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"Of The Earth Earthy"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Paul's stay of eighteen months in Corinth resulted in a well-established church. Rejected by the Jews, he had left the synagogue and preached among the Gentiles, where he gained numerous converts. After he left Corinth and later settled in Ephesus, he received word that the congregation he had built up at Corinth was in the midst of a crisis. An exchange of letters confirmed Paul's worst fears: the church was torn by factions; the congregation was indulging in sexual and other misconduct; and certain rebellious spirits who had assumed leadership were defying Paul's authority. Corinth was a trading center of considerable importance; its population and its religions were alike cosmopolitan, and the city was known throughout the civilized world for its vice. Most of Paul's converts were from the lower classes and retained their pagan moral standards; sexual promiscuity had been encouraged by many of the religions they had abandoned for Christianity. I Corinthians is a stern rebuke in which Paul censures the Corinthians for their misbehavior. Appealing for unity, he points out the evils of factiousness and competition. He then implies that those persons doing the preaching are misusing their office: the ministry is a holy calling, not a means of self-aggrandizement or a position of power. The man who parades his wisdom does so in the confidence born of ignorance, and is a fool: beside that of God, the wisdom of even a great man is...

(The entire section is 503 words.)