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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL
Author: The apostle Paul (1:1; 9:1-2), twenty-five years after he was called (Acts 9:3-6, 15-16) and fourteen years after he was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 13:1-4, 8).
Time of Writing: Approximately A.D. 59, near the end of Paul's three-year stay in Ephesus (Acts 20:31; 1 Cor. 16:8).
Place of Writing: Ephesus (Acts 19:21-22; 1 Cor. 16:3-8, 19).
Recipients: The saints -- the church -- in Corinth and all who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place (1:2).
Christ and His Cross as the Solution
to All Problems in the Church
I. Introduction -- The Initial Gifts
and the Participation in Christ
1 Paul, a called apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Sosthenes the brother,
2 To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints, with all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, who is theirs and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God always concerning you based upon the grace of God which was given to you in Christ Jesus,
5 That in everything you were enriched in Him, in all utterance and all knowledge,
6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
7 So that you do not lack in any gift, eagerly awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8 Who will also confirm you until the end unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
II. Dealing with Divisions
1:10 -- 4:21
A. Christ and His Cross, the Unique Solution
to All Problems in the Church
1. Christ Not Divided
10 Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion.
11 For it has been made clear to me concerning you, my brothers, by those of the household of Chloe, that there are strifes among you.
12 Now I mean this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of 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 baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15 That no one may say that you were baptized into my name.
16 And I did baptize the household of Stephanas also; beyond that I do not know if I baptized any other.
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to announce the gospel, not in wisdom of speech that the cross of Christ may not be made void.
2. Christ Crucified, God's Power and God's Wisdom
18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, ``I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of those who understand I will set aside.''
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews require signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
23 But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
3. Christ, Our Wisdom:
Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption
26 For consider your calling, brothers, that there are not many wise according to flesh, not many powerful, not many wellborn.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world that He might shame those who are wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world that He might shame the things that are strong,
28 And the lowborn things of the world and the despised things God has chosen, things which are not, that He might bring to nought the things which are,
29 So that no flesh may boast before God.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
31 That as it is written, ``He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.''