The Corinthian Church
Paul deeply cared for the Corinthian Church. No church that Paul had founded gave him so much cause for worry and suffering as this one. Here are some of the reasons that troubled the apostle Paul:
1- False prophets (2 Corinthians 11:13).
These false teachers had followed Paul to Corinth and purposely planned to destroy his ministry, to discredit his authority as an apostle, to belittle his gospel and his person (2 Corinthians 10:10–12), to discredit his character, to accuse him with mishandling money, with dishonesty, and with usurpation of authority. They may also have attempted to impose certain ritual requirements on the Gentile converts, contrary to the decision of the Counsel of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1–5; 19–24; Galatians 2:1–8).
2- The Church’s division
The Corinthian Church was divided into four factions: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:10–12).
3- The presence of an immoral member
One of the members in the Corinthian Church was guilty of the most despicable immorality: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed“ (1 Corinthians 5:1–3).
4-The church’s failure to discipline
The Corinthian Church had failed to deal with the guilty member. Therefore, he called them to take action: “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:4-5).
5-Members going to pagan courts to settle disputes
Paul rebuked some of the Corinthian Church members: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?”
“I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! (1 Corinthians 6:1–8).
6-Members defiling the Lord’s Supper
Some members had debased the Lord’s Supper, and were guilty of desecrating this sacred service: “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you...” (1 Corinthians 11:20–30).
7-False zeal for spiritual gifts
Some members had manifested a false zeal for spiritual gifts, therefore, Paul instructed: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries…Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:1, 2, 39, 40).
In spite of all the issues that troubled Paul in the Corinthian Church, the apostle did not want to ignore his responsibility and duty to being their spiritual leader. He had founded the church at Corinth on his Second Missionary Journey (Acts 18:1–11), and ever since had ministered fervently for their needs through his epistles and personal preaching.
In His service,