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1 Paul, called as an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God; and Sosthenes, a brother:
2 to the Church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints with all who are invoking the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place of theirs and of ours.
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I give thanks to my God continuously for you because of the grace of God that has been given to you in Christ Jesus.
5 By that grace, in all things, you have become wealthy in him, in every word and in all knowledge.
6 And so, the testimony of Christ has been strengthened in you.
7 In this way, nothing is lacking to you in any grace, as you await the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 And he, too, will strengthen you, even until the end, without guilt, until the day of the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful. Through him, you have been called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 And so, I beg you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that every one of you speak in the same way, and that there be no schisms among you. So may you become perfect, with the same mind and with the same judgment.
11 For it has been indicated to me, about you, my brothers, by those who are with Chloes, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now I say this because each of you is saying: "Certainly, I am of Paul;" "But I am of Apollo;" "Truly, I am of Cephas;" as well as: "I am of Christ."
13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I give thanks to God that I have baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius,
15 lest anyone say that you have been baptized in my name.
16 And I also baptized the household of Stephanus. Other than these, I do not recall if I baptized any others.
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelize: not through the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ become empty.
18 For the Word of the Cross is certainly foolishness to those who are perishing. But to those who have been saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.
19 For it has been written: "I will perish the wisdom of the wise, and I will reject the discernment of the prudent."
20 Where are the wise? Where are the scribes? Where are the truth-seekers of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of this world into foolishness?
21 For the world did not know God through wisdom, and so, in the wisdom of God, it pleased God to accomplish the salvation of believers, through the foolishness of our preaching.
22 For the Jews ask for signs, and the Greeks seek wisdom.
23 But we are preaching Christ crucified. Certainly, to the Jews, this is a scandal, and to the Gentiles, this is foolishness.
24 But to those who have been called, Jews as well as Greeks, the Christ is the virtue of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For what is foolishness to God is considered wise by men, and that which is weakness to God is considered strong by men.
26 So take care of your vocation, brothers. For not many are wise according to the flesh, not many are powerful, not many are noble.
27 But God has chosen the foolish of the world, so that he may confound the wise. And God has chosen the weak of the world, so that he may confound the strong.
28 And God has chosen the ignoble and contemptible of the world, those who are nothing, so that he may reduce to nothing those who are something.
29 So then, nothing that is of the flesh should glory in his sight.
30 But you are of him in Christ Jesus, who was made by God to be our wisdom and justice and sanctification and redemption.
31 And so, in the same way, it was written: "Whoever glories, should glory in the Lord."
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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.