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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.
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1Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours:
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving
4I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in him you have been enriched in every way – with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge – 6God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
A church divided over leaders
10I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,#1:10 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verses 11 and 26; and in 2:1; 3:1; 4:6; 6:8; 7:24, 29; 10:1; 11:33; 12:1; 14:6, 20, 26, 39; 15:1, 6, 50, 58; 16:15, 20. in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: one of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas#1:12 That is, Peter’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’
13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I did not baptise any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so no-one can say that you were baptised in my name. 16(Yes, I also baptised the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptised anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel – not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Christ crucified is God’s power and wisdom
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’#1:19 Isaiah 29:14
20Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, 29so that no-one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’#1:31 Jer. 9:24