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One Corinthians One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

Sosthenes. “Sosthenes,” until just a short time before, had been ruler of the Jewish synagogue at Corinth (Acts 18:17), even suffering a beating by the Corinthian Greeks because of his involvement with the Jewish insurrection against Paul (Acts 18:12). Somehow the Lord had used these experiences to bring Sosthenes to believe Paul and accept Christ. He had even gone to Ephesus with Paul, and now was joining Paul in his letter back to his Christian friends in Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:5-8; Acts 20:31.

1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

sanctified. As the further development of his letter makes evident (e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:1; 5:1-2; 6:1), Paul knew these Corinthian believers were not “called saints” because of their saintly behavior. Rather, they were “sanctified in Christ Jesus”—that is, “set apart” to God through faith in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

1 Corinthians 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

1 Corinthians 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

1 Corinthians 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

unto the end. It is obvious that even the first-century church was “waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7), looking for His imminent return and “the end” of the present age.

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

1 Corinthians 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

1 Corinthians 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

1 Corinthians 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

not to baptize. Paul did baptize believers, for this was a part of the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20), but baptism, as this verse makes very clear, is not a part of the gospel, and therefore not a requisite of salvation, for it is by the gospel that men and women are saved (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

foolishness. Those who regard Christianity as foolishness, rejecting and perhaps even ridiculing God's Word, thereby prove to others that they are perishing in sin, on their way to hell.

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

it is written. Paul is quoting here from Isaiah 29:14, with somewhat similar relevant passages in Jeremiah 49:7 and Obadiah 8. The section from this verse through the end of chapter 2 is a sobering indictment of supposed human wisdom, as opposed to true wisdom in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

wisdom knew not God. Human wisdom—whether ancient Greek philosophy or modern evolutionary scientism—has always sought to explain the origin of the world by some means apart from its God and Creator. In the sight of God, this attempt is not true wisdom, true philosophy, or true science, but mere rebellious foolishness (Psalm 14:1; Romans 1:22).

foolishness of preaching. To the wisdom of the ungodly, “foolish preaching” is preaching the crucifixion of the world's Creator by His creation.

1 Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

require a sign. Note Christ's rebuke of this carnal attitude in Matthew 12:39-40 and John 4:48.

1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1 Corinthians 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

not many. Paul does not say: “Not any,” but: “Not many.” There have always been a few brilliant or powerful or aristocratic men who have devoted their gifts to the Lord and His Word, but they have always been the exceptions. This passage, in fact, is a remarkably fulfilled prophecy, having remained incisively true for almost two thousand years. Rather than being discouraged by the intellectual snobbery of educated unbelievers, their very dominance in the world should be regarded as merely another proof of the inspiration of the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1 Corinthians 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

made unto us. All we are, and all we have—if it is of any value at all in the scale of eternity—is given us by our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ. “In [Him] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3); “[He] is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4); we are “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2); and, “in [Him] we have redemption through His blood” (Colossians 1:14).

1 Corinthians 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

it is written. See Jeremiah 9:23-24. Pride is the devil's sin (1 Timothy 3:6), and “God resisteth the proud” (James 4:6).