All the issues that Paul has dealt with thus far in 1 Corinthians have been matters arising from what people have told him. Remember Paul is not very far away in Ephesus and so he is kept in touch with what is going on in Corinth. Up until now he has been addressing issues he is aware of in the church he planted back in Corinth. How is Paul able to keep up with the news.
For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters.1 Corinthians 1:11
It is clear that Chloe’s group, be they a home church or a real Greek household ( extended family and servants ), have been concerned with what is happening in Corinth and relaying the news to Paul. So he is very up to date with the news. Clearly the movement of people between Corinth and Ephesus was substantial.
Paul also sent Timothy to keep an eye on things and report back to him, as Paul also planned to do with Apollos.
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.1 Corinthians 4:17
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.1 Corinthians 16:12
The other source Paul has is the visit by Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus from Corinth to him in Ephesus. It is little wonder that Paul is right up with the play. I am sure it is a blow by blow account of what was happening that was being fed back to Paul.
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.1 Corinthians 16:17
There have been times when Tania and I have been away from our church when something significant was happening – good or bad – and given the fact that many people were writing to us, we were better informed than many “at home”. Paul connection with the news was good but it still left him with concerns and matters unresolved so he personally pursued the matters to attempt to redress wrongs. This made some back in Corinth upset with him, thinking that he was poking his nose in or throwing his weight around and so they protested his apostleship, his right to say what he did. When that didn’t work they attacked Paul’s personhood in an attempt to lessen the importance of what he has to say.
We have seen already the main issues Paul comments on are
- Dissension and disunity
- Escalating sexual sin
- Court cases against believers.
It is these three big issues that have been reported to Paul and so he takes up six entire chapters dealing with these issues. By far the biggest of the three is that of dissension and disunity. Paul majors on this one, spending most of his time on this topic as we have seen in our blow by blow, gem by gem look at the text.
We have come to an end of this section now and so it is a good time for you to review and look back over what you have read. See how it all fits together. Hopefully it makes a whole more sense now. You will see when we start the next section tomorrow what sets it apart as a natural section. Learn how to spot the true divisions of Scripture and make them work for you to help your understanding.
The more perfect our friendship with God becomes the simpler our lives will be.A. W. Tozer
Too many of us have a Christian vocabulary rather than a Christian experience.Charles Banning
Life Is Not About Understanding Your Practices But Practicing Your Understandings.Robb Thompson