1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) But by the grace of God I am what I am.—This whole verse is full of that maintenance of official dignity as an Apostle and a labourer, and of personal humility, which were characteristic of St. Paul.

1 Corinthians

PAUL’S ESTIMATE OF HIMSELF

1 Corinthians 15:10
.

The Apostle was, all his life, under the hateful necessity of vindicating his character and Apostleship. Thus here, though his main purpose in the context is simply to declare the Gospel which he preached, he is obliged to turn aside in order to assert, and to back up his assertion, that there was no sort of difference between him and the other recognised teachers of Christian truth. He was forced to do this by persistent endeavours in the Corinthian Church to deny his Apostleship, and the faithfulness of his representation of the Christian verities. The way in which he does it is eminently beautiful and remarkable. He fires up in vindication of himself; and then he checks himself. ‘By the grace of God I am’-and he is going to say what he is, but he bethinks himself, as if he had reflected; ‘No! I will leave other people to say what that is. By the grace of God I am-what I am, whatever that be. And all that I have to say is that God made me, and that I helped Him. For the grace of God which was bestowed upon me was not in vain. You Corinthians may judge what the product is. I tell you how it has come about.’ So there are thoughts here, I think, well worth our pondering and taking into our hearts and lives.

I. First, as to the one power that makes men.

‘By the grace of God I am what I am.’ Now that word ‘grace’ has got to be worn threadbare, and to mean next door to nothing, in the ears and minds of a great many continual hearers of the Gospel. But Paul had a very definite idea of what he meant by it; and what he meant by it was a very large thing, which we may well ponder for a moment as being the only thing which will transform and ennoble character and will produce fruit that a man need not be ashamed of. The grace of God, in Paul’s use of the words, which is the scriptural use of them generally, implies these two things which are connected as root and product-the active love of God, in exercise towards us low and sinful creatures, and the gifts with which that love comes full charged to men. These two things, which at bottom are one, love and its gifts, are all, in the Apostle’s judgment, gathered up and stored, as in a great storehouse, in Jesus Christ Himself, and through Him are made accessible to us, and brought to bear upon us for the ennobling of our natures, and the investing of us with graces and beauties of character, all strange to us apart from these.

Now it seems to me that these two things, which come from one root, are the precise things which you and I need in order to make us nobler and purer and more Godlike men than otherwise we could ever become. For what is it that men need most for noble and pure living? These two things precisely-motive and power to carry out the dictates of conscience.

Every man in the world knows enough of duty and of right to be a far nobler man than any man in the world is. And it is not for want of clear convictions of duty, it is not for want of recognised models and patterns of life, that men go wrong; but it is because there are these two things lacking, motives for nobler service, and power to do and be what they know they ought to be. And precisely here Paul’s gospel comes in, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am.’ That grace, considered in its two sides of love and of giving, supplies all that we want.

It supplies motives. There is nothing that will bend a man’s will like the recognition of divine love which it is blessedness to come in contact with, and to obey. You may try to sway him by motives of advantage and self-interest, and to thunder into his ears the pealing words of duty and right and ‘ought,’ and there is no adequate response. You cannot soften a heart by the hammers of the law. You cannot force a man to do right by brandishing before him the whip that punishes doing wrong. You cannot sway the will by anything but the heart; and when you can touch the deepest spring it moves the whole mass.

You have seen some ponderous piece of machinery, which resists all attempts of a puny hand laid upon it to make it revolve. But down in one corner is a little hidden spring. Touch that and with majestic slowness and certainty the mighty mass turns. You know those rocking-stones down in the south of England; tons of weight poised upon a pin point, and so exquisitely balanced that a child’s finger rightly applied may move the mass. So the whole man is made mobile only by the touch of love; and the grace that comes to us, and says, ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments’-is, as I believe, the sole motive which will continuously and adequately sway the rebellious, self-centred wills of men, to obedience resulting in nobility of life.

The other aspect of this same great word is, in like manner, that which we need. What men want is, first of all, the will to be noble and good; and, second, the power to carry out the will. It is God that worketh in us both the willing and the doing. I venture to affirm that there is no power known, either to thinkers, or philanthropists, or doctrinaires, or strivers after excellence in the world-no power known and available which will lift a life to such heights of beauty and self-sacrificing nobility, as will the power that comes to us by communication of the grace that is in Jesus Christ.

I am perpetually trying to insist, dear brethren, upon this one thought, that the communication of actual new life is the central gift of the Gospel; and this new life it is, this nature endowed with new desires, hopes, aims, capacities, which alone will lift the whole man into unwonted heights of beauty and serenity. It is the grace of God, the gift of His Divine Spirit who will dwell with all of us, if we will, which alone can be trusted to make men good.

And now, if that be true, what follows? Surely this, that for all you who have, in any measure, caught a glimpse of what you ought to be, and have been more or less vainly trying to realise your ideal, and reach your goal, there is a better way than the way of self-centred and self-derived and self-dependent effort. There is the way of opening your hearts and spirits to the entrance and access of that great power, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will do in us and for us all that we know we ought to do, and yet feel hampered and hindered in performing.

Oh, dear friends! there are many of you, I believe, who have more or less spasmodically and interruptedly, but with a continual recurrence to the effort, sought to plant your feet firmly in the paths of righteousness, and have more or less failed. Listen to this Gospel, and accept it, and put it to the proof. The love of God which is in Christ Jesus, and the life which that love brings in its hands, for all of us who will trust it, will dwell in you if you will, and mould you into His own likeness, and the law of the spirit of life which was in Christ Jesus will make us free from the law of sin and death.

All noble living is a battle. Can you and I, with our ten thousand, meet him that cometh against us with his twenty, the temptations of the world and of its Prince? Send for the reinforcements, and Jesus Christ will come and teach your hands to war and your fingers to fight. All noble life is self-denial, coercion, restraint; and can my poor, feeble hands apply muscular force enough to the brake to keep the wheels clogged, and prevent them from whirling me downhill into ruin? Let Him come and put His great gentle hand on the top of yours, and that will enable you to scotch the wheels, and make self-denial possible. All noble life is a building up by slow degrees from the foundation. And can you and I complete the task with our own limited resources, and our own feeble strengths? Will not ‘all that pass by begin to mock’ us and say, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’ ? That is the epitaph written over all moralities and over all lives which, catching some glimpse of the good and the true and the noble, have tried, apart from Christ, to reproduce them in themselves. Frightful gaps, and an unfinished, however fair structure end them all. Go to Him. ‘His hand hath laid the foundation of the house, His hand shall also finish it.’ He who is Himself the foundation-stone is also the headstone of the corner, which is brought forth with shouting of ‘Grace! Grace unto it!’

I need not, I suppose, linger to remind you what important and large lessons these thoughts carry, not only for men who are trying to work at the task of mending and making their own characters, but on the larger scale, for all who seek to benefit and elevate their fellows. Brethren, it is not for me to depreciate any workers who, in any department, and by any methods, seek, and partially effect, the elevation of humanity. But I should be untrue to my own deepest convictions, and unfaithful to the message which God’s providence has given it to me as my life’s task to proclaim, if I did not declare that nothing will truly re-form humanity, society, the nation, the city, except that which re-creates the individual: ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’ entering into their midst.

II. And so, secondly, and very briefly, notice the lesson we get here as to how we should think of our own attainments.

I have already pointed out that there are two beautiful touches in my text. The Apostle traces everything that he is, in his character and in his Christian standing and in his Apostolic work and success, to that grace that has come down upon him, and clothed his nakedness with so glorious a garment. And then, in addition to that, he modestly, and with a fine sense of dignity, refrains from parading his attainments or his achievements, and says, ‘It is not for me to estimate what I am; it is for you to do it.’ True, indeed, in the next verse he does set forth, in very lofty language, his claims to be in nothing behind the very chiefest of the Apostles, and ‘to have laboured more abundantly than they all.’ But still the spirit of that humble and yet dignified silence runs through the whole context. ‘By the grace of God I am-what I am.’

Well, then, it is not necessary for a man to be ignorant, or to pretend that he is ignorant, of what he can do. We hear a great deal about the unconsciousness of genius. There is a partial truth in it; and possibly the highest examples of power and success, in any department of mental or intellectual effort, are unaware of their achievements and stature. But if a man can do a certain kind of service there is no harm whatever in his recognising the fact that he can do it. The only harm is in his thinking that because he can, he is a very fine fellow, and that the work itself is a great work; and so setting himself up above his brethren. There is a vast deal of hypocrisy in what is called unconsciousness of power. Most men who have been chosen and empowered to do a great work for God or for men, in any department, have been aware that they could do it. But the less we think about ourselves, in any way, the better. The more entire our recognition of the influx of grace on which we depend for keeping our reservoir full, the less likelihood there will be of touchy self-assertion, the less likelihood of the misuse of the powers that we have. If we are to do much for God, if we are to keep what we have already attained, if we are to make our own lives sweet and beautiful, if we are to be invested with any increase of capacity, or led to any higher heights of nobleness and Christlikeness, we must copy, and make a conscious effort to copy, these two things, which marked the Apostle’s estimate of himself-a distinct recognition that we are only reservoirs and nothing more-’What hast thou that thou hast not received? Why then dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?’-and a humble waiving aside of the attempt to determine what it is that we are. For however clearly a man may know his own powers and achievements, it is hard for him to estimate the relations of these to his whole character.

So, dear brethren, although it is a very homely piece of advice, and may seem to be beneath the so-called dignity of the pulpit, let me venture just to remind you that self-conceit is no disease peculiar to the ten-talented people, but is quite as rife, if not a good deal rifer, among those with one talent. They are very humble when it comes to work, and are quite contented to wrap the one talent up in a napkin then; but when it comes to self-assertion, or what they expect to receive of recognition from others, they need to be reminded quite as much as their betters in endowment-’By the grace of God I am what I am.’

III. And so, lastly, one word about the responsibility for our co-operation with the grace, in order to the accomplishment of its results.

‘The grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain,’ says Paul. ‘Not I, but the grace of God which was with me, and so I laboured more abundantly than they all.’ That is to say, God in His giving love; Christ with His ever out-flowing Spirit, move round our hearts, and desire to enter. But the grace, the love, the gifts of the love may all be put away by our unfaithfulness, by our non-receptivity, by our misuse, and by our negligence. Paul yielded himself to the grace that was brought to work upon him. Have you yielded yourselves?

Paul said, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am.’ He could not have said that, could he, if he had known that the most part of what he was was dead against God’s will and purpose? Has God anything to do with making you what you are, or has it been the devil that has had the greater share in it? This man, because he knew that he had submitted himself to the often painful, searching, crucifying, self-restraining and stimulating influences of the Gospel and Spirit of Christ, could say, ‘God’s grace has made me what I am, and I helped Him to make me.’ And can you say anything like that?

Take your life. In how many of its deeds has there been present the consciousness of God and His love? Take your character. How much of it has been shot through and through, so to speak, by the fiery darts of that cleansing, warming, consuming grace of God? Are you daily being baptized in that Spirit, searched by that Spirit, condemned by that grace? Is it the grace of God, or nature and self and the world and the flesh that have made you what you are?

Oh, brethren I let us cultivate the sense of our need of this divine help, for it does not come where men do not know how weak they are, and how much they want it. The mountain tops are high,-yes! and they are dry; there is no water there. The rivers run in the green valleys deep down. ‘God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.’ Let us see that we open our hearts to the reception of these quickening and cleansing influences, for it is possible for us to cover ourselves over with such an impenetrable covering that that grace cannot pass through it. Let us see to it that we keep ourselves in close contact with the foundation of all this grace, even Jesus Christ Himself, by desire, by faith, by love, by communion, by meditation, by approximation, by sympathy, by service. And let us see that we use the grace that we possess. ‘For to him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not’-not possessing in any real sense because not utilising for its appointed purpose-’shall be taken away even that he hath.’ Wherefore, brethren, I ‘beseech you that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.’15:1-11 The word resurrection, usually points out our existence beyond the grave. Of the apostle's doctrine not a trace can be found in all the teaching of philosophers. The doctrine of Christ's death and resurrection, is the foundation of Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. This truth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many saw Christ after he was risen. This apostle was highly favoured, but he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and faithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable in him. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord has done for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their whole conduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that none are so worthless as they are. All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead, is the sun and substance of Christianity. All the apostles agreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in this faith they died.But by the grace of God I am what I am - By the "favor" or mercy of God. What I have is to be traced to him, and not to any native tendency to goodness, or any native inclination to his service, or to any merit of my own. All my hopes of heaven; all my zeal; all my success; all my piety; all my apostolic endowments, are to be traced to him. Nothing is more common in the writings of Paul, than a disposition to trace all that he had to the mere mercy and grace of God. And nothing is a more certain indication of true piety than such a disposition. The reason why Paul here introduces the subject seems to be this. He had incidentally, and undesignedly, introduced a comparison in one respect between himself and the other apostles. He had not had the advantages which they had. Most of all, he was overwhelmed with the recollection that he had been a persecutor. He felt, therefore, that there was a special obligation resting on him to make up by diligence for the lack of their advantages of an early personal conversation with the Lord Jesus, and to express his gratitude that so great a sinner had been made an apostle. He, therefore, says, that he had not been idle. He had been enabled by the grace of God, to labor more than all the rest, and he had thus shown that he had not been insensible of his obligations.

But I laboured more abundantly ... - I was more diligent in preaching; I encountered more perils; I have exerted myself more. The records of his life, compared with the records of the other apostles, fully show this.

Yet not I-- I do not attribute it to myself. I would not boast of it. The fact is plain, and undeniable, that I have so labored. But I would not attribute it to myself. I would not be proud or vain. I would remember my former state; would remember that I was a persecutor; would remember that all my disposition to labor, and all my ability, and all my success, are to be traced to the mere favor and mercy of God. So every man who has just views feels who has been favored with success in the ministry. If a man has been successful as a preacher; if he has been self-denying, laborious, and the instrument of good, he cannot be insensible to the fact, and it would be foolish affectation to pretend ignorance of it. But he may feel that it is all owing to the mere mercy of God; and the effect will be to produce humility and gratitude, not pride and self-complacency.

10. by … grace … and his grace—The repetition implies the prominence which God's grace had in his mind, as the sole cause of his marvellous conversion and subsequent labors. Though "not meet to be called an apostle," grace has given him, in Christ, the meetness needed for the office. Translate as the Greek, "His grace which was (showed) towards me."

what I am—occupying the honorable office of an apostle. Contrast with this the self-sufficient prayer of another Pharisee (Lu 18:11).

but I laboured—by God's grace (Php 2:16).

than they all—than any of the apostles (1Co 15:7).

grace of God … with me—Compare "the Lord working with them" (Mr 16:20). The oldest manuscripts omit "which was." The "not I, but grace," implies, that though the human will concurred with God when brought by His Spirit into conformity with His will, yet "grace" so preponderated in the work, that his own co-operation is regarded as nothing, and grace as virtually the sole agent. (Compare 1Co 3:9; Mt 10:20; 2Co 6:1; Php 2:12, 13).

By the grace of God I am what I am; by the free love and goodness of God, I, that was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, have obtained mercy; and though it was impossible for me any more to requite and answer, than at first to merit, that love, yet his grace in me hath produced some fruit, and hath not been wholly in vain; for in the discharge of my ministry, as an apostle, I have abundantly laboured, though not more than all the rest of the apostles taken together, yet more than any one of them all, who were my fellow apostles: what these labours were, he told us, Romans 15:19; and more fully, 2 Corinthians 6:4-10. But lest he should be thought to arrogate any thing to himself, and the power or good use of his own will, he addeth,

yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Grace seemeth, in the latter part of the verse, to be taken in something a different sense from what it was in the former part: here it signifies the free love and favour of God; though it may also there be understood of those gracious habits, which were the effects of that free love and mercy; here it plainly signifies those gracious habits which were infused into Paul, together with the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, by which he was enabled to reduce those habits into acts. Paul had something in the acts he had done considered as a man, but yet so little, as in these spiritual acts he denieth his own efficiency, and attributeth all to Divine grace, either exciting him to his actions, or preventing, or working in and with him, and assisting him, and giving him all that success he had had. But by the grace of God I am what I am,.... As he was what he was by the grace of God in a private capacity, upon a level with other Christians, being a chosen vessel of salvation, not by works, nor on account of faith, or any holiness of his, but by grace; being regenerated, called, sanctified, justified, pardoned, and adopted by it; being a believer in Christ through faith, as a gift of God's grace, and having a good hope of eternal glory the same way; so he was what he was, as a minister of the Gospel, as an apostle, as in that high office purely by the grace of God: he was not made one by men, nor by his education, learning, and industry, nor through any merits of his own, but by the free favour and sovereign will of God, bestowing on him gifts and grace, by which he was qualified for apostleship, and to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ:

and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; by "grace", in the former clause, is meant the good will and free favour of God, from whence all the blessings of goodness arise; here the gifts of grace, particularly such as qualify for the ministry. For what qualifies men for the preaching of the Gospel is not human learning, nor natural parts, nor internal grace, neither separately nor altogether: but peculiar gifts, which lie in an understanding of the Scriptures, and the doctrines of the Gospel, and in an aptitude to explain and teach them to the edification of others: and these gifts are not of nature, nor acquired by art and industry, but are of grace; are gifts freely bestowed by God, and are not in vain, at least should not be; they are not to be wrapped up in a napkin, and hid in the earth; they are not to be neglected, but to be stirred up and improved by prayer, meditation, reading, constant study, and frequent use, as they were by the apostle; and by a divine blessing were not without their use, to the good of souls, and the glory of God. Hence as what he was, so what he had, was by the grace of God, and likewise what he did, as follows:

but I laboured more abundantly than they all; meaning, not the false apostles, who were loiterers, and not labourers, but the true apostles of Christ; not than them all put together, but than anyone of them singly considered; he laboured in the Lord's vineyard, in the word and doctrine, preaching in season and out of season; he travelled over a greater part of the world, preached oftener, and wrote more than any of the rest; was the instrument of converting more souls, and he planted more churches, endured more hardships and sufferings than any of the other apostles;

Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me; he attributes all to the grace of God, and nothing to himself; it was the grace of God that made him an apostle of Christ, and preacher of the Gospel; it was that which being bestowed on him qualified him for it; it was that which enabled him to labour and toil, to do and suffer all he did, and which gave success to all his ministrations. He is exceedingly careful to magnify the free favour of God, and the gifts of his grace; and means not the grace that was in him, but the grace that was without him, though with him.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:10. The other side of this humility, looking to God. Yet has God’s grace made me what I am. Comp. Galatians 1:15.

χάριτι] has the principal emphasis, hence again ἡ χάρις αὐτοῦ

ὅ εἰμι] In this is comprehended the whole sum of his present being and character, so different from his pre-Christian conditio.

ἡ εἰς ἐμέ] Comp. 1 Peter 1:10 : towards me. Plato, Pol. v. p. 729 D.

οὐ κενή] not void of result. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:58; Php 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:5.

ἐγεν.] not: has been, but: has practically become.

ἀλλά] introduces the great contrast to οὐ κενὴ ἐγεν., valued highly by Paul, even in the depth of his humility, as against the impugners of his apostolic position; and introduces it with logical correctness, for περισσότερονἐκοπίασα is the result of the grace.

περισσ.] accusative neuter. It is the plus of the result. Regarding ἐκοπ. of apostolic labour, comp. Php 2:16; Galatians 4:11, al.

αὐτῶν πάντων] than they all, which may either mean: than any of them, or: than they all put together. Since the latter corresponds to the τοῖς ἀποστ. πᾶσιν, 1 Corinthians 15:7, and suits best the design of bringing out the fruitful efficacy of the divine grace, and also agrees with history so far as known to us, it is accordingly to be preferred (Osiander and van Hengel) in opposition to the former interpretation, which is the common on.

οὐκ ἐγὼ δὲ, ἀλλʼ κ.τ.λ.] Correction regarding the subject of ἐκοπίασα, not I however, but. Chrysostom says well: τῇ συνήθει κεχρημένος ταπεινοφροσύνῃ καὶ τοῦτο (that he laboured more, etc.) ταχέως παρέδραμε, καὶ τὸ πᾶν ἀνέθηκε τῷ θεῷ. Paul is conscious in himself that the relation of the efficacy of God’s grace to his own personal agency is of such a kind, that what has just been stated belongs not to the latter, but to the former.[35]

Ἡ ΧΆΡΙς Τ. ΘΕΟῦ ΣῪΝ ἘΜΟΊ
] sc. ἐκοπίασε περισσ. αὐτ. πάντ. Not I have laboured more, but the grace of God has done it with me (in efficient fellowship with me, comp. Mark 16:20). It is to be observed that the article before σὺν ἐμοί is not genuine (see the critical remarks), and so Paul does not disclaim for himself his own self-active share in bringing about the result, but knows that the intervention of the divine grace so outweighs his own activity, that to the alternative, whether he or grace has wrought such great things, he can only answer, as he has done: not I, but the grace of God with me. Were the article before σὺν ἐμοί genuine, the thought would not be: the grace has wrought it with me, but: the grace, which is with me,[36] has wrought it. But Beza’s remark holds true for the case also of the article being omitted: “Paulum ita se ipsum facere gratiae administrum, ut illi omnia tribuat.” There is no ground for thinking even remotely of a “not alone, but also,” or the like (see Grotius, Flatt, and others).

[35] Augustine, De Grat. et lib. arb. 3, says: “Non ego autem, i.e. non solus, sed gratia Dei mecum; ac per hoc nec gratia Dei sola, nec ipse solus, sed gratia Dei cum illo.” Therewith, however, the relation of the grace to the individuality, as Paul has expressed it by οὐκ ἐγὼ, ἀλλά, is entirely overlooked.

[36] That is, which stands in helping fellowship with me. See Kühner, II. p. 276.1 Corinthians 15:10. “God’s grace,” which makes Paul what he is (see 1 Corinthians 9:1 f.: the double εἰμὶ is firmly assertive—“I am what I verily am”), is the favour, utterly undeserved, that summoned Saul of Tarsus from the foremost rank of the persecutors to the foremost rank amongst the servants of the Lord Jesus: cf. 1 Timothy 1:14, Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 2:7, Galatians 1:13 ff. The grace of Apostleship implies the antecedent grace of forgiveness and adoption.—καὶ ἡ χάρις αὐτοῦ ἡ εἰς ἐμὲ κ.τ.λ., “and His grace that was extended (or went out) unto me, has not proved vain”: cf. the emphatic ἐμοὶ of Ephesians 3:8; the repeated art[2295] marks me as the signal object of this grace; for χάρις εἰς, cf 1 Peter 1:10.—κενή (cf. 1 Peter 1:14) means not void of result (that is ματαία, 1 Peter 1:17), but void of reality: Paul’s Apostleship was no titular office, no mere benevolence towards an unworthy man; the favour brought with it a labour quite as extraordinary—“nay, but (ἀλλʼ) more abundantly than they all did I labour”.—κοπιάω connotes exertion, painful or exhausting toil; see note on κόπος, 1 Corinthians 15:8. So that, if last and least at the outset, and conspicuously unfit for Apostleship, in execution P. took the premier place: see 2 Corinthians 10:13-18; 2 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Corinthians 12:2 ff., Romans 15:15-21.—αὐτῶν πάντων, presumably, more than all the rest together: by his single labours P. had extended the kingdom of Christ over a region wider than all the Twelve had traversed up to this date.—From the depth of Paul’s self-abasement a new pride is ready to spring, which is corrected instantly by the words, οὐκ ἐγὼ δέ, ἀλλʼ ἡ χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ σὺν ἐμοί: “not I, however, but the grace of God (working) with me”—this really wrought the work; I was its instrument. See 1 Corinthians 3:7 ff., 1 Corinthians 12:6, Php 2:12 f., Ephesians 3:20, Colossians 1:29; and for the turn of expression, Galatians 2:20.

[2295] grammatical article.10. But by the grace of God I am what I am] St Paul is willing to admit his personal inferiority to the other Apostles, but such willingness does not lead him to make a similar admission regarding his work. For that was God’s doing, not his, or only his so far as God’s grace or favour enabled him to perform it. See ch. 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 3:9, and cf. St Matthew 10:20; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 3:7; Php 2:12-13.

I laboured more abundantly than they all] St Paul does not hesitate to place his labours for the Gospel’s sake on a par with, or even above, those of the twelve. The work of an Apostle of the Gentiles must necessarily have been more arduous than that of an Apostle of the Jews1 Corinthians 15:10. Χάριτι, by grace) alone.—ὅ εἰμι, what I am) i.e. an apostle, who saw Chrits.—οὐ κενὴ, not vain) Paul proves the authority of the gospel and of his testimony to it by its effects.—ἀυτῶν, than they) They word is referred to 1 Corinthians 15:7.—πάντων, all) individually.—σὺν ἐμοὶ, with me) The particle with is suitable because he says, I laboured: comp. Mark 16:20.Verse 10. - By the grace of God I am. what I am. And therefore he was "in nothing behind the very chiefest apostles." However humbly he thought of himself, it would have been mere unfaithfulness to disparage his own work (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6). I laboured more abundantly than they all. Because God wrought effectually in him (Galatians 2:8). The word used for "labour" implies the extreme of toil (Matthew 6:28: Philippians 2:16), etc. But the grace of God. "It is God that worketh in you" (Philippians 2:13; Matthew 10:20; Colossians 1:29). Was not (οὐ ἐγενήθη)

Rev., better, was not found: did not turn out to be.

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