1 [This letter is from] Paul, who was called by the will of God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and [from] our brother Sosthenes;
2 [it is being sent] to the church of God at Corinth. [You people are] set apart in [the fellowship of] Christ Jesus and called [by God] to be saints [i.e., His holy people], along with all [others] everywhere who call on our Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., in prayer]. He is their Lord and ours [as well].
4 I always thank God for you, [especially] for God's unearned favor that was given to you [in providing salvation and blessings] in Christ Jesus. 5 For in [fellowship with] Him you people have been made [spiritually] rich in every way, through all [kinds of] speech and knowledge. [Note: This probably refers to the communication and comprehension of truth represented by the spiritual gifts of languages and revelation]. 6 The message about Christ has become firmly established there among you [i.e., by such gifts], 7 so that you are not lacking in any [spiritual] gift, while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed [i.e., at His second coming]. 8 He will also make you stand firm [in the faith] to the end [of your lives], so that you will be [considered] without just blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ [returns]. 9 God is faithful [i.e., He will continue working among you] and it is through Him that you were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I urge you, brothers, through the name [i.e., by the authority] of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you should all agree in what you say, so that no divisions [continue] among you. Be restored [to unity] by having common thoughts and convictions [i.e., in spiritual matters]. 11 For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by some of Chloe's family, that there is quarreling [going on] among you. 12 Now this is what I mean: Each of you is saying, "I am a follower of Paul," and another "I am a follower of Apollos," and another "I am a follower of Cephas [i.e., Peter]," and another "I am a follower of Christ." 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not immerse any of you, except for Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that none of you could say that you were immersed into my name. 16 (Oh, yes, I also immersed the family of Stephanas. Besides these, I do not remember immersing anyone else). 17 For Christ did not send me to immerse people, but to preach the good news. [Note: Christ specifically commissioned Paul to preach; most of the immersing was done by his attendants]. It was not to be done with words of [human] wisdom, so that the [message of the] cross of Christ would not have its power taken away.
18 For the message of [Christ dying on] the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing [i.e., in a lost state], but it is God's power to us who are being saved. 19 For it is written [Isa. 29:14], "I [i.e., God] will destroy the wisdom of wise people, and will set aside [i.e., hinder] the understanding of intelligent people."
20 Where is the wise person? And where is the expert in the law? [And] where is the debater of this world? 21 For since, according to God's [true] wisdom, the world did not know about Him through its wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe [in Christ] through the "foolishness" of the message preached. 22 Now Jews ask for [miraculous] signs and Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] are looking for wisdom, 23 but we [apostles] preach that Christ was crucified [for our sins]. This message is offensive to Jews and foolishness to [unconverted] Gentiles. 24 But to those who are called [by God to be saved], both Jews and Gentiles, [the message of] Christ is the power of God [See 1:16] and the wisdom of God. [See 1:30]. 25 For the "foolish things" of God are wiser than men's [wisdom], and the "weakness" of God is stronger than men's [strength].
26 Now consider how you were when you were called, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were from prominent families. 27 But God chose what the world considers foolish [i.e., people with little apparent ability], in order to shame the "wise people." And He chose what the world considers weak in order to shame what it considers strong. 28 And He chose what the world considers insignificant and contemptible, and [even] what it considers "nothing," in order to nullify what appears to be something. 29 This was all done so that no human being could boast in front of God. 30 But God brought you into [fellowship with] Christ Jesus, who was made to be God's wisdom for us. Through Christ you have received a right relationship with God, [as well as] holiness and redemption [i.e., being bought back from Satan]. 31 So, as it is written [Jer. 9:23f], "The person who [wants to] boast, let him boast about the Lord."