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The divine calling
1I Paul was divinely chosen to be the Apostle of Jesus Christ. In my calling the will of God was made manifest, and in this high office and appointment I now address you who are in Corinth, and with me Sosthenes, brother in the faith. 2We speak to you who have also been sharers in this divine calling, whose lives have been enlarged and purified in Christ Jesus, who have received the holiness that comes from faith — and with you in this appeal I associate all who, in whatever place they may be, wherever we may be, do together with us invoke his name, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 3May grace come to you, may peace abide with you from God, who is the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
4Because of the grace that has come to you I feel incessant gratitude to God. 5You have found the riches of the Christ; the word and the knowledge of God are spoken and fulfilled in your midst; 6the witness of the Christ is there; it is unassailable evidence; 7and the full measure of His gifts is counted in you, nothing is wanting for your completion, whilst you wait for that unveiling and revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8Yes, there will be no faltering, no failure in his support of you, till you are made perfect, in the “end,” “the day” of our Lord Jesus Christ, the day of perfect revelation. 9For God, through whom this calling, this share in His son Jesus Christ our Lord has come to you, is faithful in all His ways.
No room for disunity in Christ
10Through this name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I urge you — for that is the secret of his name — to have one mind, one persuasion and precept amongst you, to be all of one mind with one idea. O let schisms and divisions be unknown to you, for your perfection is in unity. 11Strifes there are amongst you, it has come to my knowledge through the members who meet in Chloe's house. 12They tell me some describe themselves as disciples of Paul, others of Apollos, others of Cephas, others of Christ — 13but Christ is not divided. I was not crucified for you, nor were you baptised into my name. 14-15For this very reason I was careful not to baptise disciples personally amongst you. It is to me a cause of gratitude to God that I baptised only Crispus and Gaius, 16and also the household of Stephanas — not another soul, I think, did I baptise, and purposely, that it might not seem that I was making disciples. 17Christ Jesus sent me not to baptise, but to make known the word of joy, not intellectually, not with the persuasive brilliance of personality and personal influence, lest the cross of the Christ should be obliterated and ruled out.
The foolishness of worldly knowledge
18Cleverness, human wisdom, intellectual strength do not accomplish the mighty works of the Gospel. Ours is the word of the cross; it saves us; there is in it the power of God; but to those who are in the power of death and subject to its ever-increasing dominion, this word appears as folly, as an impertinence. 19And so the word of the Bible comes true:— “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will make nothing of the intelligence of those who profess to know.” (Isa xxix. 14.) 20Where is the wise, the scribe, the learned investigator of material things? God makes the wisdom of the world foolishness, 21forasmuch as it was in that wisdom that the world lost the knowledge of God, it was by reason of that that its eyes were closed, and lo! the wisdom of God now appearing is proclaimed as a thing foolish in the sight of that old wisdom; but the preaching of this heavenly word saves, it saves all who have faith in it, who accept it spiritually. It does not commend itself to the old thought. 22The Jews demand miracles and signs, the Greeks ask first and last for wisdom, 23but it is the crucified Christ that we preach, and that appears a fool's message to the Greeks, and a scandal to the Jews. 24Think of it! God's power, God's wisdom, the Christ, takes on that semblance in the sight of men. 25But there is more wisdom in God's foolishness than in men's cleverness, more strength in God's weakness than in human power. 26Not many wise, powerful, highly placed are found in our number. 27Why? Because this calling of God is not on the lines of anything which the world sets up as important. 28God would not have anything of the flesh to plume itself on a value of its own. Thus it was that He chose that which was weak, despised, unsupported by birth and tradition, that which in the eyes of the world had no existence at all. 29This He chose and by its means He dismantles all the world's glory, leaving us faith alone. 30For in Christ Jesus your being comes from him, not from the world, and he is your wisdom, your righteousness, your cleansing and your redemption coming to you from God alone, from Him apart from all else, 31in order that as Jeremiah says, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (Jer. ix. 24.) By that saying the prophet referred to the distinction between the talents and qualities that are believed to belong to the flesh and the personal self, and the grace and power that flow from the Spirit only.
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Greeting
1Paul,#Ac 13:9 called as an apostle#Rm 1:1 of Christ Jesus by God’s will,#2Co 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 2Tm 1:1 and Sosthenes our brother:#Ac 18:17
2To the church of God at Corinth,#Ac 18:1; 19:1; 2Co 1:1,23; 2Tm 4:20 to those sanctified#Ac 20:32; 26:18; 1Co 6:11; Heb 10:10 in Christ Jesus, called#Rm 1:6-7 as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name#Gn 4:26; Ps 79:6; Jn 10:25; Ac 9:14; 15:14; Rv 14:1 of Jesus Christ our Lord — both their Lord and ours.
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father#Rm 1:7; 2Co 1:2; Gl 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; 2Th 1:2; Ti 1:4 and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving
4I always thank#Rm 1:8; Php 1:3; Col 1:3; 1Th 1:2; 2Th 1:3; 2Tm 1:3; Phm 4 my God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus, 5that you were enriched in him#2Co 8:9; 9:11 in every way, in all speech and all knowledge.#Rm 15:14; 1Co 12:8; 2Co 8:7; 1Jn 2:20 6In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you,#2Th 1:10; 1Tm 2:6; 2Tm 1:8; Rv 1:2 7so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait#Lk 17:30; Rm 8:19; Php 3:20; Heb 9:28; 2Pt 3:12 for the revelation#1Pt 4:13 of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end,#Php 1:6; 1Th 3:13 so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.#Lk 17:24; 1Co 5:5; 2Co 1:14; Php 2:16; Col 1:22 9God is faithful;#Dt 7:9; Is 49:7; 1Co 10:13; 2Co 1:18 you were called by him#Rm 8:28 into fellowship with his Son,#Jn 5:19; Heb 1:2; 1Jn 1:3 Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions at Corinth
10Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. 11For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by members of Chloe’s people, that there is rivalry#Ti 3:9 among you. 12What I am saying is this: One of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”#Ti 3:13 or “I belong to Cephas,”#Jn 1:42 or “I belong to Christ.”#Mt 23:9-10 13Is Christ divided?#1Co 12:5; 2Co 11:4; Eph 4:5 Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name? 14I thank God#1:14 Other mss omit God#1:14 Or I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus#Ac 18:8 and Gaius,#Rm 16:23 15so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. 16I did, in fact, baptize the household#Rm 16:5 of Stephanas;#1Co 16:15,17 beyond that, I don’t recall if I baptized anyone else. 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross#Lk 23:26; Php 3:18 of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.#Ac 19:11; Rm 1:16; 2Co 13:4 19For it is written,
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. # Is 29:14 # Is 29:14
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law?#1:20 Or scholar Where is the debater of this age?#Lk 16:8 Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. 22For the Jews ask for signs#Mt 12:38 and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified,#Lk 23:26; 1Co 2:2; Gl 3:1; 5:11 a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.#1:23 Other mss read Greeks 24Yet to those who are called,#Rm 1:6 both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, 25because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Boasting Only in the Lord
26Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective,#1:26 Lit wise according to the flesh not many powerful,#Ac 25:5 not many of noble birth. 27Instead, God has chosen#Mt 24:22; Eph 1:4 what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world#Lk 18:9  — what is viewed as nothing — to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29so that no one#1:29 Lit that not all flesh may boast in his presence.#Ac 7:46 30It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us — our righteousness,#Mt 6:33; Rm 1:17; 2Pt 1:1 sanctification,#1Th 4:3 and redemption,#Eph 1:7 31in order that, as it is written:#Mk 1:2 Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.#1:31Jr 9:24#Jr 9:23-24