Concerning Unity

1 Corinthians 1:1-4:21

11Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2to the assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I always thank my God concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; 5that in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge; 6even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; 8who will also confirm you until the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 10Now I beg you, brothers,* through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” and, “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name. 16(I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t know whether I baptized any other.) 17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News—not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ wouldn’t be made void. 18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”*
20Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. 22For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; 27but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: 29that no flesh should boast before God. 30Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”*
21When I came to you, brothers, I didn’t come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith wouldn’t stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing. 7But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, 8which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But as it is written,
Things which an eye didn’t see, and an ear didn’t hear,
which didn’t enter into the heart of man,
these God has prepared for those who love him.”*
10But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit. 12But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. 13Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. 14Now the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he who is spiritual discerns all things, and he himself is judged by no one. 16“For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?”* But we have Christ’s mind.
31Brothers, I couldn’t speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, 3for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you fleshly? 5Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? 6I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. 7So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. 11For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble; 13each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is. 14If any man’s work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.
16Don’t you know that you are a temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, which you are.
18Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He has taken the wise in their craftiness.”* 20And again, “The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is worthless.”* 21Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come. All are yours, 23and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
41So let a man think of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2Here, moreover, it is required of stewards, that they be found faithful. 3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man’s judgment. Yes, I don’t judge my own self. 4For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord. 5Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God.
6Now these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another. 7For who makes you different? And what do you have that you didn’t receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8You are already filled. You have already become rich. You have come to reign without us. Yes, and I wish that you did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9For, I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. 10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. 11Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are beaten, and have no certain dwelling place. 12We toil, working with our own hands. When people curse us, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. 13Being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the dirt wiped off by all, even until now. 14I don’t write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. 16I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. 17Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every assembly. 18Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20For God’s Kingdom is not in word, but in power. 21What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

*1 Corinthians 1:10 The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”
*1 Corinthians 1:19 Isaiah 29:14
*1 Corinthians 1:31 Jeremiah 9:24
*1 Corinthians 2:9 Isaiah 64:4
*1 Corinthians 2:16 Isaiah 40:13
*1 Corinthians 3:19 Job 5:13
*1 Corinthians 3:20 Psalm 94:11

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

  • List all the questions raised in the text. Who makes them? To whom are they made?
  • Is there a question that stands out to you? Why?
  • What questions would you like to be able to ask the author of this text?
  • What implications do these questions from the text have for your life?
World English Bible (WEB)
a Public Domain Modern English translation
of the Holy Bible.

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