What does 1 Corinthians 1:1 mean?
ESV: Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
NIV: Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
NASB: Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
CSB: Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God's will, and Sosthenes our brother:
NLT: This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.
KJV: Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
NKJV: Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Verse Commentary:
Paul begins this letter to the church in Corinth in a way echoing most of his writing. He states right from the beginning that he is writing as a representative of Jesus Christ. He writes from his official office of apostle. That word, in the general sense, means one who is sent by another to fulfill a specific task or, especially, to deliver a specific message, on their behalf. In the New Testament, the word "apostle" most often refers to the specific role filled by the 12 disciples of Jesus and Paul, all sent by Jesus to carry the message of Christ's good news to the world. Paul did not choose this role for himself. He was chosen by the will of God (Acts 9:15).

Paul often mentions who is with him when he is writing. In this case, it is a fellow believer in Jesus named Sosthenes. It is possible, though not certain, this could be the same Sosthenes described in Acts 18:17. That Sosthenes was the ruler of the synagogue in Corinth who helped lead an effort to try to shut down Paul's preaching of the gospel by dragging him before the Roman leader in the city. Instead of arresting Paul, however, the Roman proconsul Gallio decided the dispute was none of Rome's business. In a shocking twist, Sosthenes was beaten by a mob in response.

If this is the same Sosthenes, Paul's readers in Corinth would know of his seemingly unlikely conversion from Judaism to Christianity, from someone who wanted to shut Paul down to someone who was now working together with Paul in his mission to spread the gospel of Jesus.

Scholars also suggest that this Sosthenes, whomever he may be, is also mentioned here because he was serving as Paul's stenographer for this letter, a position known as an amanuensis.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 1:1–3 follows Paul's normal pattern in the greeting for this letter to the Corinthians. He identifies himself and Sosthenes, who is with him in Ephesus. His recipient is God's church in Corinth. He describes his readers as those who are sanctified—set apart for a special purpose—in Christ Jesus. They are called to be saints with all Christians everywhere. Paul offers them grace and peace from God the Father and from Christ.
Chapter Summary:
Paul's letter to the Christians in Corinth begins with thanks for the great and powerful gifts God has given to them by His grace and through their faith in Christ. They will stand blameless before God in the end. Right now, though, they must stop dividing themselves according to which Christian teacher they follow and become unified in and around Christ. The gospel message of Christ's death on the cross is weak and foolish to the world, but God has given faith in Christ to those who believe it and find God's power and wisdom.
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 1 begins Paul's letter to the Christians in Corinth, a big, bustling city on a major trade route. Paul knows them well, having spent a year and a half leading people to Christ and establishing the church there. He writes from Ephesus to correct some of their wrong attitudes and behaviors and to answer some of their questions. First, though, he thanks God for His grace to the Corinthians, knowing they will stand blameless before Him on the day of the Lord. Still, they must stop being divided and unite in and around Christ.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/30/2024 5:09:52 AM
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