1:1 Paul, 1 called [to be] an 2 apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and 3 Sosthenes [our] brother,
(1) The inscription of the epistle, in which he
mainly tries to procure the good will of the Corinthians towards him, yet
nonetheless in such a way that he always lets them know that he is the servant
of God and not of men. (2) If he is an apostle,
then he must be heard, even though he sometimes sharply reprehends them,
seeing he has not his own cause in hand, but is a messenger that brings the
commandments of Christ. (3) He has Sosthenes with
himself, that this doctrine might be confirmed by two witnesses.
1:2 4 Unto
the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are 5
sanctified in a Christ Jesus, b
called [to be] saints, with all that in every place c
call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
(4) It is a church of God, even though it has
great faults in it, as it obeys those who admonish them. (5)
A true definition of the universal church, which is:
(a) The Father sanctifies us, that is to say,
separates us from the wicked in giving us to his Son, that he may be in us,
and we in him.
(b) Whom God by his gracious goodness and
absolute love has separated for himself: or whom God has called to holiness:
the first of these two expositions, shows from where our sanctification comes:
and the second shows to what end it strives for.
(c) He is correctly said to call on God who cries
to the Lord when he is in danger, and craves help from his hands, and by the
figure of speech synecdoche, it is taken for all the service of God: and
therefore to call upon Christ's name, is to acknowledge and take him for
Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus
(6) The foundation and the life of the Church is
Christ Jesus given from the Father.
1:4 7 I
thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by
(7) Going about to condemn many vices, he begins
with a true commendation of their virtues, lest he might seem after to descend
to chiding, being moved with malice or envy: yet in such a way that he refers
all to God as the author of them, and that in Christ, that the Corinthians
might be more ashamed to profane and abuse the holy gifts of God.
1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, 8
in d all utterance, and [in] all
(8) He refers to that by name which they abused
(d) Seeing that while we live here we know but in
part, and prophesy in part, this word "all" must be limited by the
present state of the faithful: and by "utterance" he does not mean a
vain kind of babbling, but the gift of holy eloquence, which the Corinthians
Even as the testimony of Christ was e
confirmed in you:
(9) He shows that the true use of these gifts
consists in this, that the mighty power of Christ might be set forth in them,
that hereafter it might evidently appear how wickedly they abused them for
glory and ambition.
(e) By those excellent gifts of the Holy Spirit.
1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; 10
waiting for the f coming of our Lord
(10) He says along the way that there is no
reason why they should be so pleased in those gifts which they had received,
seeing that those were nothing in comparison of those which are to be looked
(f) He speaks of the last coming of Christ.
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] g
blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(11) He testifies that he hopes that things go
well with them from now on, that they may more patiently abide his
reprehension afterward. And yet together in addition shows, that the beginning
as well as the accomplishing of our salvation is only the work of God.
(g) He calls them blameless, not whom man never
found fault with, but with whom no man can justly find fault, that is to say,
those who are in Christ Jesus, in whom there is no condemnation. See (Luke
1:9 God [is] h
faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our
(h) True and constant, who not only calls us, but
also gives to us the gift of perseverance.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that 13
ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but
[that] ye be i perfectly joined together
in the same mind and in the same judgment.
(12) Having made an end of the preface, he comes
to the matter itself, beginning with a most grave testimony, as though they
should hear Christ himself speaking, and not Paul.
(13) The first part of this epistle, in which his
purpose is found, to call back the Corinthians to brotherly harmony, and to
take away all occasion of discord. So then this first part concerns the taking
away of divisions. Now a division occurs when men who otherwise agree and
consent together in doctrine, yet separate themselves from one another.
(i) Knit together, as a body that consists of all
its parts, fitly knit together.
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.
(14) He begins his reprehension and chiding by
taking away an objection, because he understood from good witnesses that there
were many factions among them. And in addition he declares the cause of
dissentions, because some depended on one teacher, some on another, and some
were so addicted to themselves that they neglected all teachers and learned
men, calling themselves the disciples of Christ alone, completely ignoring
1:12 Now k
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.
(k) The matter I would say to you is this.
Is Christ divided? was 16 Paul crucified
for you? or were ye 17 baptized in the
name of Paul?
(15) The first reason why divisions ought to be
avoided: because Christ seems by that means to be divide and torn in pieces,
who cannot be the head of two different and disagreeing bodies, being himself
(16) Another reason: because they cannot without
great injury to God so depend on men as on Christ: which thing those no doubt
do who allow whatever some man speaks, and do it for their own sakes: as these
men allowed one and the very same Gospel being uttered by one man, and did
loathe it being uttered by another man. So that these factions were called by
the names of their teachers. Now Paul sets aside his own name, not simply to
grieve no man, but also to show that he does not plead his own cause.
(17) The third reason taken from the form and end
of baptism, in which we make a promise to Christ, calling also on the name of
the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore although a man does not fall from
the doctrine of Christ, yet if he depends upon certain teachers, and despises
others, he forsakes Christ: for if he holds Christ as his only master, he
would hear him, no matter who Christ taught by.
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
(18) He protests that he speaks so much the more
boldly of these things, because through God's providence, he is void of all
suspicion of gathering disciples to himself, and taking them from others. By
which we may understand, that not the scholars only, but the teachers also are
here reprehended, who gathered flocks separately and for themselves.
19 For Christ sent me not to baptize,
but to preach the gospel: 20 not with l
wisdom of words, lest the 21 cross of
Christ should be made of none effect.
(19) The taking away of an objection: that he
gave not himself to baptize many amongst them: not for the contempt of
baptism, but because he was mainly occupied in delivering the doctrine, and
committed those that received his doctrine to others to be baptized. And so he
declared sufficiently how far he was from all ambition: whereas on the other
hand they, whom he reprehends, as though they gathered disciples to themselves
and not to Christ, bragged most ambitiously of numbers, which they had
(20) Now he turns himself to the teachers
themselves, who pleased themselves in brave and glory-seeking eloquence, to
the end that they might draw more disciples after them. He openly confesses
that he was not similar to them, opposing gravely, as it became an apostle,
his example against their perverse judgments: so that this is another place in
this epistle with regard to the observing of a godly simplicity both in words
and sentences in teaching the Gospel.
(l) With eloquence: which Paul casts off from
himself not only as unnecessary, but also as completely contrary to the office
of his apostleship: and yet Paul had this kind of eloquence, but it was
heavenly, not of man, and void of fancy words.
(21) The reason why he did not use the pomp of
words and fancy speech: because it was God's will to bring the world to his
obedience by that way, by which the most foolish among men might understand
that this work was done by God himself, without the skill of man. Therefore as
salvation is set forth to us in the Gospel by the cross of Christ, which
nothing is more contemptible than, and more far from life, so God would have
the manner of the preaching of the cross, most different from those means with
which men do use to draw and entice others, either to hear or believe:
therefore it pleased him by a certain kind of most wise folly, to triumph over
the most foolish wisdom of the world, as he had said before by Isaiah that he
would. And by this we may gather that both these teachers who were puffed up
with ambitious eloquence, and also their hearers, strayed far away from the
goal and mark of their calling.
1:18 For the m
preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are
saved it is the n power of God.
(m) The preaching of Christ crucified, or the
type of speech which we use.
(n) It is that in which he declares his
marvellous power in saving his elect, which would not so evidently appear if
it depended upon any help of man, for if it did man might attribute that to
himself which is to be attributed only to the cross of Christ.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to
nothing the understanding of the prudent.
(22) The apostle proves that this should not seem
strange, seeing that it was foretold so long before, and declares further that
God often punishes the pride of the world in such a way, which so pleases
itself in its own wisdom: and therefore that it is vain, indeed a thing of no
value, and such as God rejects as unprofitable, which they so carefully
laboured for, and considered to be so important.
1:20 Where [is] the wise? where [is] the o
scribe? where [is] the p disputer of
this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
(o) Where are you, O you learned fellow, and you
that spend your days in turning your books?
(p) You that spend all your time in seeking out
the secret things of this world, and in expounding all hard questions: and
thus he triumphs against all the men of this world, for there was not one of
them that could so much as dream of this secret and hidden mystery.
For after that in the q wisdom of God
the r world by wisdom knew not God, 24
it pleased God by the s foolishness of
preaching to save them that believe.
(23) He shows that the pride of men was worthily
punished by God, because they could not behold God, as they properly should
have, in the most clear mirror of the wisdom of the world, and this wisdom is
the workmanship of the world.
(q) By the world he means all men who are not
born again, but remain as they were, when they were first born.
(r) In the workmanship of this world, which has
the marvellous wisdom of God engraved on it, so that every man may behold it.
(24) The goodness of God is wonderful, for while
he goes about to punish the pride of this world, he is very provident and
careful for the salvation of it, and teaches men to become fools, so that they
may be wise to God.
(s) So he calls the preaching of the Gospel, as
the enemies supposed it to be: but in the mean time he taunts those very
sharply who had rather charge God with folly than acknowledge their own, and
crave pardon for it.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
(25) A declaration of that which he said: that
the preaching of the Gospel is foolish. It is foolish, he says, to those whom
God has not endued with new light, that is to say, to all men being considered
in themselves: for the Jews require miracles, and the Greeks arguments, which
they may comprehend by their intellect and wisdom: and therefore they do not
believe the Gospel, and also mock it. Nonetheless, in this foolish preaching
there is the great power and wisdom of God, but such that only those who are
called perceive: God showing most plainly, that even then when mad men think
him most foolish, he is far wiser than they are, and that he surmounts all
their might and power, when he uses most vile and abject things, as it has
appeared in the fruit of the preaching of the Gospel.
26 For ye see your t
calling, brethren, how that not many wise men u
after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]:
(26) A confirmation taken from those things which
came to pass at Corinth, where the church especially consisted of the lowly
and common people, insomuch that the philosophers of Greece were driven to
shame when they saw that they could do nothing with their wisdom and eloquence
in comparison with the apostles, whom nonetheless they called idiots and
unlearned. And in this he beats down their pride: for God did not prefer them
before those noble and wise men so that they should be proud, but that they
might be constrained, whether they wished to or not, to rejoice in the Lord,
by whose mercy, although they were the most abject of all, they had obtained
in Christ both this wisdom as well as all things necessary to salvation.
(t) What way the Lord has taken in calling you.
(u) After that type of wisdom which men consider
to be important, as though there were none else: but because they are carnal,
they do not know spiritual wisdom.
1:28 And base things
of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things
which x are not, to bring to y
nought things that are:
(x) Which in man's judgment are almost nothing.
(y) To show that they are vain and unprofitable,
and worth nothing. See Romans
1:29 That no z
flesh should glory in his presence.
(z) "Flesh" is often, as we see, taken
for the whole man: and he uses this word "flesh" very well, to
contrast the weak and miserable condition of man with the majesty of God.
1:30 But a
of him are ye in Christ Jesus, 27 who of
God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
(a) Whom he cast down before, now he lifts up,
indeed, higher than all men: yet in such a way that he shows them that all
their worthiness is outside of themselves, that is, it stands in Christ, and
that of God.
(27) He teaches that especially and above all
things, the Gospel ought not to be condemned, seeing that it contains the
principal things that are to be desired, that is, true wisdom, the true way to
obtain righteousness, the true way to live honestly and godly, and the true
deliverance from all miseries and calamities.
1:31 That, according as it is written, b
He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
(b) Let him yield all to God and give him thanks:
and so by this place is man's free will beaten down, which the papists so