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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 1

Verse 1

1 Corinthians 1:1 . Παῦλος , Paul . The epistle consists

I. Of the Inscription,1 Corinthians 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 .

II. Of the Discussion; in which we have

I. An exhortation to concord, depressing the elated judgments of the flesh, 1Co 1:4 ; 1 Corinthians 4:21 .

II. A reproof,

1) For not putting away the wicked person, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 .

2) For perverse lawsuits,1 Corinthians 6:1-11; 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 .

III. An exhortation to avoid fornication, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 .

IV. His answer to them in regard to marriage, 1Co 7:1 ; 1 Corinthians 7:10 ; 1 Corinthians 7:25 ; 1 Corinthians 7:36 ; 1 Corinthians 7:39 .

V. On things offered to idols, 1Co 8:1-2 ; 1 Corinthians 8:13 1 Corinthians 9:27 1 Corinthians 10:1 1 Corinthians 11:1 .

VI. On a woman being veiled, 1 Corinthians 11:2 .

VII. On the Lord’s Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:17 .

VIII. On spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:0 ; 1 Corinthians 13:0 ; 1 Corinthians 14:0 .

IX. On the resurrection of the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:1 ; 1Co 15:12 ; 1Co 15:29 ; 1 Corinthians 15:35 .

X. On the collection: on his own coming, and that of Timothy and Apollos; on the sum and substance of the whole subject, 1 Corinthians 16:1 ; 1 Corinthians 16:5 ; 1Co 16:10 ; 1 Corinthians 16:12-14 .

III. Of the Conclusion, 1Co 16:15 ; 1Co 16:17 ; 1 Corinthians 16:19-20 .

ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , an apostle of Jesus Christ ) 1 Corinthians 1:17 . διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ , by the will of God ) so 2 Corinthians 1:1 ; Ephesians 1:1 ; Colossians 1:1 ; 2 Timothy 1:1 . His apostleship is said to be “by the commandment of God,” in 1 Timothy 1:1 . This was the principle on which rested the apostolic authority in regard to the churches: and the principle of the zealous and humble mind which characterized Paul himself; comp. Romans 1:1 , note. For by the mention of God , human claim to wages (auctoramentum) is excluded, Galatians 1:1 ; by the mention of the will of God , merit on the part of Paul is excluded, ch. 1 Corinthians 15:8 , etc.: whence this apostle is in proportion the more grateful and zealous, 2 Corinthians 8:5 , at the end of the verse. Had Paul been left to his own will, he would never have become an apostle. [1] Σωσθένης , Sosthenes ) a companion of Paul, a Corinthian. Apollos is not mentioned here, nor Aquila; for they do not appear to have been at that time with Paul, although they were in the same city, ch. 1 Corinthians 16:12 ; 1 Corinthians 16:19 . In the second epistle, he joins Timothy to himself.

[1] It is of the greatest advantage to have the will of GOD for our guide. To attempt anything under the guidance of a man’s own will is an undertaking full of hazard, under however specious a name it may be capable of being commended. In the world it readily produces embarrassments, troublesome and very difficult to be got rid of. V. g.

Verse 2

1 Corinthians 1:2 . Τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ , To the Church of God ) Paul, writing somewhat familiarly to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Galatians, uses the term, Church; to the others he employs a more solemn periphrasis. The Church of God in Corinth: a great and joyful paradox. [2] τῇ οὔσῃ , which is ), [at Corinth and moreover] flourishing [there], 1 Corinthians 1:5-6 . So, [the Church] which was [at Antioch], Acts 13:1 . ἡγιασμένοις , to them that are sanctified ) them, who have been claimed for God [by being set apart as holy to Him]. Making a prelude already to the discussion, he reminds the Corinthians of their own dignity, lest they should suffer themselves to be enslaved by men. [ Then in the Introduction also , 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 , he highly praises the same persons, how near soever they may have come to undue elation of mind. The praise which is derived from Divine grace rather cherishes humility, besides being subservient to awakening . V. g.] The force of the participle is immediately explained, called to be saints , [said of the Gentiles , who are saints by calling , whilst the Israelites are so by descent ]; comp. Romans 1:7 , note. σὺν πᾶσι , with all ) To be connected with, sanctified , and, saints , not with, to the Church; compare ours , at the end of the verse. Consequently the epistle refers also to the other believers in Achaia, 2 Corinthians 1:1 . The universal Church however is not shut up within the neighbourhood of Corinth . As Paul was thinking of the localities of the Corinthians and Ephesians, the whole Church came into his mind. The consideration of the Church universal sets the mind free from party bias, and turns it to obedience. It is therefore set forthwith before the Corinthians; comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 4:17 , 1Co 7:17 , 1 Corinthians 11:16 , 1 Corinthians 14:33 ; 1 Corinthians 14:36 . τοῖς ἐπικαλουμένοις ) that call upon , so that they turn their eyes to Him in worship, and call themselves by His name; comp. 1 Corinthians 1:10 , on the authority of the name of Christ. [ This passage certainly prepares the way for that exhortation, which follows the verse now quoted ( 1Co 1:10 ). V. g.] αὐτῶν [ theirs ], of them ) near Corinth. ἡμῶν [ ours ], of us ) where Paul and Sosthenes were then staying.

[2] Religion and Corinth, a city notorious for debauchery, might have seemed terms utterly incapable of combination. ED.

Verse 5

1 Corinthians 1:5 . Λόγῳ γνώσει , in word ( utterance ) in knowledge ) The word (utterance) follows knowledge , in point of fact: and it is by the former that the latter is made known. He shows, that the Corinthians ought to be such in attainments, that it should be unnecessary to write to them. Moreover they were admirers of spiritual gifts; therefore by mentioning their gifts, he gains over to himself their affections, and makes a way for reproof.

Verse 6

1 Corinthians 1:6 . Καθὼς , even as ) That the Corinthians wanted nothing, he declares from this, that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them. The particle is here demonstrative. τοῦ Χριστοῦ , of Christ ) Christ is not only the object, but the author of this testimony, Acts 18:8 , note. ἐβεβαιώθη , was confirmed ) by Himself, and by the gifts and miracles, which accompanied it, 1 Corinthians 12:3 ; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ; Galatians 3:2 ; Galatians 3:5 ; Ephesians 4:7-8 ; Hebrews 2:4 .

Verse 7

1 Corinthians 1:7 . Ὥστε ὑμᾶς μὴ ὑστερεῖσθαι , So that ye are not behind ) This clause depends on ye are enriched by antithesis. ἀπεκδεχομένους , expecting , [ waiting for ]) The character of the true or false Christian is either to expect or dread the revelation of Christ. [ Leaving to others their MEMENTO MORI, do thou urge this joyful expectation . V. g.].

Verse 8

1 Corinthians 1:8 . Ὅς , who ) God , 1 Corinthians 1:4 [not Jesus Christ , 1Co 1:7 ]: comp. 1 Corinthians 1:9 . ἕως τέλους , even to the end ) an antithesis to the beginning implied in the phrase; which was given , 1 Corinthians 1:4 . This end is immediately described in this verse, comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 15:24 . ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ , in the day ) construed with unblamed [ blameless ], 1 Thessalonians 5:23 . After that day, there is no danger, Ephesians 4:30 ; Philippians 1:6 . Now, there are our own days, in which we work, as also the days of our enemies, by whom we are tried; then there will be the day of Christ and of His glory in the saints.

Verse 9

1 Corinthians 1:9 . Πιστὸς , faithful ) God is said to be faithful , because He performs, what He has promised, and what believers promise to themselves from His goodness. ἐκλήθητε , ye were called ) Calling is a pledge of other benefits, [ to which the end , 1 Corinthians 1:8 , will correspond . V. g.] Romans 8:30 ; [ 1Th 5:24 ]; 1 Peter 5:10 .

Verse 10

1 Corinthians 1:10 . [3] Δὲ , Now ) The connection of the introduction and discussion: You have [already sure] the end and your hope, maintain also love. Brethren , is a title or address suitable to the discussion, on which he is now entering. διὰ ) by . This is equivalent to an adjuration. τοῦ Κυρίου , of the Lord ) Paul wishes that Christ alone should be all things to the Corinthians; and it is on this account, that he so often names Him in this chapter. τὸ αὐτὸ λέγητε , ye may speak the same thing ) In speaking they differed from one another; 1 Corinthians 1:12 . σχίσματα , divisions ) antithetic to κατηρτισμένοι , joined together: comp. Matthew 4:21 . Schism , a ‘division’ of minds [sentiments]: John 7:43 ; John 9:16 . νοΐ , in the mind ) within, as to things to be believed. γνώμῃ , judgment ) displayed, in things to be done. This corresponds to the words above, that ye [all] speak [the same thing].

[3] Παρακαλῶ , I exhort ) Though they required reproof, he employs a word, that takes the form of exhortation . V. g.

Verse 11

1 Corinthians 1:11 . Ἐδηλώθη , it hath been declared ) an example of justifiable giving of information against others, such information as ought not to be concealed without a reason, ch. 1 Corinthians 11:18 . ὑπὸ τῶν Χλόης , by those, who are of the house of Chloe ) These men seem to have obtained the special approbation both of Paul and of the Corinthians; as also the matron Chloe [sc. seems to have had their approbation], whose sons the Corinthians sent with letters to Paul, ch. 1 Corinthians 7:1 . They had sent Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, ch. 1 Corinthians 16:17 , of whom the one or the other might even be a son of Chloe’s, by Stephanas as the father, 1Co 1:16 ; 1 Corinthians 16:15 . ριδες , contentions ) He calls the thing by its own [right] name.

Verse 12

1 Corinthians 1:12 . Λέγει , says ) in a boasting manner; 1 Corinthians 1:31 , ch. 1 Corinthians 3:21-22 . Παύλου , of Paul ) a gradation [ascending climax], in which Paul puts himself in the lowest place. Kephas, Paul and Apollos were genuine ministers and teachers of the truth, to boast of one of whom above the rest was in a greater degree unlawful, than if a believer of Corinth had said that he was a Christian belonging to Paul, with a view to distinguish himself from the followers of the false apostles. Κηφᾶ , of Kephas ) Peter does not seem to have been at Corinth, ch. 1 Corinthians 4:6 , and yet he was held there in high esteem, and that too justly; but some, however, abused it [this esteem for Peter into a party cry], and the apostle Paul detests this Petrism , which afterwards sprang up so much more rankly at Rome, just as much as he did Paulism . How much less should a man say, or boast, I am of the Pope . ἐγὼ Χριστοῦ , I of Christ ) These spoke more correctly than the others, 1Co 1:2 ; 1 Corinthians 3:23 , unless they despised their ministers , under this pretext, ch. 1 Corinthians 4:8 .

Verse 13

1 Corinthians 1:13 . Μεμέρισται , has [Christ] been divided? ) Are then all the members not now any longer under one Head? And yet, since He alone was crucified for you, is it not in the name of Him alone that ye have been baptized? The glory of Christ is not to be divided with His servants; nor is the unity of His body to be cut into pieces, as if Christ were to cease to be one. μὴ ) Lat. num: [4] it is often put in the second clause of an interrogation; ch. 1Co 10:22 ; 2 Corinthians 3:1 . ἘΣΤΑΥΡΏΘΗ ἘΒΑΠΤΊΣΘΗΤΕ , was crucified ye were baptized ) The cross and baptism claim us for Christ. The correlatives are, redemption, and self-dedication.

[4] It expects a negative answer. “Was it Paul ( surely you will not say so ) that was crucified for you.” This illustrates the subjective force of μὴ ( i.e . referring to something in the mind of the subject ); whilst οὐκ is objective. ED.

Verse 14

1 Corinthians 1:14 . Εὐχαριστῶ , I give thanks ) The Providence of God reigns often in events, of which the reason is afterwards discovered. This is the language of a godly man, indicating the importance of the subject, instead of the common phrase, I rejoice . Κρίσπον καὶ Γάϊον , Crispus and Gaius ) He brings forward his witnesses. Paul baptized with his own hand, the most respectable persons, not many others; and not from ambition, but because they were among the first, who believed. The just estimation of his office is not pride, ch. 1 Corinthians 16:4 . The administration of baptism was not so much the duty of the apostles, as of the deacons, Acts 10:48 ; nor did that circumstance diminish the dignity of this ordinance.

Verse 15

1 Corinthians 1:15 . Ἵνα μὴ , lest ) Paul obviates [guards beforehand against] the calumnies, which might otherwise have arisen, however unjust; and takes them out of the way; 2 Corinthians 8:20 . ἐμὸν , my own ) as if I were collecting a company [of followers] for myself.

Verse 16

1 Corinthians 1:16 . [5] Λοιπὸν , for the rest [as to what remains]) He is very anxious to be accurate in recording the facts as they occurred. οὐκ οἶδα , I do not know ) It does not occur to my memory without an effort. εἴ τινα , if any ) i.e. I have baptized no one else, or scarce any other; comp. the following verse. He left it to the memory of the individuals [themselves to say], by whom they were baptized.

[5] Καὶ τὸν Στεφανᾶ οἶκον , the house of Stephanas also ) viz. the first fruits of Achaia, 1 Corinthians 14:15 . The rest of the believers at Corinth may have been baptized by Silvanus, Timotheus, Crispus, Gaius, or at least by the members of the family of Stephanas. V. g.

Verse 17

1 Corinthians 1:17 . Ἀπέστειλε , sent ) A man should attend wholly to that, for which he is sent. βαπτίζειν , to baptize ) [even] in His own name, much less in mine. The labour of baptism, frequently undertaken, would have been a hinderance to the preaching of the Gospel; on other occasions [where not a hinderance to preaching] the apostles baptized; Matthew 28:19 ; especially [they administered that sacrament to] the first disciples. εὐαγγελίζεσθαι , to preach the Gospel ) This word, in respect of what goes before, is an accessory statement: [6] in respect of what follows, a Proposition. Paul uses this very [word as a] mode of transition, which is such that I know not, whether the rules of Corinthian eloquence would be in accordance with it. [ Therefore the Apostle in this very passage furnishes a specimen, so to speak , of apostolic folly; and yet there has been no want of the greatest wisdom throughout his whole arrangement . V. g.] σοφία λόγου , wisdom of words ) [ On account of which some individuals of you make me of greater or less importance than they do the rest . V. g.] The nouns wisdom and power are frequently used here. In the opinion of the world, a discourse is considered wise , which treats of every topic rather than the cross; whereas a discourse on the cross admits of nothing heterogeneous being mixed up with it. ὁ σταυρὸς τοῦ Χριστοῦ , the cross of Christ ) 1 Corinthians 1:24 . Ignorance of the mystery of the cross is the foundation, for example, of the whole Koran. [ The sum and substance of the Gospel, as to its commencements, is implied , 1 Corinthians 1:18 ; 1Co 1:23 ; 1 Corinthians 2:2 . He, who rejects the cross, continues in ignorance also of the rest of revealed truth; he, who receives it, becomes afterwards acquainted with its power (or, virtue , 2Pe 1:5 ) and glory. V. g.]

[6] The Latin, or rather the Greek word, is syncategorema . In logic categorematic words are those capable of being employed by themselves as the terms of a proposition. Syncategorematic words are merely accessory to the terms, such as adverbs, prepositions, nouns not in the nominative case, etc. See Whateley’s Logic, B. II., Ch. i. § 3. T.

Verse 18

1 Corinthians 1:18 . Μωρία , folly ) and offence . See, immediately after, its antithesis, power . There are two steps in salvation, Wisdom and Power. In the case of them that perish, when the first step is taken away, the second [also] is taken away; in the case of the blessed, the second presupposes the first. σωζομένοις , to them, that are being saved ) The Present tense is used, as in the phrase, to them that perish . He, who has begun to hear the Gospel is considered neither as lost, nor as saved, but is at the point, where the two roads meet, and now he either is perishing, or is being saved. δύναμις , the power ) and wisdom , so also, ch. 1 Corinthians 2:5 .

Verse 19

1 Corinthians 1:19 . Ἀπολῶ ἀθετήσω ) Isaiah 29:14 , LXX. καὶ ἀπολῶ κρύψω ; the intermediate words of them (LXX.) and of Paul are the same. ἀπολῶ , I will destroy ) hence to bring to nought , 1 Corinthians 1:28 , ch. 1 Corinthians 2:6 .

Verse 20

1 Corinthians 1:20 . Ποῦ σοφός , ποῦ γραμματεύς ; ποῦ συζητητὴς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ) Isaiah 33:18 , LXX., ποῦ εἰσι γραμματικοί ; ποῦ εἰσιν οἱ συμβουλεύοντες ; ποῦ ἐστινἀριθμῶν τοὺς συστρεφομένους . Hebr. איה ספר איה שקל איה ספר את־המגדלים . The first half of the verse proposes two questions, of which the former is cleared up in the second half, and the latter in the verse following (We have also a similar figure in Isa 25:6 ): Where is the scribe? where is the weigher (or, receiver)? where is the scribe with the towers? where is the weigher (or, receiver) with a strong people, on whom thou canst not bear to look? For the expression appears to be proverbial, which the particle את , with, usually accompanies, and in this mode of speaking denotes universality, Deuteronomy 29:18 . That some charge of the towers was in the hands of the scribes, may be gathered from Psalms 48:12-13 . The term, weighers (or receivers) is readily applicable to commanders of forces. Comp. Heinr. Scharbau Parerg. Phil. Theol. P. iv. p. 109, who has collected many facts with great erudition, and has furnished us with the handle for [the suggestion which originated] these reflections of ours. Paul brings forward both the passages in Isaiah against the Jews; but the second has the words so changed, as to apply more to recent times, and at the same time to the Gentiles, 1 Corinthians 1:22 . Some think that the three classes of learned men among the Jews, חכמים ספרים דרשים , are intended. We certainly find the first and second in Matthew 23:34 . There is moreover a threefold antithesis, and that too a very remarkable one, in Isaiah 33:22 , where the glorying of the saints in the Lord is represented. But this is what the apostle means to say: The wise men of the world not only do not approve and promote the Gospel, but they oppose it, and that too in vain. τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ) of this world, which is quite beyond the sphere of the “preaching of the cross” [ ὁ λόγοςτοῦ σταυροῦ , 1Co 1:18 ]. ἐμώρανεν , made foolish) so that the world cannot understand the ground of the Divine counsel and good pleasure [ εὐδόκησεν ], 1 Corinthians 1:21 . τὴν σοφίαν , the wisdom) The wisdom of this world [ 1Co 1:20 ], and in the wisdom of God [ 1Co 1:21 ], are antithetic. κόσμου [7] ) of the world , in which are the Jews and the Greeks.

[7] The margin of both editions defends the pronoun τούτου as the reading in this verse, although it is omitted in the Germ. Ver. E. B.

ABC corrected later, and D corr. later, Orig. 3, 175 e , omit τούτου . But G gf Vulg. Orig. 3, 318 e ; Cypr. 324: Hilary 811, 822, have τούτου . ED.

Verse 21

1 Corinthians 1:21 . Ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ , in the wisdom ) since [‘because’] the wisdom of God is so great, 1 Corinthians 1:25 . οὐκ ἔγνω , knew not ) Before the preaching of the cross, although the creature proclaimed the Creator, although the most eloquent prophets had come, still the world knew not God. Those, who heard the prophets, despised them; those, who did not hear them, were of such a spirit, that they would have despised them. διὰ τῆς σοφίας , by wisdom ) viz., by the wisdom of preaching , [8] as is evident from the antithesis, by the foolishness of preaching . εὐδόκησεν Θεὸς ) it pleased God , in mercy and grace to us. Paul seems evidently to have imitated the words of the Lord, Luke 10:21 . διὰ τῆς μωρίας , by the foolishness ) God deals with perverse man by contraries, so that man may deny himself, and render glory to God, through belief in the cross . κηρύγματος , of preaching ) inasmuch as it is concerning the cross.

[8] Not, “the world by its wisdom:” but, notwithstanding the preaching of true wisdom by creation and by prophets of God, the world knew not God . ED.

Verse 22

1 Corinthians 1:22 . [9] Αἰ ΤΟῦΣΙ , require ) from the apostles, as formerly from Christ. σοφίαν , wisdom ) [The Greeks require in] Christ the sublime philosopher, proceeding by demonstrative proofs. [10]

[9] Σημεῖα , signs ) powerful acts. We do not find any sign given by Paul at Corinth, Acts 18:0 . V. g.

[10] They are not satisfied because Christ, instead of giving philosophic and demonstrative proofs, demands man’s belief, on the ground of His word , and a reasonable amount of evidence. ED.

Verse 23

1 Corinthians 1:23 . Ἡμεῖς , we ) Paul, Apollos. κηρύσσομεν , we preach ) rather historically, than philosophically. Χριστὸν ἐσταυρωμένον , Christ crucified ) without the article. The cross is not mentioned in the following verse. The discourse begins with the cross of Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:2 ; those who thus receive it are made acquainted with all connected with Christ and His glory, those who do not receive it, fall short of the whole, Acts 25:19 ; Acts 17:32 . σκάνδαλον , a stumbling-block ) As folly and wisdom , so a stumbling-block and a sign are opposed to each other, for a sign is an attractive work of Omnipotence, as a sign and power are often synonymous, but a stumbling-block , properly applied to a snare or trap, is a very weak thing. [ So things extremely worthless in the present day come under the name of trifles. Germ . Schwachherten. V. g.] To such a degree do the Jews and Greeks [11] dread the cross of Christ, that along with it they reject even a sign and wisdom.

[11] The Germ. Ver. prefers the reading of ἔθνεσι , equal, according to the margin of both editions, to Ἕλλησι , which is doubtless more passable with German readers. E. B.ABC corrected later, D corr. l. G fg Vulg. Orig. Cypr. Hilary have ἔθνεσιν . Rec Text, with Orig. 1, 331 e , reads Ἕλλησι . ED.

Verse 24

1 Corinthians 1:24 . Αὐτοῖς ) to them , construe with, Jews , and Greeks . κλητοῖς , who are called ) Refer the calling, 1 Corinthians 1:26 , to this word. Χριστὸν , Christ ) with His cross, death, life, and kingdom. [ The surname Crucified is not added in this passage. When the offence of the cross is overcome, the whole mystery of Christ is laid open . V. g.] δύναμιν σοφίαν , power wisdom ) Power is first experienced, then wisdom.

Verse 25

1 Corinthians 1:25 . Τοῦ Θεοῦ , of God ) in Christ. σοφώτερον ἰσχυρότερον , wiser stronger ) 1 Corinthians 1:30 . τῶν ἀνθρώπων , than men ) The phraseology is abbreviated; [12] it means, wiser than the wisdom of men, stronger than the strength of men, although they may appear to themselves both wise and powerful, and may wish to define what it is to be wise and powerful.

[12] See App., under the title, Concisa Locutio.

Verse 26

1 Corinthians 1:26 . Βλέπετε ) ye see. For shows it to be the indicative mood. τὴν κλῆσιν ὑμῶν , your calling ) the state, in which the heavenly calling proves an offence to you; so, calling , 1 Corinthians 7:20 . οὐ πολλοὶ , not many ) Therefore, however, some supply, have been called . As a comparison has been made with the preachers, so also with the hearers of the Gospel. The ellipse contains a euphemism [end. [13] ] κατὰ σάρκα , according to the flesh ) a phrase nearly related to the expression, of the world , which presently after occurs in 1 Corinthians 1:27 . The world judges according to the flesh . εὐγενεῖς , noble ) who are generally also wise and powerful. [ Can it be believed, that this is the distinctive characteristic of the society of those, who, in our vernacular tongue (German) are styled Freymaurer, Freemasons . V. g.]

[13] Σοφοὶ , wise ) Hence such a small number of men were gained at Athens, which was the seat of Grecian wisdom. V. g.

Verse 27

1 Corinthians 1:27 . Τὰ ) The article has this force: those things in particular and especially, which are foolish , etc. ἐξελεξατο , hath chosen [viz., in great numbers ]) Act 18:10 V. g.] (“I have much people in this city,” i.e. , Corinth). This word is put thrice; election [ choosing ] and calling, 1 Corinthians 1:26 , are joined in one; Ezekiel 20:5 . The latter is a proof of the former. Election is the judgment of Divine grace exempting in Christ from the common destruction of men, those who accept their calling by faith. Every one who is called , is elected from the first moment of his faith; and so long as he continues in his calling and faith, he continues to be elected; if at any time he loses calling and faith, he ceases to be elected; when he brings forth fruit in faith, he confirms that calling and election in his own case: if he returns to faith, and believing falls asleep, he returns to his state of election, and as one elected falls asleep. And these κατʼ ἐξοχὴν , pre-eminently, are the men who are elected and foreknown. Election relates either to peoples or individuals . The question here and in Ezekiel 20:5 : also Acts 18:10 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:4 : is concerning the election of a people; and this species of election in a greater degree falls under the distinct perceptions of men that are believers, than the election of individuals; for some individuals of the people may fall away, and yet the breadth of calling and election [ i.e. the calling viewed in its comprehension of the whole people as such] may be equally preserved. The election of some outside of the church is a Thing Reserved for God Himself, and must not be tried by the rule of the preaching of the Gospel. [14] ΤΟῪς ΣΟΦΟῪς , the wise ) In the masculine to express a very beautiful idea; [15] the rest are neuter, as all standing in opposition to τοὺς σοφοὺς , yea even foolish things . καταισχύνῃ , might put to shame [ confound ]) This word is twice repeated; we have afterwards, might bring to nought [ 1Co 1:28 ]. By both of these words glorying [1 Corinthians 1:29 ; 1Co 1:31 ] is taken away, whether the subject of boasting be more or less voluntary.

[14] Which restricts salvation to them that believe. ED.

[15] Viz., That even things (and, those too, foolish things) are chosen by God to confound persons (and, those too, persons who are wise). ED.

Verse 28

1 Corinthians 1:28 . Τὰ μὴ ὄντα , the things that are not ) A genus, under which are included things base and despised , as also things foolish and weak . There is therefore an apposition, to the whole of which is opposed this one phrase, which are . τὰ ὄντα ) which are something.

Verse 29

1 Corinthians 1:29 . Ὅπως μὴ , that not ) The antithesis to, that , 1 Corinthians 1:31 . πᾶσα σὰρξ , all flesh ) a suitable appellation; flesh is beautiful and yet frail, Isaiah 40:6 . ἐνώπιον , before ) We may not glory before Him, but in Him.

Verse 30

1 Corinthians 1:30 . Ἐξ αὐτοῦ , of Him ) Ye are of God , not now any longer of the world , Romans 11:36 ; Ephesians 2:8 . ὑμεῖς , ye ) An antithesis to many , 1 Corinthians 1:26 . Those persons themselves, whom the apostle addresses, ye , were not the many wise men according to the flesh , etc. ἐστὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ , ye are in Christ Jesus ) ye are Christians, etc. The antithesis is between, things which are not [ 1Co 1:28 ], and, ye are [ 1Co 1:30 ]; likewise flesh [1 Corinthians 1:26 ; 1Co 1:29 ], and Christ [ 1Co 1:30 ]. ἐγενήθη ἡμῖν , is made to us ) More is implied in these words, than if he had said; we have become wise , etc., He is made to us wisdom, etc., in respect of our knowledge, and, before that was attained, by Himself in His cross, death, resurrection. To us the dative of advantage. σοφία , wisdom ) whereas we were formerly fools . The variety of the Divine goodness in Christ presupposes that our misery is from ourselves. δικαιοσύνη , righteousness ) Whereas we were formerly weak (without strength) [ Rom 5:6 ], comp. Isaiah 45:24 . Jehovah, our righteousness , Jeremiah 23:6 , where (comp. 1Co 1:5 ) he is speaking of the Son: for the Father is not called our righteousness . ἁγιασμὸς , sanctification ) whereas we were formerly base . ἁπολύτρωσις ) redemption , even to the utmost; whereas we were formerly despised , ἐξουθενημένοι [ 1Co 1:28 ].

Verse 31

1 Corinthians 1:31 . Ἵνα , that ) viz. it may be . ὁ καυχώμενος , he who glories ) It is not the privilege of all to glory. ἐν Κυρίῳ , in the Lord ) not in himself, not in the flesh, not in the world.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.