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Greetings from Paul
1This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.
2I am writing to God’s church in Corinth,#1:2a Corinth was the capital city of Achaia, the southern region of the Greek peninsula. to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus,#1:2b Or because you belong to Christ Jesus. just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul Gives Thanks to God
4I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
10I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters,#1:10 Greek brothers; also in 1:11, 26. by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,#1:12 Greek Cephas.” or “I follow only Christ.”
13Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! 14I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. 16(Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) 17For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.
The Wisdom of God
18The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”#1:19 Isa 29:14.
20So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
24But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles,#1:24 Greek and Greeks. Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
26Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy#1:26 Or high born. when God called you. 27Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28God chose things despised by the world,#1:28 Or God chose those who are low born. things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”#1:31 Jer 9:24.
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1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I have been chosen to be an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Our brother Sosthenes joins me in writing.
2We are sending this letter to you, the members of God's church in Corinth. You have been made holy because you belong to Christ Jesus. God has chosen you to be his holy people. He has done the same for all those everywhere who pray to our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is their Lord and ours.
3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul Gives Thanks
4I always thank God for you. I thank him because of the grace he has given to you who belong to Christ Jesus. 5You have been blessed in every way because of him. All your teaching of the truth is better. Your understanding of it is more complete. 6Our witness about Christ has been proved to be true in you.
7There is no gift of the Holy Spirit that you don't have. You are full of hope as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to come again. 8God will keep you strong to the very end. Then you will be without blame on the day our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
9God is faithful. He has chosen you to share life with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Taking Sides in the Church
10Brothers and sisters, I ask all of you to agree with one another. I make my appeal in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then you won't take sides. You will be in complete agreement in all that you think.
11My brothers and sisters, some people who live in Chloe's house have told me you are arguing with each other. 12Here is what I mean. One of you says, "I follow Paul." Another says, "I follow Apollos." Another says, "I follow Peter." And still another says, "I follow Christ."
13Does Christ take sides? Did Paul die on the cross for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I'm thankful that I didn't baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15No one can say that you were baptized in my name.
16It's true that I also baptized those who live in the house of Stephanas. Besides that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.
17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to preach the good news. He commanded me not to use the kind of wisdom that people commonly use. That would take all the power away from the cross of Christ.
Christ Is God's Power and Wisdom
18The message of the cross seems foolish to those who are lost and dying. But it is God's power to us who are being saved. 19It is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of those who are wise.
I will do away with the cleverness of those who think they are so smart." (Isaiah 29:14)
20Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where are the great thinkers of this world? Hasn't God made the wisdom of the world foolish? 21God wisely planned that the world would not know him through its own wisdom. It pleased God to use the foolish things we preach to save those who believe.
22Jews require miraculous signs. Greeks look for wisdom. 23But we preach about Christ and his death on the cross. That is very hard for Jews to accept. And everyone else thinks it's foolish.
24But there are those God has chosen, both Jews and others. To them Christ is God's power and God's wisdom. 25The foolish things of God are wiser than human wisdom. The weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when God chose you. Not many of you were considered wise by human standards. Not many of you were powerful. Not many of you belonged to 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. 28God chose the things of this world that are common and looked down on. He chose what is not considered to be important to do away with what is considered to be important. 29So no one can brag to God.
30Because of what God has done, you belong to Christ Jesus. He has become God's wisdom for us. He makes us right with God. He makes us holy and sets us free. 31It is written, "The one who brags should brag about what the Lord has done." (Jeremiah 9:24)