Occasion, purpose, and backgrounf for 1 Corinthians.
1. Paul writes this letter to challenge the results of Hellenistic Dualism: heightened spirituality and Dualism’s value system. These were undermining his “foolish” message of the cross, the reality of the bodily resurrection, and depreciated the physical life and its moral consequences.
2 He challenges a false “spirituality” and excesses in the use of the gift of tongues, and replaces it with a true spirituality where multi-giftedness is motivated by love in order to build up the church.
3 He re-establishes his role as the “father” of the church and seeks to heal the divisions centered in bad theology and false leadership claims.
4 He challenges the quest for “wisdom” in ecstasy, promising the true Spirit-given wisdom from God for the mature.
5 He also corrects specific moral failures such as legal incest, lawsuits among believers in the secular courts, women looking like prostitutes when prophesying and praying in public and people excluding the poor and getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper.
- 1.1.6 Gordon Fee writes that the real conflict is between Paul and a few key leaders.
- “He and they are at odds on almost every issue; and their conflicting understandings of the Spirit and his activity seem to stand at the heart of things. Whatever else, they consider themselves to be pneumatikoi (Spirit people); because of Paul’s bodily weakness and non –‘wisdom,’ non-rhetorical presentation of the gospel, they are less than sure about him. At issue throughout the letter, in most of its parts, is a basic conflict over what it means to be people of the Spirit.” Their view has a touch of over-realized or overspiritualized eschatology. “…they consider themselves already to have arrived at the ultimate spiritual experience.”
- 7 These issues (and others) come to Paul orally from visits of church members and a letter to him from the church.