A twofold occasion led to the writing of the first epistle. Saint Paul learned that dissensions and strife regarding the worth of various preachers had arisen at Corinth and that eome Christians had caused grave scandal by their evil conduct; at the same time, the Corinthians sent him a letter in which various questions were proposed for solution. The object and plan of the epistle is accordingly twofold: the denunciation and correction of abuses and crimes, 1:10 to 6:20, in which are treated the dissensions, avoidance of sinners, sins of injustice and impurity; and a reply to the questions addressed to him, 7:1 to 16:4, in which are treated marriage and celibacy, meats offered to idols, divine services and the Holy Eucharist, the charisma, the resurrection, the collection for the poor of Jerusalem.
The second epistle was written some months after the previous letter and is closely connected with it. The occasion for this epistle was the report brought to Paul by Titus, that the first epistle had been well received, and that the Christians were repentent and ready to make amends, but, on the other hand, some misunderstandings and doubts had arisen at the instigation of false apostles who were attacking Paul and endeavoring to destroy his authority. The epistle is thus divided
- apologetic, 1:12, to 7:16, in which Saint Paul defends himself against accusations, commends the Corinthians, and exhorts them to greater virtue
- hortatory, 8 to 9, in which they are exhorted to generosity towards the poor
- polemical, 10 to 13, in which Paul attacks and unmasks the false apostles and shows his own Apostolic power and authority
- “Epistles to the Corinthians”. . Saints.SQPN.com. 12 June 2010. Web. 16 March 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/epistles-to-the-corinthians/>