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1From: Sha’ul, called by God’s will to be an emissary of the Messiah Yeshua; and from brother Sosthenes
2To: God’s Messianic community in Corinth, consisting of those who have been set apart by Yeshua the Messiah and called to be God’s holy people — along with everyone everywhere who calls on the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, their Lord as well as ours:
3Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
4I thank my God always for you because of God’s love and kindness given to you through the Messiah Yeshua, 5in that you have been enriched by him in so many ways, particularly in power of speech and depth of knowledge. 6Indeed, the testimony about the Messiah has become firmly established in you; 7so that you are not lacking any spiritual gift and are eagerly awaiting the revealing of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 8He will enable you to hold out until the end and thus be blameless on the Day of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah — 9God is trustworthy: it was he who called you into fellowship with his Son, Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord.
10Nevertheless, brothers, I call on you in the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah to agree, all of you, in what you say, and not to let yourselves remain split into factions but be restored to having a common mind and a common purpose. 11For some of Chloe’s people have made it known to me, my brothers, that there are quarrels among you. 12I say this because one of you says, “I follow Sha’ul”; another says, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Kefa”; while still another says, “I follow the Messiah!” 13Has the Messiah been split in pieces? Was it Sha’ul who was put to death on a stake for you? Were you immersed into the name of Sha’ul? 14I thank God that I didn’t immerse any of you except Crispus and Gaius — 15otherwise someone might say that you were indeed immersed into my name. 16(Oh yes, I did also immerse Stephanas and his household; beyond that, I can’t remember whether I immersed anyone else.)
17For the Messiah did not send me to immerse but to proclaim the Good News — and to do it without relying on “wisdom” that consists of mere rhetoric, so as not to rob the Messiah’s execution-stake of its power. 18For the message about the execution-stake is nonsense to those in the process of being destroyed, but to us in the process of being saved it is the power of God. 19Indeed, the Tanakh says,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and frustrate the intelligence of the intelligent.”
20Where does that leave the philosopher, the Torah-teacher, or any of today’s thinkers? Hasn’t God made this world’s wisdom look pretty foolish? 21For God’s wisdom ordained that the world, using its own wisdom, would not come to know him. Therefore God decided to use the “nonsense” of what we proclaim as his means of saving those who come to trust in it. 22Precisely because Jews ask for signs and Greeks try to find wisdom, 23we go on proclaiming a Messiah executed on a stake as a criminal! To Jews this is an obstacle, and to Greeks it is nonsense; 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, this same Messiah is God’s power and God’s wisdom! 25For God’s “nonsense” is wiser than humanity’s “wisdom.”
And God’s “weakness” is stronger than humanity’s “strength.” 26Just look at yourselves, brothers — look at those whom God has called! Not many of you are wise by the world’s standards, not many wield power or boast noble birth. 27But God chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise; God chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the strong; 28and God chose what the world looks down on as common or regards as nothing in order to bring to nothing what the world considers important; 29so that no one should boast before God. 30It is his doing that you are united with the Messiah Yeshua. He has become wisdom for us from God, and righteousness and holiness and redemption as well! 31Therefore — as the Tanakh says — “Let anyone who wants to boast, boast about Adonai.”
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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.