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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 5

Verse 5. Who then is Paul, etc. See Barnes "1 Co 1:13".

Why should a party be formed which should be named after Paul? What has he done or taught that should lead to this? What eminence has he that should induce any to call themselves by his name? He is on a level with the other apostles; and all are but ministers, or servants, and have no claim to the honour of giving names to sects and parties. God is the fountain of all your blessings, and whoever may have been the instrument by whom you have believed, it is improper to regard them as in any sense the fountain of your blessings, or to arrange yourselves under their name.

But ministers. Our word minister, as now used, does not express the proper force of this word. We, in applying it to preachers of the gospel, do not usually advert to the original sense of the word, and the reasons why it was given to them. The original word diakonoi denotes, properly, servants, in contradistinction from masters, (Mt 20:26; 23:11; Mr 9:35; 10:43; ) and denotes those of course who are in an inferior rank of life. They had not command, or authority, but were subject to the command of others. It is applied to the preachers of the gospel, because they are employed in the service of God; because they go at his command, and are subject to his control and direction. They have not original authority, nor .are they the source of influence or power. The idea here is, that they were' the mere instruments or servants by whom God conveyed all blessings to the Corinthians; that they as ministers were on a level, were engaged in the same work, and that therefore it was improper for them to form parties that should be called by their names.

By whom. Through whom, di wn, by whose instrumentality. They were not the original source of faith, but were the mere servants of God in conveying to them the knowledge of that truth by which they were to be saved.

Even as the Lord gave to every man. God is the original Source of faith; and it is by his influence that any one is brought to believe. See Barnes "Ro 12:3,6".

There were diversities of gifts among the Corinthian Christians, as there are in all Christians. And it is here implied,

(1.) that all that any one had was to be traced to God as its Author;

(2.) that he is a Sovereign, and dispenses his favours to all as he pleases;

(3.) that since God had conferred those favours, it was improper for the Corinthians to divide themselves into sects, and call themselves by the name of their teachers, for all that they had was to be traced to God alone. This idea, that all the gifts and graces which Christians had were to be traced to God alone, was one which the apostle Paul often insisted on; and if this idea had been kept before the minds and hearts of all Christians, it would have prevented no small part of the contentions in the church, and the formation of no small part of the sects in the Christian world.

{d} "even as the Lord" Ro 12:3,6; 1 Pe 4:11.

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