The Bible

The Early Church in I and II Corinthians

Paul's concern over certain issues in 1 Corinthians gives the reader insight into the condition of the early Christian Church. Without a binding, supreme authority, the missionaries spreading the Gospel often expressed widely varied interpretations of doctrine and practice. Paul felt that the missionaries preached a false Gospel, and believed that these differing perceptions contributed to the division in the Corinthian Church.

Paul's teachings often conflicted with other significant missionaries, most notably Apollos and Cephas (Peter), who each had major followings in the Corinthian Church. Paul's conflict with Peter is evident not only in his letters, but also in Acts, and is usually centered around the more conservative approach to Jewish law adhered to by Peter and James.

In Corinthians, however, Paul is writing to a group of mostly converted Greek Gentiles with little knowledge of Jewish culture who may have received an incomplete instruction of Christianity at the outset of their education, and therefore either struggled with the doctrinal differences or simply interpreted them as a characteristic of the Church. A certain amount of confusion, however, was probably inevitable. Paul does not offer concrete...

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