Page images
PDF
EPUB

the church at Corinth, as gave him the highest joy, 2 Cor. vii. 4.7. 13.

Because Sosthenes joined the apostle in this letter, Beza thinks he was the apostle's amanuensis in writing it. And for the same reason he supposes the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, to have been written by Timothy. But all this is mere conjecture, as is plain from Beza's note on Gal. vi. 11.

CHAPTER I.

View and Illustration of the Matters contained in the First Chapter of this

Epistle. The teacher who came to Corinth after the apostle's departure, with a view to lessen his authority among the Corinthians, boldly affirmed that he was no apostle. Wherefore, to shew the falsehood of that calumny, St. Paul, after asserting his own apostieship, and giving the Corinthians his apostolical benedic.ion, mentioned a fact well known to them all, by which his title to the apostleship was established in the clearest manner. Having communicated to the Corinthians, a variety of spiritual gifts immediately after their conversion, he thanked God for having enriched them with every spiritual gift, at the time his preaching concerning Christ was confirmed among them, ver. 4.-7. By making the spiritual gifts with which the Corinthians were enriched immediately on their believing, a subject of thanksgiving to God, the apostle in a delicate manner put them in mind, that they had received these gifts long before the false teacher came among them ; consequently, that they had received none of their spiritual gifts from him, but were indebted to the apostle himself for the whole of them ; also at they were much to blame for attaching themselves to a teacher, who had given them no proof at all, either of his doctrine or of his mission. See the. View prefixed to 2 Cor. xii. verses 12, 13.

St. Paul, by thus appealing to the spiritual gifts which he had imparted to the Corinthians, having established his authority as an apostle, exhorted them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to live in union and peace, ver. 10.-For he had heard, that after the example of the disciples of the Greek philosophers, each of them claimed peculiar respect, on account of the supposed eminence of the person who had taught him, and attached himself to that teacher, as if he, rather than Christ, had been the author of his faith, ver. 11, 12.–But to make them sensible that Christ was their only master, the apostle asked them, Whether Christ, that is, the church of Christ, was divided into different sects, under different masters, like the Grecian schools of philosophy ? and whether any of their teachers was crucified for them ? and whether thay had been baptized in the name of any of them? ver. 13.—Then thanked God, since they made such a bad use of the reputation of the persons who baptized them, that he had baptized but a few of them, ver. 14, 15, 16. And to shew that they derived no advantage from the dignity

of the teachers who baptized them, he told them that he and his brethren apostles, who, in respect of their inspiration, were the chief teachers in the church, were sent by Christ, not so much to baptize, as to preach the gospel, ver. 17

The false teacher, by introducing the Grecian philosophy and rhetoric into his discourses, had endeavoured to render them acceptable to the Corinthians, and had preferred himself to Paul, who he said was unskilful in these matters. Lest therefore, the Corinthians should think meanly of his doctrine and manner of preaching, the apostle told them, that Christ had sent him to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of speech, that is, with philosophical arguments expressed in flowery harmonious language, such as the Greeks used in their schools ; because in that me. thod, the gospel becoming a subject of philosophical disputation, would have lost its efficacy as a revelation from God, ver. 17.That though the preaching of salvation through the cross, appeared mere foolishness to the destroyed among the heathen philosophers and Jewish scribes, yet to the saved from heathenism and Judaism, it was found by experience to be the powerful means of their salvation, ver. 18.—That God foretold he would remove both philosophy and Judaism on account of their inefficacy, ver. 19.—and make the Greek philosophers and Jewish scribes ashamed to shew themselves, because they had darkened and corrupted, rather than enlightened and reformed the world, ver. 20.-That having thus experimentally shewn the inefficacy of philosophy, it pleased God, by the preaching of doctrines which to the philosophers appeared foolishness, to save them who believed, ver. 21.–And therefore, notwithstanding the Jews required the sign from heaven, in confirmation of the doctrines proposed to them, and the Greeks expected every doctrine to be conformable to their philosophical principles, the apostle preached salvation through Christ crucified, which he knew was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness, ver. 22, 23.-But to them who were called, or persuaded to believe the gospel, both Jews and Greeks, that doctrine was the powerful and wise means which God made use of for their salvation, ver. 24.-Therefore, said he, it is evident that the foolish doctrines of God have more wisdom in them than the wisest doctrines of men ; and the weak instruments used by God, for accomplishing his purposes, are more effectual than the greatest exertions of human genius, ver. 25.

Having thus defended both the doctrines of the gospel, and the manner in which they were preached, the apostle very properly proceeded to shew the Corinthians, the folly of boasting in their teachers, on account of their learning, their eloquence, their high birth, or their power. Look, said he, at the persons who have called you to the belief of the gospel ; not many philosophers, not many warriors, not many noblemen, have been employed to call you, ver. 26.—But God hath chosen for that purpose, unlearned persons, to put to shame the learned, ver. 27. -by their success in enlightening and reforming the world, ver. 28.--that no flesh might take any honour to himself, in the

OLD TRANSLATION. .

GREEK TEXT. . CHAP. I. I Paul called 1 Παυλος κλητος αποςολος to be an apostle of Jesus Ιησου Χριςου, δια θεληματος Christ, through the will Θεου και Σωσθενης ο αδελof God, and Sosthenes our

φος, brother,

2 Unto the church of 2 Τη εκκλησια του Θεού τη God which is at Corinth,

ουση εν Κορινθω, ηγιασμενους to them that are sanctified

εν Χριςω Ιησου, κλητοις, αin Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in γιοις, συν πασι τους επικαλουevery place call upon the μενους το ονομα του Κυριου name of Jesus Christ our ήμων Ιησου Χριςου εν παντι Lord, both theirs and ours. τοπω, αυτων τε και ημων

Ver. 1.–1. A called apostle. Because the faction pretended to entertain doubts of Paul's apostleship, chap. ix. 1. he began this letter with telling them, that he was not, like Matthias, an apostle made by men, neither did he assume the office by his own authority, but he was called to it by Christ himself, who for that purpose appeared to him from heaven, as he went to Damascus to persecute his disciples; and that in calling him to be an apostle, Christ acted by the appointment of God. So Ananias assured Paul, Acts xxii. 14, 15. Wherefore, in respect of the manner in which Paul was made an apostle, he was more honourable than all the other apostles. See Rom. i. 1. note 2.

2. Sosthenes. If this person was the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, mentioned as active in persecuting Paul, Acts xviii. 17. we must sup. pose that he was afterwards converted, and became an eminent preacher of the gospel : and having a considerable influence among the Corinthians, he joined in writing this letter, for the reasons mentioned, 1 Thess. Pref. sect. 2.

Ver. 2.-1. The church of God, &c. Tbis is a much more august title than that mentioned, Gal. i. 2. The churches of Galatia.

2. To the sanctified. See Ess. iv. 53. and chap. vi. 11. note 2. 1

3. To the called into the fellowship of the saints; as the apostle himself explains it, ver. 9.

matter of converting and saving mankind, ver. 29.--the whole glory being due to God, ver. 30, 31. In this light, the mean birth and low station of the first preachers of the gospel, together with their want of literature and eloquence, instead of being objections to the gospel, are a strong proof of its divine original. NEW TRANSLATION.

COMMENTARY. CHAP. I. 1 Paul a CHAP. I. I Paul, a miracucalled apostle 1 of Jesus lously called apostle of Jesus Christ, Christ, by the will of God, agreeably to the will of God, and and Sosthenes mr bro- Sosthenes my fellow labourer in the ther,

gospel, 2 To the church of 2 To the worshippers of the true God,' which is at Corinth; God, who are in Corinth ; to the sepato the sanctified? (sy, 172.) rated from the heathens, by their under Christ Jesus ; to the being under Jesus Christ ; to the callcalled ;3 to the saints ;4 with ed people of God; to those who all in every places who merit the appellation of saints, becall on the name of our cause they have renounced idolatry, Lord Jesus Christ, o both and have devoted themselves to their and our LORD:? serve the true God; with all in every

place, who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, who is both their and our Lord who are Jews.

4. To the saints. See Ess. iv. 48. 1 Cor. vi. 1. where the saints are opposed to the unrighteous, that is, to idolaters.

5. All in every place. Though this epistle was written to correct the disorderly practices of the Corinthians, it contained many general instructions, which could not fail to be of use to all the brethren in the province of Achaia likewise, and even to Christians in every place : for which reason, the inscription consists of three members, and includes them all.

6. Call upon the name of our Lord Jesus. TOLS ETIXQ 2.8LeByols. This ex. pression we have, Acts vii. 59. And they stoned Stepben, &Tika 18 Mevov, calling upon Christ, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. See also Acts ix. 14. xxii. 16. Rom. x. 12, 13, 14.- Praying to Christ was so much practised by the first Christians, that Pliny mentioned it in his letter to Trajan : Carmen Chris. 10, quasi Deo, dicere, They sing with one another, a hymn to Christ as a God.

7. Both their and our Lord. This the apostle mentioned in the beginning of his letter, to shew the Corinthians how absurd it was for the disciples of one master, to divided into factions under particular leaders. Christ is the only Lord or master of all his disciples, whether they be Jews or Gentiles,

3

VOL. II.

« PreviousContinue »