This unit involves a detailed study of Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. It focuses especially on Paul's perception of the problems arising in the life of the young church in Corinth, and his responses to them. It explores Paul’s relationship with his churches, including Corinth, and examines the way his theology adapts itself to new situations and new contexts. The specific context of the church in Corinth is explored and different scholarly opinions canvassed. The unit explores the nature of Paul’s theology in 1 Corinthians, including its relationship to 2 Corinthians and the other Pauline writings, along with the question of its ongoing relevance for the context of the church today. Attention to the Greek text, where available, or to a variety of English translations, is encouraged.

Unit code: BN9219T (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: New Testament

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Describe the context of the Corinthian church in the arena of the Greco-Roman world and the significance of this for interpreting the text.


Articulate the theological issues raised in 1 Corinthians by the church and Paul’s responses to them.


Critically assess different scholarly views on the theology of the Corinthian church which Paul is addressing.


Discuss the exegetical issues and methods for reading 1 Corinthians.


Appraise the theology of 1 Corinthians and articulate and critique selected contemporary understandings of its significance for the contemporary church.


Evaluate textual and translation issues as they effect the interpretation of the Epistle

Unit sequence

1 Foundation unit in New Testament


Reading material, video material, online tutorial discussions

Indicative Bibliography

  • Barnet, P. The Corinthians Question: Why Did the Church Oppose Paul? Nottingham: Apollos, 2011.
  • Barrett, C.K. A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. 2nd ed. London: A & C Black, 1971.
  • Chow, J.K. Patronage and Power: A Study of Social Networks in Corinth. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992.
  • Collins, R.F. First Corinthians. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1999. (recommended for purchase)
  • Fee, G.D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987.
  • Friesen, S.J. et al, eds. Corinth in Contrast: Studies in Inequality. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2013.
  • Hays, R.B. First Corinthians. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997.
  • Horrell, D.G. The Social Ethos of the Corinthian Correspondence. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996.
  • Horsley, R.A. 1 Corinthians. Nashville: Abingdon, 1998.
  • Kovacs, J. First Corinthians. Interpreted by Early Christian Commentators. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
  • Perkins, P. First Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012. (recommended for purchase)
  • Thiselton, A. First Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006. (recommended for purchase)
  • Witherington, B. Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Thematic essay

3000 40.0
Exegetical Essay 3000 40.0

Forums, equivalent of 1,000 words

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Carolyn Alsen on 17 Jan, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-16 10:13:59 +1100