1 Corinthians 1:12
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
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(12) Now this I say.—Better, What I mean is, that, &c. The following words, “every one of you saith,” show how party-spirit pervaded the whole Christian community. It may be well to mention here briefly what we may consider to have been the distinctive characteristics of the factions which called themselves respectively the party of Paul, of Cephas, of Apollos, and of Christ.

1. ST. PAUL places first that section of the Church which called themselves by his name—thus at the outset showing that it is not for the sole purpose of silencing opponents, or from a jealousy of the influence of other teachers, that he writes so strenuously against the disturbances in the Corinthian community. It is the spirit of separation and of faction which he condemns—rebuking it as strongly when it has led to the undue exaltation of his own name, as when it attempted to depreciate his gifts and ministry as compared with those of Apollos or of Cephas. He thus wins at once the attention and confidence of every candid reader. The Pauline party would no doubt have consisted chiefly of those who were the personal converts of the Apostle. Their esteem for him who had been the means of their conversion, seems to have been carried to excess in the manner in which it displayed itself. This would be increased by the hostility which their opponents’ disparagement of the Apostle naturally excited in them. They allowed St. Paul’s teaching of the liberty wherewith Christ made them free, to develop in them an unchristian license and a mode of treatment of others essentially illiberal, thus denying by their actions the very principles which they professed to hold dear. They “judged” and “set at nought” (Romans 14:10) brethren who could not take so essentially spiritual a view of Christianity, but who still clung to some of the outward forms of Judaism.

2. APOLLOS was a Jew of Alexandria—“an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures.” He came to Ephesus during St. Paul’s absence from that city, and taught what he knew of the “things of the Lord.” While here, he was instructed further in “the way of God” by Aquila and Priscilla, he having previously only the inadequate knowledge which was possessed by disciples of John (Acts 18:24-28). Having preached in parts of Achaia, he came to Corinth. That he came there after St. Paul we may conclude from the Apostle’s reference to himself as having “planted,” and Apollos having “watered” (1Corinthians 3:6), and again to himself as having “laid the foundation” (1Corinthians 2:10). To Corinth Apollos brought with him the arts of the rhetorician, and the culture of a Greek philosopher; and while preaching Christ crucified, these gifts and knowledge rendered him more acceptable than St. Paul had been, with his studied simplicity of style, to a certain class of intellectual and rationalising hearers in Corinth. When Apollos left, a section of the Church unduly magnified the importance of his gifts and of his manner of teaching. They did so to the depreciation of the simplicity of the gospel. This all led to the development of evils which we shall see more in detail in our examination of 1Corinthians 1:18-31 and 1 Corinthians 2. It ought to be remembered that Apollos was in no sense “the founder of a party.” It was the exaggeration and perversion of Apollos’ teaching, by some of the converts, that really founded the party. To the end he and Paul remained friends. He was probably with the Apostle while the Epistle was being written, and (1Corinthians 16:12) refused, even when St. Paul suggested it, to go so soon again to Corinth, lest his presence should in the least tend to keep that party-spirit alive; and when, ten years (A.D. 67) later, the Apostle writes to Titus, he exhorts him “to bring Apollos on his journey diligently, that nothing be wanting to him” (Titus 3:13).

3. The third faction in Corinth professed themselves followers of ST. PETER—or, as he was always called, “Cephas.” This was the name by which our Lord addressed him in Matthew 16:18, and by this name (and not by his Greek name, Peter) he would have been spoken of by the Apostles and early Christians. In the New Testament writings he is designated most frequently Peter, as his Greek name would be more intelligible to the larger world for which these writings were intended. This faction of the Corinthian Church still clung to many Jewish ceremonial ideas, from which St. Paul was entirely free. They seem not to have quite passed through the cloud. They exalted St. Peter as more worthy of honour than St. Paul, because he had personally been with Christ, and been called “Cephas” (rock) by Him. They insinuated that St. Paul’s supporting himself was not so dignified as the maintenance of St. Peter and others by the Church, in accordance with their Lord’s command (1Corinthians 9:4-6; 2Corinthians 11:9-10); and they unfavourably contrasted St. Paul’s celibacy with the married state of St. Peter, and of “the brethren of the Lord” (1Corinthians 9:5). It is probable that their animosity towards St. Paul was not a little increased by the knowledge that there were certain matters in which he considered St. Peter to be in error, and withstood him to the face” (Galatians 2:2). To the detailed difficulties and errors of this section of the Corinthian Church reference is to be found in the 1Corinthians 7:1 to 1Corinthians 11:1.

4. There was still one other party or faction which dared to arrogate to themselves the name of CHRIST Himself. These over-estimated the importance and value of having seen Christ in the flesh, and despised St. Paul as one who had subsequently joined the Apostolate. Contempt for all human teachers was by them exalted into a virtue. Their greatest sin was that the very name which should have been the common bond of union, the name by the thought and memory of which the Apostle would plead for a restoration of unity, was degraded by them into the exclusive party-badge of a narrow section. We do not find any very definite and detailed allusion to this section in this Epistle, though in the second Epistle a reference to them can be traced in 1Corinthians 10:7. There is no need for such at any length. Their condemnation is written in every chapter, the whole of the Epistle is a denunciation of the spirit of faction—of the sin of schism—which in their case reached a climax, inasmuch as they consecrated their sin with the very name of Christ. Such, briefly, were the four schisms which were rending the Corinthian Church. We might call them—1, The Party of Liberty (PAUL); 2, The Intellectual Party (APOLLOS); 3, The Judaizing Party (CEPHAS); 4, The Exclusive Party (who said, “I am of CHRIST”).

(12) I of Christ.—It has been suggested that this is not the designation of a fourth party in the Church, but an affirmation by the Apostle, “I am of Christ,” in contradistinction to those referred to before, who called themselves after the names of men. But in addition to the fact that there is no change in form of expression to indicate a change of sense, we find evident traces of the existence of such a party (1Corinthians 9:1; 2Corinthians 10:7).

1:10-16 In the great things of religion be of one mind; and where there is not unity of sentiment, still let there be union of affection. Agreement in the greater things should extinguish divisions about the lesser. There will be perfect union in heaven, and the nearer we approach it on earth, the nearer we come to perfection. Paul and Apollos both were faithful ministers of Jesus Christ, and helpers of their faith and joy; but those disposed to be contentious, broke into parties. So liable are the best things to be corrupted, and the gospel and its institutions made engines of discord and contention. Satan has always endeavoured to stir up strife among Christians, as one of his chief devices against the gospel. The apostle left it to other ministers to baptize, while he preached the gospel, as a more useful work.Now this I say - This is what I mean; or, I give this as an instance of the contentions to which Irefer.

That every one of you saith - That you are divided into different factions, and ranged under different leaders. The word translated "that" ὅτι hoti might be translated here, "because," or "since," as giving a reason for his affirming 1 Corinthians 1:11 that there were contentions there. "Now I say that there are contentions, because you are ranged under different leaders," etc. - Calvin.

I am of Paul - It has been doubted whether Paul meant to affirm that the parties had actually taken the names which he here specifies, or whether he uses these names as illustrations, or suppositions, to show the absurdity of their ranging themselves under different leaders. Many of the ancient interpreters supposed that Paul was unwilling to specify the real names of the false teachers and leaders of the parties, and that he used these names simply by way of illustration. This opinion was grounded chiefly on what he says in 1 Corinthians 4:6, "And these things, brethren, I have 'in a figure' transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes," etc. But in this place Paul is not referring so particularly to the factions or parties existing in the church, as he is to the necessity of modesty and humility; and in order to enforce this, he refers to himself and Apollos to show that even those most highly favored should have a low estimate of their importance, since all their success depends on God; see 1 Corinthians 3:4-6.

It can scarcely be doubted that Paul here meant to say that there were parties existing in the church at Corinth, who were called by the names of himself, of Apollos, of Cephas, and of Christ. This is the natural construction; and this was evidently the information which he had received by those who were of the family of Chloe. Why the parties were ranged under these leaders, however, can be only a matter of conjecture. Lightfoot suggests that the church at Corinth was composed partly of Jews and partly of Gentiles; see Acts 18. The Gentile converts, he supposes, would range themselves under Paul and Apollos as their leaders; and the Jewish under Peter and Christ. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, and Peter particularly the apostle to the Jews Galatians 2:7; and this circumstance might give rise to the division. Apollos succeeded Paul in Achaia, and labored successfully there; see Acts 18:27-28. These two original parties might be again sub-divided. A part of those who adhered to Paul and Apollos might regard Saul with chief veneration, as being the founder of the church as the instrument of their conversion, as the chief apostle, as signally pure in his doctrine and manner; and a part might regard Apollos as the instrument of their conversion, and as being distinguished for eloquence. It is evident that the main reason why Apollos was regarded as the head of a faction was on account of his extraordinary eloquence, and it is probable that his followers might seek particularly to imitate him in the graces of popular elocution.

And I of Cephas, Peter; - compare John 1:42. He was regarded particularly as the apostle to the Jews; Galatians 2:7. He had his own speciality of views in teaching, and it is probable that his teaching was not regarded as entirely harmonious with that of Paul; see Galatians 2:11-17. Paul had everywhere among the Gentiles taught that it was not necessary to observe the ceremonial laws of Moses; and, it is probable, that Peter was regarded by the Jews as the advocate of the contrary doctrine. Whether Peter had been at Corinth is unknown. If not, they had heard of his name, and character; and those who had come from Judea had probably reported him as teaching a doctrine on the subject of the observance of Jewish ceremonies unlike that of Paul.

And I of Christ - Why this sect professed to be the followers of Christ, is not certainly known. It probably arose from one of the two following causes:

(1) Either that they had been in Judea and had seen the Lord Jesus, and thus regarded themselves as particularly favored and distinguished: or,

(2) More probably because they refused to call themselves by any inferior leader, and wished to regard Christ alone as their head, and possibly prided themselves on the belief that they were more conformed to him than the other sects.

12. this I say—this is what I mean in saying "contentions" (1Co 1:11).

every one of you saith—Ye say severally, "glorying in men" (1Co 1:31; 1Co 3:21, 22), one, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos, &c. Not that they formed definite parties, but they individually betrayed the spirit of party in contentions under the name of different favorite teachers. Paul will not allow himself to be flattered even by those who made his name their party cry, so as to connive at the dishonor thereby done to Christ. These probably were converted under his ministry. Those alleging the name of Apollos, Paul's successor at Corinth (Ac 18:24, &c.), were persons attracted by his rhetorical style (probably acquired in Alexandria, 1Co 3:6), as contrasted with the "weak bodily presence" and "contemptible speech" of the apostle. Apollos, doubtless, did not willingly foster this spirit of undue preference (1Co 4:6, 8); nay, to discourage it, he would not repeat his visit just then (1Co 16:12).

I of Cephas—probably Judaizers, who sheltered themselves under the name of Peter, the apostle of the circumcision ("Cephas" is the Hebrew, "Peter" the Greek name; Joh 1:42; Ga 2:11, &c.): the subjects handled in the seventh through ninth chapters were probably suggested as matters of doubt by them. The church there began from the Jewish synagogue, Crispus the chief ruler, and Sosthenes his successor (probably), being converts. Hence some Jewish leaven, though not so much as elsewhere, is traceable (2Co 11:22). Petrism afterwards sprang up much more rankly at Rome. If it be wrong to boast "I am of Peter," how much more so to boast I am of the Pope!" [Bengel].

I of Christ—A fair pretext used to slight the ministry of Paul and their other teachers (1Co 4:8; 2Co 10:7-11).

Every one here signifieth no more than many of you, or several of you; so 1 Corinthians 14:26: from whence, those that think they have such a mighty argument from Hebrews 2:9, where is the same particle to prove Christ’s dying for all individuals, may undeceive themselves, and find that they have need of better arguments to prove their assertion.

I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ: we may from hence observe, that the divisions amongst the Corinthians were not in matters of faith, but occasioned from their having men’s persons in admiration. This was probably caused either from God’s making of Paul the instrument of some of their conversion, Apollos the instrument of others’ conversion, and Peter the instrument of others’, or else from the difference of their gifts. Of this Apollos we read, Acts 18:24; he was a Jew of Alexandria, who (as may be seen there, 1 Corinthians 1:28) mightily convinced they, and that publicly, and probably was as useful to the Corinthians. One minister of Christ may be justly preferred to another. We ought to honour those most whom God most honoureth, either by a more plentiful giving out of his Spirit, or by a more plentiful success upon their labours; but we ought not so far to appropriate any ministers to ourselves, as for them to despise others. We are not bound to make every minister our pastor, but we are bound to have a just respect for every minister, who by his doctrine and holy life answereth his profession and holy calling.

Now this I say that everyone of you saith,.... This the apostle affirms not upon his own personal knowledge, but upon the credit of the report the house of Chloe had made unto him; and his meaning is not that every individual member of this church, but that many of them, and the far greater number of them, were in the following factions, some being for one minister, and some for another: one part of them said,

I am of Paul; he had been instrumental in their conversion: he had baptized some of them, and first laid the foundation of a Gospel church among them; was a solid, brave, and bold preacher of the Gospel, and was set for the defence of it; wherefore he was the minister for them, and they were desirous of being called and distinguished by his name: but there was another party that said,

and I of Apollos; in opposition to Paul, whom they despised, as a man whose aspect was mean; his bodily presence weak, made no figure in the pulpit; his speech low and contemptible; his discourses plain, not having that flow of words, and accuracy of expression, as Apollos had; who was an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, who coming to Corinth after the Apostle Paul, many were taken with his way of preaching; he was the preacher for them, and they chose to be called after him, and in distinction from others: whilst another company of them said,

and I of Cephas; or Peter, in opposition both to Paul and Apollos; who with them were new upstart ministers, in comparison of Peter, who was with Christ from the beginning, and saw his miracles, and heard his doctrines; and, besides, had the apostleship and Gospel of the circumcision, on which account they highly valued him; for these must be supposed to be the converted Jews among them, who still retained a regard to the ceremonies of the law; wherefore they fixed on Peter as their minister, and to be called by his name: but others said,

and I of Christ; which some take to be the words of the apostle, declaring who he was of, and for, and belonged unto; intimating that they, as he, should call no man father, or master, on earth, or be called by any other name than that of Christ. Others consider them as the words of the Corinthians, a small part of them who were very mean and contemptible, and therefore mentioned last, who chose to be known and called by no other name than that of Christians; but I rather think that these design a faction and party, to be condemned as the others. These were for Christ, in opposition to Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, and any other ministers of the word. They were for Christ without his ministers; they were wiser than their teachers; they were above being under any ministrations and ordinances; as the others attributed too much to the ministers of the Gospel, these detracted too much from them, and denied them to be of any use and service. Some persons may be, in such sense, for Christ, as to be blame worthy; as when they use his name to deceive men, or divide his interest.

Now {k} this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

(k) The matter I would say to you is this.

1 Corinthians 1:12. Now what I mean (by this ἔριδες ἐν ὑμῖν εἰσι) is this (which follows), that, etc. Regarding the explicative λέγω, common also in Greek writers, comp Galatians 3:17; Romans 15:8. Calvin and Beza understand it, making ΤΟῦΤΟ retrospective: I say this, because, etc. But, not to speak of the less suitable meaning thus attained, τοῦτο in all parallel passages points invariably forward (Galatians 3:17; Ephesians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Corinthians 15:50), except when, as in 1 Corinthians 7:35, Colossians 2:4, a clause expressive of design follows.

ἕκαστος] Each of you speaks in one of the forms following. Comp 1 Corinthians 14:26. Chrysostom says aptly: Οὐ ΓᾺΡ ΜΈΡΟς, ἈΛΛᾺ ΤῸ ΠᾶΝ ἘΠΕΝΈΜΕΤΟ Τῆς ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑς Ἡ ΦΘΟΡΆ.

Nothing is to be supplied with the genitive Παύλου Κ.Τ.Λ[178], for εἶναί τινος means to belong to any one, addictum esse. See Seidl. a[179] Eur. El. 1098; Ast. Lex. Plat. I. p. 621; Winer, p. 184 [E. T. 243 f.].

Κηφᾶ] The Jewish name (כֵּיפָא) is so usual with Paul (1 Corinthians 3:22, 1 Corinthians 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:5, and see the critical remarks on Galatians 1:18) that it is only in Galatians 2:7-8 that we find Πέτρος employed by him; hence the less may we regard Κηφᾶ here as taken directly from the lips of the Jewish Petrine party (Estius).

The order of the four names is historical, following that in which the parties successively arose.

For a connected review of them and the relative literature, see Introd. § 1. The following remarks may be added from the exegetical standpoint: (1) The Χριστοῦ and 1 Corinthians 1:14 ff. invalidate at once the theory held by the Fathers (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and others, see Räbiger, krit. Unters. p. 9) and many of the older commentators, including Michaelis, and based principally on 1 Corinthians 4:6, that the three first names were fictitious merely, and used in order to avoid bringing forward by name the real heads of the parties. (2) There can be no reduction of the number of the parties below four, although many attempts have been made to bring together not only the partisans of Paul and of Apollos (as having but a formal difference), but also the Petrine and the Christine parties (J. E. Chr. Schmidt, Bibl. f. Krit. u. Exeg. I. p. 91; Baur in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1831, 4, p. 61 ff., and in his Paulus, I. p. 291 ff., ed. 2; also Billroth, Lechler, and others); or else—which, however, is merely a drawing of them together in form—to reduce the four to two main parties, the apostolic and the Christine (Neander, Jaeger, and Schenkel); or, lastly, by exegetical expedients (Räbiger), either to get rid of the Christ-party altogether (see below), or at least to take them out of the list of parties by assuming that they were approved of by the apostle (Schott, with older interpreters). Paul, in fact, sets forth quite uniformly four definite diversities of confession standing in contrast, and then shows in 1 Corinthians 1:13 how sad and how preposterous this state of division was.

In the face of this manifest mode of reckoning and disposing of the parties by the apostle himself in this passage, several theories, respecting more particularly (3) the Christ-party, must be dismissed as untenable. Among these is (a) the view repeatedly brought forward from the days of Chrysostom:[180] “Mentionem eorum propterea fecit una cum illis, quod, cujusnam generis essent dissidia inter Cor. excitata, perspicue explicare non poterat, nisi ita, ut diceret, alios hunc, alios illum praeferre doctorem, aliis (recte quidem, 1 Corinthians 3:23) se Christi sectatores simpliciter appellantibus” (Schott, Isag. 233). With respect to this, it is to be observed that 1 Corinthians 3:23 implies not the justification of those λέγοντες· ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ, but the truth of the idea,[181] from the abuse of which that fourth party arose which in the passage before us appears under a precisely similar condemnation to that of the other three. (b) The theory invented by Baur[182] in behalf of the antagonism between Paulinism and Petrinism (comp also Lechler, p. 386): that the same party called themselves both ΤΟῪς ΚΗΦᾶ, because Peter had the primacy among the apostles of the Jews, and also ΤΟῪς ΧΡΙΣΤΟῖ, because they held direct connection with Christ to be the main mark of true apostleship, and therefore counted Paul far behind the other apostles;[184] that the Christ-party, in fact, were the most thoroughgoing disciples of Peter (comp Billroth and Credner, Einl. sec. 132; also Reuss, and especially Holsten, z. Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 25 f.). (c) The opinion of Becker, that the Christine party were Jewish-Christians, who had attached themselves to the followers of Peter that had come from a distance to Corinth, but, as having been converted by Paul and Apollos, had called themselves not after Peter, but after Christ. (d) Räbiger’s view, according to which the Christ-party is purely a creation of the exegetes, ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ being the utterance common to the three parties; so that all, indeed, professed allegiance to Christ, but the strife between them consisted in this, “that they made participation in Christ dependent on different teachers, each holding that they, inasmuch as they belonged to a particular teacher, had the real and true Christ,—a better Christ than the others.” This explanation, if we judge in accordance with the preceding elements in 1 Corinthians 1:12, is an exegetical impossibility. It has been already well said by Calovius: “Et illi, qui a Christo Christianos se dicebant, quatenus ab aliis sese per schisma separabant, illo nomine sibi solum appropriato, schismatis rei erant.” Since they are ranked, just as the others, under the category of the σχίσματα and ἔριδες (1 Corinthians 1:10-11), and their fault is set before them as before the others, 1 Corinthians 1:13, by μεμέρ. ὁ Χριστός, we cannot even characterize them, with Eichhorn, as neutrals.

To name Christ as their Head was so extremely natural for a party who, as contrasted with the others, wished to keep themselves free from all authority of human teachers (see Introd. § 1; also Rückert, Bleek, Einl., Hofm. 16 f.), that there is no need whatever for any attempt at a different explanation; such as Eichhorn’s imagination, that they rested upon the sayings of Jesus in the Protevangelium; or the view of Grotius, Witsius, Wetstein, and Ziegler, that they had heard Christ themselves,[186] or at least their founder had (if the former, how disproportionately small must their number needs have been! and if the latter, they would surely have named themselves after their founder, since Peter, too, was a personal disciple of Christ). Equally undeserving of acceptance is Storr’s view (Opusc. II. p. 252 ff.), adopted by Rosenmüller, Krause, Hug, Heydenreich, and Flatt (comp also Bertholdt, Einl. VI. p. 3319), that they had called themselves τοῦ Χριστοῦ, as followers of James the brother of Christ. This is an empty conjecture, not to be supported by 1 Corinthians 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:9; and it has, besides, especially this against it, that the followers of the venerated James would have had no ground, as distinguished from the other parties, for not calling themselves οἱ τοῦ Ἰακώβου or οἱ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου, and that James also would have been mentioned with the rest in 1 Corinthians 3:22, as well as in Clem. 1 Cor. 47, if the Christ-party had not referred themselves directly to Christ.

This claim, moreover, of a direct relation to Christ as regards His exclusive authority, found its sufficient ground and justification in the general acquaintance with the doctrine and work of Christ, which was owing to the living presence of the gospel tidings in the churches. There is no evidence in the Epistles themselves of any other and peculiar connection with the Lord being laid claim to by the Christ-party. This holds especially of Schenkel’s view, that the Christ-party, consisting of Jewish-Christians from Asia Minor with theosophic training, had asserted a supernatural connection with Christ through visions and revelations, their spiritual condition consequently having its analogues at a later date in Cerinthus, Marcion, the Montanists, and the like; and that this party had its continuation in those who opposed the presbyters in Clement’s Epistle. Schenkel’s theory (defended also by Grimm in the Lit. Bl. zur allg. Kirchenzeit. 1851, No. 82) bases itself especially on the passages 1 Corinthians 9:1; 2 Corinthians 10:7; 2 Corinthians 12:1. To explain these, however, there is no need to suppose any allusion to theosophic opponents, or any reference to the Christ-party at all, since Paul—more especially if they had been a party standing in such (fanatical) antagonism in point of principle to himself—would have combated them directly and in detail, and that in the section of the Epistle which deals expressly with the party-divisions (down to 1 Corinthians 4:21).[188] And to connect them with the opponents of the presbyters in Clement is all the more arbitrary, because that writer, while finding a parallel to the factions which he blames in the parties of Paul, Apollos, and Peter, makes no reference whatsoever to the Christ-party,—a silence which is eloquent enough to make us hesitate in ascribing to them any such extreme and dangerous character as some have lately imputed to them, and to incline us rather to the view of their fundamental principle being one in itself sound, but perverted in its application by party-spirit. In addition to de Wette, Lutterbeck, and Maier, Goldhorn and Dähne agree in substance with Schenkel, seeking amidst differences in detail to prove the existence of Jewish-Alexandrian philosophy in the Christ-party; just as Kniewel (comp Grimm) regards them as forerunners of the Gnostics. According to Ewald, they are the adherents of some unknown teacher of Essene views, who, “founding, doubtless, on some special evangelic writing, and in accordance therewith exalting the example of Christ personally above all else, disapproved of marriage;” they were, in truth, the first Christian monks and Jesuits.[190] But it is very doubtful whether the rejection of marriage in chap. 7 should be traced precisely to the Christ-party; and, apart from this, there is not in the Epistles to the Corinthians a single vestige of the phenomena of Essene Christianity, or in particular of Essene asceticism, as at Rome and Colossae; while, on the other hand, the rejection of marriage does not appear among the Romans and Colossians who held Essene views. Comp on 1 Corinthians 7:1.

Lastly, after this examination of the different views entertained regarding the Christ-party, the question whether they were Jewish (as commonly held) or Gentile Christians answers itself to this effect, that they were composed of both elements, as also were the adherents of Paul and of Apollos. For we have not the slightest ground for assuming that, when the division in the church arose upon matters turning on the respect due to individual men, it was either Jewish Christians alone, or Gentile Christians alone, who gave themselves to the idea of renouncing the acknowledgment of any human teacher, and seeking instead to be τοῦ Χριστοῦ. This holds good in particular against Neander, who makes the Christ-party to be Gentile Christians, of a certain philosophic culture and of rationalistic tendency, to whom Christ appeared as a second, perhaps greater, Socrates, but who could not bring themselves to accept the doctrine of Christ in the form given to it by the apostles, and sought rather by philosophic criticism, which they exercised also on the doctrine of the resurrection (chap. 15), to separate, possibly with the help of a collection of the sayings of the Lord, the pure teaching of Christ from the mass of received material. In how totally different a way must Paul have come forward against any such syncretistic rationalism! See, besides, in reply to this, Beyschlag, p. 220 ff. Altogether, there were but few men of philosophic training who had come over to Christianity at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:26); and those who had at least a philosophic tendency found the food for which they sought with Apollos. And it is a groundless assumption to maintain that what Paul says against worldly wisdom (chap. 1 Corinthians 1:2) is spoken with a polemic reference to the Christ-party (this in opposition to Schenkel, Jaeger, Goldhorn, Dähne, Kniewel, and others); see, on the contrary, chap. 3 and 1 Corinthians 4:6. In like manner, too, it is arbitrary, and in any case unsafe to proceed, from the point at which Paul passes from discussing the state of division in the church to speak of other existing evils (from chap. 5 onwards), to apportion the latter among the several parties, and by this method, as well as by means of expressions and details from the second Epistle, to depict the character more especially of the Christ-party, whom Jaeger[192] makes in this manner to appear in the most damaging light, while Osiander[193] treats them prejudicially in another way, finding in them the originators of sectarian Ebionitism. Beyschlag, too, in his investigation, proceeds by the same uncertain path, putting together the characteristics of the Christ-party especially from the second Epistle. According to him they were Judaists, although free from Judaistic errors in doctrine, who depreciated the apostle Paul, but prided themselves on their Hebrew origin, their labours and sufferings for Christ, their more precise historical acquaintance with and information regarding Christ, whom they had known personally, as also on their visions and revelations of Him. In connection with this view, Beyschlag is forced to assume that it was only in the interval between the first and second Epistle that the Christ-party had developed such keen and personal antagonism to the apostle,—an assumption made also by Hilgenfeld. If, notwithstanding this development of hostility, they are to be taken as Judaists free from Judaistic anti-Pauline doctrine, we stand confronted by a complete anomaly in the history of the antagonism between the Judaistic and the Pauline currents in the apostolic church, so far as that is known to us from other quarters. And it seems the less possible to explain this anomaly by the supposition of a cunning reticence on the part of the persons in question, the more we see how bitter and passionate their opposition to Paul must have been, and the more we find it difficult—considering their cunning—to perceive why they should not have contented themselves with making common cause with the Petrine party, instead of forming a distinct faction of their own.

[178] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[179] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[180] He, however, holds that Paul added “ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦκαὶ οἴκοθεν (i.e. ἀφʼ ἐαυτοῦ, as Theophylact has it), βουλόμενον βαρύτερον τὸ ἔγκλημα ποιῆσαι καὶ δεῖξαι οὕτω καὶ τὸν Χριστὸν εἰς μέρος δοθέντα ἕν, εἰ καὶ μὴ οὕτως ἐποίουν τοῦτο ἐκεῖνοι. Comp. also Theodoret, who lays stress on the special wisdom of this procedure.

[181] The rightness of the confession: ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ, considered in and by itself, explains also why Clement, 1 Cor. 47, mentions only the other three parties and not the Christ-party as well. He is speaking against the attachment to human party-leaders. He might indeed, in some way suitable to the connection of his exhortation, have brought in the Christine party (which he doubtless would have done, if they had been as bad as they have been made out to be of late), but there was no necessity for his doing so. Hence it is unwarrantable to infer (with Räbiger) the non-existence of a special Christine party from its non-mention. Origen also does not quote the ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ with the rest of the passage in one instance, although he does in another.

[182] See Beyschlag, p. 225 ff.—Hilgenfeld (see his Zeitschr. 1865, p. 241) calls Baur’s dissertation of 1831, “the ancestral stronghold of our whole criticism.” If so, it is a ruin, like so many other ancestral strongholds. It could not so much as stand firm against the simple words ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ, into which Baur put a meaning as if Paul lad written: ἐγὼ δὲ τῶν ἀποστόλων Χριστοῦ. The confession ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ necessarily transcends all apostolic authority, and excludes it.

[184] Comp. Hilgenfeld, who holds that they were immediate disciples of Christ, who sought to establish the exclusive authority of the original apostles, denying to Paul he Χριστοῦ εἶναι. See also Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1864, p. 165 f.

[186] This view is taken up again by Thiersch, d. Kirche im apost. Zeitalter, p. 143 ff. He regards the Christ-party as personal disciples of Christ, who had come to Corinth from Jerusalem and probably also from Rome, with Pharisaic views, proud of their Hebrew descent and of their having known Christ in the flesh, disputing the apostle ship of Paul, etc.

[188] The force of this argument is doubtless evaded by the assumption, that the leaders of the party had probably not developed their hurtful influence until after the arrival in Corinth of our first Epistle. But this is simply an unwarranted evasion.

[190] According to Ewald’s Gesch. d. apost. Zeit. p. 506 f., ed. 3, they readily allowed themselves to he carried away by the zeal for the law of their Pharisaic brethren, and became a support for their position. Those of the Christ-party with Pharisaic tendencies were joined, too, by some who boasted that they had once known Christ Himself familiarly, nay, that they had seen Him when risen from the dead, so that they laid claim to apostolic estimation.

[192] He depicts them as wealthy Jewish Christians, familiar with Greek science, who professed attachment to the spirit of Christianity alone, but concealed under this mask lawlessness and immorality, and were deniers of the resurrection.

[193] Originating, according to him, from the Petrine party, they had, while holding fast to the idea of Christ being the Supreme teacher, fallen into a one-sided way of considering only His appearance as a man on earth, and more especially His teaching, and of allowing the theocratic aspect of the Lord’s life and work to pass more out of sight.

1 Corinthians 1:12. “But I mean this (τοῦτο δὲ λέγω), that each one of you is saying (instead of your all saying the same thing, 10), ‘I am of Paul (am Paul’s man),’—‘But I of Apollos,’—‘But I of Cephas,’—‘But I of Christ’!”—ἕκαστος, distributive, as in 1 Corinthians 14:26 : each is saying one or other of these things; the party cries are quoted as from successive speakers challenging each other.

The question of the FOUR COR. PARTIES is one of the standing problems of N.T. criticism. It is fully examined, and the judgments of different critics are digested, by Gd[146] ad loc[147]; see also Mr[148]-Hn[149], Einleitung, § 3; Weiss’ Manual of Introd. to the N.T., § 19. After all, this was only a brief phase of Church life at Cor[150]; P. had just heard of it when he wrote, by the time of 2 Cor[151] a new situation has arisen. The three first parties are easy to account for: (1) The body of the Ch., converted under P.’s ministry, adhered to its own apostle; P. valued this loyalty and appeals to it, while he condemns its combative expression,—the disposition of men “more Pauline than Paul himself” (Dods) to exalt him to the disparagement of other leaders, and even to the detriment of Christ’s glory. (2) Apollos (cf. Acts 18:24 ff.) had preached at Cor[152], in the interval since Paul’s first departure, with brilliant effect. He possessed Alexandrian culture and a graceful style, whereas P. was deemed at Cor[153] ἰδιώτης τῷ λόγῳ (2 Corinthians 11:6). Some personal converts Ap. had made; others were taken with his genial method, and welcomed his teaching as more advanced than P.’s plain gospel-message. Beside the more cultured Greeks, there would be a sprinkling of liberally-minded Jews, men of speculative bias imbued with Greek letters, who might prefer to say Ἐγὼ Ἀπολλώ. Judging from this Ep., the Pauline and Apollonian sections included at present the bulk of the Church, divided between its “planter” and “waterer”. Ἀπολλώς, of Attic 2nd decl., is probably short for Ἀπολλώνιος. (3) In a Judæo-Gentile Church the cry “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” was certain to be met with the retort, “But I of Kephas!” Conservative Jewish believers, when conflict was afoot, rallied to the name of the preacher of Pentecost and the hero of the Church’s earliest victories. The use of Κηφᾶς, the Aramaic original of Πέτρος, indicates that this party affected Palestinian traditions. Some of them may, possibly, have been Peter’s converts in Judæa. Had Peter visited Cor[154], as Dionysius of Cor[155] supposed (Euseb., Hist. Eccles., ii. 125: Weiss and Harnack favour the tradition), the event would surely have left some trace in these Epp. Judging from the tenor of the two Letters, this faction was of small account in Cor[156] until the arrival of the Judæan emissaries denounced in 2 Cor., who found a ground of vantage ready in those that shouted “I am of Kephas”. In both Epp. P. avoids every appearance of conflict with Peter (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:5). (4) The Christ party forms the crux of the passage:—(a) After F. C. Baur, οἱ Χριστοῦ has been commonly interpreted by 2 Corinthians 10:7 : “If any one is confident on his own part that he is Christ’s (Χριστοῦ εἶναι), let him take this into account with himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we”. Now P.’s opponents of 2 Cor. were ultra-Judaists; so, it is inferred, these οἱ Χριστοῦ must have been. But the Judaisers of 2 Cor. presumed to be “of Christ” as His ministers, apostles (1 Corinthians 11:13; 1 Corinthians 11:23), deriving their commission (as they maintained P. did not) from the fountain-head; whereas the Christ-party of this place plumed themselves, at most, on being His disciples (rather than P.’s, etc.): the coincidence is verbal rather than real. Upon Baur’s theory, there were two parties at Cor[157], as everywhere else in the Church, diametrically opposed—a Gentile-Christian party, divided here into Pauline and Apollonian sections, and a Jewish-Christian party naming itself from Kephas or Christ as occasion served. Later scholars following Baur’s line of interpretation, distinguish variously the Petrine and Christine Judaists: ([158]) Weizsäcker associates the latter with James; ([159]) Reuss and Beyschlag see in them strict followers of the example and maxims of Jesus as the διάκονος περιτομῆς, from which Peter in certain respects deviated; (γ) Hilgenfeld, Holsten, Hausrath, Sm[160], think they had been in personal relations with Jesus (it is quite possible that amongst the “five hundred” of 1 Corinthians 15:5 some had wandered to Cor[161]); (δ) Gd[162] strangely conjectures that “they were Gnostics before Gnosticism, who formulated their title οἱ Χριστοῦ, after the fashion of Cerinthus, in opp[163] not merely to the names of the apostles, but even to that of Jesus!” He identifies them with the men who cried “Jesus is anathema” (1 Corinthians 12:2 : see note). This notion is an anachronism, and has no real basis in the Epp.

[146] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[147] ad locum, on this passage.

[148] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[149] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[150] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[151] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[152] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[153] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[154] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[155] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[156] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[157] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[158] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[159] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[160] P. Schmiedel, in Handcommentar zum N.T. (1893).

[161] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[162] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[163] opposite, opposition.

(b) 1 Corinthians 3:22 f. (see notes, ad loc[164]) supplies a nearer and safer clue to the interpretation; this is the Apostle’s decisive correction of the rivalries of 1 Corinthians 1:12. The human leaders pitted against each other all belong to the Church (not this teacher or that to this section or that), while it belongs without distinction to Christ, and Christ, with all that is His, to God. The catholic Ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ swallows up the self-assertive and sectarian Ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ. Those who used this cry arrogated the common watchword as their peculium; they erred by despising, as others by glorying in men. “Ἐγὼ Χριστοῦ ad eos pertinet qui in contrariam partem peccabant; i.e., qui sese unius Christi ita dicebant, ut interim iis per quos quos Deus loquitur nihil tribuerent” (Bz[165]); similarly Aug[166], Bg[167], Mr[168], Hf[169], El[170], Bt[171]

[164] ad locum, on this passage.

[165] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[166] Augustine.

[167] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[169] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[170] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[171] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

(c) The Gr[172] Ff[173], followed by Cv[174], Bleek, Pfleiderer, Râbiger, and others, saw in the Ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ the true formula which P. approves, or even which he utters propriâ personâ. But the context subjects all four classes to the same reproach. It is a sufficient condemnation for the fourth party that they said “I am of Christ,” in rejoinder to the partisans of Paul and the rest, lowering His name to this competition.

[172] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.


[174] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

(d) Hn[175], finding the riddle of the “Christus-partei” insoluble, eliminates it from the text; “we are driven,” he says, “to explain the Ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ as a gloss, which some reader of the original codex inscribed in the margin, borrowing it from 1 Corinthians 3:23 as a counter-confession to the Ἐγὼ μὲν Παύλου κ.τ.λ.”

[175] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

12. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul] The idea of some commentators that there were defined parties in the Apostolic Church under the leadership of Apostles and their Master, a Paul-party, a Peter-party, a Christ-party, is refuted by ch. 1 Corinthians 4:6, where St Paul plainly states that he had replaced the names of the antagonistic teachers at Corinth by that of himself and Apollos, in order to secure his rebukes from assuming a personal form.

Apollos] See Acts 18:24-28. From this passage we gather that he was a Hellenistic Greek, of the school of philosophical Judaism which flourished at that time at Alexandria, and was an admixture of the doctrines of the Platonic philosophy with those of the Jewish religion. It is possible that he may have been a disciple of the celebrated Alexandrian teacher Philo, who was contemporary with the Apostles. Learned and zealous, he could not be confined within the bounds of any particular school, but diligently acquainted himself with all the movements which sprang up in the Jewish Church. Thus he became a disciple of John the Baptist, whose doctrines had been widely spread abroad by that time (Acts 19:1-3), and as his fervent spirit was allied with the gift of eloquence, he speedily endeavoured to communicate to others the new light he had received. He is described as being ‘accurately instructed in the things concerning the Lord,’ although he knew ‘only the baptism of John.’ By this we are not to understand a perfect knowledge of the system of Christianity, or it would have been impossible for Aquila and Priscilla to have explained it to him ‘more accurately.’ His knowledge was probably confined to the Baptist’s witness to Christ as the Messiah, to the more general moral teaching of Christ, as contained in the first three Gospels, and to those remarkable glimpses of the inner mysteries of God’s kingdom (see Matthew 3:9; St John 3:27-36, and compare St John 8:39; Romans 2:28-29; Romans 9:7) which our Gospels shew the Baptist to have had. But with that deeper teaching as a whole, confided by Christ to His disciples, and afterwards given to the world in the preaching and writings of the Apostles, and in the Gospel of St John, he had no acquaintance when he came to Ephesus. Endowed with this knowledge through the instrumentality of Aquila and Priscilla, he became an effective preacher of the Gospel, and filling St Paul’s place when the latter had left Corinth, ‘he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ’ But disgusted possibly by an attempt on the part of some (see note on ch. 1 Corinthians 16:12) to set him up as a rival to St Paul, he left Corinth and returned to Ephesus, and we know not whether he ever visited Corinth again.

Cephas] See St John 1:42.

1 Corinthians 1:12. Λέγει, says) in a boasting manner; 1 Corinthians 1:31, ch. 1 Corinthians 3:21-22.—Παύλου, of Paul) a gradation [ascending climax], in which Paul puts himself in the lowest place. Kephas, Paul and Apollos were genuine ministers and teachers of the truth, to boast of one of whom above the rest was in a greater degree unlawful, than if a believer of Corinth had said that he was a Christian belonging to Paul, with a view to distinguish himself from the followers of the false apostles.—Κηφᾶ, of Kephas) Peter does not seem to have been at Corinth, ch. 1 Corinthians 4:6, and yet he was held there in high esteem, and that too justly; but some, however, abused it [this esteem for Peter into a party cry], and the apostle Paul detests this Petrism, which afterwards sprang up so much more rankly at Rome, just as much as he did Paulism. How much less should a man say, or boast, I am of the Pope.—ἐγὼΧριστοῦ, I—of Christ) These spoke more correctly than the others, 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 3:23, unless they despised their ministers, under this pretext, ch. 1 Corinthians 4:8.

Verse 12. - Now this I mean; in other words, "what I mean is this." Their "contentions" are defined to be equivalent to "religious partisanships; "antagonistic adoption of the names and views of special teachers. Each one of you saith. That party spirit ran so high that they were all listed on one side or another. None of them were wise enough and spiritual minded enough to hold aloof from parties altogether. They prided themselves on being "uncompromising" and "party men." Saith; in a self-assertive way (1 Corinthians 3:21). I am of Paul. He shows his indignation at their partisanship by first rebuking those who had used his own name as a party watchward. He disliked Paulinism as much as Petrinism (Bengel). All the Corinthians would probably have been in this sense Paulinists but for the visits of subsequent teachers. At present the Paul party consisted of those who adhered to his views about Gentile freedom, and who liked the simple spirituality of his teaching. St. Paul rose above the temptation of considering that party spirit is excusable in our own partisans. He reproves factiousness even in the party of freedom. And I of Apollos. Apollos personally was absolutely loyal and honourable, but his visit to Corinth had done mischief. His impassioned oratory, his Alexandrian refinements, his allegorizing exegesis, the culture and polish of his style, had charmed the fickle Corinthians. The Apollonians were the party of culture. They had, as we see from later parts of the Epistle, exaggerated St. Paul's views, as expounded by Apollos, into extravagance. Puffed up with the conceit of knowledge, they had fallen into moral inconsistency. The egotism of oratorical rivals, the contemptuous tone to wards weaker brethren, the sophistical condonations of vice, were probably due to them. Apollos, as we see by his noble refusal to visit Corinth under present circumstances (1 Corinthians 16:12), was as indignant as St. Paul himself at the perversion of his name into an engine of party warfare. (On Apollos, see Acts 18:24-28; Acts 19:1 Titus 3:13.) Nothing further is known respecting him, but he is the almost undoubted author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which proves that he was of the school of St. Paul, while at the same time he showed a splendid originality in his way of arriving at the same conclusion as his teacher. I of Cephas. The use of the Aramaic name (1 Corinthians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 15:6; Galatians 2:9), perhaps, shows that these Petrinists were Judaizers (though it should be added that St. Paul only uses the name "Peter" in Galatians 2:7, 8). They personally disliked St. Paul, and questioned his apostolical authority. Perhaps the extravagances of the "speaking with tongues" arose in this party, who recalled the effects of the outpouring of the Spirit after Peter's great sermon on the day of Pentecost. And I of Christ. We trace the origin of this party to one man in particular (2 Corinthians 2:7), who was, or professed to be, an adherent of James, and therefore one of the more rigid Judaizers. He may have been one from the circle of Christ's earthly relatives - one of the Desposyni (see 1 Corinthians 9:5), and, like St. James, may have had views resembling those of the Essenes and Ebionites. If so, he was probably the author of the questions about celibacy and marriage; and perhaps he prided himself on having seen "Christ in the flesh." This party at any rate, like some modern sects, was not ashamed to degrade into a party watchword even the sacred name of Christ, and to claim for a miserable clique an exclusive interest in the Lord of the whole Church. It is the privilege of every Christian to say, "Christianus sum;" but if he says it in a haughty, loveless, and exclusive spirit, he forfeits his own claim to the title. This exclusive Christ party is, perhaps, specially alluded to in 2 Corinthians 10:7-11. The view of Chrysostom, which takes these words to be St. Paul's remark - "But I belong to Christ," is untenable, and would make trim guilty of the very self-assertiveness which he is reprobating. 1 Corinthians 1:12Now this I say (λέγω δὲ τοῦτο)

A familiar classical formula: What I mean is this. Rev., Now this I mean. This usually refers to what follows. Compare Galatians 3:17; Ephesians 4:17.

I am of Paul and I of Apollos

The repeated δὲ and, expresses the opposition between the respective parties. The followers of Apollos preferred his more philosophical and rhetorical preaching to the simpler and more direct utterances of Paul. Others ranged themselves under the name of Peter.


Aramaic for Πέτρος Peter. See on John 1:42. It is Paul's usual name for Peter, Πέτρος occurring only Galatians 2:7, Galatians 2:8. Peter would be the rallying-point for the Judaizing Christians, who claimed him as the apostle of the circumcision. The state of the Corinthian church offered the most favorable ground for Paul's Jewish-Christian adversaries, who took advantage of the reaction created by the looser views and practice of Gentile Christians, and by the differences of opinion on important questions, to press the necessity of legal regulation, and of ceremonial observances in non-essentials.

Of Christ

Many modern authorities hold that Paul thus designates a fourth and quite distinct party. This view rests mainly on the form of statement in this verse, and has no support in the epistle. The peculiar characteristics of this party, if it were such, can only be conjectured. It seems more probable that those who were "of Christ" belonged to the party of Peter: that they were native Jews, coming from abroad with letters of recommendation to Corinth, representing themselves as ministers and apostles of Christ, and using His name as the watchword under which they could most successfully prosecute their opposition to Paul and the gospel which he preached. The allusion in this verse would therefore link itself with those in the tenth and eleventh chapters of the second epistle.

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