1 Corinthians 1:3
Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
The formalities of politeness have deep meanings, and bear important relations to the social and moral life of cities and nations. The heathen benediction was Salve, or "Health to you." The modern salutation, "Good morning," or "Good day," is a brief assertion of national and individual faith in the one God; for it really means "God bless you today," and so is a perpetual witness against infidelity. The salutation in the text is a blending together of the characteristic points of the Hebrew and the Christian good wishes.
I. FROM THE HEBREW POINT OF VIEW, WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN WISHING "PEACE ONTO YOU"? "Peace" to the Hebrew was the word gathering up the blessings of the keeping of the Jehovah covenant. If faithful to the claims of that covenant and to the spirit of that covenant, they would realize peace in the heart, in the home, and in the state. And to an industrial and agricultural people, "peace" would appear the most desirable of all earthly blessings, and the condition of enjoying all others. It may be noticed how the unsettled years of later Jewish history intensified the common desire and prayer for "peace." As the prosperity of the whole land was bound up in the faithfulness of each member, it was befitting that each should wish for the other that "peace" which can alone attend on righteousness. So the formality of the salutation covered a real anxiety for brotherly faithfulness to Jehovah.
II. FROM THE CHRISTIAN POINT OF VIEW, WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN WISHING "GRACE AND PEACE UNTO YOU"? The addition is most characteristic, seeing that Christianity declares the "grace of God that bringeth salvation." Man discovers that the adequate keeping of covenant, and so securing "peace," is not within his own power. It is this discovery that prepares him to welcome the revelation of grace for his need. With the grace he can attain the righteousness which ensures the peace, and so he recognizes that both the grace and the peace come from God. Then the wish of the early Christian is that a special manifestation of Divine grace may be made to the individual. The salutation, in effect, is this: May you enter fully into the blessings of the gospel, into the grace brought unto men in Jesus Christ; and so may you know the gospel peace, which you will find a hallowing influence resting on all your life! How may we put into modern Christian language the Pauline benediction? And how should we so watch over even the formalities of every day speech that our common good wishes should be filled with rich and fervent Christian meanings? - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.