1 Corinthians 1-4 World English Bible

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Salutation

1 1  Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2  to 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: 3  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving for Spiritual Gifts

4  I always thank my God concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; 5  that in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge; 6  even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7  so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; 8  who will also confirm you until the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

10  Now I beg you, brothers, [1] 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. 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. 12  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?

14  I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15  so 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.)

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.

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

18  For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. 19  For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.” [2] 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? 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. 22  For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, 23  but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, 24  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26  For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; 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; 28  and 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: 29  that no flesh should boast before God. 30  But of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31  that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.” [3]

Proclaiming Christ Crucified

2 1  When I came to you, brothers, I didn’t come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2  For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4  My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5  that your faith wouldn’t stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

The Revelation by God's Spirit

6  We 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. 7  But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, 8  which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. 9  But 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.” [4] 10  But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11  For 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. 12  But 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. 13  Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. 14  Now 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. 15  But 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?” [5] But we have Christ’s mind.

Laborers Together with God

3 1  Brothers, I couldn’t speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ. 2  I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, 3  for 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? 4  For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you fleshly?

5  Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? 6  I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. 7  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8  Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9  For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building. 10  According 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.

11  For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12  But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble; 13  each 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. 14  If any man’s work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. 15  If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.

16  Don’t you know that you are a temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17  If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, which you are.

18  Let 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. 19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He has taken the wise in their craftiness.” [6] 20  And again, “The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is worthless.” [7]

21  Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22  whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come. All are yours, 23  and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

The Ministry of the Apostles

4 1  So let a man think of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2  Here, moreover, it is required of stewards, that they be found faithful. 3  But 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. 4  For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord. 5  Therefore 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. 6  Now 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.

7  For 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? 8  You 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. 9  For, 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. 10  We 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. 11  Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are beaten, and have no certain dwelling place. 12  We toil, working with our own hands. When people curse us, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. 13  Being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the dirt wiped off by all, even until now.

14  I don’t write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15  For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. 16  I beg you therefore, be imitators of me.

17  Because 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. 18  Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19  But 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. 20  For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21  What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

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Footnotes

[1] 1:10 The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”

[2] 1:19 Isaiah 29:14

[3] 1:31 Jeremiah 9:24

[4] 2:9 Isaiah 64:4

[5] 2:16 Isaiah 40:13

[6] 3:19 Job 5:13

[7] 3:20 Psalm 94:11

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