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TEXT. 24 But unto them, which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the
power of God, and the wisdom of God : 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness
of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many
noble are called. 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 things which are mighty : 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath
God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things
that are : 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
PARAPHRASE. the Jews; and foolish to the acute men of learning, the 24 Greeks; But yet it is to these, both Jews and Greeks, (when
they are converted,) Christ, the power of God, and Christ, the 25 wisdom of God: Because that, which seems foolishness in
those who came from God, surpasses the wisdom of man; and
that, which seems weakness in those sent by God, surpasses 26 the power of men. For, reflect upon yourselves, brethren,
and you may observe, that there are not many of the wise
and learned men, not many men of power, or of birth, among 27 you, that are called. But God hath chosen the foolish men,
in the account of the world, to confound the wise ; and God
hath chosen the weak men of the world to confound the 28 mighty: The mean men of the world, and contemptible, has
God chosen, and those that are of no account, are nothing", 29 to displace those that are: That so there might be no room,
NOTE. 23 • Tà peine özgy, “ Things that are not,” I think may well be understood of the
Gentiles, who were not the people of God, and were connted as nothing by the Jews ; and we are pointed to this meaning by the words zatavoxúrnand xatapron, by “the foolish and weak things,” i.e. by simple, illiterate, and mean men, God would make ashamed the learned philosophers and great men of the nations; but, by the Min orta, “ things that are not,” he would abolish the things that are, as, in effect, he did abolish the Jewish church by the Christian, taking in the Gentiles to be his people, in the place of the rejected Jews, who, until then, were his people. This St. Paul mentions here, not by chance, but pursuant to his main design, to stay their glorying in their false apostle, who was a Jew; by showing that, whatever that head of the faction might claim, under that pretence, as it is plain be did stand upon it, (see 2 Cor. xi. 21, 22) he had not any the least title to any esteem or respect upon that account, since the Jewish nation was laid aside, and God had chosen the Gentiles to take their place, and to be his church and people instead of them : vid. note on ch. ii. ver. 6. There one may see who are the xatapoyoúmeros, “ the abolished,” whom God says here, xacopyhon, he will abolish.
TEXT. 30 But of him are ye, in Christ Jesus, who, of God, is made unto us
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption : 31 That, according as it is written, “He that glorieth, let him glory
in the Lord.”
PARAPHRASE. 80 or pretence for any one to glory in his presence. Natural,
human abilities, parts or wisdom, could never have reached this way to happiness : it is to his wisdom alone that ye owe the contrivance of it; to his revealing of it, that ye owe the knowledge of it; and it is from him alone, that you are in Christ Jesus, whom God has made to us Christians, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, which
is all the dignity and pre-eminence, all that is of any value 31 amongst us Christians: That, as it is written, He that glorieth,
should glory only in the Lord.
SECTION II. NO. 3.
CHAPTER II. 1-5.
CONTENTS. FARTHER to keep them from glorying in their leaders, he tells them, that as the preachers of the
Gospel, of God's choosing, were mean and illiterate men, so the Gospel was not to be propagated, nor men to be established in the faith, by human learning and eloquence, but by the evidence it had, from the revelation contained in the Old Testament, and from the power of God accompanying and confirming it with miracles.
TEXT. 1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency
of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
PARAPHRASE. 1 And I, brethren, when I came and preached the Gospel to
you, I did not endeavour to set it off with any ornaments of rhetoric, or the mixture of human learning or philosophy; but plainly declared it to you, as a doctrine coming from
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus
Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech, and my preaching, was not with enticing words of
man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.
2 God, revealed and attested a by him. For I resolved to
own or show no other knowledge among you, but the know3 ledge or doctrine of Jesus Christ, and of him crucified. All
my carriage among you had nothing in it but the appearance 4 of weakness and humility, and fear of offending you“. Neither
did I, in my discourses or preaching, make use of any human art of persuasion to inveigle you. But the doctrine of the Gospel which I proposed, I confirmed and enforced by what
1 * Td MapTuprov tol Otci, “The testimony of God," i. e. what God hath revealed
and testified in the Old Testament; the apostle here declares to the Corinthians, that, when he brought the Gospel to them, he made no use of any human science, improvement, or skill; no insinuations of eloquence, no philosophical speculations, or ornaments of human learning, appeared in any thing he said to persuade them: all his arguments were, as he tells them, ver. 4, from the revelation of the Spirit of God, in the predictions of the Old Testament, and the miracles which he (Paul) did among them, that their faith might be built wholly upon the Spirit of God, and not upon the abilities and wisdom of man ; though paplópoy ToŰ , “The testimony of God” agrees very well with so much of St. Paul's meaning as relates to his founding his preaching on the testimony of God, yet those copies which read uurthprov, mystery, for resiópios, testimony, seem more perfectly to correspond with St. Paul's sense, in the whole latitude of it. For though he owns the doctrine of the Gospel, dictated by the Spirit of God, to be contained in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and builds upon revelation, yet he everywhere teaches that it remained a secret there, not understood, till they were led into the hidden, evangelical meaning of those passages, by the coming of Jesus Christ, and by the assistance of the Spirit, in the times of the Messiah, and then published to the world by the preachers of the Gospel ; and therefore he calls it, especially that part of it which relates to the Gentiles,
almost everywhere, puosýprov, mystery. See particularly Rom. xvi. 25, 26. 2 St. Paul, who was bimself a learned man, especially in the Jewish knowledge,
having, in the foregoing chapter, told them, that neither the Jewish learning nor Grecian sciences give a mau any advantage, as a minister of the Gospel, he here reminds them that he made po show or use of either when he planted the Gospel among them; intimating thereby, that those were not things for which
their teachers were to be valued or followed. 3 St. Paul, by thus setting forth his owu modest and humble behaviour amongst
them, reflects on the contrary carriage of their false apostle, which he describes in words at length, 2 Cor. xi. 20.
TEXT. 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the
power of God.
PARAPHRASE. the Spirit d had revealed and demonstrated of it, in the Old
Testament, and by the power of God, accompanying it with 5 miraculous operations: That your faith might have its founda
tion, not in the wisdom and endowments of men, but in the power of God
NOTES. 4 d There were two sorts of arguments, wherewith the apostle coufirmed the
Gospel; the one was the revelations made concerning our Saviour, by types and figures, and prophecies of him, under the law; the other, miracles and miraculous gifts accompanying the first preachers of the Gospel, in the publishing and propagating of it. The latter of these St. Paul bere calls Power; the former, in this chapter, he terms Spirit; so ver. 12, 14. “Things of the Spirit of God, and spiritual things,” are things which are revealed by the Spirit of God, and
not discoverable by our natural faculties. 5 • Their faith being built wholly on Divine revelation and miracles, whereby all
human abilities were shut out, there could be no reason for any of them to boast themselves of their teachers, or value themselves upon their being the followers of this or that preacher, which St. Paul hereby obviates.
SECTION II. NO. 4.
CHAPTER II. 6-16.
The next argument the apostle uses to show them, that they had no reason to glory in their teachers, is, that the knowledge of the Gospel was not attainable by our natural parts, however they were improved by arts and philosophy, but was wholly owing to revelation.
TEXT. 6 Howbeit we speak wisdom amongst them that are perfect : yet not
the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought.
PARAPHRASE. 6 Howbeit, that which we preach is wisdom, and known to be
so, among those who are thoroughly instructed in the Christian
PARAPHRASE. religion, and take it upon its true principles a: but not the wisdom of this world b, nor of the princes", or great men of
NOTES. 6 - [Perfect] here is the same with spiritual, ver. 15; one, that is so perfectly well
apprized of the divine nature and original of the Christian religion, that he sees and acknowledges it to be all a pure revelation from God, and not, in the least, the product of human discovery, parts, or learning; and so, deriving it wholly from what God hath taught, by his Spirit, in the sacred Scriptures, allows not the least part of it to be ascribed to the skill or abilities of men, as authors of it, but received as a doctrine coming from God alone. And thus, Perfect, is opposed to, Carval, ch. iii. 1, 3, i. e. such babes in Christianity, such weak and unistaken Christians, that they thought the Gospel was to be managed, as huzaan arts and sciences amongst men of the world; and those were better instructed, and were more in the right, who followed this master or teacher, rather than another; and so glorying in being the scholars, one of Paul, and another of Apollos, fell into divisions and parties about it, and vaunted one over another : whereas, in the school of Christ, all was to be built on the authority of God alone, and the revelation of his Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. 6“Wisdom of this world," i, e, the knowledge, arts, and sciences attainable by man's uatural parts and faculties; such as man's wit could find out, cultivate, and improve: “or of the princes of this world,” i. e. such doctrines, arts, and sciences, as the princes of the world approve, encourage, and endeavour to propagate. • Though by "Apxoyles to alūros tūTOU, may here be understood the princes, or great men, of this world, in the ordinary sense of these words ; yet he that well considers ver. 28 of the foregoing chapter, and ver. 8 of this chapter, may find reason to think, that the apostle here principally designs the rulers and great men of the Jewish nation. If it be objected, ihat there is little ground to think that St. Paul, by the wisdom he disowns, should mean that of his own nation, which the Greeks of Corinth (whom he was writing to) had little acquaintance with, and had very little esteem for; I reply, that to understand this right, and the pertinency of it, we must remember, that the great design of St. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, was to take them off from the respect aud esteem that many of them bad for a false apostle, that was got in among them, and had there raised a faction against St. Paul. This pretended apostle, it is plain froni 2 Cor. xi. 22, was a Jew, and as it seems, 2 Cor. v. 16, 17, valued himself upon that account, and possibly boasted himself to be a man of pote, either by birth, or alliance, or place, or learning, among that people, who counted themselves the holy and illuminated people of God; and, therefore, to have a right to sway among these new heathen converts. To obviate this claim of his to any authority, St. Paul here tells the Corinthians, that the wisdom and learning of the Jewish nation led them not into the knowledge of the wisdom of God, i. e. the Gospel revealed in the Old Testament, evident in this, that it was their rulers and rabbies, who stifly adhering to the notions and prejudices of their nation, had crucifier Jesus, the Lord of glory, and were now themselves, with their state and religion, upon the point to be swept away and abolished. It is to the same purpose, that 2 Cor. v. 16—19, he tells the Corin. thians, That “he knows no man after the flesh,” i, e, that he acknowledges no digoity of birth, or descent, or outward national privileges. The old things of the Jewish constitution are past and gone; whoever is in Christ, and entereth into his kingdom, is in a new creation, wherein all things are new, all things are from God; no right, no claim, or preference, derived to any one, from any former institution, but every one's diguity consists solely in this, that God had reconciled hiin to himself, not imputing his former trespasses to him.