The contact between Paul and the Corinthian is a key to understanding the letter to the Corinthians.
- 1Cor 1:11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters.
- 1Cor 4:17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.
- 1Cor 16:10 When Timothy comes, don’t intimidate him. He is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am.
- 1Cor 5:9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.
- 1Cor 3:5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.
- 1Cor 3:6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.
- 1Cor 16:12 Now about our brother Apollos—I urged him to visit you with the other believers, but he was not willing to go right now. He will see you later when he has the opportunity.
- 1Cor 16:17 I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come here. They have been providing the help you weren’t here to give me.
- 1Cor 7:1 Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter.
Did you indeed ponder the verses from yesterday? In addition to the letters that were written there were clearly visits by others both to and from the Corinthians. It is clear that Paul was very up with the play as to what is happening in Corinth. Now let’s add to these references some from Second Corinthians.
- 2Cor 2:1 So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit.
- 2Cor 2:2 For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved.
- 2Cor 2:3 That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful.
- 2Cor 2:4 I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.
- 2Cor 7:8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while.
Although the New Testament only contains two letters to the Corinthians, the evidence from the letters themselves is that he wrote at least four letters.
- 1st Letter: is referred to in 1 Cor 5:9 (“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people”, NIV) – sometimes called the “warning letter”.
- 2nd Letter: 1 Corinthians 3rd Letter: The Severe Letter.
- 2 Corinthians 2:3-4 and 7:8 (see above) Paul refers to it as the “letter of tears”. 1 Corinthians does not match that description;
- 4th Letter: 2 Corinthians
Now it is time to put it all together. See if you can track the order and timing of letters and visits between Paul and the Corinthians. When we understand what was happening between them the pieces of the letters fall into place easier. You make an attempt at doing that before we look at the outcome in the next Gem.
Fear paralyses, and robs you of even the smallest initiative. But wisdom is a perfect footing for courageous decisions!Brian Houston
If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream.John Maxwell