1From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Sosthenes, who is also a follower.
2 To God's church in Corinth. Christ Jesus chose you to be his very own people, and you worship in his name, as we and all others do who call him Lord.
3My prayer is that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
4I never stop thanking my God for treating you with undeserved grace by giving you Christ Jesus, 5who helps you speak and understand so well. 6Now you are certain that everything we told you about our Lord Christ Jesus is true. 7You are not missing out on any blessings, as you wait for him to return. 8And until the day Christ does return, he will keep you completely innocent. 9God can be trusted, and he chose you to be partners with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The city of Corinth is situated on the isthmus that joins the Peloponnese – the large peninsula in the south east of mainland Greece – to the rest of the mainland. The people who lived there in Paul’s time were very different from those in Thessalonica. The ancient city had been completely destroyed by the Romans about two hundred years before Paul went there, and was repopulated by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. The new inhabitants were a mixed bag – people that the Romans wanted to resettle away from Rome, plus a large number of immigrants from elsewhere. Its strategic location led to immediate prosperity, which brought with it all kinds of social ills.
The church there was not immune to these problems. How could it be? These people had been drawn to Jesus Christ from all sorts of situations. When we become Christians we don’t immediately become the Christ-like people that God intends us to be.
Paul had spent the best part of two years in Corinth (Acts 18:11, 18). He was now in Ephesus (in present day Turkey), and bad news had reached him about the church in Corinth. This is the letter he sent to the Corinthians in response.
He begins by reminding them of who he is and who they are, chosen by God to be his very own people. This is true for all who believe. Jesus chose us to be his very own. That means he is active in our lives. He loves us, he wants us to be close to him, and he wants to make our characters like his.
Thank you, God, for giving the grace of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to all who believe, along with all the gifts that the Spirit gives (v 4 NIV). Thank you that in the end we will be blameless and like Jesus (v 8)! Amen.
Annabel was born in Kew, near London, England. She committed her life to Jesus Christ at a Scripture Union camp when she was 16, and immediately found joy and peace. At Oxford she was active in the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, where she met her husband, Reid. They emigrated to Canada in 1965, where she taught Classics at the University of Regina until 2007. She has two children, Heather in Oslo and Alasdair in Calgary.