Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI

Corinth was a city of Achaia, situate on the isthmus which joins Peloponnesus, now called the Morea, to the rest of Greece. Being so advantageously situated for trade, the inhabitants of it abounded in riches, which, by too natural a consequence, led them into luxury, lewdness, and all manner of vice. Yet even here St. Paul planted a numerous church, chiefly of heathen converts; to whom, about three years after he had left Corinth, he wrote this epistle from Ephesus; as well to correct various disorders of which they were guilty, as to answer some questions which they bad proposed to him.

The Epistle consists of

 I.  The inscription,                                  C. i. 1-3
 II. The treatise itself, in which is,
   1. An exhortation to concord, beating down all
      glorying in the flesh,                         4-C. iv. 21
   2. A reproof,
     1. For not excommunicating the incestuous
        person,                                       C. v. 1-12
     2. For going to law before heathen judges,      C. vi. 1-11
   3. A dissuasive from fornication,                       12-20
   4. An answer to the questions they had proposed
      concerning marriage,             C. vii. 1, 10, 25, 36, 39
   5. Concerning things sacrificed to idols, C. viii. 1-C. ix. 1
   6. Concerning the veiling of women,                      2-16
   7. Concerning the Lord's supper,                        17-34
   8. Concerning spiritual gifts,              C. xii. xiii. xiv
   9. Concerning the resurrection,                   C. xv. 1-58
   10.Concerning the collection for the poor,
      the coming of himself, of Timothy, of Apollos,
      the sum of all,               C. xvi, 1, 5, 10, 12, 13, 14
 II. The conclusion,                               15, 17, 19-24

Chapter I

1 Paul, called to be an apostle - There is great propriety in every clause of the salutation, particularly in this, as there were some in the church of Corinth who called the authority of his mission in question. Through the will of God - Called "the commandment of God," 1Tim 1:1 This was to the churches the ground of his authority; to Paul himself, of an humble and ready mind. By the mention of God, the authority of man is excluded, Gal 1:1; by the mention of the will of God, the merit of Paul, 1Cor 15:8, &c. And Sosthenes - A Corinthian, St. Paul's companion in travel. It was both humility and prudence in the apostle, thus to join his name with his own, in an epistle wherein he was to reprove so many irregularities. Sosthenes the brother - Probably this word is emphatical; as if he had said, Who, from a Jewish opposer of the gospel, became a faithful brother.
2 To the church of God which is in Corinth - St. Paul, writing in a familiar manner to the Corinthians, as also to the Thessalonians and Galatians, uses this plain appellation. To the other churches he uses a more solemn address. Sanctified through Jesus Christ - And so undoubtedly they were in general, notwithstanding some exceptions. Called - Of Jesus Christ, Rom 1:6 And - As the fruit of that calling made holy. With all that in every place - Nothing could better suit that catholic love which St. Paul labours to promote in this epistle, than such a declaration of his good wishes for every true Christian upon earth. Call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - This plainly implies that all Christians pray to Christ, as well as to the Father through him.
4 Always - Whenever I mention you to God in prayer.
5 In all utterance and knowledge - Of divine things. These gifts the Corinthians particularly admired. Therefore this congratulation naturally tended to soften their spirits, and I make way for the reproofs which follow.
6 The testimony of Christ - The gospel. Was confirmed among you - By these gifts attending it. They knew they had received these by the hand of Paul: and this consideration was highly proper, to revive in them their former reverence and affection for their spiritual father.
7 Waiting - With earnest desire. For the glorious revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ - A sure mark of a true or false Christian, to long for, or dread, this revelation.
8 Who will also - if you faithfully apply to him. Confirm you to the end. In the day of Christ - Now it is our day, wherein we are to work out our salvation; then it will be eminently the day of Christ, and of his glory in the saints.
9 God is faithful - To all his promises; and therefore "to him that hath shall be given." By whom ye are called - A pledge of his willingness to save you unto the uttermost.
10 Now I exhort you - Ye have faith and hope; secure love also. By the endearing name of our Lord Jesus Christ - lnfinitely preferable to all the human names in which ye glory. That ye all speak the same thing - They now spoke different things, 1Co 1:12 And that there be no schisms among you - No alienation of affection from each other. Is this word ever taken in any other sense in scripture? But that ye be joined in the same mind - Affections, desires. And judgment - Touching all the grand truths of the gospel.
11 It hath been declared to me by them of the family of Chloe - Whom some suppose to have been the wife of Stephanas, and the mother of Fortunatus and Achaicus. By these three the Corinthians had sent their letter to St. Paul, 1Cor 16:17. That there are contentions - A word equivalent with schisms in the preceding verse.
12 Now this I say - That is, what I mean is this: there are various parties among you, who set themselves, one against an other, in behalf of the several teachers they admire. And I of Christ - They spoke well, if they had not on this pretence despised their teachers, 1Cor 4:8 Perhaps they valued themselves on having heard Christ preach in his own person.
13 Is Christ divided - Are not all the members still under one head? Was not he alone crucified for you all; and were ye not all baptized in his name? The glory of Christ then is not to be divided between him and his servants; neither is the unity of the body to be torn asunder, seeing Christ is one still.
14 I thank God - (A pious phrase for the common one, "I rejoice,") that, in the course of his providence, I baptized none of you, but Crispus, once the ruler of the synagogue, and Caius.
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name - In order to attach them to myself.
16 I know not - That is, it does not at present occur to my memory, that I baptized any other.
17 For God did not send me to baptize - That was not my chief errand: those of inferior rank and abilities could do it: though all the apostles were sent to baptize also, Matt 28:19 But to preach the gospel - So the apostle slides into his general proposition: but not with wisdom of speech - With the artificial ornaments of discourse, invented by human wisdom. Lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect - The whole effect of St. Paul's preaching was owing to the power of God accompanying the plain declaration of that great truth, "Christ bore our sins upon the cross." But this effect might have been imputed to another cause, had he come with that wisdom of speech which they admired.
18 To them that perish - By obstinately rejecting the only name whereby they can be saved. But to us who are saved - Now saved from our sins, and in the way to everlasting salvation, it is the great instrument of the power of God.
19 For it is written - And the words are remarkably applicable to this great event. Isaiah 29:14
20 Where is the wise? &c. - The deliverance of Judea from Sennacherib is what Isaiah refers to in these words; in a bold and beautiful allusion to which, the apostle in the clause that follows triumphs over all the opposition of human wisdom to the victorious gospel of Christ. What could the wise men of the gentiles do against this? or the Jewish scribes? or the disputers of this world? - Those among both, who, proud of their acuteness, were fond of controversy, and thought they could confute all opponents. Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world - That is, shown it to be very foolishness. Isaiah 33:18
21 For since in the wisdom of God - According to his wise disposals, leaving them to make the trial. The world - Whether Jewish or gentile, by all its boasted wisdom knew not God - Though the whole creation declared its Creator, and though he declared himself by all the prophets; it pleased God, by a way which those who perish count mere foolishness, to save them that believe.
22 For whereas the Jews demand of the apostles, as they did of their Lord, more signs still, after all they have seen already; and the Greeks, or gentiles, seek wisdom - The depths of philosophy, and the charms of eloquence.
23 We go on to preach, in a plain and historical, not rhetorical or philosophical, manner, Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumblingblock - Just opposite to the "signs" they demand. And to the Greeks foolishness - A silly tale, just opposite to the wisdom they seek.
24 But to them that are called - And obey the heavenly calling. Christ - With his cross, his death, his life, his kingdom. And they experience, first, that he is the power, then, that he is the wisdom, of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God - The gospel scheme, which the world judge to be mere foolishness, is wiser than the wisdom of men; and, weak as they account it, stronger than all the strength of men.
26 Behold your calling - What manner of men they are whom God calls. That not many wise men after the flesh - In the account of the world. Not many mighty - Men of power and authority.
28 Things that are not - The Jews frequently called the gentiles, "Them that are not," 2 Esdras vi. 56, 57. In so supreme contempt did they hold them. The things that are - In high esteem.
29 That no flesh - A fit appellation. Flesh is fair, but withering as grass. May glory before God - In God we ought to glory.
30 Of him - Out of his free grace and mercy. Are ye Engrafted into Christ Jesus, who is made unto us that believe wisdom, who were before utterly foolish and ignorant. Righteousness - The sole ground of our justification, who were before under the wrath and curse of God. Sanctification - A principle of universal holiness, whereas before we were altogether dead in sin. And redemption - That is, complete deliverance from all evil, and eternal bliss both of soul and body.
31 Let him glory in the Lord - Not in himself, not in the flesh, not in the world. Jer 9:23,24

Chapter II

1 And I accordingly came to you, not with loftiness of speech or of wisdom - I did not affect either deep wisdom or eloquence. Declaring the testimony of God - What God gave me to testify concerning his Son.
2 I determined not to know anything - To wave all my other knowledge, and not to preach anything, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified - That is, what he did, suffered, taught. A part is put for the whole.
3 And I was with you - At my first entrance. In weakness - Of body, 2Cor 12:7 And in fear - Lest I should offend any. And in much trembling - The emotion of my mind affecting my very body.
4 And my speech in private, as well as my public preaching, was not with the persuasive words of human wisdom, such as the wise men of the world use; but with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power - With that powerful kind of demonstration, which flows from the Holy Spirit; which works on the conscience with the most convincing light, and the most persuasive evidence.
5 That your faith might not be built on the wisdom or power of man, but on the wisdom and power of God.
6 Yet we speak wisdom - Yea, the truest and most excellent wisdom. Among the perfect - Adult, experienced Christians. By wisdom here he seems to mean, not the whole Christian doctrine, but the most sublime and abstruse parts of it. But not the wisdom admired and taught by the men of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, Jewish or heathen, that come to nought - Both they and their wisdom, and the world itself.
7 But we speak the mysterious wisdom of God, which was hidden for many ages from all the world, and is still hidden even from "babes in Christ;" much more from all unbelievers. Which God ordained before the world - So far is this from coming to nought, like worldly wisdom. For our glory - Arising from the glory of our Lord, and then to be revealed when all worldly glory vanishes.
8 Had they known it - That wisdom. They would not have crucified - Punished as a slave. The Lord of glory - The giving Christ this august title, peculiar to the great Jehovah, plainly shows him to be the supreme God. In like manner the Father is styled, "the Father of glory," Eph 1:17; and the Holy Ghost, "the Spirit of glory," 1Pet 4:14. The application of this title to all the three, shows that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are "the God of glory;" as the only true God is called, Psa 29:3, and Acts 7:2.
9 But this ignorance of theirs fulfils what is written concerning the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom. No natural man hath either seen, heard, or known, the things which God hath prepared, saith the prophet, for them that love him. Isaiah 64:4
10 But God hath revealed - Yea, and "freely given," 1Co 2:12. Them to us - Even inconceivable peace, and joy unspeakable. By his Spirit - Who intimately and fully knows them. For the Spirit searcheth even the deep things of God - Be they ever so hidden and mysterious; the depths both of his nature and his kingdom.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man - All the inmost recesses of his mind; although men are all of one nature, and so may the more easily know one another. So the things of God knoweth no one but the Spirit - Who, consequently, is God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world - This spirit is not properly received; for the men of the world always had it. But Christians receive the Spirit of God, which before they had not.
13 Which also we speak - As well as know. In words taught by the Holy Spirit - Such are all the words of scripture. How high a regard ought we, then, to retain for them! Explaining spiritual things by spiritual words; or, adapting spiritual words to spiritual things - Being taught of the Spirit to express the things of the Spirit.
14 But the natural man - That is, every man who hath not the Spirit; who has no other way of obtaining knowledge, but by his senses and natural understanding. Receiveth not - Does not understand or conceive. The things of the Spirit - The things revealed by the Spirit of God, whether relating to his nature or his kingdom. For they are foolishness to him - He is so far from understanding, that he utterly despises, them Neither can he know them - As he has not the will, so neither has he the power. Because they are spiritually discerned - They can only be discerned by the aid of that Spirit, and by those spiritual senses, which he has not.
15 But the spiritual man - He that hath the Spirit. Discerneth all the things of God whereof we have been speaking. Yet he himself is discerned by no man - No natural men. They neither understand what he is, nor what he says.
16 Who - What natural man. We - Spiritual men; apostles in particular. Have - Know, understand. The mind of Christ - Concerning the whole plan of gospel salvation. Isaiah 40:13

Chapter III

1 And I, brethren - He spoke before, 1Cor 2:1, of his entrance, now of his progress, among them. Could not speak to you as unto spiritual - Adult, experienced Christians. But as unto men who were still in great measure carnal, as unto babes in Christ - Still weak in grace, though eminent in gifts, 1Cor 1:5.
2 I fed you, as babes, with milk - The first and plainest truths of the gospel. So should every preacher suit his doctrine to his hearers.
3 For while there is among you emulation in your hearts, strife in your words, and actual divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk according to men - As mere men; not as Christians, according to God.
4 I am of Apollos - St. Paul named himself and Apollos, to show that he would condemn any division among them, even though it were in favour of himself, or the dearest friend he had in the world. Are ye not carnal - For the Spirit of God allows no party zeal.
5 Ministers - Or servants. By whom ye believed, as the Lord, the Master of those servants, gave to every man.
7 God that giveth the increase - Is all in all: without him neither planting nor watering avails.
8 But he that planteth and he that watereth are one - Which is another argument against division. Though their labours are different. they are all employed in one general work, - the saving souls. Hence he takes occasion to speak of the reward of them that labour faithfully, and the awful account to be given by all. Every man shall receive his own peculiar reward according to his own peculiar labour - Not according to his success; but he who labours much, though with small success, shall have a great reward.

Has not all this reasoning the same force still? The ministers are still surely instruments in God's hand, and depend as entirely as ever on his blessing, to give the increase to their labours. Without this, they are nothing: with it, their part is so small, that they hardly deserve to be mentioned. May their hearts and hands be more united; and, retaining a due sense of the honour God doeth them in employing them, may they faithfully labour, not as for themselves, but for the great Proprietor of all, till the day come when he will reward them in full proportion to their fidelity and diligence!

9 For we are all fellowlabourers - God's labourers, and fellowlabourers with each other. Ye are God's husbandry - This is the sum of what went before: it is a comprehensive word, taking in both a field, a garden, and a vineyard. Ye are God's building - This is the sum of what follows.
10 According to the grace of God given to me - This he premises, lest he should seem to ascribe it to himself. Let every one take heed how he buildeth thereon - That all his doctrines may be consistent with the foundation.
11 For other foundation - On which the whole church: and all its doctrines, duties, and blessings may be built. Can no man lay than what is laid - In the counsels of divine wisdom, in the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, in the preaching of the apostles, St. Paul in particular. Which is Jesus Christ - Who, in his person and offices, is the firm, immovable Rock of Ages, every way sufficient to bear all the weight that God himself, or the sinner, when he believes, can lay upon him.
12 If any one build gold, silver, costly stones - Three sorts of materials which will bear the fire; true and solid doctrines. Wood, hay, stubble - Three which will not bear the fire. Such are all doctrines, ceremonies, and forms of human invention; all but the substantial, vital truths of Christianity.
13 The time is coming when every one's work shall be made manifest: for the day of the Lord, that great and final day, shall declare it - To all the world. For it is revealed - What faith beholds as so certain and so near is spoken of as already present. By fire; yea, the fire shall try every one's work, of what sort it is - The strict process of that day will try every man's doctrines, whether they come up to the scripture standard or not. Here is a plain allusion to the flaming light and consuming heat of the general conflagration. But the expression, when applied to the trying of doctrines, and consuming those that are wrong, is evidently figurative; because no material fire can have such an effect on what is of a moral nature. And therefore it is added, he who builds wood, hay, or stubble, shall be saved as through the fire - Or, as narrowly as a man escapes through the fire, when his house is all in flames about him.

This text, then, is so far from establishing the Romish purgatory, that it utterly overthrows it. For the fire here mentioned does not exist till the day of judgment: therefore, if this be the fire of purgatory, it follows that purgatory does not exist before the day of judgment.

14 He shall receive a reward - A peculiar degree of glory. Some degree even the other will receive, seeing he held the foundation; though through ignorance he built thereon what would not abide the fire.
15 He shall suffer loss - The loss of that peculiar degree of glory.
16 Ye - All Christians. Are the temple of God - The most noble kind of building, 1Cor 3:9.
17 If any man destroy the temple of God - Destroy a real Christian, by schisms, or doctrines fundamentally wrong. Him shall God destroy - He shall not be saved at all; not even as through the fire."
18 Let him become a fool in this world - Such as the world accounts so. That he may become wise - In God's account.
19 For all the boasted wisdom of the world is mere foolishness in the sight of God. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness - Not only while they think they are acting wisely, but by their very wisdom, which itself is their snare, and the occasion of their destruction. Job 5:13.
20 That they are but vain - Empty, foolish; they and all their thoughts. Psalm 94:11.
21 Therefore - Upon the whole. Let none glory in men - So as to divide into parties on their account. For all things are yours - and we in particular. We are not your lords, but rather your servants.
22 Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas - We are all equally yours, to serve you for Christ's sake. Or the world - This leap from Peter to the world greatly enlarges the thought, and argues a kind of impatience of enumerating the rest. Peter and every one in the whole world, however excellent in gifts, or grace, or office, are also your servants for Christ's sake. Or life, or death - These, with all their various circumstances, are disposed as will be most for your advantage. Or things present - On earth. Or things to come - In heaven. Contend, therefore, no more about these little things; but be ye united in love, as ye are in blessings.
23 And ye are Christ's - His property, his subjects. his members. And Christ is God's - As Mediator, he refers all his services to his Father's glory.

Chapter IV

1 Let a man account us, as servants of Christ - The original word properly signifies such servants as laboured at the oar in rowing vessels; and, accordingly, intimates the pains which every faithful minister takes in his Lord's work. O God, where are these ministers to be found? Lord, thou knowest. And stewards of the mysteries of God - Dispenseth of the mysterious truths of the gospel.
3 Yea, I judge not myself - My final state is not to be determined by my own judgment.
4 I am not conscious to myself of anything evil; yet am I not hereby justified - I depend not on this, as a sufficient justification of myself in God's account. But he that judgeth me is the Lord - By his sentence I am to stand or fall.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time - Appointed for judging all men. Until the Lord come, who, in order to pass a righteous judgment, which otherwise would be impossible, will both bring to light the things which are now covered with impenetrable darkness, and manifest the most secret springs of action, the principles and intentions of every heart. And then shall every one - Every faithful steward, have praise of God.
6 These things - Mentioned, 1Cor 1:10, &c. I have by a very obvious figure transferred to myself and Apollos - And Cephas, instead of naming those particular preachers at Corinth, to whom ye are so fondly attached. That ye may learn by us - From what has been said concerning us, who, however eminent we are, are mere instruments in God's hand. Not to think of any man above what is here written - Or above what scripture warrants. 1Cor 3:7
7 Who maketh thee to differ - Either in gifts or graces. As if thou hadst not received it - As if thou hadst it originally from thyself.
8 Now ye are full - The Corinthians abounded with spiritual gifts; and so did the apostles: but the apostles, by continual want and sufferings, were kept from self - complacency. The Corinthians suffering nothing, and having plenty of all things, were pleased with and applauded themselves; and they were like children who, being raised in the world, disregard their poor parents. Now ye are full, says the apostle, in a beautiful gradation, ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings - A proverbial expression, denoting the most splendid and plentiful circumstances. Without any thought of us. And I would ye did reign - In the best sense: I would ye had attained the height of holiness. That we might reign with you - Having no more sorrow on your account, but sharing in your happiness.
9 God hath set forth us last, as appointed to death - Alluding to the Roman custom of bringing forth those persons last on the stage, either to fight with each other, or with wild beasts, who were devoted to death; so that, if they escaped one day, they were brought out again and again, till they were killed.
10 We are fools, in the account of the world, for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ - Though ye are Christians, ye think yourselves wise; and ye have found means to make the world think you so too. We are weak - In presence, in infirmities, in sufferings. But ye are strong - In just opposite circumstances.
11 And are naked - Who can imagine a more glorious triumph of the truth, than that which is gained in these circumstances when St. Paul, with an impediment in his speech, and a person rather contemptible than graceful, appeared in a mean, perhaps tattered, dress before persons of the highest distinction, and yet commanded such attention. and made such deep impressions upon them!
12 We bless - suffer it - intreat - We do not return revilings, persecution, defamation; nothing but blessing.
13 We are made as the filth of the world, and offscouring of all things - Such were those poor wretches among the heathens, who were taken from the dregs of the people, to be offered as expiatory sacrifices to the infernal gods. They were loaded with curses, affronts, and injuries, all the way they went to the altars; and when the ashes of those unhappy men were thrown into the sea, these very names were given them in the ceremony.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you - It is with admirable prudence and sweetness the apostle adds this, to prevent any unkind construction of his words.
15 I have begotten you - This excludes not only Apollos, his successor, but also Silas and Timothy, his companions; and the relation between a spiritual father and his children brings with it an inexpressible nearness and affection.
16 Be ye followers of me - In that spirit and behaviour which I have so largely declared.
17 My beloved son - Elsewhere he styles him "brother," 2Cor 1:1; but here paternal affection takes place. As I teach - No less by example than precept.
18 Now some are puffed up - St. Paul saw, by a divine light, the thoughts which would arise in their hearts. As if I would not come - Because I send Timothy.
19 I will know - He here shows his fatherly authority Not the big, empty speech of these vain boasters, but how much of the power of God attends them.
20 For the kingdom of God - Real religion, does not consist in words, but in the power of God ruling the heart.
21 With a rod - That is, with severity.

Chapter V

1 Fornication - The original word implies criminal conversation of any kind whatever. His father's wife - While his father was alive.
2 Are ye puffed up? Should ye not rather have mourned - Have solemnly humbled yourselves, and at that time of solemn mourning have expelled that notorious sinner from your communion?
3 I verily, as present in spirit - Having a full (it seems, a miraculous) view of the whole fact. Have already, as if I were actually present, judged him who hath so scandalously done this.
4 And my spirit - Present with you. With the power of the Lord Jesus Christ - To confirm my sentence.
5 To deliver such an one - This was the highest degree of punishment in the Christian church; and we may observe, the passing this sentence was the act of the apostle, not of the Corinthians. To Satan - Who was usually permitted, in such cases, to inflict pain or sickness on the offender. For the destruction - Though slowly and gradually. Of the flesh - Unless prevented by speedy repentance.
6 Your glorying - Either in your gifts or prosperity, at such a time as this, is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven - One sin, or one sinner. Leaveneth the whole lump - Diffuses guilt and infection through the whole congregation.
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven - Both of sinners and of sin. That ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened - That is, that being unleavened ye may be a new lump, holy unto the Lord. For our passover is slain for us - The Jewish passover, about the time of which this epistle was wrote, 1Cor 5:11, was only a type of this. What exquisite skill both here and everywhere conducts the zeal of the inspired writer! How surprising a transition is here, and yet how perfectly natural! The apostle, speaking of the incestuous criminal, slides into his darling topic, - crucified Saviour. Who would have expected it on such an occasion. Yet, when it is thus brought in, who does not see and admire both the propriety of the subject, and the delicacy of its introduction?
8 Therefore let us keep the feast - Let us feed on him by faith. Here is a plain allusion to the Lord's supper, which was instituted in the room of the passover. Not with the old leaven - Of heathenism or Judaism. Malignity is stubbornness in evil. Sincerity and truth seem to be put here for the whole of true, inward religion.
9 I wrote to you in a former epistle - And, doubtless, both St. Paul and the other apostles wrote many things which are not extant now. Not to converse - Familiarly; not to contract any intimacy or acquaintance with them, more than is absolutely necessary.
10 But I did not mean that you should altogether refrain from conversing with heathens, though they are guilty in some of these respects. Covetous, rapacious, idolaters - Sinners against themselves, their neighbour, God. For then ye must go out of the world - Then all civil commerce must cease. So that going out of the world, which some account a perfection, St. Paul accounts an utter absurdity.
11 Who is named a brother - That is, a Christian; especially if a member of the same congregation. Rapacious - Guilty of oppression, extortion, or any open injustice. No, not to eat with him - Which is the lowest degree of familiarity.
12 I speak of Christians only. For what have I to do to judge heathens? But ye, as well as I, judge those of your own community.
13 Them that are without God will judge - The passing sentence on these he hath reserved to himself. And ye will take away that wicked person - This properly belongs to you.

Chapter VI

1 The unjust - The heathens. A Christian could expect no justice from these. The saints - Who might easily decide these smaller differences in a private and friendly manner.
2 Know ye not - This expression occurs six times in this single chapter, and that with a peculiar force; for the Corinthians knew and gloried in it, but they did not practise. That the saints - After having been judged themselves. Shall judge the world - Shall be assessors with Christ in the judgment wherein he shall condemn all the wicked, as well angels as men, Matt 19:28 Rev 20:4.
4 Them who are of no esteem in the church - That is, heathens, who, as such, could be in no esteem with the Christians.
5 Is there not one among you, who are such admirers of wisdom, that is wise enough to decide such causes?
7 Indeed there is a fault, that ye quarrel with each other at all, whether ye go to law or no. Why do ye not rather suffer wrong - All men cannot or will not receive this saying. Many aim only at this, "I will neither do wrong, nor suffer it." These are honest heathens, but no Christians.
8 Nay, ye do wrong - Openly. And defraud - Privately. O how powerfully did the mystery of iniquity already work!
9 Idolatry is here placed between fornication and adultery, because they generally accompanied it. Nor the effeminate - Who live in an easy, indolent way; taking up no cross, enduring no hardship. But how is this? These good - natured, harmless people are ranked with idolaters and sodomites! We may learn hence, that we are never secure from the greatest sins, till we guard against those which are thought the least; nor, indeed, till we think no sin is little, since every one is a step toward hell.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed - From those gross abominations; nay, and ye are inwardly sanctified; not before, but in consequence of, your being justified in the name - That is, by the merits, of the Lord Jesus, through which your sins are forgiven. And by the Spirit of our God - By whom ye are thus washed and sanctified.
12 All things - Which are lawful for you. Are lawful for me, but all things are not always expedient - Particularly when anything would offend my weak brother; or when it would enslave my own soul. For though all things are lawful for me, yet I will not be brought under the power of any - So as to be uneasy when I abstain from it; for, if so, then I am under the power of it.
13 As if he had said, I speak this chiefly with regard to meats; (and would to God all Christians would consider it!) particularly with regard to those offered to idols, and those forbidden in the Mosaic law. These, I grant, are all indifferent, and have their use, though it is only for a time: then meats, and the organs which receive them, will together moulder into dust. But the case is quite otherwise with fornication. This is not indifferent, but at all times evil. For the body is for the Lord - Designed only for his service. And the Lord, in an important sense, for the body - Being the Saviour of this, as well as of the soul; in proof of which God hath already raised him from the dead.
16 Gen 2:24.
17 But he that is joined to the Lord - By faith. Is one spirit with him - And shall he make himself one flesh with an harlot?
18 Flee fornication - All unlawful commerce with women, with speed, with abhorrence, with all your might. Every sin that a man commits against his neighbour terminates upon an object out of himself, and does not so immediately pollute his body, though it does his soul. But he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body - Pollutes, dishonours, and degrades it to a level with brute beasts.
19 And even your body is not, strictly speaking, your own even this is the temple of the Holy Ghost - Dedicated to him, and inhabited by him. What the apostle calls elsewhere "the temple of God," 1Cor 3:16,17, and "the temple of the living God," 2Cor 6:16, he here styles the temple of the Holy Ghost; plainly showing that the Holy Ghost is the living God.
20 Glorify God with your body, and your spirit - Yield your bodies and all their members, as well as your souls and all their faculties, as instruments of righteousness to God. Devote and employ all ye have, and all ye are, entirely, unreservedly, and for ever, to his glory.

Chapter VII

1 It is good for a man - Who is master of himself. Not to touch a women - That is, not to marry. So great and many are the advantages of a single life.
2 Yet, when it is needful, in order to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife. His own - For Christianity allows no polygamy.
3 Let not married persons fancy that there is any perfection in living with each other, as if they were unmarried. The debt - This ancient reading seems far more natural than the common one.
4 The wife - the husband - Let no one forget this, on pretence of greater purity.
5 Unless it be by consent for a time - That on those special and solemn occasions ye may entirely give yourselves up to the exercises of devotion. Lest - If ye should long remain separate. Satan tempt you - To unclean thoughts, if not actions too.
6 But I say this - Concerning your separating for a time and coming together again. Perhaps he refers also to 1Co 7:2.
7 For I would that all men were herein even as I - I would that all believers who are now unmarried would remain "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake" St. Paul, having tasted the sweetness of this liberty, wished others to enjoy it, as well as himself. But every one hath his proper gift from God - According to our Lord's declaration, "All men cannot receive this saying, save they," the happy few, to whom it is given," Matt 19:11.
8 It is good for them if they remain even as I - That St. Paul was then single is certain and from Acts 7:58, compared with the following parts of the history, it seems probable that he always was so. It does not appear that this declaration, any more than 1Co 7:1, hath any reference at all to a state of persecution.
10 Not I - Only. But the Lord - Christ; by his express command, Matt 5:32.
11 But if she depart - Contrary to this express prohibition. And let not the husband put away his wife - Except for the cause of adultery.
12 To the rest - Who are married to unbelievers. Speak I - By revelation from God, though our Lord hath not left any commandment concerning it. Let him not put her away - The Jews, indeed, were obliged of old to put away their idolatrous wives, Ezra 10:3; but their case was quite different. They were absolutely forbid to marry idolatrous women; but the persons here spoken of were married while they were both in a state of heathenism.
14 For the unbelieving husband hath, in many instances, been sanctified by the wife - Else your children would have been brought up heathens; whereas now they are Christians. As if he had said, Ye see the proof of it before your eyes.
15 A brother or a sister - A Christian man or woman. Is not enslaved - is at full liberty. In such cases: but God hath called us to peace - To live peaceably with them, if it be possible.
17 But as God hath distributed - The various stations of life, and various relations, to every one, let him take care to discharge his duty therein. The gospel disannuls none of these. And thus I ordain in all the churches - As a point of the highest concern.
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing - Will neither promote nor obstruct our salvation. The one point is, keeping the commandments of God; "faith working by love."
20 In the calling - The outward state. Wherein he is - When God calls him. Let him not seek to change this, without a clear direction from Providence.
21 Care not for it - Do not anxiously seek liberty. But if thou canst be free, use it rather - Embrace the opportunity.
22 Is the Lord's freeman - Is free in this respect. The Greek word implies one that was a slave, but now is free. Is the bondman of Christ - Not free in this respect; not at liberty to do his own will.
23 Ye are bought with a price - Ye belong to God; therefore, where it can be avoided, do not become the bondslaves of men - Which may expose you to many temptations.
24 Therein abide with God - Doing all things as unto God, and as in his immediate presence. They who thus abide with God preserve an holy indifference with regard to outward things.
25 Now concerning virgins - Of either sex. I have no commandment from the Lord - By a particular revelation. Nor was it necessary he should; for the apostles wrote nothing which was not divinely inspired: but with this difference, - sometimes they had a particular revelation, and a special commandment; at other times they wrote from the divine light which abode with them, the standing treasure of the Spirit of God. And this, also, was not their private opinion, but a divine rule of faith and practice. As one whom God hath made faithful in my apostolic office; who therefore faithfully deliver what I receive from him.
26, 27 This is good for the present distress - While any church is under persecution. For a man to continue as he is - Whether married or unmarried. St. Paul does not here urge the present distress as a reason for celibacy, any more than for marriage; but for a man's not seeking to alter his state, whatever it be, but making the best of it.
27 See note ... "1Co 7:26".
28 Such will have trouble in the flesh - Many outward troubles. But I spare you - I speak as little and as tenderly as possible.
29 But this I say, brethren - With great confidence. The time of our abode here is short. It plainly follows, that even they who have wives be as serious, zealous, active, dead to the world, as devoted to God, as holy in all manner of conversation, as if they had none - By so easy a transition does the apostle slide from every thing else to the one thing needful; and, forgetting whatever is temporal, is swallowed up in eternity.
30 And they that weep, as if they wept not - "Though sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." They that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not - Tempering their joy with godly fear. They that buy, as if they possessed not - Knowing themselves to be only stewards, not proprietors.
31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it - Not seeking happiness in it, but in God: using every thing therein only in such a manner and degree as most tends to the knowledge and love of God. For the whole scheme and fashion of this world - This marrying, weeping, rejoicing, and all the rest, not only will pass, but now passeth away, is this moment flying off like a shadow.
32 Now I would have you - For this flying moment. Without carefulness - Without any incumbrance of your thoughts. The unmarried man - If he understand and use the advantage he enjoys - Careth only for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord.
33 But the married careth for the things of the world - And it in his duty so to do, so far as becomes a Christian. How he may please his wife - And provide all things needful for her and his family.
34 There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin - Whether the church be under persecution or not. The unmarried woman - If she know and use her privilege. Careth only for the things of the Lord - All her time, care, and thoughts centre in this, how she may be holy both in body and spirit. This is the standing advantage of a single life, in all ages and nations. But who makes a suitable use of it?
35 Not that I may cast a snare upon you - Who are not able to receive this saying. But for your profit - Who are able. That ye may resolutely and perseveringly wait upon the Lord - The word translated wait signifies sitting close by a person, in a good posture to hear. So Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, Luke 10:39. Without distraction - Without having the mind drawn any way from its centre; from its close attention to God; by any person, or thing, or care, or incumbrance whatsoever.
36 But if any parent think he should otherwise act indecently - Unbecoming his character. Toward his virgin daughter, if she be above age, (or of full age,) and need so require, 1Co 7:9, let them marry - Her suitor and she.
37 Having no necessity - Where there is no such need. But having power over his own will - Which would incline him to desire the increase of his family, and the strengthening it by new relations.
38 Doeth better - If there be no necessity.
39 Only in the Lord - That is, only if Christians marry Christians: a standing direction, and one of the utmost importance.
40 I also - As well as any of you. Have the Spirit of God - Teaching me all things This does not imply any doubt; but the strongest certainty of it, together with a reproof of them for calling it in question. Whoever, therefore, would conclude from hence, that St. Paul was not certain he had the Spirit of Christ, neither understands the true import of the words, nor considers how expressly he lays claim to the Spirit, both in this epistle, 1Co 2:16, 14:37, and the other. 2Co 13:3. Indeed, it may be doubted whether the word here and elsewhere translated think, does not always imply the fullest and strongest assurance. See 1Cor 10:12.

Chapter VIII

1 Now concerning the next question you proposed. All of us have knowledge - A gentle reproof of their self - conceit. Knowledge without love always puffeth up. Love alone edifies - Builds us up in holiness.
2 If any man think he knoweth any thing - Aright, unless so far he is taught by God. He knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know - Seeing there is no true knowledge without divine love.
3 He is known - That is, approved, by him. Psalm 1:6.
4 We know that an idol is nothing - A mere nominal god, having no divinity, virtue, or power.
5 For though there be that are called gods - By the heathens both celestial, (as they style them,) terrestrial, and infernal deities.
6 Yet to us - Christians. There is but one God - This is exclusive, not of the One Lord, as if he were an inferior deity; but only of the idols to which the One God is opposed. From whom are all things - By creation, providence, and grace. And we for him - The end of all we are, have, and do. And one Lord - Equally the object of divine worship. By whom are all things - Created, sustained, and governed. And we by him - Have access to the Father, and all spiritual blessings.
7 Some eat, with consciousness of the idol - That is, fancying it is something, and that it makes the meat unlawful to be eaten. And their conscience, being weak - Not rightly informed. Is defiled - contracts guilt by doing it.
8 But meat commendeth us not to God - Neither by eating, nor by refraining from it. Eating and not eating are in themselves things merely indifferent.
10 For if any one see thee who hast knowledge - Whom he believes to have more knowledge than himself, and who really hast this knowledge, that an idol is nothing - sitting down to an entertainment in an idol temple. The heathens frequently made entertainments in their temples, on what hath been sacrificed to their idols. Will not the conscience of him that is weak - Scrupulous. Be encouraged - By thy example. To eat - Though with a doubting conscience.
11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? - And for whom thou wilt not lose a meal's meat, so far from dying for him! We see, Christ died even for them that perish.
12 Ye sin against Christ - Whose members they are.
13 If meat - Of any kind. Who will follow this example? What preacher or private Christian will abstain from any thing lawful in itself, when it offends a weak brother?

Chapter IX

1 Am I not free? am I not an apostle? - That is, Have not I the liberty of a common Christian? yea, that of an apostle? He vindicates his apostleship, 1Co 9:1 - 3: his apostolical liberty, 1Co 9:4 - 19. Have I not seen Jesus Christ? - Without this he could not have been one of those first grand witnesses. Are not ye my work in the Lord - A full evidence that God hath sent me? And yet some, it seems, objected to his being an apostle, because he had not asserted his privilege in demanding and receiving such maintenance from the churches as was due to that office.
2 Ye are the seal of my apostleship - Who have received not only faith by my mouth, but all the gifts of the Spirit by my hands.
3 My answer to them who examine me - Concerning my apostleship. Is this - Which I have now given.
4 Have we not power - I and my fellowlabourers. To eat and to drink - At the expense of those among whom we labour.
5 Have we not power to lead about with us a sister, a wife - And to demand sustenance for her also? As well as the other apostles - Who therefore, it is plain, did this. And Peter - Hence we learn,
  1. That St. Peter continued to live with his wife after he became an apostle:
  2. That he had no rights as an apostle which were not common to St. Paul.
6 To forbear working - With our hands.
8 Do I speak as a man - Barely on the authority of human reason? Does not God also say, in effect, the same thing? The ox that treadeth out the corn - This was the custom in Judea, and many eastern nations. In several of them it is retained still. And at this day, horses tread out the corn in some parts of Germany.
9 Doth God - In this direction. Take care for oxen - Only? Hath he not a farther meaning? And so undoubtedly he hath in all the other Mosaic laws of this kind.
10 He who ploweth ought to plow in hope - Of reaping. This seems to be a proverbial expression. And he that thresheth in hope - Ought not to be disappointed, ought to eat the fruit of his labours. And ought they who labour in God's husbandry. Deut 25:4
11 Is it a great matter if we shall reap as much of your carnal things - As is needful for our sustenance? Do you give us things of greater value than those you receive from us?
12 If others - Whether true or false apostles. Partake of this power - Have a right to be maintained. Do not we rather - On account of our having laboured so much more? Lest we should give any hinderance to the gospel - By giving an occasion of cavil or reproach.
14 Matt 10:10
15 It were better for me to die than - To give occasion to them that seek occasion against me, 2Cor 11:12.
17 Willingly - He seems to mean, without receiving anything. St. Paul here speaks in a manner peculiar to himself. Another might have preached willingly, and yet have received a maintenance from the Corinthians. But if he had received anything from them, he would have termed it preaching unwillingly. And so, in the next verse, another might have used that power without abusing it. But his own using it at all, he would have termed abusing it. A dispensation is intrusted to me - Therefore I dare not refrain.
18 What then is my reward - That circumstance in my conduct for which I expect a peculiar reward from my great Master? That I abuse not - Make not an unseasonable use of my power which I have in preaching the gospel.
19 I made myself the servant of all - I acted with as self - denying a regard to their interest, and as much caution not to offend them, as if I had been literally their servant or slave. Where is the preacher of the gospel who treads in the same steps?
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew - Conforming myself in all things to their manner of thinking and living, so far as; I could with innocence. To them that are under the law - Who apprehend themselves to be still bound by the Mosaic law. As under the law - Observing it myself, while I am among them. Not that he declared this to be necessary, or refused to converse with those who did not observe it. This was the very thing which he condemned in St. Peter, Gal 2:14.
21 To them that are without the law - The heathens. As without the law - Neglecting its ceremonies. Being not without the law to God - But as much as ever under its moral precepts. Under the law to Christ - And in this sense all Christians will be under the law for ever.
22 I became as weak - As if I had been scrupulous too. I became all things to all men - Accommodating myself to all, so far as I could consistent with truth and sincerity.
24 Know ye not that - In those famous games which are kept at the isthmus, near your city. They who run in the foot race all run, though but one receiveth the prize - How much greater encouragement have you to run; since ye may all receive the prize of your high calling!
25 And every one that there contendeth is temperate in all things - To an almost incredible degree; using the most rigorous self denial in food, sleep, and every other sensual indulgence. A corruptible crown - A garland of leaves, which must soon wither. The moderns only have discovered that it is "legal" to do all this and more for an eternal crown than they did for a corruptible!
26 I so run, not as uncertainly - I look straight to the goal; I run straight toward it. I cast away every weight, regard not any that stand by. I fight not as one that beateth the air - This is a proverbial expression for a man's missing his blow, and spending his strength, not on his enemy, but on empty air.
27 But I keep under my body - By all kinds of self denial. And bring it into subjection - To my spirit and to God. The words are strongly figurative, and signify the mortification of the body of sin, "by an allusion to the natural bodies of those who were bruised or subdued in combat. Lest by any means after having preached - The Greek word means, after having discharged the office of an herald, (still carrying on the allusion,) whose office it was to proclaim the conditions, and to display the prizes. I myself should become a reprobate - Disapproved by the Judge, and so falling short of the prize. This single text may give us a just notion of the scriptural doctrine of election and reprobation; and clearly shows us, that particular persons are not in holy writ represented as elected absolutely and unconditionally to eternal life, or predestinated absolutely and unconditionally to eternal death; but that believers in general are elected to enjoy the Christian privileges on earth; which if they abuse, those very elect persons will become reprobate. St. Paul was certainly an elect person, if ever there was one; and yet he declares it was possible he himself might become a reprobate. Nay, he actually would have become such, if he had not thus kept his body under, even though he had been so long an elect person, a Christian, and an apostle.

Chapter X

1 Now - That ye may not become reprobates, consider how highly favoured your fathers were, who were God's elect and peculiar people, and nevertheless were rejected by him. They were all under the cloud - That eminent token of God's gracious presence, which screened them from the heat of the sun by day, and gave them light by night. And all passed through the sea - God opening a way through the midst of the waters. Exod 13:21 Exod 14:22
2 And were all, as it were, baptized unto Moses - initiated into the religion which he taught them. In the cloud and in the sea - Perhaps sprinkled here and there with drops of water from the sea or the cloud, by which baptism might be the more evidently signified.
3 And all ate the same manna, termed spiritual meat, as it was typical,
  1. Of Christ and his spiritual benefits:
  2. Of the sacred bread which we eat at his table.
Exod 16:15.
4 And all drank the same spiritual drink - Typical of Christ, and of that cup which we drink. For they drank out of the spiritual or mysterious rock, the wonderful streams of which followed them in their several journeyings, for many years, through the wilderness. And that rock was a manifest type of Christ - The Rock of Eternity, from whom his people derive those streams of blessings which follow them through all this wilderness. Exod 17:6.
5 Yet - Although they had so many tokens of the divine presence. They were overthrown - With the most terrible marks of his displeasure.
6 Now these things were our examples - Showing what we are to expect if, enjoying the like benefits, we commit the like sins. The benefits are set down in the same order as by Moses in Exodus; the sins and punishments in a different order; evil desire first, as being the foundation of all; next, idolatry, 1Co 10:7,14; then fornication, which usually accompanied it, 1Co 10:8; the tempting and murmuring against God, in the following verses. As they desired - Flesh, in contempt of manna. Num 11:4
7 Neither be ye idolaters - And so, "neither murmur ye," 1Co 10:10. The other cautions are given in the first person; but these in the second. And with what exquisite propriety does he vary the person! It would have been improper to say, Neither let us be idolaters; for he was himself in no danger of idolatry; nor probably of murmuring against Christ, or the divine providence. To play - That is, to dance, in honour of their idol. Exod 32:6.
8 And fell in one day three and twenty thousand - Beside the princes who were afterwards hanged, and those whom the judges slew so that there died in all four and twenty thousand. Num 25:1,9.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ - By our unbelief. St. Paul enumerates five benefits, 1Co 10:1 - 4; of which the fourth and fifth were closely connected together; and five sins, the fourth and fifth of which were likewise closely connected. In speaking of the fifth benefit, he expressly mentions Christ; and in speaking of the fourth sin, he shows it was committed against Christ. As some of them tempted him - This sin of the people was peculiarly against Christ; for when they had so long drank of that rock, yet they murmured for want of water. Num 21:4, &c
10 The destroyer - The destroying angel. Num 14:1,36
11 On whom the ends of the ages are come - The expression has great force. All things meet together, and come to a crisis, under the last, the gospel, dispensation; both benefits and dangers, punishments and rewards. It remains, that Christ come as an avenger and judge. And even these ends include various periods, succeeding each other.
12 The common translation runs, Let him that thinketh he standeth; but the word translated thinketh, most certainly strengthens, rather than weakens, the sense.
13 Common to man - Or, as the Greek word imports, proportioned to human strength. God is faithful - In giving the help which he hath promised. And he will with the temptation - Provide for your deliverance.
14 Flee from idolatry - And from all approaches to it.
16 The cup which we bless - By setting it apart to a sacred use, and solemnly invoking the blessing of God upon it. Is it not the communion of the blood of Christ - The means of our partaking of those invaluable benefits, which are the purchase of the blood of Christ. The communion of the body of Christ - The means of our partaking of those benefits which were purchased by the body of Christ - offered for us.
17 For it is this communion which makes us all one. We being many are yet, as it were, but different parts of one and the same broken bread, which we receive to unite us in one body.
18 Consider Israel after the flesh - Christians are the spiritual "Israel of God." Are not they who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar - Is not this an act of communion with that God to whom they are offered? And is not the case the same with those who eat of the sacrifices which have been offered to idols?
19 What say I then - Do I in saying this allow that an idol is anything divine? I aver, on the contrary, that what the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils. Such in reality are the gods of the heathens; and with such only can you hold communion in those sacrifices.
21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils - You cannot have communion with both.
22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy - By thus caressing his rivals? Are we stronger than he - Are we able to resist, or to bear his wrath?
23 Supposing this were lawful in itself, yet it is not expedient, it is not edifying to my neighbour.
24 His own only, but another's welfare also.
25 The apostle now applies this principle to the point in question. Asking no questions - Whether it has been sacrificed or not.
26 For God, who is the Creator, Proprietor, and Disposer of the earth and all that is therein, hath given the produce of it to the children of men, to be used without scruple. Psalm 24:1
28 For his sake that showed thee, and for conscience' sake - That is, for the sake of his weak conscience, lest it should be wounded.
29 Conscience I say, not thy own - I speak of his conscience, not thine. For why is my liberty judged by another's conscience - Another's conscience is not the standard of mine, nor is another's persuasion the measure of my liberty.
30 If I by grace am a partaker - If I thankfully use the common blessings of God.
31 Therefore - To close the present point with a general rule, applicable not only in this, but in all cases, Whatsoever ye do - In all things whatsoever, whether of a religious or civil nature, in all the common, as well as sacred, actions of life, keep the glory of God in view, and steadily pursue in all this one end of your being, the planting or advancing the vital knowledge and love of God, first in your own soul, then in all mankind.
32 Give no offence - If, and as far as, it is possible.
33 Even as I, as much as lieth in me, please all men.

Chapter XI

2 I praise you - The greater part of you.
3 I would have you know - He does not seem to have given them any order before concerning this. The head of every man - Particularly every believer. Is Christ, and the head of Christ is God - Christ, as he is Mediator, acts in all things subordinately to his Father. But we can no more infer that they are not of the same divine nature, because God is said to be the head of Christ, than that man and woman are not of the same human nature, because the man is said to be the head of the woman.
4 Every man praying or prophesying - Speaking by the immediate power of God. With his head - And face. Covered - Either with a veil or with long hair. Dishonoureth his head - St. Paul seems to mean, As in these eastern nations veiling the head is a badge of subjection, so a man who prays or prophesies with a veil on his head, reflects a dishonour on Christ, whose representative he is.
5 But every woman - Who, under an immediate impulse of the Spirit, (for then only was a woman suffered to speak in the church,) prays or prophesies without a veil on her face, as it were disclaims subjection, and reflects dishonour on man, her head. For it is the same, in effect, as if she cut her hair short, and wore it in the distinguishing form of the men. In those ages, men wore their hair exceeding short, as appears from the ancient statues and pictures.
6 Therefore if a woman is not covered - If she will throw off the badge of subjection, let her appear with her hair cut like a man's. But if it be shameful far a woman to appear thus in public, especially in a religious assembly, let her, for the same reason, keep on her veil.
7 A man indeed ought not to veil his head, because he is the image of God - In the dominion he bears over the creation, representing the supreme dominion of God, which is his glory. But the woman is only matter of glory to the man, who has a becoming dominion over her. Therefore she ought not to appear, but with her head veiled, as a tacit acknowledgment of it.
8 The man is not - In the first production of nature.
10 For this cause also a woman ought to be veiled in the public assemblies, because of the angels - Who attend there, and before whom they should be careful not to do anything indecent or irregular.
11 Nevertheless in the Lord Jesus, there is neither male nor female - Neither is excluded; neither is preferred before the other in his kingdom.
12 And as the woman was at first taken out of the man, so also the man is now, in the ordinary course of nature, by the woman; but all things are of God - The man, the woman, and their dependence on each other.
13 Judge of yourselves - For what need of more arguments if so plain a case? Is it decent for a woman to pray to God - The Most High, with that bold and undaunted air which she must have, when, contrary to universal custom, she appears in public with her head uncovered?
14 For a man to have long hair, carefully adjusted, is such a mark of effeminacy as is a disgrace to him.
15 Given her - Originally, before the arts of dress were in being.
16 We have no such custom here, nor any of the other churches of God - The several churches that were in the apostles' time had different customs in things that were not essential; and that under one and the same apostle, as circumstances, in different places, made it convenient. And in all things merely indifferent the custom of each place was of sufficient weight to determine prudent and peaceable men. Yet even this cannot overrule a scrupulous conscience, which really doubts whether the thing be indifferent or no. But those who are referred to here by the apostle were contentious, not conscientious, persons.
18 In the church - In the public assembly. I hear there are schisms among you; and I partly believe it - That is, I believe it of some of you. It is plain that by schisms is not meant any separation from the church, but uncharitable divisions in it; for the Corinthians continued to be one church; and, notwithstanding all their strife and contention, there was no separation of any one party from the rest, with regard to external communion. And it is in the same sense that the word is used, 1Co 1:10; 1Co 12:25; which are the only places in the New Testament, beside this, where church schisms are mentioned. Therefore, the indulging any temper contrary to this tender care of each other is the true scriptural schism. This is, therefore, a quite different thing from that orderly separation from corrupt churches which later ages have stigmatized as schisms; and have made a pretence for the vilest cruelties, oppressions, and murders, that have troubled the Christian world. Both heresies and schisms are here mentioned in very near the same sense; unless by schisms be meant, rather, those inward animosities which occasion heresies; that is, outward divisions or parties: so that whilst one said, "I am of Paul," another, "I am of Apollos," this implied both schism and heresy. So wonderfully have later ages distorted the words heresy and schism from their scriptural meaning. Heresy is not, in all the Bible, taken for "an error in fundamentals," or in anything else; nor schism, for any separation made from the outward communion of others. Therefore, both heresy and schism, in the modern sense of the words, are sins that the scripture knows nothing of; but were invented merely to deprive mankind of the benefit of private judgment, and liberty of conscience.
19 There must be heresies - Divisions. Among you - In the ordinary course of things; and God permits them, that it may appear who among you are, and who are not, upright of heart.
20 Therefore - That is, in consequence of those schisms. It is not eating the Lord's supper - That solemn memorial of his death; but quite another thing.
21 For in eating what ye call the Lord's supper, instead of all partaking of one bread, each person brings his own supper, and eats it without staying for the rest. And hereby the poor, who cannot provide for themselves, have nothing; while the rich eat and drink to the full just as the heathens use to do at the feasts on their sacrifices.
22 Have ye not houses to eat and drink your common meals in? or do ye despise the church of God - Of which the poor are both the larger and the better part. Do ye act thus in designed contempt of them?
23 I received - By an immediate revelation.
24 This is my body, which is broken for you - That is, this broken bread is the sign of my body, which is even now to be pierced and wounded for your iniquities. Take then, and eat of, this bread, in an humble, thankful, obediential remembrance of my dying love; of the extremity of my sufferings on your behalf, of the blessings I have thereby procured for you, and of the obligations to love and duty which I have by all this laid upon you.
25 After supper - Therefore ye ought not to confound this with a common meal. Do this in remembrance of me - The ancient sacrifices were in remembrance of sin: this sacrifice, once offered, is still represented in remembrance of the remission of sins.
26 Ye show forth the Lord's death - Ye proclaim, as it were, and openly avow it to God, and to all the world. Till he come - In glory.
27 Whosoever shall eat this bread unworthily - That is, in an unworthy, irreverent manner; without regarding either Him that appointed it, or the design of its appointment. Shall be guilty of profaning that which represents the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself - Whether he know the nature and the design of the institution, and whether it be his own desire and purpose throughly to comply therewith.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh so unworthily as those Corinthians did, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself - Temporal judgments of various kinds, 1Cor 11:30. Not distinguishing the sacred tokens of the Lord's body - From his common food.
30 For this cause - Which they had not observed. Many sleep - In death.
31 If we would judge ourselves - As to our knowledge, and the design with which we approach the Lord's table. We should not be thus judged - That is, punished by God.
32 When we are thus judged, it is with this merciful design, that we may not be finally condemned with the world.
33 The rest - The other circumstances relating to the Lord's supper.

Chapter XII

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts - The abundance of these in the churches of Greece strongly refuted the idle learning of the Greek philosophers. But the Corinthians did not use them wisely, which occasioned St. Paul's writing concerning them. He describes,
  1. The unity of the body, 1Cor 12:1 - 27:
  2. The variety of members and offices, 1Cor 12:27 - 30:
  3. The way of exercising gifts rightly, namely, by love, 1Cor 12:31, 1Cor 13:1. throughout: and adds,
  4. A comparison of several gifts with each other, in the 1Cor 14:1. fourteenth chapter.
2 Ye were heathens - Therefore, whatever gifts ye have received, it is from the free grace of God. Carried away - By a blind credulity. After dumb idols - The blind to the dumb; idols of wood and stone, unable to speak themselves, and much more to open your mouths, as God has done. As ye were led - By the subtlety of your priests.
3 Therefore - Since the heathen idols cannot speak themselves, much less give spiritual gifts to others, these must necessarily be among Christians only. As no one speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed - That is, as none who does this, (which all the Jews and heathens did,) speaketh by the Spirit of God - Is actuated by that Spirit, so as to speak with tongues, heal diseases, or cast out devils. So no one can say, Jesus is the Lord - None can receive him as such; for, in the scripture language, to say, or to believe, implies an experimental assurance. But by the Holy Ghost - The sum is, None have the Holy Spirit but Christians: all Christians have this Spirit.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit - Divers streams, but all from one fountain. This verse speaks of the Holy Ghost, the next of Christ, the sixth of God the Father. The apostle treats of the Spirit, 1Cor 12:7, &c.; of Christ, 1Cor 12:12, &c.; of God, 1Cor 12:28, &c.
5 Administrations - Offices. But the same Lord appoints them all.
6 Operations - Effects produced. This word is of a larger extent than either of the former. But it is the same God who worketh all these effects in all the persons concerned.
7 The manifestation - The gift whereby the Spirit manifests itself. Is given to each - For the profit of the whole body.
8 The word of wisdom - A power of understanding and explaining the manifold wisdom of God in the grand scheme of gospel salvation. The word of knowledge - Perhaps an extraordinary ability to understand and explain the Old Testament types and prophecies.
9 Faith may here mean an extraordinary trust in God under the most difficult or dangerous circumstances. The gift of healing need not be wholly confined to the healing diseases with a word or a touch. It may exert itself also, though in a lower degree, where natural remedies are applied; and it may often be this, not superior skill, which makes some physicians more successful than others. And thus it may be with regard to other gifts likewise. As, after the golden shields were lost, the king of Judah put brazen in their place, so, after the pure gifts were lost, the power of God exerts itself in a more covert manner, under human studies and helps; and that the more plentifully, according as there is the more room given for it.
10 The working of other miracles. Prophecy - Foretelling things to come. The discerning - Whether men be of an upright spirit or no; whether they have natural or supernatural gifts for offices in the church; and whether they who profess to speak by inspiration speak from a divine, a natural, or a diabolical spirit.
11 As he willeth - The Greek word does not so much imply arbitrary pleasure, as a determination founded on wise counsel.
12 So is Christ - That is, the body of Christ, the church.
13 For by that one Spirit, which we received in baptism, we are all united in one body. Whether Jews or gentiles - Who are at the greatest distance from each other by nature. Whether slaves or freemen - Who are at the greatest distance by law and custom. We have all drank of one Spirit - In that cup, received by faith, we all imbibed one Spirit, who first inspired, and still preserves, the life of God in our souls.
15 The foot is elegantly introduced as speaking of the hand; the ear, of the eye; each, of a part that has some resemblance to it. So among men each is apt to compare himself with those whose gifts some way resemble his own, rather than with those who are at a distance, either above or beneath him. Is it therefore not of the body - Is the inference good? Perhaps the foot may represent private Christians; the hand, officers in the church; the eye, teachers; the ear, hearers.
16 The ear - A less noble part. The eye - The most noble.
18 As it hath pleased him - With the most exquisite wisdom and goodness.
20 But one body - And it is a necessary consequence of this unity, that the several members need one another.
21 Nor the head - The highest part of all. To the foot - The very lowest.
22 The members which appear to be weaker - Being of a more delicate and tender structure; perhaps the brains and bowels, or the veins, arteries, and other minute channels in the body.
23 We surround with more abundant honour - By so carefully covering them. More abundant comeliness - By the help of dress.
24 Giving more abundant honour to that which lacked - As being cared for and served by the noblest parts.
27 Now ye - Corinthians. Are the body and members of Christ - part of them, I mean, not the whole body.
28 First apostles - Who plant the gospel in the heathen nations. Secondly prophets - Who either foretel things to come, or speak by extra - ordinary inspiration, for the edification of the church. Thirdly teachers - Who precede even those that work miracles. Under prophets and teachers are comprised evangelists and pastors, Eph 4:11. Helps, governments - It does not appear that these mean distinct offices: rather, any persons might be called helps, from a peculiar dexterity in helping the distressed; and governments, from a peculiar talent for governing or presiding in assemblies.
31 Ye covet earnestly the best gifts - And they are worth your pursuit, though but few of you can attain them. But there is a far more excellent gift than all these; and one which all may, yea, must attain or perish.

Chapter XIII

The necessity of love is shown, 1Co 13:1 - 3. The nature and properties, 1Co 13:4 - 7. The duration of it, 1Co 13:8 - 13

1 Though I speak with all the tongues - Which are upon earth, and with the eloquence of an angel. And have not love - The love of God, and of all mankind for his sake, I am no better before God than the sounding instruments of brass, used in the worship of some of the heathen gods. Or a tinkling cymbal - This was made of two pieces of hollow brass, which, being struck together, made a tinkling, but very little variety of sound.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy - Of foretelling future events. And understand all the mysteries - Both of God's word and providence. And all knowledge - Of things divine and human, that ever any mortal attained to. And though I have the highest degree of miracle working faith, and have not this love, I am nothing.
3 And though I - Deliberately, piece by piece. Give all my goods to feed the poor, yea, though I deliver up my body to be burned - Rather than I would renounce my religion. And have not the love - Hereafter described. It profiteth me nothing - Without this, whatever I speak, whatever I have, whatever I know, whatever I do, whatever I suffer, is nothing.
4 The love of God, and of our neighbour for God's sake, is patient toward, all men. It, suffers all the weakness, ignorance, errors, and infirmities of the children of God; all the malice and wickedness of the children of the world: and all this, not only for a time, but to the end. And in every step toward overcoming evil with good, it is kind, soft, mild, benign. It inspires the sufferer at once with the most amiable sweetness, and the most fervent and tender affection. Love acteth not rashly - Does not hastily condemn any one; never passes a severe sentence on a slight or sudden view of things. Nor does it ever act or behave in a violent, headstrong, or precipitate manner. Is not puffed up - Yea, humbles the soul to the dust.
5 It doth not behave indecently - Is not rude, or willingly offensive, to any. It renders to all their due - Suitable to time, person, and all other circumstances. Seeketh not her own - Ease, pleasure, honour, or temporal advantage. Nay, sometimes the lover of mankind seeketh not, in some sense, even his own spiritual advantage; does not think of himself, so long as a zeal for the glory of God and the souls of men swallows him up. But, though he is all on fire for these ends, yet he is not provoked to sharpness or unkindness toward any one. Outward provocations indeed will frequently occur; but he triumphs over all. Love thinketh no evil - Indeed it cannot but see and hear evil things, and know that they are so; but it does not willingly think evil of any; neither infer evil where it does not appear. It tears up, root and branch, all imagining of what we have not proof. It casts out all jealousies, all evil surmises, all readiness to believe evil.
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity - Yea, weeps at either the sin or folly of even an enemy; takes no pleasure in hearing or in repeating it, but desires it may be forgotten for ever. But rejoiceth in the truth - Bringing forth its proper fruit, holiness of heart and life. Good in general is its glory and joy, wherever diffused in all the world.
7 Love covereth all things - Whatever evil the lover of mankind sees, hears, or knows of any one, he mentions it to none; it never goes out of his lips, unless where absolute duty constrains to speak. Believeth all things - Puts the most favourable construction on everything, and is ever ready to believe whatever may tend to the advantage of any one character. And when it can no longer believe well, it hopes whatever may excuse or extenuate the fault which cannot be denied. Where it cannot even excuse, it hopes God will at length give repentance unto life. Meantime it endureth all things - Whatever the injustice, the malice, the cruelty of men can inflict. He can not only do, but likewise suffer, all things, through Christ who strengtheneth him.
8 Love never faileth - It accompanies to, and adorns us in, eternity; it prepares us for, and constitutes, heaven. But whether there be prophecies, they shall fail - When all things are fulfilled, and God is all in all. Whether there be tongues, they shall cease - One language shall prevail among all the inhabitants of heaven, and the low and imperfect languages of earth be forgotten. The knowledge likewise which we now so eagerly pursue, shall then vanish away - As starlight is lost in that of the midday sun, so our present knowledge in the light of eternity.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part - The wisest of men have here but short, narrow, imperfect conceptions, even of the things round about them, and much more of the deep things of God. And even the prophecies which men deliver from God are far from taking in the whole of future events, or of that wisdom and knowledge of God which is treasured up in the scripture revelation.
10 But when that which is perfect is come - At death and in the last day. That which is in part shall vanish away - Both that poor, low, imperfect, glimmering light, which is all the knowledge we now can attain to; and these slow and unsatisfactory methods of attaining, as well as of imparting it to others.
11 In our present state we are mere infants in point of knowledge, compared to what we shall be hereafter. I put away childish things - Of my own accord, willingly, without trouble.
12 Now we see - Even the things that surround us. But by means of a glass - Or mirror, which reflects only their imperfect forms, in a dim, faint, obscure manner; so that our thoughts about them are puzzling and intricate, and everything is a kind of riddle to us. But then - We shall see, not a faint reflection, but the objects themselves. Face to face - Distinctly. Now I know in part - Even when God himself reveals things to me, great part of them is still kept under the veil. But then I shall know even as also I am known - In a clear, full, comprehensive manner; in some measure like God, who penetrates the centre of every object, and sees at one glance through my soul and all things.
13 Faith, hope, love - Are the sum of perfection on earth; love alone is the sum of perfection in heaven.

Chapter XIV

1 Follow after love - With zeal, vigour, courage, patience; else you can neither attain nor keep it. And - In their place, as subservient to this. Desire spiritual gifts; but especially that ye may prophesy - The word here does not mean foretelling things to come; but rather opening and applying the scripture.
2 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaks, in effect, not to men, but to God - Who alone understands him.
4 Edifieth himself - Only, on the most favourable supposition. The church - The whole congregation.
5 Greater - That is, more useful. By this alone are we to estimate all our gifts and talents.
6 Revelation - Of some gospel mystery. Knowledge - Explaining the ancient types and prophecies. Prophecy - Foretelling some future event. Doctrine - To regulate your tempers and lives. Perhaps this may be the sense of these obscure words.
7 How shall it be known what is piped or harped - What music can be made, or what end answered?
8 Who will prepare himself for the battle - Unless he understand what the trumpet sounds? suppose a retreat or a march.
9 Unless ye utter by the tongue - Which is miraculously given you. Words easy to be understood - By your hearers. Ye will speak to the air - A proverbial expression. Will utterly lose your labour.
11 I shall be a barbarian to him - Shall seem to talk unintelligible gibberish.
13 That he may be able to interpret - Which was a distinct gift.
14 If I pray in an unknown tongue - The apostle, as he did at 1Cor 14:6, transfers it to himself. My spirit prayeth - By the power of the Spirit I understand the words myself. But my understanding is unfruitful - The knowledge I have is no benefit to others.
15 I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the understanding also - I will use my own understanding, as well as the power of the Spirit. I will not act so absurdly, as to utter in a congregation what can edify none but myself.
16 Otherwise how shall he that filleth the place of a private person - That is, any private hearer. Say Amen - Assenting and confirming your words, as it was even then usual for the whole congregation to do.
19 With my understanding - In a rational manner; so as not only to understand myself, but to be understood by others.
20 Be not children in understanding - This is an admirable stroke of true oratory! to bring down the height of their spirits, by representing that wherein they prided themselves most, as mere folly and childishness. In wickedness be ye infants - Have all the innocence of that tender age. But in understanding be ye grown men - Knowing religion was not designed to destroy any of our natural faculties, but to exalt and improve them, our reason in particular.
21 It is written in the Law - The word here, as frequently, means the Old Testament. In foreign tongues will I speak to this people - And so he did. He spake terribly to them by the Babylonians, when they had set at nought what he had spoken by the prophets, who used their own language. These words received a farther accomplishment on the day of pentecost. Isaiah 28:11.
22 Tongues are intended for a sign to unbelievers - To engage their attention, and convince them the message is of God. Whereas prophecy is not so much for unbelievers, as for the confirmation of them that already believe.
23 Yet - Sometimes prophecy is of more use, even to unbelievers, than speaking with tongues. For instance: If the whole church be met together - On some extraordinary occasion. It is probable, in so large a city, they ordinarily met in several places. And there come in ignorant persons - Men of learning might have understood the tongues in which they spoke. It is observable, St. Paul says here, ignorant persons or unbelievers; but in the next verse, an unbeliever or an ignorant person. Several bad men met together hinder each other by evil discourse. Single persons are more easily gained.
24 He is convicted by all - who speak in their turns, and speak to the heart of the hearers. He is judged by all - Every one says something to which his conscience bears witness.
25 The secrets of his heart are made manifest - Laid open, clearly described; in a manner which to him is most astonishing and utterly unaccountable. How many instances of it are seen at this day! So does God still point his word.
26 What a thing is it, brethren - This was another disorder among them. Every one hath a psalm - That is, at the same time one begins to sing a psalm; another to deliver a doctrine; another to speak in an unknown tongue; another to declare what has been revealed to him; another to interpret what the former is speaking; every one probably gathering a little company about him, just as they did in the schools of the philosophers. Let all be done to edification - So as to profit the hearers.
27 By two or three at most - Let not above two or three speak at one meeting. And that by course - That is, one after another. And let one interpret - Either himself, 1Cor 14:13; or, if he have not the gift, some other, into the vulgar tongue. It seems, the gift of tongues was an instantaneous knowledge of a tongue till then unknown, which he that received it could afterwards speak when he thought fit, without any new miracle.
28 Let him speak - That tongue, if he find it profitable to himself in his private devotions.
29 Let two or three of the prophets - Not more, at one meeting. Speak - One after another, expounding the scripture.
31 All - Who have that gift. That all may learn - Both by speaking and by hearing.
32 For the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets - But what enthusiast considers this? The impulses of the Holy Spirit, even in men really inspired, so suit themselves to their rational faculties, as not to divest them of the government of themselves, like the heathen priests under their diabolical possession. Evil spirits threw their prophets into such ungovernable ecstasies, as forced them to speak and act like madmen. But the Spirit of God left his prophets the clear use of their judgment, when, and how long, it was fit for them to speak, and never hurried them into any improprieties either as to the matter, manner, or time of their speaking.
34 Let your women be silent in the churches - Unless they are under an extraordinary impulse of the Spirit. For, in other cases, it is not permitted them to speak - By way of teaching in public assemblies. But to be in subjection - To the man whose proper office it is to lead and to instruct the congregation. Gen 3:16.
35 And even if they desire to learn anything - Still they are not to speak in public, but to ask their own husbands at home - That is the place, and those the persons to inquire of.
36 Are ye of Corinth either the first or the only Christians? If not, conform herein to the custom of all the churches.
37 Or spiritual - Endowed with any extraordinary gift of the Spirit. Let him - Prove it, by acknowledging that I now write by the Spirit.
38 Let him be ignorant - Be it at his own peril.
39 Therefore - To sum up the whole.
40 Decently - By every individual. In order - By the whole church.

Chapter XV

2 Ye are saved, if ye hold fast - Your salvation is begun, and will be perfected, if ye continue in the faith. Unless ye have believed in vain - Unless indeed your faith was only a delusion.
3 I received - From Christ himself. It was not a fiction of my own. Isaiah 53:8,9.
4 According to the scriptures - He proves it first from scripture, then from the testimony of a cloud of witnesses. Psalm 16:10.
5 By the twelve - This was their standing appellation; but their full number was not then present.
6 Above five hundred - Probably in Galilee. A glorious and incontestable proof! The greater part remain - Alive.
7 Then by all the apostles - The twelve were mentioned 1Cor 15:5. This title here, therefore, seems to include the seventy; if not all those, likewise, whom God afterwards sent to plant the gospel in heathen nations.
8 An untimely birth - It was impossible to abase himself more than he does by this single appellation. As an abortion is not worthy the name of a man, so he affirms himself to be not worthy the name of an apostle.
9 I persecuted the church - True believers are humbled all their lives, even for the sins they committed before they believed.
10 I laboured more than they all - That is, more than any of them, from a deep sense of the peculiar love God had shown me. Yet, to speak more properly, it is not I, but the grace of God that is with me - This it is which at first qualified me for the work, and still excites me to zeal and diligence in it.
11 Whether I or they, so we preach - All of us speak the same thing.
12 How say some - Who probably had been heathen philosophers.
13 If there be no resurrection - If it be a thing flatly impossible.
14 Then is our preaching - From a commission supposed to be given after the resurrection. Vain - Without any real foundation.
15 If the dead rise not - If the very notion of a resurrection be, as they say, absurd and impossible.
17 Ye are still in your sins - That is, under the guilt of them. So that there needed something more than reformation, (which was plainly wrought,) in order to their being delivered from the guilt of sin even that atonement, the sufficiency of which God attested by raising our great Surety from the grave.
18 They who sleep in Christ - Who have died for him, or believing in him. Are perished - Have lost their life and being together.
19 If in this life only we have hope - If we look for nothing beyond the grave. But if we have a divine evidence of things not seen, if we have "a hope full of immortality," if we now taste of "the powers of the world to come," and see "the crown that fadeth not away," then, notwithstanding" all our present trials, we are more happy than all men.
20 But now - St. Paul declares that Christians "have hope," not "in this life only." His proof of the resurrection lies in a narrow compass, 1Cor 15:12 - 19. Almost all the rest of the chapter is taken up in illustrating, vindicating, and applying it. The proof is short, but solid and convincing, that which arose from Christ's resurrection. Now this not only proved a resurrection possible, but, as it proved him to be a divine teacher, proved the certainty of a general resurrection, which he so expressly taught. The first fruit of them that slept - The earnest, pledge, and insurance of their resurrection who slept in him: even of all the righteous. It is of the resurrection of these, and these only, that the apostle speaks throughout the chapter.
22 As through Adam all, even the righteous, die, so through Christ all these shall be made alive - He does not say, "shall revive," (as naturally as they die,) but shall be made alive, by a power not their own.
23 Afterward - The whole harvest. At the same time the wicked shall rise also. But they are not here taken into the account.
24 Then - After the resurrection and the general judgment. Cometh the end - Of the world; the grand period of all those wonderful scenes that have appeared for so many succeeding generations. When he shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father, and he (the Father) shall have abolished all adverse rule, authority, and power - Not that the Father will then begin to reign without the Son, nor will the Son then cease to reign. For the divine reign both of the Father and Son is from everlasting to everlasting. But this is spoken of the Son's mediatorial kingdom, which will then be delivered up, and of the immediate kingdom or reign of the Father, which will then commence. Till then the Son transacts the business which the Father hath given him, for those who are his, and by them as well as by the angels, with the Father, and against their enemies. So far as the Father gave the kingdom to the Son, the Son shall deliver it up to the Father, John 13:3. Nor does the Father cease to reign, when he gives it to the Son; neither the Son, when he delivers it to the Father: but the glory which he had before the world began, John 17:5; Heb 1:8, will remain even after this is delivered up. Nor will he cease to be a king even in his human nature, Luke 1:33. If the citizens of the new Jerusalem" shall reign for ever," Rev 22:5, how much more shall he?
25 He must reign - Because so it is written. Till he - the Father hath put all his enemies under his feet. Psa 110:1.
26 The last enemy that is destroyed is death - Namely, after Satan, Heb 2:14, and sin, 1Cor 15:56, are destroyed. In the same order they prevailed. Satan brought in sin, and sin brought forth death. And Christ, when he of old engaged with these enemies, first conquered Satan, then sin, in his death; and, lastly, death, in his resurrection. In the same order he delivers all the faithful from them, yea, and destroys these enemies themselves. Death he so destroys that it shall be no more; sin and Satan, so that they shall no more hurt his people.
27 Under him - Under the Son. Psalm 8:6,7
28 The Son also shall be subject - Shall deliver up the mediatorial kingdom. That the three - one God may be all in all - All things, (consequently all persons,) without any interruption, without the intervention of any creature, without the opposition of any enemy, shall be subordinate to God. All shall say, "My God, and my all." This is the end. Even an inspired apostle can see nothing beyond this.
29 Who are baptized for the dead - Perhaps baptized in hope of blessings to be received after they are numbered with the dead. Or, "baptized in the room of the dead" - Of them that are just fallen in the cause of Christ: like soldiers who advance in the room of their companions that fell just before their face.
30 Why are we - The apostles. Also in danger every hour - It is plain we can expect no amends in this life.
31 I protest by your rejoicing, which I have - Which love makes my own. I die daily - I am daily in the very jaws of death. Beside that I live, as it were, in a daily martyrdom.
32 If to speak after the manner of men - That is, to use a proverbial phrase, expressive of the most imminent danger I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus - With the savage fury of a lawless multitude, Acts 19:29, &c. This seems to have been but just before. Let as eat, &c. - We might, on that supposition, as well say, with the Epicureans, Let us make the best of this short life, seeing we have no other portion.
33 Be not deceived - By such pernicious counsels as this. Evil communications corrupt good manners - He opposes to the Epicurean saying, a well - known verse of the poet Menander. Evil communications - Discourse contrary to faith, hope, or love, naturally tends to destroy all holiness.
34 Awake - An exclamation full of apostolical majesty. Shake off your lethargy! To righteousness - Which flows from the true knowledge of God, and implies that your whole soul be broad awake. And sin not - That is, and ye will not sin Sin supposes drowsiness of soul. There is need to press this. For some among you have not the knowledge of God - With all their boasted knowledge, they are totally ignorant of what it most concerns them to know. I speak this to your shame - For nothing is more shameful, than sleepy ignorance of God, and of the word and works of God; in these especially, considering the advantages they had enjoyed.
35 But some one possibly will say, How are the dead raised up, after their whole frame is dissolved? And with what kind of bodies do they come again, after these are mouldered into dust?
36 To the inquiry concerning the manner of rising, and the quality of the bodies that rise, the Apostle answers first by a similitude, 1Cor 15:36 - 42, and then plainly and directly, 1Cor 15:42,43. That which thou sowest, is not quickened into new life and verdure, except it die - Undergo a dissolution of its parts, a change analogous to death. Thus St. Paul inverts the objection; as if he had said, Death is so far from hindering life, that it necessarily goes before it.
37 Thou sowest not the body that shall be - Produced from the seed committed to the ground, but a bare, naked grain, widely different from that which will afterward rise out of the earth.
38 But God - Not thou, O man, not the grain itself, giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, from the time he distinguished the various Species of beings; and to each of the seeds, not only of the fruits, but animals also, (to which the Apostle rises in the following verse,) its own body; not only peculiar to that species, but proper to that individual, and arising out of the substance of that very grain.
39 All flesh - As if he had said, Even earthy bodies differ from earthy, and heavenly bodies from heavenly. What wonder then, if heavenly bodies differ from earthy? or the bodies which rise from those that lay in the grave?
40 There are also heavenly bodies - As the sun, moon, and stars; and there are earthy - as vegetables and animals. But the brightest lustre which the latter can have is widely different from that of the former.
41 Yea, and the heavenly bodies themselves differ from each other.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead - So great is the difference between the body which fell, and that which rises. It is sown - A beautiful word; committed, as seed, to the ground. In corruption - Just ready to putrefy, and, by various degrees of corruption and decay, to return to the dust from whence it came. It is raised in incorruption - Utterly incapable of either dissolution or decay.
43 It is sown in dishonour - Shocking to those who loved it best, human nature in disgrace! It is raised in glory - Clothed with robes of light, fit for those whom the King of heaven delights to honour. It is sown in weakness - Deprived even of that feeble strength which it once enjoyed. It is raised in power - Endued with vigour, strength, and activity, such as we cannot now conceive.
44 It is sown in this world a merely animal body - Maintained by food, sleep, and air, like the bodies of brutes: but it is raised of a more refined contexture, needing none of these animal refreshments, and endued with qualities of a spiritual nature, like the angels of God.
45 The first Adam was made a living soul - God gave him such life as other animals enjoy: but the last Adam, Christ, is a quickening spirit - As he hath life in himself, so he quickeneth whom he will; giving a more refined life to their very bodies at the resurrection. Gen 2:7
47 The first man was from the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven - The first man, being from the earth, is subject to corruption and dissolution, like the earth from which he came. The second man - St. Paul could not so well say, "Is from heaven, heavenly:" because, though man owes it to the earth that he is earthy, yet the Lord does not owe his glory to heaven. He himself made the heavens, and by descending from thence showed himself to us as the Lord. Christ was not the second man in order of time; but in this respect, that as Adam was a public person, who acted in the stead of all mankind, so was Christ. As Adam was the first general representative of men, Christ was the second and the last. And what they severally did, terminated not in themselves, but affected all whom they represented.
48 They that are earthy - Who continue without any higher principle. They that are heavenly - Who receive a divine principle from heaven.
49 The image of the heavenly - Holiness and glory.
50 But first we must be entirely changed; for such flesh and blood as we are clothed with now, cannot enter into that kingdom which is wholly spiritual: neither doth this corruptible body inherit that incorruptible kingdom.
51 A mystery - A truth hitherto unknown; and not yet fully known to any of the sons of men. We - Christians. The Apostle considers them all as one, in their succeeding generations. Shall not all die - Suffer a separation of soul and body. But we shall all - Who do not die, be changed - So that this animal body shall become spiritual.
52 In a moment - Amazing work of omnipotence! And cannot the same power now change us into saints in a moment? The trumpet shall sound - To awaken all that sleep in the dust of the earth.
54 Death is swallowed up in victory - That is, totally conquered, abolished for ever.
55 O death, where is thy sting? - Which once was full of hellish poison. O hades, the receptacle of separate souls, where is thy victory - Thou art now robbed of all thy spoils; all thy captives are set at liberty. Hades literally means the invisible world, and relates to the soul; death, to the body. The Greek words are found in the Septuagint translation of Hosea 13:14. Isaiah 25:8
56 The sting of death is sin - Without which it could have no power. But this sting none can resist by his own strength. And the strength of sin is the law - As is largely declared, Rom 7:7, &c.
57 But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory - Over sin, death, and hades.
58 Be ye steadfast - In yourselves. Unmovable - By others; continually increasing in the work of faith and labour of love. Knowing your labour is not in vain in the Lord - Whatever ye do for his sake shall have its full reward in that day. Let us also endeavour, by cultivating holiness in all its branches, to maintain this hope in its full energy; longing for that glorious day, when, in the utmost extent of the expression, death shall be swallowed up for ever, and millions of voices, after the long silence of the grave, shall burst out at once into that triumphant song, O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?

Chapter XVI

1 The saints - A more solemn and a more affecting word, than if he had said, the poor.
2 Let every one - Not the rich only: let him also that hath little, gladly give of that little. According as he hath been prospered - Increasing his alms as God increases his substance. According to this lowest rule of Christian prudence, if a man when he has or gains one pound give a tenth to God, when he has or gains an hundred he will give the tenth of this also. And yet I show unto you a more excellent way. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Stint yourself to no proportion at all. But lend to God all you can.
4 They shall go with me - To remove any possible suspicion.
5 I pass through Macedonia - I purpose going that way.
7 I will not see you now - Not till I have been in Macedonia.
8 I will stay at Ephesus - Where he was at this time.
9 A great door - As to the number of hearers. And effectual - As to the effects wrought upon them. And there are many adversaries - As there must always be where Satan's kingdom shakes. This was another reason for his staying there.
10 Without fear - Of any one's despising him for his youth. For he worketh the work of the Lord - The true ground of reverence to pastors. Those who do so, none ought to despise.
11 I look for him with the brethren - That accompany him.
12 I besought him much - To come to you. With the brethren - Who were then going to Corinth. Yet he was by no means willing to come now - Perhaps lest his coming should increase the divisions among them.
13 To conclude. Watch ye - Against all your seen and unseen enemies. Stand fast in the faith - Seeing and trusting him that is invisible. Acquit yourselves like men - With courage and patience. Be strong - To do and suffer all his will.
15 The first fruits of Achaia - The first converts in that province.
16 That ye also - In your turn. Submit to such - So repaying their free service. And to every one that worketh with us and laboureth - That labours in the gospel either with or without a fellow - labourer.
17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaiacus - Who were now returned to Corinth but the joy which their arrival had occasioned remained still in his heart. They have supplied what was wanting on your part - They have performed the offices of love, which you could not, by reason of your absence.
18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours - Inasmuch as you share in my comfort. Such therefore acknowledge - With suitable love and respect.
19 Aquila and Priscilla had formerly made some abode at Corinth, and there St. Paul's acquaintance with them began, Acts 18:1,2.
21 With my own hand - What precedes having been wrote by an amanuensis.
22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ - If any be an enemy to his person, offices, doctrines, or commands. Let him be Anathema. Maran - atha - Anathema signifies a thing devoted to destruction. It seems to have been customary with the Jews of that age, when they had pronounced any man an Anathema, to add the Syriac expression, Maran - atha, that is, "The Lord cometh;" namely, to execute vengeance upon him. This weighty sentence the apostle chose to write with his own hand; and to insert it between his salutation and solemn benediction, that it might be the more attentively regarded.

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