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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
1 Corinthians 1

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Corinthians 1:1. παῦλος κλητὸς ἀπόστολος (so in Rom.)—not ap. by merit or human choice, but called thereto διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ (so in later epp.). through an express intervention of he Divine will, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:16 f., Galatians 1:1; Galatians 1:15 f., Ephesians 3:2 ff., also Acts 9:15, etc. “A called apostle” as the Cor(33) are “called saints”: he summoned to be herald and dispenser (1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:23, 1 Corinthians 4:1), they receivers of God’s Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). The κλητοὶ are in P. identified with the ἐκλεκτοί (1 Corinthians 1:26 f., Romans 8:29 f.), not distinguished as in Matthew 20:16. The thought of the “call” of God as assigning to each Christian man his status is prominent in this ep.: see 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:24 ff., 1 Corinthians 7:17-24.— σωσθέντης ἀδελφὸς is a party to the Letter, which notwithstanding runs in first pers(34) sing(35), as in Gal. after οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοὶ of 1 Corinthians 1:2; otherwise in 2 Corinthians , 1 and 2 Thess.: Sosthenes (only named here by P.) shares in this ep. not as joint-composer, but as witness and approver. He would scarcely be introduced at this point as amanuensis (cf. Romans 16:22). . is a person known to and honoured by the Cor(36), but now with the Ap. at Ephesus and in his confidence. He may, or may not, have been the Sosthenes of Acts 18:17—the name was fairly common. One ἀρχισυνάγωγος (Crispus) had been converted at Cor(37), why not another afterwards? P. would delight to make of a persecutor an ally. His former position would give an ex-Synagogue-leader weight, especially with Jewish Christians; and his subsequent conversion may account for Luke’s exceptionally preserving Sosthenes’ name as Paul’s assailant (see M. Dods on the point, in Exp. Bib.). Eusebius (Hist. Eccles., i. 12) makes . one of the Seventy of Luke 10:17—“a worthless tradition” (Lt(38)).


Verses 1-3

1 Corinthians 1:1-3. The salutation is full and varied in the epp. of this group. As in Galatians and Romans, P. emphasises his apostleship (see 1 Corinthians 9:1 f.), at present in dispute. The readers are (in 1 and 2 Cor.) “the Church” and “the saints”—a transition from “the ch.” of 1 and 2 Thess. (“the churches,” Gal.) to “the saints” of Rom. and later epp. Here stress is thrown with a purpose, (1) on the sanctity of the Cor(32) Church, (2) on its fellowship with the general body of Christians.


Verse 2

1 Corinthians 1:2. τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ (in salutation of 1 and 2 Cor(39) only) gives supreme dignity to the assembly of Cor(40) addressed by the Ap. of Christ Jesus—the assembled citizens of God’s kingdom and commonwealth (Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 2:19; cf. Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9 f.). τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν κορ., “that exists in Corinth”—lætum et ingens paradoxon (Bg(41)): so far the Gospel has reached (2 Corinthians 10:13 f.); in so foul a place it flourishes! (1 Corinthians 6:9 ff.). Not as earlier, “the assembly of Thessalonians,” etc.: the conception of the ecclesia widens; the local Christian gathering is part of one extended “congregation of God,” existing in this place or that (see last clause). To τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τ. θεοῦ is apposed, by way of predicative definition (hence anarthrous), ἡγιασμένοις ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ, “the Church of God (consisting of men) sanctified in Christ Jesus”: Church status is grounded on personal relationship to God in Christ. Now this relationship began with God’s call, which summoned each to a holy life within the Christian fellowship; hence the further apposition, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις (see note on 1, and Romans 1:7; cf. Acts 18:10, λαός ἐστίν μοι πολύς κ. τ. λ.). The pf. pass(42) ptp(43) expresses a determinate state: once for all the Cor(44) readers have been devoted to God, by His call and their consent. This initial sanctification is synchronous with justification (1 Corinthians 6:11), and is the positive as that is the negative side of salvation: ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τ. ἁμαρτίας, ἐδουλώθητε τ. δικαιοσύνῃ (Romans 6:16-19). “Sanctified in Christ Jesus” (= “living to God in Christ Jesus,” Romans 6:11) imports union with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 12:11, Romans 8:9 f.) as well as salvation through Christ. His past work is the objective ground, His present heavenly being (implied by the name “Christ Jesus,” as in this order) the active spring of this ζῆν τῷ θεῷ: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30 and note. The repeated ref(45) to the holiness of the readers recalls them to their vocation; low practice calls for the reassertion of high ideals; admonet Corinthios majestatis ipsorum (Bg(46)). Cv(47) draws a diff(48) yet consistent inference: “Locus diligenter observandus, ne requiramus in hoc mundo Ecclesiam omni ruga et macula carentem”. The adjunct σὺν πᾶσιντόπῳ may qualify ἡγιασμένοις κ. τ. λ. (so some moderns), or the main predicate (Gr(49) Ff(50)): i.e., the Church shares (a) in its Christian sanctity, or (b) in the Apostle’s good wishes, “with all that call upon the name,” etc. (b) gives a better balanced sentence, and a true Pauline sentiment: cf. Ephesians 6:24, also the Benediction of Clem. Rom. ad Cor(51), lxv.— ἐν πάντι τόπῳ, an expression indefinitely large (see parls.), approaching “in all the world” of Romans 1:8, Colossians 1:6; there is nothing here to indicate the limit given in 2 Corinthians 1:1. The readers belong to a widespread as well as a holy community; Paul insists on this in the sequel, pointing in reproof to “other churches”. To “call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”—to invoke Him in prayer as “Lord”—is the mark of the Christian, by which Saul, e.g., once recognised his victims (see parls.), the index of saving faith (1 Corinthians 12:3, Romans 10:12 ff.). The afterthought αὐτῶν καὶ ἡμῶν, correcting the previous ἡμῶν (Cm(52), Cv(53), Gd(54), Sm(55)), heightens the sense of wide fellowship given by the previous clause; “one Lord” (1 Corinthians 8:6; Romans 10:12; Romans 14:9, Ephesians 4:5) unites all hearts in the obedience of faith. To attach these pronouns to τόπῳ (in omni loco ipsorum et nostro, Vg(56)) gives a sense strained in various ways: “their place and ours,”—belonging to us equally with them (Mr(57), El(58), Ed(59)); “illorum (prope Cor(60)), nostro (ubi . et Sosth. versabantur,” Bg(61)); in non-Pauline and Pauline Churches (Hn(62)); and so on.


Verse 3

1 Corinthians 1:3. χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ κ. τ. λ.: Paul’s customary greeting; see note on Romans 1:7. “The occurrence of the peculiar phrase ‘grace and peace’ in Paul, John, and Peter intimates that we have here the earliest Christian password or symbolum” (Ed(63)). κυρίου might grammatically be parl(64) to ἡμῶν, both depending upon πατρός, as in 2 Corinthians 1:3, etc.; but 1 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1 ( θεῷ πατρὶ κ. κυρίῳ . χ.) prove Father and Lord in this formula to be parl(65): cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6, 2 Corinthians 13:13; nowhere does P. speak (as in John 20:17) of God as Father of Christ and of men co-ordinately, and for ἡμῶν to come first in such connexion would be incongruous. “The union of” θεοῦ and κυρίου “under the vinculum of a common prp(66) is one of the numberless hints scattered through St. Paul’s epp. of the consciously felt and recognised co-ordination” of the Father and Christ (El(67)).


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 1:4. On εὐχαριστῶ κ. τ. λ., and the form of Paul’s introductory thanksgivings, see Romans 1:8. ἐπὶ τῇ χάριτι κ. τ. λ.— ἐπί (at), of the occasioning cause; cf. 1 Corinthians 13:6, 1 Corinthians 14:16, etc. τ. δοθείσῃ ὑμῖν (aor(70) ptp(71))—“the grace that was given you,” sc. at conversion (see 1 Corinthians 1:6); contrast the pr(72) ptp(73) of continuous bestowment in 1 Corinthians 15:57, and the pf. of abiding result in 2 Corinthians 8:1. For ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ, see note on 1 Corinthians 1:2. P. refers not to the general objective gift of grace in Christ (as in Romans 8:32), nor to its eternal bestowment in the thought of God (as in 2 Timothy 1:9), but to its actual conferment at the time when the Cor(74) became God’s κλητοὶ ἅγιοι (1 Corinthians 1:2).


Verses 4-9

1 Corinthians 1:4-9. § 2. THE THANKSGIVING. The Pauline thanksgiving holds the place of the captatio benevolentiœ in ancient speeches, with the diff(68) that it is in solemn sincerity addressed to God. The Ap. thanks God (1) for the past grace given the Cor(69) in Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:4; (2) for the rich intellectual development of that grace, according with the sure evidence upon which they had received the Gospel, and attended by an eager anticipation of Christ’s advent, 1 Corinthians 1:5-7; (3) for the certainty that they will be perfected in grace and found unimpeached at Christ’s return—a hope founded on God’s fidelity to His own signal call, 1 Corinthians 1:8 f. Paul reflects gratefully on the past, hopefully on the future of this Church; he is significantly silent respecting its present condition: contrast with this the Thess. and Phil. Thanksgivings. He extracts from a disquieting situation all the comfort possible.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 1:5. ὅτι κ. τ. λ. stands in explicative apposition to the foregoing τ. χάριτι τ. δοθείσῃ, bringing out the matter of thanksgiving eminent in the conversion of the Cor(75)—“(I mean), that in everything you were enriched,” etc. For this defining ὅτι after a vbl(76) noun, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26 and 2 Corinthians 1:8. The affluence of endowment conferred on the Cor(77) stirred the Apostle’s deep gratitude (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 8:9): this wealth appears in another light in 1 Corinthians 4:6-10, 1 Corinthians 5:2, 1 Corinthians 8:1-3; see also Introd., p. 730 f. The Church doubtless dwelt upon this distinction in its recent letter, to which P. is replying. ἐν παντὶ is defined, and virtually limited, by ἐν παντὶ λόγῳ καὶ πάσῃ γνώσει (kindred gifts, linked by the single prp(78)): the exuberance of grace in the Cor(79) shone “in all (manner of) utterance and all (manner of) knowledge”. λόγος in this connexion signifies not the thing said (as in 18), but the saying of it, loquendi facultas (Bz(80)). “Relatively to γνῶσις, λόγος is the ability and readiness to say what one understands; γν. the power and ability to understand” (Hn(81)). “Knowledge” would naturally precede; but the Cor(82) excelled and delighted in “speech” above all: see 1 Corinthians 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 2:13, 1 Corinthians 4:19 f., 1 Corinthians 13:1.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 1:6. τοῦ χριστοῦ is objective gen(83) to τὸ μαρτύριον—“the witness to Christ,”—coming from both God and man (1 Corinthians 15:3-11, 2 Thessalonians 1:10); otherwise in 1 Corinthians 2:1; cf. Romans 1:2, “the good news of God about His Son”. μαρτόριον indicates the well-established truth of the message (see, e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:15), εὐαγγέλιον its beneficial and welcome nature (see Romans 1:16 f.).— ἐβεβαιώθη ἐν ὑμῖν, “(the witness about Christ) was made sure among you”; its reality was verified. By outward demonstration—miracles, etc.; or by the inner persuasion of a firm faith, “interna Spiritus virtus” (Cv(84))? The latter certainly, in Pauline usage (see parls.: but not to the exclusion of the former); cf. 1 Corinthians 2:4 f., and notes; 1 Corinthians 12:10, ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων; also 1 Thessalonians 1:5 f., 1 Corinthians 2:13, Galatians 3:5; the two went together— πολλῶν θαυμάτων, ἀφάτου χάριτος (Cm(85)). At first discouraged, Paul had preached at Cor(86) with signal power, and his message awakened a decided and energetic faith; see 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 1 Corinthians 15:1; 1 Corinthians 15:11; Acts 18:5-11.


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 1:7 describes the result of the firm establishment of the Gospel: ὥστε ὑμᾶς μὴ ὑστερεῖσθαι κ. τ. λ. ( ὥστε with inf(87) of contemplated result: see Bn(88) §§ 369 ff.), “causing you not to feel behindhand in any gift of grace”; the mid(89) ὑστερεῖσθαι implies subjective reflexion, the consciousness of inferiority (Ev(90)): similarly in Romans 3:23, “find themselves short of the glory of God” (Sanday and Headl.); and in Luke 15:14, “he began to feel his destitution”. The pr(91) inf(92) and ptp(93) of the vbs. bear no ref(94) to the time of writing; their time is given by the governing ἐβεβαιώθη: the strong assurance with which the Cor(95) embraced the Gospel was followed by a shower of spiritual energies, of which they had a lively sense. A χάρισμα (see parls.) is χάρις in some concrete result (see Cr(96) s. v.),—a specific endowment of (God’s) grace, whether the fundamental charism, embracing all others, of salvation in Christ (Romans 5:16), or, e.g., the special and individual charism of continence (1 Corinthians 7:7). No church excelled the Cor(97) in the variety of its endowments and the satisfaction felt in them. Chaps. 12–14 enumerate and discuss the chief Cor(98) χαρίσματα, setting ἀγάπη in their midst; ethical qualities are included under this term, 1 Corinthians 1:8 f.— ἀπεκδεχομένους τ. ἀποκάλυψιν κ. τ. λ. “while you eagerly awaited (or eagerly awaiting, as you did) the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. The vb(99) is one of P.’s characteristic intensive compounds (see parls.). The anarthrous pr(100) ptp(101) implies a continuous state conditioning that of the foregoing clause: the unstinted plenty of Divine gifts continued while the recipients fixed their thought upon the day of Christ; 1 Corinthians 15:12; 1 Corinthians 15:33 f. show that this expectation had been in many instances relaxed. Romans 8 and Colossians 3 (also 1 John 2:28 to 1 John 3:3) illustrate the bearing of faith in the παρουσία on Christian character; cf. Matthew 25, Luke 12:32 ff., etc. It is an ἀποκάλυψις, an “unveiling” of Christ that the Cor(102) looked for; since although they are “in Christ,” still he is hidden (Colossians 3:3 f.); His presence is a mystery (Colossians 1:27, Ephesians 5:32). “ παρουσία denotes the fact of Christ’s (future) presence, ἑπιφάνεια its visibility” and splendour, “ ἀποκάλυψις its inner meaning” (Ed(103)); φανέρωσις (it might be added: Colossians 3:4) its open display. The Cor(104) were richly blessed with present good, while expecting a good far exceeding it: “a tacit warning against fancied satisfaction in the present” (Gd(105): cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8).


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 1:8. ὃς καὶ βεβαιώσει ὑμᾶς echoes ἐβεβαιώθη (1 Corinthians 1:6); cf. the thanksgiving of Philippians 1:6. ἕως τέλους (see parls.) points to a consummation, not a mere termination of the present order; cf. Romans 6:21 f. ἀνεγκλήτους, “unimpeached,” synonymous with ἀμέμπτους (unblamed), but judicial in significance,—in view of the ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου: “free from charge when the day of the Lord shall come”; cf. Romans 8:33, τίς ἐγκαλέσει;— ὅς refers to the foregoing κύριος . χ., not to the distant θεὸς of 1 Corinthians 1:4; the Saviour “who will make sure” the innocence of the Cor(106) on that day is the Judge who will pronounce upon it (cf. Colossians 1:22, Ephesians 5:27, where Christ is to “present” the Church “unblemished and unimpeached” before Himself): He will then confirm them and vindicate their character, as they have confirmed the testimony about Him (cf. Luke 9:26). P. does not say the Cor(107) are ἀνέγκλητοι now; he hopes that they will prove so then. “The day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 3:13) is the O.T. “day of Jehovah” (LXX, τ. κυρίου), translated into the “day of Christ,” since God has revealed His purpose to “judge through Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16, Acts 17:31).— ἐν τ. ἡμέρᾳ = ἐν τ. παρουσίᾳ τ. κυρ. . χ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23, etc.), with the added connotation of judgment, to which the ἀποκάλυψις of 1 Corinthians 1:7 leads up: for this connexion of thought, see Romans 2:5, 2 Thessalonians 1:7 ff. P. does not say “His day,” though ὅς recalls κύρ. . χ.: Christ’s name is repeated ten times in the first ten vv.—six times, as here, in full style—with sustained solemnity of emphasis (cf. the repetition of “God” in 20–29); “P. thus prepares for his exhortations these Cor(108), who were disposed to treat Christianity as a matter of human choice and personal liking, under the sense that in a Christian Church Christ is the one thing and everything” (Hf(109)).


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 1:9. The ground of Paul’s hope for the ultimate welfare of the Cor(110) is God’s fidelity. His gifts are bestowed on a wise and settled plan (1 Corinthians 1:21, Romans 8:28 ff; Romans 11:29); His word, with it His character, is pledged to the salvation of those who believe in His Son: πιστὸς θεὸς διʼ οὗ ἐκλήθητε = πιστὸς καλῶν of 1 Thessalonians 5:23 f.; the formula πιστὸς λόγος of the Past. Epp. is not very different. διʼ οὗ is “through (older Eng., by) whom you were called”; cf. διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ (1 Corinthians 1:1, see note), and διʼ οὗτὰ πάντα (of God, Romans 11:36); similarly in Galatians 4:7 : God had manifestly interposed to bring the Cor(111) into the communion of Christ (see, further, 1 Corinthians 1:26-28); His voice sounded in the ears of the Cor(112) when the Gospel summons reached them (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Christ (1 Corinthians 1:8) and God are both therefore security for the perfecting of their Christian life.—God’s accepted call has brought the readers εἰς κοινωνίαν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶνi.e., not “into a communion (or partnership) with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (nowhere else has this noun an objective gen(113) of the person: see parls.), but “into a communion belonging to (and named after) God’s Son,” of which He is founder, centre and sum. In this fellowship the Cor(114) partake “with all those that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2); κοινωνία denotes collective participation. The κοινωνία τ. υἱοῦ is the same, both in content and constituency, as the κοινωνία τ. πνεύματος (see 1 Corinthians 12:13, 2 Corinthians 13:13, Philippians 2:1, Ephesians 4:4-6). Its content—that which the Cor(115) share in—is sonship to God, since it is “a communion of His Son,” with Christ for “first-born among many brethren” (Romans 8:29 f.; cf. Hebrews 2:10-16), and consequent heirship to God (Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:26 to Galatians 4:7). The title “our Lord,” added to “His Son Jesus Christ,” invests the Christian communion with present grandeur and certifies its hope of glory; Christ’s glory lies in His full manifestation as Lord (1 Corinthians 15:25, Philippians 2:11), and its glorification is wrapped up in His (2 Thessalonians 1:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; also 1 Thessalonians 2:12). 1 Corinthians 1:9 sustains and crowns the hope expressed in 1 Corinthians 1:8. For κοινωνία, see further the notes on 1 Corinthians 10:16 f.

DIVISION I. THE CORINTHIAN PARTIES AND THE GOSPEL MINISTRY, 1 Corinthians 1:10 to 1 Corinthians 4:21. Paul could not honestly give thanks for the actual condition of the Cor(116) Church. The reason for this omission at once appears. The Church is rent with factions, which ranged themselves under the names of the leading Christian teachers. On the causes of these divisions see Introduction, Chap. 1 Out of their crude and childish experience (1 Corinthians 3:1-4) the Cor(117) are constructing prematurely a γνῶσις of their own (1 Corinthians 8:1, see note), a σοφία resembling that “wisdom of the world” which is “foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 ff., 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 3:18 f., 1 Corinthians 4:9 f.); they think themselves already above the mere λόγος τοῦ σταύρου brought by the Ap., wherein, simple as it appeared, there lay the wisdom and the power of God. This conceit had been stimulated, unwittingly on his part, by the preaching of Apollos. Ch. 1 Corinthians 3:3-7 shows that it is the Apollonian faction which most exercises Paul’s thoughts at present; the irony of 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 is aimed at the partisans of Ap., who exalted his ὑπεροχὴ λόγου κ. σοφίας in disparagement of Paul’s unadorned κήρυγμα τοῦ σταύρου. Mistaking the nature of the Gospel, the Cor(118) mistook the office of its ministers: on the former subject they are corrected in 1 Corinthians 1:18 to 1 Corinthians 2:5 showing in what sense and why the Gospel is not, and in 1 Corinthians 2:6 to 1 Corinthians 3:2 showing in what sense and to whom the Gospel is a σοφία; the latter misconception is rectified in 1 Corinthians 3:3 to 1 Corinthians 4:21, where, with express reference to Ap. and P., Christian teachers are shown to be no competing leaders of human schools but “fellow-workmen of God” and “servants of Christ,” co-operative and complementary instruments of His sovereign work in the building of the Church. The four chapters constitute an apologia for the Apostle’s teaching and office, parl(119) to those of 2 Corinthians 10-13 and Galatians 1-3; but the line of defence adopted here is quite distinct. Here Paul pleads against Hellenising lovers of wisdom, there against Judaising lovers of tradition. Both parties stumbled at the cross; both judged of the Ap. κατὰ σάρκα, and fastened upon his defects in visible prestige and presence. The existence of the legalist party at Cor(120) is intimated by the cry, “I am of Cephas,” and by Paul’s words of self-vindication in 1 Corinthians 9:1 f.; but this faction had as yet reached no considerable head; it developed rapidly in the interval between 1 and 2 Cor.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 1:10. “But I exhort (appeal to) you, brothers:” the reproof to be given stands in painful contrast ( δέ) with the Thanksgiving. It is administered “through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” which the Ap. has invoked so often (see note on 8); all the authority and grace of the Name reinforce his appeal, “that you say the same thing, all (of you),” instead of “saying, each of you, I am of Paul,” etc. (1 Corinthians 1:12).— τὸ αὐτὸ λέγειν, “a strictly classical expression used of political communities which are free from factions, or of diff(123) states which entertain friendly relations with each other” (Lt(124)). τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν, in 2 Corinthians 13:11, etc., is matter of temper and disposition; τὸ αὐτὸ λέγειν, of attitude and declaration: the former is opposed to self-interest, the latter to party zeal. On the weakened use of ἵνα after παρακαλῶ (purpose passing into purport) see Wr(125), pp. 420 ff.: more frequently in P., as in cl(126) usage, this vb(127) is construed with the inf(128); so always in Acts; with ἵνα regularly in Synoptics. For the meanings of παρακαλῶ see 1 Corinthians 4:13.

“And (that) there be not amongst you σχίσματα (clefts, splits),” defines negatively the ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ λέγητε πάντες. The schism (see parls.) is a party division within the Church, not yet, as in eccl(129) usage, a culpable separation from it; ἔριδες (1 Corinthians 1:11) signifies the personal contentions, due to whatever cause, which lead to σχίσματα; αἱρέσεις (1 Corinthians 11:18 f.: see note) are divisions of opinion, or sects founded thereupon (Acts 5:17, etc.), implying a disagreement of principle. The schism is a rent in the Church, an injury to the fabric (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:17, 1 Corinthians 12:25); hence the further appeal, reverting to the positive form of expression,—“but that you be well and surely (pf. ptp(130)) adjusted” (coagmentati, Bg(131))—“the exact word for the healing or repairing of the breaches caused by the σχίσματα” (Al(132)). καταρτίζω has a like political sense in cl(133) Gr(134) (Herod., iv. 161; 1 Corinthians 1:28, in opp(135) to στάσις); “the marked classical colouring of such passages as this leaves a much stronger impression of St. Paul’s acquaintance with cl(136) writers than the rare occasional quotations which occur in his writings” (Lt(137)). “In the same discernment ( νοΐ), and in the same judgment ( γνώμῃ)”: “ νοῦς geht auf die Einsicht, γνώμη auf das Urtheil” (Hn(138)); gnomé is the application of nous in practical judgment (see parls.). P. desiderates that ὁμονοεῖν and ὁμογνωμεῖν (see Thucyd., 2:97, 8:75; Aristot., Polit., 1 Corinthians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Demosth., 281. 21) in Christian matters, which will enable the Church to act as one body and to pursue Christ’s work with undivided strength.


Verses 10-17

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 a. § 3. THE REPORT ABOUT THE PARTIES, AND PAUL’S EXPOSTULATION. Without further preface, the Apostle warns the Cor(121) solemnly against their schisms (1 Corinthians 1:10), stating the testimony on which his admonition is based (1 Corinthians 1:11). The four parties are defined out of the mouths of the Cor(122) (1 Corinthians 1:12); and the Ap. protests esp. against the use of Christ’s name and of his own in this connexion (1 Corinthians 1:13). In founding the Church he had avoided all self-exaltation, bent only on fulfilling his mission of preaching the good news (1 Corinthians 1:14-17 a).


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 1:11. The appeal above made implies a serious charge; now the authority for it: “For it has been signified to me about you, my brothers, by the (people) of Chloç”.— ἐδηλώθη (see parls.) implies definite information, the disclosure of facts.— οἱ χλόης, “persons of Chloç’s household”—children, companions, or possibly slaves (cf. Romans 16:10): there is nothing further to identify them. “Chloç is usually considered a Cor(139) Christian, whose people had come to Eph.; but it is more in harmony with St. Paul’s discretion to suppose that she was an Ephesian known to the Cor(140), whose people had been at Cor(141) and returned to Eph.” (Ev(142), Hf(143)). “Chloç’s people” are distinct from the Cor(144) deputies of 1 Corinthians 16:17, or Paul would have named the latter here; besides, Stephanas was himself the head of a household.— χλόη (Verdure) was an epithet of the goddess Demeter, as φοίβη of Artemis (Romans 16:1): such names were often given to slaves, and . may have been a freedwoman of property (Lt(145)). “That strifes exist among you” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:3, 2 Corinthians 12:20) was the information given; these ἔριδες, the next ver. explains, were generating the σχίσματα (see note on 10).


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 1:12. “But I mean this ( τοῦτο δὲ λέγω), that each one of you is saying (instead of your all saying the same thing, 10), ‘I am of Paul (am Paul’s man),’—‘But I of Apollos,’—‘But I of Cephas,’—‘But I of Christ’!”— ἕκαστος, distributive, as in 1 Corinthians 14:26 : each is saying one or other of these things; the party cries are quoted as from successive speakers challenging each other.

The question of the FOUR COR. PARTIES is one of the standing problems of N.T. criticism. It is fully examined, and the judgments of different critics are digested, by Gd(146) ad loc(147); see also Mr(148)-Hn(149), Einleitung, § 3; Weiss’ Manual of Introd. to the N.T., § 19. After all, this was only a brief phase of Church life at Cor(150); P. had just heard of it when he wrote, by the time of 2 Cor(151) a new situation has arisen. The three first parties are easy to account for: (1) The body of the Ch., converted under P.’s ministry, adhered to its own apostle; P. valued this loyalty and appeals to it, while he condemns its combative expression,—the disposition of men “more Pauline than Paul himself” (Dods) to exalt him to the disparagement of other leaders, and even to the detriment of Christ’s glory. (2) Apollos (cf. Acts 18:24 ff.) had preached at Cor(152), in the interval since Paul’s first departure, with brilliant effect. He possessed Alexandrian culture and a graceful style, whereas P. was deemed at Cor(153) ἰδιώτης τῷ λόγῳ (2 Corinthians 11:6). Some personal converts Ap. had made; others were taken with his genial method, and welcomed his teaching as more advanced than P.’s plain gospel-message. Beside the more cultured Greeks, there would be a sprinkling of liberally-minded Jews, men of speculative bias imbued with Greek letters, who might prefer to say ἐγὼ ἀπολλώ. Judging from this Ep., the Pauline and Apollonian sections included at present the bulk of the Church, divided between its “planter” and “waterer”. ἀπολλώς, of Attic 2nd decl., is probably short for ἀπολλώνιος. (3) In a Judæo-Gentile Church the cry “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” was certain to be met with the retort, “But I of Kephas!” Conservative Jewish believers, when conflict was afoot, rallied to the name of the preacher of Pentecost and the hero of the Church’s earliest victories. The use of κηφᾶς, the Aramaic original of πέτρος, indicates that this party affected Palestinian traditions. Some of them may, possibly, have been Peter’s converts in Judæa. Had Peter visited Cor(154), as Dionysius of Cor(155) supposed (Euseb., Hist. Eccles., ii. 125: Weiss and Harnack favour the tradition), the event would surely have left some trace in these Epp. Judging from the tenor of the two Letters, this faction was of small account in Cor(156) until the arrival of the Judæan emissaries denounced in 2 Cor., who found a ground of vantage ready in those that shouted “I am of Kephas”. In both Epp. P. avoids every appearance of conflict with Peter (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:5). (4) The Christ party forms the crux of the passage:—(a) After F. C. Baur, οἱ χριστοῦ has been commonly interpreted by 2 Corinthians 10:7 : “If any one is confident on his own part that he is Christ’s ( χριστοῦ εἶναι), let him take this into account with himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we”. Now P.’s opponents of 2 Cor. were ultra-Judaists; so, it is inferred, these οἱ χριστοῦ must have been. But the Judaisers of 2 Cor. presumed to be “of Christ” as His ministers, apostles (1 Corinthians 11:13; 1 Corinthians 11:23), deriving their commission (as they maintained P. did not) from the fountain-head; whereas the Christ-party of this place plumed themselves, at most, on being His disciples (rather than P.’s, etc.): the coincidence is verbal rather than real. Upon Baur’s theory, there were two parties at Cor(157), as everywhere else in the Church, diametrically opposed—a Gentile-Christian party, divided here into Pauline and Apollonian sections, and a Jewish-Christian party naming itself from Kephas or Christ as occasion served. Later scholars following Baur’s line of interpretation, distinguish variously the Petrine and Christine Judaists: ((158)) Weizsäcker associates the latter with James; ((159)) Reuss and Beyschlag see in them strict followers of the example and maxims of Jesus as the διάκονος περιτομῆς, from which Peter in certain respects deviated; ( γ) Hilgenfeld, Holsten, Hausrath, Sm(160), think they had been in personal relations with Jesus (it is quite possible that amongst the “five hundred” of 1 Corinthians 15:5 some had wandered to Cor(161)); ( δ) Gd(162) strangely conjectures that “they were Gnostics before Gnosticism, who formulated their title οἱ χριστοῦ, after the fashion of Cerinthus, in opp(163) not merely to the names of the apostles, but even to that of Jesus!” He identifies them with the men who cried “Jesus is anathema” (1 Corinthians 12:2 : see note). This notion is an anachronism, and has no real basis in the Epp.

(b) 1 Corinthians 3:22 f. (see notes, ad loc(164)) supplies a nearer and safer clue to the interpretation; this is the Apostle’s decisive correction of the rivalries of 1 Corinthians 1:12. The human leaders pitted against each other all belong to the Church (not this teacher or that to this section or that), while it belongs without distinction to Christ, and Christ, with all that is His, to God. The catholic ὑμεῖς χριστοῦ swallows up the self-assertive and sectarian ἐγὼ δὲ χριστοῦ. Those who used this cry arrogated the common watchword as their peculium; they erred by despising, as others by glorying in men. “ ἐγὼ χριστοῦ ad eos pertinet qui in contrariam partem peccabant; i.e., qui sese unius Christi ita dicebant, ut interim iis per quos quos Deus loquitur nihil tribuerent” (Bz(165)); similarly Aug(166), Bg(167), Mr(168), Hf(169), El(170), Bt(171)

(c) The Gr(172) Ff(173), followed by Cv(174), Bleek, Pfleiderer, Râbiger, and others, saw in the ἐγὼ δὲ χριστοῦ the true formula which P. approves, or even which he utters propriâ personâ. But the context subjects all four classes to the same reproach. It is a sufficient condemnation for the fourth party that they said “I am of Christ,” in rejoinder to the partisans of Paul and the rest, lowering His name to this competition.

(d) Hn(175), finding the riddle of the “Christus-partei” insoluble, eliminates it from the text; “we are driven,” he says, “to explain the ἐγὼ δὲ χριστοῦ as a gloss, which some reader of the original codex inscribed in the margin, borrowing it from 1 Corinthians 3:23 as a counter-confession to the ἐγὼ μὲν παύλου κ. τ. λ.”


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 1:13. In his expostulation P. uses, with telling contrast, the first and last only of the party names: “Is the Christ divided? Was Paul crucified on your behalf? or into the name of Paul were you baptised?” Lachmann, W.H(176), Mr(177), Bt(178), read μεμέρισται χ. as an exclamation: “The Christ (then) has been divided!”—torn in pieces by your strife. But μερίζω (here in pf. of resultful fact) denotes distribution, not dismemberment (see parls.): the Christian who asserts “I am Christ’s” in distinction from others, claims an exclusive part in Him, whereas the one and whole Christ belongs to every limb of His manifold body (see 1 Corinthians 12:12; also 1 Corinthians 11:3, Romans 10:12; Romans 14:7-9, Ephesians 4:3 ff., Colossians 2:19). A divided Church means a Christ parcelled out, appropriated κατὰ μέρος. χριστὸς is the Christ, in the fulness of all that His title signifies (see 1 Corinthians 12:12, etc.).—While μεμέρισται χ.; is Paul’s abrupt and indignant question to himself, μὴ παῦλος ἐσταυρώθη; (aor(179) of historical event) interrogates the readers—“Is it Paul that was crucified for you?” From the cross the Ap. draws his first reproof, the point of which 1 Corinthians 6:20 makes clear, “You were bought at a price”: the Cor(180) therefore were not Paul’s or Kephas’, nor some of them Christ’s and some of them Paul’s men, but only Christ’s and all Christ’s alike.

The cross was the ground of κοινωνία χριστοῦ (1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Corinthians 10:16); baptism, signalising personal union with Him by faith, its attestation (Romans 6:3); to this P. appeals asking, εἰς τὸ ὄνομα παύλου ἐβαπτίσθητε; His converts will remember how Christ’s name was then sealed upon them, and Paul’s ignored. What was true of his practice, he tacitly assumes for the other chiefs. The readers had been baptised as Christians, not Pauline, Apollonian, or Petrine Christians. Paul’s horror at the thought of baptising in his name shows how truly Christ’s was to him “the name above every name’ (Philippians 2:9; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:5).


Verses 14-16

1 Corinthians 1:14-16. In fact, P. had himself baptised very few of the Cor(181) He sees a providence in this; otherwise he might have seemed wishful to stamp his own name upon his converts, and some colour would have been lent to the action of the Paulinists—“lest any one should say that you were baptised into my name”. For βαπτίζω εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, cf. Matthew 28:19 and other parls.; also βαπτίζω εἰς, 1 Corinthians 10:2; it corresponds to πιστεύω εἰς, and has the like pregnant force. “The name” connotes the nature and authority of the bearer, and His relationship to those who speak of Him by it. Crispus and Gaius: both Roman names (see Introd., p(182) 733); the former a cognomen (Curly), the latter an exceedingly common prænomen. These two were amongst Paul’s earliest converts (Acts 18:8, Romans 16:23), the former a Synagogue-ruler. On second thoughts (“he was reminded by his amanuensis,” Lt(183); or by Steph. himself), P. remembers that he had “baptised the house of Stephanas” (see 1 Corinthians 16:15, and note), the first family here won to Christ. στεφανᾶς (perhaps short for στεφανηφόρος), like κηφᾶς, takes the Doric gen(184) in - usual with proper names in - ᾶς, whether of native or foreign origin (see Bm(185), p. 20).— λοιπὸν οὐκ οἶδα εἴ τινα κ. τ. λ.: P. cannot recall any other instance of baptism by his own hands at Cor(186); this was a slight matter, which left no clear mark in his memory, λοιπόν (more regularly, τὸ λοιπόν), “for the rest”—in point of time (1 Corinthians 7:29), or number—a somewhat frequent idiom with Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:2). In οὐκ οἶδα εἰ (haud scio an), the conjunction is indir(187) interr(188), as in 1 Corinthians 7:16.


Verse 17

1 Corinthians 1:17 a justifies Paul’s thanking God that he had baptised so few: “For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to evangelise”. The infs. (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1 f., 1 Corinthians 9:16, 1 Corinthians 15:11; Romans 15:17-21) are epexegetical (of purpose); and pres., of continued action (function), οὐκἀλλά—no qualified, but an absolute denial that Baptism was the Apostle’s proper work. For the terms of Paul’s commission see Galatians 1:15 f., Ephesians 3:7-9, 1 Timothy 2:7; also Acts 9:15, and parls. Baptism was the necessary sequel of preaching, and P. did not suppose his commission narrower than that of the Twelve (Matthew 28:19 f.); but baptising might be performed vicariously, not so preaching. “To evangelise is to cast the net—the true apostolic work; to baptise is to gather the fish already caught and to put them into vessels” (Gd(190)). It never occurred to P. that a Christian minister’s essential function was to administer sacraments. The Ap. dwells on this matter so much as to suggest (Cv(191)) that he tacitly contrasts himself with some preachers who made a point of baptising their own converts, as though to vindicate a special interest in them; cf. the action of Peter (Acts 10:48), and of Jesus (John 4:1 f.).

1 Corinthians 1:17 b. οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου is grammatical adjunct to ἀλλὰ ( ἀπέστ. με χρ.) εὐαγγελίζεσθαι; but the phrase opens a new vein of thought, and supplies the theme of the subsequent argument up to 1 Corinthians 2:6. In 1 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:17 a Paul asserted that Christ sent him not to baptise, but to preach; further, what he has to preach is not a philosophy to be discussed, but a message of God to be believed: “L’évangile n’est pas une sagesse, c’est un salut” (Gd(192)). In this transition the Ap. silently directs his reproof from the Pauline to the Apollonian party.—In σοφία λόγου (see 1 Corinthians 2:1 to 1 Corinthians 4:13; cf. the opp(193) combination in 1 Corinthians 12:8) the stress lies on wisdom (called in 1 Corinthians 1:19 f. “the wisdom of the world”)—sc. “wisdom” in the common acceptation, as the world understood it and as the Cor(194) expected it from public teachers: “in wisdom of word” = in philosophical style. “To tell good news in wisdom of word” is an implicit contradiction; “news” only needs and admits of plain, straightforward telling. To dress out the story of Calvary in specious rhetoric, or wrap it up in fine-spun theorems, would have been to “empty ( κενώθῃ) the cross of Christ,” to eviscerate the Gospel. The “power of God” lies in the facts and not in any man’s presentment of them: “to substitute a system of notions, however true and ennobling, for the fact of Christ’s death, is like confounding the theory of gravitation with gravitation itself” (Ed(195)).—For κενόω, factitive of κενός (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14), see parls.; the commoner syn(196), καταργέω (1 Corinthians 1:28, etc.), means to deprive of activity, make impotent (in effect), κενόω to deprive of content, make unreal (in fact).


Verses 17-25

1 Corinthians 1:17-25. § 4. THE TRUE POWER OF THE GOSPEL. To “preach the gospel” meant, above all, to proclaim the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17 b). In Cor(189) “the wisdom of the world” scouted this message as sheer folly (1 Corinthians 1:18). To use “wisdom of word” in meeting such antagonism would have been for P. to fight the world with its own weapons and to betray his cause, the strength of which lay in the Divine power and wisdom embodied in Christ, a force destined, because it was God’s, to bring to shame the world’s vaunting wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:19-25).


Verse 18

1 Corinthians 1:18. What P. asserted in 1 Corinthians 1:17 as intrinsically true, he supports by experience (1 Corinthians 1:18) and by Scripture (1 Corinthians 1:19), combining their testimony in 1 Corinthians 1:20.— λόγος γάρ, τοῦ σταύρου, “For the word, namely that of the cross”. λόγος (distinguish from the anarthrous λόγος above) takes its sense from εὐαγγελίζεσθαι (1 Corinthians 1:17); it is “the tale” rather than “the doctrine of the cross,” synonymous with μαρτύριον (1 Corinthians 1:6) and κήρυγμα (1 Corinthians 1:21).— τοῖς μὲν ἀπολλυμένοιςτοῖς δὲ σωζομένοις, the two classes into which P. sees his hearers divide themselves (see parls.). The ptps. are strictly pr(197)—not expressing certain expectation (Mr(198)), nor fixed predestination (Bz(199)); the rejectors and receivers of “the word” are in course of perishing and being saved respectively (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:2; contrast the aor(200) of σώζω in Romans 8:24, and the pf. in Ephesians 2:5). “In the language of the N.T. salvation is a thing of the past, a thing of the present, and a thing of the future.… The divorce of morality and religion is fostered by failing to note this, and so laying the whole stress either on the past or on the future—on the first call or on the final change” (Lt(201)). Paul paints the situation before his eyes: one set of men deride the story of the cross—these are manifestly perishing; to another set the same story is “God’s power unto salvation”. The appended pers(202) pron(203) ( τ. σωζομένοις) ἡμῖν, “to the saved, viz., ourselves,” speaks from and to experience: “You and I know that the cross is God’s saving power”. Cf. with the whole expression Romans 1:16, also John 3:14-17.—The antithesis to μωρία is not, in the first instance, σοφία, but δύναμις θεοῦ—a practical vindication against false theory; saved men are the Gospel’s apology. Yet because it is δύναμις, the word of the cross is, after all, the truest σοφία (see 30, 1 Corinthians 2:6 ff.). The double ἐστὶν emphasises the actuality of the contrasted results.


Verse 19

1 Corinthians 1:19. As concerns “the perishing,” the above sentence agrees with God’s ways of judgment as revealed in Scripture: γέγραπται γάρ κ. τ. λ. The quotation ἀπολῶ κ. τ. λ. (suggested by τ. ἀπολλυμένοις) belongs to the cycle of Isaiah’s prophecies against the worldly-wise politicians of Jerus. in Assyrian times (1 Corinthians 1:28-31.), who despised the word of Jehovah, relying on their shallow and dishonest statecraft; their policy of alliance with Egypt will lead to a shameful overthrow, out of which God will find the means of vindicating His wisdom and saving His people and city. The O.T. and N.T. situations are analogous: Gentile and Jewish wisdom, united in rejection of the Gospel, are coming to a like breakdown; and P. draws a powerful warning from the sacred history.— ἀθετήσω (a reminiscence, perhaps, of Psalms 33:10) displaces the less pointed κρύψω: otherwise the LXX text of Isa. is followed; in the Heb. the vbs. are pass(204), “the wisdom … shall perish,” etc. Isaiah 29 is rich in matter for N.T. use: 1 Corinthians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 1:18 gave our Lord texts, in Matthew 15:8 f., 1 Corinthians 11:5 respectively; the Ap. quotes the chap. twice elsewhere, and ch. 28 thrice.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 1:20. τοῦ σοφός; ποῦ γραμματεύς; and (possibly) ἐμώρανεντήν σοφίαν, are also Isaianic allusions—to Isaiah 19:11 f. (mocking the vain wisdom of Pharaoh’s counsellors), and Isaiah 33:18 (predicting the disappearance of Sennacherib’s revenue clerks and army scouts, as a sign of his defeat). The LXX γραμματικὸς becomes γραμματεύς, in consistence with the sophçr of the latter passage; συνζητητής (cf. ζητοῦσιν, 1 Corinthians 1:22), in the third question, is Paul’s addition.— γραμματεὺς unmistakably points, in the application, to the Jewish Scribe (cf. our Lord’s denunciation in Matthew 23); of the parl(205) terms, σοφὸς is supposed by most moderns to be general, comprehending Jewish and Gr(206) wise men together, συνζητητὴς to be specific to the Gr(207) philosopher—a distinction better reversed, as by Lt(208) after the Gr(209) Ff(210) συνζητέω, with its cognates, is employed in the N.T. of Jewish discussions (Acts 6:9; Acts 28:29, etc.), and the adjunct τ. αἰῶνος τούτου gives to the term its widest scope, whereas σοφός, esp. at Cor(211), marks the Gr(212) intellectual pride; καλεῖ σοφὸν τὸν τῇ ἑλληνικῇ στωμυλίᾳ κοσμούμενον (Thd(213); cf. Romans 1:23).— ποῦ σοφός (not σοφός); κ. τ. λ.: “Where is a wise man? where a scribe? where a disputer of this age?” These orders of men are swept from the field; all such pretensions disappear (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:29)—“Did not God make foolish the wisdom of the world?” The world and God are at issue; each counts the other’s wisdom folly (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:25; 1 Corinthians 1:30). But God actually turned to foolishness (infatuavit, Bz(214): cf. Romans 1:21 f., for μωραίνω; also Isaiah 44:25) the world’s imagined wisdom: how, 1 Corinthians 1:21-25 proceed to show. On αἰὼν see parls., and Ed(215)’s note; also Trench’s Synon., lix., and Gm(216), for the distinction between αἰὼν and κόσμος; “ αἰών, like sæculum, refers to the prevailing ideas and feelings of the present life, κόσμος to its gross, material character” (Lt(217)).


Verse 21

1 Corinthians 1:21. ἐπειδὴ γάρ (quoniam enim, Cv(219)) introduces the when and how of God’s stultifying the world’s wisdom by the λόγος τοῦ σταύρου: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased,” etc.— οὐκ ἔγνωδιὰ τ. σοφίας τ. θεὸν records Paul’s experience, e.g., at Athens, in disclosing the ἄγνωστον θεὸν to philosophers. Of the emphatic adjunct, ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, there are two explanations, following the line of Romans 1:19 f. or Romans 11:32 f.: on the former view, the clause qualifies ἔγνω—“the world did not come to know God in His wisdom,” evidenced in creation and Providence—so most interpreters (“amid the wisdom of God,” Bt(220); in media luce, Cv(221); in nature and Scripture, addressed to Gentile and Jew, Bg(222); Mr(223)); on the other hand, Rückert, Reuss, Al(224), Lt(225), Ev(226) attach the clause to οὐκ ἔγνω,—in God’s wise plan of the world’s government, the world’s wisdom failed to win the knowledge of Him. The latter is the sounder explanation, being (a) in accord with Paul’s reff. elsewhere to σοφία θεοῦ, (b) presenting a pointed antithesis to σοφία κόσμου, and (c) harmonising with Paul’s theory of the education of mankind for Christ, expounded in Galatians 3:10 to Galatians 4:5 and Romans 5:20 f., 1 Corinthians 7:7-25; 1 Corinthians 7:11 “Through its (Greek) wisdom the world knew not God,” as through its (Jewish) righteousness it pleased not God; both results were brought about “in the wisdom of God”—according to that “plan of the ages,” leading up to “the fulness of the seasons,” which embraced the Gentile “times of ignorance” (Acts 17:26-31) no less than the Jewish dispensations of covenant and law. “It is part of God’s wise providence that He will not be apprehended by intellectual speculation, by ‘dry light’ ” (Ev(227)). The intellectual was as signal as the moral defeat; the followers of Plato were “shut up,” along with those of Moses, εἰς τ. μέλλουσαν πίστιν (Galatians 3:22 f.).

Now that God’s wisdom has reduced the self-wise world to ignorance, εὐδόκησεν σῶσαι: man’s extremity, God’s opportunity. “It was God’s good will” (placuit Deo: see parls. for the vb(228)); εὐδοκία P. associates with θέλημα, βουλὴ on the one hand, and with χάρις, ἀγαθωσύνη on the other: God’s sovereign grace rescues man’s bankrupt wisdom. διὰ τ. μωρίας τ. κηρύγματος states the means, τοῦς πιστεύοντας defines the qualified objects of this deliverance. “Through the folly (as the wise world calls it, 1 Corinthians 1:18) of the κήρυγμα”—which last term signifies not the act of proclamation ( κήρυξις), but the message proclaimed by God’s herald ( κῆρυξ, see parls.: the heralding suggests thoughts of the kingdom; cf. Acts 20:25, Luke 8:1, etc.). P. designates Christians by the act which makes them such—“those that believe” (see parls.). God saves by faith. Faith here stands opposed to Greek knowledge, as in Rom. to Jewish lawworks.


Verses 21-25

1 Corinthians 1:21-25. The ἐπειδὴ of 1 Corinthians 1:21 and that of 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 are parl(218), the second restating and expanding the first (cf. the double ὅταν in 1 Corinthians 15:24, and in 1 Corinthians 15:27 f.: see notes), rather than proving it; together they justify the assertion implied in 1 Corinthians 1:20 b, which virtually repeats 1 Corinthians 1:18.


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 1:22. ἰουδαῖοιἕλληνες—anarthrous; “Jews” qua Jews, etc.: in this “asking” and “seeking” the characteristics of each race are “hit off to perfection” (Ed(231): see his interesting note); αἰτεῖν expresses “the importunity of the Jews,” ζητεῖν “the curious, speculative turn of the Greeks” (Lt(232)). For the Jewish requirement, cf. parls. in the case of Jesus; the app., doubtless, were challenged in the same way—P. perhaps publicly at Cor(233): “non reperias Corinthi signum editum esse per Paulum, Acts 18.” (Bg(234)). Respecting this demand, see Lt(235), Biblical Essays, pp. 150 ff. Such dictation Christ never allowed; His miracles were expressions of pity, not concessions to unbelief, a part of the Gospel and not external buttresses to it. Of the Hellenic σοφίαν ζητεῖν Philosophy is itself a monument; cf., amongst many cl(236) parls., Herod., iv., 77, ἔλληνες πάντας ἀσχόλους εἶναι πρὸς πᾶσαν σοφίην; also Ælian, Var. Hist., xii., 25; Juvenal, Sat., I., ii., 58 f.


Verses 22-25

1 Corinthians 1:22-25 open out the thought of 1 Corinthians 1:21 : “the world” is parted into “Jews” and “Greeks”; μωρία becomes σκάνδαλον and μωρία; the κήρυγμα is defined as that of χριστὸς ἐσταυρωμένος; and the πιστεύοντες reappear as the κλητοί. Both Mr(229) and Al(230) make this a new sentence, detached from 1 Corinthians 1:20 f., and complete in itself, with ἐπειδὴ καί κ. τ. λ. for protasis, and ἡμεῖς δέ κ. τ. λ. for apodosis,—as though the mistaken aims of the world supplied Paul’s motive for preaching Christ; the point is rather (in accordance with 20) that his “foolish” message, in contrast with ( δέ, 1 Corinthians 1:23) the desiderated “signs” and “wisdom,” convicts the world of folly (1 Corinthians 1:20); thus the whole of 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 falls under the regimen of the 2nd ἐπειδή, which with its καί, emphatically resumes the first ἐπειδή (1 Corinthians 1:21)—“since indeed”. God turned the world’s wise men into fools (1 Corinthians 1:20) by bestowing salvation through faith on a ground that they deem folly (1 Corinthians 1:21)—in other words, by revealing His power and wisdom in the person of a crucified Messiah, whom Jews and Greeks unite to despise (1 Corinthians 1:22-24).


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 1:23. Instead of working miracles to satisfy the Jews, or propounding a philosophy to entertain the Greeks, “we, on the other hand, proclaim a crucified Christ”— χριστὸν ἐσταυρωμένον, i.e., Christ as crucified (predicative adjunct), not “Christ the crucified,” nor, strictly, “Christ crucified”; cf., for the construction, 2 Corinthians 4:5, κηρύσσομεν χ. . κύριον, “We preach (not ourselves but) Christ Jesus as Lord”. Not a warrior Messiah, flashing His signs from the sky, breaking the heathen yoke, but a Messiah dying in impotence and shame (see 2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 13:4 : hattalúy, Deuteronomy 21:23the hangéd—He is styled in the Talmud) is what the app. preach for their good news! “To Jews indeed a σκάνδαλον”: this word (cl(237) σκανδάληθρον) signified first the trap-stick, then any obstacle over which one stumbles to one’s injury, an “offence” (syn(238) with προσκοπή, πρόσκομμα: see 1 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Corinthians 8:13), a moral hindrance presented to the perverse or the weak (see parls.).— τοῖς δὲ ἔθνεσιν μωρίαν: for the “folly” of offering the infelix lignum to cultured Gentiles, see Cicero, pro Rabirio, v.: “Nomen ipsum crucis absit non modo a corpore civium Romanorum, sed etiam a cogitatione, oculis, auribus”; and Lucian, De morte Peregrini, 13, who mocks at those who worship τὸν ἀνεσκολοπισμένον τὸν σοφιστήν,—“that gibbeted sophist!” For reff. in the early Apologists see Justin ., Tryph., lxix., and Apol., i., 13; Tertull., adv. Jud., § 10; Aristo of Pella, in Routh’s Rel. Sacr., i., 95; and the graffito of the gibbeted ass discovered on the wall of the Pædagogium in the Palatine. To Jews the λόγος τοῦ σταύρου announced the shameful reversal of their most cherished hopes; to Greeks and Romans it offered for Saviour and Lord a man branded throughout the Empire as amongst the basest of criminals; it was “outrageous,” and “absurd”.


Verse 24

1 Corinthians 1:24. αὐτοῖς δὲ τοῖς κλητοῖς, ipsis autem vocatis (Vg(239)): for the emphatic prefixed αὐτοῖς, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Thess. 16, etc.; it “marks off those alluded to from the classes to which they nationally belonged” (El(240))—“to the called however upon their part, both Jews and Greeks”—cf. the οὐδιαστολὴ of Romans 3:9; Romans 3:22 ff. “(We proclaim) a Christ (to these) God’s power and God’s wisdom.” Of God reiterated four times, with triumphant emphasis, in the stately march of 1 Corinthians 1:24 f. θεοῦ δύν., θεοῦ σοφ. are predicative, in antithesis to ἐσταυρωμένον (1 Corinthians 1:23): the app. “preach as power and wisdom” One who wears to the world the aspect of utter powerlessness and folly.— δύναμις and σοφία θεοῦ were synonyms of the λόγος in the Alexandrian-Jewish speculations, in which Apollos was probably versed; these surpassing titles Paul appropriates for the Crucified.— θεοῦ δύναμιν reaffirms, after explanation, the δύναμις θεοῦ of 1 Corinthians 1:18; now θεοῦ σοφίαν is added to it, for “power” proves “wisdom” here (see note on 1 Corinthians 1:30); the universal efficacy of the Gospel demonstrates its inner truth, and faith is finally justified by reason.— δύναμιν matches the σημεῖον of 1 Corinthians 1:22 (see, e.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:9); believing Jews found, after all, in the cross the mightiest miracle, while Greeks found the deepest wisdom. The “wisdom of God,” secretly working in the times of preparation (1 Corinthians 1:20), is thus at length brought to human recognition in Christ. On κλητοῖς see note to 1 Corinthians 1:2 : this term is preferable to οἱ σωζόμενοι, or οἱ πιστεύοντες, where the stress rests upon God’s initiative in the work of individual salvation; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:26, Romans 8:28 ff.


Verse 25

1 Corinthians 1:25. What has been proved in point of fact, viz., the stultification by the cross of man’s wisdom, the Ap. (as in Romans 3:30; Romans 11:29, Galatians 2:6) grounds upon an axiomatic religious principle, that of the absolute superiority of the Divine to the human. That God should thus confound the world one might expect: “because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men”. Granted that the λόγος τ. σταυροῦ is folly and weakness, it is God’s folly, God’s weakness: will men dare to match themselves with that? (cf. Romans 9:20).— τὸ μωρόν (not μωρία as before), τὸ ἀσθενές are concrete terms—the foolish, weak policy of God (cf. τὸ χρηστόν, Romans 2:4), the folly and weakness embodied in the cross.— ἰσχυρός ( ἰσχύς) implies intrinsic strength; δύναμις is ability, as relative to the task in view.


Verse 26

1 Corinthians 1:26. βλέπετε γὰρ τὴν κλῆσιν ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοί,—“For look at your calling, brothers”: God has called you into the fellowship of His Son (1 Corinthians 1:9); if His Gospel had been a grand philosophy, would He have addressed it to fools, weaklings, base-born, like most of you? P.’s experience in this respect resembled his Master’s (Matthew 11:25, John 7:47-49, Acts 4:13). This argument cuts two ways: it lowers the conceit of the readers (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and the scathing irony of 1 Corinthians 4:7-13), while it discloses the true mission of the Gospel. On κλῆσιν see the note to κλητοῖς (1 Corinthians 1:2), also on 1 Corinthians 7:20 : it signifies not one’s temporal vocation in the order of Providence, but one’s summons to enter the kingdom of Grace; ὑμῶν is objective gen(241) For τ. κλῆσιν ὅτι, see note on ὅτι, 1 Corinthians 1:5.— οὐ πολλοί (thrice repeated) suggests at least a few of each class amongst the readers: see Introd., p. 730.— οὐ πολλοὶ σοφοί: “hinc Athenis numero tam exiguo lucrifacti sunt homines” (Bg(242)).— σοφοὶ is qualified by κατὰ σάρκα (see parls., and cf. σοφία σαρκική, 2 Corinthians 1:12), in view of the distinction worked out in § 4 between the world’s and God’s wisdom: the contrast implied resembles that between κατὰ θεὸν λύπη and τοῦ κόσμου λύπη in 2 Corinthians 7:9 ff. The “wise after the flesh” include not only philosophers (1 Corinthians 1:20), “but educated men in general, the πεπαιδευμένοι as opposed to the ἰδιῶται. The δυνατοὶ were men of rank and political influence, opp(243) to δῆμος. The εὐγενεῖς meant, in the aristocratic ages of Greece, men of high descent;” but in later degenerate times “men whose ancestors were virtuous and wealthy, the honesti as opposed to the humiliores of the Empire. Few intellectual men, few politicians, few of the better class of free citizens embraced Christianity” (Ed(244)). In a Roman colony and capital, the εὐγενεῖς would chiefly be men of hereditary citizenship, like P. himself; the δυνατοί, persons associated with Government and in a position to influence affairs; the former word is applied in an ethical sense to the Berœan Jews in Acts 17:11. “That the majority of the first converts from heathenism were either slaves or freedmen, appears from their names” (Lt(245)); the inscriptions of the Catacombs confirm this. The low social status of the early Christians was the standing reproach of hostile critics, and the boast of Apologists: see the famous passage in Tacitus’ Annals, xv., 44; Justin ., Apol., ii. 9; Origen, contra Celsum, ii., 79; Minuc. Felix, vii., 12 (indocti, impoliti, rudes, agrestes). As time went on and Christianity penetrated the higher ranks of society, these words became less strictly true: see Pliny’s Ep. ad Trajanum, x., 97, and the cases of Flavius Clemens and Domitilla, cousins of the emperor Domitian (Ed(246)), The ellipsis of predicate to οὐ πολλοί κ. τ. λ. is commonly filled up by understanding ἐκλήθησαν, as implied in κλῆσιν: “not many wise, etc. (were called)”. Mr(247), Bt(248), and others, supply εἰσίν, or preferably ἐστέ: “(there are) not many wise, etc. (among you),” or “not many (of you are) wise, etc.”; the omission of ὑμεῖς courteously veils the disparagement.


Verses 26-31

1 Corinthians 1:26-31. § 5. THE OBJECTS OF THE GOSPEL CALL. § 4 has shown that the Gospel does not come ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου (1 Corinthians 1:17 b) by the method of its operation; this will further be evidenced by the status of its recipients. If it were, humanly speaking, a σοφία, it would have addressed itself to σοφοί, and won their adherence; but the case is far otherwise.


Verse 27-28

1 Corinthians 1:27-28. “Nay, but ( ἀλλά, the but of exclusion) the foolish … the weak … the base-born things of the world God did choose out (when He chose you).”— ἐξελέξατο (selected, picked out for Himself) is equivalent to ἐκάλεσεν (1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:26), εὐδόκησενσῶσαι (1 Corinthians 1:21), τὴν χάριν ἔδωκεν ἐν χ. . (1 Corinthians 1:4); this word indicates the relation in which the saved are put both to God and to the world, out of ( ἐξ) which they were taken (see parls.); nothing here suggests, as in Ephesians 1:4, the idea of eternal election.— ἐξελέξατο θεός: the astonishing fact thrice repeated, with solemn emphasis of assurance. The objects of God’s saving choice and the means of their salvation match each other; by His τὸ μωρὸν and τὸ ἀσθενές (1 Corinthians 1:25) He saves τὰ μωρὰ and τὰ ἀσθενῆ: “the world laughs at our beggarly selves, as it laughs at our beggarly Gospell” The neut. adj(249) of 1 Corinthians 1:27 f. mark the category to which the selected belong; their very foolishness, weakness, ignobility determine God’s choice (cf. Matthew 9:13, Luke 10:21, etc.).— τοῦ κόσμου is partitive gen(250): out of all the world contained, God chose its (actually) foolish, weak, base things—making “fæx urbis lux orbis!” In this God acted deliberately, pursuing the course maintained through previous ages, ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ (see note, 1 Corinthians 1:21): He “selected the foolish things of the world, that He might shame its wise men ( τοὺς σοφούς) … the weak things of the world, that He might shame its strong things ( τὰ ἰσχυρά), and the base-born things of the world and the things made absolutely nothing of … the things nonexistent, that He might bring the things existent to naught”. In the first instance a class of persons, immediately present to Paul’s mind (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:20), is to be “put to shame”; in the two latter P. thinks, more at large, of worldly forces and institutions (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:31, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6). The pride of the cultured and ruling classes of paganism was to be confounded by the powers which Christianity conferred upon its social outcasts; as, e.g., Hindoo Brahminism is shamed by the moral and intellectual superiority acquired by Christian Pariahs.— τὰ ἀγενῆ τοῦ κόσμου, third of the categories of disparagement, is reinforced by τὰ ἐξουθενημένα (from ἐξ and οὐδέν, pf. pass(251): things set down as of no account whatever), then capped by the abruptly apposed τὰ μὴ ὄντα, to which is attached the crowning final clause, ἵνα τὰ ὄντα καταργήσῃ. For καταργέω (ut enervaret, Bz(252)), see note on κενόω (1 Corinthians 1:17), and parls.; the scornful world-powers are not merely to be robbed of their glory (as in the two former predictions), but of their power and being, as indeed befell in the end the existing social and political fabric. In τὰ μὴ ὄντα, “ μὴ implies that the non-existence is not absolute but estimative” (Al(253)); the classes to which Christianity appealed were non-entities for philosophers and statesmen, cyphers in their reckoning: contrast οὐκ ὤν, of objective matter of fact, in John 10:12, Acts 7:5; also Eurip., Troad., 600.— τὰ ὄντα connotes more than bare existence; “ipsum verbum εἶναι eam vim habet ut significet in aliquo numero esse, rebus secundis florere” (Pflugk, on Eurip., Hecuba, 284, quoted by Mr(254)); it is τὰ ὄντα κατʼ ἐξοχήν: cf. the adv(255) ὄντως in 1 Timothy 6:19.


Verse 29

1 Corinthians 1:29. God’s purposes in choosing the refuse of society are gathered up into the general and salutary design, revealed in Scripture (see parls.), “that so no flesh may glory in God’s presence” (a condens quotation) = πάντα εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ (1 Corinthians 10:31). For ὅπως, which carries to larger issue the intentions stated in the previous clauses, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:14, 2 Thessalonians 1:12. Two Hebraisms, characteristic of the LXX, here: μὴπᾶσα (khôl … lo’), for μηδεμία; and σάρξ (bâsâr), for humanity in its mortality or sinfulness. Cf., for this rule of Divine action, 2 Corinthians 12:9 f.; also Plato, Ion, 534 E, ἵνα μὴ διστάζωμεν ὅτι οὐκ ἀνθρώπινά ἐστι τὰ καλὰ ταῦτα ποιήματα οὐδὲ ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλὰ θεῖα καὶ θεῶν θεὸς ἐξεπίτηδες διὰ τοῦ φαυλοτάτου ποιητοῦ τὸ κάλλιστον μέλος ᾖσεν.


Verse 30

1 Corinthians 1:30. ἐξ αὐτοῦ δὲ ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ: is ἐν χ. ἰησοῦ or ἐξ αὐτοῦ (sc. τοῦ θεοῦ) the predicate to ἐστέ? Does P. mean, “It comes of Him (God) that you are in Christ Jesus”—i.e., “Your Christian status is due to God” (so Mr(256), Hn(257), Bt(258), Ed(259), Gd(260), El(261))? or, “It is in Christ Jesus that you are of Him”—“Your new life derived from God is grounded in Christ” (Gr(262) Ff(263), Cv(264), Bz(265), Rückert, Hf(266), Lt(267))? The latter interpretation suits the order of words and the trend of thought (see Lt(268)): “You, whom the world counts as nothing (1 Corinthians 1:26 ff.: note the contrastive δέ), are of Him before whom all human glory vanishes (1 Corinthians 1:29); in Christ this Divine standing is yours”. Thus Paul exalts those whom he had abased. The conception of the Christian estate as “of God,” if Johannine, is Pauline too (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6, 1 Corinthians 10:12, 1 Corinthians 12:6, 2 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 5:18, etc.), and lies in Paul’s fundamental appropriation, after Jesus, of God as πατὴρ ἡμῶν (1 Corinthians 1:4, and passim), and in the correlative doctrine of the υἱοθεσία; the whole passage (1 Corinthians 1:18-29) is dominated by the thought of the Divine initiative in salvation. This derivation from God is not further defined, as in Galatians 3:26; enough to state the grand fact, and to ground it “in Christ Jesus” (see note, 1 Corinthians 1:4).

The relative clause, “who was made wisdom,” etc., unfolds the content of the life communicated “to us from God” in Christ. Of the four defining complements to ἐγενήθη ἡμῖν, σοφία stands by itself, with the other three attached by way of definition—“wisdom from God, viz., both righteousness, etc.”; Mr(269), Al(270), Gd(271), however, read the four as coordinate. On σοφία the whole debate, from 1 Corinthians 1:17 onwards, hinges: we have seen how God turned the world’s wisdom to folly (1 Corinthians 1:20-25); now He did this not for the pleasure of it, but for our salvation—to establish His own wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24), and to bestow it upon us in Christ (“us” means Christians collectively—cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17—while “you” meant the despised Cor(272) Christians, 1 Corinthians 1:26). This wisdom (how diff(273) from the other! See 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1Co_1:19; James 3:15 ff.) comes as sent “from God” ( ἀπὸ of ultimate source: ἐξ of direct derivation). It is a vitalising moral force— δύναμις καὶ σοφία (1 Corinthians 1:24)—taking the shape of δικαιοσύνη τε καὶ ἁγιασμός, and signally contrasted in its spiritual reality and regenerating energy with the σοφία λόγου and σοφία τ. κόσμου, after which the Cor(274) hankered. Righteousness and Sanctification are allied “by their theological affinity” (El(275)): cf. note on 1 Corinthians 6:11, and Romans 6 passim—hence the double copula τεκαί; καὶ ἀπολύτρωσις follows at a little distance (so Lt(276), Hn(277), Ed(278); who adduce numerous cl(279) parls. to this use of the Gr(280) conjunctions): “who was made wisdom to us from God—viz., both righteousness and sanctification, and redemption”.— δικαιοσύνη carries with it, implicitly, the Pauline doctrine of Justification by faith in the dying, risen Christ (see 1 Corinthians 6:11, and other parls.; esp., for Paul’s teaching at Cor(281), 2 Corinthians 5:21). With the righteousness of the believer justified in Christ sanctification (or consecration) is concomitant (see note on the kindred terms in 2); the connexion of chh. 5 and 6 in Rom. expounds this τεκαί; all δικαιοσύνη ἐν χριστῷ is εἰς ἁγιασμόν. (Vbl. nouns in - μός denote primarily a process, then the resulting state.)— ἀπολύτρωσις (based on the λύτρον of Matthew 20:28, 1 Timothy 2:6, with ἀπὸ of separation, release), deliverance by ransom, is the widest term of the three—“primum Christi donum quod inchoatur in nobis, et ultimum quod perficitur” (Cv(282)); it looks backward to the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18), by whose blood we “were bought” for God (1 Corinthians 6:19), so furnishing the ground both of justification (Romans 3:24) and sanctification (Hebrews 10:10), and forward to the resurrection and glorification of the saints, whereby Christ secures His full purchased rights in them (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30); thus Redemption covers the entire work of salvation, indicating the essential and just means of its accomplishment (see Cr(283) on λύτρον and derivatives).


Verse 31

1 Corinthians 1:31. “In order that, as it stands written, he who glories, in the Lord let him glory;” by “the Lord” the readers could only understand Christ, already five times thus titled; so, manifestly, in 2 Corinthians 10:17 f., where the citation reappears. Paul quotes the passage as a general Scriptural principle, which eminently applies to the relations of Christians to Christ; ἐν κυρίῳ belongs to his adaptation of the original: God will have no flesh (see note, 1 Corinthians 1:29) exult in his wisdom, strength, high birth (cf. the objects of false glorying in Jer(284)) before Him; He will have men exult in “the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8; cf. Philippians 2:9 ff.), whom He sent as His own “wisdom” and “power unto salvation” (1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30). What grieves the Ap. most and appears most fatal in the party strifes of Cor(285), is the extolling of human names by the side of Christ’s and at his expense (see notes on 12–15; also 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, and 2 Corinthians 4:5, Galatians 6:14). Christians are specifically οἱ καυχώμενοι ἐν χ. ., Philippians 3:3. The irregularity of mood after ἵνακαυχάσθω for subj. καυχᾶται—s accounted for in two ways: either as in anacoluthon, the impv(286) of the origina. being transplanted in lively quotation (cf Romans 15:3; Romans 15:21); or as an ellipsis, with γένηται or πληρωθῇ mentally supplied (cf. Romans 4:16, Galatians 2:9, 2 Corinthians 8:13)—explanations not materially different. Clem. Rom. (§ 13) quotes the text with the same peculiarity.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-1.html. 1897-1910.

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Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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