Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) November 23
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1 Corinthians 1:1--4:21

Context
Salutation

1:1 From Paul, 1  called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus 2  by the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother, 1:2 to the church of God that is in Corinth, 3  to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. 4  1:3 Grace and peace to you 5  from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thanksgiving

1:4 I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. 1:5 For you were made rich 6  in every way in him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge 7 1:6 just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you – 1:7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation 8  of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:8 He 9  will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

1:10 I urge you, brothers and sisters, 10  by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, 11  to end your divisions, 12  and to be united by the same mind and purpose. 13  1:11 For members of Chloe’s household have made it clear to me, my brothers and sisters, 14  that there are quarrels 15  among you. 1:12 Now I mean this, that 16  each of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with Christ.” 1:13 Is Christ divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? 17  Or were you in fact baptized in the name of Paul? 18  1:14 I thank God 19  that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 1:15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name! 1:16 (I also baptized the household of Stephanus. Otherwise, I do not remember whether I baptized anyone else.) 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless. 20 

The Message of the Cross

1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” 21  1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law? 22  Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish? 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching. 1:22 For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, 1:23 but we preach about a crucified Christ, 23  a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 1:24 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, 24  and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 25 

1:26 Think about the circumstances of your call, 26  brothers and sisters. 27  Not many were wise by human standards, 28  not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. 29  1:27 But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 1:28 God chose 30  what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 1:29 so that no one can boast in his presence. 1:30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, 31  who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1:31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 32 

2:1 When I came 33  to you, brothers and sisters, 34  I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony 35  of God. 2:2 For I decided to be concerned about nothing 36  among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling. 2:4 My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 2:5 so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Wisdom from God

2:6 Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, 37  but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing. 2:7 Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 2:9 But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, 38  are the things God has prepared for those who love him. 39  2:10 God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 2:11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 2:12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. 2:13 And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 40  2:14 The unbeliever 41  does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 2:15 The one who is spiritual discerns 42  all things, yet he himself is understood 43  by no one. 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him? 44  But we have the mind of Christ.

Immaturity and Self-deception

3:1 So, brothers and sisters, 45  I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, 46  as infants in Christ. 3:2 I fed you milk, 47  not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready, 3:3 for you are still influenced by the flesh. 48  For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? 49  3:4 For whenever someone says, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” are you not merely human? 50 

3:5 What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us. 51  3:6 I planted, 52  Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow. 3:7 So neither the one who plants counts for anything, 53  nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth. 3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, 54  but each will receive his reward according to his work. 3:9 We are coworkers belonging to God. 55  You are God’s field, God’s building. 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. 3:12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 56  3:13 each builder’s 57  work will be plainly seen, for the Day 58  will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire 59  will test what kind of work each has done. 3:14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 3:15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. 60  He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple 61  and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 3:17 If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.

3:18 Guard against self-deception, each of you. 62  If someone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become foolish so that he can become wise. 3:19 For the wisdom of this age is foolishness with God. As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.” 63  3:20 And again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 64  3:21 So then, no more boasting about mere mortals! 65  For everything belongs to you, 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future. Everything belongs to you, 3:23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

The Apostles’ Ministry

4:1 One 66  should think about us this way – as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 4:2 Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful. 4:3 So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4:4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this. The one who judges me is the Lord. 4:5 So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will 67  bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition 68  from God.

4:6 I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, 69  so that through us you may learn “not to go beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other. 4:7 For who concedes you any superiority? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not? 4:8 Already you are satisfied! Already you are rich! You have become kings without us! I wish you had become kings so that we could reign with you! 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. 4:10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, we are dishonored! 4:11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, and without a roof over our heads. 4:12 We do hard work, toiling with our own hands. When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure, 4:13 when people lie about us, we answer in a friendly manner. We are the world’s dirt and scum, even now.

A Father’s Warning

4:14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to correct you as my dear children. 4:15 For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, because I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 4:16 I encourage you, then, be imitators of me. 4:17 For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Christ, 70  as I teach them everywhere in every church. 4:18 Some have become arrogant, 71  as if I were not coming to you. 4:19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not only the talk of these arrogant people, but also their power. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power. 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline 72  or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “From” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

2 tc Many important mss, as well as several others (א A Ψ 1739 1881 Ï sy), have a reversed order of these words and read “Jesus Christ” rather than “Christ Jesus” (Ì46 B D F G 33 it). The meaning is not affected in either case, but the reading “Christ Jesus” is preferred both because it has somewhat better attestation and because it is slightly more difficult and thus more likely the original (a scribe who found it would be prone to change it to the more common expression). At the same time, Paul is fond of the order “Christ Jesus.” As well, the later Pauline letters almost uniformly use this order in the salutations. Thus, on both external and internal grounds, “Christ Jesus” is the preferred reading here.

3 map For location see JP1 C2; JP2 C2; JP3 C2; JP4 C2.

4 tn Grk “theirs and ours.”

5 tn Grk “Grace to you and peace.”

6 sn Made rich refers to how God richly blessed the Corinthians with an abundance of spiritual gifts (cf. v. 7).

7 sn Speech and knowledge refer to the spiritual gifts God had blessed them with (as v. 7 confirms). Paul will discuss certain abuses of their gifts in chapters 12-14, but he thanks God for their giftedness.

8 sn The revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ refers to the Lord’s return, when he will be revealed (cf. the reference to the day of our Lord Jesus Christ in v. 8).

9 tn Grk “who,” referring to Christ. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

10 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).

11 tn Grk “that you all say the same thing.”

12 tn Grk “that there be no divisions among you.”

13 tn Grk “that you be united in/by the same mind and in/by the same purpose.”

14 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

15 tn Or “rivalries, disputes.”

16 tn Or “And I say this because.”

17 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here the tag is “was he?”).

18 tn This third question marks a peak in which Paul’s incredulity at the Corinthians’ attitude is in focus. The words “in fact” have been supplied in the translation to make this rhetorical juncture clear.

19 tc The oldest and most important witnesses to this text, as well as a few others (א* B 6 1739 sams bopt), lack the words τῷ θεῷ (tw qew, “God”), while the rest have them. An accidental omission could well account for the shorter reading, especially since θεῷ would have been written as a nomen sacrum (eucaristwtwqMw). However, one might expect to see, in some mss at least, a dropping of the article but not the divine name. Internally, the Pauline introductory thanksgivings elsewhere always include τῷ θεῷ after εὐχαριστῶ (eucaristw, “I thank”; cf. Rom 1:8; 1 Cor 1:4; Phil 1:3; Phlm 4; in the plural, note Col 1:3; 1 Thess 1:2). However, both the fact that this is already used in 1 Cor 1:4 (thus perhaps motivating scribes to add it ten verses later), and that in later portions of his letters Paul does not consistently use the collocation of εὐχαριστῶ with τῷ θεῷ (Rom 16:4; 1 Cor 10:30), might give one pause. Still, nowhere else in the corpus Paulinum do we see a sentence begin with εὐχαριστῶ without an accompanying τῷ θεῷ. A decision is difficult, but on balance it is probably best to retain the words.

20 tn Grk “would not be emptied.”

21 sn A quotation from Isa 29:14.

22 tn Grk “the scribe.” The traditional rendering of γραμματεύς (grammateu") as “scribe” does not communicate much to the modern English reader, for whom the term might mean “professional copyist,” if it means anything at all. The people referred to here were recognized experts in the law of Moses and in traditional laws and regulations. Thus “expert in the Mosaic law” comes closer to the meaning for the modern reader.

23 tn Or “Messiah”; Grk “preach Christ [Messiah] crucified,” giving the content of the message.

24 tn Grk “than men.”

25 tn Grk “than men.”

26 tn Grk “Think about your calling.” “Calling” in Paul’s writings usually refers to God’s work of drawing people to faith in Christ. The following verses show that “calling” here stands by metonymy for their circumstances when they became Christians, leading to the translation “the circumstances of your call.”

27 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

28 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”

29 tn The Greek word ευγενής (eugenh") refers to the status of being born into nobility, wealth, or power with an emphasis on the privileges and benefits that come with that position.

30 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

31 tn Grk “of him you are in Christ Jesus.”

32 sn A quotation from Jer 9:24. The themes of Jer 9 have influenced Paul’s presentation in vv. 26-31. Jeremiah calls upon the wise, the strong, and the wealthy not to trust in their resources but in their knowledge of the true God – and so to boast in the Lord. Paul addresses the same three areas of human pride.

33 tn Grk “and I, when I came.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, κἀγώ (kagw) has not been translated here.

34 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

35 tc ‡ A few important mss (Ì46vid א* A C pc as well as some versions and fathers) read μυστήριον (musthrion, “mystery”) instead of μαρτύριον (marturion, “testimony”). But the latter has wider ms support (א2 B D F G Ψ 33 1739 1881 Ï and some versions), though not quite as impressive. μαρτύριον may have been changed by scribes in anticipation of Paul’s words in 2:7, or conversely, μυστήριον may have been changed to conform to 1:6. Transcriptionally, since “the mystery of God/Christ” is a well-worn expression in the corpus Paulinum (1 Cor 2:7; 4:1; Eph 3:4; Col 2:2; 4:3), while “testimony of Christ” occurs in Paul only once (1 Cor 1:6, though “testimony of the Lord” appears in 2 Tim 1:8), and “testimony of God” never, it is likely that scribes changed the text to the more usual expression. A decision is difficult in this instance, but a slight preference should be given to μαρτύριον.

36 tn Grk “to know nothing.”

37 tn In extrabiblical literature this word was applied to an initiate of a mystery religion (BDAG 995 s.v. τέλειος 3, gives numerous examples and states this was a technical term of the mystery religions). It could here refer to those who believed Paul’s message, the mystery of God (v. 1), and so be translated as “those who believe God’s message.”

38 tn Grk “entered the heart,” an OT expression, in which the heart functions like the mind.

39 sn A quotation from Isa 64:4.

40 tn Or “combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (i.e., words the Spirit gives, as just described).

41 tn Grk “natural person.” Cf. BDAG 1100 s.v. ψυχικός a, “an unspiritual pers., one who merely functions bodily, without being touched by the Spirit of God.”

42 tn Or “evaluates.”

43 tn Or “is evaluated” (i.e., “is subject to evaluation”); Grk “he himself is discerned,” that is, the person without the Spirit does not understand the person with the Spirit, particularly in relation to the life of faith.

44 sn A quotation from Isa 40:13.

45 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

46 tn Grk “fleshly [people]”; the Greek term here is σαρκινός (BDAG 914 s.v. 1).

47 sn Milk refers figuratively to basic or elementary Christian teaching. Paul’s point was that the Corinthian believers he was writing to here were not mature enough to receive more advanced teaching. This was not a problem at the time, when they were recent converts, but the problem now is that they are still not ready.

48 tn Or “are still merely human”; Grk “fleshly.” Cf. BDAG 914 s.v. σαρκικός 2, “pert. to being human at a disappointing level of behavior or characteristics, (merely) human.” The same phrase occurs again later in this verse.

49 tn Grk “and walking in accordance with man,” i.e., living like (fallen) humanity without the Spirit’s influence; hence, “unregenerate people.”

50 tn Grk “are you not men,” i.e., (fallen) humanity without the Spirit’s influence. Here Paul does not say “walking in accordance with” as in the previous verse; he actually states the Corinthians are this. However, this is almost certainly rhetorical hyperbole.

51 tn Grk “and to each as the Lord gave.”

52 sn The expression I planted is generally taken to mean that Paul founded the church at Corinth. Later Apollos had a significant ministry there (watered). See also v. 10.

53 tn Grk “is anything.”

54 tn Grk “are one.” The purpose of this phrase is to portray unified action on the part of ministers underneath God’s sovereign control. Although they are in fact individuals, they are used by God with a single purpose to accomplish his will in facilitating growth. This emphasis is brought out in the translation “work as one.”

55 tn Although 1 Cor 3:9 is frequently understood to mean, “we are coworkers with God,” such a view assumes that the genitive θεοῦ (qeou) is associative because of its relationship to συνεργοί (sunergoi). However, not only is a genitive of association not required by the syntax (cf. ExSyn 130), but the context is decidedly against it: Paul and Apollos are insignificant compared to the God whom they serve (vv. 5-8).

56 sn The various materials described here, both valuable (gold, silver, precious stones) and worthless (wood, hay, or straw) refer to the quality of work built on the foundation, or possibly to the motivation of those doing the building. The materials themselves have been understood (1) as deeds or (2) as people (since ultimately the passage is addressing those who minister to others).

57 tn Grk “each one’s.” Here “builder’s” is employed in the translation for clarity.

58 tn In an attempt to clarify the referent, some translations add “of Christ” after “Day” (so TEV); others specify this as “judgment day” (NLT) or “the day of judgment” (CEV).

sn The Day refers to the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1:8; 5:5) when each Christian worker will appear before Christ for evaluation of his ministry. Paul’s constant motivation was to be pleasing to the Lord in that day (2 Cor 5:9-10) and receive his commendation (1 Cor 4:5).

59 tcαὐτό (auto) is found at this point in v. 13 in a number of significant witnesses, including A B C P 33 1739 al. But Ì46 א D Ψ 0289 1881 Ï latt lack it. The pronoun could be a motivated reading, designed to intensify Paul’s statement. On the other hand, it could have been deleted because the article alone made the reference already clear. In this instance, the possibility of scribal addition seems more likely than scribal deletion, although a decision is difficult. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.

sn It is unclear whether the phrase it will be revealed by fire describes the Day (subject of the previous clause) or each one’s work (subject of the clause before that).

60 tn The translation “[will] be punished” is given here by BDAG 428 s.v. ζημιόω 2. But the next clause says “he will be delivered” and so “suffering loss” is more likely to refer to the destruction of the “work” by fire or the loss of the reward that could have been gained.

61 sn You are God’s temple refers here to the church, since the pronoun you is plural in the Greek text. (In 6:19 the same imagery is used in a different context to refer to the individual believer.)

62 tn Grk “let no one deceive himself.”

63 sn A quotation from Job 5:13.

64 sn A quotation from Ps 94:11.

65 tn Grk “so then, let no one boast in men.”

66 tn Here ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is both indefinite and general, “one”; “a person” (BDAG 81 s.v. 4.a.γ).

67 tn Grk “time, until the Lord comes, who will bring to light.”

68 tn Or “praise.”

69 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

70 tc ‡ Several important mss read ᾿Ιησοῦ (Ihsou, “Jesus”) after Χριστῷ (Cristw, “Christ”) in v. 17 (so Ì46 א C D1 33 1739 al). Western mss have κυρίῳ ᾿Ιησοῦ (kuriw Ihsou, “Lord Jesus”; D* F G), while several significant mss, as well as the majority, have only Χριστῷ here (A B D2 Ψ Ï sa). Once ᾿Ιησοῦ got into the text, it would continue to be copied. There is however no easy explanation for the word lacking in so many witnesses. Thus the shorter reading appears to be original. NA27 includes ᾿Ιησοῦ in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.

71 tn Grk “puffed up”; “inflated.”

72 tn Grk “rod.” Context indicates that this rod will be used for disciplinary purposes.

sn Paul is using the term rod in this context to refer to his apostolic authority to discipline those who have become arrogant in the Corinthian church and have attempted to undermine his ministry (cf. 4:18-19).



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