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4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,

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4. I give thanks to my God. Having in the salutation secured for himself authority from the station assigned him, he now endeavors to procure favor for his doctrine, by expressing his affection for them. In this way he soothes their minds beforehand, that they may listen patiently to his reproofs. 4545     The same view of Paul’s design here is given by Theodoret: “Μέλλων κατηγορεῖν προθεραπεύει την ἀκοὴν ὥστε δεκτὴν γενέσθαι τὴν ιατρείαν;” — “As he is about to censure them, he soothes beforehand the organ of hearing, that the remedy to be applied may be the more favorably received.” — Ed He persuades them of his affection for them by the following tokens — his discovering as much joy in the benefits bestowed upon them, as if they had been conferred upon himself; and his declaring that he entertains a favorable opinion of them, and has good hopes of them as to the future. Farther, he qualifies his congratulations in such a way as to give them no occasion to be puffed up, as he traces up to God all the benefits that they possessed, that the entire praise may redound to him, inasmuch as they are the fruits of his grace. It is as though he had said — “I congratulate you indeed, but it is in such a way as to ascribe the praise to God.” His meaning, when he calls God his God, I have explained in my Commentary upon the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 1:8.) As Paul was not prepared to flatter the Corinthians, so neither has he commended them on false grounds. For although all were not worthy of such commendations, and though they corrupted many excellent gifts of God by ambition, yet the gifts themselves it became him not to despise, because they were, in themselves, deserving of commendation. Farther, as the gifts of the Spirit are conferred for the edification of all, it is with good reason that he enumerates them as gifts common to the whole Church. 4646     “Que chacun ha en son endroit;” — “Which every one has severally.” But let us see what he commends in them.

For the grace, etc. This is a general term, for it comprehends blessings of every kind that they had obtained through means of the gospel. For the term grace denotes here not the favor of God, but by metonymy 4747     A figure of speech, by which one term is put for another — the cause for the effect, the effect for the cause, etc. — Ed. (μετωνυμικῶς), the gifts that he bestows upon men gratuitously. He immediately proceeds to specify particular instances, when he says that they are enriched in all things, and specifies what those all things are — the doctrine and word of God. For in these riches it becomes Christians to abound; and they ought also to be esteemed by us the more, and regarded by us as so much the more valuable, in proportion as they are ordinarily slighted. The phrase in ipso (in him) I have preferred to retain, rather than render it per ipsum (by him,) because it has in my opinion more expressiveness and force. For we are enriched in Christ, inasmuch as we are members of his body, and are engrafted into him: nay more, being made one with him, he makes us share with him in everything that he has received from the Father.