1 Corinthians 1:1
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
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(1) Paul, called to be an apostle.—Better, a called Apostle of Jesus Christ. His apostolic authority, which was questioned by some in Corinth, is thus set out at the commencement of the Epistle.

And Sosthenes our brother.Sosthenes the brother, probably the Sosthenes (see Note on 1Corinthians 1:16) the chief ruler of the synagogue mentioned in Acts 18:17, one of the brethren well known to the Corinthians. From his name being thus joined with that of the Apostle, we may conjecture that he was his amanuensis in writing this Epistle, the salutation only (1Corinthians 16:21) having been written by St. Paul’s hand.

1 Corinthians 1:1. Paul, called to be an apostle — There is great propriety in every clause of the salutation, particularly in this, as there was a faction at this time in the church at Corinth, which pretended to entertain doubts of his apostleship, 1 Corinthians 9:1; probably in consequence of insinuations thrown out against it by the Judaizing teacher, or teachers, who had come thither after his departure. The apostle, therefore, begins his letter by informing them, “that he was not, like Matthias, an apostle made by men, neither did he assume the office by his own authority, but he was called to it by Christ himself, who for that purpose appeared to him from heaven.” The original expression, κλητος αποστολος Ιησου Χριστου, is literally, a called apostle of Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ’s called apostle. Through the will of God — Termed the commandment of God, 1 Timothy 1:1. This was, to the churches, the ground of his authority; to Paul himself, of an humble and ready mind. By the mention of God, the authority of man is excluded, Galatians 1:1; by the mention of the will of God, the merit of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:8, &c. And Sosthenes — If, as most commentators think, this person be that chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, mentioned Acts 18:17, as active in persecuting Paul, we must suppose that he was afterward converted, and became an eminent preacher of the gospel. And as it seems he had considerable influence among the Corinthians, it was prudence, as well as humility, in the apostle, thus to join his name with his own, in an epistle where he was to reprove so many irregularities. Sosthenes our brother — Probably this word is emphatical; as if he had said, Who, from a Jewish opposer of the gospel, became a faithful brother.

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!Paul, called to be an apostle - See the notes at Romans 1:1.

Through the will of God - Not by human appointment, or authority, but in accordance with the will of God, and His command. That will was made known to him by the special revelation granted to him at his conversion, and call to the apostleship; Acts 9. Paul often refers to the fact that he had received a direct commission from God, and that he did not act on his own authority; compare Galatians 1:11-12; 1 Corinthians 9:1-6; 2 Corinthians 11:22-33; 2 Corinthians 12:1-12. There was a special reason why he commenced this Epistle by referring to the fact that he was divinely called to the apostleship. It arose from the fact that his apostolic authority had been called in question by the false teachers at Corinth. That this was the case is apparent from the general strain of the Epistle, from some particular expressions 2 Corinthians 10:8-10; and from the fact that he is at so much pains throughout the two epistles to establish his divine commission.

And Sosthenes - Sosthenes is mentioned in Acts 18:17, as "the chief ruler of the synagogue" at Corinth. He is there said to have been beaten by the Greeks before the judgment-seat of Gallio because he was a Jew, and because he had joined with the other Jews in arraigning Paul, and had thus produced disturbance in the city; see the note on this place. It is evident that at that time he was not a Christian. When he was converted, or why he left Corinth and was now with Paul at Ephesus, is unknown. Why Paul associated him with himself in writing this Epistle is not known. It is evident that Sosthenes was not an apostle, nor is there any reason to think that he was inspired. Some circumstances are known to have existed respecting Paul's manner of writing to the churches, which may explain it:

(1) He was accustomed to employ an amanuensis (scribe) in writing his epistles, and the copyist frequently expressed his concurrence or approbation in what the apostle had indicted; see the note at Romans 16:22; compare Colossians 4:18. "The salutation by the hand of Paul," 2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 16:21. It is possible that Sosthenes might have been employed by Paul for this purpose.

(2) Paul not unfrequently associated others with himself in writing his letters to the churches, himself claiming authority as an apostle; and the others expressing their concurrence; 2 Corinthians 1:1. Thus, in Galatians 1:1, "all the brethren" which were with him, are mentioned as united with him in addressing the churches of Galatia; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1.

(3) Sosthenes was well known at Corinth. He had been the chief ruler of the synagogue there. His conversion would, therefore, excite a deep interest, and it is not improbable that he had been conspicuous as a preacher. All these circumstances would render it proper that Paul should associate him with himself in writing this letter. It would be bringing in the testimony of one well known as concurring with the views of the apostle, and tend much to conciliate those who were disaffected toward him.



The Authenticity of this Epistle is attested by Clement of Rome [First Epistle to the Corinthians, 47], Polycarp [Epistle to the Philippians, 11], and Irenæus [Against Heresies, 4.27.3]. The city to which it was sent was famed for its wealth and commerce, which were chiefly due to its situation between the Ionian and Ægean Seas on the isthmus connecting the Peloponese with Greece. In Paul's time it was the capital of the province Achaia and the seat of the Roman proconsul (Ac 18:12). The state of morals in it was notorious for debauchery, even in the profligate heathen world; so much so that "to Corinthianize" was a proverbial phrase for "to play the wanton"; hence arose dangers to the purity of the Christian Church at Corinth. That Church was founded by Paul on his first visit (Ac 18:1-17).

He had been the instrument of converting many Gentiles (1Co 12:2), and some Jews (Ac 18:8), notwithstanding the vehement opposition of the countrymen of the latter (Ac 18:5), during the year and a half in which he sojourned there. The converts were chiefly of the humbler classes (1Co 1:26, &c.). Crispus (1Co 1:14; Ac 18:8), Erastus, and Gaius (Caius) were, however, men of rank (Ro 16:23). A variety of classes is also implied in 1Co 11:22. The risk of contamination by contact with the surrounding corruptions, and the temptation to a craving for Greek philosophy and rhetoric (which Apollos' eloquent style rather tended to foster, Ac 18:24, &c.) in contrast to Paul's simple preaching of Christ crucified (1Co 2:1, &c.), as well as the opposition of certain teachers to him, naturally caused him anxiety. Emissaries from the Judaizers of Palestine boasted of "letters of commendation" from Jerusalem, the metropolis of the faith. They did not, it is true, insist on circumcision in refined Corinth, where the attempt would have been hopeless, as they did among the simpler people of Galatia; but they attacked the apostolic authority of Paul (1Co 9:1, 2; 2Co 10:1, 7, 8), some of them declaring themselves followers of Cephas, the chief apostle, others boasting that they belonged to Christ Himself (1Co 1:12; 2Co 10:7), while they haughtily repudiated all subordinate teaching. Those persons gave out themselves for apostles (2Co 11:5, 13). The ground taken by them was that Paul was not one of the Twelve, and not an eye-witness of the Gospel facts, and durst not prove his apostleship by claiming sustenance from the Christian Church. Another section avowed themselves followers of Paul himself, but did so in a party spirit, exalting the minister rather than Christ. The followers of Apollos, again, unduly prized his Alexandrian learning and eloquence, to the disparagement of the apostle, who studiously avoided any deviation from Christian simplicity (1Co 2:1-5). In some of this last philosophizing party there may have arisen the Antinomian tendency which tried to defend theoretically their own practical immorality: hence their denial of the future resurrection, and their adoption of the Epicurean motto, prevalent in heathen Corinth, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die" (1Co 15:32). Hence, perhaps, arose their connivance at the incestuous intercourse kept up by one of the so-called Christian body with his stepmother during his father's life. The household of Chloe informed Paul of many other evils: such as contentions, divisions, and lawsuits brought against brethren in heathen law courts by professing Christians; the abuse of their spiritual gifts into occasions of display and fanaticism; the interruption of public worship by simultaneous and disorderly ministrations, and decorum violated by women speaking unveiled (contrary to Oriental usage), and so usurping the office of men, and even the holy communion desecrated by greediness and revelling on the part of the communicants. Other messengers, also, came from Corinth, consulting him on the subject of (1) the controversy about meats offered to idols; (2) the disputes about celibacy and marriage; (3) the due exercise of spiritual gifts in public worship; (4) the best mode of making the collection which he had requested for the saints at Jerusalem (1Co 16:1, &c.). Such were the circumstances which called forth the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the most varied in its topics of all the Epistles.

In 1Co 5:9, "I wrote unto you in an Epistle not to company with fornicators," it is implied that Paul had written a previous letter to the Corinthians (now lost). Probably in it he had also enjoined them to make a contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem, whereupon they seem to have asked directions as to the mode of doing so, to which he now replies (1Co 16:2). It also probably announced his intention of visiting them on way to Macedonia, and again on his return from Macedonia (2Co 1:15, 16), which purpose he changed hearing the unfavorable report from Chloe's household (1Co 16:5-7), for which he was charged with (2Co 1:17). In the first Epistle which we have, the subject of fornication is alluded to only in a way, as if he were rather replying to an excuse set up after rebuke in the matter, than introducing for the first time [Alford]. Preceding this former letter, he seems to have paid a second visit to Corinth. For in 2Co 12:4; 13:1, he speaks of his intention of paying them a third visit, implying he had already twice visited them. See on [2277]2Co 2:1; [2278]2Co 13:2; also see on [2279]2Co 1:15; [2280]2Co 1:16. It is hardly likely that during his three years' sojourn at Ephesus he would have failed to revisit his Corinthian converts, which he could so readily do by sea, there being constant maritime intercourse between the two cities. This second visit was probably a short one (compare 1Co 16:7); and attended with pain and humiliation (2Co 2:1; 12:21), occasioned by the scandalous conduct of so many of his own converts. His milder censures having then failed to produce reformation, he wrote briefly directing them "not to company with fornicators." On their misapprehending this injunction, he explained it more fully in the Epistle, the first of the two extant (1Co 5:9, 12). That the second visit is not mentioned in Acts is no objection to its having really taken place, as that book is fragmentary and omits other leading incidents in Paul's life; for example, his visit to Arabia, Syria, and Cilicia (Ga 1:17-21).

The Place of Writing is fixed to be Ephesus (1Co 16:8). The subscription in English Version, "From Philippi," has no authority whatever, and probably arose from a mistaken translation of 1Co 16:5, "For I am passing through Macedonia." At the time of writing Paul implies (1Co 16:8) that he intended to leave Ephesus after Pentecost of that year. He really did leave it about Pentecost (A.D. 57). Compare Ac 19:20. The allusion to Passover imagery in connection with our Christian Passover, Easter (1Co 5:7), makes it likely that the season was about Easter. Thus the date of the Epistle is fixed with tolerable accuracy, about Easter, certainly before Pentecost, in the third year of his residence at Ephesus, A.D. 57. For other arguments, see Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul.

The Epistle is written in the name of Sosthenes "[our] brother." Birks supposes he is the same as the Sosthenes, Ac 18:17, who, he thinks, was converted subsequently to that occurrence. He bears no part in the Epistle itself, the apostle in the very next verses (1Co 1:4, &c.) using the first person: so Timothy is introduced, 2Co 1:1. The bearers of the Epistle were probably Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (see the subscription, 1Co 16:24), whom he mentions (1Co 16:17, 18) as with him then, but who he implies are about to return back to Corinth; and therefore he commends them to the regard of the Corinthians.


1Co 1:1-31. The Inscription; Thanksgiving for the Spiritual State of the Corinthian Church; Reproof of Party Divisions: His Own Method of Preaching Only Christ.

1. called to be—Found in some, not in others, of the oldest manuscripts Possibly inserted from Ro 1:1; but as likely to be genuine. Translate, literally, "a called apostle" [Conybeare and Howson].

through the will of God—not because of my own merit. Thus Paul's call as "an apostle by the will of God," while constituting the ground of the authority he claims in the Corinthian Church (compare Ga 1:1), is a reason for humility on his own part (1Co 15:8, 10) [Bengel]. In assuming the ministerial office a man should see he does so not of his own impulse, but by the will of God (Jer 23:21); Paul if left to his own will would never have been an apostle (Ro 9:16).

Sosthenes—See my [2281]Introduction. Associated by Paul with himself in the inscription, either in modesty, Sosthenes being his inferior [Chrysostom], or in order that the name of a "brother" of note in Corinth (Ac 18:17) might give weight to his Epistle and might show, in opposition to his detractors that he was supported by leading brethren. Gallio had driven the Jews who accused Paul from the judgment-seat. The Greek mob, who disliked Jews, took the opportunity then of beating Sosthenes the ruler of the Jewish synagogue, while Gallio looked on and refused to interfere, being secretly pleased that the mob should second his own contempt for the Jews. Paul probably at this time had showed sympathy for an adversary in distress, which issued in the conversion of the latter. So Crispus also, the previous chief ruler of the synagogue had been converted. Saul the persecutor turned into Paul the apostle, and Sosthenes the leader in persecution against that apostle, were two trophies of divine grace that, side by side, would appeal with double power to the Church at Corinth [Birks].

1 Corinthians Chapter 1

1Co 1:1-3 After saluting the church at Corinth,

1Co 1:4-9 and thanking God for his grace toward them,

1Co 1:10 Paul exhorteth them to unity,

1Co 1:11-16 and reproveth their dissensions.

1Co 1:17-25 The plain doctrine of the gospel, how foolish soever

in the eyes of the world, is the power and wisdom of

God to the salvation of believers.

1Co 1:26-29 God, to take away human boasting, hath not called the

wise, the mighty, the noble; but the foolish, the

weak, the despised among men.

1Co 1:30,31 Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification,

and redemption.

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ: our common custom is to subscribe our name to the bottom of our letters; it seems by the apostolical Epistles, that their fashion was otherwise: he elsewhere telleth us, that it was his token in every epistle, which makes some doubt, whether that to the Hebrews was wrote by him; but others think it is there concealed, for the particular spite the Jews had to him. He had the name of Saul as well as Paul, as we read, Act 7:58 9:1: whether he had two names, (as many of the Jews had), or Saul was the name by which he was called before his conversion, and Paul his name after he was converted, or after he was made a citizen of Rome, (for Paul is a Roman name, nor do we read that after his conversion he was ever called by the name of Saul), is not worth our disputing. He was a man of Tarsus in Cilicia, by his nation a Jew, both by father and mother; an Hebrew of the Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, bred up at the feet of Gamaliel, one of their great doctors; he was also citizen of Rome, as himself tells us, Act 21:39 22:3,27 Php 3:5; by his trade a tent maker, Act 18:3; a great zealot for the Jewish ceremonies and law, and upon that score a great persecutor, consenting to the death of Stephen, and breathing out threatenings against Christians. Of his miraculous conversion we read, in Act 9:1-43, as also of his being called to be an apostle, not one of those first sent out by Christ, but yet called: he gives king Agrippa a full account of his calling, Act 26:12-19.

Through the will of God; so as he was an apostle by the will of God, God's special revelation from heaven: he did not thrust himself into the employment, but was sent of God in an extraordinary manner; not only mediately, (as all ministers are), but by an immediate call and mission.

And Sosthenes our brother: in the salutation prefixed to this Epistle, he joineth Sosthenes, whom he calls his brother. Of this Sosthenes we read, Act 18:17; he was a chief ruler of the synagogue, but converted to Christianity; Paul disdaineth not to call him his brother.

Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ,.... The author, or rather the writer of the following epistle; for the Holy Ghost was the author and dictator of it, and which was never doubted: he is described by his, name Paul, though his Jewish name was Saul; and very probably he being a Jew by birth, and yet born in a Roman city, might have two names, the one Jewish, the other Gentile; and by the one he went when among the Jews, and by the other when concerned with the Gentiles: and also by his office, "an apostle of Jesus Christ"; immediately called, and sent forth by him; had the Gospel from him by immediate revelation, and a commission to preach it; and which high office was confirmed by signs and wonders, and mighty deeds; by the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost conferred on him, and on others under his ministry; and by the eminent success which attended the preaching of the Gospel by him. This his character he the rather mentions, because some in this church, through the insinuations of the false apostles, demurred upon it; whereas this was not a mere name given him by men, and by which he was only commonly called by them, but was an office he was "called" to by Christ; he did not rush into it, or assume it of himself, but had a divine warrant for it; for he was invested with it,

through the will of God: both by the secret will and purpose of God, by which he was a chosen vessel, to bear the name of Christ among the Gentiles, Acts 9:15; and by the revealed will of God, signified by the Spirit of God, who said, "separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have called them", Acts 13:2, and shows, that it was not owing to any worth or merit in him, but purely to the free grace and sovereign will and pleasure of God, that he was made an apostle of Christ:

and Sosthenes our brother. This seems to be the same man, who was the chief ruler of the synagogue of the Jews at Corinth; and was converted to the Christian faith by the Apostle Paul whilst there, as appears from his favouring the cause of the apostle, for which the Jews beat him before the judgment seat, and yet Gallio the Roman deputy took no notice of it, Acts 18:17, in the Syriac dictionary (a) mention is made of one Sosthenes, governor of a city, one of the seventy disciples, who was educated at Pontus, and cast into the sea by the order of Nouna; and is also said to be bishop of Colophon in Ionia; see Gill on Luke 10:1; but without any reason. This person the apostle joins with him, not as in equal office with him, but as a brother in Christ, and very probably a ministering brother, and a companion of his; and the rather, because he might be well known to the Corinthians, and respected by them; wherefore he chose to join him with him, to show their agreement in doctrine and discipline, and in advice to them, which might have the greater weight with them; see Acts 18:17.

(a) Bar Bahluli apud Castel. Lex. Polyglott. col. 2444. Vid. Euseb, Eccl. Hist. l. 1. c. 12.

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 Corinthians 1:1. Κλητὸς ἀπόστ. See on Romans 1:1. A polemical reference (Chrysostom, Theophylact, and many others, including Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, Osiander), which would be foreign to the winning tone of the whole exordium, would have been quite otherwise expressed by one so decided as Paul (comp Galatians 1:1).

διὰ θελ. Θεοῦ] That his position as an apostle called by Christ was brought about by the will of God, was a truth so vividly and firmly implanted in his consciousness, that he commonly includes an expression of it in the beginning of his Epistles. See 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1. “Sua ipsius voluntate P. nunquam factus esset apostolus,” Bengel. Regarding διά, see on 1 Corinthians 1:9 and Galatians 1:1.

καὶ Σωσθένης] Modern interpreters reckon him the amanuensis of the Epistle (see 1 Corinthians 16:21). But the mere amanuensis as such has no share in the Epistle itself, which must, however, be the case with one who holds a place in the introductory salutation. Since, moreover, in 1 and 2 Thess. we find two others besides Paul named with him in the superscription (who therefore could hardly both be mentioned as amanuenses), and even an indefinite number of “brethren” in the Epistle to the Galatians, whereas in that to the Romans the amanuensis—who is known from 1 Corinthians 16:22—does not appear as included in the superscription, we must rather suppose that Paul made his Epistle run not only in his own name, but also (although, of course, in a subordinate sense) in the name of Sosthenes, so that the Corinthians were to regard the letter of the apostle as at the same time a letter of Sosthenes, who thereby signified his desire to impress upon them the same doctrines, admonitions, etc. This presupposes that Paul had previously considered and discussed with this friend of his the contents of the letter to be issued. Comp on Php 1:1. Sosthenes himself accordingly appears as a teacher then present with the apostle and enjoying his confidence, but known to, and respected among, the Corinthians. There remains, indeed, the possibility that he may have also written the Epistle, but only in so far as we are in utter ignorance of who the amanuensis was at all. Had Timothy not already started on his journey (1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 16:10), he would have had a place along with, or instead of, Sosthenes in the salutation of the Epistle; comp 2 Corinthians 1:1.

Theodoret and most commentators, including Flatt, Billroth, Ewald, Maier, Hofmann, identify Sosthenes with the person so named in Acts 18:17; but this is rightly denied by Michaelis, Pott, Rückert, and de Wette. See on Acts, l.c[80] Without due ground, Rückert concludes that he was a young man trained up by Paul—a view least of all to be deduced from the assumption that he was the amanuensis of the letter. The very absence of any definite information whatever as to Sosthenes shows how utterly arbitrary is the remark of Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius, and Estius, that it was a great proof of modesty in the apostle to name him along with himself.

ὁ ἀδελφός] denotes nothing more special than Christian brotherhood (so also 2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:1, al[81]), not fellowship in the office of teacher. The particulars of the position of Sosthenes were well known to the readers.

[80] .c. loco citato or laudato.

[81] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

1 Corinthians 1:1-3. Apostolic address and greeting.

1 Corinthians 1:1-3. The salutation is full and varied in the epp. of this group. As in Galatians and Romans, P. emphasises his apostleship (see 1 Corinthians 9:1 f.), at present in dispute. The readers are (in 1 and 2 Cor.) “the Church” and “the saints”—a transition from “the ch.” of 1 and 2 Thess. (“the churches,” Gal.) to “the saints” of Rom. and later epp. Here stress is thrown with a purpose, (1) on the sanctity of the Cor[32] Church, (2) on its fellowship with the general body of Christians.

[32] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Ch. 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. Salutation and Introduction

1. called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God] St Paul here as elsewhere asserts his Divine commission. This was necessary because a party had arisen which was inclined to dispute it. We read in the Epistle to the Galatians of the ‘false brethren unawares brought in’ whose doctrine he was compelled to withstand and to assert the Divine origin of his own; and in the second Epistle to the Corinthians we find many allusions to those who rejected his authority, as in ch. 1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 10:2; 1 Corinthians 10:7; 1 Corinthians 10:10, and the whole of chapters 11 and 12. They no doubt laid much stress on the fact that St Paul had not received the call of Christ as the Twelve had (see notes on ch. 9), and also on the different complexion his doctrine, though the same, necessarily bore, from the fact that it was mainly addressed to Gentiles and not to Jews. It is worthy of remark that in the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, written before the controversy arose, no such clause is found, while after the commencement of the dispute the words or some equivalent to them are only absent from one epistle addressed to a church.

Sosthenes our brother] Literally, the brother. He was probably not the Sosthenes mentioned in Acts 18:17, who was an opponent of the faith, but some one well known to the churches in the Apostolic age.

1 Corinthians 1:1. Παῦλος, Paul. The epistle consists—

I.  Of the Inscription, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3.

II.  Of the Discussion; in which we have—

  I.  An exhortation to concord, depressing the elated judgments of the flesh, 1 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 4:21.

  II.  A reproof,—

  1)  For not putting away the wicked person, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.

  2)  For perverse lawsuits, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11.

  III.    An exhortation to avoid fornication, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

  IV.    His answer to them in regard to marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Corinthians 7:36; 1 Corinthians 7:39.

  V.    On things offered to idols, 1 Corinthians 8:1-2; 1 Corinthians 8:131 Corinthians 9:271 Corinthians 10:11 Corinthians 11:1.

  VI.    On a woman being veiled, 1 Corinthians 11:2.

  VII.  On the Lord’s Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:17.

  VIII.  On spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 Corinthians 14.

  IX.    On the resurrection of the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:1; 1 Corinthians 15:12; 1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 Corinthians 15:35.

  X.    On the collection: on his own coming, and that of Timothy and Apollos; on the sum and substance of the whole subject, 1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:10; 1 Corinthians 16:12-14.

III.  Of the Conclusion, 1 Corinthians 16:15; 1 Corinthians 16:17; 1 Corinthians 16:19-20.

ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, an apostle of Jesus Christ) 1 Corinthians 1:17.—διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ, by the will of God) so 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1. His apostleship is said to be “by the commandment of God,” in 1 Timothy 1:1. This was the principle on which rested the apostolic authority in regard to the churches: and the principle of the zealous and humble mind which characterized Paul himself; comp. Romans 1:1, note. For by the mention of God, human claim to wages (auctoramentum) is excluded, Galatians 1:1; by the mention of the will of God, merit on the part of Paul is excluded, ch. 1 Corinthians 15:8, etc.: whence this apostle is in proportion the more grateful and zealous, 2 Corinthians 8:5, at the end of the verse. Had Paul been left to his own will, he would never have become an apostle.[1]—Σωσθένης, Sosthenes) a companion of Paul, a Corinthian. Apollos is not mentioned here, nor Aquila; for they do not appear to have been at that time with Paul, although they were in the same city, ch. 1 Corinthians 16:12; 1 Corinthians 16:19. In the second epistle, he joins Timothy to himself.

[1] It is of the greatest advantage to have the will of GOD for our guide. To attempt anything under the guidance of a man’s own will is an undertaking full of hazard, under however specious a name it may be capable of being commended. In the world it readily produces embarrassments, troublesome and very difficult to be got rid of.—V. g.

Verse 1. - Paul. After the beginning of the first missionary journey (A.D. 45) he seems to have finally abandoned his Hebrew name of Saul. Called. The word "called" is absent from A, D, E, and other manuscripts, but may have been omitted as superfluous. It occurs in the greeting of Romans 1:1, but not in any other Epistle. The words might also be rendered "a called or chosen apostle." To be an apostle. He uses this title in every letter except the private one to Philemon, the peculiarly friendly and informal one to the Philippians, and the two to the Thessalonians, which were written before the Judaizers had challenged his claim to this title in its more special sense. The Epistle to the Romans is the first in which he calls himself "a slave of Jesus Christ" (comp. Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1). It was necessary for him to assert his right to the apostolate in the highest sense of the word, as one who had received from Christ himself an authority equal to that of the twelve (see 1 Corinthians 9:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 11:5; 2 Corinthians 12:11, 12; Galatians 1:1-19, etc.). Of Jesus Christ. In the Gospels the word "Christ" is all but invariably "the Christ," i.e. the Anointed, the Messiah. It is the designation of the office of Jesus as the promised Deliverer. We trace in the New Testament the gradual transition of the word from a title into a proper name. In the two names together our Lord is represented as "the Saviour," and the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King, first of the chosen people and then of all mankind. Through the will of God (comp. 2 Corinthians 1 Ephesians Colossians 2 Timothy 1:1). This special call to the apostleship is emphatically expanded in Galatians 1:1. The vindication of the Divine and independent claim was essential to St. Paul's work. It was not due to any personal considerations, but to the necessity of proving that no human authority could be quoted to overthrow the gospel which was peculiarly "his gospel" (see Galatians 1:11; Ephesians 3:8), of which one main feature was the freedom of the Gentiles from the yoke of Judaic bondage. And Soathenes. The association of one or more brethren with himself in the greeting of his letters is peculiar to St. Paul. Silas and Timothy are associated with him in 1 and 2 Thessalonians; and Timothy, though so much his junior, in 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon; doubtless he would have been associated with St. Paul in this Epistle had he not been absent (1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10). The practice arose partly from St. Paul's exquisite courtesy and consideration towards his companions, partly from his shrinking from mere personal prominence. It is owing to the same reasons that in the earlier Epistles he constantly uses "we" for "I," and sometimes when he can only be speaking of himself (1 Thessalonians 2:18). But even in the Epistles to the Thessalonians he sometimes relapses from "we" into "I" (2 Thessalonians 2:5). Our brother; literally, the brother; i.e. one of "the brethren" (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:1). Of Sosthenes nothing whatever is known. He may possibly be the amanuensis whom St. Paul employed for this letter. Later tradition, which in such matters is perfectly valueless, spoke of him as" one of the seventy disciples, and Bishop of Colophon" (Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.,' 1:12). There is a Jewish Sosthenes, a ruler of the synagogue, in Acts 18:17; but it is only a vague conjecture that he may have been subsequently converted, and may have joined St. Paul at Ephesus. It is obvious that the persons named in the greetings of the Epistles were not in any way supposed to be responsible for their contents, lot St. Paul begins with "I" in ver. 4. Brother. At this time there was no recognized title for Christians. In the Acts they are vaguely spoken of as "those of this way." Among themselves they were known as "the saints," "the faithful," "the elect." The name "Christians" was originally a nickname devised by the Antiochenes. In the New Testament it only occurs as a designation used by enemies (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). 1 Corinthians 1:1Called to be an apostle

See on Romans 1:1. Compare 1 Timothy 1:1. Not distinguishing him from other apostles. Compare Matthew 4:21; John 6:70; but Paul was called no less directly than these by Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:12-16. John does not use the word apostle, but gives the idea, John 13:18.

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