1 Corinthians 1:4
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
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(4) I thank my God.—Expressions of thankfulness (1Corinthians 1:4-9), serving also to secure at the very outset the attention of those to whom the Apostle is writing. He thus shows that he is not blind to, or forgetful of, their good qualities, although this Epistle is specially written to rebuke their present sins; and also that he is not about to utter words of hopeless condemnation, but of wholesome warning. The emphatic use of the singular, I thank my God, in contrast to the plural in the previous verses, indicates that St. Paul does not join Sosthenes with him as author of the Epistle, but that it is written in his name alone and with his sole authority.

The grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ.—Better, the grace of God given you in Christ Jesusi.e., given to you as being in Christ.

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!I thank my God ... - No small part of this Epistle is occupied with reproofs for the disorders which had arisen in the church at Corinth. Before proceeding, however, to the specific statement of those disorders (1 Corinthians 1:10 ff), the apostle commends them for the attainments which they had really made in divine knowledge, and thus shows that he was disposed to concede to them all that he could. It was no part of the disposition of Paul to withhold commendation where it was due. On the contrary, as he was disposed to be faithful in reproving the errors of Christians, he was no less disposed to commend them when it could be done; compare the note at Romans 1:8. A willingness to commend those who do well is as much in accordance with the gospel, as a disposition to reprove where it is deserved; and a minister, or a parent, may frequently do as decided good by judicious commendation as by reproof, and much more than by fault-finding and harsh crimination.

On your behalf - In respect to you; that God has conferred these favors on you.

For the grace of God - On account of the favors which God has bestowed on you through the Lord Jesus. Those favors are specified in the following verses. For the meaning of the word "grace," see the note at Romans 1:7.

4. He puts the causes for praise and hope among them in the foreground, not to discourage them by the succeeding reproof, and in order to appeal to their better selves.

my God—(Ro 1:8; Php 1:3).

always—(Compare Php 1:4).

the grace … given you—(Compare 1Co 1:7).

by … Christ—literally, "IN Jesus Christ" given you as members in Christ.

Lest his former salutation should be misapprehended by them, as signifying that he thought they were without grace, he here cleareth his meaning by blessing God for that grace which they had received: but no man hath so much grace, but he is still capable of more, and stands in need of further influences; therefore, as he here blesseth God for the grace of God, which they by Jesus Christ received; so he before prayed for grace and peace for them, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is both the Author and Finisher of our faith, he giveth both to will and to do. The beginnings, increases, and finishings of grace are all from him. Grace is indeed from God the Father, but by Jesus Christ; it floweth from him who is Love, but it is through his Well-beloved. No man hath the love of God, but by and through Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf,.... Now follows a thanksgiving for various blessings bestowed upon this church, which is a proof of the apostle's great affection for it, and how much its welfare lay at his heart. The object of thanksgiving is God, for as he is the author of all mercies, the glory and praise of them ought to be given to him. The apostle styles him "my God", to distinguish him from others; and to express his faith of interest in him; and to observe to this church, that all the good things they enjoyed came from him, who was his God and their God, his Father and their Father; and for which reason he returned thanks to him for them, and by so doing set them an example: the persons on whose behalf he gave thanks were not at this time himself and Sosthenes, but the members of the church at Corinth; and the continuance of his thankfulness for them, is "always", as often as he went to the throne of grace, or at any other time thought of them: what he particularly gives thanks to God for in this verse is,

for the grace which is given you by Jesus Christ: and includes all sorts of grace, adopting, justifying, pardoning, regenerating, and sanctifying grace; every particular grace of the Spirit, as faith, repentance, hope, love, fear, humility, self-denial, &c. all are gifts of God, and entirely owing to his free grace, and not to man's free will and power, or to any merits of his; and all come through the hands of Christ, and are given forth by him, as the Mediator of the covenant, and in consequence of his blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and merit.

{7} I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

(7) Going about to condemn many vices, he begins with a true commendation of their virtues, lest he might seem after to descend to chiding, being moved with malice or envy: yet in such a way that he refers all to God as the author of them, and that in Christ, that the Corinthians might be more ashamed to profane and abuse the holy gifts of God.

1 Corinthians 1:4-5. Μου] as in Romans 1:8.

πάντοτε] always, to be measured not strictly by the literal import of the word, but by the fervour of his constant love. Comp 1 Thessalonians 1:2 f.; 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

ἘΠΊ] ground of the thanks, Php 1:5; Polyb. xviii. 26. 4; Valck. in loc[109] The grace of God, which had been bestowed on them, is described more precisely in 1 Corinthians 1:5 according to its effects.

ἐν Χ. .] i.e. in your fellowship with Christ. By this is denoted the specifically Christian nature of the gift, in so far, namely, as it is not attained apart from Christ, but—otherwise it were a worldly gift—has in Christ, as the life-element of those who are its subjects, the distinctive sphere of its manifestation. Just in the same way 1 Corinthians 1:5.

ὅτι] that you, namely, etc., epexegesis of ἐπὶ τῇ χάρ. Κ.Τ.Λ[110]

ἐν παντί] without limitation: in all, in every point; comp 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:18; Ephesians 2:4; Jam 2:5. To this Paul forthwith, and again with ἐν (comp 2 Corinthians 6:4), adds the more precise definition chosen in reference to the state of things at Corinth: ἐν παντὶ λόγῳ κ. πάσῃ γνώσει: in all discourse and all knowledge—that is to say, so that no kind of Christian aptitude of speech, or of Christian intelligence, is wanting among you, but both—the former outwardly communicative aptitude, in virtue of which a man is δυνατὸς γνῶσιν ἐξειπεῖν (Clem. Cor. I. 48); and the latter, the inward endowment—are to be found with you richly in every form. This view, according to which λόγος is sermo, occurs in substance in the Greek commentators, in Calovius, Rückert, Neander, Hofmann, and many others, and is confirmed beyond a doubt by 2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Corinthians 11:6. As to the different kinds of Christian utterance, comp 1 Corinthians 12:8. Λόγος is not therefore to be understood, with Billroth, de Wette, and Maier, of the doctrine preached to the Corinthians. Beza, Grotius, and others take λόγος to be specially the donum linguarum, and γνῶσις the donum prophetiae, which, however, is not conveyed either in the words themselves or in the connection, and is, moreover, at variance with the subordinate importance attached to the γλώσσαις λαλεῖν (chap. 14). Lastly, as to the running together of the two: ἐν πάσῃ γνώσει τοῦ λόγου (Schulz, Morus, Rosenmüller), the very repetition of the πάσῃ, and the difference in point of idea between the two words, should have dissuaded its supporters from such a view; for λόγ. and γνώσ. can as little be synonyms (Clericus, Pott) as דבר and דעת. Clement also, 1, praises the former condition of the church with respect to ΤῊΝ ΤΕΛΕΊΑΝ ΚΑῚ ἈΣΦΑΛῆ ΓΝῶΣΙΝ.

[109] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[110] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

1 Corinthians 1:4-9. Conciliatory preamble, by no means without real praise (Hofmann), assuredly not ironical (Semler, comp Mosheim), which would be unwise and wrong; and not addressed merely to the party of Paul and that of Apollos (Flatt), which is at variance with 1 Corinthians 1:2; but, as is alone in accordance with the character of Paul and with the words themselves, directed to the church as a whole under a persuasion of the truth of its contents,—bringing forward first of all with true affection what was laudable, so far as it existed, and lovingly leaving out of view for a time what was blameworthy, but withal soberly keeping within the bounds of truth and tracing all up to God.1 Corinthians 1:4-9. § 2. THE THANKSGIVING. The Pauline thanksgiving holds the place of the captatio benevolentiœ in ancient speeches, with the diff[68] that it is in solemn sincerity addressed to God. The Ap. thanks God (1) for the past grace given the Cor[69] in Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:4; (2) for the rich intellectual development of that grace, according with the sure evidence upon which they had received the Gospel, and attended by an eager anticipation of Christ’s advent, 1 Corinthians 1:5-7; (3) for the certainty that they will be perfected in grace and found unimpeached at Christ’s return—a hope founded on God’s fidelity to His own signal call, 1 Corinthians 1:8 f. Paul reflects gratefully on the past, hopefully on the future of this Church; he is significantly silent respecting its present condition: contrast with this the Thess. and Phil. Thanksgivings. He extracts from a disquieting situation all the comfort possible.

[68] difference, different, differently.

[69] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.4. the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ] Rather, perhaps, the favour of God which is given you in Jesus Christ. “We are to conceive of Jesus Christ as filled with grace and as pouring it out upon the human race” (Olshausen). Or rather perhaps, All gifts are the result not of our merit, but God’s good-will, and are not only given to us by Jesus Christ, but are results of His indwelling in the soul.Verses 4-9. - The thanksgiving. The thanksgiving is a feature in almost every Epistle of St. Paul, except the Epistle to the Galatians, in which he plunges at once into severe reprobation. Verse 4. - I thank my God. It is probable, from papyrus rolls in the British Museum, that the general form and outline of letters was more or less conventional. In St. Paul, however, this thanksgiving is the natural overflow of a full heart. It was no mere compliment or rhetorical artifice like the captatio benevolentiae, or endeavouring to win the hearers by flattery, which we find in most ancient speeches. My God (Romans 1:8). Always; that is, constantly; on all occasions of special prayer. He could still thank God for them, though his letter was written "with many tears" (2 Corinthians 2:4). For the grace of God. The grace (χάρις) of spiritual life showing itself in many special spiritual gifts (χαρίσματα), such as "the gift of tongues." Which was given you. This is one of St. Paul's "baptismal aorists." He always regards and speaks of the life of the soul as summed up potentially in one supreme moment and crisis - namely, the moment of conversion and baptism. The grace given once was given for ever, and was continually manifested. In Christ Jesus. St. Paul regarded the life of the Christian as "hid with Christ in God," and of Christ as being the Christian's life (see Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 11; Colossians 3:3, 4; 2 Timothy 1:1; 1 John 5:11, etc.). I thank (εὐχαριστῶ)

Found in the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation, but most frequently in Paul.

My God

Some very high authorities omit. The pronoun implies close personal relationship. Compare Acts 27:23; Philippians 1:3; Philippians 3:8.

By Christ Jesus (ἐν)

Better, as Rev., in; in fellowship with. The element or sphere in which the grace is manifested.

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