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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Working through 1 Corinthians

Our comments on the major themes and relevance of this epistle will follow the structure suggested in the NAB introduction (p. 1517 ), with some rather minor adjustments. First Corinthians contains the usual letter format: an address in 1, 1–9 , the body of the letter in 1, 10–15, 58 , and a conclusion in 16, 1–24 .

Since this letter is a response to the concerns of the Corinthians, there is not the same kind of objective, formal structure we saw in Romans. Yet we can detect in 1 Corinthians a structural pattern that helps shed some light on the emphasis and meaning of Paul's message. Paul's general approach to issues follows an A‐B‐A' pattern by which Paul introduces and begins to develop a topic (A), disrupts his reflections by bringing up a second issue (B), and then returns to the original topic (A'). Often he uses this pattern to emphasize the middle, or B, statement. One illustration is Paul's discussion of abuses in the celebration of the Eucharist. He describes the abuses in 1 Corinthians 11, 17–22 (A) and in verses 26–34 (A'). Paul interjects into the middle of this description his account of Jesus' Last Supper the night before he died (see 11, 23–25 , [B]). In this way Paul tries to remedy the abuses at Corinth by recalling what Jesus did and reminding the Corinthians that they are to act “in memory of” Jesus. Further examples of Paul's use of the A‐B‐A' pattern will be discussed as they appear in this letter. For the moment simply note that the pattern has the effect of emphasizing the B section as a corrective for the situations described in A and A'.

A working outline of 1 Corinthians is the following:

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