1 From Paul, divinely appointed according to the plan of God, to be an apostle of the Anointed One, Jesus. Our fellow believer Sosthenes[a] joins me 2 in writing you this letter addressed to the community of God[b] throughout the city of Corinth. For you have been made pure, set apart in the Anointed One, Jesus. And God has invited you to be his devoted and holy people, and not only you, but everyone everywhere who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord, and ours also.
3 May joyous grace[c] and endless peace be yours continually from our Father God and from our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!
Made Wonderfully Rich
4 I am always thanking my God for you because he has given you such free and open access to his grace through your union with Jesus, the Messiah. 5 In him you have been made extravagantly rich in every way. You have been endowed with a wealth of inspired utterance[d] and the riches that come from your intimate knowledge of him. 6 For the reality of the truth of Christ is seen among you and strengthened[e] through your experience of him. 7 So now you aren’t lacking any spiritual gift[f] as you eagerly await the unveiling[g] of the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. 8 He will keep you steady and strong to the very end, making your character mature so that you will be found innocent on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is forever faithful and can be trusted to do this in you, for he has invited you to co-share the life of his Son,[h] Jesus, the Anointed One, our King![i]
Paul Addresses Divisions in the Church
10 I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another[j] and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart.[k] Be restored[l] as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values.
11 My dear brothers and sisters, I have a serious concern I need to bring up with you,[m] for I have been informed by those of Chloe’s house church[n] that you have been destructively arguing among yourselves. 12 And I need to bring this up because each of you is claiming loyalty to different preachers. Some are saying, “I am a disciple of Paul,” or, “I follow Apollos,” or, “I am a disciple of Peter the Rock,”[o] and some, “I belong only to Christ.” 13 But let me ask you, is Christ divided up into groups? Did I die on the cross for you? At your baptism did you pledge yourselves to follow Paul?[p]
14 Thank God I only baptized two from Corinth—Crispus and Gaius![q] 15 So now no one can say that in my name I baptized others.[r] 16 (Yes, I also baptized Stephanus and his family. Other than that, I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) 17 For the Anointed One has sent me on a mission, not to see how many I could baptize,[s] but to proclaim the good news. And I declare this message stripped of all philosophical arguments that empty the cross of its true power. For I trust in the all-sufficient cross of Christ alone.
The True Power of the Cross
18 To preach the message[t] of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us.[u] 19 For it is written:
I will dismantle the wisdom of the wise
and I will invalidate the intelligence of the scholars.[v]
20 So where is the wise philosopher who understands? Where is the expert scholar who comprehends? And where is the skilled debater of our time who could win a debate with God? Hasn’t God demonstrated that the wisdom of this world system is utter foolishness?
21 For in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross[w] in order to save those who believe it. 22 For the Jews constantly demand to see miraculous signs, while those who are not Jews[x] constantly cling to the world’s wisdom,[y] 23 but we preach the crucified Messiah. The Jews stumble over him and the rest of the world sees him as foolishness. 24 But for those who have been chosen to follow him, both Jews and Greeks, he is God’s mighty power, God’s true wisdom, and our Messiah.[z] 25 For the “foolish” things of God have proven to be wiser than human wisdom. And the “feeble” things of God have proven to be far more powerful than any human ability.[aa]
26 Brothers and sisters, consider who you were when God called you to salvation. Not many of you were wise scholars by human standards, nor were many of you in positions of power. Not many of you were considered the elite when you answered God’s call. 27 But God chose those whom the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise, and God chose the puny and powerless to shame[ab] the high and mighty. 28 He chose the lowly, the laughable[ac] in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that he would shame the somebodies. For he chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent, 29 so that there would be no place for prideful boasting in God’s presence. 30 For it is not from man that we draw our life but from God as we are being joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. And now he is our God-given wisdom, our virtue, our holiness, and our redemption. 31 And this fulfills what is written:
If anyone boasts, let him only boast
in all that the Lord has done![ad]