Study Notes on 1 Corinthians 1
I'm not sure where my notes on the first 10 verses ran off to, but here are my notes on 1 Corinthians chapter 1:11-31.
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· Written mid 50’s ish by Paul to the church at Corinth. Paul wrote at least 4 letters to this church; we only have these 2 preserved. 1 Corinthians 5:9 “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators.” 2 Corinth 2 mentions another letter.
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.
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;
Crispus was ruler of a synagogue (Acts 18:8); Gaius apparently the homeowner where the Corinth church was held (Romans 16:23).
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.
#1 So Paul named names of exactly who he baptized (not many) so rumors wouldn’t circulate saying he baptized in his own name as if HE was the Christ. He doesn’t want people divided by people they follow, we all should want the focus to be on Christ. Don’t idolize pastors or preachers or whatever.
But then verse 17 is significant, NOT to baptize BUT to preach the gospel. Baptism is therefore not part of the gospel, it is not necessary for salvation. Otherwise Christ sent Paul to specifically NOT save people? That wouldn’t make sense. We SHOULD get baptized, as a sign to align or publicly identify ourselves with the death burial and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:4; Col 2:12), but like thief on cross etc.
Now look at second half of v17, bigger message tonight, “not with wisdom of words…”
Even Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, God’s primary vessel to spread the gospel, was apparently physically unimpressive whose speech was contemptible / unimpressive/poorly esteemed (2 Cor. 10:10).
God specifically chooses believers for certain purposes because they are NOT highly qualified or eloquent or brilliant speakers. Joel Osteen’s huge church? He’s not of God…..
My point tonight is that you should not think that because of your weaknesses that you shouldn’t follow God’s will for your life or that you should turn away from the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
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. (Isaiah 29:14)
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?
The most brilliant secular philosophy amounts to nothing. It has never saved anyone. A child can go up to any PhD and say “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so” and he cannot refute it! You can never go wrong when you stand on the perfect word of God. Use the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
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.
“The plain meaning of this verse is, that the wise men of the world, especially the Greek philosophers, who possessed every advantage that human nature could have, independently of a Divine revelation, and who had cultivated their minds to the uttermost, could never, by their learning, wisdom, and industry, find out God.” – AC
Proverbs 1:7 and Prov. 9:10 are awesome, “The fear of the Lord if the beginning of knowledge/wisdom” That’s where it begins, every other path is foolishness.
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.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Meaning: the things God appoints (like preaching) which seem foolish to the world are high beyond the highest degree of worldly wisdom. We see this all over the bible like Moses and his timidity to speak (needed Aaron), or Gideon and his 300, or David and Goliath on and on.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
This v26 is main point, the next few verses also. God’s purposes for you and me and specifically NOT based on our skill set, charisma, whatever. I know people that are great talkers that could sell clouds to anyone, but then who would get the glory for their preaching? They would, and not God.
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;
Foolish things and simple people triumph over genius when they speak the word of God.
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.
This is it. Why has God chosen to do it this way? That nobody should glory in themselves. We should always always point to God. Pride can be such a dangerous sin and God wants to keep us from that.
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.