17. I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
17. Habeo igitur quod glorier per Iesum Christum in iis quae ad Deum pertinent.
18. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
18. Non enim ausim loqui quicquam de iis quae non effecit Christus per me, in obedientiam Gentium, sermone et opere;
19. Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
19. In potentia signorum et prodigiorum, in potentia Spiritus Dei, ut ab Ierusalem et in circuitu usque in Illyricum impleverim evangelium Christi:
20. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
20. Ira annitens praedicare evangelium, non ubi nominatus erat Christus, ne super alienum fundamentum aedificarem;
21. But, as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
21. Sed quemadmodum scripture est, Ii quibus non annuntiatum est de eo, videbunt, et qui non audierunt, intelligent.
And that he speaks only negatively, it is indeed an evidence of his modesty, but it availed also to gain credit to what he was proceeding to announce, as though he said, "The truth itself affords me such cause for glowing, that I have no need to seek false praises, or those of another, I am content with such as are true." It may be also that he intended to obviate the unfavorable reports which he knew were everywhere scattered by the malevolent, he therefore mentioned beforehand that he would not speak but of things well known.
He mentions word and work in the first place, and then he states one kind of work, even the power of performing miracles. The same order is observed by Luke, when he says that Christ was mighty in word and work, (Luke 24:19;) and John says that Christ referred the Jews to his own works for a testimony of his divinity. (John 5:36.) Nor does he simply mention miracles, but gives them two designations. But instead of what he says here,
This is a striking passage respecting the benefit of miracles: they are designed to prepare men to reverence and to obey God. So you read in Mark, that the Lord confirmed the truth by the signs which followed. (Mark 16:20.) Luke declares in the Acts, that the Lord by miracles gave testimony to the word of his grace. (Acts 14:3.) It is then evident that those miracles which bring glory to creatures and not to God, which secure credit to lies and not to God's word, are from the devil.
"Go ye, preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15.)
And this is what we ought carefully to notice, lest we make a general rule of what specially belongs to the Apostolic order: nor ought we to consider it a fault, that a successor was substituted who built up the Church. The Apostles then were the founders as it were of the Church; the pastors who succeeded them, had to strengthen and amplify the building' raised up by them. 3 He calls that
It is absurd for any one to attempt to apply what is here said to the pastoral office; for we know that in Churches rightly formed, where the truth of the gospel has been already received, Christ's name must be constantly preached. Paul then was a preacher of Christ, yet unknown to foreign nations, for this end, -- that after his departure the same doctrine should be daily proclaimed in every place by the mouth of the pastors; for it is certain that the Prophet speaks of the commencement of the kingdom of Christ.
1 Some, as Beza and Grotius, understand by the last clause, "through the power of the Spirit of God," the internal power of speaking with tongues, etc., and by "signs and wonders," the external work of healing the sick, etc. But this passage is evidently an instance of the Apostle's usual mode of stating things. "Word" means preaching; and "work," the doing of miracles. He first specifies the last, the work was that of "signs and wonders;" and then he mentions what belongs to the first, and shows how it became effectual, that is, through the power of the Spirit. See a similar arrangement in 1 Corinthians 6:11; where he mentions washed, sanctified and justified; and then he mentions first what belongs to the last, "in the name of the Lord Jesus," and afterwards what appertains to the first words, "and by the Spirit of our God." "Signs and wonders" are often mentioned together: they designate the same things by different names: miracles were called "signs," because they were evidences of divine power, and they were called "wonders," or prodigies, because they were not according to the course of nature, but were extraordinary things. By these words their design and character are set forth. -- Ed.
2 The clause is rendered by Beza and Grotius, "Impleverim praedicandi evangelii Christi munus -- I have fulfilled the office of preaching the gospel of Christ." The gospel is put for preaching the gospel. See Acts 12:25; Colossians 1:25. Vatablus renders the verb "plene annunciaverim -- I have fully announced;" and Mede, "propagaverim -- I have propagated." Some, as Wolfius and Vitringa, think the verb is used in a sense borrowed from Hebrew: the verb
3 The participle, "striving," rendered annitens by Calvin and by Erasmus, is
4 Isaiah 52:15. The quotation is literally from the Septuagint, and is nearly according to the Hebrew, only the tense is altered, it being the past in that language, as prophecies are often found to be, in order to show their certainty. The Hebrew is as follows, --
For what had not been told them, have they seen,
And what they had not heard, have they understood.
To render the last verb "consider," as in our version, is not proper; it means to distinguish between things, to discern, to understand. It bears strictly the same meaning with the Greek verb here used. -- Ed.