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1 Corinthians 1

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Greeting
1From Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and from Sosthenes, our brother in the Christian faith.
2To God’s church that was made holy by Christ Jesus and called to be God’s holy people in the city of Corinth and to people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3Good will  #1:3 Or “Grace.” and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are yours!
4I always thank God for you because Christ Jesus has shown you God’s good will. 5Through Christ Jesus you have become rich in every way—in speech and knowledge of every kind. 6Our message about Christ has been verified among you. 7Therefore, you don’t lack any gift as you wait eagerly for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will continue to give you strength until the end so that no one can accuse you of anything on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God faithfully keeps his promises. He called you to be partners with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
God’s Wisdom Is Better Than the World’s Wisdom
10Brothers and sisters, I encourage all of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to agree with each other and not to split into opposing groups. I want you to be united in your understanding and opinions. 11Brothers and sisters, some people from Chloe’s family have made it clear to me that you are quarreling among yourselves. 12This is what I mean: Each of you is saying, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,”  #1:12 Cephas is the Aramaic name for the Apostle Peter. or “I follow Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in Paul’s name? 14I thank God that  #1:14 A few of the older manuscripts read “I am thankful that.” I didn’t baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius 15so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. 16I also baptized Stephanas and his family. Beyond that, I’m not sure whether I baptized anyone else. 17Christ didn’t send me to baptize. Instead, he sent me to spread the Good News. I didn’t use intellectual arguments. That would have made the cross of Christ lose its meaning.
18The message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. 19Scripture says,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.
I will reject the intelligence of intelligent people.”
20Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the persuasive speaker of our time? Hasn’t God turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense? 21The world with its wisdom was unable to recognize God in terms of his own wisdom. So God decided to use the nonsense of the Good News we speak to save those who believe. 22Jews ask for miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but our message is that Christ was crucified. This offends Jewish people and makes no sense to people who are not Jewish. 24But to those Jews and Greeks who are called, he is Christ, God’s power and God’s wisdom. 25God’s nonsense is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
26Brothers and sisters, consider what you were when God called you to be Christians. Not many of you were wise from a human point of view. You were not in powerful positions or in the upper social classes. 27But God chose what the world considers nonsense to put wise people to shame. God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame. 28God chose what the world considers ordinary and what it despises—what it considers to be nothing—in order to destroy what it considers to be something. 29As a result, no one can brag in God’s presence. 30You are partners with Christ Jesus because of God. Jesus has become our wisdom sent from God, our approval, our holiness, and our ransom from sin. 31As Scripture says, “Whoever brags must brag about what the Lord has done.”
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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.”