Observe here, 1. The writer of this epistle described by his name, Paul; by his office, an apostle of Jesus Christ; with the manner how he obtained this office of an apostle, namely, by the will of God; it was not man, but God, that called him to the apostleship. It is of great concern and consequence both to ministers and people to be fully informed, and thoroughly satisfied, of that divine call which our spiritual guides have to come amongst them; that the ministers may be able to say, "We receive you as ambassadors from the Lord unto us." Paul, an apostle by the will of God.
Observe, 2. A person conjoined with St. Paul in the writing of this epistle, and he is also described two ways; by his name, Timothy; by his relation, our brother.
Where note, The great humility and condescension of St. Paul, that though far superior to Timothy in years, and more transcendent in office, and more eminent in grace, yet he doth not assume and arrogate all to himself, but makes another sit, as it were, upon the throne with him; so humble and condescending was this holy man to one so far inferior to him, both in office and grace.
Note also, The happy advantage of Timothy in being with St. Paul, and having the happy privilege of being instructed and directed by so great an apostle; happy was it for young Timothy that ever he came into old Paul's family.
Learn thence, That it is an happy advantage to such who in their younger years are dedicated to, and designed to be set apart for, the work of the ministry, to be under the inspection and care, the guidance and conduct, of those who are more aged, and better experienced than themselves: Paul an apostle, and Timothy our brother.
Observe, 2. The persons to whom this epistle is written and directed; To the church of God which is at Corinth. Corinth was a city famous for wealth and riches, but most infamous for lewdness and uncleanness: here was a temple dedicated to Venus, where were a thousand virgins set apart to be prostituted to the lusts of men; so that Korinthiadzein, to Corinthize, is as much as to be lascivious and unchaste; and after many of them were converted to Christianity, yet did the sin of uncleanness so much abound amongst them, that the apostle doth industriously set himself against it, and warns them of the sin and danger of it, in both his epistles wrote unto them.
However, as bad as Corinth was, God told Paul, Act_17:1 that he had much people in that city; and accordingly he spent a year and a half anmongst them, in preaching to them, in converting and confirming them.
Learn thence, That even amongst the most profane and unlikeliest people upon earth, God may, and sometimes doth, gather a church unto himself. See what monsters of men these Corinthians were, 1Ch_6:11 Whoremongers, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind; and he tells them, not only such persons, but tanta such things, were some of them: but now washed, &c.
O the sovereignty and wonderful efficacy of the grace of God, in cleansing souls more black than ever was Ethiopian's face! Though man cannot, yet God can, and sometimes does, cause figs to grow on thorns, and grapes on thistles.
Observe, 4. Our apostle's salutation of, and prayer for, this church at Corinth: Grace be to you, and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whence note, 1. The mercies and blessings prayed for: grace and peace; spiritual blessings.
Note, 2. The original cause and spring from whence those blessings flow, from God our Father, and from Jesus Christ; from the Father as the fontal cause, and from Christ as the procuring cause, the dispenser of these blessings. A good argument to prove the divinity of Christ: he that can dispense grace and peace, of and from himself, is God; but Christ doth this, therefore he is God: Grace be to you, and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ.