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FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.

CHAPTER I.

will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother,

2 Unto the church of God

PAYTesas Christ them agn the which ito at Corinth," to them

AUL, called to be an

modest reference to his “heavenly callCHAPTER I.

ing,” the apostle admonished his breth

ren of their duty to give diligent heed 1. Paul. As in his epistle to the to his words. | And Sosthenes. This Church at Rome, the apostle here uses person is generally supposed to have his Gentile name, and for the same been the same who is mentioned, Acts reason. See note on Rom. i. l. Called xviii. 17, where he is represented as to be an apostle, or, a called apostle. engaged in an “insurrection against See note on Rom. i. l. T Through the Paul," and as involved in unpleasant will of God. Paul was not one of the consequences. If this be the same, he twelve original apostles of Jesus Christ. was subsequently converted, and beIndeed, he was an unbeliever and a per- came as prominent among the Chrissecutor, after our Lord's ascension into tians as he formerly had been among heaven. For this or for some other the Jews at Corinth, when he was “the reason, his apostolical authority was chief ruler of the synagogue.” His often questioned by false teachers. It name is joined with that of the apostlo was fitting, therefore, that he should in this salutation, perhaps because he refer to his divine commission at the was the amanuensis on this occasion. very commencement of an epistle de- See note on Rom. xvi. 22; or perhaps, signed, not only to announce the truth because the acknowledged conversion of the gospel, but to rebuke false teach- of one holding such a high official posiers and to counteract the unhappy con- tion among the Jews might be expected sequences of their labors. The manner to have a favorable influence upon the in which Paul was called to be an apos- Jewish converts at Corinth. It was tle is related in Acts ix: 1-9; xxii. not unusual for Paul thus to join with 1-16; xxvi. 9-18. Not only did himself some prominent brother in his he receive his commission “through salutations to the churches. See 2 Cor. the will of God,” or by divine author- i. l; Phil. i. 1; 1 Thess. i. 1. ity, but he also received his instruc- 2. Unto the church of God. The tions in like manner. Hence he says, church at Corinth was gathered under “ The gospel which was preached of me the personal exertions of Paul during is not after man: for I neither received his residence there for “a year and it of man, neither was I taught it, but six months.” See Acts xviii. 1-18. by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” | It was gathered chiefly from among the Gal. i. 11, 12. He was not like Matthi- Gentiles, the Jews having generally as, an apostle by election; but solely refused to hear the gospel. Its mem“through the will of God,” who had bers were formerly among the most prointerposed by miracle for his conver- fane of the Gentiles, their city being sion, and had communicated the truth pre-eminently conspicuous for wickedto him by direct revelation. By this ness. They had embraced the gos

that are sanctified in Christ Je- 3 Grace be unto you, and sus, called to be saints, with all peace, from God our Father and that in every place call upon the from the Lord Jesus Christ. name of Jesus Christ our Lord, 4 I thank my God always on both theirs and ours:

your behalf, for the grace of

pel, and acknowledged the Lord Jesus expected his epistle would be read by Christ: yet they were very far from others besides the Corinthians; and having attained perfection. Many of to all such he offers his Christian saltheir philosophical errors were not yet utation. His desire for the advanceeradicated, and many of their vicious ment of the gospel was not limited by practices were not yet reformed, as is geographical lines, nor was his Chrisevident from what follows in this epis- tian affection bounded by the extent tle. Nevertheless, with all their im- of a particular church or sect. To all perfections, both of faith and of con- who professed the name of Christ he duct, the apostle recognizes them as the extended a fraternal greeting, even as “church of God.” They had been he exhorted all men, everywhere, to called, according to the will of God, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that 2 Tim. i. 9; and the work of sanctifi- they might enter into life. T Call cation had been commenced in them. upon the name, &c. That is, who call Notwithstanding all their errors, they on Jesus Christ; who believe in him as cherished faith in God, and acknowl- a divinely-commissioned messenger, edged his son Jesus as the Christ: and and acknowledge him to be Lord, to notwithstanding their many imperfec- the glory of God the Father.

Phil. tions in morality, they were not entire- ii. 11. See note on Rom. x. 13. T Both ly destitute of a spirit of righteousness. theirs and ours. Jesus Christ is the Instead of repudiating them, and refus- equal Lord of all his disciples. To all, ing them fellowship, on account of their there is “one Lord, one faith, one bapshort-comings, the apostle acknowl- tism, one God and Father of all.” edged them as brethren, gave thanks to Eph. iv. 5, 6. With much propriGod for so much improvement as they ety the apostle announces this fact in had experienced, ver. 4-6, and ex- the outset, as he is about to rebuke horted them throughout the epistle to his brethren for their unchristian distrive for a more correct faith and a visions. He thus intimates the great more pure conduct, so that they might impropriety of party names, in honor enjoy a fulness of the divine gifts and of mere men; when the only proper be blameless in all things, ver. 7, 8. subjection of Christians is to one Lord T To them that are sanctified, or, made and master. Of what consequence is holy. Of course, we are not to under- it, whether the gospel be preached by stand that they had already attained Paul, or Apollos, or Peter? It should perfection in holiness; for this is be remembered that they are only not true of Christians generally, and ministers of the word; but that Jesus certainly not of the persons here ad- is “the author and finisher of faith,” dressed, as is manifest from the whole Heb. xii. 2, and the only Lord to whom scope of this epistle. But they were our allegiance is due, with the single separated from the heathen; they had exception of him by whom we were professed faith in Christ; they had re- placed under subjection to our Lord's nounced their former idolatrous opin authority, ch. xv. 27. ions and practices, they had made an 3. Grace be unto you, &c. See effort to break off their sins by right- notes on Rom. i. 7. eousness; their spirits had felt the in- 4. I thank my God, &c. See note fluence of the divine spirit, and the on Rom. i. 8. The apostle had occasion work of sanctification was in progress. to reprove his brethren for many faults T Called to be saints. See note on both in word and in deed; yet he recRom. i. 7. 9 With all that in every ognized some good in them, for which place, &c. It would seem that Paul he was thankful to God, and was will.

God which is given you by Je-l 5 That in every thing ye sus Christ;

are enriched by him, in all

ing to award them the meed of appro- and God shall be all in all, ch. xv. bation. He would not deny them the 28. Through him, spiritual gifts are Christian name, because their faith was communicated to men; and through not all points accurate; nor would him, it is meet that their gratitude he withhold Christian fellowship be- and thanksgivings should be rendered cause they were not entirely pure from to his God and theirs. See note on sin. On the contrary, he commended Rom. i. 8. them for what they had received or 5. That in every thing. Namely of attained, and then, by reproof and a spiritual character; for the apostle exhortation, stimulated them to strive is here speaking of the fruits of divine for more knowledge and greater pu- grace, ver. 4, which were bestowed on rity. T For the grace of God. Here, the Corinthians through Jesus Christ. « as everywhere in his epistles, Paul Two particular gifts are specified in ascribes to divine grace the salvation this verse, which are clearly of this of men from error and from sinfulness. character. The temporal blessings of The Corinthian brethren had turned life were enjoyed by believers in comfrom idols unto God, and had aban-mon with unbelievers, except so far as doned many of their sinful practices; they were prevented by persecution. and this saving change in them is at- But spiritual blessings were enjoyed tributed by the apostle to the grace of through faith; in these, unbelievers God. They had not converted them- had no present part or lot.

Ye are selves. They had not, by their own enriched by him. Not only were they strength, wrought out their salvation; partakers of the blessings, but they had but the grace of God had wrought received them in abundant measure. in them, both to will and to do, of his “ By the use of this word, the apostle good pleasure. Phil. ii. 12, 13. It intends doubtless to denote the fact is generally understood that the refer- that these blessings had been conferred ence here is particularly to the mir- on them abundantly; and also that this aculous gifts of the spirit; but it was a valuable endowment, so as to be may be doubted whether the meaning properly called a treasure. The mercies be not more general, including not only of God are not only conferred abunmiraculous gifts, but the ordinary in- dantly on his people, but they are a fluences and fruits of the spirit. See bestowment of inestimable value.” note on Rom. xii. 6. | By Jesus Christ. Barnes. The spiritual blessings here Or through Jesus Christ, the appointed indicated were valuable in a two-fold medium of communication between sense: they contributed to the spiritual God and man. The apostle recognizes growth and happiness of those upon God as the author and bestower of whom they were bestowed, and moreall blessings; yet they are bestowed over enabled them to communicate through his Son, whom he hath consti- happiness to others by bringing them tuted the head of every man, ch. xi. to a knowledge of the truth. T In all 3. All the present blessings of the gos- utterance. The apostle probably here pel are derived through the ministry refers not to the natural ability of of Jesus, who revealed it, and who his brethren to utter their thoughts in exemplified its nature in his conduct, appropriate language, but to the comand demonstrated the truth of its municated power of speaking in tongues, crowning promise, by his own resur- or using foreign languages, which rection and ascension. He is to re- they had never learned, but which main the minister of God unto men for were native to some of their hearers. good, until he shall have subdued all See ch. xiv. 1 And in all knowledge. hearts, and completed the work com- That is, of the truths of the gospel. mitted unto him. Then, and not The apostle does not here refer to what sooner, will he resign his dominion, is sometimes denominated human

utterance, and in all knowl- / of Christ was confirmed in edge;

you: 6 Éven as the testimony 7 So that ye come behind in

Even as.

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knowledge, or a knowledge of the lib- is called “the testimony of Christ,” beeral arts and sciences. Not many of cause it embraced an account of his docthe Corinthian brethren were educated trines, his labors, his sufferings, his men; not many of them were eminently death, resurrection, and ascension into skilled in polite literature. It was heaven. Such was the gospel which he not from the highly-polished class that was commanded to preach. Acts xxvi. the larger portion of early teachers 16–18; and such was the gospel which or disciples was taken. But the persons he did preach, Acts xxiii. 1-11; 1 Cor. here addressed had received a knowl- xv. 1-9. Was confirmed in you. Or, edge of the gospel, through the confirmed among you. Confirmed in preaching of Paul and his associ- your hearts, or established among you ates. They had believed the truths as a truth. The word here translated uttered, and although in many respects confirmed is used in a similar sense, their knowledge was deficient, which Mark xvi. 20: “the Lord — confirming deficiencies this epistle was partly de- the word with signs following." In like signed to supply, yet it was so far su- manner was the “testimony of Christ” perior to that which their unbelieving confirmed or established or demonstratfellow-citizens possessed, that they ed, among the Corinthian converts, by might well be said to be “enriched - signs and miraculous gifts, as well as by in all knowledge.”

the influence of the divine spirit in their. 6.

Macknight translates hearts. See 2 Cor. xii. 12, 13. One of when, connecting this verse with the these gifts, the ability to speak in forpreceding: “ye were enriched with eign tongues, is specified in the precedevery gift by him, even with all speech ing verse. The apostle believed, and and all knowledge, when the testimony his disciples believed, that divine of Christ was confirmed among you.” truth was demonstrated by miracles, This gives a good sense to the passage, and that miracles were à sufficient more natural, perhaps, than the com- demonstration of the truth: in other mon version. Yet it must be confessed words, that this kind of demonstration that the word used here, though of very was both proper and conclusive. His frequent occurrence in the New Testa- Lord and ours had before appealed ment, is nowhere else translated when, to the miraculous power of God exhibexcept in Acts vii. 17.

The more ited among men, as a sufficient proof of common opinion is, that this particle the truths which he taught. John x. connects the two verses thus: the mir- / 37, 38. See also Acts ii. 22. There are aculous gifts imparted to believers fur- those who reject the miracles, and yet nished a confirmation of the gospel, profess to believe the gospel. A firm and as those gifts remained, they con- belief in the miracles might add continued to afford confirmation, even as at firmation and stability to their faith. the beginning: or, these gifts remain 7. Ye come behind in no gift. Ye with believers confirming their faith, are not lacking in any gift. Equivaeven as their faith was first estab- lent to being enriched, as in ver. 5. lished by the bestowment of the gifts. The idea is, that they had shared T The testimony of Christ. That is, the abundantly in the gifts of the spirit; testimony concerning Christ. Prob- perhaps not exclusively miraculous ably none of the Corinthian brethren gifts, but with these also the “joy of had enjoyed the personal instructions the Holy Ghost,” which accompanied of Christ. But they had received the their belief, 1 Thess. i. 6, and all testimony concerning Christ from his the purifying and comforting influauthorized agents, and had been con- ences of the divine spirit, which were vinced of its truth. The gospel which shed abroad in their hearts. In comPaul had preached to the Corinthians | mon with other Christians, they had

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