was written by the apostle St. Paul toward the close of his nearly three-years stay at Ephesus, (Acts 19:10; 20:31) which, we learn from (1 Corinthians 16:8) probably terminated with the Pentecost of A.D. 57 or 58. The bearers were probably (according to the common subscription) Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus. It appears to have been called forth by the information the apostles had received of dissension in the Corinthian church, which may be thus explained:--The Corinthian church was planted by the apostle himself, (1 Corinthians 3:6) in his second missionary journey. (Acts 18:1) seq. He abode in the city a year and a half. (Acts 18:11) A short time after the apostle had left the city the eloquent Jew of Alexandria, Apollos, went to Corinth, (Acts 19:1) and gained many followers, dividing the church into two parties, the followers of Paul and the followers of Apollos. Later on Judaizing teachers from Jerusalem preached the gospel in a spirit of direct antagonism to St. Paul personally. To this third party we may perhaps add a fourth, that, under the name of "the followers of Christ," (1 Corinthians 2:12) sought at first to separate themselves from the factious adherence to particular teachers, but eventually were driven by antagonism into positions equally sectarian and inimical to the unity of the church. At this momentous period, before parties had become consolidated and that distinctly withdrawn from communion with one another, the apostle writes; and in the outset of the epistle, 1Cor 1-4:21, we have this noble and impassioned protest against this fourfold rending of the robe of Christ.
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