I. Exhortation to unity and rebuke of party spirit
10Now [But] I beseech [exhort] you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but [rather] that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind [
sentiment] and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which [who] are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in [into:
] the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized 15none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any [In order that no one] should say that I had baptized in [ye were baptized into] mine own name. 16And I baptized also the household of Stephanas; besides I know not whether I baptized any other. 17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
The connection may be understood thus: I thank my God for his work of grace among you, and in view of his faithfulness am confident that the work, Christ [or God’s] has begun, he will perfect. You, nevertheless, I exhort, that ye consider carefully what is required for the fulfilment of this work, and remove whatsoever shall hinder it.
1Co_1:10. The Exhortation.—I exhort you brethren.—A friendly, winning address, which, as an evidence of his fellowship in the faith and his equality with them in it, imparts to his exhortation the character of an entreaty. This is also implied, in the Greek
. “Paul often adds the term: brother, when he has an earnest word to utter.” (1Co_7:29; 1Co_10:1; 1Co_14:20). Meyer. The
: but, introduces the transition from his exhibition of the bright side of the church to the reproof of its dark side. It is as if he said: “For much in you I have to thank God, but there is much in you which I have to censure.” Neander.—By the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.—It is thus he strengthens his exhortation and presents a motive for compliance.—[“The name of Christ was the bond of union and the most holy thing by which they could be adjured.” Stanley.]. The force of it lay in this, that they all acknowledged Jesus Christ to be their Lord, and so professed themselves to belong to one and the same Master; and in this the obligation to unity was unmistakably indicated. Similar instances are found in Rom_15:30; Rom_12:1; 2Co_10:1.—The contents and aim of the exhortation are expressed in the several clauses which set forth the same leading thoughts in several relations [and they are introduced by
: in order that, which points not only to the import but also to the intent of the exhortation. See Winer, LIII. 6.]—That ye all speak the same thing.—By this he means: give expression to their inward accord and harmony of sentiment. It is precisely the opposite of the conduct mentioned in v. 12. They were with one voice to avow their allegiance to the one Lord, to the exclusion of all divisive party-watchwords. This is obvious from the following negative clause—that there be no divisions among you.—Inasmuch as he is not treating here of “dissentions in doctrine, but of divisions arising from adherence to different leaders, and from peculiar modes of apprehending and applying doctrine,” we are not to regard him as insisting upon “an exact uniformity of profession in the essential points of doctrine and life.” [The word used for divisions is
, lit.: schisms. These, “in their ecclesiastical sense, are unauthorized separations from the church. But those which existed at Corinth were not of the nature of hostile sects refusing communion with each other, but such as may exist in the bosom of the same church, consisting in alienation of feeling and party strifes.” Hodge.]—But rather that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.—The inward positive side implied in the previous negative one. [The original word for “joined together” is from
: to repair, to mend, to reunite and make perfect what has been broken. It were natural therefore to suppose an allusion here to the broken condition of the church which needed to be reunited and to translate the word as in the text literally. So Alf. and Hodge and Stanley, who says that “
was the acknowledged phrase in classical Greek for a reconciler of factions.” Calvin takes the word to signify: “fitly joined together, just as the members of the human body are joined in most admirable symmetry,” thus furnishing a picture of what the church should be. Kling however, following the Vulgate and Theoph. prefers the derivative sense of: perfect, and makes it=
.] That wherein they were to be united is given in two words
. The former “embraces that peculiar mode of thought and of viewing life which lays the foundations for the moral judgment and moral self-determination. So in 1Ti_6:5; 2Ti_3:8. Comp. Beck, Bibl. Seelenlehre, § 51; Delitzsch, Bibl. Psychol. § 139. The latter is power of knowledge, understanding, spirit, also sense, disposition, as well as insight obtained, view, opinion, conviction, also resolve, design, aim; view expressed=counsel, proposition. The two must here be distinguished. Only it cannot be readily decided which denotes the side of thought and judgment, and which that of will and disposition. Since, however,
is used elsewhere in this Epistle to signify view, and counsel (see 1Co_7:25; 1Co_7:40, also 2Co_8:10), perhaps it would be best to take it here also in a theoretic acceptation=view, conviction. [“In the New Testament it always means judgment and opinion. When the two words are used together, the former is most naturally understood of feeling, a sense in which the word mind is often used by us.” Hodge. “Disposition and opinion.” Alford].
1Co_1:11. Explains the occasion and motives for the exhortation, while the disgrace of it is softened by the fraternal address.—For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them of Chloe.—Sad reports had reached him, and he names his authorities in advance. What relation these persons sustained to Chloe, whether children, or servants, or other members of her household, cannot be ascertained from the text, “Paul names his informants without reserve in order to obviate suspicion.” Besser. “Concealment and mystery sow distrust and destroy love.” Burger. This Chloe must at all events have been a woman well known to the Corinthian brethren, either as a resident at Corinth, so that her people had come from thence to Corinth, or as a resident at Ephesus, so that these persons had learned of the state of things at Corinth during a visit there.—that there are contentions among you.—
; discords, wranglings, which would inevitably lead to separations, to a rent in the Church, if not arrested in season. [Here he sets forth in severer phrase what he had more gently intimated in the word “schisms” above, and shows its evil and bitter character.]
1Co_1:12. Fuller explanation. Now this I mean.—
: this, as commonly, points to what follows (1Co_7:29; 1Co_15:50), not to what precedes. That every one of you saith: (i.e.) has one or other of the following speeches in his mouth. Alike use of
; every one, appears in 1Co_14:26. [Winer says, “There is no brachilogy here. In these four statements Paul intended to comprehend all the declarations current in the chapter regarding religious partisanship. Each adherent of the respective sections used one of the following expressions”]. “Saith boastfully.” Bengel. He here vividly sets before us the several partisans, as they step out side by side, or in opposing ranks, each announcing the name of the leader he followed. It is as if he saw or heard them thus arraying themselves “As they were wont to do at the school, so here they acted in the Church.” Besser.—I am of Paul,—(i.e.) I belong to him as my head or spiritual father. The Genitive of ownership or dependence. The order of mention is most readily explained by supposing it to correspond with that of the rise of the parties. According to Neander, Paul follows the order of particular relationship, since the Apollos-party was only a fraction of the Pauline. The idea of a climax (Bengel), Paul in his humiliation putting himself at the bottom, is superfluous and improbable. Altogether groundless, however, and without any indication in its favor, yea, directly contrary to 1Co_1:14, is the opinion of the old expositors, that Paul used these names at random by way of a cover to the real leaders whom he had in mind. See the statement made respecting these parties and their rise in § 2 of the Introduction. The Pauline party naturally stands first, since the Church depended on Paul as its founder, and that portion which clave to Paul land his ways, (after a fraction had defected to Apollos), must beregarded as the original party.—I of Apollos,—(a shortened form for Apollonius). He was just as little disposed to act the part of leader, as was Paul. This may be seen from the fact that notwithstanding the urgent solicitation of Paul, he positively declined to visit Corinth at that time. This was no doubt with a view to avoid giving any fresh fuel to the strife which had already sprung up. (Comp. 1Co_4:6; 1Co_16:12). Respecting him see Act_18:24 etc.; Act_19:1; also Osiander on our passage [and Smith, Bible Dict.]. That he was a humble man, one who did not pride himself upon his culture, one of the few “wise after the flesh,” who had been early called (1Co_1:26) and “had sanctified their science by faith in Christ, to whom they made it subservient,” is clear from his willingness to be instructed by those simple mechanics, Aquila and Priscilla. Far from wishing to outbid Paul for influence and popularity, he labored only to confirm believers by a cautious reference to the Prophecies of the Old Testament. We find him once more mentioned commendatorily in Tit_3:13. Highly probable is the suggestion, first made by Luther, and afterwards ably advocated by Bleek, that he was the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Osiander calls this Epistle a most noble monument, both of his genius, which harmoniously combined human culture and Divine illumination, and of his style of doctrine, which was directed mainly to the work of atonement, and to the illustration of the fulfilment of the Old Covenant in the New, &c.—I of Cephas,—(i. e.) Peter, without doubt. It was his Aramean name, found also at ix. 5; xv. 5; Gal. ii. 9. Whether the party following him adopted this name, because they derived it through Jewish emissaries out of Syria, or be cause it seemed to them, more sacred as coming from the mouth of our Lord (Joh_1:42), or because the Shibboleth of a vernacular word sounded more imposingly, we are not able to decide. It is more probable that the Jewish name was the more common one with Paul. Only once in Gal_2:7 ff, do we find him using the Greek name: Peter.—I of Christ.—As a supplement to what was said in the Introduction on this point, see Meyer in loco. We here give the main particulars. First, according to a fair exegesis it must be maintained that the parties were four in number. A like needless and inadmissible is the attempt to resolve them, either into two essentially identical pairs (as Baur does, who distinguishes between that “of Paul” and that “of Apollos” only in form, and takes that “of Christ” to be the same as that “of Peter,” which only assumed this cognomen because it deemed a genuine Apostleship dependent on personal connection with Christ, or which, as Beeker thinks, consisted of native Jewish converts connected with the Petrinists that had come in from abroad, but had Called themselves Christians because they had been converted by Paul and Apollos); or into two main parties: that of the Apostles and that of Christ, the three first adhering to Apostles or Apostolic teachers, and the fourth going back immediately to Christ (as Neander and others do); or into three parties, in such a way as either to set that “of Christ” as the only rightly disposed one, in contrast with the others as sectarian, see iii. 23, (as Schott and the Greek expositors); or to assign the designation “of Christ” to the three parties in.common who all professed themselves Christ’s, but who desired to have their participation in him regarded as dependent on their connection with this or that teacher (as Räbiger: “I belong indeed to Christ, but it is as a Pauliner and am nevertheless a true Christian”). But Calovïus hit the truth long ago, when he said “even those who called themselves Christians from Christ were guilty of schism, since they separated themselves from the rest in a schismatic spirit and insisted on appropriating this term to themselves alone.” To this we may add what Flacius writes, “Under the pretext of Christ’s name they scorned all teachers and would have, nothing to do with them, pretending that they were wise enough for themselves without the aid of other instructors. For there was sin on both sides, either by exalting Church teachers too much or by appreciating them too little.” As soon as the knowledge of Christ came to be established in the Church, there may have been persons, who, in opposition to an over-estimate of all human instrumentalities, held to an independent Christianity, and so were easily brought to look away from these instrumentalities altogether, and with utter contempt of their worth and authority, fell into the way of asserting their exclusive dependence upon Christ, and so, priding themselves on this point, got to regard themselves as his sole genuine disciples, and tried to pass for such. To seek for this class exclusively among Jewish or among Gentile converts (“the philosophically educated to whom Christ appeared like a second perhaps higher Socrates, and who, despising the Apostolic form of the doctrine of Christ, sought to refine it by philosophical criticism.” Neander) is altogether unwarranted. The few philosophically educated Gentile converts could easily have satisfied themselves with the tendencies of the Apollos party. Nor are we justified in tracing to these the beginning of Gnosticism or Ebionitism, or in charging upon them a looseness in morals and a denial of the doctrine of the resurrection. According to Roman Catholic expositors, the party “of Apollos” were in danger of falling into a false spiritualism which volatilized the positive contents of Christianity; the party “of Peter” contained the germs of the later sect of Ebionites; and the type of the party of Christ was an ecclesiastical liberalism.
1Co_1:13. The reproof, in the form of questions which expose the absurdity of the partisanship just charged.—Is Christ divided ?—There is a doubt whether this should be read as a question or as a simple declaration. Meyer and others [likewise Stanley following Lachmann] take it as an emphatic assertion of the lamentable results of the aforenamed divisions: “Christ has been divided! torn up into various sect-Christs instead of being, entirely and undividedly the Christ common to all!” Since each of the exclusive parties claimed to have him, their conduct was virtually a rending of Christ. But ever since Chrysostom, commentators have generally regarded the words as a question. This would be more conformable to the analogy of the other clauses, and be just as forcible. Besides the subsequent question is of different import, so that it is not to be expected he would connect the second to the first with an or, as in the case of the third which is but a correlate to the second. This is what Bengel means. “The cross and baptism claim us for Christ. The correlatives are, redemption and self consecration.”—To the sound consciousness of a true Christian who knows but one Christ, the bond of universal fellowship, such partisanship is a contradiction. It involves a division of Christ against himself, since the parties, who exclude each other, all think to have him. Hence the question, “Is Christ divided? Is there a Pauline, an Apollonian, a Petrine, a Christian Christ?” Thus we apply the question to all parties alike; and not, merely to the fourth, as Baur does, who takes Paul to imply, that the name of Christ employed as a party designation was the most significant evidence, that they by their sectarianism, had rent Christ in pieces. Every party, he says, must still, as a Christian party, have thought to have Christ. If then there were but one proper Christ-party, it followed that the one Christ, in whom all distinctions ought to vanish, was rent asunder (Tüb. Zeitschrift, 1836, s. 4). It is clear in this case that the clause is not to be taken as a question. Under the term Christ, we are to undertsand not the Church as a mystical body of Christ (Estius, Olsh.), still less Christian doctrine, the Gospel (Grotius), but the Person of Christ, as the Head of the Church, in opposition to all party leaders. This is evident from the following questions, in which the exclusive right of Christ as Lord over His redeemed ones, and their obligations to Him as having been baptized into His name, are set forth: Was Paul crucified for you?—Lit: Paul surely was not crucified for you; was He? [The question is introduced here with the negative Particle
. Meyer adduces this as an argument to prove that the previous clause which is without
, is consequently to be read differently, as a declaration. To this Alford replies, “that the
introduces a new form of interrogation respecting a new person, viz. Paul; and that it was natural for solemnity’s sake to express the other question differently. In
ìåìÝñéóôáé ὁ ÷ñéóôüò
the majesty of Christ’s person is set against the unworthy insinuation conveyed in: “is divided”—in
ìÞ Ðáῦëïò ἐóôáõñþèç ὑðåñ ὑìῶí
, the meanness of the individual Paul is set against the triumph of Divine love implied in “was crucified for you.”] With the strictest impartiality, which here appears as the truest prudence, he rebukes first the partisan attachment to his own person, and makes those, who set him up as their leader, to feel his painful disapproval of their course. Such persons while boasting of their connection with him, were as assigning to him a position which belonged to Christ alone. They were acting on the supposition that he had suffered for them, an act which was the ground of their belonging to Christ, who through His sacrifice for sinners had acquired the right to their undivided devotion (comp. 2Co_5:15). [If (as Socinianism alleges) the sufferings of Christ were merely exemplary, there would be no such absurdity or simplicity, as St. Paul here assumes to exist, in comparing the sufferings of Christ to the sufferings of Paul” Words]. To this ground of claim there corresponds the question expressing and confirming their personal objection.—Or were ye baptized unto the name of Paul?—That is: was the name of Paul called over you at your baptism, as though he were the person to whom you pledged yourselves, and in whom ye believed and whom you professed as your Lord and Saviour? This is certainly the sense, although “the baptism into the name” may be regarded primarily as submersion into it as a person’s life element; so also as an introduction into fellowship with the party named as into an essential ground of salvation; or as immersion in reference to him, so that the obligation to profess faith in that which is expressed by the name is indicated (comp. on Mat_28:19). “The fact that Paul puts his name for all the rest proves how ingenuously he was opposed to all this party spirit, and how humbly he was anxious that Christ’s name should not be prejudiced through his own” Neander.
1Co_1:14-16. I thank God that I baptized none of you.—The Apostle recognizes as a thank worthy Providence that he had been kept, for the most part, from administering baptism, since he had thereby obviated all appearance of intention to bind the baptized to his own person, an appearance which certainly would have arisen had he here acted contrary to his usual custom elsewhere;—but Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, converted through Paul (Act_18:8),—and Gaius, certainly not the one of Derby (Act_20:4), but the same as that Gaius mentioned in Rom_15:23, a man of distinction, who entertained Paul, and with him the Church, either by furnishing his house as a place for meeting, or by receiving there such of the Church as wished to visit Paul—in order that no one should say—By this is expressed not the design of the Apostle, but the Divine intention in ordering his conduct in such a way.—While writing he recalls another exception, “perhaps from information derived from Stephanas himself, who was with him.”—And I baptized also the household of Stephanas—the family whom in 1Co_16:15 he calls “the first fruits of Achaia.”
includes also the domestics. [“Under the old dispensation, whenever any one professed Judaism, or entered into covenant with God, as one of his people, all his children and dependents, that is, all to whom he stood in a representative relation, were included in the covenant, and received its sign. In like manner, under the Gospel, when a Jew or Gentile joined the Church, his children received baptism and were recognized as members of the Christian Church” Hodge]. In order to avoid all blame for want of frankness he adds, besides I know not whether I baptized any other.—[“Inspiration, although it rendered him infallible, did not make him omniscient”]. It will be seen that he baptized only the first converts, afterwards, when these multiplied, he transferred the business to helpers, possibly also to deacons, to whose functions this in course belonged. In like manner Peter (Act_10:48). On this point he next proceeds to explain himself more fully by stating the veiw he took of his office.
1Co_1:17.aFor Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel.—Sent:
a plain allusion here to his office as
The appointment to this office did indeed include the work of baptizing (Mat_28:19). But in Mar_16:15, as well as in Luk_24:47; Act_1:8, and Joh_15:27, the work of preaching, of bearing testimony concerning Christ, appears to be the chief calling of an Apostle. And so it was in the calling of Paul (Act_9:15; Act_22:15; Act_26:16-18 comp. Gal_1:16). The preaching which awakened faith, was the proper entrance upon the work of Christ, who indeed never Himself baptized but only through His disciples (Joh_4:2). [“The main thing in the commission was to make disciples. To recognize them as such by baptism, was subordinate, though commanded, and not to be safely neglected. In the Apostolic form of religion, truth stood immeasurably above external rites. The Apostasy of the Church consisted in making rites more important than the truth Hodge].—Whether we are to assume here, as Calvin does, an ironical hit intended at the opposers, who employed the easier function to gain adherents, may be doubted. The supposition that they did so, is, at least, uncertain. The word
: to evangelize, in classic usage, and commonly in the Old Testament, like
employed to denote the announcement of all sorts of good news, is in the New Testament used solely in regard to “the good tidings,” by way of preëminence, the proclamation of salvation in Christ, and the fulfilment of the promises and the perfect revelation of divine grace before prepared (Isa_40:9; Isa_52:7; Isa_60:6; Isa_61:1, &c.—The contrast in “not,”—“but,” is not to be weakened into a comparative, “not so much as.” Baptism was not the object of his commission, although it was allowed to him. (Act_9:15; Act_9:20; Act_22:15; Act_26:16-18.)
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The Church is essentially one, as a body subject to Jesus Christ, the one perfect Lord and Head, who has an absolute right over all its members by virtue of His complete self-offering in their behalf, and to whom they are absolutely bound by being taken up into fellowship with Him, as the element of their life and the sole ground of their salvation. It can properly be divided no more than Christ Himself can be divided. [This unity consists of onenesss of sentiment, of conviction and of speech. That is, there must be an inward and an outward unity, an invisible and a visible unity; the former manifesting itself in the later, the latter sustained by the former. The pretence of the one is not sufficient without the other.—See this. whole matter exhaustively discussed by Baxter on “Catholic Unity,” “Reasons for Christian Unity and Concord,” “The Catholic Church Described,” Practical Works, vol. 4.; Litton On the Church of Christ,” B. 2. part 2. chap. 1; John M. Mason, Complete Works, vol. 2. p. 265; Emmon’s Works, vol. 2. sec. 13].
2. All sectarianism arising out of an inordinate preference for favorite teachers is a sin. It raptures this unity by limiting Christ’s right over us and our subjection to Him. It concedes to a mere man, to his peculiar opinions and ways and doctrines, something of that power and importance which belong to Christ alone; inasmuch as it binds men, and would fain bind all, to these objects, as if on these our whole salvation depended; causes them to move in these as the very element of their existence; draws to these their entire devotion, and so makes a human personality with all its individuality and singularity an essential mediator of spiritual life, which comes alone by truth and grace.
3. The proper view of Christ and of the instrumentalities He employs in their relation to Him is the true antidote against schismatical tendencies. Christ is the fountain-head of truth and grace, in whom all fulness dwells, and from whom all believers, whether teachers or taught, derive their spiritual excellencies; Where this truth is recognized, there there can be no inordinate devotion to human agencies. These agencies can be regarded only as the various imperfect rays of the One Light, which, so far from detaining us by themselves, should conduct us up to the source from whence they stream. Yet just as little does it become us to despise these human agencies, and withdraw into our own particular knowledge and experience of Christ, as though we were sufficient unto ourselves. Rather it must appear to us that, the more superabundant and glorious the fulness of Christ is, the greater must be the necessity for numerous and manifold vessels to take it up, from various sides and according to their several capacities, and to present it to others in ways suited to their manifold necessities, so that persons shall be most easily led, one through one and another through another, into a participation of the riches of Christ, according to their several aptitudes and needs.
But the more this is done in truth the more open does a person gradually become to other aspects of Christ and to other organs of His, And this will lead us, on the one hand, to a just estimate of these organs themselves, and, on the other hand, to modesty of deportment and to a loving regard for such as were first led to Christ and edified by this or that teacher. And while the interested adherence to one particular aspect of Christ leads to a division of the one Christ in our feelings, and then to a rupture of the Church into parties, which deny to each other the full and proper enjoyment of salvation, and shut themselves up against each other in those aspects of the life and character of Christ which have been exhibited to them through the several organs they have chosen, the procedure we have been advocating conducts at last to a perfect unity of conviction and sentiment, which, precluding all division, makes itself known in unity of speech, wherein the manifold voices confessing the one all-embracing, all-suffering Christ, blend in harmony. This is a catholicity which is to be found as little in Romish Christianity as in the coagulations of a Lutheran or Calvanistic specialty.
4. [Sectarianism; its nature and origin; a historical survey of it in its existing aspects]. “The tendency to sectarianism lies in human selfishness and stubbornness of opinion, in conceit and egoism. Sectarianism does not consist in holding fast to our profession for conscience sake, but in using our own form of doctrine or religion as a means for exalting ourselves and for ruling over or opposing others. And this is not confined to leaders alone. That sectary who does not feel strong or courageous enough to take the lead, will at least join himself with ambitious devotion to some other person better able to do it, in whose honor and glory he may share. But Christianity refuses to be sectarian at all. How then, it may be asked, do existing divisions comport with it? They arise, under the Providence of God, out of the diversity of human opinions. Only, these denominations ought not to hate one another, but they ought to plant themselves on the one common ground, Christ, and recognize each other there.—The one Christ can have but one doctrine and one church. But under the hands of men Christianity disintegrates into parties. From this arises a necessity for our choosing that party which seems to us the purest and most Christian. Parties were unavoidable. God suffered them that they might become instrumental in exciting Christians to greater zeal, to mutual purification, and to the exercise of kindly forbearance towards each other. Toleration is a word which should not be spoken among Christians; for toleration is a very proud, intolerant word.” Heubner.
Our confessions (Greek, Romish, Evangelical, with all their divisions) are, on the one hand, historical necessities; they resulted from the gradual working out of Christian ideas or principles, such as the Theocratic, the Hierarchical, and the Protestant, which is the principle of freedom, subject only to the word of God. On the other hand, they result from the disturbance occasioned by sin in the development of Christian truth and life. This is true even in respect to their national forms: the Greek, the Roman, the German, and the mixture of the latter with Roman and other elements. Hence the petrifaction of the first principle (theocratic) in the Oriental Greek Church; of the second (the hierarchical) in the Occidental Romish Church, so that the third (the Protestant) came to an independent form in the sphere of German life, diiferencing itself only according to national peculiarities. In one place there was a rigid adherence to the letter, accompanied with great intellectual acumen and force of will; and in another larger freedom prevailed, associated with greater breadth and depth of spirit and sentiment. But on the part of both (the Reformed and the Lutheran) communions, the influence of the two first principles was again felt, and the result was a stiffening of life and form, which showed itself in the former case in an ever-increasingly superficial adherence to the letter of the Bible, and in the latter case in an external induration of a form of doctrine,—which was originally free, and which asserted the freedom of the religious personality (justification by faith),—until at last in both spheres a false freedom usurped the throne, a subjectivity emancipated from all obligations to the word of God; in other words, rationalism. And now the only proper return to unity can be effected by attaining unto the knowledge of the truth of the several principles above mentioned, and by fusing down in our living consciousness the stiff forms of the past, and with these the truth of all that has been transmitted to us, through a deeper penetration into the word, or rather into Christ Himself, who is the kernel and substance of the written Word; and through a more humble, self-denying appropriation of Him in our lives. Such a return is at the same time an advance towards the true union, which the spirit of God will create by the harmonious combination of diversities.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. The Apostolic exhortation to unity, addressed to a church torn by factions, and suited to Christendom at the present time. 1. Its matter: a. To speak the same thing, unity of confession; b. on the ground of unity of sentiment and views. 2. The motive of such unity: the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; a due regard for the interest all have in Him according as He has given Himself to be known, experienced and enjoyed by them (1Co_1:10-13).
2. The wrong of parties in Christendom;a, so far as they subordinate Christ to human leaders or put these literally into His place; b. so far as they are servilely dependent on such leaders and take pride in them; c. so far as they exclude, scorn and hate each other: d. so far as they boast of their partisanship in vain self sufficiency, and seek to glorify themselves and their leaders in it (1Co_1:12-13).
3. The proper conduct of a teacher towards such as are devoted to him:a. that he perpetually points them away from himself to Christ (1Co_1:10), while he never forgets that he and they alike are indebted to Christ for everything (1Co_1:13); b. that he ever keeps in view the main object of his calling, to preach Christ (1Co_1:17).
1Co_1:13-14. As the Corinthians made it a matter of great moment by whom they were baptized, instead of considering into whom they had been baptized, so now multitudes put a greater stress upon the party by whom they are confirmed, that into what and to what they are confirmed (Bibl. Wörterb., II. § 79.)
Starke: 1Co_1:10. The noblest virtue which can befit Christians is brotherly union through the bond of love (Col_3:14), and this because of Christ’s command (Joh_13:34) and of his prayer (Joh_17:11), after the example of the Apostolic Church (Act_4:32) and the manifold exhortations of the Apostles (Php_2:1; 1Pe_3:8; Eph_4:2). Lange:—The unity of the church is certainly much insisted on and very important. Yet we must take care not to prescribe one for another a form or a name according to our own opinions, especially in incidentals which do not belong to the fundamentals of faith. In these respects there must be variety of judgment. It is enough if we agree in all matters essential to salvation. Hed. (1Co_1:11):—What a shame! Rending asunder the body of Christ! Who perpetrates the mischief? Not the peacemakers, not the confessors and friends of Christ, but the zealots without knowledge; those who love profane and vain babblings; impure spirits who preach Christ of contention. O man, study the precept which inculcates the restoration of the erring in a spirit of meekness (Gal_6:1) and exercise thyself therein. 1Co_1:11.—Teachers should not believe every report, but should ascertain facts before they reprove. To give information at proper quarters from a desire to effect reform is no sin; only let care be taken not to exaggerate. 1Co_1:12.—Honor is due to ministers, but they must not be served as lords. To call oneself Lutheran by way of distinction from the Papists or those belonging to other denominations, without adhering to Luther as authority, is not improper; but to do this in a sectarian spirit is just as wrong as it was for the Corinthians to say, “I am of Paul.” 1Co_1:13.—The death of Christ is alone meritorious; no saint can merit anything for himself, much less have his merits imputed to others. 1Co_1:14-15.—The care of God’s Providence over us can best be recognized in the issues of events, which is then to be acknowledged with reverence and gratitude even in the smallest particulars.
1Co_1:10. Burger: “Speak the same thing;” unnecessary, capricious deviation from the established forms of doctrine is a violation of the spirit of unity and love.
[“There are many sore divisions at this day in the world among and between the professors of the Christian religion, both about the doctrine and worship of the Gospel, as also the discipline thereof. That these divisions are evil in themselves and the cause of great evils, hinderances of the Gospel, and all the effects thereof in the world, is acknowledged by all; and it is doubtless a thing to be greatly lamented that the generality of those who are called Christians are departed from the great rule of ‘keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.’ He who doth not pray always, who is not ready with his utmost endeavor to remedy this evil, to remove this great obstruction of the benefit of the Gospel is scarce worthy the name of a Christian.” John Owen.]
[1Co_1:13. Calvin: “Paul crucified for you!”—This passage militates against the wicked contrivance of Papists by which they attempt to bolster up their system of indulgences. For it is from the blood of Christ and the martyrs that they make up that imaginary treasure of the church which they pretend is dealt out by means of indulgences. Here, however, Paul in strong terms denies that any one but Christ has been crucified for us. The martyrs, it is true, died for our benefit, but (as Leo observes) it was to furnish an example of perseverance, not to procure for us gifts of righteousness.”]
1Co_1:14-17. [If the doctrine of baptismal regeneration be correct, Paul was instrumental in saving but few souls. Certainly the commission of modern Romish missionary seems to read the reverse of St. Paul’s. He is sent to baptize, not to preach the Gospel.]
: but, introduces a contrast to the thankful assurance just expressed.”—Alf.]
; “obsecro—a mixture of entreaty and command.”—Stanley.]
: but rather.—Hartung, Parlikellcher, 1:171.]
some MSS. B. D.* have
is in A. C. D.***E. F. G. L. and also in Cod. Sin.”—Words.]
úíá ìÞ ôéò åἴðῃ
carries here a telic force.]
, which is to he accounted for from its occurring in the next verse, Lachmann and Tischendorf [and Alford and Wordsworth] in accordance with the best authorities read
Leo the great ad Palæstinos, Ep. 31. See the passage cited in full, Calvin’s Inst. (Lib. 3. cap. 5. §10.