1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.
2 We are writing to the church of God in Corinth, you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did all Christians everywhere--whoever calls upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and theirs.
3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you his grace and peace.
4 I can never stop thanking God for all the generous gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.
5 He has enriched your church with the gifts of eloquence and every kind of knowledge.
6 This shows that what I told you about Christ is true.
7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 He will keep you strong right up to the end, and he will keep you free from all blame on the great day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
9 God will surely do this for you, for he always does just what he says, and he is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now, dear brothers and sisters,* I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.1
11 For some members of Chloe's household have told me about your arguments, dear brothers and sisters.
12 Some of you are saying, "I am a follower of Paul." Others are saying, "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Peter,*" or "I follow only Christ."2
13 Can Christ be divided into pieces? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15 for now no one can say they were baptized in my name.
16 (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. I don't remember baptizing anyone else.)
17 For Christ didn't send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News--and not with clever speeches and high-sounding ideas, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.
18 I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.
19 As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas."*3
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense.
21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe.
22 God's way seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven to prove it is true. And it is foolish to the Greeks because they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom.
23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it's all nonsense.
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles,* Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God.4
25 This "foolish" plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you.
27 Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important,