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εὐάρεστον and τέλειον. So Flatt and Tholuck.-EvápεσTоv means, acceptable to God, τῷ θεῷ being implied. Τέλειον, that which is wanting in nothing, which has no defect, integrum.
The whole verse, therefore, is an exhortation to spiritual-mindedness, in order that Christians may attain to a full knowledge of what their holy religion demands.
(3) Táp here makes a transition to additional matter, designed further to explain and confirm the general precepts just given; "narrationi uberiori inservit." Aià rñs xάpiros, by virtue of the [apostolic] office bestowed on me; comp. Rom. i. 5. xv. 15. Eph. iii. 2, 8.—'Ev vμīr, among you; so iv frequently means, in such a connexion.
Mỳ . . . . opovɛiv, lit. not to over-estimate himself beyond what he ought to estimate. Пapá is often used in such a sense, in comparative declarations; e. g. Luke xiii. 2. iii. 13. Rom. xiv. 5. Heb. i. 9. i. 4. iii. 3.-'Αλλὰ . owppoveīv, lit. but to estimate so as to act soberly, i. e. to think modestly, prudently, in a rational way, of himself, not being puffed up with his own attainments and gifts; the same as σωφρόνως φρονεῖν. The paronomasia in φρονεῖν and σωφρονεῖν can hardly escape the reader's notice.
Ἑκάστῳ ὡς ... . πίστεως, according to the measure of faith which God hath imparted to him; i. e. according to the measure of Christian belief and knowledge, which God has imparted. In other words: 'Let each one estimate his gifts, by the principles which the gospel has revealed.' But Flatt and Tholuck understand iriç here as equivalent to χάρισμα, i. e. πίστις =τὸ πεπιστευμένον, quod ereditur est, donum; for which I can find no adequate and satisfactory proof or example. Nor can I perceive that the meaning which this exegesis would give to the passage, is a probable one. The apostle is not exhorting men to prize their gifts according to the diverse nature of them, (which must be his meaning, if Flatt and Tholuck have rightly explained him); but he is exhorting all, whatever may be their gifts, to demean themselves modestly and humbly. All belong to one body, and no invidious distinctions are to be made. Consequently it is more congruous to explain μéτpov Tíoτews, as indicating the measure of Christian belief, or faith, i. e. of Christian knowledge which is the object of faith.
(4) To shew that no one has any reason to set up himself as superior to others, the apostle now introduces the admirable comparison of the body of Christ, i. e. the church, with the human body. There are various members of the latter; and they are designed for different uses. But all belong to one and the same body; and each performs its
own proper functions for the good of the whole. So it ought to be in the Christian church.-IIpažev, use, opus, negotium, office.
(5) Outws.... μéλŋ, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and are each members of others; i. e. there is but one church, one spiritual body, of which Christ is the head. To this we all belong. In this respect there is no preeminence.—Καθεῖς for καθ ̓ ἕνα, properly a solecism; see also John viii. 9. Mark xiv. 19. 3 Macc. v. 34, and åvà iç Rev. xxi. 21.
(6) Ἔχοντες . . . . διάφορα, and possessing gifts which are diverse, according to the grace bestowed upon us; i. e. we, who are many in number, and yet one body in Christ, possess gifts which are diverse, according to the diversity of the operations of the Spirit, who bestows different gifts on different persons. "Exorres agrees with us understood, and is a continuation of the preceding sentence.
Εἴτε προφητείαν, whether prophecy, i. e. εἴτε [ἔχομεν or ἔχοντες] προφητείαν, the ellipsis of ἔχομεν or ἔχοντες being quite plain. Προφητείαν here evidently means, χάριν προφητείας, i. e. the office or gift of prophecy, the prophetic office; which explanation, moreover, is rendered certain by the sequel. But why is πроoηтɛía a public or a private office? And in either case, what were its appropriate duties?
To answer this question philologically, as well as by the analogy of the Scriptures, it is necessary to resort, in the first place, to the classic use of the word. Ipoprns, among the Greeks, generally signified an interpreter of the will of the gods, an interpreter of those who were priests of the gods, &c. The essence of the definition is the idea of being an interpreter, one who explains or declares, viz. what was before dark, or not understood, or not known. So the Greeks could say, προφήτης θεοῦ — ἱεροῦ -- μάντεως-Μουσῶν, κ.τ.λ. Sometimes (but more rarely) popiτns means, one who himself foretells, one who predicts, &c.; and it is then equivalent to the Greek μávriç. But in general, it differs from μávris, inasmuch as the latter means a person who is himself under the divine afflatus, in such a manner as to be bereaved of his own consciousness and reason, and merely to utter (as an instrument) what the inspiring divinity causes him to utter. This, which the μávres himself is not supposed to understand, and cannot explain, it was the office of the poohrns to interpret. Plato derives párriç from paivopai, to rave, to be out of one's senses; and this shews the peculiar meaning of μávric, in distinction from poorns, which usually designates only such persons as are in possession of their reason.
Ilpoprns, in the New Testament, corresponds well with the Hebrew
, which means an interpreter of the divine will generally, and specially one who by divine inspiration foretells future events. Of this latter sense, which all admit, it is unnecessary to give any examples; but as to the former, the reader may consult for 2, Judg. vi. 8. 2 Sam. vii. 2. Exod. vii. 1, where Aaron is said to be a to Moses, i. e. the interpreter to the people of the plans and designs of Moses, (comp. Exod. iv. 16. Jer. xv. 19). Deut. xviii. 18. For the like sense of pоpnτns in the New Testament, comp. Matt. v. 12. x. 41. xi. 9. xiii. 17. John vii. 52. Acts vii. 48, 52. Rev. x. 7. xi. 10, 18. xviii. 24, 20. Comp. also the verb popητɛúw in Rev. x. 11. xi. 3. Luke i. 67. Acts ii. 17, 18. xix. 6. xxi. 9. 1 Cor. xi. 4, 5. xiii. 9. xiv. 1, 3, 4, 5, 24, 31, 39; and with these texts compare Joel ii. 28. Numb. xi. 25, 27. 1 Sam. x. 5, 6, 10—13. xix. 20—24.
From all these passages it is put beyond a doubt, that to prophesy means, not merely to predict, (which is rather the predominant signification of the word), but also to preach (as we say), to warn, to threaten, to utter devotional sentiment, to utter praise; in short, to speak any thing by divine inspiration or afflatus. Ilpoonreíav in our text, therefore, does not of course refer to those who predicted; it may have another meaning. More probable is it, indeed it is almost certain, that here it has a more general sense, referring to those who publicly uttered any thing by special divine aid or inspiration, which had respect to the subject of religion.
Such, then, were πроñται in the Christian church, i. e. men endowed with a supernatural gift in regard to addressing the people, either for the purposes of instruction or of devotion. The apostle directs them to perform the duties of their office, κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς πίστεως, according to the proportion of faith, or according to the analogy of faith. According to the first method of translating it, the sense would be: 'Let the prophets speak only as they have faith to do it ;' i. e. let them not go beyond the faith imparted to them. Faith here must mean, that which is the object of their belief, i. e. what is given to them in an extraordinary manner as the object of their belief. The apostle means then to say: Let not the prophets exceed what is entrusted to them. Let them keep within the bounds of their reason and consciousness, and not, like the heathen μávτeç, rave, or speak they know not what.' Compare 1 Cor. xiv. 32, where the fact is made clear, that Paul considered the prophets as conscious, rational, voluntary, accountable agents, while in the exercise of their gifts. And as to the solemn and conscientious discharge of the duty of a prophet, comp. Jer. xxiii. 25-40. Ezek. ii. 6-8. iii. 17-21.
In this manner Chrysostom, Theodoret, Ecumenius, Pelagius, Calvin, Flatt, Tholuck, and many others, have understood the phrase under examination.
At the same time, as ávaλoyíav may signify analogy, agreement, (for so it means in the classics), the sense here may be: 'Prophesy in such a manner, that what you say will accord with the doctrine of faith, viz. with that which the Scripture contains.' The former sense is the most congruous here, and therefore the most probable.
It is obvious, that the elliptical construction reigns through this whole paragraph. Here we must understand popηrɛúwμɛv before kaTà τὴν ἀναλογίαν.
(7) Εΐτε διακονίαν, i. e. εἴτε [ἔχωμεν] διακονίαν. Διάκονος, in a general sense, means a servant, a waiter to any one. But as the office of a servant is elevated by the station of his master and the duties which the servant has to perform, so the word is far from being always employed in a degrading sense; nay, it is sometimes (like the Hebrew 1) used in a most honourable sense, as servant of God, servant of Christ, servant (minister) of the gospel, &c. In the passage before us, diakovía probably refers to the official duty of the diákovou in the Christian church, to whom was committed the care of alms for the poor, of providing for the sick, of preparing conveniences for public worship, &c., and generally, of watching over and taking care of the external matters of the church. In the primitive age of the church this office was very simple, having reference only to the alms of the church. So the verb diakovéw very often means, to supply one with food, to make ready or provide food for any one, e. g. Matt. iv. 11. Mark i. 13. Luke x. 40. xii. 37. xvii. 8. John xii. 2; comp. Acts vi. But in subsequent ages, the office was extended to all the external and merely temporal relations of the church. So in the Jewish synagogue, the 1, inspector, overseer, corresponded to diákovoç.
Ἐν τῇ διακονίᾳ, i. e. ὦμεν or ἔστω· like ἐν τούτοις ἴσθι, 1 Tim. iv. 15, i. e. sit totus in illis, let him be wholly devoted to his ministration or service, let him be deeply engaged to perform its duties with fidelity and zeal.
Eite o didáσkwy. Here the construction is varied, although there appears no special reason for it in the nature of the sentence. We should expect tire didaσkaλíav here, i. e. the Accusative case of the abstract noun; but in its stead, we have a participial noun in the Nominative. Of course, (sit) is understood here after ó dicáokwv.—'Ev Tỹ διδασκαλίᾳ, i. e. ἔστω as before.
That the office of teacher is here distinguished from pоns on the
one hand, and from wapakaλy on the other, is plain. But in what this distinction consisted, it would be a difficult matter to tell. In regard to the first distinction, it would seem that popýrns indicated one who taught by inspiration, and only so far as inspiration prompted and enabled him to teach. It was an office created and sustained by a miraculous gift. But cicáoκalos appears to have been an ordinary stated teacher, one who was so by official station, and who taught according to the degree of religious knowledge which he possessed.
(8) Είτε ὁ παρακαλῶν, i. e. ὁ παρακαλῶν ᾖ.—Ἐν τῇ παρακλήσει, i. e. ἔστω as before. But what is παρακαλῶν? The verb παρακαλέω means, to warn, to console. Пapakaλ@v, then, would seem to indicate an exhorter, i. e. one who urged to practical duties, who dwelt upon the threatenings and promises of the gospel, and so aided and completed the work which the cicákaλog had begun.
How long the distinction was kept up in the church, which is here intimated, I know not. But in the original settlement of the churches in New England, many of them had two ministers, a ĉičáσkaλoç and a πapakaλāv, as here explained. It was believed, at that time, that these distinct offices were intended to be perpetual in the church. But why consistency would not of course lead to the maintenance of all the other offices here named, it would be difficult to say.
Ὁ μεταδιδούς, sc. , he who is a distributor, i. e. he who distributes the charities of the church, or of individuals in it.—'Ev åæλórŋtɩ, i. e. with a simple or single regard to the good of those for whom the charity was bestowed, without any selfish or sinister purposes
of his own.
But in what respect ὁ μεταδιδούς differed from the διάκονος, above mentioned, we are now unable to ascertain with precision. That there was a difference, is plain from the manner in which the whole of this paragraph is constructed. May it not have been, that the diákorog was the general overseer, the collector and provider of alms; while the ỏ μɛradicovs, was the actual distributor of them among the needy? This seems quite probable, from the nature of the case, and from the fact that here are two distinct offices, both having a relation to the same class of duties.
'Ο προϊστάμενος, ἐν σπουδῇ, let him who presides, do it with diligent attention. A question may indeed be raised here, whether ỏ πpoïσráμεvos means an office in the church, or only a person to whom the care of some duty or business is committed. The verb potσrημ sometimes means, to attend with care and diligence to any thing, q. d. to stand over it, as we say in English. So in Tit. iii. 8, kaλwv čpywv #poioraodai