1 Corinthians 1:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 1:14, NIV: I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,

1 Corinthians 1:14, ESV: I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

1 Corinthians 1:14, KJV: I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

1 Corinthians 1:14, NASB: I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

1 Corinthians 1:14, NLT: I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,

1 Corinthians 1:14, CSB: I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

What does 1 Corinthians 1:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Paul expressed his dismay that the Corinthian Christians could divide themselves against each other based on which of the prominent Christian teachers they preferred. One group apparently declared their loyalty to him. To make the point that their focus should only be on Christ, Paul asked sarcastically if he had been crucified for them? Had they been baptized in his name (1 Corinthians 1:13)?

Paul clearly wants to eliminate himself from any position which only Christ should occupy in a believer's heart and mind.

Now Paul makes an aside about who he has baptized. Baptism was the standard practice of the early church that continues to this day. Jesus commanded it be done as He was leaving earth (Matthew 28:19). Believers are baptized to show publicly that they have identified themselves with Christ. Paul says he is grateful to God that he did not baptize very many of the Christians in Corinth. Paul always worked as part of a ministry team. His normal practice was to allow other disciples to perform baptisms. He remembers baptizing two men named Crispus and Gaius. He will recall one other household in the following verse.

He is glad, however, that he didn't personally baptize too many of them so that they would not be tempted to think that act conferred some special standing for them before God because Paul performed it. Baptism, as with every other meaningful act in Christianity, is about Christ.

This statement, as continued in the flowing verses, also helps us place baptism in the proper perspective. Paul puts great emphasis on his desire to see others saved (Romans 10:1), yet he explicitly says his mission is not to baptize (1 Corinthians 1:17). In other words, Paul himself establishes a clear difference between being saved by grace and being baptized; removing the possibility that baptism is a necessary part of salvation (Titus 3:5).