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1 Corinthians 1

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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.”

1 Corinthians 1

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1Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2to the assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I always thank my God concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; 5that in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge; 6even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for 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, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 10Now I beg you, brothers,#The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.” through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” and, “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name. 16(I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t know whether I baptized any other.) 17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News—not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ wouldn’t be made void. 18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”#Isaiah 29:14
20Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. 22For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; 27but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: 29that no flesh should boast before God. 30Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”#Jeremiah 9:24