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1 Corinthians 16:13-24

13. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

13. Vigilate, state in fide, viriliter agite, robusti estote.

14. Let all your things be done with charity.

14. Omnia vestra in caritate fiant.

15. I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

15. Hortor autem vos, fratres, nostis domum Stephanae, primitias esse Achaiae, atque ut se in ministerium sanctorum ordinaverint:

16. That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

16. Ut etiam subiecti sitis tallbus, et omnibus qui cooperantur et laborant.

17. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on our part they have supplied.

17. Gaudeo autem de praesentia Stephanie, et Fortunati, et Achaici: quia quod deerat a vobis, ipsi suppleverunt.

18. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

18. Refocillarunt enim spiritum meum et vestrum: agnoscite ergo tales.

19. The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

19. Salutant vos Ecclesiae Asiae: salutant vos multum in Domino Aquila et Priscilla cum domestica eorum Ecclesia.

20. All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.

20. Salutant vos fratres omnes: salutate vos invicem in osculo sancto.

21. The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

21. Salutatio mea manu Pauli.

22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

22. Si quis non amat Dominum Iesum Christum, sit anathema maranatha.

23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

23. Gratia Domini Iesu Christi sit vobiscum.

24. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

24. Dilectio mea cum vobis omnibus in Christo Iesu. Amen.

The first epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi by Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus, and Timotheus.

Ad Corinthios prior missa fuit e Philippis per Stephanam, et Fortunatum, et Andronicum, et Timotheum. 168168     It appears from Hug (in his treatise on the antiquity of the Vatican version) that the subscription to this epistle in that version is as follows — προς Κορινθιους ά ενραφη απο ΕφεσουThe first to the Corinthians was written from Ephesus. This, it will be observed, favors the view taken by Calvin of the statement made by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:8. — Ed.

 

13. Watch ye. A short exhortation, but of great weight. He exhorts them to watch, in order that Satan may not oppress them, finding them off their guard. For as the warfare is incessant, the watching requires to be incessant too. Now watchfulness of spirit is this — when, free and disentangled from earthly cares, we meditate on the things of God. For as the body is weighed down by surfeiting and drunkenness, (Luke 21:34,) so as to be fit for nothing, so the cares and lusts of the world, idleness or carelessness, are like a spiritual surfeiting that overpowers the mind. 169169     “Sont comme vne yurongnerie spirituelle, qui assopit et estourdit l’entendement;” — “Are like a spiritual drunkenness, which makes the mind drowsy and stupid.”

The second thing is that they persevere in the faith, or that they hold fast the faith, so as to stand firm; because that is the foundation on which we rest. It is certain, however, that he points out the means of perseverance — by resting upon God with a firm faith.

In the third exhortation, which is much of the same nature, he stirs them up to manly fortitude. And, as we are naturally weak, he exhorts them fourthly to strengthen themselves, or gather strength. For where we render it be strong, Paul makes use of only one word, which is equivalent to strengthen yourselves.

14. Let all your things be done in love Again he repeats what is the rule in all those transactions, in which we have dealings with one another. He wishes, then, that love shall be the directress; because the Corinthians erred chiefly in this respect — that every one looked to himself without caring for others.

15. Ye know the house of Stephanas We know, from daily experience, of what advantage it is, that those should have the highest authority, whom God has adorned with the most distinguished gifts. Accordingly, if we wish to secure the welfare of the Church, let us always take care that honor be conferred upon the good: let their counsels have the greatest weight; let others give way to them, and allow themselves to be governed by their prudence. This Paul does in this instance, when admonishing the Corinthians to show respect to the house of Stephanas. Some manuscripts add, and Fortunatus. 170170     The Alex. and Copt. MSS. readand Fortunatus. The Vulgate readsFortunatum et Achaicum; in accordance with which the rendering in Wiclif (1380) is, Ye knowen the hous of stephart and of fortunati, and acacie. The Rheims version (1582) reads — You know the house of Ste-phanas and of Fortunatus.Ed. For God manifests himself to us when he shows us the gifts of his Spirit. Hence, if we would not appear to be despisers of God, let us voluntarily submit ourselves to those, on whom God has conferred superior gifts.

Now, that they may be the more inclined to put honor upon that house, (for as to the other, it appears to me to be, in this place at least, a spurious addition,) he reminds them that they were the first-fruits of Achaia, that is, that the household of Stephanas were the first that had embraced the gospel. Not indeed as though the first in order of time were in every case superior to the others, but where there is perseverance along with this, it is with good reason, that honor is conferred upon those, who have in a manner paved the way for the gospel by promptitude of faith. It must be observed, however, that he dignifies with this honorable title those, who had consecrated to believers their services and resources. For the same reason, he bestows commendation a little afterwards upon Fortunatus and Achaicus, that, in proportion to a man’s superiority of excellence, 171171     “Selon que chacun estoit plus homme de bien et vertueux;” — “In proportion as an individual was an honorable and virtuous man.” he might be held so much the more in esteem, that he might be able to do the more good. Farther, in order that the Corinthians may be the more disposed to love them, he says, that what had been wanting on the part of their entire Church had been compensated for by their vicarious services.

19. With the Church that is in their house A magnificent eulogium, inasmuch as the name of the Church is applied to a single family! At the same time it is befitting, that all the families of the pious should be regulated in such a manner as to be so many little Churches. As to the term Congregation, which Erasmus has used in preference, it is foreign to Paul’s design; for it was not his intention to designate a crowd of persons by a mere common term, but to speak in honorable terms of the management of a Christian household. His saluting them in the name of Aquila and Priscilla, confirms what I have noticed above — that the Epistle was written at Ephesus, not at Philippi. For Luke informs us, that they remained at Ephesus, when Paul went elsewhere. (Acts 18:19.)

20. Salute one another with a holy kiss. The practice of kissing was very common among the Jews, as is manifest from the Scriptures. In Greece, though it was not so common and customary, it was by no means unknown; but the probability is, that Paul speaks here of a solemn kiss, with which they saluted each other in the sacred assembly. For I could easily believe, that from the times of the Apostles a kiss was used in connection with the administration of the Supper; 172172     “That the Apostle,” says Dr. Brown in his Commentary on 1st Peter, “meant the members of the Churches, on receiving this Epistle, to salute one another is certain; that he meant, that at all their religious meetings they should do so, is not improbable. That he meant to make this an everlasting ordinance in all Christian Churches, though it has sometimes been asserted, has never been proved, and is by no means likely. That the practice prevailed extensively, perhaps universally, in the earlier ages, is established on satisfactory evidence. ‘After the prayers,’ says Justin Martyr, who lived in the earlier part of the second century, giving an account in his Apology of the religious customs of the Christians — ’after the prayers, we embrace each other with a kiss.’ Tertullian speaks of it as an ordinary part of the religious services of the Lord’s day; and in the Apostolical Constitutions, as they are termed, the manner in which it was performed is particularly described. ‘Then let the men apart, and the women apart, salute each other with a kiss in the Lord.’ Origen’s Note on Romans 16:16, is: ‘From this passage the custom was delivered to the Churches, that, after prayer, the brethren should salute one another with a kiss.’ This token of love was generally given at the Holy Supper. It was likely, from the prevalence of this custom, that the calumny of Christians indulging in licentiousness at their religious meetings originated; and it is not improbable that, in order to remove everything like an occasion to calumniators, the practice which, though in itself innocent, had become not for the use of edifying, was discontinued.”Brown’s Expository Discourses on 1st Peter, volume in. pages 309, 310. “It is remarkable that, by the testimony of Suetonius, an edict was published by one of the Roman Emperors, for the abolition of this practice among his subjects, — perhaps in order to check abuses, for the prevention of which our Apostle enjoins that it shall be a holy salutation.”Chalmers on the Romans, volume in. page 428. — Ed. in place of which, among nations that were somewhat averse to the practice of kissing, there crept in the custom of kissing the patine. 173173     By the patine or paten, is meant the plate or salver on which the wafer or bread was placed in the observance of the mass. The term is made use of by Dr. Stillingfleet in his “Preservative from Popery,” (title 7, chapter 5,) in speaking of the practice of the Church of Rome in the adoration of the host: “The priest in every mass, as soon as he has consecrated the bread and wine, with bended knees, he adores the sacrament; that which he has consecrated, that very thing which is before him, upon the patine, and in the chalice; and gives the same worship and subjection, both of body and mind, to it as he could to God or Christ himself.” In Young’s Lectures on Popery, (Loud. 1836,) page 140, the following account is given of the sacrifice of the mass: “Upon the altar is the chalice, or cup, which is to contain the wine, mixed with a little water; and covering the cup is the paten, or plate, intended to hold the cake or wafer. After an almost endless variety of movements, and forms, and prayers, and readings, the priest goes to the altar, and, taking the cup containing wine and water, with the wafer upon the cover,these having been before consecrated and transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ, — he raises his eyes and says, ‘Take, O Holy Trinity, this oblation, which I, unworthy sinner, offer in honor of thee, of the blessed Virgin Mary, and of all the saints, for the salvation of the living, and for the rest and quiet of all the faithful that are dead.’ Then, setting down the chalice, he says, ‘Let this sacrifice be acceptable to Almighty God.’” The name paten is preserved in the English Liturgy to this day. In the prayer of consecration, in the communion service — in connection with the words, “who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread,” it is said, “here the priest is to take the paten into his hands.” Calvin, when commenting upon Romans 16:16, after having stated that it was customary among the primitive Christians, before partaking of the Lord’s Supper, to kiss each other in token of sacred friendship, and afterwards to give alms, says, Hinc fluxit ritus ille, qui hodie est apud Papistas, osculandoe patents, et conferendse oblationis. Quorum alterum merae est superstitionis, sine ullo fructu: alterum non alto facit, nisi ad explendam sacerdotum avari-tiam, si tamen expleri posset;From this has sprung that ceremony which is at this day among Papists, of kissing the patine, and making an offering. The former is mere superstition without any advantage: the latter serves no purpose, except to satisfy the greed of the priests, if satisfied it can be.” ­Poole, in his Annotations on Romans 16:16, says, “The primitive Christians did use it” (the holy kiss) “in their assemblies; so Tertullian testifieth, (Lib. Dec.,) and they did it especially in receiving the Eucharist. So Chrysostom witnesseth, (Hom. 77 in John 16,) ‘we do well,’ saith he, ‘to kiss in the mysteries, that we may become one.’ This custom for good reasons is laid down, and the Romanists in room of it, keep up a foolish and superstitious ceremony, which is to kiss the pax in the mass.” — Ed. However this may be, as it was a token of mutual love. I have no doubt, that Paul meant to exhort them to the cultivation of good-will among themselves — not merely in their minds 174174     “Par affection interieure;” — “By inward affection.” and in needful services, but also by that token, provided only it was holy, that is, neither unchaste nor deceitful, 175175     “Ou consistast en mine seulement;” — “Or consisted in mere appearance.” — though, at the same time, holy may be taken to mean sacred.

22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus The close of the Epistle consists of three parts. He entreats the grace of Christ in behalf of the Corinthians: he makes a declaration of his love towards them, and, with the severest threatening, he inveighs against those that falsely took upon themselves the Lord’s name, while not loving him from the heart. For he is not speaking of strangers, who avowedly hated the Christian name, but of pretenders and hypocrites, who troubled the Churches for the sake of their own belly, or from empty boasting. 176176     “Ne cherehans que le proufit de lents ventres, et leur propre gloire;” “Seeking only the profit of their bellies, and their own glory.” On such persons he denounces an anathema, and he also pronounces a curse upon them. It is not certain, however, whether he desires their destruction in the presence of God, or whether he wishes to render them odious — nay, even execrable, in the view of believers. Thus in Galatians 1:8, when pronouncing one who corrupts the Gospel to be accursed, 177177     Calvin, when commenting on Galatians 1:8, remarks that the original term there employed, anathema, denotes cursing, and answers to the Hebrew word חרם; and he explains the expression — “let him be accursed,” as meaning, “Let him be held by you as accursed.” he does not mean that he was rejected or condemned by God, but he declares that he is to be abhorred by us. I expound it in a simple way as follows: “Let them perish and be cut off, as being the pests of the Church.” And truly, there is nothing that is more pernicious, than that class of persons, who prostitute a profession of piety to their own depraved affections. Now he points out the origin of this evil, when he says, that they do not love Christ, for a sincere and earnest love to Christ will not suffer us to give occasion of offense to brethren. 178178     “Car si nous aimons Christ purement, et a bon escient, ce nous sera vne bride qui nons retiendra de donner scandale a nos fieres;For if we love Christ sincerely and in good earnest, this will be a bridle to restrain us from giving offense to our brethren.”

What he immediately addsMaranatha, is somewhat more difficult. Almost all of the ancients are agreed, that they are Syriac terms. 179179     Que ce sont mots empruntez de la langue Syrienne;” — “That they are words borrowed from the Syriac language.” Jerome, however, explains it: The Lord cometh; while others render it, At the coming of the Lord, or, Until the Lord comes. Every one, however, I think, must see how silly and puerile is the idea, that the Apostle spoke to Greeks in the Syriac tongue, when meaning to say — The Lord has come. Those who translate it, at the coming of the Lord, do so on mere conjecture; and besides, there is not much plausibility in that interpretation. How much more likely it is, that this was a customary form of expression among the Hebrews, when they wished to excommunicate any one. For the Apostles never speak in foreign tongues, except when they repeat anything in the person of another, as for example, Eli, Eli, lammah sabathani, (Matthew 27:46,) Talitha cumi, (Mark 5:41,) and Ephphata, (Mark 7:34,) or when they make use of a word that has come into common use, as AmenHosanna. Let us see, then, whether Maranatha suits with excommunication. Now Bullinger, 180180     Beza, in his poems, has recorded the following tribute to the memory of this distinguished man —
   “Henrici Bullingeri, Ecclesiastae Tigurini, spectatisa, doctrine, pictaris, et eximii candoris viri, memoriae;” — (To the memory of HENRY Bullinger, ecclesiastick of Tigurum, a man most distinguished for learning and piety, and extraordinary candour.)

   “Doctrina si interire, si Pietas mori,
Occidere si Candor potest:
Doctrina, Pietas, Candor, hoc tumulo iacent,
Henrice, tecum condita.
Mori sed absit ilia posse dixerim;
Quae viuere jubent mortnos,
Immo interire forsan ilia si queant
Subireque tumuli specum,
Tu tu, illa doctis, tu piis, tu candidis,
Et non mori certissimis,
Edaci ab ipsa morte chartis asseras,
Ipso approbante Numine.
Foedus beatum! mortuum ilia to excitant,
Et tu mori ilia non sinis:
At hunc, amici, cur fleamus mortuum,
Qui viuat aliis et sibi
?”

   “If Learning could expire, if Piety could die,
If Candour could sink down,
Learning, Piety, Candour, are laid in this mound,
O Henry, buried along with thee!
But forbid that I should say that those things could die,
Which command the dead to live.
Nay, if they could possibly expire,
And be entombed,
Thou, by thy writings learned, pious, candid,
And perfectly secured against death,
Wouldst shield them from devouring death,
The Deity himself approving.
Blessed agreement! They raise thee up from death,
And thou dost not suffer them to die!
But, my friends, why should we weep for him, as dead,
Who lives to others and himself?”

   Beza’s “Poemata Varia,” Ed.
on the authority of Theodore Bibliander, has affirmed, that, in the Chaldee dialect, Maharamata has the same meaning as the Hebrew term חרם, cherem, (accursed,) 181181     Thus in 1 Kings 20:42, we have the expression, איש-חרמי, (ish cheremi,) the man of my curse, or the man whom I anathematize. See also Isaiah 34:5; Zechariah 14:11. — Ed. and I was myself at one time assured of the same thing by Wolfgang Capito, 182182     Calvin, when commenting on Philippians 3:5, having occasion to speak of the etymology of the term Pharisees, says that he considered it to be derived — not as was commonly supposed, from a word signifying to separate — -but from a term denoting interpretation, this having been the view given of it by Capitosanctae memoriae viro,” — “a man of sacred memory.” It is stated by Beza in his life of Calvin, that when at Basle, Calvin lived on intimate terms with those two distinguished men, Simon Grynaeus and Wolfgang Capito, and devoted himself to the study of Hebrew. — Calvin’s Tracts, volume 1. — Ed. a man of blessed memory It is nothing unusual, however, for the Apostles to write such terms differently from the way in which they are pronounced in the language from which they are derived; as may be seen even from the instances brought forward above. Paul, then, after pronouncing an anathema on those who do not love Christ, 183183    Ayant excommunie, et declare execrables ceux-la qui n’aiment point Iesus Christ;” — “Having excommunicated, and pronounced execrable those who do not love Jesus Christ.” deeply affected with the seriousness of the matter, as if he reckoned that he had not said enough, added a term that was in common use among the Jews, and which they made use of in pronouncing a sentence of anathema — just as if, speaking in Latin, I should say, “I excommunicate thee,” but if I add — “and pronounce thee an anathema,” this would be an expression of more intense feeling. 184184     “Μαρὰν ἀθὰ (Maran atha) is a Syro-Chaldee expression, signifying ‘the Lord is to come,’ i.e., will come, to take vengeance on the disobedient and vicious. Hence with the words Anathema Maranatha the Jews began their papers of excommunication.”Bloomfield.

END OF THE COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST EPISTLE.


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