In this article, 1 Corinthians 1:1–9 is analysed from a perspective that differs from the typical
approach of researchers, who tend to force ancient rhetorical categories on the letter. The analysis is done in terms of what is called a ‘grounded theoretical approach’. This approach is briefly summarised, followed by a description of the rhetorical situation of the letter and a systematic analysis of these nine verses. It will be argued that these verses are an integral part of Paul’s rhetorical strategy, constructed from the text itself and aimed at persuading the Corinthians to accept his authority as apostle and to follow his instructions in realising their new life in Christ. The conclusion is that a text-centred approach with its focus on the functional aspects of the text provides a better understanding of Paul’s rhetorical strategy than a typical rhetorical analysis, with its focus on the formal aspects of the text.