First Corinthians is Paul's third contact with this church. The first was his founding visit. The second, an earlier letter, dealt with serious moral problems among community members. The third, 1 Corinthians, was occasioned by disturbing news from Corinth: oral reports from believers of Chloe's household; a letter from the church; and the visit of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus.
The most serious problem was division within the church. Paul first asserts his apostolic leadership in order to convince the Corinthians to end their divisions and change their theology and behavior to conform with his. Then he responds to the questions raised in their letter to him. Paul repeatedly challenges the Corinthians' arrogant understanding of themselves and of Christian spirituality, which were expressed in various theological aberrations.
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