Some Conclusions Confirmed In Studying 1 Corinthians 1

1 Corinthians

I had come up with some conclusions in reading and studying the 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5 passage on my own, under the Holy Spirit of course (see the other blog if you want various boring details).

  1. The second half of verse 17 really goes with the rest of the chapter even though there is a paragraph break in most translations
  2. Verse 19 (For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” Isaiah 29:14) is nothing new and Paul is stating a timeless truth (not that other truths aren’t timeless)
  3. Verse 29 is the crux of the whole chapter
  4. This passage (1 Corinthians 1:17-31) is key to the whole book and to Paul’s rhetoric in delivery and content of the gospel message

Most of these things may seem obvious. After this I read Fee’s commentary on 1 Corinthians on this passage and he mentions the things noted above. I like his commentaries because he often answers questions I have and he doesn’t just exegete each verse or paragraph, he gets to what’s really important about a passage, how it fits with the rest of the chapter, book, writer etc. and why.

1. He says that it’s unfortunate that there is a paragraph break in most English translations between verse 17 and 18 because the “for” at the beginning of verse 18 ties it to verse 17 as an explanation of the final clause in that verse.

2. Fee says that the wisdom of the crucifixion is the fulfillment of the Isaiah passage.

3. He says, “With this clause Paul expresses the ultimate purpose of the divine folly: ‘so that no one may boast before him'”.


This paragraph [1 Corinthians 1:18-25] is crucial not only to the present argument (1:10-4:21) but to the entire letter as well. Indeed, it is one of the truly great moments in the apostle Paul. Here he argues, with OT support, that what God had always intended and had foretold in the prophets, he has now accomplished through the crucifixion: He has brought an end to human self-sufficiency as it is evidenced through human wisdom and devices.

I’ve also read Barrett and will be rereading Garland (on this passage) which I read a few months ago. I’m not implying that Fee is always right and if my assertions agree with him they are automatically correct. But Fee’s commentary seems to speak better for lack of a better term. I always seem to like his style. It’s gratifying to see some of the work on this may be going in the right direction.

In studying 1 Corinthians in our group study, I decided to concentrate on this passage and I can’t say how valuable it’s been.

More posts to come.

1 Response to “Some Conclusions Confirmed In Studying 1 Corinthians 1”

  1. 1 ElShaddai Edwards

    Thanks for posting this, Jeff. It’s been an encouragement to go back and look at this passage.

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