The coherence of 1 Cor. 1:10-4:21 is studied in three steps. With regard to the textual syntax it is shown that this passage consists of an introduction (1:10-17), followed by four separate sections elaborating first the theme of wisdom (1:18-2:5; 2:6-3:4) and next the division among the Corinthians (3:5-4:5; 4:6-21). At the semantic level it is argued that adherents of Apollos are Paul's main target and that in 1:18-19 he alludes to them. Further it is clarified that in rejecting σoϕiα λoγoυ he does not attack rhetoric as such, but human reasoning which they greatly admire. Finally a pragmatic analysis demonstrates that, following classical status theory, Paul defends himself in four steps against the depreciatory opinion adherents of Apollos harbor against him.