11From Paul, who was called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes —
To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
4I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. 5For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. 6The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you 7that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
10By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my brothers and sisters, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose. 11For some people from Chloe's family have told me quite plainly, my friends, that there are quarrels among you. 12
Let me put it this way: each one of you says something different. One says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; and another, “I follow Christ”. 13Christ has been divided1.13 Christ has been divided; some manuscripts have Christ cannot be divided. into groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptized as Paul's disciples?
I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15No one can say, then, that you were baptized as my disciples. 16
(Oh yes, I also baptized Stephanas and his family; but I can't remember whether I baptized anyone else.) 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power.
18For the message about Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God's power. 19
The scripture says:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and set aside the understanding of the scholars.”20
21For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. 22Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. 23As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; 24but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For what seems to be God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
26Now remember what you were, my brothers and sisters, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28He chose what the world looks down on and despises, and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29This means that no one can boast in God's presence. 30But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God's holy people and are set free. 31
So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”
21When I came to you, my brothers and sisters, to preach God's secret truth,2.1 God's secret truth; some manuscripts have the testimony about God. I did not use big words and great learning. 2For while I was with you, I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and especially his death on the cross. 3
So when I came to you, I was weak and trembled all over with fear, 4and my teaching and message were not delivered with skilful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God's Spirit. 5Your faith, then, does not rest on human wisdom but on God's power.
6Yet I do proclaim a message of wisdom to those who are spiritually mature. But it is not the wisdom that belongs to this world or to the powers that rule this world — powers that are losing their power. 7The wisdom I proclaim is God's hidden wisdom, which he had already chosen for our glory even before the world was made. 8None of the rulers of this world knew this wisdom. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9
However, as the scripture says:
“What no one ever saw or heard,
what no one ever thought could happen,
is the very thing God prepared for those who love him.”10But2.10 But; some manuscripts have For. it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, even the hidden depths of God's purposes. 11It is only the spirit within people that knows all about them; in the same way, only God's Spirit knows all about God. 12We have not received this world's spirit; instead, we have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us.
13So then, we do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit.2.13 to those who have the Spirit; or with words given by the Spirit. 14Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God's Spirit. Such people really do not understand them; they are nonsense to them, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis. 15Whoever has the Spirit, however, is able to judge the value of everything, but no one is able to judge him. 16
As the scripture says:
“Who knows the mind of the Lord?
Who is able to give him advice?”We, however, have the mind of Christ.
31As a matter of fact, my brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as I talk to people who have the Spirit; I had to talk to you as though you belonged to this world, as children in the Christian faith. 2
I had to feed you with milk, not solid food, because you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready for it, 3because you still live as the people of this world live. When there is jealousy among you and you quarrel with one another, doesn't this prove that you belong to this world, living by its standards? 4
When one of you says, “I follow Paul”, and another, “I follow Apollos” — aren't you acting like worldly people?
5After all, who is Apollos? And who is Paul? We are simply God's servants, by whom you were led to believe. Each one of us does the work which the Lord gave him to do: 6
I sowed the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. 7The one who sows and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. 8There is no difference between the one who sows and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. 9For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field.
You are also God's building. 10Using the gift that God gave me, I did the work of an expert builder and laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds. 11For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid. 12Some will use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation; others will use wood or grass or straw. 13And the quality of each person's work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone's work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. 14If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward. 15But if anyone's work is burnt up, then he will lose it; but he himself will be saved, as if he had escaped through the fire.
Surely you know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you! 17So if anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you yourselves are his temple.
18No one should fool himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise by this world's standards, he should become a fool, in order to be really wise. 19
For what this world considers to be wisdom is nonsense in God's sight. As the scripture says, “God traps the wise in their cleverness”; 20
and another scripture says, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are worthless.” 21No one, then, should boast about what human beings can do. Actually everything belongs to you: 22Paul, Apollos, and Peter; this world, life and death, the present and the future — all these are yours, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.