The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 39 of 185
Index | Zoom
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
(16: 17). These may be seen in the recurring phrase "now concerning" (peri de 7: 1,
25; 8: 1; 12: 1; 16: 1, 2). There were problems too about spiritual gifts. Some were
placing too much emphasis upon the gift of tongues and upon these gifts in general,
which appeared to be producing pride. Furthermore the gifts were not being used in an
orderly or balanced manner. One can therefore readily see that guidance and warning
through an epistle was absolutely necessary."
We now give the structure of the epistle as a whole and for this we are indebted to
The Apostle of the Reconciliation by 100: H. Welch:
II Corinthians.
A | 1: 1, 2. Introduction. Salutation.
B | a | 1: 3-11. Thanksgiving for comfort in affliction.
b | 1: 12. The Apostle's manner of life.
C | 1: 13 - 2: 13. Subject of writing. Visit. Vindication.
No rest in spirit. Macedonia.
B | a | 2: 14-16. Thanksgiving for triumph in affliction.
b | 2: 17 - 7: 4. The Apostle's ministry.
C | 7: 5 - 13: 10. Subject of writing. Visit. Vindication.
No rest in flesh. Macedonia.
A | 13: 11-14. Conclusion. Benediction.
The structure makes clear the importance of Paul's ministry and his anxiety over the
condition of the church at Corinth which is so prominently featured in this epistle. It
would appear that the Apostle had more trouble with the Corinthian church than with any
of the other assemblies he founded by his missionary work. Yet his patience and love for
them never failed, even though he had to correct them sharply. Let us never forget that
the most wondrous ode ever written concerning love in its highest sense was addressed
by Paul to this church!