All Are Called (1 Corinthians 1:1–3)
In the opening paragraph of 1 Corinthians, Paul lays out themes that he will address in more detail in the body of his letter. It is no coincidence that the concept of calling is front and center in the introduction. Paul states in the very first verse that he was “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (1:1). A strong conviction that he was called directly by God pervades Paul’s letters (see e.g. Gal. 1:1) and is fundamental to his mission (see Acts 9:14–15). It lent him remarkable fortitude in the face of enormous challenges. Likewise, the Corinthian believers are “called” along with “all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:2). We will soon see that the basis of our calling is not individual satisfaction but community development. Although Paul doesn’t develop this point until later in the letter (see 7:17-24), even at this juncture it is clear he thinks all believers are meant to pursue the calling designed for them by God.