1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Christ's death on the cross

18 Some people think that the message about Christ's death on the cross is silly. Those people are destroying themselves. But it is different for us, the people that God is saving. The message about the cross shows us God's power to save us.

19 It says in the Bible:

‘I, God, will destroy all the clever thoughts of wise people.

I will show that their clever ideas are useless.’

1:19See Isaiah 29:14.

20 So the wise people in this world are not really important. The clever teachers of God's Law are not really important. People who know how to argue well are not really important. God has shown that the wise ideas that belong to this world have no value.

21 God himself is wise. He has decided that people cannot know him just because they are wise in their own way. Instead, God uses the message about Jesus to save people. That message may seem to be silly to some people. But when we tell it to people, God saves them if they believe it.

22 Jewish people want to see God do a miracle. Then they will listen. Gentile people want to listen to a message that has clever ideas. 23 But as for us, we tell people about how Christ died on a cross. That is a message that Jewish people refuse to accept as true. Gentile people think that it is a silly message. 24 But it is different for us whom God has called to come to him. Some of us are Jews, and some of us are Gentiles. For us, Christ shows God's great power. He shows how wise God is. 25 Christ's death on a cross may seem a silly thing for God to do. But really it shows that God is very wise. He is wiser than people with their clever ideas. Christ's death on a cross may seem to show that God is weak. But really he is stronger than any human power.

26 Christian friends, remember the time when God called you to come to him. Think about what you were like. Not many of you were clever or powerful in the way that people think is good. Not many of you belonged to important families. 27 Instead, God chose to use things that people think are silly. He did this so that clever people would be ashamed. Yes, God chose to use things that people think are weak. He did this so that powerful people would be ashamed. 28 God chose to use things that people think are useless. People who belong to this world do not like those things. They think that they have no value. God did this so that the things that seem important would become unimportant.

29 Because of all this, nobody can be proud of themselves in front of God. 30 It is because of God's work that you now belong to Christ Jesus. As a result of Christ's death on the cross, we share in God's wise plan. Because we belong to Christ, God makes us right with himself. He makes us his own special people. He makes us free from the power of sin.

31 Remember what is written in the Bible:

‘If you want to be proud about something,

be proud of what the Lord has done.’

1:31See Jeremiah 9:24.