In 11:1-15 the apostle puts on the table before his Corinthian readers the profile of the outsiders and then sets forth his approach to the Corinthians. In verse 2, he does something very creative:
ζηλῶ γὰρ ὑμᾶς θεοῦ ζήλῳ, ἡρμοσάμην γὰρ ὑμᾶς ἑνὶ ἀνδρὶ παρθένον ἁγνὴν παραστῆσαι τῷ Χριστῷ. I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. In the context of the universal practice of arranged marriages in the first century, Paul pictures himself as the father of the daughter, the Corinthian church, who has arranged for a wedding day for his daughter to marry a husband, who is Christ. His creativity is seen especially in the modification of a common OT image of God as husband of covenant Israel the bride (e.g., Hos 1-3).
Paul modifies the image to fit the situation of the Corinthians while drawing from two major emphases of the OT image: God's jealousy for Israel as her 'husband' and the bride Israel's tendency toward unfaithfulness to her husband. Paul in the Corinthian adaptation of the image is the bride's jealous father as the founder of the church. He has entered into a marriage contract with God the Father for his daughter to marry Christ at the future eschatological wedding day. That is, he has betrothed, ἡρμοσάμην, her to Christ.
Now his task as father is to keep her pure from immorality for the wedding day: παρθένον ἁγνὴν παραστῆσαι τῷ Χριστῷ. The outsiders who have come into Corinth are thus seen as seducers who are trying to entice the daughter into betrayal of her betrothal to Christ as husband: φθαρῇ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν ἀπὸ τῆς ἁπλότητος καὶ τῆς ἁγνότητος τῆς εἰς τὸν Χριστόν (v. 3). Those attracted to these false teachers in the church were just like ancient Israel with a penchant for unfaithfulness to Christ (v. 4). Just as the first century father was obligated to present his daughter as a virgin to her betrothed husband on the wedding day, Paul feels an obligation toward the Corinthians to do everything in his power to keep the Corinthian church faithful to its commitment to Christ.
By portraying himself as a jealous father and the false teachers as seducers, he develops a powerful image to challenge his opponents in the church to rethink their attraction to these false teachers, and to understand clearly where he is coming from in his rebuke of them.
The resulting question that emerges here is Who are we as spiritual leaders? A protective father? Or a seducer of the bride of Christ? Is our ministry centered on keeping God's church faithful to Christ? Or, is it more interested in building man centered devotion to a preacher?