1 Corinthians, Chapter 1
© Copyright 2002 Darroll Evans, all rights reserved

1 Corinthians 1:1-3
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians with a familiar proclamation.

He declares that he is an Apostle of Jesus Christ!

That may be obvious to us, but at the time, Paul was not universally accepted.

The doctrine of salvation by grace without works was much disputed.

Paul declares that he is an Apostle "through the will of God!"

All that are called to serve Christ Jesus are called through the will of God!

There are not exceptions to that rule!

Many times, Timothy joins Paul in the greeting.

This time he points to a Jewish co-worker, Sosthenes.

According to Acts 18:17, Sosthenes was a leader in the Synagogue who was beaten by his fellow Jews due to his work for Christ.

Apparently Gallio, the Proconsul of Achaia, knew about this beating and did nothing to remedy the outrage.

This matter happened as Paul was on his way to Jerusalem for the last time.

In Jerusalem, he would be taken into protective custody by the Romans and begin the journey to Rome.

Some teach that Paul was arrested, and bound by chains.

Since it was illegal to bind a Roman citizen, it is highly unlikely that he was taken to Rome in chains, but it makes a good story.

The Captain of the Roman Guard that saved Paul's life in Jerusalem was in fear for his own life when he found that soldiers under his command had "bound" a Roman Citizen.

Acts 22:29---ďThen straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.Ē†† Such indiscretions were not taken lightly!

The story of Paulís roman captivity completely ignores the Bible!

Acts 28:30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

They may say that Paul was chained to a roman guard is, again, completely wrong, because of the law against binding a roman citizen!

This letter is addressed to the church of God at Corinth. Paul refers to them as ones that have been sanctified in Christ Jesus.

Yes this wild Church was filled with sanctified saints.

As we look back on the Corinthian Church, we usually think of a Church that has gone berserk.

However, the calling and the gifts of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29)!

Finally, Paul gets to his "normal" greeting.

He writes, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

Grace and peace are not from Paul.

They are from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

"God our Father"---There are some that believe that God is the Father of all. 

That belief is not biblical.

God is the Creator of all!

However, He is the Father of only those that have been adopted into His family by faith in Christ Jesus.

Speaking of those that do not trust in the Savior----Jesus said, "They have not known the Father nor Me" (John 16:3/NKJV).

Spiritual adoption is the only way provided for us to become children of God.

"The Lord Jesus Christ"---Let me depart from accepted notions, and say the Jesus is now Lord of your life---even if you do not acknowledge Him.

You will not receive the full benefits of His Lordship UNTIL you bow to Him and (from the heart) proclaim "Jesus is Lord."

By virtue of His resurrection, He has become Lord of all creation.

Your rejection/acceptance has absolutely nothing to do with His power as Lord!

1 Corinthians 1:4-8
4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This wild, embarrassing Church belonged to Christ.

He died for them!

Christ accepted those wild Corinthians into the fellowship of the saints.

Paul thanked God for them, and for the grace that was given them in Christ Jesus.

Without Godís grace we do not have life.

Without Christís life at work within us, we are dead in trespasses and sins.

Grace from the Father provided in the Son and administered by the Holy Spirit enriches our manner of living.

Is the testimony concerning Christ Jesus confirmed in you?

Do you live as He leads, or do you live as the world leads?

In verse 5, Paul asks that in all things Christ may enhance and enrich the Corinthians.

"Enriched" speaks of both monetary and spiritual wealth.

Paul qualifies his prayer by saying, "in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you."

Most Christians do not understand that in Christ we lack nothing!

We are not to look to society for the things of life.

How can those that are dead in trespasses and sins give us life?

It is Christ, through the Holy Spirit that confirms or keeps us until the day of His return.

That is done so that we may be "blameless" before God.

In Verse 8, the Greek word translated "blameless" implies that no criminal charge may be against us in a civil court.

Why would God want us to be blameless?

In Revelation 12:10, Satan is referred to as the "accuser of our brethren is cast down."

It is the Father, through the Holy Spirit that shall confirm us as blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christís return.

Philippians 1:6 "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (NKJV).

It is not our job to with gain or maintain our salvation.

That falls under Christ Jesusí job description. Verses 7 and 8 tell that it is Christ who confirms (Gr. bebaioō-βεβαιόω), or establishes us. We are justified by faith, the faith OF Christ Jesus!

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

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

Let me tell you the best kept secret in all Christianity.

"God is faithful!"

He has no other choice!

He must be faithful!

The Fatherís faith is demonstrated in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our salvation is predicated on just one thing----our relationship with Christ Jesus.

Where there is no intimate relationship with Jesus, there is no salvation.

1 Corinthians 1:10-11
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

Paul encouraged the Corinthians.

He called them "brethren."

Do you consider those from Churches that do not practice Christianity in "your style" as brethren?

Relationship to the Pope is not a litmus test for Christianity.

An order of worship is not litmus tests for Christianity.

Trust in the Savior is the only test of Christianity!

A few years ago I sang for a wedding in a Roman Catholic Church.

A Priest came to the music practice and sang with me on a few numbers.

He had a very good voice.

The groom was a Methodist.

At one point in our conversations about the songs, he spoke of making allowances for "our lost brethren."

I told him that I understood his position, but I was one of those "lost brethren."

I have often thought of him and prayed that he would come to Christ alone without reliance on Mary or the Pope.

Mary is not a co-mediator with Christ Jesus!

There should be "no divisions" among Christians.

But, I must explain.

Having no divisions does not mean that we kiss the ring of a man just to have unity within the Church.

Christ is the head of the Church!

The Holy Spirit is His number one representative on Earth.

"Saint" is the greatest calling among men.

Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers are the servants of the Church.

They are not overlords of the Saints!

Paul told the Corinthians that he had been made plain to him that there was a problem in Corinth.

They were not living in unity.

Clone is not a biblical word. Unity is biblical! Unity does not mean sameness.

God has called us to various jobs within His body.

Our basic mannerisms may look the same, but we will vary in non-basics due to our job description within Christ.

Apparently, Chloe, a woman Pastor, was the head servant in one Church.

Within that Church there were contentions.

Women are not to be excluded from service.

Paul never holds Chloe up to any ridicule.

Apparently he accepted her role within the Church.

That points us to something that not many are willing to address.

The vast majority of Church splits take place under male leadership!

Satan does not respect gender.††

His job is to cause trouble whenever and wherever.

1 Corinthians 1:12-19
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

The major problem facing the Corinthians was based in denominationalism.

Some said that they followed Paulís teaching.

Others followed Apollos, while others followed Peter (Cephas).

It does not matter what teacher you like.

If you do not follow Christ Jesus, you are lost (period).

Paul asks, "Is Christ divided?"

The answer is, No!

However, Churches are divided.

In centuries gone by, men of less than honorable intentions have hijacked the institution of the Church and led in into disarray.

The first major break came around 1054 AD when an anti-Christian Roman Pope excommunicated the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople.

To explain the spiritual ignorance, stupidity and arrogance involved in the concept of excommunication would take several volumes.

The concept of excommunication came from the evil within the hearts of pretenders that took over the Church and to this day run it as their own private club!

Baptism is part of Christian unity in shared experiences.

Immersion is the only valid biblical form of physical baptism.

Some teach that without baptism we cannot be saved.

That teaching comes from Mark 16:16---"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

John the Baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Luke 3:16/NKJV).

Ceremonial washing through immersion in water is an ancient Hebrew practice.

That was Johnís baptism unto repentance.

Although he practiced baptism by immersion, Paul was not overly concerned with immersion in water.

He told the Corinthians that he was not crucified for them, nor were that baptized in his name.

Baptism is a ceremony that indicates and inward change.

If there is not change within, baptism has no effect---other that getting you wet.

Paul was adamant!

Christ did not commission him to baptize, but to preach.

He preached to gospel of grace to many, and baptized a few.

Why didnít Paul baptize (Gr. baptizoo-baptizw) those who accepted his message of the risen Christ?

It may have been that he did not want any to say that they were baptized into Paul.

The water baptisms on Acts were administered in the name of Jesus.

But there was more than water baptism.

Acts 19:1-6
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

The cross is the great divide.

If you accept what was accomplished on the cross, you are in Godís family.

If you reject it, you are not a child of God, no matter what your physical pedigree!

To those in the rejection camp, the gospel of grace is foolishness.

To us the gospel of grace is a reflection of Godís power.

God declared that He would destroy the wisdom of the humanly wise, and invalidate the understanding of those that are only humanly learned.

Individual human learning, acquired knowledge, is not to be devalued, but unless it is mixed with God given spiritual discerning it will lead to evil.

God uses many well-educated people to bring us the gospel.

1 Corinthians 1:20-24
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions:

Where is the wise?

Where is the scribe?

Where is the "disputer", or educated disputant of this world age?

Instead of going to the wise of the age, God has allowed those considered uneducated to carry His message of grace.

Years ago, I saw a man that started preaching when he was functionally illiterate.

He bought a picture Bible and preached grace.

Many were saved, because salvation is the exclusive domain of Christ Jesus.

Educational level and income do not determine who is and who is not a Christian.

The rich and well-educated come to Christ in the same manner as all others.

Salvation is by the grace of the Father through the faith of the Son!

The chosen of the world are not often the chosen of God.

If the choice were yours, how would you present salvation to the world?

God chose the foolishness of preaching.

Various societies look to differing methods.

The Jews looked for a sign of the Messiah.

When they were given the sign of Jonah, most denied it.

The Greeks searched for wisdom.

When they were given the wisdom of the ages in their own language, most rejected it.

To tell another that Christ is the only way requires a boldness that is missing in many.

Let us remember that He is the stumbling block, we are not!

When the lost reject Him---they reject Him---not us!

When others think us to be fools because of our trust in Christ, we need to remember that they cannot believe if God has not opened their eyes to the Truth.

Those that are called through the power of God are from all races and social backgrounds!

We are called to reject sin and follow Him.

1 Corinthians 1:25-29
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Paul contrasts men and God.

In all such comparisons, man comes out on the down side.

The true church is not made up of spiritually arrogant folks.

The body of Christ is made up of those that have been called to show forth the glory of Christ Jesus.

Recently I had a meal with a multi-millionaire.

He was active in the Church and had helped the Pastor to restore unity within the Church.

Among other things, we discussed his wifeís first tomatoes of the year in her garden.

His wealth was never apparent, but his humbleness before God was.

God has chosen those that will lay aside their agendas to serve His Son, Jesus Christ.

A Literal rendering of verses 27 and 28 might be that God has chosen the morons of the world to dishonor the wise, the feeble to disgrace the mighty.

He has chosen those of questionable parentage and the utterly despised.

He has chosen the "are nots" to render ineffective those that "are."

Why would God do all that?

When you understand grace, you will understand why.

None of us has been called to boast except in what Christ Jesus has done!

1 Corinthians 1:30-31
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

It was the Father that gave you to Christ Jesus for salvation.

It is the Holy Spirit that keeps you until the day of His return to claim His possession.

Christ Jesus is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

We do not work for any of those. Be it sanctification, righteousness or redemption!In each of those areas we have the benefit of them being imputed to us by Christ!

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Even the faith to believe is imputed to us!

It is in Him, and Him alone, that we boast!
 

Chapter 2
Main Index