THANKSGIVING FOR THE
STATE OF THE
1. called to be--Found in some, not in others, of the oldest
manuscripts Possibly inserted from
but as likely to be genuine. Translate, literally, "a called apostle"
[CONYBEARE and HOWSON].
through the will of God--not because of my own merit. Thus Paul's
call as "an apostle by the will of God," while constituting the ground
of the authority he claims in the Corinthian Church (compare
is a reason for humility on his own part
(1Co 15:8, 10)
[BENGEL]. In assuming the ministerial office a man
should see he does so not of his own impulse, but by the will of God
Paul if left to his own will would never have been an apostle
Associated by Paul with himself in the inscription, either in modesty,
Sosthenes being his inferior [CHRYSOSTOM], or in
order that the name of a "brother" of note in Corinth
might give weight to his Epistle and might show, in opposition to his
detractors that he was supported by leading brethren. Gallio had
driven the Jews who accused Paul from the judgment-seat. The Greek mob,
who disliked Jews, took the opportunity then of beating Sosthenes the
ruler of the Jewish synagogue, while Gallio looked on and refused to
interfere, being secretly pleased that the mob should second his own
contempt for the Jews. Paul probably at this time had showed sympathy
for an adversary in distress, which issued in the conversion of the
latter. So Crispus also, the previous chief ruler of the synagogue had
been converted. Saul the persecutor turned into Paul the apostle, and
Sosthenes the leader in persecution against that apostle, were two
trophies of divine grace that, side by side, would appeal with double
power to the Church at Corinth [BIRKS].
2. the church of God--He calls it so notwithstanding its many blots.
Fanatics and sectaries vainly think to anticipate the final sifting of
the wheat and tares
It is a dangerous temptation to think there is no church where there is
not apparent perfect purity. He who thinks so, must at last separate
from all others and think himself the only holy man in the world, or
establish a peculiar sect with a few hypocrites. It was enough for Paul
in recognizing the Corinthians as a church, that he saw among them
evangelical doctrine, baptism, and the Lord's Supper" [CALVIN]. It was the Church of God, not of this or of that
favorite leader [CHRYSOSTOM].
at Corinth--a church at dissolute Corinth--what a paradox of grace!
sanctified--consecrated, or set apart as holy to God in (by
union with) Christ Jesus. In the Greek there are no words "to
them that are"; translate simply, "men sanctified."
called to be saints--rather, "called saints"; saints by calling:
applied by Paul to all professing members of the Church. As
"sanctified in Christ" implies the fountain sources of holiness, the
believer's original sanctification in Christ
Heb 10:10, 14;
in the purposes of God's grace, so "called saints" refers to their
and the end of that call that they should be holy
with all that in every place call upon . . . Christ--The Epistle is
intended for these also, as well as for the Corinthians. The true
CHURCH (a term first used by IGNATIUS
[Epistle to the Smyræans, 8]): not consisting of those who call
themselves from Paul, Cephas, or any other eminent leader
but of all, wherever they be, who call on Jesus as their Saviour in
Still a general unity of discipline and doctrine in the several
churches is implied in
1Co 4:17; 7:17; 11-16; 14-33, 36.
The worship due to God is here attributed to Jesus (compare
both theirs and ours--"in every place which is their home
. . . and our home also"; this is added to include the
Christians throughout Achaia, not residing in Corinth, the capital
Paul feels the home of his converts to be also his own. Compare a
similar phrase in
[CONYBEARE and HOWSON].
"Ours" refers to Paul and Sosthenes, and the Corinthians' home [ALFORD]. BEZA better explains,
"Both their Lord and our Lord." All believers have one and the same
a virtual reproof of the divisions of the Corinthians, as if Christ
3. peace--peculiarly needed in the Corinthian church, on account
of its dissensions. On this verse see on
4. He puts the causes for praise and hope among them in the foreground,
not to discourage them by the succeeding reproof, and in order to appeal
to their better selves.
the grace . . . given you--(Compare
by . . . Christ--literally, "IN
Jesus Christ" given you as members in Christ.
5. utterance--ALFORD from MENOCHIUS translates, "doctrine." Ye are rich in
preachers or the preaching of the word, and rich in
knowledge or apprehension of it: literally "(the)
word (preached)." English Version (as in
is better: for Paul, purposing presently to dwell on the abuse
of the two gifts on which the Corinthians most prided themselves,
utterance (speech) and knowledge
(1Co 1:20; 3:18; 4:19;
previously gains their goodwill by congratulating them on having
6. According as the testimony of (of, and concerning) Christ
(who is both the object and author of this testimony
was confirmed among [ALFORD] you; that is,
by God, through my preaching and through the miracles accompanying it
2Co 1:21, 22;
Ga 3:2, 5;
Eph 4:7, 8;
God confirmed (compare
or gave effect to the Gospel among (or better as English
Version, "in") the Corinthians by their accepting it and
setting their seal to its truth, through the inward power of His
Spirit, and the outward gifts and miracles accompanying it [CALVIN].
7. ye come behind--are inferior to other Christians elsewhere
in no gift--not that all had all gifts, but different persons among
them had different gifts
waiting for . . . coming of . . . Christ--The crowning proof of
their "coming behind in no gift." Faith, hope, and love, are all
exercised herein (compare
"Leaving to others their MEMENTO MORI (remember
death), do thou earnestly cherish this joyous expectation of the Lord's
coming" [BENGEL]. The Greek verb implies,
"to expect constantly, not only for a certain time, but even to the end
till the expected event happens"
[TITTMANN, Greek Synonyms of the New
(not Jesus Christ,
in which case it would be "in His day").
unto the end--namely, "the coming of Christ."
blameless in the day of . . . Christ--
After that day there is no danger
Now is our day to work, and the day of our enemies to try us: then will
be the day of Christ, and of His glory in the saints [BENGEL].
9. faithful--to His promises
called--according to His purpose
unto . . . fellowship of . . . Jesus--to be fellow heirs with Christ
like Him sons of God and heirs of glory
CHRYSOSTOM remarks that the name of Christ is
oftener mentioned in this than in any other Epistle, the apostle
designing thereby to draw them away from their party admiration of
particular teachers to Christ alone.
10. Now--Ye already have knowledge, utterance, and hope, maintain also love.
brethren--The very title is an argument for love.
by . . . Christ--whom Paul wishes to be all in all to the Corinthians,
and therefore names Him so often in this chapter.
speak . . . same thing--not speaking different things
as ye do
in a spirit of variance.
divisions--literally, "splits," "breaches."
perfectly joined together--the opposite word to "divisions." It is
applied to healing a wound, or making whole a rent.
mind . . . judgment--the view taken by the understanding, and the
practical decision arrived at [CONYBEARE and
HOWSON], as to what is
to be done. The mind, within, refers to things to be believed: the
judgment is displayed outwardly in things to be done
by them . . . of . . . house of Chloe--They
seem to have been alike in the confidence of Paul and of the
Corinthians. The Corinthians "wrote" to the apostle
consulting him concerning certain points; marriage, the eating of
things offered to idols, the decorum to be observed by women in
religious assemblies. But they said not a syllable about the enormities
and disorders that had crept in among them. That information
reached Paul by other quarters. Hence his language about those evils
is, "It hath been declared unto me," &c.; "It is reported commonly"
(1Co 5:1, 2).
All this he says before he refers to their letter, which
shows that the latter did not give him any intimation of those evils.
An undesigned proof of genuineness [PALEY,
Horæ Paulinæ]. Observe his prudence: He names the
family, to let it be seen that he made his allegation not without
authority: he does not name the individuals, not to excite odium
against them. He tacitly implies that the information ought rather to
have come to him directly from their presbyters, as they had consulted
him about matters of less moment.
contentions--not so severe a word as "divisions," literally, "schisms"
12. this I say--this is what I mean in saying "contentions"
every one of you saith--Ye say severally, "glorying in men"
1Co 3:21, 22),
one, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos, &c. Not that they formed
definite parties, but they individually betrayed the
spirit of party in contentions under the name of different
favorite teachers. Paul will not allow himself to be flattered even by
those who made his name their party cry, so as to connive at the
dishonor thereby done to Christ. These probably were converted under
his ministry. Those alleging the name of Apollos, Paul's successor at
&c.), were persons attracted by his rhetorical style (probably acquired
as contrasted with the "weak bodily presence" and "contemptible speech"
of the apostle. Apollos, doubtless, did not willingly foster this
spirit of undue preference
(1Co 4:6, 8);
nay, to discourage it, he would not repeat his visit just then
I of Cephas--probably Judaizers, who sheltered themselves under the
name of Peter, the apostle of the circumcision ("Cephas" is the Hebrew, "Peter" the Greek name;
&c.): the subjects handled in the seventh through ninth chapters were
probably suggested as matters of doubt by them. The church there began
from the Jewish synagogue, Crispus the chief%%%%%