"we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:24 All ESV

  1. Is Paul using "kletois/called" in the sense of "My sheep hear my voice," John 10:27? i.e. speaking to his own.

  2. Or, in the sense that it is used in, "For many are called, but few chosen." Matthew 22:14 ? i.e. not necessarily his own are spoken to.

  3. Has the meaning of "kletois" changed, e.g. from how Matthew used it to how Paul used it, in these passages?

3 Answers 3


How does the meaning of "called/kletos" in 1 Corinthians 1:24 compare with its meaning in Matthew 22:14?

The Greek word kletos (G2822) is defined as "called". Note the information in HELPS Word-studies:

Cognate: 2822 klētós – literally, "called" (derived from 2564/kaleō, "to call, summon"). See 2821 (klēsis).

In the NT, 2822 /klētós ("divinely called") focuses on God's general call – i.e. the call (invitation) He gives to all people, so all can receive His salvation. God desires every person to call out to Him and receive His salvation (1 Tim 2:4,5). "Unfortunately, many choose not to – but all can; all don't but all can call out to God for His mercy (not just 'some')" (G. Archer). See 2821 /klēsis ("calling").

This falls in line with what is mentioned in Matthew 22:14. Some Bible translations use the word "invited" (NIV, HCSB, CEV, GNT, GWT, ISV, NWT) which gives the sense of what HELPS is talking about, an invitation. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers also points this out:

(14) Many are called.—(See Note on Matthew 20:16.) The “calling” answers, both verbally and in substance, to the “bidding” or invitation of the parable.

In 1 Corinthians 1:24, Paul is talking about those that were "called" or "invited" but more specifically those that answered that 'call' or 'invitation'. Ellicott's Commentary again points this out:

(24) Them which are called.—St. Paul always speaks of all Christians as “the called,” not using that word in the narrower sense to which some modern religious sects have restricted it.

Again, Paul is not just referring to the 'invitation' itself but to those who answer "YES" to the RSVP.

Remember that Paul wrote this first letter to the Corinthians because there was a need to correct improper behavior. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) He would not have been writing to the entire city, for the entire populous had not accepted "The Way".


The word kletois seems to have a slightly different meaning in Matthew 22:14; compared to how that same word is used in 1 Corinthians 1:24.

Here's just a few thoughts concerning why the differences.

In Matthew Jesus is giving a parable that is directed toward the Pharisees when he uses the word at the very end that many are called but few are chosen. It's like He is saying I called you guys, I invited you guys but you chose not to come. Therefore I will choose some and they will come. It reminds me of the little flock that believed and they did hear his voice. I assume these are the Jewish believers that were chosen as stated in Romans 11:6:

So then also, in the present time, there has been a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, it is no longer from works; otherwise grace no longer would be grace.

I think this would include the apostles and all the Jewish believers who believed in Christ. They were chosen by God, He opened up their ears to hear his voice and indeed they came to him.

for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, Romans 9:11

klétos, The word called is used in 1 Corinthians 1:24 with a similar outcome:

but those called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

In the same way those who are called both Jews and Greek will come to Him.

It seems that when God calls people that he has chosen, they will come to him.

  • I have edited in some grammar changes. They are only suggestions for you to change if they do not suit you. +1 for 'election of grace'.
    – C. Stroud
    Dec 8, 2021 at 15:34
  • C. Stroud. I appreciate you editing the way you did. Thank you!
    – Sherrie
    Dec 8, 2021 at 17:16

The adjective κλητός (klétos) occurs just 11 times in the NT and always has the same meaning according to BDAG which is:

pertaining to being invited, called, to a meal (1 Kings 1:41, 49 (LXX), 3 Macc 5:14) in imagery of invitation to the kingdom of God Matt 22:14, 20:16 - Also without the figure consciously in the background called to God's kingdom called by God:Rom 1:7, 1 Cor 1:2; called by Jesus Christ Rom 1:6, 8:28, 1 Cor 1;24, Jude 1, Rev 17:14; Of calling to the office of apostle: Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1

Thus, the meaning of kletos is uniformly "a calling" either to God's kingdom or to a specific office of apostle, etc. This remained true in 1 Clement 1:1, etc.

This meaning of "called" formed the basis for another important word, "ekklesia" = the called out ones (often translated "church" in the NT). Thus, the Christian community consists of the called ones

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.