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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 1

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

INTRODUCTION TO 1ST CORINTHIANS

WHO SPEAKS? The book of 1 Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul, assisted by Sosthenes, a very dear brother and missionary companion, 1 Corinthians 1:1; Acts 18:17.

TO WHOM? The book was addressed to the church of God in Corinth, capital city of Achaia, and all other churches in every locality that call upon the name of the Lord. It was and is therefore to be considered as a church letter, to be circulated among all true churches of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 1:2.

ABOUT WHAT? The book of 1Corinthians evaluates moral principles, ethical conduct, and doctrinal concepts for church members, in the most practical manner of any book of the New Testament.

WHEN? The book was written about A.D. 59 from Ephesus, a citadel center of idolatry to the Greek Goddess Diana, where Paul had spent more than three years indoctrinating the Ephesus church of the Lord and brethren from other churches in Asia Minor, Acts 19:1; Acts 19:10; Acts 20:17; Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 16:8; 1 Corinthians 16:19.

WHAT WAS THE OCCASION? The occasion for this book was a letter and certain reports that Paul had received from a woman named Chloe and her family and questions the Corinth church had expressed an interest in having Paul to answer, 1 Corinthians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 7:1.

The letter to Paul, with the reports of moral, ethical, and doctrinal wrong, was carried from Corinth in Achaia to Paul in Ephesus of Asia Minor by Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, 1 Corinthians 16:17.

OUTLINE OF THE BOOK:

I. REPORTS ACKNOWLEDGED (on Moral and Ethical Issues)

Problems in the Congregation and Solutions and Examples)

1:1-9 Identity and Greetings

1:10-31 Divisions, Factions Reported

2. Spiritual, Natural Understanding

3. Carnality Chided

4. Stewardship Required (?)

5. Fornication in the Church

6. Lawsuits

II. INQUIRIES ANSWERED (on Morals, Doctrines, and Ethics)

A. Personal Problems and Solutions

7. Marital Matters

8. Limitation of Liberties

9. Rights of the Ministry

10. Examples of Separation

B. Worship Problems and Solutions

11. Hair Custom, Lord’s Supper

12. Spiritual Gifts

13. Love: Greatest Spiritual Gift

14. Tongues or Prophecy?

15. The Resurrection Question

16. Inter-Church Association: Benevolence

1) "Paul." (Greek Paulos) Roman name - Saul was his Hebrew name. He was a Jewish Pharisee by religion, (Acts 21:39; Acts 23:6) of the city of Tarsus in Asia Minor, a Roman citizen by birth, educated in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, Acts 22:28; Acts 26:4-5.

2) "Called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ." (Greek Kletos apostolos) "called an apostle" of Jesus Christ, the term "to be" is absent from the original text. His call and sending was an heavenly one, Acts 9:1-16; Acts 26:14-20.

3) "Through the Will of God." (Greek dia thelematos) through the high and holy will of God, not a sensual human desire or aspiration, 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1.

4) "And Sosthenes our brother." Sosthenes (Greek ho adelphos) "the brother", a former chief of the Hebrew Synagogue in Corinth, who had, since his conversion, joined Paul in his missionary labors, and assisted Paul in writing this letter, Acts 18:17.

Verse 2

1) "Unto the church of God." (Greek te ecclesia tou theou) to the assembly of God, a local congregation. The term "church" always refers to a local assembly or "the Church" as an institution, like: the School, the Jury, the Legislature, etc. 2) "Which is at Corinth." The New Testament church is never universal, invisible, or intangible, or made up of all the saved. It is a local institution of Scripturally baptized believers in Jesus Christ who meet in some locality. 3) "To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus." These Corinth brethren were not only in Christ, in the family of God, but also "sanctified," or set apart in Christ, to Christian service, in the church at Corinth. Tho sanctified, they were not free from carnality and sin. 1 Corinthians 3:1; 1 Corinthians 3:3-4.

4) "Called to be saints," (Greek kletois hagiois) "Called saints" - "to be" is not in the original - one saved, baptized, and in a New Testament church is a sanctified saint.

5) "With all that in every place." (Greek sun) is a preposition meaning "in close association or colleague with" (Greek pasin tois en panti topo) "all those in every topographical locality" (all churches). Thus, this letter is restrictedly addressed to the local Corinth church and all other churches in close association or colleague, of like faith and kind.

6) "Call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." (Greek epikaloumenois) "those calling" on the name of the Lord of us Jesus Christ - (The Greek Sun) or close association, fellowship or colleague calling on the Lord seems to refer to sanctified fellowships in various localities.

7) "Both theirs and ours." Jesus Christ is Lord or Master of all sanctified, covenanted fellowships, congregations, in whatever place they may be located as they call upon Him, as a church, Paul meant this to be a circulatory letter to churches in varied localities, Matthew 18:20; John 14:13-14; John 16:23.

Verse 3

1) "Grace be unto you." (Greek charis humin) this term means "may grace be to or toward you." This indicates Paul’s loving concern for the brethren, that they receive favors from God beyond merit, James 4:6.

2) "And peace from God our Father." (Greek Kai eirene) "and peace," - as grace is a favor from God our Father so is peace, a favor and gift, often bestowed or enlarged toward the obedient believer, Isaiah 26:3; Romans 15:3; Galatians 5:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

3) "And from the Lord Jesus Christ." While the fountainhead of all grace and peace is God the Father who planned them, Paul affirms that they also emanate or flow through our Lord Jesus Christ. This, New Testament Scriptures sanction, John 1:17; John 14:27; John 16:33.

FOUNTAIN OF GRACE

All who ever have received grace have received it from the fullness of Jesus Christ. This is the common well of salvation, out of which all believers draw the water of life: there is no access to God but by Him. Believers under the law received grace from this fountain, as well as those under the gospel: though the measure was different, yet the fountain was the same; as it is the same face which is veiled and at another time unveiled, as it is the same sum written in figures and at full length in plain words, so Christ and His grace was the same under the Old Testament and under the New. There is no difference in the substance of the promise and covenant of grace then and now. Christ is yesterday and today the same, the difference is only in circumstances - the manifestation under the Gospel is clearer, and the propagation of the Gospel is now of a larger extent to all nations.

- Colvill

THE PEACE OF GOD

There is what is called the "cushion of the sea." Down beneath the surface that is agitated with storms, and driven about with high winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life, we find that they give evidences of not having been disturbed for hundreds of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which lies far too deep down in the praying soul to be reached by any external disturbance.

- A.T. Pierson

THE SPRING WITHIN

In some old castles are found deep wells meant to supply the garrison in time of siege. An aqueduct bringing water from without would be at the mercy of the enemy. But the foe has no power over the well inside. The peace the world seeks depends on one’s surroundings, and in time of trouble its source is cut off; but the peace of Christ is a spring inside.

-THE KING’S BUSINESS

Verse 4

1) “I thank my God always on your behalf." (Greek eucharisto to theo) "I gave thanks to or toward God." (Greek pantote peri humon) "at all times regarding you all". Such gratitude is becoming to one who knows God’s grace and peace, Ephesians 5:20.

2) "For the grace of God." Paul not only experienced the grace of God, but also rejoiced to see it evident in the lives of His children. He had not only rejoiced to see serving grace bestowed upon them, but he was also thankful for other graces upon them, Ephesians 4:7; Hebrews 12:28.

3) "Which is given you by Jesus Christ." Grace, saving grace came to the Corinthian brethren, not by work or merit, but as a gift from Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6; John 1:14; John 1:17. The Greek term (dotheise) "is given" certifies that the Corinthian brethren "had been given, or had doled out to them," grace by or through the person of Jesus Christ.

For power of grace to change the lives of sinners to saints, idolaters to true worshippers, and servants of Satan to servants of Jesus Christ, we too should "thank God always," 2 Corinthians 9:15.

THANKFULNESS

A colonel entered the room of a young cadet who was on his knees praying. "What!" he echoed, "do you pray? I quit that long ago. I have all that I need, so there’s nothing to ask God for."

"Well, sir," the cadet replied, "then you must have an awful lot to thank Him for!"

The Bible teaches that men always have occasion for prayer and thanksgiving to God. It also teaches that men may find salvation by calling on God.

Psalms 145:17-21 reads,

"The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon Him in truth.

He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever."

- 365 Sunrays of Help

Verse 5

1) "That in everything." (Greek hoti en panti) "because in everything." Reason justified PauI’s prayers of gratitude. These prayers were motivated by changes God had wrought in their lives.

2) "Ye are enriched by him " (Greek epoutisthete en auto) "Ye were enriched in him." Tho the Corinthian brethren were not made perfect in the flesh when saved, Paul had seen Spiritually plutocratic, wealthy changes wrought in them, in or through Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

3) "In all utterance." (Greek en panti logo). In all their words, expressions, or utterances they had been enriched. Becoming a Christian should enrich every sinner’s speech - putting away profanity, filthy communication, lying, and speaking the truth, Ephesians 4:22,

25, 29; Colossians 3:8-9; Colossians 4:6.

4) "And in all knowledge.” To know God is eternal life, John 17:3 and the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7; and each person who knows Him is enriched in all that he knows, from the moment of salvation, 2 Peter 3:18.

Verse 6

1) "Even as the testimony of Christ." (Greek kathos) "Just as" the (Greek marturion) "Witness or testimony of Christ" (as Savior and Lord) - Paul had borne this witness by which they had been saved and begun their Christian testimony, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

2) "Was confirmed in you." (Greek ebebaiothe) was confirmed or certified" in you all. These brethren had professed faith in Christ, been baptized, come behind in no spiritual gift, and supported Paul in his ministry. In these four manners the testimony of Christ had been confirmed in them to the extent that Paul thanked God always for them, in spite of their imperfections. In spite of our imperfections, may we resolve that the testimony of Christ shall be confirmed in us – Acts 1:8; Matthew 5:15-16.

Verse 7

1) "So that ye come behind." Grace had so enriched the Corinthian brethren that they had (Greek me hustereisthai) "Been wanting, lacking, or behind"

2) "In no gift." (Greek en medeni Charismati) "In not one or any charismatic thing or spiritual gift." Their imperfections of moral, ethical, and doctrinal nature had not debarred them from having Spiritual gifts - See 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; 1 Corinthians 14:26.

3) "Waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ." Enriched by God’s grace in all things, and lacking or behind in no Charismatic gift the Corinthian brethren were also (Greek apekdecho - menos) "awaiting" the (Greek apokalupsin) "unveiling" of the Lord Jesus Christ - His appearance in all his "glory and great power," not merely His (parousia) bodily appearance in the air, for His saints, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; Matthew 25:31. For the revelation, unveiling see also 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:13; Romans 8:18-19.

Verse 8

1) "Who shall also confirm you," (Greek hos kai bebaiosei humas heos telous) "who" (Christ) "will also confirm you till the finish." What a pledge of security! Not "maybe or might", but will. See Colossians 1:21-22; Philippians 1:6.

2) "Unto the end." (heos telous) means "until it is finished." This complete redemption, assured by the promise of Jesus, and through the seal of the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30; John 10:27.

3) "That ye may be blameless." (Greek anegkletous) "as blameless ones," 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Philippians 2:15; 2 Peter 3:14. It is the purpose of God that Christians live so that they may be without guilt for blame or charges of wrong brought against them.

4) "In the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." This term "day of our Lord Jesus Christ" refers to that first aspect of His coming in the air for His saints to initiate the reward of the saints, leading to the marriage of the Lamb - while the term "day of the Lord" refers to the judgment of the Lord on Israel, the Gentile world, and false religions – 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10.

Verse 9

1) "God is faithful." (Greek pistos ho theos) "Faithful is the triune God." The Lord was declared to be faithful and the Holy one of Israel, Isaiah 49:7. He is also faithful today, 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

2) "By whom ye were called." (Greek di ou eklethete) "Ye were called." Paul believed that every saint, once a sinner, has been called to repentance toward God, faith in Jesus Christ, to salvation and Christian Service, Acts 20:21; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:9-10; 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Corinthians 7:17.

3) "Unto the fellowship." (Greek eis koinonion) "unto," with reference to a common fellowship or ministry in common things. As Jesus served His father in witnessing to and doing common service to men, so are we called to serve John 20:21; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 John 1:3; 1 John 1:6-7.

4) "Of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." To have a common mutual fellowship in service and spirit with Jesus Christ our Lord is the high calling of every Saint, every member of the Lord’s Church, who has pledged to follow and serve Him.

Members of the Corinth church, and other churches of close association or fellowship, to whom this circulatory letter was written, were reminded of their high calling with its obligatory responsibilities, 1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Let it be understood that these: a) church members, b) sanctified ones, c) saints, d) enriched in speech and knowledge, e) wanting or lacking in no Charismatic gift, f) awaiting the coming of Christ, g) called to the common fellowship of Christ’s ministry - were still imperfect in morals, ethics, and doctrinal matters - matters of that were of deep concern to Paul.

Verse 10

1) "Now I beseech you brethren." (Greek parakalo de humas adelphoi) "moreover I beseech, call alongside, or motivate you, my brethren" - In addition to the good things Paul found in the brethren, he called upon them to come alongside of him as follows:

2) "By the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Greek dia tou onomatos) "through the name or authority" of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever reproof, correction, or instruction Paul had for brethren whom he wrote, he affirmed that it came through Jesus Christ, a worthy source for guidance, Acts 26:15-20; 1 Corinthians 2:2.

3) "That ye all speak the same thing.” ’ (Greek hina) "In order that ye all speak the same thing" -or in harmony, without conflict. When all church saints speak truly "by the name or authority of Jesus" on moral, ethical, or doctrinal things, then only can they speak in harmony.

4) "And that there be no divisions among you’

Paul sought to motivate, call the brethren to a fellowship walk of harmony in Christ, that "in order that" there should be no (Greek Schismata) schism, division, cleft, or fragmentation in their communion of daily walk, Amos 3:3.

5) "But that ye be perfectly joined together." (Greek hete de) "But ye may be" (Greek katertismenoi) "having been joined together" - this is a yearning of Paul, through Christ. Every true Saint should strive, work hard, for oneness of unity in walk, fellowship, and service. John 17:18-21; Ephesians 4:1-3.

6) "In the same mind." The term (Greek noi) "mind" refers to one’s disposition, Romans 12:16; 2 Corinthians 8:12; 2 Corinthians 13:11. Blessed is that church whose members have the same mind, disposition, or attitude concerning true moral, ethical, and doctrinal values. Theirs may be a real fellowship.

7) "And in the same judgment” The term (Greek kai) means "and, even or also" in the same or identical (Greek gnome) opinions or evaluations. All opinions or considered conclusions of brethren should be based on or validated by "thus saith the Lord." Isaiah 8:20; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Verse 11

1) "For it hath been declared." (Greek edelothe gar) "For it has been reported, shown, disclosed, or affirmed." Paul had valid evidence, as a basis for his corrective letter - convinced the report was not mere gossip.

2) "Unto me of you, my brethren," (Greek moi peri humon) "to me personally concerning you all," (Greek adelphoi mou) "brethren of me" . . . Paul claimed a brotherhood of affinity and attachment to the Corinth church.

3) "By them which are of the house of Chloe," The house or family of Chloe had submitted incontestable evidence to Paul regarding sins and conduct of Corinth church members that merited his writing this sharp letter.

4) "That there are contentions among you.”

(Greek hoti erides en humin eisin) "That strifes, clamors, clashes, or splits exist among you." These sensual contentions and splits had hindered the work of the Spirit in their worship and personal lives, 1 Corinthians 5:5.

CONTENTIONS

1. Pride causes it --- Proverbs 13:10.

2. A fool’s lips engage in it --- Proverbs 18:6.

3. To be cast out - - - Proverbs 22:10.

4. To be avoided - - - Titus 3:9.

5. Danger in it --- Proverbs 21:19.

6. Awaits indignation and wrath of God –Romans 2:8.

QUARRELSOME PEOPLE

I consider your very testy and quarrelsome people as I do a loaded gun, which may, by accident, at any time, go off and kill people.

- Shenstone

Verse 12

1) "Now this I say." The phrase conveys this idea "As a first or beginning place - concerning this contention (Greek lego) I legally speak." Paul had authority and an obligation to speak as follows:

2) "That every one of you saith" (Greek hoti hekastos humon legei) "because each of you says, speaks, or claims."

3) “I am of Paul" (Greek ego men eimi’ paulu) "Am indeed of Paul" - a great man, but not worthy of being an object of contention - based on his own testimony, 1 Corinthians 3:7-8; 1 Corinthians 9:16; 1 Corinthians 9:19.

4) "And I of Apollos." Another contended (Greek ego de Apollo) "but I am of Apollos" a great orator eloquent in the Scriptures, but not worthy of being an occasion for a church split. See? Acts 18:24; Acts 19:1. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt.

5) "And I of Cephas." Another contended, "but I am of Cephas," each arguing over the validity of their faith based on the fleshly person who delivered the message - how fickle! Peter was a great apostle, but not worthy of being an occasion for a church split. Matthew 26:69.

6) "And I of Christ." A final one was contending, "But I of Christ." (Greek ego de Christos) Such contention was selfish, sensual, proud, unbecoming to the Spirit of Christ. It was after the order of the flesh, much as the clamoring of the disciples over who would be greatest among them when He was gone, Luke 22:24-27.

Verse 13

1) "Is Christ divided?" (Greek memeristai ho christos) "Has Christ been divided?" A rhetoric question, as this is, simply affirms that the contention over ministers is not of Christ.

2) "Was Paul crucified for you?" Paul chides the brethren by the further rhetoric question, "Paul was not crucified for you - Was he?" No, he was only an apostle of (sent by) Jesus Christ and a servant to the Corinth church.

3) "Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul." (Greek he eis to onoma Paulou ebaptisthete;) the Greek term "eis to onoma" means "with reference to the authority of" Paul you were not baptized, were you? The rhetoric-implied answer is "absolutely not." Paul was a great man, but not to be an object of worship or contention. Baptism is to be administered only in the name or by the authority of Jesus Christ, Matthew 19:20.

Verse 14

1) “I thank God," (Greek eucharisto) "I give thanks," present progressive. The term "God" is not in the original, but is explanatory of the trinitarian God to whom Paul prayed, as expressed 1 Corinthians 1:4. Here too he expresses that he offers continuous thanks.

2) "That I baptized none of you." (Greek hoti oudena humon ebaptisa) "that not one of you all I baptized, immersed."

3) "But Crispus and Gaius;" (Greek ei me) "except" Crispus and Gaius. This passage teaches beyond successful controversy that one does not have to be "baptized to be saved," else Paul would have been thankful that he had no part in the salvation of any others in Corinth - Only a true New Testament Church has authority to administer baptism and that is to be done "in the name," or by the authority, of Jesus Christ, only to those who have first believed or been saved; It was the church "ye", not the preachers ’lye" to whom the authority was given. Matthew 28:18-20.

Verse 15

1) "Lest any should say," (Greek hina) "in order that" (Greek me tis eipe) "not one should say, report, or declare." Perhaps the unnamed Corinth pastor baptized the other members.

2) "That I had baptized in mine own name." (Greek hoti) that (Greek ebaptisthete eis to emon onoma) "Ye all were baptized in my name." What few Paul baptized he did it (Greek eis) "with reference to" the name or authority of Jesus, not by personal honor. Sole authority for administering baptism is vested in the church, not in preachers -preachers are but servants of the churches who normally administer baptism.

Verse 16

1) "And I baptized also." (Greek ebaptisa de) "But, moreover, or indeed I baptized also" (in addition to Crispus and Gaius) - Paul did the immersion, or was the physical administrator.

2) "The household of Stephanas," (Greek ton Stephana oikon) "the Stephanas household or family," saints much endeared to Paul in the Corinth church, 1 Corinthians 16:17.

3) "Besides, I know not whether I baptized any other." (Greek loipon) "For the rest or beyond these" (Ouk Oida) "I Perceive not," (ei tina allon ebaptisa) "if any other I baptized or immersed". The term "if any other" here used by Paul indicates his concession that, though inspired, he did not claim absolute knowledge or acquaintance with every member in the Corinth church after his separation from them for near three years. He could have immersed some other member of their church who formerly resided in another place but had since moved to their fellowship. Such language here used by Paul suggests his absolute language integrity under inspiration.

Verse 17

1) "For Christ sent me not to baptize,” For Christ (Greek apesteilen) "commissioned" or sent me not (personally) to baptize or immerse. Only the church, commissioned by Christ, has authority to baptize or immerse. And the administration is administered by whatever person the church authorizes, pastor, missionary, or laymen, if the church has no pastor, missionary, or deacon, Matthew 28:18-20.

2) "But to preach the gospel." (Greek alla) "But", strongest adversative in the Greek and English language, (euangelizesthai) "to evangelize." This certifies that immersion or water baptism is not a requisite or condition to evangelism or obtaining salvation. It is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins, according to the Scripture, not an instrument, means, or agency by which salvation is obtained, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16.

3) "Not with wisdom of words." Greek ouk en sophia logou) "not having its source in wise or cunning words." The gospel is not a cunning fable of words woven without integrity, devised for deception, but good news with evidentiary testimony of truth designed for man’s salvation, 1 Peter 1:16.

4) "Lest the cross of Christ." (Greek hina me) "In order that not" (ho stauros) "the cross of Christ" referring to its meaning and implications of punishment for man’s sins – Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20.

5) "Should be made of none effect." (Greek kenothe) "might or should be made -mad appear of no effect, void or vain" - if baptism, apparently one of the things over which the Corinthians were contending, had had any power or part in saving souls from hell, Paul asserts that such would render the cross of Christ void, vain, or of none effect -Yet it is declared that "He bare our sins in His body on the tree," not in baptism. Baptism, as a burial, pictures the gospel, according to the Scriptures, Romans 6:4-5; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21.

Verse 18

OFFENSE OF GLOATING IN HUMAN WISDOM

1) "For the preaching of the cross." (Greek ho gar ho tou staurou) "For the (word or testimony) of the cross." The term "Preaching" in the King James Version is translated from "logos" which literally means the Word, story, testimony, or witness of the cross and its implication Galatians 6:14.

2) "Is to them that perish foolishness." To those (Greek men apolumenois) "on the one hand perishing." It (the cross) is (Greek moria) "moronity, folly, or stupidity," The lost, the unsaved apart from the Holy Spirit, can not comprehend it, John 1:5; 1 Corinthians 2:14.

3) "But unto us which are saved." On the other hand, to those (now) (Greek sozomenois) being saved, - to us, Paul asserts, it is (exists as) (Greek dunamis theou) the energetic, dynamic power of God. In the cross of Christ Christians glory, Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20.

4) "It is the power of God." The cross symbolizes blood redemption, wrought for all men, by Jesus Christ, through his accursed death. Deuteronomy 21:23. It is the story (logos) testimony or witness of the Christ of Calvary through which all men may be saved and of which none should be ashamed, Romans 1:14-16; Romans 10:8-11.

Verse 19

1) "For it is written." (gar gegraptai) "It has been written" - the quotation is then given from, Isaiah 29:14. As God had fulfilled His warnings against the worldly wise in the past, Paul affirms His acts shall continue.

2) “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise." (Greek apolo ten sphian) "I will destroy, frustrate, or make vain," the wisdom (ton sopon) "of the wise ones" - those who parade themselves as wise ones, as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and King Herod; Exodus 5:2; Daniel 3:15; Acts 12:21-23.

3) "And will bring to nothing." (Greek atheteso) I will, put aside, place, or set aside, or dismiss as nothing - "The fear of the Lord" is eternally, the beginning of wisdom – Proverbs 1:7; James 1:5.

4) "The understanding of the prudent." (Greek ten sunesin) the understanding, presumed wisdom and comprehension - (ton suneton) "of the prudent" -those considered prudent by worldly values, Revelation 6:15-17; Revelation 21:27.

WORLDLY WISDOM

The heathen philosophers professing themselves to be wise in their speculations, became fools in practice, and were confounded with all their philosophy when they should have made use of it. Some killed themselves from the apprehension of sufferings. Their death was not the effect of courage, but cowardice, the remedy of their fear. Others, impatient of disappointment in their great designs, refused to live. I will instance two of the most eminent among them, Cato and Brutus: they were both philosophers of the manly sect, and virtue never appeared with a brighter lustre among the heathens than when joined with a stoical resolution. And they were not imperfect proficients, but masters in philosophy. Seneca employs all the ornaments of his eloquence to make Cato’s eulogy. He represents him as the consummate exemplar of wisdom; as one that realized the sublime idea of virtue described in their writings. And Brutus was esteemed equal to Cato. Yet these, with alI the power of their philosophy, were not able to bear the shocks of adversity. Overcome with discontent and despair, they laid violent hands upon themselves. So insufficient are the best precepts of mere rational reason to relieve us in distress. As torrents that are dried up in the heat of summer, when there is most need of them; so all comforts fail in the extremity, that are not derived from the fountain of life.

- 6000 Windows for Sermons

SUPERFICIAL KNOWLEDGE

When we talk of men of deep science, do we mean that they have got to the bottom or near the bottom of science? Do we mean that they know all that is capable of being known? Do we mean even that they know in their own especial department all that the smatters of the next generation will know? Why, if we compare the little truth that we know with the infinite mass of truth which we do not know, we are all shallow together; and the greatest philosophers that ever lived would be the first to confess their shallowness.

- Lord Macaulay

AN EMPTY LIFE

Said the famed criminal lawyer and confessed atheist, Clarence Darrow, "My colleagues say that I’m a success. Many honors have come my way, but in the Bible is a sentence which expresses the way I feel about my life. ’That sentence is this: "We have toiled all night, and have taken nothing.”

-W. B. K.

Verse 20

1) "Where is the wise?" (pou sophos) "where is the wise one? The critics of Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, Stephen, and Paul - where are they? In whose history or civilization does their names hold esteem today - of such vanity, read, Romans 1:22; Isaiah 19:11, Psalms 14:1.

2) "Where is the scribe?" In the area of wisdom, the scribe was humanistic, natural, according to human standards, they interpreted the law based on what Rabbis had said - Note Matthew 7:29.

3) "Where is the disputer of this world?" The term "scribe" is derived from (Greek grammateus). He was an interpreter of the Law, but far too often, merely of the traditions of Rabbi elders, by which the Law was "set aside," through the human (Greek suzetetes) disputant. Our Lord condemned such, Mark 7:1-9; Colossians 2:8.

4) "Hath not God made foolish." (Greek ouchi emoranen) "Not moronic?" Rhetorically Paul asks is it not clear that God has made worldly wisdom moronic?

5) "The wisdom of this world?" (Greek tensophian tou kosmon?) The highest and finest form of human judgment and discretion, apart from divine acknowledgment and help is folly, moronic, and vain! This is the position of Divine revelation, validly established and sustained by 1) the Word of God, 2) experiences and testimony of human history, and 3) attested by millions living today, see Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 23:4; Jeremiah 8:9; James 1:5; James 3:17.

THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND

A blind man with a white cane waited at an intersection for someone to help him across the busy street. Presently another man with a white cane stopped alongside him. They began to talk. Then one took the other by the arm and both men began tapping their way across the street. Neither knew that the other was blind. Only the alertness of the drivers prevented the possible death of both blind men. The pedestrians watch with bated breath until the blind men reach the opposite side of the street.

There are many blind religious guides who have a distorted sense of spiritual values - - "ungodly men denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Judges 1:4). Jesus said of them: "And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (Matthew 15:14); "Woe unto you, ye blind guides" (Matthew 23:16).

-W. B. K.

YOUR WAY OR GOD’S WAY

Years ago an old Scottish woman went to country homes to sell thread, buttons and shoe strings. When she came to an unmarked crossroad, she would toss a stick in the air and go whichever way the stick pointed. One day she was seen tossing the stick into the air several times. "Why do you toss the stick several times?" someone asked. She answered, "It has pointed every time to the road going to the right, and I want to go on the road to the left. It looks smoother!" She kept on throwing up the stick until it finally pointed toward the road she wanted to go.

How like that old woman are many of God’s children!

If we want God to order our steps and stops, we must say, "Your way, dear Lord." If you go your way, you could get into serious trouble and make a shipwreck of your life.

-W. B. K.

ABSTRACT SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE

The great scientist, Einstein, is credited with having established widely a. theory often called the law of "relativity," which in essence is agnosticism crystallized in the 20th century. Though it may be conceded that most things in the realm of human knowledge of the universe’s existence may be known only in a relative way, there is a spiritual realm in which one may have or hold absolute, abstract, and incontestable experimental knowledge so that he can actually and factually and truthfully say, I know."

1. 1 John 3:14 reads, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."

2. 1 John 5:13 reads, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

3. Job 19:25-27 reads, "For I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me."

4. John 7:17 reads, "if any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

5. John 13:35 reads, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

6. 1 John 4:13 affirms, "Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

7. 2 Timothy 1:12 declares, "For the which cause I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.,’

8. Romans 8:28 certifies, "And we know that A things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to his purpose."

- 365 Sunrays

Verse 21

1) "For after that in the wisdom of God." (eplide gar) "For since" in the wisdom of the God - meaning "in the realm of Godly wisdom."

2) "The world by wisdom knew not God."-(Greek ouk egno) "not recognized" the world (Greek dia tes sophias) "through its wisdom" (ton theon) "the triune God." Paul simply asserts that depraved and deranged minds alone can not recognize God, John 6:44; 1 Corinthians 2:14.

3) "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching” (Greek eudokesen ho theos) "It pleased or seemed well (to) the God" (Greek dia tes morias) "through the folly" (tou kerugmatos) "the preaching or proclamation".

4) "To save them that believe." (Greek sosai tous pisteuontas) "to save the ones believing." Romans 1:16; Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 5:13. Faith or believing in Jesus Christ saved: this fallen woman Luke 7:50; the Philippian jailer, Acts 16:30-31; the Ephesian brethren.

Verse 22

1) "For the Jews require a sign." (Greek epeide kai) "seeing or beholding that both" (Greek ioudaioi semeia aitousin) "Jews signs (many) plead for, request, or require" - they were adamant materialists claiming to believe only the visibly tangible, John 6:30-36; Matthew 16:1-4; Mark 8:11-12.

2) "And the Greeks seek after wisdom." (Greek kai hellenes sophian zetousin) "and the Greeks seek after or diligently pursue wisdom." How vainly many search for wisdom and God, apart from Divine help. Their mind, spirit, eyes, and soul are without Spiritual life, having the sensual life only - being dead in trespasses and sin, blinded by the God of this world. Ephesians 2:1-5; Ephesians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; John 16:7-11.

Verse 23

1) "But we preach Christ crucified." (Greek hemeis de kerussomen) "we, however, preach or proclaim" (Christon estauromenon) Christ or the Messiah as having been crucified." This was and is our witness of hope, Acts 2:23; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 3:1; Revelation 11:8.

2) "Unto the Jews a stumblingblock." (Greek ioudaiois men skandalon) to Jews on the one hand an offense or an occasion for stumbling." Such fulfilled the Scripture regarding their obstinate, willful rejection of the Saviour, Exodus 17:6; 1 Peter 2:8; Romans 9:32; Romans 9:32.

3) "And unto the Greeks foolishness." (Greek ethnesin de moriam) "To races or nations on the other hand folly, stupidity, or moronity." The races of humanity, depraved by inherent sin, are gnostics and agnostics by nature. God must take the initiative in their salvation to draw them to the cross. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 2:1-5; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:14-16.

Verse 24

1) "But unto them which are called." (autois de) "but to them" - (tois kletois) "the called ones." Those who have 1) heard, Luke 14:35; Romans 10:17; Romans 2) been convicted, drawn John 6:44; John 16:7-11; Repented Mark 1:15; Luke 13:5; Luke , 4) believed, John 8:24; Acts 16:31.

2) "Both Jews and Greeks" (Greek ioudaiois te) "both to Jews (kai hellesin) "and Hellenesians or Greeks." In Jesus Christ the Divine nature, new man, makes one a new creature, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

3) "Christ the power of God." To this new creature in Christ - Christ is (Greek theou dunamin) "of God - power of God nature." His essence of or essential being is by nature and attributes, that of His Father in dynamic power, Ephesians 1:19; Hebrews 1:3; Judges 1:23.

4) "And the wisdom of God." (Greek kai theou sophian) "and of God wisdom" Christ in all that He was and did was in the wisdom of the Trinity as the "express image of God," as He did always those things that pleased the Father. Hebrews 1:1-3; John 8:29; John 6:38; Luke 22:42; Ephesians 5:17; James 1:5.

Verse 25

1) "Because the foolishness of God." (Greek hoti to moron tou theou) "Because the foolish thing of God" - any act of creation, ascribed to God, appearing to the gnostic and agnostic of the world to be folly.

2) "is wiser than men." Is still (sophoteron ton anthropoton) wiser than comparative acts of anthropological beings, or men in depravity. God’s thoughts and ways are above the unregenerate’s thoughts and ways as mountains are above rivers, and stars- are above the earth. Isaiah 55:8-9.

3) "And the weakness of God." (Greek kai to asthenes theou) "and the weak or sickly thing of God" (Greek ischuroteron ton anthropon) "is stronger than depraved human beings," Psalms 14:1; like those who profess to be wise these become, reveal themselves, to be fools, Romans 1:21-23.

Verse 26

1) "For ye see your calling brethren." (blepete gar, ten klesen humon, adelphoi) "For ye have a glimpse of your calling brethren." Or imperative, "get ye a view or glimpse of your calling brethren."

2) "How that not many wise men after the flesh." (Gk. hoti ou polloi sophoi) "that not many wise ones" (kata sarka) "after or according to the order of flesh wisdom." The common people heard Jesus gladly. Mark 12:37.

3) "Not many mighty." Not many (dunatoi) "powerful or men of might," such as Scribes, priests, governors, rulers, Pharisees, Sadducees, or Herodians.

4) "Not many noble are called." (Greek ou polloi eugeneis) "not many well-born" or "hi-bred" (are called). Among the multitudes there were few of might or nobility - Nicodemus, Luke and Paul. Yet the Corinthians in their day could recognize that most of the earth’s mighty obeyed not the call of God - the call of the cross! Acts 4:12.

Verse 27

1) "But God hath chosen." (Greek alla ho theos ekseleksato) "But the God chose or hath chosen," - - to choose indicates a power, capacity, and will of selectivity, as to select, choose, or reject. See Deuteronomy 12:21; Acts 22:14.

2) "The foolish things of the world." (ta mora tou kosmou) "The folly-like things of the world order," such as 1) Noah’s ark, an escape from the flood, 2) Aaron’s rod, an instrument of miracles, 3) five loaves and two little fishes to feed multitudes (Genesis 7, 8; Exodus 4:17; John 6:9).

3) "To confound the wise." (hina kataischune tous sophous) "In order that he might shame or cause to be humiliated the wise men" (of the world, gnostics and skeptics).

4) "And God hath chosen the weak things of the world." Paul further asserts that God has used the "weak" or sickly things of the world." (For example 1) 5 little stones of David’s sling; 2) 7 locks of hair from Samson’s head, and 3) only two mites from a widow’s hand. 1 Samuel 17:40; Judges 16:13; Judges 16:19; Mark 12:43).

5) "To confound the things which are mighty." (Greek hina) means "in order that" or for the purpose of - God has wisdom and design in all His choices or selections. He chose "foolish" "folly-like things", and weak and sickly or anemic things" to confound, put to shame, or humiliate the "wise-acres" and "mighty ones" of earth’s cynics, skeptics, atheists, and infidels - He still does.

1) Joseph’s choice of "straked" cattle confounded Pharaoh, Genesis 31:8-10.

2) Elijah’s pouring water on the altar before praying for fire confounded Baal’s prophets, 1 Kings 18:30-40.

3) Peter and John’s, boldness to preach, after being persecuted, confounded the elders and rulers of Jerusalem, Acts 5:28-29.

Verse 28

1) "And base things of the world." (Greek kai ta agene tou kosmou).

2) "And things which are despised." (Greek kai ta eksouthene-mena) "and the things being despised or taken lightly."

3) "Hath God chosen, yea and things which are not." God has even chosen or selected (Greek ta me onta) "things not being or existing." He chose Israel as a race or nation before she existed, Deuteronomy 7:6. He chose the church also as an agency of His work. Ephesians 3:9-10.

4) "To bring to naught things that are." (Greek hina ta onta) "In order or for the purpose that the things being or existing" (Greek katagrese) "He might abolish or bring to an empty end." Such includes the end of Gentile governments, Romans 11:25; Luke 21:24; Revelation 1:15; Revelation 18:19.

Verse 29

1) "That no flesh should glory." (Greek hopos me kauches - etai pasa sarks) "So as not all or no (fleshly one) might be able to boast or gloat." God’s initiative and pre-eminent choosing of persons and agents to perform His will and work in redemption renders vain any occasion for man’s boasting in Salvation, Romans 3:27.

2) "In his presence." (Greek enopion tou theou) "In or before the face of God." The vain Corinthians had been clamoring and boasting about the greatest minister, whether Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or Christ. Thus Paul wrote them this chiding rebuke. Psalms 94:4; Proverbs 27:1; Proverbs 25:14; James 3:15; Ephesians 2:9.

IDOLATRY OF SELF

We have need to be redeemed from ourselves, as much as from the devil and the world. Learn to put out yourselves, and put in Christ for yourselves. I should make a good bargain, and give old for new, if I could turn out self, and substitute Christ my Lord in place of myself; to say, "Not I, but Christ; not my will, but Christ’s; not my lusts, not my credit, but Christ, Christ."

-John Flavel,

6000 Windows for Sermons

SELF ESTEEM

The tombs about Alexandria contain the remains of once proud princes as well as the dust of plebeians. This has been taken out and sold as fertilizer, and is known in the trade as "Egyptian guano." Four thousand years ago no pains or cost was spared to honor this dust now so dishonored.

-6000 Windows for Sermons

Verse 30

1) "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus." (Greek eks autou de) "out of Him indeed" - (humeis este en Christo iesou) "ye are in Christ Jesus." The origin, source, or fountain from which salvation comes is God in Christ Jesus, Jonah 2:9; Acts 4:11-12.

2) "Who of God is made unto us wisdom." (hos

egenethe) "who became" (Greek sophia hemin apo theou) "wisdom to us from God." John 14:6; Matthew 12:42; Matthew 13:54; Luke 2:20; Mark 6:2.

3) "And righteousness." (te dikaiosune) "And even, or also righteousness," 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:25-26; 2 Corinthians 9:9.

4) "And sanctification and redemption." (kai hagiasmos kai apolutrosis) "And sanctification and redemption." In His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus became all these things on behalf of the believer, Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:14.

Verse 31

1) "That, according as it is written." (Greek hina kathos gegraptai) "In order that just as it has been written." Paul quotes Jeremiah to validate his assertions that men should not boast in the flesh, Jeremiah 9:24.

2) "He that glorieth." (ho kauchomenos) "The one or anyone boasting or gloating" - let it not be in human wisdom, might or riches, Jeremiah 9:23.

3) "Let him glory in the Lord." The exhortation of Paul is that the Corinthian brethren do their boasting in and of the Lord Jesus Christ. See also 2 Corinthians 10:17; Galatians 6:14; Philippians 3:8.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-corinthians-1.html. 1985.
 
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