From Paul, called by God’s will to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and from Sosthenes our brother.
To God’s church that is in Corinth:
To those who have been made holy to God in Christ Jesus,
who are called to be God’s people.
Together with all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place—
he’s their Lord and ours!
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving for the Corinthians
I thank my God always for you, because of God’s grace that was given to you in Christ Jesus.
That is, you were made rich through him in everything: in all your communication and every kind of knowledge,
in the same way that the testimony about Christ was confirmed with you.
The result is that you aren’t missing any spiritual gift while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
He will also confirm your testimony about Christ until the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, and you were called by him to partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rival groups in Corinth
Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose.
My brothers and sisters, Chloe’s people gave me some information about you, that you’re fighting with each other.
What I mean is this: That each one of you says,
I belong to Paul,
I belong to Apollos,
I belong to Cephas,
I belong to Christ.
Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you, or were you baptized in Paul’s name?
Thank God that I didn’t baptize any of you, except Crispus and Gaius,
so that nobody can say that you were baptized in my name!
Oh, I baptized the house of Stephanas too. Otherwise, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else.
Christ didn’t send me to baptize but to preach the good news. And Christ didn’t send me to preach the good news with clever words so that Christ’s cross won’t be emptied of its meaning.
Human wisdom versus the cross
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved.
It is written in scripture:
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will reject the intelligence of the intelligent
Where are the wise? Where are the legal experts? Where are today’s debaters? Hasn’t God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching.
Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we preach Christ crucified, which is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
But to those who are called—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom.
This is because the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Look at your situation when you were called, brothers and sisters! By ordinary human standards not many were wise, not many were powerful, not many were from the upper class.
But God chose what the world considers foolish to shame the wise. God chose what the world considers weak to shame the strong.
And God chose what the world considers low-class and low-life—what is considered to be nothing—to reduce what is considered to be something to nothing.
So no human being can brag in God’s presence.
It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. He became wisdom from God for us. This means that he made us righteous and holy, and he delivered us.
This is consistent with what was written:
The one who brags should brag in the Lord!
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I didn’t come preaching God’s secrets to you like I was an expert in speech or wisdom.
I had made up my mind not to think about anything while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and to preach him as crucified.
I stood in front of you with weakness, fear, and a lot of shaking.
My message and my preaching weren’t presented with convincing wise words but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
I did this so that your faith might not depend on the wisdom of people but on the power of God.
Definition of wisdom
What we say is wisdom to people who are mature. It isn’t a wisdom that comes from the present day or from today’s leaders who are being reduced to nothing.
We talk about God’s wisdom, which has been hidden as a secret. God determined this wisdom in advance, before time began, for our glory.
It is a wisdom that none of the present-day rulers have understood, because if they did understand it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory!
But this is precisely what is written:
God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being
God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, including the depths of God.
Who knows a person’s depths except their own spirit that lives in them? In the same way, no one has known the depths of God except God’s Spirit.
We haven’t received the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit so that we can know the things given to us by God.
These are the things we are talking about—not with words taught by human wisdom but with words taught by the Spirit—we are interpreting spiritual things to spiritual people.
But people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way.
Spiritual people comprehend everything, but they themselves aren’t understood by anyone.
Who has known the mind of the Lord, who will advise him?
But we have the mind of Christ.