1 Corinthians 1
1.This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God as an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.
Most Bible teachers agree that Sosthenes is the same man who was against Paul in Corinth. Some people become even harder because they are getting ready to crack. Do not give up on them, keep praying, and someday you may be surprised to see that an old enemy has become a Christian and a friend.
The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. Acts 18 17
2 – 3
I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be His own set apart people. He made you set apart by Jesus, just as He did for all people who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
The city of Corinth was so evil that people used to say, “He lives like a Corinthian.” or “To be a Corinthian means to live in immorality.”
The original word for saints gives the idea that we are not of the earth. Paul is getting them ready to see that they are saints, but are not living like saints.
4. I keep on thanking my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Jesus.
A wise counselor tells people about the good thing he sees in them before he talks about their problems. Spiritual gifts do not take the place of spiritual grace towards others.
5. Through Jesus, God has made your church rich in every way with all of your carefully spoken words and all of your knowledge.
Paul says, “I know you can speak very well and you look up to people who have this gift. God has made you stand out from the rest of the people in Corinth so do not trade what you have for what they have.”
6.This makes you have balance and is a witness that what I told you about Jesus is true.
God's gifts should make you have balance and be a reminder that what you have learned about Jesus is the truth. Do not put your attention on your gifts, but on the truth.
7. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people who are under spiritual attack seem to have gifts that help them fight this attack and this shows them that their spirit is alive. Some need this help more than others and some do not know how to use their gifts and become out of balance. You are out of balance if you do not see why your gift was given and you think that your spiritual gift makes you stronger than others.
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.
Even if you have done something stupid, God will protect you from the accuser. God does not accuse but the devil does –day and night. Revelation 12:10
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without any blame. Jude 24
9. God will do this, for He is faithful to do what He says, and He has invited you into close fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
God has shown that He can be trusted because of things that He has done in the past.
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. Instead, be of one mind, joined together in thought and purpose. Keep on agreeing and saying the same things.
The original language says, “to be perfectly joined together” which is a medical term talking about the setting of a bone that was broken or out of joint.
11. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your divisions, my dear brothers and sisters.
Everybody was saying something different, all talking at the same time, instead of a quiet talk. They were bringing the world's way (of fighting for who will be the “top dog”) into the church. Paul is saying, “You are my brothers, even if you are doing things I do not agree with.”
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.”
They are saying, “I like Paul because he is for us Gentiles. We like Apollos because we look up to good speakers. I am Jewish, so I look up to Peter. I follow Jesus because I am more spiritual than the rest of you, and I do not listen to any human leaders.”
It would be a terrible picture if the body of Christ Himself was all cut into pieces. If you say that you only follow a certain Bible teacher it usually means that you are not studying the Bible for yourself.
Those who say they belong to Christ must see that we belong to Christ as much as they do! 2 Corinthians 10:7
They are only comparing themselves with each other. 2 Corinthians 10:12
13. Has Christ been divided into different groups? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!
Do some people have more of Christ than somebody else? Thinking with the same mind as Jesus is the cure for these arguments.
Paul says, “We are not baptized in the name of any of these leaders so what are you thinking?” We cannot take the cross out of the Christian life. If we are the body of Christ and we are cut in pieces then it is Jesus who bleeds. This kind of garbage is what has caused some teachers to teach their own version of Christ.
14 – 16
I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say they were baptized in my name. (Oh yes, I also baptized the family of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else).
Paul is saying he is glad he did not baptize more because it would make the problem even worse.
There are people who believe that being baptized is what saves you. In the Old Testament, men were circumcised to show that they belong to God. In the New Testament, we see a picture of being buried under water to show that we are dead to the world and belong to God. If being baptized saves people then it would be strange for Paul to say he does not remember, because he remembers many different people who became Christians in his other letters.
Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his house believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. Acts 18:8
17. For Christ did not 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.
“I have noted that the more spiritual a man becomes, the less denominational he becomes.” G. Campbell Morgan
The Corinthians were mixing fake wisdom with the Gospel. If the main goal was wisdom, then we would not need the cross. False teachers ignore or leave out the cross in the Christian life. Fake ideas about Jesus make the Gospel empty.
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.
Paul is not talking about God's power to create the universe. He is talking about God's power to forgive our sins and cover them with the blood of Jesus. Those who laugh at the cross do not have this power in their lives.
If we say, “The words of Jesus are not doing anything for me as a Christian” then we are saying that the cross is foolish. The same things happen to us that happened to Jesus on the cross: shame, humility, being embarrassed. Let people seeing us being crucified to our old habits of anger, bitterness and others things.
When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed. Acts 17:32
19. As the Isaiah says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and put away the knowledge of those who think they know so much.”
God does not need the world's wisdom to help His Gospel, and He will destroy the world's wisdom. Isaiah says that men were trusting Egypt for help against their enemies so that they could escape judgment for what they have done
Because of this, I will once again amaze these hypocrites with wonders.The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.” Isaiah 29:14
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.
Early science and Bible science: [short list]
“The earth is flat”
The earth is round. Isaiah 40:22
“Sick people must be bled”
The life of the body is in the blood. Leviticus 17:11
There are only 1,100 stars”
Stars cannot be counted. Jeremiah 33:22
“Light is fixed in place”
Light moves. Job 38:19,20
“The ocean is filled only by rivers and rain” Ocean contains springs. Job 38:16
“You can only use the stars and wind for sailing” There are paths in the ocean. Psalm 8:8
21. 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 are believing.
What has all this arguing done to help spread the gospel? Since wisdom did save us then we should speak to those who do think of themselves as instead of only speaking to the wise.
22. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.
Show us a sign if you want us to believe in you. John 6:30
23.So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
The Jews say, "We cannot believe in a man who was cursed.” Deuteronomy 21:23
The Gentiles say, "How could you believe in anyone who was not even smart enough to save himself from the cross?” Even Peter stumbled over this. Matthew 16:22
24. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
In history, we see that smart people could not figure out how to be saved. They have come up with all kinds of ideas to explain why we are here on earth and what will happen after we leave this earth. God solved the problem through the cross.
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.
If God would only use smart people then they would become proud and the rest of us would feel that we are not important to God.
26. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that not many of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
“Not many” instead of “not any” which means it is not that there are no smart or rich people, but there are not many.
We cannot talk people into getting save using wisdom that is better than theirs. We have to speak to the spirit because it is the spirit which becomes born –again, not the brain.
27 – 29
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.
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.
As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
We are ashamed of the weak and even Jesus seems weak to the world. If we pay attention weak people have many things to teach us.
30. God has united you with Jesus. God made Him to be our wisdom. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He set us free from sin.
If we add anything to the Words of Jesus then we are taking away from Jesus and trusting in men's wisdom instead of trusting Jesus.
31. Jeremiah says, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
Remember the list of things that the scientists were wrong about in verse 20? This list could be much bigger. Doctors used to laugh at the idea that there were such things as germs. If we think we know something we may find out that we do not know as much as we thought we did.
And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know it.
1 Corinthians 8:2
Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power. Jeremiah 9:23