Corinth basically was a place which had earlier earned its name as ...

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Corinth basically was a place which had earlier earned its name as ...

St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai Bible Faith Sharing ststPreached By: Br. Clive Gonsalves 1 Corinthians On 1 February 2005


    John 14:26

    “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”



Introduction to Corinth

    The preacher gives us a brief introduction to the Book before we start so that we get an idea, an insight, as to whom this letter is addressed to. We can put all the scripture into context because, as already mentioned, we do not want to take scripture literally. God‟s word is good for all times and for all situations but if we take it literally we could most probably end up in error. We do not want that.

    1st Corinthians is a letter that is being addressed to the Church in Corinth in response to a letter from Corinth. If we go back to the Act of the Apostles Chapter 18, we learn there that the church was first founded in Corinth when St. Paul went to Corinth. Acts 18:1 “After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.” In Acts 18:12 we also learn that Gallio was proconsul of Achaia and in Acts 18:17 “Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.”

    To visualize where Corinth is: we first have Jerusalem, then Ephesus, on the top is Athens and then Corinth. Paul, from Athens to Corinth, took on a missionary

    stjourney. What is the importance Corinth? Whatever is written in 1 Corinthians

    is related to Corinth at that time. Every chapter over there is very relevant. Corinth was at a place where it had two big sea ports, which means a lot of big business. Ships used to pass by through there and if there was any trade east to west, north to south it had to pass through Corinth. Because of all the taxes, Corinth was a wealthy city.

    Because it was a seaport, there were a lot of sailors who had a very notorious reputation. The people of Corinth and not the church, made a whole lot of money by swindling others. Every time there was a ship wreck, salvage


St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai Bible Faith Sharing ststPreached By: Br. Clive Gonsalves 1 Corinthians On 1 February 2005

    companies who would buy at low prices, and sell off all the cargo at inflated prices and they made a lot of money left, right and centre.

    Corinth basically was a place which earned a name as „SIN CITY‟. It was full of sin. Everyone knew what the Corinthian were. They knew who they worshipped they worshipped money, wealth and all the evil that money could buy. It was not a small town; it had a population of 800,000 and was second to the population of Rome. It was the capital of Achaia.

    In fact the word „Corinthianize‟ itself meant to live shamelessly; people had earned such a bad reputation, just like we use the slang „Jam up‟ which means is to get together, to have a good time, it was used as a slang word. Corinthians were people who lived in a shameless and worldly manner. The word „Korinthiastes‟ meant a whoremonger, a pimp; „Korinthiakore‟ a prostitute, and „Korinthiazesthai‟ – to fornicate. They formed all the evil words around the word „Korinth‟.

    Yet Corinth by itself became a very wealthy city and people over there accepted a lot of gods. It had a temple mainly dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite/Venus. It had more than 1000 temple prostitutes and it was filled with all evil you could find.

    Why did Paul go there? Would you and I chose a place as evil as that to go? We would say there is no hope for that place. We do not think it is advisable, there is nothing good we can do over there. But St. Paul was not only being a good missionary, he was also a wise missionary. He felt that if he could go there and fill them with the word of God it would take root and some of them would take it outside and it would reach the ends of the earth. Corinth was a cross point, it was the centre of trade between north and south, east and west and there was no limit to where the gospel will go. Someone would be touched by the gospel and take it out. This is the reason why St. Paul spent 18 long months in Corinth, more than in other places he visited. Most places he was there only for a few months other than Ephesus but in Corinth he was there longer.

    As the letter starts, you will see how much he loved this church like a parent to his child; you will see how he talks to them like they are children. He writes like a mother writes to an erring child. He uses all the arguments, he talks with


St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai Bible Faith Sharing ststPreached By: Br. Clive Gonsalves 1 Corinthians On 1 February 2005

    tears, sarcasms, scolding and a lot of other emotions. We know more about the church in Corinth than about any other church.

    In Rom 16 he mentioned about 22 people and obviously he was in Corinth when he was addressing the Romans. He was addressing so many people. In Acts 18 also he mentions some more people, Priscilla, Aquilla, Sosthenes, and we know some more about the church in Corinth.

    The people who were called in Corinth and who accepted the gospel were not all people from Corinth only because the whole of Corinth was like a market place. It was a trading centre. They did not have royalty like in some places where they had royalty or hierarchy but in Corinth anyone who had money was blue blooded and everyone seemed to have money over there.

    St. Paul says in Chapter 1 many of you when you were called were not of royal birth, were not wise or powerful so the people who formed the church were from the middle of society, not from the very bottom. Because they came from this background, they accepted the message of Christianity but they were also smart and they never ceased to ask questions and to explore all ways to take the message of Christianity beyond the message preached. They tried to go by their own rules and regulations and that is why they had to have a regular teachings. They presumed their Christian life and the way the Christians live.

    In Chapter 11 you will find that the Eucharist was supposed to be celebrated. They had their own thing and they lived their own life. Because they were living in such a sinful environment, they were always in some ways being attacked by other influences of all the sin around them.

    Corinthians by themselves were not bad but the church in Corinth was one of the early churches and because of that there were not set rules on how they could operate. Everyone operated how they felt fit and this led to a lot of divisions. Till today whenever to see a church and people talk about a „Corinth Church‟ you are talking about divisions. Even in prayer groups we will find a lot of divisions and disunity and we are called a Corinth church.

    St. Paul wrote 5 letters to the Corinthians. Only two of them are recorded over here and these are the First and Second Corinthians. Paul also wrote another letter before the First Corinthians. This letter dealt with two teachings:


St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai Bible Faith Sharing ststPreached By: Br. Clive Gonsalves 1 Corinthians On 1 February 2005

    (1) About the Corinthians mingling and associating with immoral believers, with

    the people around them. He was telling them that they should stay separate.

(2) Encouraging them to contribute to the needy; to the poor.

    This letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians was written in reply to the letter which came from Corinth to St. Paul telling him that they are facing problems in the church, and to give them advice. The reply to that letter starts from Chapter 7 in First Corinthians. St. Paul is replying to the Corinthians in response to this letter.

    It did not go down well with the Corinthians. They never accepted it properly. You and I will find this letter very relevant to our lives because „First Corinthians‟ gives us a lot of practical teaching of our day to day living; but the Corinthians never accepted this. It led to a greater rift between the Corinthians and St. Paul. And that is why it required St. Paul to make a hasty visit to them and he said I am coming with tears and that is when he wrote „Second Corinthians‟. It was written in AD 54, probably three years later, after he first visited Corinth in AD 51.

    This is the background of what the Corinth Church is all about. If we break up of the letter, chapter by chapter and divide it we will find that:

    First Part of Corinthians deals basically with division in the church. It also deals with cases of incest, wrong relationship among close relatives, court cases about Christians, abuse of Christian freedom, the chaos that takes place while worship services are taking place.

    From Chapter 7 onwards he deals with social status which include being single and married, pagan festivals, eating food offered to idols, behaviour of women, and spiritual gifts which is dealt with right from Chapter One.

In 1 Cor:15 he talks about resurrection of the dead.


St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai Bible Faith Sharing ststPreached By: Br. Clive Gonsalves 1 Corinthians On 1 February 2005


    Chapter 1: 1-9

1 Cor 1: 1

    Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

    St. Paul called to be an apostle by the will of God. He has set the ground from the start of the letter. Straight away he talks about the authority with which he is writing this letter. He is writing as an apostle by the will of God. He was not among the first 12 apostles appointed by Jesus while Jesus was in the world; he received his apostleship directly from the Lord on the road to Damascus. The apostleship of Paul came directly from Jesus who told him what to do. He is very clear about it. He says I am writing in His authority and along with brother Sosthenes. Sosthenes, was the official of the synagogue who was beaten up in front of the tribunal. We learn of him in Acts 18.

    Why was Timothy not here? Timothy was already on his way from Ephesus to Corinth. St. Paul had sent him because there was something wrong over there.

1 Cor 1:2

    To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

    Very Important: You are called to be holy. When the Lord calls you, you are separated and set aside and the call is not only to salvation for you but the call to glory and holiness. Being sanctified is one thing. You are sanctified in Christ Jesus but that does not make you holy. Here he is reminding them you are called to be holy because you are sanctified in Christ Jesus with all those everywhere.

    Everything, every word is very important, because he is talking to the Corinthians. Corinth was one church which was divided. It was a flourishing church by at the end of the First Century. They had already started with spiritual pride and St. Paul was trying to remind them that you are not the only church of God but God has called people everywhere together with them, everywhere whoever called the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are from the Lord but He is also their God and ours.


St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai Bible Faith Sharing ststPreached By: Br. Clive Gonsalves 1 Corinthians On 1 February 2005

    He was using attack to get their feet back on the ground and not to be on the clouds. He tells them you are not in any way superior because God has been preached far and wide and He is not only your God but He is the Lord of all.

1 Cor 1:3-5

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind.

    If we received this letter of St. Paul saying that we have to been enriched in every way in our speaking, in all our knowledge and we do not lack in spiritual gift; it would be a good show. All is well with our church! But by saying this St. Paul is saying two things. If they understood well - and they understood and that is why they were not happy.

    (1) If you read St. Paul‟s letter to their other churches eg. First Thessalonians, he talks about what that church is abounding in - there was hope, and they had charity and love. In Romans he talks of faith and in Philippians about their participation in the gospel.

    He tells the Corinthians you have focused only on the spiritual gifts. The Spirit has enriched you with all wisdom and in all speaking but what is lacking is there is no love; there is disunity. We know when loves goes out of the window what happens. If you were reading this you would have thought you are enriched but the point for us to know is what St. Paul tells them in a round about way that though he thanks God because they have been enriched in every way in all speaking and in all knowledge, the stress is on gifts.

    (2) Gifts are not resident in you, they are of the Spirit. They do not belong to you, they belong to the Spirit. He chose you; He manifests that gift at the appointed time for a particular purpose. That is not ALL what our Christian life is all about, seeking gifts and their uses. You are called to HOLINESS and to LOVE above all the gifts because that is what will endure at the end.

1 Cor 1:6-8


St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai Bible Faith Sharing ststPreached By: Br. Clive Gonsalves 1 Corinthians On 1 February 2005

    Just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you so that you are not lacking in

    any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    The Corinthians were living for this, they were waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed, they were not in it for the long run. They expected everything today they were living on a day to day basis. He tells them that you need to eagerly wait till the Lord Jesus Christ has been revealed to you so that you will be blameless at the end when He comes.

    For them it was a like a fad, something which is a fashion that will not last for a very long time. It will not carry you. The journey is long. You have to depend on the Lord each day just as you depended on Him on the first day, to keep you strong to the end. If you are blameless it is not because of your own means but because God will make you righteous in His time.

1 Cor 1:9

    God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    This is a promise that once God calls you into a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, He will take you till the end. This is a promise of God. God is faithful. God will bring it to pass. 1 Thes 5:24 “HE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT.” That is a promise and we need to be persistent, we need to persevere in what we are doing when we come to the Lord.



(1) ACTS 1:8 (2) JN 14:16 (3) JN 14:17 (4) JN 14:26

    (5) JN 16:13 (6) ROM 8:16 (7) ROM 8:17 (8) ZECH 4:6


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