1 Corinthians 1:17
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

King James Bible
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Darby Bible Translation
For Christ has not sent me to baptise, but to preach glad tidings; not in wisdom of word, that the cross of the Christ may not be made vain.

World English Bible
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News--not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ wouldn't be made void.

Young's Literal Translation
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but -- to proclaim good news; not in wisdom of discourse, that the cross of the Christ may not be made of none effect;

1 Corinthians 1:17 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For Christ sent me not to baptize - That is, not to baptize as my main business. Baptism was not his principal employment, though be had a commission in common with others to administer the ordinance, and occasionally did it. The same thing was true of the Saviour, that he did not personally baptize, John 4:2. It is probable that the business of baptism was entrusted to the ministers of the church of inferior talents, or to those who were connected with the churches permanently, and not to those who were engaged chiefly in traveling from place to place. The reasons of this may have been:

(1) That which Paul here suggests, that if the apostles had themselves baptized, it might have given occasion to strifes, and the formation of parties, as those who had been baptized by the apostles might claim some superiority over those who were not.

(2) it is probable that the rite of baptism was preceded or followed by a course of instruction adapted to it, and as the apostles were traveling from place to place, this could be better entrusted to those who were to be with them as their ordinary religious teachers. It was an advantage that those who imparted this instruction should also administer this ordinance.

(3) it is not improbable, as Doddridge supposes, that the administration of this ordinance was entrusted to inferiors, because it was commonly practiced by immersion, and was attended with some trouble and inconvenience, while the time of the apostles might be more directly occupied in their main work.

But to preach the gospel - As his main business; as the leading, grand purpose of his ministry. This is the grand object of all ministers. It is not to build up a sect or party; it is not to secure simply the baptism of people in this or that communion; it is to make known the glad tidings of salvation, and call people to repentance and to God.

Not with wisdom of words - (οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου ouk en sophia logou). Not in wisdom of speech, margin. The expression here is a Hebraism, or a form of speech common in the Hebrew writings, where a noun is used to express the meaning of an adjective, and means "not in wise words or discourse." The wisdom mentioned here, refers, doubtless, to that which was common among the Greeks, and which was so highly valued. It included the following things:

(1) Their subtle and learned mode of disputation, or that which was practiced in their schools of philosophy.

(2) a graceful and winning eloquence; the arts by which they sought to commend their sentiments, and to win others to their opinions. On this also the Greek rhetoricians greatly valued themselves, and this, probably, the false teachers endeavored to imitate.

(3) that which is elegant and finished in literature, in style and composition. On this the Greeks greatly valued themselves, as the Jews did on miracles and wonders; compare 1 Corinthians 1:22. The apostle means to say, that the success of the gospel did not depend on these things; that he had not sought them; nor had he exhibited them in his preaching. His doctrine and his manner had not been such as to appear wise to the Greeks; and he had not depended on eloquence or philosophy for his success. Longinus (on the Sublime) enumerates Paul among people distinguished for eloquence; but it is probable that he was not distinguished for the graces of manner (compare 2 Corinthians 10:1, 2 Corinthians 10:10), so much as the strength and power of his reasoning.

Paul here introduces a new subject of discourse, which he pursues through this and the two following chapters - the effect of philosophy on the gospel, or the estimate which ought to be formed in regard to it. The reasons why he introduces this topic, and dwells upon it at such a length, are not perfectly apparent. They are supposed to have been the following:

(1) He had incidentally mentioned his own preaching, and his having been set apart particularly to that; 1 Corinthians 1:17.

(2) his authority, it is probable, had been called in question by the false teachers at Corinth.

(3) the ground of this, or the reason why they undervalued him, had been probably, that he had not, evinced the eloquence of manner and the graces of oratory on which they so much valued themselves.

(4) they had depended for their success on captivating the Greeks by the charms of graceful rhetoric and the refinements of subtle argumentation.


1 Corinthians 1:17 Parallel Commentaries

Second Day. God's Provision for Holiness.
To those that are made holy in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.'--1 Cor. i. 2. 'To all the holy ones in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi. Salute every holy one in Christ Jesus.'[1]--Phil. i. 1, iv. 21. HOLY! IN CHRIST! In these two expressions we have perhaps the most wonderful words of all the Bible. HOLY! the word of unfathomable meaning, which the Seraphs utter with veiled faces. HOLY! the word in which all God's perfections centre, and of which His glory is but the streaming forth.
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

Corinthians. Calling on the Name
'All that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.'--1 COR. i. 2. There are some difficulties, with which I need not trouble you, about both the translation and the connection of these words. One thing is quite clear, that in them the Apostle associates the church at Corinth with the whole mass of Christian believers in the world. The question may arise whether he does so in the sense that he addresses his letter both to the church at Corinth and to the whole
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

With How Great Reverence Christ must be Received
The Voice of the Disciple These are Thy words, O Christ, Eternal Truth; though not uttered at one time nor written together in one place of Scripture. Because therefore they are Thy words and true, I must gratefully and faithfully receive them all. They are Thine, and Thou hast uttered them; and they are mine also, because Thou didst speak them for my salvation. Gladly I receive them from Thy mouth, that they may be more deeply implanted in my heart. Words of such great grace arouse me, for they
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
From these prerogatives there will arise to the elect in heaven, five notable effects:-- 1. They shall know God with a perfect knowledge (1 Cor. i. 10), so far as creatures can possibly comprehend the Creator. For there we shall see the Word, the Creator; and in the Word, all creatures that by the Word were created; so that we shall not need to learn (of the things which were made) the knowledge of him by whom all things were made. The most excellent creatures in this life, are but as a dark veil
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Cross References
John 4:1
Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John

John 4:2
(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),

Acts 10:48
And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

1 Corinthians 2:1
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.

1 Corinthians 2:4
and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1 Corinthians 2:13
which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

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