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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on 1 Corinthians

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1.1–9 .

1–3 :

Greeting. This opening greeting reflects the basic structure of greetings used in ancient letters. The writers of the letter (Paul and Sosthenes) address the church of God that is in Corinth and wish them grace and peace, standard forms of greeting among gentiles * and Jews.

4–9 :

Prayer of thanksgiving. Paul's letters usually begin with an extended prayer (see Rom 1.8–15; Phil 1.3–11 ). In a reassuring tone, he introduces themes developed later in the letter. All, not just a few, have enough speech and knowledge to be confident of their faith (compare 8.1–3 ). Nor do only an elite few experience spiritual gifts (chs. 12–14 ). Everyone who has been strengthened by the testimony of Christ, the preaching about Christ, continues to be strengthened by God. The prayer looks forward to the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, when Christ would return (ch. 15; 16.22 ).

1.10–17 :

Appeal for unity. Full divisions have not yet occurred, but quarrels have. Chloe's people, members of her household, are mentioned nowhere else. To belong to someone means looking only to that person for spiritual guidance. Apollos ministered to the Corinthian church after Paul's founding visit ( 3.5–6; Acts 18.24–19.1 ) and is now with Paul as he writes this letter ( 16.12 ). Whether Cephas (Peter) had actually been in Corinth or was only known by reputation is not clear. Crispus was a prominent synagogue * official (Acts 18.8 ), and Gaius hosted Paul and the Corinthian house church (Rom 16.23 ). The household of Stephanas later receives high praise from Paul for devoted service to the church ( 16.15–18 ).

1.18–31 .

18–25 :

The cross, God's folly. Seen one way, the story of Christ's death, the message about the cross, seems foolish. Crucifixion was a shameful way for anyone to die, especially someone embodying God's hopes. Jews and Greeks represent two ways of knowing or relating to God—demanding signs and desiring wisdom. The one stresses dramatic displays of power by God, the other gradual, intuitive learning about God. The cross, however, locates God somewhere else, at the intersection of human foolishness and weakness.

26–31 :

The Corinthians themselves prove God's power and wisdom. The Corinthians' own call shows God's capacity for upsetting human expectations. To boast in the presence of God suggests arrogant behavior (compare 4.6; 5.2 ). To boast in the Lord is to recognize God as the source of life in Christ Jesus (v. 31; compare Jer. 9.24 ).

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