1 Corinthians chapter 1

We Christians are called to be saints. We were given Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We should overcome divisions and be unified. We matter to God Almighty. [UPDATED]

 


 

WE CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO BE SAINTS

SUMMARY: Has God called you? To what has God called you?

 

VERSE 1. Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

Paul. The English word Paul is actually “Paulos” in Greek. That refers to the Apostle Paul. This letter is from Paul, a specific person.

called. The word “called” is “kletos” in Greek. It means selected, invited, chosen, appointed. Paul was chosen by God. Paul didn’t make the choice on his own.

Along those lines, Jesus Christ said this:

John 15:16. You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

God is the one who calls. Then we respond to his call.

Are you called? Are you called to something? Anything?

How about faith? Has God called you to faith in God? Have you been called to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

apostle. The Greek word for apostle is, not too surprisingly, “apostolos.” It means a delegate who is sent with specific orders.

Most people use the word “apostle” to refer to the Twelve. But biblically, the word can be applied to other eminent Christian teachers such as Barnabas and Timothy and Silas.

And in our day, lots of ministry leaders call themselves apostles. Some people who do volunteer work call it their “apostolate.”

Has God given you a mission? Has he assigned you to go do some project in his name?

Jesus Christ. The Christian life is always centered on Jesus Christ. A Christianity without Jesus Christ at its center is a Christianity that’s lost its way. In much of Christianity, there’s little to no mention of Jesus Christ. Is Jesus Christ the center of your life?

will of God. The Greek word here is “thelema.” It means what God desires for us to do. God wills things for you and for me. Are you committed to doing God’s will for you, whatever that might be?

 

VERSE 2. to the assembly of God which is at Corinth—those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours:

assembly. Paul wrote to the ekklesia, the “church,” in the city of ancient Corinth.

What’s a church? In our day, we have lots and lots of ideas about what a church is.

But biblically, an ekklesia is a meeting of people that God has called out. It’s an assembly of God’s people, gathered for religious purposes.

Much ado has been made of church buildings and church property. But the real thing is that God calls people out of the world and into regular Christian fellowship. Maybe its in a home or an Upper Room. Maybe its in a majestic cathedral or a converted sports area.

To what ekklesia has God called you?

Corinth. Looking back on the ancient world, you could say that Athens was its intellectual and cultural capital. Similarly, you could say that Jerusalem was its spiritual capital. And similarly, you could say that Corinth was its sin capital.

People used to think of Corinth in the same way that Obi Wan Kenobi spoke of Mos Eislie Space Port in Star Wars: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

Saint Paul the Apostle had started a church there and then moved on. Later, that church got into lots and lots of trouble. So now Paul is writing them.

sanctified. The Greek word hagiazo means set apart, made holy, consecrated. The believers in Corinth were growing in all these ways. Many of them were, anyway.

Are you sanctified? Are you set apart from evil? Are you growing in holiness? Are you consecrated to Jesus Christ?

saints. The hagios were the holy ones. The Bible does not reserve this word for the official heroes of some church. Rather, the New Testament applies the word hagios to any baptized Christian.

Every professing Christian is a saint. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you’re a saint. In this biblical way of understanding it, are you a saint? If so, why? If not, why not?

 

VERSE 3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace. The Greek word is charis. It is the Big Thing. It’s the great Christian insight.

Grace is the favor that God freely gives us, even though we don’t deserve it.

Grace is what happened at calvary, when Jesus Christ died for our sins.

Grace is what happened when Jesus Christ reached into our world of time and space and touched our lives, awakened our faith and changed our lives and gave us a fantastic destiny.

Grace is what happened when he shares his plan for our lives …

Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.

Some people focus too much on their own spiritual practices.

They probably have a strenuous daily spiritual regimen. They probably do enough spiritual practices for ten people.

But they’ve come to think that their own growth in holiness depends on them doing all these things. It becomes all about them and what they do, instead of being all being about Jesus Christ and what he’s done.

Instead of focusing on how to fill their own glass themself, they need to focus on how God can fill it up for them. God can easily fill that glass ‘till it overflows.

If you’re not living your Christian life by grace, you’re living it by your own good works. Grace is powerful and effective; our own works fall short and will take us nowhere. Is God’s grace at work in your life?

peace. God means for our lives to be filled with eirene, peace. It means tranquility, quiet, security, harmony. Many Christians lack a sense of peace with God. They attend worship services and do lots of things. But deep down, they lack the inner peace the Bible speaks of as our heritage.

Some people focus too much on their own sins. They have a robust sense of their own sin and defeat.

Their spiritual lives become all about them and all the wrong they’ve done, instead of being all about Jesus Christ and what he’s done. These people have enough sin-awareness for ten people.

Instead of focusing on how their glass is half empty, they need to dwell on how God can fill it up. God can easily fill that empty glass ‘till it overflows.

When you get your focus off yourself and onto Jesus Christ, you can accelerate into grace and mercy. For Christians, peace begins by faith.

Are you in the faith? Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you have a relationship with him? Is Jesus Christ the center of your life?

Eternal life is knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. Do you know them? Do you have a love-relationship with them? Here are the Bible verses about this »

 

WE WERE GIVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SUMMARY: Paul saw dramatic changes taking place in the lives of the believers in Corinth. Their having Jesus Christ come into their hearts and lives had transformed them. Jesus Christ didn’t take away from them; he didn’t make them stiff or boring. He didn’t change them into someone else.

Rather, Jesus Christ brought them to a whole new level. He transformed them into much better people than they used to be. They were still the same people as before; they were just upgraded.

Not only that, but Jesus Christ gave each of them Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Their ministry gifts complemented their natural dispositions, so that within their giftedness, they were supercharged.

They could easily do the things associated with their Gifts of the Holy Spirit. They enjoyed a degree of effectiveness that would never have been possible before they knew Jesus Christ.

Overwhelmed with gratitude about all this, Paul writes:

 

VERSE 4. I always thank my God concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus;

gifts. Sometimes people wonder if God will give them a gift that will make them feel miserable.

“What if God gives me a gift I don’t want?” Or “What if I don’t want to do whatever God gives me a gift for?” Or “What if God sends me somewhere I don’t want to go?”

The Greek word gives an important insight: charis. That’s the original word for “gifts.” Other translations render the word charis as “grace.”

Whether you call it “gifts” or you call it “grace,” the word “charis” means that which gives us joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness.

If God’s gifts in our lives were a burden, the biblical authors wouldn’t have called it joy, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness. But those wonderful words describe what God’s gifts to us really are.

The presence of Jesus Christ in their hearts and lives has enriched them. Christ enriched their speaking and their knowledge. Paul writes:

 

VERSE 5. that in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge;

speech. Jesus Christ enriched their speaking. Now, they’re now captivated by things worth speaking about. Christ gives them a dynamism about these issues, and they speak about them with God-given power and conviction.

knowledge. Jesus Christ enriched not only their speaking but also their knowledge. Now, they’re gifted with knowledge.

They know about things they never knew before: eternal life, the nature of God, sin, righteousness, spirituality and so on. These issues are now exciting for them.

That was the case even for the apostles. For example, when Peter and John testified before the Sanhedrin, they were bold. They discoursed with conviction and knowledge, even though they had no specialized training. They had no degree in theology. They had not done graduate-level studies in epistemology or hermeneutics.

Their power and conviction came from being with Jesus. That was true for them, and it can be true for us as well!

When we walk with the LORD God, we can overcome our fears and be bold. As bold as a lion! Read more »

We’ve seen young believers speak boldly and accurately about the things of Jesus Christ. Sometimes its the people who are least educated who are the most bold for Jesus Christ.

That’s not to downplay the role of education and such. Its just that an advanced education won’t necessarily make you bold for Jesus Christ. It won’t necessarily make you effective for evangelism or discipleship.

We see evidence of that in Europe, for example. The historic churches are staffed with brilliant theologians with lofty pedigrees and advanced degrees. Yet they aren’t able to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ, and so their huge churches are nearly empty each Sunday.

We are totally in favor of education and training. But biblically, its much more important to act on our giftedness and to be bold for Jesus Christ.

As we step out in those ways, Jesus Christ will enhance our speech and our knowledge.

These improvements in speech and in knowledge are like a bright signal light. They signal the real presence of Christ within the believer.

 

VERSE 6. even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

the testimony of Christ. Speaking with power and conviction about Jesus Christ is the authentication of the presence of Jesus Christ in your life.

Their conviction about Jesus Christ, their ability to communicate with others about Jesus Christ: those are the signals.

It isn’t necessarily their happiness, their cheerfulness, their willingness to be a doormat for others, their willingness to suffer. No, its their sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

in you. The speech of many Christian leaders does not verify that Christ is in their lives at all. They hardly speak about Christ, except in perfunctory and minimalist ways. Jesus Christ is almost like a footnote on page 352 of their lives, instead of front-and-center.

For at least some of them, their priority is church politics, and Jesus Christ is a sort of distraction to church politics.

But biblically, the presence of Jesus Christ in your life means that, in ways appropriate to your personality and gifting, your words and actions bubble over with enthusiasm for Christ.

 

VERSE 7. so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ;

you come behind in no gift. You might be wondering if you have the gifts you need. Many people feel they need to wait until their gifts show up in some dramatic way. After all, that’s what the apostles did.

The Lord Jesus told them this:

Luke 24:49. Behold, I send out the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.

wait. In our day, some believers feel they need to wait in prayer until God’s power freshly hits them like lightning. Some believers wait and pray for months or years or decades.

But Paul’s view on this is the opposite of waiting. He writes that already, you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.

come behind. Once you have faith in Jesus Christ, you simultaneously have every spiritual gift you need. You are not lacking in any spiritual gift.

The Greek word is “hustereo.” It literally means “lacking.” We do not “lack” any gift we need. Our gifting is: not behind, not late, not tardy, not falling short, not inferior, not lacking, not devoid.

in no gift. That is, you are not lacking in any spiritual gift. God has already given you the gifts you need, in order to do whatever he has called you to do in life.

 

VERSE 8. who will also confirm you until the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

the end. Some believers sense God’s gifts operative within them. But they fear that these good things might run out some day. Perhaps these gifts are just for a season of life, a sort time, but not for a lifetime.

Other people feat that perhaps one day, they will somehow loose their closeness to Jesus Christ, and therefore their spiritual gifts will go away. Paul assures us that’s not the case.

confirm you. The Greek word is bebaioo. It means to stabilize, to confirm, to establish, to strengthen. Whatever spiritual gifts God has given you are yours. They’re yours for a lifetime.

 

VERSE 9. God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

God is faithful. If God were to give us these things but then take them away, what would that say about the faithfulness of God? What would that teach us about the goodness of God? God’s faithfulness means that we won’t lose these gifts. They won’t be taken away.

faithful. The word for “faithful” is pistos. It means trustworthy, able to be relied upon. For these gifts, we can rely on God. God is indeed trustworthy.

 

WE SHOULD OVERCOME DIVISIONS AND BE UNITED

SUMMARY: In the previous verses, Paul has written the believers about their Christian calling, and about their giftedness. Now he shifts to an exhortation. He urges them to change their lives even more.

 

VERSE 10. Now 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.

I beg you. That’s a strong plea. And it was needed. There was a lot of disunity in the Church in Corinth. They were constantly arguing among themselves. Paul appeals to them to stop fighting. He declares a ceasefire.

no divisions. There are to be no more schisma among them, no more schisms, no more divisions. Paul wants them all on the same page. Instead of arguing, they are to agree. They are to speak the same thing. They are to be united in their thinking and in their purpose. Paul wants these divisive things to stop.

 

VERSE 11. For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.

it has been reported to me. Word of this contention in Corinth propagated all the way to Saint Paul. What were they fighting about? The next verse tells us . . .

 

VERSE 12. Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” and, “I follow Christ.”

each one of you says. They were fighting over which leader was best. They were divided over their loyalties to different Church leaders. One says, “I’m with Apollos;” another says, “No, I’m loyal to Paul.”

Instead of there being of a strong community with a single vision and united energy, the believers in Corinth had fragmented into small cliques, or factions. They were fighting turf battles.

They had plummeted to the level of bipartisan politics, based only on their favorite ideas of their favorite church leaders. It was a power struggle. They were completely polarized.

The believers in Corinth were split into four factions, each fervent about its own views . . .

I follow Paul. Paul represents a broad-reaching evangelism of the Gentiles. In our day, these might be Evangelicals, who are the most focused on the teachings of Paul.

I follow Apollos. Apollos represents independent thinking and fervency, out on his own. In our day, these might be Fundamentalists, who are fervently focused on a handful of “fundamental” issues.

I follow Peter. Peter represents institutional religiosity. In our day, these might be the liturgical Christians. They brag about following the “Successor of Peter.”

I follow only Christ. These people had allegiance only to Jesus Christ. In our day, these might be non-denominationals.

All four groups were polarized around something they should not have been polarized about. The thing they were staking their claims on was not important.

Yet elsewhere, paradoxically, Paul tells people to follow him:

1 Corinthians 1:12-13. Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” and, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 4:16. I beg you therefore, be imitators of me.

1 Corinthians 11:1. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (KJV translation).

Philippians 3:17. Brothers, be imitators together of me, and note those who walk this way, even as you have us for an example.

1 Thessalonians 1:6. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,

Paul points out how ridiculous their divisions were, by taking it to its origin:

 

VERSE 13. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?

The answers to those three questions are no, no and no.

Jesus Christ is not divided, Paul was not crucified for them. And they were not baptized in the name of Paul.

But people cling fervently to their favorites. They were more fervent about which human leader they followed than they were about Jesus Christ.

That happens in our day as well. Some people are more fervent about their favorite leader than they are about Jesus Christ. If they try to evangelize, they evangelize for their leader, not for Jesus Christ.

This divisive, ungodly way of thinking was so removed from the way of Christ. It was so wrong that Paul had to distance himself from it. It’s like he has to run away from it, ideologically. He writes:

 

VERSE 14. I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius,

I thank God that I baptized none of you. Its like Paul got splashed with some filthy water, and now he’s shaking it off. He’s flinging off their stench, while he still can.

 

VERSE 15. so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name.

baptized you into my own name. At the core, these divisions are based on what might be called a “faulty Christology.”

What’s the fault with their Christology? They replace the priority of Jesus Christ with something else. In this case, the “something else” was the identity of their human leader, or the identity of the person that baptized them.

Paul is thankful that he baptize almost nobody in Corinth. Baptism is not the core issue. No, baptism is secondary and derivative. The core issue is much deeper and more foundational. The foundation is not baptism, but Jesus Christ.

 

VERSE 16. (I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t know whether I baptized any other.)

 

VERSE 17. For 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.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from First Corinthians.

Christ sent me not to baptize. Jesus Christ sent Paul to preach. Paul was to speak the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, with power and conviction. He was to lead unbelievers to an initial faith in Christ.

In our own lives, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is more important than baptizing. Evangelism to Jesus Christ is the first priority. It is the Big Deal, the One Good Thing. Jesus Christ is the priority.

to preach the Good News. Every Christian believer is fully authorized to share that Good News.

not in wisdom of words. That was true even in the words that Paul chose for his preaching.

Even though Paul was a rabbi and a brilliant scholar, he didn’t use those gifts to make his preaching more fancy. He didn’t preach a philosophy. He didn’t create a clever sales pitch.

Nope, Paul preached Jesus Christ, and faith in Jesus Christ.

As you evangelize, your message does need to have eloquent wisdom. All you have to do is share the essence of the message with people who don’t know Jesus yet.

Along these lines, in an interview with Christianity Today, Dr. Billy Graham said this:

“the most important issue we face today is the same the church has faced in every century: Will we reach our world for Christ? In other words, will we give priority to Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel? Or will we turn increasingly inward, caught up in our own internal affairs or controversies, or simply becoming more and more comfortable with the status quo? Will we become inner-directed or outer-directed? The central issues of our time aren’t economic or political or social, important as these are. The central issues of our time are moral and spiritual in nature, and our calling is to declare Christ’s forgiveness and hope and transforming power to a world that does not know him or follow him. May we never forget this.”

 

WE MATTER TO GOD ALMIGHTY

SUMMARY: Thanks to Jesus Christ crucified, we matter to God Almighty. This is true no matter who we are: Jewish or Gentile, wise or foolish, rich or poor, powerful or small.

 

VERSE 18. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

to us who are saved. When you have faith in Jesus Christ, your life changes. Thousands of complex spiritual issues coalesce for you, even if partially.

Life and existence, eternity and meaning begin to fall into place for you, in ways that are far better and more complete than you’ve ever known before. Its all making sense for you. It all comes together.

The cross of Jesus Christ makes sense to you. His death on the cross becomes a central issue of your life.

You no longer see the cross of Jesus Christ as a shallow metaphor, as most people do, for putting up with suffering in your own life and not complaining. Rather, you see his suffering and death as bringing eternal life.

And what you’re experiencing makes sense to the people in your life with whom you share it. Your fellow believers understand what you’re seeing, and what you’re saying. For you and for your fellow believers, the cross is a powerful manifestation of the power of God in your life.

foolishness. But outsiders don’t see that. Unbelievers are unlikely to Get It. The word of the cross is foolishness to those who do not yet have faith in Christ. To them, the whole thing feels silly or absurd.

the power of God. But to you, the word of the cross is powerful. Its a force to be reckoned with. It has miraculous power to change your life. Its overflowing with abundance. It gives you strength. It is the power of God.

 

VERSE 19. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise. I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”

the wisdom of the wise. When you’re in Jesus Christ, you find that this wisdom of his cross overshadows other wisdom.

Even the best human wisdom is devoid, to some degree, of some of the most important issues that there are. Human philosophies are great, as far as they take you. Its just that they don’t take you far enough.

the discernment of the discerning. It isn’t that God is opposed to human intelligence. Its not wrong to be smart.

Its just that the wisdom of the cross is so much greater than even the greatest of human wisdom systems. The wisdom of the cross blows away the understanding of the wise.

 

VERSE 20. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Where is the wise. Some people interpret this passage to mean that human wisdom is not good. They think it teaches that philosophy is opposed to the Christian message, if not intrinsically evil.

However, to follow Jesus Christ does NOT require that we become imbiciles.

Philosophy does have its place. It is not wrong to study wisdom. Who wouldn’t want to become more prudent? Its not bad to learn from the great thinkers of human history. To become a student of logic is not to become opposed to Jesus Christ.

And philosophy does indeed excel at stirring up great questions. Why am I here? Is there life after death? Why does suffering exist? How can we come to know things? What do we know for sure? Those questions and others like them are philosophical questions.

Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world. The philosophies of world history have wrestled greatly with those questions, and they shared with us their answers

. Its just that Jesus Christ has answers that are a million times better. In comparison with the answers we find in Jesus Christ, the philosophers and the scholars and the brilliant debaters tend to look foolish.

 

VERSE 21. For 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.

the foolishness of the preaching. If you listen to Christian preaching and compare it to an elegant philosophical discourse, preaching seems too simple.

A philosopher will discourse away, citing this figure and that, speaking eloquently and with great sophistication, likely dancing around a question without offering any real answer.

But the Christian preacher cuts to the chase, pointing to Jesus Christ and him crucified. Jesus Christ is the answer. Whatever question you have, Jesus Christ is the answer.

Its not likely that people will discover Jesus Christ through human wisdom systems, great as they are.

But people can come to know Jesus Christ through the simple message of the gospel. That message isn’t based on human wisdom systems, and so it can seem like foolishness. But that seemingly foolish message is how God saves those who believe.

 

VERSE 22. For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from First Corinthians.

Jews ask for signs. Not all people are ready to believe such a message, though.

Paul first mentions the Jewish people. For thousands of years, God had reached out to them through great miraculous signs. Think of the burning bush, their being delivered from Egypt, their crossing of the Red Sea, the manna in the desert, the Fall of Jericho and so many more.

Compared to all those great signs from heaven that God gave the Jewish people, this message of the cross might seem underwhelming, maybe even foolish.

Greeks seek after wisdom. Now Paul turns his attention to the Greek people.

This message of the cross was not easy for the Greek people to embrace.

Think of their centuries of exposure to their great philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the Neo-Platonics, and the many others. The Gospel of Jesus Christ wasn’t based on their systems of human wisdom, and so it seemed like foolishness to them.

 

VERSE 23. but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from First Corinthians.

we preach Christ crucified. Our message is so simple! We Christians preach Jesus Christ, and him crucified for our sins.

stumbling block . . . foolishness. Our message about Jesus Christ won’t necessarily be winsome for everybody. It won’t strike home for all people. It just won’t match their expectations perfectly. Some might be offended. To others, it seems like nonsense. We have to be OK with that. We will not win popularity contests.

Romans 9:33. even as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed.”

Romans 14:13. Therefore let’s not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion for falling.

1 Corinthians 1:23. but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,

 

VERSE 24. but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God;

called. The Christian message is trustworthy. However, it will not necessarily be the most popular message.

We don’t gauge the validity of the Christian message by how quickly people convert to faith in it. Nor do we gauge its validity by how many people convert to it. Everybody is called by God, even though not all respond.

And God calls everybody to salvation, even though not all embrace it.

1 Timothy 2:3-4. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.

power . . . wisdom. For the Jews, Christ is the miraculous power of God. For the Greeks, he is the wisdom of God.

 

VERSE 25. because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

wiser than men. This concept of God basing the plan of salvation upon Jesus Christ might seem like foolishness to Greeks, but its wiser than the wisest of human wisdom systems.

stronger than men. And it might seem weak to Jews, but its stronger than the greatest of human strength.

 

VERSE 26. For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble;

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from First Corinthians.

you see your calling. For the past eight verses, Paul has been contrasting the core Christian message and two other systems. Now he shifts to his readers. They can see what they used to be when they first came to the faith.

not many are wise according to the flesh. Very few of them were experts in human wisdom systems such as Greek philosophy.

not many mighty. Very few of them were influential when God called them to faith in Christ.

not many noble. They were not born into power or wealth.

 

VERSE 27. but 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.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from First Corinthians.

In the early days of evangelism in ancient Corinth, it was not the intelligentsia who responded. No, it was the more common folk. In their choice for Christ, they were the wisest of all.

 

VERSE 28. God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that don’t exist, that he might bring to nothing the things that exist,

despised. These people that God chose were the ones who were despised. The worldly people, the philosophers, and those who were powerful or wealthy, counted such people as nothing at all.

bring to nothing. Conversely, by favoring these humble people, God showed us where his real priorities are. Even though the world treasures wisdom and money and power, God doesn’t. He brought those commodities to nothing.

 

VERSE 29. that no flesh should boast before God.

no flesh should boast. In the end, it is all about Jesus Christ. Before God, nobody will be able to boast that they saved themselves.

Are you saved? Its because of Jesus Christ.

Are you a great philosopher? You too can be saved, but not because of your wisdom, but because of the foolishness of God.

Are you rich or powerful? You to can be saved, but not because of your riches or power, but because of the weakness of God.

 

VERSE 30. Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:

in Christ Jesus. If you’re in a relationship with God the Father, it is thanks to Christ Jesus.

wisdom. Jesus Christ is the very wisdom of God.

righteousness. Christ made us right with God the Father.

sanctification. Any purity or holiness we have is thanks to Jesus Christ.

redemption. Any freedom from sin that we have is thanks to Christ.

 

VERSE 31. that, as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

let him boast in the Lord. It isn’t what we’ve done. Its that Christ has done so much for us.

Let’s brag about Jesus Christ!

 


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1 CORINTHIANS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

RESOURCES: SummaryOutline, Memorize

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