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1Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes the brother,
2to the assembly of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all those calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place--both theirs and ours:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
4I give thanks to my God always concerning you for the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus,
5that in every thing ye were enriched in him, in all discourse and all knowledge,
6according as the testimony of the Christ was confirmed in you,
7so that ye are not behind in any gift, waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8who also shall confirm you unto the end--unblamable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ;
9faithful [is] God, through whom ye were called to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10And I call upon you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that the same thing ye may all say, and there may not be divisions among you, and ye may be perfected in the same mind, and in the same judgment,
11for it was signified to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe, that contentions are among you;
12and I say this, that each one of you saith, `I, indeed, am of Paul' --`and I of Apollos,' --`and I of Cephas,' --`and I of Christ.'
13Hath the Christ been divided? was Paul crucified for you? or to the name of Paul were ye baptized;
14I give thanks to God that no one of you did I baptize, except Crispus and Gaius--
15that no one may say that to my own name I did baptize;
16and I did baptize also Stephanas' household--further, I have not known if I did baptize any other.
17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but--to proclaim good news; not in wisdom of discourse, that the cross of the Christ may not be made of none effect;
18for the word of the cross to those indeed perishing is foolishness, and to us-- those being saved--it is the power of God,
19for it hath been written, `I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the intelligence of the intelligent I will bring to nought;'
20where [is] the wise? where the scribe? where a disputer of this age? did not God make foolish the wisdom of this world?
21for, seeing in the wisdom of God the world through the wisdom knew not God, it did please God through the foolishness of the preaching to save those believing.
22Since also Jews ask a sign, and Greeks seek wisdom,
23also we--we preach Christ crucified, to Jews, indeed, a stumbling-block, and to Greeks foolishness,
24and to those called--both Jews and Greeks--Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God,
25because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men;
26for see your calling, brethren, that not many [are] wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27but the foolish things of the world did God choose, that the wise He may put to shame; and the weak things of the world did God choose that He may put to shame the strong;
28and the base things of the world, and the things despised did God choose, and the things that are not, that the things that are He may make useless--
29that no flesh may glory before Him;
30and of Him ye--ye are in Christ Jesus, who became to us from God wisdom, righteousness also, and sanctification, and redemption,
31that, according as it hath been written, `He who is glorying--in the Lord let him glory.'
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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.