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Salutation

 1

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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.


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1Co 1:1-31. The Inscription; Thanksgiving for the Spiritual State of the Corinthian Church; Reproof of Party Divisions: His Own Method of Preaching Only Christ.

1. called to be—Found in some, not in others, of the oldest manuscripts Possibly inserted from Ro 1:1; but as likely to be genuine. Translate, literally, "a called apostle" [Conybeare and Howson].

through the will of God—not because of my own merit. Thus Paul's call as "an apostle by the will of God," while constituting the ground of the authority he claims in the Corinthian Church (compare Ga 1:1), is a reason for humility on his own part (1Co 15:8, 10) [Bengel]. In assuming the ministerial office a man should see he does so not of his own impulse, but by the will of God (Jer 23:21); Paul if left to his own will would never have been an apostle (Ro 9:16).

Sosthenes—See my Introduction. Associated by Paul with himself in the inscription, either in modesty, Sosthenes being his inferior [Chrysostom], or in order that the name of a "brother" of note in Corinth (Ac 18:17) might give weight to his Epistle and might show, in opposition to his detractors that he was supported by leading brethren. Gallio had driven the Jews who accused Paul from the judgment-seat. The Greek mob, who disliked Jews, took the opportunity then of beating Sosthenes the ruler of the Jewish synagogue, while Gallio looked on and refused to interfere, being secretly pleased that the mob should second his own contempt for the Jews. Paul probably at this time had showed sympathy for an adversary in distress, which issued in the conversion of the latter. So Crispus also, the previous chief ruler of the synagogue had been converted. Saul the persecutor turned into Paul the apostle, and Sosthenes the leader in persecution against that apostle, were two trophies of divine grace that, side by side, would appeal with double power to the Church at Corinth [Birks].

2. the church of God—He calls it so notwithstanding its many blots. Fanatics and sectaries vainly think to anticipate the final sifting of the wheat and tares (Mt 13:27-30). It is a dangerous temptation to think there is no church where there is not apparent perfect purity. He who thinks so, must at last separate from all others and think himself the only holy man in the world, or establish a peculiar sect with a few hypocrites. It was enough for Paul in recognizing the Corinthians as a church, that he saw among them evangelical doctrine, baptism, and the Lord's Supper" [Calvin]. It was the Church of God, not of this or of that favorite leader [Chrysostom].

at Corinth—a church at dissolute Corinth—what a paradox of grace!

sanctifiedconsecrated, or set apart as holy to God in (by union with) Christ Jesus. In the Greek there are no words "to them that are"; translate simply, "men sanctified."

called to be saints—rather, "called saints"; saints by calling: applied by Paul to all professing members of the Church. As "sanctified in Christ" implies the fountain sources of holiness, the believer's original sanctification in Christ (1Co 6:11; Heb 10:10, 14; 1Pe 1:2) in the purposes of God's grace, so "called saints" refers to their actual call (Ro 8:30), and the end of that call that they should be holy (1Pe 1:15).

with all that in every place call upon … Christ—The Epistle is intended for these also, as well as for the Corinthians. The true Catholic Church (a term first used by Ignatius [Epistle to the Smyræans, 8]): not consisting of those who call themselves from Paul, Cephas, or any other eminent leader (1Co 1:12), but of all, wherever they be, who call on Jesus as their Saviour in sincerity (compare 2Ti 2:22). Still a general unity of discipline and doctrine in the several churches is implied in 1Co 4:17; 7:17; 11-16; 14-33, 36. The worship due to God is here attributed to Jesus (compare Joe 2:32; Mt 4:10; Ac 9:14).

both theirs and ours—"in every place which is their home … and our home also"; this is added to include the Christians throughout Achaia, not residing in Corinth, the capital (2Co 1:1). Paul feels the home of his converts to be also his own. Compare a similar phrase in Ro 16:13 [Conybeare and Howson]. "Ours" refers to Paul and Sosthenes, and the Corinthians' home [Alford]. Beza better explains, "Both their Lord and our Lord." All believers have one and the same Lord (1Co 8:6; Eph 4:5); a virtual reproof of the divisions of the Corinthians, as if Christ were divided (1Co 1:13).

3. peace—peculiarly needed in the Corinthian church, on account of its dissensions. On this verse see on Ro 1:7.

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.




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