1:1 Paul, 1 called [to be] an 2 apostle of Jesus Christ
through the will of God, and 3 Sosthenes [our] brother,
(1) The inscription of the epistle, in which he mainly tries to
procure the good will of the Corinthians towards him, yet
nonetheless in such a way that he always lets them know
that he is the servant of God and not of men.
(2) If he is an apostle, then he must be heard, even though he
sometimes sharply reprehends them, seeing he has not his
own cause in hand, but is a messenger that brings the
commandments of Christ.
(3) He has Sosthenes with himself, that this doctrine might
be confirmed by two witnesses.
1:24 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that
are 5 sanctified in a Christ Jesus, b called [to be]
saints, with all that in every place c call upon the name
of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
(4) It is a church of God, even though it has great faults in
it, as it obeys those who admonish them.
(5) A true definition of the universal church, which is:
(a) The Father sanctifies us, that is to say, separates us
from the wicked in giving us to his Son, that he may be
in us, and we in him.
(b) Whom God by his gracious goodness and absolute love has
separated for himself: or whom God has called to
holiness: the first of these two expositions, shows
from where our sanctification comes: and the second
shows to what end it strives for.
(c) He is correctly said to call on God who cries to the
Lord when he is in danger, and craves help from his
hands, and by the figure of speech synecdoche, it is
taken for all the service of God: and therefore to call
upon Christ's name, is to acknowledge and take him for
1:36 Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and
[from] the Lord Jesus Christ.
(6) The foundation and the life of the Church is Christ Jesus
given from the Father.
1:47 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of
God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
(7) Going about to condemn many vices, he begins with a true
commendation of their virtues, lest he might seem after to
descend to chiding, being moved with malice or envy: yet in
such a way that he refers all to God as the author of them,
and that in Christ, that the Corinthians might be more
ashamed to profane and abuse the holy gifts of God.
1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, 8 in d all
utterance, and [in] all knowledge;
(8) He refers to that by name which they abused the most.
(d) Seeing that while we live here we know but in part, and
prophesy in part, this word "all" must be limited by
the present state of the faithful: and by "utterance"
he does not mean a vain kind of babbling, but the gift
of holy eloquence, which the Corinthians abused.
1:69 Even as the testimony of Christ was e confirmed in
(9) He shows that the true use of these gifts consists in this,
that the mighty power of Christ might be set forth in them,
that hereafter it might evidently appear how wickedly they
abused them for glory and ambition.
(e) By those excellent gifts of the Holy Spirit.
1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; 10 waiting for the f
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(10) He says along the way that there is no reason why they
should be so pleased in those gifts which they had
received, seeing that those were nothing in comparison of
those which are to be looked for.
(f) He speaks of the last coming of Christ.
1:811 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may
be] g blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(11) He testifies that he hopes that things go well with them
from now on, that they may more patiently abide his
reprehension afterward. And yet together in addition
shows, that the beginning as well as the accomplishing of
our salvation is only the work of God.
(g) He calls them blameless, not whom man never found
fault with, but with whom no man can justly find
fault, that is to say, those who are in Christ Jesus,
in whom there is no condemnation. See (Lu 1:6).
1:9 God [is] h faithful, by whom ye were called unto the
fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
(h) True and constant, who not only calls us, but also
gives to us the gift of perseverance.
1:1012 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that 13 ye all speak the same thing, and
[that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be
i perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the
(12) Having made an end of the preface, he comes to the matter
itself, beginning with a most grave testimony, as though
they should hear Christ himself speaking, and not Paul.
(13) The first part of this epistle, in which his purpose is
found, to call back the Corinthians to brotherly harmony,
and to take away all occasion of discord. So then this
first part concerns the taking away of divisions. Now a
division occurs when men who otherwise agree and consent
together in doctrine, yet separate themselves from one
(i) Knit together, as a body that consists of all its
parts, fitly knit together.
1:1114 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren,
by them [which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are
contentions among you.
(14) He begins his reprehension and chiding by taking away an
objection, because he understood from good witnesses that
there were many factions among them. And in addition he
declares the cause of dissentions, because some depended
on one teacher, some on another, and some were so addicted
to themselves that they neglected all teachers and
learned men, calling themselves the disciples of Christ
alone, completely ignoring their teachers.
1:12 Now k this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of
Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
(k) The matter I would say to you is this.
1:1315 Is Christ divided? was 16 Paul crucified for you? or
were ye 17 baptized in the name of Paul?
(15) The first reason why divisions ought to be avoided:
because Christ seems by that means to be divide and torn
in pieces, who cannot be the head of two different and
disagreeing bodies, being himself one.
(16) Another reason: because they cannot without great injury
to God so depend on men as on Christ: which thing those no
doubt do who allow whatever some man speaks, and do it for
their own sakes: as these men allowed one and the very
same Gospel being uttered by one man, and did loathe it
being uttered by another man. So that these factions were
called by the names of their teachers. Now Paul sets
aside his own name, not simply to grieve no man, but also
to show that he does not plead his own cause.
(17) The third reason taken from the form and end of baptism,
in which we make a promise to Christ, calling also on the
name of the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore
although a man does not fall from the doctrine of Christ,
yet if he depends upon certain teachers, and despises
others, he forsakes Christ: for if he holds Christ as his
only master, he would hear him, no matter who Christ
1:1418 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus
(18) He protests that he speaks so much the more boldly of
these things, because through God's providence, he is void
of all suspicion of gathering disciples to himself, and
taking them from others. By which we may understand,
that not the scholars only, but the teachers also are here
reprehended, who gathered flocks separately and for
1:1719 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the
gospel: 20 not with l wisdom of words, lest the 21
cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
(19) The taking away of an objection: that he gave not himself
to baptize many amongst them: not for the contempt of
baptism, but because he was mainly occupied in delivering
the doctrine, and committed those that received his
doctrine to others to be baptized. And so he declared
sufficiently how far he was from all ambition: whereas on
the other hand they, whom he reprehends, as though they
gathered disciples to themselves and not to Christ,
bragged most ambitiously of numbers, which they had
(20) Now he turns himself to the teachers themselves, who
pleased themselves in brave and glory-seeking eloquence,
to the end that they might draw more disciples after them.
He openly confesses that he was not similar to them,
opposing gravely, as it became an apostle, his example
against their perverse judgments: so that this is another
place in this epistle with regard to the observing of a
godly simplicity both in words and sentences in teaching
(l) With eloquence: which Paul casts off from himself not
only as unnecessary, but also as completely contrary
to the office of his apostleship: and yet Paul had
this kind of eloquence, but it was heavenly, not of
man, and void of fancy words.
(21) The reason why he did not use the pomp of words and fancy
speech: because it was God's will to bring the world to
his obedience by that way, by which the most foolish
among men might understand that this work was done by
God himself, without the skill of man. Therefore as
salvation is set forth to us in the Gospel by the cross of
Christ, which nothing is more contemptible than, and more
far from life, so God would have the manner of the
preaching of the cross, most different from those means
with which men do use to draw and entice others, either to
hear or believe: therefore it pleased him by a certain
kind of most wise folly, to triumph over the most foolish
wisdom of the world, as he had said before by Isaiah that
he would. And by this we may gather that both these
teachers who were puffed up with ambitious eloquence, and
also their hearers, strayed far away from the goal and
mark of their calling.
1:18 For the m preaching of the cross is to them that perish
foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the n
power of God.
(m) The preaching of Christ crucified, or the type of
speech which we use.
(n) It is that in which he declares his marvellous power in
saving his elect, which would not so evidently appear
if it depended upon any help of man, for if it did man
might attribute that to himself which is to be
attributed only to the cross of Christ.
1:1922 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the
wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the
(22) The apostle proves that this should not seem strange,
seeing that it was foretold so long before, and declares
further that God often punishes the pride of the world in
such a way, which so pleases itself in its own wisdom: and
therefore that it is vain, indeed a thing of no value, and
such as God rejects as unprofitable, which they so
carefully laboured for, and considered to be so important.
1:20 Where [is] the wise? where [is] the o scribe? where [is]
the p disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish
the wisdom of this world?
(o) Where are you, O you learned fellow, and you that spend
your days in turning your books?
(p) You that spend all your time in seeking out the secret
things of this world, and in expounding all hard
questions: and thus he triumphs against all the men of
this world, for there was not one of them that could so
much as dream of this secret and hidden mystery.
1:2123 For after that in the q wisdom of God the r world
by wisdom knew not God, 24 it pleased God by the s
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
(23) He shows that the pride of men was worthily punished by
God, because they could not behold God, as they properly
should have, in the most clear mirror of the wisdom of the
world, and this wisdom is the workmanship of the world.
(q) By the world he means all men who are not born again,
but remain as they were, when they were first born.
(r) In the workmanship of this world, which has the
marvellous wisdom of God engraved on it, so that every
man may behold it.
(24) The goodness of God is wonderful, for while he goes about
to punish the pride of this world, he is very provident
and careful for the salvation of it, and teaches men to
become fools, so that they may be wise to God.
(s) So he calls the preaching of the Gospel, as the
enemies supposed it to be: but in the mean time he
taunts those very sharply who had rather charge God
with folly than acknowledge their own, and crave
pardon for it.
1:2225 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after
(25) A declaration of that which he said: that the preaching of
the Gospel is foolish. It is foolish, he says, to those
whom God has not endued with new light, that is to say, to
all men being considered in themselves: for the Jews
require miracles, and the Greeks arguments, which they may
comprehend by their intellect and wisdom: and therefore
they do not believe the Gospel, and also mock it.
Nonetheless, in this foolish preaching there is the great
power and wisdom of God, but such that only those who are
called perceive: God showing most plainly, that even then
when mad men think him most foolish, he is far wiser than
they are, and that he surmounts all their might and power,
when he uses most vile and abject things, as it has
appeared in the fruit of the preaching of the Gospel.
1:2626 For ye see your t calling, brethren, how that not
many wise men u after the flesh, not many mighty, not
many noble, [are called]:
(26) A confirmation taken from those things which came to pass
at Corinth, where the church especially consisted of the
lowly and common people, insomuch that the philosophers of
Greece were driven to shame when they saw that they could
do nothing with their wisdom and eloquence in comparison
with the apostles, whom nonetheless they called idiots and
unlearned. And in this he beats down their pride: for God
did not prefer them before those noble and wise men so
that they should be proud, but that they might be
constrained, whether they wished to or not, to rejoice in
the Lord, by whose mercy, although they were the most
abject of all, they had obtained in Christ both this
wisdom as well as all things necessary to salvation.
(t) What way the Lord has taken in calling you.
(u) After that type of wisdom which men consider to be
important, as though there were none else: but because
they are carnal, they do not know spiritual wisdom.
1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are
despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which x are
not, to bring to y nought things that are:
(x) Which in man's judgment are almost nothing.
(y) To show that they are vain and unprofitable, and worth
nothing. )See Geneva "Ro 3:31")
1:29 That no z flesh should glory in his presence.
(z) "Flesh" is often, as we see, taken for the whole man:
and he uses this word "flesh" very well, to contrast
the weak and miserable condition of man with the
majesty of God.
1:30 But a of him are ye in Christ Jesus, 27 who of God is
made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification,
(a) Whom he cast down before, now he lifts up, indeed, higher
than all men: yet in such a way that he shows them that
all their worthiness is outside of themselves, that is,
it stands in Christ, and that of God.
(27) He teaches that especially and above all things, the
Gospel ought not to be condemned, seeing that it contains
the principal things that are to be desired, that is, true
wisdom, the true way to obtain righteousness, the true way
to live honestly and godly, and the true deliverance from
all miseries and calamities.
1:31 That, according as it is written, b He that glorieth, let
him glory in the Lord.
(b) Let him yield all to God and give him thanks: and so by
this place is man's free will beaten down, which the
papists so dream about.