Add parallel Print Page Options

Greeting and Reminder of Blessings in Christ

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God in Corinth—those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, who are called as saints—along with all in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus. You were enriched in him in every way, in all your speaking and all your knowledge, because the testimony about Christ was established in you. As a result you do not lack any gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also keep you strong until the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Christ Is the Answer to the Problem of Divisions

10 Brothers,[a] I am making an appeal to you using the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I ask that you all express the same view and not have any divisions among you, but that you be joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For the news I heard about you, my brothers, from members of Chloe’s household, is that there are rivalries among you. 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,”[b] or “I belong to 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 did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that I baptized you into my own name. 16 (I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides them, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel—not with the wisdom used in speeches, so that the cross of Christ would not be emptied of its power.

God’s Way of Saving People Seems Foolish to Some

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. 19 In fact, it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will bring to nothing.[c]

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Jewish law? Where is the probing thinker of the present age? Has God not shown that the wisdom of this world[d] is foolish? 21 Indeed, since the world through its wisdom did not know God, God in his wisdom decided to save those who believe, through the foolishness of the preached message. 22 Yes, Jews ask for signs, Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified—which is offensive 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 We preach Christ crucified, because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For example, consider your call, brothers. Not many of you were wise from a human point of view, not many were powerful, and not many were born with high status. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are strong, 28 and God chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things, and[e] the things that are not, to do away with the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before God. 30 But because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us the wisdom from God, namely, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 31 God did this so that, just as it is written, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[f]

As for me, brothers, when I came to you, I did not come with superior speech or wisdom in order to proclaim to you the testimony[g] of God. For I had no intention of knowing anything among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you[h] in weakness, in fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not marked by persuasive words of human[i] wisdom, but by a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

In-Depth Wisdom Is for Spiritual People

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature, but it is not a wisdom of this world or of the rulers of this world, who are being reduced to nothing. Instead we speak God’s wisdom that has been hidden in mystery—before the ages, God foreordained that this wisdom would result in our glory. None of the rulers of this world knew it. (If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.) But as it is written:

What no eye has seen and no ear has heard
and no human mind has conceived—
that is what God has prepared for those who love him.[j]

10 But God revealed it to us through his[k] Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 Indeed, who among men knows a man’s thoughts except the man’s spirit within him? So also, no one else knows God’s thoughts except God’s Spirit.

12 What we received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we might know the blessings freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak about these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual truths with spiritual words.[l] 14 However, an unspiritual person does not accept the truths taught by God’s Spirit, because they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually evaluated. 15 But the spiritual person evaluates all things, and he himself is evaluated by no one. 16 Indeed, “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who will instruct him?”[m] But we have the mind of Christ.

Brothers, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but as people who are led by the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, because you were not yet ready. Why, even now you are still not ready, because you are still people who are following the flesh. Indeed, insofar as jealousy, strife, and factions[n] have a place among you, are you not people who are following the flesh? Are you not behaving in a merely human way? When one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

Analogies Illustrating Ministry and the Church

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are ministers through whom you believed, and each served as the Lord gave him his role. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but it is God who causes the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters are united, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For God is the one whom we serve as coworkers, and you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 In keeping with the grace of God given to me, as a wise master builder, I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. But let each person be careful how he builds on it. 11 In fact, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 But if anyone is building on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each person’s work will become evident. The Day will make it plain, because it is going to be revealed in fire, and the fire will test each person’s work to show what sort of work it is. 14 If what someone has built remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but it will be like an escape through fire.

16 Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit lives in[o] you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that is what you are.

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this world, let him become a fool so that he may become wise. 19 To be sure, the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”[p] 20 and again, “The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise; he knows that it is worthless.”[q] 21 Therefore let no one boast about men. For all things belong to you— 22 whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come. All things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.


  1. 1 Corinthians 1:10 When context indicates it, the Greek word for brothers may refer to all fellow believers, male and female.
  2. 1 Corinthians 1:12 Cephas is the Aramaic name for Peter. Both Cephas and Peter mean rock.
  3. 1 Corinthians 1:19 Isaiah 29:14
  4. 1 Corinthians 1:20 Some witnesses to the text read the world. (“Witnesses to the text” mentioned in footnotes may include Greek manuscripts, lectionaries, translations, and quotations in the church fathers.)
  5. 1 Corinthians 1:28 Some witnesses to the text omit and.
  6. 1 Corinthians 1:31 Jeremiah 9:24
  7. 1 Corinthians 2:1 A few witnesses to the text read mystery.
  8. 1 Corinthians 2:3 Or I was with you
  9. 1 Corinthians 2:4 A few witnesses to the text omit human.
  10. 1 Corinthians 2:9 Isaiah 64:4
  11. 1 Corinthians 2:10 Some witnesses to the text read the.
  12. 1 Corinthians 2:13 Or explaining spiritual truths to spiritual people
  13. 1 Corinthians 2:16 Isaiah 40:13
  14. 1 Corinthians 3:3 Some witnesses to the text read jealousy and strife.
  15. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Or among
  16. 1 Corinthians 3:19 Job 5:13
  17. 1 Corinthians 3:20 Psalm 94:11