|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:26-31 God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, nor statesmen, nor men of wealth, and power, and interest in the world, to publish the gospel of grace and peace. He best judges what men and what measures serve the purposes of his glory. Though not many noble are usually called by Divine grace, there have been some such in every age, who have not been ashamed of the gospel of Christ; and persons of every rank stand in need of pardoning grace. Often, a humble Christian, though poor as to this world, has more true knowledge of the gospel, than those who have made the letter of Scripture the study of their lives, but who have studied it rather as the witness of men, than as the word of God. And even young children have gained such knowledge of Divine truth as to silence infidels. The reason is, they are taught of God; the design is, that no flesh should glory in his presence. That distinction, in which alone they might glory, was not of themselves. It was by the sovereign choice and regenerating grace of God, that they were in Jesus Christ by faith. He is made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; all we need, or can desire. And he is made wisdom to us, that by his word and Spirit, and from his fulness and treasures of wisdom and knowledge, we may receive all that will make us wise unto salvation, and fit for every service to which we are called. We are guilty, liable to just punishment; and he is made righteousness, our great atonement and sacrifice. We are depraved and corrupt, and he is made sanctification, that he may in the end be made complete redemption; may free the soul from the being of sin, and loose the body from the bonds of the grave. And this is, that all flesh, according to the prophecy by Jeremiah, Jer 9:23-24, may glory in the special favour, all-sufficient grace, and precious salvation of Jehovah.
Verse 28. - And the base things; literally, low-born, unborn; "those who are sprung kern no one in particular" - nullo patre, nullis majoribus. Nothing could be more ignoble in the eyes of the world than a cross of wood upheld by feeble hands, and yet before it "kings and their armies did flee and were discomfited, and they of the household divided the spoil." And the things that are not. The not is the Greek subjective negative (μὴ); things of which men conceived as not existing - "nonentities." It is like the expression of Clement of Rome, "Things accounted as nothing." Christianity was "the little stone, cut without hands," which God called into existence. We find the same thought in St. John the Baptist's sermon (Matthew 3:9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And base things of the world,.... Who are reckoned the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; men of mean birth, education, and business of life:
and things that are despised; and set at nought, as poor persons generally are; yet God
hath chosen them; even the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of a kingdom:
yea, and things which are not; some think the Gentiles are here intended, who by the Jews are called "things that are not": as in the apocryphal books:
"O Lord, give not thy sceptre unto "them that be nothing", and let them not laugh at our fall; but turn their device upon themselves, and make him an example, that hath begun this against us.'' Esther 14:11
"56 As for the other people, which also come of Adam, thou hast said that "they are nothing", but be like unto spittle: and hast likened the abundance of them unto a drop that falleth from a vessel. 57 And now, O Lord, behold, these heathen, which have ever been "reputed as nothing", have begun to be lords over us, and to devour us.'' (2 Esdras 6)
See Gill on Romans 4:17 for note on non-entities, or such who are not in being, are meant; but who are not accounted of, or are reckoned as nothing; and these the Lord calls by his grace, as a fruit and evidence of electing love:
to bring to nought things that are; who, on the account of their noble birth, large possessions, and high attainments in knowledge and learning, thought themselves something; all which will one day be abolished, and will stand them in no stead with regard to future happiness and glory. The Jews (q) have a saying quite contrary to all this, that "the Shekinah, or presence of God, does not dwell on any but upon a wise man, a mighty man, and a rich man.
(q) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 92. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28. yea, and things which are not—Yea is not in the Greek. Also some of the oldest manuscripts omit "and." Thus the clause, "things which are not" (are regarded as naught), is in apposition with "foolish … weak … base (that is, lowborn) and despised things." God has chosen all four, though regarded as things that are not, to bring to naught things that are.
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