1 Corinthians 1:4-9
4. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which
is given you by Jesus Christ;
4. Gratias ago Deo meo semper de vobis propter gratiam Dei, quae
data vobis est in Christo Jesu.
5. That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance,
and in all knowledge;
5. Quia in onmibus ditati estis in ipso, in omni sermone, et in
6. Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
6. Quemadmodum testimonium Christi confirmatum fuit in vobis.
7. So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ:
7. Ut nullo in dono destituamini, exspectantes revelationem Domini
nostri Jesu Christi.
8. Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless
in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8. Qui etiam confirmabit vos usque in finem inculpatos, in diem
Domini nostri Jesu Christi.
9. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of
his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
9. Fidelis Deus, per quem vocati estis in communionem Filii ipsius
Jesu Christi Domini nostri.
4. I give thanks to my God. Having in the salutation secured
for himself authority from the station assigned him, he now endeavors to
procure favor for his doctrine, by expressing his affection for them. In
this way he soothes their minds beforehand, that they may listen patiently
to his reproofs. He persuades them of his affection for them by the following
tokens — his discovering as much joy in the benefits bestowed upon them,
as if they had been conferred upon himself; and his declaring that he entertains
a favorable opinion of them, and has good hopes of them as to the future.
Farther, he qualifies his congratulations in such a way as to give them
no occasion to be puffed up, as he traces up to God all the benefits that
they possessed, that the entire praise may redound to him, inasmuch as
they are the fruits of his grace. It is as though he had said — “I congratulate
you indeed, but it is in such a way as to ascribe the praise to God.” His
meaning, when he calls God his God, I have explained in my Commentary upon
the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 1:8.) As Paul was not prepared to flatter
the Corinthians, so neither has he commended them on false grounds. For
although all were not worthy of such commendations, and though they corrupted
many excellent gifts of God by ambition, yet the gifts themselves it became
him not to despise, because they were, in themselves, deserving of commendation.
Farther, as the gifts of the Spirit are conferred for the edification of
all, it is with good reason that he enumerates them as gifts common to
the whole Church. But let us see what he commends in them.
For the grace, etc. This is a general term, for it comprehends
blessings of every kind that they had obtained through means of the gospel.
For the term grace denotes here not the favor of God, but by metonymy (metwnumikw~v),
the gifts that he bestows upon men gratuitously. He immediately proceeds
to specify particular instances, when he says that they are enriched in
all things, and specifies what those all things are — the doctrine and
word of God. For in these riches it becomes Christians to abound; and they
ought also to be esteemed by us the more, and regarded by us as so much
the more valuable, in proportion as they are ordinarily slighted. The phrase
in ipso (in him) I have preferred to retain, rather than render it per
ipsum (by him,) because it has in my opinion more expressiveness and force.
For we are enriched in Christ, inasmuch as we are members of his body,
and are engrafted into him: nay more, being made one with him, he makes
us share with him in everything that he has received from the Father.
6. Even as the testimony, etc. Erasmus gives a different rendering,
to this effect, “that by these things the testimony of Christ was confirmed
in them;” that is, by knowledge and by the word. The words, however, convey
another meaning, and if they are not wrested, the meaning is easy — that
God has sealed the truth of his gospel among the Corinthians, for the purpose
of confirming it. Now, this might be done in two ways, either by miracles,
or by the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit. Chrysostom seems to understand
it of miracles, but I take it in a larger sense; and, first of all, it
is certain, that the gospel is properly confirmed in our experience by
faith, because it is only when we receive it by faith that we “set to our
seal that God is true” (John 3:33.) And though I admit that miracles ought
to have weight for the confirmation of it, yet we must go higher in search
of the origin, namely this, that the Spirit of God is the earnest and seal.
Accordingly, I explain these words in this manner — that the Corinthians
excelled in knowledge, inasmuch as God had from the beginning given efficacy
to his gospel among them, and that not in one way merely, but had done
so both by the internal influence of the Spirit, and by excellence and
variety of gifts, by miracles, and by all other helps. He calls the gospel
the testimony of Christ, or respecting Christ, because the entire sum of
it tends to discover Christ to us,
“in whom all the treasures of knowledge are hid” (Colossians 2:3.)
If any one prefers to take it in an active sense, on the ground that
Christ is the primary author of the gospel, so that the Apostles were nothing
but secondary or inferior witnesses, I shall not much oppose it. I feel
better satisfied, however, with the former exposition. It is true that
a little afterwards (1 Corinthians 2:1) the testimony of God must, beyond
all controversy, be taken in an active sense, as a passive signification
would not be at all suitable. Here, however, the case is different, and,
what is more, that passage strengthens my view, as he immediately subjoins
what it is — to know nothing but Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:2.)
7. So that ye come behind in no gift. Justereisqai means to be
in want of what you would otherwise stand in need of. He means, therefore,
that the Corinthians abound in all the gifts of God, so as not to be in
want of anything, as if he had said, “The Lord has not merely honored you
with the light of the gospel, but has eminently endowed you with all those
graces that may be of service to the saints for helping them forward in
the way of salvation.” For he gives the name of gifts (cari>smata) to those
spiritual graces that are, as it were, means of salvation to the saints.
But it is objected, on the other hand, that the saints are never in such
abundance as not to feel in want of graces to some extent, so that they
must always of necessity be “hungering and thirsting” (Matthew 5:6.) For
where is the man that does not come far short of perfection? I answer,
“As they are sufficiently endowed with needful gifts, and are never in
such destitution but that the Lord seasonably relieves their need; Paul
on this ground ascribes to them such wealth.” For the same reason he adds:
waiting for the manifestation, meaning, that he does not ascribe to them
such abundance as to leave nothing to be desired; but merely as much as
will suffice, until they shall have arrived at perfection. The participle
waiting I understand in this sense, “In the meantime while you are waiting.”
Thus the meaning will be, “So that ye are in want of no gift in the meantime
while you are waiting for the day of perfected revelation, by which Christ
our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30) will be fully manifested.”
8. Who will also confirm you. The relative here refers not to
Christ, but to God, though the word God is the remoter antecedent. For
the Apostle is going on with his congratulation, and as he has told them
previously what he thought of them, so he now lets them know what hope
he has of them as to the future, and this partly for the purpose of assuring
them still farther of his affection for them, and partly that he may exhort
them by his own example to cherish the same hope. It is as if he had said
— Though the expectation of a salvation to come keeps you still in suspense,
you ought nevertheless to feel assured that the Lord will never forsake
you, but will on the contrary increase what he has begun in you, that when
that day comes on which
“we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ,”
(2 Corinthians 5:10,)
we may be found there blameless.
Blameless. In his Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians (Ephesians
1:4, and Colossians 1:22) he teaches that this is the end of our calling
— that we may appear pure and unreproachable in the presence of Christ.
It is, however, to be observed, that this glorious purity is not in the
first instance perfected in us; nay, rather, it goes well with us if we
are every day making progress in penitence, and are being purged from the
sins (2 Peter 1:9)that expose us to the displeasure of God, until at length
we put off, along with the mortal body, all the offscourings of sin. Of
the day of the Lord we shall have occasion to speak when we come to the