Greetings from Paul
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 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to 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 for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul Gives Thanks to God
4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms 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 to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my 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.”
13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! 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, but 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 speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.
The Wisdom of God
18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human 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 power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is 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 chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world,[h] things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
Paul had spent nearly 18 months in the city of Corinth, which was one of the chief cities of Greece. He knew the people well and had been able to establish a firm foundation for the Christian faith for them to build on. However, he received reports about issues in the church. This letter he writes to them reveals Paul is very concerned for them and shows he has a heart for these people.
This letter is timely for the church today also, both to instruct and to inspire. Most of the questions and problems that confronted the church in Corinth are still very much with us-such as immaturity, instability, divisions, jealousy and envy, lawsuits, marital difficulties, sexual immorality and issues of spiritual gifts.
Right out of the gate, Paul begins to address divisions in the church, specifically people following after men more than following God. This is a dangerous thing that still happens in the church, and can cause enough strife among the members to split a church and in some cases, birth what we would consider a cult. And I would dare say that this is a Pastor’s worst fear, that the people would be following him rather than God. Paul addresses it well, though, challenging them with many questions. “Was Paul crucified for you?” or “Were you baptized int the name of Paul?” . He made them re-think their priorities.
A verse that always stands out to me in this chapter is vs. 18. I can personally testify how true this statement is. I lived this, believing the Word of God was utter craziness. Until I gave my life to Christ, and my perspective INSTANTLY changed. It was like a light switch went on in that moment. Suddenly things made sense that i previously had considered foolishness and I instantly desired to know more. What a miracle!
The challenge today is to really search our hearts today and ensure we are not following any person, but we are following God. We all love to listen to our own pastors, but what would happen if he/she suddenly were no longer there? Or what if your own pastor takes holidays for a few weeks, do you stop coming to church in that period? Is it about God, or the person speaking about God? Remember today that our pastor and church leaders are servants of God just like you and I. Honor them by not “following” them, but rather loving, respecting and encouraging them today. Send them a note of encouragement today.
Lord we thank you for who you are and what you have done for each of us. God we worship you only. We thank you for the people you have appointed to lead and teach in each of our churches and we pray for each of them today that you protect their minds and hearts and give them courage to speak the message you give them this week. Help us Lord to recognize if we are putting man first and help us correct that. We are so grateful for another beautiful day, may you bless the work of each persons hands today. In Jesus name, amen.