1 Corinthians 1:10-31
Paul in Corinth -- a Cultural Crossroads
Corinth a "new" Roman colony; destroyed in 146 bc, rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44 bc. In ad 50, 94 yrs later, Paul arrives. Strong Jewish community. Jews expelled from Rome by Claudius in ad 48. Paul stays 18 mo. growing a complex community of Jews, god-fearers, pagans, etc. -- dynamic, lives changed, new experiences, under persecution. Paul moves on: Galatia, Ephesus. Paul learns about believers in Corinth, receives a letter of inquiries from them: writes 1 Corinthians in ad 54.
A community transformed by the Gospel and power of the Spirit but living in the social, cultural, political world of Greece and Rome. In 1Cor Paul deals with a variety of serious problems as they try to live into this new reality but are drawn back into old/common/pervasive ways of thinking.
Paul starts from a basic symptom that reveals the problem: conflict, competition, groups around various teachers. Common from both teachers and learners. Natural in complex communities.
So what's the problem? Get along. Competition among groups leads to clearer thinking--advance. Those with Greek education are going to have different perspective than Jews reading the Torah. It's obvious, natural and real. A community that brings together different ethnic groups, cultures, social classes is going to have competing points of view. It's more of a virtue than a problem.
The Dangerous Idea of Unity