Paul, one who was chosen by God’s desire and sent forth to testify of Jesus Christ. I address this letter to the new creation of God in Corinth, for you are those who have been claimed for God’s own possession in Christ Jesus, together with everyone everywhere who miraculously recognize the risen Jesus Christ as the very source of life itself, for they belong to him as surely as we do.
To you I proclaim this freely bestowed favor and assurance from God our father and from the one who is our all in all, Jesus Christ. For this grace was freely given to you in Christ, and because of this I thank God concerning you, for you have already been made immeasurably rich in all things in him - yes, immeasurably rich in all speech and all knowledge - even as the witness of Christ himself was validated in you, a witness declaring that you lack nothing regarding that which has been given, as you eagerly await the miraculous revelation of the one who is our everything, Jesus Christ, who will also validate you to the end, perfectly blameless in the day of Jesus Christ, who has become our all in all. God can be counted on to bring this to pass, as it is through Him that you were called into the total sharing of His son, Jesus Christ, our everything.
My brothers, I urge you to find your true agreement according to one name, Jesus Christ - our mutual life-source - and put an end to the divisions that have been erected among you! Instead of the fractured mess you force together into a false unity I encourage you to find your completeness in the same mind and in the same judgment - which is that of Christ. I say this because it has been brought to my attention that there is much contention and in-fighting among you.
As I’ve come to understand it each one of you has been naming yourselves according to men and saying things like, “I am of Paul,” and “I am of Apollos,” and “I am of Cephas,” and “I am of Christ.” Since when did Christ get divided? And when was Paul crucified for you? Furthermore, was it in the name of Paul that your testimony of faith in Christ was publicly made known? I thank God I wasn’t involved in any of these welcome-to-the-family events except that of Crispus and Gaius, because I surely wouldn’t want any of you to suggest your membership in Christ was somehow attached to my name! I also recall officiating the public welcome of Stephanus’ family into the faith … and if I happen to be overlooking any other I am not concerned, as it’s unimportant, because Christ did not send me as the validator of faith, but to simply declare the good news. I do not do this according to the persuasive power of one who knows how to use words to bring about a desired effect, for that would only negate the real power of the cross of Christ.
After all, the message of the cross is absurd, for it makes no sense to those who are passing away, but to us who are being delivered it is the power of God. From the written record, “I will bring the wisdom of the wise to an end, and the intelligence of the intelligent I will throw away.” And so I ask you … where is the wise, and the recorder of this world’s wisdom, as well as the disputer of this enlightened age? Hasn’t God drained all of its significance so that it has become nothing but babbling foolishness? After all, it was God who - by his understanding - set it up so that this enlightened age - by its understanding - would never understand him. However, God was delighted in doing the very thing that could never work, which was to send messengers declaring what could only be understood as insanity – and then deliver those who believe the unbelievable message!
But what of the radical differences in this world’s reasoning? I tell you, all such distinctions are immaterial. For the institutional Christian mind is hung up on outward fleshly indicators, while the rational assume their advanced knowledge will lead them into all truth. But our message - Christ crucified - is accepted by neither. For the religious mind, though attached to his name and strengthened by its established practices and doctrines, is still offended by its impotent savior. As for the scientifically enlightened mind? It only perceives him as the symbol of primitive ignorance! But to those who have heard him Christ has become something else entirely. To those rescued from religious bondage he has become the power of God; while to those who rejected him according to their higher knowledge he has become the wisdom of God! Because Christ, who is judged as the absurdity of God, blows man’s wisdom away … and Christ, who is judged as the weakness of God, destroys the fortifications of the religious mind!
Do you need any other proof regarding what I say than to consider your own status in society before having heard him? After all, how many of you were considered wise according the standards of this world? How many of you held positions of power? How many of you were held in high esteem? Not very many. For God has deliberately chosen the ignorant to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, the dishonorable and the despised, yes, and the things that are not, in order to make nothing of the things that are, in order to remove any and all possible reason one might boast before God. But it is of God that you are in Christ Jesus! For Christ has become our wisdom (not intellectual wisdom, but that which is from God). Christ has also become our true righteousness, and our belongingness to God, and our total completeness, so that our boasting is found in God alone … which is testified to in written words held sacred by the institution, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”