In order to fully understand the message of First Corinthians we must grasp the principles of EXEGESIS and HERMENEUTICS.

(a) EXEGESIS is what the passage MEANT at the time of writing (taking historical and literary cotext and content into consideration)

(b) HERMENEUTICS is what the passage MEANS to us today (interpretation).

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus in the year c.AD55. This is therefore and OCCASIONAL letter because it was for a SPECIFIC OCCASION (occasioned by problems in the Corinth Church conveyed to Paul).

We cannot jump straight away into applying everything in First Corinthians literally to our life or the church. Why ? Think about this and then click here for one answer.

We must ,therefore, follow specific steps in the interpretation of any part of First Corinthians...

STEP ONE : Find out the HISTORIC CONTEXT (click for definition).

STEP TWO : Find out the LITERARY CONTEXT (click for definition)

STEP THREE: Find the APPLICATION to us today by applying the PRINCIPLES seen.

A very important question to ask yourself when reading any book in the Bible is to ask "What is the POINT of the passage ?"

In effectively interpreting First Corinthians today we will be following the steps outlined above as we go through each lesson. The first lesson will give a GENERAL overview using these steps in a broad sense. Subsequent lessons will look at more SPECIFIC contexts of each passage.

Click here for a more detailed article of Biblical Interpretation from Nelson's Bible Dictionary. (this is especially relevant as it touches on problems mentioned in First Corinthians).

Click here to go on to Lesson One: Context and Outline.

Or you can click on the 'contents' button to return to the whole lesson outline and choose your next step.


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