Paul, the Apostle wrote this letter to the church gathering in Corinth. In this chapter, he thanks God for the great spiritual gifts that the believers in the church of Corinth possess. Also, he talks about the division among them and insists on unity among them for being accepted by God. This chapter also tells us how the gentiles view the gospel of Christ and what is the actual value and worth of the Gospel. It reveals a God who gives importance to the foolish and neglected people of the world and uses them for the glory of His mighty name.
1. (Verses 1-3) Greetings
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Among many people who call themselves as an apostle of God and want to be honored and praised by the people, Paul was a humble Apostle who was called by God Himself for spreading the Gospel of Christ and lived an exemplary life till the end of his life (Hebrews 5:4). Sosthenes was a fellow servant of God who served God with Paul, the Apostle.
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
Paul wrote this letter to the believers gathering in Corinth and all believers who worship Jesus Christ our God who received the name above all names because of His obedience (Philippians 2:8-11). All people who were saved by the blood of Jesus Christ are sanctified and are made righteous before God (1 Corinthians 6:11). Thus those who call on the name of Jesus are called to be saints before God.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Only God can give us the grace that saves us from the slavery of sin and justifies us (Romans 3:23,24). He fills us with the peace of God which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Paul greets the people of God in the name of the triune God.
2. (Verses 4-9) Spiritual blessings of Corinthians and their readiness to meet Jesus Christ
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,
even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
so that you come short in no gift,
It is not our own strength or our might that gave us the gifts of the spirit. But we received the spiritual blessings by the grace of God who loves us and gave the Holy Spirit to be with us. It is the spirit of God who gives us all spiritual gifts to rise and shine for His kingdom.
The words we use to tell people about God and to know about the great mysteries of the kingdom of God are all not because of our own knowledge or wisdom. But the Holy Spirit who dwells within us teaches us to use the right words at the right time (Matthew 10:19,20).
Corinthians were blessed with all spiritual gifts to share their experience with Christ. As Paul knew that they are the gifts from God, he gave thanks to God for all those blessings.
eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul thanks God as the Corinthians did not keep their eyes on earthly treasures but on Jesus Christ who helps them to protect their Holiness and they were waiting for His revelation (Hebrews 12:1).
All the earthly treasures we make in our lives are temporary and they won’t take us to eternity with Christ. Our citizenship is in heaven. So we have to eagerly wait for the Lord who is able to transform our worthless life to a glorious one (Philippians 3:20,21). We cannot be able to preserve our Holiness with our own strength. But only God can help us to protect us without any spot or wrinkle until we appear before God for judgment (Ephesians 5:27).
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Becauseof the everlasting love of the Father, we were saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Thus we were reconciled with the Father and our relationship with Him was restored. So we got the privilege to have fellowship with Christ as our Father.
3. (Verses 10,11) No division among the children of God
Now I plead with you, brethren, by 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 perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.
Paul heard about division among the believers in Corinth. It was informed to Paul by the household of Chloe who may be a Christian. As God lives among those who have the oneness of mind, the division among them may become a reason for God not being with them (Matthew 18:19). So Paul insisted on unity among the believers.
4. (Verses 12-17) Be followers of Christ
Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Apostles Paul, Apollos, Cephas were great men of God at that time. And based on their preachings people were attracted to them and followed their teachings. Because of that, there was a great dispute among the believers in Corinth. Thus Paul asks them not to be the followers of men and their teachings, but to be the followers of Jesus and His ways as the Apostles did not do anything for the salvation of mankind. But it was Jesus who laid down His own life for saving the sinful mankind.
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name.
Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
Many people who are called to be the men of God wants to bring people towards themselves rather than towards Christ. Satan uses these tricks to deceive the people of God (2 Corinthians 11:3). There is salvation only through the name of Jesus Christ in this earth (Acts 4:12). Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize people in the name of Triune God. So Paul was not interested even in giving baptism to people as it would be viewed as done for his own fame.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Paul did not want praise from men. He did not lean on his words of wisdom for spreading the gospel. Because it may create an image that he brought people towards him with his extraordinary speech and the power of the cross would be underestimated. He wanted the people to understand that it was not the servants of God who gives the grace and peace they received but it was the power of Jesus who died on the cross.
5. (Verses 18-25) God’s endless and unsearchable power and wisdom
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.
In the view of people who don’t know the power of the gospel of Christ, hearing the word of God may be wastage of time and worshipping God may be stupidity in this modern times because they don’t know the reward promised for those who endure or Christ till the end (Revelation 2:25,26). But being in the presence of God will be like being in heaven for those who tasted the happiness being in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11).
For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
Even though people call themselves wise they are foolish before God as they don’t know the way to eternal life. As they don’t know the Savior, their knowledge and wisdom cannot save them from their sins. Their knowledge is useless before God. The wise people cannot find the ways of God and the mysteries of eternity with their wisdom.
The scribes and great leaders who lived in the time of Jesus thought that they were wise enough to arrest Jesus and kill Him in the cross. They thought that they have stopped the sayings of Jesus Christ from happening with their crooked plan of killing Him. But their little knowledge did not understand the great plan of God behind His death. Their understanding became nothing before the great wisdom of God.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
If a man tries to know about God and His works through his wisdom, he cannot find it because they are far beyond his knowledge (Ecclesiastes 8:17). God chose to give salvation by just believing the sacrifice of Christ (Romans 3:28; 4:5). God chose preaching the word of God which is considered a foolish thing to be a tool to bring faith in the hearts of people (Romans 10:14).
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
While Jews ask for signs and wonders to believe something, Greeks ask for a justification for everything to believe.
but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
Jews cannot understand the meaning of the Gospel as they don’t want to accept their Messiah as a crucified man and so it is a stumbling block for them. For Greeks, just believing the sacrifice of Jesus brings salvation was just a myth and they look it as foolishness.
but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
If a Jew or a Greek or anyone could believe the work of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then they will get the power of God through the Spirit of God and be able to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
People might have thought it is just a foolish thing when Jesus accepted the death penalty on Him. When He did not fight back those who beat Him and accepted all pain, people laughed at His inability to save Himself from the cross (Luke 23:35-37,39). But the plan of God through the death of Christ was far beyond their understanding. When people thought it as His foolishness and weakness, it was His great work of salvation of the entire mankind.
6. (Verses 26-31) God is greater than everyone
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
that no flesh should glory in His presence.
God chose people who were despised by others to fulfill His purpose in this world. David was a man forgotten even by his father. God did not chose his brothers who were strong and skilled to be a king. But He chose David to be the king of Israel in place of Saul who trusted his own strength without waiting for God. Moses was slow of speech and slow of tongue. But God chose him to talk with great Pharaoh and make his power nothing.
God uses people who are despised and things that are neglected for His work because no one should be able to boast on their strength for all the mighty works done through them (Psalm 20:7,8). He brings the low lying people to high places but he brings the prideful people down. He wants people to understand that their strength is nothing before God’s strength.
When a man looks at his life and how much God changed it and using it for His glory, he must be filled with gratitude and glorify the name of God as he understands that it was not because of his own strength but because of the endless grace of God on him.
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord .”
Jesus Christ is our righteousness because as He took over all our sins upon Him and so we became righteous before God (Romans 3:24-26). He is the one who sanctified us and reconciled us with the Father and brought us near the presence of God (Romans 5:11). We are redeemed from the power of sin and death only through Jesus Christ. Thus He is worthy of all praise and honor. Without Him, we can do nothing on this earth.