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27 Now ye are the body of| 28 And God hath set some in Christ, and members a in par- the church; first, apostles ; seticular.
condarily, prophets ; . thirdly, a Eph.5.30.
b Luke 6.13.
c Acts 13.1.
and should lead all the members of a them and qualified them than he has church to rejoice when God, by his others. q Secondarily, prophets. As direct agency, or by the arrangements second in regard to endowments and of his providence, confers extraordinary importance. For the meaning of the endowments, or gives opportunity for word “prophets," see Note on Rom. extended usefulness to others.
xii. 6. 1 Thirdly, teachers. As occu27. Now ye. Ye Christians of Co- pying the third station in point of imrinth, as a part of the whole church that portance and valuable endowments. has been redeemed. I Are the body of On the meaning of this word, and the Christ. The allusion to the human nature of this office, see Note on Rom. body is here kept up. As all the mem- xii. 7. I After that, miracles. Power. bers of the human body compose one (duráusus). Those who had the power body, having a common head, so it is of working miracles; referred to in ver. with all the members and parts of the 10. 1 Then gifts of healings. The Christian church. The specific idea is, power of healing those who were sick. that Christ is the Head of the whole See Note on ver. 9. Comp. James v. church; that he presides over all; and 14, 15. 9 Helps (artianus). This.word that all its members sustain to each occurs nowhere else in the New Testaother the relation of fellow members in ment. It is derived from årtiad ubaya, the same body, and are subject to the and denotes properly aid, assistance, same head. Comp. Note, ch. xi. 3. The help; and then those who render aid, church is often called the body of Christ. assistance, or help; helpers. Who they Eph. i. 23. Col. i. 18. 24. q And mem- were, is not known. They might have bers in particular. You are, as indivi- been those to whom was intrusted the duals, members of the body of Christ; or care of the poor, and the sick, and each individual is a member of that body. strangers, widows, and orphans, &c.;
28. And God hath set. That is, has i.e. those who performed the office of appointed, constituted, ordained. He deacons. Or they may have been those has established these various orders or who attended on the apostles to aid Tanks in the church. The apostle, hav- them in their work, such as Paul refers ing illustrated the main idea that God to in Rom. xvi. 3, “Greet Priscilla, had conferred various endowments on and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jethe members of the church, proceeds sus;" and in ver. 9, “ Salute Urbane, here to specify particularly what he our helper in Christ.” See Note on meant, and to refer more directly to Rom. xvi. 3. It is not possible, perthe various ranks which existed in the haps, to determine the precise meaning church. 9 Some in the church. The of the word, or the nature of the office word “some,” in this place (cs), seems which they discharged; but the word to mean rather whom, and whom God means, in general, those who in any hath placed in the church, or, they way aided or rendered assistance in the whom God hath constituted in the church, and may refer to the temporal church in the manner above mentioned affairs of the church, to the care of the are, first, apostles, &c. 1 First, apostles. poor, the distribution of charity and In the first rank or order; or as supe-alms, or to the instruction of the ignorior in honour and in office. He has rant, or to aid rendered directly to the given them the highest authority in the apostles. There is no evidence that it church; he has more signally endowed refers to a distinct and permanent office
teachers; after that, miracles ; governments, " 1 diversities of then gifts of healing, helps, tongues.' b ver.9.
a ver. 10.
1 or, kinds.
e Acts 2.8-11.
in the church; but may refer to aid quired the aid of many persons in varendered by any class in any way. rious capacities which might not be Probably many persons were profitably needful or proper in other times and and usefully employed in various ways circumstances. Whether, therefore, this as aids in promoting the temporal or is to be regarded as a permanent arspiritual welfare of the church. 1 Go- rangement that there should be vernments (rubegroitus). This word is vernments” in the church, or an order derived from rubegrác, to govern; and of men intrusted with the sole office is usually applied to the government or of governing, is to be learned not from steering of a ship. The word occurs this passage, but from other parts of nowhere else in the New Testament, the New Testament. Lightfoot conthough the word xubegrítus (governor) tends that the word which is here used occurs in Acts xxvii. 11, rendered “mas- and translated “ governments” does not ter,” and in Rev. xviii. 17, rendered refer to the power of ruling, but to a “ ship-master.” It is not easy to deter- person endued with a deep and commine what particular office or function prehensive mind, one who is wise and is here intended. Doddridge, in ac- prudent; and in this view Mosheim, cordance with Amyraut, supposes that Macknight, and Bp. Horsley coincide. distinct offices may not be here referred | Calvin refers it to the elders to whona to, but that the same persons may be the exercise of discipline was intrusted. denoted in these expressions as being Grotius understands it of the pastors distinguished in various ways; that is, (Eph. iv. 1), or of the elders who prethat the same persons were called help- sided over particular churches. Rom. ers in reference to their skill in aiding xii. 8. Locke supposes that they were those who were in distress, and govern- the same as those who had the power ments in regard to their talent for doing of discerning spirits. The simple idea, business, and their ability in presiding | however, is that of ruling, or exercising in councils for deliberation, and in di- government; but whether this refers to recting the affairs of the church. There a permanent office, or to the fact that is no reason to think that the terms some were specially qualified by their here used referred to permanent and wisdom and prudence, and in virtue of established ranks and orders in the mis this usually regulated or directed the nistry and in the church ; or inspikes affairs of the church by giving counsel, nent offices which were to continue to all &c., or whether they were selected and times as an essential part of its organi- appointed for this purpose for a time; zation. It is certain that the "order" of or whether it refers to the same persons apostles has ceased, and also the “order” who might also have exercised other of miracles, and the order of healings, functions, and this in addition, cannot and of diversity of tongues. And it is be determined from the passage before certain that in the use of these terms us. All that is clear is, that there were: of office, the apostle does not affirm that those who administered government in they would be permanent, and essential the church. But the passage does not to the very existence of the church; and determine the form, or manner; nor from the passage before us, therefore, it does it prove-whatever may be true cannot be argued that there was to be that such an office was to be permanent an order of men in the church who were in the church. 9 Diversities of longues. to be called helps, or governments. The Those endowed with the power of truth probably was, that the circum- speaking various languages. See Note stances of the primitive churches re- i on ver. 10.
29 Are all apostles? are all sing? do all speak with tongues ? prophets ? are all teachers ? are do all interpret? all i workers of miracles ?
31 But covet a earnestly the 30 Have all the gifts of heal- besto gifts : and yet shew I unto
a c.14.39. you a more excellent way. b Matt.5.6. Luke 10.42.
1 or, powers.
29, 30. Are all apostles ? &c. These Spirit; and that he confers them as he questions imply, with strong emphasis, pleases. I have been showing that no that it could not be, and ought not to one should be proud or elated on acbe, that there should be perfect equality count of extraordinary endowments; of endowment. It was not a matter of and that, on the other hand, no one fact that all were equal, or that all were should be depressed, or sad, or disconqualified for the offices which others tented, because he has a more humble sustained. Whether the arrangement rank. I have been endeavouring to was approved of or not, it was a simple repress and subdue the spirit of dismatter of fact that some were qualified content, jealousy, and ambition ; and to perform offices which others were to produce a willingness in all to occupy not; that some were endowed with the the station where God has placed you. abilities requisite to the apostolic office, But, I do not intend to deny that it is and others not; that some were en- proper to desire the most useful endowdowed with prophetic gifts, and others ments ; that a man should wish to be were not; that some had the gift of brought under the influence of the healing, or the talent of speaking differ- Spirit, and qualified for eminent usefulent languages, or of interpreting, and ness. I do not mean to say that it is that others had not.
wrong for a man to regard the higher 31. But covet earnestly. Gr. “Be gifts of the Spirit as valuable and dezealous for" (Zndoute). This word, how. sirable, if they may be obtained; nor ever, may be either in the indicative that the spirit which seeks to excel in mood (ye do covet earnestly), or in the spiritual endowments and in usefulimperative, as in our translation. Dodness, is improper. Yet all cannot be dridge contends that it should be render- apostles; all cannot be prophets. I ed in the indicative mood, for he says it would not have you, therefore, seek seems to be a contradiction that after such offices, and manifest a spirit of the apostle had been showing that these ambition. I would seek to regulate the gifts were not at their own option, and desire which I would not repress as that they ought not to emulate the gifts fnd seser ; and in order to that, I would of another, or aspire to superiority, to show you that, instead of aspiring to undo all again, and give them such offices and extraordinary endowments contrary advice. The same view is which are beyond your grasp, there is given by Locke, and so Macknight. a way, more truly valuable, that is The Syriac renders it, “ Because you open to you all, and where all may are zealous of the best gifts, I will excel.' Paul thus endeavours to give show to you a more excellent way." | a practicable and feasible turn to tho But there is no valid objection to the whole subject, and further to repress common translation in the imperative, the longings of ambition and the conand indeed the connexion seems to detentions of strife, by exciting emulation mand it. Grotius renders it, “ Pray to to obtain that which was accessible to God that you may receive from him the them all, and which, just in the pro. best, that is, the most useful endow- portion in which it was obtained, would ments.” The sense seems to be this, repress discontent, and strife, and amI have proved that all endowments in bition, and produce order, and peace, the church are produced by the Holy and contentedness with their endow. CHAPTER XIII. gels, and have not charity, I HOUGH I speak with the am become as sounding brass, tongues of men and of an- or a tinkling cymbal.
a 2Cor.12.4. b 1 Pet.4.8.
ments and their lot,--the main thing I. The excellency of love above the which he was desirous of producing in power of speaking the languages of men this chapter. This, therefore, is one of and of angels ; above the power of unthe happy turns in which the writings derstanding all mysteries; above all of Paul abounds. He did not denounce faith, even of the highest kind; and their zeal as wicked. He did not at- above the virtue of giving all one's tempt at once to repress it. He did not goods to feed the poor, or one's body say that it was wrong to desire high to be burned. All these endowments endowments. But he showed them an would be valueless without love. .ver. endowment which was more valuable 1-3. than all the others; which was acces- II. A statement of the characteristics sible to all; and which, if possessed, of love; or its happy influences on the would make them contented, and pro- mind and heart. ver. 4—7. duce the harmonious operation of all III. A comparison of love with the the parts of the church. That endow- gift of prophecy, and with the power ment was LOVE. 9 A more excellent of speaking foreign languages, and with way. See the next chapter. "I will knowledge. ver. 8-13. In this porshow you a more excellent way of tion of the chapter, Paul shows that evincing your zeal than by aspiring to love is superior to them all. It will the place of apostles, prophets, or rulers, live in heaven; and will constitute the and that is by cultivating universal chief glory of that world of bliss. charity or love
1. Though I speak with the tongues CHAPTER XIII.
of men. Though I should be able to This chapter is a continuation of the speak all the languages which are subject commenced in ch. xii. In that spoken by men. To speak foreign chapter Paul had introduced the sub- languages was regarded then, as it is ject of the various endowments which now, as, a rare and valuable endowthe Holy Spirit confers on Christians, ment. Comp. Virg. Æn. vi. 625, seq. and had shown that these endowments, The word I here is used in a popular however various they were, were con- sense, and the apostle designs to illusferred in such a manner as best to pro- trate, as he often does, his idea by a mote the edification and welfare of the reference to himself, which, it is evichurch. In the close of that chapter dent, he wishes to be understood as (ver. 31) he had said that it was law- applying to those whom he addressed. ful for them to desire the most eminent It is evident that among the Corinthians of the gifts conferred by the Spirit; and the power of speaking a foreign lanyet says that there was one endowment guage was regarded as a signally valuthat was more valuable than all others, able endowment; and there can be no and that might be obtained by all, and doubt that some of the leaders in that that he proposed to recommend to them. church valued themselves especially on That was love; and to illustrate its it. See ch. xiv. . To correct this, and nature, excellency, and power, is the to show them that all this would be design of this exquisitely beautiful and vain without love, and to induce them, tender chapter. In doing this, he dwells therefore, to seek for love as a more particularly on three points or views of valuable endowment, was the design ihe excellency of love; and the chapter of the apostle in this passage. Of this ray be regarded as consisting of three verse, Dr. Bloomfield, than whom, perportions.
| haps, there is no living man better qua
lified to give such an opinion, remarks, is the proper and usual meaning of the that “it would be difficult to find a finer Greek word. The English word chapassage than this in the writings of srity is used in a great variety of senses; Demosthenes himself.” 1 And of an- and some of them cannot be included gels. The language of angels; such in the meaning of the word here. It as they speak. Were I endowed with means, (1.) In a general sense, love, the facully of eloquence and persuasion benevolence, good-will; (2.) In theowhich we attribute to them; and the logy, it includes supreme love to God power of speaking to any of the human and universal good-will to men; (3.) In family with the power which they have a more particular sense, it denotes the The language of angels here seems to love and kindness which springs from be used to denote the highest power of the natural relations, as the charities of using language, or of the most elevated father, son, brother; (4.) Liberality to faculty of eloquence and speech. It is the poor, to the needy, and to objects evidently derived from the idea that the of beneficence, as we speak commonly angels are superior in all respects to of charity, meaning almsgiving, and of men; that they must have endowments charitable societies ; (5.) Candour, libein advance of all which man can have. rality in judging of men's actions; inIt may possibly have reference to the dulgence to their opinions; attributing idea that they must have some mode to them good motives and intentions ; of communicating their ideas one to a disposition to judge of them favouranother, and that this dialect or mode ably, and to put on their words and must be far superior to that which is actions the best construction. This is employed by man. Man is imperfect. a very common signification of the word All his modes of communication are in our language now, and this is one d:fective. We attribute to the angels modification of the word love, as all the idea of perfection ; and the idea such charity is supposed to proceed here is, that even though a man had a from love to our neighbour, and a defar higher faculty of speaking languages sire that he should have a right to his than would be included in the endow- opinions as well as we to ours. The ment of speaking all the languages of Greek word ugånn means properly love, men as men speak them, and even had affection, regard, good-will, benevothe higher and more perfect mode of lence. It is applied, (a) To love in utterance which the angels have, and general; (b) To the love of God and yet were destitute of love, all would be of Christ; (c) The love which God or nothing. It is possible that Paul may Christ exercises towards Christians have some allusion here to what he (Rom. v. 5. Eph. ii. 4. 2 Thess. iii. refers to in 2 Cor. xii. 4, where he says 5); (d) The effect, or proof of benefithat when he was caught up into Para- cence, favour conferred. Eph. i. 15. dise, he heard unspeakable words which 2 Thess. ii. 10. 1 John iii. 1. Robinit was not possible for a man to utter. son, Lex. In the English word charity, To this higher, purer language of hea- therefore, there are now some ideas ven he may refer here by the language which are not found in the Greek of the angels. It was not with him word, and especially the idea of almscere conjecture of what that language giving, and the common use of the raight be; it was language which he word among us in the sense of candour, had been permitted himself to hear. Of or liberality in judging. Neither of that scene he would retain a most deep these ideas, perhaps, are to be found in and tender recollection; and to that the use of the word in the chapter belanguage he now refers, by saying that fore us; and the more proper translaeven that elevated language would be tion would have been, in accordance valueless to a creature if there were not with the usual mode of translation in love. 9 And have not charity (again the New Testament, LOVE. Tindal, de pes i xro). And have not LOVE. This'in his translation, renders it by the