What does 1 Corinthians 1:26 mean?
ESV: For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
NIV: Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
NASB: For consider your calling, brothers and sisters, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
CSB: Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth.
NLT: Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
KJV: For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
NKJV: For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has described why so many intelligent, well-educated, and thoughtful people reject the gospel message. Many bright and rational persons recoil at the suggestion that the Son of God was crucified on a Roman cross to pay the price for human sin. From their perspective, such a god would be foolish and weak. Anyone who believes this, by extension of their thinking, must also be foolish and weak.

Paul now asks the Corinthian Christians to think about everyone in their congregation. He wants them to evaluate those God called to believe in Jesus on a human scale. How do they stack up? His answer is not flattering to them. Few of them were wise by human standards. In other words, they didn't have may PhDs or academics or skilled speakers who could debate with eloquence.

In addition, few of the believers in Corinth had much power, in human terms. They did not command armies or run large corporations. They did not possess extraordinary wealth so that they could control the actions of many other people in service to themselves.

Finally, not many of the Corinthian believers were born into nobility. In the highly segregated social system of Paul's day, being born into the right family brought with it incredible privilege and status that was difficult to lose and impossible to earn. Those people didn't tend to come to Christ and join the Corinthian church.

Paul describes those who are in Christ in Corinth, and in most places, in the following verses. His emphasis here is not to denounce learning, since the Bible is full of exhortations towards wisdom and reason (Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 2:8). Rather, he is pointing out the enormous gap between merely understanding the gospel and accepting it (James 2:19).
Verse Context:
Coming Soon!
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 5:05:10 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.