Greeting

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 at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with everyone in every place who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both theirs and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gratitude for Spiritual Gifts

I thank my God at all times concerning you, for the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus, that you have been enriched in him in every way: in every kind of speech and knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ1 was confirmed among you. As a result, you come behind in no spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who also will keep you strong2 to the very end, so that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Foolishness of Divisions

10 Now I beseech you, brothers, in3 the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that no divisions exist among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For members of Chloe’s household have brought me reports about you, my brothers, saying there are quarrels among you. 12 Now 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 I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say I performed baptisms in my own name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but beyond that I don’t recall if I baptized anyone else.) 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,”4 lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

The Wisdom of Unity in Christ

18 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. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of the learned I will bring to nothing.”5 20 Where, thenis the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?6 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 called7—both Jews and Greeks—Christ: the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The Wise Boast in the Lord!

26 For think back, my brothers, to when you were called:8 Not many were wise according to the flesh, not many were powerful, and not many were of noble birth. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong; 28 and God has chosen the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that have no standing at all,9 to nullify the things that do, 29 so that no flesh will boast in his presence. 30 Yes, he is the reason10 you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—31 so that as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”11

Notes

  1. Lit. of Christ
  2. Or establish you
  3. Lit. through
  4. Lit. not with wisdom of word
  5. Is. 29:14
  6. Or made the wisdom of the world look foolish
  7. Lit. the called
  8. Lit. For look at (consider, you see) your calling, brothers
  9. Lit. the things that are not
  10. Lit. But from him
  11. Jer. 9:23f

The Wisdom Paul Spurned

Now when I came to you, brothers, I didn’t come with loftiness of speech or wisdom, proclaiming to you the mystery1 of God; for I had resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. What’s more, I was with you in weakness, fear, and much trembling; and my message2 and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

The Wisdom Paul Brought

Nevertheless, 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. Instead, we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom that God ordained before the ages for our glory; a wisdom that none of the rulers of this age understood, for had they understood it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Things no eye has seen, things no ear has heard, things that haven’t even entered into the heart of man—such are the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”3

10 Yet4 God has revealed them to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.5 11 For who among men knows the things of a6 man except the spirit of the man within him? Just so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we might know the things freely given to us by God. 13 And we also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.7 14 However, the natural man does not welcome8 the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; he cannot understand them, since they must be 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, or who can win him to his point of view?”9 But we have the mind of Christ.

Notes

  1. Some mss testimony
  2. Lit. word
  3. Is. 64:4
  4. Some mss For
  5. Or the depths of God
  6. Lit. the
  7. Or interpreting (explaining) spiritual things to spiritual people
  8. Or receive
  9. Or instruct him; lit. cause him to agree (Is. 40:13)

Divisions: Origin and Antidote

And so, my brothers, I couldn’t speak to you as I would to spiritual people, but as to fleshly, as to newborns in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet able to receive it. And even now you are still not able to receive it, for you are still fleshly. For where there is jealously and strife among you, are you not fleshly; are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not walking like mere men?

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Are they not servants through whom you believed, as the Lord granted to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then: Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything at all, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one in purpose; however, each man will receive his own reward according to his own work.

Take Care How You Build

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are 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 is building on it. But let each one take care how he builds on it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if someone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, or precious stones, or with wood, hay, or straw, 13 the quality of each one’s work will become evident, for the Day will make it clear; for it is destined to be revealed by fire, and the fire will test each one’s work, disclosing the kind of work it truly is. 14 Now if the work someone built on the foundation remains,1 he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; nevertheless, he himself will be saved, yet only like a person escaping through flames.2

16 Don’t you all realize3 that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in4 you? 17 If anyone destroys5 the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.6

Let No One Boast in Men

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool, that he might 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.”7 20 And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are utterly in vain.”7 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas; whether the world or life or death; whether things present or things to come—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Notes

  1. Lit. Now if the work of anyone that he built remains
  2. Lit. but thus, as through fire
  3. Or know
  4. Or among
  5. Or defiles, corrupts
  6. Lit. which you are
  7. Job 5:13
  8. Or empty, futile, worthless (Ps. 94:11)

How to Think of Christian Leaders

Here is how you1 should think of us: as servants of Christ, and as stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, in the case of stewards it is required that they be found faithful. But to me it’s a very small matter if I am judged by you or any other human court. In fact, I don’t even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but that alone doesn’t mean I’m innocent;2 rather, the Lord is the one who judges me. So then: Don’t pass judgment before the appointed time, that is, until the Lord comes, who will bring to light whatever is3 hidden in darkness, and will disclose the motives4 of men’s hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Brothers, I have applied these figures of speech to Apollos and myself for your benefit, so that with us for an example you will learn not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you will be puffed up with pride, favoring one over another. For who is it that causes you to differ? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if in fact you did receive it, why do you boast as if you did not?

You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us! And I could wish you really did reign as kings, so that we also might reign with you! For to my mind God has displayed us apostles at the very end of the procession,5 as men condemned to death; for we have become a spectacle to the whole world, both to men and angels. 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; we are poorly clothed, beaten, and homeless. 12 We grow weary with toil, laboring with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we plead6 for peace. We have become like the scum of the earth, like the dregs of all things, right up to the present moment.

A Father’s Plea and Warning

14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand instructors in Christ, you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 So then, I beseech you: Be imitators of me. 17 Indeed, this is why I have sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Christ, teaching them to you just as I teach them everywhere in every church.

18 Now some of you are puffed up, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But if the Lord wills, I will come to you shortly, and I will know, not the talk7 of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is never found in mere talk, but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

Notes

  1. Lit. a man
  2. Lit. but by this I have not been justified (vindicated, acquitted)
  3. Lit. the things that are
  4. Or purposes
  5. Or last (of all)
  6. Or entreat
  7. Lit. word

Sexual Immorality in the Church

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not even found among the Gentiles—namely, that someone is living with1 his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, when instead you should have mourned, even to the extent of removing the man who did this2 from your midst! 3 For though I am absent in body, I am present in spirit; indeed, I have already sentenced him who has acted in this way,3 just as if I were present among youWhen you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus—along with my spirit and the power of our Lord Jesus—you are to hand over such a man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.4

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you realize that a little leaven spreads through the entire batch of dough? Therefore, clean out the old leaven so you may become a new batch, especially since you already are unleavened. For truly, 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.

Godly Separation

In my letter to you, I wrote that you must not keep company with sexually immoral people; 10 but I certainly did not mean the sexually immoral people of this world—or the covetous and rapacious, or idolaters—since then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But now5 I have written to you that you must not keep company with any so-called brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler6—with such a person you must not even share a meal. 12 For what have I to do with judging those on the outside? Should you not judge those on the inside? 13 But those on the outside, God judges. “Remove the wicked man from your midst.”7

Notes

  1. Lit. has
  2. Lit. and did not rather mourn, that he who did this work might be removed
  3. Lit. the one who performed this thus
  4. Some mss the Lord Jesus; our Lord Jesus
  5. Or possibly But as it is
  6. Or extortionist
  7. Deut. 17:7; 19:19; 22:21, 24; 24:7

Lawsuits Among the Brothers

When any of you has a grievance against another brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous rather than the saints? Or don’t you realize the saints will judge the world? But if the world will be judged by you, are you not competent to judge in trivial matters?1 Don’t you realize we will judge angels? How much more, then, the things of this life! If, therefore, you have disputes about such matters, why do you set them before men with no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it possibly be there is not a single wise man among you capable of settling a dispute between his brothers? But instead, brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Accordingly, you already have suffered utter defeat,2 since you have lawsuits among yourselves. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? But no, you yourselves wrong and cheat, and you do this to your brothers!

Don’t you realize the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor catamites, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers3 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,”4 but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I refuse to be enslaved by5 anything. 13 “Foods are for the stomach, and the stomach is for foods,”6 but God will abolish them both. Now the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is meant for the body. 14 Moreover, God raised up the Lord, and by his power he will raise us up as well.

15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are members of Christ? So should I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? God forbid!7 16 Or don’t you realize that the man who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one in body with her? For he says, “The two shall become one flesh.”8 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;”9 but the sexually immoral man sins against his own body! 19 Or don’t you realize your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have received from God? Don’t you realize you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price: Therefore, glorify God in your body.

Notes

  1. Or possibly of setting up the smallest courts
  2. Lit. Therefore it is already a complete defeat to you
  3. Or extortionists
  4. Paul appears to be quoting a Corinthian slogan
  5. Lit. brought under the power (authority) of
  6. See note 4
  7. Lit. May it never be!
  8. Gen. 2:24
  9. Or possibly Every (other) sin . . . body; see note 4

Instructions Concerning Marriage

Now, concerning the things you wrote me about.

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”1 Nevertheless, to avoid sexual immorality2 each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband must grant his wife her conjugal rights; and likewise the wife must grant her husband hisThe 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. Therefore, do not deprive one another except by mutual agreement, and only for a limited time, so you can give yourselves to prayer. Then3 come together again so Satan will not tempt you due to your lack of self-control. But I say all this by way of concession, and not as a command. For4 I myself wish all men were just like me; but each one has his own gift from God, one of one kind, and another of another.

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to remain as I am. But if they can’t exercise self-control, they should 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 must not leave her husband. 11 But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband. And the husband must not divorce5 his wife.

12 Now 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, he should not divorce her. 13 And if any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, she should 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 as it is they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart. In such cases a brother or a 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 Calling

17 Only remember this: As the Lord has assigned to each one, and as God has called each one, so let each one continue to live.7 This is what I prescribe in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called after being 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 as a slave? Don’t 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 as a slave is now the Lord’s freed man. Likewise he who was called as a free man is now Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price: Don’t become slaves of men! 24 Brothers, in whatever calling each of you was called, let him remain there with God.

Instructions Concerning Singles and Widows

25 Now concerning virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give this judgment as one whom the Lord in his mercy has made trustworthy. 26 So then: In view of the impending8 distress I consider it good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Don’t seek one. 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,9 and I would spare you.

29 Now this is what I’m saying, brothers: The time is short, so that henceforth those who have wives should live10 as if they had none, 30 and those who weep as if they didn’t weep, and those who rejoice as if they didn’t rejoice, and those who buy as if they didn’t possess, 31 and those who make use of the world as if they didn’t use it to the full.11 For the form of this world is passing away.

32 My desire is for you to be free from worldly 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 with the result that12 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 I’m saying all this for your own benefit: not to put a leash on you, but to promote what is fitting, and to secure your undistracted devotion to the Lord.

36 Now if any man thinks he is not treating his virgin daughter fairly13—if she is past the bloom of her youth, and if it seems necessary—he may do as he likes. He is not sinning: Let her14 marry. 37 Nevertheless, he who stands firm in his heart—not being under compulsion, but having full control over his own will—and has decided in his own heart to 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 to her husband by law as long as he15 lives; but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she likes, 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.

Notes

  1. Paul appears to be quoting a Corinthian slogan
  2. Lit. because of sexual immoralities
  3. Lit. and
  4. Many mss But
  5. Lit. send away (also in vv. 12-13)
  6. Some mss you
  7. Lit. walk
  8. Or present
  9. Lit. tribulation in the flesh
  10. Lit. be
  11. Or use it to excess
  12. Lit. and
  13. Lit. thinks he is acting improperly towards his virgin
  14. Lit. them
  15. Lit. her husband

Idols, Conscience, and Love

Now about foods offered to idols: We understand that “We all possess knowledge.”1 But knowledge alone puffs up, whereas love builds up. If anyone thinks he knows something, then he still doesn’t know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by him.

So then: In regard to eating foods offered to idols, we know that “In this world an idol is nothing at all,” and that “There is no God but one.”2 For even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth (as in fact there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 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.

But not everyone has this knowledge. So some believers, who until now have been accustomed to idol worship,3 eat their meat with the idol in mind;4 and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not commend us to God: We are no worse if we don’t eat, and no better if we do.

Nevertheless, see to it 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 meats offered to idols? 11 And so, through your knowledge, the weak believer is torn down,5 a brother for whom Christ died. 12 And thus, by sinning against your brothers6 and wounding their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so as not to cause my brother to stumble.

Notes

  1. Paul appears to be quoting a Corinthian slogan
  2. See note 1
  3. Lit. to the idol
  4. Lit. eat as (of) meat offered to idols
  5. Lit. destroyed
  6. Lit. the brothers

An Example of Self-Denial

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I’m not an apostle, surely I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

My defense to those who examine me is this: Have we no right to eat and drink at the expense of those we serveHave we no right to take with us a believing wife, just like the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who at any time goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard but doesn’t eat its fruit? Or who tends a flock but doesn’t drink the milk that comes from the flock?

Am I saying these things on my own,1 or doesn’t the Law say them as well? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”2 Is it simply oxen God is concerned about? 10 Is he not saying 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’ve 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, shouldn’t we all the more? Nevertheless, we have not made use3 of this right, but patiently bear all things, lest in any way we create a hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

13 Do you not know that those who work in the temple eat from the temple sacrifices, and that those who attend to the altar partake of what is offered at the altar? 14 In just the same way the Lord has directed that those who preach the gospel should receive their livelihood from the gospel.

15 But I’ve made no use of any of these privileges, nor have I written these things that I might.4 For to me it would be better to die than to . . . but no one will ever deprive me of my boasting! 16 For if I simply preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast about; for in regard to preaching, necessity has been laid upon me: Yes, woe to me if I don’t preach the gospel! 17 For if I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; but if I do so against my will, then a stewardship has been entrusted to me. 18 So then, what is my reward? That when I preach the gospel, I may offer it free of charge, so as not to make use of my full authority in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win all the more. 20 Thus,5 to the Jews I became like a Jew, that I might win Jews. To those under the Law I became like someone under the Law (though I myself am not under the Law), that I might win those under the Law. 21 To those without the Law I became like someone without the Law (yet never free from God’s law, but always under Christ’s),6 that I might win those who are without the Law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I’ve become all things to all men, that by all means I might save some. 23 And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I might share in it together with you.

Running the Race to Win!

24 Do you not know that in a race7 all the runners do indeed run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.8 25 Moreover, everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all areas: they9 to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So then: I do not run as if I had no goal,10 I do not box as if I’m fighting air.11 27 Rather, I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest somehow, after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified!

Notes

  1. Lit. as a (mere) man
  2. Deut. 25:4
  3. Lit. did not make use
  4. Lit. that it should be so done to me
  5. Lit. And
  6. Lit. not being lawless of God but lawful of Christ
  7. Or stadium, race-course
  8. Lit. take hold
  9. Lit. they therefore
  10. Lit. I run thus, as not without a goal
  11. Lit. I box thus, as not beating air

Warnings From Old Testament Times

10 For I don’t want you to be unaware, brothers, that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; moreover, all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased, for they were laid low in the wilderness.

Now these things were meant as examples for us,1 so we wouldn’t lust after evil things just as they did. Nor should you become idolaters, as some of them were: As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and then they rose up to play.”2 Nor should we practice sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor should we put the Lord to the test as some of them did, and they were destroyed by serpents. 10 Nor should we complain as some of them did, and the destroyer destroyed them. 11 Now all these things happened to them as an example and a warning; and they were written down for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 So then: Let him who thinks he stands take care that he doesn’t fall. 13 No temptation3 has come upon you except what is common to man. Moreover, God is faithful: He will never let you be tempted beyond your ability, but along with the temptation will provide a4 way of escape, so you can bear up under it.

Flee Idolatry

14 Therefore, my beloved friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men: judge for yourselves what I’m about to 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 also the people of Israel.6 Are not those who eat from the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 So what am I saying? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I’m saying that the things the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become participants with 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 should we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he is?

Freedom Controlled by Love

23 “All things are lawful,”6 but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build us up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but rather the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold at the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.”7 27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want 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 person who told you, and for conscience’ sake, don’t eat it.  29 But in saying this, I don’t mean your own conscience, but that of the other person. For why should my liberty be judged by another person’s conscience? 30 If I partake with gratitude, why should I be reproached over something for which I have given thanks to God?

31 So then, whether you eat or drink—no matter what you do—do it all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, whether to the Jews, the Greeks, or the church of God, 33 just as I myself8 strive to please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they might be saved. Become imitators of me, just as I myself became an imitator of Christ.9

Notes

  1. Lit. happened as types (patterns, pictures) of us
  2. Ex. 32:6
  3. Or test, trial
  4. Lit. will also provide the
  5. Lit. Consider Israel according to the flesh
  6. Paul appears to be quoting a Corinthian slogan
  7. Lit. and all its fullness (Ps. 24:16)
  8. Lit. also
  9. Traditionally, chapter 11:1

Headship and Covering

11 Now I give you praise because you remember me in all things and are holding firmly to the traditions just as I handed them on to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man,1 and the head of Christ is God. Any man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his head; but any woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for this is just as if her head were shaved.2 For if a woman will not3 cover herself, she may as well cut off her hair.4 But if it is disgraceful for a woman to cut off her hair or shave her head, then she should be covered. For surely a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, whereas woman5 is the glory of man. For man does not come from woman, but woman from man, for6 the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man. 10 This is why a7 woman must 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 the woman came from the 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 to his shame; 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is to her glory, for her hair is given to her to serve as8 a covering. 16 But if anyone is inclined to be contentious about this, we have no such9 practice, nor do the churches of God.

Church Gatherings: The Lord’s Supper

17 But in giving the following10 instruction, I do not praise you, since 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 divisions 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 As a result, when you come together in the same place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper; 21 for when you eat, each takes his own supper first, and one is hungry while another is drunk. 22 What! Don’t you have houses in which to eat and drink? Or is it that you despise the church of God and therefore humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? In this matter I give you no praise at all.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed down 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:11 Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. As often as you drink it, do so 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 For this reason 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 Therefore12 let a man examine himself and in this way eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks unworthily is eating and drinking judgment to himself, for he is not discerning the body. 30 This is why many among you are weak and sick, and why many sleep. 31 But if we would carefully judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord we are being disciplined,13 that we might not be condemned along with the world. 33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you do not come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

Notes

  1. Lit. the head of (a) woman is the man
  2. Lit. for she (it) is one and the same with the shaven (woman)
  3. Lit. does not
  4. Lit. let her also sheer herself
  5. Lit. the woman
  6. Lit. for also, for indeed
  7. Lit. the
  8. Greek: anti (in place of)
  9. Some translations other practice
  10. Lit. this
  11. Some mss which is broken for you
  12. Lit. But
  13. Or But when we are judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord

Church Gatherings: Spiritual Gifts

12 Now on the subject of spiritual gifts, brothers, I don’t want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were still Gentiles, you were carried off1 to speechless idols in whatever ways you were led.2 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.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all believers7 Now to each one of us there is granted the manifestation of the Spirit for the benefit of all. For to one there is granted the word of wisdom through the Spirit; to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healings by the one Spirit; 10 to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the discerning of spirits,3 to another varieties of tongues;4 and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But it is one and the same Spirit who works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as he wills.

One Body, Many Members

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 too with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we all were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free; and all have been made to drink of the one Spirit.

14 For truly, the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I’m not a part of the body,” that will not make it any less5 a part of the body. 16 Of if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” that too will not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is,6 God has placed each one of the members in the body, just as he desired.

19 Now if all the members were the same, where would the body be? 20 But in fact7 there are many members, and one body. 21 So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” or again the head to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are much more necessary, 23 and on the members of the body we consider less honorable we bestow far more honor. Likewise,8 our unseemly parts receive special care,9 24 whereas our presentable10 parts have no such need. But God, in composing the body, has given greater honor to the member that lacked, 25 so that there will be no division in the body, but rather that all the members should care equally for one another. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with itand if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you together are the body of Christ, and each one 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.

But now I will show you a far greater way.

Notes

  1. I.e. like prisoners
  2. Lit. however (whenever) you were led
  3. Lit. distinguishings of (between) spirits
  4. Or languages
  5. Lit. it is not because of that not
  6. Lit. Now
  7. Lit. But now
  8. Lit. and
  9. Or treatment; lit. greater dignity (modesty)
  10. Or respectable

The Excellent Way of Love

13 If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have no love, I’ve become like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and have all knowledge; or if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. And if I give up all my possessions to feed the poor, or surrender my body to death1 so that I can boast, but have no love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient and love is kind. Love isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, and it isn’t swollen with pride. Love isn’t rude, or self-seeking, or easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs done to itLove never rejoices in unrighteousness but always rejoices in the truth. Love covers2 all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. But where3 there are prophecies, they will pass away; where there are tongues, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it too will pass away. 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, understood as a child, and reasoned as a child. But when I grew to be a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see obscurely,4 as if in a mirror, but then, face to face; now I know in part, but then I will fully know, just as I myself 5 have been fully known. 13 But now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Notes

  1. Some mss to be burned
  2. Or bears
  3. Lit. if
  4. Lit. in an enigma; a riddle
  5. Lit. also

Church Gatherings: Prophecy and Tongues

14 Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue1 doesn’t speak to men, but to God; for no one understands him, since in his spirit2 he is speaking mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. Now I desire you all to speak in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless he also interprets, so the church can receive edification.

Now then, brothers, think on this: If I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I also speak to you by way of revelation, or knowledge, or prophecy, or teaching? Even in the case of lifeless objects such as a flute or a harp, when they produce a sound how will people recognize what is piped or played unless the instruments also produce a distinction in the tones? If, for example, the bugle produces an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? And so it is with you: Unless you use your tongue to produce speech that is intelligible, how will what is spoken be understood? For you would be speaking into the air! 10 There are, no doubt, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and none without meaning. 11 But if3 I don’t know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner4 to him who is speaking, and he a foreigner to me. 12 And so it is with you. Since then you are zealous for manifestations of the Spirit,5 seek to excel in them for the edification of the church.

13 For this reason, he who speaks in a tongue should pray that he might interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit is praying, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What, then, is the solution? I will pray with my6 spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you only offer praise7 with your8 spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninstructed say “Amen”9 when you give thanks, since he can’t understand what you are saying? 17 For indeed you are giving thanks well, but the other person isn’t edified. 18 I thank God I speak in 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 can instruct others as well.

A Lesson on Tongues from the Old Testament

20 Brothers, don’t be children in your thinking; yes, in evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.10 21 In the Law it is written: “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, yet even so they will not listen11 to me, says the Lord.”12 22 So then: Tongues are meant as a sign, not for those who believe, but for unbelievers; whereas prophecy is not meant for unbelievers, but for those who believe. 23 Therefore, if the whole church assembles in one place,13 and everyone is speaking in tongues, and unbelievers or uninstructed people come in, will they not say that you’ve lost your mind? 24 But if you all are prophesying, and an unbeliever or an uninstructed person 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 disclosed, so that falling face first to the ground, he will worship God, declaring, “Truly, God is in your midst!”

Church Gatherings: Orderly Worship

26 What, then, is the conclusion, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or 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 someone interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, speaking to himself and to God. 29 Also, let two or three prophets speak, and let the rest judge. 30 But if a revelation comes to another who is seated, let the first speaker keep silent, 31 for you all can 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.

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 let the women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but must be in submission, just as the Law also says. 35 But if they wish to inquire about something, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church. 36 Or is it that the word of God originated with you?14 Or is it that it only came to you? 37 If anyone thinks himself a prophet or a spiritual man, let him recognize that the things I am writing you are the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he himself is not recognized.

39 So then, brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid anyone to speak in tongues. 40 But let all things be done decently and in order.

Notes

  1. Or language
  2. Or by (the) Spirit
  3. Lit. If then
  4. Lit. barbarian
  5. Lit. zealous for spirits
  6. Lit. the (and so throughout the verse)
  7. Or offer a blessing
  8. Lit. the
  9. Lit. speak the Amen
  10. Lit. full grown, mature
  11. Or hear, obey
  12. Is. 28:11-12
  13. Lit. comes together
  14. Lit. go forth from you

Gospel Essentials

15 And now, brothers, I want to remind you of1 the gospel I proclaimed to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, and by which you also are saved, if you hold firmly to the message I proclaimed to you—unless, that is, you believed in vain.

For I passed on to you first of all2 what I myself also received, namely, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas and then to the twelve. After that he appeared to over five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom remain until now, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James and then to all the apostles. And last of all, as if to someone born out of season, he also appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, and3 unworthy of being called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 Nevertheless, 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 So then: Whether it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

No Resurrection, No Hope!

12 Now if Christ is being proclaimed as a man who rose4 from the dead, how can it be that some of you are saying 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, our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain. 15 Moreover, we are even found to be false witnesses of God, since we have testified on God’s behalf5 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 those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished as well. 19 If in this life alone we have hope in Christ, of all men we are most to be pitied.

The Risen Christ: First Fruits of the Redeemed

20 But as it is,6 Christ truly has been raised from the dead, and is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came by a man, so too the resurrection of the dead comes by a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so too in Christ all will 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 consummation,7 when he delivers up the kingdom to God the Father, having abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign till he has placed all his enemies beneath his feet. 26 Now the last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For, “He has placed all things in subjection beneath his feet.”8 (But when the writer9 says all things have been placed in subjection, clearly this does not include the one who subjected all things to him.) 28 Now when all things have been subjected to him, then the Son himself also will become subject 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? For if the dead do not rise at all, why then 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, from motives common to men,10 I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, how would that have benefited me? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”11 33 Don’t be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good morals.”12 34 Come to your senses13 as you should, and sin no more; for some among you have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Saints’ Resurrection Body

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 doesn’t come to life unless it first dies. 37 And when14 you sow, you do not sow the body that is yet to be, but rather 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 other seeds he gives a body of its own. 39 Not all flesh is the same. Rather, there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, 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 too 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.”15 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, earthly; the second man was from heaven. 48 As was the earthly, so too are those who are earthly;16 and as is the heavenly, so too are those who are heavenly. 49 Moreover, just as we have borne the image of the earthly, so too shall we bear the image of the heavenly.

A Resurrection Mystery

50 Now brothers, this is what I am saying: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Listen carefully,17 for I am telling you a mystery: Not all of us will sleep, but all of us will 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 will be changed. 53 For this corruptible body must put on incorruption, and this mortal flesh must put on immortality. 54 And when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and when this mortal has put on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”18 55 “O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?”19 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 So then, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Notes

  1. Lit. make known to you
  2. Or as of first importance
  3. Lit. (one) who is
  4. Lit. that he rose
  5. Or possibly against God; contrary to God
  6. Lit. now
  7. Lit. end
  8. Ps. 8:6
  9. Lit. he, it
  10. Lit. If according to man
  11. Is. 22:13
  12. An epigram of the poet Meander
  13. Lit. Come out of your drunken stupor
  14. Lit. what
  15. Gen. 2:7
  16. Lit. made of dust, earth
  17. Lit. Behold!
  18. Is. 25:8
  19. Hos. 13:14

Special Collection for Jewish Christians

16 Now concerning the special collection for the relief of the saints: You too must follow the instructions I gave to the Galatian churches. On the first day of the week each of you should set something aside, storing it up as God may have prospered you,1 so that when I come no collections will need to be taken. Then when I arrive, I will send whoever you approve, along with letters of introduction,2 to carry your gift to Jerusalem. And if it is advisable for me to go as well, they will come with me.

Paul’s Plans

5 However, I will only come to you after I have traveled through Macedonia (for I intend to travel through Macedonia); and I may stay on with you, or even spend the winter, so that wherever I go, you can send me on my way. For I don’t want to see you now, merely in passing, but hope to remain with you for some time if the Lord permits. However, I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective ministry has opened to me—and there are many adversaries.

10 Now if Timothy comes to you, see to it he has nothing to fear while he is among you, for he is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 Therefore let no one look down on him; on the contrary, send him on his way in peace so he can come to me, for I am expecting him, and the other brothers as well.

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the other brothers, but he was quite unwilling to do so at this time; however, when the opportunity arises he will come.

Concluding Exhortations, Greetings, and Blessing

13 Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage,3 be strong. 14 Let all you do be done in love.

15 And now, brothers, I appeal to you: You know the household of Stephanas, how they are4 the first fruits of Achaia, and how they have dedicated themselves to serving the saints. 16 Therefore I also urge you to submit to such persons, and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.

17 Now I rejoice at the arrival of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for they have made up for your absence5 18 in that they have refreshed my spirit, just as they have yours.6 Therefore acknowledge men like these.

19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, along with the church in their house. 20 All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 This greeting is in my own hand—Paul’s.

22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. Marana Tha!7

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

24 My love is with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Notes

  1. Lit. storing up whatever has been prospered
  2. Or whoever you approve with letters (of accreditation), I will send
  3. Or show yourselves men
  4. Lit. it is
  5. Lit. they supplied what was lacking on your part
  6. Lit. my spirit and yours
  7. Aramaic for O Lord, come!