Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 10-18


Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance

A. Comparison of English or other published translations


brothers and sisters

same mind and same purpose

to proclaim the gospel


My dear friends

try to agree in what you think

to tell the good news


my friends

You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.

To preach the Message of what he has done

B. Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism

11 p46, C* omits "mou"

13 p46, B adds "me"

p46 has "peri" instead of "huper"

14 "to theo" is omitted by two Alexandrian texts

C. One's Own Rough Translation

10 Now I call y'all, brethren/brothered ones/siblings, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that y'all all say the same thing, and (there is) not among y'all divisions, but y'all may be made complete in the same mind and in the same knowledge/opinion.

11 For it was shown to me about you, my brethren, by the ones of Chloe, that there are strifes among you.

12 But I say this because each of you says: Indeed, I am of Paul, but I of Apollos, but I of Cephas, but I of Christ.

13 Has Christ been divided? Not Paul was crucified on your behalf, or in the name of Paul were you baptized.

14 I give thanks that no one of you I baptized, except Crispus and Gaius,

15 Lest anyone should say that into my name were y'all baptized.

16 But I baptized also the household of Stephanas. For the rest, I do not know if any other I baptized.

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to bring good news, not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be made vain.

18 For the word of the cross, to the perishing ones is folly, but to us, the ones being saved, it is the power of God.

Step II - Disposition

A. Genre - How the text says what it says

This is a letter to a divided congregation. Paul is appealing to them with the theological argument of unity in Christ, in spite of differences in human traditions, such as who baptized whom.

Is this a letter to be read in many Churches, something like the Revelation of John?

B. Personal Interaction - Questions and observations

Who is Chloe? Who is Apollos, and how did a Jew get such a pagan name? Is Cephas the Peter we know?

When was Paul in Corinth and for how long?

What other differences in faith and practice exist at Corinth, other than baptismal authority?

How much unity/uniformity is Paul asking for?

What, for Paul, is the good news? How is one saved? What is Paul's view of the atonement?

C. Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located

My primary questions are about Paul's beliefs, which would fall under the heading of primitive Christianity.

Step III - Composition

A. Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope

Paul has just opened this letter by claiming that he was called by God to be an apostle, and that the assembly at Corinth was also called to be saints. Paul then give thanks for them and assures them they lack no spiritual gifts.

Afterwards, Paul continues his discussion of how strange our faith looks to the world. He is preparing to critique their factionalism.

B. Organization of the Compositional Whole

This introductory section is loaded with theological background that is the foundation for the rest of the letter.

After this introductory sections, Paul addresses a number of specific problems and theological points.

Finally, Paul concludes with personal remarks.

C. Issues of Authorship

It sounds like the author truly knows this congregation through personal contact. Furthermore, they are familiar with many mutual friends.

Step IV - Context

A. Primitive Christianity

Romans 15.5 May God . . . Grant you to live harmoniously . . . With one voice glorify . . .

11.18 do not boast . . . It is not you that support the root

3.3 Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means!

Acts 18.24 Apollos - a Jew from Alexandria, eloquent, well-versed in scripture . . .

He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord . . . Taught accurately the things concerning Jesus

. . . But when Priscilla and Aquilla heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately.

2 Cor 10.7 just as you belong to Christ, also so do we

Rom 6.3 all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death

Acts 18.18 Paul leaves Corinth with Priscilla and Aquilla

11.14 he will send you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved

Roms 1.1,3 set apart for the good news of God . . . The good news concerning his Son

15.15 on some points I have written to you rather boldly . . . Because of the grace given me by God

Gal 1.16 so that I might proclaim him among the gentiles, I did not confer with any human

Rom 4.14 if it is adherents to the law who are to be heirs, faith is null and the promise is void

2 Cor 2.15 we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved

4.3 it is veiled to those who are perishing

2 Thess 2.10 those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved

Acts 2.47 added to the number of those who were being saved

Luk 13.23 "Lord, will only a few be saved?" . . . Many will try to enter and will not be able

Rom 1.16 I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation

2 Cor 13.5 Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test

B. Old Testament and Judaism

Prophecies that the nations will come together.

God does not desire sacrifices (or baptism rituals), God desires humble hearts (people who will receive and share good news)

C. Hellenistic World

What was it like to be Jewish in the city of Corinth? Jewish/Christian? Non-Jewish/Christian?

Step V - Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

The unity of all Christians is an essential sign of the Church.

We are made complete by joining together in the name of Christ.

B. Smooth Translation

10 I call to you all, the family of Christ, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that you may all speak as one, and there may be no schisms among you, but you may all be made complete in the same mind and same perspective.

11 For it was pointed out to me, my family in Christ, by Chloe's people, that there is strife among you.

12 I say this because each of you says, "Indeed, I am of Paul" or "I am of Apollos" or "I am of Peter" or "I am of Christ."

13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified on your behalf. You were not baptized in the name of Paul.

14 I give thanks that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius,

15 so that no one should say you were baptized in my name.

16 Now, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but as for the rest of you, I do not know if any others were baptized by me.

17 For Christ commissioned me, not to baptize, but to bring good news, and not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be supposed useless.

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing. But to us, the ones being saved, it is the power of God.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

Paul reminds us that for all of our knowledge and wisdom, for all of the wonderful gifts God has given us as individuals and as communities and nations, nothing is as significant as the call to be part of the household of God, through Christ. It is in the acceptance and living out of this call, that we are made complete as the household of God.

Step VI - Contemporary Address

A. Description of Audience

B. Intended Goals for the Address

C. Address