What has been commonly labeled the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, is actually a second piece of correspondence written to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9), and is a letter which tends to be quite puzzling for not just Christian readers, but most especially Messianic readers. While 1 Corinthians is hardly a letter that goes unappreciated, being able to sort through the divisions, sectarianism, and inappropriate actions of the different groups among the First Century Corinthian Believers, is something that can catch many completely off guard. Not enough, in looking through 1 Corinthians, are aware that they are engaged in reading one side of a two-sided conversation, between the Apostle Paul and a group of people who widely, and in some cases desperately, needed discipline and help. Between the letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians, more was written from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian Messiah followers, than any other group in the First Century C.E.
A diverse array of topics—ranging from Biblical faith being the true and genuine philosophy, to the proper application of God’s supremacy over all supernatural beings, to the gifts of the Spirit, to the personal status of different individuals—is considered in 1 Corinthians. Admonitions are issued to those caught in sin, as are answers to errant ideas or sayings circulating among sectors of the Corinthian Messiah followers. Pleas for the Corinthians to return to a steady and secure path of faith and trust in the Lord are issued.
Even with some discussion on parts of the letter of 1 Corinthians, here and there within the Messianic movement, 1 Corinthians still remains one of the most difficult and elusive writings within the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) for our faith community to examine. This study intends to change much of the insecurity that today’s Messianic people may have. It focuses Messianic people on: the text of Paul’s letter, various translation issues from Greek into English, background issues from either Second Temple Judaism or Greco-Roman classicism, and academic proposals such as various statements in 1 Corinthians not at all being remarks of the Apostle Paul, but instead Corinthian slogans Paul is having to respond to or refute. This study is significant for providing clarity to an epistle, where there has not been enough probing, for either its ancient or modern relevance.