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Greeting
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2to the church of God sanctified in Christ Jesus that is in Corinth,#Some manuscripts have “to the church of God that is in Corinth, sanctified in Christ Jesus” called to be saints, together with all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord#*Here “Lord” must be supplied to indicate the referent; otherwise this could be understood as “their place and ours” and ours. 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving for the Corinthian Believers
4I give thanks to my God always concerning you, because of the grace of God which was given to you in Christ Jesus, 5that#*Or “because”; the conjunction either (1) introduces a content clause (“that”) giving the content of Paul’s thanks, or (2) introduces a causal clause (“because”) giving the reason for Paul’s thanks in everything you were made rich in him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed in you, 7so that you do not lack in any spiritual gift as you#*Here “as” is supplied as a component of the participle (“eagerly await”) which is understood as temporal eagerly await the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8who will also confirm you until the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, by whom you were called to fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church at Corinth
10Now I exhort you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all say the same thing and there not be divisions among you, and that you be made complete in the same mind and with the same purpose. 11For it has been made clear to me concerning you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people#Literally “those of Chloe”, that there are quarrels among you. 12But I say this, that each of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” and “I am with Apollos,” and “I am with Cephas,” and “I am with Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he?#*The negative construction in Greek anticipates a negative answer here Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I give thanks#Some manuscripts have “I give thanks to God” that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15lest anyone should say that you were baptized in my name. 16(Now I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Beyond that I do not know if I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim the gospel, not with clever speech#Literally “wisdom of word”, lest the cross of Christ be emptied.
Christ Crucified, the Power and Wisdom of God
18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the intelligence of the intelligent I will confound.”#A quotation from Isa 29:14
20Where is the wise person? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. 22For indeed, Jews ask for sign miracles and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a cause for stumbling, but to the Gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,#Literally “man” and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.#Literally “man”
Boast in the Lord
26For consider your calling, brothers, that not many were wise according to human standards,#Literally “according to flesh” not many were powerful, not many were well born. 27But the foolish things of the world God chose in order that he might put to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world God chose in order that he might put to shame the strong, 28and the insignificant of the world, and the despised, God chose, the things that are not, in order that he might abolish the things that are, 29so that all flesh may not boast before God. 30But from him you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31so that, just as it is written, “The one who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”#A quotation from Jer 9:24
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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)