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1 Corinthians 1

1
Greeting
1Paul, #See Rom. 1:1 called #2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those #ch. 6:11; [ver. 30]; See John 17:19 sanctified in Christ Jesus, #See Rom. 1:7 called to be saints together with all those who in every place #See Acts 9:14call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3 # [See ver. 2 above] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving
4I #See Rom. 1:8give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5that in every way #2 Cor. 9:11; [2 Cor. 6:10] you were enriched in him in all #2 Cor. 8:7; [ch. 12:8]; See Rom. 15:14; 1 John 2:20speech and all knowledge— 6even as #2 Tim. 1:8; [2 Thess. 1:10; 1 Tim. 2:6; Rev. 1:2]the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you #Rom. 8:19; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 9:28; See Luke 17:30; 2 Pet. 3:12wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8#[Phil. 1:6; 1 Thess. 3:13] who will sustain you to the end, #Col. 1:22 guiltless #ch. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 2:16; [Luke 17:24]in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9#ch. 10:13; Deut. 7:9; Isa. 49:7; 2 Cor. 1:18 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the #1 John 1:3fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
10I appeal to you, brothers,#1:10 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 11, 26 by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no #ch. 11:18 divisions among you, but that you be united #[Phil. 1:27]in the same mind and the same judgment. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is #ch. 3:3quarreling among you, my brothers. 12What I mean is that #ch. 3:4; [Matt. 23:9, 10] each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow #See Acts 18:24 Apollos,” or “I follow #See John 1:42Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13#[ch. 12:5; 2 Cor. 11:4; Eph. 4:5] Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you #See Acts 8:16baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except #Acts 18:8 Crispus and #See Rom. 16:23Gaius, 15so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also #ch. 16:15, 17the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and #ch. 2:1, 4, 13; [2 Cor. 10:10; 11:6; 2 Pet. 1:16]not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
18For the word of the cross is #ver. 21, 23, 25; ch. 2:14 folly to #2 Cor. 2:15; 4:3; 2 Thess. 2:10 those who are perishing, but to us #ch. 15:2; [Acts 2:47] who are being saved it is #Rom. 1:16; [ver. 24]the power of God. 19For it is written,
# Cited from Isa. 29:14; [Job 5:12, 13; Jer. 8:9; Matt. 11:25] “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 # Isa. 19:12 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? #ch. 2:6; 3:19; Isa. 44:25; Rom. 1:22; [ver. 26]Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach#1:21 Or the folly of preaching to save those who believe. 22For #See Matt. 12:38Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ #Gal. 5:11; See 1 Pet. 2:8crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ #[ver. 18] the power of God and #ver. 30; Col. 2:3; [Luke 11:49]the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For consider your calling, brothers: #ch. 2:8; John 7:48; [ver. 20]; See Matt. 11:25not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,#1:26 Greek according to the flesh not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But #James 2:5 God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; #Ps. 8:2God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even #Rom. 4:17 things that are not, to #ch. 2:6; [Job 34:19, 24]bring to nothing things that are, 29so #Eph. 2:9; [Judg. 7:2]that no human being#1:29 Greek no flesh might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him#1:30 Greek And from him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us #[ver. 24] wisdom from God, #Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:16; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9 righteousness and #[ver. 2] sanctification and #Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; [Rom. 3:24]redemption, 31so that, as it is written, #2 Cor. 10:17; [Jer. 9:23, 24]“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1
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.”