Structure of 1 Corinthians

Naomi I.

Some Recent Key Players: Thiselton, Garland, Mitchell, Ciampa & Rosner, Murphy O’conner Purpose: Paul tells the Corinthians that they are part of the fulfilment of the OT expectation of World Wide Worship of the God of Israel (Mal 1:11) and as God’s eschatological temple they must act in a manner appropriate to their holy status by shunning pagan vices (false wisdom, sexual immorality & idolatry) and glorifying God as they reflect on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Ciampa & Rosner’s Structure
1:1-9 1:10-4 5-7 8-14 15 16 Letter opening True & False Wisdom & Corinthian Factionalism Sexual Immorality (‘Flee’ & ‘Glorify’) 5-6 Negative: ‘Flee Sexual Immorality’ 7 Positive: ‘Glorify God with you bodies’ Idolatry (‘Flee’ & ‘Glorify’) 8-11:1 Negative: ‘Flee Idolatry’ 11:2-14 Positive: ‘Glorify God’ in your worship Resurrection & Consummation Letter Closing

General Context Statement In Corinthians, Paul exhorts the church at Corinth to live according to their calling as the people of God. These verses come in this section, in which Paul says that. Alternative Purposes for 1 Corinthians o Unity Margaret Mitchell and others suggests that the underlying problem Paul is addressing in the letter is that of disunity. The theme statement for the letter is seen as 1:10. In 1:18-4:21 Paul opposes disunity in the church in general and in 5-16 he takes up specific issues that must be dealt with before unity can be achieved. Mitchell sees the material organised as it is presented in the written and oral reports. She also disputes that peri de always signals a reference to the letter Paul received. o Correction of Over-Realised Eschatology Thiselton thinks that Paul is writing to correct the Corinthians’ over-realised eschatology. It is based in what is thought to be the climax of the letter, 1 Corinthians 15, where it appears Paul is correcting the faulty eschatology of the Corinthians. This is then read back into the letter and found right throughout all the moral teaching (with the exception of the discussion of head coverings etc in chapter 11). Key Passages: 1 Cor 15, 1 Cor 4, 2 Tim 2. Reasons it doesn’t work: Assumes that the Corinthians are unified in over-realised eschatology. Reads back into 1 Corinthians an issue present in 2 Tim 2 – exegetical fault. Paul’s eschatology is realised and 1 Corinthians emphasises this rather than to over-turned over-realised eschatology. Affirming the consequence and not the premise e.g. if A then B, one cannot affirm A with the presence of B. For B could have been caused by C or D.

o No direct purpose Murphy-O’Connor suggests that in his letter to the Corinthians Paul is simply addressing issue which have come to him via the reports of Chloe and her people (1:11), a delegation

that arrived with a letter form the Corinthians and the letter itself (16:17). He proposes the following structure:
1.4 5.6 7 8-10 11-14 15 16 Divisions within the community The importance of the body Problems of social status Problems arising from the pagan environment Problems arising in the liturgical assembly The resurrection Conlcusion