« PreviousContinue »
kindest wishes for the temporal and spiritual prosperity of our friends; and it disposes one christian society to receive the members of another, when properly recommended, and to aid and assist them as far, as in their power. How honourable the characters of those whom Paul salutes. Some were disciples before him; others were fellow-labourers in the gospel, and all were united in the common head, Christ.
2. We learn that men of corrupt minds will creep into the churches of Christ, and trouble them. They assume a christian profession, and for a season may be highly esteemed; but anon their temper betrays them. They become quarrelsome, and cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine of Christ. Let all sincere believers mark such, and have no fellowship with them, Let them act as the believing Romans did; whose obedience to the apostle was honourably spread abroad, and to whom the apostle gives the assurance," that their great enemy, Satan, should soon be vanquished. The first promise should be fulfilled, and the head of the serpent bruised; and God would do this as the God of peace, reconciled by the sacrifice of Christ.
to make proselytes to their own views, and to serve their own carnal interests. 20. Bruise Satan, &c. See Gen. iii. 15. Bad men, the instruments of Satan, especially the persecuting Jews.
22. Tertius the scribe. Whether he wrote what Paul dictated, or copied in a more legible hand, what Paul had wrote, is uncertain.
3. We learn also to show particular regard to those who are engaged in the work of the ministry. Paul mentions Timothy, who was his son in the faith, as his work-fellow, engaged as he was in the spread of the blessed gospel; and he served him as a son, and was ready to accompany him in his journeys, and to share with him in the persecutions and sufferings which befel him in his master's cause. Lucius and Jason were also devoted to Christ, and with Sosipater, Paul's kinsman, were probably known to many at Rome; and for this reason they send their christian salutations. Some of the disciples were given to hospitality; and such deserve distinguished honour. Paul mentions Gaius, who kindly entertained him, and not only him, but was ready to receive and entertain the members of the whole church. The salutation of such a man must be received with pleasure. Thus were the disciples originally united in the bonds of love; and by an interchange of friendly offices, were constantly exercising it. This showed that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was in an eminent degree with them; and may the same grace be with all the churches, and all the members thereof. Amen.
23. Gaius, &e. He is supposed to be the person mentioned 1 Cor. i. 14, whom Paul had baptized, and who being rich and generous, entertained the apostle while he abode at Corinth, and showed great hospitality to all the members of the church there.Erastus was also a man of rank and wealth, belonging to the Corinthian church.
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
CORINTH was situated on the Isthmus which joins Peloponnesus to Greece, and from its situation became famous for its trade and commerce, wealth and luxury. Here the apostle Paul laboured near two full years; and a numerous church was gathered and formed, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles. On his departure they were divided into parties and factions; and some teachers among them disputed Paul's apostolic mission. His design in writing this epistle was to defend his own authority, to correct the abuses and corruptions which had crept into the church, and to answer some queries which had been sent to him. He has treated on all these points with freedom; and concludes, as usual, with salutations. He is supposed to have written this from Ephesus, about three years after he had left them, having been informed of their state and of the improper conduct of many among them.
A. D. 57. After saluting them the apostle reproves their dissentions; he vindicates the gospel, and the plain manner of preaching it, as tending to advance the divine glory.
PAUL, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both 3 their and our Lord: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always on your account, for the grace of God which is bestowed on you 5 by Jesus Christ; For ye have been enriched by him, in every thing, and in all utterance, and in 6 all knowledge; According as the testimony con7 cerning Christ was confirmed among you: So
CHAP. I. 1. Called to be an apostle. Called in the most singular manner to this high and honourable office. See Acts ix.-Sosthenes. If this person be the same as mentioned, Acts xviii. 17, he must have been afterwards converted, and became a preacher, and was now the fellow-labourer of Paul. 2. Sanctified, &c. Set apart in the divine purpose. As this is mentioned as prior to their being "called to be saints," I conceive that the sense given must be admitted. See Jude, verse 1.— Call upon the name, &c. See note,
Acts ix. 21.
4-9. I thank my God, &c. What the apostle says does not respect every individual, but such among them as had received miraculous gifts; such as "utterance" of tongue, they had not spoken, "knowledge" of the christian doctrine, &c.- -Blameless, &c. Afford such aid as to enable you to continue
that ye are inferior in no gift; looking for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who 8 will also establish you blameless unto the end, even in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God 9 is faithful, by whom ye have been called into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name 10 of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me 11 concerning you, my brethren, by those that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now I mean this, 12 that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I, of Apollos; and I, of Peter; and I, of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified 13 for you? or were ye baptized into the name of
stedfast, abounding in the work of the Lord, so that in the day when Christ cometh, ye may be accepted of him; and this you may expect, as God, who hath called you into fellowship with his Son, is faithful.
10. Speak the same thing. Maintain the same doctrine and sentiments, so as to avoid divisions or schisms; that there may be no diminution of christian esteem and affection.
12. Now I mean this, &c. That you regard different teachers as different leaders, and you range yourselves as followers of some one of them. “One saith I am of Paul;" I am his disciple and follower.—1, of Christ. From this we may infer that there were some Jews at Corinth, who had heard our Lord preach, and who claimed, on this account, particular houour.
13-16. Is Christ divided? As to his person or doctrine. "Was Paul
The effects of preaching.
14 Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of 15 you, but Crispus and Gaius; So that none can say that I baptized into mine own name. 16 But I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not that I baptized any other.
Who are called.
the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the ▾ Gentiles" foolishness; But to those that are called, 24 both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For this fool- 25 ishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men; and this weakness of God is stronger than the strength of men.
For observe, brethren, those of you that 26 are called, that not many are wise men accord- :
For Christ sent me not so much to baptize, as to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made 18 of no effect. For the preaching of the crossing to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble: But God hath chosen the foolish things 27 of the world to put to shame the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world. to put to shame the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which 28 are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in the pre- 29 sence of God." By him then are ye in Christ 30 Jesus, whom God hath made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, 31 "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
is to those that are lost, foolishness; but unto 19 us that are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understand20 ing of the prudent." Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom 21 of this world? For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by this foolishness which we 22 preach, to save those who believe. For the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after 23 wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified; to
1 CORINTHIANS I.
CHAP. I. 23. Griesb.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER 1. 1. Let us remember that we also are sanctified in Christ,' and saints by our christian calling. Though not enriched with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, with which this church was favoured, yet we have been enabled to credit the testimony given to the Saviour, and are among the number of those who call
erucified for you?" He uses his own name with great delicacy, though the same might be said of Peter, or of Apollos. Neither Paul nor any other teacher had been crucified for them, nor had they been baptized into any of their names.
17. Not so much to, &c. See Pearce for this sense of the negative.Wisdom of speech. Learned and eloquent speech, adorned with all the beauties of language, lest the cross of Christ should be useless as a revealed doctrine. 18. Are lost-are saved. The apostle describes sinners as lost from the state in which they are, and believers as saved, for the same reason. Those in unbelief and sin consider the preaching of the cross as foolishness, both in respect to the matter and manner; but the real convert has found, and judges it, to be the powerful doctrine of God to his salvation.
19, 20. It is written, &c. Is. xxix. 14. This shows that God had a design to confound the boasted wisdom of the proud. Where now is the wise? what has he accomplished by his wisdom? What has the disputer done?Made foolish. Shown it to be so, by teaching men its insufficiency to convey the knowledge of God, or to reform sinners.
21. After that, in the, &c. In the wisdom of God displayed in his works and government, it appeared that the wisest men of the world knew not iu reality God, it pleased God, &c.—By this foolishness, &c. By the doctrine of a crucified Saviour, to save all who believe, by bringing them to know God, and worship and serve him.
22-25. The Jews require signs. Miracles and wonders to usher in a
on his name. Let us rejoice that so many have been called and enjoy fellowship in Christ Jesus; and ever pray that the same grace and peace may be with them from God our father, and from our Lord and Saviour; that we all may be confirmed in the faith; in the privileges and enjoyments of the gospel, until the manifestation of Christ, when
temporal Messiah; and the Greeks wisdom, some scheme of philosophy; but what we preach is Christ crucified, which, though offensive to both, yet to such as are called from among them, it is the most powerful and wise doctrine, What is meant by "the foolishness of God" being wiser than men, is explained in the following verses.
26. Those of you that, &c. With many critics, I prefer the sense to the idiom, as the idiomatical rendering may be misunderstood.—Not many are, &c. Not many implies, that there were some, who had been taught the philosophy of the schools-some men of power, by their wealth or their officesand some of noble descent, who had been called, and bowed to the authority and doctrine of Jesus.
27-29. Foolish things, &c. Persons so accounted by the wise; weak instruments to put to shame persons of power; and base or ignoble and despised; even the Gentiles, who were regarded by the Jews as nothing, Deut. xxxii. 21, and 1 Pet. ii. 10, to bring to nought, &c. to occupy the place and enjoy the privileges of which the Jews deprived themselves by their unbelief, that no flesh should glory, &c.
30. By him then are, &c. It is owing to God then, and not to your ability, nor the ability of preachers, that ye are believers in Christ, who hath taught us wisdom of a nature far more excellent than any scheme of philosophy; so that by him we have righteousness for our justification, the Spirit for our sanctification, and are expecting redemption from all the evils and enemies we have had to encounter. Hence glory in the Lord Jesus only.
1 CORINTHIANS IL
2. We learn what, as followers of Christ, we should aspire to be, We should, as far as our different degrees of mental capacity and improvement will admit, aspire after union in mind, affection and judgment; and especially avoid a spirit of contention and of party. It is not differences in opinion only, but hatred, animosity, and the want of christian affection which constitutes the sin of schism. Let us bless God for the talents of different ministers of his word, yet let us guard against making any one the head of a party, and of opposing and despising others. God may, and not unfrequently does, bless weaker instruments, to teach us that his cause owes its success to his own power and influence, and not to the superior wisdom and eloquence of men. Let us keep in mind, that they preach the same faith, exhibit the same Saviour, and direct all their labours to the honour of him, who was crucified for sinners. Let us esteem such highly for their work's sake; but call and own Christ only as our head and
Power of his preaching.
However, we speak wisdom among those that 6 are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who will come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God 7 contained in a mystery, that which was hidden, which God ordained before the world for our glory: Which none of the rulers of this 8 world knew: (for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.) But as it is written, “ But as it is written, "Things which eye hath 9 not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, God hath prepared for them that love him." But God hath re- 10 vealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what is it that knoweth the things 11
That are perfect. In the judgment of well-instructed christians we speak wisdom; yet not the wisdom of this world, &c. The wisdom the apostle spoke was the doctrine concerning the person and offices of Christ, justification by faith; the calling of the Gentiles, and the rejection of the Jews,
Lord; and let ministers feel and act as servants of Christ, having a single eye to his glory.
3. We learn also how contemptible is the boasted wisdom of this world, when compared with the wisdom which is from above. What are all the refinements of the most learned Rabbies, or of the most acute philosophers, but very foolishness, in comparison with the wis. dom of God as displayed in the cross of Christ, for reconciling his mercy and justice in the salvation of sinners. How weak and inef ficacious are all their contrivances for instructing and reforming men, and leading them to peace and happiness; if contrasted with the energy that has attended, and which does yet attend, the plain and faithful preaching of a crucified Saviour. But in the dispensation of grace, how freely and sovereignly God acts! He hath called men of the lowest rank and of the worst character, both to preach, and to receive the gospel, that all occasion of boasting might be taken away, that no flesh should glory in his presence. How can such glory and acknowledge, that " Of him, are they in Christ Jesus, who is made to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption."
the resurrection of the dead, and the happiness and misery of a future state. This was not a wisdom of this world, not known by the great body of men, nor even by the rulers and persons of the best informed minds, as is manifest by their opposition; yet will these rulers, both of the Jewish and Gentile world, be brought to nothing.
7,8. Contained in a mystery, &c. The doctrines of the gospel lay hid, in a great measure, in the types and figures of the law of Moses, and in the Old Testament prophecies, until the coming of our Lord, by whose ministry and death, and the subsequent labours of the apostles, they were made mani. fest.- -Have crucified the Lord, &c. None of the rulers of this world, whether Pilate and other heathens, or the Jewish, high priests and rabbies, knew this wisdom: for if they had, they would not have crucified him who is, and deserves to be called, the Lord of glory.
9, 10. As it is written, &c. See Is. Ixiv. 4.—— But God hath, &c. What things were in some degree hid, God had now revealed by his Spirit; and this, blessed Spirit was able fully to reveal them, for he searcheth and knoweth all things, yea, &c. See Rev. ii. 23.
11. For what is it that, &c. With Pearce I omit agony with the Alex
The spiritual man.
of a man, but the spirit of a man which is in him? In like manner also, none knoweth the 12 things of God, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, || but the Spirit which is from God; that we may know the things which have been freely given 13 to us by God. Which things we speak also, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; comparing 14 spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually 15 searched out. But he that is spiritual search. eth out all things, yet he himself is searched
I CORINTHIANS III.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER II. 1. We learn what is the great subject of the gospel, and what every minister should labour both to know and to make known; this is Jesus Christ and him crucified. His glorious person, offices, grace and work communicate to the gospel all its value, and render it glad tidings of great joy to sinners. Nor does it need adorning with "excellency of speech," or the wisdom of philosophy, to secure its success and its triumphs. It affects by its simplicity and the truth of its statements; and from a sense of our sin, we feel its adaptation to our state and condition. While it exhibits the love of the Father in giving up his beloved Son; and the love of the Son in giving up himself to humiliation, shame, reproach and crucifixion, our doubts are removed, and we are constrained to admit that in him there is forgiveness, and that through him we may be saved.
2. We are taught what we should ardently desire, even more of
andrian ms. and some fathers, as it adds nothing to the sense, and embarasses the construction.In like manner, &c. The Spirit of God is as much one with God as the conscious principle or spirit of a man is one with him.
12. Now we have, &c. Such a spirit as the men of the world possess, priding themselves in their own powers of reason, learning, and eloquence'; but the Spirit, &c. is an instructor, by whom we know the things, &c.
13. In the words which, &c. In language which the schools teach; but which the Spirit teacheth. Comparing spiritual, &c. Comparing one revelation with another, using our reason as Peter did, Acts xi. 28.; and Paul himself, Acts xvi. 9, 10. See also 2 Cor. x. 12. Two other renderings of this clause have been given. Doddridge, "Explaining spiritual things in spiritual words;" and Dr. Pearce, "Explaining spiritual things to spiritual men." The text will bear any of these renderings; and I am not able to decide which is the true one. The first gives the most usual sense of Guyxgivores; the second supposes that the term λoyos, words, is implied, which agrees with the preceding clauses; and the third avgwaois, men, is understood, which connects with the following verse.
14. The sensual man. So this term is rendered, James iii. 15. Jude, verse 19. 1 understand a person to be meant who maintains the sufficiency of his own reason to find out what is his duty, and follows the inclinations of nature, and the gratification of his senses, confining his thoughts and cares to this life only; one that hath the spirit of the world, verse 12; the carnal man, Ch. iii. 1, 3.- -Neither can he know, &c. Not for want of understanding; VOL. III. PART XXII. O o
Babes in Christ. out by no man. For who hath known the 16 mind of the Lord, that he may instruct the spiritual man? But we have the mind of Christ.
A. D. 57. Paul reproves them as carnal, shows that ministers are nothing without Christ, who is the only foundation; men should regard themselves as the temples of God, and keep themselves pure, &c.
MOREOVER, brethren, I could not speak to 1 you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, and not with 2 meat: for ye were not then able to bear it; nor indeed are ye now able. For ye are still 3 carnal: for whereas there is among you envy
13. • Holy. Mss. versions.
that hidden wisdom, which all true converts in some degree possess. This exhibits to us views, and excites hopes, beyond what eye hath seen, or ear heard, or whatever entered into the heart of man to conceive. Nor is it necessary that we should distinctly conceive of it. It is sufficient to know in general, that it is what God hath prepared for them that love him. May the Holy Spirit who searcheth all things, impart to us a deeper knowledge of ourselves and of the things freely given to us of God; rendering us spiritual, that we may not mistake. and err with the sensual and wicked. We may learn these things from the holy scriptures, where we have the mind of Christ delivered to us by his apostles. Let us receive with humility the truths they deliver; and while some censure and despise, may we esteem it our honour as well as our happiness, cordially to embrace and follow their instructions.
but from his strong indisposition towards them.Searched out. For this sense of avangivw, see Schleus. The term is so rendered, Acts xvii. 11, where it means a diligent and careful examination of the Old Testament scriptures. He cannot know them, because they are to be searched out by the light which revelation, and not reason, affords.
15. Spiritual. One awakened to a spiritual concern, and born of the Spirit, will search out all things, which he hears from us inspired apostles and preachers, reasoning upon the revelations which unfold the scheme of salvation; "yet he himself is searched out by no man," by no seusual man; as such cannot judge of his principles, or the mode of his reasoning, in reference to spiritual things.
16. That he may instruct, &c. Who of the wisest philosophers and rabbies can do this? With Macknight and others, I refer the pronoun to the spiritual man. -But we have, &c. He speaks of himself and other inspired teachers, as knowing the mind of Christ, respecting the way of salvation, and all things relating to it.
CHAP. II. 1. I could not speak, &c. When among you I could not, with a just regard to your state, speak in a higher manner, owing to your inability to understand.As to carnal, &c. What he immediately adds, as to babes, shows that curnal signifies only that they were comparatively so.
2-4. I fed you with milk, &c. Taught you the first principles of the gospel, and not the more abstruse and interesting doctrines: for ye were not then, &c. Walk as carnal men. Showing great ignorance of the gospel, in 289