for how to deal with immorality in the church.
-Proper Worship

An overarching theme in the boo! of & Corinthians is the need for true Christian love$$love that will settle lawsuits and conflicts between brothers. A lac! of genuine love was clearly an undercurrent in the Corinthian church, creating disorder in worship and the misuse of spiritual gifts. Paul spent a great deal of time describing the proper role of spiritual gifts and dedicated an entire chapter$$& Corinthians &'$$to the definition of love.
-The $ope of &esurrection

The believers in Corinth were divided because of misunderstandings over the bodily resurrection of "esus Christ and the future resurrection of his followers. Paul wrote to clear confusion on this crucial matter which is so important to living out our faith in light of eternity.

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The book of : Corinthians is quite relevant today, especially for those who feel called to Christian ministry. The first half of the book details the duties and privileges of a leader. The epistle is also a tremendous source of hope and encouragement for anyone suffering through trials.

- Suffering is Part of Christian Service

Paul was no stranger to suffering. (e had endured much opposition, persecution, and even a physical )thorn in the flesh) *+ Corinthians &+,-.. Through painful e#periences, Paul had learned how to comfortothers. And so it is for anyone who wishes to follow in Christ's footsteps.
- Church Discipline

Immorality in the church needs to be dealt with wisely and appropriately. The church's role is too important to allow sin and false teachings to go unchec!ed. The goal of church discipline is not to punish, but to correct and restore. /ove must be the guiding force.
- #uture $ope

%y !eeping our eyes on the glories of heaven, we can endure our present sufferings. In the end we overcome this world.
- 'enerous 'iving

Paul encouraged continued generosity among the members of the Corinthian church as a means of spreading od's !ingdom.
- Correct Doctrine

Paul wasn't trying to win a popularity contest when he confronted the false teaching in Corinth. 0o, he !new that integrity of doctrine was vital to the health of the church. (is sincere love for the believers is what drove him to defend his authority as an apostle of "esus Christ.