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1 Corinthians 1


 1 Paul (1) called to be an (2) Apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and our brother (3) Sosthenes,


(1) The inscription of the Epistle, wherein he chiefly goeth about to procure the good will of the Corinthians towards him, yet notwithstanding so, that always he letteth them to wit, that he is the servant of God, and not of men.
(2) If he be an Apostle, then he must be heard, although he sometimes reprehends them sharply, seeing he hath not his own cause in hand, but is a messenger that bringeth the commandments of Christ.
(3) He joineth Sosthenes with himself, that this doctrine might be confirmed by two witnesses.


 2  (4) Unto the Church of God, which is at Corinth, to them that are (*) (5) (♠) sanctified in (a) Christ Jesus, (♣) (♥) Saints by (b) calling, (♦) with all that (c) call on the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both their Lord, and ours:


(4) It is a Church of God, although it hath great faults in it, so that it obey them which admonish it.

(*) Acts 15:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:7 .
(5) A true definition of the Church, which is one.

(♠) Whom God hath separate from the rest of the world, purified, and given to his Son, that he might be in them, and they in him.
(a) The Father sanctifieth us, that is to say, separateth us from the wicked, in giving us to his Son, that he may be in us, and we in him.

(♣) Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:22; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 2:1 .

(♥) Made holy by the free mercy and calling of God.
(b) Whom God of his gracious goodness and mere love hath separated for himself, or whom God hath called to holiness; the first of these two expositions sheweth from whence our sanctification cometh, and the second sheweth to what end it tendeth.

(♦) 2 Timothy 2:23 .
(c) He is said properly to call on God, who crieth unto the Lord when he is in danger, and craveth help at his hands; and by the figure of Synecdoche it is taken for all the service of God; and therefore to call upon Christ's Name, is to acknowledge and take him for very God.


 3  (6) Grace be with you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


(6) The foundation and the life of the Church, is Christ Jesus given of the Father.


 4  (7) I thank my God always on your behalf for the (*) grace of God, which is given you in Jesus Christ,


(7) Going about to condemn many vices, he beginneth with a true commendation of their virtues, lest he might seem after to descend to chiding being moved with malice or envy; yet so, that he referreth all to God as the author of them, and that in Christ. That the Corinthians might be more ashamed to profane and abuse the holy gifts of God.

(*) For all the benefits which ye have received by the Gospel.


 5  (*) That in all things ye are made rich (♣) in him, (8) in (d) (♠) all kind of speech, and in all knowledge;


(*) Colossians 1:10; Colossians 2:7 .

(♣) As members of the same body which communicate with their head.

(8) He toucheth that by name, which they most abused.
(d) Seeing that whiles we live here, we know but in part and prophesy in part, this word (All) must be restrained to the present state of the faithful; but by speech he meaneth not a vain kind of babbling, but the gift of holy eloquence, which the Corinthians abused.

(♠) He commendeth those gifts in them, whose abuse after he doeth reprove, as eloquence, philosophy, and their knowledge of Godís word.


 6  (9) As the testimony of Jesus Christ hath been (e) confirmed in you;


(9) He sheweth that the true use of these gifts consisteth herein that the mighty power of Christ might thereby be set forth in them, that hereafter it might evidently appear how wickedly they abused them to glory and ambition.
(e) By those excellent gifts of the holy Ghost.


 7 So that ye are not destitute of any gift; (*) (10) waiting for the (f) appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ;


(*) Titus 2:11; Philippians 3:20 .

(10) He saith by the way, that there is no cause why they should please themselves so much in those gifts which they had received, seeing that those were nothing in comparison of them which are to be looked for.
(f) He speaketh of the last coming of Christ.


 8  (*) (11) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be (g) (♣) blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.


(*) 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23 .

(11) He testifieth that he hopeth well of them hereafter, that they may more patiently abide his reprehension afterward. And yet together therewithal sheweth, that as well the beginning as the accomplishing of our salvation is only the work of God.
(g) He calleth them blameless, not whom man never found fault with, but with whom no man can justly find fault, that is to say, them which are in Christ Jesus, in whom there is no condemnation. See Luke 1:6 .

(♣) For there is no condemnation to them that are grafted in Christ Jesus.


 9  (*) God is (h) faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.


(*) 1 Thessalonians 5:24 .

(h) True and constant, who doth not only call us, but giveth us the gift of perseverance also.


 10  (12) Now I beseech you, brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (*) that (13) ye all (♣) speak one thing, and that there be no dissensions among you; but be ye (i) knit together in one mind, and in one judgment.


(12) Having made an end of the preface, he cometh to the matter itself, beginning with a most grave obtestation, as though they should hear Christ himself speaking and not Paul.

(*) Romans 15:5; Philippians 3:16 .
(13) The first part of this Epistle, wherein his purpose is to call back the Corinthians to brotherly concord, and to take away all occasion of discord. So then this first part concerneth the taking away of schisms. Now a schism is when men which otherwise agree and consent together in doctrine, do yet separate themselves one from another.

(♣) Disagreeing in words engendereth dissention of mind, whereof proceedeth repugnancy of judgment, which is the mother of schism and heresy.
(i) Knit together, as a body that consisteth of all his parts fitly knit together.


 11  (14) For it hath been declared unto me, my brethren, of you by them that are of the house of (*) Chloe, that there are contentions among you.


(14) He beginneth his reprehension and chiding by taking away of an objection; for that he understood by good witnesses, that there were many factions among them. And therewithal he openeth the cause of dissentions, because that some did hang on one doctor, some on another, and some were so addicted to themselves, that they neglected all doctors and teachers, calling themselves the disciples of Christ only, shutting forth their teachers.

(*) Which was a virtuous woman and zealous of Godís glory and sought the quietness of the Church.


 12 Now (k) this I say, that every one of you saith, I am Paulís, and I am (*) Apollosí, and I am Cephasí, and I am Christís.


(k) The matter I would say to you, is this.

(*) Acts 18:24 .


 13  (15) Is Christ divided? Was (16) Paul crucified for you? Either were ye (17) baptized (*) into the name of Paul?


(15) The first reason why schisms ought to be eschewed, because Christ seemeth by that means, to be divided and torn in pieces, who cannot be the head of two divers and disagreeing bodies, being himself one.
(16) Another reason: Because they cannot without great injury to God so hang of men as of Christ, which thing no doubt they do, which allow whatsoever some man speaketh, even for his persons sakes, as these men allowed one selfsame Gospel being uttered of one man, and did loathe it being uttered of another man. So that these factions were called by the names of their teachers. Now Paul setteth down his own name not only to grieve no man, but also to sheweth it he pleadeth not his own cause.
(17) The third reason taken of the form and end of Baptism, wherein we make a promise to Christ, calling on also the Name of the Father and the holy Ghost. Therefore although a man do not fall from the doctrine of Christ, yet if he hang upon some certain teachers, and despise others, he forsaketh Christ; for if he hold Christ his only master, he would hear him, teaching by whomsoever.

(*) Read the annotation, Acts 3:16 .


 14  (18) I thank God, that I baptized none of you, but (*) Crispus, and (♣) Gaius,


(18) He protesteth that he speaketh so much the more boldly of these things, because that through God's providence he is void of all suspicion of challenging disciples unto himself, and taking them from others. Whereby we may understand that not the scholars only, but the teachers also are here reprehended, which gathered themselves flocks apart.

(*) Acts 18:8 .

(♣) This Gaius was Paulís host, in whose house also the Church was at Corinth, Romans 16:23; there was yet another so called, which was of Derbe and followed Paul, Acts 20:4 .


 15 Lest any should say, that I had baptized into mine own name.


 16 I baptized also the household of Stephanas; furthermore know I not, whether I baptized any other.


 17  (19) For Christ sent me not to (♣) baptize, but to preach the Gospel, (20) not with (*) (l) (♠) wisdom of words, (♦) lest the (21) cross of Christ should be made of none effect.


(19) The taking away of an objection; that he gave not himself to baptize many amongst them; not for the contempt of Baptism, but because he was chiefly occupied in delivering the doctrine, and committed them that received his doctrine to others to be baptized, whereof he had store. And so he declared sufficiently how far he was from all ambition; whereas on the other side they whom he reprehendeth, as though they gathered disciples unto themselves and not unto Christ, bragged most ambitiously of numbers, which they had baptized.

(♣) That is, chiefly and peculiarly.
(20) Now he turneth himself to the doctors themselves, which pleased themselves in brave and ambitious eloquence, to the end that they might draw more disciples after them. He confesseth plainly that he was unlike unto them, opposing gravely as it became an Apostle, his example against their perverse judgments; So that this is another place of this Epistle, touching the observing of a godly simplicity, both in words and sentence in teaching of the Gospel.

(*) 1 Corinthians 2:19; Galatians 5:4; 2 Peter 1:16 .
(l) With eloquence; which Paul casteth off from him not only, as not necessary, but also as contrary to the office of his Apostleship; and yet had Paul his kind of eloquence, but it was heavenly, not of man, and void of painted words.

(♠) As rhetoric or art oratory.

(♦) When men should attribute that unto eloquence, which only belonged to the power of God.
(21) The reason why he used not the pomp of words, and painted speech, because it was God's will to bring the world to his obedience by that way, whereby the most idiots amongst men might understand, that this work was done of God himself without the art of man. Therefore as salvation is set forth unto us in the Gospel by the cross of Christ, than which nothing is more contemptible, and more far from life, so God would have the manner of the preaching of the cross most different from those means, with which men do use to draw and entice others, either to hear or believe; therefore it pleased him by a certain kind of most wise folly, to triumph over the most foolish wisdom of the world, as he had said before by Isaiah, that he would. And hereby we may gather, that both those doctors which were puffed up with ambitious eloquence, and also their hearers strayed far away from the end and mark of their vocation.


 18 For that (m) preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us, which are saved, it is the (*) (n) power of God.


(m) The preaching of Christ crucified, or the kind of speech which we use.

(*) Romans 1:16 .
(n) It is that wherein he declareth his marvelous power in saving his elect, which would not so evidently appear, if it hanged upon any help of man, for so man might attribute that to himself, which is proper only to the cross of Christ.


 19  (22) For it is written, (*) I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will cast away the understanding of the prudent.


(22) The Apostle proveth that this ought not only not to seem strange, seeing that it was foretold so long before, but declareth further, that God in wont to punish the pride of the world in such sort, which so pleaseth itself in its own wisdom; and therefore that it is vain, yea a thing of nothing, and such as God rejecteth as unprofitable, which they so carefully labored for, and made so great account of.

(*) Isaiah 29:14 .


 20 Where is the wise? Where is the (o) (*) Scribe? Where is the (p) (♣) disputer of this world? Hath not God made the wisdom of this world foolishness?


(o) Where art thou, O thou learned fellow, and thou that spendest thy days in turning thy books?

(*) That is, the interpreter of the Law.
(p) Thou that spendest all thy time in seeking out the secret things of this world, and in expounding all hard questions, and thus triumpheth he against all the men of this world, for there was not one of them that could so much as dream upon this secret and hidden mystery.

(♣) He that is so subtil in discussing questions? And herein Paul reproacheth even the best learned, as though not one of them could perceive by his own wisdom this mystery of Christ revealed in the Gospel.


 21  (23) For seeing the (q) world by wisdom knew not God in the (r) wisdom of God, (24) it pleased God by the (s) foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.


(23) He sheweth that the pride of men was worthily punished of God, because they would not behold God, as meet was they should, in the most clear glass of the wisdom of the world, which is the workmanship of the world.
(q) By the world he meaneth all men which are not born anew, but remain as they were, when they were first born.
(r) In the workmanship of this world, which hath the marvelous wisdom of God engraved in it, so that every man may behold it.
(24) The goodness of God is wonderful, for while he goeth about to punish the pride of the world, he is very provident and careful, for the salvation of it, and teacheth men to become fools, that they may be wise to God.
(s) So calleth the preaching of the Gospel as the enemies supposed it; but in the mean season he taunteth them very sharply, who had rather charge God with folly, than acknowledge their own and crave pardon for it.


 22  (*) (25) Seeing also that the Jews require a sign, and the Grecians seek after wisdom. 


(*) Matthew 12:38 .

(25) A declaration of that which he said that the preaching of the Gospel, is foolish. It is foolish, saith he to them whom God had not endued with new light, that is to say, to all men, being considered in themselves; for the Jews require miracles, and the Grecians arguments, which they may comprehend by their wit and wisdom; and therefore they do not only not believe the Gospel, but also they mock at it. Notwithstanding in this foolish preaching, there is the great virtue and wisdom of God, but such as those only which are called, do perceive: God shewing most plainly, that even then when mad men think him most foolish, he is far wiser than they are, and that he surmounteth all their might and power, when he useth most vile and abject things, as it hath appeared in the fruit of the preaching of the Gospel.


 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews, even a stumblingblock, and unto the Grecians, foolishness;


 24 But unto them which are called, both of the Jews and Grecians, we preach Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God.


 25 For the (*) foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


(*) He speaketh in the person of the wicked, who contrary to their conscience rather attribute these things to God than acknowledge their own folly and weakness.


 26  (26) For brethren, you see your (t) calling, how that not many wise men (u) (*) after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.


(26) A confirmation taken of those things which came to pass at Corinth, where the Church especially consisted of the basest and common people, insomuch that the philosophers of Greece were driven to shame, when they say that they could do nothing with their wisdom and eloquence, in comparison of the Apostles, whom notwithstanding they called idiots and unlearned. And herewithal doeth he beat down their pride, for God did not prefer them before those noble and wise men because they should be proud, but that they might be constrained even whether they would or not, to rejoice in the Lord, by whose mercy, although they were the most abject of all, they had obtained in Christ, both this wisdom, and all things necessary to salvation.
(t) What way the Lord hath taken in calling you.
(u) After that kind of wisdom which men make account of, as though there were none else, who because they are carnal, know not spiritual wisdom.

(*) According as the world termeth wise men.


 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the mighty things,


 28 And vile things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, and things (*) which (x) are not, to bring to (y) nought things (♣) that are,


(*) Which are in manís judgment almost nothing, but taken for abjects and castaways.

(x) Which in man's judgment are almost nothing.
(y) To shew that they are vain and unprofitable, and nothing worth. Look at Romans 3:31 .

(♣) Esteemed and in reputation.


 29 That no (z) (*) flesh should rejoice in his presence.


(z) Flesh is oft as we see, taken for the whole man, and he useth this word flesh, very fitly, to set the weak and miserable condition of man and the majesty of God, one against the other.

(*) Thus he calleth man in contempt and to beat down his arrogancy.


 30 But ye are (a) of him in Christ Jesus, (27) who of God is made unto us (*) wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.


(a) Whom he cast down before, now he lifteth up, yea, higher than all men; yet so, that he sheweth them that all their worthiness is without themselves, that is, standeth in Christ, and that of God.
(27) He teacheth that especially and above all things, the Gospel ought not to be contemned, seeing it containeth the chiefest things that are to be desired, to wit, true wisdom, the true way to obtain righteousness, the true way to live honestly and godly, the true deliverance from all miseries and calamities.

(*) Jeremiah 23:5 .


 31 That, according as it is written, (*) (b) He that rejoiceth, (♣) let him rejoice in the Lord.


(*) Jeremiah 9:24; 2 Corinthians 10:17 .

(b) Let him yield all to God and give him thanks, and so by this place is man's free will beaten down, which the Papists so dream of.

(♣) That is, attribute all things to God with thanksgiving.





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