1 Corinthians 1
Paul says ‘Hello’
1 This letter is from me, Paul. God chose me to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. That is what he wanted. Our Christian friend Sosthenes is with me here as I write to you.
2 I am sending this letter to you, the people of the church in Corinth city. God chose you for himself. He wanted you to be his special people, who belong to him. He has made you good and clean inside because he has made you join to Christ Jesus. Also, he has made you join to everyone everywhere who worships our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is their Lord, as he is our Lord.
3 I pray that God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, will continue to help you. I pray that they will give you peace in your minds.
Paul thanks God because of the Christians at Corinth
4 I thank God always because of you. I thank him because he has been so very kind to you. He has given such great things to you because he has made you join to Christ Jesus. 5 And, as a result, Christ has made you really like rich people in every way. You are like rich people because you can do many things. Christ has made you able to speak as he wants you to speak. And he has made you able to know everything that he wants you to know. 6 God has made our message about Christ clear in you who believe it. 7 You are not without any of God's gifts while you continue to wait for our Lord Jesus Christ's return. You want him to return very much. 8 God will cause you to continue believing him until the end. Then, on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns, nobody will be able to say bad things about you. Nobody will be able to say that you have done anything wrong. 9 God always does what he has promised to do. And God has chosen you to know Christ. He has made you join to his Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Lord.
Paul tells the Christians that they must not quarrel about who is their leader
10 My Christian friends, I speak to you with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. I ask you to agree with each other in what you say. Then there will not be differences between you. All of you will have the same mind always. That is, you will think about things in the same way. 11 Some people from Chloe's house have told me what is happening among you, my friends. They say that you are quarrelling among yourselves. 12 I will explain: One of you says, ‘Paul is my leader.’ Another person says, ‘Apollos is my leader.’ Another person says, ‘Peter is my leader.’ And another person says, ‘Christ is my leader.’
13 When you speak like that, it is bad. It is as if you are breaking Christ into several parts. Certainly, I, Paul, did not die on a cross on your behalf. Someone baptized you. But certainly, they did not use my name, as if you belonged to me. 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15 So, none of you can say, ‘Paul is my leader because he baptized me.’ 16 (Oh yes, I remember that I baptized Stephanas and his family also. I cannot remember that I baptized anyone else.) 17 Christ did not send me to baptize people. But he did send me to tell the good news to people. He does not want me to tell it with the same kind of clever words that clever people might say. That would destroy the power of the message about Jesus. The message is about how he died on a cross to save us.
The message about Christ's cross is powerful
18 People who are far from God cannot understand that message about Christ's death on the cross. They think that it is silly. But that same message shows something to us whom God is saving. It shows us how powerful God is. 19 It says in the Bible:
‘I will destroy all the clever thoughts of clever people.
I will refuse the ideas of people who seem to understand a lot.’
20 So then, the clever people in this world are not great really. The clever teachers of God's Law are not great really. Some people know how to argue. But those people are not great really. No, because God has different ideas. He has shown that even the cleverest people in this world are fools. 21 God has his own great thoughts and ideas. And he has made it impossible for people to know him by their own thoughts and ideas. Instead, God uses that message about Jesus. He uses it to save everyone who believes it. And we tell that same message to everyone, even if it seems crazy.
22 Jews want to see God do something powerful so that they will believe. And people who are not Jews want to believe other people's clever ideas. 23 But as for us, we talk about how Christ died on a cross of wood. This is a message that the Jews refuse to believe. And the Gentiles think that it is a silly message. 24 But all of us whom God has chosen, both Jews and the other people, we think different thoughts. To us, Christ is the power that comes from God. What Christ did is the result of God's great thoughts and ideas. 25 It seems to be a crazy thing for God to do. But it is better than the cleverest human thoughts and ideas. What seems to be God's weakness is stronger than any human power.
26 Christian friends, remember when God spoke to you. Remember what you were like then. Most of you were not clever or powerful. Most of you did not come from rich or important families. 27 People think that you are not great or important. But God chose you. He did this so that clever people would be ashamed. Yes, God chose the weak people in the world so that the powerful people would be ashamed. 28 God chose people who do not seem important in this world. He chose people who seem silly in this world. He chose people who seem to be worth nothing in this world. The people who do not know God think differently from him. They think that different kinds of people are great and important. But God destroys their ideas when he chooses his people.
29 So, because of all this, nobody can say in front of God: ‘I am better than other people.’ 30 It is God who has made you join to Christ Jesus. And, because of Christ, God causes us to know everything that he wants us to know. As a result of what Christ did, God makes us right with himself. Also he makes us his own special people. He makes us his free people, that he has bought. 31 So now, as it says in the Bible:
‘Anyone who wants to speak about great or important things should speak about the Lord.
That person should not speak about himself, nor about the things that he himself has done.
Instead, he should speak only about the great things that the Lord has done on his behalf.’