1 Corinthians 12:3
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
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(3) Wherefore I give you to understand.—Better, Wherefore I make known unto you. Because such was your condition, and there still seems to linger in your minds some of the ignorance which belonged to such a state, I make known unto you the one great test of your possession of the Holy Spirit. If any man say “Jesus is anathema,” that is a proof that he has not that Spirit. If any man say “Jesus is Lord,” that is a proof that he has that Spirit.

(3)Operating in words, as in prophetic utterances.

(4) Operating in distinguishing true and false spirits.

III.Gifts which relate to tongues.

(1)Speaking with tongues.

(2)Interpreting tongues.

The “wisdom” and the “knowledge” differ, in that the former expresses the deep spiritual insight into spiritual truth which some possess, the latter the intellectual appreciation of Christian doctrine, which is not so profound as the former, and which as the man passes into the spiritual state will vanish away (1Corinthians 13:8).

1 Corinthians 12:3. Wherefore — Since it was so with you once, and it is otherwise now, this is a full demonstration of the truth of the Christian religion, through your faith in, and reception of, which, you received these gifts, which none of the heathen idols, blind, and dumb, and lifeless as they were, could possibly confer upon you. I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God — Who is endued with these spiritual gifts, or is at all inspired by the Holy Spirit; calleth Jesus accursed — Pronounces him to be an impostor, and therefore justly punished with death. It seems that some, who pretended to be inspired, did this; probably the Jewish exorcists, together with the heathen priests and priestesses, who in their enthusiastic fits reviled Jesus. Now the apostle intended here to teach the Corinthians, that if any such persons were really inspired, that is, if they spake by any supernatural impulse, it certainly proceeded from evil spirits, and not from the Spirit of God, who never would move any one to speak in that manner of Jesus. By this the apostle cuts off all who spoke blasphemously and irreverently of Christ, whether Jews or heathen, from all pretences to the possession of spiritual gifts, or of any supernatural influence from the true God. These gifts and inspirations could only be found among true Christians. On the other hand, no man can say that Jesus is the Lord — Can receive him as such; can think or speak reverently of him; can make profession of his name, when that profession would expose him to imprisonment and martyrdom; can worship him aright, and heartily acknowledge his divinity and lordship, (against which there was then the greatest opposition made,) so as to subject himself sincerely and entirely to his government: but by the Holy Ghost — By his directing, renewing, and purifying influences. The sum is, None have the Holy Spirit but true Christians; true believers in, and disciples of, the Lord Jesus; and all such have the Spirit, at least in his enlightening and sanctifying graces.

12:1-11 Spiritual gifts were extraordinary powers bestowed in the first ages, to convince unbelievers, and to spread the gospel. Gifts and graces greatly differ. Both were freely given of God. But where grace is given, it is for the salvation of those who have it. Gifts are for the advantage and salvation of others; and there may be great gifts where there is no grace. The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were chiefly exercised in the public assemblies, where the Corinthians seem to have made displays of them, wanting in the spirit of piety, and of Christian love. While heathens, they had not been influenced by the Spirit of Christ. No man can call Christ Lord, with believing dependence upon him, unless that faith is wrought by the Holy Ghost. No man could believe with his heart, or prove by a miracle, that Jesus was Christ, unless by the Holy Ghost. There are various gifts, and various offices to perform, but all proceed from one God, one Lord, one Spirit; that is, from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the origin of all spiritual blessings. No man has them merely for himself. The more he profits others, the more will they turn to his own account. The gifts mentioned appear to mean exact understanding, and uttering the doctrines of the Christian religion; the knowledge of mysteries, and skill to give advice and counsel. Also the gift of healing the sick, the working of miracles, and to explain Scripture by a peculiar gift of the Spirit, and ability to speak and interpret languages. If we have any knowledge of the truth, or any power to make it known, we must give all the glory of God. The greater the gifts are, the more the possessor is exposed to temptations, and the larger is the measure of grace needed to keep him humble and spiritual; and he will meet with more painful experiences and humbling dispensations. We have little cause to glory in any gifts bestowed on us, or to despise those who have them not.Wherefore I give you to understand - I make known to you. The force of this expression is, "I give you this rule to distinguish," or by which you may know what influences and operations are from God. The design of the passage is, to give them some simple general guide by which they could at once recognize the operations of the Spirit of God, and determine whether they who claimed to be under that operation were really so. That rule was, that all who were truly influenced by the Holy Spirit would be disposed to acknowledge and to know Jesus Christ; and where this disposition existed, it was of itself a clear demonstration that it was the operation of the Spirit of God. The same rule substantially is given by John 1 John 4:2, by which to test the nature of the spirit by which people profess to be influenced. "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God," compare also the note to Matthew 16:17.

That no man - No one οἰδεὶς oideis. It may refer to a man, or to demons, or to those who pretended to be under inspiration of any kind. And it may refer to the Jews who may have pretended to be under the influence of God's Spirit. and who yet anathematized and cursed the name of Jesus. Or it may be intended simply as a general rule; meaning that "if anyone," whoever he might be, should blaspheme the name of Jesus, whatever were his pretensions, whether professing to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit among the Jews, or to be inspired among the Gentiles, it was full proof that he was an impostor. The argument is, that the Holy Spirit in all instances would do honor to Jesus Christ, and would prompt all who were under his influence to love and reverence his name.

Speaking by the Spirit of God - Under the influence of inspiration.

Calleth - Says, or would say; that is, no such one would use the language of anathema in regard to him.

Accursed - Margin, "Anathema" (ἀνάθημα anathēma); see the Acts 23:14 note; Romans 9:3 note; compare 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:8-9. The word is one of execration, or cursing; and means, that no one under the influence of the Holy Spirit could curse the name of Jesus, or denounce him as execrable and as an impostor. The effect of the influences of the Spirit would be in all instances to inspire reverence for his name and work. It is probable that the Jews were here principally intended, since there is a bitterness and severity in the language which accords with all their expressions of feeling toward Jesus of Nazareth. It is possible, also, and indeed probable, that the priests and priestesses of the pagan gods who pretended to be under the influence of inspiration might denounce the name of Jesus, because they would all be opposed to the purity of his religion.

And that no man can say ... - That is, that it cannot occur, or even happen, that anyone will acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah who is not influenced by the Holy Spirit. The meaning is, not that no one has physical ability to say that Jesus is Lord unless aided by the Holy Spirit, since all people can say this; but that no one will be disposed heartily to say it; no one will acknowledge him as their Lord; it can never happen that anyone will confess him as the true Messiah who has not been brought to this state by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Is the Lord - Is the Messiah; or shall acknowledge him as their Lord.

But by the Holy Ghost - Unless he is influenced by the Holy Spirit. This is a very important verse, not only in regard to the particular subject under consideration in the time of Paul, but also in its practical bearing at present. We may learn from it:

(1) That it is a proof that any man is under the influence of the Holy Spirit who is heartily disposed to honor the name and work of Jesus Christ.

(2) those forms and modes of religion; those religious opinions and practices, will be most in accordance with the designs of the Spirit of God, which do most to honor the name and work of Jesus Christ.

(3) it is true that no man will ever cherish a proper regard for Jesus Christ, nor love his name and work, unless he is influenced by the Holy Spirit. No man loves the name and work of the Redeemer by following simply the inclinations of his own corrupt heart. In all instances of those who have been brought to a willingness to honor him, it has been by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

(4) if any man, in any way, is disposed to disparage the work of Christ, to speak lightly of his person or his name; or holds doctrines that infringe on the fulness of the truth respecting his divine nature, his purity, his atonement, it is proof that he is not under the influence of the Spirit of God. Just in proportion as he shall disparage that work or name, just in that proportion does he give evidence that he is not influenced by the Divine Spirit; but by proud reason, or by imagination, or by a heart that is not reconciled to God.

(5) all true religion is the production of the Holy Spirit. For religion consists essentially in a willingness to honor, and love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ; and where that exists, it is produced by the Holy Spirit.

(6) the influence of the Holy Spirit should be cherished. To grieve away that Spirit is to drive all proper knowledge of the Redeemer from the soul; to do this is to leave the heart to coldness, and darkness, and barrenness, and spiritual death.

3. The negative and positive criteria of inspiration by the Spirit—the rejection or confession of Jesus as Lord [Alford] (1Jo 4:2; 5:1). Paul gives a test of truth against the Gentiles; John, against the false prophets.

by the Spirit—rather, as Greek, "IN the Spirit"; that being the power pervading him, and the element in which he speaks [Alford], (Mt 16:17; Joh 15:26).

of God … Holy—The same Spirit is called at one time "the Spirit of God"; at another, "the HOLY Ghost," or "Holy Spirit." Infinite Holiness is almost synonymous with Godhead.

speaking … say—"Speak" implies the act of utterance; "say" refers to that which is uttered. Here, "say" means a spiritual and believing confession of Him.

Jesus—not an abstract doctrine, but the historical, living God-man (Ro 10:9).

accursed—as the Jews and Gentiles treated Him (Ga 3:13). Compare "to curse Christ" in the heathen Pliny's letter [Epistles, 10.97]. The spiritual man feels Him to be the Source of all blessings (Eph 1:3) and to be severed from Him is to be accursed (Ro 9:3).

Lord—acknowledging himself as His servant (Isa 26:13). "Lord" is the Septuagint translation for the incommunicable Hebrew name Jehovah.

The apostle proveth that they had received their spiritual gifts from the Spirit of God, because when they had not received this Spirit, they blasphemed the Christian religion, and called Christ

accursed, which could not be done by any that spake

by the Spirit of God; for there being but one God, and the Holy Spirit being one of the three persons in the Divine Being, and Jesus Christ another, and the eternal Son of God, it could not be but he that called Christ accursed, as the Jews and the heathens did, must blaspheme God, which none could do by the influence of that Holy Spirit, who was one of the persons in the blessed Trinity: and as by this the apostle lets them know, that they were now acted by another spirit than they were in their Gentile state; so he also lets them know, that those heathens, amongst whom they lived, were not acted by the Spirit of God, but by the evil spirit. On the other side, he saith, that

no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. There is a double saying that Jesus is the Lord:

1. When men only say it with their lips, but do not believe it in their hearts, are not affected with what they say, nor do pay that homage of faith and obedience to him, which should correspond with such a profession: thus men say Christ is the Lord, who preach him or discourse of him as men, though they do not in heart believe in him, receive or embrace him, or live up to the holy rules of life which he hath given; thus Judas, Caiaphas, and others, said Christ was the Lord; this they could not do but by the Holy Ghost, that is, the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which are common, which those might have who were never renewed by the Holy Ghost. So these Corinthians generally going thus far verbally to acknowledge Christ the Lord, it was an argument they had thus far been influenced by the Holy Ghost.

2. There is a serious and saving saying that Jesus is the Lord, when men do not only with their lips speak these words, and other words to the same sense, but heartily acknowledge him, believe in him, love him, obey him, and call upon him, professing him as they ought to do, and so as may be of advantage to them to life and salvation. No man now doth this but by the Holy Ghost renewing and sanctifying him, and blessing him with and helping him in the exercise of such habits. We shall observe in holy writ, that some verbs signify not the action only, but the action with its due quality: thus, hearing sometimes signifieth to hear so, as withal to believe. Calling upon the name of the Lord, Romans 10:13, signifieth a calling aright. Confessing, 1Jo 4:15, signifies a confessing with faith and love. So the verb say in this text may signify such a saying or speaking, as is attended with faith, love, and due obedience.

Wherefore I give you to understand,.... Or "I make known unto you"; what I am about to say are certain truths, and to be depended on,

that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; or "anathema", as did the unconverted Gentiles, who knew nothing of Jesus but by report; which report they had from the Jews, his enemies; and by that report he appeared to them to be a very wicked and detestable person, who was put to death by the means of his own countrymen, was hanged upon a tree, and so to be counted and called accursed: the apostle seems to have reference to the sense these Corinthians had of Jesus, and what they called him before their conversion; whence it appeared that they spoke not by, nor were they possessed of the Spirit of God then, and therefore their having of him now was an instance of pure grace; or else respect is had to the Jews, who not only, whilst Jesus was living, blasphemed him, but continued to call him accursed after his death, whilst they were in their own land; and after the destruction of their city and temple, they continued, as Justin Martyr observes (a) to Trypho the Jew, to "curse" Christ, and them that believed in him; and to this day privately call him by such names as will hardly bear to be mentioned, were it not for the explanation of such a passage: thus they (b) call him "Jesus the perverse", or he that perverteth the law of God; and "Jesu", the name they commonly give him, they say is the abbreviation of , "let his name and memory be blotted out"; and which they sometimes explain by "Jesu is a lie, and an abomination: they call him a strange God, and vanity" (c), and often by the name of (d), "one that was hanged", and so with them accursed; and which seems to be the name the Jews, in the apostle's time, gave him, and to which he here refers. Now, as in the former verse he may have regard to the Gentiles, so in this to the Jews in this church, who, before conversion, had so called Christ, when it was plain they had not the Spirit of God then, or they could not have so called him; and therefore if they were partakers of him now, they ought to admire divine grace, and not glory in themselves, and over others. Dr. Lightfoot thinks, that Jewish exorcists who strolled about, and pretended to do miracles by the Holy Ghost, and yet called Jesus "anathema", are meant, of whom the Corinthians might assure themselves that they did not speak, nor act, nor were acted by the Spirit of God. The words may be applied to all such as detest and deny the doctrines of Christ, respecting his person and office; as that he is come in the flesh, is the true Messiah, the Son of God, truly and properly God; that his death is a proper sacrifice, and full satisfaction for sin; and that justification is by his imputed righteousness: without any breach of charity it may be said, such persons do in effect call Jesus accursed, nullifying his person, sufferings, and death, as to the dignity and efficacy of them; and cannot be thought to have, and speak by, the Spirit of God, who if they had him, would teach them otherwise. Moreover, as the word "anathema" here used answers to "Cherem", a form of excommunication among the Jews; it may be truly said that such call Jesus accursed, or "anathema", who, if I may be allowed the expression, excommunicate him out of their sermons and faith; these crucify him afresh, trample him under foot, count his blood as a common thing, and do malice to his Spirit; and therefore cannot be thought to have him, and speak by him.

And that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost; or Jehovah; which, with the Jews, was a name ineffable, to which the apostle might have respect. Christ is Lord of all, of angels, good and bad; of men, righteous and wicked; of the chief among men, the kings, princes, and lords of the earth; as he is God by right of nature, and as Creator of them by virtue of that; and because of his providential power and influence in the government of the universe; he is Lord of his church and people, by the Father's gift of them to him; by his espousal of them to himself; by the purchase of his blood; and by the conquests of his grace; and as appears by the various relations he stands in to them, as father, husband, head, King, and master. Now, though a man may historically say all this, as the devils may, and hypocritically, as formal professors and foolish virgins do now, and will at the last day; and as all men then will by force, whether they will or not, confess that Jesus is Lord, who have not the Spirit of God; yet no man can call him his Lord, can appropriate him to himself truly and really, as his Lord, Saviour, and Redeemer, as David, Thomas, the Apostle Paul, and others have done; but by the Spirit; since such an appropriation includes spiritual knowledge of Christ, strong affection to him; faith of interest in him, an hearty profession of him, and sincere subjection to him; all which cannot be without the Spirit of God: for he is the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; and true love to Christ is a genuine fruit of his; faith in Christ, is entirely of his operation; and a subjection to the righteousness of Christ, and to his ordinances, is through the influence of his grace; and it is owing to his witnessings that any can truly, and in faith, claim their interest in him. Upon the whole, the apostle's sense is, let a man pretend to what he will, if he does not love Jesus Christ, and believe in him, he is destitute of his Spirit; and whoever loves Christ, and believes in him, and can call him his Lord in faith and fear, however mean otherwise his gifts may be, he is a partaker of the Spirit of God.

(a) Dialog. cum Tryph. p. 335. (b) Buxtorf. Abbrev. p. 10. (c) Buxtorf. Abbrev. p. 101, 102, 103. (d) Ib. Lex. Talmud. col. 2596.

{3} Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus {c} accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

(3) The conclusion: know you therefore that you cannot so much as move your lips to honour Christ at all, except by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

(c) Does curse him, or by any means whatever diminish his glory.

1 Corinthians 12:3. Διό] therefore, because the experiences of spiritually gifted men could not be known to you in your heathen state,[1924] and you have consequently all the more need of sound instruction on the subject, therefore I give you to know: the fundamental characteristic of speaking by the Spirit is, that Jesus is not execrated, but confessed as Lord. Paul expresses this in the two parallel thoughts: that the former, the execration, comes from the lips of no inspired person; and that the latter, the confession of the Lord, can only be uttered by the power of the Holy Spirit. Both the negative and the positive marks are thereby given; and it is arbitrary to lay the whole stress, as Billroth and Rückert do, upon the second half, and to regard the first as almost superfluous and a mere foil to the second. Paul must, moreover, have had his own special reasons for placing such a general guiding rule at the head of his whole discussion in answer to the question, Who in general is to be held an inspired speaker? Among all the different forms and even perversions of the gift of speaking in the Spirit at Corinth, men may have been divided upon the question, Who was properly to be regarded as speaking by the Spirit, and who not? and against all arbitrary, envious, exclusive judgments on this point the apostle strikes all the more powerfully, the more he brings out here the width of the specific field of speaking in the Spirit, and the more simply and definitely he lays down at the same time its characteristics. To find any special reference here to the speaking with tongues—and in particular to go so far in that direction as to assume (Hofmann, comp his Schriftbew. I. p. 309) that the first clause guards against anxiety in presence of the γλώσσαις λαλεῖν, and the second against undervaluing the προφητεύειν—comes just to this, that Paul has expressed himself in a highly unintelligible way, and arbitrarily anticipates the elucidations in detail which follow.

ἐν πνεύματι Θεοῦ] so that the Holy Spirit is the element which pervades his inner life, and in which the λαλεῖν takes place. Comp on Romans 8:15; Matthew 22:43.

λαλῶν] uttering himself, speaking; λέγει, on the other hand, has reference to the object of the utterance. Comp on Romans 3:19; John 8:43; Schulz, Geistesgaben, p. 94 ff.

ἀνάθεμα Ἰησοῦς] sc[1928] ἐστί, accursed (see on Romans 9:3; Galatians 1:8), fallen into eternal perdition is Jesus! This is the anti-Christian (especially the Jewish) confession; the Christian is: Κύριος Ἰησοῦς, Jesus is Lord! Comp Php 2:11. Why did Paul not say Χριστός? Because, from its original appellative meaning, it would not have suited the first clause (ἀνάθ.); in the second, again, its appellative meaning is contained in Κύριος; and in both it was essential to name the historical Person who was the Messiah of the Christians’ faith as exalted to be the σύνθρονος of God. It is self-evident, we may add, that Paul regarded the Κύριος Ἰησοῦς as the constant watchword of the believing heart, and the keynote of inspired speech. “Paulus loquitur de confessione perseveranti et in tota doctrina,” Melanchthon.

Regarding the confession itself, comp 1 John 4:1 f., where the proposition is of substantially the same import, only still more directly aimed against false teachers.

[1924] Similarly de Wette; comp. Bengel, and, yet earlier, Luther’s gloss. Osiander drags in a contrast between the one Lord of the Christians and the many κυρίους of heathenism. Moreover, widely differing statements as to the connection are to be found among interpreters. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact trace it back in a perfectly arbitrary way to the contrast between the unconscious mania of heathen inspiration and the conscious inspiration of Christians. Comp. Neander: “because it is now otherwise with you, and you have become free organs of the Holy Spirit.” Kling (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 486) makes it: “that you may not suffer yourselves to be again carried away to blind worship of an unintelligible phenomenon” (?). Theodoret holds that what is referred to is the contrast between the διαφωνία of heathenism and the σνμφωνία in Christianity. In like manner Räbiger: “because your heathen cultus did not rest upon a common Divine Spirit ruling in you all, I make it known to you that there is such a principle in Christianity in the πνεῦμα Θεοῦ.” But in this way the essential point on which the question hinges is only gained by abstraction out of what Paul actually says, and that in the interest of the assumption that he designs to secure for the glossolalia the respect due to it as against the opposition of the Pauline party. Paul is here making known to his readers the criterion of Christian inspiration as regards its confession, and that for this reason (διό), because they, as formerly serving dumb idols, had all the more need of this γνωρίζειν. The words before us yield no more than this. Ewald also imports too much into them: You will not surely wish back your former heathen days; … it is in the light of that old state of things that one first really comes rightly to understand and feel the value of Christianity, and so forth. Hofmann shapes the connection in accordance with his construction of the text in ver. 2 : because Paul does not wish to leave his readers in the dark περὶ π. πνευματικῶν; and because, on the other hand, he knows what their old life had been as respects divine service, therefore he gives them the following instructions. This is logically incorrect. For the second element in this case would not be one brought forward in addition to the first (τέ), but one already lying at the root of it; and Paul must therefore have written, not οἶδά τε (as Hofmann reads), but οἶδα γαρ.

[1928] c. scilicet.

1 Corinthians 12:3. Their old experience of the spells of heathenism had not prepared the Cor[1834] to understand the workings of God’s Spirit and the notes of His presence. On this subject they had asked (1), and P. now gives instruction: “Wherefore I inform you”. They knew how men could be “carried away” by supernatural influences; they wanted a criterion for distinguishing those truly Divine. The test P. supplies is that of loyalty to Jesus Christ. “No one speaking in the Spirit of God says ΑΝΑΘΕΜΑ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, and no one can say ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ except in the Holy Spirit.” Jesus is anathema, Jesus is Lord, are the battlecries of the spirits of error and of truth contending at Cor[1835] The second watchword is obvious, its inclusiveness is the point of interest; it certificates all true Christians, with whatever διαιρέσεις χαρισμάτων (1 Corinthians 12:4 ff.), as possessors of the Holy Spirit, since He inspires the confession of their Master’s name which makes them such (see 1 Corinthians 1:2, Romans 10:9, Php 2:11, etc.). Not a mystical “tongue,” but the clear intelligent confession “Jesus is Lord” marks out the genuine πνευματικός; cf. the parl[1836] cry Ἀββᾶ ὁ πατήρ, of Galatians 4:6. “He shall glorify Me,” said Jesus (John 16:14) of the coming Spirit: this is the infallible proof of His indwelling.—But who were those who might say at Cor[1837], “Jesus is anathema”? Faciebant gentes, says Bg[1838], sed magis Judœi. Ἀνάθεμα (see parls.) is Hebraistic in Biblical use, denoting that which is cherem, vowed to God for destruction as under His curse, like Achan in Joshua’s camp. So the High Priest and the Jewish people treated Jesus (John 11:49 f., Galatians 3:13), using perhaps these very words of execration (cf. Hebrews 6:6), which Saul of Tarsus himself had doubtless uttered in blaspheming the Nazarene (1 Timothy 1:13); this cry, so apt to Jewish lips, resounded in the Synagogue in response to apostolic preaching. Christian assemblies, in the midst of their praises of the Lord Jesus, would sometimes be startled by a fierce Jew screaming out like a man possessed, “Jesus is anathema!”—for unbelievers on some occasions had access to Christian meetings (1 Corinthians 14:24). Such frenzied shouts, heard in moments of devotion, affected susceptible natures as with the presence of an unearthly power; hence the contrast which Paul draws. This watchword of hostile Jews would be taken up by the Gentile mobs which they roused against the Nazarenes; see Acts 13:45; Acts 18:6, where βλασφημοῦντες may well include λέγοντες Ἀνάθεμα Ἰησοῦς. Gd[1839], ad loc[1840], and W. F. Slater (Faith and Life of the Early Church, pp. 348 f.) suppose both cries to originate in the Church; they ascribe the anathema to heretics resembling Cerinthus and the Ophites, who separated Jesus from Christ (cf. 1 John 2:18 ff; 1 John 4:1-6); but this identification is foreign to the situation and context, and is surely an anachronism.—The distinction between λαλέω and λέγω is well exemplified here: λαλεῖν ἐν is “to speak in the element and sphere of, under the influence of” the Holy Spirit.

[1834] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1835] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1836] parallel.

[1837] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1838] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

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

[1840] ad locum, on this passage.

3. Wherefore] The connection of thought is as follows. When you were heathen you were carried hither and thither by the pretended utterances of your gods, and believed whatever they might tell you. But now you must no longer be the sport of circumstances. There are certain fundamental principles by which you may try the utterances of those who would teach you. Cf. an extremely similar passage in 1 John 4:1-3. This caution was very necessary in the infant Church. In spite of the warnings of St Paul and St John, many were entrapped by the blasphemous ravings of men like Simon Magus, Menander and the Ophites (or Naassenes, worshippers of the serpent), as we learn from the writings of Irenaeus and Hippolytus. Cf. 1 John 2:19.

by the Spirit of God] Literally, in the Spirit; i.e. inspired by Him.

accursed] Margin (and Greek), anathema. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 16:22.

that Jesus is the Lord] Perhaps, Jesus Is Lord, or Lord Jesus.

but by the Holy Ghost] Literally, in the Holy Ghost (or Spirit), see above. Not a single true word can be spoken but by the agency of the Spirit of God. As far as the confession that Jesus is Lord goes, he who makes it is under the influence of the Holy Ghost. It is remarkable that St Paul has in mind in this passage those who deny the Divinity of Christ; St John, in the similar passage just quoted, the sects, which arose afterwards, who denied His Humanity.

4 gifts] χαρίσματα, ch. 1 Corinthians 7:7, special powers vouchsafed by God, In addition to the ordinary ‘fruit of the Spirit,’ Galatians 5:22, which last was within the reach of every Christian who would use ordinary diligence. Cf. Romans 12:6-8, 1 Peter 4:10-11, where the same word is used as here.

but the same Spirit] The unity of the source is strongly insisted upon, to put an end to the mutual jealousy of the Corinthians. And it is remarkable that each person in the Blessed Trinity is introduced to emphasize the argument, and in contrary order (as Estius remarks), in order to lead us step by step to the One Source of all. First the Spirit, Who bestows the ‘gifts’ on the believer. Next the Lord, to Whom men render service in His Church. Lastly God the Father, from Whom all proceeds, Whose are all the works which are done to Him and in His Name. Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 3:7; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 8:6.

1 Corinthians 12:3. Διὸ, wherefore) He infers this thesis, that spiritual things are with all Christians, and with [in the possession of] them alone, i.e. with those who glorify Jesus; and that by means of those spiritual things faith in Jesus is proved; for idols bestow nothing spiritual: when the superstition of the Gentiles was overthrown, there was not the same need of miraculous gifts. This is the alternative, he who glorifies Jesus, has the Spirit of God; he who does not glorify Him, has not the Spirit of God, 1 John 4:1-2. Paul furnishes a test of truth against the Gentiles; John, against the false prophets.—γνωρίζω ὑμῖν, I make known to you) Divine operations of that sort had been formerly unknown to the Corinthians. Before receiving these letters of Paul, their knowledge had been less distinct, as they had been rescued not long before from heathenism.—ἐν πνεύματι Θεοῦ, by the Spirit of God) Immediately after he says, by the Holy Ghost. Godhead and sanctity1[107] are synonymous especially when speaking of the Holy Trinity.—λαλῶν, speaking) This expression is of very wide application; for even those, who perform cures and possess miraculous powers, are accustomed to use words. The antithesis is to the dumb idols.—λέγει ἀνάθεμα, calls Him accursed) as the Gentiles did, but the Jews more so. There is a ταπείνωσις, or saying less than is intended. He does not call Him accursed, i.e. he in the highest degree pronounces Him blessed. Accursed and Lord are opposed. [It is a proof of long-suffering patience, which surpasses all comprehension, that Jesus Christ, the Lord, at the right hand of the Father does not refuse to tolerate, for so long a period of time, such a mass of blasphemy from unbelievers, and especially from the Jews, in their wretched state of blindness. That consideration ought to suppress in the Christian any indignation felt by him on account of any reproach whatever, however little deserved.—V. g.]—εἰπεῖν, to say) πνευματικῶς, in a spiritual manner.

[107] 1 Sanctitas, Holy Majesty. See note, Romans 1:4.—ED.

Verse 3. - Wherefore. Their previous condition of Gentile ignorance rendered it necessary to instruct them fully respecting the nature and discrimination of the charisms of the Spirit. By the Spirit of God; rather, in the Spirit; i.e. in the state of spiritual exaltation and ecstasy. The phrase is a Hebrew one to describe inspiration. Jesus accursed. It may well seem amazing that the Corinthians should need instructing that such awful language could not be uttered by any one speaking "in the Spirit of God." It is evident, however, that such expressions had been uttered by persons who were, or seemed to be, carried away by the impassioned impulse which led to "glossolaly." (It is better to use this technical word in order to dissipate the cloud of strange misconceptions as to the true nature of this charism.) So terrible an outrage on the conscience of Christians could never have passed unchecked and unpunished, except from the obvious inability of the young community to grapple with the new and perplexing phenomena of an "inspiration" which appeared to destroy the personal control of those possessed by it. Among Jewish converts glossolaly was regarded as a form of that wild mantle "inspiration" of which we find some traces in Jewish history (1 Samuel 10:10, 11; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Samuel 19:23, 24, etc.), and which was alluded to in the very name Nabo, which implied a boiling energy. Among Gentile converts the glossolaly would be classed with the overmastering influences of which they read, or which they witnessed, in the Sibyls, the Pythian priestesses, and the wild orgiastic devotees of Eastern cults. They would not like to call any one to task for things spoken in a condition which they regarded as wholly supernatural. As to the speakers,

(1) some of them, not being sincere, might have really fallen under the influence of impulses which were earthly and demonish, not Divine;

(2) others, not duly controlling their own genuine impulse, may have been liable to the uncontrolled sway of utterances for which they were at the moment irresponsible;

(3) or again, being incapable of reasoned expression, they may have audibly expressed vague Gnostic doubts as to the identity of the "Jesus" who was crucified and the Divine Word; or

(4) they may have been entangled in Jewish perplexities rising from Deuteronomy 21:23, "He that is hanged" (which was also the expression applied by Jews to the crucified) "is accursed of God;" or finally,

(5) by some strange abuse of the true principle expressed by St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:16, they may have asserted in this fearful form their emancipation from the acknowledgment of Jesus "after the flesh." Similar phenomena - the same intrusions into worship of downright blasphemy or of blasphemous familiarity - have constantly recurred at times of overwhelming spiritual excitement, as for instance m the adherents of the "everlasting gospel" in the thirteenth century, and in various movements of our own day. Is accursed; rather, is anathema. The word corresponds to the Hebrew cherem, which means "a ban," and "what is devoted or set apart by a ban;" and to the Latin sacer, which means not only "sacred," set apart by holy consecration, but also "devoted to destruction." No man can say that Jesus is [the] Lord, but by [in] the Holy Ghost. It involved a strong rebuke to the illuminati, who professed a profound spiritual insight, to tell them that no man could make the simple, humble confession of the divinity of Jesus (for "Lord" is here an equivalent of the Hebrew "Jehovah") except by the same inspiration as that which they so terribly abused. There is a very similar passage in 1 John 1:2; but there the "test" of the inspiration is a confession of the humanity of Jesus as against Gnostics, who treated his human life as purely phantasmal. Here the test is the confession of his divinity as against Jews and Gentiles. (For a parallel passage, see Matthew 16:17, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee.") 1 Corinthians 12:3Calleth Jesus accursed (λέγει Ἁνάθεμα Ἱησοῦς)

Lit., saith Anathema Jesus. Rev., preserving the formula, saith Jesus is Anathema. Compare Acts 18:6, and see on offerings, Luke 21:5. Paul uses only the form ἀνάθεμα, and always in the sense of accursed.

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