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Paul's Letters To The Corinthians

Two incidents stand out as reasons for the apostle Paul writing his first epistle to the church of God in Corinth. He had heard from the household of Chloe the disturbing news that contentions had arisen in the church, and that the saints were taking sides, saying, "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ" (1:11,12). The second reason was the receipt of a letter from Corinth raising important questions regarding marital relationships (7:1). In his epistle, Paul deals with these two matters, and much else besides.

That the epistle was written from Ephesus seems to be borne out by the statement, "I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost" (16:8). He had previously disclosed his plans to go to Corinth through Macedonia, and he hoped even to winter there (16:5,6). It is evident that Apollos was with the apostle in Ephesus at the time of writing this letter (16:12). We know from Acts 18:27 that some time later Apollos visited Achaia, and helped the saints there and confuted the Jews. The epistle must have been written towards the end of Paul's long stay in Ephesus. Aquila and Prisca were still with him in that city, and sent their salutation to Corinth, where they must have been well known. In addition, the churches of Asia joined in the salutations (16:19).

After the uproar in Ephesus instigated by Demetrius the silversmith, the apostle took leave of the Ephesian saints, and departed to go into Macedonia (Acts 20:1). On the way he stopped at Troas, where the Lord opened a door unto him. However, he was very disappointed at not finding Titus there. "I had no relief for my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went forth into Macedonia" (2 Cor. 2:13). Even in Macedonia the apostle had no relief, and he speaks of fightings without, and fears within. The situation is changed by the arrival of Titus, who had come from Corinth, and brought comforting news of the saints in that city and reported their zeal for the apostle. Titus also informed Paul of the results of his first epistle to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 7:5-16). It seems that upon receipt of this information, the apostle wrote his second epistle to the church in Corinth. If this be so, it was written in Macedonia. It contains some very passionate passages, and also conveys deep, spiritual truths. In addition, some remarkable experiences are recorded of the apostle's sufferings in the service of Christ.