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1: Paul, called to be an apostle - There is great
propriety in every clause of the salutation, particularly in
this, as there were some in the church of Corinth who called
the authority of his mission in question. Through the will of God
- Called "the commandment of God," (1Ti 1:1) This was to
the churches the ground of his authority; to Paul himself, of
an humble and ready mind. By the mention of God, the
authority of man is excluded, (Ga 1:1); by the mention of
the will of God, the merit of Paul, (1Co 15:8), &c.
And Sosthenes - A Corinthian, St. Paul's companion in travel.
It was both humility and prudence in the apostle, thus to join
his name with his own, in an epistle wherein he was to reprove
so many irregularities. Sosthenes the brother - Probably this
word is emphatical; as if he had said, Who, from a Jewish
opposer of the gospel, became a faithful brother.
2: To the church of God which is in Corinth - St. Paul,
writing in a familiar manner to the Corinthians, as also to
the Thessalonians and Galatians, uses this plain appellation.
To the other churches he uses a more solemn address.
Sanctified through Jesus Christ - And so undoubtedly they were
in general, notwithstanding some exceptions. Called - Of Jesus
Christ, (Ro 1:6) And - As the fruit of that calling made holy.
With all that in every place - Nothing could better suit that
catholic love which St. Paul labours to promote in this
epistle, than such a declaration of his good wishes for every
true Christian upon earth. Call upon the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ - This plainly implies that all Christians pray to
Christ, as well as to the Father through him.
4: Always - Whenever I mention you to God in prayer.
5: In all utterance and knowledge - Of divine things.
These gifts the Corinthians particularly admired. Therefore
this congratulation naturally tended to soften their spirits,
and I make way for the reproofs which follow.
6: The testimony of Christ - The gospel. Was confirmed
among you - By these gifts attending it. They knew they had
received these by the hand of Paul: and this consideration
was highly proper, to revive in them their former reverence
and affection for their spiritual father.
7: Waiting - With earnest desire. For the glorious
revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ - A sure mark of a true
or false Christian, to long for, or dread, this revelation.
8: Who will also - if you faithfully apply to him.
Confirm you to the end. In the day of Christ - Now it is our
day, wherein we are to work out our salvation; then it will
be eminently the day of Christ, and of his glory in the
9: God is faithful - To all his promises; and therefore
"to him that hath shall be given." By whom ye are called - A
pledge of his willingness to save you unto the uttermost.
10: Now I exhort you - Ye have faith and hope; secure
love also. By the endearing name of our Lord Jesus Christ
- lnfinitely preferable to all the human names in which ye
glory. That ye all speak the same thing - They now spoke
different things, (1Co 1:12) And that there be no schisms among you - No alienation of
affection from each other. Is this word ever taken in any other
sense in scripture? But that ye be joined in the same mind
- Affections, desires. And judgment - Touching all the grand
truths of the gospel.
11: It hath been declared to me by them of the family of Chloe
- Whom some suppose to have been the wife of Stephanas, and the
mother of Fortunatus and Achaicus. By these three the Corinthians
had sent their letter to St. Paul, (1Co 16:17).
That there are contentions - A word equivalent with schisms
in the preceding verse.
12: Now this I say - That is, what I mean is this: there
are various parties among you, who set themselves, one against
an other, in behalf of the several teachers they admire. And
I of Christ - They spoke well, if they had not on this pretence
despised their teachers, (1Co 4:8) Perhaps they valued
themselves on having heard Christ preach in his own person.
13: Is Christ divided - Are not all the members still
under one head? Was not he alone crucified for you all; and
were ye not all baptized in his name? The glory of Christ
then is not to be divided between him and his servants;
neither is the unity of the body to be torn asunder, seeing
Christ is one still.
14: I thank God - (A pious phrase for the common one,
"I rejoice,") that, in the course of his providence, I
baptized none of you, but Crispus, once the ruler of the
synagogue, and Caius.
15: Lest any should say that I had baptized in my own
name - In order to attach them to myself.
16: I know not - That is, it does not at present occur to
my memory, that I baptized any other.
17: For God did not send me to baptize - That was not my
chief errand: those of inferior rank and abilities could do
it: though all the apostles were sent to baptize also,(Mt 28:19) But to preach the gospel - So the apostle slides into his
general proposition: but not with wisdom of speech - With the
artificial ornaments of discourse, invented by human wisdom.
Lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect - The
whole effect of St. Paul's preaching was owing to the power
of God accompanying the plain declaration of that great truth,
"Christ bore our sins upon the cross." But this effect might
have been imputed to another cause, had he come with that
wisdom of speech which they admired.
18: To them that perish - By obstinately rejecting the
only name whereby they can be saved. But to us who are saved
- Now saved from our sins, and in the way to everlasting
salvation, it is the great instrument of the power of God.
19: For it is written - And the words are remarkably
applicable to this great event.(Isa 29:14)
20: Where is the wise? &c. - The deliverance of Judea from
Sennacherib is what Isaiah refers to in these words; in a bold
and beautiful allusion to which, the apostle in the clause
that follows triumphs over all the opposition of human wisdom
to the victorious gospel of Christ. What could the wise men of
the gentiles do against this? or the Jewish scribes? or
the disputers of this world? - Those among both, who, proud
of their acuteness, were fond of controversy, and thought they
could confute all opponents. Hath not God made foolish the
wisdom of this world - That is, shown it to be very foolishness.(Isa 33:18)
21: For since in the wisdom of God - According to his
wise disposals, leaving them to make the trial. The world
- Whether Jewish or gentile, by all its boasted wisdom knew
not God - Though the whole creation declared its Creator,
and though he declared himself by all the prophets; it
pleased God, by a way which those who perish count mere
foolishness, to save them that believe.
22: For whereas the Jews demand of the apostles, as
they did of their Lord, more signs still, after all they
have seen already; and the Greeks, or gentiles, seek wisdom
- The depths of philosophy, and the charms of eloquence.
23: We go on to preach, in a plain and historical,
not rhetorical or philosophical, manner, Christ crucified, to
the Jews a stumblingblock - Just opposite to the "signs" they
demand. And to the Greeks foolishness - A silly tale, just
opposite to the wisdom they seek.
24: But to them that are called - And obey the heavenly
calling. Christ - With his cross, his death, his life, his
kingdom. And they experience, first, that he is the power,
then, that he is the wisdom, of God.
25: Because the foolishness of God - The gospel scheme,
which the world judge to be mere foolishness, is wiser than
the wisdom of men; and, weak as they account it, stronger
than all the strength of men.
26: Behold your calling - What manner of men they are
whom God calls. That not many wise men after the flesh - In
the account of the world. Not many mighty - Men of power and
28: Things that are not - The Jews frequently called the
gentiles, "Them that are not," 2 Esdras vi. 56, 57. In so
supreme contempt did they hold them. The things that are - In
29: That no flesh - A fit appellation. Flesh is fair, but
withering as grass. May glory before God - In God we ought to
30: Of him - Out of his free grace and mercy. Are ye
Engrafted into Christ Jesus, who is made unto us that believe
wisdom, who were before utterly foolish and ignorant.
Righteousness - The sole ground of our justification, who were
before under the wrath and curse of God. Sanctification - A
principle of universal holiness, whereas before we were
altogether dead in sin. And redemption - That is, complete
deliverance from all evil, and eternal bliss both of soul and
31: Let him glory in the Lord - Not in himself, not in the
flesh, not in the world.(Jer 9:23-24).