Paul the Apostle is the central figure in many New Testament writings. Many historians have attributed fourteen New Testament letters to Paul’s writing; seven of these letters are uncontested meaning historians are sure that Paul wrote them, the remaining seven are contested. Paul was not always a Christian; in fact, he persecuted Christians before Christ came and temporarily blinded him. Upon seeing Christ, Paul devoted his life to Christianity and set out to spread the teachings of Christ. Scholars often credit Paul’s leadership to the ability of the Church to become Hellenistic in one generation. Paul also answered specific worries and questions that his converters may have had in many of his writings; one of these writings is 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians, Paul set out to deal with the many believers in Corinth who are divided into the followings of Paul or Apollos rather than Christianity as a whole. The converts of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12-14 were divided during times of worship because of jealousy invoked by the spiritual gifts received from the “Spirit”; the worships and the church became a place to boast who is closest to God, instead of a place of worship, interpretation, and love. In 1 Corinthians 14:26-33, Paul set guidelines in times of worship to heal the divide among his converts present in 1 Corinthians 12-14. 1 Corinthians was one of the seven uncontested writings of Paul; Corinth was the capital of Achaia in the times of Paul’s writing. According to Acts 18:11, Paul spent a year and a half in the city of Corinth. He established the main church in Corinth by converting many Corinthians to Christians. Paul eventually travelled from Corinth to Ephesus, a city on the coast of modern-day Turkey. When Paul arrived at Ephesus, he received word of problems from Chloe’s people about his converts in Corinth. The problems were regarding the Corinthians understandings of Christianity. Paul also saw many actions taken by the Corinthians to be unethical. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to set straight the followers, give answers to their problems, and condemn their wrongdoings. One of the major topics of concern in 1 Corinthians 12 is the boasting by some regarding the spiritual gifts that they have received from the “Spirit”. Paul set out to inform the members of the Corinth church that no believer’s spiritual gifts were greater or better than other believers’ gifts. The “Spirit” gave the spiritual gifts based on the abilities of the believers to use that gift; it was not a sign of power or distinction. “All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses” (1 Corinthians 12:11). Paul stated that the “Spirit” gave individuals distinctive spiritual gifts so the whole church could be of benefit. Paul compares the distinctive spiritual gifts to body parts. “As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:20-21). Paul made the argument that without each other, the church will not survive. He told the Corinthians to unite together, to create harmony, because everyone were equally important in the eyes of Christ. Paul was worried about bringing unity to the church of Corinth not only with regards to spiritual gifts but also regarding social class. In the time of Paul’s writings, the believers in Corinth were made up of both “free” and “slaves”. The church was set up in the homes of the “free”, because they are the wealthiest. During the day, many “free” believers were sitting around eating and drinking while the “slaves” were working. When the time of worship arrived, there was no food or drinks left for the “slaves”. Paul was worried that this “slaves” and “free” system might have caused a divide among his converts in Corinth. Such divide may be that the “free” were thinking their spiritual gifts were more...
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