Jan. 26 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

1 Cor 1:10-18

On the left is the SBL text (pretty close to the best Greek texts).  On the right is my translation–as literal as possible while maintaining at least roughly comprehensible English. (Words I’ve added that I think are implied in the text, but not actually present, are enclosed in [brackets].)  I’ve also added footnotes to the Greek text in places where I’ve offered brief comments.  The goal here is not to offer a complete commentary on the text, but simply to highlight some issues where looking at the original language may help to illumine what is going on overall here.  One of my purposes for this whole approach is to encourage those who are preaching and teaching the lectionary text to explore the original languages, and to give them a head start on what they might discover.

1Co 1:10               Παρακαλῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ λέγητε[A] πάντες, καὶ μὴ ᾖ ἐν ὑμῖν σχίσματα, ἦτε δὲ κατηρτισμένοι[B] ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ[C] νοῒ καὶ ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ γνώμῃ[D]. I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all say the same thing, and that there not be divisions among you, but that you may be formed in the same mind and in the same intention.
1Co 1:11               ἐδηλώθη γάρ μοι περὶ ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοί μου, ὑπὸ τῶν Χλόης ὅτι ἔριδες[E] ἐν ὑμῖν εἰσιν. For it was revealed to me concerning you, my brothers, by those of Chloe, that there are quarrels among you.
1Co 1:12               λέγω δὲ τοῦτο ὅτι ἕκαστος ὑμῶν λέγει· Ἐγὼ μέν εἰμι Παύλου[F], Ἐγὼ δὲ Ἀπολλῶ, Ἐγὼ δὲ Κηφᾶ, Ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ. I say this because each of you says, “I am of Paul,” and “I am of Apollos,” and “I am of Cepthas,” and “I am of Christ.”
1Co 1:13               μεμέρισται ὁ Χριστός; μὴ[G] Παῦλος ἐσταυρώθη ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἢ εἰς τὸ ὄνομα [H]Παύλου ἐβαπτίσθητε; Has Christ become divided?  Paul was not crucified on your behalf, was he?  Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?
1Co 1:14               εὐχαριστῶ ὅτι οὐδένα ὑμῶν ἐβάπτισα εἰ μὴ Κρίσπον καὶ Γάϊον, I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Krispus and Gaius,
1Co 1:15               ἵνα μή[I] τις εἴπῃ ὅτι εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα ἐβαπτίσθητε· lest any [of you] should say that you were baptized into my name.
1Co 1:16               ἐβάπτισα δὲ καὶ τὸν Στεφανᾶ οἶκον· λοιπὸν[J] οὐκ οἶδα εἴ τινα ἄλλον ἐβάπτισα. I did also baptize the household of Stephen. Beyond that, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else.
1Co 1:17               οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλέν με Χριστὸς βαπτίζειν ἀλλὰ εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου, ἵνα μὴ κενωθῇ[K] ὁ σταυρὸς τοῦ Χριστοῦ. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim the good news—not in the wisdom of speech, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied.
1Co 1:18               Ὁ λόγος[L] γὰρ ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῖς μὲν ἀπολλυμένοις μωρία[M] ἐστίν, τοῖς δὲ σῳζομένοις ἡμῖν δύναμις[N] θεοῦ ἐστιν. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.

[A] The NRSV translates this phrase as “that you all be in agreement,” but this loses some of the tangible quality of Paul’s rhetoric.  The issue is not only what people think, but how they speak, and whether that speech reveals conflict and disagreement.

[B] The passive voice suggests “that you allow yourself to be formed by Christ . . . .”

[C] Remember that αυτος in the attributive position (i.e., between the definite article and the noun it modifies) means “same.”

[D] The root meaning of this word is “opinion,” but it can also carry the connotation of intention or purpose, which seems more fitting here.

[E] There is a nuance of rivalry (in addition to mere conflict) here that should not be overlooked.

[F] The genitives here might convey possession (I belong to Paul, etc.), or origin (I come from Paul’s place/perspective).

[G] This form of the negative means that the expected answer is “no.”  That’s why I translated, “Paul was not . . . was he?”

[H] Cf. other places where the same formula “baptized into the name of” appears:  the Great Commission in Matt 28:19, Acts 2:38; 8:16; 19:5.

[I] This combo often translated “lest,” though the rendering is not exactly contemporary English—there isn’t a better equivalent that I know of.

[J] An accusative of respect:  “with respect to the rest . . .”

[K] Interesting uses of this verb elsewhere in Paul: Rom. 4:14, 1 Co. 9:15, 2 Co. 9:3, Phil. 2:7

[L] Could be “word,” “message” or “meaning.”

[M] The word is found only in 1 Cor, in the entire New Testament!  A key issue for Paul here.

[N] Given the use of μωρια earlier in the verse, we might expect “wisdom” here, but we get “power” instead.  I suspect that this is part of Paul’s attempt to reframe the conflict in Corinth.