Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


19. Corinthians and Galatians

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Describe features of the city of Corinth
  • Explain why Paul wrote to the Corinthians
  • Outline the book of 1 Corinthians
  • Identify the issues Paul deals with in 1 Corinthians
  • Outline the book of 2 Corinthians
  • Define the purpose of 2 Corinthians
  • Discuss the significance of the Jerusalem collection
  • Identify the purpose of Galatians
  • Outline the book of Galatians
  • List the key elements of Paul’s teaching in Galatians

Chapter Summary

  1. The Corinthian church was full of dissent and confusion, and as a result the Corinthian Epistles provide helpful guidance for those in similar settings today.

  2. Corinth, the largest city in Greece, was noted for its immorality.

  3. Paul founded the church at Corinth on his second missionary journey.

  4. The Corinthian church was being torn apart by quarreling; Paul first wrote to it about cross-centered truths before addressing specific issues.

  5. In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses issues related to sexual misconduct, marriage, celibacy, idolatry, personal Christian freedom, worship, spiritual gifts, congregational order, the resurrection, and the age to come.

  6. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to praise the church at Corinth for its progress, to warn it of new threats, and to prepare it for his next visit.

  7. The underlying theme of 2 Corinthians is that the way to glory is the way of the cross.

  8. Galatians was written to the churches at Perga, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.

  9. The purpose of Galatians was to call the churches back to the true gospel that Paul had preached and from which some of them had recently departed.

  10. Paul carefully clarifies the true nature of the gospel, centered on Christ’s atoning death foretold by the Old Testament prophets.

  11. At the center of the Galatian Epistle is the truth that salvation is God’s free gift.

  12. Paul makes clear to the Galatians that the gospel of grace rules out the use of mere rules or a code of conduct as a means of self-justification.

Study Questions

  1. In what ways do the Corinthian Epistles sound as if they were addressed to a modern situation?

  2. How has archaeology contributed to our understanding of Paul’s Corinthian ministry?

  3. What major issues does 1 Corinthians address?

  4. What underlying theme unites 2 Corinthians? Do you think this theme is relevant for the modern church?

  5. Distinguish between the true gospel and the false gospel as these relate to Galatians.

  6. Who were the Judaizers? What was their role in the grace versus law controversy?