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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, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.


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4. He puts the causes for praise and hope among them in the foreground, not to discourage them by the succeeding reproof, and in order to appeal to their better selves.

my God—(Ro 1:8; Php 1:3).

always—(Compare Php 1:4).

the grace … given you—(Compare 1Co 1:7).

by … Christ—literally, "IN Jesus Christ" given you as members in Christ.

5. utteranceAlford from Menochius translates, "doctrine." Ye are rich in preachers or the preaching of the word, and rich in knowledge or apprehension of it: literally "(the) word (preached)." English Version (as in 2Co 8:7) is better: for Paul, purposing presently to dwell on the abuse of the two gifts on which the Corinthians most prided themselves, utterance (speech) and knowledge (1Co 1:20; 3:18; 4:19; 1Co 13:1-14:40), previously gains their goodwill by congratulating them on having those gifts.

6. According as the testimony of (of, and concerning) Christ (who is both the object and author of this testimony [Bengel]; 1Co 2:1; 1Ti 2:6; 2Ti 1:8) was confirmed among [Alford] you; that is, by God, through my preaching and through the miracles accompanying it (1Co 12:3; Mr 16:20; 2Co 1:21, 22; Ga 3:2, 5; Eph 4:7, 8; Heb 2:4). God confirmed (compare Php 1:7; Heb 2:3), or gave effect to the Gospel among (or better as English Version, "in") the Corinthians by their accepting it and setting their seal to its truth, through the inward power of His Spirit, and the outward gifts and miracles accompanying it [Calvin].

7. ye come behind—are inferior to other Christians elsewhere [Grotius].

in no gift—not that all had all gifts, but different persons among them had different gifts (1Co 12:4, &c.).

waiting for … coming of … Christ—The crowning proof of their "coming behind in no gift." Faith, hope, and love, are all exercised herein (compare 2Ti 4:8; Tit 2:13). "Leaving to others their MEMENTO MORI (remember death), do thou earnestly cherish this joyous expectation of the Lord's coming" [Bengel]. The Greek verb implies, "to expect constantly, not only for a certain time, but even to the end till the expected event happens" (Ro 8:19, [Tittmann, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament]).

8. Who—God, 1Co 1:4 (not Jesus Christ, 1Co 1:7, in which case it would be "in His day").

unto the end—namely, "the coming of Christ."

blameless in the day of … Christ—(1Th 5:23). After that day there is no danger (Eph 4:30; Php 1:6). Now is our day to work, and the day of our enemies to try us: then will be the day of Christ, and of His glory in the saints [Bengel].

9. faithful—to His promises (Php 1:6; 1Th 5:24).

called—according to His purpose (Ro 8:28).

unto … fellowship of … Jesus—to be fellow heirs with Christ (Ro 8:17-28), like Him sons of God and heirs of glory (Ro 8:30; 2Th 2:14; 1Pe 5:10; 1Jo 1:3). Chrysostom remarks that the name of Christ is oftener mentioned in this than in any other Epistle, the apostle designing thereby to draw them away from their party admiration of particular teachers to Christ alone.

10. Now—Ye already have knowledge, utterance, and hope, maintain also love.

brethren—The very title is an argument for love.

by … Christ—whom Paul wishes to be all in all to the Corinthians, and therefore names Him so often in this chapter.

speak … same thing—not speaking different things as ye do (1Co 1:12), in a spirit of variance.

divisions—literally, "splits," "breaches."

but—"but rather."

perfectly joined together—the opposite word to "divisions." It is applied to healing a wound, or making whole a rent.

mind … judgment—the view taken by the understanding, and the practical decision arrived at [Conybeare and Howson], as to what is to be done. The mind, within, refers to things to be believed: the judgment is displayed outwardly in things to be done [Bengel]. Disposition—opinion [Alford].

11. (1Co 11:18).

by them … of … house of Chloe—They seem to have been alike in the confidence of Paul and of the Corinthians. The Corinthians "wrote" to the apostle (1Co 7:1), consulting him concerning certain points; marriage, the eating of things offered to idols, the decorum to be observed by women in religious assemblies. But they said not a syllable about the enormities and disorders that had crept in among them. That information reached Paul by other quarters. Hence his language about those evils is, "It hath been declared unto me," &c.; "It is reported commonly" (1Co 5:1, 2). All this he says before he refers to their letter, which shows that the latter did not give him any intimation of those evils. An undesigned proof of genuineness [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ]. Observe his prudence: He names the family, to let it be seen that he made his allegation not without authority: he does not name the individuals, not to excite odium against them. He tacitly implies that the information ought rather to have come to him directly from their presbyters, as they had consulted him about matters of less moment.

contentions—not so severe a word as "divisions," literally, "schisms" (1Co 1:10, Margin).

12. this I say—this is what I mean in saying "contentions" (1Co 1:11).

every one of you saith—Ye say severally, "glorying in men" (1Co 1:31; 1Co 3:21, 22), one, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos, &c. Not that they formed definite parties, but they individually betrayed the spirit of party in contentions under the name of different favorite teachers. Paul will not allow himself to be flattered even by those who made his name their party cry, so as to connive at the dishonor thereby done to Christ. These probably were converted under his ministry. Those alleging the name of Apollos, Paul's successor at Corinth (Ac 18:24, &c.), were persons attracted by his rhetorical style (probably acquired in Alexandria, 1Co 3:6), as contrasted with the "weak bodily presence" and "contemptible speech" of the apostle. Apollos, doubtless, did not willingly foster this spirit of undue preference (1Co 4:6, 8); nay, to discourage it, he would not repeat his visit just then (1Co 16:12).

I of Cephas—probably Judaizers, who sheltered themselves under the name of Peter, the apostle of the circumcision ("Cephas" is the Hebrew, "Peter" the Greek name; Joh 1:42; Ga 2:11, &c.): the subjects handled in the seventh through ninth chapters were probably suggested as matters of doubt by them. The church there began from the Jewish synagogue, Crispus the chief ruler, and Sosthenes his successor (probably), being converts. Hence some Jewish leaven, though not so much as elsewhere, is traceable (2Co 11:22). Petrism afterwards sprang up much more rankly at Rome. If it be wrong to boast "I am of Peter," how much more so to boast I am of the Pope!" [Bengel].

I of Christ—A fair pretext used to slight the ministry of Paul and their other teachers (1Co 4:8; 2Co 10:7-11).

13. Is Christ divided?—into various parts (one under one leader, another under another) [Alford]. The unity of His body is not to be cut in pieces, as if all did not belong to Him, the One Head.

was Paul crucified for you?—In the Greek the interrogation implies that a strong negative answer is expected: "Was it Paul (surely you will not say so) that was crucified for you?" In the former question the majesty of "Christ" (the Anointed One of God) implies the impossibility of His being "divided." in the latter, Paul's insignificance implies the impossibility of his being the head of redemption, "crucified for" them, and giving his name to the redeemed. This, which is true of Paul the founder of the Church of Corinth, holds equally good of Cephas and Apollos, who had not such a claim as Paul in the Corinthian Church.

crucified … baptized—The cross claims us for Christ, as redeemed by Him; baptism, as dedicated to Him.

in the name—rather, "into the name" (Ga 3:27), implying the incorporation involved in the idea of baptism.

14. I thank God's providence now, who so ordered it that I baptized none of you but Crispus (the former ruler of the synagogue, Ac 18:8) and Gaius (written by the Romans Caius, the host of Paul at Corinth, and of the church, Ro 16:23; a person therefore in good circumstances). Baptizing was the office of the deacons (Ac 10:48) rather than of the apostles, whose office was that of establishing and superintending generally the churches. The deacons had a better opportunity of giving the necessary course of instruction preparatory to baptism. Crispus and Gaius were probably among the first converts, and hence were baptized by Paul himself, who founded the church.

15. Lest—not that Paul had this reason at the time, but God so arranged it that none might say [Alford].

16. household of Stephanas—"The first-fruits of Achaia," that is, among the first converted there (1Co 16:15, 17). It is likely that such "households" included infants (Ac 16:33). The history of the Church favors this view, as infant baptism was the usage from the earliest ages.

17. Paul says this not to depreciate baptism; for he exalts it most highly (Ro 6:3). He baptized some first converts; and would have baptized more, but that his and the apostles' peculiar work was to preach the Gospel, to found by their autoptic testimony particular churches, and then to superintend the churches in general.

sent me—literally, "as an apostle."

not to baptize—even in Christ's name, much less in my own.

not with wisdom of words—or speech; philosophical reasoning set off with oratorical language and secular learning, which the Corinthians set so undue a value upon (1Co 1:5; 2:1, 4) in Apollos, and the want of which in Paul they were dissatisfied with (2Co 10:10).

cross of Christ—the sum and substance of the Gospel (1Co 1:23; 2:2), Christ crucified.

be made of none effect—literally, "be made void" (Ro 4:14); namely, by men thinking more of the human reasonings and eloquence in which the Gospel was set forth, than of the Gospel itself of Christ crucified, the sinner's only remedy, and God's highest exhibition of love.




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