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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 1)

1:1 {Called to be an apostle} (\klētos apostolos\). Verbal
adjective \klētos\ from \kaleō\, without \einai\, to be.
Literally, {a called apostle} (Ro 1:1), not so-called, but one
whose apostleship is due not to himself or to men (Ga 1:1), but
to God, {through the will of God} (\dia thelēmatos tou theou\).
The intermediate (\dia, duo\, two) agent between Paul's not being
Christ's apostle and becoming one was God's will (\thelēma\,
something willed of God)
, God's command (1Ti 1:1). Paul knows
that he is not one of the twelve apostles, but he is on a par
with them because, like them, he is chosen by God. He is an
apostle of Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus (MSS. vary here, later
epistles usually Christ Jesus)
. The refusal of the Judaizers to
recognize Paul as equal to the twelve made him the more careful
to claim his position. Bengel sees here Paul's denial of mere
human authority in his position and also of personal merit:
_Namque mentione Dei excluditur auctoramentum humanum, mentione
Voluntatis Dei, meritum Pauli_. {Our brother} (\ho adelphos\).
Literally, the brother, but regular Greek idiom for our brother.
This Sosthenes, now with Paul in Ephesus, is probably the same
Sosthenes who received the beating meant for Paul in Corinth (Ac
. If so, the beating did him good for he is now a follower
of Christ. He is in no sense a co-author of the Epistle, but
merely associated with Paul because they knew him in Corinth. He
may have been compelled by the Jews to leave Corinth when he, a
ruler of the synagogue, became a Christian. See 1Th 1:1 for the
mention of Silas and Timothy in the salutation. Sosthenes could
have been Paul's amanuensis for this letter, but there is no
proof of it.

1:2 {The church of God} (\tēi ekklēsiāi tou theou\). Belonging to
God, not to any individual or faction, as this genitive case
shows. In 1Th 1:1 Paul wrote "the church of the Thessalonians
in God" (\en theōi\), but "the churches of God" in 1Th 2:14.
See same idiom in 1Co 10:32; 11:16,22; 15:9; 2Co 1:1; Ga 1:13,
etc. {Which is in Corinth} (\tēi ousēi en Korinthōi\). See on Ac
13:1 for idiom. It is God's church even in Corinth, "_laetum et
ingens paradoxon_" (Bengel). This city, destroyed by Mummius B.C.
146, had been restored by Julius Caesar a hundred years later,
B.C. 44, and now after another hundred years has become very rich
and very corrupt. The very word "to Corinthianize" meant to
practise vile immoralities in the worship of Aphrodite (Venus).
It was located on the narrow Isthmus of the Peloponnesus with two
harbours (Lechaeum and Cenchreae). It had schools of rhetoric and
philosophy and made a flashy imitation of the real culture of
Athens. See Ac 18 for the story of Paul's work here and now the
later developments and divisions in this church will give Paul
grave concern as is shown in detail in I and II Corinthians. All
the problems of a modern city church come to the front in
Corinth. They call for all the wisdom and statesmanship in Paul.
{That are sanctified} (\hēgiasmenois\). Perfect passive
participle of \hagiazō\, late form for \hagizō\, so far found
only in the Greek Bible and in ecclesiastical writers. It means
to make or to declare \hagion\ (from \hagos\, awe, reverence, and
this from \hazō\, to venerate)
. It is significant that Paul uses
this word concerning the {called saints} or {called to be saints}
(\klētois hagiois\) in Corinth. Cf. \klētos apostolos\ in 1:1.
It is because they are sanctified {in Christ Jesus} (\en Christōi
. He is the sphere in which this act of consecration takes
place. Note plural, construction according to sense, because
\ekklēsia\ is a collective substantive. {With all that call upon}
(\sun pāsin tois epikaloumenois\). Associative instrumental case
with \sun\ rather than \kai\ (and), making a close connection
with "saints" just before and so giving the Corinthian Christians
a picture of their close unity with the brotherhood everywhere
through the common bond of faith. This phrase occurs in the LXX
(Ge 12:8; Zec 13:9) and is applied to Christ as to Jehovah
(2Th 1:7,9,12; Php 2:9,10). Paul heard Stephen pray to Christ
as Lord (Ac 7:59). Here "with a plain and direct reference to
the Divinity of our Lord" (Ellicott). {Their Lord and ours}
(\autōn kai hēmōn\). This is the interpretation of the Greek
commentators and is the correct one, an afterthought and
expansion (\epanorthōsis\) of the previous "our," showing the
universality of Christ.

1:3 Identical language of 2Th 1:2 save absence of \hēmōn\
(our), Paul's usual greeting. See on ¯1Th 1:1.

1:4 {I thank my God} (\eucharistō tōi theōi\). Singular as in Ro
1:8; Php 1:3; Phm 1:4, but plural in 1Th 1:2; Col 1:3. The
grounds of Paul's thanksgivings in his Epistles are worthy of
study. Even in the church in Corinth he finds something to thank
God for, though in II Cor. there is no expression of thanksgiving
because of the acute crisis in Corinth nor is there any in
Galatians. But Paul is gracious here and allows his general
attitude (always, \pantote\) concerning (\peri\, around) the
Corinthians to override the specific causes of irritation. {For
the grace of God which was given to you in Christ Jesus}
tēi chariti tou theou tēi dotheisēi humin en Christōi Iēsou\)
Upon the basis of (\epi\) God's grace, not in general, but
specifically given (\dotheisēi\, first aorist passive participle
of \didōmi\)
, in the sphere of (\en\ as in verse 2) Christ

1:5 {That} (\hoti\). Explicit specification of this grace of God
given to the Corinthians. Paul points out in detail the unusual
spiritual gifts which were their glory and became their peril
(chapters 1Co 12-14). {Ye were enriched in him} (\eploutisthēte
en autōi\)
. First aorist passive indicative of \ploutizō\, old
causative verb from \ploutos\, wealth, common in Attic writers,
dropped out for centuries, reappeared in LXX. In N.T. only three
times and alone in Paul (1Co 1:5; 2Co 6:10,11). The Christian
finds his real riches in Christ, one of Paul's pregnant phrases
full of the truest mysticism. {In all utterance and all
(\en panti logōi kai pasēi gnōsei\). One detail in
explanation of the riches in Christ. The outward expression
(\logōi\) here is put before the inward knowledge (\gnōsei\)
which should precede all speech. But we get at one's knowledge by
means of his speech. Chapters 1Co 12-14 throw much light on
this element in the spiritual gifts of the Corinthians (the gift
of tongues, interpreting tongues, discernment)
as summed up in
1Co 13:1,2, the greater gifts of 12:31. It was a marvellously
endowed church in spite of their perversions.

1:6 {Even as} (\kathōs\). In proportion as (1Th 1:5) and so
inasmuch as (Php 1:7; Eph 1:4). {The testimony of Christ} (\to
marturion tou Christou\)
. Objective genitive, the testimony to or
concerning Christ, the witness of Paul's preaching. {Was
confirmed in you}
(\ebebaiōthē en humin\). First aorist passive
of \bebaioō\, old verb from \bebaios\ and that from \bainō\, to
make to stand, to make stable. These special gifts of the Holy
Spirit which they had so lavishly received (ch. 1Co 12) were
for that very purpose.

1:7 {So that ye come behind in no gift} (\hōste humas mē
hustereisthai en mēdeni charismati\)
. Consecutive clause with
\hōste\ and the infinitive and the double negative. Come behind
(\hustereisthai\) is to be late (\husteros\), old verb seen
already in Mr 10:21; Mt 19:20. It is a wonderful record here
recorded. But in 2Co 8:7-11; 9:1-7 Paul will have to complain
that they have not paid their pledges for the collection, pledges
made over a year before, a very modern complaint. {Waiting for
the revelation}
(\apekdechomenous tēn apokalupsin\). This double
compound is late and rare outside of Paul (1Co 1:7; Ga 5:5; Ro
8:19,23,25; Php 3:20)
, 1Pe 3:20; Heb 9:28. It is an eager
expectancy of the second coming of Christ here termed revelation
like the eagerness in \prosdechomenoi\ in Tit 2:13 for the same
event. "As if that attitude of expectation were the highest
posture that can be attained here by the Christian" (F.W.

1:8 {Shall confirm} (\bebaiōsei\). Direct reference to the same
word in verse 6. The relative \hos\ (who) points to Christ.
{Unto the end} (\heōs telous\). End of the age till Jesus comes,
final preservation of the saints. {That ye be unreproveable}
(\anegklētous\). Alpha privative and \egkaleō\, to accuse, old
verbal, only in Paul in N.T. Proleptic adjective in the predicate
accusative agreeing with \humas\ (you) without \hōste\ and the
infinitive as in 1Th 3:13; 5:23; Php 3:21. "Unimpeachable, for
none will have the right to impeach" (Robertson and Plummer) as
Paul shows in Ro 8:33; Col 1:22,28.

1:9 {God is faithful} (\pistos ho theos\). This is the ground of
Paul's confidence as he loves to say (1Th 5:24; 1Co 10:13; Ro
8:36; Php 1:16)
. God will do what he has promised. {Through
(\di' hou\). God is the agent (\di'\) of their call as in
Ro 11:36 and also the ground or reason for their call (\di'
in Heb 2:10. {Into the fellowship} (\eis koinōnian\). Old
word from \koinōnos\, partner for partnership, participation as
here and 2Co 13:13f.; Php 2:1; 3:10. Then it means fellowship
or intimacy as in Ac 2:42; Ga 2:9; 2Co 6:14; 1Jo 1:3,7. And
particularly as shown by contribution as in 2Co 8:4; 9:13; Php
1:5. It is high fellowship with Christ both here and hereafter.

1:10 {Now I beseech you} (\parakalō de humas\). Old and common
verb, over 100 times in N.T., to call to one's side. Corresponds
here to \eucharistō\, {I thank}, in verse 4. Direct appeal
after the thanksgiving. {Through the name} (\dia tou onomatos\).
Genitive, not accusative (cause or reason), as the medium or
instrument of the appeal (2Co 10:1; Ro 12:1; 15:30). {That}
(\hina\). Purport (sub-final) rather than direct purpose, common
idiom in _Koinē_ (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp.991-4) like Mt
14:36. Used here with \legēte, ēi, ēte katērtismenoi\, though
expressed only once. {All speak} (\legēte pantes\). Present
active subjunctive, that ye all keep on speaking. With the
divisions in mind. An idiom from Greek political life
(Lightfoot). This touch of the classical writers argues for
Paul's acquaintance with Greek culture. {There be no divisions
among you}
(\mē ēi en humin schismata\). Present subjunctive,
that divisions may not continue to be (they already had them).
Negative statement of preceding idea. \Schisma\ is from \schizō\,
old word to split or rend, and so means a rent (Mt 9:16; Mr
. Papyri use it for a splinter of wood and for ploughing.
Here we have the earliest instance of its use in a moral sense of
division, dissension, see also 1Co 11:18 where a less complete
change than \haireseis\; 12:25; Joh 7:43 (discord); 9:16;
10:19. "Here, faction, for which the classical word is \stasis\:
division within the Christian community" (Vincent). These
divisions were over the preachers (1:12-4:21), immorality
(5:1-13), going to law before the heathen (6:1-11), marriage
(7:1-40), meats offered to idols (1Co 8-10), conduct of women
in church (11:1-16), the Lord's Supper (11:17-34), spiritual
gifts (1Co 12-14), the resurrection (1Co 15). {But that ye be
perfected together}
(\ēte de katērtismenoi\). Periphrastic
perfect passive subjunctive. See this verb in Mt 4:21 (Mr
for mending torn nets and in moral sense already in 1Th
3:10. Galen uses it for a surgeon's mending a joint and
Herodotus for composing factions. See 2Co 13:11; Ga 6:1. {Mind}
(\noi\), {judgment} (\gnōmēi\). "Of these words \nous\ denotes
the frame or state of mind, \gnōmē\ the judgment, opinion or
sentiment, which is the outcome of \nous\" (Lightfoot).

1:11 {For it hath been signified unto me} (\edēlōthē gar moi\).
First aorist passive indicative of \dēloō\ and difficult to
render into English. Literally, It was signified to me. {By them
of Chloe}
(\hupo tōn Chloēs\). Ablative case of the masculine
plural article \tōn\, by the (folks) of Chloe (genitive case).
The words "which are of the household" are not in the Greek,
though they correctly interpret the Greek, "those of Chloe."
Whether the children, the kinspeople, or the servants of Chloe we
do not know. It is uncertain also whether Chloe lived in Corinth
or Ephesus, probably Ephesus because to name her if in Corinth
might get her into trouble (Heinrici). Already Christianity was
working a social revolution in the position of women and slaves.
The name {Chloe} means tender verdure and was one of the epithets
of Demeter the goddess of agriculture and for that reason
Lightfoot thinks that she was a member of the freedman class like
Phoebe (Ro 16:1), Hermes (Ro 16:14), Nereus (Ro 16:15). It
is even possible that Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus (1Co
may have been those who brought Chloe the news of the
schisms in Corinth. {Contentions} (\erides\). Unseemly wranglings
(as opposed to discussing, \dialegomai\) that were leading to the
{schisms}. Listed in works of the flesh (Ga 5:19f.) and the
catalogues of vices (2Co 12:20; Ro 1:19f.; 1Ti 6:4).

1:12 {Now this I mean} (\legō de touto\). Explanatory use of
\legō\. Each has his party leader. \Apollō\ is genitive of
\Apollōs\ (Ac 18:24), probably abbreviation of \Apollōnius\ as
seen in Codex Bezae for Ac 18:24. See on Acts for discussion of
this "eloquent Alexandrian" (Ellicott), whose philosophical and
oratorical preaching was in contrast "with the studied plainness"
of Paul (1Co 2:1; 2Co 10:10). People naturally have different
tastes about styles of preaching and that is well, but Apollos
refused to be a party to this strife and soon returned to Ephesus
and refused to go back to Corinth (1Co 16:12). \Cēphā\ is the
genitive of \Cēphās\, the Aramaic name given Simon by Jesus (Joh
, \Petros\ in Greek. Except in Ga 2:7,8 Paul calls him
Cephas. He had already taken his stand with Paul in the Jerusalem
Conference (Ac 15:7-11; Ga 2:7-10). Paul had to rebuke him at
Antioch for his timidity because of the Judaizers (Ga 2:11-14),
but, in spite of Baur's theory, there is no evidence of a schism
in doctrine between Paul and Peter. If 2Pe 3:15f. be accepted
as genuine, as I do, there is proof of cordial relations between
them and 1Co 9:5 points in the same direction. But there is no
evidence that Peter himself visited Corinth. Judaizers came and
pitted Peter against Paul to the Corinthian Church on the basis
of Paul's rebuke of Peter in Antioch. These Judaizers made bitter
personal attacks on Paul in return for their defeat at the
Jerusalem Conference. So a third faction was formed by the use of
Peter's name as the really orthodox wing of the church, the
gospel of the circumcision. {And I of Christ} (\egō de
. Still a fourth faction in recoil from the partisan
use of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, with "a spiritually proud
utterance" (Ellicott) that assumes a relation to Christ not true
of the others. "Those who used this cry arrogated the common
watchword as their _peculium_" (Findlay). This partisan use of
the name of Christ may have been made in the name of unity
against the other three factions, but it merely added another
party to those existing. In scouting the names of the other
leaders they lowered the name and rank of Christ to their level.

1:13 {Is Christ divided?} (\memeristai ho Christos;\). Perfect
passive indicative, Does Christ stand divided? It is not certain,
though probable, that this is interrogative like the following
clauses. Hofmann calls the assertory form a "rhetorical
impossibility." The absence of \mē\ here merely allows an
affirmative answer which is true. The fourth or Christ party
claimed to possess Christ in a sense not true of the others.
Perhaps the leaders of this Christ party with their arrogant
assumptions of superiority are the false apostles, ministers of
Satan posing as angels of light (2Co 11:12-15). {Was Paul
crucified for you?}
(\Mē Paulos estaurōthē huper humōn;\). An
indignant "No" is demanded by \mē\. Paul shows his tact by
employing himself as the illustration, rather than Apollos or
Cephas. Probably \huper\, over, in behalf of, rather than \peri\
(concerning, around) is genuine, though either makes good sense
here. In the _Koinē_ \huper\ encroaches on \peri\ as in 2Th
2:1. {Were ye baptized into the name of Paul?} (\eis to onoma
Paulou ebaptisthēte;\)
. It is unnecessary to say {into} for \eis\
rather than {in} since \eis\ is the same preposition originally
as \en\ and both are used with \baptizō\ as in Ac 8:16; 10:48
with no difference in idea (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 592). Paul
evidently knows the idea in Mt 28:19 and scouts the notion of
being put on a par with Christ or the Trinity. He is no rival of
Christ. This use of \onoma\ for the person is not only in the
LXX, but the papyri, ostraca, and inscriptions give numerous
examples of the name of the king or the god for the power and
authority of the king or god (Deissmann, _Bible Studies_, pp.
146ff., 196ff.; _Light from the Ancient East_, p. 121)

1:14 {I thank God} (\eucharistō tōi theōi\). See verse 4,
though uncertain if \tōi theōi\ is genuine here. {Save Crispus
and Gaius}
(\ei mē Krispon kai Gaion\). Crispus was the ruler of
the synagogue in Corinth before his conversion (Ac 18:8), a
Roman cognomen, and Gaius a Roman praenomen, probably the host of
Paul and of the whole church in Corinth (Ro 16:23), possibly
though not clearly the hospitable Gaius of 3Jo 1:5,6. The
prominence and importance of these two may explain why Paul
baptized them.

1:15 {Lest any man should say} (\hina mē tis eipēi\). Certainly
sub-final \hina\ again or contemplated result as in 7:29; Joh
9:2. Ellicott thinks that already some in Corinth were laying
emphasis on the person of the baptizer whether Peter or some one
else. It is to be recalled that Jesus himself baptized no one
(Joh 4:2) to avoid this very kind of controversy. And yet there
are those today who claim Paul as a sacramentalist, an impossible
claim in the light of his words here.

1:16 {Also the household of Stephanas} (\kai ton Stephanā
. Mentioned as an afterthought. Robertson and Plummer
suggest that Paul's amanuensis reminded him of this case. Paul
calls him a first-fruit of Achaia (1Co 16:15) and so earlier
than Crispus and he was one of the three who came to Paul from
Corinth (16:17), clearly a family that justified Paul's
personal attention about baptism. {Besides} (\loipon\).
Accusative of general reference, "as for anything else." Added to
make clear that he is not meaning to omit any one who deserves
mention. See also 1Th 4:1; 1Co 4:2; 2Co 13:11; 2Ti 4:8.
Ellicott insists on a sharp distinction from \to loipon\ "as for
the rest" (2Th 3:1; Php 3:1; 4:8; Eph 6:10). Paul casts no
reflection on baptism, for he could not with his conception of it
as the picture of the new life in Christ (Ro 6:2-6), but he
clearly denies here that he considers baptism essential to the
remission of sin or the means of obtaining forgiveness.

1:17 {For Christ sent me not to baptize} (\ou gar apesteilen me
Christos baptizein\)
. The negative \ou\ goes not with the
infinitive, but with \apesteilen\ (from \apostellō, apostolos\,
. {For Christ did not send me to be a baptizer} (present
active infinitive, linear action)
like John the Baptist. {But to
preach the gospel}
(\alla euaggelizesthai\). This is Paul's idea
of his mission from Christ, as Christ's apostle, to be {a
. This led, of course, to baptism, as a result, but
Paul usually had it done by others as Peter at Caesarea ordered
the baptism to be done, apparently by the six brethren with him
(Ac 10:48). Paul is fond of this late Greek verb from
\euaggelion\ and sometimes uses both verb and substantive as in
1Co 15:1 "the gospel which I gospelized unto you." {Not in
wisdom of words}
(\ouk en sophiāi logou\). Note \ou\, not \mē\
(the subjective negative), construed with \apesteilen\ rather
than the infinitive. Not in wisdom of speech (singular).
Preaching was Paul's forte, but it was not as a pretentious
philosopher or professional rhetorician that Paul appeared before
the Corinthians (1Co 2:1-5). Some who followed Apollos may have
been guilty of a fancy for external show, though Apollos was not
a mere performer and juggler with words. But the Alexandrian
method as in Philo did run to dialectic subtleties and luxuriant
rhetoric (Lightfoot). {Lest the cross of Christ should be made
(\hina mē kenōthēi ho stauros tou Christou\). Negative
purpose (\hina mē\) with first aorist passive subjunctive,
effective aorist, of \kenoō\, old verb from \kenos\, to make
empty. In Paul's preaching the Cross of Christ is the central
theme. Hence Paul did not fall into the snare of too much
emphasis on baptism nor into too little on the death of Christ.
"This expression shows clearly the stress which St. Paul laid on
the death of Christ, not merely as a great moral spectacle, and
so the crowning point of a life of self-renunciation, but as in
itself the ordained instrument of salvation" (Lightfoot).

1:18 {For the word of the cross} (\ho logos gar ho tou staurou\).
Literally, "for the preaching (with which I am concerned as the
opposite of {wisdom of word} in verse 17)
that (repeated
article \ho\, almost demonstrative)
of the cross." "Through this
incidental allusion to preaching St. Paul passes to a new
subject. The discussions in the Corinthian Church are for a time
forgotten, and he takes the opportunity of correcting his
converts for their undue exaltation of human eloquence and
wisdom" (Lightfoot). {To them that are perishing} (\tois men
. Dative of disadvantage (personal interest).
Present middle participle is here timeless, those in the path to
destruction (not annihilation. See 2Th 2:10). Cf. 2Co 4:3.
{Foolishness} (\mōria\). Folly. Old word from \mōros\, foolish.
In N.T. only in 1Co 1:18,21,23; 2:14; 3:19. {But unto us which
are being saved}
(\tois sōzomenois hēmin\). Sharp contrast to
those that are perishing and same construction with the articular
participle. No reason for the change of pronouns in English. This
present passive participle is again timeless. Salvation is
described by Paul as a thing done in the past, "we were saved"
(Ro 8:24), as a present state, "ye have been saved" (Ep 2:5),
as a process, "ye are being saved" (1Co 15:2), as a future
result, "thou shalt be saved" (Ro 10:9). {The power of God}
(\dunamis theou\). So in Ro 1:16. No other message has this
dynamite of God (1Co 4:20). God's power is shown in the
preaching of the Cross of Christ through all the ages, now as
always. No other preaching wins men and women from sin to
holiness or can save them. The judgment of Paul here is the
verdict of every soul winner through all time.

1:19 {I will destroy} (\apolō\). Future active indicative of
\apollumi\. Attic future for \apolesō\. Quotation from Isa
29:14 (LXX). The failure of worldly statesmanship in the
presence of Assyrian invasion Paul applies to his argument with
force. The wisdom of the wise is often folly, the understanding
of the understanding is often rejected. There is such a thing as
the ignorance of the learned, the wisdom of the simple-minded.
God's wisdom rises in the Cross sheer above human philosophizing
which is still scoffing at the Cross of Christ, the consummation
of God's power.

1:20 {Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the
disputer of this world?}
(\Pou sophos; pou grammateus; pou
sunzētētēs tou aiōnos toutou;\)
. Paul makes use of Isa 33:18
without exact quotation. The sudden retreat of Sennacherib with
the annihilation of his officers. "On the tablet of Shalmaneser
in the Assyrian Gallery of the British Museum there is a
surprisingly exact picture of the scene described by Isaiah"
(Robertson and Plummer). Note the absence of the Greek article in
each of these rhetorical questions though the idea is clearly
definite. Probably \sophos\ refers to the Greek philosopher,
\grammateus\ to the Jewish scribe and \sunzētētēs\ suits both the
Greek and the Jewish disputant and doubter (Ac 6:9; 9:29; 17:18;
. There is a note of triumph in these questions. The word
\sunzētētēs\ occurs here alone in the N.T. and elsewhere only in
Ignatius, Eph. 18 quoting this passage, but the papyri give the
verb \sunzēteō\ for disputing (questioning together). {Hath not
God made foolish?}
(\ouchi emōranen ho theos;\). Strong negative
form with aorist active indicative difficult of precise
translation, "Did not God make foolish?" The old verb \mōrainō\
from \mōros\, foolish, was to be foolish, to act foolish, then to
prove one foolish as here or to make foolish as in Ro 1:22. In
Mt 5:13; Lu 14:34 it is used of salt that is tasteless. {World}
(\kosmou\). Synonymous with \aiōn\ (age), orderly arrangement,
then the non-Christian cosmos.

1:21 {Seeing that} (\epeidē\). Since (\epei\ and \dē\) with
explanatory \gar\. {Through its wisdom} (\dia tēs sophias\).
Article here as possessive. The two wisdoms contrasted. {Knew not
(\ouk egnō\). Failed to know, second aorist (effective)
active indicative of \ginōskō\, solemn dirge of doom on both
Greek philosophy and Jewish theology that failed to know God. Has
modern philosophy done better? There is today even a godless
theology (Humanism). "Now that God's wisdom has reduced the
self-wise world to ignorance" (Findlay). {Through the foolishness
of the preaching}
(\dia tēs mōrias tou kērugmatos\). Perhaps
"proclamation" is the idea, for it is not \kēruxis\, the act of
heralding, but \kērugma\, the message heralded or the
proclamation as in verse 23. The metaphor is that of the herald
proclaiming the approach of the king (Mt 3:1; 4:17). See also
\kērugma\ in 1Co 2:4; 2Ti 4:17. The proclamation of the Cross
seemed foolishness to the wiseacres then (and now), but it is
consummate wisdom, God's wisdom and good-pleasure (\eudokēsan\).
The foolishness of preaching is not the preaching of foolishness.
{To save them that believe} (\sōsai tous pisteuontas\). This is
the heart of God's plan of redemption, the proclamation of
salvation for all those who trust Jesus Christ on the basis of
his death for sin on the Cross. The mystery-religions all offered
salvation by initiation and ritual as the Pharisees did by
ceremonialism. Christianity reaches the heart directly by trust
in Christ as the Saviour. It is God's wisdom.

1:22 {Seeing that} (\epeidē\). Resumes from verse 21. The
structure is not clear, but probably verses 23,24 form a sort
of conclusion or apodosis to verse 22 the protasis. The
resumptive, almost inferential, use of \de\ like \alla\ in the
apodosis is not unusual. {Ask for signs} (\sēmeia aitousin\). The
Jews often came to Jesus asking for signs (Mt 12:38; 16:1; Joh
. {Seek after wisdom} (\sophian zētousin\). "The Jews
claimed to _possess_ the truth: the Greeks were seekers,
_speculators_" (Vincent) as in Ac 17:23.

1:23 {But we preach Christ crucified} (\hēmeis de kērussomen
Christon estaurōmenon\)
. Grammatically stated as a partial result
(\de\) of the folly of both Jews and Greeks, actually in sharp
contrast. We proclaim, "we do not discuss or dispute"
(Lightfoot). Christ (Messiah) as crucified, as in 2:2; Ga 3:1,
"not a sign-shower nor a philosopher" (Vincent). Perfect passive
participle of \stauroō\. {Stumbling-block} (\skandalon\). Papyri
examples mean trap or snare which here tripped the Jews who
wanted a conquering Messiah with a world empire, not a condemned
and crucified one (Mt 27:42; Lu 24:21). {Foolishness}
(\mōrian\). Folly as shown by their conduct in Athens (Ac

1:24 {But to them that are called} (\autois de tois klētois\).
Dative case, to the called themselves. {Christ} (\Christon\).
Accusative case repeated, object of \kērussomen\, both {the power
of God}
(\theou dunamin\) and {the wisdom of God} (\theou
. No article, but made definite by the genitive. Christ
crucified is God's answer to both Jew and Greek and the answer is
understood by those with open minds.

1:25 {The foolishness of God} (\to mōron tou theou\). Abstract
neuter singular with the article, the foolish act of God (the
Cross as regarded by the world)
. {Wiser than men} (\sophōteron
tōn anthrōpōn\)
. Condensed comparison, wiser than the wisdom of
men. Common Greek idiom (Mt 5:20; Joh 5:36) and quite forcible,
brushes all men aside. {The weakness of God} (\to asthenes tou
. Same idiom here, {the weak act of God}, as men think,
{is stronger} (\ischuroteron\). The Cross seemed God's defeat. It
is conquering the world and is the mightiest force on earth.

1:26 {Behold} (\blepete\). Same form for imperative present
active plural and indicative. Either makes sense as in Joh 5:39
\eraunate\ and 14:1 \pisteuete\. {Calling} (\klēsin\). The act
of calling by God, based not on the external condition of those
called (\klētoi\, verse 2), but on God's sovereign love. It is
a clinching illustration of Paul's argument, an _argumentum ad
hominen_. {How that} (\hoti\). Explanatory apposition to
\klēsin\. {After the flesh} (\kata sarka\). According to the
standards of the flesh and to be used not only with \sophoi\
(wise, philosophers), but also \dunatoi\ (men of dignity and
, \eugeneis\ (noble, high birth), the three claims to
aristocracy (culture, power, birth). {Are called}. Not in the
Greek, but probably to be supplied from the idea in \klēsin\.

1:27 {God chose} (\exelexato ho theos\). First aorist middle of
\eklegō\, old verb to pick out, to choose, the middle for
oneself. It expands the idea in \klēsin\ (verse 26). Three
times this solemn verb occurs here with the purpose stated each
time. Twice the same purpose is expressed, {that he might put to
(\hina kataischunēi\, first aorist active subjunctive with
\hina\ of old verb \kataischunō\, perfective use of \kata\)
. The
purpose in the third example is {that he might bring to naught}
(\hina katargēsēi\, make idle, \argos\, rare in old Greek, but
frequent in Paul)
. The contrast is complete in each paradox: {the
foolish things}
(\ta mōra\), {the wild men} (\tous sophous\);
{the weak things} (\ta asthenē\), {the strong things} (\ta
; {the things that are not} (\ta mē onta\), {and that
are despised}
(\ta exouthenēmena\, considered nothing, perfect
passive participle of \exoutheneō\)
, {the things that are} (\ta
. It is a studied piece of rhetoric and powerfully put.

1:29 {That no flesh should glory before God} (\hopōs mē
kauchēsētai pāsa sarx enōpion tou theou\)
. This is the further
purpose expressed by \hopōs\ for variety and appeals to God's
ultimate choice in all three instances. The first aorist middle
of the old verb \kauchaomai\, to boast, brings out sharply that
not a single boast is to be made. The papyri give numerous
examples of \enōpion\ as a preposition in the vernacular, from
adjective \en-ōpios\, in the eye of God. One should turn to 2Co
4:7 for Paul's further statement about our having this treasure
in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God
and not of us.

1:30 {Of him} (\ex autou\). Out of God. He chose you. {In Christ
(\en Christōi Iēsou\). In the sphere of Christ Jesus the
choice was made. This is God's wisdom. {Who was made unto us
wisdom from God}
(\hos egenēthē sophia hēmin apo theou\). Note
\egenēthē\, became (first aorist passive and indicative), not
\ēn\, was, the Incarnation, Cross, and Resurrection. Christ is
the wisdom of God (Co 2:2f.) "both righteousness and
sanctification and redemption" (\dikaiosunē te kai hagiasmos kai
, as is made plain by the use of \te--kai--kai\. The
three words (\dikaiosunē, hagiasmos, apolutrōsis\) are thus shown
to be an epexegesis of \sophia\ (Lightfoot). All the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge in Christ Jesus. We are made righteous,
holy, and redeemed in Christ Jesus. Redemption comes here last
for emphasis though the foundation of the other two. In Ro 1:17
we see clearly Paul's idea of the God kind of righteousness
(\dikaiosunē\) in Christ. In Ro 3:24 we have Paul's conception
of redemption (\apolutrōsis\, setting free as a ransomed slave)
in Christ. In Ro 6:19 we have Paul's notion of holiness or
sanctification (\hagiasmos\) in Christ. These great theological
terms will call for full discussion in Romans, but they must not
be overlooked here. See also Ac 10:35; 24:25; 1Th 4:3-7; 1Co

1:31 {That} (\hina\). Probably ellipse (\genētai\ to be supplied)
as is common in Paul's Epistles (2Th 2:3; 2Co 8:13; Ga 1:20;
2:9; Ro 4:16; 13:1; 15:3)
. Some explain the imperative
\kauchasthō\ as an anacoluthon. The shortened quotation is from
Jer 9:24. Deissmann notes the importance of these closing
verses concerning the origin of Paul's congregations from the
lower classes in the large towns as "one of the most important
historical witnesses to Primitive Christianity" (_New Light on
the N.T._, p. 7; _Light from the Ancient East_, pp. 7, 14, 60,

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 1)