First Corinthians Bible Study
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We hope you find something here helpful and invigorating for your own spiritual journey as you read and reflect upon Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians.
The Course of Study
The studies themselves are not intended to be comprehensive or complete commentaries on the biblical passages, but rather a survey of the basic story line, a brief analysis on the features of the text that serve to communicate its message, and a summary of the theological communication of the passages as a basis for further reflection. That means that there will be a lot of interesting details of the biblical narratives that will not be directly considered.
There are other articles that are available on this web site as background and additional reading for the Bible Study:
Bibliography for Study of First Corinthians
Many resources have been used in the preparation of these lessons from 1 Corinthians. The bibliographical information and a brief comment are given for the main sources of study.
Barclay, William. The Letters to the Corinthians. 2nd edition. The Daily Study Bible Series. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956. As always Barclay provides an interest mixture of history and devotional thoughts. This work goes paragraph by paragraph and is written for lay persons.
Barrett, C. K. A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Harper's New Testament Commentaries. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. For many years Barrett's volume was considered the best commentary on 1 Corinthians available in English. It provides Barrett's own translation and comments on many of the technical problems. It also contains a number of practical observations that valuable to any reader seeking spiritual growth.
Bruce, F. F. 1 and 2 Corinthians. New Century Bible. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971. Bruce's commentary is no as detailed or technical as that of Barrett. He provides a brief summary of scholarly discussion on most passages.
Conzelmann, Hans. 1 Corinthians. Hermeneia. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975. Conzelmann provides the most liberal and most technically oriented commentary that is readily available in English. It is difficult for lay persons.
Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987. Fee is recognized as the outstanding commentary on 1 Corinthians presently available in any language. His 850 page commentary provides detailed discussion of virtually all the critical issues in interpretation. However, his style is clear and simple and he amply repays careful study.
Findlay, G. G. St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. Expositors Greek Testament. London, 1900; reprinted Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1961. Findlay provides a commentary over the Greek text. It is difficult to follow though careful study reveals him to be the source for many later scholars.
Grosheide, F. W. Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. New International Commentary on the New Testament (original volume). Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1953. This original volume of the NICNT was replaced by Fee's commentary. That decision reflects the difficult style and dated material in Grosheide.
Hering, Jean. The First Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (English Translation) London: Epworth Press, 1962. Hering's slender volume provides many unusual insights though he does not cover every issue.
Morris, Leon. The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1958. Morris packs a lot of information and spiritual insight into 250 pages. Lay people will find it helpful.
Orr, W.F. and Walther, J. A. 1 Corinthians. The Anchor Bible. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976. This is not the strongest Anchor Bible commentary, but it offers useful information in a number of passages.
Prior, David. The Message of 1 Corinthians. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1985. This popular level exposition offers regular devotional and spiritual applications of 1 Corinthians.
Reed, Oscar F. Corinthians. Beacon Bible Expositions. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1976. These rather brief expositions give general direction on appropriate ways to apply the message of 1 Corinthians.
Robertson, A. T. and Plummer Adolf. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians. 2nd edition. International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1914. This old volume is a commentary on the Greek text of 1 Corinthians. Many of its word studies are still quite valuable and it contains an amazing number of spiritual insights.
Snyder, Graydon F. First Corinthians: A Faith Community Commentary. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1992. This is a unique commentary in that it is openly written from the perspective of the Anabaptist theological tradition. It argues that 1 Corinthians is best understood from the point of view of one who stands inside a community of faith.
Talbert, Charles H. Reading Corinthians: A Literary and Theological Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. New York: Crossroad, 1987. This is a unique commentary in that it does not address specific problems in interpretation of various verses but concentrates on the flow of thought and how that reveals Paul's theological insight.
Witherington, Ben. Conflict & Community: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995. This is an example of the new generation of commentaries that are now beginning to appear. Sociology, rhetorical analysis, and knowledge of the Greco-Roman world enrich this commentary with a number of unique insights that have resulted from recent study.