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Sunday School

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Corinth was a major city, seaport, and trade center. It was the most important city in Achaia (present day Greece). This was a wealthy city and a cultural melting pot. There were many different, religions, and moral standards. It was as immoral as any city in the known world. The Romans destroyed Corinth in 146 B.C. after a rebellion. But in 46 B.C., the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar rebuilt the city because of its strategic seaport. By Paul’s day (50 A.D.) the Romans had made Corinth the capital of Achaia, which is now Greece. Rome received great profits from trade in Corinth, but because the city was so prosperous, it was ripe for all sorts of corruption. Idol worship flourished and there were more than a dozen pagan temples that had at least a thousand prostitutes. Paul wrote this first letter to the church at Corinth during his Third Missionary Journey (see Acts 18:22-23) at the close of his three year stay in Ephesus (see Acts 19:1; 20:31; I Corinthians 16:5-8). He founded the church in Corinth during his Second Missionary Journey (see Acts 15:36-18:22) and spent 18 months there (see Acts 18:1, 11). The main reason Paul wrote this first letter to the Corinthian believers was in response to a letter he received asking his advice about issues they were debating such as marriage and the use of foods offered to idols (see I Corinthians 7:1; 8:1-13). But the apostle was also greatly troubled by reports from Corinth about divisions, contentions and other issues (see I Corinthians 1:10-12). Our lesson begins with Paul addressing the issue of divisions in the church.