1 Corinthians 1
1I am Paul, and this letter is from me. God wanted me to go and tell people about Jesus Christ, so he picked me to be his special worker. And Sosthenes is here with me. He is our Christian friend, and he is helping me write this letter.
2I’m sending this letter to you Christians there in Corinth city. God picked you to be his own special people, and he joined you to Jesus Christ. You are in God’s family now, along with everyone that says to Jesus, “You are my leader.” He is their leader, and he is our leader too.#Acts 18:1
3I’m asking God our father, and Jesus Christ our leader, to be good to you, and to make you feel happy and quiet inside yourselves.
God gives his people lots of good things
4I always thank God for you mob. You belong to Jesus Christ now, and God is really good to you.
5Yes, Jesus Christ gave you everything you need. He lets you know a lot of things, and he gives you the power to tell God’s message to people. 6That shows that the message we told you about Jesus Christ is true. 7You really want our leader, Jesus Christ, to come back from heaven, and while you are waiting for him, you have all the spiritual power that he gives us to do his work. 8God will keep you believing properly in our leader Jesus Christ, and you will stay strong for him until the day when he will come back from heaven. At that time, nobody will be able to blame you or say that you did anything wrong. 9God picked you to be friends of his son, our leader Jesus Christ. And you can trust God, he will keep you strong for Jesus.
Don’t split up to follow different Christian leaders
10My Christian friends, our leader Jesus Christ wants me to say this to you. All you Christians have to agree with each other and stay together. Don’t split up. Please think the same way as each other, and agree together about the right way to follow Jesus.
11You see, my friends, some of Chloe’s mob told me what is going on there in Corinth. They reckon that you are arguing too much with each other and you are splitting into different groups. 12They reckon some of you say, “Paul is our leader,” and others say, “That other man, Apollos, he is our leader,” and others say, “No, not them. Our leader is Peter,” and others say, “Jesus Christ is our leader.”#Acts 18:24
13Listen, that’s not right. Don’t split up into groups like that. If you do that, it’s like you are splitting up Jesus Christ. Stop and think about it. Did I, Paul, die for you on a cross? No way. And when Christian leaders baptised you, when they took you through that special washing ceremony, did they baptise you to show that you belonged to me, Paul? No way. 14-15I thank God that I only baptised a few of you, so none of you can say, “Paul baptised me, so he is my leader.” I only baptised Crispus and Guyus.#Acts 18:8; 19:29; Romans 16:23 16And I just remembered, I baptised Stefanas and his family too. But I can’t remember baptising anyone else.#1 Corinthians 16:15 17You see, Jesus Christ didn’t send me to baptise people. He sent me to tell the good news to people, that Jesus died for them. That message is powerful. God didn’t send me to say smart words to people. That sort of talk is useless. People might just think about my smart words, and not listen to God, and so they will not hear God’s powerful good news.
God shows his power in the message about Jesus
18We tell everybody the message that Jesus died on a cross to save them. Some people hear that message and think it is stupid. Those people’s spirits are finishing up, and they are lost. But other people hear that message and think it is good. You are like that mob, and so are we. We know that message is from God. It tells us that he is using his power to save us. 19It is like God says in his book,
“People might think they are smart, and they might reckon they know everything,
but God shows them that they are not wise, and he will stop them from doing what they are thinking about.”#Isaiah 29:14
20So what does that tell us about the smart people in this world? And what about those people that reckon they properly know the Jewish law? And what about those people that can talk really good, so that they win arguments? None of them get to know God. They leave God out. They don’t think about him, and in the end God shows us that they are all stupid.#Job 12:17; Isaiah 19:12; 33:18; 44:25 21You see, God is properly wise. He knows that most people in this world want to be smart and think up their own ideas about God. But he blocks them, so they will never get to know him that way. Instead, God is happy to save everybody that believes his message. And we tell you that message, even though other people think we are stupid.
22You see, the Jewish people want to see God do something powerful, and then they reckon they will believe him. And other people that are not Jews, they just want to hear about smart ideas. 23But we are not like those people. We tell people about Jesus Christ, and we tell them that he died for them on the cross. The Jewish people can’t understand that. It isn’t what they want, so they don’t believe it. And the other people that are not Jews, they reckon it is stupid, so they don’t believe it. 24But we are different. God has picked us to save us. Some of us are Jews and some of us are not Jews, but when we listen to that message about Jesus Christ it is a powerful message for us. We believe it and God saves us. And we know that God is really wise because he sent Jesus to save us. 25People might reckon that is a stupid thing for God to do, but God’s way is better than the best idea any person ever had. And people might reckon that God is weak, they might reckon that he just let his son die. But they are wrong. God did that to show us that he is stronger than anyone else.
26My Christian friends, remember what you were like before God picked you. Most of you were not the smart sort of people. Most of you were not powerful people. Most of you didn’t belong to important families. 27You see, people in this world reckon you are stupid, but God picked you anyway. He did that to show that those smart people are wrong, and they have to feel shame. Yes, God picked the weak people in this world to show that the powerful people are useless, so they have to feel shame. 28And God picked people from this world that are not great, and people that are like nothing, so that in the end, those other people that reckon they are great, they will become like nothing. 29God does that so that nobody can ever get up in front of God and say, “I’m really good. I’m better than other people.”
30But as for you, God joined you to Jesus Christ. You and us together, Jesus helps us to be wise, like God. And Jesus makes us to be God’s friends, so that he will tell us we are all right. And Jesus makes us God’s own special people too. Jesus died to pay for us and set us free from everything that is wrong. 31So we have to talk the way God tells us to. He says this in his book,
“If you want to talk about great things, don’t talk about yourself,
but talk about God, and tell everyone about the great things that he does.”#Jeremiah 9:24
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1 Corinthians 1
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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