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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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Paul Gives Thanks to God
1From Paul. I was called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus because that is what God wanted. Also from Sosthenes, our brother in Christ.
2To the church of God in Corinth, to those people who have been made holy in Christ Jesus. You were called to be God’s holy people with all people everywhere who trust in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I always thank my God for you because of the grace that God has given you in Christ Jesus. 5In Jesus you have been blessed in every way, in all your speaking and in all your knowledge. 6The truth about Christ has been proved in you. 7So you have every gift from God while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to come again. 8Jesus will keep you strong until the end. He will keep you strong, so that there will be no wrong in you on the day our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 9God is faithful. He is the One who has called you to share life with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Problems in the Church
10I beg you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I beg that all of you agree with each other, so that you will not be divided into groups. I beg that you be completely joined together by having the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. 11My brothers, some people from Chloe’s family have told me that there are arguments among you. 12This is what I mean: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another says, “I follow Apollos”; another says, “I follow Peter”; and another says, “I follow Christ.” 13Christ cannot be divided into different groups! Did Paul die on the cross for you? No! Were you baptized in the name of Paul? No! 14I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15I am thankful, because now no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I also baptized the family of Stephanas. But I do not remember that I myself baptized any others.) 17Christ did not give me the work of baptizing people. He gave me the work of preaching the Good News, and he sent me to preach the Good News without using words of worldly wisdom. If I used worldly wisdom to tell the Good News, the cross# Paul uses the cross as a picture of the gospel, the story of Christ’s death and rising from death to pay for men’s sins. The cross, or Christ’s death, was God’s way to save men. of Christ would lose its power.
Christ Is God’s Power and Wisdom
18The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19It is written in the Scriptures:
“I will cause the wise men to lose their wisdom.
I will make the wise men unable to understand.” Isaiah 29:14
20Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the philosopher# Philosophers were those who searched for truth. of our times? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. 21The world did not know God through its own wisdom. So God chose to use the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe it. 22The Jews ask for miracles as proofs. The Greeks want wisdom. 23But we preach Christ on the cross. This is a big problem to the Jews. And it seems foolish to the non-Jews. 24But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called—Jews and Greeks. 25Even the foolishness of God is wiser than men. Even the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26Brothers, look at what you were when God called you. Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence. Not many of you came from important families. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28And he chose what the world thinks is not important. He chose what the world hates and thinks is nothing. He chose these to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29God did this so that no man can brag before him. 30It is God who has made you part of Christ Jesus. Christ has become wisdom for us from God. Christ is the reason we are right with God and have freedom from sin; Christ is the reason we are holy. 31So, as the Scripture says, “If a person brags, he should brag only about the Lord.”# Quotation from Jeremiah 9:24.