Paul's Relationship with the Corinthian Christians
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.


Introduction:


The Main Stages of Paul's Interactions with the Christians in Corinth

0) The Edict of Claudius: Roman Emperor Claudius expels the Jews from the city of Rome (probably ca. AD 49):

1) The Initial Mission of Paul, Silvanus/Silas, and Timothy in Corinth (ca. AD 50-52): 2A) While living in Ephesus, Paul maintains regular contact with the Christian community in Corinth (ca. AD 53-57): 2B) Paul writes what is now called the "First Letter to the Corinthians" (ca. AD 54): 2C) Paul and his associates visit and write to the Christians in Corinth several more times (ca. AD 55-57): 3) After leaving Ephesus, Paul visits Corinth one last time (ca. AD 58): X) After Paul’s death (ca. AD 64-64), the Christian community in Corinth continues to flourish: See also my page on Pauline Chronology.
A Summary of the Correspondence between Paul and the Corinthians:

Different scholars have advanced a variety of proposals about the total number of letters written between Paul and the Christians in Corinth, from as few as four to as many as seven different letters. The following is only one possible suggestion:


An Outline of the Main Themes of 1 Corinthians by section:
1–4 - Unity within Diversity; Worldly Wisdom vs. Foolishness of the Cross; Paul as "Father" of the Christians in Corinth
5 - Christian Freedom is not the same as licentiousness (example: case of the man with his stepmother)
6 - Lawsuits & Prostitutes (vs. bodies for the Lord)
7 - Questions on Marriage and Celibacy; main principle: the time is short (7:29a), the present world passing away (7:31b)!
8–11 - Food offered to Idols; Practice of the Lord's Supper (ch. 11); rare quote of the "words of Jesus"
12–14 - Spiritual Gifts; esp. Love (ch. 13); Community Worship; One Body / Many Members
15 - Resurrection: "tradition" handed down (15:3-11); analogy of the seeds (15:35-44)
16 - Collection, Travel Plans & Greetings

The Edict of Claudius

Near the middle of his biography of the Emperor Claudius (reigned AD 41-54), the Roman historian Suetonius (ca. AD 120) makes very brief mention of an incident involving the Jews of Rome, probably around the year AD 49:

Comments:


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