William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,1 Corinthians Chapter 1
The epistle on which we are about to enter gives us more than any other an inner view of the church or assembly of God. It does not, like the epistle to the Romans, lay the foundation of divine righteousness. But it is not at all contracted in its scope. It deals with the practical conduct of the Christian, as well as the public walk of the assembly. It maintains the authority of Paul's ministry as apostle. It denounces party spirit. It exposes worldly wisdom. It insists upon the power of the Spirit. It urges godly order both in the Lord's institution of the eucharist, and in the use of the gifts or spiritual manifestations. It commands holy discipline. It reproves litigiousness, - above all before the world. It presses personal purity; it counsels the saints as to social and family difficulties, as to their relations with the heathen, as to decorum, privately or publicly, in men or women. Finally, it meets their speculations as to the future state, and shows how an error as to this jeopards soundness of faith as to Christ Himself, holiness of walk meanwhile, and the brightness and strength of the Christian's hope. Nor does it withhold the light of God from a matter seemingly so trivial as the mode of collection for the poor saints, whilst it adjusts also the mutual relations of those who laboured on the spot and of those who might visit them.
From this sketch, slight as it is, one sees how varied and momentous are the topics handled in the first epistle to the Corinthians; and an examination in detail will manifest the holy wisdom, the burning zeal, the delicacy of affection, the admirable elasticity with which the apostle was enabled by the inspiring Spirit to throw himself, heart and mind and soul and strength yet always in the name of the Lord, into their most critical circumstances. For he writes from Ephesus, not far from the close of his three years' abode in that city, when, to any other man than Paul, it might have seemed that his labours for a year and a half at Corinth were fatally compromised. But not so: the Lord, who had cheered him on soon after his arrival at Corinth, strengthened his faith now so severely taxed at Ephesus. "I have much people in this city" were words then to stimulate, now to sustain his hope in God spite of many fears, and in the midst of the deepest exercises of heart. Of all this and more the epistle bears the impress, and every now and then lets out the expression.
"Paul, a called* apostle of Jesus Christ† by God's will, and Sosthenes the brother, to the assembly of God that is in Corinth,‡ [persons] sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, theirs "" and ours; grace to you and peace from God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ." (Ver. 1-3.)
* I see no reason for doubting κλητός with Lachmann (because of the omission in ADE etc.) The word is vouched for by BFGLP, all the cursives, and almost all the ancient versions and the Fathers that cite the verse.
† Ἰ Χ. with ALP and all the cursives save five, all the versions save the Latin, and most of the Fathers save in the west, I prefer to Χ. Ἰ. as adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf on the authority of BDEFG 17, 37, 76, 115, 119, some copies of the It. and Vulg.
‡ This order of inserting τῃ οὔσῃ ἐν Κ. (AD and LP, perhaps all the cursives and the Fathers, as against BD and CFG and a few Latin copies which insert the clause between Ἰ and κλ.,) I believe correct.
"" The authorities are pretty evenly divided as to weight if not numbers for and against τε ("both"); I rather incline to its absence.
To the Roman brethren Paul began by introducing himself as "a bondman of Jesus Christ." This he omits to the Corinthians to whom he speaks of himself at once as a "called apostle of Jesus Christ." The difference is due to the facts before him. There had been no undermining of his ministry at Rome, where indeed personally he was a stranger. At Corinth it was well-known to the saints how truly he was a bondman of Jesus Christ. Had not his very hands borne witness to it, night and day caring spiritually for the saints with the Lord's glory before his eyes, even in that outward work by which he had refrained from being a burden to them? To both he writes formally as an "apostle," and this, not by birth, not by acquirement, not by election of man, but as "called," that is, by calling of God. Both he reminds that they themselves were saints, and this too by calling. It was grace which chose them as saints, grace that chose him not as a saint only but as an apostle. Such is the principle of Christian ministry, as well as of the salvation of souls or of Christianity itself. It is "by God's will," as he adds - "a called apostle of Jesus Christ by God's will," not by his own ability or merit, nor by other men's choice. God's sovereign goodness is the spring in every respect. What can be more blessed? We do well to ponder it, and to repudiate whatever is inconsistent with it. It is God then, it is grace which, as it calls saints, so also calls to His service. How different from the ecclesiastical thought and style of olden times! Paul is not what he was in the church "by divine providence" or "by divine permission," for this might be where the person was alien from His mind or will, God merely overruling for His own secret purpose. And it is not denied that such cases may be, as of old in Balaam, so under Christianity; but how awful for all these who intrude thus unbidden to speak in the name of the Lord! For many shall say to the Judge in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied through Thy name, and through Thy name cast out demons, and through Thy name done many wonderful works? But He will say, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Beyond controversy it is God, not man, who sets in the church, as we are expressly told in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and this applies to "teachers" as distinctly as to "apostles." They never are in scripture called by man. The church never chose them, as it did those entrusted with its funds for the poor. Nor did apostles or their envoys choose teachers or preachers as they did elders; for these were a local charge, those are gifts set as members in the body of Christ as a whole. Such are the biblical facts, and the principle on which this distinction depends.
It is gross ignorance to confound ministry with priesthood, and to cite for the former what the epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:4) says of the latter, as applied from Aaron to Christ. Yet if it did apply, it would go to prove, not men's calling to the ministry, as they term it, but the exclusive call of God; for in priesthood God alone chose, though this after Aaron (and we may add perhaps Phinehas) by birth successionally, whilst the consecration was in view of all the congregation. In ministry as in the church, where the Holy Spirit dwells and acts, who is a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind, we are entitled to look for reality;* in the flesh or in the world one must be often content to let the merest forms pass, bound to pay to each the honour owe, even where the object of it may be personally undeserving, as is laid down in Romans 13, 1 Peter 2. The church is, and is responsible to be, the pillar and ground of the truth, the epistle of Christ known and read of all men; and therein, by virtue of the Holy Ghost dwelling in it, is power and obligation to judge according to the word of God whatever is inconsistent with its profession corporately as well as individually.
* So Calvin (in loco, Comment. Halis Sax. 1831,) ed. Tholuck, I. pp. 213, 214. "Re ipsa talem se exhibeat necesse est . . . . Sed notandum est, non satis esse, siquis tam vocationis titulum, quam suam in exercendo officio fidelitatem obtendat, nisi utrumque de ipsa probet. Nam saepe contingit ut nulli fastuosius titulis superbiant quam qui veritate sunt destituti; quemadmodum olim alto supercilio pseudoprophetas se a Domino missos gloriabantur. Et hodie quid aliud crepant Romanenses, quam Dei ordinationem et sacrosanctam successionem ab ipsis usque Apostolis? sed postea apparet, inanes esse earum rerum quibus insolescunt. Hic ergo non iactantia, sed veritatis quaeritur." This is good and true. But it is utterly marred in the Institt. IV. iii, § 14, 15, where, not satisfied with affirming that the elders or bishops were designated by men authorised to choose them Calvin's republicanism leads him to say boldly that Paul was in Acts 13 subjected to the discipline of an ecclesiastical call, and that the same thing is seen in the election of Matthias. Who does not see on the contrary that the lot (which was not voting) decided as to the latter, and that Acts 13 was in no sense ordination, still less election by man, but separation of men (already in the highest position) to a particular work which the Spirit was confiding to them, though engaging for them in it the solemn commendation of their brethren to the grace of God? Compare Acts 14:26.
We see next that the apostle associates with himself here "Sosthenes the brother," as in the second epistle Timothy. If the Sosthenes just named were the chief of the synagogue who seems to have succeeded Crispus on his conversion, if he were himself converted after his ignominious failure to hurt Paul before Gallio the proconsul of Achaia, at Corinth, we can see with what propriety he, no longer the Jewish adversary but the brother in Christ, should thus accompany the apostle in this address to the Corinthian saints. But I affirm nothing, as there is no direct evidence, and the name was not uncommon. He was certainly known at Corinth and was then with the Apostle at Ephesus.
Notice now in what character the Corinthian believers are addressed: "to the assembly of God that is in Corinth." It is in the strictest connection with the scope of the epistle, as this is of course according to the true wants there and then. It was not because of a godly few amongst a vast multitude of ungodly persons. What unacquaintance with the mind of God! It is not so that holy scripture speaks. They constituted God's habitation there by the Spirit's presence. This is the distinctive constituent and real character. No ungodly multitude could be the church or assembly of God; nor have a godly few as such any virtue to be themselves the assembly, still less to make others so by their own presence in their midst. Only the Spirit of God sent down from heaven makes those whom He gathers and with whom He dwells to be the assembly of God. The state of the Corinthians was frightfully bad, perilous to all, and such as to raise the gravest fears as to some. But we must recollect that, in commanding them to deal with the most scandalous case of all, the apostle goes on the ground of the spirit being saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; and that the second epistle exhorts the saints to confirm love by taking back the offender as one at length roused to deep self-judgment and in danger of being swallowed up with excessive sorrow. No; the assembly of God is liable to the inroad of the most serious evils through ignorance and unwatchfulness; but it does not forfeit its character, if duly constituted, till it renounces all holy discipline by refusing to judge according to the word when evil is brought before it. For it is responsible, if it have let in evil, to put it out in the Lord's name which it bears. And the second epistle is of the greatest value among other things in this also, that it proves how the apostle's confidence was justified in such a clearing of conscience, as led him to expect the work of vindicating the Lord to go on still farther, and thus maintain the character of the assembly of God which grace had given the brethren in Corinth.
But it is well also to observe that in apposition with that character stands more, "[persons] sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints." The construction is peculiar, but the language is exact. The term ἡγιασμένοις ("sanctified") is in what is called a rational concord with ἐκκλησίᾳ. It would not be correct to speak of the assembly as ἡγιασμένη any more than as ἐκλεκτή, though those who compose it are both. But the fact that they were sanctified, and that the form of the word does not mean merely a process going on but their character as stamped with separation to God in Christ Jesus, and thus saints by calling, not merely called to be saints, was a most impressive appeal to their hearts and consciences, especially in the crisis at which things had then arrived in the Corinthian assembly.
It is incorrect to say that here, or anywhere else, justification is meant rather than sanctification. The fact is that, while almost all admit sanctification in the practical sense as a matter of growth and so allowing of degrees among those justified, it seems to be forgotten that scripture speaks of all those who are actually born of God as being sanctified from the beginning of the work of grace in their souls. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:11, and 1 Peter 1:2. And so far is it from being true that the call to holiness in practice is enfeebled by this primary and absolute sanctification of all real Christians, that contrariwise it is this setting apart to God which is the ground of, and a powerful support and a solemn motive to, consistency with Christ Jesus in whom we are thus sanctified. It is in virtue of God's will we are said (in Hebrews 10:10) to be sanctified through the offering of Christ's body once for all, as elsewhere the Spirit is viewed as its agent. Thus all the Godhead take their part in this great work from the outset and indeed right through. And this is confirmed by its result from the first; for those who participate in this sanctification are saints, "called saints" (not a mere holy nation by birth like Israel), whilst they are exhorted to follow holiness no less than peace.
But there is an addition that claims our attention: "with all that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, with theirs and ours."* (Ver. 2.) It is of the deepest interest and value, as it connects the epistle with the entire field of Christian profession. There is no hint of limiting the address to the Christians in all Achaia, as we see in 2 Corinthians 1:1. And the difference is the more striking as God foresaw that men would ere long seek to tamper with the application of this epistle beyond all others, and seek to limit it to the apostolic age when the gifts (χαρίσματα) were in full force. The unbelief that would make the Corinthian assembly an exception to the order in other places is still more strikingly provided against. Compare for this 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 14:36-37; 1 Corinthians 16:1. Further, the clause seems to me one of those which, while applying then to those who bore the name of the Lord truthfully, would acquire a meaning more distinct as the professing mass became more and more distant from the true character of the assembly of God, and Christianity will be well-nigh swamped in Christendom.
* I reject the notion of such as connect "theirs and ours" with "every place." The Authorised Version gives the true sense, which does not render the first ἡμῶν superfluous but gives emphasis. It asserts the Lord's relationship to all that call on Him wherever they may be.
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ." (Ver. 3.) Such is the initiatory wish or prayer of the apostle here as in Romans 1:7, from God in His relation of Father to us, from Jesus Christ as Lord (compare 1 Corinthians 8:6): an association however, impossible in an inspired writing, derogatory anywhere, if they were not one in the unity of the divine nature. True and sovereign favour was the spring, grace the result that would prove and magnify its source, shedding its light even on those too blind to see beyond the effect. Be it ours, enjoying the gift, to adore the Giver.
After his address and usual greeting, the first thing the apostle does is to let them know that he always thanks God for them. That he should write thus to the saints in Rome, Ephesus, Colosse, Thessalonica, is not surprising; and the wonder to some may be increased when it is observed that he withholds it in writing to the assemblies in Galatia. But the wisdom and the propriety of his procedure are apparent to the spiritual eye. The Corinthians were suffering the consequences of fleshly wisdom and worldliness; the Galatians had let in law, and thus fallen from grace, to the subversion of the truth of the gospel. Hence the reserve of the apostle's tone to the latter; whilst he begins to the former (far more grossly fallen) with the recognition of all he could thank God for in their case. Without some such assurance, where indeed would be the ground of appeal? What the standard by which to judge themselves? It was the more necessary because of their low and disorderly state, as well as of the reproofs that must follow.
On the other hand it is a grave misconception of their state and of the apostle's words that he alludes to any proof of maturity and richness of their spiritual life. He takes care to give prominence to the source which had so bountifully supplied the assembly in Corinth; but there is not a word that implies a spiritual state, much less maturity in it, such as could comfort his heart in thinking of them. He knew his God sufficiently to be sure that there had been no lack on His part.
"I thank my* God always concerning you for the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus; that in everything ye were enriched in him, in all discourse and all knowledge, according as the testimony of Christ† was confirmed in you, so that ye come not short in any gift, awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you until [the] end, unimpeachable in the day‡ of our Lord Jesus Christ. God [is] faithful by whom ye were called into [the] fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (Ver. 4-6.)
* The Sinai (original hand) and Vatican MSS, as well as the Aethiopic Version, omit μου, which all others read correctly.
† Three uncials (B. F G) and ten cursives read θεοῦ "of God;" but the received reading seems right.
‡ Four Latin-Greek MSS, etc. read παρουσία mistakenly. It was a. Western error. The Vulgate makes matters worse by uniting both "in die adventus."
Thus the occasion of thanksgiving was the grace of God bestowed on them in virtue of Christ Jesus. But this is defined immediately after. They had been in everything made rich in Him. In spiritual discernment of His glory and feeling of His grace? in enjoyment of Christ and devotedness to His name? In these respects alas! they were defective, as all that follows shows. He means, as he says, in every sort of expression of the truth, and all knowledge, in what was preached or taught, as well as in apprehension; for God had amply confirmed the testimony of Christ which Paul above all with others had rendered in their city. Many of the Corinthians, as we are told in Acts 18, heard, believed, and were baptized. But there was more than this: the power of the Spirit wrought largely and mightily among them. And this was the characteristic token of the assembly of God - not more truly, but far more sensibly, then than now. The issue was that they came behind in no gift, clearly not in what is called the inward grace of the spiritual life, but in communication to others and manifestation of power, as in 1 Corinthians 12.
This is strengthened by the way the saints at Corinth are next characterized: "awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is not that aspect of our Lord's return which will unfold and express His grace to His own,* but rather that which deals with conscience now, as it by and by will display their faithful or unfaithful employment of all entrusted to their charge. Every saint who walks with God meanwhile and judges intelligently of the growing miseries of Christendom, not to speak of the world at large and of man, has love for the appearing of the Lord, as the time when He shall be exalted and we are to reign with Him, the power of Satan being publicly and effectually expelled from the earth. But our proper hope is that Christ will come and fetch us to the Father's house; and so shall we be for ever with the Lord. The Corinthians however are hereby reminded of Him who will judge of every one's work; when each shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. They needed to be exercised in self-judgment whether they were serving the Lord with the manifestations of the Spirit distributed to each. And hence also the repeated and striking way in which the name of "our Lord Jesus Christ" is brought before them here.
* This would have been expressed by the παρουσία, presence or coming of Christ, which the Authorized translators have wrongly confounded in their version here with ἀποκάλυψις, though the correction was given afterwards in the margin. They are not synonymous, but expressive of distinct facts which embody different principles as different as grace and judgment.
Not that a word is said to induce a doubt of His goodness or love to them. Never does a soul more need to hold fast grace than when it is probed and searched by the unsparing and all-detecting word of God. Hence the apostle does not hesitate to say that the Lord should also confirm them to the last unimpeachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. How sad then that a Christian should be to Christ's reproach now! When Christ, our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. But this to the apostle becomes by the Spirit only one cogent motive more for urging us to mortify our members that are on the earth. It is the day of our Lord which here again calls our responsibility into play. And as this does and must act on conscience, being in truth intended to do this, so it makes the saint feel the need and value of what the apostle adds as closing his introduction - "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (Ver. 9.) If He has called, will He not also perform? Php 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:24. But His calling to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord is not more sure in His grace than serious in its present claim on us that we cast no shade of unfaithfulness on both, sullying His name that is named on us, to which the very world binds us, loose as may be its sense of what is due to Him whom it knows not. How did the Corinthians answer to that call then? How do we now?
The apostle begins next to touch one of the evils which particularly dishonoured the Lord and injured the saints at Corinth. Their party spirit was a sore grief to his heart. Not only did it hinder mutual comfort of love in their midst but the testimony they owed His name before the world.
Compared with what has followed since, or even what the New Testament elsewhere discloses, it might seem but a little beginning, but it was the beginning of a great evil. For the allowance of such fleshly preferences and the consequent formation of parties lets loose the activities of the natural mind and feeling, goes onward into passionate zeal or dislike, and well if it end not in helpless heterodoxy and open insubjection to the Lord.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,* that ye all say the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you,. but that ye be made perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been shown to me concerning you, my brethren, by those [of the house] of Chloe, that there are strifes among you.* But I say this, that each of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized unto the name of Paul? I thank God † that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius, that no one should say that ye were baptized‡ unto my name. And I baptized¶ also the household of Stephanas; further I know not whether I baptized any other." (Ver. 10-16.)
* In the paragraph the MSS differ in the order of the Greek words repeatedly.
† The Sinai, Vatican, and a few other witnesses, do not give τῳ θεῳ (or as A. etc. μου also) like the rest.
‡ The Sinai, Vat., Alex., Cod. Res. Par., some good cursives, ancient versions, with Greek and Latin Fathers, have ἐβαπτίσθητε, not ἐβάπτισα as in others.
¶ The Clermont, Aug., and Boern. MSS read βεβάπτικα, and the first again at the end of the verse - a mere error, for the perfect is only read when special aim interferes with the regular employment of the aorist in such cases.
Apostle though he was, and the one who had not only instructed them in Christ but begotten them through the gospel, he appeals to them here by that name which most intimately deals with the believer, and most solemnly even with the professor, the centre of unity, as the Holy Spirit is its bond. By that name, if by any means, would his exhortation come home to their souls. He is jealous of the honour of Him, their Lord, whom their discords compromised. Where was the witness, of men in these rival schools with their misguided chiefs, to the fellowship of God's Son? He exhorts them therefore that they should "all say the same thing." For the Philippian saints he earnestly desired that they might "think the same thing," and this by thinking one thing; of whom, as being more experienced and in a more spiritual state, he could not but expect more. Nor is it the like-mindedness one toward another pressed on the Roman saints?
Would the apostle then have been satisfied with the same uniform confession outwardly? By no means. With this he begins, according to the wisdom of the Spirit which directed him; for it is surely unbecoming, in reformers, or men who can easily follow reformers in what was wrong, to criticise an inspired writer or presume that they can draw nicer distinctions or arrange the truth better, than Paul.* Then he adds "that there be no divisions among you," of which, their party-cries were the expression; and lastly he beseeches that they may be "made perfect" (see Ephesians 4:12 as well as 2 Corinthians 13:9) or "wholly united," in the same mind and in the same judgment." Not that he means by this exactly the will, so that there should be a complete division of the soul, the first referring to faith and the second to love,** however important all this may be in its place; for nou'" signifies mind viewed as intelligent faculty, as γνώμη is the opinion or judgment it forms. He wanted them to have a nicety of intelligent thought. They were defective where they were proud or vain, as men generally are.
* Lachmann, following the opinion of some, punctuates this clause as affirmative, not as interrogative: "Christ has been divided." And Meyer uses against the interrogative form the fee that there is no μή here as just afterwards But it has been justly replied that it was due to Christ that A difference should be thus made between a question relating to Him, and one that follows as to His servant.
** There seems no ground whatever for the strange fancy of Estius and others that ἐγὼ δὲ χριστοῦ is the apostle's own proper sentiment in contrast with the aberration of the Corinthians.
Nor does the apostle hesitate to write on the information which he had received (and indeed it was too plain and precise in its character to doubt its accuracy), nor to tell them its trustworthy source. A godly woman's household might be a particularly good means of ascertaining; as it also gives warrant for another day. It is the same apostle who, if he reprobates silly women laden with divers lusts, shows how a Phoebe or a Persis, a Prisca and a Mary, an Evodia and a Syntyche, should be valued and cared for. He can here write with full confidence of what he had learnt from Chloe's household.
The divisions were as yet within the assembly, not rents from it, but they tended to this end, as we are expressly told in 1 Corinthians 11:18-19. No conclusion can be less well founded than that the separation into denominations is lawful, while an evil spirit within is the sin; for this schismatic working is evil most of all because it leads those who are heady and unsubject to that worst result. It is assumed here that the assembly has not compromised Christ by unholy tolerance of false doctrine or any such evil as would make it a duty to disown those who would retain the title when they have forfeited its true character.
Alas! at Corinth the saints seem to have been largely infected with party spirit. "But I say this that one saith I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ:" this last to my mind as intelligible as any of the others;* for the wrong was not in any of those named, but in such as set up their names out of their own vanity and love of opposition. And the worst of all, I doubt not, was that party which plumed itself on its superior spirituality. They had done with men.† Paul, Apollos, Cephas, were beneath their aspirations. Not the servants, but the Master was their watchword. They disliked the high claims, especially of Paul. For their part they would cleave to the Lord's own precept: one is your teacher, one your leader, and all ye are brethren. Thus not infrequently does self-exaltation among Christians disguise itself unconsciously (and unconsciously, because the state is bad, and the heart too long away from the Lord in practice); whereas it is evident that he who really loves and bows to the Lord does for this very reason honour His servants for their work's sake, and according to the place He has set them in. The corruption of the best thing is truly said to be the worst; and so it was here where the specious plea of such as abjured all but Christ might seem to be the only thing right and spiritual in Corinth, divided as the assembly was. How important it is, and now as then, to judge righteous judgment, not according to appearances!
* "Sed videamus, quid in Christiana unitate requirat. Siquis subtilius distingui singula cupiat, vult eos cohaerere primum in una mente, deinde in una sententia, tertio vult eos consensum verbis profiteri." Calvini in Omnes Pauli Ap. Epp. Comm. i. 219, Halis Sax. 1831.
† "Pro Sententia Paulus habet γνώμην: sed ego hic pro Voluntate accipio, ut sit integra partitio animae, et prius quidem membrum ad fidem, alterum ad caritatem referatur." Ibid. 219, 220.
It is well to note that the evil at Corinth was the converse of what the apostle meant in his address to the Ephesian elders. (Acts 20:30) For in the one it was the sin of the disciples, in the other of the rulers. Our only security is in that subjection of heart to Christ, which estimates what is of Him wherever it may be, and walks in dependence on Him, come what will. I had made the reflection before noticing that Calvin fell into this very confusion.* Perhaps in his own system, as being of a democratic character, it is harder to see that the mass of the disciples have their snares no less than those who guide. It is however as sure from scripture as it is evident in experience. No thing, nor person, escapes the vigilance of the enemy. How blessed that all are under the eye of perfect love in our Lord: may we be guided by it!
* Ibid. 220.
"' Is Christ divided?" asks the indignant apostle. Is He not the Head of that one body the church to which they all belonged? It is a whole Christ to whom all His own belong and who Himself belongs to all. To think of dividing Him would be as irrelevant as absurd. They might divide, not He: what an inconsistency if they valued Him! But this is followed up by the further query, "Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized unto the name of Paul?" To state the question was to render the true answer certain and necessary to the Christian; yet how many since have overlooked both! But One is worthy of imprinting His name on us.
So blinding is the influence where the first man is allowed to take the place of the Second. Apostles and others have died, yea, been crucified, but Christ alone for us, as it is to Him we have been baptized, not to the twelve, still less to other men.
Far different was the loyalty of the apostle to Christ. Therefore does he not scruple to express his gratitude to God that he had baptized so few personally at Corinth: an impossible subject for thanksgiving, if baptism be the means of new birth, for in this case he who loved God and man must rejoice the more, the more he baptized. On the other hand there is no real slight put on christian baptism as our burial with Christ unto death, the appointed outward sign of subjection to Him who died for us and rose again.
Its solemn import is derived from the objective truth signified by it, not from the position or power of the baptizer, nor from any qualities of the baptized, whatever be the Lord's will as to either. But the apostle owns the good hand of the Lord in ordering things so that in fact Paul had baptized only a very few out of the many Corinthians who, on hearing the gospel, believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8): had he actually baptized the mass, it might have given a more tangible excuse to those who affected his name at Corinth. But there can be little doubt that those he did baptize were among such as had stood comparatively faithful to the Lord there.
It may be mentioned here that Professor Olshausen notices it as a surprising circumstance that the apostle should not have reasoned on the import of baptism itself in order to cherish his argument, but rather on the providential history of the facts as to it, so far as he was concerned. Dean Alford also urges the last clause of verse 16 as important against those who maintain the absolute omniscience of the inspired writers on every topic which they handle.
Do the two divines seem to write with enough of reverence? Both forgot, if they seriously knew what it is to believe, that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul. Does He not know better than any when to urge this topic, when that? And as to the inspired writers, I know of no sober believer who holds their omniscience, but that of Him who employed them to communicate the truth. It is common, but incorrect, to speak of their infallibility; whereas evidently none can be said to be infallible but God.
The true statement of inspiration is not that the writer became omniscient or infallible, but that the Holy Ghost so controlled his writing as to convey the truth without admixture of error and perfectly for His own design. Hence He might with perfect consistency withhold absolute recollection on a given point here, or a distinct command from the Lord on another point, as in chapter 7.
But all this leaves unimpaired the divine authority of what He does convey or command as from the Lord. Those orthodox as to inspiration may be incorrect in phrase or a shade of thought; but this in no way lessens the seriousness - indeed sin - of enfeebling inspiration, especially in these perilous times, when God's word is the grand resource of the faithful. For the simple but grave fact that it is His word is not only a truth in itself clearly revealed, but it is the basis and support of every other. Weaken inspiration, and you jeopard all else that concerns God and man, and you may end with nothing better than human ideas.
It is not that the apostle Paul slights baptism: who could that accepts it as Christ's institution? Impossible that he could have used such language if baptism be the means of life to the soul, as so many falsely teach. Yet we can hardly conceive any of the twelve speaking as he does here. "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not in wisdom of word, lest the cross of Christ should be made vain." (Ver. 17.) The rest were expressly sent to baptize, which they did either personally or using others for the purpose. Paul too was baptized and did baptize; and no apostle unfolds the observance in so profound a way as we find in Romans 6, Galatians 3, and Colossians 2. But 1 Corinthians 11 shows us that the Lord's supper was revealed directly, not merely accepted as he found like baptism. And v Len we reflect, we perceive that the rite is not the seal of union with Christ, but the individual owning of Him who died and rose again, buried with Christ into death, as the former sets forth the communion of His body, for which we need His ascension and the sending down of the Holy Ghost, with which is bound up all the doctrine of the church, of which Paul pre-eminently became minister. (Colossians 1:25)
But Paul as emphatically became "minister of the gospel" (Colossians 1:23); and so he was sent by Christ to preach it, as he tells us here, "not in wisdom of word," as the Corinthians liked to hear, "lest the cross of Christ should be made vain." It seems to be philosophic speculation and not rhetoric only which he denounces thus strongly. And philosophy leaves no room for divine love on the one side, or for man's utter ruin on the other: the cross of Christ maintains both in the highest degree.
By the cross of Christ is meant much more than the means of pardon for the sinner. To treat it only as the great remedy for man's need, however true as far as it goes, is to rob it of an immense deal of its importance as well as to obscure the truth and shut out God's glory. For in that most stupendous of all facts, what has not come to issue? God's holy hatred and judgment of sin; His amazing love of the sinner; the infinite grace, humiliation, and suffering of the Saviour; the audacity and craft of Satan; the abominable wickedness of man, under the best possible circumstances and, spite of the greatest benefits, without cause to justify or excuse to palliate: all met, as nowhere else, in the cross. There are the pretensions of man crushed; sin condemned and put away; Satan defeated and vanquished; judgment borne; and God glorified in Christ who knew no sin made sin for us, that we might become God's righteousness in Him. There only indeed divine attributes and; ways, which our sin had otherwise seemed to set aside or at variance, are now conciliated for ever on behalf of those that believe, and a firm basis laid for the ruined creation, as well as the people of God, to be made new and shine unto eternal ages to the glory of God. Yet all this would be rendered vain by that wisdom of speech which some in the Corinthian church were ignorantly affecting and blaming Paul because it was far from him.
But the Corinthians were in danger who shrank from the facts of the gospel and desired to hear the philosophy of the christian scheme. "For the word of the cross is to those that perish foolishness, but to us that are to be saved it is God's power." (Ver. 18.) The cross bespeaks the lowest extreme of human shame and suffering. It was the severest penalty for a slave. That the Son of God should stoop not merely to the nature of man but to the death of the cross, and this in atonement for man to God as well as in rejection of God by man, seems the depth of folly to those who, ignorant of their own sinfulness and of the holiness of God, must needs perish, living and dying as they are. That He must suffer in order to save supposes the hopeless ruin of the race.
But it is also irreconcilable with every feeling of the natural heart that He would stoop so low to suffer for His enemies, and that God would give Him up to do so. For philosophy knows nothing truly of love in God, any more than of total ruin in man: the cross proclaims both, and that He who hung there in grace, suffering for our sin, that God might deliver us righteously, was Himself God over all as surely as He was man without sin. For the gospel was no effort or device of man's wit. Yea, the word of the cross is the deepest offence and the sheerest foolishness to him; but it is God's power, not wisdom only, to believers, "to us that are to be saved," for here, to bring it the more home, the apostle treats it as a personal fact instead of continuing his abstract statement. Salvation here, as elsewhere in this Epistle, is regarded as not complete till the Lord comes; it takes in the whole work of bringing us through till we are conformed to Christ in resurrection glory.
In fact the seeking for thoughts and words palatable to the world argues a mind at issue with God, who had fully pronounced on its best wisdom as folly in divine things. It is worthy of note that the apostle quotes in proof God's sentence on Israel by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 29:14). I cannot agree with those who fail to see the pertinency of this testimony, for it would be impossible to find, out of the many scriptures which declare the insufficiency of human resources, one more to the purpose which the apostle had in view, and therefore serving better to warn the Corinthian saints. "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and put away the prudence of the prudent. Where [is the] wise, and where scribe, and where disputer of this age? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the* world." (Vers. 19, 20.) In the last words are seen not more than an illustrative allusion to Isaiah 33, where there is a burst of surprise at the deliverance from the scornful power of the enemy, as here a triumphant challenge over the failure of its proud pretensions against God.
* Many second-rate uncials and cursives, etc., insert τούτου ("this") here, answering to the clause before; but the better authorities omit it.
It is well to remember that the digression here begun but carried on much farther, in which the world's wisdom is shown to slight and oppose but to be judged by the cross of Christ, is none the less really connected with the party spirit and divisions of the saints at Corinth which the apostle has been denouncing, as he will be found to do yet more in 1 Cor. 3. Indeed it was their value for what the world esteems as wisdom which had wrought to the depreciation of Paul and to the advantage of those whom he afterwards designates "false apostles." (2 Cor. 11)
Men had dared to call the preaching of the cross of Christ foolishness. But who and what were they? Those that perish! Was it wise to follow such? They might vaunt of their wisdom, but this would not save them from perdition; and Jews at least, yea all who feared God and heard His ancient but living oracles, should remember that it is His way to stain the pride of human wisdom no less than human power. So it is written: God had already judged it in His word. And so experience confirms. For what has been the moral history of man?
Tremendous is the blow which the apostle here deals the wisdom of the world. The proof that God made it foolish follows in a few pregnant and unanswerable words. "For since in the wisdom of God the world through* wisdom knew not God, God was pleased through the foolishness of the preaching to save those that believe; since both Jews ask for signs† and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling-block and to Gentiles‡ foolishness, but to those that [are] called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ God's power and God's wisdom; because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (Ver. 21-25.)
* "Wisdom" here is preceded by the Greek article which seems to mean its wisdom, what it has as a fact, and not merely character.
† The Text. Rec. has σημεῖον: so L and most cursives; but the oldest and best uncials, some cursives, and almost au the ancient versions favour σημεῖα, the plural.
‡ The Text. Rec. follows what I cannot but regard as the meddling of C3 Dc and most cursives to agree with the words before and after; but the best authorities give here ἔθνεσιν, Gentiles, not Ἐλλησιν, Greeks.
When man fell and got the knowledge of good and evil, it was the wisdom of God to leave him to himself, though not without a plain revelation which from the first held out to the eye of faith the Seed of the woman, who, bruised Himself, should bruise the serpent's head. But this did not suit the fallen child of Adam who assumed his own competency for worship or anything else without grace from God or the sense of his own ruin which would have made him feel its necessity. And the world grew up till its corruption and violence were so unbearable that it became morally imperative to sweep off the guilty race in the deluge. Even after this solemn intervention of God in judgment the world only became more subtly evil. It ceased to retain God in knowledge; it set up the powers of nature in heaven and earth, deifying them, and degrading themselves into whatever the demons behind those objects might drag their votaries. Thus Satan's triumph over the nations now heathen was complete; for their religion itself most of all corrupted them, its symbols being also identified with every moral iniquity, and their wisdom bound them fast in that debasing slavery, seeking at best to explain, or explain away, all that misrepresented and supplanted the true God.
The Corinthians too of all men should have known how powerless is the wisdom of the world to deliver man from the grossest self-pleasing and the lusts which, while shunning the light, usurped the name of a god, and only proved how completely God Himself was unknown. For evil is too serious and fatal to be overlooked, and the creature would fain roll it off from himself on God, and is thus necessitated to attenuate its moral consequences as well as its contrariety to the Creator. To this effort, resisted by conscience till it is utterly seared, it is philosophy lends its baleful torch, but thus, as man is unjudged, so is God lost for the soul. Were His holy nature and His righteous judgment bowed to, man must own his iniquity and humbly seek a door of escape through divine mercy. But such was not the course of the world. Nothing is a man so slow to acknowledge as his own badness; and in such a state religion is only a blind for the soul and a sop for God, of all vanities the greatest and most pernicious.
It appears to me that Calvin* has mistaken the force of the reasoning, as if by the wisdom of the world was meant the workmanship of the universe, an illustrious token and clear manifestation of His wisdom. This is one of the two witnesses adduced for God to heathen conscience in Romans i., the other being that knowledge of God which they possessed till the flood and after it, when first they fell into creature worship. One must not be surprised that not a few adopt the rendering "by the revelation of God's wisdom," that is, in His works with or without His law. I believe it to be simply a question of God's wise ordering of things that the folly of idolatrous man should be apparent, and so the need of His salvation by the cross of Christ be the more felt when it was preached. By διὰ τῆς σ. is meant "by wisdom" in the abstract or "by its wisdom," either of which would require the article in Greek. I do not think that Stanley and Alford are right in taking the phrase as "through the wisdom [of God]" just mentioned, though of course the article there too would be proper. The latter wisdom seems to me contradistinguished from the former, the one self-exalting and destructive, the other real and righteous altogether.
* I. Calvini in omnes Pauli Ap. Epp. loc. cit. ed. Tholuck, I, 228. So the Institt. II. vi. 1.
Thus in God's wisdom ends the world's wisdom: He is unknown, the knowledge of whom in Christ is eternal life. And what did God in presence of this pretentious wisdom which was thus the guiltiest folly? "It pleased God by the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe." The world had either adopted the most degrading notions of polytheism, or it had tried to escape superstition by the dreary blank of pantheism and even atheism. Man being now fallen was not prevented (at least after the food) from thus in his presumption proving his ignorance of God; but God showed His grace as matchless as His wisdom; for when the world's wisdom had spent itself weary and worn in its idolatrous devices or in the waste of scepticism which those abominations provoked, God was pleased, not to close the revolting theatre of man's rebellion, whether religious or irreligious, by judgment, but contrariwise to save. And as salvation to be open and effectual for sinners must be by grace, so could it only be by faith. (Compare the reasoning of Rom. 4.) In this way alone could it be sure to all that believe; for the essence of faith is that the worth is found in the object believed, the efficacy lies in what He, the Saviour, has wrought for us, not we for Him, however truly we do, when believers, seek to please and serve Him. Thus is God glorified in this as in all things by Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.
Accordingly it will be noticed by the careful reader that the apostle here speaks not exactly of preaching as a mere instrument, but of the thing preached. Such is the force resulting from the form of the word, which with others I have translated "the preaching." This the Jews derided, as well as the Greeks. It was to them foolishness; nor need we wonder, if they saw not the glory of the person of Christ given to die in God's love to sinners. For what could seem less reasonable to the natural mind, than for a crucified man to be the only Saviour from sins and the wrath of God? Yet this is the truth preached, τὸ κήρυγμα, and salvation is the fruit of believing it. Grace not only gave the Son of God thus to suffer, but it takes care to send out everywhere the proclamation, that souls may hear, believe, and be saved.
Men naturally despise the cross, who do not believe either that their sins deserve divine judgment or that He in grace bore that judgment thereon. Their depth of need is unfelt, and hence other and lesser objects occupy them. The world is pre-occupied or turns elsewhere: "since both Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek wisdom." Visible tokens were vouchsafed of God when He sent the Lord Jesus to the land of Israel. Never since the world began had there been such a cloud of witnesses in this kind; but what can satisfy the heart where all is alienated from God? The Jews overlooked all He gave and asked for a sign as if none had appeared. Greeks expected nothing from God; but, if the object of their search was wisdom, they never learnt its first lesson in the fear of Jehovah.
This obstinacy or levity of unbelief did not dishearten the apostle, but rather stimulated him in the work near to his heart. "But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling-block and to Gentiles foolishness." It is not here simply the blood shed that makes atonement; and it is more to say "crucified" than dead; for though both declare the end of man in the flesh, there is the extreme of shame and weakness in the cross beyond elsewhere. That God then should save by virtue of the cross, where the world saw the worst of human suffering and humiliation, was to silence that wisdom, proving it to be folly which dared so to think and speak of His wisdom. Over the stone of stumbling fell the Jews who would only have a Messiah in power and glory. So will He come shortly, but where then will those Jews find themselves who were offended by His stooping to the cross in order to save those that believe? Where the Gentiles who preferred their own ideas and vaunted reasonings to the mighty work then wrought at infinite cost? Like the lightning shall the Son of man shine in His day; but first must He suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. For it was morally impossible for God's kingdom to be till sin was judged in the cross. How senseless and slow of heart were even disciples to see that so it must be if God was to be glorified and man righteously blessed and saved! But "to the called Christ," and Christ thus crucified, "is God's power and God's wisdom; because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (Vers. 24, 25) Any other way had compromised sin or made salvation impossible. The cross of Christ is the fullest display of God's judgment of sin and of His love to the sinner. What men taunted as foolishness and weakness, the incarnate Word suffering on a gibbet, equally proves man's utter ruin and God's saving mercy. So did the Saviour endure the judgment of sin that the believer might be saved. Is it not then wiser and stronger than men? Did not the resurrection prove, does not the gospel proclaim, it to be so?
The apostle pursues his theme - the annihilation by Christ's cross of every object flesh would cherish and vaunt. His first proof was drawn from the utter and evident infatuation which was most foolish where most it affected wisdom without God; his second from the ways of God in those brought to Himself by the gospel. As to the latter he appeals to themselves.
"For look at your calling, brethren, that not many [are] wise according to flesh, not many powerful, not many highborn. But the foolish things of the world God chose that he might put to shame the wise; and the weak things of the world God chose that he might put to shame the strong things; and the lowborn things of the world and those despised God chose, [and]* the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are, so that no flesh might boast before God.** But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made wisdom to us from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; that, according as it is written, He that boasteth, let him boast in [the] Lord." (Ver. 26-31.)
* The copulative (καὶ) is not read by A B C D F G and various other authorities.
** C is the only first-rate MS which joins many inferior copies, the Vulg. Syr. etc. in reading αὐτοῦ. All others give θεοῦ.
Thus the reproach which infidelity loves to cast on the gospel the apostle avows and puts forward as a fact which brings glory to God. For the gospel is the revelation of the grace which calls man from the world to Himself. Hence every ground of worldly distinction and of human merit disappears. He who alone is good and great would act in His own love and display His supreme excellence above the faults and the ruin of mankind. Yet so stubborn is the pride of guilty man that he parries the consequence of his misery and rejects the proof of his sin and danger, rather than accept the free mercy of God in Christ the Lord: and thus it becomes a question of God's love in electing sinners to eternal life in His own sovereignty, unless He would either save or condemn the race indiscriminately and thereby destroy all testimony to His holy judgment on the one hued, or to His counsels of grace on the other. If neither can be, He must choose: else none could be saved, for all have sinned, and not one sinner would trust His love in Christ for eternal life, such goodness being above all his own feelings and contrary to all experience of others. The more man reasons, the less can he believe and rest on salvation in Christ for one who, if God's word be true, deserves condemnation. He prefers to trust his own efforts with or without Christ, manifesting how little he accepts the testimony of God to the glory of Christ and to the infinite value of His work. If he is an unbeliever and dost, still more plainly is the man who defies the truth of God and despises His grace, at open war with the God who now bears with but will surely judge him. If a man values his advantages and disdains those around, he is the surer to fight against that grace which makes nothing of all that is precious in his eyes.
The Corinthians then, who were not weaned from their old admiration of man's wisdom and power and rank, the apostle bids to consider their calling. In the assembly of God before their eyes was the clearest evidence that not many were wise according to flesh, not many powerful, not many highborn. And they could not but know enough by report of Christians in other parts to be satisfied that the same features were true everywhere else. But the apostle goes farther and shows that it is not only a fact among men (ver. 26) but a purpose on God's part. (Ver. 27-29.) He chose the foolish things of the world to put shame on the wise men; He chose the weak things of the world to put shame on the strong things. So clear is His judgment pronounced on what is ever apt to captivate the heart of Christians, for they love to be able to count up the wise and the world's grandeur in their own ranks, as if aught of the sort could add lustre to Christ. Did not God choose the mean things of the world, and the disdained things, the things that are not, that He might bring to nought the things that are, so that no flesh might boast in the sight of God? It is no question of what they or their circumstances seemed, but of what these really were for most when God chose them. Few of the saints had been among the wise, most knew what it was to have been arrested by the gospel from obscurity and of no influence or account among men. If God called such to the fellowship of His Son, to be one with Him now, to reign with Him soon and for ever, if the wise and powerful and nobly born were for the most part left in their possession or pursuit of all which blinded them to the glory of Christ on the one hand and to judgment on the other, whose sin was this? whose grace that? But how unworthy and inconsistent that the Christian should yearn after or glory in flesh and its advantages! Looking within and without, what believer could fail to learn that no flesh should boast before God?
Yet such a negative conclusion, important as it may be, is not enough for the Spirit of God. He would lead the heart from the emptiness of man's vanity or pride to real moral worth, to the provision of divine grace and holiness, and to that glory which shall not pass away; and all this and more he shows to be the portion of the Christian, with pointed emphasis affirming it of those he was addressing. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus." How vast the change of nature, position, and relations for any! How blessed for those whose wretchedness in the world and according to flesh he had just set forth without disguise! Nor is the stability of the source a whit less than the character of the blessedness "of Him," of God whose grace has given us to have our being in "Christ Jesus" "who was made to us wisdom from God." Here is the reality, and this of blessings incalculably precious.
Christ has been made wisdom to us from God, for wisdom is the first question here; and it is now answered for the Christian in Christ, and Christ crucified, who alone thus put everyone and everything in its true place; and this it is the part of wisdom to see, as folly disarranges and misunderstands all. If philosophy left God out, it was necessarily all wrong; if it essayed to bring Him in, it subjected Him to man's mind, and this made matters, if possible, worse. Christ revealed God and blessed man, and this not by glossing over his state and sins but by suffering for them on the cross, so that God was glorified as much about evil in His death as about good in His life. He was thus made unto us wisdom from God. Not merely was the world's wisdom, flesh's wisdom set aside, but God's wisdom shown and given us in Him.
Nevertheless wisdom was not our sole want, greatly as it was needed - wisdom to its end, and not its beginning only in God's fear. The sinner has no righteousness for God; but God has for him, and this in Christ, yea, Christ Himself, for He it is who was so made to us, not wisdom alone from God, but righteousness. Man is thus set aside root and branch; God takes His place and gives all we lack in Christ. He had amply tested man's efforts under His law, which the Jew twisted to make up a hollow appearance, instead of submitting to learn by it his own insufficiency and sin. But Christ is not more surely God's wisdom than He is God's righteousness, and made this to us; for by His death God is just and can justify the believer in Jesus. Man - the believer alone truly and fully - owns himself as a sinner. The righteousness is God's, though it is Christ's work alone which could have made it not condemn but justify as. In virtue of the cross God is consistent with Himself in justifying us both freely and righteously.
Further, Christ was made to us "sanctification." The Greek wallowed in sin, however he might sentimentalize; the Jew boasted in the law, but broke it. Christ is the measure and means and pattern of holiness to the Christian; no doubt the Spirit is the agent, and He works by keeping not Himself but Christ before us. So we read elsewhere that, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, as there is bondage where the law rules. But we are not under law but under grace. Nor is this all; but we all beholding the glory of the Lord with unveiled face are changed according to the same image from glory unto glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit.
Finally, He was made to us "redemption," by which, as the order clearly shows, is meant not the forgiveness of sins which we have, but that complete deliverance from the effects of sin in our bodies which we await at the coming of our Lord Jesus. See Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30.
How complete the blessing Christ has been made to us I And what a joy that we not only may but ought to boast in Him who has so ordered and given to us! Do pious souls call on us to beware of presumption? It is the apostle, and this on the strength of Jeremiah the prophet, who calls on him that boasts to boast in Jehovah. It is therefore not rash nor wrong, but a hallowed boast. We owe it to Him, and He deserves it of us.
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:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.