This landmark commentary, originally published in 1987, has been lauded as the best study available of Paul's theologically rich first letter to the Corinthians. Writing primarily for pastors, teachers, and students, Gordon Fee offers a readable exposition of 1 Corinthians that clearly describes the meaning of Paul’s ideas and their larger theological relevance.
Fee’s revised edition is based on the improved, updated 2011 edition of the NIV, and it takes into account the considerable scholarship on 1 Corinthians over the past twenty-five years. Fee has also eliminated “chapter and verse” language—totally foreign to Paul's first-century letter—relegating the necessary numbers for “finding things” to parentheses.
“Thus, the picture that emerges is one of a predominantly Gentile community, the majority of whom were almost certainly at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, although there were two or three wealthy families. As former pagans they brought to the Christian faith a Hellenistic worldview and attitude toward ethical behavior. Although they were the Christian church in Corinth, an inordinate amount of Corinth was yet in them, emerging in a number of attitudes and behaviors that required radical surgery without killing the patient. This is what this letter attempts to do.” (Page 4)
“Truly Christian conduct is not predicated on whether I have the right to do something, i.e., whether it is to my own benefit or not, but whether my conduct is good, meaning ultimately helpful to those around me.” (Page 279)
“As often happens in such centers, vice and religion flourished side by side. Old Corinth had gained such a reputation for sexual vice that Aristophanes (ca. 450–385 b.c.) coined the verb korinthiazō (= to act like a Corinthian, i.e., to commit fornication).” (Page 2)
“A God discovered by human wisdom will be both a projection of human fallenness and a source of human pride, and this constitutes the worship of the creature, not the Creator.” (Page 76)
“Paul addresses, in response to reports (1:11; 5:1; 11:18) or to their letter (cf. 7:1), at least eleven different, somewhat disparate concerns, ten of which are behavioral; only the issue of the resurrection of the dead (chap. 15) is theological as such, and even there he concludes both major sections with ethical warnings and imperatives (vv. 33–34, 58). But in every case his greater concern is the theological stance behind the behavior.” (Page 5)
An impressively thorough commentary, which offers both judicious comment and useful documentation. . . . It deserves to rank as one of the leading commentaries on 1 Corinthians.
—Anthony C. Thieselton, professor of Christian theology, University of Nottingham
Fee has given us a paradigm of what a commentary should be. Even where one might disagree, no one — layperson, pastor, scholar, or student — will find Fee's volume a disappointment.
—Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
This is an excellent commentary. Writing in the best tradition of evangelical scholarship, Fee has produced the most thorough interpretation of 1 Corinthians to have appeared in English in this generation.
—Journal of Biblical Literature
A model of how commentaries should be written. . . . Highly recommended.
Gordon D. Fee (1934–2022) was a leading expert in pneumatology and textual criticism of the New Testament. He was an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God and served as professor emeritus of New Testament studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Fee earned degrees from Seattle Pacific University and University of Southern California. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Northwest University. Before teaching at Regent College, Fee taught at Wheaton College, Vanguard University of Southern California, and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Fee was a member of the Committee on Bible Translation that translated the New International Version and its revision, the Today’s New International Version.
In addition to Fee’s many highly respected commentaries in series like the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: New Testament and The New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT), he is also the author of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study, and To What End Exegesis?