1. Paul's letter to the Corinthians

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New Testament
Acts of the Apostles
Paul's letters
Catholic letters

The 1st letter of Paul to the Corinthians or 1st Corinthians ( Latin Epistula ad Corinthios I ; abbreviation: 1st Corinthians , 1st Corinthians , 1 Cor , 1 Cor or I Cor ) is a book of the New Testament of the Christian Bible . It has been divided into 16 chapters since the Middle Ages . In it Paul deals with a number of questions and issues of the Corinthian church .

Author and recipient


At the beginning of the letter Paul of Tarsus and his companion Sosthenes are mentioned as authors ( 1 Cor 1,1  LUT ). In the further course Paul then addresses the congregation consistently in the first person (starting with 1 Cor 1,EU ), so that Paul is considered to be the actual author of the letter. There is no doubt among theologians about his authorship.

With two verses about the position of women ( 1 Cor 14.34–35  LUT ), which seem to contradict the rest of the letter, some researchers are considering whether they could be later additions ( interpolations ).

The recipient is the Christian community in the Greek port city of Corinth. Paul visited Corinth on his second missionary trip and stayed in the city for a year and six months ( Acts 18:11  LUT ). During this time, 50–51 AD, the Christian community in Corinth also emerged (cf. Acts 18 : 1–18  LUT ).


Paul wrote the first letter to the Corinthians probably around 55 AD during his third missionary journey, towards the end of his three-year service in Ephesus .


The objective of the first letter to the Corinthians is the "unity of the church founded in Jesus Christ in the face of its factual disruption". Already at the beginning Paul mentions that he learned of disputes in the Corinthian church ( 1 Cor 1.11  EU ). Before taking a position on the subject of marriage, Paul mentions a letter from the Corinthians in which they addressed this subject ( 1 Cor 7.1  EU ). Therefore, it is considered whether some statements at the beginning of a thematic section do not express the opinion of Paul, but the opinion of some Corinthians. According to this, Paul tries to show the Christians in Corinth a path “between arbitrariness and extreme ideals”. In doing so, he first cites a keyword for the respective position and then develops his own opinion step by step. Accordingly, one could put the respective entry in quotation marks (“Everything is allowed to me”, 1 Cor 6,12  EU ), or translate it as a question: “Is everything allowed to me?” In any case, when interpreting 1 Corinthians, one should consider that Paul responds to certain inquiries or opinions from Corinthian groups.

Important places

Inscription on the grave chapel on the Württemberg (Stuttgart): "Love never stops"
  • If you have been called to be a slave, do not let it depress you; but if you can become free, better use it! ( 1 Cor 7,21  EU ). [The original Greek text is ambiguous here, however. Some texts emphasize that one should gratefully make use of the possibility of freedom.]
  • The Spirit of God dwells in people who believe in Christ ( 1 Cor 3:16  EU ).
  • Everything - including people - exist “through” Christ ( 1 Cor 8,6  EU ).
  • Everything is allowed, but not everything is useful and not everything builds up ( 1 Cor 10.23  EU ).
  • Lord's Supper (Eucharist / Last Supper) ( 1 Cor 11.23–26  EU )
  • "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of the body, though many, are one body: so also is Christ." ( 1 Cor 12.12  EU )
  • The Song of Songs of Love ( 1 Cor 13 : 1–13  EU ): The three Christian virtues of faith, hope and love ; popular sermon text for church weddings
  • As usual, the women should be silent in the community meeting and ask their husbands at home ( 1 Cor 14.33b – 35  EU ); with a great history of impact and in tension with 1 Cor 11.5
  • The testimony of the resurrection of Christ ( 1 Cor 15: 3–9  EU ).
  • “You were bought at a high price, do not become the servants of men!” ( 1 Cor 7:23  LUT ), known as the confirmation saying .

See also



Monographs, journal articles

  • Hermann Probst: Paul and the letter. The rhetoric of the ancient letter as a form of the Pauline Corinthian correspondence. Tübingen 1991.
  • Mark Finney: Honor, Head-coverings and Headship: 1 Corinthians 11.2-16 in its Social Context . In: Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33/1 (2010), pp. 31-58. ( PDF )

Web links

Commons : 1st Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Single receipts

  1. Udo Schnelle : Introduction to the New Testament . Göttingen 1996, p. 91.
  2. Thomas Schirrmacher : Paul in the fight against the veil. An alternative interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11: 2-16 . 5th edition, VTR, Nürnberg 2002, ISBN 3-933372-45-3 , pp. 87–117 (Chapter 4: Quotes and irony in 1st Corinthians).
  3. ^ Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer : Basis preach. Foundations of the Christian Faith in Sermons. VTR, Nuremberg 2010, p. 130 f.
  4. Graf-Stuhlhofer: Basis predigen , 2010, p. 131. The standard translation not only puts 1. Cor 6.12 in quotation marks, but also 1 Cor 7.1  EU .