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CHAPTER I. 10.—VI. 20.
THERE were great disorders in the church of Corinth, caused chiefly by a faction raised there against St. Paul: the partisans of the faction mightily cried up, and gloried in their leaders, who did all they could to disparage St. Paul, and lessen him in the esteem of the Corinthians. St. Paul makes it his business, in this section, to take off the Corinthians from siding with, and glorying in, this pretended apostle, whose followers and scholars they professed themselves to be; and to reduce them into one body, as the scholars of Christ, united in a belief of the Gospel which he had preached to them, and in an obedience to it, without any such distinction of masters, or leaders, from whom they denominated themselves. He also, here and there, intermixes a justification of himself, against the aspersions which were cast upon him by his opposers. How much St. Paul was set against their leaders may be seen, 2 Cor. xi. 13-15.
The arguments used by St. Paul, to break the opposite faction, and put an end to all divisions amongst them, being various, we shall take notice of them, under their several heads, as they come in the order of this discourse.
SECTION II. NO. 1.
CHAPTER I. 10-16.
SAINT Paul's first argument is, That in Christianity they all had but one master, viz. Christ; and therefore were not to fall into parties, denominated from distinct teachers, as they did in their schools of philosophy.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name 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.
11 For it hath been declared unto me, of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now, this I say, that every one of you saith, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptised in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptised none of you, but Crispus and Gaius:
15 Lest any should say, that I had baptised in my own name.
16 And I baptised also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptised any other.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye hold the same doctrine, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be framed together 11 into one entire body, with one mind, and one affection. For
I understand, my brethren, by some of the house of Chloe, 12 that there are quarrels and dissensions amongst you: So that
ye are fallen into parties, ranking yourselves under different leaders or masters, one saying, "I am of Paul;" another, 13 "I of Apollos, I of Cephas, I of Christ." Is Christ, who is our only Head and Master, divided? Was Paul crucified 14 for you? Or were you baptised into the name of Paul? I thank God I baptised none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 Lest any one should say I had baptised into my own name 16 I baptised also the household of Stephanas; farther, I know not whether I baptised any other.
10 "Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is, and ought to be named." If any one has thought St. Paul a loose writer, it is only because he was a loose reader. He that takes notice of St. Paul's design, shall find that there is not a word scarce, or expression that he makes use of, but with relation and tendency to his present main purpose: as here, intending to abolish the names of leaders they distinguished themselves by, he beseeches them, by the name of Christ, a form that I do not remember he elsewhere
"Brethren," a name of union and friendship, used here twice together by St. Paul, in the entrance of his persuasion to them, to put an end to their divisions.
13 c E properly signifies into; so the French translate it here: the phrase Βαπλίσθηναι εις, "to be baptised into any one's name, or into any one," is solemnly, by that ceremony, to enter himself a disciple of him, into whose name he is baptised, with profession to receive his doctrine and rules, and submit to his authority; a very good argument here, why they should be called by no one's name but Christ's.
SECTION II. NO. 2.
CHAPTER I. 17-31.
THE next argument of St. Paul, to stop their followers from glorying in these false apostles, is, that neither any advantage of extraction, nor skill in the learning of the Jews, nor in the philosophy and eloquence of the Greeks, was that, for which God chose men to be preachers of the Gospel. Those whom he made choice of, for overturning the mighty and the learned, were mean, plain, illiterate men.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is, to them that perish, foolishness: but
unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not with learned and eloquent harangues, lest thereby the virtue and efficacy of Christ's sufferings and death should be overlooked and neglected, if the stress of our persuasion should 18 be laid on the learning and quaintness of our preaching. For the plain insisting on the death of a crucified Saviour is, by those who perish, received as a foolish, contemptible thing: though to us, who are saved, it be the power of God, Conformable to what is prophesied by Isaiah: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will bring to nothing the 20 understanding of the prudent." Where is the philosopher,
skilled in the wisdom of the Greeks? Where the scribe a,
20 Scribe was the title of a learned man amongst the Jews; one versed in their law and rites, which was the study of their doctors and rabbies. It is likely the false apostle, so much concerned in these two epistles to the Corinthians, who was a Jew, pretended to something of this kind, and magnified himself thereupon; otherwise it is not probable that St. Paul should name to the Corinthians a sort of men not much known or valued amongst the Greeks. This, therefore, may be supposed to be said to take off their glorying in their false apostle.
21 For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.
studied in the learning of the Jews? Where the professor of human arts and sciences? Hath not God rendered all the learning and wisdom of this world foolish, and useless for the 21 discovery of the truths of the Gospel? For since the world,
by their natural parts, and improvements in what, with them, passed for wisdom, acknowledged not the one, only, true God, though he had manifested himself to them in the wise contrivance and admirable frame of the visible works of the creation; it pleased God, by the plain, and (as the world esteems it) foolish doctrine of the Gospel, to save those who 22 receive and believe it. Since both the Jews demand extra
ordinary signs and miracles, and the Greeks seek wisdom: 23 But I have nothing else to preach to them but Christ cruci
fied, a doctrine offensive to the hopes and expectations of
22 b'Erride 21, "since both." These words used here by St. Paul are not certainly idle and insignificant, and therefore I see not how they can be omitted in the translation.
'Exude is a word of reasoning, and, if minded, will lead us into one of St. Paul's reasonings here, which the neglect of this word makes the reader overlook. St. Faul, in ver. 21, argues thus in general: "Since the world, by their natural parts and improvements, did not attain to a right and saving knowledge of God, God, by the preaching of the Gospel, which seems foolishness to them, was pleased to communicate that knowledge to those who believed."
In the three following verses he repeats the same reasoning, a little more expressly applied to the people he had here in his view, viz. Jews and Greeks; and his sense seems to be this: "Since the Jews, to make any doctrine go down with them, require extraordinary signs of the power of God to accompany it, and nothing will please the nice palates of the learned Greeks but wisdom; and though our preaching of a crucified Messiah be a scandal to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks, yet we have what they both seek; for both Jew and Gentile, when they are called, find the Messiah, whom we preach, to be the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
25, 27, 28. He that will read the context cannot doubt but that St. Paul, by what he expresses in these verses, in the neuter gender, means persons; the whole argument of the place being about persons, and their glorying, and not about things.
24 But unto them, which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God:
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty:
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
the Jews; and foolish to the acute men of learning, the 24 Greeks; But yet it is to these, both Jews and Greeks, (when
they are converted,) Christ, the power of God, and Christ, the 25 wisdom of God: Because that, which seems foolishness in
those who came from God, surpasses the wisdom of man; and that, which seems weakness in those sent by God, surpasses 26 the power of men. For, reflect upon yourselves, brethren, and you may observe, that there are not many of the wise and learned men, not many men of power, or of birth, among you, that are called. But God hath chosen the foolish men, in the account of the world, to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak men of the world to confound the 28 mighty: The mean men of the world, and contemptible, has God chosen, and those that are of no account, are nothing, 29 to displace those that are: That so there might be no room,
28 € Ta un orta, "Things that are not," I think may well be understood of the Gentiles, who were not the people of God, and were counted as nothing by the Jews; and we are pointed to this meaning by the words Taxon and narapynon, by "the foolish and weak things," i. e. by simple, illiterate, and mean men, God would make ashamed the learned philosophers and great men of the nations; but, by the un avra," things that are not," he would abolish the things that are, as, in effect, he did abolish the Jewish church by the Christian, taking in the Gentiles to be his people, in the place of the rejected Jews, who, until then, were his people. This St. Paul mentions here, not by chance, but pursuant to his main design, to stay their glorying in their false apostle, who was a Jew; by showing that, whatever that head of the faction might claim, under that pretence, as it is plain he did stand upon it, (see 2 Cor. xi. 21, 22) he had not any the least title to any esteem or respect upon that account, since the Jewish nation was laid aside, and God had chosen the Gentiles to take their place, and to be his church and people instead of them: vid. note on ch. ii. ver. 6. There one may see who are the καταργούμενοι, "the abolished," whom God says here, narapynon, he will abolish.