Paul opens the letter with a quick greeting. Hey there, Corinthians! What up?
He tells us that he's co-writing to the church along with a guy named Sosthenes, but it's also pretty clear that Paul's the main man here.
He has all the proper apostolic credentials, after all.
Paul starts in with some sweet talk. He is so super thankful for the Corinthians. Go, you guys!
Their words and actions are really making God happy. They've also got loads of spiritual gifts that they're really good at. Paul knows that God is gonna make things awesome for them. Sounds great!
The Not-So-Great Divide
Okay, but now it's time for the bad news. We knew that was gonna happen.
Paul has received some reports from Chloe and he is none too pleased. Darn you, Chloe.
Seems like there's been a lot of fighting going on in Corinth. Lots of divisions are popping up within the community.
Some Christians in Corinth are saying that they follow the teaching of Paul. Some people are claiming allegiance to Apollos. Others are saying Cephas is the man. Some people say they're just following plain ol' Jesus. It's becoming a problem.
What the heck guys? Paul is pretty annoyed. He wants to know if he was crucified for them or if they were baptized in Paul's name.
That answer is a big fat no.
Luckily, Paul didn't baptize that many people when he was last in Corinth, or he worries these jokers might start telling people that he did baptize them in his name.
Topsy Turvy God
Look, Christ didn't hand pick Paul to be his apostle just so he could baptize people or go around saying fancy things.
No siree. Paul is in charge of spreading the good news about Jesus to everyone. Namely, that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead.
Greek people (those who like Apollos) usually have a problem with that because they love wisdom and it doesn't seem very smart for God to let his only son die.
Jewish folks (who might be following Cephas) don't like it because they want all kinds of miracles from their messiah. Dying on a cross isn't very miraculous, apparently.
But God just doesn't roll that way. He does things (like allowing Jesus to die) that look stupid or weak or pathetic so he can turn the world on its head when everything comes out amazing in the end. In your face, world.
For Paul, that means no one can claim to be some wise, amazing, gorgeous, fantastic person. God hates that stuff.
The only time people are allowed to brag is when they're bragging about God. Nuff said.