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1 Corinthians 1

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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.
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1I am Paul, and this letter is from me. God wanted me to go and tell people about Jesus Christ, so he picked me to be his special worker. And Sosthenes is here with me. He is our Christian friend, and he is helping me write this letter.
2I’m sending this letter to you Christians there in Corinth city. God picked you to be his own special people, and he joined you to Jesus Christ. You are in God’s family now, along with everyone that says to Jesus, “You are my leader.” He is their leader, and he is our leader too.#Acts 18:1
3I’m asking God our father, and Jesus Christ our leader, to be good to you, and to make you feel happy and quiet inside yourselves.
God gives his people lots of good things
4I always thank God for you mob. You belong to Jesus Christ now, and God is really good to you.
5Yes, Jesus Christ gave you everything you need. He lets you know a lot of things, and he gives you the power to tell God’s message to people. 6That shows that the message we told you about Jesus Christ is true. 7You really want our leader, Jesus Christ, to come back from heaven, and while you are waiting for him, you have all the spiritual power that he gives us to do his work. 8God will keep you believing properly in our leader Jesus Christ, and you will stay strong for him until the day when he will come back from heaven. At that time, nobody will be able to blame you or say that you did anything wrong. 9God picked you to be a friend of his son, our leader Jesus Christ. And you can trust God, he will keep you strong for Jesus.
Don’t split up to follow different Christian leaders
10My Christian friends, our leader Jesus Christ wants me to say this to you. All you Christians have to agree with each other and stay together. Don’t split up. Please think the same way as each other, and agree together about the right way to follow Jesus.
11You see, my friends, some of Chloe’s mob told me what is going on there in Corinth. They reckon that you are arguing too much with each other and you are splitting into different groups. 12They reckon some of you say, “Paul is our leader,” and others say, “That other man, Apollos, he is our leader,” and others say, “No, not them. Our leader is Peter,” and others say, “Jesus Christ is our leader.”#Acts 18:24
13Listen, that’s not right. Don’t split up into groups like that. If you do that, it’s like you are splitting up Jesus Christ. Stop and think about it. Did I, Paul, die for you on a cross? No way. And when Christian leaders baptised you, when they took you through that special washing ceremony, did they baptise you to show that you belonged to me, Paul? No way. 14-15I thank God that I only baptised a few of you, so, none of you can say, “Paul baptised me, so he is my leader.” I only baptised Crispus and Guyus.#Acts 18:8; 19:29; Romans 16:23 16And I just remembered, I baptised Stefanas and his family too. But I can’t remember baptising anyone else.#1 Corinthians 16:15 17You see, Jesus Christ didn’t send me to baptise people. He sent me to tell the good news to people, that Jesus died for them. That message is powerful. God didn’t send me to say smart words to people. That sort of talk is useless. People might just think about my smart words, and not listen to God, and so they will not hear God’s powerful good news.
God shows his power in the message about Jesus
18We tell everybody the message that Jesus died on a cross to save them. Some people hear that message and think it is stupid. Those people’s spirits are finishing up, and they are lost. But other people hear that message and think it is good. You are like that mob, and so are we. We know that message is from God. It tells us that he is using his power to save us. 19It is like God says in his book,
“People might think they are smart, and they might reckon they know everything,
but God shows them that they are not wise, and he will stop them from doing what they are thinking about.”#Isaiah 29:14
20So what does that tell us about the smart people in this world? And what about those people that reckon they properly know the Jewish law? And what about those people that can talk really good, so that they win arguments? None of them get to know God. They leave God out. They don’t think about him, and in the end God shows us that they are all stupid.#Job 12:17; Isaiah 19:12; 33:18; 44:25 21You see, God is properly wise. He knows that most people in this world want to be smart and think up their own ideas about God. But he blocks them, so they will never get to know him that way. Instead, God is happy to save everybody that believes his message. And we tell you that message, even though other people think we are stupid.
22You see, the Jewish people want to see God do something powerful, and then they reckon they will believe him. And other people that are not Jews, they just want to hear about smart ideas. 23But we are not like those people. We tell people about Jesus Christ, and we tell them that he died for them on the cross. The Jewish people can’t understand that. It isn’t what they want, so they don’t believe it. And the other people that are not Jews, they reckon it is stupid, so they don’t believe it. 24But we are different. God has picked us to save us. Some of us are Jews and some of us are not Jews, but when we listen to that message about Jesus Christ it is a powerful message for us. We believe it and God saves us. And we know that God is really wise because he sent Jesus to save us. 25People might reckon that is a stupid thing for God to do, but God’s way is better than the best idea any person ever had. And people might reckon that God is weak, they might reckon that he just let his son die. But they are wrong. God did that to show us that he is stronger than anyone else.
26My Christian friends, remember what you were like before God picked you. Most of you were not the smart sort of people. Most of you were not powerful people. Most of you didn’t belong to important families. 27You see, people in this world reckon you are stupid, but God picked you anyway. He did that to show that those smart people are wrong, and they have to feel shame. Yes, God picked the weak people in this world to show that the powerful people are useless, so they have to feel shame. 28And God picked people from this world that are not great, and people that are like nothing, so that in the end, those other people that reckon they are great, they will become like nothing. 29God does that so that nobody can ever get up in front of God and say, “I’m really good. I’m better than other people.”
30But as for you, God joined you to Jesus Christ. You and us together, Jesus helps us to be wise, like God. And Jesus makes us to be God’s friends, so that he will tell us we are all right. And Jesus makes us God’s own special people too. Jesus died to pay for us and set us free from everything that is wrong. 31So we have to talk the way God tells us to. He says this in his book,
“If you want to talk about great things, don’t talk about yourself,
but talk about God, and tell everyone about the great things that he does.”#Jeremiah 9:24