The First Epistle to the Corinthians, usually referred to as First Corinthians or 1 Corinthians is a Pauline epistle of the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The epistle is attributed to Paul the Apostle and a co-author named Sosthenes, and is addressed to the Christian church in Corinth. Scholars believe that Sosthenes was the amanuensis who wrote down the text of the letter at Paul's direction. It addresses various issues that had arisen in the Christian community at Corinth and it is composed in a form of Koine Greek.
There is a consensus among historians and theologians that Paul is the author of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (c. AD 53-54). The letter is quoted or mentioned by the earliest of sources, and is included in every ancient canon, including that of Marcion of Sinope. Some scholars point to the epistle's potentially embarrassing references to the existence of sexual immorality in the church as strengthening the case for the authenticity of the letter.
However, the epistle does contain a passage that is widely believed to have been interpolated into the text by a later scribe:
As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
Part of the reason for suspecting that this passage is an interpolation is that in some manuscripts, it is placed at the end of Chapter 14, instead of at its canonical location. This kind of variability is generally considered by textual critics to be a sign that a note, initially placed in the margins of the document, has been copied into the body of the text by a scribe. The passage also seems to contradict 11:5, where women are described as praying and prophesying in church.
Furthermore, some scholars believe that the passage 10:1-22 constitutes a separate letter fragment or scribal interpolation because it equates the consumption of meat sacrificed to idols with idolatry, while Paul seems to be more lenient on this issue in 8:1-13 and 10:23-11:1. Such views are rejected by other scholars who give arguments for the unity of 8:1-11:1.
About the year AD 50, towards the end of his second missionary journey, Paul founded the church in Corinth, before moving on to Ephesus, a city on the west coast of today's Turkey, about 180 miles by sea from Corinth. From there he traveled to Caesarea, and Antioch. Paul returned to Ephesus on his third missionary journey and spent approximately three years there (Acts 19:8, 19:10, 20:31). It was while staying in Ephesus that he received disconcerting news of the community in Corinth regarding jealousies, rivalry, and immoral behavior. It also appears that based on a letter the Corinthians sent Paul (e.g. 7:1), the congregation was requesting clarification on a number of matters, such as marriage and the consumption of meat previously offered to idols.
By comparing Acts of the Apostles 18:1-17 and mentions of Ephesus in the Corinthian correspondence, scholars suggest that the letter was written during Paul's stay in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of AD 53-57.
Anthony C. Thiselton suggests that it is possible that I Corinthians was written during Paul's first (brief) stay in Ephesus, at the end of his Second Journey, usually dated to early AD 54. However, it is more likely that it was written during his extended stay in Ephesus, where he refers to sending Timothy to them (Acts 19:22, 1 Corinthians 4:17).
View the Chapters of 1 Corinthians:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16