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means, to be diligent in performing good works. But as & πрoïσráμEVOC stands connected with a series of other words which express some official duty, most interpreters have been inclined to construe it here as having respect to office. It seems plainly to be used in 1 Thess. v. 12, to designate one who holds the office of a teacher; and in 1 Tim. v. 19, it also seems to designate one who holds the office of ruling or governing in the church, as well as teaching. The context of this latter passage has been regarded, indeed, by most commentators, as shewing that there were some роïoráμevo, who held the double office of teacher and governor or ruler in the church; although, as some of them suppose, these offices would seem more usually to have been separate. In like manner, Justin Martyr speaks of a TроεσTWS Twv ȧdeλpwv, who (it appears) is the presbyter of the church, Apolog. I. c. 67.

In 1 Cor. xii. 28, is another account of Paul concerning the offices in the church existing at Corinth; from which it appears that there were reckoned in that church the following orders of offices and gifts: ἀπόστολοι, προφῆται, διδάσκαλοι, δυνάμεις, χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων, ἀντιλήψεις, κυβερνήσεις, γένη γλωσσῶν, διερμηνεῦται ̇ quite a different reckoning from that in our text, and yet the object of it is the very same as in Rom. xii. 8, viz. to shew Christians that the same Spirit has bestowed gifts and offices of different and various kinds, but that inasmuch as he is the author of all, and they who possess them all belong to one and the same body, so there should be no boasting or pride indulged on account of them, but every one who possesses them should exercise his own gift in the best manner he can, for the edification of the whole.

It must be obvious, that the kʊßɛpvýoes here mentioned, seems to accord with the poïoráμɛvoc in the text; but whether it accords with the same word in 1 Thess. v. 12. 1 Tim. v. 17, seems more doubtful. From a comparison of the whole together, it appears equally clear that the office itself of a poïσráμevoç, as designated here (and in 1 Cor. xii. 28 by Kußɛpvnoes), was one of the lowest in the church. It is ranked the seventh, in 1 Cor. xii. 28; and the sixth, in Rom. xii. 8. In 1 Tim. v. 17 and 1 Thess. v. 12, it is represented as entitled to special honour, when it is united with the person of a teacher or preacher.

'O ¿λewv Ev iλapórnri, he who shews compassion, [let him do it] with cheerfulness; comp. 2 Cor. ix. 7.

I have, in the above paragraphs, given the reader the usual exegesis of the passage in question, viz. ὁ μεταδιδοὺς, ἐν ἁπλότητι· ὁ προϊστάμενος, ἐν σπουδῇ· ὁ ἐλεῶν, ἐν ἱλαρότητι. But an attentive and repeated examination of it has raised doubts in my own mind, whether there is not a radical mistake at the foundation of this whole interpretation. I refer not now to the verbal criticisms

merely; which, it is obvious, are in general well founded and correct. But I refer to the assumption, in this case, that ò μeradidovs, ó πpoïotáμevos, and ó éλewv, designate officers or offices in the church; I mean officers in the usual and proper sense of the word, viz. men set apart by the special designation and appointment of the church for the performance of some peculiar and appropriate duties. I have a predominant persuasion, that these words here designate duties which individuals merely as such were to perform, and to whom the church looked for such performance, because they had ability or opportunity to perform them, or (if it shall be thought more probable) who were specially desired by the church to perform them. In this last case it might be true, for example, that to an individual in the church who was wealthy, the church looked in a peculiar manner with expectation that he would aid the poor; or (to adduce another example) it might happen that some individual had leisure, and also particular qualifications, for visiting the sick, consoling mourners, counselling the perplexed, relieving the distressed by various personal attentions, &c., and the church looked to him as a ó éλev, or they made a special request of him that he would attend to such duties. All this might be, nay, it is all very natural and probable; while, at the same time, this would not prove that there were regularly instituted offices in the church, designated by ὁ μεταδιδούς, ὁ προϊστα μενος, and ὁ ἐλεῶν.

These hints give the general views which I feel compelled to entertain of the words under examination. But as the whole subject has an important bearing on the polity of the Christian church, I feel obliged to assign reasons for such an opinion.

(1) It is obvious that the apostle does not here confine himself to extraordinary and miraculous gifts only, although he includes them. The popýtns was one who spoke under the influence of inspiration; but & didáσkov and ó Ħapakaλav might or might not be inspired; for the office itself was of a permanent or general nature, and not limited to special circumstances. So the diákovos might or might not be an inspired man; for Stephen (Acts vi. vii.) was “ full of the Holy Ghost," while we have no particular reason to believe that all of his brethren in office were endowed with the same gift. The same is true of ó μeraδιδούς, ὁ προϊστάμενος, and ὁ ἐλεῶν· for the respective individuals who performed the duties designated by these words, might, at times, enjoy special divine assistance and direction. But this belongs not essentially to the nature of the duties themselves, which may in general be performed without miraculous interposition.

(2) It is equally obvious, that the apostle, in the whole extent of his exhortation here, includes both public and private, official and unofficial duties. A bare inspection of vs. 6-21 sets this question at rest. He means to say, that inasmuch as all Christians are members of one and the same body, all their gifts and talents, of whatever kind or nature, whether adapted to the performance of public or private duties, whether they are aided by the special influence of the Spirit or otherwise-all were to be employed in the most efficient and profitable manner. Such is the evident tenor of his whole discourse. Who, for example, would seek in vs. 9, 10, seq., for directions only to men in official stations?

There is no reasonable question, therefore, respecting the general principle which I have here laid down, in regard to the whole paragraph which contains the apostle's exhortation. But where does he dismiss the address to the officers of the church as such, and begin with individuals or laymen? This is the very gist of the question; and in order to throw some light on this, I observe,

(3) That the very construction and natural order of vs. 6-8, favour the supposition, that the last three classes of men named are private, not official persons.

In respect to the natural order of the passage, it would seem to be an obvious dictate of propriety, that the apostle should begin first with the officers of the church : and this he has plainly done; for we have προφήτης, διάκονος, διδάσκαλος, ὁ παρακαλῶν, before he proceeds to the rest. Now, if after παρακαλῶν, he proceeds to unofficial men, (as I suppose), then it would be perfectly natural to select from among these, those who were particularly distinguished in the church for their usefulness; and so he seems to have done.

(4) It is difficult, if not impossible, to make out official distinctions through the whole of vs. 6-8. How does ó peradidoús, as an officer of the church, differ from ó diákovos? And again; how does ó new differ from both, or from either? A question which none of the commentators have answered with any good degree of satisfaction. Indeed, most of them pass the difficulty over with entire silence; which is at least the most easy, if not the most instructive, method of commentary. Here then, according to them, are two supplementary offices to that of diákovos, the main, and originally the only, duty of which was, to take care of the poor.

But further; who is ó πpoïσráμevos? He who presides over the church? If so, how can he be placed the sixth in rank here, and the seventh in 1 Cor. xii. 28? (See κvßeрvýσeis there). Then again, why should ó проïστáμevos not have a place among the teachers, instead of being placed where it has, on the right and left hand, an office of mere charity? Does the presiding officer of a whole church ever rank in this way, in times either ancient or modern? I know of no such example. Is not ó poïoráμevos, a teacher, in 1 Thess. v. 12, and in 1 Tim. v. 17?

I am aware, indeed, that the apostle has not strictly followed the order of office here, as to dignity or rank, inasmuch as he has mentioned the deacon before the teacher or exhorter. But there is an apparent reason for this. In speaking to the official classes of the Romish church, the highest and lowest office, viz. that of prophet and deacon, i. e. the two extremes of office occurred first; which is a very natural method of thought. These the apostle wrote down as they occurred. He then supplied the intermediate offices, viz. that of teacher and exhorter, i. e. the proper doctrinal instructor, whether in public or private, and exhorter or practical and persuasive preacher. This will account very naturally for the order of officers here. But in 1 Cor. xii. 28, the apostle ex professo recounts the natural order seriatim; which he makes to be, 1. Apostles. 2. Prophets. 3. Teachers. 4. Such as possessed miraculous powers in general (dvváμeis). 5. Such as possessed the gift of healing the sick. 6. ̓Αντιλήψεις. 7. Κυβερνήσεις. 8. Those who spoke various languages. 9. Interpreters (comp. ver. 30).

Here then, the ὁ μεταδιδούς, ὁ προϊστάμενος, and ὁ ἐλεῶν of our text, are omitted, (unless indeed the ὁ προϊστάμενος is found in the κυβερνήσεις, of which more hereafter), and ảvriλýveis comes in for ó diákovos. So Bretschneider on avrinis; "haud dubie ad munus diaconorum et diaconissarum respicitur, ut etiam patres eccles. putarunt." That this last declaration is correct, one may see by consulting Suicer's Thesaurus, sub voc. dvriλnvis. Vitringa thinks that avriλnis means, the interpreters of foreign languages (comp. 1 Cor. xii. 30, diepμnvevovσi), De Vet. Synag. II. 31. p. 509. But the other exegesis is most natural; for dvrλnis means, help, assistance, care; and here the abstract (as grammarians say) being used for the concrete, the sense is curatores, i. e. διάκονοι.

It is obvious, now, that in this noted passage in 1 Cor. xii. 28, ó μetadidoús and ó éleŵy are omitted; and this gives very strong reason to suspect, that these were not properly offices in the church.

But how is it with ὁ προϊστάμενος? Is he not found in the κυβερνήσεις of 1 Cor. xii. 28? This looks probable at first view; but let us examine a little more thoroughly.

First, I remark, that the word рotornμ and its derivates are by no means confined to designate the idea of presiding over persons. It sometimes conveys the idea of being placed over any thing, or any kind of business, in order to take care of it, see that it is done, &c.; i. e. the undertaker in any thing, the protector or curator of any person or thing, the Greeks call ὁ προϊστάμενος, ὁ προεστώς, ¿ πpoïσrárns, i. q. patron, helper. Accordingly the word occurs in the sense of aiding, assisting, &c. in Rom. xvi. 2, where the brethren of the Roman church are charged by the apostle to aid, in any manner she may need, Phebe, who had been a πроσтáτis of many Christians, i. e. a helper, a curator, one who had aided them by her personal attention and by her charity. The grammarian Varinus explains poσraσía by Bondeia. In the letter of Athanasius ad Solitarios, when speaking of the disposition of Zenobia to aid Paul of Samosata, he says: роéσтη Tоû Ɛapooárews, she aided him of Samosata. So Theophylact, commenting on Rom. xii. 8, says: Προΐστασθαί ἐστι τὸ βοηθεῖν, καὶ διὰ ῥήματ των καὶ διὰ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ τῷ βοηθείας δεομένῳ, i. e. προΐστασθαι means, To aid, both by words and by personal services, him who is needy.

That such a meaning then may be given to ô πpoïσráμevos in Rom. xii. 8, seems clear. The usus loquendi allows it. What then does the context demand? Let us see what precedes, and what follows.


What precedes is, ὁ μεταδιδοὺς, ἐν ἁπλότητι· which I now render, let him who imparts [charity], do it with liberality. So beyond all doubt, the words may be rendered. That anλórŋs may mean liberality, one may see in 2 Cor. viii. 2. ix. 11, 13. James i. 5. So Xenophon: ánλovotátov dé poi dokeî eivat K. T. λ., it seems to me to be the part of a most liberal man, &c. Cyrop. VIII. p. 155. So Josephus, speaking of Araunah's liberal offer to David (2 Sam. xxiv. 19-24), says: David highly esteemed his ånλórnτa, liberality, &c. Antiq. VII. 10. So in Test. XII. Patriach, p. 624: ô Đeòs σvvepyeî tŷ áñdóTηTÍ μov, God helped my liberal disposition. See other examples in Kypke in loc. As to ó peradidous, which is commonly applied to one who distributes charity, and so made for substance synonymous with dtákovos, it is very doubtful, to

Bretschneider has

say the least, whether the word will bear this construction. indeed given it such a meaning, (as others before him have often done); but, as Vitringa long ago observed (De Vet. Synag. II. 3. p. 501), “the proper Greek word for distribute is diadidwu" as one may see in John vi. 11. Luke xviii. 22, (also in xi. 22 it has the like sense). Acts iv. 35. The like sense this verb has in the classics. But peradiow properly means, to impart among others what belongs to one's self, to give of one's own to others; which is, or at any rate may be, a very different thing from distributing the alms of the church.

If these words be rightly explained, we have in them a command of the apostle, that those who are able peradidóvai, to give in charity, should do this in a liberal manner. That all this is congruous and appropriate, I presume no one will venture to deny.

We have seen what precedes ó проïoráμevos. Let us now see what follows it. This is ó éλeŵv, év Napórŋtɩ, let him who performs deeds of mercy, do it cheerfully, i. e. let him go about this task with a willing mind, voluntarily, not grudgingly and with a forbidding demeanour. The duty of ó eλev may differ from that of ó μeradidous, in this respect, viz., that the former consisted in personal cares and services bestowed upon the sick, and unfortunate; while the latter consisted in donations of money, food, &c. These latter duties devolved especially on the rich; the former could be performed by all classes of Christians.

Between these two classes of benefactors, then, the apostle places ó πроïστáμevos. If these classes, now, are not officers of the church, it would seem probable that poïoráμevos does not here stand for one. That ὁ ἐλεῶν cannot be made to mean an officer of the church, the silence of most commentators concerning it would seem pretty strongly to indicate. Accordingly, Vitringa does not hesitate to say: Quicquid enim adversæ opinionis auctores statuant, fieri non potest, ut per ròv éλeoûvra describantur aliqui ecclesiæ officiarii [officers].

It does seem most probable, therefore, that ó mрoïστáμevos, is of the like tenor with poσtátis in Rom. xvi. 2, which there means, one who receives and entertains strangers, i.e. a helper of Christian brethren coming from abroad; for such a helper (πрoστáτis) was Phebe. And this seems the more probable, inasmuch as the duty of hospitality so often and so urgently insisted on by the apostles, has no specific mention among the special charities here, unless it be included in this word; although it is touched on, as it respects the church in general, in ver. 13. But a comparison with Rom. xvi. 2, as I must think, renders the sense now given to ó πроïσráμevos, quite probable.

But Tholuck and others appeal to Kußeρvýσeis in 1 Cor. xii. 28, and say, that as Kußeрvýσeis means there a special gift or office bestowed by the influence of the Spirit, so o πpoïσтáμevos must be considered as corresponding with it. But what is Kußépvŋous? A question difficult to be answered,'inasmuch as this word in 1 Cor. xii. 28 is a drag λeyóμevov. In classic Greek it means guidance, direction, steering; and is especially (as also the verb Kußepváw) applied to designate the steering or guiding of a ship by the pilot. Hence many critics


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