The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 56 of 251
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The Apostle wrote the letter from Ephesus and the date many conservative scholars
give is 55A.D., though C. K. Barrett suggests early 54 or the end of 53. It will be helpful
to reconstruct the background to the writing of the Corinthian epistles, derived from the
Acts and from the epistles themselves. Some of these points may be debated and there is
no unanimity among Bible scholars here, but we believe the following will not be far
from the true facts.
We have already mentioned Paul's visit to Corinth described in the Acts and referred
to in I Cor. 2: 1. After this visit he wrote them a letter which has not been preserved
(5: 9). We need have no concern that any part of inspired Scripture has been lost. The
Apostle must have written letters which do not form part of Holy Scripture and this is one
of them. Disturbing news came from believers in contact with the Corinthian assembly
and also a communication from them requesting information on certain problems. In
order to meet these needs Paul wrote I Corinthians.  Apparently this did not solve all
the difficulties, and in consequence Paul was forced to pay them a hurried painful visit
(II Cor. 2: 1; 12: 14; 13: 1, 2). Following this the Apostle wrote them a third letter of
very severe character (II Cor. 2: 4). His anxiety for the church there concerning their
condition and also how they would receive this severe epistle was so great that he could
not wait in Troas for Titus, the bearer of the severe letter, but hurried on to Macedonia
where he met him and learned with great relief that the letter had produced the needed
results and all was well. From Macedonia Paul then wrote the canonical II Corinthians
(II Cor. 2: 13; 7: 5-16).  After this he paid his last visit to the Corinthian church
(Acts 20: 1-4).
Some modern scholars hold that the "severe letter" is contained in II Corinthians and
that this epistle is not a unified work. They claim that 6: 14 - 7: 1 is an interpolation,
because it breaks the sequence of thought, that chapter 9: largely duplicates what is in
chapter 8:, and that the last section (10: 1 - 13: 14) is so different in character from the
earlier sections that it must be part or whole of the stern letter Paul sent to Corinth.
Against this there is absolutely no manuscript evidence for such a truncated epistle and a
close study will reveal that, far from being disjointed, it shows a remarkable unity.
It will be good to look at the background of I Corinthians a little more closely.
Apollos undoubtedly worked in Corinth (I Cor. 3: 6) and it is possible that Peter visited
it too.  Owing to their spiritual immaturity this tended to cause the Corinthians to
break down into groups and to range themselves under the name of one of these leaders
(1: 11, 12) thus producing disunity. There were problems and abuses at the Lord's Supper
(11: 18-22), public litigation among members (6: 1-8), a notorious case of immorality
(5: 1-5), arguments about eating food that had been sacrificed to idols (8: 1-13;
10: 14 - 11: 1),  disagreements about the need for marriage (7: 1-40) and of morality
outside marriage (6:. 12-20).  Resurrection was denied by some (15: 12) and Paul's own
apostleship questioned by those who were very likely Judaists (4: 3; 9: 1).  All this
was quite enough to produce an unhealthy spiritual state in the assembly and to cause
great concern to Paul. Some of this bad news had been brought to Paul by the household
of Chloe (1: 11). Additionally a trio, Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived from
the Corinthian church, probably bringing the problems which Paul was asked to answer