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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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Paul's greeting and prayer
1From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Sosthenes, who is also a follower.
2To God's church in Corinth. Christ Jesus chose you to be his very own people, and you worship in his name, as we and all others do who call him Lord.#Ac 18.1.
3My prayer is that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
4I never stop thanking my God for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, 5who helps you speak and understand so well. 6Now you are certain that everything we told you about our Lord Christ Jesus is true. 7You are not missing out on any blessings, as you wait for him to return. 8And until the day Christ does return, he will keep you completely innocent. 9God can be trusted, and he chose you to be partners with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
A call for unity
Taking sides
10My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don't take sides. Always try to agree in what you think. 11Several people from Chloe's family#1.11 family: Family members and possibly slaves and others who may have lived in the house. have already reported to me that you keep arguing with each other. 12They have said that some of you claim to follow me, while others claim to follow Apollos or Peter#1.12 Peter: The Greek text has “Cephas”, which is an Aramaic name meaning “rock”. Peter is the Greek name with the same meaning. or Christ.#Ac 18.24.
13Has Christ been divided up? Was I nailed to a cross for you? Were you baptized in my name? 14I thank God#1.14 I thank God: Some manuscripts have “I thank my God”. that I didn't baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius.#Ac 18.8; Ac 19.29; Ro 16.23. 15Not one of you can say that you were baptized in my name. 16I did baptize the family#1.16 family: See the note at 1.11. of Stephanas, but I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.#1 Co 16.15. 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power.
Christ is God's power and wisdom
18The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work. 19As God says in the Scriptures,#Is 29.14 (LXX).
“I will destroy the wisdom
of all who claim
to be wise.
I will confuse those
who think they know
so much.”
20What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn't God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish?#Job 12.17; Is 19.12; 33.18; Is 44.25. 21God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him.
Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. 22Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. 23But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. 24Our message is God's power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen. 25Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else.
26My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn't think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. 27But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame.
28What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important. 29God did all this to keep anyone from boasting to him. 30You are God's children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. 31So if you want to boast, do what the Scriptures say and boast about the Lord.#Jr 9.24.