To whom did Paul write the first and second epistles to the Corinthians?
The city of Corinth was an ancient city of Greece that enjoyed great prosperity due to the incredible wealth generated by its massive port commerce. The temples of Aphrodite the goddess of love, and Melicertes the patron of seafarers not only found their home here, but became indicative of life in Corinth. It was a luxurious city that had acquired a reputation for sexual license, becoming a tourist attraction to the pagan world. The Corinthians were a very cultured people who were often influence by the many transient visitors who would frequent their port on business.
Christianity came to Corinth through Paul on his second missionary journey. He came first into the synagogues preaching Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures and declaring Him as the promised Messiah. When he was run out of the church a number of new converts followed him and many more came to salvation as Paul continued to preach the gospel in house that is thought to have neighbored one of the local synagogues. Paul addressed this first Christian church in Corinth.
Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to the church in Corinth in response both to reports that had come to him and to a letter that he had received from the Corinthians. The Corinthians had misunderstood Paul's message of the gospel, and had created dissention in the church over many different issues. The Corinthians had questions about Paul's leadership and integrity, the Lord's Supper, marriage, and other matters of Christian living. In sending this letter to them, he had hoped to follow it with a personal visit himself, but circumstances made it impossible to do so. Instead, he sent Titus and possibly Timothy in his place. He wrote 2 Corinthians in response to the report he received regarding both the effects of his first letter and some new opposition that had arisen against him in Corinth.