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.
41You should think of us as Christ's servants, who have been put in charge of God's secret truths. 2The one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master. 3Now, I am not at all concerned about being judged by you or by any human standard; I don't even pass judgement on myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not prove that I am really innocent. The Lord is the one who passes judgement on me. 5So you should not pass judgement on anyone before the right time comes. Final judgement must wait until the Lord comes; he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people's minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve.
6For your sake, my brothers and sisters, I have applied all this to Apollos and me, using the two of us as an example, so that you may learn what the saying means, “Observe the proper rules.” None of you should be proud of one person and despise another. 7Who made you superior to others? Didn't God give you everything you have? Well, then, how can you boast, as if what you have were not a gift?
8Do you already have everything you need? Are you already rich? Have you become kings, even though we are not? Well, I wish you really were kings, so that we could be kings together with you. 9For it seems to me that God has given the very last place to us apostles, like people condemned to die in public as a spectacle for the whole world of angels and of humanity. 10For Christ's sake we are fools; but you are wise in union with Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! We are despised, but you are honoured! 11To this very moment we go hungry and thirsty; we are clothed in rags; we are beaten; we wander from place to place; 12
we wear ourselves out with hard work. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13when we are insulted, we answer with kind words. We are no more than this world's refuse; we are the scum of the earth to this very moment!
14I write this to you, not because I want to make you feel ashamed, but to instruct you as my own dear children. 15For even if you have 10,000 guardians in your Christian life, you have only one father. For in your life in union with Christ Jesus I have become your father by bringing the Good News to you. 16
I beg you, then, to follow my example. 17For this purpose I am sending to you Timothy, who is my own dear and faithful son in the Christian life. He will remind you of the principles which I follow in the new life in union with Christ Jesus and which I teach in all the churches everywhere.
18Some of you have become proud because you have thought that I would not be coming to visit you. 19If the Lord is willing, however, I will come to you soon, and then I will find out for myself the power which these proud people have, and not just what they say. 20For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power. 21Which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in a spirit of love and gentleness?