Introduction – Historical Analysis

Historical Analysis

This is a principled study of the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church.  He wrote this series of letters after members of the household of Chloe informed him about quarreling in the church.  The members were dividing over whether to follow Paul, Apollos, Cephas or Christ.  This may have been the first case of what became a common practice after Martin Luther broke with the Roman Catholic Church.  The habit of following the teachings of a strong willed preacher developed the denominational churches.  One of the foundational building blocks of the Roman Catholic Church was developed around their religious mania about Cephas.

The Corinthian problem will “raise up” its ugly head when “the pulpit preacher” concept becomes the clerical power base in churches.  It is a common problem in all religious groups.  It was and is a problem in the Lord’s church.  The Holy Spirit guided Paul in his writing of these letters as he strove to help the church overcome this problem.  Paul immediately classified it as a case of church members caught up in “man’s wisdom” versus God’s wisdom (I Cor. 1:17).  Consequently, we will be seeking to be enlightened by the “wisdom of God” in our study of these letters.

We must become good interpreters of these letters; otherwise, we will be influenced and overcome by the wisdom of men.  We will need to learn from the Corinthian letters and other Bible sources what had disrupted the church after Paul and his co-workers laid the foundation and left Achaia (I Cor. 3:10).  We will do historical analysis.  If we choose not to do this work we will not be able to understand what Paul said to solve the problem.  The principle is “if we do not know the problem, we cannot apply the wisdom of God for solving the problem.”

Poor interpretation is always the cause of doctrinal division.  Jesus Christ gave the following message to the Holy Spirit to give to the Apostle Paul for the Galatian churches.  (John 16:12-15; I Cor. 2:10-12).  “As we have already said, so now I say again: if anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”  Gal. 1:9.  Division is unacceptable in the body of Christ which is the church for which Jesus died (Eph. 1:22, 23; Acts 20:28).

The following are the lesson titles in Part I.  The aim of these lessons is to assist us in our historical analysis.  Part II will be concerned with literary analysis.  We will seek to understand what Paul said in the historical context he wrote to the Corinthian church.

Lesson One:      Paul Arrives in Corinth

Lesson Two:      Paul, Called to be an Apostle

Lesson Three:   Satan’s False Apostles

Lesson Four:      A Summary of Historical Analysis

Lesson Five:       Fitting Time into Eternity

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