Paul had lived in Corinth for eighteen months prior to writing this letter, and he knew the people there well. When he wrote this letter to the Corinthians, Paul was in Ephesus, preparing to leave for Macedonia:
I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia, for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination. This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. (1 Corinthians 16:5-8)
As he prepared to leave, he received news from Chloe, who lived in Corinth. She was concerned about the deep quarreling that was growing within the church Paul had established there:
For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. (1 Corinthians 1:11)
Paul cared deeply for the people of Corinth and for the church, and he wanted to provide some instruction to them, guiding their efforts in dealing with sin. He didn't want this church to fail and believed it was crucial to try to reunite the church and its members. Therefore, Paul covers a wide range of topics in his letters to the Corinthians. The guiding principle in these letters is the importance of good Christian conduct, and Paul covers topics such as lawsuits, sexual immorality, the significance of the Lord's Supper, the ways believers should use their spiritual gifts, and how to handle quarrels with each other. Paul instructed the Corinthians to hold themselves to high Christian standards because as believers, they "have been bought with a price: therefore [they should] glorify God in [their] body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Christians today still refer to these letters to guide their relationships and interactions with others, particularly within the church itself.