Although 1 Corinthians was originally written with the needs of the Corinthian congregation in mind, this is also a letter for every age. By way of preface to this volume in the EP Study Commentary series, Peter Naylor says that the letter is of abiding relevance, challenge and comfort; it is worthy of investigation for its own sake because it tells of Jesus.
Paul aimed his words at ‘all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, theirs and ours’ (1:2). Because ‘theirs and ours’ connects directly with ‘in every place’, the reference is almost certainly to all the churches in which he had an influence. This claim flies in the face of much modern scholarship.
The apostle needed to remind over-assertive Corinthians that they were only a part of the universal body of Christ and therefore were in no position to define or manipulate the faith (14:36). Further, Paul must have been aware that his letter was an inspired document meant for all believers: if he wrote for the Corinthians, he also wrote consciously for all of us, without reference to where and when we live. In truth, when we read the epistle, we feel that the Lord of glory is speaking to our hearts.
This commentary offers its own translation, slightly more literal than dynamic, of the Greek text, italicized words in parentheses transliterating those Greek words which are quoted.