First letter to the Corinthians (book of the Bible)

First epistle to the Corinthians . Book of the New Testament of the Bible . It is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the Christian community in Corinth .


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  • 1 History
    • 1 Purpose
  • 2 Content and structure
    • 1 Outline of content
  • 3 Sources


This first epistle to the Corinthians (= 1 Cor) was written in Ephesus , where, according to Acts 20:31, Paul lived three years, probably between 54 and 57 . While he was there, the believers of the congregation sent him, possibly through Estéfanas, Fortunato and Acaico (cf. 16.17), some queries, to which he responded with the present letter (cf. the passages beginning in 7.1, 25 ; 8.1, and also 10.23; 11.2; 12.1; 15.1).


At about the same time, “those of Chloe” informed the apostle (1.11) of the difficult situation that the Corinthian believers were going through. Carried away by the fanatical personal adherence of some to Paul and others to Peter or Apollos (1.12; 3.4), together they had seriously endangered the unity of the church .

In addition, the pagan backgrounds of most of those brothers continued to weigh on the conduct of some, and the general corruption characteristic of the city made its influence felt in the congregation, so that even within it there were cases of immorality that demanded to be immediately corrected.

Content and structure

Paul begins this letter by addressing the problem of internal divisions, a threat that hung over the Christian community as a sign of misunderstanding and forgetting certain basic affirmations of the faith: that the church is called to unity of thought and opinion (1.10–17 ; cf. Jn 17.21–23; Eph 4.1–5; Flp 2.1–11); that the only true wisdom is that “God predestined … for our glory” (1.18–3.4), and that Christ alone is the foundation of our salvation (3.5–4.5; cf. 1 Tim 2.5–6).

Next, he tries to guide his readers about other evils that were already present in the church, but whose progress had to be impeded without loss of time: an incestuous situation consented to by the congregation (5.1–13), lawsuits that arose among believers and promoted before pagan judges (6.1–11), condemnable sexual behaviors (6.12–20) and unworthy attitudes among the participants in the service , especially at the Lord’s Supper (11.17–22, 27–34).

Along with all these instructions, the letter contains the apostle’s answers to the Corinthian questions related to Christian marriage and celibacy (7.1–40), with the consumption of foods that had been consecrated to idols before their public sale. (8.1–13; 10.25–31) or with the diversity and exercise of the gifts granted by the Holy Spirit (12.1–14.40).

Other texts, related to doctrinal questions and Christian witness, include warnings against idolatry (10.1–11.1) and considerations on the dress of women in worship (11.2–16) and on the institution of the Lord’s Supper ( 11.23–26). Notable for their beauty and depth of thought are the exaltation of love of neighbor poem (12.31b — 13.13) and the lengthy statement about the resurrection of the dead (15.1–58).

The central body of 1 Corinthians, prefaced by a greeting and a general thematic presentation (1.1–9), concludes with an epilogue containing brief indications about the offering for the Jerusalem church, plus the customary greetings and personal notes ( 16.1–24).

Content outline

  • Prologue (1.1–9)
  1. Divisions in the church (1.10–4.21)
  2. Paul corrects the church (5.1–6.20)
  3. On marriage (7.1–40)
  4. Christian freedom (8.1–11.1)
  5. Church life (11.2–34)
  6. The gifts of the Holy Spirit (12.1–14.40)
  7. The resurrection of the dead (15.1–58)
  • Epilogue (16.1–24)


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