Salutation and Thanksgiving
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both 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 for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all utterance and all knowledge— 6 just as the testimony of Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you come behind in no gift, eagerly awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who also will confirm you to the end, so that you may be blameless 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.
An Urgent Plea for Unity
10 Now I plead with you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For concerning you, my brothers, it has been reported to me by those of Chloe’s household that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: Each of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 But is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but beyond that I do not know if I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel—and to do so with no reliance on human words of “wisdom,”1 lest the cross of Christ should be emptied of its power.
Christ, The Power and Wisdom of God
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, 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 the learned I will bring to nothing.”2 20 Where, then, is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 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. 22 For Jews demand signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the 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.
Christ, Our Only Boast
26 For think back to when you were called,3 brothers: Not many of you were wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many of noble birth. 27 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 that are strong; 28 and God has chosen the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 so that no flesh should boast in His presence. 30 But by His doing4 you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—31 so that, just as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”5
- Lit. not with wisdom of word
- Is. 29:14
- Lit. Look at (or, consider, you see) your calling .
- Lit. out of Him, from Him
- Jer. 9:23f
The Wisdom of Man Vs. the Wisdom of God
2 And when I came to you, brothers, I did not come with loftiness of speech or wisdom, proclaiming to you the mystery1 of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my message and my proclamation did not come in persuasive words of wisdom, but in a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
6 However, we do speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 Instead, we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God preordained before the ages for our glory; 8 a wisdom that none of the rulers of this age understood, for had they understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written: “Things no eye has seen, things no ear has heard, things that have not entered into the heart of man, such are the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”2 10 Yet3 God has revealed them to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.4 11 For who among men knows the things of a5 man except the spirit of the man that is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.6 14 But the natural man does not welcome the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For, “Who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him?”7 But we have the mind of Christ.
- Some mss testimony
- Is. 64:4
- Some mss For
- Or the depths of God
- Lit. the
- Or interpreting (or explaining) spiritual things to spiritual people
- Is. 40:13
Sectarianism Diagnosed and Reproved
3 And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to fleshly, as to babes in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not able to receive it. And even now you are still not able to receive it, 3 for you are still fleshly. For where there is jealously and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking as mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not walking as mere men?
5 Who then is Apollos? And who is Paul? Are they not servants through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then, neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one in purpose, but each man will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and now another builds upon it. But let each one watch carefully how he builds upon it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 the quality of each one’s work will become evident. For the Day will disclose it, because it is destined to be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what kind it is. 14 If anyone’s work that he has built upon the foundation remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved—and therefore like a man escaping through a fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys1 the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;2 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are worthless.”3 21 Therefore, let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
- Or defiles, corrupts
- Job 5:13
- Ps. 94:11
Stewards of the Mysteries of God
4 Let a man regard us in this way: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, in the case of stewards it is required that they be found faithful. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet by this I am not necessarily acquitted, for He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the things hidden in darkness and disclose the motives1 of men’s hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
Marks of a True Apostle
6 Now these things, brothers, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to think beyond what is written, so that none of you may become puffed up on behalf of one against the other. 7 For who is it that makes you to differ? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if in fact you did receive it, why do you boast as if you did not? 8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us! And I could wish that you did indeed reign as kings, so that we also might reign with you! 9 For I consider that God has exhibited us—the apostles—last of all,2 as men condemned to death; for we have become a spectacle to the whole world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are without honor! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, beaten, and homeless. 12 And we toil, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being slandered, we plead for peace.3 We have been made like the scum of the world, the dregs of all things even until now.
“I Will Come Shortly!”
14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but rather to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you were to have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. 16 Therefore, I beseech you: Be imitators of me.17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some of you are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But if the Lord wills, I will come to you shortly, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
- Or purposes
- Or at the end of the procession
- Or entreat.
Church Discipline Enjoined
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and immorality of a kind that is not found even among the Gentiles—namely, that someone has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, so as to remove the one who has done this evil deed from your midst. 3 As for me, being absent in body but present in spirit, I have already judged the one who has done this thing, just as if I were present among you: 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit and with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 you are to deliver such a one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.1
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, seeing that you truly are unleavened. For indeed our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed: Christ himself. 8 Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, neither with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to keep company with sexually immoral people, 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world—or the covetous and swindlers, or the idolaters, since then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But now2 I have written to you not to keep company with any so-called brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler3—no, not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. “Put away the wicked man from among you.”4
- Some mss the Lord, our Lord Jesus
- Or possibly But as it is, I have written.
- Or extortionist
- Deut. 17:7;19:19; 22:21, 24;24:7
6 Does anyone among you, having a grievance against another, dare go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not realize that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you unfit to decide trivial cases? 3 Do you not realize that we shall judge angels? How much more matters pertaining to this life? 4 If then you have disputes concerning such things, why do you place them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is not one wise man among you who is able to settle a dispute between his brothers? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! 7 Therefore, it is already an utter defeat for you that you go to law against one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 But no, you yourselves wrong and cheat, and you do this to your brothers!
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor catamites, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers1 will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Flee Sexual Immorality
12 “All things are lawful for me,”2 but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,”—but I will not be enslaved by3 anything. 13 “Foods are for the stomach and the stomach is for foods,”2 but God will abolish them both. Now the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 Moreover, God raised up the Lord, and by His power he will raise us up as well. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? God forbid! 16 Or do you not know that he who joins himself to a harlot is one in body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.”4 17 But he who joins himself to the Lord is one in spirit with Him. 18 Flee sexual immorality. “Every sin a man commits is outside the body,”5—but the sexually immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
- Or extortioners
- Paul appears to be quoting a Corinthian slogan
- Lit. brought under the power and/or authority of
- Gen. 2:24
- Or Every other sin a man commits
Special Instructions Concerning Marriage
7 Now concerning the things about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”1 2 Nevertheless, to avoid sexual immorality2 let each man have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 Let the husband grant his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise also the wife her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except by mutual agreement, and only for a time, so that you may give yourselves to prayer. Then3 come together again, lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, and not as a command. 7 For4 I wish that all men were just as I am. But each one has his own gift from God, one of one kind and another of another.
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them if they remain as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire. 10 But to the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): The wife is not to leave her husband. 11 But if she does leave, she is to remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband. And the husband is not to divorce5 his wife.
12 And to the rest I say (I, and not the Lord): If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And if any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart: In such cases a brother or sister is not under bondage, but God has called us6 to peace.16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Remain in Your Original Calling
17 Only remember this: As the Lord has assigned a place to each one, and as God has called each one, so let him walk. And this is what I prescribe in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing; what counts is keeping God’s commands. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not let it trouble you; but if you can gain your freedom, by all means do so. 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave is now the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who was called while free is now Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price: Do not become slaves of men.24 Brothers, in whatever calling each one of you was called, let him remain there with God.
Concerning Virgins and Widows
25 Now concerning virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give this judgment as one whom the Lord, by His mercy, has made trustworthy. 26 I think, therefore, in view of the impending7 distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless, those who marry will experience troubles in this life,8 and I would spare you.
29 Now brothers, what I am saying is this: The time is short, so that henceforth those who have wives should be as if they had none, 30 and those who weep as if they did not weep, and those who rejoice as if they did not rejoice, and those who buy as if they did not possess, 31 and those who make use of the world as if they did not use it to the full.9 For the form of this world is passing away. 32 And I want you to be from concern. He who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married is concerned about the things of the world—how he may please his wife, 34 so that10 his interests are divided. Similarly, the unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, how she may be holy both in body and spirit. But she who is married is concerned about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 Now I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a leash on you, but to promote what is fitting, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
36 Now if any man thinks he is not treating his virgin daughter fairly11—if she is past the bloom of her youth, and if it seems necessary—let him do as he wishes. He is not sinning; let them marry. 37 Nevertheless, he who stands firm in his heart—feeling no compulsion, but having authority over his own will—and has decided in his own heart that he will keep his virgin daughter at home, he will do well. 38 So then, he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.
- Paul appears to be quoting a Corinthian slogan
- Lit. because of sexual immoralities
- Lit. And
- Many mss But
- Lit. send away (also in vv. 12, 13)
- Some mss you
- Or present
- Lit. tribulation in the flesh
- Or use it to excess
- Lit. and
- Lit. thinks he is acting improperly towards his virgin
Concerning Food Offered to Idols
8 Now concerning foods offered to idols: We know that “We all have knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up, whereas love builds up. 2 If anyone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. 4 Therefore, concerning the eating of foods offered to idols, we know that “In this world an idol is nothing at all,” and that “There is no God but one.”1 5 For even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and for whom we live; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
7 However, not everyone has this knowledge; and so, being accustomed to idols2 up until now, some believers eat thinking of their food as having been offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God: We are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do. 9 But see to it that this liberty of yours does not become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if someone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not his weak conscience be emboldened to eat foods offered to idols? 11 And so, through your knowledge, the weak person is torn down,3 the brother for whom Christ died. 12 And thus, by sinning against the brothers and wounding their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I cause my brother to stumble.
- Paul appears to be quoting Corinthian slogans
- Lit. the idol
- Lit. destroyed
An Example of Loving Self-Denial
9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, surely I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Have we no right to eat and drink without expense? 5 Have we no right to take along a believing wife, just like the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? 7 Who at any time goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink from the milk of the flock?
8 Am I saying these things on my own,1 or does not the Law say them as well? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”2 Is it merely oxen that God is concerned about, 10 or does He not say this wholly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher ought to thresh in hope of sharing the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it a great matter if we reap material things from you? 12 If others partake of this right over you, should not we all the more? Nevertheless we have not made use3 of our right, but we endure all things, lest in any way we should create a hindrance to the Gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those employed in the temple service eat of the food offered in the temple; and that those who attend to the altar partake of the food offered at the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has directed those who preach the Gospel to receive their livelihood from the Gospel. 15 But I have not made use of any of these privileges, nor have I written these things so that they should be granted to me.4 For I would rather die than have anyone empty my boasting of its force. 16 For if I simply preach the Gospel, I have nothing of which to boast, for in the case of my preaching necessity has been laid upon me: Yes, woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! 17 For if I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, then a stewardship has been entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That when I preach the Gospel, I may offer the Gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the Gospel. 19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. 20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as one under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without the Law, as one without the Law (though I am not without God’s law, but under the law of Christ), that I might win those who are without the Law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all means I might save some. 23 And I do all things for the sake of the Gospel, so that I may share in it together with you.
Let Us Run That We May Win!
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may lay hold of the prize. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do this in order to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore, I do not run as one without a goal; I do not box as one who beats the air. 27 Rather, I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest somehow, having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified!
- Lit. as a (mere) man
- Deut. 25:4
- Lit. did not make use
- Lit. that it should be so done to me.
Warnings from Old Testament Times
10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from a spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased, for they were laid low in the wilderness.
6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 Do not become idolaters as some of them did: As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.”1 8 Nor let us practice sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us put the Lord to the test, as some of them did, and they were destroyed by serpents. 10 Nor let us complain, as some of them did, and they were destroyed by the destroyer.11 Now these things happened to them as warnings, and they were written down for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has come upon you except what is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but will, with the temptation, also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it.
Flee from Idolatry
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel:2 Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers in the altar? 19 What then am I saying, that food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I am saying that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become partakers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Or shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
Concerning Liberty and Love
23 “All things are lawful,”3 but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but rather the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake, 26 for “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.”4 27 If someone who is an unbeliever invites you to a meal, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for conscience’ sake. 28 But if someone says to you, “This meat was offered to idols,” then, for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake, do not eat it. 29However, I do not mean your own conscience; I mean the conscience of the other person. For why should my liberty be judged by another person’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thanksgiving, why should I be denounced over that for which I give thanks? 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also strive to please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.
- Ex. 32:6
- Lit. Consider Israel according to the flesh
- Paul appears to be quoting a Corinthian slogan
- Lit. and all its fullness, Ps. 24:1
Concerning Head Coverings
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in all things, and hold fast to the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Any man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But any woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for it is just as if her head were shaved.1 6 For if a woman does not cover herself, let her also cut off her hair. But if it is shameful for a woman to cut off her hair or shave her head, then let her be covered. 7 For surely a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s. 10 Therefore, the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.11 Nevertheless, in the Lord neither is woman independent of man, nor man independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so also man comes through woman; and all things come from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone is inclined to be contentious about this, we have no such2 practice, nor do the churches of God.
Proper Conduct at the Lord’s Table
17 But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you are not coming together for the better, but for the worse. 18 For first of all, I hear that when you come together as a church there are schisms among you (and in part I believe it, 19 for there must even be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident to you). 20 Therefore, when you come together in the same place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, 21 for when you eat, each one is taking his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and put to shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this matter I do not praise you.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body which is given for you;3 do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 So4 let a man examine himself, and in this way let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, because he is not discerning the body. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and many sleep. 31 But if we would carefully judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we might not be condemned with the world.
33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
- Lit. for she (or it) is one and the same with the shaven (woman)
- I.e. such a practice as the Corinthians are following; some translations: no other practice
- Some older mss which is broken for you
- Lit. But
Concerning Spiritual Gifts
12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were carried away to speechless idols in whatever manner you were led.1 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 And to each one there is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the benefit of all. 8 For to one there is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healings by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the working of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the ability to distinguish between spirits:2 to another there are given varieties of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
Unity and Diversity in the Body if Christ
12 For just as the body is one and yet has many members—and just as all the members of the body, though many, are nevertheless one body—so it also is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we all were baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For truly the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is,3 God has set the members—each one of them—in the body just as He desired. 19 And if all of them were one member, where would the body be? 20 But as it is,3 there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, those members of the body that seem to be weaker are actually the more necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor. Moreover, our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 whereas our presentable parts require no such treatment. Now in composing the body, God has given greater honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that all the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you together are the body of Christ, and each of you a member of it. 28 And God himself has set these members in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, and varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Nevertheless, earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And yet I will show you a still more excellent way.
- Or whenever you were so led
- Lit. the distinguishings of spirits
- Lit. Now
The Way of Love
13 If I speak with the tongues of men—or even of angels—but have no love, I have become a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body so that I might boast, but have no love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongdoing. 6 It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It covers1 all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But where2 there are prophecies, they will pass away; where there are tongues, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it too will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see obscurely,3 as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will fully know, just as I myself 4 have been fully known. 13 And now there remains these three: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
- Or bears
- Lit. if
- Lit. in an enigma, a riddle
- Lit. also
Regulations Concerning Prophecy and Tongues
14 Follow the way of love, and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands him, but in his spirit1 he is speaking mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and comfort. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 Now I desire you all to speak with tongues, but even more that you should prophesy; and greater is he who prophesies than he who speaks with tongues, unless he also interprets, so that the church may receive edification.
On Speaking in Tongues
6 And now, brothers, consider this: If I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I also speak to you either by way of revelation, or knowledge, or prophecy, or teaching? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things such as a flute or a harp, when they produce a sound, how will what is piped or played be known unless they also produce a distinction in the sounds? 8 If, for example, the bugle produces an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 And so it is with you: Unless you use your tongue to produce speech that is clear, how will what is spoken be understood, for you will be speaking into the air? 10 There are, no doubt, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and none is without meaning. 11 But if2 I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner3 to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.12 And so it is with you. Since, then, you are zealous for manifestations of the Spirit,4 seek to excel in them for the edification of the church.
13 Therefore, let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What, then, is the outcome? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you only bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninstructed say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you are saying? 17 For you are indeed giving thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18 I thank God that I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand words in a tongue, so that I may instruct others as well.
20 Brothers, in understanding do not be children; however, in evil be babes, but in understanding be mature. 21 In the Law it is written: “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people; but even so, they will not listen5 to me,” says the Lord.6 22 So then, tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; whereas prophecy is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe. 23 Therefore, if the whole church assembles in one place,7 and all are speaking with tongues, and unbelievers or uninstructed men come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all are prophesying, and an unbeliever or an uninstructed man comes in, he will be convicted by all, he will be called to account by all; 25 yes, the secrets of his heart will be revealed, so that, falling down on his face, he will worship God, declaring, “Truly, God is among you!”
Order in Gatherings of the Church
26 What, then, is the outcome, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation: Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let it be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret.28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Also, let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if a revelation comes to another who is seated, let the first keep silent; 31 for you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; 33 for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.
Regulations Concerning Women at Worship
As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women must keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but must be in submission, just as the Law also says. 35 And if they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church. 36 Or did the word of God originate with you; or did it come to you alone? 37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or a spiritual man, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
39 Therefore, brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40 But let all things be done decently and in an orderly manner.
- Or by the Spirit
- Lit. If then
- Lit. barbarian
- Lit. spirits
- Or hear, obey
- Is. 28:11, 12
- Lit. comes together
The Resurrection Defended
15 Now I make known to you, brothers, the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, 2 and by which you also are saved, if you hold fast to the word that I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For at the very first I passed on to you1 that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom remain until now, though some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, and then by all the apostles. 8 And last of all, as if by one unseasonably born, He was also seen by me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace towards me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God within me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
The Risen Christ: The Christian’s Great Hope
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how is it that some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised! 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith also is in vain. 15 Moreover, we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified in behalf of God2 that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins! 18 And then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If in this life alone we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
20 But as it is,3 Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came by a man, so also the resurrection of the dead comes by a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, and after that those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to God the Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has placed all His enemies beneath His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27For, “He has placed all things in subjection beneath His feet.”4 But when He says “All things are placed in subjection,” it is evident that the One who subjected all things to Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
29 Otherwise, what will those who are baptized for the dead do? If the dead do not rise at all, then why are they baptized for them? 30 And why do we stand in peril every hour? 31 Brothers, I swear by the boasting over you that is mine in Christ Jesus our Lord: I die daily. 32 If, in the way that most men do,5 I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, how would that have profited me? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”6 33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good morals.” 34 Come to your senses7 as you ought and sin no more, for some among you have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
Concerning the Saint’s Resurrection Bodies
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body will they come to life?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow does not come to life unless it first dies. 37 And when8 you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a mere kernel—perhaps of wheat or some other kind of grain. 38 But God gives it a body just as He pleases, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 Not all flesh is the same. Rather, there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of animals, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
42 So it is also with the resurrection of the dead: the body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”9 The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then comes the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, earthy; the second Man was from heaven. 48As was the earthy, so also are those who are earthy;10 and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, so also shall we bear the image of the heavenly.
Final Victory is Coming Soon!
50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 And when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.11 55 O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?”12 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
- Or I passed on to you as of first importance
- Or possibly against God, contrary to God
- Lit. now
- Ps. 8:6
- Lit. If according to man
- Is. 22:13
- Lit. Come out of your drunken stupor
- Lit. what
- Gen. 2:7
- Lit. made of dust, earth
- Is. 25:8
- Hos. 13:14
Concerning the Collection for the Saints
16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you are to do as well: 2 On the first day of every week each one of you should lay something aside, storing it up as God may prosper him,1 so that no collections need to be made when I come. 3 And when I arrive, whomever you approve, I will send them with letters2 of introduction to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 And if it is fitting that I go as well, they will go with me.
5 But I will come to you only after I pass through Macedonia (for I intend to pass through Macedonia); 6 and it may be that I will remain with you, or even spend the winter, so that you can send me on my journey, wherever I may go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing, but hope to stay with you for some time, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a wide door for effective ministry has opened to me—and there are many adversaries. 10 Now if Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is among you; for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am. 11 Therefore, let no one look down upon him, but send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I am expecting him along with the brothers.
12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you along with the brothers; and it was not at all his desire to come just now, but he will come when he has the opportunity to do so.
13 Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show yourselves men, and be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
15 Now I appeal to you, brothers: You know the household of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and how they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. 16 You too should submit to such men, and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.
17 Now I rejoice over the arrival of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what you could not3, 18 for they have refreshed my spirit, just as they have yours.4 Therefore acknowledge such men.
Final Greetings and a Solemn Farewell
19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, along with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 This salutation is in my own hand—Paul’s.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. Marana Tha!5
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
24 My love is with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
- Lit. storing up whatever has been prospered (to him)
- Or whoever you approve with letters of accreditation I will send
- Lit. supplied what was lacking on your part
- Lit. my spirit and yours
- Aramaic for, O Lord, come!