World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

Select a resource above

11. For other foundation can no man lay This statement consists of two parts; first, that Christ is the only foundation of the Church; and secondly, that the Corinthians had been rightly founded upon Christ through Paul’s preaching. For it was necessary that they should be brought back to Christ alone, inasmuch as their ears were tickled with a fondness for novelty. It was, too, of no small importance that Paul should be recognized as the principal, and, so to speak, fundamental master-builder, from whose doctrine they could not draw back, without forsaking Christ himself. The sum is this — that the Church must by all means be founded upon Christ alone, and that Paul had executed this department of duty so faithfully that nothing could be found to be wanting in his ministry. Hence, whoever may come after him, can in no other way serve the Lord with a good conscience, or be listened to as ministers of Christ, than by studying to make their doctrine correspond with his, and retain the foundation which he has laid. Hence we infer, that those are not faithful workmen for building up the Church, but on the contrary are scatterers of it, (Matthew 12:30,) who succeed faithful ministers, but do not make it their aim to conform themselves to their doctrine, and carry forward what has been well commenced, so as to make it quite manifest 174174     “En sorte qu’on puisse voir a l’oeil;” — “So that one may see with the eye.” that they are attempting no new work. For what can be more pernicious than by a new manner of teaching to harass believers, who have been well instructed in pure doctrine, so that they stagger in uncertainty as to the true foundation. Now the fundamental doctrine, which it were unlawful to undermine, is, that we learn Christ, for Christ is the only foundation of the Church; but there are many who, while they make use of Christ’s name in pretense, tear up the whole truth of God by the roots. 175175     “Arrachent et renversent entierement;” — “They tear up and entirely overthrow”

Let us observe, then, in what way the Church is rightly built upon Christ. It is when he alone is set forth for righteousness, redemption, sanctification, wisdom, satisfaction and cleansing; in short, for life and glory; or if you would have it stated more briefly, when he is proclaimed in such a manner that his office and influence are understood in accordance with what we found stated in the close of the first chapter. (1 Corinthians 1:30.) If, on the other hand, Christ is only in some degree acknowledged, and is called a Redeemer only in name, while in the meantime recourse is had to some other quarter for righteousness, sanctification and salvation, he is driven off from the foundation, and spurious 176176     “Et non eonvenantes;” — “And not suitable.” stones are substituted in his room. It is in this manner that Papists act, who rob him of almost all his ornaments, leaving him scarcely anything but the bare name. Such persons, then, are far from being founded on Christ. For as Christ is the foundation of the Church, because he is the only source of salvation and eternal life — because in him we come to know God the Father — because in him we have the source of every blessing; if he is not acknowledged as such he is no longer regarded as the foundation

But it is asked — “Is Christ only a part, or simply the commencement of the doctrine of salvation, as the foundation is merely a part of the building; for if it were so, believers would have only their commencement in Christ, and would be perfected without him. Now this Paul might seem to intimate.” I answer that this is not the meaning of the words; otherwise he would contradict himself when he says elsewhere, that “in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3.) He, then, who has learned Christ, (Ephesians 4:20,) is already complete in the whole system of heavenly doctrine. But as Paul’s ministry had contemplated rather the founding of the Corinthians than the raising up among them of the top-stone of the building, he merely shows here what he had done in respect of his having preached Christ in purity. With respect to himself therefore, he calls him the foundation, while at the same time he does not thereby exclude him from the rest of the building. In fine, Paul does not put any kind of doctrine in opposition to the knowledge of Christ, but on the contrary there is a comparison between himself and the ministers.




Advertisements