1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 4 and 1 Corinthians chapter 1,
verse 5 I thank my God always concerning you, for the Grace of God which
was given you in Jesus Christ; that in every thing you were enriched in
[1.] That which he exhorts others to do, saying, "(Philemon chapter
4, verse 6) Let your requests with thanksgiving be made known unto God,"
the same also he used to do himself: teaching us to begin always from these
words, and before all things to give thanks unto God. For nothing is so
acceptable to God as that men should be thankful, both for themselves and
for others wherefore also he prefaces almost every Epistle with this. But
the occasion for his doing so is even more urgent here than in the other
Epistles. For he that gives thanks, does so, both as being well off, and
as in acknowledgment of a favor: now a favor is not a debt nor a requital
nor a payment: which indeed every where is important to be said, but much
more in the case of the Corinthians who were gaping after the dividers
of the Church.
[2.] "Unto my God." Out of great affection he seizes on that
which is common, and makes it his own; as the prophets also from time to
time use to say, (Psalms chapter 43, verse 4 and Psalms chapter 62, verse
1) "O God, my God;" and by way of encouragement he incites them to use
the same language also themselves. For such expressions belong to one who
is retiring from all secular things, and moving towards Him whom he calls
on with so much earnestness: since he alone can truly say this, who from
things of this life is ever mounting upwards unto God, and always preferring
Him to all, and giving thanks continually, not [only] for the grace already
given, but whatever blessing hath been since at any time bestowed, for
this also he offereth unto Him the same praise. Wherefore he saith not
merely, "I give thanks," but "at all times, concerning you;" instructing
them to be thankful both always, and to no one else save God only.
[3.] "For the grace of God." Seest thou how from every quarter
he draws topics for correcting them? For where "grace" is, "works" are
not i where "works," it is no more "grace." If therefore it be "grace,"
why are ye high-minded? Whence is it that ye are puffed up?
"Which is given you." And by whom was it given? By me, or by
another Apostle? Not at all, but "by Jesus Christ." For the expression,
"In Jesus Christ," signifies this. Observe how in divers places he uses
the word en, "in," instead of di ou, "through means of whom;" therefore
its sense is no less.()
"That in every thing ye were enriched." Again, by whom? By Him,
is the reply. And not merely "ye were enriched, but "in every thing." Since
then it is first of all, "riches" then, "riches of God," next, "in every
thing," and lastly, "through the Only-Begotten," reflect on the ineffable
Ver. 5. "In all utterance, and all knowledge." "Word" ["or utterance,"]
not such as the heathen, but that of God. For there is knowledge without
"word," and there is knowledge with "word." For so there are many who possess
knowledge, but have not the power of speech; as those who are uneducated
and unable to exhibit clearly what they have in their mind. Ye, saith he,
are not such as these, but competent both to understand and to speak.
Ver. 6. "Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you." Under
the color of praises and thanksgiving he touches them sharply. "For not
by heathen philosophy," saith he, "neither by heathen discipline, but "the
grace of God," and by the "riches," by and the "knowledge," and the "word"
given by Him, were you enabled to learn the doctrines of the truth, and
to be confirmed unto the testimony of the Lord; that is, unto the Gospel.
For ye had the benefit of many signs, many wonders unspeakable grace, to
make you receive the Gospel. If therefore ye were established by signs
and grace, why do ye waver?" Now these are the words of one both reproving,
and at the same time prepossessing them in his favor.
[4.] Ver. 7. "So that ye come behind in no gift." A great question
here arises. They who had been "enriched in all utterance," so as in no
respect to "come behind in any gift," are they carnal? For if they were
such at the beginning, much more now. How then does he call them "carnal?"
For, saith he, (1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 1) "I was not able to speak
unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal." What must we say then?
That having in the beginning believed, and obtained all gifts, (for indeed
they sought them earnestly,) they became remiss afterwards. Or, if not
so, that not unto all are either these things said or those; but the one
to such as were amenable to his censures, the other to such as were adorned
with his praises. For as to the fact that they still had gifts; (1 Corinthians
chapter 14, verse 26 and 1 Corinthians chapter 14, verse 29) "Each one,"
saith he, "hath a psalm, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation;
let all things be done unto edifying." And, "Let the prophets speak two
or three." Or we may state it somewhat differently; that as it is usual
with us to call the greater part the whole, so also he hath spoken in this
place. Withal, I think he hints at his own proceedings; for he too had
shewn forth signs; even as also he saith in the second Epistle to them,
(2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 12 and 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse
13) "Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience:"
and again, "For what is there wherein you were inferior to other churches?"
Or, as I was saying, he both reminds them of his own miracles and speaks
thus with an eye to those who were still approved. For many holy men were
there who had "set themselves to minister unto the saints," and had become
"the first fruits of Achaia;" as he declareth (ch. xvi. 15.) towards the
[5.] In any case, although the praises be not very close to the truth,
still however they are inserted by way of precaution, (oixonomixpj) preparing
the way beforehand for his discourse. For whoever at the very outset speaks
things unpleasant, excludes his words from a hearing among the weaker:
since if the hearers be his equals in degree they feel angry; if vastly
inferior they will be vexed. To avoid this, he begins with what seem to
be praises. I say, seem; for not even did this praise belong to them, but
to the grace of God. For that they had remission of sins, and were justified,
this was of the Gift from above. Wherefore also he dwells upon these points,
which shew the loving-kindness of God, in order that he may the more fully
purge out their malady.
[6.] "Waiting for the revelation (apoxalufin.) of our Lord Jesus
Christ." "Why make ye much ado," saith he, "why are ye troubled that
Christ is not come? Nay, he is come; and the Day. is henceforth at the
doors." And consider his wisdom; how withdrawing them from human considerations
he terrifies them by mention of the fearful judgment-seat, and thus implying
that not only the beginnings must be good, but the end also. For with all
these gifts, and with all else that is good, we must be mindful of that
Day: and there is need of many labors to be able to come unto the end.
"Revelation" is his word; implying that although He be not seen, yet He
is, and is present even now, and then shall appear. Therefore there is
need of patience: for to this end did ye receive the wonders, that ye may
[7.] Ver. 8. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may
be unreprovable." Here he seems to court them, but the saying is free
from all flattery; for he knows also how to press them home; as when he
saith, (1 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 18 and 1 Corinthians chapter 4,
verse 21) "Now some are puffed up as though I would not come to you:" and
again, "What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and
in the spirit of meekness?" And, (2 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 3) "Since
ye seek a proof I of Christ speaking in me." But he is also covertly accusing
them: for, to say, "He shall confirm," and the word "unreprovable" marks
them out as still wavering, and liable to reproof.
But do thou consider how he always fasteneth them as with nails to the
Name of Christ. And not any man nor teacher, but continually the Desired
One Himself is remembered by him: setting himself, as it were to arouse
those who were heavy-headed after some debauch. For no where in any other
Epistle doth the Name of Christ occur so continually. But here it is, many
times in a few verses; and by means of it he weaves together, one may say,
the whole of the proem. Look at it from the beginning. "Paul called [to
be] an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have been sanctified in Jesus
Christ, who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, grace [be] unto
you and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my
God for the grace which hath been given you by Jesus Christ, even as the
testimony of Christ hath been confirmed in you, waiting for the revelation
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall confirm you unreprovable in the day
of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye have been called
into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. And I beseech you
by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Seest thou the constant repetition
of the Name of Christ? From whence it is plain even to the most unobservant,
that not by chance nor unwittingly he doeth this, but in order that by
incessant application of that glorious Name he may foment() their inflammation,
and purge out the corruption of the disease.