The 1st letter that Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth
(The book in the Holy Bible called 1 Corinthians)
About this letter
Paul wrote this letter about 2,000 years ago, about 20 years after Jesus went back to heaven. It is now in the Holy Bible.
Paul wrote this letter to the Christians that were living in the city called Corinth, in the country we now call Greece, where Greek people come from. A big earthquake knocked that city down more than 160 years ago, so the Greek people built a new town about 3 kilometres away and called it Corinth. That town is still there today.
At the time when Paul wrote this letter, Corinth had 2 harbours for ships, and those ships brought a lot of things to Corinth. A lot of people bought things and sold those things there, to get money for themselves. There were also a lot of people there that did bad things to get money.
Paul went to Corinth to tell the people there about Jesus, and he stayed there teaching them for about a year and a half (see Acts 18:1-18). Some of the Corinth people believed Paul’s message and became Christians.
Then Paul went to other places. But the Christians at Corinth started to have some problems. So they wrote a letter to Paul and asked him some questions. Then Paul wrote this letter to answer those questions, and to tell them the right way for Christians to live.
This letter has a lot of good messages for Christians today. Paul wrote it to help the Christians in Corinth live the right way, and it can help us work out the right way to live too.
1 I am Paul, and this letter is from me. God wanted me to go and tell people about Jesus Christ, so he picked me to be his special worker. And Sosthenes is here with me. He is our Christian friend, and he is helping me write this letter.
2 I’m sending this letter to you Christians there in Corinth city. God picked you to be his own special people, and he joined you to Jesus Christ. You are in God’s family now, along with everyone that says to Jesus, “You are my leader.” He is their leader, and he is our leader too.
3 I’m asking God our father, and Jesus Christ our leader, to be good to you, and to make you feel happy and quiet inside yourselves.
God gives his people lots of good things
4 I always thank God for you mob. You belong to Jesus Christ now, and God is really good to you.
5 Yes, Jesus Christ gave you everything you need. He lets you know a lot of things, and he gives you the power to tell God’s message to people.
6 That shows that the message we told you about Jesus Christ is true.
7 You really want our leader, Jesus Christ, to come back from heaven, and while you are waiting for him, you have all the spiritual power that he gives us to do his work.
8 God will keep you believing properly in our leader Jesus Christ, and you will stay strong for him until the day when he will come back from heaven. At that time, nobody will be able to blame you or say that you did anything wrong.
9 God picked you to be friends of his son, our leader Jesus Christ. And you can trust God, he will keep you strong for Jesus.
Don’t split up to follow different Christian leaders
10 My Christian friends, our leader Jesus Christ wants me to say this to you. All you Christians have to agree with each other and stay together. Don’t split up. Please think the same way as each other, and agree together about the right way to follow Jesus.
11 You see, my friends, some of Chloe’s mob told me what is going on there in Corinth. They reckon that you are arguing too much with each other and you are splitting into different groups.
12 They reckon some of you say, “Paul is our leader,” and others say, “That other man, Apollos, he is our leader,” and others say, “No, not them. Our leader is Peter,” and others say, “Jesus Christ is our leader.”
13 Listen, that’s not right. Don’t split up into groups like that. If you do that, it’s like you are splitting up Jesus Christ. Stop and think about it. Did I, Paul, die for you on a cross? No way. And when Christian leaders baptised you, when they took you through that special washing ceremony, did they baptise you to show that you belonged to me, Paul? No way.
14-15 I thank God that I only baptised a few of you, so none of you can say, “Paul baptised me, so he is my leader.” I only baptised Crispus and Guyus.
16 And I just remembered, I baptised Stefanas and his family too. But I can’t remember baptising anyone else.
17 You see, Jesus Christ didn’t send me to baptise people. He sent me to tell the good news to people, that Jesus died for them. That message is powerful. God didn’t send me to say smart words to people. That sort of talk is useless. People might just think about my smart words, and not listen to God, and so they will not hear God’s powerful good news.
God shows his power in the message about Jesus
18 We tell everybody the message that Jesus died on a cross to save them. Some people hear that message and think it is stupid. Those people’s spirits are finishing up, and they are lost. But other people hear that message and think it is good. You are like that mob, and so are we. We know that message is from God. It tells us that he is using his power to save us.
19 It is like God says in his book,
“People might think they are smart, and they might reckon they know everything,
but God shows them that they are not wise, and he will stop them from doing what they are thinking about.”
20 So what does that tell us about the smart people in this world? And what about those people that reckon they properly know the Jewish law? And what about those people that can talk really good, so that they win arguments? None of them get to know God. They leave God out. They don’t think about him, and in the end God shows us that they are all stupid.
21 You see, God is properly wise. He knows that most people in this world want to be smart and think up their own ideas about God. But he blocks them, so they will never get to know him that way. Instead, God is happy to save everybody that believes his message. And we tell you that message, even though other people think we are stupid.
22 You see, the Jewish people want to see God do something powerful, and then they reckon they will believe him. And other people that are not Jews, they just want to hear about smart ideas.
23 But we are not like those people. We tell people about Jesus Christ, and we tell them that he died for them on the cross. The Jewish people can’t understand that. It isn’t what they want, so they don’t believe it. And the other people that are not Jews, they reckon it is stupid, so they don’t believe it.
24 But we are different. God has picked us to save us. Some of us are Jews and some of us are not Jews, but when we listen to that message about Jesus Christ it is a powerful message for us. We believe it and God saves us. And we know that God is really wise because he sent Jesus to save us.
25 People might reckon that is a stupid thing for God to do, but God’s way is better than the best idea any person ever had. And people might reckon that God is weak, they might reckon that he just let his son die. But they are wrong. God did that to show us that he is stronger than anyone else.
26 My Christian friends, remember what you were like before God picked you. Most of you were not the smart sort of people. Most of you were not powerful people. Most of you didn’t belong to important families.
27 You see, people in this world reckon you are stupid, but God picked you anyway. He did that to show that those smart people are wrong, and they have to feel shame. Yes, God picked the weak people in this world to show that the powerful people are useless, so they have to feel shame.
28 And God picked people from this world that are not great, and people that are like nothing, so that in the end, those other people that reckon they are great, they will become like nothing.
29 God does that so that nobody can ever get up in front of God and say, “I’m really good. I’m better than other people.”
30 But as for you, God joined you to Jesus Christ. You and us together, Jesus helps us to be wise, like God. And Jesus makes us to be God’s friends, so that he will tell us we are all right. And Jesus makes us God’s own special people too. Jesus died to pay for us and set us free from everything that is wrong.
31 So we have to talk the way God tells us to. He says this in his book,
“If you want to talk about great things, don’t talk about yourself,
but talk about God, and tell everyone about the great things that he does.”