7. Seven parts of it have been established. I. Rebuke of the Corinthians because of their schisms, and exhortation to preserve unit (1 Corinthians 1-4). II. Rebuke of the same on account of their neglect of discipline in the case of the incestuous man, lawsuits, and impurity of life (1 Corinthians 5, 6). III. Response to their question concerning virginity and celibacy (1 Corinthians 7). IV. Instruction concerning things sacrificed to idols, the dress of women in the Church, and the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 8-11). V. Instruction concerning spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14). VI. Confirmation of the Corinthians in the article of the faith concerning the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15). VII. Epilogue of the Epistle (1 Corinthians 16). Interpreters of the Epistle, Ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic; and also a Synoptic Table.
Besides the introduction of the Epistle, it is best summed up in seven major parts. For, first, he rebukes the Corinthians on account of their schisms arising under the pretense of their Teachers, and commends concord and unity to them, Chapters 1-4. Second, he rebukes them on account of their neglect of discipline concerning the incestuous man, public lawsuits, and whoredome, Chapters 5, 6. Third, he responds to their question concerning virginity and marriage, Chapter 7. Fourth, he treats of things sacrificed to idols, the dress of women in Church, order and decorum in the Church, and communion of the Lord’s table, Chapters 8-11. Fifth, he delivers precepts concerning the difference and use of spiritual gifts, Chapters 12-14. Sixth, he confirms them in the faith of the resurrection of the dead, Chapter 15. Finally, seventh, he concludes the Epistle, Chapter 16.
I. His rebuke of the Corinthians because of their schisms, and his exhortation to preserve unity, Chapters 1-4. In which Saint Paul:
1. After the introduction, in which he addresses the Epistle, salutes the Corinthians, and congratulates the same concerning God’s grace and extraordinary gifts (verses 1-9), and dissuades them from schisms (verses 10-12): chapter 1:1-12.
2. Sets forth reasons for avoiding schisms and preserving unity: of which sort are:
a. That by schisms Christ is divided, neither is any other able to be named except He, whose we are, and into whose name we have been baptized (verses 13-17); that he preached Christ in such a way that they might have no occasion of teaching anything else; in which he puts from himself wisdom of speech:
α. Lest the cross of Christ be of no effect, which is indeed foolishness to those perishing (verses 18-23), but to those called, both Jews and Greeks, the power and wisdom of God; especially to the unwise and ignoble called (verses 24-31): chapter 1:13-31).
β. Because loftiness of speech and wisdom fights against the testimony of God and faith upon that (verses 1-5); and the very wisdom of God, surpassing all human capticity (verses 6-9), is revealed by the Spirit of God alone (verses 10-13); and so it is perceived, not by carnal men, but by spiritual men alone (verses 14-16): chapter 2.
b. That schisms furnish evidence of a man not spiritual, but carnal (verses 1-3), that all blessing, growth, and building are of God, not of Paul, Apollos, etc., the ministers of God (verses 4-9), and the foundation already laid is of the sort that besides that no other is able to be laid, although superstructure is provided for it diversely (verses 10-15); that the Church is God’s house and temple, not to be destroyed with impunity by any man (verses 16, 17); because the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God (verses 18-20), neither is it appropriate for anyone to glory in men, since all things are ours, and we are God’s (verses 21-23): chapter 3.
c. That men are merely the ministers of God, and are to be judged, not by any man, but by Christ alone (verses 1-5); that it is not suitable to evaluate except from the Scripture (verse 6); that no one is able to boast of himself, since all things were given by God (verse 7); that no one is full, is enriched, without rather the very Apostles being exposed to the injuries of all in the world (verses 8-17); where in passing he promises his coming to deal with those puffed up (verses 18-21): chapter 4.
II. His rebuke of the Corinthians on account of their neglect of discipline concerning the incestuous man, public lawsuits, and impurity of life, Chapters 5, 6. In which:
1. Paul, rebuking the Corinthians for not removing the incestuous man (verses 1, 2), reveals his decision concerning the delivery of that one to Satan, because a little leaven leavens the whole lump (verses 3-8); and at the same time he teaches with what fornicators they were obliged not to keep company, namely, those professing the name of Christ, not those without (verses 9-13): chapter 5.
2. Rebuking the same on account of their lawsuits prosecuted against each other before unbelievers, he commands that lawsuits be composed in a friendly way by brethren (verses 1-8); he commends holiness and purity of life on account of the punishment of the impure (verses 9-11), shows the use of things indifferent (verse 12), and urges sobriety (verses 13, 14), and chastity, since they are the Temple of the Spirit of God (verses 15-20): chapter 6.
III. His response to their question concerning virginity and marriage