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First Corinthians is Paul's masterly pastoral letter to a church, which he founded five years earlier, but which in the meantime has lost its way. In Ephesus Paul was visited by various groups from Corinth bringing disturbing reports of recent developments, but also a list of questions. A little sleuthing helps us recover an idea of the problems in Corinth as well as the questions to which they wanted answers. A less imaginative person may have simply addressed the problems and replied to the questions, but not Paul. Paul discerned in the problems and the questions five underlying issues. He has arranged his letter as a series of sermons - True Wisdom (1-4), Sexual Holiness (5-7), Temple Attendance (8-10), Behaviour at Church Meetings (11-14), Resurrection Hope (15). This letter is both timely and timeless. It was, doubtless, piercingly relevant for the Corinthians as they sat transfixed listening as it was read to them. But the letter continues to challenge readers today as they apply its principles to life in an increasingly unstable and hostile world - as Corinth was.
Focus on the Bible commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are also useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.
"Paul Barnett's contribution to the Focus on the Bible series is a significant one in terms of its scholarship, contemporary insights and application." - Banner of Truth Trust
"A scholar's eye for background detail, a preacher's careful attention to meaning, a pastor's application to the challenges of our contemporary context. All three combine in this clear-minded and warm-hearted exposition of 1st Corinthians, to make Paul's great letter come alive with sparkling insights and pressing relevance." - David Jackman, Past President, The Proclamation Trust, London
Paul Barnett is retired Bishop of North Sydney and Honorary Visiting Fellow in Ancient History at Macquarie University, Sydney. He is also a Teaching Fellow at Regent College, Vancouver and a visiting faculty member at Moore Theological College, Sydney.