Appeal to Unity
1Paul, called as an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and our brother [a]Sosthenes,
2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified (set apart, made holy) in Christ Jesus, who are selected and called as saints (God’s people), together with all those who in every place call on and honor the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 so that in everything you were [exceedingly] enriched in Him, in all speech [empowered by the spiritual gifts] and in all knowledge [with insight into the faith]. 6 In this way our testimony about Christ was confirmed and established in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift [which comes from the Holy Spirit], as you eagerly wait [with confident trust] for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ [when He returns]. 8 And He will also confirm you to the end [keeping you strong and free of any accusation, so that you will be] blameless and beyond reproach in the day [of the return] of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful [He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on], and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 But I urge you, believers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in full agreement in what you say, and that there be no divisions or factions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your way of thinking and in your judgment [about matters of the faith]. 11 For I have been informed about you, my brothers and sisters, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are quarrels and factions among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I am [a disciple] of Paul,” or “I am [a disciple] of Apollos,” or “I am [a disciple] of Cephas (Peter),” or “I am [a disciple] of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided [into different parts]? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? [Certainly not!] 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say that you were baptized into my name. 16 Now I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know if I baptized anyone else. 17 For Christ did not send me [as an apostle] to baptize, but [commissioned and empowered me] to preach the good news [of salvation]—not with clever and eloquent speech [as an orator], so that the cross of Christ would not be [b]made ineffective [deprived of its saving power].
The Wisdom of God
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God. 19 For it is written and forever remains written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise [the philosophy of the philosophers],
And the cleverness of the clever [who do not know Me] I will nullify.”
20 Where is the wise man (philosopher)? Where is the scribe (scholar)? Where is the debater (logician, orator) of this age? Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world’s wisdom? 21 For since the world through all its [earthly] wisdom failed to recognize God, God in His wisdom was well-pleased through the [c]foolishness of the message preached [regarding salvation] to save those who believe [in Christ and welcome Him as Savior]. 22 For Jews demand signs (attesting miracles), and Greeks pursue [worldly] wisdom and philosophy, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, [a message which is] to Jews a stumbling block [that provokes their opposition], and to Gentiles foolishness [just utter nonsense], 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 [This is] because the foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort].
26 Just look at your own calling, believers; not many [of you were considered] wise according to human standards, not many powerful or influential, not many of high and noble birth. 27 But God has selected [for His purpose] the foolish things of the world to shame the wise [revealing their ignorance], and God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty]. 28 God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are, 29 so that no one may [be able to] boast in the presence of God. 30 But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin], 31 so then, as it is written [in Scripture], “He who boasts and glories, let him boast and glory in the Lord.”
- 1 Corinthians 1:1 This man may have served as secretary to Paul to record his dictation, and may be the synagogue leader mentioned in Acts 18:17.
- 1 Corinthians 1:17 Paul may be referring to the danger that convincing people to become Christians by the use of clever rhetoric would result in false conversions (cf 2:5).
- 1 Corinthians 1:21 The straightforward message of salvation seemed foolish to unbelievers.