1 Corinthians chapter 1 verses 17-30

I will be making a video based on this sometime.  This is the script I wrote. Please enjoy.

Chapter 1 verses  1 to 16

Just a reminder

We looked at the archaeology of Corinth mentioning;

a reconstruction of the city, mixed cultures, worship of many deities, the Diolchos and

a map of St Pauls journeys.


We then moved on to looking the name Jesus Christ and Lord in the first 10 verses and

at the arguments and divisions in the church following various leaders.


Now in the rest of the chapter we are going to look at the theme of wisdom

God’s wisdom and human wisdom… Who do think is going to win?



chapter 1 17 to 30


God’s Wisdom

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,

but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18


St Paul chategaizes two types of people; those that are perishing and those that are being saved.

The litmus test is ‘The word of the cross’.  This event separates the chalk and the cheese

those that are being saved and those that are perishing.  Be reminded that he is talking to the church

and upto now he has laid it on thick that we ought to keep our eyes always fixed on Jesus the Author

and Perfector of our faith.  I used the words of Hebrews as a summary for what is going on here..

So who are the two groups of people?

It is too early to say yet.  We need to let the Scriptures do the talking and the scriptures to do

the walking before we decide what group is what.


19 For it is written.. A better translation for it has been written…

Why do I say that?

The reason is that it is an action that happened in the past but it has present consequences.

The NASB translation is acceptable for it is written … the word written has present consequences.

The past and the present meet in that it is God that will destroy the intelligentsias wisdom and

those who think they are clever won’t stand. Isaiah 29:14  Job 12:17


God rules verse 20

Then Paul gives general categories from this age.  We can also say our age too because St Paul earlier said

‘for it is written’.  Where is the wise man (advisors) Scribes (Lawyers)?


ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔγνω ὁ κόσμος διὰ τῆς σοφίας τὸν θεόν, εὐδόκησεν

for since  in the wisdom of God  the world through(dia) its wisdom did not (ouk) know

God(Ton theon accusative)

ὁ θεὸς διὰ τῆς μωρίας

God through the foolishnes (tes morias)

τοῦ κηρύγματος σῶσαι τοὺς πιστεύοντας. 1 Corinthians 1:21

of the message(kerugma) sosai (to save) those who believe (tous pisteouontas)

The world is in the nominative and it says the world through its wisdom did not come to

know God.

So it was Gods wish (My paraphrase) that the world through its wisdom would not come to know God

but only through the preaching of ‘the foolish cross). My paraphrase.


Then St Paul lists two people…Greeks (Wisdom) and Jews(signs)who search

for that is mentioned.


‘But we preach Christ crucified’.  There the word kerugma again (preach) then

crucifixion again.

For Jews a man who was crucified was seen as a curse and for Greeks (gentiles)

foolish (dumb)


So according to Gods wish, the ones he called (elect my view)Jews and Greeks

this is the category of Christians at the Corinth church and the invisible church

From the vantage point of the ‘Called’ this preaching and foolishness showed

the real power and Wisdom of God.


the rationale for this (ὅτι… ‘that’, ‘because’ 1 Corinthians 1:25)

God’s foolishness (although there is none is wiser than men) and God’s weakness (although

there is none for arguments sake) is stronger than men.

Why can St Paul say this?

Good question…

God is infinite so he has this wisdom

God is infinite so he sees all weaknesses

men are finite creatures so their wisdom is finite

Men are finite so they have an end…I won’t go into detail.


Verse 26 all the way to the end of verse 29 it is one thought with connectives…

ἀλλὰ 1 Corinthians 1:27 ‘But’

28 καὶ 1 Corinthians 1:28 ‘and’

29 ὅπως 1 Corinthians 1:29 ‘so that’


Now St Paul asks them to look at their own calling… According to human standards (in the flesh)

the Corinthians were not the creme de la creme of human society. On the contrary just simple folk,

working class or slaves! (the base things…   born, of no family, ignoble);


27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise,

and God has chosen the weak things of the world

to shame the things which are strong, 1 Corinthians 1:27


There isn’t much to be interpreted here.  God is in control and all humans can ever wish

is to a wannabe in control.

The thought continues…with and…

29 so that no man may boast before God. 1 Corinthians 1:29

God will not allow any human to impinge on His Sovereignty. This belongs onlt to him


Then St Paul reminds them again that the boasting can only take place

in what Christ has done verse 30


But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God,

and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written,

“LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31



So we came to the end of chapter 1.

The beginning of chapter two also  has a connective ‘and I’ Κἀγὼ (kai ego)  1 Corinthians 2:1

By the end of chapter one the Corinthian Christians needed to be reminded of where they went wrong.   From St Pauls point of view there is only one Jesus Christ and there is only one church that is in his name.


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