We have started a new study - the book of 1 Corinthians. We've now gone through the introduction, purpose, chapter 1 and part of chapter 2. I found an introduction and purpose on bible.org so I wanted to share it with you.
Corinth was a strategically located Roman city on the main land route between East and West and was the crossroads for several sea routes. Corinth was famous for its intellectual and material prosperity and was honored with being the capitol of Achaia. It also became famous for its corruption. As Guthrie says, “Its name became a byword for profligacy.”1
Paul began his ministry in Corinth on his second missionary journey under much opposition (Acts 18:6-17), but he was able to convert several influential people and consequently remained for about one and a half years in Corinth.2
He left Corinth and traveled to Ephesus. The city’s corruption had its influence on the church and Paul heard of the problems and divisions in the church. It is from Ephesus that he wrote and sent this letter to Corinth in about 53 A.D.
Paul’s purposes for writing the Corinthians were several. His first purpose was to deal with several moral problems and the divisions that had formed as people had divided into fan-clubs and were proclaiming themselves followers of Paul, Apollos, Peter or Christ (1:10). His second reason was to deal with several questions that had been asked in a letter the Corinthians had sent to him (7:1). A third purpose that appears throughout the book is Paul’s defense of his apostolic authority.3
All of these issues can be related to a problem with pride, and thus in 1:27-29 we have what may be the thesis statement of the book:
. . . but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
Paul will develop this idea in several different ways to deal with their root problem of pride. They had their eyes on external things like eloquence, social status, ascetic practices, etc. and Paul explains that those things mean nothing in God’s kingdom.