1 This letter comes from Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the will of God, and from Sosthenes, our brother. 2 It is sent to the church of God in Corinth, those who are being made right in Christ Jesus, called to live holy lives—and to everyone who worships the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere, the Lord both of them and of us.
3 May you have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I'm always thanking God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus. 5 Through him you have been made rich in everything, in all that you say and every aspect of what you know. 6 In fact the testimony of Christ was proved valid in your experience, 7 so that you're not missing any spiritual gift as you wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also keep you strong to the very end, so you will be kept right until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is trustworthy who called you to share together in fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Brothers and sisters, I plead with you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all agree and that you're not divided. Instead develop a united attitude and purpose. 11 For I have been told things about you, my brothers and sisters, by some of Chloe's people—that you are quarreling among yourselves. 12 Let me explain what I mean. You're all making different claims: “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Did Paul die on a cross for you? Was it in the name of Paul that you were baptized?
14 I'm grateful to God that I didn't baptize any of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so nobody can claim they were baptized in my name. 16 (Oh, and I also baptized the Stephanas family—I can't think of anyone else.) 17 For Christ didn't send me out to baptize, but to spread the good news, and not with eloquent human wisdom, otherwise the cross of Christ would be made powerless.* Or “ineffectual.” Literally, “emptied.”
18 For the message of the cross is nonsense to those who are lost, but it's the power of God to those of us who are saved. 19 As Scripture says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will wipe out the cleverness of the clever.”† Probably referencing Isaiah 29:14.
20 So how about the wise, the writers, and the philosophers of this age? Hasn't God turned the wisdom of this world into foolishness? 21 Since God in his wisdom allowed the world in its wisdom not to know God, it was God's gracious plan that by the foolishness of the good news those who trusted in him would be saved. 22 The Jews ask for miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but our message is of Christ killed on a cross—offensive to the Jews, and foolishness to the foreigners. 24 However, for those who are called by God, both Jews and foreigners, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than we are; and the weakness of God is stronger than we are.
26 Brothers and sisters, remember your calling—and that this did not include many who are wise, humanly speaking; not many who are powerful; not many who are important. 27 Instead God chose the things the world considers foolish to humiliate those who think they are wise. He chose the things the world considers weak to humiliate those who think they are strong. 28 He chose the things that are unimportant and despised by the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,‡ This complicated verse is really saying that God uses things and people not viewed as important by this world to demonstrate what really is important. 29 so that nobody should boast in God's presence.
30 It's because of him that you live in Christ Jesus, who God made to be wisdom for us. He sets us right, keeps us right, and frees us. 31 So as Scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast, let them boast in the Lord.”§ Referencing Jeremiah 9:23.
*1:17 Or “ineffectual.” Literally, “emptied.”
‡1:28 This complicated verse is really saying that God uses things and people not viewed as important by this world to demonstrate what really is important.