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1 Corinthians


Unity and order in the church

  1.Greeting and Thanksgiving spring 55ce (Corinth)

1FROM PAUL,
APOSTLE of Jesus Christ at God's call and by God's will,
together with our colleague Sosthenes,
2to the congregation of God's people at Corinth, dedicated to him in Christ Jesus, claimed by him as his own, along with all men everywhere who invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord as well as ours.

3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I am always thanking God for you. I thank him for his grace given to you in Christ Jesus. 5I thank him for all the enrichment that has come to you in Christ. You possess full knowledge and you can give full expression to it, 6because in you the evidence for the truth of Christ has found confirmation. 7There is indeed no single gift you lack, while you wait expectantly for our Lord Jesus Christ to reveal himself. 8He will keep you firm to the end, without reproach on the Day of our Lord Jesus. 9It is God himself who called you to share in the life of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and God keeps faith.

Divisions in the Church

10I appeal to you, my brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: agree among yourselves, and avoid divisions; be firmly joined in unity of mind and thought. 11I have been told, my brothers, by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: each of you is saying, 'I am Paul's man', or 'I am for Apollos'; 'I follow Cephas', or 'I am Christ's.' 13Surely Christ has not been divided among you! Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Was it in the name of Paul that you were baptized? 14Thank God, I never baptized one of you-except Crispus and Gaius. 15So no one can say you were baptized in my name.— 16Yes, I did baptize the household of Stephanas; I cannot think of anyone else. 17Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim the Gospel; and to do it without relying on the language of worldly wisdom, so that the fact of Christ on his cross might have its full weight.

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

18This doctrine of the cross is sheer folly to those on their way to ruin, but to us who are on the way to 19 [ Is.29.14. ] salvation it is the power of God. Scripture says, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the cleverness of the clever.' 20Where is your wise man now, your man of learning, or your subtle debater-limited, all of them, to this passing age? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21As God in his wisdom ordained, the world failed to find him by its wisdom, and he chose to save those who have faith by the folly of the Gospel. 22Jews call for miracles, Greeks look for wisdom; 23but we proclaim Christ—yes, Christ nailed to the cross; and though this is a stumbling-block to Jews and folly to Greeks, 24yet to those who have heard his call, Jews and Greeks alike, he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25Divine folly is wiser than the wisdom of man, and divine weakness stronger than man's strength. 26My brothers, think what sort of people you are, whom God has called. Few of you are men of wisdom, by any human standard; few are powerful or highly born. 27Yet, to shame the wise. God has chosen what the world counts folly, and to shame what is strong, God has chosen what the world counts weakness. 28He has chosen things low and contemptible, mere nothings, to overthrow the existing order. 29And so there is no place for human pride in the presence of God. 30You are in Christ Jesus by God's act, for God has made him our wisdom; he is our righteousness; in him we are consecrated and set free. 31 [ Jr.9.24. ] And so (in the words of Scripture), 'must boast, let him boast of the Lord.'


  2.Proclaiming Christ Crucified

1As for me, brothers, when I came to you, I declared the attested truth of God [Some witnesses read: I declared God's secret purpose ...] without display of fine words or wisdom. 2I resolved that while I was with you I would think of nothing but Jesus Christ—Christ nailed to the cross. 3I came before you weak, nervous and shaking with fear. 4The word I spoke, the gospel I proclaimed, did not sway you with subtle arguments; it carried conviction by spiritual power, 5so that your faith might be built not upon human wisdom but upon the power of God.

The Revelation by God's Spirit

6And yet I do speak words of wisdom to those who are ripe for it, not a wisdom belonging to this passing age, nor to any of its governing powers, which are declining to their end; 7I speak God's hidden wisdom, his secret purpose framed from the very beginning to bring us to our full glory. 8The powers that rule the world have never known it; if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 [ Is.64.4, Ps.52.15. ] But, in the words of Scripture, 'Things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining, all prepared by God for those who love him', 10these it is that God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

For the Spirit explores everything, even the depths of God's own nature.
11Among men, who knows what a man is but the man's own spirit within him? In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows what God is. 12This is the Spirit that we have received from God, and not the spirit of the world, so that we may know all that God of his own grace gives us; 13and, because we are interpreting spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit, we speak of these gifts of God in words found for us not by our human wisdom but by the Spirit. 14A man who is unspiritual refuses what belongs to the Spirit of God; it is folly to him; he cannot grasp it, because it needs to be judged in the light of the Spirit. 15A man gifted with the Spirit can judge the worth of everything, but is not himself subject to judgement by his fellow-men. 16 [ Is.40.13. ] For (in the words of Scripture) 'who knows the mind of the Lord? Who can advise him?' We, however, possess the mind of Christ.


  3.Fellow Workmen for God

1FOR MY PART, my brothers, I could not speak to you as I should speak to people who have the Spirit. I had to deal with you on the merely natural plane, as infants in Christ. 2And so I gave you milk to drink, instead of solid food, for which you were not yet ready. 3Indeed, you are still not ready for it, for you are still on the merely natural plane. Can you not see that while there is jealousy and strife among you, you are living on the purely human level of your lower nature? 4When one says, 'I am Paul's man', and another, 'I am for Apollos', are you not all too human?

5After all, what is Apollos? What is Paul? We are simply God's agents in bringing you to the faith. Each of us performed the task which the Lord allotted to him: 6I planted the seed, and Apollos watered it; but God made it grow. 7Thus it is not the gardeners with their planting and watering who count, but God, who makes it grow. 8Whether they plant or water, they work as a team, [Or: Whether they plant or water, it is all the same.] though each will get his own pay for his own labour. 9We are God's fellow-workers; [Or: We are fellow-workers in God's service.] and you are God's garden.

10Or again, you are God's building. I am like a skilled master-builder who by God's grace laid the foundation, and someone else is putting up the building. Let each take care how he builds. 11There can be no other foundation beyond that which is already laid; I mean Jesus Christ himself. 12If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, and fine stone, or with wood, hay, and straw, 13the work that each man does will at last be brought to light; the day of judgement will expose it. For that day dawns in fire, and the fire will test the worth of each man's work. 14If a man's building stands, he will be rewarded; 15if it burns, he will have to bear the loss; and yet he will escape with his life, as one might from a fire. 16Surely you know that you are God's temple, where the Spirit of God dwells. 17Anyone who destroys God's temple will himself be destroyed [Some witnesses read: is himself destroyed.] by God, because the temple of God is holy; and that temple you are.

18Make no mistake about this: if there is anyone is among you who fancies himself wise—wise, I mean, by the standards of this passing age—he must become a fool to gain true wisdom. 19 [ Jb.5.13. ] For the wisdom of this world is folly in God's sight. Scripture says, 'He traps the wise in their own cunning', 20 [ Ps.94.11. ] and again, 'The Lord knows that the arguments of the wise are futile.' 21So never make mere men a cause for pride. For though everything belongs to you— 22Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, the world, life, and death, the present and the future, all of them belong to you— 23yet you belong to Christ, and Christ to God.


  4.The Ministry of the Apostles

1We must be regarded as Christ's subordinates and as stewards of the secrets of God. 2Well then, stewards are expected to show themselves trustworthy. 3For my part, if I am called to account by you or by any human court of judgement, it does not matter to me in the least. Why, I do not even pass judgement on myself, 4for I have nothing on my conscience; but that does not mean I stand acquitted. My judge is the Lord. 5So pass no premature judgement; wait until the Lord comes. For he will bring to light what darkness hides, and disclose men's inward motives; then will be the time for each to receive from God such praise as he deserves.

6Into this general picture, my friends, I have brought Apollos and myself on your account, so that you may take our case as an example, and leam to 'keep within the rules', as they say, and may not be inflated with pride as you patronize one and flout the other. 7Who makes you, my friend, so important? What do you possess that was not given you? If then you really received it all as a gift, why take the credit to yourself?

8All of you, no doubt, have everything you could desire. You have come into your fortune already. You have come into your kingdom—and left us out. How I wish you had indeed won your kingdom; then you might share it with us! 9For it seems to me God has made us apostles the most abject of mankind. We are like men condemned to death in the arena, a spectacle to the whole universe-angels as well as men. 10We are fools for Christ's sake, while you are such sensible Christians. We are weak; you are so powerful. We are in disgrace; you are honoured. 11To this day we go hungry and thirsty and in rags; we are roughly handled; we wander from place to place; 12we wear ourselves out working with our own hands. They curse us, and we bless; they persecute us, and we submit to it; 13they slander us, and we humbly make our appeal. We are treated as the scum of the earth, the dregs of humanity, to this very day.

14I am not writing thus to shame you, but to bring you to reason; for you are my dear children. 15You may have ten thousand tutors in Christ, but you have only one father. For in Christ Jesus you are my offspring, and mine alone, through the preaching of the Gospel. I appeal to you therefore to follow my example. 16That is the very reason why I have sent Timothy, who is a dear son to me and a most trustworthy Christian; 17he will remind you of the way of life in Christ which I follow, and which I teach everywhere in all our congregations. 18There are certain persons who are filled with self-importance because they think I am not coming to Corinth. 19I shall come very soon, if the Lord will; and then I shall take the measure of these self-important people, not by what they say, but by what power is in them. 20The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power. 21Choose, then: am I to come to you with a rod in my hand, or in love and a gentle spirit?


  5.Judgment against Immorality

1I ACTUALLY HEAR REPORTS of sexual immorality among you, immorality such as even pagans do not tolerate: the union of a man with his father's wife. And you can still be proud of yourselves! 2You ought to have gone into mourning; a man who has done such a deed should have been rooted out of your company. 3For my part, though I am absent in body, I am present in spirit, and my judgement upon the man who did this thing is already given, as if I were indeed present: 4you all being assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus over us, 5this man is to be consigned to Satan for the destruction of the body, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord.

6Your self-satisfaction ill becomes you. Have you never heard the saying, 'A little leaven leavens all the dough'? 7The old leaven of corruption is working among you. Purge it out, and then you will be bread of a new baking. As Christians you are unleavened Passover bread; for indeed our Passover has begun; the sacrifice is offered?Christ himself. 8So we who observe the festival must not use the old leaven, the leaven of corruption and wickedness, but only the unleavened bread which is sincerity and truth.

9In my letter I wrote that you must have nothing to do with loose livers. 10I was not, of course, referring to pagans who lead loose lives or are grabbers and swindlers or idolaters. To avoid them you would have to get out of the world altogether. 11I now write that you must have nothing to do with any so-called Christian who leads a loose life, or is grasping, or idolatrous, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a swindler. 12You should not even eat with any such person. What business of mine is it to judge outsiders? 13 [ Dt.17.7, Dt.19.19, Dt.22.21. ] God is their judge. You are judges within the fellowship. Root out the evil-doer from your community.


  6.Going to Law before Unbelievers

1IF ONE OF YOUR NUMBER has a dispute with another, has he the face to take it to pagan law-courts instead of to the community of God's people? 2It is God's people who are to judge the world; surely you know that. And if the world is to come before you for judgement, are you incompetent to deal with these trifling cases? 3Are you not aware that we are to judge angels? How much more, mere matters of business! 4If therefore you have such business disputes, how can you entrust jurisdiction to outsiders, men who count 5for nothing in our community? I write this to shame you. Can it be that there is not a single wise man among you able to give a decision in a brother-Christian's cause? 6Must brother go to law with brother-and before unbelievers? 7Indeed, you already fall below your standard in going to law with one another at all. Why not rather suffer injury? Why not rather let yourself be robbed? 8So far from this, you actually injure and rob-injure and rob your brothers! 9Surely you know that the unjust will never come into possession of the kingdom of God. Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolater, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, 10no thieves or grabbers or drunkards or slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God. 11Such were some of you. But you have been through the purifying waters; you have been dedicated to God and justified through the name of the Lord Jesus and the Spirit of our God.

Glorify God in Your Body

12'I am free to do anything', you say. Yes, but not everything is for my good. No doubt I am free to do anything, but I for one will not let anything make free with me. 13'Food is for the belly and the belly for food', you say. True; and one day God will put an end to both. But it is not true that the body is for lust; it is for the Lord—and the Lord for the body. 14God not only raised our Lord from the dead; he will also raise us by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are limbs and organs of Christ? Shall I then take from Christ his bodily parts and make them over to a harlot? Never! 16 [ Gn.2.24. ] You surely know that anyone who links himself with a harlot becomes physically one with her (for Scripture says, 'The pair shall become one flesh'); 17but he who links himself with Christ is one with him, spiritually. 18Shun fornication. Every other sin that a man can commit is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a shrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the Spirit is God's gift to you? You do not belong to yourselves; 20you were bought at a price. Then honour God in your body.


The Christian in a pagan society

  7.Problems concerning Marriage

1AND NOW for the matters you wrote about.

It is a good thing for a man to have nothing to do with women; [Or: You say, 'It is a good thing ... women; ...] 2but because there is so much immorality, let each man have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3The husband must give the wife what is due to her, and the wife equally must give the husband his due. 4The wife cannot claim her body as her own; it is her husband's. Equally, the husband cannot claim his body as his own; it is his wife's. 5Do not deny yourselves to one another, except when you agree upon a temporary abstinence in order to devote yourselves to prayer; afterwards you may come together again; otherwise, for lack of self-control, you may be tempted by Satan.

6All this I say by way of concession, not command. 7I should like you all to be as I am myself; but everyone has the gift God has granted him, one this gift and another that.

8To the unmarried and to widows I say this: it is a good thing if they stay as I am myself; 9but if they cannot control themselves, they should marry. Better be married than burn with vain desire.

10To the married I give this ruling, which is not mine but the Lord's: a wife must not separate herself from her husband; 11if she does, she must either remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband; and the husband must not divorce his wife.

12To the rest I say this, as my own word, not as the Lord's: if a Christian has a heathen wife, and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her; 13and a woman who has a heathen husband willing to live with her must not divorce her husband. 14For the heathen husband now belongs to God through his Christian wife, and the heathen wife through her Christian husband. Otherwise your children would not belong to God, whereas in fact they do. 15If on the other hand the heathen partner wishes for a separation, let him have it. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is under no compulsion; but God's call is a call to live in peace. 16Think of it: as a wife you may be your husband's salvation; as a husband you may be your wife's salvation.

The Life Which the Lord Has Assigned

17However that may be, each one must order his life according to the gift the Lord has granted him and his condition when God called him. That is what I teach in all our congregations. 18Was a man called with the is marks of circumcision on him? Let him not remove them. Was he uncircumcised when he was called? Let him not be circumcised. 19Circumcision or uncircumcision is neither here nor there; what matters is to keep God's commands. 20Every man should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that trouble you; but if a chance of liberty should come, take it. [Or: but even if a chance of liberty should come, choose rather to make good use of your servitude.] 22For the man who as a slave received the call to be a Christian is the Lord's freedman, and, equally, the free man who received the call is a slave in the service of Christ. 23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24Thus each one, my friends, is to remain before God in the condition in which he received his call.

The Unmarried and Widows

25On the question of celibacy, I have no instructions from the Lord, but I give my judgement as one who by God's mercy is fit to be trusted.

26It is my opinion, then, that in a time of stress like the present this is the best way for a man to live-it is best for a man to be as he is. 27Are you bound in marriage? Do not seek a dissolution. Has your marriage been dissolved? Do not seek a wife. 28If, however, you do marry, there is nothing wrong in it; and if a virgin marries, she has done no wrong. But those who marry will have pain and grief in this bodily life, and my aim is to spare you.

29What I mean, my friends, is this. The time we live in will not last long. While it lasts, married men should be as if they had no wives; 30mourners should be as if they had nothing to grieve them, the joyful as if they did not rejoice; buyers must not count on keeping what they buy, 31nor those who use the world's wealth on using it to the full. For the whole frame of this world is passing away.

32I want you to be free from anxious care. The unmarried man cares for the Lord's business; his aim is to please the Lord. 33But the married man cares for worldly things; his aim is to please his wife; 34and he has a divided mind. The unmarried or celibate woman cares [Some witnesses read: ... his wife. And there is a difference between the wife and the virgin. The unmarried woman cares ...] for the Lord's business; her aim is to be dedicated to him in body as in spirit; but the married woman cares for worldly things; her aim is to please her husband.

35In saying this I have no wish to keep you on a tight rein. I am thinking simply of your own good, of what is seemly, and of your freedom to wait upon the Lord without distraction.

36But if a man has a partner in celibacy [Or: a virgin daughter (or: ward).] and feels that he is not behaving properly towards her, if, that is, his instincts are too strong for him, [Or: if she is ripe for marriage.] and something must be done, he may do as he pleases; there is nothing wrong in it; let them marry. [Or: let the girl and her lover marry.] 37But if a man is steadfast in his purpose, being under no compulsion, and has complete control of his own choice; and if he has decided in his own mind to preserve his partner [Or: his daughter.] in her virginity, he will do well. 38Thus, he who marries his partner [Or: gives his daughter in marriage.] does well, and he who does not will do better.

39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband die, she is free to marry whom she will, provided the marriage is within the Lord's fellowship. 40But she is better off as she is; that is my opinion, and I believe that I too have the Spirit of God.


  8.Food Offered to Idols

1NOW ABOUT FOOD consecrated to heathen deities.

Of course we all 'have knowledge', as you say. 2This 'knowledge' breeds conceit; it is love that builds. 3If anyone fancies that he knows, he knows nothing yet, in the true sense of knowing. But if a man loves, [Some witnesses read: loves God.] he is acknowledged by God. [Or: he is recognized.]

4Well then, about eating this consecrated food: of course, as you say, 'a false god has no existence in the real world. There is no god but one.' 5For indeed, if there be so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords'— 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all being comes, towards whom we move; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came to be, and we through him.

7But not everyone knows this. There are some who have been so accustomed to idolatry [Some witnesses read: in whom the consciousness of the false god is persistent ...] that even now they eat this food with a sense of its heathen consecration, and their conscience, being weak, is polluted by the eating. 8Certainly food will not bring us into God's presence: if we do not eat, we are none the worse, and if we eat, we are none the better. 9But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a pitfall for the weak. 10If a weak character sees you sitting down to a meal in a heathen temple—you, who 'have knowledge'—will not his conscience be emboldened to eat food consecrated to the heathen deity? 11This 'knowledge' of yours is utter disaster to the weak; the brother for whom Christ died. 12In thus sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience, [Some witnesses insert: weak as it is.] you sin against Christ. 13And therefore, if food be the downfall of my brother, I will never eat meat any more, for I will not be the cause of my brother's downfall.


  9.The Rights of an Apostle

1AM I NOT A FREE MAN? Am I not an apostle? Did I not see Jesus our Lord? Are not you my own handiwork, in the Lord? 2If others do not accept me as an apostle, you at least are bound to do so, for you are yourselves the very seal of my apostolate, in the Lord.

3To those who put me in the dock this is my answer: 4Have I no right to eat and drink? 5Have I no right to take a Christian wife about with me, like the rest of the apostles and the Lord's brothers, and Cephas? 6Or are Barnabas and I alone bound to work for our living? 7Did you ever hear of a man serving in the army at his own expense? or planting a vineyard without eating the fruit of it? or tending a flock without using its milk? 8Do not suppose I rely on these human analogies; 9 [ Dt.25.4. ] in the Law of Moses we read, 'You shall not muzzle a threshing ox.' Do you suppose God's concern is with oxen? 10Or is the reference clearly to ourselves? Of course it refers to us, in the sense that the ploughman should plough and the thresher thresh in the hope of getting some of the produce. 11If we have sown a spiritual crop for you, is it too much to expect from you a material harvest? 12If you allow others these rights, have not we a stronger claim?

But I have availed myself of no such right. On the contrary, I put up with all that comes my way rather than offer any hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13You know (do you not?) that those who perform the temple service eat the temple offerings, and those who wait upon the altar claim their share of the sacrifice. 14In the same way the Lord gave instructions that those who preach the Gospel should earn their living by the Gospel. 15But I have never taken advantage of any such right, nor do I intend to claim it in this letter. I had rather die! No one shall make my boast an empty boast. 16Even if I preach the Gospel, I can claim no credit for it; I cannot help myself; it would be misery to me not to preach. 17If I did it of my own choice, I should be earning my pay; but since I do it apart from my own choice, I am simply discharging a trust. [Or: If I do it willingly I am earning my pay; if I do it unwillingly I should still have a trust laid upon me.] 18Then what is my pay? The satisfaction of preaching the Gospel without expense to anyone; in other words, of waiving the rights which my preaching gives me.

19I am a free man and own no master; but I have made myself every man's servant, to win over as many as possible. 20To Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; as they are subject to the Law of Moses, I put myself under that law to win them although I am not myself subject to it. 21To win Gentiles, who are outside the Law, I made myself like one of them, although I am not in truth outside God's law, being under the law of Christ. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. Indeed, I have become everything in turn to men of every sort, so that in one way or another I may save some. 23All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, to bear my part in proclaiming it.

24You know (do you not?) that at the sports all the runners run the race, though only one wins the prize. Like them, run to win! 25But every athlete goes into strict training. They do it to win a fading wreath; we, a wreath that never fades. 26For my part, I run with a clear goal before me; I am like a boxer who does not beat the air; 27I bruise my own body and make it know its master, for fear that after preaching to others I should find myself rejected.


  10.Warning against Idolatry

1You should understand, my brothers, that our ancestors were all under the pillar of cloud, and all of them passed through the Red Sea; 2and so they all received baptism into the fellowship of Moses in cloud and sea. 3They all ate the same supernatural food, and all drank the same supernatural drink; 4I mean, they all drank from the supernatural rock that accompanied their travels—and that rock was Christ. 5And yet, most of them were not accepted by God, for the desert was strewn with their corpses.

6These events happened as symbols to warn us not to set our desires on evil things, as they did. 7 [ Ex.32.6. ] Do not be idolaters, like some of them; as Scripture has it, 'the people sat down to feast and stood up to revel'. 8Let us not commit fornication, as some of them did?and twenty-three thousand died in one day. 9Let us not put the power of the Lord [Some witnesses read: of Christ.] to the test, as some of them did?and were destroyed by serpents. 10Do not grumble against God, as some of them did—and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

11All these things that happened to them were symbolic, and were recorded for our benefit as a warning. For upon us the fulfilment of the ages has come. 12If you feel sure that you are standing firm, beware! You may fall. 13So far you have faced no trial beyond what man can bear. God keeps faith, and he will not allow you to be tested above your powers, but when the test comes he will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it.

14SO THEN, DEAR FRIENDS,—shun idolatry. 15I speak to you as men of sense. Form your own judgement on what I say. 16When we bless 'the cup of blessing', is it not a means of sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread, is it not a means of sharing in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one loaf, we, many as we are, are one body; [Or: For we, many as we are, are one loaf, one body.] for it is one loaf of which we all partake.

18Look at the Jewish people. Are not those who partake in the sacrificial meal sharers in the altar? 19What do I imply by this? that an idol is anything but an idol? or food offered to it anything more than food? 20No: but the sacrifices the heathen offer are offered (in the words of Scripture) 'to demons and to that which is not God'; and I will not have you become partners with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the Lord's table and the table of demons. 22Can we defy the Lord? Are we stronger than he?

Do All to the Glory of God

23'We are free to do anything', you say. Yes, but is everything good for us? 'We are free to do anything', but does everything help the building of the community? 24Each of you must regard, not his own interests, but the other man's.

25You may eat anything sold in the meat-market without raising questions of conscience; 26 [ Ps.24.1, Ps.50.12, Ps.89.11. ] for the earth is the Lord's and everything in it.

27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you care to go, eat whatever is put before you, without raising questions of conscience. 28But if somebody says to you, 'This food has been offered in sacrifice', then, out of consideration for him, and for conscience' sake, do not eat it— 29not your conscience, I mean, but the other man's.

'What?' you say, 'is my freedom to be called in question by another man's conscience? 30If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for eating food over which I have said grace?' 31Well, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you are doing, do all for the honour of God: 32give no offence to Jews, or Greeks, or to the church of God. 33For my part I always try to meet everyone half-way, regarding not my own good but the good of the many, so that they may be saved.
  11.1Follow my example as I follow Christ's.

The Covering of Women's Heads

2I COMMEND YOU for always keeping me in mind, and maintaining the tradition I handed on to you. 3But I wish you to understand that, while every man has Christ for his Head, woman's head is man, [Or: a woman's head is her husband.] as Christ's Head is God. 4A man who keeps his head covered when he prays or prophesies brings shame on his head; 5a woman, on the contrary, brings shame on her head if she prays or prophesies bareheaded: it is as bad as if her head were shaved. 6If a woman is not to wear a veil she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for her to be cropped and shaved, then she should wear a veil. 7A man has no need to cover his head, because man is the image of God, and the mirror of his glory, whereas woman reflects the glory of man. [Or: a woman reflects her husband's glory.] 8For man did not originally spring from woman, but woman was made out of man; 9and man was not created for woman's sake, but woman for the sake of man; 10and therefore it is woman's duty to have a sign of authority [Some witnesses read: to have a veil.] on her head, out of regard for the angels. [Or: and therefore a woman should keep her dignity on her head, for fear of the angels.] 11And yet, in Christ's fellowship woman is as essential to man as man to woman. 12If woman was made out of man, it is through woman that man now comes to be; and God is the source of all.

13Judge for yourselves: is it fitting for a woman to pray to God bare-headed? 14Does not Nature herself teach you that while flowing locks disgrace a man, they are a woman's glory? 15For her locks were given for covering.

16However, if you insist on arguing, let me tell you, there is no such custom among us, or in any of the congregations of God's people.

Abuses at the Lord's Supper

17In giving you these injunctions I must mention a practice which I cannot commend: your meetings tend to do more harm than good. 18To begin with, I am told that when you meet as a congregation you fall into sharply divided groups; and I believe there is some truth in it 19(for dissensions are necessary if only to show which of your members are sound). 20The result is that when you meet as a congregation, it is impossible for you to eat the Lord's Supper, 21because each of you is in such a hurry to eat his own, and while one goes hungry another has too much to drink. 22Have you no homes of your own to eat and drink in? Or are you so contemptuous of the church of God that you shame its poorer members? What am I to say? Can I commend you? On this point, certainly not!

The Institution of the Lord's Supper

23For the tradition which I handed on to you came to me from the Lord himself: that the Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread and, 24after giving thanks to God, broke it and said: 'This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.' 25In the same way, he took the cup after supper, and said: 'This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.' 26For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes.

Partaking of the Supper Unworthily

27It follows that anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of desecrating the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man must test himself before eating his share of the bread and drinking from the cup. 29For he who eats and drinks eats and drinks judgement on himself if he does not discern the Body. 30That is why many of you are feeble and sick, and a number have died. 31But if we examined ourselves, we should not thus fall under judgement. 32When, however, we do fall under the Lord's judgement, he is disciplining us, to save us from being condemned with the rest of the world.

33Therefore, my brothers, when you meet for a meal, wait for one another. 34If you are hungry, eat at home, so that in meeting together you may not fall under judgement. The other matters I will arrange when I come.


Spiritual gifts

  12.Spiritual Gifts

1ABOUT GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, there are some things of which I do not wish you to remain ignorant.

2You know how, in the days when you were still pagan, you were swept off to those dumb heathen gods, however you happened to be led. [Or: ... pagan, you would be seized by some power which drove you to those dumb heathen gods.] 3For this reason I must impress upon you that no one who says 'A curse on Jesus!' can be speaking under the influence of the Spirit of God. And no one can say 'Jesus is Lord!' except under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

4There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are varieties of service, but the same Lord. 6There are many forms of work, but all of them, in all men, are the work of the same God. 7In each of us the Spirit is manifested in one particular way, for some useful purpose. 8One man, through the Spirit, has the gift of wise speech, while another, by the power of the same Spirit, can put the deepest knowledge into words. 9Another, by the same Spirit, is granted faith; another, by the one Spirit, gifts of healing, 10and another miraculous powers; another has the gift of prophecy, and another ability to distinguish true spirits from false; yet another has the gift of ecstatic utterance of different kinds, and another the ability to interpret it. 11But all these gifts are the work of one and the same Spirit, distributing them separately to each individual at will.

One Body with Many Members

12For Christ is like a single body with its many limbs and organs, which, many as they are, together make up one body. 13For indeed we were all brought into one body by baptism, in the one Spirit, whether we are Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free men, and that one Holy Spirit was poured out for all of us to drink.

14A body is not one single organ, but many. 15Suppose the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body', it does belong to the body none the less. 16Suppose the ear were to say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body', it does still belong to the body. 17If the body were all eye, how could it hear? If the body were all ear, how could it is smell? 18But, in fact. God appointed each limb and organ to its own place in the body, as he chose. 19If the whole were one single organ, there would not be a body at all; 20in fact, however, there are many different organs, but one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I do not need you'; nor the head to the feet, 'I do not need you.' 22Quite the contrary: those organs of the body which seem to be more frail than others are indispensable, 23and those parts of the body which we regard as less honourable are treated with special honour. To our unseemly parts is given a more than ordinary seemliness, 24whereas our seemly parts need no adorning. But God has combined the various pans of the body, giving special honour to the humbler parts, 25so that there might be no sense of division in the body, but that all its organs might feel the same concern for one another. If one organ suffers, they all suffer together. 26If one flourishes, they all rejoice together.

27Now you are Christ's body, and each of you a limb or organ of it. 28Within our community God has appointed, in the first place apostles, in the second place prophets, thirdly teachers; then miracle-workers, then those who have gifts of healing, or ability to help others or power to guide them, or the gift of ecstatic utterance of various kinds. 29Are all apostles? all prophets? all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Have all gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues of ecstasy? Can all interpret them? 31The higher gifts are those you should aim at.

And now I will show you the best way of all.


  13.Love

1I may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if I am without love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2I may have the gift of prophecy, and know every hidden truth; I may have faith strong enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing. 3I may dole out all I possess, or even give my body to be burnt, [Some witnesses read: even seek glory by self-sacrifice.] but if I have no love, I am none the better.

4Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, 5nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; 6does not gloat over other men's sins, but delights in the truth. 7There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.

8Love will never come to an end. Are there prophets? their work will be over. Are there tongues of ecstasy? they will cease. Is there knowledge? it will vanish away; 9for our knowledge and our prophecy alike are partial, 10and the partial vanishes when wholeness comes. 11When I was a child, my speech, my outlook, and my thoughts were all childish. When I grew up, I had finished with childish things. 12Now we see only puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face. My knowledge now is partial; then it will be whole, like God's knowledge of me. 13In a word, there are three things that last for ever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love.


  14.Tongues and Prophecy

1Put love first; but there are other gifts of the Spirit at which you should aim also, and above all prophecy. 2When a man is using the language of ecstasy he is talking with God, not with men, for no man understands him; he is no doubt inspired, but he speaks mysteries. 3On the other hand, when a man prophesies, he is talking to men, and his words have power to build; they stimulate and they encourage. 4The language of ecstasy is good for the speaker himself, but it is prophecy that builds up a Christian community. 5I should be pleased for you all to use the tongues of ecstasy, but better pleased for you to prophesy. The prophet is worth more than the man of ecstatic speech—unless indeed he can explain its meaning, and so help to build up the community. 6Suppose, my friends, that when I come to you I use ecstatic language: what good shall I do you, unless what I say contains something by way of revelation, or enlightenment, or prophecy, or instruction?

7Even with inanimate things that produce sounds—a flute, say, or a lyre—unless their notes mark definite intervals, how can you tell what tune is being played? 8Or again, if the trumpet-call is not clear, who will prepare for battle? 9In the same way if your ecstatic utterance yields no precise meaning, how can anyone tell what you are saying? You will be talking into the air. 10How many different kinds of sound there are, or may be, in the world! Nothing is altogether soundless. 11Well then, if I do not know the meaning of the sound the speaker makes, his words will be gibberish to me, and mine to him. 12You are, I know, eager for gifts of the Spirit; then aspire above all to excel in those which build up the church.

13I say, then, that the man who falls into ecstatic utterance should pray for the ability to interpret. 14If I use such language in my prayer, the Spirit in me prays, but my intellect lies fallow. 15What then? I will pray as I am inspired to pray, but I will also pray intelligently. I will sing hymns as I am inspired to sing, but I will sing intelligently too. 16Suppose you are praising God in the language of inspiration: how will the plain man who is present be able to say 'Amen' to your thanksgiving, when he does not know what you are saying? 17Your prayer of thanksgiving may be all that could be desired, but it is no help to the other man. 18Thank God, I am more gifted in is ecstatic utterance than any of you, [Or: ... man. I say the thanksgiving; I use ecstatic speech more than any of you.] 19but in the congregation I would rather speak five intelligible words, for the benefit of others as well as myself, than thousands of words in the language of ecstasy.

20Do not be childish, my friends. Be as innocent of evil as babes, but at least be grown-up in your thinking. 21 [ Is.28.11-12, Dt.28.49. ] We read in the Law: 'I will speak to this nation through men of strange tongues, and by the lips of foreigners; and even so they will not heed me, says the Lord.' 22Clearly then these 'strange tongues' are not intended as a sign for believers, but for unbelievers, whereas prophecy is designed not for unbelievers but for those who hold the faith. 23So if the whole congregation is assembled and all are using the 'strange tongues' of ecstasy, and some uninstructed persons or unbelievers should enter, will they not think you are mad? 24But if all are uttering prophecies, the visitor, when he enters, hears from everyone something that searches his conscience and brings conviction, 25and the secrets of his heart are laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, crying, 'God is certainly among you!'

All Things to be Done in Order

26To sum up, my friends: when you meet for worship, each of you contributes a hymn, some instruction, a revelation, an ecstatic utterance, or the interpretation of such an utterance. All of these must aim at one thing: to build up the church. 27If it is a matter of ecstatic utterance, only two should speak, or at most three, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker had better not address the meeting at all, but speak to himself and to God. 29Of the prophets, two or three may speak, while the rest exercise their judgement upon what is said. 30If someone else, sitting in his place, receives a revelation, let the first speaker stop. 31You can all prophesy, one at a time, so that the whole congregation may receive instruction and encouragement. 32It is for prophets to control prophetic inspiration, 33for the God who inspires them is not a God of disorder but of peace.

34As in all congregations of God's people, women [Or: of peace, as in all communities of God's people. Women ...] should not address the meeting. They have no licence to speak, but should keep their place as the law directs. 35If there is something they want to know, they can ask their own husbands at home. It is a shocking thing that a woman should address the congregation.

36Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people to whom it came? 37If anyone claims to be inspired or a prophet, let him recognize that what I write has the Lord's authority. 38If he does not acknowledge this, God does not acknowledge him. [Some witnesses read: If he refuses to recognize this; let him refuse!]

39In short, my friends, be eager to prophesy; do not forbid ecstatic utterance; 40but let all be done decently and in order.


Life after death

  15.The Resurrection of Christ

1AND NOW, MY BROTHERS. I must remind you of the gospel that I preached to you; the gospel which you received, on which you have taken your stand, and which is now bringing you salvation. 2Do you still hold fast the Gospel as I preached it to you? If not, your conversion was in vain. [Or: Do you remember the terms in which I preached the Gospel to you?—for I assume you did not accept it thoughtlessly.]

3First and foremost, I handed on to you the facts which had been imparted to me: that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; 4that he was buried; that he was raised to life on the third day, according to the scriptures; 5and that he appeared to Cephas, and afterwards to the Twelve. 6Then he appeared to over five hundred of our brothers at once, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7Then he appeared to James, and afterwards to all the apostles.

8In the end he appeared even to me. It was like an abnormal birth; 9I had persecuted the church of God and am therefore inferior to all other apostles?indeed not fit to be called an apostle. 10However, by God's grace I am what I am, nor has his grace been given to me in vain; on the contrary, in my labours I have outdone them all—not I, indeed, but the grace of God working with me. 11But what matter, I or they? This is what we all proclaim, and this is what you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12Now if this is what we proclaim, that Christ was raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there be no resurrection, then Christ was not raised; 14and if Christ was not raised, then our gospel is null and void, and so is your faith; 15and we turn out to be lying witnesses for God, because we bore witness that he raised Christ to life, whereas, if the dead are not raised, he did not raise him. 16For if the dead are not raised, it follows that Christ was not raised; 17and if Christ was not raised, your faith has nothing in it and you are still is in your old state of sin. 18It follows also that those who have died within Christ's fellowship are utterly lost. 19If it is for this life only that Christ has given us hope, [Or: If it is only an uncertain hope that our life in Christ has given us ...] we of all men are most to be pitied.

20But the truth is, Christ was raised to life—the firstfruits of the harvest of the dead. 21For since it was a man who brought death into the world, a man also brought resurrection of the dead. 22As in Adam all men die, so in Christ all will be brought to life; 23but each in his own proper place: Christ the firstfruits, and afterwards, at his coming, those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers up the kingdom to God the Father, after abolishing every kind of domination, authority, and power. 25For he is destined to reign until God has put all enemies under his feet; 26and the last enemy to be abolished is death. [Or: Then at the end, when ... power (for he ... feet), the last enemy, death, will be abolished.] 27 [ Ps.8.6. ] Scripture says, 'He has put all things in subjection under his feet.' But in saying 'all things', it clearly means to exclude God who subordinates them; 28and when all things are thus subject to him, then the Son himself will also be made subordinate to God who made all things subject to him, and thus God will be all in all.

29Again, there are those who receive baptism on behalf of the dead. Why should they do this? If the dead are not raised to life at all, what do they mean by being baptized on their behalf?

30And we ourselves—why do we face these dangers hour by hour? 31Every day I die: I swear it by my pride in you, my brothers—for in Christ Jesus our Lord I am proud of you. 32 [ Is.22.13, Is.56.12. ] If, as the saying is, I 'fought wild beasts' at Ephesus, what have I gained by it? [Or: If, as men do, I had fought wild beasts at Ephesus, what good would it be to me? Or: If I had been in no better case than one fighting beasts in the arena at Ephesus, what good would it be to me?] If the dead are never raised to life, 'let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die'.

33Make no mistake: 'Bad company is the ruin of a good character.' 34Come back to a sober and upright life and leave your sinful ways. There are some who know nothing of God; to your shame I say it.

The Resurrection Body

35But, you may ask, how are the dead raised? In what kind of body? 36How foolish! The seed you sow does not come to life unless it has first died; 37and what you sow is not the body that shall be, but a naked grain, perhaps of wheat, or of some other kind; 38and God clothes it with the body of his choice, each seed with its own particular body. 39All flesh is not the same flesh: there is flesh of men, flesh of beasts, of birds, and of fishes—all different. 40There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; and the splendour of the heavenly bodies is one thing, the splendour of the earthly, another. 41The sun has a splendour of its own, the moon another splendour, and the stars another, for star differs from star in brightness. 42So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown in the earth as a perishable thing is raised imperishable. 43Sown in humiliation, it is raised in glory; sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44sown as an animal body, it is raised as a spiritual body.

If there is such a thing as an animal body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 [ Gn.1.7. ] It is in this sense that Scripture says, 'The first man, Adam, became an animate being', whereas the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. 46Observe, the spiritual does not come first; the animal body comes first, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was made 'of the dust of the earth': the second man is from heaven. 48The man made of dust is the pattern of all men of dust, and the heavenly man is the pattern of all the heavenly. 49As we have worn the likeness of the man made of dust, so we shall wear the likeness of the heavenly man.

50What I mean, my brothers, is this: flesh and blood can never possess the kingdom of God, and the perishable cannot possess immortality. 51Listen! I will unfold a mystery: we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet-call. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise immortal, and we shall be changed. 53This perishable being must be clothed with the imperishable, and what is mortal must be clothed with immortality. 54 [ Is.25.8. ] And when [Some witnesses insert: our perishable nature has been clothed with the imperishable, and ...] our mortality has been clothed with immortality, then the saying of Scripture will come true: 'Death is swallowed up; victory is won!' 55 [ Hs.13.14. ] 'O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?' 56The sting of death is sin, and sin gains its power from the law; 57but, God be praised, he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brothers, stand firm and immovable, and work for the Lord always, work without limit, since you know that in the Lord your labour cannot be lost.


Christian giving

  16.The Contribution for the Saints

1AND NOW ABOUT the collection in aid of God's people: you should follow my directions to our congregations in Galatia. 2Every Sunday each of you is to put aside and keep by him a sum in proportion to his gains, so that there may be no collecting when I come. 3When I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to persons approved by you, and send them to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it should seem worth while for me to go as well, they shall go with me.

Plans for Travel

5I shall come to Corinth after passing through Macedonia-for I am travelling by way of Macedonia— 6and I may stay with you, perhaps even for the whole winter, and then you can help me on my way wherever I go next. 7I do not want this to be a flying visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8But I shall remain at Ephesus until Whitsuntide, 9for a great opportunity has opened for effective work, and there is much opposition.

10If Timothy comes, see that you put him at his ease; for it is the Lord's work that he is engaged upon, as I am myself; so no one must slight him. 11Send him happily on his way to join me, since I am waiting for him with our friends. 12As for our friend Apollos, I urged him strongly to go to Corinth with the others, but he was quite determined not to go [Or: but it was by no means the will of God that he should go ...] at present; he will go when opportunity offers.

Final Request and Greetings

13Be alert; stand firm in the faith; be valiant and strong. 14Let all you do be done in love.

15I have a request to make of you, my brothers. You know that the Stephanas family were the first converts in Achaia, and have laid themselves out to serve God's people. 16I wish you to give their due position to such persons, and indeed to everyone who labours hard at our common task. 17It is a great pleasure to me that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have arrived, because they have done what you had no chance to do; 18they have relieved my mind—and no doubt yours too. Such men deserve recognition.

19Greetings from the congregations in Asia. Many greetings in the Lord from Aquila and Prisca and the congregation at their house. 20Greetings from all the brothers. Greet one another with the kiss of peace.

21This greeting is in my own hand—PAUL.

22If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be outcast.

Marana tha—Come, O Lord!

23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

24My love to you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.


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