Front Page Titles (by Subject) A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS. - The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul's Epistles)
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS. - John Locke, The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul’s Epistles) 
The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes, (London: Rivington, 1824 12th ed.). Vol. 7.
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS.
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS;
Saint Paul’s first coming to Corinth was anno Christi 52, where he first applied himself to the synagogue, Acts xviii. 4. But finding them obstinate in their opposition to the gospel, he turned to the gentiles, ver. 6, out of whom this church at Corinth seems chiefly to be gathered, as appears, Acts xviii. and 1 Cor. xii. 2.
His stay here was about two years, as appears from Acts xviii. 11, 18, compared: in which time it may be concluded he made many converts; for he was not idle there, nor did he use to stay long in a place, where he was not encouraged by the success of his ministry. Besides what his so long abode in this one city, and his indefatigable labour every where, might induce one to presume, of the number of converts he made in that city; the scripture itself, Acts xviii. 10, gives sufficient evidence of a numerous church gathered there.
Corinth itself was a rich merchant-town, the inhabitants greeks, a people of quick parts, and inquisitive, 1 Cor. i. 22, but naturally vain and conceited of themselves.
These things considered may help us, in some measure, the better to understand St. Paul’s epistles to this church, which seems to be in greater disorder, than any other of the churches which he writ to.
This epistle was writ to the corinthians, anno Christi 57, between two and three years after St. Paul had left them. In this interval, there was got in amongst them a new instructor, a jew by nation, who had raised a faction against St. Paul. With this party, whereof he was the leader, this false apostle had gained great authority, so that they admired and gloried in him, with an apparent disesteem and diminishing of St. Paul.
Why I suppose the opposition to be made to St. Paul, in this church, by one party, under one leader, I shall give the reasons, that make it probable to me, as they come in my way, going through these two epistles; which I shall leave to the reader to judge, without positively determining on either side; and therefore shall, as it happens, speak of these opposers of St. Paul, sometimes in the singular, and sometimes in the plural number.
This at least is evident, that the main design of St. Paul, in this epistle, is to support his own authority, dignity, and credit, with that part of the church which stuck to him; to vindicate himself from the aspersions and calumnies of the opposite party; to lessen the credit of the chief and leading men in it, by intimating their miscarriages, and showing their no cause of glorying, or being gloried in: that so withdrawing their party from the admiration and esteem of those their leaders, he might break the faction; and putting an end to the division, might re-unite them with the uncorrupted part of the church, that they might all unanimously submit to the authority of his divine mission, and with one accord receive and keep the doctrine and directions he had delivered to them.
This is the whole subject from chap. i. 10, to the end of chap. vi. In the remaining part of this epistle, he answers some questions they had proposed to him, and resolves some doubts; not without a mixture, on all occasions, of reflections on his opposers, and of other things, that might tend to the breaking of their faction.
CHAP. I. 1—9.
1Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother:
2Unto 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.
3Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I thank my God always, on your behalf, for the grace of God, which is given you, by Jesus Christ;
5That, in every thing, ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge:
6Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.
7So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
8Who also shall confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
1Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, called to be so by the will of God* , and Sosthenes† our brother in the2 christian faith; To the church of God, which is at Corinth, to them that are separated from the rest of the world, by faith in Jesus Christ‡ , called to be saints, with all, that are every-where called by the name3 of Jesus Christ§ , their Lord∥ , and ours. Favour and peace be unto you, from God our Father, and from 4 the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank God always, on your behalf, for the favour of God, which is bestowed on5 you, through Jesus Christ; So that, by him, you are enriched with all knowledge and utterance, and6 all extraordinary gift: As at first, by those miraculous gifts, the gospel of Christ was confirmed7 among you. So that in no spiritual gift are any of you short, or deficient* , waiting for the8 coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that in the day of the Lord9 Jesus Christ, there may be no charge against you. For God, who has called you unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, may be relied on for what is to be done on his side.
CHAP. I. 10.—VI. 20.
There were great disorders in the church of Corinth, caused chiefly by a faction raised there, against St. Paul: the partisans of the faction mightily cried up, and gloried in their leaders, who did all they could to disparage St. Paul, and lessen him in the esteem of the corinthians. St. Paul makes it is business, in this section, to take off the corinthians from siding with, and glorying in, this pretended apostle, whose followers and scholars they professed themselves to be; and to reduce them into one body, as the scholars of Christ, united in a belief of the gospel, which he had preached to them, and in an obedience to it, without any such distinction of masters, or leaders, from whom they denominated themselves. He also, here and there, intermixes a justification of himself, against the aspersions which were cast upon him, by his opposers. How much St. Paul was set against their leaders, may be seen, 2 Cor. xi. 13—15.
The arguments used by St. Paul, to break the opposite faction, and put an end to all divisions amongst them, being various, we shall take notice of them, under their several heads, as they come in the order of this discourse.
SECT. II. No. 1.
CHAP. I. 10—16.
Saint Paul’s first argument is, That, in christianity, they all had but one master, viz. Christ; and therefore were not to fall into parties, denominated from distinct teachers, as they did in their schools of philosophy.
10Now 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.
11For 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.
12Now, 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.”
13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispas and Gaius:
15Lest any should say, that I had baptized in my own name.
16And I baptized also the houshold of Stephanus: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name* of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye hold the same doctrine, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be framed together into one intire body, with one11 mind, and one affection. For I understand, my brethren* , by some of the house of Chloe, that there12 are quarrels and dissentions amongst you; So that ye are fallen into parties, ranking yourselves under different leaders or masters, one saying, “I am of Paul;” another, “I of Apollos, I of Cephas, I of13 Christ.” Is Christ, who is our only Head and Master, divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or14 were you baptized into† the name of Paul? I thank God I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;15 Lest any one should say, I had baptized into my16 own name. I baptized also the household of Stephanas; farther, I know not whether I baptized any other.
SECT. II. No. 2.
CHAP. 1. 17—31.
The next argument of St. Paul, to stop their followers from glorying in these false apostles, is, that neither any advantage of extraction, nor skill in the learning of the jews, nor in the philosophy and eloquence of the greeks, was that, for which God chose men to be preachers of the gospel. Those, whom he made choice of, for overturning the mighty and the learned, were mean, plain, illiterate men.
17For 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.
18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God.
19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21For 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.
22For the jews require a sign, and the greeks seek after wisdom:
23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the jews a stumbling block, and unto the greeks foolishness.
24But unto them which are called, both jews and greeks, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God:
25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27But 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:
28And 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:
29That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30But of him are ye, in Christ Jesus, who, of God, is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31That, according as it is written, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not with learned and eloquent harangues, lest thereby the virtue and efficacy of Christ’s sufferings and death should be overlooked and neglected, if the stress of our persuasion should be laid on the learning18 and quaintness of our preaching. For the plain insisting on the death of a crucified Saviour is, by those, who perish, received as a foolish, contemptible thing; though to us, who are saved, it be the power19 of God, Conformable to what is prophecied by Isaiah: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will bring to nothing the understanding of the20 prudent.” Where is the philosopher, skilled in the wisdom of the greek? Where the scribes,* studied in the learning of the jews? Where the professor of human arts and sciences? Hath not God rendered all the learning and wisdom of this world foolish, and useless for the discovery of the truths of21 the gospel? For since the world, by their natural parts, and improvements in what, with them, passed for wisdom, acknowledged not the one, only, true God, though he had manifested himself to them, in the wise contrivance and admirable frame of the visible works of the creation; it pleased God, by the plain, and (as the world esteems it) foolish doctrine of the gospel, to save those who receive and believe22 it. Since† both the jews demand extraordinary signs and miracles, and the greeks seek wisdom:23 But I have nothing else to preach to them, but Christ crucified, a doctrine offensive to the hopes and expectations of the jews; and foolish to the acute men24 of learning, the greeks: But yet it is to these, both jews and greeks, (when they are converted) Christ, the power of God, and Christ, the wisdom of God:25 Because that, which seems foolishness in those, who came from God, surpasses the wisdom of man; and that, which seems weakness in those sent by God,26 surpasses the power of men. For reflect upon your selves, brethren, and you may observe, that there are not many of the wise and learned men, not many men of power, or of birth, among you, that27 are called. But God hath chosen the foolish men, in the account of the world, to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak men of the world,28 to confound the mighty: The mean men of the world, and contemptible, has God chosen, and those that are of no account, are nothing,* to displace 29 those that are: That so there might be no room, or pretence, for any one to glory in his presence.30 Natural, human abilities, parts or wisdom, could never have reached this way to happiness: it is to his wisdom alone, that ye owe the contrivance of it; to his revealing of it, that ye owe the knowledge of it; and it is from him alone, that you are in Christ Jesus, whom God has made to us, Christians, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, which is all the dignity and preeminence, all that is of any value, amongst us Christians:31 That as it is written, He that glorieth, should glory only in the Lord.
SECT. II. No. 3.
CHAP. II. 1—5.
Farther to keep them from glorying in their leaders, he tells them, that as the preachers of the gospel, of God’s choosing, were mean and illiterate men, so the gospel was not to be propagated, nor men to be established in the faith, by human learning and eloquence, but by the evidence it had, from the revelation contained in the old Testament, and from the power of God accompanying and confirming it with miracles.
1And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4And my speech, and my preaching, was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power:
5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1And I, brethren, when I came and preached the gospel to you, I did not endeavour to set it off with any ornaments of rhetoric, or the mixture of human learning, or philosophy; but plainly declared it to you, as a doctrine coming from God, revealed and attested*2 by him. For I resolved to own, or show, no other knowledge among you, but the knowledge* , or doctrine3 of Jesus Christ, and of him crucified. All my carriage among you had nothing in it, but the appearance of weakness and humility, and fear of offending4 you† . Neither did I in my discourses, or preaching, make use of any human art of persuasion, to inveigle you. But the doctrine of the gospel, which I proposed, I confirmed and inforced by what the Spirit‡ had revealed and demonstrated of it, in the Old Testament, and by the power of God, accompanying5 it with miraculous operations: That your faith might have its foundation, not in the wisdom and endowments of men, but in the power of God§ .
SECT. II. No. 4.
CHAP. II. 6—16.
The next argument the apostle uses to show them, that they had no reason to glory in their teachers, is, that the knowledge of the gospel was not attainable by our natural parts, however they were improved by arts and philosophy, but was wholly owing to revelation.
6Howbeit we speak wisdom amongst them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought.
7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained, before the world, unto our glory.
8Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9But, as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
10But God hath revealed them unto us, by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things: yea, the deep things of God.
11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man, which is in him? even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things, that are freely given to us of God.
13Which things also we speak, not in the words, which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.
15But he, that is spiritual, judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
6Howbeit, that which we preach is wisdom, and known to be so, among those who are thoroughly instructed in the christian religion, and take it upon its true principles* : but not the wisdom of this world† , nor of the princes* , or great men of this world† , who will7 quickly be brought to nought‡ . But we speak the wisdom of God* , contained in the mysterious and the obscure prophecies of the Old Testament† , which has been therein concealed and hid: though it be what God predetermined, in his own purpose, before the jewish constitution‡ , to the glory of 8 us* , who understand, receive, and preach it: Which none of the rulers among the jews understood; for, if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord Christ, who has in his hands the disposing of all9 true glory. But they knew it not, as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have the things, that God hath prepared for them that love him, entered into the heart or thoughts of10 man.” But these things, which are not discoverable by man’s natural faculties and powers, God hath revealed to us, by his Spirit, which searcheth out all things, even the deep counsels of God, which are beyond the reach of our abilities to discover. 11 For, as no man knoweth what is in the mind of another man, but only the spirit of the man himself that is in him: so, much less doth any man know, or can discover, the thoughts and counsels of12 God, but only the Spirit of God. But we* have received, not the spirit of the world† , but the Spirit, which is of God, that we might know what things are in the purpose of God, out of his free bounty13 to bestow upon us. Which things we not only know, but declare also; not in the language and learning, taught by human eloquence and philosophy, but in the language and expressions, which the Holy Ghost teacheth, in the revelations contained in the holy scriptures, comparing one14 part of the revelation‡ with another. But a man* , who hath no other help but his own natural faculties, how much soever improved by human arts and sciences, cannot receive the truths of the gospel, which are made known by another principle only, viz. the Spirit of God revealing them; and therefore seem foolish and absurd to such a man: nor can he, by the bare use of his natural faculties, and the principles of human reason, ever come to the knowledge of them; because it is, by the studying of divine revelation alone, that we can attain the15 knowledge of them. But he that lays his foundation in divine revelation† , can judge what is, and what is not, the doctrine of the gospel, and of salvation; he can judge who is, and who is not, a good minister and preacher of the word of God: but others, who are bare animal men* , that go not beyond the discoveries made by the natural faculties of human understanding, without the help and study of revelation, cannot judge of such an one, whether16 he preacheth right and well, or not. For who, by the bare use of his natural parts, can come to know the mind of the Lord, in the design of the gospel, so as to be able to instruct him† [the spiritual man] in it? But I who, renouncing all human learning and knowledge in the case, take all, that I preach, from divine revelation alone, I am sure, that therein I have the mind of Christ; and therefore, there is no reason why any of you should prefer other teachers to me; glory in them who oppose and villify me; and count it an honour to go for their scholars, and be of their party.
SECT. II. No. 5.
CHAP. III. I—IV. 20.
The next matter of boasting, which the faction made use of, to give the pre-eminence and preference to their leader, above St. Paul, seems to have been this, that their new teacher had led them farther, and given them a deeper insight into the mysteries of the gospel, than St. Paul had done. To take away their glorying on this account, St. Paul tells them, that they were carnal, and not capable of those more advanced truths, or any thing, beyond the first principles of christianity, which he had taught them; and, though another had come and watered what he had planted, yet neither planter, nor waterer, could assume to himself any glory from thence, because it was God alone, that gave the increase. But, whatever new doctrines they might pretend to receive, from their magnified, new apostle, yet no man could lay any other foundation, in a christian church, but what he St. Paul, had laid, viz. that “Jesus is the Christ;” and, therefore, there was no reason to glory in their teachers: because, upon this foundation, they, possibly, might build false, or unsound doctrines, for which they should receive no thanks from God; though, continuing in the faith, they might be saved. Some of the particular hay and stubble, which this leader brought into the church at Corinth, he seems particularly to point at, chap. iii. 16, 17, viz. their defiling the church, by retaining, and, as it may be supposed, patronizing the fornicator, who should have been turned out, chap. v. 7—13. He further adds, that these extolled heads of their party were, at best, but men; and none of the church ought to glory in men; for even Paul, and Apollos, and Peter, and all the other preachers of the gospel, were for the use and benefit, and glory of the church, as the church was for the glory of Christ.
Moreover, he shows them, that they ought not to be puffed up, upon the account of these their new teachers, to the undervaluing of him, though it should be true, that they had learned more from them, than from himself, for these reasons:
1. Because all the preachers of the gospel are but stewards of the mysteries of God; and whether they have been faithful in their stewardship, cannot be now known: and, therefore, they ought not to be some of them magnified and extolled, and others depressed and blamed, by their hearers here, until Christ their Lord come; and then he, knowing how they have behaved themselves in their ministry, will give them their due praises. Besides, these stewards have nothing, but what they have received; and, therefore, no glory belongs to them for it.
2. Because, if these leaders were (as was pretended) apostles, glory, and honour, and outward affluence here, was not their portion, the apostles being destined to want, contempt, and persecution.
3. They ought not to be honoured, followed, and gloried in, as apostles, because they had not the power of miracles, which he intended shortly to come, and show they had not.
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal?
5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers, by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God, that giveth the increase.
8Now he that planteth, and he that watereth, are one; and every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour.
9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
10According to the grace of God, which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12Now, if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13Every man’s work shall be made manifest. For the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is.
14If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15If any man’s work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so, as by fire.
16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
18Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God: for it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21Therefore let no man glory in men: for all things are yours:
22Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come: all are yours:
23And ye are Christ’s: and Christ is God’s.
IV. 1Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3But with me it is a very small thing, that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine ownself.
4For I know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
6And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself, and to Apollos, for your sakes; that ye might learn in us, not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up, for one against another.
7For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
8Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
9For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were, appointed to death. For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ: we are weak, but ye are strong: ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11Even unto this present hour, we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place.
12And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the off-scouring of all things unto this day.
14I write not these things to shame you; but, as my beloved sons, I warn you.
15For, though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for, in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you, through the gospel.
16Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
17For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways, which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
18Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
19But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
20For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
1And I, brethren, found you so given up to pride and vain-glory, in affectation of learning and philosophical knowledge* , that I could not speak to you as spiritual† , i. e. as to men not wholly depending on philosophy, and the discoveries of natural reason; as to men, who had resigned themselves up, in matters of religion, to revelation, and the knowledge which comes only from the Spirit of God; but as to carnal‡ , even as to babes, who yet retained a great many childish and wrong notions about it: this hindered me, that I could not go so far, as I desired, in the mysteries of the christian religion; but was fain to content myself with instructing you in the first principles* , and more2 obvious and easy doctrines of it. I could not apply myself to you, as to spiritual men† , that could compare spiritual things with spiritual, one part of scripture with another, and thereby understand the truths revealed by the Spirit of God, discerning true from false doctrines, good and useful, from evil‡ and vain opinions. A further discovery of the truths and mysteries of christianity, depending wholly on revelation, you were not able to bear, then; nor are you yet able3 to bear; Because you are carnal, full of envyings, and strife, and factions, upon the account of your knowledge, and the orthodoxy of your particular4 parties§ . For, whilst you say, one, “I am of Paul;” and another, “I am of Apollos∥ ,” are ye not carnal, and manage yourselves in the conduct, both of your minds and actions, according to barely human principles, and not, as spiritual men, acknowledge all that information, and all those gifts, wherewith the ministers of Jesus Christ are furnished, from the propagation of the gospel, to come wholly from the Spirit of God. What, then, are any of the preachers of the gospel, that you should glory in them, and divide into parties, under their5 names? Who, for example, is Paul, or who Apollos? What are they else, but bare ministers, by whose ministry, according to those several abilities and gifts, which God has besowed upon each of them, ye have received the gospel? They are only servants, employed to bring unto you a religion, derived entirely from divine revelation, wherein human abilities, or wisdom, had nothing to do. The preachers of it are only instruments, by whom this doctrine is conveyed to you, which, whether you look on it in its original, it is not a thing of human invention or discovery; or whether you look upon the gifts of the teachers who instruct you in it, all is entirely from God alone, and affords you not the least ground to attribute any thing to your6 teachers. For example I planted it amongst you, and Apollos watered it: but nothing can from thence be ascribed to either of us: there is no reason for your calling yourselves, some of Paul, and others of Apollos.7 For neither the planter, nor the waterer, have any power to make it take root, and grow in your hearts; they are as nothing, in that respect; the growth and8 success is owing to God alone. The planter and the waterer, on this account, are all one, neither of them to be magnified, or preferred, before the other; they are but instruments, concurring to the same end, and therefore ought not to be distinguished, and set in opposition one to another, or cried up, as more deserving9 one than another. We, the preachers of the gospel, are but labourers, employed by God, about that which is his work, and from him shall receive reward hereafter, every one according to his own labour; and not from men here, who are liable to make a wrong estimate of the labours of their teachers, preferring those, who do not labour together with God, who do not carry on the design, or work of God, in the gospel, or perhaps do not carry it on, equally with others, who are undervalued by them.10 Ye who are the church of God, are God’s building, in which I, according to the skill and knowledge which God, of his free bounty, has been pleased to give me, and therefore ought not to be to me, or any other, matter of glorying, as a skilful architect, have laid a sure foundation, which is Jesus, the Messiah,11 the sole and only foundation of christianity. Besides which, no man can lay any other. But, though no man, who pretends to be a preacher of the gospel, can build upon any other foundation, yet you ought not to cry up your new instructor* (who has come and built upon the foundation, that I laid) for the doctrines, he builds thereon, as if there were no other minister12 of the gospel but he. For it is possible a man may build, upon that true foundation, wood, hay, and stubble, things that will not bear the test, when13 the trial by fire, at the last day* , shall come. At that day, every man’s work shall be tried and discovered,14 of what sort it is. If what he hath taught be sound and good, and will stand the trial, as silver and gold, and precious stones abide in the fire, he15 shall be rewarded for his labour in the gospel. But, if he hath introduced false and unsound doctrines into christianity, he shall be like a man, whose building, being of wood, hay, and stubble, is consumed by the fire, all his pains in building is lost, and his works destroyed and gone, though he himself should escape16 and be saved. I told you, that ye are God’s building† ; yea, more than that, ye are the temple of17 God, in which his Spirit dwelleth. If any man, by corrupt doctrine or discipline, defileth‡ the temple of God, he shall not be saved with loss, as by fire; but him will God destroy: for the temple of God is18 holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself, by his success in carrying his point* : if any one seemeth to himself, or others, wise† , in worldly wisdom, so as to pride himself in his parts and dexterity, in compassing his ends; let him renounce all his natural and acquired parts, all his knowledge and ability, that he may become truly wise, in embracing and owning no other knowledge, but the simplicity19 of the gospel. For all other wisdom, all the wisdom of the world, is foolishness with God: for it is written, “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”20 And again, “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of21 the wise, that they are vain.” Therefore, let none of you glory in any of your teachers; for they are22 but men. For all your teachers, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Peter, even the apostles themselves, nay, all the world, and even the world to come, all things are yours, for your sake and use:
23As you are Christ’s, subjects of his kingdom, for his glory; and Christ, and his kingdom, for the glory of God. Therefore, if all your teachers, and so many other greater things, are for you, and for your sakes, you can have no reason to make it a glory to you, that you belong to this, or that, particular teacher amongst you: your true glory is, that you are Christ’s, and Christ and all his are God’s; and not, that you are this, or that man’s scholar or follower.
1As for me I pretend not to set up a school amongst you, and as a master to have my scholars denominated from me; no, let no man have higher thoughts of me, than as a minister of Christ, employed as his steward, to dispense the truths and doctrines of the gospel, which are the mysteries which God wrapped up, in types and obscure predictions, where they have lain hid, till by us, his apostles, he now reveals them.2 Now that, which is principally required and regarded in a steward, is, that he be faithful in dispensing3 what is committed to his charge. But as for me, I value it not, if I am censured by some of you, or by any man, as not being a faithful steward: nay, as to4 this, I pass no judgment on myself. For though I can truly say, that I know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justified to you: but the Lord, whose steward I am, at the last day will pronounce sentence on my behaviour in my stewardship, and5 then you will know what to think of me. Then judge not either me, or others, before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the dark and secret counsels of men’s hearts, in preaching the gospel: and then shall every one have that praise, that estimate set upon him, by God himself, which he truly deserves. But praise ought not to be given them, before the time, by their hearers, who are ignorant,6 fallible men. On this occasion, I have named Apollos and myself* , as the magnified and opposed heads of distinct factions amongst you; not that we are so, but out of respect to you, that I might offend nobody, by naming them; and that you might learn by us, of whom I have written† , that we are but planters, waterers, and stewards, not to think of the ministers of the gospel, above what I have written to you of them, that you be not puffed up, each party, in the vain-glory of their own extolled leader, to the crying down and contempt of any other, who is well esteemed7 of by others. For what maketh one to differ from another? or what gifts of the Spirit, what knowledge of the gospel has any leader amongst you, which he received not, as intrusted to him of God, and not acquired by his own abilities? And if he received it as a steward, why does he glory in that, which is not8 his own? However, you are mightily satisfied with your present state; you now are full, you now are rich, and abound in every thing you desire; you have not need of me, but have reigned like princes without me; and I wish truly you did reign, that I might come and share in the protection and prosperity you enjoy,9 now you are in your kingdom. For I being made an apostle last of all, it seems to me as if I were brought last* upon the stage, to be, in my sufferings and death, a spectacle to the world, and to angels,10 and to men. I am a fool for Christ’s sake, but you manage your christian concerns with wisdom. I am weak, and in a suffering condition† ; you are strong and flourishing; you are honourable, but I am despised.11 Even to this present hour, I both hunger and thirst, and want clothes, and am buffeted,12 wandering without house or home; And maintain myself with the labour of my hands. Being reviled,13 I bless: being persecuted, I suffer patiently: Being defamed, I intreat: I am made as the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things unto this14 day. I write not these things to shame you; but as a father to warn you, my children, that ye be not the devoted zealous partisans and followers of such, whose carriage is not like this; under whom, however you may flatter yourselves, in truth, you do not reign: but, on the contrary, ye are domineered over, and fleeced by them* . I warn you, I say, as15 your father: For how many teachers soever you may have, you can have but one father; it was I, that begot you in Christ, i. e. I converted you to16 christianity. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers17 of me† . To this purpose I have sent my beloved son Timothy to you, who may be relied upon: he shall put you in mind, and inform you, how I behave myself every-where in the ministry of18 the gospel‡ . Some, indeed, are puffed up, and make19 their boasts, as if I would not come to you. But I intend, God willing, to come shortly; and then will make trial, not of the rhetoric, or talking of those boasters, but of what miraculous power of the Holy20 Ghost is in them. For the doctrine and prevalency of the gospel, the propagation and support of Christ’s kingdom, by the conversion and establishment of believers, does not consist in talking, nor in the fluency of a glib tongue, and a fine discourse, but in the miraculous operations of the Holy Ghost.
SECT. II. No. 6.
CHAP. IV. 21.—VI. 20.
Another means, which St. Paul makes use of, to bring off the corinthians from their false apostle, and to stop their veneration of him, and their glorying in him, is by representing to them the fault and disorder, which was committed in that church, by not judging and expelling the fornicator; which neglect, as may be guessed, was owing to that faction.
1. Because it is natural for a faction to support and protect an offender, that is of their side.
2. From the great fear St. Paul was in, whether they would obey him, in censuring the offender, as appears by the second epistle; which he could not fear, but from the opposite faction; they, who had preserved their respect to him, being sure to follow his orders.
3. From what he says, ch. iv. 16, after he had told them, ver. 6, of that chapter, that they should not be puffed up, for any other, against him, (for so the whole scope of his discourse here imports,) he beseeches them to be his followers, i. e. leaving their other guides, to follow him, in punishing the offender. For that we may conclude, from his immediately insisting on it so earnestly, he had in his view, when he beseeches them to be followers of him, and consequently that they might join with him, and take him for their leader, ch. v. 3, 4, he makes himself, by his spirit, as his proxy, the president of their assembly, to be convened for the punishing that criminal.
4. It may further be suspected, from what St. Paul says, ch. vi. 1, that the opposite party, to stop the church-censure, pretended that this was a matter to be judged by the civil magistrate: nay, possibly, from what is said, ver. 6, of that chapter, it may be gathered, that they had got it brought before the heathen judge; or at least from ver. 12, that they pleaded, that what he had done was lawful, and might be justified before the magistrate. For the judging spoken of, chap. vi. must be understood to relate to the same matter it does, chap. v. it being a continuation of the same discourse and argument: as is easy to be observed by any one, who will read it without regarding the divisions into chapters and verses, whereby ordinary people (not to say others) are often disturbed in reading the holy scripture, and hindered from observing the true sense and coherence of it. The whole 6th chapter is spent in prosecuting the business of the fornicator, begun in the 5th. That this is so, is evident from the latter end, as well as beginning of the 6th chapter. And therefore, what St. Paul says of lawful, chap. vi. 12, may, without any violence, be supposed to be said, in answer to some, who might have alleged in favour of the fornicator, that what he had done was lawful, and might be justified by the laws of the country, which he was under: why else should St. Paul subjoin so many arguments (wherewith he concludes this 6th chapter, and this subject) to prove the fornication, in question, to be by the law of the gospel, a great sin, and consequently fit for a christian church to censure, in one of its members, however it might pass for lawful, in the esteem, and by the laws of gentiles?
There is one objection, which, at first sight, seems to be a strong argument against this supposition; that the fornication, here spoken of, was held lawful by the gentiles of Corinth, and that, possibly, this very case had been brought before the magistrate there, and not condemned. The objection seems to lie in these words, ch. v. 1, “There is fornication heard of amongst you, and such fornication, as is not heard of amongst the gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” But yet I conceive the words, duly considered, have nothing in them contrary to my supposition.
To clear this, I take the liberty to say, it cannot be thought that this man had his father’s wife; whilst, by the laws of the place, she actually was his father’s wife; for then it had been μοιχεία and adultery, and so the apostle would have called it, which was a crime in Greece; nor could it be tolerated in any civil society, that one man should have the use of a woman, whilst she was another man’s wife, i. e. another man’s right and possession.
The case, therefore, here seems to be this; the woman had parted from her husband; which it is plain, from chap. vii. 10, 11, 13, at Corinth, women could do. For if, by the law of that country, a woman could not divorce herself from her husband, the apostle had there, in vain, bid her not leave her husband.
But, however known and allowed a practice it might be, amongst the corinthians, for a woman to part from her husband; yet this was the first time it was ever known that her husband’s own son should marry her. This is that, which the apostle takes notice of in these words, “Such a fornication, as is not named amongst the gentiles.” Such a fornication this was, so little known in practice amongst them, that it was not so much as heard, named, or spoken of, by any of them. But, whether they held it unlawful, that a woman, so separated, should marry her husband’s son, when she was looked upon to be at liberty from her former husband, and free to marry whom she pleased; that the apostle says not. This, indeed, he declares, that, by the law of Christ, a woman’s leaving her husband, and marrying another, is unlawful, ch. vii. 11, and this woman’s marrying her husband’s son, he declares, ch. v. 1, (the place before us,) to be fornication, a peculiar sort of fornication, whatever the corinthians, or their law, might determine in the case: and, therefore, a christian church might and ought to have censured it, within themselves, it being an offence against the rule of the gospel; which is the law of their society: and they might, and should, have expelled this fornicator, out of their society, for not submitting to the laws of it; notwithstanding that the civil laws of the country, and the judgment of the heathen magistrate, might acquit him. Suitably hereunto, it is very remarkable, that the arguments, that St. Paul uses, in the close of this discourse, chap. vi. 13—20, to prove fornication unlawful, are all drawn solely from the christian institution, ver. 9. That our bodies are made for the Lord, ver. 13. That our bodies are members of Christ, ver. 15. That our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, ver. 19. That we are not our own, but bought with a price, ver. 20. All which arguments concern christians only; and there is not, in all this discourse against fornication, one word to declare it to be unlawful, by the law of nature, to mankind in general. That was altogether needless, and beside the apostle’s purpose here, where he was teaching and exhorting christians what they were to do, as christians, within their own society, by the law of Christ, which was to be their rule, and was sufficient to oblige them, whatever other laws the rest of mankind observed, or were under. Those he professes, ch. v. 12, 13, not to meddle with, nor to judge: for, having no authority amongst them, he leaves them to the judgment of God, under whose government they are.
These considerations afford ground to conjecture, that the faction, which opposed St. Paul, had hindered the church of Corinth from censuring the fornicator, and that St. Paul showing them their miscarriage herein, aims thereby to lessen the credit of their leader, by whose influence they were drawn into it. For, as soon as they had unanimously shown their obedience to St. Paul, in this matter, we see his severity ceases, and he is all softness and gentleness to the offender, 2 Cor. ii. 5—8. And he tells them in express words, ver. 9, that his end, in writing to them of it, was to try their obedience: to which let me add, that this supposition, though it had not all the evidence for it, which it has, yet being suited to St. Paul’s principal design in this epistle, and helping us the better to understand these two chapters, may deserve to be mentioned.
21What will ye? shall I come unto you, with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
V. 1It is reported commonly, that there is fornication among you, and such fornication, as is not so much as named amongst the gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed, might be taken away from among you.
3For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him, that hath so done this deed.
4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5To deliver such an one unto satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6Your glorying is not good: know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7Purge out, therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us.
8Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9I wrote unto you, in an epistle, not to company with fornicators.
10Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters: for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11But now I have written unto you, not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one, no not to eat.
12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
VI. 1Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and, if the world shall be judged by you, ye are unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge, who are least esteemed in the church.
5I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man amongst you? no, not one, that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
6But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
7Now, therefore, there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another: why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8Nay, you do wrong and defraud, and that your brethren.
9Know ye not, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
12All things are lawful unto me; but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any.
13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
14And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us, by his own power.
15Know ye not, that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
16What, know ye not, that he, which is joined to an harlot, is one body? For two (saith he) shall be one flesh.
17But he, that is joined unto the Lord, is one spirit.
18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body: but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body.
19What! know ye not, that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
21I purposed to come unto you: But what would ye have me do? Shall I come to you, with a rod, to chastise you? Or with kindness, and a peaceable disposition1 of mind* ? In short, it is commonly reported, that there is fornication† among you, and such fornication, as is not known‡ ordinarily among the2 heathen, that one should have his father’s wife. And yet ye remain puffed up, though it would better have become you to have been dejected, for this scandalous fact amongst you; and in a mournful sense of of it, to have removed the offender out of the church.3 For I truly, though absent in body, yet as present in spirit, have thus already judged, as if I were personally with you, him that committed this fact;4 When in the name of the Lord Jesus, ye are assembled, and my spirit, i. e. my vote, as if I were present, making one, by the power of the Lord Jesus5 Christ, Deliver the offender up to satan, that, being put thus into the hands and power of the devil, his body may be afflicted, and brought down, that his soul may be saved, when the Lord Jesus comes to judge6 the world. Your glorying* , as you do, in a leader, who drew you into this scandalous indulgence† in this case, is a fault in you: ye that are knowing, know you not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole‡ lump?7 Therefore, laying by that deference and veneration ye had for those leaders you gloried in, turn out from among you that fornicator, that the church may receive no taint from him, that you may be a pure, new lump, or society, free from such a dangerous mixture, which may corrupt you. For Christ, our passover, is8 slain for us. Therefore let us, in commemoration of his death, and our deliverance by him, be a holy 9 eople to him* . I wrote to you before, that you10 should not keep company with fornicators. You are not to understand by it, as if I meant, that you are to avoid all unconverted heathens, that are fornicators, or covetous, or rapacious, or idolaters, for,11 then, you must go out of the world. But that which I now write unto you, is, that you should not keep company, no, nor eat, with a christian by profession, who is lascivious, covetous, idolatrous, a12 railer, drunkard, or rapacious. For what have I to do to judge those, who are out of the church? Have ye not a power to judge those, who are members of13 your church? But, as for those who are out of the church, leave them to God; to judge them belongs to him. Therefore do ye what is your part, remove that wicked one, the fornicator, out of the church.1 Dare any of you, having a controversy with another, bring it before an heathen judge, to be tried, and not 2 let it be decided by christians* ? Know ye not that christians shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge3 ordinary small matters? Know ye not, that we, christians, have power over evil spirits? how much more over the little things relating to this animal4 life? If, then, ye have at any time controversies amongst you, concerning things pertaining to this life, let the parties contending choose arbitrators† in5 the church, i. e. out of church-members. Is there not among you, I speak it to your shame, who stand so much upon your wisdom, one‡ wise man, whom ye can think able enough to refer your controversies to?6 But one christian goeth to law with another, and that before the unbelievers, in the heathen courts 7 of justice. Nay, verily, it is a failure and defect in you, that you so far contest matters of right, one with another, as to bring them to trial, or judgment:8 why do ye not rather suffer loss and wrong? But it is plain, by the man’s having his father’s wife, that ye are guilty of doing wrong* , one to another, and stick not to do injustice, even to your christian9 brethren. Know ye not, that the transgressors of the law of Christ shall not inherit the kingdom of of God? Deceive not yourselves, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor10 abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners,11 shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but your past sins are washed away, and forgiven you, upon your receiving of the gospel by baptism: but ye are sanctified* , i. e. ye are members of Christ’s church, which consists of saints, and have made some advances in the reformation of your lives† by the doctrine of Christ, confirmed to you by the extraordinary operations of12 the Holy Ghost. But‡ supposing fornication were in itself as lawful, as eating promiscuously all sorts of meat, that are made for the belly, on purpose to be eaten: yet I would not so far indulge either custom, or my appetite, as to bring my body, thereby,13 into any disadvantageous state of subjection. As in eating and drinking, though meat be made purposely for the belly, and the belly for the meat; yet, because it may not be expedient§ for me, I will not, in so evidently a lawful thing as that, go to the utmost bounds of my liberty; though there be no danger, that I should thereby bring any lasting damage upon my belly, since God will speedily put an end both to belly and food. But the case of the body in reference to women, is far different from that of the belly, in reference to meat. For the body is not made to be joined to a woman* , much less to be joined to an harlot in fornication, as the belly is made for meat, and then to be put an end to, when that use ceases. But the body is for a much nobler purpose, and shall subsist, when the belly and food shall be destroyed. The body is for our Lord Christ, to be a member of him, as our Lord Christ has taken a body* , that he might partake of our14 nature, and be our head. So that, as God has already raised him up, and given him all power, so he will raise us up likewise, who are his members, to the partaking† in the nature of his glorious body,15 and the power he is vested with in it. Know ye not, ye who are so knowing, that our bodies are the members of Christ? Will ye, then, take the members of Christ, and make them the members of16 an harlot? What! know ye not, that he who is joined to an harlot is one body with her? For two, 17 saith God, shall be united into one flesh. But he, who is joined to the Lord, is one with him, by that one Spirit, that unites the members to the head, which is a nearer and stricter union, whereby what indignity is done to the one, equally affects the other.18 Flee fornication: all other sins, that a man commits, debase only the soul; but are in that respect, as if they were done out of the body; the body is not debased, suffers no loss of its dignity by them: but he, who committeth fornication, sinneth against the end, for which his body was made, degrading his body from the dignity and honour it was designed to; making that the member of an harlot, which19 was made to be a member of Christ. What! know ye not* , that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, that is in you, which body you have from God, and so it is not your own, to bestow on harlots?20 Besides, ye are bought with a price, viz. the precious blood of Christ; and therefore, are not at your own disposal: but are bound to glorify God with both body and soul. For both body and soul are from him, and are God’s.
CHAP. VII. 1—40.
The chief business of the foregoing chapters, we have seen to be the lessening the false apostle’s credit, and the extinguishing that faction. What follows is in answer to some questions they had proposed to St. Paul. This section contains conjugal matters, wherein he dissuades from marriage those, who have the gift of continence. But, marriage being appointed as a remedy against fornication, those, who cannot forbear, should marry, and render to each other due benevolence. Next, he teaches that converts ought not to forsake their unconverted mates, insomuch as christianity changes nothing in men’s civil estate, but leaves them under the same obligations they were tied by before. And, last of all, he gives directions about marrying, or not marrying, their daughters.
1Now concerning the things, whereof ye wrote unto me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise, also, the wife unto the husband.
4The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise, also, the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent, for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
6But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
7For I would that all men were, even as I myself: but every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
8I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them, if they abide, even as I.
9But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
10And unto the married I command; yet not I, but the Lord; let not the wife depart from her husband:
11But, and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
12But to the rest speak I, not the Lord, If any brother hath a wife, that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13And the woman, which hath an husband, that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with-her, let her not leave him.
14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
17But, as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk: and so ordain I, in all churches.
18Is any man called, being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised: is any called, in uncircumcision? let him not become circumcised.
19Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
20Let every man abide in the same calling, wherein he was called.
21Art thou called, being a servant? Care not for it; but, if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
22For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s free-man: likewise also he, that is called being free, is Christ’s servant.
23Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
24Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
25Now, concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
26I suppose, therefore, that this is good for the present distress; I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
27Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.
28But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned; nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh; but I spare you.
29But this I say, brethren, the time is short. It remaineth, that both they that have wives, be as though they had none;
30And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not.
31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
32But I would have you without carefulness. He, that is unmarried, careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
33But he that is married, careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
34There is difference also between a wife and a virgin: the unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy, both in body and in spirit: but she that is married, careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
35And this I speak for your own profit, not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
36But if any man think he behaveth himself uncomely towards his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will: he sinneth not: let them marry.
37Nevertheless, he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart, that he will keep his virgin, doth well.
38So then, he that giveth her in marriage, doth well: but he that giveth her not in marriage, doth better.
39The wife is bound by the law, as long as her husband liveth: but, if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
40But she is happier, if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
1Concerning those things that ye have writ to me about, I answer, it is most convenient not to have to2 do with a woman. But because every one cannot forbear, therefore, they that cannot contain should, both men and women, each have their own peculiar husband3 and wife, to avoid fornication. And those that are married, for the same reason, are to regulate themselves by the disposition and exigency of their respective mates; and, therefore, let the husband render to the wife that benevolence* , which is her due; and so, likewise, the wife to the husband, “vice4 versâ.” For the wife has not the power or dominion over her own body, to refuse the husband, when he desires; but this power and right to her body is in the husband. And, on the other side, the husband has not the power and dominion over his own body, to refuse his wife, when she shows an inclination; but this power and right to his body, when she has occasion,5 is in the wife† . Do not, in this matter, be wanting, one to another, unless it be by mutual consent, for a short time, that you may wholly attend to acts of devotion, when ye fast, upon some solemn occasion: and when this time of solemn devotion is over, return to your former freedom, and conjugal society, lest the devil taking advantage of your inability to contain, should tempt you to a violation of6 your marriage-bed. As to marrying in general, I wish that you were all unmarried, as I am; but this I say7 to you, by way of advice, not of command. Every one has from God his own proper gift, some one way, and some another, whereby he must govern himself. 8 To the unmarried and widows, I say it as my opinion, that it is best for them to remain unmarried, as I am.9 But if they have not the gift of continency, let them marry, for the inconveniences of marriage are to be10 preferred to the flames of lust. But to the married, I say not by way of counsel from myself, but of command from the Lord, that a woman should not11 leave her husband: But, if she has separated herself from him, let her return, and be reconciled to him again; or, at least, let her remain unmarried: and12 let not the husband put away his wife. But, as to others, it is my advice, not a commandment from the Lord, That, if a christian man hath an heathen wife, that is content to live with him, let him not break company with her, and dissolve the marriage.13 And, if a christian woman hath an heathen husband, that is content to live with her, let her not break14 company with him* , and dissolve the marriage. You need have no scruple concerning this matter, for the heathen husband or wife, in respect of conjugal duty, can be no more refused, than if they were christian. For in this case, the unbelieving husband is sanctified,* or made a christian, as to his issue, in his wife, and the wife sanctified in her husband. If it were not so, the children of such parents would be unclean,* i. e. in the state of heathens, but now are they holy,* i. e. born members15 of the christian church. But if the unbelieving party will separate, let them separate. A christian man, or woman, is not enslaved in such a case: only it is to be remembered, that it is incumbent on us, whom God, in the gospel, has called to be christians, to live peaceably with all men, as much as in us lieth; and, therefore, the christian husband, or wife, is not to make a breach in the family, by leaving the unbelieving party, who is content to stay.16 For what knowest thou, O woman, but thou mayest be the means of converting, and so saving thy unbelieving husband, if thou continuest peaceably as a loving wife, with him? or what knowest thou, O man, but, after the same manner, thou mayest save17 thy wife? On this occasion, let me give you this general rule: whatever condition God has allotted to any of you, let him continue and go on contentedly in the same* state, wherein he was called; not looking on himself as set free from it by his conversion to christianity. And this is no more, than18 what I order in all the churches. For example, Was any one converted to christianity, being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised: was19 any one called, being uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumsion or uncircumcision are nothing in the sight of God, but that which he has20 a regard to, is in obedience to his commands. Christianity gives not any one any new privilege to change the state, or put off the obligations of civil life,21 which he was in before.† Wert thou called, being a slave? Think thyself not the less a christian, for being a slave; but yet prefer freedom to slavery, if22 thou canst obtain it. For he that is converted to christianity, being a bond-man, is Christ’s freedman.* And he that is converted, being a free-man, is Christ’s bondman, under his command and dominion.23 Ye are bought with a price,† and so belong to Christ; be not, if you can avoid it, slaves to any24 body. In whatsoever state a man is called, in the same he is to remain, notwithstanding any privileges of the gospel, which gives him no dispensation, or exemption, from any obligation he was in before,25 to the laws of his country. Now concering virgins‡ I have no express command from Christ to give you: but I tell you my opinion, as one whom the Lord has been graciously pleased to make credible,* and26 so you may trust and rely on, in this matter. I tell you, therefore, that I judge a single life to be convenient, because of the present straits of the church;27 and that it is best for a man to be unmarried. Art thou in the bonds of wedlock? Seek not to be loosed:28 art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. But if thou marriest, thou sinnest not; or, if a virgin marry, she sins not: but those that are married, shall have worldly troubles; but I spare you by not representing to you how little enjoyment christians are like to have from a married life, in the present state of things, and so I leave you the liberty of marrying.29 But give me leave to tell you, that the time for enjoying husbands and wives is but short.† But be that as it will, this is certain, that those who have wives, should be, as if they had them not, and not set their30 hearts upon them: And they that weep, as if they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as if they possessed not: all these things should be done with resignation and a 31 christian indifferency. And those who use this world, should use it without an over-relish of it* , without giving themselves up to the enjoyment of it. For the scene of things is always changing in this world,32 and nothing can be relied on in it† . All the reason why I dissuade you from marriage is, that I would have you free from anxious cares. He that is unmarried, has time and liberty to mind things of33 religion, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married, is taken up with the cares of the world,34 how he may please his wife. The like difference there is, between a married woman and a maid; she that is unmarried, has opportunity to mind the things of religion, that she may be holy in mind and body; but the married woman is taken up with the cares35 of the world, how to please her husband. This I say to you, for your particular advantage, not to lay any constraint upon you‡ , but to put you in a way, wherein you may most suitably, and as best becomes christianity, apply yourselves to the study and duties36 of the gospel, without distraction. But, if any one thinks that he carries not himself as becomes him, to his virgin, if he lets her pass the flower of her age unmarried, and need so requires, let him do, as he37 thinks fit; he sins not, if he marry her. But whoever is settled in a firm resolution of mind, and finds himself under no necessity of marrying, and is master of his own will, or is at his own disposal, and has so determined in his thoughts, that he will keep his virginity* , he chooses the better 38 side* . So then he that marrieth, doth well; but he39 that marrieth† not, doth better. It is unlawful for a woman to leave her husband, as long as he lives: but, when he is dead, she is at liberty to marry, or not to marry, as she pleases, and to whom she pleases; which virgins cannot do, being under the disposal of their parents; only she must take care to40 marry, as a christian, fearing God. But, in my opinion, she is happier, if she remain a widow; and permit me to say, that whatever any among you may think, or say, of me, “I have the Spirit of God, so that I may be relied on in this my advice, that I do not mislead you.”
CHAP. VIII. 1—13.
This section is concerning the eating things offered to idols; wherein one may guess, by St. Paul’s answer, that they had writ to him, that they knew their christian liberty herein, that they knew that an idol was nothing; and, therefore, that they did well to show their knowledge of the nullity of the heathen gods, and their disregard of them, by eating promiscuously, and without scruple, things offered to them. Upon which, the design of the apostle here seems to be, to take down their opinion of their knowledge, by showing them, that, notwithstanding all the knowledge they presumed on, and were puffed up with, yet the eating of those sacrifices did not recommend them to God; vid. ver. 8, and that they might sin in their want of charity, by offending their weak brother. This seems plainly, from ver. 1—3, and 11, 12, to be the design of the apostle’s answer here, and not to resolve the case, of eating things offered to idols, in its full latitude. For then he would have prosecuted it more at large here, and not have deferred the doing of it to chap. x. where, under another head, he treats of it more particularly.
1Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
2(And if any man think, that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet, as he ought to know.
3But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
4As concerning, therefore, the eating of those things, that are offered, in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
5For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven, or in earth, as there be gods many, and lords many.
6But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.)
7Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge; for some, with conscience of the idol, unto this hour, eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
8But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
9But take heed, lest, by any means, this liberty of yours become a stumbling-block to them that are weak.
10For, if any man see thee, which hast knowledge, sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him, which is weak, be emboldened to eat those things, which are offered to idols?
11And, through thy knowledge, shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
12But, when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
13Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh, while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
1As for things offered up unto idols, it must not be questioned, but that every one of you, who stand so much upon your knowledge, know that the imaginary gods, to whom the gentiles sacrifice, are not in reality gods, but mere fictions; but, with this, pray remember, that such a knowledge, or opinion of their knowledge, swells men with pride and vanity. But charity it is, that improves and advances men in christianity* .2(But, if any one be conceited of his own knowledge, as if christianity were a science for speculation and dispute, he knows nothing yet of christianity, as he3 ought to know it. But if any one love God, and consequently his neighbour for God’s sake, such an one is made to know† , or has got true knowledge4 from God himself. To the question, then, of eating things offered to idols, I know, as well as you, that an idol, i.e. that the fictitious gods, whose images are in the heathen temples, are no real beings in the world:5 and there is in truth no other but one God. For though there be many imaginary nominal gods, both in heaven and earth‡ , as are indeed all their many 6 gods, and many lords, which are merely titular; Yet to us christians, there is but one God, the Father and the Author of all things, to whom alone we address all our worship and service; and but one Lord, viz. Jesus Christ, by whom all things come from God to us, and by whom we have access to the Father.)7 For notwithstanding all the great pretences to knowledge, that are amongst you, every one doth not know, that the gods of the heathens are but imaginations of the fancy, mere nothing. Some, to this day, conscious to themselves, that they think those idols to be real deities, eat things sacrifiecd to them, as sacrificed to real deities; whereby doing that which they, in their consciences, not yet sufficiently enlightened,8 think to be unlawful, are guilty of sin. Food, of what kind soever, makes not God regard us* . For neither, if in knowledge, and full persuasion, that an idol is nothing, we eat things offered to idols, do we thereby add any thing to christianity: or if, not being so well informed, we are scrupulous, and forbear, are9 we the worse christians, or are lessened by it† . But this you knowing men ought to take especial care of: that the power of freedom you have to eat, be not made such an use of, as to become a stumbling-block to weaker christians, who are not convinced of that 10 liberty. For if such an one should see thee, who hast this knowledge of thy liberty, sit feasting in an idol-temple, shall not his weak conscience, not thoroughly instructed in the matter of idols, be drawn in by thy example to eat what is offered to idols, though he, in his conscience, doubt of its lawfulness?11 And thus thy weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by thy knowledge, wherewith thou12 justifiest thy eating. But when you sin thus against your brethren, and wound their weak consciences,13 you sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother offend, I will never more eat flesh, to avoid making my brother offend.
CHAP. IX. 1—27.
St. Paul had preached the gospel at Corinth, about two years; in all which time, he had taken nothing of them, 2 Cor. xi. 7—9. This, by some of the opposite faction, and particularly, as we may suppose, by their leader, was made use of, to call in question his apostleship, 2 Cor. xi. 5, 6. For why, if he were an apostle, should he not use the power of an apostle, to demand maintenance, where he preached? In this section, St. Paul vindicates his apostleship; and, in answer to these enquirers, gives the reason why, though he had a right to maintenance, yet he preached gratis to the corinthians. My answer, says he, to these inquisitors, is, that though, as being an apostle, I know that I have a right to maintenance, as well as Peter, or any other of the apostles, who all have a right, as is evident from reason, and from scripture; yet I never have, nor shall make use of my privilege amongst you, for fear that, if it cost you any thing, that should hinder the effect of my preaching: I would neglect nothing, that might promote the gospel. For I do not content myself with doing barely what is my duty; for, by my extraordinary call and commission, it is now incumbent on me to preach the gospel; but I endeavour to excel in my ministry, and not to execute my commission covertly, and just enough to serve the turn. For if those, who, in the agonistic games, aiming at victory, to obtain only a corruptible crown, deny themselves in eating and drinking, and other pleasures, how much more does the eternal crown of glory deserve that we should do our utmost to obtain it? To be as careful, in not indulging our bodies, in denying our pleasures, in doing every thing we could, in order to get it, as if there were but one that should have it? Wonder not therefore, if I, having this in view, neglect my body, and those outward conveniencies, that I, as an apostle sent to preach the gospel, might claim and make use of: wonder not that I prefer the propagating of the gospel, and making of converts, to all care and regard of myself. This seems the design of the apostle, and will give light to the following discourse, which we shall now take, in the order St. Paul writ it.
1Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Are not you my work in the Lord?
2If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
3Mine answer to them that do examine me, is this:
4Have we not power to eat and to drink?
5Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
6Or I only, and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
7Who goeth a warfare, any time, at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth the flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
8Say I these things, as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
9For it is written, in the law of Moses, “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.” Doth God take care for oxen?
10Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that plougheth, should plough in hope; and that he, that thresheth in hope, should be partaker of his hope.
11If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing, if we shall reap your carnal things?
12If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless, we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
13Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple? And they, which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar?
14Even so, hath the Lord ordained, that they, which preach the gospel, should live of the gospel.
15But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me. For it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
16For, though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.
17For, if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
18What is my reward then? Verily, that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
19For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20And unto the jews, I became as a jew, that I might gain the jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them, that are under the law;
21To them, that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them, that are without law.
22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might, by all means, save some.
23And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
24Know ye not, that they, which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25And every man that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things: now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.
27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that, by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.
1Am I not an apostle? And am I not at liberty* , as much as any other of the apostles, to make use of the privilege due to that office? Have I not had the favour to see Jesus Christ, our Lord, after an extraordinary manner? And are not you yourselves, whom I have converted, an evidence of the success of my2 employment in the gospel? If others should question my being an apostle, you at least cannot doubt of it: your conversion to christianity is, as it were, a seal set to it, to make good the truth of my apostleship.3 This, then, is my answer to those, who set up an inquisition4 upon me: Have not I a right to meat and5 drink, where I preach? Have not I, and Barnabas, a power to take along with us, in our travelling to propagate the gospel, a christian woman* , to provide our conveniencies, and be serviceable to us, as well as Peter, and the brethren of the Lord, and the rest of6 the apostles? Or is it I only, and Barnabas, who are excluded from the privilege of being maintained without7 working? Who goes to the war any where, and serves as a soldier, at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk?8 This is allowed to be reason, that those, who are so employed, should be maintained by their employments; and so likewise a preacher of the gospel. But I say not this, barely upon the principles of human reason; revelation teaches the same thing,9 in the law of Moses: Where it is said, “Thou shalt muzzle not the mouth of the ox, that treadeth out the corn.” Doth God take care to provide so particularly10 for oxen, by a law? No, certainly; it is said particularly for our sakes, and not for oxen: that he, who sows, may sow in hope of enjoying the fruits of his labour at harvest; and may then thresh11 out, and eat the corn he hoped for. If we have sowed to you spiritual things, in preaching the gospel to you, is it unreasonable, that we should expect a little meat and drink from you, a little share of12 your carnal things? If any partake of this power over you* , why not we much rather? But I made no use of it; but bear with any thing, that I may avoid13 all hindrance to the progress of the gospel. Do ye not know, that they, who in the temple serve about holy things, live upon those holy things? And they, who wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar?14 So has the Lord ordained, that they, who preach the15 gospel, should live of the gospel. But though, as an apostle, and preacher of the gospel, I have, as you see, a right to maintenance, yet I have not taken it: neither have I written this to demand it. For I had rather perish for want, than be deprived of what I glory in, viz. preaching the gospel freely.16 For if I preach the gospel, I do barely my duty, but have nothing to glory in: for I am under an obligation and command to preach* , and wo be to17 me, if I preach not the gospel. Which if I do willingly, I shall have a reward: if unwillingly, the dispensation is nevertheless intrusted to me, and ye18 ought to hear me as an apostle. How, therefore, do I make it turn to account to myself? Even thus: if I preach the gospel of Christ of free cost, so that I exact not the maintenance I have a right19 to, by the gospel. For being under no obligation to any man, I yet subject myself to every one, to the end that I may make the more converts to Christ.20 To the jews, and those under the law of Moses, I became as a jew, and one under that law, that I21 might gain the jews, and those under the law; To those without the law of Moses, I applied myself, as one not under that law, (not, indeed, as if I were under no law to God, but as obeying and following the law of Christ) that I might gain those, who22 were without the law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak: I became all things to all men, that I might leave no lawful thing untried, whereby I might save people of all sorts.23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I myself24 may share in the benefits of the gospel. Know ye not that they, who run a race, run not lazily, but with their utmost force? They all endeavour to be first, because there is but one that gets the prize. It is not enough for you to run, but so to run, that ye may obtain: which they cannot do, who running only, because they are bid, do not run with all their25 might. They, who propose to themselves the getting the garland in your games, readily submit themselves to severe rules of exercise and abstinence: and yet theirs is but a fading, transitory crown; that, which we propose to ourselves, is everlasting; and therefore deserves, that we should endure greater26 hardships for it. I therefore so run, as not to leave it to uncertainty. I do what I do, not as one who27 fences for exercise, or ostentation; But I really and in earnest keep under my body, and intirely enslave it to the service of the gospel, without allowing any thing to the exigencies of this animal life, which may be the least hindrance to the propagation of the gospel; lest that I, who preach to bring others into the kingdom of heaven, should be disapproved of, and rejected myself.
SECT. VI. No. I.
CHAP. X. 1—22.
It seems, by what he here says, as if the corinthians had told St. Paul, that the temptations and constraints they were under, of going to their heathen neighbours feasts upon their sacrifices, were so many, and so great, that there was no avoiding it: and, therefore, they thought they might go to them without any offence to God, or danger to themselves; since they were the people of God, purged from sin by baptism, and fenced against it, by partaking of the body and blood of Christ, in the Lord’s supper. To which St. Paul answers, that, notwithstanding their baptism, and partaking of that spiritual meat and drink, yet they, as well as the jews of old did, might sin, and draw on themselves destruction from the hand of God: that eating of things, that were known, and owned, to be offered to idols, was partaking in the idolatrous worship; and therefore, they were to prefer even the danger of persecution before such a compliance; for God would find a way for them to escape.
1Moreover, brethren, I would not, that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2And were all baptized, unto Moses, in the cloud, and in the sea;
3And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: (for they drank of that spiritual rock, that followed them: and that rock was Christ.)
5But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed; and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.
13There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
14Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
15I speak as to wise men: judge ye what I say.
16The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread, which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17For we, being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.
18Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they, which eat of the sacrifices, partakers of the altar?
19What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols, is any thing?
20But I say, that the things which the gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
22Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
1I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers, the whole congregation of the children of Israel, at their coming out of Egypt, were, all to a man, under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;2 And were all, by this baptism* , in the cloud, and passing through the water, initiated into the mosaical institution and government, by these two miracles of3 the cloud and the sea. And they all eat the same meat, which had a typical and spiritual signification;4 And they all drank the same spiritual, typical drink, which came out of the rock, and followed them, which rock typified Christ: all which were typical representations of Christ, as well as the bread and wine, which we eat and drink in the Lord’s supper, are typical5 representations of him. But yet, though every one of the children of Israel, that came out of Egypt, were thus solemnly separated from the rest of the profane, idolatrous world, and were made God’s peculiar people, sanctified and holy, every one of them to himself, and members of his church: nay, though they did all* partake of the same meat, and the same drink, which did typically represent Christ, yet they were not thereby privileged from sin: but great numbers of them provoked God, and were destroyed in the6 wilderness for their disobedience. Now these things were set as patterns to us, that we, warned by these examples, should not set our minds a-longing, as they did, after meats† , that would be safer let alone.7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink,8 and rose up to play‡ .” Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one9 day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us provoke Christ, as some of them provoked, and were destroyed 10 of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer* .11 Now all these things† happened to the jews for examples, and are written for our admonition,12 upon whom the ends of the ages are come‡ . Wherefore, taught by these examples, let him that thinks himself safe, by being in the church, and partaking of the christian sacraments, take heed lest he fall into sin, and so destruction from God overtake him.13 Hitherto, the temptations you have met with, have been but light and ordinary; if you should come to be pressed harder, God, who is faithful, and never forsakes those, who forsake not him, will not suffer you to be tempted above your strength; but will either enable you to bear the persecution, or14 open you a way out of it. Therefore, my beloved, take care to keep off from idolatry, and be not drawn to any approaches near it, by any temptation,15 or persecution whatsoever. You are satisfied that you want not knowledge* : and therefore, as to knowing men, I appeal to you, and make you judges of what I am going to say in the case.16 They, who drink of the cup of blessing† , which we bless in the Lord’s supper, do they not thereby partake of the benefits, purchased by Christ’s blood, shed for them upon the cross, which they here symbolically drink? And they, who eat of the bread broken‡ there, do they not partake in the sacrifice of the body of Christ, and profess to be members17 of him? For, by eating of that bread, we, though many in number, are all united, and make but one body, as many grains of corn are united into one18 loaf. See how it is among the jews, who are outwardly, according to the flesh, by circumcision, the people of God. Among them, they, who eat of the sacrifice, are partakers of God’s table, the altar, have fellowship with him, and share in the benefit of the sacrifice, as if it were offered for them. 19 Do not mistake me, as if I hereby said, that the idols of the gentiles are gods in reality; or that the things, offered to them, change their nature, and are any thing really different from what they were before,20 so as to affect us, in our use of them* . No: but this I say, that the things which the gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that you should have fellowship, and be in league with devils, as they, who by eating of the things offered to them enter into covenant, alliance,21 and friendship with them. You cannot eat and drink with God, as friends at his table, in the eucharist, and entertain familiarity and friendship with devils, by eating with them, and partaking of the sacrifices offered to them† : you cannot be christians and idolaters too: nor, if you should endeavour to join these inconsistent rites, will it avail you any thing. For your partaking in the sacraments of the christian church, will no more exempt you from the anger of God, and punishment due to your idolatry, than the eating of the spiritual food, and drinking of the spiritual rock, kept the baptized Israelites, who offended God by their idolatry, or other sins,22 from being destroyed in the wilderness. Dare you, then, being espoused to Christ, provoke the Lord to jealousy, by idolatry, which is spiritual whoredom? Are you stronger than he, and able to resist him, when he lets loose his fury against you?
SECT. VI. No. 2.
CHAP. X. 23.—XI. 1.
We have, here, another of his arguments against things offered to idols, wherein he shows the danger that might be in it, from the scandal it might give: supposing it a thing lawful in itself. He had formerly treated of this subject, ch. viii. so far as to let them see, that there was no good, nor virtue in eating things offered to idols, notwithstanding they knew that idols were nothing, and they might think, that their free eating, without scruple, showed that they knew their freedom in the gospel, that they knew, that idols were in reality nothing; and, therefore, they slighted and disregarded them, and their worship, as nothing; but that there might be evil in eating, by the offence it might give to weak christians, who had not that knowledge. He here takes up the argument of scandal again, and extends it to jews and gentiles; vid. ver. 32, and shows, that it is not enough to justify them, in any action, that the thing, they do, is in itself lawful, unless they seek it in the glory of God, and the good of others.
23All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
24Let no man seek his own: but every man another’s wealth.
25Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
26For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
27If any of them, that believe not, bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
28But if any man say unto you, “This is offered in sacrifice unto idols,” eat not, for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake. For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
29Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the others: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?
30For, if I, by grace, be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of, for that, for which I give thanks?
31Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
32Give none offence, neither to the jews, nor to the gentiles, nor to the church of God:
33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
XI. 1Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
23Farther, supposing it lawful to eat things offered to idols, yet all things that are lawful, are not expedient: things that, in themselves, are lawful for me, may not tend to the edification of others, and so24 may be fit to be forborn. No one must seek barely his own private, particular interest alone, but let every one seek the good of others also.25 Eat whatever is sold in the shambles, without any inquiry, or scruple, whether it had been offered to26 any idol, or no. For the earth, and all therein, are the good creatures of the true God, given by him27 to men, for their use. If an heathen invite you to an entertainment, and you go, eat whatever is set before you, without making any question or scruple about it, whether it had been offered in sacrifice,28 or no. But if any one say to you, “This was offered in sacrifice to an idol,” eat it not, for his sake that mentioned it, and for conscience sake* .29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, (for thou knowest thy liberty, and that an idol is nothing) but the conscience of the other. For why should I use my liberty so, that another man should in conscience30 think I offended? And if I, with thanksgiving, partake of what is lawful for me to eat, why do I order the matter so, that I am ill-spoken of, for31 that which I bless God for? Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, let your care and32 aim be the glory of God. Give no offence to the jews, by giving them occasion to think, that christians are permitted to worship heathen idols; nor to the gentiles, by giving them occasion to think, that you allow their idolatry, by partaking of their sacrifices: nor to weak members of the church of God, by drawing them, by your examples, to eat of things offered to idols, of the lawfulness whereof they are33 not fully satisfied. As I myself do, who abridge myself of many conveniencies of life, to comply with the different judgments of men, and gain the good opinion of others, that I may be instrumental to theXI. 1 salvation of as many as is possible. Imitate herein my example, as I do that of our Lord Christ, who neglected himself for the salvation of others* .
CHAP. XI. 2—16.
St. Paul commends them for observing the orders he had left with them, and uses arguments to justify the rule he had given them, that women should not pray, or prophesy, in their assemblies, uncovered; which, it seems, there was some contention about, and they had writ to him to be resolved in it.
2Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me, in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4Every man praying, or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5But every woman, that prayeth, or prophesieth, with her head uncovered, dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one, as if she were shaven:
6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn, or shaven, let her be covered.
7For a man, indeed, ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.
9Neither was the man created for the woman: but the woman for the man.
10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels.
11Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12For, as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman: but all things of God.
13Judge in yourselves; is it comely, that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given her for a covering.
16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
2I commend you, brethren, for remembering all my orders, and for retaining those rules I delivered to you,3 when I was with you. But for your better understanding what concerns women* , in your assemblies, you are to take notice, that Christ is the head to which every man is subjected, and the man is the head, to which every woman is subjected; and that the head,4 or superiour, to Christ himself, is God. Every man, that prayeth, or prophesieth, i. e. by the gift of the Spirit of God, speaketh in the church for the edifying, exhorting, and comforting of the congregation, having his head covered, dishonoureth Christ, his head, by appearing in a garb not becoming the authority and dominion, which God, through Christ, has given him over all the things of this world; the covering of the5 head being a mark of subjection. But, on the contrary, a woman praying, or prophesying in the church, with her head uncovered, dishonoureth the man, who is her head, by appearing in a garb, that disowns her subjection to him. For to appear bare-headed in public, is all one as to have her hair cut off, which is the garb and dress of the other sex, and6 not of a woman. If, therefore, it be unsuitable to the female sex to have their hair shorn, or shaved off, 7 let her, for the same reason, be covered. A man, indeed, ought not to be veiled; because he is the image and representative of God, in his dominion over the rest of the world, which is one part of the glory8 of God: But the woman, who was made out of the man, made for him, and in subjection to him, is matter9 of glory to the man. But the man, not being made out of the woman, not for her, but the woman10 made out of, and for the man, She ought, for this reason, to have a veil on her head, in token of her11 subjection, because of the angels* . Nevertheless, the sexes have not a being, one without the other; neither the man without the woman, nor the woman12 without the man, the Lord so ordering it. For, as the first woman was made out of the man, so the race of men, ever since, is continued and propagated by the female sex: but they, and all other things,13 had their being and original from God. Be you yourselves judges, whether it be decent for a woman to make a prayer to God, in the church, uncovered?14 Does not even nature, that has made, and would have the distinction of sexes preserved, teach you, that if a man wear his hair long, and dressed up after the manner of women, it is misbecoming and15 dishonourable to him? But to a woman, if she be curious about her hair, in having it long, and dressing herself with it, it is a grace and commendation;16 since her hair is given her for a covering. But, if any show himself to be a lover of contention* , we, the apostles, have no such custom, nor any of the churches of God.
CHAP. XI. 17—34.
One may observe from several passages in this epistle, that several judaical customs were crept into the corinthian church. This church being of St. Paul’s own planting, who spent two years at Corinth, in forming it; it is evident these abuses had their rise from some other teachers, who came to them after his leaving them, which was about five years before his writing this epistle. These disorders therefore may with reason be ascribed to the head of the faction, that opposed St. Paul, who, as has been remarked, was a jew, and probably judaized. And that, it is like, was the foundation of the great opposition between him and St. Paul, and the reason why St. Paul labours so earnestly to destroy his credit among the corinthians: this sort of men being very busy, very troublesome, and very dangerous to the gospel, as may be seen in other of St. Paul’s epistles, particularly that to the galatians.
The celebrating the passover amongst the Jews was plainly the eating of a meal distinguished from other ordinary meals, by several peculiar ceremonies. Two of these ceremonies were eating of bread solemnly broken, and drinking a cup of wine, called the cup of blessing. These two our Saviour transferred into the christian church, to be used in their assemblies, for a commemoration of his death and sufferings. In celebrating this institution of our Saviour, the judaizing corinthians followed the jewish custom of eating their passover; they eat the Lord’s supper as a part of their meal, bringing their provisions into the assembly, where they eat divided into distinct companies, some feasting to excess, whilst others, ill provided, were in want. This eating thus in the public assembly, and mixing the Lord’s supper with their ordinary meal, as a part of it, with other disorders and indecencies accompanying it, is the matter of this section. These innovations, he tells them here, he as much blames, as, in the beginning of this chapter, he commends them for keeping to his directions in some other things.
17Now in this, that I declare unto you, I praise you not, that ye come together, not for the better, but for the worse.
18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19For there must be also heresies among you, that they, which are approved, may be made manifest among you.
20When ye come together, therefore, into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21For, in eating, every one taketh before other, his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22What! have ye not houses to eat and drink in? Or despise ye the church of God? And shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
23For I have received of the Lord, that, which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night, in which he was betrayed, took bread:
24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
25After the same manner also, he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.
27Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30For this cause, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
34And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order, when I come.
17Though what I said to you, concerning women’s behaviour in the church, was not without commendation of you; yet this, that I am now going to speak to you of, is without praising you, because you so order your meetings in your assemblies, that18 they are not to your advantage, but harm. For first I hear, that, when you come together in the church, you fall into parties, and I partly believe19 it; Because there must be divisions and factions amongst you, that those who stand firm upon trial,20 may be made manifest among you. You come together, it is true, in one place, and there you eat; but yet this makes it not to be the eating of the21 Lord’s supper. For, in eating, you eat not together, but every one takes his own supper one before another* .22 Have ye not houses to eat and drink in, at home, for satisfying your hunger and thirst? Or have ye a contempt for the church of God, and take a pleasure to put those out of countenance, who have not wherewithal to feast there, as you do? What is it I said to you, that I praise you† for retaining what I delivered to you? On this occasion,23 indeed, I praise you not for it. For what I received, concerning this institution, from the Lord himself, that I delivered unto you, when I was with you; and it was this, viz. That the Lord Jesus, in the24 night, wherein he was betrayed, took bread: And, having given thanks, brake it, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you: this do25 in remembrance of me.” So, likewise, he took the cup also when he had supped, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as ye do it, in remembrance of me.”26 So that the eating of this bread, and the drinking of this cup of the Lord’s supper, is not to satisfy hunger and thirst, but to show forth the27 Lord’s death, till he comes. Insomuch that he, who eats this bread, and drinks this cup of the Lord, in an unworthy manner* , not suitable to that end, shall be guilty of a misuse of the body and blood28 of the Lord* . By this institution, therefore, of Christ, let a man examine himself† ; and, according to that* , let him eat of this bread, and drink of29 this cup. For he, who eats and drinks after an unworthy manner, without a due respect had to the Lord’s body, in a discriminating† and purely sacramental use of the bread and wine, that represent it, draws punishment‡ on himself by so doing.30 And hence it is, that many among you are weak and sick, and a good number are gone to their31 graves. But if we would discriminate ourselves, i. e. by our discriminating use of the Lord’s supper, we 32 should not be judged, i. e. punished* by God. But, being punished by the Lord, we are corrected† , that we may not be condemned‡ hereafter, with the unbelieving33 world. Wherefore, my brethren, when you have a meeting for celebrating the Lord’s supper, stay for one another, that you may eat it all together, as partakers, all in common, of the Lord’s34 table, without division, or distinction. But if any one be hungry, let him eat at home to satisfy his hunger, that so the disorder in these meetings may not draw on you the punishment above mentioned. What else remains to be rectified in this matter, I will set in order when I come.
CHAP. XII. 1.—XIV. 40.
The corinthians seem to have inquired of St. Paul, “What order of precedency and preference men were to have, in their assemblies, in regard of their spiritual gifts?” Nay, if we may guess by his answer, the question they seem more particularly to have proposed, was, “Whether those, who had the gift of tongues, ought not to take place, and speak first, and be first heard in their meetings?” Concerning this, there seems to have been some strife, maligning, and disorder among them, as may be collected from ch. xii. 21—25, and xiii. 4, 5, and xiv. 40.
To this St. Paul answers in these three chapters, as followeth
1. That they had all been heathen idolaters, and so being deniers of Christ, were in that state none of them spiritual: but that now, being christians, and owning Jesus to be the Lord (which could not be done without the Spirit of God), they were all πνευματιϰοὶ, spiritual, and so there was no reason for one to undervalue another, as if he were not spiritual, as well as himself, chap. xii. 1—3.
2. That though there be diversity of gifts, yet they are all by the same Spirit, from the same Lord, and the same God, working them all in every one, according to his good pleasure. So that, in this respect also, there is no difference or precedency; no occasion for any one’s being puffed up, or affecting priority, upon account of his gifts, chap. xii. 4—11.
3. That the diversity of gifts is for the use and benefit of the church, which is Christ’s body, wherein the members (as in the natural body) of meaner functions are as much parts, and as necessary in their use to the good of the whole, and therefore to be honoured, as much as any other. The union they have, as members in the same body, makes them all equally share in one another’s good and evil, gives them a mutual esteem and concern one for another, and leaves no room for contests or divisions amongst them, about their gifts, or the honour and place due to them, upon that account, chap. xii. 12—31.
4. That though gifts have their excellency and use, and those, who have them, may be zealous in the use of them; yet the true and sure way for a man to get an excellency and preference above others, is the enlarging himself in charity, and excelling in that, without which a christian, with all his spiritual gifts, is nothing, chap. xiii. 1—13.
5. In the comparison of spiritual gifts, he gives those the precedency, which edify most; and, in particular, prefers prophesying to tongues, chap. xiv. 1—40.
SECT. IX. No. 1.
CHAP. XII. 1—3.
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3Wherefore 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.
1As to spiritual men, or men assisted and acted by the Spirit* , I shall inform you; for I would not have2 you be ignorant. You yourselves know, that you were heathens, engaged in the worship of stocks and stones, dumb, senseless idols, by those, who were then3 your leaders. Whereupon let me tell you, that no one, who opposes Jesus Christ, or his religion, has the Spirit of God* . And whoever is brought to own Jesus to be the Messiah, the Lord† , does it by the Holy Ghost. And therefore, upon account of having the Spirit, you can none of you lay any claim to superiority; or have any pretence to slight any of your brethren, as not having the Spirit of God, as well as you. For all, that own our Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in him, do it by the Spirit of God, i. e. can do it upon no other ground, but revelation, coming from the Spirit of God.
SECT. IX. No. 2.
CHAP. XII. 4—11.
Another consideration, which St. Paul offers, against any contention for superiority, or pretence to precedency, upon account of any spiritual gift, is, that those distinct gifts are all of one and the same Spirit, by the same Lord; wrought in every one, by God alone, and all for the profit of the church.
4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man, to profit withal.
8For to one is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit:
9To another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, the gifts of healing, by the same Spirit;
10To another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues.
11But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally, as he will.
4Be not mistaken, by the diversity of gifts; for, though there be diversity of gifts among christians, yet there is no diversity of spirits, they all come from one and5 the same Spirit. Though there be diversities of offices* in the church, yet all the officers have but one6 Lord. And though there be various influxes, whereby christians are enabled to do extraordinary things† , yet it is the same God, that works‡ all these extraordinary7 gifts, in every one that has them. But the way, or gift, wherein every one, who has the Spirit, is to show it, is given him, not for his private advantage, or honour§ , but for the good and advantage of8 the church. For instance; to one is given, by the spirit, the word of wisdom∥ , or the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the full latitude of it: such as was given to the apostles: to another, by the same spirit, the knowledge¶ of the true sense and true meaning of the holy scriptures of the Old Testament, for the explaining and confirmation of the gospel:9 To another, by the same Spirit, is given an undoubting persuasion* , and stedfast confidence, of performing what he is going about; to another, the gift of10 curing diseases, by the same Spirit; To another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy† ; to another, the discerning by what spirit men did any extraordinary operation; to another, diversity of languages; to another, the interpretation of languages.11 All which gifts are wrought in believers, by one and the same Spirit, distributing to every one, in particular, as he thinks fit.
SECT. IX. No. 3.
CHAP. XII. 12—31.
From the necessarily different functions in the body, and the strict union, nevertheless, of the members, adapted to those different functions, in a mutual sympathy and concern one for another; St. Paul here farther shows, that there ought not to be any strife, or division, amongst them, about precedency and preference, upon account of their distinct gifts.
12For, as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13For, by one Spirit, are we all baptized into one body, whether we be jews or gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14For the body is not one member, but many.
15If the foot shall say, “Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body:” is it therefore not of the body?
16And if the ear shall say, “Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body:” is it therefore not of the body?
17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18But now hath God set the members, every one of them, in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, “I have no need of thee:” nor, again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.
23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour, and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it: or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27Now, ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.
12For as the body, being but one, hath many members, and all the members of the body, though many, yet make but one body; so is Christ, in respect13 of his mystical body, the church. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one church, and are thereby made one body, without any pre-eminence to the jew* above the gentile, to the free above the bond-man: and the blood of Christ, which we all partake of, in the Lord’s supper, makes us all have one life, one spirit, as the same blood, diffused through the whole body, communicates the 14 same life and spirit to all the members. For the body is not one sole member, but consists of many members, all vitally united in one common sympathy15 and usefulness. If any one have not that function, or16 dignity, in the church, which he desires, He must not, therefore, declare that he is not of the church, he does not thereby cease to be a member of the17 church. There is as much need of several and distinct gifts and functions in the church, as there is of different senses and members in the body; and the meanest and least honourable would be missed, if it were wanting, and the whole body would18 suffer by it. Accordingly, God hath fitted several persons, as it were so many distinct members, to several offices and functions in the church, by proper and peculiar gifts and abilities, which he has bestowed on them, according to his good pleasure.19 But if all were but one member, what would become of the body? There would be no such thing as an human body; no more could the church be edified, and framed into a growing lasting society, if the gifts20 of the Spirit were all reduced to one. But now, by the various gifts of the Spirit, bestowed on its several members, it is as a well organized body, wherein the most eminent member cannot despise the meanest.21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of thee;” nor the head to the feet, “I have 22 no need of you.” It is so far from being so, that the parts of the body, that seem in themselves weak,23 are nevertheless of absolute necessity. And those parts which are thought least honourable we take care always to cover with the more respect; and our least graceful parts have thereby a more studied and adventitious24 comeliness. For our comely parts have no need of any borrowed helps, or ornaments: but God hath so contrived the symmetry of the body, that he hath added honour to those parts, that might seem25 naturally to want it: That there might be no disunion, no schism in the body; but that the members should all have the same care and concern one for26 another; And all equally partake and share in the harm, or honour, that is done to any of them in particular.27 Now, in like manner, you are, by your particular gifts, each of you, in his peculiar station and aptitude, members of the body of Christ, which is28 the church: Wherein God hath set, first some apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, next workers of miracles, then those, who have the gift of healing, helpers* , governors† , and such as are able to speak 29 diversity of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of30 miracles? Have all the gift of healing? Do all speak diversity of tongues? Are all interpreters of31 tongues? But ye contest one with another, whose particular gift is best, and most preferable* ; but I will show you a more excellent way, viz. mutual good-will, affection and charity.
SECT. IX. No. 4.
CHAP. XIII. 1—13.
St. Paul having told the corinthians, in the last words of the preceding chapter, that he would show them a more excellent way, than the emulous producing of their gifts in the assembly, he, in this chapter tells them, that this more excellent way is charity, which he at large explains, and shows the excellency of.
1Though I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have no charity, I am nothing.
3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up;
5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth:
7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.
13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.
1If I speak all the languages of men and angels* , and yet have not charity, to make use of them entirely for the good and benefit of others, I am no better than a sounding brass, or noisy cymbal† , which fills the ears of others, without any advantage to itself,2 by the sound it makes. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and see, in the law and the prophets, all the mysteries‡ contained in them, and comprehend all the knowledge they teach; and if I have faith to the highest degree, and power of miracles, so as to be able to remove mountains* , and have not charity,3 I am nothing: I am of no value. And if I bestow all I have, in relief of the poor, and give myself to be burnt, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.4 Charity is long-suffering, is gentle and benign, without5 emulation, insolence, or being puffed up; Is not ambitious, nor at all self-interested, is not sharp upon6 others failings, or inclined to ill interpretations: Charity rejoices with others, when they do well; and, when any thing is amiss, is troubled, and covers their failings:7 Charity believes well, hopes well of every one,8 and patiently bears with every thing† : Charity will never cease, as a thing out of use; but the gifts of prophecy, and tongues, and the knowledge whereby men look into, and explain the meaning of the scriptures, the time will be, when they will be laid aside,9 as no longer of any use. For the knowledge we have now in this state, and the explication we give of scripture, 10 is short, partial, and defective. But when, hereafter, we shall be got into the state of accomplishment and perfection, wherein we are to remain in the other world, there will no longer be any need of these imperfecter ways of information, whereby11 we arrive at but a partial knowledge here. Thus, when I was in the imperfect state of childhood, I talked, I understood, I reasoned after the imperfect manner of a child: but, when I came to the state and perfection of manhood, I laid aside those childish12 ways. Now we see but by reflection, the dim, and as it were, enigmatical representation of things: but then we shall see things directly, and as they are in themselves, as a man sees another, when they are face to face. Now I have but a superficial, partial knowledge of things; but then I shall have an intuitive, comprehensive knowledge of them, as I myself am known, and lie open to the view of superiour, seraphic beings, not by the obscure and imperfect13 way of deductions and reasoning. But then, even in that state, faith, hope, and charity, will remain: but the greatest of the three is charity.
SECT. IX. No. 5.
CHAP. XIV. 1—40.
St. Paul, in this chapter, concludes his answer to the corinthians, concerning spiritual men, and their gifts; and having told them, that those were most preferable, that tended most to edification; and particularly shown, that prophecy was to be preferred to tongues; he gives them directions for the decent, orderly, and profitable exercise of their gifts, in their assemblies.
1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
2For he, that speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit, in the Spirit, he speaketh mysteries.
3But he, that prophesieth, speaketh unto men, to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself: but he, that prophesieth, edifieth the church.
5I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth, than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
6Now, brethren, if I come unto you, speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you, either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
7And even things without life, giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped, or harped?
8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
9So likewise you, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air.
10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
11Therefore, if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian; and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
13Wherefore, let him, that speaketh in an unknown tongue, pray that he may interpret.
14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
15What is it then? I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
16Else, when thou shalt bless with the Spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned, say Amen, at thy giving of thanks; seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all:
19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
20Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit, in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
21In the law it is written, “With men of other tongues, and other lips, will I speak unto this people: and yet, for all that, will they not hear me, saith the Lord.”
22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
23If, therefore, the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those, that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say, that ye are mad?
24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all.
25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest! and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
26How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done to edifying.
27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.
29Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the other judge.
30If any thing be revealed to another, that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31For ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all may learn, that all may be comforted.
32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36What! came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only?
37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge, that the things, that I write unto you, are the commandments of the Lord.
38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
40Let all things be done decently, and in order.
1Let your endeavours, let your pursuit, therefore, be after charity; not that you should neglect the use2 of your spiritual gifts* , especially the gift of prophecy: 2 For he, that speaks in an unknown tongue* , speaks to God alone, but not to men: for nobody understands him; the things he utters, by the Spirit, in an unknown tongue, are mysteries, things not3 understood, by those who hear them. But he, that prophesieth† , speaks to men, who are exhorted and comforted thereby, and helped forwards in religion4 and piety. He that speaks in an unknown tongue‡ , edifies himself alone; but he that prophesieth, edifieth 5 the church. I wish that ye had all the gift of tongues, but rather that ye all prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth, than he that speaks with tongues, unless he interprets what he delivers in an unknown tongue, that the church may be edified by it.6 For example, should I apply myself to you in a tongue you knew not, what good should I do you, unless I interpreted to you what I said, that you might understand the revelation, or knowledge, or prophecy,7 or doctrine* contained in it? Even inanimate instruments of sound, as pipe or harp, are not made use of, to make an insignificant noise; but distinct notes, expressing mirth, or mourning, or the like, are played upon them, whereby the tune 8 and composure are understood. And if the trumpet sound not some point of war, that is understood, the9 soldier is not thereby instructed what to do. So likewise ye, unless with the tongue, which you use, utter words of a clear and known signification to your hearers, you talk to the wind; for your auditors10 understand nothing that you say. There is a great number of significant languages in the world, I11 know not how many, every nation has its own. If then I understand not another’s language, and the force of his words, I am to him, when he speaks, a barbarian; and whatever he says, is all gibberish to me; and so is it with you; ye are barbarians one to another, as far as ye speak to one another in unknown12 tongues. But since there is emulation amongst you, concerning spiritual gifts, seek to abound in the exercise of those which tend most to the edification13 of the church. Wherefore, let him that speaks an unknown tongue, pray that he may interpret what14 he says. For if I pray in the congregation in an unknown tongue, my spirit, it is true, accompanies my words, which I understand, and so my spirit prays* ; but my meaning is unprofitable to others 15 who understand not my words. What, then, is to be done in the case? Why, I will, when moved to it by the Spirit, pray in an unknown tongue, but so that my meaning* may be understood by others i. e. I will not do it but when there is somebody by, to interpret† . And so will I do also in singing‡ ; I will sing by the Spirit, in an unknown tongue; but I will take care that the meaning of what I sing shall16 be understood by the assistants. And thus ye shall all do, in all like cases. For if thou, by the impulse of the Spirit, givest thanks to God, in an unknown tongue, which all understand not, how shall the hearer, who, in this respect, is unlearned, and, being ignorant in that tongue, knows not what thou sayest, how shall he say Amen? How shall he join 17 in the thanks, which he understands not? Thou, indeed, givest thanks well; but the other is18 not at all edified by it. I thank God, I speak with19 tongues more than you all: But I had rather speak in the church five words that are understood, that I might instruct others also, than, in an unknown tongue, ten thousand, that others understand not.20 My brethren, be not, in understanding, children, who are apt to be taken with the novelty, or strangeness of things: in temper and disposition, be as children, void of malice* ; but, in matters of understanding, be ye perfect men, and use your understandings† .21 Be not so zealous for the use of unknown tongues in the church; they are not so proper there: it is written in the law‡ , “With men of other tongues, and other lips, will I speak unto this people: and yet, for all that, will they22 not hear me, saith the Lord.” So that, you see, the speaking of strange tongues miraculously, is not for those, who are already converted, but for a sign to those, who are unbelievers: but prophecy is for believers, and not for unbelievers; and therefore,23 fitter for your assemblies. If, therefore, when the church is all come together, you should all speak in unknown tongues, and men unlearned, or unbelievers should come in, would they not say,24 “that you are mad?” But if ye all prophesy, and an unbeliever, or an ignorant man, come in, the discourse he hears from you reaching his25 conscience, And the secret thoughts of his heart, he is convinced, and wrought upon; and so, falling down, worships God, and declares that God is certainly26 amongst you. What then is to be done, brethren? When you come together, every one is ready* , one with a psalm, another with a doctrine, another with a strange tongue, another with a revelation, another with an interpretation. Let all things be 27 done to edification. Even though* any one speak in an unknown tongue, which is a gift that seems least intended for edification† ; let but two or three at most, at any one meeting, speak in an unknown tongue; and that separately, one after another; and28 let there be but one interpreter‡ . But if there be no-body present, that can interpret, let not any one use his gift of tongues in the congregation; but let him, silently, within himself, speak to himself, and to29 God. Of those, who have the gift of prophecy, let but two or three speak at the same meeting, and let30 the others examine and discuss it. But if, during their debate, the meaning of it be revealed to one that sits by, let him, that was discoursing of it before,31 give off. For ye may all prophesy, one after another, that all may in their turns be hearers, and 32 receive exhortation and instruction. For the gifts of the Holy Ghost are not like the possession of the heathen priests, who are not masters of the Spirit that possesses them. But christians, however filled with the Holy Ghost, are masters of their own actions, can speak, or hold their peace, as they see occasion, and are not hurried away by any compulsion.33 It is, therefore, no reason for you to speak, more than one at once, or to interrupt one another, because you find yourselves inspired and moved by the Spirit of God. For God is not the author of confusion and disorder, but of quietness and peace. And this is what is observed in all the churches of34 God. As to your women, let them keep silence in your assemblies; for it is not permitted them to discourse there, or pretend to teach; that does no way suit their state of subjection, appointed them in the law.35 But, if they have a mind to have any thing explained to them, that passes in the church, let them, for their information, ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to discourse and debate with36 men publicly, in the congregation* . What! do you pretend to give laws to the church of God, or to a right to do what you please amongst yourselves, as if the gospel began at Corinth, and issuing from you was communicated to the rest of the world; or, as if it were communicated to you alone,37 of all the world? If any man amongst you think, that he hath the gift of prophecies, and would pass for a man knowing in the revealed will of God* , let him acknowledge, that these rules, which I have here given, are the commandments of the Lord.38 But if any man† be ignorant that they are so, I have no more to say to him; I leave him to his ignorance.39 To conclude, brethren, let prophecy have the preference in the exercise of it‡ ; but yet forbid40 not the speaking unknown tongues. But whether a man prophesies, or speaks with tongues, whatever spiritual gift he exercises in your assemblies, let it be done without any indecorum, or disorder.
CHAP. XV. 1—58.
After St. Paul (who had taught them another doctrine) had left Corinth, some among them denied the resurrection of the dead. This he confutes by Christ’s resurrection, which the number of witnesses, yet remaining, that had seen him, put past question, besides the constant inculcating of it, by all the apostles, every-where. From the resurrection of Christ, thus established, he infers the resurrection of the dead; shows the order they shall rise in, and what sort of bodies they shall have.
1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein ye stand;
2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3For I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures:
4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures:
5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remained unto this present, but some are fallen asleep:
7After that, he was seen of James: then, of all the apostles.
8And, last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11Therefore, whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
12Now, if Christ be preached, that he rose from the dead, how say some among you, that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.
14And, if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God, that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.
17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18Then they also, which are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished.
19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20But, now, is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.
21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22For, as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, afterwards they that are Christ’s, at his coming.
24Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power.
25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26The last enemy, that shall be destroyed, is death.
27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, “All things are put under him,” it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28And, when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him, that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
29Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they, then, baptized for the dead?
30And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
31I protest, by your rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32If, after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat, and drink; for to-morrow we die.
33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
34Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
35But some man will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?”
36Thou fool! that, which thou sowest, is not quickened, except it die.
37And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain.
38But God giveth it a body, as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
39All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption;
43It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
44It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45And so it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward, that which is spiritual.
47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49And, as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, (for the trumpet shall sound;) and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1In what I am now going to say to you, brethren, I make known to you no other gospel, than what I formerly preached to you, and you received, and have hitherto professed, and by which alone you are to be2 saved. This you will find to be so, if you retain in your memories what it was that I preached to you, which you certainly do, unless you have taken up the christian name and profession to no purpose.3 For I delivered to you, and particularly insisted on this, which I had received, viz. that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures:4 And that he was buried, and that he was raised again, the third day, according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen by Peter; afterwards by the6 twelve apostles: And after that, by above five hundred christians at once; of whom the greatest part remain alive to this day, but some of them are deceased:7 Afterwards he was seen by James; and after8 that, by all the apostles: Last of all, he was seen9 by me also, as by one born before my time* . For I am the least of the apostles, not worthy the name of an apostle; because I persecuted the church of10 God. But, by the free bounty of God, I am what it hath pleased him to make me: and this favour, which he hath bestowed on me, hath not been altogether fruitless; for I have laboured in preaching of the gospel, more than all the other apostles† : which yet I do not ascribe to any thing of myself, but to11 the favour of God, which accompanied me. But whether I, or the other apostles, preached, this was that which we preached, and this was the faith ye were baptized into, viz. that Christ died, and rose 12 again the third day. If, therefore, this be so, if this be that, which has been preached to you, viz. that Christ has been raised from the dead; how comes it that some amongst* you say, as they do, that there13 is no resurrection of the dead? And if there be no resurrection of the dead, then even Christ himself is14 not risen: And if Christ be not risen, our preaching is idle talk, and your believing it is to no purpose.15 And we, who pretend to be witnesses for God, and his truth, shall be found lyars, bearing witness against God, and his truth, affirming, that he raised Christ, whom in truth he did not raise, if it be so, that the16 dead are not raised. For if the dead shall not be17 raised, neither is Christ raised. And if Christ be not risen, your faith is to no purpose; your sins are not forgiven, but you are still liable to the punishment18 due to them. And they also, who died in the 19 belief of the gospel, are perished and lost. If the advantages we expect from Christ, are confined to this life, and we have no hope of any benefit from him, in another life hereafter, we christians are the20 most miserable of all men. But, in truth, Christ is actually risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits*21 of those who were dead. For, since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of22 the dead, or restoration to life. For, as the death that all men suffer, is owing to Adam, so the life, that all shall be restored to again, is procured them23 by Christ. But they shall return to life again not all at once, but in their proper order: Christ, the first-fruits, is already risen; next after him shall rise those, who are his people, his church, and this24 shall be at his second coming. After that shall be the day of judgment, which shall bring to a conclusion and finish the whole dispensation to the race and posterity of Adam, in this world: when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, the Father; which he shall not do, till he hath destroyed all empire, power, and authority, that25 shall be in the world besides. For he must reign, till he has totally subdued and brought all his enemies26 into subjection to his kingdom. The last enemy,27 that shall be destroyed, is death. For God hath subjected all things to Christ: but when it is said, “All things are subjected,” it is plain that he is to be excepted, who did subject all things to him.28 But when all things shall be actually reduced under subjection to him, then, even the Son himself, i. e. Christ and his whole kingdom, he and all his subjects and members, shall be subjected to him, that gave him this kingdom, and universal dominion, that God may immediately govern and influence all.29 Else* , what shall they do, who are baptized for the30 dead† ? And, why do we venture our lives continually?31 As to myself, I am exposed, vilified, treated so, that I die daily. And for this I call to witness your glorying against me, in which I really glory, as coming on me for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake.32 And particularly, to what purpose did I suffer myself to be exposed to wild beasts at Ephesus, if the dead rise not? If there be no resurrection, it is wiser a great deal to preserve ourselves, as long as we can, in a free enjoyment of all the pleasures of this life; for when death comes, as it shortly will,33 there is an end of us for ever. Take heed that you be not misled by such discourses: for evil communication34 is apt to corrupt even good minds. Awake from such dreams, as it is fit you should, and give not yourselves up sinfully to the enjoyments of this life. For there are some atheistical* people among35 you: this I say to make you ashamed. But possibly it will be asked, “How comes it to pass, that dead men are raised, and with what kind of bodies do they come? Shall† they have, at the resurrection, 36 “such bodies as they have now?” Thou fool! does not daily experience teach thee, that the seed, which thou sowest, corrupts and dies, before it37 springs up and lives again! That, which thou sowest, is the bare grain, of wheat, or barley, or the like; but the body, which it has, when it rises up, is different38 from the seed that is sown. For it is not the seed that rises up again, but a quite different body, such as God has thought fit to give it, viz. a plant, of a particular shape and size, which God has appointed39 to each sort of seed. And so, likewise, it is in animals; there are different kinds of flesh* : for the flesh of men is of one kind: the flesh of cattle is of another kind; that of fish is different from them both; and the flesh of birds is of a peculiar sort, different40 from them all. To look yet farther into the difference of bodies, there be both heavenly and earthly bodies; but the beauty and excellency of the heavenly bodies is of one kind, and that of earthly41 bodies of another. The sun, moon, and stars, have each of them their particular beauty and brightness, and one star differs from another in42 glory. And so shall the resurrection of the dead* be: that, which is sown in this world* , and comes to die, is a poor, weak, contemptible, corruptible43 thing: When it is raised again, it shall be powerful,44 glorious, and incorruptible. The body, we have here, surpasses not the animal nature. At the resurrection, it shall be spiritual. There are both45 animal† and spiritual‡ bodies. And so it is written, “The first man Adam was made a living soul,” i. e. made of an animal constitution, endowed with an animal life; the second Adam was made of a spiritual constitution, with a power to give life46 to others. Howbeit, the spiritual was not first, but the animal; and afterwards the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made up of dust, or earthy particles: the second man is the Lord from48 heaven. Those who have no higher an extraction, than barely from the earthy man, they, like him, have barely an animal life and constitution: but those, who are regenerate, and born of the heavenly seed, are, as49 he that is heavenly, spiritual and immortal. And as in the animal, corruptible, mortal state, we were born in, we have been like him, that was earthy; so also shall we, who, at the resurrection, partake of a spiritual life from Christ, be made like him, the Lord from heaven, heavenly, i. e. live, as the spirits in heaven do, without the need of food, or nourishment, to support it, and without infirmities, decay and50 death, enjoying a fixed, stable, unfleeting life. This I say to you, brethren, to satisfy those that ask, “with what bodies the dead shall come?” that we shall not at the resurrection have such bodies as we have now: for flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom, which the saints shall inherit in heaven; nor are such fleeting, corruptible things as our present bodies are, fitted to that state of immutable incorruptibility.51 To which let me add, what has not been hitherto discovered, viz. that we shall not all52 die, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sounding of the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise: and as many of us, believers, as are then53 alive, shall be changed. For this corruptible frame and constitution* of ours, must put on incorruption,54 and from mortal become immortal. And, when we are got into that state of incorruptibility and immortality, then shall be fulfilled what was foretold in these words, “Death is swallowed up of victory† ;” i. e. death is perfectly subdued and exterminated, by a complete victory over it, so that 55 there shall be no death any more. Where, O death, is now that power, whereby thou deprivest men of life? What is become of the dominion of the grave, whereby they were detained prisoners there* ?56 That, which gives death the power of men is sin,57 and it is the law, by which sin has this power. But thanks be to God, who gives us deliverance and victory over death, the punishment of sin, by the law, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has delivered58 us from the rigour of the law. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, continue stedfast and unmoveable in the christian faith, always abounding in your obedience to the precepts of Christ, and in those duties which are required of us, by our Lord and Saviour, knowing that your labour will not be lost. Whatsoever you shall do, or suffer for him, will be abundantly rewarded, by eternal life.
CHAP. XVI. 1—4.
He gives directions concerning their contribution to the poor christians at Jerusalem.
1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
3And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
4And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
1As to the collection for the converts to christianity, who are at Jerusalem, I would have you do, as I2 have directed the churches of Galatia. Let every one of you, according as he thrives in his calling, lay aside some part of his gain by itself, which, the first day of the week, let him put into the common treasury* of the church, that there may be no need of3 any gathering, when I come. And when I come, those, whom you shall approve of† , will I send with letters to Jerusalem, to carry thither your benevolence.4 Which if it deserves, that I also should go, they shall go along with me.
CHAP. XVI. 5—12.
He gives them an account of his own, Timothy’s, and Apollos’s intention of coming to them.
5Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia (for I do pass through Macedonia:)
6And it may be, that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey, whithersoever I go.
7For I will not see you now, by the way; but I trust to tarry awhile with you, if the Lord permit.
8But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.
9For a great door, and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
10Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.
11Let no man, therefore, despise him; but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.
12As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you, with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come, when he shall have convenient time.
5I will come unto you, when I have been in Macedonia;6 for I intend to take that in my way: And perhaps I shall make some stay, nay, winter with you, that you may bring me going on my way,7 whithersoever I go. For I do not intend just to call in upon you, as I pass by; but I hope to spend8 some time with you, if the Lord permit. But I shall stay at Ephesus till Pentecost, i. e. Whitsuntide.9 For now I have a very fair and promising opportunity given me of propagating the gospel, though10 there be many opposers. If Timothy come to you, pray take care, that he be easy, and without fear amongst you: for he promotes the work of the11 Lord, in preaching the gospel, even as I do. Let no-body, therefore, despise him; but treat him kindly, and bring him going, that he may come unto me: for I expect him with the brethren. 12 As to brother* Apollos, I have earnestly endeavoured to prevail with him to come to you with the brethren† : but he has no mind to it at all, at present. He will come, however, when there shall be a fit occasion.
CHAP. XVI. 13.—24.
The conclusion, wherein St. Paul, according to his custom, leaves with them some, which he thinks most necessary, exhortations, and sends particular greetings.
13Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
14Let all your things be done with charity.
15I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints)
16That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.
17I am glad of the coming of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus: for that, which was lacking on your part, they have supplied.
18For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore, acknowledge ye them that are such.
19The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
20All the brethren greet you. Greet you one another with an holy kiss.
21The salutation of me, Paul, with mine own hand.
22If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha.
23The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
24My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
13Be upon your guard, stand firm in the faith, behave yourselves like men, with courage and resolution:14 And whatever is done amongst you, either in public assemblies, or elsewhere, let it all be done with 15 affection, and good-will, one to another* . You know the house of Stephanas, that they were the first converts of Achaia, and have all along made it16 their business to minister to the saints: To such, I beseech you to submit yourselves: let such as, with17 us, labour to promote the gospel, be your leaders. I am glad, that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus came to me; because they have supplied what was18 deficient on your side. For, by the account they have given me of you, they have quieted my mind, and yours too† : therefore have a regard to such19 men as these. The churches of Asia salute you, and so do Aquila and Priscilla, with much christian20 affection; with the church that is in their house. All the brethren here salute you: salute one another21 with an holy kiss. That, which followeth, is the22 salutation of me, Paul, with my own hand. If any one be an enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ, and his gospel, let him be accursed, or devoted to destruction. The Lord cometh to execute vengeance23 on him* . The favour of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ24 Jesus. Amen.
[* ]1 St. Paul, in most of his epistles, mentions his being called to be an “apostle by the will of God;” which way of speaking being peculiar to him, we way suppose him therein to intimate his extraordinary and miraculous call, Acts ix. and his receiving the gospel by immediate revelation, Gal. i. 11, 12. For he doubted not of the will and providence of God governing all things.
[† ]Acts xviii. 17.
[‡ ]2 Ἡγιασμένοις ἐν Χριϛῷ Ἰησȣ͂. “Sanctified in Christ Jesus,” does not signify here, whose lives are pure and holy; for there were many, amongst those he writ to, who were quite otherwise; but, sanctified, signifies separate from the common state of mankind, to be the people of God, and to serve him. The Heathen world had revolted from the true God, to the service of idols and false gods, Rom. i. 18—25. The Jews being separated from this corrupted mass, to be the peculiar people of God, were called holy. Exod. xix. 5, 6. Numb. xv. 40. They being cast off, the professors of christianity were separated to be the people of God, and so became holy, 1 Pet. ii. 9, 10.
[§ ]Ἐπιϰαλȣ́ριενοι ὄνομα Χριϛȣ͂, “that are called christians;” these Greek words being a periphrasis for christians, as is plain from the design of this verse. But he that is not satisfied with that, may see more proofs of it, in Dr. Hammond upon the place.
[∥ ]What the apostle means by, Lord, when he attributes it to Christ, vid. ch. viii. 6.
[* ]7 Vid. 2 Cor. xii. 12, 13.
[* ]10 “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth, is, and ought to be named.” If any one has thought St. Paul a loose writer, it is only because he was a loose reader. He that takes notice of St. Paul’s design, shall find that there is not a word scarce, or expression, that he makes use of, but with relation and tendency to his present mainpurpose: as here, intending to abolish the names of leaders, they distinguished themselves by, he beseeches them, by the name of Christ, a form that I do not remember he elsewhere uses.
[* ]11 “Brethren,” a name of union and friendship, used here twice together, by St. Paul, in the entrance of his persuasion to them, to put an end to their divisions.
[† ]13 Εἰς properly signifies into; so the French translate it here; the phrase Βϰπισϑῆναι εἰς, “to be baptized into any one’s name, or into any one,” is solemnly, by that ceremony, to enter himself a disciple of him, into whose name he is baptized, with profession to receive his doctrine and rules, and submit to his authority; a very good argument here, why they should be called by no one’s name, but Christ’s.
[* ]20 Scribe was the title of a learned man amongst the jews; one versed in their law and rites, which was the study of their doctors and rabbies. It is likely the false apostle, so much concerned in these two epistles to the corinthians, who was a jew, pretended to something of this kind, and magnified himself thereupon; otherwise it is not probable, that St. Paul should name, to the corinthians, a sort of men not much known, or valued, amongst the greeks. This, therefore, may be supposed to be said to take off their glorying in their false apostle.
[† ]22 Ἐπειδὲ ϰαὶ, “since both.” Thesewords used here, by St. Paul, are not certainly idle and insignificant, and therefore I see not how they can be omitted in the translation.
[* ]28 Τὰ μὴ ὂντα, “Things that are not,” I think may well be understood of the gentiles, who were not the people of God, and were counted as nothing, by the jews; and we are pointed to this meaning by the words ϰαταισχύνη and ϰαταργήση, “by the foolish and weak things,” i. e. by simple, illiterate, and mean men, God would make ashamed the learned philosophers, and great men of the nations; but, by the μὴ ὄντα, “things that are not,” he would abolish the things that are, as, in effect, he did abblish the jewish church, by the christian, taking in the gentiles to be his people, in the place of the rejected jews, who, until then, were his people. This St. Paul mentions here, not by chance, but pursuant to his main design, to stay their glorying in their false apostle, who was a jew; by showing that, whatever that head of the faction might claim, under that pretence, as it is plain he did stand upon it (see 2 Cor. xi. 21, 22.) he had not any the least title to any esteem, or respect, upon that account; since the jewish nation was laid aside, and God had chosen the gentiles to take their place, and to be his church and people instead of them; vid. note on ch. ii. ver. 6. There one may see who are the ϰαταργȣ́μενοι, “the abolished,” whom God says here, ϰαταργήση, “he will abolish.”
[* ]1 Τὸ μαρτύριον τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, “The testimony of God,” i. e. what God hath revealed and testified in the Old Testament; the apostle here declares to the corinthians, that, when he brought the gospel to them, he made no use of any human science, improvement, or skill; no insinuations of eloquence, no philosophical speculations, or ornaments of human learning, appeared in any thing he said to persuade them: all his arguments were, as he tells them, verse 4, from the revelation of the Spirit of God, in the predictions of the Old Testament, and the miracles, which he (Paul) did among them, that their faith might be built wholly upon the Spirit of God, and not upon the abilities and wisdom of man; though μαρύριον τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, “The testimony of God,” agrees very well with so much of St. Paul’s meaning, as relates to his founding his preaching on the testimony of God, yet those copies, which read μυϛήριον, mystery, for μαρύριον, testimony, seem more perfectly to correspond with St. Paul’s sense in the whole latitude of it. For though he owns the doctrine of the gospel, dictated by the Spirit of God, to be contained in the scriptures of the Old Testament, and builds upon revelation; yet he every-where teaches, that it remained a secret there, not understood till they were led into the hidden, evangelical meaning of those passages, by the coming of Jesus Christ, and by the assistance of the Spirit, in the times of the Messiah, and then published to the world, by the preachers of the gospel: and therefore he calls it, especially that part of it which relates to the gentiles, almost every where, μυϛήριον, mystery. See, particularly, Rom. xvi. 25, 26.
[* ]2 St. Paul, who was himself a learned man, especially in the jewishknowledge, having, in the foregoing chapter, told them, that neither the jewish learning, nor grecian sciences, give a man any advantage, as a minister of the gospel; he here reminds them, that he made no show or use of either, when he planted the gospel among them; intimating thereby, that those were not things for which their teachers were to be valued, or followed.
[† ]3 St. Paul, by thus setting forth his own modest and humble behaviour amongst them, reflects on the contrary carriage of their false apostle, which he describes in words at length, 2 Cor. xi. 20.
[‡ ]4 There were two sorts of arguments, wherewith the apostle confirmed the gospel; the one was the revelations made concerning our Saviour, by types and figures, and prophecies of him, under the law: the other, miracles and miraculous gifts accompanying the first preachers of the gospel, in the publishing and propagating of it. The latter of these St. Paul here calls Power; the former, in this chapter, he terms Spirit: so ver. 12, 14. “Things of the Spirit of God, and spiritual things,” are things which are revealed by the Spirit of God, and not discoverable byour natural faculties.
[§ ]5 Their faith being built wholly on divine revelation and miracles, whereby all human abilities were shut out, there could be no reason for any of them to boast themselves of their teachers, or value themselves upon their being the followers of this or that preacher, which St. Paul hereby obviates.
[* ]6 [Perfect] here is the same with spiritual, ver. 15; one, that is so perfectly well apprised of the divine nature and original of the christian religion, that he sees and acknowledges it to be all a pure revelation from God, and not, in the least, the product of human discovery, parts, or learning; and so, deriving it wholly from what God hath taught, by his Spirit, in the sacred scriptures, allows not the least part of it to be ascribed to the skill or abilities of men, as authors of it, but received as a doctrine coming from God alone. And thus, Perfect, is opposed to, Carnal, ch. iii. 1, 3. i. e. such babes in christianity, such weak and mistaken christians, that they thought the gospel was to be managed, as human arts and sciences amongst men of the world; and those were better instructed, and were more in the right, who followed this master or teacher, rather than another; and so glorying in being the scholars, one of Paul, and another of Apollos, fell into divisions and parties about it, and vaunted one over another; whereas, in the school of Christ, all was to be built on the authority of God alone, and the revelation of the Spirit in the sacred scriptures.
[† ]“Wisdom of this world,” i. e. the knowledge, arts and sciences attainable by man’s natural parts and faculties; such as man’s wit could find out, cultivate and improve: “or of the princes of this world,” i. e. such doctrines, arts and sciences, as the princes of the world approve, encourage, and endeavour to propagate.
[* ]Though by Ἄρχονες τȣ͂ αἰῶνος τȣ́τȣ, may here be understood the princes, or great men, of this world, in the ordinary sense of these words; yet he that well considers ver. 28. of the foregoing chapter, and ver. 8. of this chapter, may find reason to think, that the apostle here principally designs the rulers and great men of the jewish nation. If it be objected, that there is little ground to think that St. Paul, by the wisdom he disowns, should mean that of his own nation, which the greeks of Corinth (whom he was writing to) had little acquaintance with, and had very little esteem for; I reply, that to understand this right, and the pertinency of it, we must remember, that the great design of St. Paul, in writing to the corinthians, was, to take them off from the respect and esteem that many of them had for a false apostle, that was got in among them, and had there raised a faction against St. Paul. This pretended apostle, it is plain, from 2 Cor. 11, 22, was a jew, and as it seems, 2 Cor. v. 16, 17, valued himself upon that account, and possibly boasted himself to he a man of note, either by birth, or alliance, or place, or learning, among that people, who counted themselves the holy and illuminated people of God; and therefore, to have a right to sway among these new heathen converts. To obviate this claim of his to any authority, St. Paul here tells the corinthians, that the wisdom and learning of the jewish nation led them not into the knowledge of the wisdom of God, i. e. the gospel revealed in the Old Testament, evident in this, that it was their rulers and rabbies, who, stiffly adhering to the notions and prejudices of their nation, had crucified Jesus, the Lord of glory, and were now themselves, with their state and religion, upon the point to be swept away and abolished. It is to the same purpose, that 2 Cor. v. 16—19, he tells the corinthians, That, “he knows no man after the flesh,” i. e. that he acknowledges no dignity of birth, or descent, or outward national privileges. The old things of the jewish constitution are past and gone; whoever is in Christ, and entereth into his kingdom, is in a new creation, wherein all things are new, all things are from God: no right, no claim, or preference, derived to any one, from any former institution; but every one’s dignity consists solely in this, that God had reconciled him to himself, not imputing his former trespasses to him.
[† ]Αἰών ȣ͂̔τος, which we translate “this world,” seems to me to signify commonly, if not constantly, in the New Testament, that state which, during the mosaical constitution, men, either jews or gentiles, were in, as contradistinguished to the evangelical state, or constitution, which is commonly called, Αἰών μέλλων, or ἐρχόμειος, “the world to come.”
[‡ ]Τῶν ϰααργȣμένων, “who are brought to nought,” i. e. who are vanishing. If “the wisdom of this world, and of the princes of this world,” be to be understood, of the wisdom and learning of the world, in general, as contradistinguished to the doctrine of the gospel, then the words are added, to show what folly it is for them to glory, as they do, in their teachers, when all that worldly wisdom and learning, and the great men, the supporters of it, would quickly be gone; whereas all true and lasting glory came only from Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. But if these words are to be understood of the jews, as seems most consonant, both to the main design of the epistle, and to St. Paul’s expressions here; then his telling them, that the princes of the jewish nation are brought to nought, is to take them off from glorying in their judaizing, false apostle; since the authority of the rulers of that nation, in matters of religion, was now at an end, and they, with all their pretences, and their very constitution itself, were upon the point of being abolished and swept away, for having rejected and crucified the Lord of glory.
[* ]7 “Wisdom of God,” is used here for the doctrine of the gospel, coming immediately from God, by the revelation of his Spirit; and, in this chapter, is set in opposition to all knowledge, discoveries and improvements whatsoever, attainable by human industry, parts and study; all which he calls, “the wisdom of the world, and man’s wisdom.” Thus distinguishing the knowledge of the gospel, which was derived wholly from revelation, and could be had no other way, from all other knowledge whatsoever.
[† ]What the Spirit of God had revealed of the gospel, during the times of the law, was so little understood by the jews, in whose sacred writings it was contained, that it might well be called the “wisdom of God in a mystery,” i. e. declared in obscure prophecies, and mysterious expressions, and types. Though this be undoubtedly so, as appears by what the jews both thought and did, when Jesus the Messiah, exactly answering what was foretold of him, came amongst them, yet by “the wisdom of God, in the mystery, wherein it was hid though purposed by God, before the settling of the jewish economy,” St. Paul seems more peculiarly to mean, what the gentiles, and consequently the corinthians, were more peculiarly concerned in, viz. God’s purpose of calling the gentiles to be his people under the Messiah; which, though revealed in the Old Testament, yet was not in the least understood, until the times of the gospel, and the preaching of St. Paul, the apostle of the gentiles; which, therefore, he so frequently calls a mystery. The reading and comparing Rom. xvi. 25, 26. Eph. iii. 3—9. ch. vi. 19, 20. Col. i. 26, 27. and ii. 1, 8. and iv. 3, 4. will give light to this. To which give me leave to observe, upon the use of the word Wisdom, here, that St. Paul, speaking of God’s calling the gentiles, cannot, in mentioning it, forbear expressions of his admiration of the great and incomprehensible wisdom of God therein. See Eph. iii. 8, 10. Rom. xi. 33.
[‡ ]Πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων, signifies properly “before the ages,” and I think it may be doubted, whether these words, “before the world,” do exactly render the sense of the place. That αἰὼν, or αἰῶνες, should not be translated, “the world,” as in many places they are, I shall give one convincing instance, among many, that may be brought, viz. Eph. iii. 9. compared with Col. i. 26. The words in Colossians are, τὸ μυϛηριον τὸ ἀποϰεϰρυμμένον ἀπὸ τῶν ἀιώνων, thus rendered in the English translation, “which hath been hidden from ages;” but in Eph. iii. 9, a parallel place, the same words, τȣ͂ μυϛηρίȣ τȣ͂ ἀποϰεϰρυμμένȣ ἀπὸ τῶν αἰωνων, are translated, “The mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid.” Whereas it is plain from Col. i. 26, ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων does not signify the epoch, or commencement of the concealment, but those from whom it was concealed. It is plain, the apostle, in the verse immediately preceding, and that following this, which we have before us, speaks of the jews;” and therefore ϖρὸ τῶν αἰώνων here may be well understood to mean, “Before the ages of the jews;” and so ἀπ’ αἰώνων, “from the ages of the jews,” in the other two-mentioned texts. Why αἰῶνες in these, and other places, as Luke i. 70, and Acts iii. 21, and elsewhere, should be appropriated to the ages of the jews, may be owing to their counting by ages, or jubilees, vid. Dr. Burthogge in his judicious treatise, “Christianity a revealed mystery,” cap. 2, page 17.
[* ]St. Paul here opposes the true glory of a christian, to the glorying, which was amongst the corinthians, in the eloquence, learning, or any other quality of their factious leaders; for St. Paul, in all his expressions, has an eye on his main purpose; as if he should have said, “Why do you make divisions, by glorying, as you do, in your distinct teachers; the glory that God has ordained us christian teachers and professors to, is to be expounders, preachers, and believers of those revealed truths and purposes of God, which, though contained in the sacred scriptures of the Old Testament, were not understood in former ages. This is all the glory that belongs to us, the disciples of Christ, who is the Lord of all power and glory, and herein has given us, what far excels all, that either jews, or gentiles, had any expectation of, from what they gloried in:” vid. ver. 9. Thus St. Paul takes away all matter of glorying from the false apostle, and his factious followers among the corinthians. The excellency of the gospel-administration, see also 2 Cor. iii. 6—11.
[* ]12 We, the true apostles, or rather I; for though he speaks in the plural number, to avoid ostentation, as it might be interpreted; yet he is here justifying himself, and showing the corinthians, that none of them had reason to forsake and slight him, to follow and cry up their false apostle. And that he speaks of himself, is plain from the next verse, where he saith, “We speak not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth,” the same which he says of himself, ch. i. ver. 17, “I was sent to preach, not with wisdom of words.” And chap. ii. ver. 1, “I came to you, not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom.”
[† ]As he puts princes of the world, ver. 6, 8, for the rulers of the jews, so here he puts “Spirit of the world” for the notions of the jews: that worldly spirit, wherewith they interpreted the Old Testament, and the prophecies of the Messiah and his kingdom; which spirit, in contradistinction to the Spirit of God, which the Roman converts had received, he calls the spirit of bondage, Rom. iii. 15.
[‡ ]13 It is plain “the spiritual things,” he here speaks of, are the unsearchable counsels of God, revealed by the Spirit of God, which therefore he calls “spiritual things.”
[* ]14, 15. Ψυχιϰὸς, “the animal man,” and ϖνευμαιϰὸς, “the spiritual man,” are opposed by St. Paul, in ver. 14, 15, the one signifying a man, that has no higher principles to build on, than those of natural reason; the other, a man, that founds his faith and religion on divine revelation. This is what appears to be meant by natural, or rather animal man, and spiritual, as they stand opposed, in these two verses.
[† ]16 Αὐτὸν, him, refers here to spiritual man, in the former verse, and not to Lord, in this. For St. Paul is showing here, not that a natural man, and a mere philosopher, cannot instruct Christ; this no-body, pretending to be a christian, could own; but that a man, by his bare natural parts, not knowing the mind of the Lord, could not instruct, could not judge, could not correct a preacher of the gospel, who built upon revelation, as he did, and therefore it was sure he had the mind of Christ.
[* ]14, 15. Ψυχιϰὸς, “the animal man,” and ϖνευμαιϰὸς, “the spiritual man,” are opposed by St. Paul, in ver. 14, 15, the one signifying a man, that has no higher principles to build on, than those of natural reason; the other, a man, that founds his faith and religion on divine revelation. This is what appears to be meant by natural, or rather animal man, and spiritual, as they stand opposed, in these two verses.
[* ]1 Vid. ch. i. 22, and iii. 18.
[† ]Here ϖνευματιϰὸς, spiritual, is opposed to σαρϰιϰὸς, carnal, as ch. ii. 14, it is to ψυχιϰὸς, natural, or rather animal: so that here we have three sorts of men, 1. Carnal, i. e. such as are swayed by fleshly passions and interests. 2. Animal, i. e. such as seek wisdom, or a way to happiness, only by the strength and guidance of their own natural parts, without any supernatural light, coming from the Spirit of God, i. e. by reason without revelation, by philosophy without scripture. 3. Spiritual, i. e. such as seek their direction to happiness, not in the dictates of natural reason and philosophy, but in the revelations of the Spirit of God, in the holy scriptures.
[‡ ]1 Here σαρϰιϰὸς, carnal, is opposed to ϖνευματιϰὸς, spiritual, in the same sense, that ψυχιϰὸς, natural, or animal, is opposed to ϖνευματιϰὸς, spiritual, chap. ii. 14, as appears by the explication, which St. Paul himself gives here to σαρϰιϰὸς, carnal: for he makes the carnal to be all one with babes in Christ, v. 1, i. e. such as had not their understandings yet fully opened to the true grounds of the christian religion, but retained a great many childish thoughts about it, as appeared by their divisions; one for the doctrine of his master, Paul; another for that of his master, Apollos; which, if they had been spiritual, i. e. had looked upon the doctrine of the gospel to have come sosely from the Spirit of God, and to be had only from revelation, they could not have done. For then all human mixtures, of any thing derived, either from Paul orApollos, or any other man, had been wholly excluded. But they, in these divisions, professed to hold their religion, one from one man, and another from another; and were thereupon divided into parties. This, he tells them, was to be carnal, and ϖεριπατεῖν ϰατὰ ἄνθρωπον, to be led by principles purely human, i. e. to found their religion upon men’s natural parts and discoveries, whereas the gospel was wholly built upon divine revelation, and nothing else; and from thence alone those, who were ϖνευματιϰοὶ, took it.
[* ]That this is the meaning of the apostle’s metaphor of milk and babes, may be seen Heb. v. 12—14.
[† ]2 Vid. chap. ii. 13.
[‡ ]Vid. Heb. v. 14.
[§ ]3 Κατ’ ἄνθρωπον, “speaking according to man,” signifies speaking according to the principles of natural reason, in contradistinction to revelation: vid. 1 Cor. ix. 8. Gal. i. 11. And so “walking according to man” must here be understood.
[∥ ]4 From this 4th verse, compared with chap. iv. 6, it may be no improbable conjecture, that the division in this church was only into two opposite parties, whereof the one adhered to St. Paul, the other stood up for their head, a false apostle, who opposed St. Paul. For the Apollos, whom St. Paul mentions here, was one (as he tells us, ver. 6.) who came in, and watered what he had planted: i. e. when St. Paul had planted a church at Corinth, this Apollos got into it, and pretended to instruct them farther, and boasted in his performances amongst them, which St. Paul takes notice of again, 2 Cor. x. 15, 16. Now the Apollos that he here speaks of, he himself tells us, chap. iv. 6, was another man, under that borrowed name. It is true, St. Paul, in his epistles to the corinthians, generally speaks of these his opposers in the plural number; but it is to be remembered, that he speaks so of himself too, which, as it was the less invidious way, in regard of himself, so it was the softer way towards his opposers, though he seems to intimate plainly, that it was one leader that was set up against him.
[* ]11 Chap. iv. 15. In this he reflects on the false apostle, 2 Cor. x, 15, 16.
[* ]12 When the day of trial and recompence shall be; see chap. iv. 5, where he speaks of the same thing.
[† ]16 Vid. ver. 9.
[‡ ]17 It is not incongruous to think, that, by any man, here, St. Paul designs one particular man, viz. the false apostle, who, it is probable, by the strength of his party, supporting and retaining the fornicator, mentioned ch. v. in the church, had defiled it; which may be the reason, why St. Paul so often mentions fornication, in this epistle, and that, in some places, with particular emphasis, as chap. v. 9, and vi. 13—20. Most of the disorders, in this church, we may look on, as owing to this false apostle; which is the reason, why St. Paul sets himself so much against him, in both these epistles, and makes almost the whole business of them, to draw the corinthians off from their leader, judging, as it is like, that this church could not be reformed, as long as that person was in credit, and had a party among them.
[* ]18 What it was, wherein the craftiness of the person mentioned had appeared, it was not necessary for St. Paul, writing to the corinthians, who knew the matter of fact, to particularize to us: therefore it is left to guess, and possibly we shall not be much out, if we take it to be the keeping the fornicator from censure, so much insisted on by St. Paul, chap. v.
[† ]That by σοφὸς, here, the apostle means a cunning man in business, is plain from his quotation in the next verse, where the Wise, spoken of, are the crafty.
[* ]6 Vid. chap. iii. 4.
[† ]Vid. chap. iii. 6, 9. chap. iv. 1.
[* ]9 The apostle seems here to allude to the custom of bringing those last upon the theatre, who were to be destroyed by wild beasts.
[† ]10 So he uses the word weakness, often, in his epistles to the corinthians, applied to himself: vid. 2 Cor. xii. 10.
[* ]14 Vid. 2 Cor xi. 20. St. Paul here, from ver. 8 to 17, by giving an account of his own carriage, gently rebukes them for following men of a different character, and exhorts them to be followers of himself.
[† ]16 This he presses again, chap. xi. 1. and it is not likely he would have proposed himself, over and over again, to them, to be followed by them, had the question and contest amongst them been only, whose name they should have borne, his, or their new teacher’s. His proposing himself, therefore, thus to be followed, must be understood, in direct opposition to the false apostle, who misled them, and was not to be suffered to have any credit, or followers, amongst them.
[‡ ]17 This he does to show, that what he taught them, and pressed them to, was not in a pique against his opposer, but to convince them, that all he did, at Corinth, was the very same, and no other, than what he did every where, as a faithful steward and minister of the gospel.
[* ]21 He that shall carefully read 2 Cor. i. 20.—ii. 11, will easily perceive that this last verse here, of this 4th chapter, is an introduction to the severe act of discipline, which St. Paul was going to exercise amongst them, though absent, as if he had been present. And, therefore, this verse ought not to have been separated from the following chapter, as if it belonged not to that discourse.
[† ]1 Vid. chap. iv. 8, 10. The writers of the New Testament seem to use the Greek word ϖορνεία, which we translate, fornication, in the same sense that the Hebrews used זנות, which we also translate, fornication; though it be certain, both these words, in sacred scripture, have a larger sense than the word, fornication, has in our language; for זנות, amongst the Hebrews, signified, “Turpitudinem,” or “Rem turpem,” uncleanness, or any flagitious scandalous crime, but more especially, the uncleanness of unlawful copulation and idolatry; and not precisely fornication, in our sense of the word, i. e. the unlawful mixture of an unmarried couple.
[‡ ][Not known] That the marrying of a son-in-law, and a mother-in-law, was not prohibited by the laws of the Roman empire, may be seen in Tully; but yet it was looked on, as so scandalous and infamous, that it never had any countenance from practice. His words in his oration pro Cluentio, § 4, are so agreeable to the present case, that it may not be amiss to set them down: “Nubit genero socrus, nullis auspiciis, nullis auctoribus. O scelus incredibile, et præter hanc unam, in omni vita inauditum!”
[* ]6 Glorying is all along, in the beginning of this epistle, spoken of the preference they gave to their new leader, in opposition to St. Paul.
[† ]If their leader had not been guilty of this miscarriage, it had been out of St. Paul’s way here to have reproved them, for their glorying in him. But St. Paul is a close writer, and uses not to mention things, where they are impertinent to his subject.
[‡ ]What reason he had to say this, vid. 2 Cor. xii. 21—“Grex totus in agris Unius seabie cadit, et porrigine porci.”
[* ]7 and 8 In these two verses he alludes to the jews cleansing their houses, at the feast of the passover, from all leaven, the symbol of corruption and wickedness.
[* ]1 ᾥγιοι, saints, is put for christians: ἄδιϰοι, unjust, for heathens.
[† ]4 Ἐξȣθενημένȣς, “judices non authenticos.” Among the jews there was “consessus triumviralis, authenticus,” who had authority, and could hear and determine causes, “ex officio;” there was another “consessus triumviralis,” which were chosen by the parties; these, though they were not authentic, yet could judge and determine the causes referred to them; these were those whom St. Paul calls here, ἐξȣθενημένȣς, “judices non authenticos,” i. e. referees chosen by the parties. See de Dieu. That St. Paul does not mean by ἐξȣθενημένȣς, “those who are least esteemed,” as our English translation reads it, is plain from the next verse.
[‡ ]5 Σοφὸς, “wisemen.” If St. Paul uses this word, in the sense of the synagogue, it signifies one ordained, or a rabbi, and so capacitated to be a judge; for such were called “wise men.” If in the sense of the greek schools, then it signifies a man of learning, study and parts: if it be taken in the latter sense, it may seem to be some reflection on their pretending to wisdom.
[* ]8 That the wrong, here spoken of, was the fornicator’s taking and keeping his father’s wife, the words of St. Paul, 2 Cor. vii. 12, instancing this very wrong, are a sufficient evidence. And it is not wholly improbable, there had been some hearing of this matter, before an heathen judge, or at least talked of: which, if supposed, will give a great light to this whole passage, and several other in these chapters. For thus visibly runs St. Paul’s argument, chap. v. 12, 13, chap. vi. 1, 2, 3, &c. coherent and easy to be understood, if it stood together as it should, and were not chopped in pieces, by a division into two chapters. Ye have a power to judge those, who are of your church; therefore put away from among you that fornicator: you do ill, to let it come before a heathen magistrate. Are you, who are to judge the world and angels, not worthy to judge such a matter as this?
[* ]11 Ἡγιάσθητε, “sanctified,” i. e. have remission of your sins, so sanctified signifies, Heb. x. 10, and 18, compared. He that would perfectly comprehend, and be satisfied in the meaning of this place, let him read Heb. ix. 10, particularly ix. 13—23.
[† ]Ἑδιϰαιώθητε, “ye are become just,” i. e. are reformed in your lives. See it used, Rev. xxii. 11.
[‡ ]12 St. Paul having, upon occasion of injustice amongst them, particularly in the matter of the fornicator, warned them against that and other sins, that exclude men from salvation, he here re-assumes his former argument, about fornication; and, by his reasoning here, it looks as if some among them had pleaded, that fornication was lawful. Towhich he answers, that, granting it be so, yet the lawfulness of all wholesome food reaches not the case of fornication, and shows by several instances, (as particularly the degrading the body, and making what, in a christian, is the member of Christ, the member of an harlot,) that fornication, upon several accounts, might be so unsuitable to the state of a christian man, that a christian society might have reason to animadvert upon a fornicator, though fornication might pass for an indifferent action in another man.
[§ ]13 “Expedient, and brought under power,” in this verse, seems to refer to the two parts of the following verse: the first of them to eating, in the first part of the 13th verse, and the latter of them to fornication, in the latter part of the 13th verse. To make this more intelligible, it may be fit to remark, that St. Paul seems here to obviate such a sort of reasoning as this, in behalf of the fornicator: “All sorts of meats are lawful to christians, who are set free from the law of Moses; and why are they not so, in regard of women, who are at their own disposals?” To which St. Paul replies, “Though my belly was made only for eating, and all sorts of meat were made to be eaten, and so are lawful for me, yet I will abstain from what is lawful, if it be not convenient for me, though my belly will be certain to receive no prejudice by it, which will affect it in the other world; since God will there put an end to the belly, and all use of food. But, as to the body of a christian, the case is quite otherwise; that was not made for the enjoyment of women, but for a much nobler end, to be a member of Christ’s body; and so shall last for ever, and not be destroyed, as the belly shall be. Therefore, supposing fornication to be lawful in itself, I will not so debase and subject my body, and do it that prejudice, as to take that, which is a member of Christ, and make it the member of an harlot; this ought to be had in detestation by all christians.” The context is soplain in the case, that interpreters allow St. Paul to discourse here, upon a supposition of the lawfulness of fornication. Nor will it appear at all strange, that he does so, if we consider the argument he is upon. He is here convincing the corinthians, that though fornication were to them an indifferent thing, and were not condemned in their country, more than eating any sort of meat; yet there might be reasons why a christian society might punish it, in their own members, by church censures, and expulsion of the guilty. Conformably hereunto we see, in what follows here, that all the arguments used by St. Paul, against fornication, are brought from the incongruity it hath with the state of a christian, as a christian; but nothing is said against it as a fault in a man, as a man; no plea used, that it is a sin, in all men, by the law of nature. A christian society, without entering into that inquiry, or going so far as that, had reason to condemn and censure it, as not comporting with the dignity and prineiples of that religion, which was the foundation of their society.
[* ]“Woman,” I have put in this, to make the apostle’s sense understood the easier. For he arguing here, as he does, upon the supposition, that fornication is in itself lawful; fornication, in these words, must mean the supposed, lawful enjoyment of a woman: otherwise it will not answer the foregoing instance, of the belly and eating.
[* ]“And the Lord for the body;” see Heb. ii. 5—18.
[† ]14 Διὰ τῆς δυνάμεως ἀυȣ͂. “To his power.” The context and design of St. Paul in this place strongly incline one to take διὰ here to signify, as it does 2 Pet. i. 3, to, and not, by. St. Paul is here making out to the corinthian converts, that they have a power to judge. He tells them, that they shall judge the world, ver. 2, and that they shall judge angels, much more than things of this life, ver. 3. And for their not judging he blames them, and tells them, it is a lessening to them, not to exercise this power, ver. 7. And for it he gives a reason in this verse, viz. That Christ is raised up into the power of God, and so shall they be. Unless it be taken in this sense, this verse seems to stand alone here. For what connexion has the mention of the resurrection, in the ordinary sense of this verse, with what the apostle is saying here, but raising us up with bodies to be members of his glorious body, and to partake in his power, in judging the world? This adds a great honour and dignity to our bodies, and is a reason why we should not debase them into the members of an harlot. These words also give a reason of his saying, “He would not be brought under the power of any thing,” ver. 12. viz. “Shall I, whose body is a member of Christ, and shall be raised to the power he has now in heaven, suffer my body to be a member, and under the power of an harlot? That I will never do, let fornication in itself be ever so lawful.” If this be not the meaning of St. Paul here, I desire to know to what purpose it is, that he so expressly declares, that the belly and meat should be destroyed, and does so manifestlyput an opposition between the body and belly? ver. 13.
[* ]19 This question, “Know ye not?” is repeated six times in this one chapter, which may seem to carry with it a just reproach to the corinthians, who had got a new and better instructor than himself, in whom they so much gloried, and may not unfitly be thought to set on his irony, ch. iv. 10, where he tells them, they are wise.
[* ]3 Εὔνοια, “Benevolence,” signifies here that complaisance and compliance, which every married couple ought to have for each other, when either of them shows an inclination to conjugal enjoyments.
[† ]4 The woman (who in all other rights is inferiour) has here the same power given her over the man’s body, that the man has over her’s. The reason whereof is plain; because if she had not her man, when she had need of him, as well as the man his woman, when he had need of her, marriage would be no remedy against fornication.
[* ]12 and 13 Ἀφιέτω, the greek word in the original, signifying “putaway,” being directed here, in these two verses, both to the man and the woman, seems to intimate the same power, and the same act of dismissing in both; and, therefore, ought in both places to be translated alike.
[* ]14 Ἡγιαϛα, “sanctified, ἅγια, holy, and ἀϰάθαρα, unclean,” are used here by the apostle, in the jewish sense. The jews called all that were jews holy, and all others they called unclean. Thus, “proles genita extra sanctitatem,” was a child begot by parents, whilst they were yet heathens; “genita intra sanctitatem,” was a child begot by parents, after they were proselytes. This way of speaking St. Paul transfers from the jewish into the christian church, calling all, that are of the christian church, saints, or holy; by which reason, all that were out of it, were unclean. See note, chap. i. 2.
[* ]14 Ἡγιαϛα, “sanctified, ἅγια, holy, and ἀϰάθαρα, unclean,” are used here by the apostle, in the jewish sense. The jews called all that were jews holy, and all others they called unclean. Thus, “proles genita extra sanctitatem,” was a child begot by parents, whilst they were yet heathens; “genita intra sanctitatem,” was a child begot by parents, after they were proselytes. This way of speaking St. Paul transfers from the jewish into the christian church, calling all, that are of the christian church, saints, or holy; by which reason, all that were out of it, were unclean. See note, chap. i. 2.
[* ]14 Ἡγιαϛα, “sanctified, ἅγια, holy, and ἀϰάθαρα, unclean,” are used here by the apostle, in the jewish sense. The jews called all that were jews holy, and all others they called unclean. Thus, “proles genita extra sanctitatem,” was a child begot by parents, whilst they were yet heathens; “genita intra sanctitatem,” was a child begot by parents, after they were proselytes. This way of speaking St. Paul transfers from the jewish into the christian church, calling all, that are of the christian church, saints, or holy; by which reason, all that were out of it, were unclean. See note, chap. i. 2.
[* ]17 Ὡς signifies here, not the manner of his calling, but of the state and condition of life he was in when called; and therefore ȣ́τως, must signify the same too, as the next verse shows.
[† ]20 Μενέτω, “Let him abide.” It is plain, from what immediately follows, that this is not an absolute command; but only signifies, that a man should not think himself discharged, by the privilege of his christian state, and the franchises of the kingdom of Christ, which he was entered into, from any ties or obligations he was in, as a member of the civil society. And, therefore, for the settling a true notion thereof, in the mind of the reader, it has been thought convenient to give that, which is the apostle’s sense, to ver. 17, 20, and 24, of this chapter, in words somewhat different from the apostle’s. The thinking themselves freed by christianity, from the ties of civil society and government, was a fault it seems, that those christians were very apt to run into. For St. Paul, for the preventing their thoughts of any change, of any thing, of their civil state, upon their embracing christianity, thinks it necessary to warn them against it three times, in the compass of seven verses; and that, in the form of a direct command, not to change their condition, or state of life. Whereby he intends, that they should not change upon a presumption that christianity gave them a new, or peculiar liberty so to do. For, notwithstanding the apostle’s positively bidding them remain in the same condition, in which they were at their conversion; yet it is certain, it was lawful for them, as well as others, to change, where it was lawful for them to change, without being christians.
[* ]22 Ἀπελεύθερος, in Latin, “libertus,” signifies not simply a freeman, but one who having been a slave, has had his freedom given him by his master.
[† ]23 Slaves were bought and sold in the market, as cattle are; and so, by the price paid, there was a property acquired in them. This, therefore, here is a reason for what he advised, ver. 21, that they should not be slaves to men, because Christ had paid a price for them, and they belonged to him. The slavery he speaks of is civil slavery, which he makes use of here, to convince the corinthians, that the civil ties of marriage were not dissolved by a man’s becoming a christian, since slavery itself was not; and, in general, in the next verse, he tells them, that nothing in any man’s civil estate, or rights, is altered by his becoming a christian.
[‡ ]25 By virgins, it is plain St. Paul here means those of both sexes, who are in a celibate state. It is probable he had formerly dissuaded them from marriage, in the present state of the church. This, it seems, they were uneasy under, ver. 28 and 35, and therefore, sent some questions to St. Paul about it, and particularly, What, then, should men do with their daughters? Upon which occasion, ver. 25—37, he gives directions to the unmarried, about their marrying, or not marrying; and in the close, ver. 38, answers to the parents, about marrying their daughters: and then, ver. 39 and 40, he speaks of widows.
[* ]In this sense he uses ϖιϛὸς ἄνθρωπος, and ϖιϛὸς λόγος, 2 Tim. ii. 2.
[† ]29 Said, possibly, out of a prophetical foresight of the approaching persecution under Nero.
[* ]31 Κααχρώμενοι does not here signify “abusing,” in our English sense of the word, but “intently using.”
[† ]All, from the beginning of ver. 28, to the end of this ver. 31, I think, may be looked on, as a parenthesis.
[‡ ]35 Βρόχος, which we translate, a snare, signifies a cord, which possibly the apostle might, according to the language of the hebrew school, use here for binding; and then his discourse runs thus: Though I have declared it my opinion that it is best for a virgin to remain unmarried, yet I bind it not, i. e. I do not declare it to be unlawful to marry.
[* ]37 Παρθὲνον seems used here for the virgin state, and not the person of a virgin: whether there be examples of the like use of it, I know not; and therefore I propose it as my conjecture, upon these grounds: 1. Because the resolution of mind, here spoken of, must be in the person to be married, and not in the father, that has the power over the person concerned: for how will the firmness of mind, of the father, hinder fornication in the child, who has not that firmness? 2. The necessity of marriage can only be judged of by the persons themselves. A father cannot feel the child’s flames, which make the need of marriage. The persons themselves only know, whether they burn, or have the gift of continence. 3. Ἐξȣσίαν ἔχει ϖερὶ τȣ͂ ἰδίȣ ϑελήμαος, “hath the power over his own will,” must either signify, “can govern his own desires, is master of his own will:” but this cannot be meant here, because it is sufficiently expressed before, by ἑδραῖος τῆ ϰαρδία, “stedfast in heart;” and afterwards too, by ϰέϰριϰεν ἐν τῆ ϰαρδία, “decreed in heart;” or must signify, “has the disposal of himself,” i. e. is free from the father’s power, of disposing their children in marriage. For, I think, the words should be translated, “hath a power concerning his own will,” i. e. concerning what he willeth. For if, by it, St. Paul meant a power over his own will, one might think he would have expressed that thought, as he does chap. ix. 12, and Rom. ix. 21, without περὶ, or by the preposition, ἐπὶ, as it is Luke ix. 1. 4. Because, if “keep his virgin” had here signified, keep his children from marrying, the expression had been more natural to have used the word τέϰνα, which signifies both sexes, than ϖαρθένος, which belongs only to the female. If therefore ϖαρθἕνος, be taken abstractly for virginity, the precedent verse must be understood thus: “But if any one think it a shame to pass the flower of his age unmarried, and he finds it necessary to marry, let him do as he pleases; he sins not: let such marry.” I confess it is hard to bring these two verses to the same sense, and both of them to the design of the apostle here, without taking the words in one, or both of them, very figuratively. St. Paul here seems to obviate an objection, that might be made against his dissuasion from marriage, viz. that it might be an indecency one should be guilty of, if one should live unmarried past one’s prime, and afterwards be forced to marry. To which he answers, That no body should abstain upon the account of being a christian, but those, who are of steady resolutions, are at their own disposal, and have fully determined it in their own minds.
[* ]37 Καλῶς, here, as in ver. 1, 8, and 26, signifies not simply good, but preferable.
[† ]38 Παρθένος being taken in the sense before-mentioned, it is necessary, in this verse, to follow the copies, which read γαμίζων, “marrying,” for ἐϰῖαμίζων, “giving in marriage.”
[* ]1 To continue the thread of the apostle’s discourse, the 7th verse must be read as joined to the 1st, and all between looked on as a parenthesis.
[† ]3 Ἔγνωϛαι, “is made to know,” or “is taught.” The apostle, though writing in greek, yet often uses the greek verbs according to the Hebrew conjugations. So chap. xiii. 12, ἐπιγνώσομαι, which, according to the greek propriety, signifies, “I shall be known,” is used for, “I shall be made to know;” and so, Gal. iv. 9, γνωσθέντες is put to signify, “being taught.”
[‡ ]5 “In heaven and earth.” The heathens had supreme sovereign gods, whom they supposed eternal, remaining always in the heavens; those were called Θεοὶ, gods: they had besides another order of inferior gods, “gods upon earth,” who, by the will and direction of the heavenly gods, governed terrestrial things, and were the mediators between the supreme, heavenly gods, and men, without whom there could he no communication between them. These were called in scripture, Baalim, i. e. Lords: and by the Greeks, Δαίμονες. To this the apostle alludes here, saying, though there be, in the opinion of the heathens, “gods many,” i. e. many celestial, sovereign gods, in heaven: and “lords many, i. e. many Baalim,” or Lords agent, and presidents over earthly things; yet to us, christians, there is but one sovereign God, the Father, of whom are all things, and to whom, as supreme, we are to direct all our services: and but one Lord-agent, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, that come from the Father to us, and, through whom alone we find access unto him. Mede’s disc. on 2 Pet. ii. 1, or disc. 43, p. 242.
[* ]8 Οὔ ϖαρίϛησι, sets us not before God, i. e. to be taken notice of by him.
[† ]It cannot be supposed, that St. Paul, in answer to a letter of the corinthians, should tell them, that, if they eat things offered to idols, they were not the better; or, if they eat not, were not the worse, unless they had expressed some opinion of good in eating.
[* ]1 It was a law amongst the jews, not to receive alms from the gentiles.
[* ]5 There were not in those parts, as among us, ions, where travellers might have their conveniencies: and strangers could not be accommodated with necessaries, unless they had somebody with them to take that care, and provide for them. They, who would make it their business to preach, and neglect this must needs suffer great hardships.
[* ]12 For τῆς ἐξȣσίας, I should incline to read, τῆς ȣ̓σίας, if there be, as Vossius says, any mss. to authorise it: and then the words will run thus: “If any partake of your substance.” This better suits the foregoing words, and needs not the addition of the word, this, to be inserted in the translation, which with difficulty enough makes it refer to a power, which he was not here speaking of, but stands eight verses off: besides, in these words St. Paul seems to glance at what they suffered from the false apostle, who did not only pretend to power of maintenance, but did actually devour them: vid. 2. Cor. xi. 20.
[* ]16 Vid. Acts xxii. 15—21.
[* ]2 The apostle calls it baptism, which is the initiating ceremony into both the jewish and christian church: and the cloud and the sea, both being nothing but water, are well suited to that typical representation; and that the children of Israel were washed with rain from the cloud, may be collected from Psalm lxviii. 9.
[* ]5 It may be observed here, that St. Paul, speaking of the israelites, uses the word ϖάντες, all, five times in the four foregoing verses; besides that, he carefully says, τὸ αὐτὸ βρῶμα, the same meat, and τὸ αὐτὸ ϖόμα, the same drink, which we cannot suppose to be done by chance, but emphatically to signify to the corinthians, who, probably, presumed too much upon their baptism, and eating the Lord’s supper, as if that were enough to keep them right in the sight of God: that though the israelites, all to a man, eat the very same spiritual food, and, all to a man, drank the very same spiritual drink; yet they were not all to a man preserved; but many of them, for all that, sinned and fell under the avenging hand of God, in the wilderness.
[† ]6 Καϰῶν, “evil things:” the fault of the israelites, which this place refers to, seems to be their longing for flesh, Numb. xi. which cost many of them their lives: and that, which he warns the corinthians of, here, is their great propension to the pagan sacrifice feasts.
[‡ ]7 Play, i. e. dance; feasting and dancing usually accompanied the heathen sacrifices.
[* ]10 Ὀλοθρευτὸς “Destroyer,” was an angel, that had the power to destroy, mentioned Exod. xii. 23, Heb. xi. 28.
[† ]11 It is to be observed, that all these instances, mentioned by the apostle, of destruction, which came upon the israelites, who were in covenant with God, and partakers in those typical sacraments abovementioned, were occasioned by their luxurious appetites, about meat and drink, by fornication, and by idolatry, sins, which the corinthians were inclined to; and which he here warns them against.
[‡ ]So I think τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων should be rendered, and not, contrary to grammar, “the end of the world;” because it is certain, that τέλη and συνέλεια τȣ͂ αἰώνος, or τῶν αἰώνων, cannot signify every-where, us we render it, “the end of the world;” which denotes but one certain period of time, for the world can have but one end; whereas those words signify, in different places, different periods of time; as will he manifest to any one, who will compare these texts, where they occur, viz. Matt. xiii. 39, 40, and xxiv. 3, and xxviii. 20, 1 Cor. x. 11; Heb. ix. 26. It may be worth while, therefore, to consider, whether αἰων hath not ordinarily a more natural signification in the New Testament, by standing for a considerable length of time, passing under some one remarkable dispensation.
[* ]15 Vid. chap. viii. 1.
[† ]16 “Cup of blessing” was the name given by the jews to a cup of wine, which they solemnly drank in the passover, with thanksgiving.
[‡ ]This was also taken from the custom of the jews, in the passover, to break a cake of unleavened bread.
[* ]19 This is evident from what he says, ver. 25, 27, that things offered to idols may be eaten, as well as any other meat, so it be without partaking in the sacrifice, and without scandal.
[† ]21 It is plain by what the apostle says, that the thing, he speaks against here, is, their assisting at the heathen sacrifices, or at least at the feasts, in their temples, upon the sacrifice, which was a federal rite.
[* ]28 The repetition of these words, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof,” does so manifestly disturb the sense, that the Syriac, Arabic, Vulgar and French translations, have omitted them, and are justified in it by the Alexandrian, and some other Greek copies.
[* ]1 Rom. xv. 3. This verse seems to belong to the precedent, wherein he had proposed himself as an example, and therefore this verse should not be cut off from the former chapter. In what St. Paul says, in this and the preceding verse, taken together, we may suppose, he makes some reflection on the false apostle, whom many of the corinthians followed, as their leader. At least it is for St. Paul’s justification, that he proposes himself to be followed, no farther than as he sought the good of others, and not his own, and had Christ for his pattern. Vid. ch. iv. 16.
[* ]3 This, about women, seeming as difficult a passage, as most in St. Paul’s epistles, I crave leave to premise some few considerations, which I hope may conduce to the clearing of it.
[* ]10 What the meaning of these words is, I confess, I do not understand.
[* ]16 Why may not this, “any one,” be understood of the false apostles, here glanced at?
[* ]21 To understand this, we must observe,
[† ]22 He here plainly refers to what he had said to them, ver. 2, where he praised them for remembering him in all things, and for retaining τὰς ϖαραδόσεις ϰαθὼς ϖαρἐδωϰα, what he had delivered to them. This commendation he here retracts; for, in the matter of eating the Lord’s supper, they did not retain [Editor: illegible character] παρέδωϰα, ver. 23, what he had delivered to them, which, therefore, in the immediately following words, he repeats to them again.
[* ]27 Ἀναξίως, “unworthily.” Our Saviour, in the institution of the Lord’s supper, tells the apostles, that the bread and the cup were sacramentally his body and blood, and that they were to be eaten and drank in remembrance of him; which, as St. Paul interprets it, ver. 26, was to show forth his death till he came. Whoever, therefore, eat and drank them, so as not solemnly to show forth his death, followed not Christ’s institution, but used them unworthily, i. e. not to the end to which they were instituted. This makes St. Paul tell them, ver. 20, that their coming together to eat it, as they did, viz. the sacramental bread and wine promiscuously with their other food, as a part of their meal, and that though in the same place, yet not all together, at one time, and in one company, was not eating of the Lord’s supper.
[* ]Ἔνοχος ἔϛαι, shall be liable to the punishment due to one, who makes a wrong use of the sacramental body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s supper. What that punishment was, vid. ver. 30.
[† ]28 St. Paul, as we have observed, tells the Corinthians, ver. 20, That to eat it after the manner they did was not to eat the Lord’s supper. He tells them also, ver. 29, That to eat it, without a due and direct imitating regard had to the Lord’s body, (for so he calls the sacramental bread and wine, as our Saviour did, in the institution) by separating the bread and wine from the common use of eating and drinking, for hunger and thirst, was to eat unworthily. To remedy their disorders herein, he sets before them Christ’s own institution of this sacrament; that in it they might see the manner and end of its institution; and, by that, every one might examine his own comportment herein, whether it were comformable to that institution, and suited to that end. In the account he gives, of Christ’s institution, we may observe, that he particularly remarks to them, that this eating and drinking was no part of common eating and drinking for hunger and thirst, but was instituted in a very solemn manner, after they had supped, and for another end, viz. to represent Christ’s body and blood, and to be eaten and drank in remembrance of him; or, as St. Paul expounds it, to show forth his death. Another thing, which they might observe in the institution, was, that this was done by all who were present, united together in one company, at the same time. All which put together, shows us what the examination here proposed is. For the design of the apostle here, being to reform what he found fault with, in their celebrating the Lord’s supper, it is, by that alone, we must understand the directions he gives them about it, if we will suppose he talked pertinently to this captious and touchy people, whom he was very desirous to reduce from the irregularities they were run into, in this matter, as well as several others. And if the account of Christ’s institution be not for their examining their carriage by it, and adjusting it to it, to what purpose is it, here? The examination, therefore, proposed, was no other but an examination of their manner of eating the Lord’s supper, by Christ’s institution, to see how their behaviour herein comported with the institution, and the end, for which it was instituted. Which farther appears to be so, by the punishment annexed to their miscarriages herein, which was infirmities, sickness, and temporal death, with which God chastened them, that they might not be condemned with the unbelieving world, ver. 30, 31. For if the unworthiness, here spoken of, were either unbelief, or any of those sins, which are usually made the matter of examination, it is to be presumed the apostle would not wholly have passed them over in silence: this, at least, is certain, that the punishment of these sins is infinitely greater than that, which God here inflicts on unworthy receivers, whether they, who are guilty of them, received the sacrament, or no.
[* ]Καὶ ȣ͂̓τως. These words, as to the letter, are rightly translated, “and so.” But that translation, I imagine, leaves generally a wrong sense of the place, in the mind of an English reader. For in ordinary speaking, these words, “Let a man examine, and so let him eat,” are understood to import the same with these, “Let a man examine, and then let him eat;” as if they signified no more, but that examination should precede, and eating follow; which I take to be quite different from the meaning of the apostle here, whose sense the whole design of the context shows to be this: “I here set before you the institution of Christ: by that, let a man examine his carriage, ϰαὶ ȣ̓́τως, and according to that, let him eat; let him conform the manner of his eating to that.”
[† ]29 Μὴ διαϰρίνων, “not discriminating,” not, putting a difference between the sacramental bread and wine (which St. Paul, with our Saviour, calls Christ’s body) and other bread and wine, in the solemn and separate use of them. The corinthians, as has been remarked, eat the Lord’s supper in and with their own ordinary supper; whereby it came not to be sufficiently distinguished (as became a religious and christian observance, so solemnly instituted) from common eating for bodily refreshment, nor from the jewish paschal supper, and the bread broken, and the cup of blessing used in that: nor did it, in this way of eating it in separate companies, as it were in private families, show forth the Lord’s death, as it was designed to do, by the concurrence and communion of the whole assembly of christians, jointly united in the partaking of bread and wine, in a way peculiar to them, with reference solely to Jesus Christ. This was that, as appears by this place, which St. Paul, as we have already explained, calls eating unworthily,
[‡ ]29 “Damnation,” by which our translation renders ϰρῖμα, is vulgarly taken for eternal damnation, in the other world; whereas ϰρῖμα here signifies punishment of another nature, as appears by ver. 30, 32.
[* ]31 Διαϰρίνειν does no where, that I know, signify to judge, as it is here translated, but always signifies “to distinguish,” or “discriminate,” and in this place has the same signification, and means the same thing, that it does, ver. 29. He is little versed in St. Paul’s writings, who has not observed how apt he is to repeat the same word, he had used before, to the same purpose, though in a different, and sometimes a pretty hard construction; as here he applies διαϰρίνειν to the persons discriminating, as in the 29th verse to the thing to be discriminated, though in both places it be but to denote the same action.
[† ]32 Παιδευόμεθα properly signifies to be corrected, as scholars are by their master, for their good.
[‡ ]Ἐϰρινόμεθα here signifies the same that ϰρῖμα does, ver. 29.
[* ]1 Πνευματιϰῶν, “spiritual.” We are warranted, by a like use of the word, in several places of St. Paul’s epistles, as chap. ii. 15, and xiv. 37, of this epistle; and Gal. vi. 1, to take it here in the masculine gender, standing for persons, and not gifts. And the context obliges us to understand it so. For if we will have it stand for gifts, and not persons, the sense and coherence of these three first verses will be very hard to be made out. Besides, there is evidence enough, in several parts of it, that the subject of St. Paul’s discourse here, is ϖνευματιϰοὶ, persons endowed with spiritual gifts, contending for precedency, in consideration of their gifts. See ver. 13, &c. of this chapter; and to what purpose, else, says he, chap. xiv. 5, greater is he that prophesieth, than he that speaketh with tongues?
[* ]3 This is spoken against the jews, who pretended to the Holy Ghost, and yet spoke against Jesus Christ, and denied that the Holy Ghost was ever given to the gentiles: vid. Acts x. 45. Whether their judaizing false apostle were at all glanced at in this, may be considered.
[† ]Lord. What is meant by Lord, see note, chap. viii. 5.
[* ]5 These different offices are reckoned up, ver. 28, &c.
[† ]6 What these ἐνεργήματα were, see ver. 8—11.
[‡ ]They were very properly called ἐνεργήματα—“in workings;” because they were above all human power: men, of themselves, could do nothing of them at all; but it was God, as the apostle tells us here, who, in these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, did all that was done; it was the effect of his immediate operation, as St. Paul assures us, in that parallel place, Phil. ii. 13. In which chapter, ver. 3 and 14, we find that the philippians stood a little in need of the same advice, which St. Paul so at large presses here upon the corinthians.
[§ ]7 Vid. Rom. xii. 3—8.
[∥ ]8 Σοφία. The doctrine of the gospel is, more than once, in the beginning of this epistle, called “the wisdom of God.”
[¶ ]Γνῶσις is used, by St. Paul, for such a knowledge of the law and the prophets.
[* ]9 In this sense πίϛις, “faith,” is sometimes taken in the New Testament, particularly chap. xiii. 2. It is difficult, I confess, to define the precise meaning of each word, which the apostle uses in the 8th, 9th, and 10th verses here. But if the order, which St. Paul observes, in enumerating by 1st, 2d, 3d, the three first officers set down, ver. 28, viz. “first apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers,” have any relation, or may give any light to these three gifts, which are set down in the first place here, viz. “Wisdom, Knowledge, and Faith,” we may then properly understand, by σοφία, “wisdom,” the whole doctrine of the gospel, as communicated to the apostles: by γνῶσις, “knowledge,” the gift of understanding the mystical sense of the law and the prophets; and by ϖίϛις, “faith,” the assurance and confidence, in delivering, and confirming, the doctrine of the gospel, which became διδασϰάλȣς, “doctors, or teachers.” This, at least, I think, may be presumed, that since σοϕία and γνῶσις have λόγος joined to them, and it is said, “the word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge;” wisdom and knowledge here signify such gifts of the mind as are to be employed in preaching.
[† ]10 “Prophecy” comprehends these three things, prediction, singing by the dictate of the Spirit, and understanding and explaining the mysterious, hidden sense of scripture, by an immediate illumination and motion of the Spirit, as we have already shown. And that the prophesying, here spoken of, was by immediate revelation, vid. chap. xiv. 29—31.
[* ]13 The naming of the jews here, with gentiles, and setting both on the same level, when converted to christianity, may probably be done here, by St. Paul, with reference to the false apostle, who was a jew, and seems to have claimed some pre-eminence, as due to him upon that account: whereas, among the members of Christ, which all make but one body, there is no superiority, or other distinction, but, as by the several gifts, bestowed on them by God, they contribute more, or less, to the edification of the church.
[* ]28 Ἀντιλήψεις, “Helps,” Dr. Lightfoot takes to be those, who accompanied the apostles, were sent up and down by them, in the service of the gospel, and baptized those, that were converted by them.
[† ]Κυϐερνήσεις, to be the same with discerning of spirits, ver. 10.
[* ]That this is the apostle’s meaning here, is plain, in that there was an emulation amongst them, and a strife for precedency, on account of the several gifts they had, (as we have already observed, from several passages in this section) which made them, in their assemblies, desire to be heard first. This was the fault the apostle was here correcting; and it is not likely he should exhort them all, promiscuously, to seek the principal and most eminent gifts, at the end of a discourse wherein he had been demonstrating to them, by the example of the human body, that there ought to be diversity of gifts and functions of the church; but that there ought to be no schism, emulation, or contest among them, upon the account of the exercise of those gifts: that they were all useful in their places, and no member was at all to be the less honoured, or valued, for the gift he had, though it were not one of the first rank. And in this sense the word ζηλȣ͂ν is taken, in the next chapter, ver. 4, where St. Paul, pursuing the same argument, exhorts them to mutual charity, good-will and affection, which, he assures them, is preferable to any gifts whatsoever. Besides; to what purpose should he exhort them “to covet earnestly the best gifts,” when the obtaining of this or that gift did not at all lie in their desires or endeavours, the apostle having just before told them, ver. 11, that “the Spirit divides those gifts, to every man, severally, as he will,” and, those, he writ to, had their allotment already? He might as reasonably, according to his own doctrine, in this very chapter, bid the foot covet to be the hand, or the ear to be the eye. Let it be remembered, therefore, to rectify this, that St. Paul says, ver. 17, of this chapter: “If the whole body were the eye, where were the hearing,” &c. St. Paul does not use to cross his own design, nor contradict his own reasoning.
[* ]1 “Tongues of angels” are mentioned here, according to the conception of the jews.
[† ]A cymbal consisted of two large, hollowed plates of brass, with broad brims, which were struck one against another, to fill up the symphony, in great concerts of music; they made a great deep sound, but had scarce any variety of musical notes.
[‡ ]2 Any predictions, relating to our Saviour, or his doctrine, or the times of the gospel, contained in the Old Testament, in types, or figurative and obscure expressions, not understood before his coming, and being revealed to the world, St. Paul calls “mystery,” as may be seen all through his writings. So that “mystery and knowledge,” are terms here used by St. Paul, to signify truths concerning Christ to come, contained in the Old Testament; and “prophecy,” the understanding of the types and prophecies containing those truths, so as to be able to explain them to others.
[* ]“To remove mountains,” is to do what is next to impossible.
[† ]May we not suppose, that, in this description of charity, St. Paul intimates, and tacitly reproves, their contrary carriage, in their emulation and contests about the dignity and preference of their spiritual gifts?
[* ]1 Ζηλȣ͂τε τὰ ϖνευματιϰὰ. That ζηλȣ͂ν does not signify to covet or desire, nor can be understood to be so used by St. Paul, in this section; I have already shown, ch. xii. 31. That it has, here, the sense, that I have given it, is plain from the same direction concerning spiritual gifs, repeated ver. 39, in these words, ζηλȣ͂τε τὸ προϕητεύειν ϰαὶ τὸ λαλεῖν γλώσσαις μὴ ϰωλύετι, the meaning, in both places, being evidently this; that they should not neglect the use of their spiritual gifts, especially they should, in the first place, cultivate and exercise the gift of prophesying; but yet should not wholly lay aside the speaking with variety of tongues in their assemblies. It will, perhaps, be wondered, why St. Paul should employ the word ζηλȣ͂ν, in so unusual a sense; but that will easily be accounted for, if what I have remarked, chap. xiv. 15, concerning St. Paul’s custom of repeating words, be remembered. But, besides what is familiar in St. Paul’s way of writing, we may find a particular reason for his repeating the word ζηλȣ͂ν here, though in a somewhat unusual signification. He having, by way of reproof, told them, that they did ζηλȣ͂ν τὰ χαρίσματα τὰ ϰρείττονα, had an emulation, or made a stir about whose gifts were best, and were, therefore, to take place in their assemblies: to prevent their thinking, that ζηλȣ͂ν might have too harsh a meaning, (for he is, in all this epistle, very tender of offending them, and therefore sweetens all his reproofs, as much as possible) he here takes it up again, and uses it, more than once, in a way that approves and advises that they should ζηλȣ͂ν ϖνευματιϰὰ whereby yet he means no more, but that they should not neglect their spiritual gifts: he would have them use them in their assemblies, but yet in such method and order, as he directs.
[* ]2 He, who attentively reads this section, about spiritual men, and their gifts, may find reason to imagine, that it was those, who had the gift of tongues, who caused the disorder in the church at Corinth, by their forwardness to speak, and striving to be heard first, and so taking up too much of the time in their assemblies, in speaking in unknown tongues. For the remedying this disorder, and better regulating of this matter amongst other things, they had recourse to St. Paul. He will not easily avoid thinking so, who considers,
[† ]3 What is meant by prophesying, see note, chap. xii. 10.
[‡ ]4 By γλώσση, “unknown tongue,” Dr. Lightfoot, in this chapter, understands the Hebrew tongue, which, as he observes, was used in the synagogue, in reading the sacred scripture, in praying and in preaching. If that be the meaning of tongue, here, it suits well the apostle’s design, which was to take them off from their jewish, false apostle, who probably might have encouraged and promoted this speaking of Hebrew, in their assemblies.
[* ]6 It is not to be doubted but these four distinct terms, used here by the apostle, had each its distinct signification, in his mind and intention: whether what may be collected from these epistles, may sufficiently warrant us to understand them, in the following significations, I leave to the judgment of others: 1st, Ἀποϰάλυψις, “revelation,” something revealed by God, immediately to the person; vid. ver. 30. 2dly, Γνῶσις, “knowledge,” the understanding the mystical and evangelical sense of passages in the Old Testement, relating to our Saviour and the gospel. 3dly, Προφητεία, “prophesy,” an inspired hymn; vid. ver. 26. 4thly, Διδαχὴ, “doctrine,” any truth of the gospel concerning faith, or manners. But whether this or any other, precise meaning of these words can be certainly made out now, it is perhaps of no great necessity to be over curious; it being enough, for the understanding the sense and argument of the apostle here, to know that these terms stand for some intelligible discourse, tending to the edification of the church, though of what kind each of them was, in particular, we certainly know not.
[* ]14 This is evident from ver. 4, where it is said, “He that speaketh with a tongue, edifies himself.”
[* ]15 I will not pretend to justify this interpretation of τῷ νοΐ by the exact rules of the Greek idiom; but the sense of the place will, I think, bear me out in it. And, as there is occasion often to remark, he must be little versed in the writings of St. Paul, who does not observe, that when he has used a term, he is apt to repeat it again in the same discourse, in a way peculiar to himself, and somewhat varied from its ordinary signification. So, having here, in the foregoing verse, used νȣ͂ς, for the sentiment of his own mind, which was unprofitable to others, when he prayed in a tongue unknown to them, and opposed it to ϖνιῦμα, which he used there, for his own sense accompanying his own words, intelligible to himself, when, by the impulse of the Spirit, he prayed in a foreign tongue; he here, in this verse, continues to use praying, τῷ ϖνεῦματι, and τῷ νοΐ in the same opposition; the one for praying in a strange tongue, which alone his own mind understood and accompanied; the other, for praying so, as that the meaning of his mind, in those words he uttered, was made known to others, so that they were also benefited. This use of πιεύματι, is farther confirmed, in the next verse: and what he means by νοΐ, here he expresses by διὰ νοός, ver. 19, and there explains the meaning of it.
[† ]For so he orders, in the use of an unknown tongue, ver. 27.
[‡ ]Here it may be observed, that as, in their public prayer, one prayed, and the others held their peace; so it was in their singing, at least in that singing, which was of extempore hymns, by the impulse of the Spirit.
[* ]20 By ϰαϰία, “malice,” I think here is to be understood all sorts of ill temper of mind, contrary to the gentleness and innocence of childhood; and, in particular, their emulation and strife about the exercise of their gifts in their assemblies.
[† ]Vid. Rom. xvi. 19. Eph. iv. 13—15.
[‡ ]21 The books of sacred scripture, delivered to the jews by divine revelation, under the law, before the time of the gospel, which we now call the Old Testament, are, in the writings of the New Testament, called sometimes, “the law, the prophets, and the psalms,” as Luke xxiv. 44; sometimes “the law and the prophets,” as Acts xxiv. 14. And sometimes they are all comprehended under this one name, “the law,” as here; for the passage cited, is in Isaiah, chap. xxviii. 1.
[* ]26 It is plain, by this whole discourse of the apostle’s, that there were contentions and emulations amongst them for precedency of their gifts; and therefore I think ἕϰαϛος ἕχει may be rendered “every one is ready,” as impatient to be first heard. If there were no such disorder amongst them, there would have been no need for the regulations given, in the end of this verse, and the seven verses following, especially ver. 31, 32, where he tells them, they all may prophesy, one by one, and that the motions of the Spirit were not so ungovernable as not to leave a man master of himself. He must not think himself under a necessity of speaking, as soon as he found any impulse of the Spirit upon his mind.
[* ]27 St. Paul has said, in this chapter, as much as conveniently could be said, to restrain their speaking in unknown tongues, in their assemblies, which seems to be that, wherein the vanity and ostentation of the corinthians was most forward to show itself. “It is not,” says he, “a gift intended for the edification of believers; however, since you will be exercising it in your meetings, let it always be so ordered, that it may be for edification:” εἴτε, I have rendered “although.” So I think it is sometimes used; but no where, as I remember, simply for “if,” as in our translation; nor will the sense here bear “whether;” which is the common signification of εἴτε. And, therefore, I take the apostle’s sense to be this: “You must do nothing but to edification;” though you speak in an unknown tongue, “even an unknown tongue must be made use of, in your assemblies, only to edification.”
[† ]Vid. ver. 2 and 4.
[‡ ]The rule of the synagogue was: “in the law, let one read, and one interpret: in the prophets, let one read, and two interpret: in Esther, ten may read, and ten interpret.” It is not improbable, that some such disorder had been introduced into the church of Corinth, by the judaizing, false apostle, which St. Paul would here put an end to.
[* ]34, 35 Why I apply this prohibition, of speaking, only to reasoning and purely voluntary discourse, but suppose a liberty left women to speak, where they had an immediate impulse and revelation from the spirit of God, vid. note on chap. xi. 3. In the synagogue, it was usual for any man, that had a mind, to demand, of the teacher, a farther explication of what he had said: but this was not permitted to the women.
[* ]37 Πνευματιϰς, “a spiritual man,” in the sense of St. Paul, is one, who founds his knowledge in what is revealed by the Spirit of God, and not in the bare discoveries of his natural reason and parts: vid. chap. ii. 15.
[† ]38 By the [any man] mentioned in this, and the foregoing verse, St. Paul seems to intimate the false apostle, who pretended to give laws amongst them, and, as we have observed, may well be supposed to be the author of these disorders; whom, therefore, St. Paul reflects on, and presses in these three verses.
[‡ ]39 Ζηλȣ͂ν, in this whole discourse of St. Paul, taken to refer to the exercise, and not to the obtaining the gifts, to which it is joined, will direct us right, in understanding St. Paul, and make his meaning very easy and intelligible.
[* ]8 An abortive birth, that comes before its time, which is the name St. Paul gives himself here, is usually sudden and at unawares, and is also weak and feeble, scarce deserving to be called, or counted a man. The former part agrees to St. Paul’s being made a christian and an apostle; though it be in regard of the latter, that, in the following verse, St. Paul calls himself abortive.
[† ]10 St. Paul drops in this commendation of himself, to keep up his credit in the church of Corinth, where there was a faction labouring to discredit him.
[* ]12 This may well be understood of the head of the contrary faction, and some of his scholars: 1st, Because St. Paul introduces this confutation, by asserting his mission, which these his opposers would bring in question. 2dly, Because he is so careful to let the corinthians see, he maintains not the doctrine of the resurrection, in opposition to these their new leaders, it being the doctrine he had preached to them, at their first conversion, before any such false apostle appeared among them, and misled them about the resurrection. Their false apostle was a jew, and in all appearance judaized: may he not also be suspected of sadducism? For it is plain, he, with all his might, opposed St. Paul, which must be from some main difference in opinion at the bottom. For there are no footsteps of any personal provocation.
[* ]20 The first-fruits were a small part, which was first taken and offered to God, and sanctified the whole mass, which was to follow.
[* ]29 “Else,” here relates to ver. 20, where it is said, “Christ is risen:” St. Paul, having, in that verse, mentioned Christ being the first-fruits from the dead, takes occasion from thence, now that he is upon the resurrection, to inform the corinthians of several particularities, relating to the resurrection, which might enlighten them about it, and could not be known, but by revelation. Having made this excursion, in the eight preceding verses, he here, in the 29th, re-assumes the thread of his discourse, and goes on with his arguments, for believing the resurrection.
[† ]What this baptizing for the dead was, I confess I know not: but it seems, by the following verses, to be something, wherein they exposed themselves to the danger of death.
[* ]34 May not this, probably, be said, to make them ashamed of their leader, whom they were so forward to glory in? For it is not unlikely, that their questioning, and denying the resurrection, came from their new apostle, who raised such opposition against St. Paul.
[† ]35 If we will allow St. Paul to know what he says, it is plain, from what he answers, that he understands these words to contain two questions: First, How it comes to pass, that dead men are raised to life again? Would it not be better they should live on? Why do they die to live again? Secondly, With what bodies shall they return to life? To both these he distinctly answers, viz. That those, who are raised to an heavenly state, shall have other bodies: and next, that it is fit that men should die, death being no improper way to the attaining other bodies. This, he shows there is so plain and common an instance of, in the sowing of all seeds, that he thinks it a foolish thing to make a difficulty of it; and then proceeds to delare, that, as they shall have other, so they shall have better bodies, than they had before, viz. spiritual and incorruptible.
[* ]39 The scope of the place makes it evident, that by “flesh,” St. Paul here means bodies, viz. that God has given to the several sorts of animals, bodies, in shape, texture, and organization, very different one from another, as he hath thought good; and so he can give to men, at the resurrection, bodies of very different constitutions and qualities from those they had before.
[* ]42 “The resurrection of the dead,” here spoken of, is not the resurrection of all mankind, in common: but only the resurrection of the just. This will be evident to any one, who observes, that St. Paul, having, ver. 22, declared that all men shall be made alive again, tells the corinthians, ver. 23, That it shall not be all at once, but at several distances of time. First of all, Christ rose; afterwards, next in order to him, the saints should all be raised, which resurrection of the just is that which he treats, and gives an account of, to the end of this discourse and chapter; and so never comes to the resurrection of the wicked, which was to be the third and last in order: so that from the 23d verse, to the end of the chapter, all that he says of the resurrection, is a description only of the resurrection of the just, though he calls it here, by the general name of the resurrection of the dead. That this is so, there is so much evidence, that there is scarce a verse, from the 41st to the end, that does not evince it.
[* ]43 The time that man is in this world, affixed to this earth, is, his being sown; and not when being dead, he is put in the grave, as is evident from St. Paul’s own words. For dead things are not sown; seeds are sown, being alive, and die not, until after they are sown. Besides, he that will attentively consider what follows, will find reason, from St. Paul’s arguing, to understand him so.
[† ]44 Σῶμα ψυχιϰὸν, which in our Bibles is translated, “a natural body,” should, I think, more suitably to the propriety of the Greek, and more conformably to the apostle’s meaning, be translated “an animal body:” for that, which St. Paul is doing here, is to show, that as we have animal bodies now, (which we derived from Adam) endowed with an animal life, which, unless supported with a constant supply of food and air, will fail and perish, and at last, do what we can, will dissolve and come to an end; so, at the resurrection, we shall have from Christ, the second Adam, “spiritual bodies,” which shall have an essential and natural, inseparable life in them, which shall continue and subsist perpetually of itself, without the help of meat and drink, or air, or any such foreign support; without decay, or any tendency to a dissolution: of which our Saviour speaking, Luke xx. 35, says, “They who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead,” cannot die any more; for they are equal to the angels, i. e. of an angelical nature and constitution.
[‡ ]Vid. Pail. iii. 21.
[* ]53 Τὸ φθαρτὸν, “corruptible,” and τὲ ϑνητὸν, “mortal,” have not here σῶμα, “body,” for their substantive, as some imagine; but are put in the neuter gender absolute, and stand to represent νεϰροὶ, “dead;” as appears by the immediately preceding verse, and also ver. 42, ȣ̔́τω ϰαὶ ἡ ἀνάϛασις τῶν νεϰρῶν, σπείρεται ἐν φθορᾶ. “So is the resurrection of the dead: it is sown in corruption;” i. e. mortal, corruptible men are sown, being corruptible and weak. Nor can it be thought strange, or strained, that I interpret ϕθαρὸν and ϑνητὸν, as adjectives of the neuter gender, to signify persons, when in this very discourse, the apostle uses two adjectives, in the neuter gender, to signify the persons of Adam and Christ, in such a way, as it is impossible to understand them otherwise. The words, no farther off than ver. 46, are these: Ἀλλ’ ȣ́ ϖρῶτον τὸ ϖνευμαιϰὸν, ἀλλὰ τὸ ψηχιϰὸν, ἔπεια τὸ ϖνευμαιϰὸν. The like way of speaking we have, Matt. i. 20, and Luke i. 35, in both which, the person of our Saviour is expressed by adjectives of the neuter gender. To any, of all which places, I do not think any one will add the substantive σῶμα, “body,” to make out the sense. That, then, which is meant here, being this, that this mortal man should put on immortality, and this corruptible man, incorruptibility; any one will easily find another nominative case to σπείρεαι, “is sown,” and not σῶμα, “body,” when he considers the sense of the place, wherein the apostle’s purpose is to speak of νεϰροὶ, “mortal men,” being dead, and raised again to life, and made immortal. Those, with whom grammatical construction, and the nominative case, weigh so much, may be pleased to read this passage in Virgil:
where, by finding the nominative case to the two verbs, in it, he may come to discover that personality, as contra-distinguished to both body and soul, may be the nominative case to verbs.
[† ]54 Νῖϰος, “victory,” often signifies end and destruction. See Vossius “de lxx interpret.” cap. 24.
[* ]55 This has something of the air of a song of triumph, which St. Paul breaks out into, upon a view of the saints victory over death, in a state, wherein death is never to have place any more.
[* ]2 Θησαυρίζων seems used here in the sense I have given it. For it is certain that the apostle directs, that they should, every Lord’s day, bring to the congregation what their charity had laid aside, the foregoing week, as their gain came in, that there it might be put into some public box, appointed for that purpose, or officers’ hands. For, if they only laid it aside at home, there would nevertheless be need of a collection, when he came.
[† ]3 Δοϰιμάσηε, δἰ ἐπιϛολῶν τȣ́τȣς ϖέμψω. This pointing, that makes δἰ ἐπιϛολῶν, belong to ϖέμψω, and not δοϰιμάσηε, the apostle’s sense justifies; he telling them here, that finding their collection ready, when he came, he would write by those, they should think fit to send it by, or go himself with them, if their present were worthy of it. There needed no approbation of their messengers to him, by their letters, when he was present. And if the corinthians, by their letters, approved of them to the saints at Jerusalem, how could St. Paul say, he would send them?
[* ]12 There be few, perhaps, who need to be told it; yet it may be convenient here, once for all, to remark, that, in the apostle’s time, “brother” was the ordinary compellation that christians used to one another.
[† ]“The brethren,” here mentioned, seem to be Stephanas, and those others, who, with him, came with a message, or letter, to St. Paul, from the church of Corinth, by whom he returned this epistle in answer.
[* ]14 His main design being to put an end to the faction and division which the false apostle had made amongst them, it is no wonder that we find unity and charity so much, and so often pressed, in this and the second epistle.
[† ]18 Viz. by removing those suspicions and fears, that were on both sides.
[* ]22 This being so different a sentence from any of those, writ with St. Paul’s own hand, in any of his other epistles, may it not with probability be understood to mean the false apostle, to whom St. Paul imputes all the disorders in this church, and of whom he speaks, not much less severely? 2 Cor. xi. 13—15.
[* ]3 This, about women, seeming as difficult a passage, as most in St. Paul’s epistles, I crave leave to premise some few considerations, which I hope may conduce to the clearing of it.
[*]Mr. Mede, Disc. 6, p. 61.