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1 Corinthians
Love and Truth
Paul’s Greeting
1From Paul, divinely appointed according to the plan of God, to be an apostle of the Anointed One, Jesus. Our fellow believer Sosthenes joins me 2in writing you this letter addressed to the community of God throughout the city of Corinth. For you have been made pure, set apart in the Anointed One, Jesus. And God has invited you to be his devoted and holy people, and not only you, but everyone everywhere who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord, and ours also.
3May joyous grace and endless peace be yours continually from our Father God and from our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!
Made Wonderfully Rich
4I am always thanking my God for you because he has given you such free and open access to his grace through your union with Jesus, the Messiah. 5In him you have been made extravagantly rich in every way. You have been endowed with a wealth of inspired utterance and the riches that come from your intimate knowledge of him. 6For the reality of the truth of Christ is seen among you and strengthened through your experience of him. 7So now you aren’t lacking any spiritual gift as you eagerly await the unveiling of the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. 8He will keep you steady and strong to the very end, making your character mature so that you will be found innocent on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is forever faithful and can be trusted to do this in you, for he has invited you to co-share the life of his Son, Jesus, the Anointed One, our King!
Paul Addresses Divisions in the Church
10I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Be restored as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values.
11My dear brothers and sisters, I have a serious concern I need to bring up with you, for I have been informed by those of Chloe’s house church that you have been destructively arguing among yourselves. 12And I need to bring this up because each of you is claiming loyalty to different preachers. Some are saying, “I am a disciple of Paul,” or, “I follow Apollos,” or, “I am a disciple of Peter the Rock,” and some, “I belong only to Christ.” 13But let me ask you, is Christ divided up into groups? Did I die on the cross for you? At your baptism did you pledge yourselves to follow Paul?
14Thank God I only baptized two from Corinth—Crispus and Gaius! 15So now no one can say that in my name I baptized others. 16(Yes, I also baptized Stephanus and his family. Other than that, I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) 17For the Anointed One has sent me on a mission, not to see how many I could baptize, but to proclaim the good news. And I declare this message stripped of all philosophical arguments that empty the cross of its true power. For I trust in the all-sufficient cross of Christ alone.
The True Power of the Cross
18To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. 19For it is written:
I will dismantle the wisdom of the wise
and I will invalidate the intelligence of the scholars.
20So where is the wise philosopher who understands? Where is the expert scholar who comprehends? And where is the skilled debater of our time who could win a debate with God? Hasn’t God demonstrated that the wisdom of this world system is utter foolishness?
21For in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross in order to save those who believe it. 22For the Jews constantly demand to see miraculous signs, while those who are not Jews constantly cling to the world’s wisdom, 23but we preach the crucified Messiah. The Jews stumble over him and the rest of the world sees him as foolishness. 24But for those who have been chosen to follow him, both Jews and Greeks, he is God’s mighty power, God’s true wisdom, and our Messiah. 25For the “foolish” things of God have proven to be wiser than human wisdom. And the “feeble” things of God have proven to be far more powerful than any human ability.
God’s Calling
26Brothers and sisters, consider who you were when God called you to salvation. Not many of you were wise scholars by human standards, nor were many of you in positions of power. Not many of you were considered the elite when you answered God’s call. 27But God chose those whom the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise, and God chose the puny and powerless to shame the high and mighty. 28He chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that he would shame the somebodies. For he chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent, 29so that there would be no place for prideful boasting in God’s presence. 30For it is not from man that we draw our life but from God as we are being joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. And now he is our God-given wisdom, our virtue, our holiness, and our redemption. 31And this fulfills what is written:
If anyone boasts, let him only boast
in all that the Lord has done!
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1This letter comes from Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the will of God, and from Sosthenes, our brother. 2It is sent to the church of God in Corinth, those who are being made right in Christ Jesus, called to live holy lives—and to everyone who worships the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere, the Lord both of them and of us.
3May you have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I’m always thanking God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus. 5Through him you have been made rich in everything, in all that you say and every aspect of what you know. 6In fact the testimony of Christ was proved valid in your experience, 7so that you’re not missing any spiritual gift as you wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also keep you strong to the very end, so you will be kept right until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is trustworthy who called you to share together in fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10Brothers and sisters, I plead with you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all agree and that you’re not divided. Instead develop a united attitude and purpose. 11For I have been told things about you, my brothers and sisters, by some of Chloe’s people—that you are quarreling among yourselves. 12Let me explain what I mean. You’re all making different claims: “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided? Did Paul die on a cross for you? Was it in the name of Paul that you were baptized?
14I’m grateful to God that I didn’t baptize any of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15so nobody can claim they were baptized in my name. 16(Oh, and I also baptized the Stephanas family—I can’t think of anyone else). 17For Christ didn’t send me out to baptize, but to spread the good news, and not with eloquent human wisdom, otherwise the cross of Christ would be made powerless.#1:17. Or “ineffectual.” Literally, “emptied.”
18For the message of the cross is nonsense to those who are lost, but it’s the power of God to those of us who are saved. 19As Scripture says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will wipe out the cleverness of the clever.”#1:19. Probably referencing Isaiah 29:14.
20So how about the wise, the writers, and the philosophers of this age? Hasn’t God turned the wisdom of this world into foolishness? 21Since God in his wisdom allowed the world in its wisdom not to know God, it was God’s gracious plan that by the foolishness of the good news those who trusted in him would be saved. 22The Jews ask for miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but our message is of Christ killed on a cross—offensive to the Jews, and foolishness to the foreigners. 24However for those who are called by God, both Jews and foreigners, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than we are; and the weakness of God is stronger than we are.
26Brothers and sisters, remember your calling—and that this did not include many who are wise, humanly speaking; not many who are powerful; not many who are important. 27Instead God chose the things the world considers foolish to humiliate those who think they are wise. He chose the things the world considers weak to humiliate those who think they are strong. 28He chose the things that are unimportant and despised by the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,#1:28. This complicated verse is really saying that God uses things and people not viewed as important by this world to demonstrate what really is important. 29so that nobody should boast in God’s presence.
30It’s because of him that you live in Christ Jesus, who God made to be wisdom for us. He sets us right, keeps us right, and frees us. 31So as Scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast, let them boast in the Lord.”#1:31. Referencing Jer. 9:23.