1 Corinthians 1:2
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
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(2) Church of God.—St. Chrysostom remarks how these opening words are a protest against the party-spirit prevailing at Corinth: “The Church of God—not of this or that man.”

Them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.—This is not another class of persons, but a description of those who compose “the Church”—who are further described as “called to be saints”—i.e., “holy.” The term “saints” is never used by St. Paul with its restricted modern meaning, but is applied to the whole baptised Church. The English word which most nearly expresses the apostolic idea is “Christians”—used in its most comprehensive sense.

With all that in every place.—Better translated, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours. The teaching of the Epistle is thus addressed to the Church at large, which is composed of all who call upon the Lord Jesus, whether it be in Corinth (“our” country—the Apostle identifying himself with his converts) or elsewhere. This idea of the Church, put forward in the very opening of the Epistle, at once directs the reader’s mind from the narrow spirit of faction which was exhibiting itself at Corinth. The words of this verse contain a strong testimony to the worship of Christ, not only as being practised in the Apostolic Church, but as being one of the very marks of true union with the Church.

1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 1:2

There are some difficulties, with which I need not trouble you, about both the translation and the connection of these words. One thing is quite clear, that in them the Apostle associates the church at Corinth with the whole mass of Christian believers in the world. The question may arise whether he does so in the sense that he addresses his letter both to the church at Corinth and to the whole of the churches, and so makes it a catholic epistle. That is extremely unlikely, considering how all but entirely this letter is taken up with dealing with the especial conditions of the Corinthian church. Rather I should suppose that he is simply intending to remind ‘the Church of God at Corinth . . . sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,’ that they are in real, living union with the whole body of believers. Just as the water in a little land-locked bay, connected with the sea by some narrow strait like that at Corinth, is yet part of the whole ocean that rolls round the world, so that little community of Christians had its living bond of union with all the brethren in every place that called upon the name of Jesus Christ.

Whichever view on that detail of interpretation be taken, this phrase, as a designation of Christians, is worth considering. It is one of many expressions found in the New Testament as names for them, some of which have now dropped out of general use, while some are still retained. It is singular that the name of ‘Christian,’ which has all but superseded all others, was originally invented as a jeer by sarcastic wits at Antioch, and never appears in the New Testament, as a name by which believers called themselves. Important lessons are taught by these names, such as disciples, believers, brethren, saints, those of the way, and so on, each of which embodies some characteristic of a follower of Jesus. So this appellation in the text, ‘those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ may yield not unimportant lessons if it be carefully weighed, and to some of these I would ask your attention now.

I. First, it gives us a glimpse into the worship of the primitive Church.

To ‘call on the name of the Lord’ is an expression that comes straight out of the Old Testament. It means there distinctly adoration and invocation, and it means precisely these things when it is referred to Jesus Christ.

We find in the Acts of the Apostles that the very first sermon that was preached at Pentecost by Peter all turns upon this phrase. He quotes the Old Testament saying, ‘Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved,’ and then goes on to prove that ‘the Lord,’ the ‘calling on whose Name’ is salvation, is Jesus Christ; and winds up with ‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.’

Again we find that Ananias of Damascus, when Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him to go to Paul and lay his hands upon him, shrank from the perilous task because Paul had been sent to ‘bind them that call upon the name of the Lord,’ and to persecute them. We find the same phrase recurring in other connections, so that, on the whole, we may take the expression as a recognised designation of Christians.

This was their characteristic, that they prayed to Jesus Christ. The very first word, so far as we know, that Paul ever heard from a Christian was, ‘Lord Jesus! receive my spirit.’ He heard that cry of calm faith which, when he heard it, would sound to him as horrible blasphemy from Stephen’s dying lips. How little he dreamed that he himself was soon to cry to the same Jesus, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ and was in after-days to beseech Him thrice for deliverance, and to be answered by sufficient grace. How little he dreamed that, when his own martyrdom was near, he too would look to Jesus as Lord and righteous Judge, from whose hands all who loved His appearing should receive their crown! Nor only Paul directs desires and adoration to Jesus as Lord; the last words of Scripture are a cry to Him as Lord to come quickly, and an invocation of His ‘grace’ on all believing souls.

Prayer to Christ from the very beginning of the Christian Church was, then, the characteristic of believers, and He to whom they prayed, thus, from the beginning, was recognised by them as being a Divine Person, God manifest in the flesh.

The object of their worship, then, was known by the people among whom they lived. Singing hymns to Christus as a god is nearly all that the Roman proconsul in his well-known letter could find to tell his master of their worship. They were the worshippers-not merely the disciples-of one Christ. That was their peculiar distinction. Among the worshippers of the false gods they stood erect; before Him, and Him only, they bowed. In Corinth there was the polluted worship of Aphrodite and of Zeus. These men called not on the name of these lustful and stained deities, but on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And everybody knew whom they worshipped, and understood whose men they were. Is that true about us? Do we Christian men so habitually cultivate the remembrance of Jesus Christ, and are we so continually in the habit of invoking His aid, and of contemplating His blessed perfections and sufficiency, that every one who knew us would recognise us as meant by those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?

If this be the proper designation of Christian people, alas! alas! for so many of the professing Christians of this day, whom neither bystanders nor themselves would think of as included in such a name!

Further, the connection here shows that the divine worship of Christ was universal among the churches. There was no ‘place’ where it was not practised, no community calling itself a church to whom He was not the Lord to be invoked and adored. This witness to the early and universal recognition in the Christian communities of the divinity of our Lord is borne by an undisputedly genuine epistle of Paul’s. It is one of the four which the most thorough-going destructive criticism accepts as genuine. It was written before the Gospels, and is a voice from the earlier period of Paul’s apostleship. Hence the importance of its attestation to this fact that all Christians everywhere, both Jewish, who had been trained in strict monotheism, and Gentile, who had burned incense at many a foul shrine, were perfectly joined together in this, that in all their need they called on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and brought to Him, as divine, adoration not to be rendered to any creatures. From the day of Pentecost onwards, a Christian was not merely a disciple, a follower, or an admirer, but a worshipper of Christ, the Lord.

II. We may see here an unfolding of the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ.

Note that solemn accumulation, in the language of my text, of all the designations by which He is called, sometimes separately and sometimes unitedly, the name of ‘our Lord Jesus Christ.’ We never find that full title given to Him in Scripture except when the writer’s mind is labouring to express the manifoldness and completeness of our Lord’s relations to men, and the largeness and sufficiency of the blessings which He brings. In this context I find in the first nine or ten verses of this chapter, so full is the Apostle of the thoughts of the greatness and wonderfulness of his dear Lord on whose name he calls, that six or seven times he employs this solemn, full designation.

Now, if we look at the various elements of this great name we shall get various aspects of the way in which calling on Christ is the strength of our souls.

‘Call on the name of-the Lord.’ That is the Old Testament Jehovah. There is no mistaking nor denying, if we candidly consider the evidence of the New Testament writings, that, when we read of Jesus Christ as ‘Lord,’ in the vast majority of cases, the title is not a mere designation of human authority, but is an attribution to Him of divine nature and dignity. We have, then, to ascribe to Him, and to call on Him as possessing, all which that great and incommunicable Name certified and sealed to the Jewish Church as their possession in their God. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is our Lord of the New. He whose being is eternal, underived, self-sufficing, self-determining, knowing no variation, no diminution, no age, He who is because He is and that He is, dwells in His fulness in our Saviour. To worship Him is not to divert worship from the one God, nor is it to have other gods besides Him. Christianity is as much monotheistic as Judaism was, and the law of its worship is the old law-Him only shalt thou serve. It is the divine will that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.

But what is it to call on the name of Jesus? That name implies all the sweetness of His manhood. He is our Brother. The name ‘Jesus’ is one that many a Jewish boy bore in our Lord’s own time and before it; though, afterwards, of course, abhorrence on the part of the Jew and reverence on the part of the Christian caused it almost entirely to disappear. But at the time when He bore it it was as undistinguished a name as Simeon, or Judas, or any other of His followers’ names. To call upon the name of Jesus means to realise and bring near to ourselves, for our consolation and encouragement, for our strength and peace, the blessed thought of His manhood, so really and closely knit to ours; to grasp the blessedness of the thought that He knows our frame because He Himself has worn it, and understands and pities our weakness, being Himself a man. To Him whom we adore as Lord we draw near in tenderer, but not less humble and prostrate, adoration as our brother when we call on the name of the Lord Jesus, and thus embrace as harmonious, and not contradictory, both the divinity of the Lord and the humanity of Jesus.

To call on the name of Christ is to embrace in our faith and to beseech the exercise on our behalf of all which Jesus is as the Messiah, anointed by God with the fulness of the Spirit. As such He is the climax, and therefore the close of all revelation, who is the long-expected fruition of the desire of weary hearts, the fulfilment, and therefore the abolition, of sacrifice and temple and priesthood and prophecy and all that witnessed for Him ere He came. We further call on the name of Christ the Anointed, on whom the whole fulness of the Divine Spirit dwelt in order that, calling upon Him, that fulness may in its measure be granted to us.

So the name of the Lord Jesus Christ brings to view the divine, the human, the Messiah, the anointed Lord of the Spirit, and Giver of the divine life. To call on His name is to be blessed, to be made pure and strong, joyous and immortal. ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe.’ Call on His name in the day of trouble and ye shall be heard and helped.

III. Lastly, this text suggests what a Christian life should be.

We have already remarked that to call on the name of Jesus was the distinctive peculiarity of the early believers, which marked them off as a people by themselves. Would it be a true designation of the bulk of so-called Christians now? You do not object to profess yourself a Christian, or, perhaps, even to say that you are a disciple of Christ, or even to go the length of calling yourself a follower and imitator. But are you a worshipper of Him? In your life have you the habit of meditating on Him as Lord, as Jesus, as Christ, and of refreshing and gladdening dusty days and fainting strength by the living water, drawn from the one unfailing stream from these triple fountains? Is the invocation of His aid habitual with you?

There needs no long elaborate supplication to secure His aid. How much has been done in the Church’s history by short bursts of prayer, as ‘Lord, help me!’ spoken or unspoken in the moment of extremity! ‘They cried unto God in the battle.’ They would not have time for very lengthy petitions then, would they? They would not give much heed to elegant arrangement of them or suiting them to the canons of human eloquence. ‘They cried unto God in the battle’; whilst the enemy’s swords were flashing and the arrows whistling about their ears. These were circumstances to make a prayer a ‘cry’; no composed and stately utterance of an elegantly modulated voice, nor a languid utterance without earnestness, but a short, sharp, loud call, such as danger presses from panting lungs and parched throats. Therefore the cry was answered, ‘and He was entreated of them.’ ‘Lord, save us, we perish!’ was a very brief prayer, but it brought its answer. And so we, in like manner, may go through our warfare and work, and day by day as we encounter sudden bursts of temptation may meet them with sudden jets of petition, and thus put out their fires. And the same help avails for long-continuing as for sudden needs. Some of us may have to carry lifelong burdens and to fight in a battle ever renewed. It may seem as if our cry was not heard, since the enemy’s assault is not weakened, nor our power to beat it back perceptibly increased. But the appeal is not in vain, and when the fight is over, if not before, we shall know what reinforcements of strength to our weakness were due to our poor cry entering into the ears of our Lord and Brother. No other ‘name’ is permissible as our plea or as recipient of our prayer. In and on the name of the Lord we must call, and if we do, anything is possible rather than that the promise which was claimed for the Church and referred to Jesus, in the very first Christian preaching on Pentecost, should not be fulfilled-’Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

‘In every place.’ We may venture to subject the words of my text to a little gentle pressure here. The Apostle only meant to express the universal characteristics of Christians everywhere. But we may venture to give a different turn to the words, and learn from them the duty of devout communion with Christ as a duty for each of us wherever we are. If a place is not fit to pray in it is not fit to be in. We may carry praying hearts, remembrances of the Lord, sweet, though they may be swift and short, contemplations of His grace, His love, His power, His sufficiency, His nearness, His punctual help, like a hidden light in our hearts, into all the dusty ways of life, and in every place call on His name. There is no place so dismal but that thoughts of Him will make sunshine in it; no work so hard, so commonplace, so prosaic, so uninteresting, but that it will become the opposite of all these if whatever we do is done in remembrance of our Lord. Nothing will be too hard for us to do, and nothing too bitter for us to swallow, and nothing too sad for us to bear, if only over all that befalls us and all that we undertake and endeavour we make the sign of the Cross and call upon the name of the Lord. If ‘in every place’ we have Him as the object of our faith and desire, and as the Hearer of our petition, in ‘every place’ we shall have Him for our help, and all will be full of His bright presence; and though we have to journey through the wilderness we shall ever drink of that spiritual rock that will follow us, and that Rock is Christ. In every place call upon His name, and every place will be a house of God, and a gate of heaven to our waiting souls.

1 Corinthians 1:2. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth — The apostle, writing in a familiar manner to the Corinthians, as also to the Thessalonians and Galatians, uses this plain appellation; to the other churches he uses a more solemn address: to them that are sanctified in, or through, Christ Jesus — That is, called out of the world, set apart for God, and made holy, through faith in Christ, and by grace derived from him, the head of his mystical body. Thus sanctified, undoubtedly they were in general, notwithstanding some exceptions, called — Of Jesus Christ, Romans 1:6; to be saints — That is, holy persons, by virtue of that calling, or, as κλετοις αγιοις is literally, saints, or holy persons, called: with all that in every place — All the world over; and particularly in every part of Achaia; nothing could better suit that catholic love which Paul labours to promote in this epistle, than such a declaration of his good wishes for every true Christian upon earth. Call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord — This plainly implies that all true Christians pray to Christ, as well as to the Father through him. We have the same expression with that here used, Acts 7:59 : They stoned Stephen, επικαλουμενον, calling upon, or invoking, namely, Christ, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. See also Acts 9:14; Acts 22:16; Romans 10:12-14. Praying to Christ was so much practised by the first Christians, that Pliny mentions it in the letter to Trajan: Carmen Christo quasi Deo dicere, They sing a hymn to Christ as God. Both theirs and ours — That is, who is Lord of all true believers everywhere. This the apostle mentioned in the beginning of his letter, to show the Corinthians how absurd it was for the disciples of one master to be divided into factions under particular leaders. Christ is the only Lord or Master of all his disciples, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; and therefore they ought not to disagree among themselves. “Though this epistle was written primarily to correct the disorderly practices of the Corinthians, it contains many general instructions, which could not fail to be of use to all the brethren in the province of Achaia likewise, and even to Christians in every place: for which reason the inscription consists of three members, and includes them all.”

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!Unto the church of God which is at Corinth - For an account of the time and manner in which the church was established in Corinth, see the introduction, and the notes at Acts 18:1-17. The church is called "the church of God," because it has been founded by His agency, and was devoted to his service. It is worthy of remark, that although great disorders had been introduced into that church; though there were separations and erroneous doctrines; though there were some who gave evidence that they were not sincere Christians, yet the apostle had no hesitation in applying to them the name of a "church of God."

To them that are sanctified - To those who are made holy. This does not refer to the profession of holiness, but implies that they were in fact holy. The word means that they were separateD from the mass of pagans around them, and devoted to God and his cause. Though the word used here (ἡγιασμένοις hēgiasmenois) has this idea of separation from the mass around them, yet it is separation on account of their being in fact, and not in profession merely, different from others, and truly devoted to God; see the note at Romans 1:7.

In Christ Jesus - That is, "by" ἐν en the agency of Christ. It was by his authority, his power, and his Spirit, that they had been separated from the mass of pagans around them, and devoted to God; compare John 17:19.

Called to be saints - The word "saints" does not differ materially from the word "sanctified" in the former part of the verse. It means those who are separateD from the world, and set apart to God as holy. The idea which Paul introduces here is, that they became such because they were called to be such. The idea in the former part of the verse is, that this was done "by Christ Jesus;" here he says that it was because they were called to this privilege. He doubtless means to say that it was not by any native tendency in themselves to holiness, but because God had called them to it. And this calling does not refer merely to an external invitation, but it was that which was made effectual in their case, or that on which the fact of their being saints could be predicated; compare 1 Corinthians 1:9; see 2 Timothy 1:9; "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace," etc.; 1 Peter 1:15; the Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:28 notes; Ephesians 4:1 note; 1 Timothy 6:12 note; 1 Peter 2:9 note.

With all ... - This expression shows:

(1) That Paul had the same feelings of attachment to all Christians in every place; and,

(2) That he expected that this Epistle would be read, not only by the church at Corinth, but also by other churches. That this was the uniform intention of the apostle in regard to his epistles, is apparent from other places; compare 1 Thessalonians 5:27; "I charge you by the Lord that this Epistle be read unto all the holy brethren;" Colossians 4:16; "And when this Epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans." It is evident that Paul expected that his epistles would obtain circulation among the churches; and it was morally certain that they would be soon transcribed, and be extensively read - the ardent feelings of Paul embraced all Christians in every nation. He knew nothing of the narrowness of exclusive attachment to a sect. His heart was full of love, and he loved, as we should, all who bore the Christian name, and who evinced the Christian spirit.

Call upon the name of Jesus Christ - To call upon the name of any person, in Scripture language, is to call on the person himself; compare John 3:18; the note at Acts 4:12. The expression "to call upon the name" ἐπικαλουμένοις epikaloumenois, to invoke the name, implies worship, and prayer; and proves:

(1) That the Lord Jesus is an object of worship; and,

(2) That one characteristic of the early Christians, by which they were known and distinguished, was their calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus, or their offering worship to him. That it implies worship, see the note at Acts 7:59; and that the early Christians called on Christ by prayer, and were distinguished by that, see the note at Acts 7:59, and compare the note at Acts 1:24, also Acts 2:21; Acts 9:13; Acts 22:16; 2 Timothy 2:22.

Both theirs and ours - The Lord of all - both Jews and Gentiles - of all who profess themselves Christians, of whatever country or name they might have originally been. Difference of nation or birth gives no pre-eminence in the kingdom of Christ but all are on a level, having a common Lord and Saviour; compare Ephesians 4:5.

2. the church of God—He calls it so notwithstanding its many blots. Fanatics and sectaries vainly think to anticipate the final sifting of the wheat and tares (Mt 13:27-30). It is a dangerous temptation to think there is no church where there is not apparent perfect purity. He who thinks so, must at last separate from all others and think himself the only holy man in the world, or establish a peculiar sect with a few hypocrites. It was enough for Paul in recognizing the Corinthians as a church, that he saw among them evangelical doctrine, baptism, and the Lord's Supper" [Calvin]. It was the Church of God, not of this or of that favorite leader [Chrysostom].

at Corinth—a church at dissolute Corinth—what a paradox of grace!

sanctified—consecrated, or set apart as holy to God in (by union with) Christ Jesus. In the Greek there are no words "to them that are"; translate simply, "men sanctified."

called to be saints—rather, "called saints"; saints by calling: applied by Paul to all professing members of the Church. As "sanctified in Christ" implies the fountain sources of holiness, the believer's original sanctification in Christ (1Co 6:11; Heb 10:10, 14; 1Pe 1:2) in the purposes of God's grace, so "called saints" refers to their actual call (Ro 8:30), and the end of that call that they should be holy (1Pe 1:15).

with all that in every place call upon … Christ—The Epistle is intended for these also, as well as for the Corinthians. The true Catholic Church (a term first used by Ignatius [Epistle to the Smyræans, 8]): not consisting of those who call themselves from Paul, Cephas, or any other eminent leader (1Co 1:12), but of all, wherever they be, who call on Jesus as their Saviour in sincerity (compare 2Ti 2:22). Still a general unity of discipline and doctrine in the several churches is implied in 1Co 4:17; 7:17; 11-16; 14-33, 36. The worship due to God is here attributed to Jesus (compare Joe 2:32; Mt 4:10; Ac 9:14).

both theirs and ours—"in every place which is their home … and our home also"; this is added to include the Christians throughout Achaia, not residing in Corinth, the capital (2Co 1:1). Paul feels the home of his converts to be also his own. Compare a similar phrase in Ro 16:13 [Conybeare and Howson]. "Ours" refers to Paul and Sosthenes, and the Corinthians' home [Alford]. Beza better explains, "Both their Lord and our Lord." All believers have one and the same Lord (1Co 8:6; Eph 4:5); a virtual reproof of the divisions of the Corinthians, as if Christ were divided (1Co 1:13).

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth; unto those in Corinth who having received the doctrine of the gospel, and owned Jesus Christ as their Saviour, were united in one ecclesiastical body for the worship of God, and communion one with another. Corinth was a famous city in Achaia, (which Achaia was joined to Greece by a neck of land betwixt the Aegean and Ionian Seas), it grew the most famous mart of all Greece. Paul came thither from Athens, Acts 18:1.

Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue there, believed, upon Paul’s preaching; so did many Corinthians, and were baptized, 1 Corinthians 1:9. He stayed there eighteen months, 1 Corinthians 1:11; there Sosthenes (mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:1) was converted; from thence Paul went to Ephesus, 1 Corinthians 1:19. These believers were those here called the church of God at Corinth, to whom he writes this Epistle (as it should seem from 1 Corinthians 16:8) from Ephesus, where Paul stayed three years, Acts 20:31. The members of this church the apostle calleth such as are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints: whether by the term the apostle meaneth only such as by the preaching of the gospel were separated from the heathens at Corinth, and professed faith in Christ, (as, Acts 15:9, the apostle saith the Gentiles’ hearts were purified by faith), or such in Corinth as were really regenerated, and had their hearts renewed and changed, is not easy to determine: both of them are saints by calling; the former are called externally by the preaching of the gospel, the other internally and effectually by the operation of the Spirit of grace. It is most probable, that St. Paul intended this Epistle for the whole body of those that professed the Christian religion in Corinth, though in writing of it he had a more special respect to those who were truly sanctified in Christ by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Nor doth Paul only respect those that lived in Corinth, but he directs his Epistle to all those who in any place of Achaia called upon the name of Jesus Christ, whom he calleth their Lord, and our Lord: which is an eminent place to prove the Divine nature of Christ; he is not only called our Lord, our common Lord, but he is made the object of invocation and Divine worship: and it teacheth us, that none but such as call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, are fit matter for a gospel church; which both excludes such as deny the Godhead of Christ, and such as live without God in the world, without performance of religious homage to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and owning him as their Lord.

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,.... This epistle is inscribed to the saints at Corinth; who are described by their being "the church of God", a particular congregated church; a number of persons gathered out of the world, and joined together in holy fellowship, carrying on the worship of God together, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord; a very high character this, to be called the church of God, which is the pillar and ground of truth: and it may be observed, that this is here given to a people, among whom were many irregularities, errors, disorders, and divisions; which shows, that a church of God is not to be unchurched for everything that is amiss in them: they are further described by the place of their abode, Corinth, the "metropolis" of Achaia; a very large and opulent city, a place of great trade and commerce, and famous both for its wealth and wisdom; but not so famous for anything as this, that there was a church of Christ in it; of the city of Corinth; see Gill on Acts 18:1; and of the church; see Gill on Acts 18:8. The members of it in general, for it cannot be thought to hold good of every individual, are said to be

sanctified in Christ Jesus; not by baptism, for they were sanctified before that; but were set apart, or chosen in Christ from all eternity, to grace here, and glory hereafter; justified by the blood and righteousness of Christ, in which sense the word "sanctified" is sometimes used; and to whom Christ was made "sanctification" and righteousness; and in consequence of which they were sanctified by his Spirit in his name, out of that fulness of grace and holiness which is in him: wherefore it follows,

called to be saints; for though they were chosen to holiness in Christ, and through sanctification of the Spirit unto salvation, yet before calling were unholy; though Christ had given himself for them to sanctify and purify them, yet whilst uncalled were impure; they fell in Adam, and became both guilty and filthy through his transgression; and by their first birth were unholy and unclean, and were so in their lives and conversations; nor are any holy by natural descent: these were not born saints, nor made so by their own free will, but were become such through the powerful grace of God in the effectual calling; in which not only desires after holiness, but principles of holiness were wrought in them; and by which they were called to the practice of external holiness, or to live an holy life and conversation. And this epistle is not only inscribed to these saints at Corinth, but to them,

with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord; as in Corinth, so in any part of Achaia, of which Corinth was the chief city. Invocation of the name of Christ not only respects prayer to him, but includes the whole of religious worship: see Romans 10:13; and this being given to Christ, and perforated in his name, is a very considerable proof of his true and proper deity; and the Ethiopic version here styles him, "God, our Lord Jesus Christ"; for none but God is to be invoked; nor can any but a divine person, one that is truly and properly God, without idolatry, be regarded as the object of religious worship and adoration. The phrase

both theirs and ours, either, as some think, refers to "every place" and so read the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; and the sense is, that the apostle inscribes his epistle to all that call upon the name of Christ, whether in Judea or in the Gentile world, in the place where the apostle was, or the Corinthians were, or any of the other saints in Achaia were; signifying, that invocation of God is not confined to any particular place, but that men may now lift up holy hands prayer to God everywhere; or rather it refers to "our Lord", and shows that Christ is the common Lord of his people, whom they all invoke, and by whom they are called, and therefore ought to love one another.

{4} Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are {5} sanctified in {a} Christ Jesus, {b} called to be saints, with all that in every place {c} call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

(4) It is a church of God, even though it has great faults in it, as it obeys those who admonish them.

(5) A true definition of the universal church, which is:

(a) The Father sanctifies us, that is to say, separates us from the wicked in giving us to his Son, that he may be in us, and we in him.

(b) Whom God by his gracious goodness and absolute love has separated for himself: or whom God has called to holiness: the first of these two expositions, shows from where our sanctification comes: and the second shows to what end it strives for.

(c) He is correctly said to call on God who cries to the Lord when he is in danger, and craves help from his hands, and by the figure of speech synecdoche, it is taken for all the service of God: and therefore to call upon Christ's name, is to acknowledge and take him for very God.

1 Corinthians 1:2. Τῇ ἐκκλ. τ. Θεοῦ] Θεοῦ is genitive of the owner. Comp קְהַל יְהֹוָה, Numbers 16:3; Numbers 20:4. The expression is with Paul the standing theocratic designation of the Christian community, in which the theocratic idea of the Old Testament קהל presents itself as realized; it is the πλήρωσις of this קהל. Comp 1 Corinthians 10:32, 1 Corinthians 11:16; 1 Corinthians 11:22, 1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13, al[84]

ἡγιασμ. ἐν Χ. .] adds at once a distinctive definition of quality to τ. ἐκκλ. τ. Θεοῦ (see the critical remarks), and thereupon follows the local specification of τ. ἐκκλ. τ. Θεοῦ. “To the church of God, men sanctified in Christ Jesus, which is in Corinth.” How common it is to find a participle in the plural standing in an attributive relation to a collective singular, may he seen in Kühner, II. p. 43; Pflugk, a[85] Eur. Hec. 39. Τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορ., however, is purposely placed after ἡγιασμ. κ.τ.λ[86], because the thought is, that the church of God addressed does in itself and as such (not as Corinthian) consist of those sanctified in Christ. The ἁγιασμός is to be conceived as consecration to God in the Christian church (see above, τ. ἐκκλ. τ. θεοῦ). Comp on Romans 1:7. This belonging to God as His own has its causal ground not out of, but in Christ—namely, in His redemptive work, of which the Christians have become, and continue to be, partakers (perfect) by means of justifying faith (Ephesians 1:4 ff.; Hebrews 10:10). Comp Php 1:1. ἘΝ Χ. . gives to the ἩΓΙΑΣΜ. its distinctively Christian character.

κλητοῖς ἁγίοις] added, in order to a properly exhaustive description of that experienced benefit of God’s grace of which the readers, as Christians, were assumed to be conscious; the new element introduced here lies in ΚΛΗΤΟῖς. The call to the Messianic kingdom (conceived as issued effectually, comp on Romans 8:28, and see Lamping, Pauli de praedestin. decreta, Leovard. 1858, p. 32 f.) is, according to the constant conception of the N. T. (Romans 1:6; Galatians 1:6 not excepted), given by God (1 Corinthians 1:9, Romans 8:30; Romans 9:24, al[90]; Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 281) through the preachers of the gospel (Romans 10:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:14); see Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 386 f.

σὺν πᾶσι Κ.Τ.Λ[91]] does not belong to κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, so that the readers were to be made sensible of the greatness of the fellowship in which they, as called saints, stood (Grotius, Bengel, Storr, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Neander, Becker, Hofmann). But it belongs, as necessarily follows from 2 Corinthians 1:1, to the superscription as part of it (on σύν, comp Php 1:1); yet neither so as to mark the Epistle as a catholic one (Theodoret, Estius, Calovius, Cornelius a Lapide, and others; comp Schrader); nor so that Paul shall be held, while greeting the Corinthians, as greeting in spirit also the universal church (Osiander, comp Chrysostom, Theodoret, Erasmus, Billroth, Heydenreich, and others); nor yet so that by the ἐπικαλ. τ. ὄν. τ. Κυρ. were meant the separatists, in contrast to those disposed to adhere to the church (Vitringa, Michaelis), or as if σὺν πᾶσι κ.τ.λ[95] were meant to comprehend all Corinthian Christians without distinction (Eichhorn, Einleit. III. 1, p. 110, Pott); but so that the sense is in substance just that expressed in 2 Corinthians 1:1 : σὺν τοῖς ἁγίοις πᾶσι τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ. See below on ΑὐΤῶΝ ΤΕ ΚΑῚ ἩΜῶΝ. The Epistle is primarily addressed to the Christians in Corinth; not, however, to them merely, but at the same time also to the other Achaean Christians, and the latter are denoted by πᾶσιἡμῶν. A comma is to be put after ἉΓΊΟΙς.

] confessional designation of the Christians, Romans 10:12 f.; Acts 2:21. Respecting the N. T. idea of the invocation of Christ, which is not to be held as absolute, but as relative worship (of Him as the Mediator and Lord over all, but under God, Php 2:10 f.), see on Romans 10:12.

αὐτῶν τε καὶ ἠμῶν] is joined with ΤΟῦ ΚΥΡΊΟΥ by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Photius, Theophylact, Calvin, Beza, Piscator, Erasmus Schmid, Valckenaer, and others, including Billroth, Olshausen, Lücke (de invocat. Chr., Götting. 1843), Wieseler (Chronol. des apost. Zeitalt. p. 324), in such a way as to make it an epanorthosis or (see Wieseler) epexegesis of the foregoing ἡμῶν. But apart from the fact that this ἩΜῶΝ in the habitually used ΚΎΡΙΟς ἩΜῶΝ embraces all Christians, and consequently αὐτῶν τε καὶ ἡμῶν (ἡμῶν being referred to Paul and Sosthenes) would express something quite self-evident, and that, too, without any special significance of bearing,[96] the position of the words is decisive against this view, and in favour of attaching them to παντὶ τόπῳ, to which they necessarily belong as a more precise definition. Comp Vulg.: “In omni loco ipsorum et nostro.” If, namely, σὺν πᾶσιἡμῶν must denote the Achaean Christians out of Corinth (see above), then παντὶ τόπῳ requires a limitation to the geographical district which is intended. Now, this limitation is not already laid down by ἐν Κορίνθῳ (Lücke, Wieseler), since it was precisely in the superscription that the need of definiteness in designating the readers was obvious, but it is expressly given by αὐτῶν τε καὶ ἠμῶν, in such a way, namely, that αὐτῶν refers to the Corinthians, who, however, are indicated not by ὑμῶν, but by αὐτῶν, because from the point where the widening of the address (σὺν πᾶσι κ.τ.λ[98]) comes in, the Corinthians appear as third parties. Accordingly the Epistle is addressed: To the Corinthian Christians, and to all who, in every place that belongs to them (the Corinthians) and to us as well (Paul and Sosthenes), call upon the name of Christ. Every place in the province, namely, where Christians lived or a church existed (as e.g. in Cenchreæ, Romans 16:1), was a place which belonged to the Corinthians, a τόπος αὐτῶν, in so far as the church at Corinth was the mother-church of the Christian body in Achaia; but each such place belonged also to Paul (and Sosthenes), in so far as he was the founder and apostolic head of Christianity in Corinth and all Achaia. It is quite in accordance with the ingenious subtlety of the apostle to give the designation of the provincials in such a form, as to make his own authority felt over against the prerogative of those living in the capital (αὐτῶν). As in Romans 16:13 ΑὐΤΟῦ ΚΑῚ ἘΜΟῦ delicately expresses the community of love (comp also 1 Corinthians 16:18; Philemon 1:11; Soph. El. 417 f.: πατρὸς τοῦ σοῦ τε κἀμοῦ), so here ΑὐΤῶΝ ΤΕ ΚΑῚ ἩΜῶΝ the community of right. The objection that the sense in which they belonged to the Corinthians was different from that in which they belonged to Paul and Sosthenes (de Wette), fails to appreciate the point of the words. The offence which Hofm. takes at the reading τε καί (as though it must be equivalent to ΕἼΤΕ) arises from a misunderstanding; it is the usual co-ordinating ΤΕ ΚΑΊ, which here has not even the appearance (Hartung, Partik. I. p. 100) of standing in place of εἴτε. Comp., on the contrary, Hartung, p. 101; Baeuml., Partik. p. 225. Observe, besides, that τε καί gives more rhetorical emphasis to the association of the two genitives than the simple ΚΑΊ; see Dissen, a[100] Dem. de cor. p. 165. Räbiger, krit. Unters. p. 62 f., has assented to our view.[101] Comp also Maier. Those who join ΣῪΝ ΠᾶΣΙ Κ.Τ.Λ[103] to κλητοῖς ἁγ. (see above) usually take αὐτῶν τε καὶ ἡμ. as an analysis of the idea παντί: in every place, where they and where we (Paul and Sosthenes) are, i.e. elsewhere and here in Ephesus. See Calovius, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander. But how meaningless this more precise explanation of παντί would be! In fact, it would be absurd; for, since the subject is all (πᾶσι κ.τ.λ[104]), in which the ἩΜΕῖς are thus already included, an analysis of it into ΑὐΤΟΊ (which the ΠΆΝΤΕς are surely already) and ἩΜΕῖς is utterly illogical. This applies also in opposition to Becker, by whom the ΤΌΠΟς ἩΜῶΝ is held to be Corinth, and to refer to the strangers who come to Corinth. Others have, following Ambrosiaster, referred αὐτῶν to the heathen lands, and ἡμῶν to Judaea (Erasmus, Semler, Bolten; similarly Schrader). Contrary to the text, as is also Wetstein’s opinion: “P. suum locum vocat, ubi ipse per praedicationem evangelii ecclesiam fundaverat. Tacite se atque Sosthenem … opponit peregrino falso doctori, qui in locum non suum irrepserat.” Others refer ἐν παντὶἡμῶν to the different meeting-places of the parties (Vitringa, Mosheim, Eichhorn, Krause, Pott, Ewald), so that the ΤΌΠΟς ἩΜῶΝ would be the house of Justus (Acts 18:7), or, generally, the place where the church had statedly assembled at first under Paul (Ewald); and the ΤΌΠ. ΑὐΤῶΝ the meeting-house of the Petrine party, perhaps the Jewish synagogue (Pott), or, in general, the other places of assembly of the new sections (Ewald). But the presupposition that the church was broken up into parties locally separated from each other (see, on the contrary, 1 Corinthians 14:23, 1 Corinthians 11:17 ff.) has not a single passage in the Epistle to justify it. Böttger, l.c[105] p. 25, holds, strangely, that αὐτῶν applies to the Corinthian Christians, and ἡμῶν to those of Lower Achaia (among whom Paul is supposed to have written; see Introd. § 3); and Ziegler, that αὐτῶν applies to those in Corinth, ἩΜῶΝ to those staying with Paul in Ephesus, Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus (1 Corinthians 16:17), and others. Hofmann propounds the peculiar view that ΚΑῚ ἩΜῶΝ betokens that Paul was at home, and felt himself to be so, wherever Christ was invoked. As if the reader would have been capable of deducing any such ubiquity of spiritual domicile from the simple pronoun, and that, too, in the very address of the Epistle, without the slightest hint from the connection.

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

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

[86] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

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

[91] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[95] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[96] It is supposed to convey a polemical reference to the party-divisions. See Wieseler, l.c. This can only be the case if αὐτῶν applies to the Corinthians. But in fact, according to the view of Lücke and Wieseler (see below), it cannot do so, but must apply to the other Achaeans.

[98] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

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

[101] Also Burger in his (popular) Auslegung, Erl. 1859, and Holtzmann, Judenthum u. Christenth. p. 749.

[103] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[104] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[105] .c. loco citato or laudato.

1 Corinthians 1:2. τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ (in salutation of 1 and 2 Cor[39] only) gives supreme dignity to the assembly of Cor[40] addressed by the Ap. of Christ Jesus—the assembled citizens of God’s kingdom and commonwealth (Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 2:19; cf. Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9 f.). τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορ., “that exists in Corinth”—lætum et ingens paradoxon (Bg[41]): so far the Gospel has reached (2 Corinthians 10:13 f.); in so foul a place it flourishes! (1 Corinthians 6:9 ff.). Not as earlier, “the assembly of Thessalonians,” etc.: the conception of the ecclesia widens; the local Christian gathering is part of one extended “congregation of God,” existing in this place or that (see last clause). To τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τ. Θεοῦ is apposed, by way of predicative definition (hence anarthrous), ἡγιασμένοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, “the Church of God (consisting of men) sanctified in Christ Jesus”: Church status is grounded on personal relationship to God in Christ. Now this relationship began with God’s call, which summoned each to a holy life within the Christian fellowship; hence the further apposition, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις (see note on 1, and Romans 1:7; cf. Acts 18:10, λαός ἐστίν μοι πολύς κ.τ.λ.). The pf. pass[42] ptp[43] expresses a determinate state: once for all the Cor[44] readers have been devoted to God, by His call and their consent. This initial sanctification is synchronous with justification (1 Corinthians 6:11), and is the positive as that is the negative side of salvation: ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τ. ἁμαρτίας, ἐδουλώθητε τ. δικαιοσύνῃ (Romans 6:16-19). “Sanctified in Christ Jesus” (= “living to God in Christ Jesus,” Romans 6:11) imports union with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 12:11, Romans 8:9 f.) as well as salvation through Christ. His past work is the objective ground, His present heavenly being (implied by the name “Christ Jesus,” as in this order) the active spring of this ζῆν τῷ Θεῷ: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30 and note. The repeated ref[45] to the holiness of the readers recalls them to their vocation; low practice calls for the reassertion of high ideals; admonet Corinthios majestatis ipsorum (Bg[46]). Cv[47] draws a diff[48] yet consistent inference: “Locus diligenter observandus, ne requiramus in hoc mundo Ecclesiam omni ruga et macula carentem”. The adjunct σὺν πᾶσιντόπῳ may qualify ἡγιασμένοις κ.τ.λ. (so some moderns), or the main predicate (Gr[49] Ff[50]): i.e., the Church shares (a) in its Christian sanctity, or (b) in the Apostle’s good wishes, “with all that call upon the name,” etc. (b) gives a better balanced sentence, and a true Pauline sentiment: cf. Ephesians 6:24, also the Benediction of Clem. Rom. ad Cor[51], lxv.—ἐν πάντι τόπῳ, an expression indefinitely large (see parls.), approaching “in all the world” of Romans 1:8, Colossians 1:6; there is nothing here to indicate the limit given in 2 Corinthians 1:1. The readers belong to a widespread as well as a holy community; Paul insists on this in the sequel, pointing in reproof to “other churches”. To “call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”—to invoke Him in prayer as “Lord”—is the mark of the Christian, by which Saul, e.g., once recognised his victims (see parls.), the index of saving faith (1 Corinthians 12:3, Romans 10:12 ff.). The afterthought αὐτῶν καὶ ἡμῶν, correcting the previous ἡμῶν (Cm[52], Cv[53], Gd[54], Sm[55]), heightens the sense of wide fellowship given by the previous clause; “one Lord” (1 Corinthians 8:6; Romans 10:12; Romans 14:9, Ephesians 4:5) unites all hearts in the obedience of faith. To attach these pronouns to τόπῳ (in omni loco ipsorum et nostro, Vg[56]) gives a sense strained in various ways: “their place and ours,”—belonging to us equally with them (Mr[57], El[58], Ed[59]); “illorum (prope Cor[60]), nostro (ubi . et Sosth. versabantur,” Bg[61]); in non-Pauline and Pauline Churches (Hn[62]); and so on.

[39] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[40] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[41] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

passive voice.

[43] participle

[44] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[45] reference.

[46] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[48] difference, different, differently.

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


[51] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[52] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

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

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

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

[56] Latin Vulgate Translation.

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

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

[59] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.

[60] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[61] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

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

2. to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus] Literally, to them that have been sanctified. The word here rendered sanctify means (1) to consecrate to the service of the Deity, and hence (2) to purify, make holy. The word here partakes of both senses. Those who have become united to Christ by faith have not only been dedicated to Him, but have been made partakers of His holiness by their participation in the Life that is in Him. But such persons were by no means as yet free from actual sin, as chapters 5, 6, 8, 11. conclusively prove. “The Church of Christ, abstractedly and invisibly, is a kingdom where no evil is; in the concrete, and actually, it is the Church of Corinth, Rome, or England, tainted with impurity. And yet, just as the mudded Rhone is really the Rhone and not mud and the Rhone, so there are not two churches, the Church of Corinth and the false church within it, but one visible Church, in which the invisible lies concealed.” Robertson, On the Corinthians, Lect. ii.

called to be saints] Literally, called saints—because the faculty of saintliness, if not actual saintliness itself, had been communicated to every member of the Church. The only difference between ‘saints’ and ‘them that are sanctified’ is that the latter expression has reference to a past act of God’s mercy, the former to the present condition of those who have benefited from it.

with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord] The Epistle, which dealt with so many and such weighty truths, was not to be treasured up as the peculiar heritage of the Corinthian Church, but was to be regarded as the common possession of the universal Church of Christ. Or perhaps it is better, with Olshausen, to regard the Apostle as reminding the Corinthians that they form only a part, and that but a small one, of the whole Church of Christ, a consideration which their self-satisfaction was leading them to forget.

1 Corinthians 1:2. Τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ, To the Church of God) Paul, writing somewhat familiarly to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Galatians, uses the term, Church; to the others he employs a more solemn periphrasis. The Church of God in Corinth: a great and joyful paradox.[2]—τῇ οὔσῃ, which is), [at Corinth and moreover] flourishing [there], 1 Corinthians 1:5-6. So, [the Church] which was [at Antioch], Acts 13:1.—ἡγιασμένοις, to them that are sanctified) them, who have been claimed for God [by being set apart as holy to Him]. Making a prelude already to the discussion, he reminds the Corinthians of their own dignity, lest they should suffer themselves to be enslaved by men. [Then in the Introduction also, 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, he highly praises the same persons, how near soever they may have come to undue elation of mind. The praise which is derived from Divine grace rather cherishes humility, besides being subservient to awakening.—V. g.] The force of the participle is immediately explained, called to be saints, [said of the Gentiles, who are saints by calling, whilst the Israelites are so by descent]; comp. Romans 1:7, note.—σὺν πᾶσι, with all) To be connected with, sanctified, and, saints, not with, to the Church; compare ours, at the end of the verse. Consequently the epistle refers also to the other believers in Achaia, 2 Corinthians 1:1. The universal Church however is not shut up within the neighbourhood of Corinth. As Paul was thinking of the localities of the Corinthians and Ephesians, the whole Church came into his mind. The consideration of the Church universal sets the mind free from party bias, and turns it to obedience. It is therefore set forthwith before the Corinthians; comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 7:17, 1 Corinthians 11:16, 1 Corinthians 14:33; 1 Corinthians 14:36.—τοῖς ἐπικαλουμένοις) that call upon, so that they turn their eyes to Him in worship, and call themselves by His name; comp. 1 Corinthians 1:10, on the authority of the name of Christ. [This passage certainly prepares the way for that exhortation, which follows the verse now quoted (1 Corinthians 1:10).—V. g.]—αὐτῶν [theirs], of them) near Corinth.—ἡμῶν [ours], of us) where Paul and Sosthenes were then staying.

[2] Religion and Corinth, a city notorious for debauchery, might have seemed terms utterly incapable of combination.—ED.

Verse 2. - Unto the Church. This form of address is used in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians. In St. Paul's later Epistles, for some unknown reason, he prefers the address "to the saints." These forms of address show the absence of any fixed ecclesiastical government. He does not in this Epistle address any "bishops" or "presbyters" whom he might regard as responsible for the growing disorders which prevailed at Corinth, but he appeals to the whole Church. The word ecclesia - signifying those who were "called out of the world," and so primarily applied to "the congregation of Israel" - came ultimately to mean "a congregation." The only apostle who uses the word "synagogue" of the Christian assemblies is St. James (James 2:2). Of God. Not the Church of this or that party leader. Some commentators give to these words an emphasis and importance which does not seem to belong to them. Which is at Corinth. So in 2 Corinthians 1:2. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians he prefers the form, "the Church of the Thessalonians." "The Church at Corinth" was an expression which involved the sharpest of contrasts. It brought into juxtaposition the holiest ideal of the new faith and the vilest degradations of the old paganism. It was "a glad and great paradox" (Bengel). The condition of society at Corinth, at once depraved and sophistical, throws light on many parts of the Epistle. Cicero describes the city as "illustrious a like for wantonness, opulence, and the study of philosophy." Even them that are sanctified. The apostles could only write to Churches as being really Churches, and to Christians as being true Christians. In all general addresses they could only assume that the actual resembled the ideal. They never conceal the immense chasm which separated the real condition of many members of their Churches from the vocation which they professed. They knew also that it is (as Calvin says) "a perilous temptation to refuse the name of Church to every Church in which there is not perfect purity." Ideally even the Corinthian Christians were redeemed by Christ's expiation, consecrated and sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit. They could only be addressed in accordance with their ostensible position (see Hooker, 'Eccl. Pol.,' 3:1; 5:68). Our Prayer book is constructed on the same principle. The harvest is still a harvest, though amongst the corn there may be many tares. In Christ Jesus. The words, "in Christ," constitute what has been happily called "the monogram of St. Paul." The life of the true Christian is no longer his own. The Christ for him has become the Christ in him. His natural life is merged into a higher spiritual life. Baptized into Christ, he has become one with Christ. Called to be saints. (On this Christian calling, see Ephesians 4:1, 4; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 3:1; 2 Peter 1:10.) They are called to be united saints, not schismatic partisans or members of antagonistic cliques. The description of what they were ideally is the more emphatic because he feels how much they had fallen away. With all that... in every place. Perhaps this may mean the same as 2 Corinthians 1:1, "With all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia;" or the words may imply that St. Paul's exhortations are applicable to all Christians, wherever they may be and (as is expressed in the next clause) whatever may be their varying shades of individual opinion. It was well in any case to remind the Corinthians that they formed but a fraction of the Christian communities. Catholicity, not provincialism, makes the true Church of God. Call upon the Name. The Greek verb is here in the middle voice, not "who are called by the Name"(comp. James 2:7; Amos 9:12, LXX.). It means, therefore, all who reverence the Name of Christ, all who adore their one "Lord" in the fulness of his nature (see Joel 3:5; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:24; 2 Timothy 2:22, etc.); in other words, "all who profess and call themselves Christians" (comp. Acts 25:11). Their Lord and ours. I connect these words, not with "place," as in the Vulgate, In omni loco ipsorum et nostro - which, however it may be twisted, can give no good sense - but with "Jesus Christ." It has been in all ages a fatal temptation of party Christians to claim a monopoly of Christ for themselves and their own sects, as though they only taught the gospel, and were the only Christians or the only "Evangelicals." But Christ cannot thus be "parcelled into fragments" (see vers. 12, 13), nor has any party a right to boast exclusively, "I am of Christ." The addition, "and ours," could not be regarded as super fluous in writing to a Church of which one section wanted to assert an exclusive right in Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:2Corinth

The Corinth of this period owed the beginning of its prosperity to Julius Caesar, who, a hundred years after its destruction by Mummius (b.c. 146), rebuilt and peopled it with a colony of veterans and freedmen. It was situated on the isthmus which divided Northern Greece from the Peloponnesus. It had three harbors, Cenchreae and Schoenus on the east, and Lechaeumn on the west. The isthmus, forming the only line of march for an invading or retreating army, was of the greatest military importance. It was known as "the eye of Greece." By Pindar it was called "the bridge of the sea;" by Xenophon, "the gate of the Peloponnesus;" and by Strabo, "the acropolis of Greece." In more modern times it was known as "the Gibraltar of Greece." Hence, at least as early as the march of Xerxes into Greece, it was crossed by a wall, which, in later times, became a massive and important fortification, especially in the decline of the Roman Empire. Justinian fortified it with an hundred and fifty towers. The citadel rose two thousand feet above the sea-level, on a rock with precipitous sides. In the days of the Achaean league it was called one of the "fetters" of Greece. "It runs out boldly from the surging mountain chains of the Peninsula, like an outpost or sentry, guarding the approach from the North. In days when news was transmitted by fire-signals, we can imagine how all the southern country must have depended on the watch upon the rock of Corinth" (Mahaffy, "Rambles and Studies in Greece").

At its narrowest part the isthmus was crossed by a level track called the diolcus, over which vessels were dragged on rollers from one port to the other. This was in constant use, because seamen were thus enabled to avoid sailing round the dangerous promontory of Malea, the southern extremity of the Peloponnesus. A canal was projected and by Nero, but was abandoned. The common title of the city in the poets was bimaris, "the city of the two seas."

The commercial position of Corinth was, therefore, most important, communicating with the eastern and the western world, with the north and the south. The isthmus was one of the four principal points for the celebration of the Grecian games; and in Paul's day great numbers flocked to these contests from all parts of the Mediterranean.

On the restoration of the city by Julius Caesar, both Greek and Jewish merchants settled in Corinth in such numbers as probably to outnumber the Romans. In Paul's time it was distinctively a commercial center, marked by wealth and luxury. "It was the 'Vanity Fair' of the Roman Empire, at once the London and the Paris of the first century after Christ" (Farrar). It was conspicuous for its immorality. To "corinthianize" was the term for reckless debauchery. Juvenal sarcastically alludes to it as "perfumed Corinth;" and Martial pictures an effeminate fellow boasting of being a Corinthian citizen. The temple of Aphrodite (Venus) employed a thousand ministers. Drunkenness rivaled licentiousness, and Corinthians, when introduced on the stage, were commonly represented as drunk. Paul's impression of its profligacy may be seen in his description of heathenism in the first of Romans, and in his stern words concerning sensual sin in the two Corinthian Epistles. "Politically Roman, socially Greek, religiously it was Roman, Greek, Oriental, all in one. When, therefore, the apostle preached to the Corinthians, the Gospel spoke to the whole world and to the living present" (Edwards).

Called to be saints

See on Romans 1:7.

Call upon the name (ἐπικαλουμένοις τὸ ὄνομα)

Compare Romans 10:12; Acts 2:21. The formula is from the Septuagint. See Zechariah 13:9; Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:4; Psalm 115:17. It is used of worship, and here implies prayer to Christ. The first christian prayer recorded as heard by Saul of Tarsus, was Stephen's prayer to Christ, Acts 7:59. The name of Christ occurs nine times in the first nine verses of this epistle.

Theirs and ours

A.V. and Rev. connect with Jesus Christ our Lord. Better with in every place. Every place in the province where Christians are is our place also. The expression emphasizes the position of Paul as the founder and apostolic head of Christianity in Corinth and in all Achaia.

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