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1Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ, by God's will, and Sosthenes the brother, 2to the assembly of God which is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all that in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both theirs and ours: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I thank my God always about you, in respect of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus; 5that in everything ye have been enriched in him, in all word of doctrine, and all knowledge, 6(according as the testimony of the Christ has been confirmed in you,) 7so that ye come short in no gift, awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; 8who shall also confirm you to the end, unimpeachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, by whom ye have been called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all say the same thing, and that there be not among you divisions; but that ye be perfectly united in the same mind and in the same opinion. 11For it has been shewn to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of the house of Chloe, that there are strifes among you. 12But I speak of this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. 13Is the Christ divided? has Paul been crucified for you? or have ye been baptised unto the name of Paul?
14I thank God that I have baptised none of you, unless Crispus and Gaius, 15that no one may say that I have baptised unto my own name. 16Yes, I baptised also the house of Stephanas; for the rest I know not if I have baptised any other.
17For Christ has not sent me to baptise, but to preach glad tidings; not in wisdom of word, that the cross of the Christ may not be made vain. 18For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to us that are saved it is God's power. 19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and set aside the understanding of the understanding ones. 20Where is the wise? where scribe? where disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom has not known God, God has been pleased by the foolishness of the preaching to save those that believe. 22Since Jews indeed ask for signs, and Greeks seek wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness; 24but to those that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ God's power and God's wisdom. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For consider your calling, brethren, that there are not many wise according to flesh, not many powerful, not many high-born. 27But God has chosen the foolish things of the world, that he may put to shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world, that he may put to shame the strong things; 28and the ignoble things of the world, and the despised, has God chosen, and things that are not, that he may annul the things that are; 29so that no flesh should boast before God. 30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who has been made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption; 31that according as it is written, He that boasts, let him boast 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.