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Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
1Co 1:1-31. The Inscription; Thanksgiving for the Spiritual State of the Corinthian Church; Reproof of Party Divisions: His Own Method of Preaching Only Christ.
1. called to be—Found in some, not in others, of the oldest manuscripts Possibly inserted from Ro 1:1; 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 Ga 1:1), 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 (Jer 23:21); Paul if left to his own will would never have been an apostle (Ro 9:16).
Sosthenes—See my Introduction. 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 (Ac 18:17) 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].