Statement of Faith | Tell a Friend about Us | Color Scheme:    
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Join Now!  |  Login
  Our Sponsors

• Looking for that lost cantata? Let US find it!

• Help change the hearts of people one book at a time! Click to find out how!

• Bible software for Believing Study: SwordSearcher

• Biblical Hebrew study & learning software: BMSoftware.com

 
  Study Resources

• Interlinear Bible

• Parallel Bible

• Daily Reading Plan

• Devotionals

• Commentaries

• Concordances

• Dictionaries

• Encyclopedias

• Lexicons

• History

• Sermon Essentials

• Audio Resources

• Religious Artwork

 
  SL Forums

• Apologetic Forum

• Christian Living

• Ministry Forum

• Evangelism Forum

• Passage Forum

• Help Forum

 
  Other Resources

• Advertise with SL

• FREE Resources

• Information

• Set Preferences

• Font Resources

• Contacting SL

 

 

Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament

Search This Resource
 
 
 
Navigator
PreviousNext
  
Chapter 2
 
 
 
  Printer friendly version
 
Additional Resources
 
 • Adam Clark Commentary
 • Barnes' New Testament
 • Darby's Synopsis
 • Gill's Exposition
 • Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
 • Matthew Henry Complete
 • Matthew Henry Concise
 • People's New Testament
 • Robertson's Word Pictures
 • Treasury of Scripture
 • Wesley's Explanatory Notes
 
Buy This Resource
 
CD-ROM$39.95
 Show me more …
 
1 Corinthians 1


 
Verse 1
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother.

The words "to be", added by the translators, are unnecessary and even cloud the meaning. Paul was stating what he was, not what he intended to be. As in most of his writings, Paul stressed his divine commission as an apostle, thus invoking the authority needed for dealing with the errors prevalent in Corinth.

Sosthenes ...
Many identify this brother with the one mentioned in Acts 18:17, but it is not certain. Apparently, he was the amanuensis by whose hand the letter was written, Paul himself inscribing only the salutation and lovingly including his helper. The emphatic first person singular pronoun in 1 Cor. 1:4 denies that Sosthenes had anything to do with the content of the epistle.


 
Verse 2
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours.

The church of God ...
The church did not belong to the Corinthians but to God, unto whom they were set apart (sanctified) to serve God by reason of the fact that they were "in Christ."

In Christ ...
denotes the status of all Christians, a relationship brought about through an obedient faith when they were baptized "into" him (Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13; and Romans 6:3). The epic importance of this phrase appears in the fact that it is used no less than 169 times in Paul's epistles. F1

Called to be saints ...
Again, "to be" is an unnecessary additive to the text. The Corinthian Christians were not merely candidates for sainthood but were in fact already entitled to this designation by virtue of their being in the spiritual body of Christ, "in him," and therefore possessing a complete identity with the Saviour.

With all that call upon the name ...
makes this epistle applicable to the saints of all ages in every place and circumstance.

Lord Jesus Christ ...
This use of the compound name JESUS CHRIST by Paul, and by the whole church, barely a quarter of a century after the crucifixion of Christ in A.D. 30 declares the historical accuracy of John's Gospel, which recorded the first usage of it by the Saviour himself in the great prayer of John 17, making it certain that "in Christ Jesus" is equivalent to "in thy name" of John 17:3,11,26.

Lord ...
Likewise, this title of Jesus was not a development in the last first-century church but was firmly established by the time of Paul's writing here, having been used by Paul in his very first encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:5).


 
Verse 3
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace ...
This double salutation combined the common greetings of both Greeks and Hebrews, but with a remarkable extension of the meaning of both. [Chairein] was the Greek word for "greeting"; but Paul's word [Greek: charis] means "grace," calling attention to God's unspeakable gift to humanity. The Hebrew salutation, [shalom], meaning "peace," was united with an affirmation of its coming through Jesus Christ alone. F2

In Paul's style of mentioning himself first, then the addressee, and next a formal greeting, he followed the format employed by all educated persons of that era. "When Paul wrote letters he wrote them on the pattern which everybody used." F3 However, Paul always extended the form somewhat in order to adorn it with the distinctive sentiments and teachings of Christianity. In these three verses, it is plain that "The distinguishing feature is its stress upon the sanctity of the church." F4


 
Verse 4
I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus.

THE THANKSGIVING

I thank my God ...
This is one of the most amazing words in the New Testament. How incredible it appears on the surface that a church troubled by so many errors and outright sins, as in the case of the Corinthians, should have been the occasion of fervent thanksgiving by an apostle! The explanation lies in the key words IN CHRIST JESUS. In the Lord, the Corinthians were credited with the holy righteousness of Christ himself, even as the Christians of all ages; and the blood of Christ, operative in his spiritual body, was cleansing them from all sins CONTINUALLY (1 John 1:7).


 
Verse 5
That in everything ye were enriched in him, in all utterance and all knowledge.

Grosheide explained the last phrase of this verse as meaning that "Their richness in Christ consists especially in the ability to speak well about the revelation of God." F5

In everything ...
has the meaning of "in everything that really matters." The Corinthians were of the same status as all of them "that know the truth". Although every Christian is required to study and learn continually, there is a certain corpus of truth that he must know before he can become a Christian; and that body of teaching having been acquired, and the believer having acted upon it by being baptized into Christ, he is at that point "enriched in everything." This was the enrichment enjoyed by the Christians at Corinth. "All things" therefore has in view elementary knowledge and not in the superlative sense of knowing absolutely everything they needed to know, else there would have been no need for Paul to write to them. That Paul intended this verse as a compliment to the Corinthians upon their ability to speak in tongues is evidently a false interpretation.


 
Verses 6, 7
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Testimony of Christ was confirmed in you ...
is Paul's way of declaring that the Corinthians had believed and obeyed the gospel of Christ as it had been preached to them. This was the source of all the riches of grace which they had received through their being united with Christ and "in him."

Ye come behind in no gift ...
The reference here is to the entire galaxy of gifts, in the general sense, which attended establishment of churches of Christ under the apostolic preaching. As Grosheide said:

In early Christian times people must have seen all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the special as well as the permanent, as a unity. They were not differentiated, neither had the church as yet experienced that the special gifts were not going to remain. F6

Waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ ...
This is a reference to the Second Advent of Christ, indicating that the final redemption of people will take place then, and that the time of probation is essentially a period of waiting and expecting. There is no hint here that Paul or the Corinthians believed that the last Advent would come immediately, or in their lifetime.


 
Verse 8
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye be unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Who shall also confirm you unto the end ...
Some scholars refer back to God as the antecedent of "who" in this place; but Guthrie seems correct in seeing here an exhortation for the Corinthians not to trust in spiritual gifts which they had received, but that they should look to Christ who would be their strength even to the end.

To the end ...
is "a gentle reminder that the Corinthians had not yet `arrived' at perfection, despite their many gifts." F7 Full redemption for all people must await THAT DAY when the Lord shall come in his glory and all his holy angels with him (2 Timothy 4:8).


 
Verse 9
God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here is the ninth reference in as many verses to Jesus Christ.

God is faithful ...
The thought is that God, having begun a good work in the Corinthians, would not change his purpose of leading them into eternal life. Bad as conditions were with the church at Corinth, God's purpose would continue operative on their behalf.

Ye were called ...
"Called, that is, called to be a Christian, is in the New Testament always A CALL OBEYED." F8


 
Verse 10
Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

ON THE PROBLEM OF DISUNITY

I beseech you ...
Paul's tone in this is one of tender and affectionate appeal, delivered in the all-powerful name of Christ.

No divisions ...
All divisions are contrary to the will of Christ; and by reference to the perfect unity which is the ideal of Christian relationships, Paul highlighted the broken fellowship which had marred the body of Christ in Corinth.

Be perfected together ...
This comes from a versatile Greek word, meaning "to adjust the parts of an instrument, the setting of bones by a physician, or the mending of nets." F9 The general meaning would appear to be "put the broken unity back together"; and thus by the use of such an expression Paul states by implication the disunity of the church in Corinth. Paul at once stated the source of his information concerning such a disaster.


 
Verse 11
For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

The household of Chloe ...
It is generally assumed by commentators that Chloe was a respected member of the church, and Metz expressed confidence that she was "a woman of character and good standing"; F10 but it should be noted that it was not Chloe who gave Paul the information regarding Corinth, but her "household," a term usually applied in the New Testament to the familia (household slaves), as in the case of "the household of Aristobulus" (Romans 16:10). Guthrie pointed out that

Chloe was the popular name of the goddess Demeter, who had 56 temples in Greece, including one at Corinth; and CHLOE'S PEOPLE appear as disinterested critics outside the church parties mentioned. F11

This is the only mention of Chloe in the New Testament, making it impossible to solve the question of who she might have been. The principal point, perhaps, is this: Paul named the source of the evil report he had received, not relying at all upon mere gossip or rumor.


 
Verse 12
Now this I mean, that each of you saith. I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

Are there three sinful parties in view in this passage, or four? Despite the numerous opinions to the effect that "I of Christ" denotes a sinful division no less than the other slogans, this student cannot agree that there was ever anything wrong with a follower of the Lord claiming to be "of Christ." The glib assertions of many to the effect that the Christ party was a self-righteous little group insisting that they alone had the truth are as ridiculous as they are unsupported by any solid evidence whatever. Paul himself declared that he was "of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:7); and, indeed, the evidence is strong enough that he made such a declaration in this verse, the final "AND I OF CHRIST" being the words not of a faction at Corinth but of the blessed apostle himself. Guthrie admitted that "I belong to Christ could be Paul's own corrective comment." F12 William Barclay punctuated the verse thus: "I am of Paul; I am of Apollos; I am of Cephas - but I BELONG TO CHRIST." F13 As Adam Clarke expressed it, "It is not likely in any sense of the word that Christ could be said to be the head of a sect or party in his own church." F14 Macknight, commenting on "and I of Christ," said, "Chrysostom thought this was said by Paul himself to show the Corinthians that all ought to consider themselves the disciples of Christ." F15 Any other interpretation of this passage cannot be made to fit.

What was wrong with the first three of these slogans? Those who were using them were glorying in people; but then it follows as a certainty that those who were saying "and I of Christ" were glorying in the Lord. Thus, the uniform construction of the four slogans which is made the basis of construing them all as sinful becomes the positive reason for denying it. It is impossible to make glorying in Christ a parallel sin with glorying in men, the latter being condemned by Paul and the glorying in Christ being commanded. It should be remembered that all of the speculative descriptions of these various groups are unsupported by a single line in the New Testament. Shore's comment that "a faction dared to arrogate to themselves the name of Christ," F16 on the basis of having seen and heard Christ preach personally, is an example of unscholarly guessing, apparently engaged in for the purpose of imputing blame to those who were doing exactly what they should have done in affirming that they were indeed "of Christ." Would to God that all people, even as Paul, were "of Christ."

The three schismatic groups which were glorying in the names of people have had their counterparts in all ages. Such conduct then, as it still is, was sinful. Paul moved at once to show how ridiculous is the device of glorying in human teachers.


 
Verse 13
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?

In Paul's dealing with the parties, it should be discerned that this triple question was designed to expose and correct the sin of the three groups glorying in people, but they do not cast the slightest reflection upon those who were "of Christ," who could have given the proper response to Paul's question. The other three groups, however, would have been forced to confess that neither Paul, Apollos, or Peter had been crucified for them, and that they had not been baptized into any of those three names. As McGarvey observed, "We should note how inseparably connected in Paul's thought were the sacrifice of the cross and the baptism which makes us partakers of its benefits." F17


 
Verses 14, 15
I thank God that I baptized none of you, save Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that ye were baptized into my name.

It was Paul's custom to entrust the physical act of baptizing converts to an assistant such as John Mark, Silas or Timothy. There were occasions, however, when he found it necessary to do the actual baptizing with his own hands, as in the cases here cited. He, in this passage, viewed it as providential that he had baptized so few of them, thus denying them any excuse for connecting his name with a party. Both Gaius and Crispus were prominent Christians, Crispus having been the ruler of a synagogue.


 
Verse 16
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

Stephanas ...
was of "the firstfruits of Achaia" (1 Corinthians 16:15), evidently having been baptized by Paul before the beginning of his great work in Corinth (Acts 18:5ff).


 
Verse 17
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.

Christ sent me not to baptize ...
Some have been diligent to make this passage an excuse for denying the necessity of the believer's baptism into Christ, as for example, Metz, who said, "The gospel of grace and faith that he proclaimed was as free from outer ritual and ceremony as it was devoid of legal observances." F18 If such a view is tenable, how can Paul's baptism of Stephanas, Gaius, and Crispus be explained? Of course, what Paul referred to here was the ADMINISTRATION OF THE RITE OF BAPTISM, there being nothing here to the effect that Paul preached salvation without baptism. He like all the apostles had been commanded to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them" (Matthew 28:19).

Not in wisdom of words ...
The great apostle renounced the pretentious rhetorical flourishes so dear to the Greek intellectuals, deliberately rejecting the complicated elocutionary devices which were the stock in trade of the philosophers. The Greek word "sophist" (wise man) had fallen from its glory, and in Paul's day had come to denote a nimble tongue and an empty brain. Dio Chrysostom described the Greek wise men thus:

They croak like frogs in a marsh; they are the most wretched of men, because, though ignorant, they think themselves wise; they are like peacocks, showing off their reputation and the number of their pupils as peacocks do their tails. F19

It is clear, then, that Paul used the word "wisdom" in a sarcastic sense in this phrase having the meaning of "gobbledegook" as now used. See more on this under 2 Cor. 11:5.

So-called intellectuals of our own times are by no means exempt from the conceited shallowness of the Greek philosophers. Even a sermon may be well organized, rhetorically excellent, stylishly delivered, "beautiful" and worthless.

Lest the cross of Christ should be made void ...
Digressions are frequent in Paul's works; and this word "cross," mentioned as the antithesis of the philosophers' so-called wisdom, was made the subject of a characteristic Pauline digression.


 
Verses 18, 19
For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to naught.

THE GLORY OF THE CROSS

All of the value judgments of people were nailed to the cross of Christ. People glorify the arrogant, proud, mighty and successful, but Christ was patient, meek, humble and submissive. A crucified Saviour was simply beyond the boundaries of human imagination.

It is the power of God ...
There are two reactions to the mystery of the cross on the part of two classes of people who behold it. The two classes are those who are perishing and those who are being saved (English Revised Version margin). To the former, the cross is foolishness, but to the latter it is the power of God. As an illustration of God's power contrasted with human wisdom, Paul cited Isa. 29:14 where, according to Marsh,

The prophet, referring to the failure of worldly statesmanship in Judah in the face of the Assyrian invasion, states a principle that the wisdom of man is no match for the power of God. F20


 
Verse 20
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

The wise ...
refers to the worldly wise such as the Greek sophists.

The scribe ...
denotes the expert in Jewish religion. "The disputer of this world ..." includes both the others as well as all others who rely upon their own intelligence and do not trust in God.

Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? ...
Although Paul doubtless had in mind that phase of wisdom relating to the eternal things of the spirit, there is also an undeniable application to all phases of human wisdom. History is one long dramatic denial of the world's wisdom. The pyramids of Egypt, upon which generations of men worked for centuries, are merely colossal monuments to human stupidity. The textbooks of a generation ago are worthless today. Permanence has never yet come to any human government. Every mystery ever solved unlocks a hundred others and raises infinitely more questions than are answered, leading to conviction that the ultimate wisdom on the part of people can never be attained by new formulas and gadgets, that the infinite wisdom is a person, Almighty God, and that people may know him only through Jesus Christ our Lord.


 
Verse 21
For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Knew not God ...
The ineffectiveness and frustration of human wisdom are nowhere more dramatically evident than in the long pre-Christian history of the Gentiles, who, turning away from God and walking in the light (!) of their own intelligence, drowned the whole earth in shameful debaucheries. Paul developed this thought extensively in the first chapters of Romans, and there is a brief mention of the same thing here. Who can believe that modern man, now in the act of turning away from God, will be any more successful in finding the good life apart from his Creator than were his ancient progenitors?

The foolishness of the preaching ...
has reference to the foolishness of the thing preached (English Revised Version margin), that is, foolishness from the human viewpoint.

To save them that believe ...
"Believe" is here a synecdoche for turning to God through obedience of the gospel, and it includes such things as repentance and baptism.


 
Verses 22, 23
Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling block, and unto Greeks foolishness.

Dummelow paraphrased this thus, "The Jews will not believe unless a miracle is wrought before their eyes; the Greeks will accept no truth that is not commended by philosophical speculation." F21

Of course, the Jews had witnessed many miracles, not only by the Lord of life, but also by the holy apostles; but what they demanded was the performance, at their bidding, of some spectacular wonder of their own choosing, which, even if it had been wrought, would have had no moral value and would have proved just as ineffective as the true miracles they had already seen (Matthew 16:1).

We preach Christ crucified ...
The cross is central to the Christian religion; no person may be a true follower of the Lord who is unwilling to take up his cross and follow the Master (Matthew 16:24).

Despite the Jewish law which declared, "He that is hanged on a tree is accursed of God" (Deuteronomy 21:23), and the hierarchy of Israel having accomplished such a death for the Lord of glory, the cross was the instrument of Jesus' atonement for the sins of the whole world. It was the place where God, having entered our earthly life as a man, paid the penalty of human transgression, bruised the head of Satan, and purchased the church with his own precious blood. The glory of the cross is seen in what it denied, what it declared, what it accomplished, whom it defeated, and whom it saved. All the human wisdom of all the ages is powerless to achieve the most infinitesimal fraction of the redemption that was achieved to the uttermost on Calvary.


 
Verse 24
But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Called ...
This should not be understood in the narrow and restricted sense, for God has called all people to receive eternal life in Christ, the usage here having reference to people who heed and obey the call.

Both Jews and Greeks ...
This has the meaning of "all men" of whatever race or nation, time or circumstance.


 
Verse 25
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Christ on the cross appeared to be weakness in the eyes of people; but that "weakness of God was stronger than men and everything that men could produce." F22 The sign-seeking Jews could not comprehend the mighty "sign of the prophet Jonah," enacted before their very eyes; and the wisdom-seeking Greeks could not discern the most profound wisdom in all history, not even after it had been preached to them! Despite this, however, the rolling centuries have vindicated the truth which Paul here proclaimed.

THE GLORY OF THE SHAME

We have borrowed this subtitle from Barclay, for it accurately summarizes the argument Paul was about to make. He would use the character of the Corinthian church itself as a demonstration of God's foolishness being wiser than human beings.


 
Verse 26
For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

Many of the earliest Christians were slaves, a majority were poor, most were uneducated; and few of them had any claim to distinction in the wretched world of their day; but they were the roots from which all that is holy and beautiful has blossomed in succeeding centuries. In their achievements through faith in Christ one reads the pattern of many wonderful things which have happened in America. As Emma Lazarus' poem on the Statue of Liberty reads:

Your wretched refuse of all lands - your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, Homeless and rejected, send them to me. I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door!

How those rejected ones have blessed the world! but this is only a feeble parable of what Christianity did on a cosmic scale. As Barclay put it, "Christianity was and still is literally the most uplifting thing in the whole universe." F23

Look at that congregation in Corinth, rescued from the dens of vice and debauchery, gleaned from the dregs of a cruel and heartless society, recruited from the hopeless ranks of slaves, delivered from the treadmills of commerce and industry; but Christ redeemed them, named upon them the eternal name, announced from heaven the plenary discharge of their sins, and made them partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Thank God for the church at Corinth and everywhere.

However, it should be kept in mind that Christianity was not denied to the noble, the mighty, and the wise; for Paul did not say that "none" of what might be called the higher echelons of society were called. Indeed, the truly wise, the really noble, also received the Lord, despite the tragedy of many failing to do so.

The treasurer of Queen Candace became a Christian (Acts 8:27).
The proconsul of Crete, Sergius Paulus, accepted the gospel (Acts 13:6-12).
Dionysius the Areopagite, a mighty judge at Athens, believed (Acts 17:34).
Crispus and Sosthenes were both rulers of a synagogue when they obeyed the gospel (Acts 18:8,17).
Erastus, Chamberlain of the City of Corinth, became a Christian (Romans 16:23).
Many women of the nobility in Thessalonica and Berea accepted the truth (Acts 17:4,12).

Such examples as these, however, were the exception, the vast majority of the Christians, at first, coming from the ranks of earth's unfortunate and poor.


 
Verse 27
But God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong.

Those "foolish" Christians of Corinth triumphed over all the vaunted learning of the philosophers; those "weak" followers of Christ spread the truth over the world while Corinth and Athens crumbled. To go with Christ is to go with the future!


 
Verse 28
And the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to naught the things that are.

This verse taken in conjunction with 1 Cor. 1:27 gives five designations to Christians (as they were esteemed by the world of that period). The foolish, the weak, the base, the despised, the things that "are not" (in other words, the "nobodies"); but the great apostle's words on behalf of those who were despised by the world are to the effect that the triumph, the success, the honor, and the glory belong to them. In the last three designations, as in this verse, the Jewish attitude of despising all Gentiles and actually speaking of them as "dogs" appears to be in Paul's thinking (see Matthew 15:26).


 
Verse 29
That no flesh should glory before God.

How incredible it is that a man, a creature of flesh and blood, created of the dust and to the dust certain to return, whose glory at its zenith is only for a moment, whose days are spent in frustration, whose tears flow incessantly, whose very righteousness is filthy rags - how unbelievable is it that such a creature as man should glory before God! Such is the wretched state of Adam's race that only God can give salvation and even God could do so only at the extravagant cost of the blood shed on Calvary. God desires that man should recognize and confess his sin and unworthiness, and, like those poor mortals of Corinth, turn to the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ the Lord. If the first converts to Christianity had been the wealthy rulers of earth, there would inevitably have prevailed an impression that such persons had earned eternal life. However, no man, but no man, was ever capable of earning one second of eternal life; and Paul's thought here stresses the wisdom of God in saving the outcasts of Corinth in order that no flesh should glory before God. Those former debauchees of unspeakable Corinth deserved salvation as much as the wisest and greatest of earth, which is not at all; and fortunate is every man who comprehends this basic truth of salvation in Christ.


 
Verses 30, 31
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus who is made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord

In Christ Jesus ...
In Christ alone is there salvation; and in Christ the saved possess all things. Behold here the only true ground of justification in the eyes of God. Jesus is perfect, holy, undefiled, righteous in the superlative degree. In Christ and as Christ and as fully identified with him, it is true also that Christians are holy, righteous, etc. It is not their righteousness, of course, in the sense that they achieved it; but it is theirs in the sense that Christ achieved it and they "are Christ," being members of his spiritual body. Satan, death and hell have no claim on the one who is "in Christ." Why? Because what is true of the head is true of the entire body; and our head, which is Christ, having paid the penalty of death for sin, the whole spiritual body (the church) has likewise paid it in the person of Christ. That is what is meant by being dead to sin by the body of Christ (Romans 6:11).

There are four things mentioned by Paul in this passage which belong to the Christian by virtue of his being "in Christ."

Wisdom of God. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). The person "in Christ," by reason of having believed and having been baptized "into Christ" is thus identified with Christ, being a part of his spiritual body; and thus, as Christ he has become the possessor of the wisdom of God.

Righteousness. All that has been said of wisdom in the above paragraph pertains with equal force to righteousness, which may be acquired by the believer in no other way except through being baptized into Christ. The notion that "this righteousness is forensic," F24 that is, an imputed righteousness, bestowed on the grounds of faith alone, is incorrect. It is not an imputed, forensic, bestowed righteousness in any sense whatever. It is a pure, perfect, genuine, and ACTUAL righteousness performed and achieved by Jesus Christ our Lord; and when the believer becomes a part of the Lord's spiritual body, that true righteousness belongs to him as being "in Christ," "of Christ," and in fact part of the spiritual body which "is Christ." And when does one become a part of that spiritual body which is Christ? "In one Spirit were we all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13), as Paul declared a little later in this same epistle.

Sanctification. The person who is "in Christ" is sanctified, set apart for spiritual service, and through spiritual growth endowed with whatever may be needed for development in the Christian life.

Redemption. Significantly, the salvation of the soul is a reality only for those "in Christ." Although Paul gave only an abbreviated list of four blessings in this verse, as resulting from the believer's being "in Christ," it must be construed as merely a token list, despite the all-importance of the four. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul stated that "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" is "in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). It is not fair to leave this brief discussion of the salvation (inclusive of all spiritual blessings) which is "in Christ," without pointing out for those who truly desire to know the truth that in all the Holy Scriptures there is no other way revealed by which a believer might acquire the status of being "in Christ," except through being baptized "into him" (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Could there be any wonder, therefore, that Jesus himself said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16).

He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord ...
In this concluding sentence in the paragraph, Paul quoted Jer. 9:23, where the meaning is that people should glory in God; and, by his application of this text to Jesus Christ, he testified to the deity and godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Morris said, "No higher view could be taken of the Person of Christ." F25


Footnotes for 1 Corinthians 1
1: John Mackay, God's Order (New York: Macmillan Company, 1953), p. 67
2: Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1958), 1 Cor., p. 35.
3: William Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1954), p. xvi.
4: F. W. Grosheide, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1953), 1 Cor., p. 25.
5: Ibid., p. 28.
6: Ibid., p. 29.
7: Donald Guthrie, The New Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Win. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p. 1053.
8: Ibid.
9: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 591.
10: Donald S. Metz, Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1968), Vol. VIII, p. 314.
11: Donald Guthrie, op. cit., p. 1053.
12: Ibid. p. 1054.
13: William Barclay, op. cit., p. 17.
14: Adam Clarke, Commentary (New York: Carlton and Porter, 1831), New Testament, Vol. II, p. 192.
15: James Macknight, Apostolical Epistle, with Commentary and Notes (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969), Vol. II, p. 22.
16: T. Teignmouth Shore, Ellicott's Commentary on the Holy Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), Vol. XII, p. 290.
17: J. W. McGarvey, Commentary on First Corinthians (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1916), p. 54.
18: Donald S. Metz, op. cit., p. 316.
19: William Barclay, quotation from Chrysostom, op. cit., p. 22.
20: Paul W. Marsh, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 377.
21: J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 895.
22: Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 47.
23: William Barclay, op. cit., p. 24.
24: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., op. cit., p. 593.
25: Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 51.

Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=1co&chapter=001>. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.  


  HOME    TOP

Dead links, typos, or HTML errors should be sent to corr@studylight.org
Suggestions about making this resource more useful should be sent to sugg@studylight.org
 

   Powered by LightSpeed Technology

Copyright © 2001-2018, StudyLight.org