I l Corinthians 7:7 reveals the fact that Titus had given Paul good news regarding the spiritual state of the Corinthian brethren. Titus also gave Paul the bad news. There were brethren who were charging Paul with inconsistency (fickleness) (1:17) and self-approval (commendation) (3:1). Due to this information, Paul writes the first epistle (inferential subject of 2:1-4). The first two chapters of I l Corinthians serves to give the Corinthian brethren Paul's mode, method, purpose, and expected product of the first epistle written to them in AD 57. When one examines I l Corinthians chapters one and two a true understanding of what "preaching truth in love" is all about (Eph. 6:15).
The mode of I Corinthians was love. Paul said, "for out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be made sorry, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you" (Il 1 Corinthians 2:4). Love should be the mode for all the Christians actions. We expose sin and care for the physically needy because we love as God loves (l John 3:16-17; 4:10, 17).
The method of writing the epistle of I Corinthians was the authority of Jesus Christ (1:12; 2:17). It would only be through truth that product of salvation would be achieved. Therefore Paul was sufficient to deliver such a divine message because it was from God and not man (2:16-17; 3:4-6).
Every move on the part of Paul had purpose. Paul reveals the deliberate act of sparing and delaying his coming unto the Corinthian brethren that they may have time to repent (1:23). Chapter two reveals another purpose behind the writing of I Corinthians. Paul said, "For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye are obedient in all thing" (2:9). Paul was putting the brethren to the test as we are commanded to likewise do (l John 3:10; 4:1, 6).
The desired result of the first epistle to the Corinthians was that sorrow leading to repentance would occur (2:2). Later Paul will say, "For though I made you sorry with my epistle, I do not regret it: though I did regret it (for I see that that epistle made you sorry, though but for a season), I now rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye were made sorry unto repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly sort, that ye might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, a repentance which brings no regret: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (Il 1 Corinthians 7:8-10).
It did not bring joy to Paul tb write such things as covered in the first epistle; however, it was necessary (Il 1 Corinthians 2:11). Paul eventually meets with Titus in Macedonia. Titus now relieves Paul's anxiety by fully informing him as to the Corinthian's response to his first epistle. Apparently, Titus has brought a favorable report to Paul in Macedonia. The Corinthians had exercised the discipline upon the erring of I Corinthians five and thereby brought Paul joy (Il 1 Corinthians 2:5ff). Paul now "beseeches" the Corinthians to forgive this one as he has repented (Il 1 Corinthians 2:8ff). Herein is the consequence of preaching truth in love. Souls are saved and brethren edified only when truth, in all of its purity and authority, is preached (Il 1 Corinthians 2:17).
John C. Robenson