|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:12-17 The apostle knew that he would justly have perished, if the Lord had been extreme to mark what was amiss; and also if his grace and mercy had not been abundant to him when dead in sin, working faith and love to Christ in his heart. This is a faithful saying; these are true and faithful words, which may be depended on, That the Son of God came into the world, willingly and purposely to save sinners. No man, with Paul's example before him, can question the love and power of Christ to save him, if he really desires to trust in him as the Son of God, who once died on the cross, and now reigns upon the throne of glory, to save all that come to God through him. Let us then admire and praise the grace of God our Saviour; and ascribe to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, the glory of all done in, by, and for us.
Verse 12. - I thank for and I thank, A.V. and T.R.; him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord for Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, A.V.; appointing me to his service for putting me into the ministry, A.V. I thank, etc. This outburst of praise for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, who had called him to the ministry of the Word, is caused by the thought, which immediately precedes, of his being entrusted with the gospel. He thus disclaims any notion of merit on his part. That enabled me (ἐνδυναμώσαντι). This verb occurs once in the Acts (Acts 9:22); three times in St. Paul's other Epistles (Romans 4:20; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13); three times in the pastoral Epistles (here; 2 Timothy 2:1 and 2 Tim 4:17); and Hebrews 11:31. It denotes the giving that peculiar power which was the gift of the Holy Ghost, and which was necessary for the work of an apostle to enable him to bear witness to Christ in the face of an adverse world. This power (δύναμις) Christ promised to his apostles before his ascension (Acts 1:8). St Paul received it after his conversion (Acts 9:22). He continued to hold it throughout his apostleship (Philippians 4:13); he enjoyed it especially at the approach of his martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:17). It comprised strength of faith, strength to testify and to preach, strength to endure and suffer. St. Paul's whole course is the best illustration of the nature of the δύναμις which Christ gave him (see in Ephesians 3:6 the χάρις, the διακονία, and the δύναμις all brought together as here). Appointing me to his service. The A.V., putting me into the ministry, is a better rendering, because" the ministry" exactly expresses the particular kind of service to which the Lord appointed him (see the exactly parallel passage, Ephesians 3:7). The absence of the article is unimportant (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Timothy 4:11). (For the general phrase, comp. Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:28; or, still more exactly as regards the grammar, 1 Thessalonians 5:9.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I thank Jesus Christ our Lord, &c. l The subject matter of this thanksgiving being the apostle's call to the ministry of the word, and his furniture and fitness for it, shows, that while others were fond of being teachers, and called doctors of the law, he esteemed it an high honour and special favour bestowed upon him, that he was a preacher of the Gospel; and that all his gifts and abilities for it were not of himself, nor from men, but were owing to the free grace of God, and favour of Christ; wherefore he gloried not in them, as if he had not received them, but gives Christ the glory of them, and thanks to him for them,
who hath enabled me; who gave him all his abilities for the preaching of the Gospel, and all that strength to perform the various parts of labour and service he was called unto, and all that firmness, resolution, and fortitude of mind he was endued with, to bear and suffer what he did for the sake of Christ and his Gospel,
For that he counted me faithful; not that he was so antecedent to the grace and gifts bestowed on him by Christ, or that Christ foresaw that he would be so, and therefore chose him for his service; but he counted him faithful, having made him so by his grace, and thus he kept him; faithfulness being a necessary requisite and qualification for a Gospel minister, he having a great trust committed to him, being made a steward of the manifold grace and mysteries of God:
putting me into the ministry. The ministry of the word, the work of the ministry, or preaching of the Gospel, the dispensation or administration of it to the sons of men; this he did not thrust himself into, nor take this honour to, and of himself; nor was he put into it by men, but was chosen to it of God, and called unto it by the Spirit, and was placed in it by Christ himself, who in person appeared to him, and made a minister of him; see Romans 1:1 Acts 13:2. The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, "his ministry", the ministry of Christ.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. The honor done him in having the Gospel ministry committed to him suggests the digression to what he once was, no better (1Ti 1:13) than those lawless ones described above (1Ti 1:9, 10), when the grace of our Lord (1Ti 1:14) visited him.
And—omitted in most (not all) of the oldest manuscripts.
I thank—Greek, "I have (that is, feel) gratitude."
enabled me—the same Greek verb as in Ac 9:22, "Saul increased the more in strength." An undesigned coincidence between Paul and Luke, his companion. Enabled me, namely, for the ministry. "It is not in my own strength that I bring this doctrine to men, but as strengthened and nerved by Him who saved me" [Theodoret]. Man is by nature "without strength" (Ro 5:6). True conversion and calling confer power [Bengel].
for that—the main ground of his "thanking Christ."
he counted me faithful—He foreordered and foresaw that I would be faithful to the trust committed to me. Paul's thanking God for this shows that the merit of his faithfulness was due solely to God's grace, not to his own natural strength (1Co 7:25). Faithfulness is the quality required in a steward (1Co 4:2).
putting me into—rather as in 1Th 5:9, "appointing me (in His sovereign purposes of grace) unto the ministry" (Ac 20:24).
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