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1. Divisions in the Church
1Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2unto the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; 5that in everything ye were enriched in him, in all utterance and all knowledge; 6even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; 8who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye be unreproveable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 10Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you, save Crispus and Gaius; 15lest any man should say that ye were baptized into my name. 16And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void. 18For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought.
20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. 22Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: 23but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness; 24but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: 29that no flesh should glory before God. 30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
6. Even as the testimony, etc. Erasmus gives a different rendering, to this effect, “that by these things the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them;” that is, by knowledge and by the word. The words, however, convey another meaning, and if they are not wrested, the meaning is easy — that God has sealed the truth of his gospel among the Corinthians, for the purpose of confirming it. Now, this might be done in two ways, either by miracles, or by the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit. Chrysostom seems to understand it of miracles, but I take it in a larger sense; and, first of all, it is certain, that the gospel is properly confirmed in our experience by faith, because it is only when we receive it by faith that we “set to our seal that God is true” (John 3:33.) And though I admit that miracles ought to have weight for the confirmation of it, yet we must go higher in search of the origin, namely this, that the Spirit of God is the earnest and seal. Accordingly, I explain these words in this manner — that the Corinthians excelled in knowledge, inasmuch as God had from the beginning given efficacy to his gospel among them, and that not in one way merely, but had done so both by the internal influence of the Spirit, and by excellence and variety of gifts, by miracles, and by all other helps. He calls the gospel the testimony of Christ, or respecting Christ, because the entire sum of it tends to discover Christ to us,
“In whom all the treasures of knowledge are hid” (Colossians 2:3.)
If any one prefers to take it in an active sense, on the ground that Christ is the primary author of the gospel, so that the Apostles were nothing but secondary or inferior witnesses, I shall not much oppose it. I feel better satisfied, however, with the former exposition. It is true that a little afterwards (1 Corinthians 2:1) the testimony of God must, beyond all controversy, be taken in an active sense, as a passive signification would not be at all suitable. Here, however, the case is different, and, what is more, that passage strengthens my view, as he immediately subjoins what it is 4848 “Quel est ce tesmoignage;” — “What this testimony is.” — to know nothing but Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:2.)