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1 Corinthians 1

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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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1-2I, Paul, have been called and sent by Jesus, the Messiah, according to God’s plan, along with my friend Sosthenes. I send this letter to you in God’s church at Corinth, believers cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life. I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live. He’s their Master as well as ours!
3May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours.
4-6Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
7-9Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.
The Cross: The Irony of God’s Wisdom
10I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.
11-12I bring this up because some from Chloe’s family brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.”
13-16I ask you, “Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul’s name?” I was not involved with any of your baptisms—except for Crispus and Gaius—and on getting this report, I’m sure glad I wasn’t. At least no one can go around saying he was baptized in my name. (Come to think of it, I also baptized Stephanas’s family, but as far as I can recall, that’s it.)
17God didn’t send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn’t send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.
18-21The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,
I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered stupid—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.
22-25While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”
26-31Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”