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1From Paul, who was called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes —
2 # Acts 18.1 To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Blessings in Christ
4I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. 5For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. 6The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you 7that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
10By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my brothers and sisters, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose. 11For some people from Chloe's family have told me quite plainly, my friends, that there are quarrels among you. 12#Acts 18.24Let me put it this way: each one of you says something different. One says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; and another, “I follow Christ”. 13Christ has been divided#1.13 Christ has been divided; some manuscripts have Christ cannot be divided. into groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptized as Paul's disciples?
14 # Acts 18.8; 19.29; Rom 16.23 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15No one can say, then, that you were baptized as my disciples. 16#1 Cor 16.15(Oh yes, I also baptized Stephanas and his family; but I can't remember whether I baptized anyone else.) 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power.
Christ the Power and the Wisdom of God
18For the message about Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God's power. 19#Is 29.14 (LXX)The scripture says:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and set aside the understanding of the scholars.”
20 # Job 12.17; Is 19.12; 33.18; 44.25 So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skilful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world's wisdom is foolishness!
21For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. 22Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. 23As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; 24but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For what seems to be God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
26Now remember what you were, my brothers and sisters, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28He chose what the world looks down on and despises, and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29This means that no one can boast in God's presence. 30But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God's holy people and are set free. 31#Jer 9.24So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”
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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)