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4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

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4. And my preaching was not in the persuasive words. By the persuasive words of man’s wisdom he means that exquisite oratory which aims and strives rather by artifice than by truth, and also an appearance of refinement, that allures the minds of men. It is not without good reason, too, that he ascribes persuasiveness (τό πιθάνον) 109109     This passage has largely exercised the ingenuity of critics, from the circumstance that the adjective πειθοῖς, occurring nowhere else in the New Testament, or in any of the writings of classical authors, it is supposed that there has been some corruption of the reading. Some suppose it to be a contraction or corruption of πείθανοις or πίθαςοις, and Chrysostom, in one or two instances, when quoting the passage, uses the adjective πίθανοις, while in other cases he has πειθοῖς It is perhaps in allusion to those instances in which Chrysostom makes use of the adjective πίθαςοις, that Calvin employs the phrase το πίθανον (persuasiveness.) Semler, after adducing various authorities, suggests the following reading: — ἐν πειθοῖ σοφαις taking πειθοῖ; as the dative of ἡ πειθω, (persuasion.) Bloomfield considers πειθοῖ, to be a highly probable reading, but prefers to retain πειθοῖς. — Ed to human wisdom. For the word of the Lord constrains us by its majesty, as if by a violent impulse, to yield obedience to it. Human wisdom, on the other hand, has her allurements, by which she insinuates herself 110110     “Secrettement et doucement;” — “Secretly and softly.” and her blandishments, as it were, by which she may conciliate for herself the affections of her hearers. With this he contrasts the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, which most interpreters consider as restricted to miracles; but I take it in a more general sense, as meaning the hand of God powerfully exercised in every way through the instrumentality of the Apostle. Spirit and power he seems to have made use of by hypallage, 111111     A figure of speech by which words change their cases with each other. — Ed. (καθ ᾿ ὑπαλλαγὴν,) to denote spiritual power, or at least with the view of showing by signs and effects in what manner the presence of the Spirit had shown itself in his ministry. He appropriately, too, makes use of the term ἀποδείξεως, (demonstration;) for such is our dullness in contemplating the works of God, that when he makes use of inferior instruments, they serve as so many veils to hide from us his influence, so that we do not clearly perceive it. On the other hand, as in the furtherance given to Paul’s ministry, there was no aid furnished from the flesh or the world, and as the hand of God was as it were made bare, (Isaiah 52:10,) his influence was assuredly the more apparent.




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