Overview and Timeline
Destruction of Jerusalem
1 and 2 Corinthians
1 and 2 Thessalonians
1 and 2 Timothy
The Epistle of James
1 and 2Peter
1, 2 and 3 John
1 and 2Peter
Dating the Old Testament
The Letters of First and Second Corinthians
There is scholarly consensus that the letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians were written by Paul during his third missionary journey, which encompassed the years 52-57 A.D. There is
sufficient biographical information in both the letters to the Corinthians and in the book of Acts to allow these letters to be dated very accurately. The sequence of events is
1 Cor 5:7-8 seems to say that Passover season is imminent. The time frame for both letters then is quite narrow, with 1 Corinthians being written just before Passover in
55 A.D. and 2 Corinthians being written in 56 A.D.
- Paul visits Corinth for the first time and establishes a church there (Acts 18:1-17). Among his converts were Sosthenes, who is listed as a co-author of 1 Corinthians
(1 Cor 1:1).
Paul travels to Ephesus, where he stays for three years. It is here that he writes his first letter to the Corinthians, however, this letter is not our canonical First Corinthians,
it is called "the previous letter" (1 Cor 5:9). We will call this letter "Corinthians A."
Paul receives news from various sources about trouble at Corinth (1 Cor 1:11, 1 Cor 7:1, 1 Cor 16:17). In response he writes "Corinthains B", the letter we know as
1 Corinthians. This is written from Ephesus (1 Cor 16:8) and is apparently sent by the hand of Timothy.
Paul apparently visits Corinth for a second time, although we have no record of this visit. We know it occured because Paul says in 2 Cor 12:14 and 2 Cor 13:1-2 that he
intends to visit for a third time.
Things seem to have worsened in the aftermath of the visit, leading Paul to write the "severe letter", which we will call "Corinthians C." Paul mentions this letter in 2 Cor
2:4 and 2 Cor 7:8.
- Paul was worried about the severe letter and overall situation. He hurried to meet Titus, who was returning with a response (2 Cor 2:13, 7:5, 7:13).
- Paul was encouraged by the news from Titus, and wrote "Corinthians D", the letter of 2 Corinthians. Some scholars believe the other letters of Paul may have
been added into our canonical 2 Corinthians. For example the "severe letter" may have been added, now forming 2 Cor 10-13, and a portion from Corinthians A may have
been tucked into 2 Cor 6:14-7:1.