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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

1 Corinthians

- 1 Corinthians

by S.R. Driver, A.A. Plummer and C.A. Briggs






Bishop of Exeter Principal of King’s College, London



Master of University College, Durham







Copyright © T & T Clark Ltd

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of T & T Clark Ltd.

Latest impression 1999

ISBN 0 567 05027 0

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library



More than fourteen years ago I promised to Dr. Plummer, Editor of the “International Critical Commentary,” an edition of this Epistle, of which I had the detailed knowledge gained by some years of teaching. Almost immediately, however, a change of work imposed upon me new duties in the course of which my predominant interests were claimed, in part by administrative work which curtailed opportunities for study or writing, in part by studies other than exegetical.

I had hoped that in my present position this diversion of time and attention would prove less exacting; but the very opposite has been the case. Accordingly my task in preparing for publication the work of past years upon the Epistle has suffered from sad lack of continuity, and has not, with the exception of a few sections, been carried beyond its earlier chapters.

That the Commentary appears, when it does and as it does, is due to the extraordinary kindness of my old friend, tutor at Oxford, and colleague at Durham, Dr. Plummer. His generous patience as Editor is beyond any recognition I can express: he has, moreover, supplied my shortcomings by taking upon his shoulders the greater part of the work. Of the Introduction, also, he has written important sections; the Index is entirely his work.

While, however, a reader versed in documentary criticism may be tempted to assign each nuance to its several source, we desire each to accept general responsibility as contributors, while to Dr. Plummer falls that of Editor and, I may add, the main share of whatever merit the volume may possess.

It is hoped that amidst the exceptional number of excellent commentaries which the importance of the First Epistle to the Corinthians has called forth, the present volume may yet, with God’s blessing, have a usefulness of its own to students of St Paul.



Conversion of St Paul,




§ I. Corinth

What we know from other sources respecting Corinth in St Paul’s day harmonizes well with the impression which we receive from 1 Corinthians. The extinction of the totius Graeciae lumen, as Cicero (Pro lege Manil. 5) calls the old Greek city of Corinth, by the Roman consul L. Mummius Achaicus, 146 B.C., was only temporary. Exactly a century later Julius Caesar founded a new city on the old site as Colonia Julia Corinthus.* The rebuilding was a measure of military precaution, and little was done to show that there was any wish to revive the glories of Greece (Finlay, Greece under the Romans, p. 67). The inhabitants of the new city were not Greeks but Italians, Caesar’s veterans and freedmen. The descendants of the inhabitants who had survived the destruction of the old city did not return to the home of their parents, and Greeks generally were for a time somewhat shy of taking up their abode in the new city. Plutarch, who was still a boy when St Paul was in Greece, seems hardly to have regarded the new Corinth as a Greek town. Festus says that the colonists were called Corinthienses, to distinguish them from the old Corinthii. But such distinctions do not seem to have been maintained. By the time that St Paul visited the city there were plenty of Greeks among the inhabitants, the current language was in the main Greek, and the descendants of the first Italian colonists had become to a large extent Hellenized.

The mercantile prosperity, which had won for the old city such epithets as

It added greatly to its importance, and doubtless to its prosperity, that Corinth was the metropolis of the Roman province of Achaia, and the seat of the Roman proconsul (Acts 18:12). In more than one particular it became the leading city in Greece. It was proud of its political priority, proud of its commercial supremacy, proud also of its mental activity and acuteness, although in this last particular it was surpassed, and perhaps greatly surpassed, by Athens. It may have been for this very reason that Athens was one of the last Hellenic cities to be converted to Christianity. But just as the leaders of thought there saw nothing sublime or convincing in the doctrine which St Paul taught (Acts 17:18, Acts 17:32), so the political ruler at Corinth failed to see that the question which he quite rightly refused to decide as a Roman magistrate, was the crucial question of the age (Acts 18:14-16). Neither Gallio nor any other political leader in Greece saw that the Apostle was the man of the future. They made the common mistake of men of the world, who are apt to think that the world which they know so well is the whole world (Renan, S. Paul, p. 225).

In yet another particular Corinth was first in Hellas. The old city had been the most licentious city in Greece, and perhaps the most licentious city in the Empire. As numerous expressions and a variety of well-known passages testify, the name of Corinth had been a by-word for the grossest profligacy, especially in connexion with the worship of Aphrodite Pandemos.* Aphrodite was worshipped elsewhere in Hellas, but nowhere else do we find the ἱερόδουλοι as a permanent element in the worship, and in old Corinth there had been a thousand of these. Such worship was not Greek but Oriental, an importation from the cult of the Phoenician Astarte; but it is not certain that this worship of Aphrodite had been revived in all its former monstrosity in the new city. Pausanias, who visited Corinth about a century later than St Paul, found it rich in temples and idols of various kinds, Greek and foreign; but he calls the temple of Aphrodite a ναίδιον (8:6:21): see Bachmann, p. 5. It is therefore possible that we ought not to quote the thousand ἱερόδουλοι in the temple of Aphrodite on Acrocorinthus as evidence of the immorality of Corinth in St Paul’s day. Nevertheless, even if that pestilent element had been reduced in the new city, there is enough evidence to show that Corinth still deserved a very evil reputation; and the letters which St Paul wrote to the Church there, and from Corinth to other Churches, tell us a good deal.

It may be doubted whether the notorious immorality of Corinth had anything to do with St Paul’s selecting it as a sphere of missionary work. It was the fact of its being an imperial and cosmopolitan centre that attracted him. The march of the Empire must everywhere be followed by the march of the Gospel. The Empire had raised Corinth from the death which the ravages of its own legions had inflicted and had made it a centre of government and of trade. The Gospel must raise Corinth from the death of heathenism and make it a centre for the diffusion of discipline and truth. In few other places were the leading elements of the Empire so well represented as in Corinth: it was at once Roman, Oriental, and Greek. The Oriental element was seen, not only in its religion, but also in the number of Asiatics who settled in it or frequently visited it for purposes of commerce. Kenchreae is said to have been chiefly Oriental in population. Among these settiers from the East were many Jews,* who were always attracted to mercantile centres; and the number of them must have been considerably increased when the edict of Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome (Acts 18:2; Suet. Claud. 25). In short, Corinth was the Empire in miniature;—the Empire reduced to a single State, but with some of the worst features of heathenism intensified, as Romans 1:21-32, which was written in Corinth, plainly shows. Any one who could make his voice heard in Corinth was addressing a cosmopolitan and representative audience, many of whom would be sure to go elsewhere, and might carry with them what they had heard. We need not wonder that St Paul thought it worth while to go there, and (after receiving encouragement from the Lord, Acts 18:9) to remain there a year and a half. Nor need we wonder that, having succeeded in finding the ‘people’ (λαός) whom the Lord had already marked as His own, like a new Israel (Acts 18:10), and having succeeded in planting a Church there, he afterwards felt the keenest interest in its welfare and the deepest anxiety respecting it.

It was from Athens that St Paul came to Corinth, and the transition has been compared to that of passing from residence in Oxford to residence in London; that ought to mean from the old unreformed Oxford, the home of lost causes and of expiring philosophies, to the London of our own age. The difference in miles between Oxford and London is greater than that between Athens and Corinth; but, in St Paul’s day, the difference in social and intellectual environment was perhaps greater than that which has distinguished the two English cities in any age. The Apostle’s work in the two Greek cities was part of his great work of adapting Christianity to civilized Europe. In Athens he met with opposition and contempt (Acts 17:18, Acts 17:32),* and he came on to Corinth in much depression and fear (1 Corinthians 2:3); and not until he had been encouraged by the heavenly vision and the experience of considerable success did he think that he would be justified in remaining at Corinth instead of returning to the more hopeful field in Macedonia. During the year and a half that he was there he probably made missionary excursions in the neighbourhood, and with success: 2 Corinthians is addressed ‘unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in the whole of Achaia.’

So far as we know, he was the first Christian who ever entered that city; he was certainly the first to preach the Gospel there. This he claims for himself with great earnestness (3:6, 10, 4:15), and he could not have made such a claim, if those whom he was addressing knew that it was not true. Some think that Aquila and Priscilla were Christians before they reached Corinth. But if that was so, St Luke would probably have known it, and would have mentioned the fact; for their being of the same belief would have been a stronger reason for the Apostle’s taking up his abode with them than their being of the same trade, τὸ ὁμότεχνον (Acts 18:3).† On the other hand, if they were converted by St Paul in Corinth, would not either he or St Luke have mentioned so important a success, and would not they be among those whom he baptized himself? If they were already Christians, it may easily have been from them that he learnt so much about the individual Christians who are mentioned in Rom_16. The Apostle’s most important Jewish convert that is known to us is Crispus, the ruler of the Corinthian synagogue (Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:14). Titius or Titus Justus may have been his first success among the Roman proselytes (Acts 18:7; Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller, p. 256), or he may have been a Gentile holding allegiance to the synagogue, but not a circumcised proselyte (Zahn, Intr. to N.T., 1. p. 266). Acts 18:7 means that the Apostle taught in his house, instead of in the synagogue; not that he left the house of Aquila and Priscilla to live with Titus Justus.* About Stephanas (1 Corinthians 16:15, 1 Corinthians 1:16) we are doubly in doubt, whether he was a Gentile or a Jew, and whether he was converted and baptized in Athens or in Corinth. He was probably a Gentile; that he was a Corinthian convert is commonly assumed, but it is by no means certain.

A newly created city, with a very mixed population of Italians, Greeks, Orientals, and adventurers from all parts, and without any aristocracy or old families, was likely to be democratic and impatient of control; and conversion to Christianity would not at once, if at all, put an end to this independent spirit. Certainly there was plenty of it when St Paul wrote. We find evidence of it in the claim of each convert to choose his own leader (1:10-4:21), in the attempt of women, to be as free as men in the congregation (11:5-15, 14:34, 35), and in the desire of those who had spiritual gifts to exhibit them in public without regard to other Christians (12., 14.).

Of the evils which are common in a community whose chief aim is commercial success, and whose social distinctions are mainly those of wealth, we have traces in the litigation about property in heathen courts (6:1-11), in the repeated mention of the πλεονέκτης as a common kind of offender (5:10, 11, 6:10), and in the disgraceful conduct of the wealthy at the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34).

The conceited self-satisfaction of the Corinthians as to their intellectual superiority is indicated by ironical hints and serious warnings as to the possession of γνῶσις (8:1, 7, 10, 11, 13:2, 8) and σοφία (1:17, 3:19), by the long section which treats of the false and the true wisdom (1:18-3:4), and by the repeated rebukes of their inflated self-complacency (4:6, 18, 19, 5:2, 8:1; cf. 13:4).

But the feature in the new city which has made the deepest mark on the Epistle is its abysmal immorality. There is not only the condemnation of the Corinthians’ attitude towards the monstrous case of incest (5:1-13) and the solemn warning against thinking lightly of sins of the flesh (6:12-20), but also the nature of the reply to the Corinthians’ letter (7:1-11:1). The whole treatment of their marriage-problems and of the right behaviour with regard to idol-meats is influenced by the thought of the manifold and ceaseless temptations to impurity with which the new converts to Christianity were surrounded, and which made such an expression as ‘the Church of God which is at Corinth’ (1:2), as Bengel says, laetum et ingens paradoxon. And the majority of the converts—probably the very large majority—had been heathen (12:2), and therefore had been accustomed to think lightly of abominations from which converts from Judaism had always been free. Anxiety about these Gentile Christians is conspicuous throughout the First Epistle; but at the time when the Second was written, especially the last four chapters, it was Jewish Christians that were giving him most trouble. In short, Corinth, as we know it from other sources, is clearly reflected in the letter before us.

That what we know about Corinth and the Apostle from Acts is reflected in the letter will be seen when it is examined in detail; and it is clear that the writer of Acts does not derive his information from the letter, for he tells us much more than the letter does. As Schleiermacher pointed out long ago, the personal details at the beginning and end of 1 and 2 Corinthians supplement and illuminate what is told in Acts, and it is clear that each writer takes his own line independently of the other (Bachmann, p. 12).

§ II. Authenticity

It is not necessary to spend much time upon the discussion of this question. Both the external and the internal evidence for the Pauline authorship are so strong that those who attempt to show that the Apostle was not the writer succeed chiefly in proving their own incompetence as critics. Subjective criticism of a highly speculative kind does not merit many detailed replies, when it is in opposition to abundant evidence of the most solid character. The captious objections which have been urged against one or other, or even against all four, of the great Epistles of St Paul, by Bruno Bauer (1850-1852), and more recently by Loman, Pierson, Naber, Edwin Johnson, Meyboom, van Manen, Rudolf Steck, and others, have been sufficiently answered by Kuenen, Scholten, Schmiedel, Zahn, Gloël, Wrede, and Lindemann; and the English reader will find all that he needs on the subject in Knowling, The Witness of the Epistles, ch. iii., or in The Testimony of St Paul to Christ, lect. 24. and passim (see Index). But the student of 1 Corinthians can spend his time better than in perusing replies to utterly untenable objections. More than sixty years ago, F. C. Baur said of the four chief Epistles, that “they bear so incontestably the character of Pauline originality, that there is no conceivable ground for the assertion of critical doubts in their case” (Paulus, Stuttg. 1845, 2. Einleit., Eng. tr. 1. p. 246). And with regard to the arguments which have been urged against these Epistles since Baur’s day, we may adopt the verdict of Schmiedel, who, after examining a number of these objections, concludes thus: “In a word, until better reasons are produced, one may really trust oneself to the conviction that one has before one writings of Paul” (Hand-Commentar zum N.T., 2:1. p. 51).

The external evidence in support of Pauline authorship in the fullest sense is abundant and unbroken from the first century down to our own day. It begins, at the latest, with a formal appeal to 1 Corinthians as “the letter of the blessed Paul, the Apostle” by Clement of Rome about a.d. 95 (Cor. 47), the earliest example in literature of a New Testament writer being quoted by name. And it is possible that we have still earlier evidence than that. In the Epistle of Barnabas 4:11 we have words which seem to recall 1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:18; and in the Didache 10:6 we have μαρὰν 1 Corinthians 16:22. But in neither case do the words prove acquaintance with our Epistle; and, moreover, the date of these two documents is uncertain: some would place both of them later than 95 a.d. It is quite certain that Ignatius and Polycarp knew 1 Corinthians, and it is highly probable that Hermas did. “Ignatius must have known this Epistle almost by heart. Although there are no quotations (in the strictest sense, with mention of the source), echoes of its language and thought pervade the whole of his writings in such a manner as to leave no doubt whatever that he was acquainted with the First Epistle to the Corinthians” (The N.T. in the Apostolic Fathers, 1905, p. 67). We find in the Epistles of Ignatius what seem to be echoes of 1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 1:20, 1 Corinthians 1:24, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 1:2:10, 1 Corinthians 1:14, 1 Corinthians 1:3:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:10-15, 1 Corinthians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 1:4:1, 1 Corinthians 1:4, 1 Corinthians 1:5:7, 1 Corinthians 1:6:9, 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Corinthians 1:15, 1 Corinthians 1:7:10, 1 Corinthians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 1:29, 1 Corinthians 1:9:15, 1 Corinthians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 1:10:16, 1 Corinthians 1:17, 1 Corinthians 1:12:12, 1 Corinthians 1:15:1 Corinthians 1:8-10, 45, 47, 58, 1 Corinthians 1:16:18; and a number of these, being quite beyond dispute, give increase of probability to the rest. In Polycarp there are seven such echoes, two of which (to 1 Corinthians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 6:9) are quite certain, and a third (to 13:13) highly probable. In the first of these (Pol. xi. 2), Paul is mentioned, but not this Epistle. The passage in Hermas (Mand. iv. 4) resembles 1 Corinthians 7:39, 1 Corinthians 7:40 so closely that reminiscence is more probable than mere coincidence. Justin Martyr, about a.d. 147, quotes from 1 Corinthians 11:19 (Try. 35), and Athenagoras, about a.d. 177, quotes part of 15:55 as κατὰ τὸν

The internal evidence is equally satisfactory. The document, in spite of its varied contents, is harmonious in character and language. It is evidently the product of a strong and original mind, and is altogether worthy of an Apostle. When tested by comparison with other writings of St Paul, or with Acts, or with other writings in the N.T., we find so many coincidences, most of which must be undesigned, that we feel confident that neither invention, nor mere chance, nor these two combined, would be a sufficient explanation. The only hypothesis that will explain these coincidences is that we are dealing with a genuine letter of the Apostle of the Gentiles. And it has already been pointed out how well the contents of the letter harmonize with what we know of Corinth during the lifetime of St Paul.

The integrity of 1 Corinthians has been questioned with as much boldness as its authenticity, and with as little success. On quite insufficient, and (in some cases) trifling, or even absurd, grounds, some sections, verses, and parts of verses, have been suspected of being interpolations, e.g. 11:16, 19 b, 23-28, 12:2, 13, parts of 14:5 and 10, and the whole of 13, 15:23-28, 45. The reasons for suspecting smaller portions are commonly better than those for suspecting longer ones, but none are sufficient to warrant rejection. Here and there we are in doubt about a word, as Χριστοῦ (1:8), Ἰησοῦ (4:17), ἡμῶν (5:4), and τὰ ἔθνη (10:20), but there is probably no verse or whole clause that is an interpolation. Others again have conjectured that our Epistle is made up of portions of two, or even three, letters, laid together in strata; and this conjecture is sometimes combined with the hypothesis that portions of the letter alluded to in 5:9 are imbedded in our 1 Corinthians. Thus, 3:10-23, 7:17-24, 9:1-10, 22, 10:25-30, 14:34-36, 15:1-55, are supposed to be fragments of this first letter. An hypothesis of this kind naturally involves the supposition that there are a number of interpolations which have been made in order to cement the fragments of the different letters together. These wild conjectures may safely be disregarded. There is no trace of them in any of the four great Uncial MSS. which contain the whole Epistle (א A B D), or in any Version. We have seen that Ignatius shows acquaintance with every chapter, with the possible exception of 8, 11, 13, 14. Irenaeus quotes from every chapter, excepting 4., 14., and 16. Tertullian goes through it to the end of 15. (Adv. Marc. 5:5-10), and he quotes from 16. The Epistle reads quite intelligibly and smoothly as we have it; and it does not follow that, because it would read still more smoothly if this or that passage were ejected, therefore the Epistle was not written as it has come down to us. As Jülicher remarks, “what is convenient is not always right.”* Till better reasons are produced for rearranging it, or for rejecting parts of it, we may be content to read it as being still in the form in which the Apostle dictated it.

§ III. Occasion and Plan

The Occasion of 1 Corinthians is patent from the Epistle itself. Two things induced St Paul to write. (1) During his long stay at Ephesus the Corinthians had written to him, asking certain questions, and perhaps also mentioning certain things as grievances. (2) Information of a very disquieting kind respecting the condition of the Corinthian Church had reached the Apostle from various sources. Apparently, the latter was the stronger reason of the two; but either of them, even without the other, would have caused him to write.

Since his departure from Corinth, after spending eighteen months in founding a Church there, a great deal had happened in the young community. The accomplished Alexandrian Jew Apollos, ‘mighty in the Scriptures,’ who had been well instructed in Christianity by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:24, Acts 18:26) at Ephesus, came and began to preach the Gospel, following (but, seemingly, with greater display of eloquence) in the footsteps of St Paul. Other teachers, less friendly to the Apostle, and with leanings towards Judaism, also began to work. In a short time the infant Church was split into parties, each party claiming this or that teacher as its leader, but, in each case, without the chosen leader giving any encouragement to this partizanship (1:10, 11). It is usual to attribute these dissensions to that love of faction which is so conspicuous in all Greek history, and which was the ruin of so many Greek states; and no doubt there is truth in this suggestion. But we must remember that Corinth at this time was scarcely half Greek. The greater part of the population consisted of the children and grandchildren of Italian colonists, who were still only imperfectly Hellenized, supplemented by numerous Orientals, who were perhaps scarcely Hellenized at all. The purely Greek element in the population was probably quite the smallest of the three. Nevertheless, it was the element which was moulding the other two, and therefore Greek love of faction may well have had something to do with the parties which so quickly sprang up in the new Corinthian Church. But at any other prosperous city on the Mediterranean, either in Italy or in Gaul, we should probably have had the same result. In these cities, with their mobile, eager, and excitable populations, crazes of some kind are not only a common feature, but almost a social necessity. There must be something or somebody to rave about, and either to applaud on to denounce, in order to give zest to life. And this craving naturally generates cliques and parties, consisting of those who approve, and those who disapprove, of some new pursuits or persons. The pursuits or the persons may be of quite trifling importance. That matters little: what is wanted is something to dispute about and take sides about. As Renan says (St Paul, p. 374), let there be two preachers, or two doctors, in one of the small towns in Southern Europe, and at once the inhabitants take sides as to which is the better of the two. The two preachers, or the two doctors, may be on the best of terms: that in no way hinders their names from being made a party-cry and the signal for vehement dissensions.

After a stay of a year and six months, St Paul crossed from Corinth to Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila, and went on without them to Jerusalem (Acts 18:11, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:19, Acts 18:21). Thence he went to Galatia, and returned in the autumn to Ephesus. The year in which this took place may be 50, or 52, or 54 a.d. Excepting the winter months, intercourse between Corinth and Ephesus was always frequent, and in favourable weather the crossing might be made in a week, or even less. It was natural, therefore, that the Apostle during his three years at Ephesus should receive frequent news of his converts in Corinth. We know of only one definite source of information, namely, members of the household of a lady named Chloe (1:11), who brought news about the factions and possibly other troubles: but no doubt there were other persons who came with tidings from Corinth. Those who were entrusted with the letter from the Corinthians to the Apostle (see on 16:17) would tell him a great deal. Apollos, now at Ephesus (16:12), would do the same. The condition of things which Chloe’s people reported was of so disturbing a nature that the Apostle at once wrote to deal with the matter, and he at the same time answered the questions which the Corinthians had raised in their letter. As will be seen from the Plan given below, these two reasons for writing, namely, reports of serious evils at Corinth, and questions asked by the converts themselves, cover nearly all, if not quite all, of what we find in our Epistle. There may, however, be a few topics which were not prompted by either of them, but are the spontaneous outcome of the Apostle’s anxious thoughts about the Corinthian Church. See Ency. Brit., 11th ed., art. ‘Bible,’ p. 873; art. ‘Corinthians,’ pp. 151 f.

It is quite certain that our 1 Corinthians is not the first letter which the Apostle wrote to the Church of Corinth; and it is probable that the earlier letter (5:9) is wholly lost. Some critics, however, think that part of it survives in 2 Corinthians 6:14, an hypothesis which has not found very many supporters. The question of there being yet another letter, which was written between the writing of our two Epistles, and which probably survives, almost in its entirety, in 2 Corinthians 10:1-10, is a question which belongs to the Introduction to that Epistle, and need not be discussed here.

But there is another question, in which both Epistles are involved. Fortunately nothing that is of great importance in either Epistle depends upon the solution of it, for no solution finds anything approaching to general assent. It has only an indirect connexion with the occasion and plan of our Epistle; but this will be a convenient place for discussing it. It relates to the hypothesis of a second visit of St Paul to Corinth, a visit which was very brief, painful, and unsatisfactory, and which (perhaps because of its distressing character) is not recorded in Acts. Did any such visit take place during the Apostle’s three years at Ephesus? If so, did it take place before or after the sending of 1 Corinthians? We have thus three possibilities with regard to this second visit of St Paul to Corinth, which was so unlike the first in being short, miserable, and without any good results. (1) It took place before 1 Corinthians was written. (2) It took place after that Epistle was written. (3) It never took place at all. Each one of these hypotheses involves one in difficulties, and yet one of them must be true.

Let us take (3) first. If that could be shown to be correct, there would be no need to discuss either of the other two.

As has already been pointed out, the silence of Acts is in no way surprising, especially when we remember how much of the life of St Paul (2 Corinthians 11:23-28) is left unrecorded by St Luke. If the silence of Acts is regarded as an objection, it is more than counter-balanced by the antecedent probability that, during his three years’ stay in Ephesus, the Apostle would visit the Corinthians again. The voyage was a very easy one. It was St Paul’s practice in missionary work to go over the ground a second time (Acts 15:36, Acts 15:41, Acts 15:18:23); and the intense interest in the condition of the Corinthian Church which these two Epistles exhibit renders it somewhat unlikely that the writer of them would spend three years within a week’s sail of Corinth, without paying the Church another visit.

But these a priori considerations are accompanied by direct evidence of a substantial kind. The passages which are quoted in support of the hypothesis of a second visit are 1 Corinthians 16:7; 2 Corinthians 2:1, 2 Corinthians 2:12:14, 21, 2 Corinthians 2:13:1, 2 Corinthians 2:2. We may at once set aside 1 Corinthians 16:7 (see note there): the verse harmonizes well with the hypothesis of a second visit, but is not evidence that any such visit took place. 2 Corinthians 12:21 is stronger: it is intelligible, if no visit of a distressing character had previously been paid; but it is still more intelligible, if such a visit had been paid; ‘lest, when I come, my God should again humble me before you.’ 2 Corinthians 2:1 is at least as strong: ‘For I determined for myself this, not again in sorrow to come to you.’ ‘Again in sorrow’ comes first with emphasis, and the most natural explanation is that he has visited them ἐν λύπῃ once, and that he decided that he would not make the experiment a second time. It is incredible that he regarded his first visit, in which he founded the Church, as a visit paid ἐν λύπῃ. Therefore the painful visit must have been a second one. Yet it is possible to avoid this conclusion by separating ‘again’ from ‘in sorrow,’ which is next to it, and confining it to ‘come,’ which is remote from it. This construction, if possible, is not very probable.

But it is the remaining texts, 2 Corinthians 12:14, 2 Corinthians 12:13:1, 2 Corinthians 12:2, which are so strong, especially 13:2: ‘Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you’—‘This is the third time I am coming to you. … I have said before, and I do say before, as when I was present the second time, so now being absent, to those who were in sin before, and to all the rest,’ etc. It is difficult to think that the Apostle is referring to intentions to come, or willingness to come, and not to an actual visit; or again that he is counting a letter as a visit. That is possible, but it is not natural. Again, the preposition in τοῖς προημαρτηκόσιν is more naturally explained as meaning ‘who were in sin before my second visit’ than ‘before their conversion.’ Wieseler (Chronologie, p. 232) considers that these passages render the assumption of a second visit to Corinth indispensable (nothwendig). Conybeare and Howson (ch. 15 sub init.) maintain that ‘this visit is proved’ by these passages. Lightfoot (Biblical Essays, p. 274) says: “There are passages in the Epistles (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12:14, 2 Corinthians 12:13:1, 2 Corinthians 12:2) which seem inexplicable under any other hypothesis, except that of a second visit—the difficulty consisting not so much in the words themselves, as in their relation to their context.” Schmiedel (Hand. Comm. 2:1, p. 68) finds it hard to understand how any one can reject the hypothesis; die Leugnung der Zwischenreise ist schwer verständlich; and he goes carefully through the evidence. Sanday (Ency. Bibl. 1:903) says: “The supposition that the second visit was only contemplated, not paid, appears to be excluded by 2 Corinthians 13:2.” Equally strong on the same side are Alford, J. H. Bernard (Expositor’s Grk. Test.), Jülicher (Introd. to N.T. p. 31), Massie (Century Bible), G. H. Rendall (EPP. to the Corr. p. 31), Waite (Speaker’s Comm.); and with them agree Bleek,* Findlay, Osiander, D. Walker, and others to be mentioned below. On the other hand, Baur, de Wette, Edwards, Heinrici, Hilgenfeld, Paley, Renan, Scholten, Stanley, Zahn, and others, follow Beza, Grotius, and Estius in questioning or denying this second visit of St Paul to Corinth. Ramsay (St Paul the Traveller, p. 275) thinks that, if it took place at all, it was from Philippi rather than Ephesus. Bachmann, the latest commentator on 2 Corinthians (Leipzig, 1909, p. 105), thinks that only an over-refined and artificial criticism can question it. We may perhaps regard the evidence for this visit as something short of proof; but it is manifest, both from the evidence itself, and also from the weighty names of those who regard it as conclusive, that we are not justified in treating the supposed visit as so improbable that there is no need to consider whether it took place before or after the writing of our Epistle.†

Many modern writers place it between 1 and 2 Corinthians, and connect it with the letter written ‘out of much affliction and anguish of heart with many tears’ (2 Corinthians 2:4). The visit was paid ἐν λύπῃ. The Apostle had to deal with serious evils, was perhaps crippled by illness, and failed to put a stop to them. After returning defeated to Ephesus, he wrote the sorrowful letter. This hypothesis is attractive, but it is very difficult to bring it into harmony with the Apostle’s varying plans and the Corinthians’ charges of fickleness (2 Corinthians 1:15-24). But, in any case, if this second visit was paid after 1 Corinthians was written, the commentator on that Epistle need not do more than mention it. See Ency. Brit., 11th ed., 7. p. 152.

But the majority of modern writers, including Alford, J. H Bernard, Bleek, Billroth, Credner, Hausrath, Hofmann, Holsten, Klöpper, Meyer, Neander, Olshausen, Otto, Reuss, Rückert, Sanday, Schenkel, Schmiedel, Waite, and B. Weiss follow Chrysostom in placing the second visit before 1 Corinthians. Some place it before the letter mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:9. This has decided advantages. The lost letter of 5:9 may have alluded to the painful visit and treated it in such a way as to render any further reference to it unnecessary. This might account for the silence of 1 Corinthians respecting the visit. Even if the visit be placed after the lost letter, its painful character would account for the silence about it in our Epistle. Some think that the Epistle is not silent, and that 4:18 refers to this visit: ‘As if, however. I were not coming to see you, some got puffed up.’ But this cannot refer to a visit that is paid, as if it meant, ‘You thought that I was not coming, and I did come.’ It refers to a visit that is contemplated, as the next verse shows: ‘Come, however, I shall quickly to see you.’

The following tentative scheme gives the events which led up to the writing of our Epistle:—

(1) St Paul leaves Corinth with Aquila and Priscilla and finally settles at Ephesus.

(2) Apollos continues the work of the Apostle at Corinth.

(3) Other teachers arrive, hostile to the Apostle, and Apollos leaves.

(4) St Paul pays a short visit to Corinth to combat this hostility and other evils, and fails.

(5) He writes the letter mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:9.

(6) Bad news arrives from Corinth brought by members of Chloe’s familia, perhaps also by the bearers of the Corinthians’ letter, and by Apollos.

The Apostle at once writes 1 Corinthians.

The Plan of the Epistle is very clear. One is seldom in doubt as to where a section begins and ends, or as to what the subject is. There are occasional digressions, or what seem to be such, as the statement of the great Principle of Forbearance (9:1-27), or the Hymn in praise of Love (13), but their connexion with the main argument of the section in which they occur is easily seen. The question which cannot be answered with absolute certainty is not a very important one. We cannot be quite sure how much of the Epistle is a reply to questions asked by the Corinthians in their letter to the Apostle. Certainly the discussion of various problems about Marriage (7:1-40) is such, as is shown by the opening words, περὶ δὲ ὧν ἐγρίψατε: and almost certainly the question about partaking of Idol-meats (8:1-11:1) was raised by the Corinthians, περὶ δὲ τῶν εἰδωλοθύτων. The difficulty was a real one and of frequent occurrence; and, as the Apostle does not refer to teaching already given to them on the subject, they would be likely to consult him, all the more so as there seem to have been widely divergent opinions among themselves about the question. It is not impossible that other sections which begin in a similar way are references to the Corinthian letter, περὶ δὲ τῶν πνευματικῶν (12:1), περὶ δὲ τῆς λογίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς (16:1), and περὶ δὲ Ἀπολλὼ τοῦ

St Paul is at Ephesus in Acts 18:19-21, but the data of this Epistle (16:5-8) are quite irreconcilable with its having been written during this short visit. It must therefore belong to some part of St Paul’s unbroken residence at Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:18, τὸν πάντα χρόνον: 31, τριετίαν νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν), which falls within the middle or Aegean period of his ministry. The first, or Antiochean period extends from Acts 11:25, when Antioch finally ceases to be his headquarters. The Aegean period ends with his last journey to Jerusalem and arrest there (21:15). This begins the third period, that of the Imprisonments, which carries us to the close of the Acts. Our Epistle accordingly falls within the limits of Acts 19:21. We have to consider the probable date of the events there described, and the relation to them of the data of our Epistle.

The present writer discussed these questions fully in Hastings, DB. art. ‘Corinthians,’ without the advantage of having seen the art. ‘Chronology,’ by Mr. C. H. Turner, in the same volume, or Harnack’s Chronologie d. Altchristlichen Literatur, which appeared very shortly after. The artt. ‘Felix,’ ‘Festus,’ were written immediately upon the appearance of Harnack’s volume, that on ‘Aretas’ previously. This chapter does not aim at being a full dissertation on the chronology of the period. For this, reference must be made to all the above articles; Mr. Turner’s discussion is monumental, and placed the entire question on a new and possibly final basis.

The general scheme of dates for St. Paul’s life as covered by the Acts lies between two points which can be approximately determined, namely, his escape from Damascus under Aretas (Acts 9:25; 2 Corinthians 11:32, 2 Corinthians 11:33) not long (ἡμέρας τινάς, Acts 9:19) after his conversion, and the arrival of Festus as procurator of Judaea (Acts 24:27) in succession to Felix. The latter date fixes the beginning of the διετία ὅλη of Acts 28:30; the close of the latter, again, gives the interval available, before the Apostle’s martyrdom shortly after the fire of Rome (64 a.d.), for the events presupposed in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

Aretas to the Apostolic Council

The importance of the Aretas date, which Harnack fails to deal with satisfactorily, is that Damascus is shown by its coins to have been under the Empire as late as 34 a.d., and that it is practically certain that it remained so till the death of Tiberius, March 37 a.d. This latter year, then, is the earliest possible date for St Paul’s escape, and his conversion must be placed at earliest in 35 or 36.

From this date we reckon that of the first visit of St Paul (as a Christian) to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion (Galatians 1:18), i.e. in 37-38, and of the Apostolic Council (Acts 15:0; Galatians 2:0; the evidence for the identity of reference in these two chapters is decisive), fourteen years from the conversion (Galatians 2:1). (The possibility that the fourteen years are reckoned from the first visit must be recognized, but the probability is, as Turner shows, the other way; and the addition of three years to our reckoning will involve insuperable difficulty in the later chronology.) This carries us to 49, whether we add 14 to 35, or—as usual in antiquity, reckoning both years in—13 to 36. This result—49 a.d. for the Apostolic Council—agrees with the other data. The pause in the Acts (20:24, the imperfects summing up the character of the period), after the death of Agrippa 1., which took place in 44 (see Turner, p. 416 b), covers the return of Barnabas and Saul from their visit to Jerusalem to relieve the sufferers from the famine. This famine cannot be placed earlier than 46 a.d. (Turner); supposing this to have been the year of the visit of Barnabas and Saul to Jerusalem, their departure (Acts 13:3) on the missionary journey to Cyprus, etc., cannot have taken place till after the winter 46-47; the whole journey must have lasted quite eighteen months. We thus get the autumn of 48 for the return to Antioch (14:26); and the χρόνον οὐκ ὀλίγον (v. 28) spent there carries us over the winter, giving a date in the first half of 49, probably the feast of Pentecost (May 24), for the meeting with the assembled Apostles at Jerusalem. This date, therefore, appears to satisfy all the conditions.

Apostolic Council to the End of Residence at Ephesus

Assuming its validity, the sequence of the narrative in the Acts permits us to place the departure of St Paul from Antioch over Mount Taurus ‘after some days’ (Acts 15:36-41) in September 49, his arrival at Philippi in the summer, and at Corinth in the autumn, of 50. The eighteen months (18:11) of his stay there would end about the Passover (April 2-9) of 52. By Pentecost he is at Jerusalem, and by midsummer at Antioch. Here, then, closes the Antiochence period (44-52) of his ministry. Antioch is no longer a suitable headquarters, Corinth, Philippi, Ephesus claim him, and he transfers his field of work to the region of the Aegean. His final visit to Antioch appears to be not long (18:23, χρόνον τινά): if he left it about August, his journey to Ephesus, unmarked by any recorded episode, would be over before midwinter, say by December 52. The τριετία (see above) of his residence there cannot, then. have ended before 55; the ‘three months’ of 19:8 and the ‘two years’ of v. 10 carry us to about March of that year: the remainder of the τριετία (which may not have been quite complete) is occupied by the episodes of the sons of Sceva, the mission of Timothy and Erastus (19:22), and the riot in the theatre. Whether this permits St Paul to leave Ephesus for Corinth soon after Pentecost 55 (1 Corinthians 16:8), or compels us to allow till Pentecost 56, cannot be decided until we have considered the second main date, namely, that of the procuratorship of Festus.

From Festus Back to 1 Corinthians

That Felix became procurator of Judaea in 52 a.d. may be taken as fairly established (Hastings, DB. artt, ‘Felix,’ and ‘Chronology,’ p. 418). The arrival of Festus is placed by Eusebius in his Chronicle in the year Sept. 56-Sept. 57; that of Albinus, his successor, in 61-62. The latter date is probably correct. But the crowded incidents set down by Josephus to the reign of Felix, coupled with the paucity of events ascribed by him to that of Festus, suggest that Felix’s tenure of office was long compared with that of Festus (the πολλὰ ἔτη of Acts 24:10 cannot be confidently pressed in confirmation of this). We cannot, moreover, be sure that Eusebius was guided by more than conjecture as to the date of Felix’s recall. His brother Pallas, whose influence with Nero (according to Josephus) averted his condemnation, was removed from office in 55, certainly before Felix’s recall; but the circumstances of his retirement favour the supposition that he retained influence with the Emperor for some time afterwards. It is not improbable, therefore, that Felix was recalled in 57-58. St Paul’s arrest, two years before the recall of Felix (Acts 24:27), would then fall in the year Sept. 55—Sept. 56, i.e. at Pentecost (Acts 20:16) 56 (for the details see Turner in Hastings, DB. art. ‘Chronology,’ pp. 418, 419).

We have, then, for the events of Acts 19:21-27, the interval from about March 55 to Pentecost (?) 58, or till Pentecost 56 for the remainder of St Paul’s stay at Ephesus, the journey from Ephesus to Corinth, the three months spent there, the journey to Philippi, the voyage thence to Troas, Tyre, and Caesarea, and arrival at Jerusalem. This absolutely precludes any extension of St Paul’s stay at Ephesus until 56. The Pentecost of 1 Corinthians 16:8 must be that of 55, unless indeed we can bring down the recall of Felix till 58-59, which though by no means impossible, has the balance of probability against it. Still more considerable is the balance of likelihood against 60 or even 61 as the date for Felix’s recall, and 58 or 59 for St Paul’s arrest. The former date, 58, must be given up, and St. Paul’s arrest dated at latest in 57, more probably in 56.

Resultant Scheme

Accordingly from Aretas to Festus, that is from St Paul’s escape from Damascus to the end of his imprisonment at Caesarea, we have at most 22 years (37-59), more probably only 21. It is evident that the time allowed above for the successive events of the Antiochence and Aegean periods of his ministry, which has throughout been taken at a reasonable minimum, completely fills the chronological framework supplied by the prior dates. The narrative of St Paul’s ministry in the Acts, in other words, is continuously consecutive. While giving fuller detail to some parts of the story than to others, it leaves no space of time unaccounted for; the limits of date at either end forbid the supposition of any such unrecorded period. Unless we are—contrary to all the indications of this part of the book—to ignore the Acts as an untrustworthy source, we have in the Acts and Epistles combined a coherent and chronologically tenable scheme of the main events in St Paul’s life for these vitally important 21 years. It must be added that the minor points of contact with the general chronology,—the proconsulships of Sergius Paulus and of Gallio, the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by Claudius, the marriage of Drusilla to Felix,—fit without difficulty into the scheme, and that no ascertainable date refuses to do so. For these points, omitted here in order to emphasize the fundamental data, the reader must consult Mr. Turner’s article and the other authorities referred to below.

We may therefore safely date our Epistle towards the close of St Paul’s residence at Ephesus, and in the earlier months of the year 55.

Bearing of St Paul’s Movements on the Question of Date

The date of the previous letter referred to in 5:9 can only be matter of inference. Seeing that the Apostle corrects a possible mistake as to its meaning, it was probably of somewhat recent date. There is every antecedent likelihood that letters passed not infrequently between the Apostle at Ephesus and his converts across the Aegean (see Hastings, DB. artt. ‘1 Corinthians,’ § 6, and ‘2 Corinthians,’ § 4 g). But the language of our Epistle is difficult, or impossible, to reconcile with the supposition that the Apostle’s Ephesian sojourn had been broken into by a visit to Corinth. “There is not a single trace” of it (Weizsäker, Apost. Zeitalter, pp. 277, 300). The case for such a visit is entirely based on supposed references to it in 2 Cor.; these references at any rate show that this visit, if paid at any time, was of a painful character (ἐν λύπῃ, 2 Corinthians 2:1). If, then, such a visit had been paid before 1 Corinthians was written, to what was this λύπη due? Not to the σχίσματα, of which St Paul knew only from Chloe’s people (1:11). Not to the πορνεία, nor to the disorders at the Lord’s Supper, of which, he expressly tells us, he knew by report only (5:1, 11:18). Not to the litigiousness, nor to the denials of the Resurrection, of both of which he speaks with indignant surprise. If a distressing visit had preceded our Epistle, the painful occasion of it was dead and buried when St Paul wrote, and St Paul’s references to it (clearly as a recent sore) in 2 Corinthians become inexplicable. Certainly when our Epistle was written a painful visit (ἐν ῥάβδῳ, 4:21) was before the Apostle’s mind as a possible necessity. But there is no πάλιν, no hint that there had already been a passage of the kind. On the contrary, some gainsayers were sceptical as to his coming at all; there is, in fact, nothing to set against the clear inference from 1 Corinthians 2:1 sqq., that St Paul’s first stay at Corinth had so far been his one visit there. So far, in fact, as our Epistle is concerned, the idea of a previous second visit is uncalled for, to say the very least. If 2 Corinthians necessitates the assumption of such a visit,* it must be inserted before that Epistle and after our present letter. But the question whether such necessity exists depends on the possibility of reconciling the visit with the data as a whole. (On this aspect of the matter the present writer would refer to Hastings, DB. vol. 1. pp. 492-5, §§ 4, 5.) The most ingenious method of saving the ‘painful’ visit has a direct bearing on the date of our Epistle. Recognizing the conclusive force of the objections to placing the visit before our letter, Dr. J. H. Kennedy (The Second and Third Epistles to the Corinthians, Methuen, 1900) places this Epistle before the Pentecost of the year Previous to St Paul’s departure from Ephesus, distinguishes Timothy’s mission to Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 16:10) from his (later) mission with Erastus ‘to Macedonia’ (Acts 19:22), makes our Epistle the prelude to the painful visit (16:5), and breaks up the Second Epistle so as to obtain a scheme into which that visit will fit. 1 Corinthians would then be dated (in accordance with the chronology adopted above) before Pentecost 54.

But, interesting and ingenious as is Dr. Kennedy’s discussion, the close correspondence of ch. 16:3-6 with the facts of Acts 20:1-3—the Journey through Macedonia to Corinth, the winter spent there, the start for Jerusalem with the brethren—makes the divorce of the two passages very harsh and improbable. In our Epistle the plan actually followed is already planned; its abandonment and resumption follow rapidly, as described in 2 Corinthians, and it seems impossible to doubt that our Epistle was written with the immediate prospect (not of the painful visit but) of the visit actually recorded in Acts 20:3; i.e. in the spring of 55.

The following table gives the schemes adopted by Harnack in his Chronologie (supra), Turner (DB. as above); Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller and Expositor, 1896, p. 336, A fixed date, etc.; Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, pp. 216-233; Wieseler, Chronologie d. Apost. Zeitalters (Eng. tr.); Lewin, Fasti Sacri. See also Blass, Acta Apostolorum, 1895, pp. 21-24; Kennedy (as above). See also Ency. Brit., 11th ed., 3. pp. 891 f., 7. p. 151.

Harnack Turner Ramsay Lightfoot Wieseler Lewin

The Crucifixion 29 or 30 29 30 … 30 33

Conversion of St Paul 30 35 or 36 32 34 40 37

First visit to Jerusalem 33 38 34 37 43 39

Second visit to Jerusalem … 46 45 45 45 44

First missionary journey 45 47 46 or 47 48 45-57 45

Third visit to Jerusalem; the Apostolic Council 47 49 50 51 50 49

Second missionary journey 47 49 50 51 50 49

Corinth reached late in 48 50 51 52 52 52

Epistles to the Thessalonians 48-50 50-52 51-53 52-53 52-53 52

Fourth visit to Jerusalem 50 52 53 54 54 53

Return to Antioch 50 52 53 54 54 53

Third missionary journey 50 52 53 54 54 54

In Ephesus; 1 Corinthians 50-53 52-55 53-56 54-57 54-57 54-57

In Macedonia; 2 Corinthians 53 55 56 57 57 57

In Corinth; Epistle to Romans 53, 54 55, 56 56, 57 57, 58 57, 58 57, 58

Fifth visit to Jerusalem; arrest 54 56 57 58 58 58

§ V. Doctrine

The First Epistle to the Corinthians is not, like that to the Romans, a doctrinal treatise; nor is it, like Galatians, the document of a crisis involving far-reaching doctrinal consequences. It deals with the practical questions affecting the life of a Church founded by the writer: one great doctrinal issue, arising out of circumstances at Corinth (15:12), is directly treated; but doctrine is, generally speaking, implied or referred to rather than enforced. Yet, none the less, the doctrinal importance and instructiveness of the letter can hardly be overrated. In its alternations of light and shadow it vividly reproduces the life of a typical Gentile-Christian community, seething with the interaction of the new life and the inherited character, with the beginnings of that agelong warfare of man’s higher and lower self which forms the under-current of Christian history in all ages.

The Apostle recalls to first principles every matter which engages his attention; at every point his convictions, as one who had learned from Christ Himself, are brought to bear upon the question before him, though it may be one of minor detail. At the least touch the latent forces of fundamental Faith break out into action.

First of all, we must take note of the Apostle’s relation to Christ. He is ‘a called Apostle of Jesus Christ’ (1:1), and asserts this claim in the face of those who call it in question (9:3). He rests it, firstly, on having ‘seen Jesus our Lord’ (9:1), clearly at his Conversion; secondly, on the fruits of his Apostleship, which the Corinthians, whom he had begotten in the Lord (3:6 sqq., 4:15, see notes on these passages), should be the last to question (9:2). This constituted his answer to critics (9:3). As far, then, as authority was concerned, he, claimed to have it directly from Christ, without human source or channel (as in Galatians 1:1, Galatians 1:12). But this did not imply independence of the tradition common to the Apostles in regard to the facts of the Lord’s life, death, and Resurrection. In regard to the Institution of the Lord’s Supper (see below), the words παρέλαβον

The passages in question have an important bearing upon St Paul’s knowledge in detail of the earthly life, ministry, and words of Christ. It is not uncommonly inferred from his nearly exclusive insistence upon the incarnation, passion, death and Resurrection of our Lord that he either knew or cared to know nothing of the historical Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:16; 1 Corinthians 2:2).* But the appeal of ch. 7:10, 25 is a warning that the inference from silence is precarious here. The pre-existence of Christ is clearly taught in 15:45-48.† That St Paul taught pre-existence only—as distinct from the Divinity of Christ (His pre-existence in the Unity of the Godhead),—was the view of Baur, followed in substance by Pfleiderer (Paulinism, Eng. tr. 1:139 sqq.), Schmiedel, in loc., and many others. It is bound up with the old Tübingen theory which restricts the Pauline homologumena to 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, and Galatians. If we are allowed to combine the thoughts of Philippians 2:5 sqq., and Colossians 1:15-18, Colossians 2:9, with 1 Cor. 15., it becomes impossible to do justice to the whole thought of St Paul by the conception of an ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ (15:47), pre-existent in the Divine Idea only. The fundamental position of Christ ‘and that crucified’ (2:2; cf. 3:10, 11) in the Apostle’s preaching is only intelligible in connexion with His cosmic function as Mediator (8:6, δἰ οὗ τὰ πάντα) which again stands closely related with the thought expanded in Colossians 1:15 f. In a word, it is now admitted that, according to St Paul, Christ, as the Mediator between God and man, stood at the centre of the Gospel. Whether this equally applies to the teaching of Christ Himself, as recorded in the Gospels, or whether, on the contrary, the teaching of Christ is reducible to the two heads of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, without any proclamation of Himself as the Mediator of the former, as Harnack in Das Wesen des Christentums and other recent writers have contended, is a question worthy of most careful inquiry, but not in this place.† It belongs to the study of the history and doctrine of the Gospels.

The Epistle contains not only the clearly-cut doctrines of the death of Christ for our sins and of His Resurrection from the dead on the Third Day, but the equally clear assertion that these doctrines were not only the elements of St Paul’s own teaching, but were taught by him in common with the older Apostles (15:1-2). The doctrine which is mainly in question here is that of the Resurrection of the dead, of which the fifteenth chapter of the Epistle is the classical exposition. St Paul is meeting the denial by some (τινές) of the Corinthians that there is a resurrection of the dead. The persons in question, who were most probably the representatives, not of Sadducaism, but of vague Greek opinion influenced perhaps by popular Epicurean ideas, did not deny the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Their assent to it must, however, have become otiose. To the Resurrection of Christ, then, St Paul appeals in refutation of the opinion he has to combat. After reminding them that they had learned from him, as a fundamental truth, the fact of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, attested by many appearances to the Apostles, and by the appearance to himself at his conversion, he proceeds to establish the link between this primary truth and that of the Resurrection of the dead in Christ. The relation between the two is that of antecedent and consequent,—of cause and effect. If the consequent is denied the antecedent is overthrown (vv. 12-19), and with it the whole foundation of the Christian hope of eternal life. But Christ has risen, and mankind has in Him a new source of life, as in Adam it had its source of death. The consummation of life in Christ is then traced out in bold, mysterious touches (vv. 23-28). First Christ Himself; then, at the Parousia, those that are Christ’s; then the End. The End embraces the redelivery by Him of the Kingdom to His Father; the Kingdom is mediatorial and has for its purpose the subjugation of the enemies, death last of them all. All things, other than God, are to be subjected to the Son; when this is accomplished, the redelivery,—the subjection of the Son Himself,—takes effect, ‘that God may be all in all.’

On this climax of the history of the Universe, it must suffice to point out that St Paul clearly does not mean that the personal being of the Son will have an end; but that the Kingdom of Christ, so far as it can be distinguished from the Kingdom of God, will then be merged in the latter. St Paul here gathers up the threads of all previous eschatological thought; the Messiah, the enemies, the warfare of Life and Death, the return of Christ to earth, and the final destiny of the saints. It is important to notice that he contemplates no earthly reign of the Christ after His Return. The quickening of the saints ‘ast His Coming’ immediately ushers in ‘the End,’ the redelivery, the close of the Mediatorial Kingdom. This is in harmony with the earlier teaching of the Apostle in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and there is nothing in any of his Epistles out of harmony with it. But the thought of the early Return of Christ (v. 51) is already less prominent. The ‘time is short’ (7:29), but instead of ‘we that are alive,’ it is now ‘we shall not all sleep.’ This is borne out by 2 Corinthians 5:3, where the possibility that the great change will find us in the body (οὐ γυμνοί) is still contemplated, but only as a possibility. The remainder (vv. 35 sqq.) of the chapter brings out St Paul’s characteristic doctrine of the Resurrection body. This is in direct contrast with the crude conceptions current among the Pharisees, according to which the bodies of the saints were thought of as passing underground from their graves to the place of resurrection, and there rising in the same condition in which death found them.

St Paul, on the other hand, contrasts the mortal (φθαρτόν) or animal (ψυχικόν) body with the risen or spiritual body. The former is ἐπίγειον, χοϊκόν, and ‘cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ It will be the same individual body (ἡμᾶς, 6:14; see Romans 8:12), but yet not the same; it will be quickened, changed (v. 51), will put on incorruption, immortality; it (the same body). is ‘sown’ as an earthly body, but will be raised a spiritual body.

This change is in virtue of our membership of Christ, and is the working-out of the same Divine power, first exerted in the raising of Christ Himself, and finally extended to all His members (cf. Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Romans 8:19, Romans 8:21, Romans 8:23). It follows that the Apostle conceived of the risen Body of Christ Himself as ‘a spiritual body’; not that He brought His human body from heaven, but that His heavenly personality (15:47) at last, through His Resurrection, the work of the Father’s Power (Romans 6:4), constituted Him, as the ‘last Adam,’ ‘quickening spirit’ (15:45), and the source of quickening to all His members. His body is now, therefore, a glorious body (Philippians 3:21), and the incorruption which His members inherit is the direct effect of their union with the Body of Christ (15:48 sq.).

The whole horizon of this passage is limited, therefore, to the resurrection of the just. It is the κεκοιμημένοι (a term exclusively reserved for the dead in Christ) that are in view throughout: the whole argument turns upon the quickening, in Christ (15:22, 23), of those who belong to Him. As to the resurrection of the wicked, which St Paul certainly believed (9:24, 27; Romans 14:10, Romans 14:12; cf. Acts 24:15), deep silence reigns in the whole of ch. 15.

The Resurrection of Christ, then, occupies the central place in St Paul’s doctrine of the Christian Life, both here and hereafter, just as the doctrine of His Death for our sins is the foundation of our whole relation to God as reconciled sinners. The Resurrection not only supplies the indispensable proof of the real significance of the Cross; it is the source of our life as members of Christ, and the guarantee of our hope in Him.

Of the Person of Christ, our Epistle implies much more than it expressly lays down. Christ was the whole of his Gospel (2:2); He is ‘the Lord’ (cf. Romans 10:13), ‘through whom are all things, and we through Him’ (8:6); He satisfies all the needs of man, mental, moral, and religious (1:30), and union with Him is the sphere of the whole life and work (15:58) of the Christian, of his social relations (7:22, 39), and of the activities of the Christian Church (5:4, 12:5, 12) as a body.

The doctrine of grace, so prominent in other Epistles of this group, is for the most part felt rather than expressly handled in our Epistle. The passing reference in 15:56 (ἡ δὲ δύναμις τῆς ἁμαρτίαςνόμος) may be compared with that in 9:20, 21, where he explains that the Christian, though not ὑπὸ νόμον, is not ἄνομος Θεοῦ but ἔννομος Χριστοῦ (for which see Romans 8:2). It may be noted that a passage in this Epistle (4:7, τίδὲ ἔχειςοὐκἔλαβες) turned the entire course of Augustine’s thought upon the efficacy of Divine grace, with momentous consequences to the Church (Aug. de div. quaest. ad Simplic. i.; cf. Retract. 11:1:1; de don. Persev. 52).

On the Christian Life, our Epistle is an inexhaustible mine of suggestion.* With regard to personal life, it may be noted that the ascetic instinct which has ever tended to assert itself in the Christian Church finds its first utterance here (7:1, 25, 40, θέλω, νομιζω ὅτι καλόν, etc.), as representing the Apostle’s own mind, but coupled with solemn and lofty insistence (οὐκ ἐγὼ Romans 3:23, Romans 8:18, etc. etc.); but it may be noted that there is a close correlation between the glory of God (10:31) as the objective standard of action, and the glory of God in sharing which our chief happiness is finally to consist; also that the summum bonum, thus conceived, is no object of merely self-regarding desire: to desire it is to desire that all for whom Christ died may be led to its attainment. This principle of the “higher expediency” determines the treatment of the ethical problems which occur in the Epistle: the treatment of the body, matrimony, the eating of εἰδωλόθυτα;—and again, the use and abuse of spiritual gifts. But in its application to the latter, it is, as it were, transformed to its highest personal embodiment in the passion of Christian Love. The higher expediency lays down the duty of subordinating self to others, the lower self to the higher, things temporal to things eternal. Love is the inward state (correlative with Faith) in which this subordination has become an imperative instinct, raising the whole life to victory over the world. Such is the positive side of St Paul’s Ethics, according to which an act maybe ‘lawful,’ while yet the Christian will choose in preference what is ‘expedient’ (6:12, 10:23; cf. 9:24-27), gaining, at the cost of forbearance, spiritual freedom for himself, and the good of others. Such are the Ethics of ‘grace’ as distinct from ‘law’ (Romans 6:14). But many Christians are under law (3:1 sqq.) rather than under grace: they need stern warning against sin, and of such warnings the Epistle is full (6:9, 10, 8:12, 10:12-14, 11:27, 15:34, 16:22). The charter of Christian liberty (2:15) is for the spiritual person: emancipation from the law (15:56; cf. Romans 7:24) comes, not by indulgence (6:12), but by self-conquest (9:21, 26 sq.).

Not less instructive is our Epistle as to the Collective Work of the Church. No other book of the N.T., in fact, reflects so richly the life of the Christian body as it then was, and the principles which guided it (see Weizs1äcker, Apost, Zeitalter, pp. 575-605). We note especially the development of discipline, of organization, and of worship.

As to Discipline, the classical passage Isaiah 5:1 sqq.; here St Paul describes, not what had been done by the community, but what they ought to have done in dealing with a flagrant case of immorality. The congregation are met together; the Apostle himself, in spirit, is in their midst; the power of the Lord Jesus is present. In the name of the Lord Jesus they expel the offender, ‘delivering him to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.’ Here we have the beginning of ecclesiastical censures, to be inflicted by the community as a whole. The physical suffering entailed (cf. ch. 11:30; Acts 5:1 sqq.) is assumed to be terrible (ὄλεθρος), but is inherently temporal and remedial. The community would naturally have the power, upon repentance shown, to restore the culprit to fellowship (2 Corinthians 2:6, 2 Corinthians 2:10, although the case there in question is probably a different one). Such an assembly as St Paul here conceives would a fortiori be competent to dispose of any matters of personal rights or wrongs which might arise among members (6:1; 2, 5, 5:12), without recourse to heathen magistrates (ἄδικοι, 6:1); for St Paul, who regards submission to the magistrate in regard to the criminal law as a duty (Romans 13:1 sqq.), dissuades Christians from invoking the heathen courts to settle quarrels, which are, moreover, wholly out of place among brethren.

The Organization of the Corinthian Church is evidently still at an early stage. There is no mention of bishops, presbyters, or deacons: next after Apostles, prophets and teachers are named, in remarkable agreement with the reference in Acts 13:1. Moreover, if we compare the list in 1 Corinthians 12:28 sqq. with those of Romans 12:6-8 and of Ephesians 4:11, the coincidence is too close to be accidental. The following table gives the three lists in synoptic form:—


There is clearly no systematic order throughout, nor can we take the lists as statistical. The variations are due to the unstudied spontaneity with which in each passage the enumeration is made. All the more significant is it, therefore, that ‘prophets’ (after ‘Apostles’ in our Epistle and Ephesians) take the highest rank in all three lists, while ‘teachers,’ who rank very high in all three lists, are the only other term common to all. In our list (ch.12.) the three ‘orders’ of Apostles, prophets, teachers, are the only ones expressly ranked as ‘first, second, third.’ Whether ‘Apostles’ include, as in Romans 16:7 and perhaps Galatians 1:19, an indefinite number, or are confined to the Twelve and (ch. 9:1) St Paul himself, our Epistle does not clearly indicate (not even in ch. 15:7). The office of prophet is not strictly limited to a class, but potentially belongs to all (ch. 14:30-32). That presbyters, here as elsewhere (Philippians 1:1; Acts 14:23, Acts 20:17, etc.), had been appointed by the Apostle, would be antecedently likely, but there is no reference to any such permanent officers in this, nor in the second, Epistle, not even in places where (as in 5:1 sqq., 6:1 sqq., 14:32 sq.) the context would suggest the mention of responsible officers. The low place in the list occupied by administrative gifts (κυβερνήσεις, cf. προιστάμενος in Rom.) seems to imply that administrative offices are still voluntarily undertaken; so in 16:15 the household of Stephanas have a claim to deference (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12), but on the ground of their voluntary devotion to the διακονία ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς). The work begun by St Paul at Corinth was carried on by successors (Apollos alone is named, 3:6), who ‘water’ where he had ‘planted,’ ‘build upon’ the Stone which he had ‘laid’: they are παιδαγωγοί, while he remains the one ‘Father’ in Christ. The Epistle, however, refers to them only in passing, and in no way defines their status. Probably they are to be classed with the prophets and teachers of ch. 12:28 (cf. Acts 13:1). Church organization, like public worship, was possibly reserved for further regulation (11:34).

Public Worship is the subject of a long section of the Epistle, in which the veiling of women, the Eucharist, and the use and abuse of spiritual gifts are the topics in turn immediately dealt with (11:2-14.). The assembly for worship is the ἐκκλησία (11:18), a term in which the O.T. idea of the ‘congregation,’ and the Greek democratic idea of the mass-meeting of the citizens, find a point of convergence. At some ἐκκλησίαι outsiders (ἰδιῶται, probably unbaptized persons, corresponding to the ‘devout Greeks’ at a synagogue) might be present (14:16, 23), or even heathens pure and simple (ἄπιστοι); yet this would be not at the κμριακὸν δεῖπνον, but at a more mixed assembly (ὅλη, 14:23). That the assemblies εἰς τὸ φαγεῖν (11:33) were distinct and periodical was apparently the case in Pliny’s time (see Weizsäcker, Apost. Zeitalter, 568 f.). The ‘Amen’ was in use as the response to prayer or praise (14:16). It would be hasty to conclude from 11:2 sqq. that women might, without St Paul’s disapproval, under certain conditions, pray or prophesy in public: they very likely had done so at Corinth, but St Paul, while for the present concentrating his censure upon their doing so with unveiled head, had in reserve the total prohibition which he later on lays down (14:34). Otherwise, the liberty of prophesying belonged to all; the utterance was to be tested (14:29), but the test was the character of the utterance itself (12:1 sq.) rather than the status of the speaker. Prayer and praise, ἐν γλώσσῃ (see Hastings, DB. art. ‘Tongues’), was a marked feature of public worship at Corinth, but St Paul insists on its inferiority to prophecy. Sunday is mentioned as the day against which alms were to be set apart; we may infer from this that it was the usual day for the principal ἐκκλησία (see above). The purpose of this assembly was to break the bread, and drink the cup, of the Lord.

In 11:17-34 we have the locus classicus for the Eucharist of the Apostolic age. It has been argued that we have here a stage in the development of the sacred Rite anterior to, and differing materially from, what is described by Justin, Revelation 1:0. § 56; the difference consisting in the previous consecration of the elements, in Justin’s account, by the προεστῶς, and reception by the communicants at his hands. At Corinth, on the other hand, (vv. 21, 33) an abuse existed in that ‘each taketh before other his own supper,’ so that the meal lost its character as ‘a Lord’s Supper.’ If the ‘consecration’ (so it is argued) were already at this time an essential part of the service, the abuse in question could not have occurred; or at any rate St Paul’s remedy would have been ‘wait for the consecration’ and not ‘wait for one another’ (v. 33). But, in the line of development, the Corinthian Eucharist comes between the original institution, as described by St Paul and by the Evangelists, and the Eucharist of Justin.* In all the N.T. accounts of the Institution, the acts and words of Christ, and His delivery of the bread and cup after consecration to those present, are recorded, and form the central point. The argument under notice assumes that this central feature has disappeared at the second, or Corinthian, stage of development, to reappear in the third, namely Justin’s. This assumption is incredible. In carrying out the command τοῦτο ποιεῖτε, “do this,’ we cannot believe that at Corinth, or anywhere else, what Christ was recorded to have done was just the feature to be omitted.

Quod in caena Christus gessit

Faciendum hoc expressit

is an accurate expression of the characteristic which from the first differentiated the Common Meal into the Christian εὐχαριστία. The words ‘do this’ were certainly part of the ‘tradition’ handed on by St Paul at Corinth (see below); and had it been left undone, the Apostle would not have failed to notice it. Further, the argument for the absence, at Corinth, of the acts of consecration, assumes erroneously that ‘the Lord’s Supper’ in v. 20 “can be no other than the bread and the cup of the Lord in v. 27” (Beet, in loc.). This assumption is a reaction from the anachronism of introducing the ‘Agape’ of later times in explanation of this passage. (The name Agape, see Dict. of Chr. Antiq. s.v., is occasionally used for the Eucharist, but more properly for the Common Meal from which the Eucharist had been wholly separated.) The Lord’s Supper (so named only here in N.T.) is not the Eucharist proper, still less the Agape, but the entire re-enactment of the Last Supper, with the Eucharistic acts occurring in the course of it, as they do in the paschal meal recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.* In the early Church the name ‘Lord’s Supper’ was not the earliest, nor the commonest, name for the Eucharist. It was primarily (though not quite exclusively) applied to the annual re-enactment of the Last Supper which survived after the Agape had first been separated from the Eucharist and then had gradually dropped out of use (Dict. of Chr. Antiq. art. ‘Lord’s Supper’). In any case ‘the Lord’s Supper’ at Corinth would be already in progress when the Eucharistic Bread and Cup were blessed. St Paul’s censure (ἕκαστος γάρ προλαμβάνει, v. 21), and his remedy (ἐκδέχεσθε, v. 33), relate to the supper which was over before (μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι, v. 25) the blessing of the Cup, and was doubtless (see note on 11:23, 27) well advanced when the Eucharistic Bread was broken: what he blames and what he enjoins are alike compatible with the supposition that the procedure of the Last Supper was closely adhered to at Corinth. Whose duty it was to ‘preside’ (as did the head of the family at the Passover, our Lord at the Last Supper, and the προεστώς in Justin’s time) we do not know, but it may be taken as certain that some one did so. In v. 34, Εἴτις πεινᾷ κ.τ.λ., we notice the first step towards the segregation of the Eucharistic acts proper from the joint meal in which they were still, as it were, embedded. The Supper, if the direction of v. 34 was observed, would cease to have its original character of a meal to satisfy hunger (still traceable in Did. 10:1, μετὰ τὸ ἐμπλησθῆναι); it dropped out of use in connexion with the Eucharist, except in so far as it left traces in the ritual. As a separate, non-Eucharistic sacred meal (Dict. of Chr. Antiq. art. ‘Agape’) it survived for a time. This separation of the Eucharist from the Supper, of which we here trace the origin only, was a step towards the shifting of the former, later than any N.T. evidence, to the “ante-lucan” hour which had become usual in Pliny’s time.

The question of St Paul’s relation to the Eucharistic Institution, which only indirectly touches the doctrine of this Epistle, must be briefly noticed here. In their account of the Last Supper the two first Gospels stand by themselves over against St Luke and St Paul in mentioning no command to repeat our Lord’s action. St Luke’s account, again, in the Western text (which is more trustworthy in its omissions than in its other variations), records simply the blessing first of the Cup, then of the Bread, with no command to repeat the action: what follows (Luke 22:19, Luke 22:20, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶνἐκχυνόμενον) is (if with WH. we adopt the Western Text) an importation from 1 Corinthians 11:24, 1 Corinthians 11:25. St Paul then, as compared with the Gospel record, stands alone in recording our Saviour’s command to ‘do this in remembrance of Me.’ Whence did he receive it? His answer is that he ‘received’ (the whole account) ‘from the Lord’ (v. 23). This may mean ‘by direct revelation,’ or may (as certainly in 15:3) mean ‘received,’ as he handed it on, orally, the Lord being here mentioned as the ultimate

The narrative of the Institution in the two first Gospels, though they record no express command to repeat it, renders the last-named suggestion somewhat gratuitous. Our Lord was keeping an annual feast, and His disciples certainly at that time expected to keep it in future: in view of this fact, of the references in the Acts of the Apostles (2:42, 20:7) to the repetition of the Supper, and of its thoroughly Hebraic and Palestinian antecedents (cf. Bickell, Messe und Pascha; Anrich, Antike Mysterienwesen, p. 127), it is much more probable that St Paul is here the representative of a common tradition than the author of an institution traceable to himself alone. The whole tone of the passage, in which their ‘coming together to eat’ is not inculcated but taken for granted, supports this view against any hypothesis of a practice initiated by the Apostle himself. See also Andersen, D. Abendmahl in d. ersten 2 Jahrhund. 1906).

The doctrine of the Eucharist presupposed in our Epistle is simple, but, so far as it goes, very definite. The Bread and the Cup are a partaking (κοινωνία) of the Lord’s Body and Blood (10:16, 11:27); and to eat ‘or’ (v. 27; ‘and,’ v. 29) drink unworthily, ‘not discerning the Body’ (v. 29), is to ‘eat and drink judgment’ to oneself. The Body is clearly the body, not merely of the Church, but ‘of the Lord’; the latter words, added in later copies, are a correct gloss. The interpretation of our Lord’s words here implied takes us at any rate beyond any ‘Zwinglian’ view of sacramental reception. The reception is, moreover, in commemoration

Baptism is frequently referred to in our Epistle (1:13-16, 10:2, 12:13; cf. 6:11), but the doctrinal reference in each case is indirect. The Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, and Romans 6:3, Romans 6:4. There can be little doubt that the reference of 6:11 at least includes baptism; comparing then the ἐν τῷ πνεύματι there with 12:13, ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι, we see how closely associated was baptism with the Holy Spirit as its sphere and its underlying power (Titus 3:5). It must not be forgotten that St Paul’s readers had been baptized as adults. This fact, and the sharp contrast between the old heathen life and the new life entered upon at baptism, brought out very strongly the significance of the Rite.

The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, as regards the Personality of the Spirit, comes out in 12:11, καθὼς βούλεται; while in ch. 2:11, where the relation of the Spirit to God is seen to be not less intimate than that of man’s spirit to man, we have the Divinity of the Spirit unmistakably taught. The Spirit is “the selfconscious life” of God,—but not an impersonal function of God. The gift of the Spirit, accordingly, constitutes the man, in whom the Spirit dwells, a Temple of God (3:16). There is the indwelling of the Spirit, common to all members of Christ, the instrument of the sanctification which is to be attained by all; and there is also the special energy of the Spirit, different in different persons, which equips them for some special service as members of the one body (12). So St Paul himself, “incidentally and with great reserve,” claims the guidance of the Spirit of God for Himself (7:40). The inspiration of the prophet is not such as to supersede self-control (14:32), as it did in the superficially similar phenomena of heathen ecstasy (12:2, 3). (See on this subject Swete, The Holy Spirit in the New Testament, pp. 176-192.)

§ VI. Characteristics, Style, and Language

The general characteristics of St Paul’s style, especially in his letters of the Aegean period, are of course markedly present in this Epistle. But it lacks the systematic sequence of marshalled argument so conspicuous in the Epistle to the Romans; it is more personal than that Epistle, while yet the feeling is not so high-wrought as it is in Galatians and in the Second Epistle. But warmth of affection, as well as warmth of remonstrance and censure, characterize the Epistle throughout. The two Epistles to the Corinthians and that to the Galatians stand, in respect of direct personal appeal, in a class by themselves among St Paul’s Epistles. Philippians is equally personal, but there everything speaks of mutual confidence and sympathy, unclouded by any reproach or suspicion. The three Epistles to the Corinthians and the Galatians are not less sympathetic, but the sympathy is combined with anxious solicitude, and alternates with indignant remonstrance. The earlier letters to the Thessalonians, again, presuppose an altogether simpler relation between the Apostle and his converts: his solicitude for them is directed to the inevitable and human perils—instability, over-wrought expectation of the last things, moral weakness—incident to sincere but very recent converts from heathenism.

In our Epistle and its two companions the personal situation is more complicated and precarious: a definite disturbing cause is at work; the Apostle himself is challenged and is on the defensive; the personal question has far-reaching correlatives, which touch the foundations of the Gospel.

In our Epistle these phenomena are less acutely present than in the other two. The doctrinal issue, which in Galatians stirs the Apostle to the depths, is felt rather than apparent (15:56, 7:18, 19); the personal question is more prominent (4:3, 9:2, 3, etc.), but less so than in Galatians, far less so than in the Second Epistle.

In our Epistle the Apostle, in asserting and defending his Apostolic status and mission, never for a moment vacates his position of unquestionable authority, nor betrays a doubt as to his readers’ acceptance of it.

One great general characteristic of our Epistle is the firmness of touch with which St Paul handles the varied matters that come before him, carrying back each question, as it comes up for treatment, to large first principles. The petty σχίσματα at Corinth are viewed in the light of the essential character of the Gospel and of the Gospel ministry, the moral disorders in the light of membership of Christ who has bought us all for Himself, the question of marriage, or meats offered to idols, or the exercise of spiritual gifts, from the point of view of “the higher expediency,” that is to say, of the subordination of the temporal to the eternal. And where a commandment of the Lord is on record, whether in the sphere of morality (7) or of positive ordinance (11), its authority claims unquestioning obedience.

In discussing spiritual gifts, the instinct of “the higher expediency”is sublimated into the principle, or rather passion, of Christian charity or love, and its exposition rises to a height of inspired eloquence which would alone suffice to give our Epistle a place of pre-eminence among the Epistles of the New Testament. Side by side with this marvellous passage we must place the rising tide of climax upon climax in ch. 15. The first climax is the emphatic close in v. 11 of the fundamental assertions which go before. Then, after the sombre earnestness of vv. 12-20, the Resurrection and its sequel are enforced in a passage of growing intensity culminating in the close of v. 28. Then a lull (vv. 29-34), and in v. 35 we begin the final ascent, which reaches its height in v. 55, the ‘full close’ of vv. 56-58 forming a peroration of restful confidence.

In these passages there is no sign of rhetorical artifice, but the glow of ardent conviction, gaining the very summit of effect, because effect is the last thing thought of. ‘Sincerity’ of style, the note of Pauline utterance, is as conspicuous in these towering heights as in his simplest salutations, his most matter-of-fact directions on practical subjects. For the rest, this Epistle exhibits all the characteristics of St Paul’s style, especially as we have it in the four letters of the Aegean period of his ministry, his period of intensest controversy. Equipped with a language hardly adequate to the rich variety and subtlety of his thought or to the intensity of his feeling, he is ever struggling to express more than he actually says; the logical sequence is broken by the intrusion of new ideas, feeling supersedes grammar and forbids the completion of a clause (e.g. 9:15). The scope of the Epistle, practical direction rather than theological argument, explains the absence of the characteristic ἄρα οὖν so common in Romans; generally, in fact, the argument here is less abstruse, and is comparatively easy to follow (see below). But it is not always in the form that we should expect in a modern writer. In 10:30, for example, he asks, ‘Why do I incur blame for that for which I give thanks?’—meaning, ‘Why give thanks for what involves me in blame?’—just as in Romans 7:16, where he means that ‘if I hate what I do, I (by hating it) assent to the law,’ he similarly inverts the ideas, saying, ‘If I do what I hate, ’ etc. At times, again, he assumes a connexion of ideas obvious perhaps to his readers, but no longer so to the modern reader, as in 11:10 (διὰ τοὺς

The language of this Epistle, as of St Paul generally, is the Greek of a Hellenist Jew; not necessarily of one who thought in Hebrew but spoke in Greek, but rather of a Jew of the Dispersion, accustomed to use the Greek of the Jewish community of his native city, and conversant with the Old Testament Scriptures in their Greek version. His studies under Gamaliel had doubtless been wholly Hebraic, and he could speak fluently in the Aramaic dialect of Palestine (Acts 22:0). But once only, in this Epistle at least, does he certainly go behind the LXX to the Hebrew (3:19). His language is not ‘literary’ Greek; he shows little sign of knowledge of Greek authors, except in current quotations [the language of Romans 2:14, Romans 2:15 has close points of contact with Aristotle, gained perhaps indirectly through the Greek schools of Tarsus]; even the quotation (15:33) from Menander’s Thais is without the elision necessary to scansion. We miss the subtle play of mood, versatile command of particles, and artistic structure of periods, that characterize classical Greek (see Weiss, Introd. to N.T. § 16. 7).

The extent to which St Paul’s thought has been influenced by Greek thought has been sometimes exaggerated. But the influence of Hellenism in shaping the forms in which he expressed his thought can be clearly traced in some cases. We can see that he becomes gradually familiar with certain philosophical terms. None of the following are found in the Epistles to the Thessalonians: γνῶσις, σοφία, σύνεσις, συνείδησις, σχῆμα all of which are found in 1 Corinthians and later Epistles. The following also are not found in the Epistles to the Thessalonians, but are found in one or more of the Epistles which are later than 1 Corinthians: αἴσθησις, διάνοια, Θειότης, μορφή, ὄρεξις. Perhaps

Ἰησοῦν τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν ἑόρακα, 9:1; cf. John 20:25.

τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας, 10:16.

ποτήριον Κυρίου, 10:21.

κυριακὸν δεῖπνον, 11:20.

εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν Luke 22:19.

τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ κυρίου, 11:27.

εἰ τύχοι, 14:10, 15:37; cf. τυχόν, 16:6.

τὸ πλεῖστον, 14:27.


1:19 = Isaiah 29:14 Isaiah 29:10:7 = Exodus 32:6

1:31 = Jeremiah 9:24(1 Samuel 2:10) 10:26 = Psalms 24:1

2:9 = Isaiah 64:4(?) 14:21 = Isaiah 28:11 f.

2:16 = Isaiah 40:13 Isaiah 40:15:27 = Psalms 8:6, Psalms 8:7

3:19 = Job 5:13 Job 5:15:32 = Isaiah 22:13

3:20 = Psalms 94:11 Psalms 94:15:45 = Genesis 2:7

6:16 = Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:15:54 = Isaiah 25:8

9:9 = Deuteronomy 25:4 Deuteronomy 25:15:55 = Hosea 13:14

Out of these thirty quotations from the O.T., about twenty-five are in exact or substantial agreement with the LXX, and this is in accordance with evidence derived from the other Epistles. Sometimes the variations from the LXX bring the citation closer to the Hebrew, as if the Apostle were consciously or unconsciously guided by the Hebrew in diverging from the LXX, e.g. in 15:54 = Isaiah 25:8. Sometimes he seems to make changes in order to produce a wording more suitable for his argument, e.g. in 3:20 = Psalms 94:11, where he substitutes σοφῶν for Isaiah 29:14, where he substitutes Psalms 33:10).

The quotations which are in agreement with the LXX are these—

6:16 = Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:10:21 = Malachi 1:7, Malachi 1:12

9:9 = Deuteronomy 25:4 Deuteronomy 25:10:26 = Psalms 24:1

10:7 = Exodus 32:6 Exodus 32:15:32 = Isaiah 22:13

10:20 = Deuteronomy 32:17 Deuteronomy 32:15:45 = Genesis 2:7.

In the following instances there is substantial agreement with the LXX, the difference in some cases being slight:—

1:19 = Isaiah 29:14 Isaiah 29:10:22 = Deuteronomy 32:21

1:31 = Jeremiah 9:24 Jeremiah 9:11:7 = Genesis 5:1

2:16 = Isaiah 40:13 Isaiah 40:11:25 = Exodus 24:8; Zechariah 9:11

3:20 = Psalms 94:11 Psalms 94:13:5 = Zechariah 8:17

5:7 = Exodus 12:21 Exodus 12:15:25 = Psalms 110:1

5:13 = Deuteronomy 17:7, Deuteronomy 21:21, Deuteronomy 22:24 Deuteronomy 22:15:27 = Psalms 8:6

10:5 = Numbers 14:16 Numbers 14:15:47 = Genesis 2:7

10:6 = Numbers 11:34, Numbers 4:15:55 = Hosea 13:14

Perhaps under the same head should be placed—

2:9 = Isaiah 44:4, 45:17; and 14:21 = Isaiah 28:11.

But in both of these there is divergence from both the Hebrew and the LXX.

In a few cases he seems to show a preference for the Hebrew, or possibly for some version not known to us.

1:20 = Isaiah 19:11 f., Isaiah 33:18 Isaiah 33:14:25 = Isaiah 45:14

3:19 = Job 5:13 Job 5:15:54 = Isaiah 25:8

In 15:57, τῷ δὲ Θεῷ χάρις τῷ διδόντι ἡμῖν τὸ νῖκος resembles 2 Macc. 10:38, εὐλόγουν τῷ Κυρίῳ τῷ τὸ νῖκος αὐτοῖς διδόντι, but this is probably an accidental coincidence.

§ VII. The Text of the First Epistle to the


The problem of textual criticism—the historical problem of establishing, as nearly as possible, the earliest ascertainable form of the text—exists for all N.T. books under very similar conditions. The great wealth of material, the early divergence of readings which can be more or less grouped into classes constituting types of text, and then the practical supersession of divergent types by an eclectic text which became dominant and which is represented in the greater number of later MSS.,—these are the general phenomena. But the different collections of N.T. books—the Gospels, Acts, Catholic Epistles, Pauline Epistles, Apocalypse—have each of them special histories and their textual phenomena special features. Our Epistle shares the special phenomena of the Pauline collection, and in this collection it has some distinctive features of its own.


During the first century or so after they were written, the books of the N.T. were copied with more freedom and less exactness than was afterwards the case. With the exception of some readings, probably editorial in character, distinctive of the ‘Syrian’ text (practically the Textus Receptus), nearly all the various readings in the N.T. originated in this early period. In a very few cases, readings, which cannot have been original, are traceable to so early a date, antecedent to all ascertainable divergence of texts, that the original readings displaced by them have not survived. These are the cases of “primitive corruption,” where conjecture is needed to restore the original text. These cases are rare in the entire N.T., and very rare in the Pauline Epistles. In our Epistle there is only one probable example, namely, 12:2 ὅτε, where ποτέ, not preserved, in any document, was very likely written by St. Paul (see note in loc.).


Apart from such rare cases, the early freedom of copying has bequeathed to us a congeries of readings amongst which we distinguish a large class which, while probably (and in many cases certainly) not original, yet remount to an antiquity higher than that of any extant version, and which are as a whole common to the Greek text embodied in many early MSS., and to the early versions, especially the Old Latin. To these readings the collective term ‘Western’ is applied. It is probably a misnomer, but is too firmly rooted in current use to be conveniently discarded. This class of readings, or type of text, is the centre of many interesting problems, especially as regards the Lucan books.


There is also a body of readings not assignable to this type but nevertheless of very early origin; these readings are of a kind apparently due to editorial revision rather than to transcriptional licence, while yet they are not, on transcriptional grounds, likely to belong to the original text. These readings, mainly preserved in texts of Egyptian provenance, have been referred by Westcott and Hort to the textual labours of the Alexandrians. This limited group, although its substantive existence has been questioned (e.g. by Salmon), is due probably to a true factor in the history of the text.


(1) Syrian Readings

In the Pauline Epistles, the first task of criticism is to distinguish readings which, whether adopted or not in the ‘Syrian’ or ‘received’ text, are in their origin pre-Syrian. Such readings will be preserved in one or more of the great uncials א A B C D G, of the important cursives 17, 67**, in the older witnesses for the Old Latin text, in one of the Egyptian Versions, or by certain* quotation in some Christian writer before 250 a.d. The chances of a genuine pre-Syrian reading, not preserved in any of the above sources, lingering in any later MSS. or authorities, is so slight as to be negligible.


Having eliminated distinctively ‘Syrian’ readings, we are still confronted with great diversity of text, and with the task of classifying the material. We have to identify readings distinctively ‘Western,’ and to segregate from the residue such readings as may prove assignable to Alexandrian recension; the ultimate residuary readings, or ‘neutral’ text, will, with very rare exceptions, represent the earliest form of the text that can by any historical process be ascertained. This, the most important problem, is also the most difficult, as we are dealing with a period (before 250 A.D.) anterior to the date of any existing document. The question is,—In what extant authorities do we find a text approximately free from traces of the causes of variation noted above: early liberties with the text in copying, and Alexandrian attempts at its restoration?

Briefly, we need in the Pauline Epistles, for readings independent of the ‘Western’ text, the support of א or B. Readings confined to D E F G, the old Latin, or patristic quotations (apart from Alexandria), are probably ‘Western.’ The distinctively Alexandrian readings will be attested by א A C P, some cursives, Alexandrian Fathers, and Egyptian Versions. But these authorities do not ipso facto prove the Alexandrian character of a reading, which is matter for delicate and discriminating determination. It must be added that the readings classed as Alexandrian are neither many nor, as a rule, important. The purely Alexandrian type of text is an entity small in bulk, as compared with the ‘Western.’

As a result of the above lines of inquiry, we find that in the Pauline Epistles, as elsewhere, B is the most constant single representative of the ‘Neutral’ type of text; but it has, in these Epistles only, an occasional tendency to incorporate ‘Western’ readings, akin to those of G. א, on the other hand, which in the N.T. generally bears more traces than B of mixture of (pre-Syrian) texts, is freer from such traces in the Pauline Epistles than elsewhere. Of other MSS. of the Pauline Epistles, neutral readings are most abundant in A C P 17, and in the second hand of 67. See E. A. Hutton, An Atlas of Textual Criticism, pp. 43 f.


The First Epistle to the Corinthians is preserved in the following main documents:—

Greek Uncial Mss

א (Fourth century.) The Sinaitic MS., now at St Petersburg, the only MS. containing the whole N.T.

A (Fifth century.) The Codex Alexandrinus; now at the British Museum.

B (Fourth century.) The Vatican MS.

C (Fifth century.) The Codex Ephraem, a Palimpsest; now at Paris. Lacks 7:18 ἐν

Fa (Seventh century.) Coisl. 1.; at Paris. A MS. of Gen. Kings, containing N.T. passages added by the scribes as marginal notes, including 1 Corinthians 7:39, 1 Corinthians 11:29.

G (Late ninth century.) The Codex Börnerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minuscules). Lacks 1 Corinthians 3:8-16, 1 Corinthians 6:7-14 (as F).

H (Sixth century.) Coisl. 202. At Paris (the part containing 10:22-29, 11:9-16). An important witness, but unhappily seldom available. The MS. is scattered in seven different libraries, having been employed for bindings.

I2 (Fifth century.) Codex Muralti 6. At St Petersburg. Contains 15:53 τοῦτο-16:9

It will be seen that א A B L Ψ contain the whole Epistle, C D F G K P nearly the whole, while Fa H I2 M Q S ב contain but small portions. The oldest MSS. are א B of the fourth century, A C I2 Q ב of the fifth, and D H of the sixth. Marks of punctuation are very few in א A B C D H; they are more frequent in G. (On the punctuation see Scrivener (Exodus 4:0), Vol. 1. p. 48; Gregory, Vol. 3. pp. 111-115.)

Cursive Mss

The Epistles of St Paul are to be found in some 480 cursives, of which we mention only one or two as of special interest.

17. (Ev. 33, Acts 13:0. Ninth century.) At Paris (Nat. Gr. 14). See Westcott and Hort., Introd. §§ 211, 212.

37. (Ev. 69, Act 31, Revelation 14:0. Fifteenth century.) The wellknown Leicester codex. Contains a good text.

47. Bodleian. Roe 16. (Eleventh century.)

67. (Act 66, Apoc. 34. Eleventh century.) At Vienna. The marginal corrections (67**) embody very early readings, akin to those of M (supra). See Westcott and Hort, Introd. § 212.


The Old Latin of this Epistle is transmitted in the GraecoLatin uncials D E F G, the Latin of which is cited as d e f g. d has a text independent of D, but in places adapted to it; e approximates more to the Vulgate; g is a Vulgate text except in Romans and 1 Corinthians, where it is based on the Old Latin, of a Vulgate text with Old Latin admixture. The Greek text of each of these MSS. has to some extent influenced the Latin.

The Epistle is also contained in

x (Ninth century.) Bodleian; Laud. Lat. 108, E. 67, a thricecorrected text, having much in common with d.

m (Ninth century.) At Rome; the Speculum pseudo-Augustinianum.

r (Sixth century.) The Freisingen MS., now at Munich.

The two last named contain fragments only.

On the Vulgate, Egyptian (Bohairic or Coptic and Thebaic or Sahidic),* Syriac, Armenian, and Gothic, reference may be made to Sanday and Headlam, Romans, p. 66. sq. As to the Syriac, it should be noted that the later (or Harclean) Syriac has some more ancient readings (Westcott and Hort, Introd. p. 156 sq.); we have not, for St Paul’s Epistles, any Syriac version older than the Peshito. Also, the high antiquity formerly claimed for the Peshito was founded mainly upon the quotations from it in St Ephraem; but these now prove to be untrustworthy, being due to assimilation in the printed text of this Father.


We will now consider some readings (taken at hazard except as regards their generally interesting character), which will illustrate the mutual relations of the documents for the text of this Epistle. We omit all reference to E and F, as being secondary (as mentioned above) to D and G respectively.

It must be remembered that the documents, while furnishing merely the external credentials of a reading, have already been subjected to a classification on the basis of innumerable readings as to which no serious doubt exists; the combination of external evidence as to antiquity with ‘internal’ evidence (i.e. considerations of transcriptional probability, and of latent—as opposed to superficial—inferiority) has reached a result in which modern critical editors are as a rule agreed. Those MSS. or groups of MSS., which are most frequently ranged in support of the undoubtedly right readings, are naturally deserving of special consideration where the reading is Prima facie less certain.†

Such a group is א B. These two fourth-century MSS., although in part written by one hand, are copied from quite distinct originals. The text of א has clearly been affected by influences foreign to anything in the ancestry of B. The text of their common ancestor must have been of the very highest antiquity, and the test of many indisputable passages shows also that its antiquity must have been antiquity of type, not of date only. Apart from the small classes of ‘primitive corruptions’ and of ‘Western non-interpolations,’ the combinations א B can only be set aside on the most cogent grounds; our Epistle contains few, if any, passages where such grounds can be shown.

Typical Syrian Readings

In such passages as (1) 6:20, where C3 Dbc K L P, Syrr., Chrys. add the words which follow ὑμῶν, we have a typical ‘Syrian’ reading, and the shorter text is supported by א B in common with the vast preponderance of MSS. and versions. A similar example is (2) the inversion of Θεός and Κύριος, in 7:17, in K L, the later Syriac, and later Greek Fathers. This was probably due to the desire to place Θεός first in order, overlooking the decisive fact that κέκληκεν calls for Θεός rather than ὁ Κύριος (v. 15 and elsewhere). In (3) 3:4 σαρκικοί, (4) 8:2 εἰδέναι for ἐγνωκέναι, ἔγνωκε for ἔγνω, the case is the same,—א B, with an ample host of allies, ranged against a text which gained later currency but which lacks early attestation.

Typical Western Readings

The case is somewhat different in the next instances to be mentioned, where the reading unsupported by א B has some early currency, mainly ‘Western’ in character. Such cases are (5) 3:1 σαρκίνοις, א A B C D* 17, 67**, Clem. Orig., where Dc G L P, Clem. Orig. (in other places) read σαρκικοῖς. Here the latter reading may be classed as ‘Western’; but P, which supports it, joins the great uncials in (6) v. 3 in support of σαρκικοί against D* and G, which have σαρκίνοι. The latter reading is purely ‘Western’; P elsewhere (see below) frequently represents a non-Western text.

Affinities of P

An example of this is (7) 8:7 where we have א A B P 17, 67**, and the Egyptian and Aethiopic Versions supporting συνη θείᾳ against the ‘Western and Syrian’ συνειδήσει. The same holds good of (8) 12:2 ὅτε (see note there). Another passage where P joins א B (and 17) against a Western reading (adopted in the Syrian text) is (9) 9:2 μου τῆς, where D G K L, (and Latin MSS., apostolatus mei) have τῆς ἐμῆς (A omits this verse).

One more interesting example of this class of variants is the ternary variation in 7:29, which it is worth while to set out in full—

(10) 7:29 ἐστίν τὸ λοιπόν, א A B D*b P 17 Copt. Syr. Arm., Eus. (in one place) Ephr. Bas. Euthal. (D omits τό.

τὸ λοιπὸν ἐστίν, Dc K L, Eus. (another place) Chrys.

ἐστίν λοιπὸν ἐστίν, G 67**, d e f g m Vulg., Orig. Tert. Hieron. Aug.

The attestation of the first reading clearly outweighs that of either of the other two. The second is clearly a ‘Syrian’ reading, the third as clearly ‘Western,’ D here preserving the non-Western reading, and P once more siding, against the Western reading, with א B. This, however, is not always the case. In (11) 16:23 the omission of Χριστοῦ, א B 17, f, some MSS. of Vulg. Goth., Thdt., is probably right, though אc A C D G K L M P, e g, some MSS. of Vulg., the versions generally, and most. patristic quotations, follow the tendency to insert it (so far more natural than its omission, if found). But the insertion (in view of the combination אc A C L P, Euthal.) may be ‘Alexandrian’ rather than ‘Western.’

Possible Alexandrian Readings

So far our instances (with the possible exception of the last) have been cases of the excellence of the text supported by the combination א B.

We will next consider some few possible examples of ‘Alexandrian’ editing.

(12) 4:6 (add after γέγραπται) φρονεῖν, א C Dc L P Syrr. Copt. Arm. Goth., Greek Fathers, Euthal.

om. א A B D* G, Latin MSS. and Vulg., Orig. Latin Fathers.

This is certainly an addition not ‘Western,’ but pre-Syrian. It corresponds. with the character assigned by WH. to the Alexandrian touches.

(13) 9:9 κημώσεις, B* D* G, Chrys. Thdt.

φιμώσεις, א A B3 C D2and 3 K L P al. omn., Orig. Chrys. Euthal.

This is the first example we have taken of B differing from א, and prima facie this might seem a clear case of the slight ‘Western’ element present in B, in St Paul’s Epistles. But the Alexandrian witnesses are ranged on the side opposed to B, and we must remember that φιμώσεις is in the LXX source of the quotation, and the assimilation of the text to its original would be more natural, as a correction, than the introduction of a variant. (The versions of course are neutral here.)

(14) 15:51 πάντες μέν, א A C2 Dc G K L P, f g Vulg. Copt. Ephr. (?) Greek Fathers, Euthal.

(om.μέν) B C* D*, d e Arm. Syr.pri Greek MSS. known to Jerome.

The μέν if (as probable) not genuine, illustrates once more the significance of the combination א A L P, Euthal.; it has the character of an Alexandrian touch. But it seems to have been read by both Ephraem in the East and Tertullian in the West.

(15) 10:9 Χριστόν, D G K L, Vulg. Syr.pri et post txt Copt., Marcion Iren, Chrys., etc.

Κύριον, א B C P 17, etc., mg Copt. cod Arm. Aeth., Dam., etc,

Θεόν, A, Euthal.

There is no question but that Χριστόν is of inferior and Western attestation. Θεόν looks like, and may possibly be, an Alexandrian correction (assimilation to Psalms 77:18, LXX).

(16) 9:5 οὐδείς, א* B D* 17 d e Sah, Basm., and early Latin Fathers.

οὐθείς μή, A.,

τις, G. 26.

ἴνα τις, א C D b e K L P, f Vulg., many Greek and Latin Fathers.

(All MSS. except K read κενώσει here, the later cursives only reading κενώσῃ with most late Greek Fathers.)

The reading ἵνα τις, adopted by the Syrian text, is apparently pre-Syrian in origin: it lacks the full Allexandrian attestation, but on the other hand it bears every mark of an editorial touch. If pre-Syrian, it is Alexandrian rather than Western.

(17) 11:24 κλώμενον, אc C3 D b c G K L P d e g Syr., Euthal. Greek Fathers (θρυπτόμ, D*).

om. א* A B C 17, 67***, Ath. Cyr, Fulg. (expressly).

tradetur, f Vulg., Cypr.

Here P sides with the Western witnesses in what is clearly a ‘Western’ interpolation (cf. Galatians 1:18, Galatians 2:14 πέτρος).

The two last cases are on opposite sides of the border line which distinguishes readings of the Alexandrian type from other inferior, but pre-Syrian, readings.

Western Element in B

We will next give an example or two of the ‘Western’ element in B (see above on 9:9)—

(18) 2:1 μυστήριον, א* A C Copt. (Boh.) Amb. Aug. Ambrst., etc

μαρτὑριον, אc B D G L P, Latin and other verss., Cyr.-Alex.

This is a doubtful case, as the readings hang somewhat evenly in the balance, and the attestation of μαρτ. is perhaps not exclusively Western. But if WH. are right in preferring μυστ., B may here betray Western admixture. The reading is one of the least certain in this Epistle.

(19) 11:19 (post ἵνα) καί, B D 37 71, d e Vulg. Sah., Ambrst.

(om. καί) א A C Db c G K L P f g, Syr. Copt. Arm., Orig. Epiph, Euthal. Chrys., etc.

Tertullian, Cyprian, and Jerome apparently are to be counted on the side of omission, as well as G. But the reading of B, which is of little intrinsic probability is clearly ‘Western’ in its other attestation.

(20) 15:14 (after πίστις) ὑμῶν, א A Db c G K L P d e f g Vulg. verss.

ἡμῶν, B D* 17 67*** Sah. Basm. Goth.

The bulk of the Western authorities are here against B; the latter probably preserves a very ancient, but not original, reading, possibly an early itacism (see below on 15:49).

(21) In 14:38 the reading of B

The MSS. support Romans 16:27, and at the end of Jude. Elsewhere, in view of the strong liturgical instinct to add it where possible, the witness of even a few MSS. is enough to displace it. The other leading uncials, in varying combinations, add it at the end of most of the Epistles, and some MSS. in every case. It is noteworthy that (except in Galatians, Romans, Jude) B, wherever it is available, is the one constant witness against this interpolation. The one exception to this in the whole N.T. is at the close of St Luke’s Gospel, where the

Our Epistle, to judge by the external evidence, was in wide circulation long before the “Apostolus” was circulated as a collection of letters; certainly we have earlier and wider traces of its use than we have of that of the companion Epistle. It must accordingly have been copied many times before it was included in a comprehensive roll or codex. The wonder is that the text has suffered so little in transmission; one possibility of primitive corruption (12:2) is, for an Epistle of this length, slight indeed.

§ VIII. Commentaries

These are very numerous, and a long list will be found in Meyer. See also the Bibliography in the 2nd ed. of Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, I. pp. 656, 658; Hastings, DB. I. p. 491, 3. p. 731; Ency. Bibl. 1:907. In the selection given below, an asterisk indicates that the work is in some way important, a dagger, that valuable information respecting the commentator is to be found in Sanday and Headlam on Romans in this series, pp. xcviii-cix.

Patristic and Scholastic: Greek

* † Origen (d. 253). Some fragments have come down to us in Cramer’s Catena, vol. 5. (Oxf. 1844), in the Philocalia (J. Arm. Robinson, Camb. 1893); additional fragments of great interest are given in the new and valuable recension by Claude Jenkins in the Journal of Theological Studies, January, April, July, and October 1908; and C. H. Turner comments on these, January 1909.

* † Chrysostom (d. 407). The Homilies on 1 and 2 Corinthians are considered the best examples of his teaching.† They show admirable judgment, but sometimes two or more interpretations are welded together in a rhetorical comment. He generally illuminates what he touches.

* † Theodoret (d. 457). Migne, P.G. lxxxii. He follows Chrysostom closely, but is sometimes more definite and pointed.

* † Theophylact (d. after 1118). Migne, P.G. 125. He follows the Greek Fathers and is better than nearly all Latin commentators of that date.

Oecumenius (Bp. of Tricca, end of tenth century). Migne, P.G. 118:119. The relation of his excerpts to those of Theophylact is greatly in need of further examination.

Patristic and Scholastic: Latin

† Ambrosiaster or Pseudo-Ambrosius. He is the unknown author of the earliest commentary on all the Pauline Epistles that has come down to us. He is now commonly identified either with Decimius Hilarianus Hilarius, governor of Africa in 377, praetorian prefect in Italy in 396, or with the Ursinian Isaac, a convert from Judaism (C. H. Turner, Journal of Theological Studies, April 1906). His importance lies in the Latin text used by him, which “must be at least as old as 370 … it is at least coeval with our oldest complete manuscripts of the Greek Bible, and thus presupposes a Greek text anterior to them.” Ambrosiaster’s text of the Pauline Epistles is “equivalent to a complete fourth century pre-Vulgate Latin codex of these epistles” (Souter, A Study of Ambrosiaster, p. 196).

† Pelagius. Migne, P.L. 30. Probably written before 410. Pseudo-Primasius. Migne, P.L. 68. A revision of Pelagius made by a pupil or pupils of Cassiodorus.

Bede (d. 735). Mainly a catena from Augustine.

* Atto Vercellensis. Migne, P.L. 134. Bishop of Vercelli in Piedmont in the tenth century. Depends on his predecessors, but thinks for himself.

* Herveius Burgidolensis (d. 1149). Migne, P.L. 181. A Benedictine of Bourg-Dieu or Bourg-Deols in Berry. One of the best of mediaeval commentators for strength and sobriety. He and Atto often agree, and neither seems to be much used by modern writers.

Peter Lombard (d. 1160).

† Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274).

Modern Latin

Faber Stapulensis, Paris, 1512.

Cajetan, Venice, 1531.

† Erasmus, Desiderius (d. 1536).

* † Calvin, John. Quite the strongest of the Reformers as a commentator, clear-headed and scholarly, but too fond of finding arguments against Rome. His work on the Pauline Epistles ranges from 1539 to 1551.

† Beza, Theodore (d. 1605), Paris, 1594.

Cornelius a Lapide, Antwerp, 1614. Roman (Jesuit).

* Estius, Douay, 1614. Roman (sober and valuable).

† Grotius, Amsterdam, 1644-1646.

* † Bengel, Tübingen, 1742; 3rd ed. London, 1862, Foremost in Scriptural insight and pithy expression.

* † Wetstein, Amsterdam, 1751, 1752. Rich in illustration.


† H. Hammond, London, 1653, “The father of English commentators.” ‘Historical.’

† John Locke, London, 1705-1707. ‘Historical.’

Edward Burton, Oxford, 1831.

T. W. Peile, Rivingtons, 1853.

C. Hodge, New York, 1857. Calvinist.

† C. Wordsworth, Rivingtons, 4th ed. 1866.

* F. W. Robertson, Smith & Elder, 5th ed. 1867.

† H. Alford, Rivingtons, 6th ed. 1871.

P. J. Gloag, Edinburgh, 1874.

* A. P. Stanley, Murray, 4th ed. 1876. Picturesque and suggestive, but not so strong in scholarship.

T. T. Shore in Ellicott’s Commentary, n.d.

J. J. Lias in the Cambridge Greek Testament, 1879.

* T. S. Evans in the Speaker’s Commentary, 1881. Rich in exact scholarship and original thought, but sometimes eccentric in results.

D. Brown in Schaff’s Commentary, 1882.

F. W. Farrar in the Pulpit Commentary, 1883.

* † J. A. Beet, Hodder, 2nd ed. 1884. Wesleyan.

* T. C. Edwads, Hamilton Adams, 1885. Very helpful.

* C. J. Ellicott, Longmans, 1887. Minute and strong in grammatical exegesis. Perhaps the best English Commentary on the Greek text (but misses Evans’ best points).

W. Kay (posthumous), 1887. Scholarly, but slight.

Marcus Dods in the Expositor’s Bible.

* J. B. Lightfoot (posthumous), Notes on 1:7. 1895. Important.

* G. G. Findlay in the Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder, 1900. Thorough grasp of Pauline thought.

* J. Massie in the Century Bible, n.d.

W. M. Ramsay, Historical Commentary in the Expositor, 6th series.

New Translations into English

The Twentieth Century New Testament, Part II., Marshall, 1900.

R. F. Weymouth, The N.T. in Modern Speech, Clarke, 2nd ed. 1905.

A. S. Way, The Letters of St Paul, Macmillan, 2nd ed. 1906.

* W. G. Rutherford (posthumous), Thessalonians and Corinthians, Macmillan, 1908.


Billroth, 1833; Eng. tr., Edinburgh, 1837.

Rückert, Leipzig, 1836.

Olshausen, 1840; Eng. tr., Edinburgh, 1855.

J. E. Osiander, Stuttgart, 1849.

* † De Wette, Leipzig, 3rd ed. 1855.

G. H. A. Ewald, Göttingen, 1857.

Neander, Berlin, 1859.

* Heinrici, Das Erste Sendschreiben, etc., 1880.

* † Meyer, 5th ed. 1870; Eng. tr., Edinburgh, 1877. Reedited by B. Weiss, and again by * Heinrici, 1896 and 1900; again by J. Weiss, 1910.

Maier, Freiburg, 1857. Roman.

Kling, in Lange’s Bibelwerk, 1861; Eng. tr., Edinburgh, 1869.

Schnedermann, in Strack and Zöckler, 1887.

H. Lang, in Schmidt & Holzendorff; Eng. tr., London, 1883. Thin.

* Schmiedel, Freiburg, 1. B., 1892. Condensed, exact, and exacting.

* B. Weiss, Leipzig, 2nd ed. 1902. Brief, but helpful. Eng. tr., New York and London, 1906; less useful than the original. Also his * Textkritik d. Paul. Briefe (14:3 of Texte und Untersuchungen), 1896.

* P. Bachmann, in Zahn’s Kommentar, Leipzig, 1910.

Also Schäfer, 1903; Bousset, 1906; Lietzmann, 1907; Schlatter, 1908.


E. Reuss, Paris, 1874-80.

* † F. Godet, Paris, 1886; Eng. tr., Edinburgh, 1888. Strong in exegesis, but weak in criticism.


The literature on the life and writings of St Paul is enormous, and is increasing rapidly. Some of the works which are helpful and are very accessible are mentioned here.

Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St Paul.

Farrar, Life and Work of St. Paul.

Lewin, Life and Epistles of St Paul; Fasti Sacri.

R. J. Knowling, The Witness of the Epistles, 1892; The Testimony of St Paul to Christ, 1905.

J. B. Lightfoot, Biblical Essays.

Hort, Judaistic Christianity; The Christian Ecclesia.

H. St. J. Thackeray, The Relation of St Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought, 1900.

Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller, 1902; Pauline and other Studies, 1906.

Ropes, The Apostolic Age, 1906.

Weinel, St Paul, the Man and his Work, Eng. tr. 1906.

Pfleiderer, Paulinism, Eng. tr. 1877.

Du Bose, The Gospel according to St Paul, 1907.

W. E. Chadwick, The Pastoral Teaching of St Paul, 1907.

A. T. Robertson, Epochs in the Life of St Paul, 1909.

Cohu, St Paul in the Light of Modern Research, 1911.

Baur, Paulus (Exodus 2:0), 1866 (still worth consulting in spite of views now obsolete).

Holsten, Das Evangelium des Paulus, 1880; Einleitung in die Korintherbriefe, 1901.

Räbiger, Kristische Untersuchungen über 1 and 2 Kor., 1886.

Weizsäcker, Apost. Zeitalter, 1886.

Holtzmann, Einleitung in das N.T., 1892.

Jülicher, Einleitung in das N.T, 1894; Eng. tr. 1904.

Krenkel, Beiträge z. Aufhellung d. Geschichte und d. Briefe d. postels Paulus, 1895.

Zahn, Einleitung in das N.T., Eng. tr. 1909.

Hastings, DB., articles, ‘Baptism’; ‘Lord’s Supper’; ‘Paul the Apostle’; ‘Resurrection’; ‘Tongues, Gift of’; ‘Greek Patristic Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles’ (vol. v.).

Ency. Bibl., articles, ‘Baptism’; Eucharist’; ‘Spiritual Gifts.’

Ency. Brit. (11th ed., Dec. 1910), articles, ‘Apologetics’ (p. 193), ‘Apostle,’ ‘Atonement’ (pp. 875 f.), ‘Baptism’ (pp. 368 f.), ‘Christianity’ (pp. 284 f.), ‘Church History’ (pp. 334 f.), ‘Corinthians,’ ‘Eschatology’ (pp. 762 f.), ‘Eucharist.’

The apocryphal letters between St Paul and the Corinthians have been edited by Harnack in his Geschichte d. altchrist. Litteratur, 1897, and also in Lietzmann’s excellent Materials for the use of Theological Lecturers and Students, 1905. See also Moffatt, Intr. to the Lit. of the N.T. (pp. 129 f.).

* Other titles found on coins and in inscriptions are Laus Juli Corinthus and Colonia Julia Corinthus Augusta.

* Κορινθιάζεσθαι, Κορινθία κόρη, Κορ. παῖς: οὐ παντὸς Ephesians 1:0. xvii. 36) reproduces, non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum. Other references in Renan, p. 213, and Farrar. St Paul, 1. pp. 557 f.

* Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 36; cf. Justin, Try. I. It is unfortunate that neither the edict of Claudius nor the proconsulship of Gallio can be dated with accurancy.

* This attitude continued long after the Apostle’s departure. For a century or two athens was perhaps the chief seat of opposition to the Gospel.

† It is possible that this is one of the beloved physician’s medical words. Doctors are said to have spoken of one another as ὁμότεχνοι (Hobart, Med. Lang. of St Luke, p. 239).

* Justus, as a surname for Jews or proselytes, meant (like δίκαιος in Luke 1:6) ‘careful in the observane of the Law.’ It was common in the case of Jews (Acts 1:23; Colossians 4:11). Josephus had a son so called, and he tells us of another Justus who wrote about the Jewish was (Vita, 1, 9, 65). It is said to be frequent in Jewish inscriptions.

אԠא (Fourth century.) The Sinaitic MS., now at St Petersburg, the only MS. containing the whole N.T.

A A (Fifth century.) The Codex Alexandrinus; now at the British Museum.

B B (Fourth century.) The Vatican MS.

D D (Sixth century.) Codex Clarmontanus; now at Paris. A Graeco-Latin MS. 14:13 διο͂ ὁ λαλῶν-22 σημεῖον ἐστίν is supplied by a later but ancient hand. Many subsequent hands (sixth to ninth centuries) have corrected the MS. (See Gregory, Prolegomena , pp. 418-422).

* Recent Introductions to the N.T. (Holtzmann, Julicher, Gregory, Barth, Weiss, Zabn) treat the integrity of 1 Corinthians as certain.

* Bleek is said to have been the first to show how many indications of a second visit are to be found. (Stud. Krit. p. 625, 1830).

† For the arguments against the supposed visit see the section on the Date of this Epistle.

P P (Ninth century). Porfirianus Chiovensis. A palimpsest acquired in the East by Porphyrius Bishop of Kiew. Lacks 7:15 ὑμᾶςθεός-17 περιπάτει: 12:23 τοῦ σώματος-13:5 οὐ λογί-: 14:23 τὸ λαλεῖν μή. A good type of text in St Paul’s Epistles.

K K (Ninth century). Codex S. Synod. xcviii. Lacks 1:1-6:13 ταύτην καί: 8:7 τινὲς δὲ—8:11

G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). Lacks 1 Corinthians 3:8-16, 1 Corinthians 6:7-14 (F).

17 17. (Ev. 33, Acts 13:0. Ninth century.) At Paris (Nat. Gr. 14). See Westcott and Hort., Introd. §§ 211, 212.

67 67. (Act 66, Apoc. 34. Eleventh century.) At Vienna. The marginal corrections (67**) embody very early readings, akin to those of M (supra). See Westcott and Hort, Introd.§ 212.

* Quotations in patristic texts are liable, both in MS. transmission and in print, to assimilation to the received text; we must rely only on critically edited patristic texts.

E E (Ninth century). At Petrograd. A copy of D, and unimportant

F F (Late ninth century). Codex Augiensis (from Reichenau); now at Trin. Coll. Cambr. Probably a copy of G in any case, secondary to G, from which it very rarely varies (see Gregory, p. 429).

Ψ̠Ψ (Eighth or ninth centruy.) Codex Athous Laurae, 172 (or B 52).

H H (Sixth century). Coisl. 202. At Paris (the part containing 10:22-29, 11:9-16. An important witness, but unhappily seldom available. The MS. is scattered in seven different libraries, having been employed for bindings.

I I2 (Fifth century). Codex Muralti vi. At St Petersburg.Contains 15:53 ταῦτο-16:9.

M M (Ninth century). Harl. 5913 * at the British Museum. Contains 15:52 σαλπίσει to the end of 16. The MS. also contains fragments of 2 Corinthians and (in some leaves now at Hamburg) of Hebrews.

S S (Same date.) Codex Athous Laurae. Contains 1:1-5:8, 13:8 εἴτε δὲ προφ-24.

בԠב (Fifth century.) Vatic. Gr. 2061. Contains 4:4-6:16, 12:23-14:21, 15:3-16:1. A palimpsest, from Rossano, perhaps originally from Constantinople. Its readings are not yet available.

e e The Latin text of E

f f The Latin text of F

g g The Latin text of G

* On the so-called Bashmuric version and its kindred, see Scrivener, Introd. (Exodus 4:0), vol. 2. pp. 101-106, 140.

† The readings discussed below are treated independently of the notes on the several passages; in a few cases the view taken differs from that expressed in the notes.

m m (Ninth century.) At Rome; the Speculum pseudo-Augustinianum.

אԠא(Fourth century.) The Sinaitic MS., now at St Petersburg, the only MS. containing the whole N.T.

A A (Fifth century.) The Codex Alexandrinus; now at the British Museum.

B B (Fourth century.) The Vatican MS.

D D (Sixth century.) Codex Clarmontanus; now at Paris. A Graeco-Latin MS. 14:13 διο͂ ὁ λαλῶν-22 σημεῖον ἐστίν is supplied by a later but ancient hand. Many subsequent hands (sixth to ninth centuries) have corrected the MS. (See Gregory, Prolegomena , pp. 418-422).

P P (Ninth century). Porfirianus Chiovensis. A palimpsest acquired in the East by Porphyrius Bishop of Kiew. Lacks 7:15 ὑμᾶςθεός-17 περιπάτει: 12:23 τοῦ σώματος-13:5 οὐ λογί-: 14:23 τὸ λαλεῖν μή. A good type of text in St Paul’s Epistles.

17 17. (Ev. 33, Acts 13:0. Ninth century.) At Paris (Nat. Gr. 14). See Westcott and Hort., Introd. §§ 211, 212.

67 67. (Act 66, Apoc. 34. Eleventh century.) At Vienna. The marginal corrections (67**) embody very early readings, akin to those of M (supra). See Westcott and Hort, Introd.§ 212.

f f The Latin text of F

G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). Lacks 1 Corinthians 3:8-16, 1 Corinthians 6:7-14 (F).

K K (Ninth century). Codex S. Synod. xcviii. Lacks 1:1-6:13 ταύτην καί: 8:7 τινὲς δὲ—8:11