|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-9 All Christians are by baptism dedicated and devoted to Christ, and are under strict obligations to be holy. But in the true church of God are all who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, and who call upon him as God manifest in the flesh, for all the blessings of salvation; who acknowledge and obey him as their Lord, and as Lord of all; it includes no other persons. Christians are distinguished from the profane and atheists, that they dare not live without prayer; and they are distinguished from Jews and pagans, that they call on the name of Christ. Observe how often in these verses the apostle repeats the words, Our Lord Jesus Christ. He feared not to make too frequent or too honourable mention of him. To all who called upon Christ, the apostle gave his usual salutation, desiring, in their behalf, the pardoning mercy, sanctifying grace, and comforting peace of God, through Jesus Christ. Sinners can have no peace with God, nor any from him, but through Christ. He gives thanks for their conversion to the faith of Christ; that grace was given them by Jesus Christ. They had been enriched by him with all spiritual gifts. He speaks of utterance and knowledge. And where God has given these two gifts, he has given great power for usefulness. These were gifts of the Holy Ghost, by which God bore witness to the apostles. Those that wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be kept by him to the end; and those that are so, will be blameless in the day of Christ, made so by rich and free grace. How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ, from the power of our corruptions and Satan's temptations!
Verses 4-9. - The thanksgiving. The thanksgiving is a feature in almost every Epistle of St. Paul, except the Epistle to the Galatians, in which he plunges at once into severe reprobation. Verse 4. - I thank my God. It is probable, from papyrus rolls in the British Museum, that the general form and outline of letters was more or less conventional. In St. Paul, however, this thanksgiving is the natural overflow of a full heart. It was no mere compliment or rhetorical artifice like the captatio benevolentiae, or endeavouring to win the hearers by flattery, which we find in most ancient speeches. My God (Romans 1:8). Always; that is, constantly; on all occasions of special prayer. He could still thank God for them, though his letter was written "with many tears" (2 Corinthians 2:4). For the grace of God. The grace (χάρις) of spiritual life showing itself in many special spiritual gifts (χαρίσματα), such as "the gift of tongues." Which was given you. This is one of St. Paul's "baptismal aorists." He always regards and speaks of the life of the soul as summed up potentially in one supreme moment and crisis - namely, the moment of conversion and baptism. The grace given once was given for ever, and was continually manifested. In Christ Jesus. St. Paul regarded the life of the Christian as "hid with Christ in God," and of Christ as being the Christian's life (see Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 11; Colossians 3:3, 4; 2 Timothy 1:1; 1 John 5:11, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I thank my God always on your behalf,.... Now follows a thanksgiving for various blessings bestowed upon this church, which is a proof of the apostle's great affection for it, and how much its welfare lay at his heart. The object of thanksgiving is God, for as he is the author of all mercies, the glory and praise of them ought to be given to him. The apostle styles him "my God", to distinguish him from others; and to express his faith of interest in him; and to observe to this church, that all the good things they enjoyed came from him, who was his God and their God, his Father and their Father; and for which reason he returned thanks to him for them, and by so doing set them an example: the persons on whose behalf he gave thanks were not at this time himself and Sosthenes, but the members of the church at Corinth; and the continuance of his thankfulness for them, is "always", as often as he went to the throne of grace, or at any other time thought of them: what he particularly gives thanks to God for in this verse is,
for the grace which is given you by Jesus Christ: and includes all sorts of grace, adopting, justifying, pardoning, regenerating, and sanctifying grace; every particular grace of the Spirit, as faith, repentance, hope, love, fear, humility, self-denial, &c. all are gifts of God, and entirely owing to his free grace, and not to man's free will and power, or to any merits of his; and all come through the hands of Christ, and are given forth by him, as the Mediator of the covenant, and in consequence of his blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and merit.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. He puts the causes for praise and hope among them in the foreground, not to discourage them by the succeeding reproof, and in order to appeal to their better selves.
my God—(Ro 1:8; Php 1:3).
always—(Compare Php 1:4).
the grace … given you—(Compare 1Co 1:7).
by … Christ—literally, "IN Jesus Christ" given you as members in Christ.
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