Point/Counterpoint in 1 Corinthians (Box 14.1)


widget preview

Click above to see what the Corinthians say and then Paul’s response.

Paul is engaged in dialogue with the Corinthians, sometimes quoting things that they have said to him and then responding to them. His response qualifies or rejects the Corinthian viewpoint that he has just described. Here are a few examples:


The Corinthians Say

Paul Responds


“All things are lawful.”

“Not all things are beneficial.”


“Food is meant for the stomach, and the stomach for food” (i.e., it is only natural to satisfy one’s appetites).

“God will destroy both” (i.e., God will judge people who satisfy sinful appetites).


“It is well for a man not to touch a woman” (i.e., even married persons should practice celibacy).

Husbands and wives should grant each other “conjugal rights,” lest there be temptation to sexual immorality.


“All of us possess knowledge.”

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”


For other examples, see 8:4, 8; 9:4; 10:23. Some scholars also think that the words about women keeping silent in church in 14:34–35 describe the Corinthians’ own view rather than that of Paul (whose responses would then come in 14:36); otherwise, those comments seem to be in tension with 1 Corinthians 11:5, Paul’s attitude in Galatians 3:28, and reports in Acts 2:17–18; 21:9.