Saturday, December 03, 2016

My Notes on John 2:1-12

One may wish to read my previous post on John 2:1-12 which looked at the context and structure of the passage.

Jn 2:1 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

On the third day is an allusion to the last day mentioned; the day on which Jesus met Philip and said to Nathanael: "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" (see Jn 1:43-51).

Some scholars see a reference to 7 days in 1:19-2:1, and hold that John is hinting at a new week of creation, thus the Jerome Biblical Commentary: "Similarly, it is surely no accident that the first witness of the Baptist (Jn 1:19ff.) is climaxed seven days later in Jesus' own witness to Himself, in the first manifestation of his glory at Cana" (JBC., 63:31; see also 63:48).

Father Francis J. Moloney, in his Sacra Pagina Commentary on the Gospel of John sees something else in the time references.  Most notably, he see the third day reference of Jn 2:1 as an allusion to Exodus 19-24 where the ten commandments and Sinai legislation are given and God manifests his glory on the third day.

Parallels between these Exodus chapters and John 2:1-12 are the following:
The third day: Ex 19:10-11, 15...Jn 2:1.

"All the lord has said we will do" (Ex 19:8; 24:3, 7)..."Do whatever He tells you" (Jn 2:5).

The Lord reveals His glory (Ex 19:16-19; 24:17)..."Manifested His Glory" (Jn 2:11).  Note:  Ex 19: 16 speaks of a thick cloud (Greek: kabed anan) descending onto Sinai.  Kabed is virtually identical to kabod (glory) used in Ex 24:17.  The Greek doxa used in Jn 2:11 is equivalent.

The ten commandments and the Sinai legislation are God's words and they reveal God's will, focusing on man's relation with God and with his fellow man. The Word made flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, reveals the same in His Person, teaching, and work (see especially Jn 13:33-14:31). 

A marriage at Cana in Galilee.  Even among the poorer classes wedding feasts would be quite elaborate, with many relatives and neighbors contributing to help the couple. 

The mother of Jesus was there.  This detail, mentioned at the very beginning of the episode, hints that she will have a roll to play in what is about to be narrated. 

Jn 2:2  Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples.

Some are of the opinion that the Greek may suggest that the invitation was hospitable rather than formal, i.e., they were not originally expected as having been formally invited, but the fact that they were in the region at the time necessitated their being invited, an act in accord with the hospitality of the time.  If true, this may account for the wine running out.

Notice that only Jesus, Mary and the disciples are said to be at the wedding as the episode opens, but when it closes Jesus' brothers will also be mentioned.  This may be important, and I'll attempt explaining it below. 

Marriage.  May be understood here as a symbol.  Israel had become like a bride to God, only to be corrupted by the ways of Canaan (Jer 2:2-7), but God had promised new nuptials: "The messianic symbolism of the miracle becomes evident when the reader recalls that messianic days are described in the Old Testament as days of God's new nuptials with Israel (Hos 2:16-25; Isa 54:4-8; 62:4-5; Matt 22:1-14; Jn 3:39; Rev 19:7-9)" (Peter F. Ellis, THE GENIUS OF JOHN).

Jn 2:3  When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."

When the wine failed.  Actually, the Greek (ὑστερέω=hustereo)̄ describes the wine as "lacking", which need not necessarily imply its sudden absence but, rather, it's imperfection or lack of quality.  Note that the latter reference to the wine (vs 10) doesn't speak of absence either, but of better wine coming after inferior.

An abundance of wine symbolizes God's blessings, redemption, and the messianic age.  A lack of wine would symbolize the lack of these things (Deut 28:30, 31, 38, 39; Hos 2:10-11; Joel 1:5; Amos 5:11) .  The abundance of good wine heralds the dawn of the messianic age and its gifts and blessings (Joel 2:19, 24; 4:18; Amos 9:13-15; Jer 31:12-13).  I do not think that the wine ran out, rather I think our Lord replaced the inferior wine of the Old Covenant with the better wine of the New Covenant.  "The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (Jn 1:17).

Jn 2:4 And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come."

Several times in this Gospel Jesus responds to people with apparent harshness, but this is done to elicit faith (e.g., see the healing of the official's son in 4:46-54).  Our Lady, like many OT figures, just will not take no for an answer (see next verse).  What we have here is not arrogance, but rather a humble, confident faith (see Gen 18:16-32; Ex 33:12-34:9; 2 Kings 4:14-28).  I see the purpose of our Blessed Lord's question adequately explained by the very next verse:

Jn 2:5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Here in a nutshell is what Mary has to do with Jesus.  Note the words of our Lady echo those spoken by the people on Sinai, as mentioned earlier.  The words, like the theme of marriage and wine are covenant motifs.

Jn 2:6-8. Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim.  8 He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it.

Mary's command, along with what is narrated here forms what scholars call a command and compliance narrative.  Note that our Blessed Lord's actions (think grace here) are required for the fulfillment of our Lady's command. 

They filled them up to the brim.  Literally "up to the above", i.e., overflowing.  Their is an emphasis on the amount of wine, as later their will be an emphasis on its quality.  The new surpasses the old in every way.

Stone jars for the rites of purification.  The rites of purification is to be replaced by the shedding of Jesus blood, made available sacramentally at the Eucharist: "And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matt 26:27-28).

Jn 2:9 When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom 2:10 and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."

Water now become wine.  Literally "made" or "born into" wine.  As noted in a previous post this provides a parallel with the discourse to Nicodemus.  On the basis of the structure of John's Gospel as proposed by Peter F. Ellis I believe that the Cana sign is meant to be seen in relation to the teaching of the Nicodemus discourse.  Jesus, who has the power to make/birth water into wine has the power to remake/rebirth us from above. 

The servants who had drawn the water knew.  They know because they fulfilled the command "Do whatever he tells you" (vs 5).  "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (Jn 14:21-23).

Jn 2:11  This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. 

The relationship between sign, glory, and belief in 2:11 are important, because the three are frequently associated in John's Gospel.  It is no accident, therefore, that the climax of the story combines the three concepts.  The sign-miracle testifies to the union of Jesus and the Father, and therefore to Jesus' glory, which will be revealed fully only in the 'hour' of his passion, death, and resurrection (cf. Jn 12:23; 13:1; 17:24).  Jesus glory is his total union with the Father.  The miracle manifests this union inasmuch as it testifies to Jesus' oneness with the Father in the working of the sign.  The belief of the disciples is related to their ability to see, inchoatively at least, that such a miracle involves the union of Jesus with the Father.  It testifies, therefore, to the truth of Jesus' claims.  The reference to the disciples recalls 2:2 and links the episode with 1:35-51 and especially with 1:51-the programmatic text for the remainder of the Gospel (Peter F. Ellis, THE GENIUS OF JOHN, pg. 43).

John 1:51 concerns Jesus' promise to Nathaniel: "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."  Our Lord is alluding to Jacob's dream in Gen 28:11-13.  Because of his revelatory dream Jacob called the place "the house of God" and "the gate of heaven."  Our Lord is now the locus of revelation.

Jn 2:12  After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples; and there they stayed for a few days.

As noted previously, the brothers were not mentioned as having been at the wedding, just our Lord with his mother and disciples.  Some very good manuscripts read here: "After this he went down to Capernuam, with his mother and his brothers; and they stayed there for a few days." The perceptive reader will have noticed that in these manuscripts the disciples are not mentioned in vs 12.  I believe this is the correct reading, but it introduces a question: If the disciples were mentioned in vs 2 but not in vs 12; and if the brothers are mentioned in vs 12 but not vs 2; then where did the disciple go, and where did the brothers come from?

I would suggest that the disciples mentioned in vs 2 have become the brothers of vs 12 as a result of their belief.  This fits well with the only other episode where Mary appears in the Gospel, at the crucifixion, the hour of Jesus glory, when she becomes the mother of the Beloved Disciple who witnessed the hour of Jesus.  "When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!'  Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home...But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.  He who saw it has borne witness -- his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe" (Jn 19:26-27, 34-35).

Friday, November 11, 2016

Father Callan's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:17b-25

WHY ST. PAUL MADE USE OF SIMPLE SPEECH IN PREACHING THE
GOSPEL TO THE CORINTHIANS


 A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:17b-25~Human wisdom and loftiness of speech are not to be made use of in preaching the Gospel, lest the cross of Christ be deprived of its real power and efficacy.  This is clear, first from prophecy (1:19); secondly from experience, which shows that the wise of this world have not been chosen to preach the Gospel (1:20-25), nor are many of them to be found among those who have embraced its teaching (1:26-2:5)


Having just written: For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, St Paul continues:


1 Cor 1:17b. not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.


The Wisdom of speech, etc.  There is no article in Greek.  The meaning is that it was not the will of Christ that St Paul, in preaching the Gospel, should have recourse to such human wisdom and such elegance of expression as the Greeks admired and cultivated.  This would have deprived the Gospel of the real source of its power, namely, the death of Christ on the cross, and would have made its success depend, or at least appear to depend, on human means.


Later preachers of the Gospel are not forbidden to  make use of the arguments of philosophy or of the powers of rhetoric in their sermons, first because the eficacy and preaching of the cross have been thoroughly established now; and secondly because, not having the inspiration and the marvelous powers of St Paul, they need those human aids.


1 Cor 1:18. For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.


The word of the cross, i.e., the preaching of a crucified God, to them that perish, i.e., to those, whether Jew or Gentile, who by their infidelity are on the way to perdition, is foolishness; because to such worldly minds it was absurd to think of God becoming man and then dying the death of a malefactor in order to save the world.


But to them that are saved, i.e., to those who, through faith, are working out their salvation, the cross of Christ is the power of God, i.e., the source of the efficacy of the Gospel which, unlike Greek philosophy and rhetoric, is able to transform and perfect the life of all who sincerely believe it and put into practice it teachings.  The term for power here is δύναμις (dunamis), which means internal capability as opposed to ενεργεια, the exercise of power.


The cross, then, has the power to save men from sin, if they will make use of its teaching.  Saving power is also attributed by St Paul to the Gospel (Rom 1:16; 1 Thess 1:5), to God (2 Cor 4:7; 13:4), to the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16, 20), to the Resurrection (Phil 3:10), and to Christ (Col 1:28-29).


1 Cor 1:19. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject
 

That the preaching of the Gospel ought not to be according to human wisdom the Apostle now proves by appealing to the Prophet Isaiah (29:14) through whom God announced that He would confound the wisdom of those who confided in human rather than in divine help.  Literally the Prophet’s words, here cited almost exactly according to the Septuagint, refer to those Jews who, when God had promised to deliver them from the terrors of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (705-681 BC), relied on their own prudence and trusted in the help they hoped to recieve from Egypt, rather than in the divine promise.  It was not, says the Prophet, by such worldly wisdom that God would save His people from the coming invasion.  Now, what literally referred to these Jews had reference spiritually to the worldly-wise at the time of the preaching of the Gospel; these, like the jews of old, were not to be saved by means of human wisdom, but by the preaching of what seemed foolish to merely carnal and earthly minds.


The clause, I will reject, is put by St Paul in the place of “I will hide,” of the LXX.


1 Cor 1:20 Where is the wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the disputer of this world?  Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Whether the Apostle is quoting here from Isaiah 33:18, or speaking his own words, is not quite clear.  Perhaps he is not quoting, but only referring to facts commonly known.  As the Jews triumphed over the Assyrians, so the preaching of the cross has won the victory over human learning.  For among the preachers of the Gospel where, asks the Apostle, is the wise? i.e., the doctor of the Jewish Law?  Where is the disputer? etc., i.e., the philosopher and the sophist, who dispute every question that arises?


The words, of this world, better “of the world” (with manuscripts B A C D), mean the sinful, faithless world, and are more probably to be connected with each of the preceding substantives,-”wise,” “scribe” and “disputer.”


Since God has not chosen the wise and the learned of this world to propagate His Gospel among the nations, is it not evident that he has made foolish the wisdom of this world?
In the Vulgate, huius mundi should be simply mundi.


1 Cor 1:21. For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preaching, to save them that believe.


There was a very good reason why God did not choose the wise of this world for the propagation of His Gospel, namely, because they could not grasp so great a mystery.  The wordly-wise and the carnal-minded failed to recognize God when He revealed Himself, both in the works of nature and in the revelation of the Old Testament; hence God chose to save, through the preaching of Christ crucified, those that believe.


Wisdom of God more probably means that divine wisdom that was manifested in the book of nature for the pagans, and also in the Old Testament Scriptures for the Jews.


The world, i.e., by the use of only natural learning, embracing the philosophical systems of the pagans as well as the doctrines of the unbelieving Jews (Cornely).


Knew not God, i.e., had not that correct knowledge of the one true God which was necessary and able to lead them to salvation.


In view of this failure on the part of the pagan philosophers and the carnal Jews to arrive at anything like an adequate notion of the Deity it pleased God, i.e., God in His wisdom, justice and mercy thought it well (Tertullian), or decreed (Hilary) to open a new way to divine knowledge and salvation, namely, the preaching of a crucified Savior, which would save all who would accept it with faith.


1 Cor 1:22. For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.


This verse continues to explain how the preaching of the cross, or of Christ crucified, was a stumbling block to the jews and foolishness to the pagans.  The former were expecting signs, i.e., miracles of their own choosing to be performed by the Messiah; that is, they expected Him to be a glorious and powerful King who would subjugate the temporal rulers of the world and place the Jews in triumph over their enemies; while the Greeks always required something that whold appeal to their reason and human intelligence.  To the latter “it seemed opposed to human wisdom that God should die, and that a just and wise man should willingly give himself over to a most shameful death” (St Thomas).


1 Cor 1:23. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness:
1 Cor 1:24. for unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.



But we, etc.  Contrary to the expectations of both Jews and Gentiles the Gospel is the preaching of a crucified Messiah.  It was, therefore, a stumbling block, i.e., a scandal, an offence, to the Jews, giving them a pretext to reject the Christ; and to the Gentiles, foolishness, because it seemed to them the height of folly that God should die and that human salvation should be obtained through the death of a man on an infamous gibbet.


But the reason why the Gospel is an offence to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles is because both these classes of infidels do not receive it with faith (vs 21).  For unto them that are called (δύναμις κλητοις), i.e., to those that hear and obey the call, whether Jews or pagans, the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified is the power of God, i.e., the divine force that has manifested itself, not only in the whole series of miracles performed by Christ and narrated in the preaching of the Apostles, but which, through the Apostolic preaching, was constantly operating, making all things new.  It was furthermore the wisdon of God, because it unfolded a plan of salvation which God alone could have formulated and executed (Cornely).


 1 Cor 1:25. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The reason why the results of a thing apparently weak and foolish are so extraordinary is because they are the effects of divine wisdom and divine operation; for the foolishness of God, i.e., that which to merely human minds appears to be foolish, is wiser than all the wisdom of men; and likewise, that which men call the weakness of God is stronger than all the strength of men.  This, indeed, has been verified in the preaching of the cross, which has effected what all the wisdom and power of earth could not effect, namely, the destruction of sin and the renovation of the world.

Father Callan's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:10-17a

The First Part Of The Body Of The Letter
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:10-6:20


Although in his introduction the Apostle lauds the Corinthian Church for its spiritual progress and perfection, he is not unmindful that there are those in it who are guilty of serious disorders.  In fact, the unity of the Church is not a little imperiled by the existence among the faithful of a number of disturbing factions; these, which have already led to serious moral disorders, he forthwith condemns and endeavours to correct.  Beginning, therefore, with a general exhortation to unity, he introduces the subject he is about to treat (1 Cor 1:10-12); then comes a stern condemnation of the existing factions (1 Cor 1:13-3:17); following upon this he gives certain practical results and a concluding exhortation (1 Cor 3:18-4:21, before taking up the evil consequences among the Christians of the relaxed state of their discipline (1 Cor 5:1-6:20).

THE EXISTING SITUATION IS DECLARED
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:10-12

In view of the many and special graces which the faithful of Corinth have received, one would suppose that the greatest unity and concord should be reigning among them; they ought to have one mind and one voice.  But St Paul has learned, on the contrary, that there are contentions and minor divisions among them which disturb their peace and hinder their progress.


1 Cor 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.
 


The Apostle exhorts the Corinthians, by the name of Christ which they invoke in common, first to external unity, that they all speak the same thing, and that there be no schism among them.  “Schism” means literally a fissure or rent; metaphorically, a division, a dissension.  In theology it means a complete separation from the authority of the Church.  Here is is taken in the sense of dissension.


But external unity is not sufficient; neither will it continue without internal unity.  Hence the Apostle requires that they be perfect in mind, i.e., that they profess the same principles, and that they draw the same conclusions, whether theoretical or practical, from their common principles.  In other words, St Paul wishes the faithful of Corinth to be one in thought and in word when there is a question of Christian doctrine,-a teaching somewhat opposed to the principles of Protestantism.


1 Cor 1:11 For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
 

The reason for the preceding exhortation to unity is now indicated.  The Apostle has learned through reliable witnesses that there are dissensions at Corinth.


Signified unto me, i.e., made clear (εδηλωΘη) by certain information.


My brethren, a conciliating term, so that they will accept in good part his reproof.


By them that are of the house of Chloe. This Chloe was probably a pious woman who had lived at Corinth and was well known to the Corinthians, but who now had either moved to Ephesus, or had sent to St Paul at Ephesus one of her children or domestics for the purpose of informing him of the conditions among the Corinthians Christians.


1 Cor 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.


What the divisions at Corinth were this verse makes plain.  Every one of you, etc.  This must not be taken too literally; not every Christian at Corinth was involved in dissension (MacEvilly, Bisping), otherwise the preceding commendatory words in the Introduction to this Epistle would be false.  Many of them, however, must have belonged to one or the other of the factions mentioned.


I am of Paul.  The divisions among the Corinthians consisted in adhering to one rather than another of the preachers who had announced the Gospel to them.  As St Paul was the founder of the Church (Acts 18:1 ff), all the faithful at first clung to him as their father.  But when he had left Corinth and had gone to Asia, Apollo, sent by Aquila and Priscilla, came to take his place.  Being remarkable for his eloquence, his allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures, and his physical bearing, Apollo soon so won the admiration of many of the Corinthians that they began to make unfavorable comparisons between him and St Paul, turning away from the latter and adhering to the former as their patron and leader.  There was a group, however, that remained steadfast to the Apostle and proclaimed him as their head.  Thus some were boasting that they were “of Paul,” and others that they were “of Apollo.”


Of Cephas.  Those who claimed St Peter as their leader were doubtless Judaizers, as would appear from their use of the Apostle’s Aramaic name, Cephas.  The organizers of this faction had likely come to Corinth from Palestine, where they had heard St Peter preach, and perhaps had been received into the Church by him.  Cf. Introduction, 3.


Of Christ. It is more probable that this was not a dissenting group like the others, but that it either represented those Christians who refrained from all dissension and division, or that the phrase was added by St Paul himself in opposition to the three parties he was condemning (Cornely, h. 1).  Cf. Introd., 3.
It is the common teaching that the parties here mentioned and condemned by St Paul were not guilty of any erroneous doctrines or formal differences in faith.  Their disagreement regarded rather the personality of their respective patrons than any real differences in teaching; and yet these divisions were injurious to unity and could easily lead in a short time to very serious consequences.


First Argument Against The Divisions Among The Corinthians: Factions Are Detrimental To The Unity Of The Church A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:13-17a


As Christ is the head of the Church and of all Christians there should be no divisions among the faithful.  It was Christ who died for all, and in His name all have been baptized.  St Paul thanks God that he has not been the occasion of any of the Corinthian factions.


1 Cor 1:13  Is Christ divided?  Was Paul then crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
 

The contending parties are rebuked.


Is Christ divided? Christ founded on Church, of which He is the sole head.  As the head is one, so the body should be one.  But if there are in the body of the Church, among its members, different groups, disagreeing one with another, it is clear that the body is divided, and consequently also the head.  Christ would then be divided against Himself.  Such a condition would be, not only absurd, but destructive of all unity in the Church.


Was Paul crucified for you? Since the faithful have been redeemed by Christ alone, who died for them on the cross, and since, through Baptism, they have been consecrated to Him (Rom 6:3), becoming members of a mystical body of which He is the head, it follows that they owe allegiance only to Him, and not to Paul or any other earthly leader.


Were you baptized in the name of Paul? Literally, “Were you baptized into the name of Paul,” so as to become his followers?


1 Cor 1:14  I give God thanks, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Caius;
 

Some of the Christians who were less instructed might have thought that they were in a sense bound to and dependent upon the one who had baptized them.  But the Apostle shows that is not so; and he thanks God that, while he was the founder of the Corinthian Church, he gave no occasion for any of their divisions arising from such a misunderstanding, for he did not baptize any of them, except two.


Crispus was a Jew who had been the ruler of the synagogue in Corinth at the time of St Paul’s first visit (Acts 18:8), and Caius, or Gaius, was the Apostle’s host during his third visit, when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans (Acts 20:2-3; Rom 16:23).


1 Cor 1:15  lest any should say that you were baptized in my name.
 

Baptized in my name, i.e., into (unto) my name (εις το εμον ονομα), so as to become my followers.  A better reading has: “Lest any should say that I baptized into (unto) my name.”

1 Cor 1:16  And I baptized also the household of Stephanus; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
 

The Apostle remembers a few whom he baptized, namely, the family and domestics of Stephanus.  Later on (16:15-17) St Paul speaks of Stephanus as among the first converts of Achaia, and as one of the legates who came from Corinth to Ephesus before this letter was written.


I know not, etc.  This shows what little importance St Paul attached to the fact of his having baptized anyone, so far as making followers was concerned.


1 Cor 1:17a  For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel….


The reason why St Paul did not baptize many, or why he paid so little attention to the number on whom he conferred the Sacrament of Baptism, was that baptizing did not strictly pertain to his mission; he was sent principally to preach the gospel.  This does not mean that the command given to the twelve (Matt 28:19) was not also for him, since he was a true Apostle, but only that his chief work, like that of the other Apostles, was to preach.  Baptizing, for the most part, they all left to their assistants, after the example of Christ Himself (John 4:2) and that of St Peter after he had instructed Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:48).

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Father Callan's Commentary On 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-9
SALUTATION AND INTRODUCTION


Summary of 1:1-9~In his own name and in that of Sosthenes St Paul, while asserting his Apostolic authority, greets the faithful of Corinth and of all Achaia with the wish that they may enjoy all heavenly grace and peace.  He gives thanks to God for the many divine favors conferred upon them, and expresses the hope that, through the goodness of the Eternal Father and their union with Christ, these blessings may abide with them throughout life.


1 Cor 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Sosthenes a brother.


Paul, called to be an apostle, etc. See on Romans 1:1.  Although St Paul was called immediately by Christ to be an Apostle (Acts 11:3 ff; 20:7 ff; 26:13 ff), the reference here is perhaps not so much to the manner as to the fact of his divine vocation.


Jesus Christ.  There is about equal authority in the MSS. for the reading, “Christ Jesus.”


By the will of God, i.e., not by his own, or by any other human choice did St Paul become an Apostle, but only by the call of God.  He was therefore not free to refuse the Apostolate.  See on Gal 1:15-16.


Sosthenes a brother. Literally, the brother, i.e., a fellow-Christian.  All we know of this person is that he must have been an intimate associate of St Paul’s and well known to the Corinthians.  Le Camus and others identify him with the ruler of the synagogue spoken of in Acts 18:17, who, by this time, had become a fervent Christian and follower of St Paul.  Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 1. 12) says he was one of the seventy-two disciples of out Lord (see Luke 10:1-12).


Sosthenes was not a joint-composer of this letter (Findlay), but a witness of it.  Some think he was the Apostle’s secretary, who wrote it down; but it is not St Paul’s custom to mention the name of his secretary (cf. Rom 16:22).


1 Cor 1:2 To the church of God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place theirs and ours.


Church.  See on Gal 1:2.  Of God. This is added by St Paul to show both the divine origin and the unity of the true Church; “the name of the Church is not one of separation, but of unity and concord” (St John Chrysostom).


To them that are sanctified, i.e., to those who, through Baptism, have been cleansed from sin and consecrated in Christ Jesus to God.  The words  in Christ Jesus indicate the meritorious cause of our sanctification.  The use of the perfect participle, ηγιασμενοις, have been sanctified, shows that the holy state of the regenerated is supposed to continue.


Called to be saints.  Literally, “called saints,” i.e., saints through their call.  The Corinthians, like all Christians, are called to sanctify; and this call is due, not to themselves or their own merits, but solely to the gratuitous grace of God.  We are not to infer from the phrase here that the faithful of Corinth were called directly and immediately by God; their vocation was through the preaching and labors of St Paul and his co-workers.


With all that invoke, etc. These words are not addressed to all the Churches of the whole world.  They may be connected with the beginning of the verse; or, less probably, with the phrase “called to be saints.”  In the first case the meaning is that the Apostle salutes not only the Corinthians, but all the faithful of the Roman Province of Achaia.  In this interpretation the following words of the verse, in every place, etc., refer to all the places that have Corinth for their capital, and that have been evangelized by Paul and his companions.
If we connect the above passage with “called to be saints,” the sense is that the Apostle salutes only the faithful of Corinth, whose call to sanctity is the same as that of all who invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place.  According to this interpretation the final words, of theirs and ours, are connected with name of our Lord, etc., and mean, “of their Lord and ours.”


1 Cor 1:3 Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


See on Rom. 1:7.  Cf. 1 Thess 1:1 and 3:11, where the Father and the Son stand together as subjects of a verb in the singular, showing the perfect unity of their nature.


1 Cor 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus,


See on Rom 1:8.  The Apostle here speaks in the singular, in his own name, as sole author of this Epistle.  He thanks God for the graces given to the Corinthians at the time of their conversion, without saying whether that happy condition has persisted.


Always, i.e., as often as he prayed he actually thanked God for them.


In Christ Jesus, i.e., through Christ, as the medium of their graces, or as united to Christ.


1 Cor 1:5 that in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;


That in all things, etc.  Better, “Because in all things (εν  παντι, in a distributive sense) you have been,” etc., i.e., in all things conducive to salvation.  Two of the graces received by the Corinthians at their Baptism are now mentioned.


In all utterance, and in all knowledge, i.e., in the Gospel truths that had been preached to them, and in their understanding of those truths (St Thomas, Cornely, etc).  Since knowledge is prior to expression, “utterance” does not seem the proper word for λογω here; neither is the reference to the gift of tongues, but rather, as we have said, to the teaching the Corinthians had heard preached by St Paul and his companions.


knowledge means such an understanding of the doctrine they had received as would enable them to explain it and give their reasons for holding it (St Thomas).  The Corinthian Church as a body had heard and understood all the teachings that were necessary for salvation.


1 Cor 1:6 as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,


The abundance of doctrine and understanding which the Corinthians enjoyed is explained by the way in which the Gospel was preached among them; for the testimony of Christ, i.e., the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 1:8; 26:16; 2 Tim 1:8) was confirmed, i.e., was firmly established by means both of the external miracles which the Corinthians witnessed, and of the internal gifts and graces that they experienced.


1 Cor 1:7. So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The greatness of the divine gifts enjoyed by the faithful of Corinth is seen in this, that nothing is wanting to you, etc., i.e., they are not inferior in grace to any other Churches or any other Christians.  That the term χαρισματι (translated above as “grace”) here does not mean only gratiae gratis datae (1 Cor 12), but also gratia sanctificans is evident from the fact that it enabled the soul to look forward with faith and confidence to the manifestation, i.e., to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as judge.


Here again the Apostle is speaking of the Corinthians as a body.  We shall see later (1 Cor 3:1 ff) that there were among them some who were far from perfect.


1 Cor 1:8. Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


After thanking God for the gifts already conferred on the Corinthians the Apostle proceeds to give thanks for those benefits which he trusts the heavenly Father is yet to grant them; or, according to others, he passes from an act of thanksgiving for gifts received to an act of petition for new benefits (cf. Cornely, h. 1).  God who has given the first blessings (verse 4) will also confirm you, etc., i.e., He will continue to keep you firm in faith and in the practice of Christian virtue.  Who, therefore, refers more probably to God (verse 4) than to Jesus Christ of verse 7, otherwise the rest of this verse should read: “in the day of his coming” (Estius).


Unto the end, i.e., to the end of your life, or to the end of the world, so that you may be found without crime, i.e., free from sin, when Christ comes to judge you.  In the Last Judgment the just will be free from all sin, venial as well as mortal.


Of the coming (Vulgate, adventus) is not represented in the Greek.


1 Cor 1:9. God is faithful : by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.


The fidelity of God is the ground of the Apostle’s confidence and hope.  He who began the good work of calling the Corinthians to the faith will also by His gace continue to help them to complete their salvation and to arrive at the judgment free from offence.  He will give them the helps necessary to work out their salvation, and to perfect their adoption through grace as His sons and as brothers of Christ.


By whom you are called, etc.  Better, “Through whom you have been called,” etc.


Fellowship of Christ is the natural consequence of the Christian’s adoption, through grace, as the son of God (Gal 4:5-6).

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Notes on Sirach 45:1-5

Background~Sirach 42:15-43:35 celebrated the manifestation of God’s wisdom through creation. Sirach 44:1-50:24 celebrates the revelation of God’s wisdom in His people as exemplified in individuals like the patriarchs, prophets, judges, and kings (see Sir 44:1-15 which serves as an introduction). Chapter 45 shows forth God’s wisdom with praise of Moses, Aaron, and Phineas. Verses 1-5 (the subject matter of today's post) are concerned with Moses. In older lectionaries the text was often employed for memorials of Saints and holy people who exemplified the God-given gifts and traits exhibited by Moses. 

Sir 45:1 From his descendants the Lord brought forth a man of mercy, who found favor in the sight of all flesh and was beloved by God and man, Moses, whose memory is blessed.

Moses was beloved by God, chosen and endowed with the various gifts he needed to accomplish his mission. 

Whose memory is blessed. Praised as a godly man (Sir 44:1), his deeds are recounted (Sir 44:8), his wisdom spoken of and praised (Sr 44:15). 

Sir 45:2 He made him equal in glory to the holy ones, and made him great in the fears of his enemies.  

He made him equal in glory to the holy ones. The holy ones are a reference to the angels who reflect the glory of God. The reference here is to the radiance which shone on Moses’ face when the tablets of the Law were renewed (Exodus 34:27-35, and see also 2 Cor3:7-13). 

Magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words made prodigies to cease. A reference to his confrontations with Pharaoh and the magicians in Exodus 7-11. God performed many wonders through Moses’ hand.

Sir 45:3 By his words he caused signs to cease; the Lord glorified him in the presence of kings. He gave him commands for his people, and showed him part of his glory.   

He glorified him in the presence of kings. The NABRE translates this to read in the king's presence, referring solely to the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus. The RSVCE translation uses the plural, kings, understanding the reference to be to Pharaoh and Amalek (Ex 17: 8-14). 

He gave him commands for his people, and showed him part of his glory. The first phrase is a reference to the giving of the Law on Sinai (Ex 19:1-23:33). The second phrase (as in verse 2 above) is a reference to Exodus 34:27-35.

This particular verse lends itself for application to those saints who withstood kings, rulers, emperors, potentates and governors who sought to thwart the will and word of God and destroy his people. 

Sir 45:4  He sanctified him through faithfulness and meekness; he chose him out of all mankind.

In Numbers 12:3 we read: Moses was a man exceeding meek above all men that dwelt upon earth. It was precisely for this reason that God reacted against Aaron and Miriam when they became jealous of his status (see Num 12:1-8).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2576: “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”[Ex 33:11] Moses’ prayer is characteristic of contemplative prayer by which God’s servant remains faithful to his mission. Moses converses with God often and at length, climbing the mountain to hear and entreat him and coming down to the people to repeat the words of his God for their guidance. Moses “is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly, not in riddles,” for “Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.”[see Num 12:3-8]. 

Sir 45:5  He made him hear his voice, and led him into the thick darkness, and gave him the commandments face to face, the law of life and knowledge, to teach Jacob the covenant, and Israel his judgments.

The gifts of faith and meekness formed the basis upon which other gifts were given. Moses was granted even greater gifts: intimacy with God and his function as a prophet and as mediator of the covenant (Ex 33:11; Num 12:6-8; Deut 34:10).

These last three verses are applicable to those who exhibit faith and meekness and whose fidelity and humility grow, even as more and more responsibilities (and the problems that come with them) are thrust upon them.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Part 2: Father Callan's Introduction to First Corinthians (5. Authenticity and canonicity; 6. style and language; 7. doctrinal importance; 8. division and analysis)

5. Authenticity and Canonicity. The authenticity of this Epistle has been so universally accepted by critics of practically every school that it seems hardly necessary to cite arguments in proof of it.  Even the German Rationalists of the Tubingen School admitted as genuine the Epistles to the Corinthians, the Romans and the Galatians.  A few minor objections to 1 Corinthians have in recent times been raised by such Rationalists as Bruno Baur, Nabor, Pierson and Loman; but they are too insignificant to merit any serious attention.  It will be sufficient, therefore, to give some of the principle proofs for its genuineness and canonicity.

(a) External proofs.  This Epistle was certainly known to the earliest ecclesiastical writers.  Clement of Rome, who was the friend and companion of St Paul (Phil 4:3), and later Bishop of Rome (Euseb., Hist. Eccl. 111. 4), in his first letter to the Corinthians (47:1-3) wrote about the year 98 as follows: “Take up the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul.  What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached?  Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself and Cephas, and Apollo, because even the parties had been formed among you,” etc.  Polycarp, the disciple of St John the Evangelist, in his letter to the Philippians (11:2) cites 1 Cor 6:2, attributing it directly to St Paul: “Do we not know that the saints shall judge the world, as Paul teaches.”  The enumeration of the vices of the Philippians given by Polycarp in the same letter is exactly parallel with 1 Cor 6:9-10, and terminates with the very words of the Apostle: “They shall not possess the Kingdom of God.”  In the Greek edition of the letters of St Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (circa 98-117), there are many quotations from this Epistle.  St Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons and a disciple of Polycarp, cites (Adv. Haer. 111. 11, 9; 18, 2) the Epistle over sixty times, often observing that it is the work of St Paul and was written to the Corinthians.  Clement of Alexandria (Pædag. 1. 6) and Tertullian (De rusur. mort. 18) also cites 1 Corinthians a great number of times, and frequently by name.  Many other authorities might be given in proof of the authorship of this Epistle, but it will be sufficient to add that it was also admitted as authentic by Basilides, Marcion and other heretics of the first centuries.

(b) Internal proofs.  Even a casual examination of the nature and contents of the present Epistle shows beyond question that it was written by St Paul.  Its historical facts and dogmatic teaching, its peculiarity of language and style, the manner in which it refers to the Old Testament, the characteristic way in which arguments are developed, beginning with general principles and coming to particular conclusions, the personal touches which it bears on every page,-all prove conclusively that it could not have been written by anybody except the Apostle Paul.  Moreover, all that we otherwise known of St Paul and of Corinth we find to be in perfect agreement with the information furnished by this Epistle.  As Charles Baur has said (Der Apostel Paulus, Stuttgart, 1845, vil. I, p. 260), “this letter is tis own guarantee of authenticity; for more than any other writing of the New Testament, it carries us to the living midst of the a Church in formation and gives us an inner view of the development of the new life called forth by Christianity.”

6.  Style and Language. Of all the Epistles of St Paul this one is perhaps the most distinguished for its simplicity and clarity, and for the beauty and variety of its figures of speech.  The kind and number of subjects with which the apostle deals in this lettter surely accounts in great part for the pleasing qualities of his language, but doubtless therre was also a desire to prove to the Corinthians that he was not by any means so rude and ungifted in the use of speech as they may have concluded from his presence among them.  Of course this letter, although much more logical than some other Pauline Epistles, is far inferior to Romans in argumentative force.  In the latter Epistle there was question of establishing a great thesis and of unfolding the essence of his preaching.  The present letter, on the whole, also comes far short of Second Corinthians in impassioned and sustained e, in anxiety for the spiritual welfare of his imperiled converts, in sterness and vehemence of feeling, in biting sarcasm, and in the general roll of his thunder peals against the enemies who would destroy his Apostolic authority and the fruits of his heroic life and labors; and yet the grace and polish of the diction here is far superior to theat of 2 Corinthians, and to many authoriteis this Epistle excels the other in the uniform loftiness of its eloquence (see Introd. to 2 Corinthians, 4-5).

This letter contains over 100 words not found in any other of the Pauline letters, and about the same number which occur nowhere else in the New Testament.  There is a general regard for the rules of syntax, anc comparatively few of the sudden digressions and unfinished phrases so frequent in Second Corinthians.  If certain words are employed too frequently for good taste, we can only say that this is a consequence of St Paul’s principle never to hesitate to repat the same word so long as it expressed his meaning. 

7.  Doctrinal Importance. In point of doctrine the First Epistle to the Corinthians is unexcelled by any other of St Paul’s letters.  The unusual variety of the subjects treated mainly accounts for this.  Practically every verse conveys some dogmatic or moral truth, as will appear in the exegetical treatment that follows.  It will be enough here to point out the principle doctrines to which the Epistle refers, or which it discusses: (a) Baptism (1:13-14); (b)excommunication (5:3-5); (c) ecclesiastical tribunals (6:2-5); (d) the states of matrimony and celibacy (7:1-40); (e) the signification of Holy Communion (10:16-17); (f) the institution and celebration of the Eucharist (11:23-34);  (g) the unity of the Church of which Christ is the head and the faithful the members (12:4-27); (h) the various ministries in the Church (12: 28-29); (i) the virtue of charity (13); (j) public worship, prayer, preaching, prophecy (14); (k) the Resurrection of Christ (15:4-7); (l) the general resurrection, the glorified bodies, the future life (15:25-58).

8. Division and Analysis. In this Epistle we distinguish three main parts: an Introduction (1 Cor 1:1-9), a Body (1 Cor 1:10-15:58), and a Conclusion (1 Cor 16).

1.  The introduction contains: [a] the salutation of St Paul and his “brother” Sosthenes to the Church at Corinth and to all those who call upon the name of the Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:1-3); [b] and expression of thanksgiving to God for the gifts of speech and knowledge accorded the Corinthians, and a hope of their final perseverance, founded on the faithfulness of God and their communion with Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:4-9).

2.  The Body of the Epistle falls naturally into two divisions, of which the first (1 Cor 1:10-6:20) reprehends the vices of the Corinthians, and the second, (1 Cor 7:1-15:58) replies to their letter and questions. 

A. The First Part of the Body of the letter, also composed of two parts, condemns first the divisions in the Corinthian Church (1 Cor 1:10-4:21), and secondly the moral disorders among the faithful at Corinth.

There ought to be unity in the Church, but it is a fact that there are divisions among the faithful (1 Cor 1:10-12).  These factions are most injurious to the Church of which Christ is the center and head (1 Cor 1:13-17a).  The fact that the Gospel was preached in simplicity to the Corinthians should not be a cause of dissension or disagreement, because God’s message is not after the manner of human conceptions, but according to divine wisdom (1 Cor 1:17b-3:4).  Preachers of the Gospel are simply ministers and instruments of God and must render an account of their stewardship (1 Cor 3:5-17).  The faithful, therefore, ought not to glory in this or that preacher, but in God alone: He only is the judge of His ministers (1 Cor 3:18-4:6).  Humility is necessary in preachers of the Gospel (1 Cor 4:7-13).  St Paul has suffered much for the faithful, and they should imitate him (1 Cor 4:14-16).  The Apostle is sending Timothy to visit the Corinthians and he himself will come shortly (1 Cor 4:17-21).

Following upon their lack of unity, moral disorders and relaxation of religious discipline set in among the Corinthians,  The faithful should have put out of their number the incestuous man, whom St Paul now excommunicates (1 Cor 5:1-5).  That case was a cause of grave scandal; the Corinthians should remember the warning contained in the Apostle’s first letter, to avoid sinners (1 Cor 5:6-13).  Disputes among Christians should not be carried to heathen courts; those who are the cause of such lawsuits shall receive a severe judgment (1 Cor 6:1-11).  All things lawful are not expedient; the faithful must fly from the sin of fornication. 

B. The Second Part of the Body of the letter (1 Cor 7:1-15:58) replies to the questions and the doubts raised by the Corinthians.

Matrimony and its use are perfectly lawful (1 Cor 7:1-9).  Marriage is indissoluble (1 Cor 7:10-24).  The state of celibacy is more excellent than that of matrimony (1 Cor 7:25-40).

With regard to meats offered to idols it is to be noted that such meats are not bad in themselves, although it may necessary to avoid them on account of scandal (1 Cor 8:1-13).  On account of the danger of scandal, the apostle says it is sometimes necessary to forego one’s rights, as he himself did in refusing support from the faithful (1 Cor 9:1-18).  He suffered countless privations and made many sacrifices for the salvation of souls (1 Cor 9:19-23).  Thus also should the Corinthians be willing to make sacrifices in order to save their souls (1 Cor 9:24-27).  Many benefits received from God are no guarantee that we shall be saved (1 Cor 10:1-13).  Therefore, all things being considered, the faithful should take no part in sacrifices offered to idols; we cannot be on the side of God and of His enemies at the same time (1 Cor 10:14-22).

At the public services of the Church women should have their heads covered, as is evident from various considerations (1 Cor 11:2-16).  All disorders and unseemly conduct are especially out of place at the Eucharistic celebration (1 Cor 11:17-22).  The institution of the Lord’s Supper, and the manner in which it should be observed (1 Cor 11:23-34).

The Corinthians have abused their spiritual gifts, allowing them to become an occasion of pride and envy.  The extraordinary gifts which the faithful enjoy come from God.  They should not be a source of discord, since they all come from the same Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:1-11).  The faithful are all members of the same spiritual body; and hence they who possess lesser gifts should not envy those who are blessed with greater ones; and, on the other hand, those who are more highly favored should not despise their more humble brethren (1 Cor 12:12-30).  While each one ought to be content with the gifts he has, it is not forbidden to desire the better ones (1 Cor 12:31).  The most excellent of all the gifts and virtues is charity, without which everything else is as nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3).  The nature of charity; it endures forever (1 Cor 13:4-13).  Of the gifts of tongues and prophecy the latter is more excellent, because more useful to the faithful and to unbelievers as well (1 Cor 14:1-26).  Some practical directions are necessary with regard to the use of the various spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14:27-36).  St Paul observes that he is speaking with divine authority (1 Cor 14:37-40).

Regarding the resurrection of the dead St Paul affirms its truth and reality, proving it first from the Resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-28), and then from a practice of some of the faithful and from his own life and sufferings (1 Cor 15:29-34).  Next the manner of the resurrection and the qualities of the glorified bodies are explained (15:35-50).  The just shall be transformed at the coming of Christ (1 Cor 15:51-53).  The victory of Christ over death (1 Cor 15:54-58).

3.  The Conclusion of the Epistle (1 Cor 1:16) treats [a] of the collection to be made for the poor in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:1-4); [b] of the Apostle’s forthcoming visit (1 Cor 16:5-9); [c] of the welcome that should be extended to Timothy and Apollo (1 Cor 16:10-12); [d] of the necessity of earnestness and love (1 Cor 16:13-14); [e] of the charity and gratitude the Corinthians ought to show towards their delegates Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (1 Cor 16:15-18).  The Epistle closes with a greeting, a warning and a blessing (1 Cor 16:19-24).

Part 1: Father Callan's Introduction to First Corinthians (1. The city of Corinth; 2. foundation of the church there; 3. occasion and purpose of the letter; 4. date and place of writing))

1.  Corinth. The city to which the Corinthian letters were addressed, and which St Paul first visited and evangelized on his second missionary journey, was not the ancient metropolis by the same name.  The old city, which Cicero called the “light of all Greece” (PRo Lege Manil. 5), was destroyed by the Romans under the generalship of Lucius Mummius in 146 B.C., and lay in complete ruins for an entire century.  In 146 B.C. Julius Caesar laid on the anceint site the foundations of the new metropolis and called it Colonia Julia Corinthus.

In a comparatively short time the new city became nearly as populous and flourishing as the old one had been.  This was due to its remarkable location.  Lying at the southern extremity of the isthmus, about four miles in breadth, that connects the Peloponnesus or lower portion of the Grecian peninsula with the mainland, and fed by the two famous seaport towns, Lechaeum on the west and Cenchrae on the east of the isthmus, Corinth was bound to be, as it had been in the past, a commercial center of highest importance.  Its position was conspicuous on the highway of commerce between the Orient and the Occident, and it was not without reason that the great business thoroughfare of the then-known world passed this way; for all trading between the East and Rome took this route in order to avoid the perilous and more or less continual storms that swept the seas about the southern coast of Greece.  Although inferior to Athens as an intellectual center Corinth was very eminent in this respect also.  It was proud of its many schools of philosophy and rhetoric, as well as the excellence of its architecture.

As might be expected, Corinth was unrivaled in its wealth, in the variety of its population, and in its profligacy.  Being the capital of the Roman Province of Achaia it was the residence of the proconsul, and its political and civil influence was mainly Roman.  Asiatics were also there from Ephesus, and Jews in sufficient numbers to have their synagogues.  And yet, having been Greek in its origin, the city never lost the spirit and customs of its ancestors; its language, its literature and its laws remained Greek.

St Chrysostom pronounced Corinth “the most licentious city of all that are or ever have been.”  During the daytime its streets were packed with peddlers, sodliers and sailors; with foreign and domestic traders, boxers and wrestlers; with idlers, slaves, gamblers and the like.  At night the great metropolis was a scene of drunken revelry and of every kind of vice.  “To live like a Corinthian” was to lead a dissolute and lawless life.  Far from correcting or restraining the shameless immorality of its inhabitants the religion of Corinth only added to it.  Aphrodite Pandemos, the goddess of lust and sinful love, was the guardian deity of the city.  In her temple, professional prostitutes who gave lascivious dances at public festivals, and carnal intercourse with whom was looked upon as a religious consecration.  Little wonder that a city of such gross sensuality should have been filled with defrauders, fornicators, idolators, adulterers, effeminate, liars, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers and extortioners (1 Cor 6:8-10).  St Paul, from his long residence there, had personal knowledge of conditions as they existed, and hence the vividness and force of the letters he addressed to the faithful of that wicked city.

The ancient site of Corinth possesses now only a miserable town of five churches and a few thousand inhabitants.  Aside from some Doric dolumns, still defying in their massive grandeur the wastes of time, no relic remains of the glories and powers that once were gathered there.  The site of the old city is no so desolate because, not only has it been repeatedly plundered since ancient days, but in the year 1858, after a destructive earthquake, it was largely abandoned, and a new city by the same name was built on the west of the isthmus on the Corinthian gulf.

2. The Foundation of the Church in Corinth. Leaving Athens on his second missionary journey St Paul came to Corinth, perhaps around the year 52.  He found lodging and means of support with Aquila and Priscilla (also called “Prisca”), a Jewish man and wife who with other Christians and Jews had recently been expelled from Rome by the edict of Claudius (Suetonius, Claud. XXV; Acts 18:2).  Like Paul himself this couple were tent-makers.  The Apostle worked at his trade in their home during the week, and every Sabbath they were hearers of his preaching in the synagogue, being converts and devote Christians.  Silas and Timothy arrived without delay from Macedonia (Acts 17:14); and, encouraged by their presence, St Paul redoubled his efforts in declaring to the Jews that Christ was the Messiah (Acts 18:5).  This preaching, however, was shortly resented in the synagogue, and the Apostle in disgust turned from the Jews saying, “Your blood be upon your own heads: I am clean; from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).  Departing from the synagogue he enetered into the near-by house of a pagan convert named Titus Justus.  With him went also Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, and all his family, besides Aquila and Priscilla.  Soon they were joined by such influential persons as Chloe, Stephanus, Gaius and Erastus, the treasurer of the city.  Many more, doubtless, especially from the poorer classes, formed a part of this group of the first faithful of Corinth.  St Paul remained there for eighteen months.  So successful was his preaching and so great was the progress of the new Christian community that the Jews, being enraged, stirred up a great persecution against the Apostle and forcefully brought him before the judgment-seat of the Roman proconsul Gallio, who was the brother of Seneca, the famous philosopher.  Being little concerned about their religious controversies and disputes Gallio dismissed the Jews almost with contempt.  St Paul then continued his work in Corinth for some time, until he was ready to return to the Orient.  Aquila and Priscilla accompanied him from Greece to Ephesus, where they remained, while he went up to Jerusalem.  From Ephesus Apollo, a new convert to Christianity, was sent to Corinth to continue Paul’s work there (Acts 18:26 ff.).  Later on the Apostle himself returned to Greece and certainly must have visited Corinth (Acts 20: 2-3), but on this occasion he was probably engaged chiefly in collecting alms for the poor of Jerusalem.  It seems very likely that he also paid a visit to the Corinthians during his long stay at Ephesus on his third misionary journey (2 Cor 12:14; 13:1).  Some, with Cornely, think that after his arraignment before Gallio St Paul made the journey to Illyricum, and upon his return to Corinth tarried the “many days” spoken of in Acts 18:18.

St Peter also perhaps preached in Corinth; at least he had many followers there (1 Cor 1:12; cf. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ii. 24).

While it is clear that the Church of Corinth included among its members some Jews, such as Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, Aquila and Priscilla and others, it is also certain that the majority of Christians there were of Gentile origin.  Many of these were Romans, as we gather from their Latin names (1 Cor 1:14, 16; 16:15, 17; Rom 16:21-23; Acts 18:8, 17), but a number were also of Greek descent.  Among the various converts soem were of noble birth, wealthy and learned; but by far the greater number were poor and unlettered (1 Cor 1:26).  Slaves also there were (1 Cor 7:21), and those who aforetime had been addicted to hateful crimes (1 Cor 6:9-11).  It was a mixed community of Jews and Gentiles, learned and ignorant, slave and free; but the majority were of pagan origin and belonged to the poorer classes.

St Paul wrote at least three letters to the Corinthians, the first of which (1 Cor 5:9) has not come down to us.  The other two give us a pretty thorough insight into the moral and religious condition of the Corinthian Church.

3. Occasion and Purpose of this Letter. After St Paul had left Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem at the close of his second missionary journey, an Alexandrian Jew of great eloquence by the name of Apollo came to Ephesus and began to teach “diligently the things that are of Jesus” (Acts 18:25).  But Aquila and Priscilla, seeing that Apollo was not well instructed in the faith, knowing only the baptism of John, “took him to them, and expounded to him the way of the Lord more diligently” (Acts 18:26).  When they had thus imparted sufficient instruction and had doubtless baptized him, they wrote to the faithful of Corinth, whither he desired to go, to receive him.  Arrived in Corinth, Apollo preached the Gospel with his usual power, convincing the Jews that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:27-28).  So extraordinary was his eloquence and his knowledge of the Scripture that he made a much more striking appeal to certain of the educated classes among the Corinthians, who loved philosophy and rhetoric, than St Paul, the founder of the Church, had made.  These pursuers of earthly wisdom and lovers of the Old Testament Scriptures soon began to institute odious comparisons between Paul and Apollo.  The latter, unlike the former, they said, was a man of eloquence (1 Cor 1:17; 2:4-5, 13), he was practiced in the rules and art of rhetoric (2 Cor 11:6), he had the physique and appearance of an orator (2 Cor 10:10).  As for St Paul, besides lacking all these qualities, his very Apostolate was questionable, since he had not been among the original disciples of Jesus (1 Cor 9:1), his authority was inferior to the twelve (1 Cor 9:5-6), and his doctrine different from theirs (Gal 2:7-13).

About the same time there came to Corinth Judaizers, perhaps from Antioch, who had heard St Peter preach, or had been converted by him, and who therefore, as belonging to the Prince of the Apostles, considered themselves superior to the Corinthians.  They regarded Paul and Apollo, with their respective followers, as of inferior rank in the Church, and accused them of believing and preaching doctrines offensive to the Jews which had not the approbation of St peter and the other primitive Apostles.  Those among the faithful of Corinth who were of Jewish origin were naturally influenced by these teachings of their fellow-countrymen, and it was only a short time when a Judaizing party was formed that declared Cephas to be their patron.  We need not suppose that St Peter preached at Corinth, as did Apollo; and yet it is indeed possible that, passing through there on his journeys east or west, he did so.

It would seem there was still another faction in Corinth whose adherents pretended to belong not to Paul, nor to Apollo, nor to Peter, but only to Christ (1 Cor 1:12).  On what the superior boast of these Christians was based it is difficult to say.  Had they seen Christ here on earth in the flesh, and received their call to the faith directly from Him?  Were they Judaizers who, in their love for the obedience to the Law of Moses, claimed to imitate our Lord more strictly than others?  Or had they some special gifts of the Spirit which put them in more intimate communication with the Savior?  These are some of the conjectures which scholars have made to determine the character of those who protested that they were of the party of Christ (cf. Jacquier, Hist. des Livres du N. T., tom I, p. 115; Fillion, h. 1.; Lemonnyer, h. 1.).  Nevertheless Cornely, Le Camus and others hold that there were only three factions at Corinth, and consequently that the words, “I of Christ” (1 Cor 1:12), do not represent a distinct faction, but rather those right-minded Christians who kept aloof from all divisions and dissensions.  This opinion is now considered more probable, especially in view of the fact that St Paul nowhere condemns a fourth party, but on the contrary (1 Cor 3:22-25), when speaking of the three factions mentioned above, declares that all the faithful belong to Christ.

With reference to the various factions at Corinth, it is to be observed that there was no essential difference between them, as seems clear from 1 Cor 4:6, and as commentators admit.  Moreover, the Apostle’s words in this Epistle show that the several groups there was not a question of Doctrine, but only of preference for the different teachers of one and the same faith.  It was the relation which exists between every disciple and his master.  In the second letter, however, we see the division between Pauline and Judaizing Christians later became so marked as to threaten a real schism (2 Cor 10-13).  Still, even in the beginning these minor disputes and dissensions could not escape producing a general relaxation of authority and discipline.  (a) In consequence a grave social scandal had taken place, and the Corinthians had passed over it without notice (5:1-2).  Their difference of opinion on various subjects had led to open quarrels, and these in turn to lawsuits, even before heathen tribunals (6: 1 ff.; 7:1 ff.; 8:1 ff).  They thus gave the impression to the outside world of mistrusting and hating, rather than of loving one another.  (b) At the public assemblies of the faithful women appeared with uncovered heads, and insisted on the right to speak and to teach (11:3 ff.).  (c) The celebration of the Eucharistic mysteries had become an occasion of disgraceful disorders and shameful conduct (11:17 ff.).  (d) The special endowments of the Holy Spirit, so plentifully distributed in those early times, were often abused and made a pretext for pride and uncharitableness towards those who had not been favored with them.  And even among those who possessed these divine gifts there was often manifested such a spirit of rivalry in exercising them that the Christian assembly frequently became an exhibition of fanatical frenzy and irreligious antagonism (12:1 ff.; 14:1 ff.).  (c) Besides these disorders there were other difficulties and disputes demanding solution, such as the resurrection of the dead, the condition of the risen body, ect. (15:1 ff.).

A knowledge of Corinthian conditions came to St. Paul during his three years' sojourn at Ephesus on his third missionary journey. Corinth and Ephesus were only some 250 miles apart, and the distance could be covered under ordinary conditions in less than a week. Travelers were constantly going from the one city
to the other, except perhaps in the winter time. Accordingly, from the household of a lady named Chloe (1 Cor 1:11) the Apostle learned of the divisions and dissensions among the Corinthians. Apollo, who visited him at Ephesus (1 Cor 16:12), as well as the three legates of the Corinthian Church who came to him there
(1 Cor 16:17) must have informed him very thoroughly regarding conditions among the faithful of Corinth. Moreover, the Apostle had written a letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 5:9) which has been lost to us, but which at the time caused a number of misunderstandings and provoked not a few questions relative to marriage and celibacy, the eating of meats offered to idols, ect. (1 Cor 7:1 ff.; 8:1 ff.), that were submitted to him in reply.  The purpose of this present letter was therefore (a) to denounce and correct the existing abuses among the Corinthians; (b) to answer the questions and difficulties that had been referred to St Paul by letter.

It may be asked if there were not local superiors, a Bishop and some priests in the Corinthian Church?  And if so, why they did not attend to the matters treated in this letter?  In reply we may say first that St Paul had doubtless provided local superiors for Corinth, just as years before he had appointed “presbyters” in all the Churches he had founded in Asia Minor (Acts 14:22; 20:17; Phil 1:1; 1 Thess 5:12; Tit 1:5).  As to the other question we must remember that the local superiors at Corinth, like the Church itself, were very young and inexperienced and perhaps found it difficult to deal with so many and such grave matters as were demanding solution.  They felt the need of appealing to the infallible authority of the Apostle, and in all probability it was these local superiors themselves who replied to the lost Corinthian letter of St Paul (1 Cor 5:9), and who, consequently, were the immediate occasion and the first recipients of this present Epistle.  This letter was sent to the Church through the local superiors at Corinth, and hence the existence and authority of those superiors is not mentioned, but taken for granted.

4. Date and Place of Writing. From 1 Cor 16:8 it is clear that this letter was written at Ephesus; and from 1 Cor 16:5, where there is a question of a proximate visit to Macedonia, it is also clear that it was written toward the end of the Apostle’s sojourn in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, very probably in the spring of the year 57; for it was about this time that Timothy and Erastus were sent to Macedonia (Acts 19:22), just shortly before the tumult stirred up by Demetrius (Acts 19:23 ff.), following which St Paul left Asia.  That the Epistle was written around Paschal time also seems very probable from the allusions in it to the Pasch, to unleavened bread (5:6-7; 15:20, 23; 16:15), and to the Resurrection of Christ (15:4, 12).  Cornely thinks it was written in 58.  The exact time depends on the date assigned to the close of St Paul’s stay in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, and since this cannot be fixed with entire certainty and precision, the date given for the writing of the Epistle can be only approximate.

The Epistle was probably carried to Corinth by the delegates who had come from there to Ephesus, namely Stephanus, Fortanatus and Achaicus.  This is according to the note attached to the end of the letter in the Received Text.  That Timothy could not have delivered the letter to the Corinthians, as some have said, seems evident from the fact that he had departed for Macedonia before it was completed.

Father Callan's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

The First Part Of The Body Of The Letter
Overview of 1:10-6:20
.

Although in his introduction the Apostle lauds the Corinthian Church for its spiritual progress and perfection, he is not unmindful that there are those in it who are guilty of serious disorders.  In fact, the unity of the Church is not a little imperiled by the existence among the faithful of a number of disturbing factions; these, which have already led to serious moral disorders, he forthwith condemns and endeavours to correct.  Beginning, therefore, with a general exhortation to unity, he introduces the subject he is about to treat (1 Cor 1:10-12); then comes a stern condemnation of the existing factions (1 Cor 1:13-3:17); following upon this he gives certain practical results and a concluding exhortation (1 Cor 3:18-4:21, before taking up the evil consequences among the Christians of the relaxed state of their discipline (1 Cor 5:1-62).

THE EXISTING SITUATION IS DECLARED
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:10-12

In view of the many and special graces which the faithful of Corinth have received, one would suppose that the greatest unity and concord should be reigning among them; they ought to have one mind and one voice. But St. Paul has learned, on the contrary, that there are contentions and minor divisions among them which disturb their peace and hinder their progress.

1 Cor 1:10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.

The Apostle exhorts the Corinthians, by the name of Christ which they invoke in common, first to external unity, that they all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among them. "Schism" means literally a fissure or rent; metaphorically, a division, a dissension. In theology it means a complete separation from the authority of the Church. Here it is taken in the sense of dissension.

But external unity is not sufficient; neither will it continue without internal unity.  Hence the Apostle requires that they be perfect in mind, i.e., that they profess the same principles, and that they draw the same conclusions, whether theoretical or practical, from their common principles.  In other words, St Paul wishes the faithful of Corinth to be one in thought and in word when there is a question of Christian doctrine,-a teaching somewhat opposed to the principles of Protestantism.

1 Cor 1:11. For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

The reason for the preceding exhortation to unity is now indicated.  The Apostle has learned through reliable witnesses that there are dissensions at Corinth. 

Signified unto me, i.e., made clear (εδηλωΘη) by certain information. 

My brethren, a conciliating term, so that they will accept in good part his reproof. 

By them that are of the house of Chloe. This Chloe was probably a pious woman who had lived at Corinth and was well known to the Corinthians, but who now had either moved to Ephesus, or had sent to St Paul at Ephesus one of her children or domestics for the purpose of informing him of the conditions among the Corinthians Christians.


1 Cor 1:12. Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

What the divisions at Corinth were this verse makes plain.  Every one of you, etc.  This must not be taken too literally; not every Christian at Corinth was involved in dissension (MacEvilly, Bisping), otherwise the preceding commendatory words in the Introduction to this Epistle would be false.  Many of them, however, must have belonged to one or the other of the factions mentioned. 

I am of Paul.  The divisions among the Corinthians consisted in adhering to one rather than another of the preachers who had announced the Gospel to them.  As St Paul was the founder of the Church (Acts 18:1 ff), all the faithful at first clung to him as their father.  But when he had left Corinth and had gone to Asia, Apollo, sent by Aquila and Priscilla, came to take his place.  Being remarkable for his eloquence, his allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures, and his physical bearing, Apollo soon so won the admiration of many of the Corinthians that they began to make unfavorable comparisons between him and St Paul, turning away from the latter and adhering to the former as their patron and leader.  There was a group, however, that remained steadfast to the Apostle and proclaimed him as their head.  Thus some were boasting that they were “of Paul,” and others that they were “of Apollo.”

Of Cephas.  Those who claimed St Peter as their leader were doubtless Judaizers, as would appear from their use of the Apostle’s Aramaic name, Cephas.  The organizers of this faction had likely come to Corinth from Palestine, where they had heard St Peter preach, and perhaps had been received into the Church by him.  Cf. Introduction, 3.

Of Christ. It is more probable that this was not a dissenting group like the others, but that it either represented those Christians who refrained from all dissension and division, or that the phrase was added by St Paul himself in opposition to the three parties he was condemning (Cornely, h. 1).  Cf. Introd., 3.

It is the common teaching that the parties here mentioned and condemned by St Paul were not guilty of any erroneous doctrines or formal differences in faith.  Their disagreement regarded rather the personality of their respective patrons than any real differences in teaching; and yet these divisions were injurious to unity and could easily lead in a short time to very serious consequences.   

FIRST ARGUMENT AGAINST THE DIVISIONS AMONG THE CORINTHIANS:
FACTIONS ARE DETRIMENTAL TO THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:13-17a.

As Christ is the head of the Church and of all Christians there should be no divisions among the faithful. It was Christ who died for all, and in His name all have been baptized. St. Paul thanks God that he has not been the occasion of any of the Corinthian factions.

1 Cor 1:13  Is Christ divided?  Was Paul then crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

The contending parties are rebuked. 

Is Christ divided? Christ founded on Church, of which He is the sole head.  As the head is one, so the body should be one.  But if there are in the body of the Church, among its members, different groups, disagreeing one with another, it is clear that the body is divided, and consequently also the head.  Christ would then be divided against Himself.  Such a condition would be, not only absurd, but destructive of all unity in the Church. 

Was Paul crucified for you? Since the faithful have been redeemed by Christ alone, who died for them on the cross, and since, through Baptism, they have been consecrated to Him (Rom 6:3), becoming members of a mystical body of which He is the head, it follows that they owe allegiance only to Him, and not to Paul or any other earthly leader. 

Were you baptized in the name of Paul? Literally, “Were you baptized into the name of Paul,” so as to become his followers?

1 Cor 1:14  I give God thanks, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Caius.

Some of the Christians who were less instructed might have thought that they were in a sense bound to and dependent upon the one who had baptized them.  But the Apostle shows that is not so; and he thanks God that, while he was the founder of the Corinthian Church, he gave no occasion for any of their divisions arising from such a misunderstanding, for he did not baptize any of them, except two. 

Crispus was a Jew who had been the ruler of the synagogue in Corinth at the time of St Paul’s first visit (Acts 18:8), and Caius, or Gaius, was the Apostle’s host during his third visit, when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans (Acts 20:2-3; Rom 16:23).

1 Cor 1:15  lest any should say that you were baptized in my name.

Baptized in my name, i.e., into (unto) my name (εις το εμον ονομα), so as to become my followers.  A better reading has: “Lest any should say that I baptized into (unto) my name.”

1 Cor 1:16  And I baptized also the household of Stephanus; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

The Apostle remembers a few whom he baptized, namely, the family and domestics of Stephanus.  Later on (16:15-17) St Paul speaks of Stephanus as among the first converts of Achaia, and as one of the legates who came from Corinth to Ephesus before this letter was written. 

I know not, etc.  This shows what little importance St Paul attached to the fact of his having baptized anyone, so far as making followers was concerned.

1 Cor 1:17a  For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel….

The reason why St Paul did not baptize many, or why he paid so little attention to the number on whom he conferred the Sacrament of Baptism, was that baptizing did not strictly pertain to his mission; he was sent principally to preach the gospel.  This does not mean that the command given to the twelve (Matt 28:19) was not also for him, since he was a true Apostle, but only that his chief work, like that of the other Apostles, was to preach.  Baptizing, for the most part, they all left to their assistants, after the example of Christ Himself (John 4:2) and that of St Peter after he had instructed Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:48).

Father Callan's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-9
SALUTATION AND INTRODUCTION

Summary of  1 Corinthians 1:1-9~In his own name and in that of Sosthenes St Paul, while asserting his Apostolic authority, greets the faithful of Corinth and of all Achaia with the wish that they may enjoy all heavenly grace and peace.  He gives thanks to God for the many divine favors conferred upon them, and expresses the hope that, through the goodness of the Eternal Father and their union with Christ, these blessings may abide with them throughout life.

1 Cor 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Sosthenes a brother.

Paul, called to be an apostle, etc. See on Romans 1:1.  Although St Paul was called immediately by Christ to be an Apostle (Acts 11:3 ff; 20:7 ff; 26:13 ff), the reference here is perhaps not so much to the manner as to the fact of his divine vocation.

Jesus Christ.  There is about equal authority in the MSS. for the reading, “Christ Jesus.”

By the will of God, i.e., not by his own, or by any other human choice did St Paul become an Apostle, but only by the call of God.  He was therefore not free to refuse the Apostolate.  See on Gal 1:15-16.

Sosthenes a brother. Literally, the brother, i.e., a fellow-Christian.  All we know of this person is that he must have been an intimate associate of St Paul’s and well known to the Corinthians.  Le Camus and others identify him with the ruler of the synagogue spoken of in Acts 18:17, who, by this time, had become a fervent Christian and follower of St Paul.  Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 1. 12) says he was one of the seventy-two disciples of out Lord (see Luke 10:1-12).

Sosthenes was not a joint-composer of this letter (Findlay), but a witness of it.  Some think he was the Apostle’s secretary, who wrote it down; but it is not St Paul’s custom to mention the name of his secretary (cf. Rom 16:22).

1 Cor 1:2 To the church of God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place theirs and ours.

Church.  See on Gal 1:2.  Of God. This is added by St Paul to show both the divine origin and the unity of the true Church; “the name of the Church is not one of separation, but of unity and concord” (St John Chrysostom).

To them that are sanctified, i.e., to those who, through Baptism, have been cleansed from sin and consecrated in Christ Jesus to God.  The words  in Christ Jesus indicate the meritorious cause of our sanctification.  The use of the perfect participle, ηγιασμενοις, have been sanctified, shows that the holy state of the regenerated is supposed to continue.

Called to be saints.  Literally, “called saints,” i.e., saints through their call.  The Corinthians, like all Christians, are called to sanctify; and this call is due, not to themselves or their own merits, but solely to the gratuitous grace of God.  We are not to infer from the phrase here that the faithful of Corinth were called directly and immediately by God; their vocation was through the preaching and labors of St Paul and his co-workers.

With all that invoke, etc. These words are not addressed to all the Churches of the whole world.  They may be connected with the beginning of the verse; or, less probably, with the phrase “called to be saints.”  In the first case the meaning is that the Apostle salutes not only the Corinthians, but all the faithful of the Roman Province of Achaia.  In this interpretation the following words of the verse, in every place, etc., refer to all the places that have Corinth for their capital, and that have been evangelized by Paul and his companions.

If we connect the above passage with “called to be saints,” the sense is that the Apostle salutes only the faithful of Corinth, whose call to sanctity is the same as that of all who invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place.  According to this interpretation the final words, of theirs and ours, are connected with name of our Lord, etc., and mean, “of their Lord and ours.”

1 Cor 1:3 Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

See on Rom. 1:7.  Cf. 1 Thess 1:1, 3:11, where the Father and the Son stand together as subjects of a verb in the singular, showing the perfect unity of their nature.

1 Cor 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus,

See on Rom 1:8.  The Apostle here speaks in the singular, in his own name, as sole author of this Epistle.  He thanks God for the graces given to the Corinthians at the time of their conversion, without saying whether that happy condition has persisted.

Always, i.e., as often as he prayed he actually thanked God for them.

In Christ Jesus, i.e., through Christ, as the medium of their graces, or as united to Christ.

1 Cor1:5 that in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

That in all things, etc.  Better, “Because in all things (εν  παντι, in a distributive sense) you have been,” etc., i.e., in all things conducive to salvation.  Two of the graces received by the Corinthians at their Baptism are now mentioned.

In all utterance, and in all knowledge, i.e., in the Gospel truths that had been preached to them, and in their understanding of those truths (St Thomas, Cornely, etc).  Since knowledge is prior to expression, “utterance” does not seem the proper word for λογω here; neither is the reference to the gift of tongues, but rather, as we have said, to the teaching the Corinthians had heard preached by St Paul and his companions.

knowledge means such an understanding of the doctrine they had received as would enable them to explain it and give their reasons for holding it (St Thomas).  The Corinthian Church as a body had heard and understood all the teachings that were necessary for salvation.

1 Cor 1:6 as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,

The abundance of doctrine and understanding which the Corinthians enjoyed is explained by the way in which the Gospel was preached among them; for the testimony of Christ, i.e., the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 1:8; 26:16; 2 Tim 1:8) was confirmed, i.e., was firmly established by means both of the external miracles which the Corinthians witnessed, and of the internal gifts and graces that they experienced.

1 Cor 1:7. So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The greatness of the divine gifts enjoyed by the faithful of Corinth is seen in this, that nothing is wanting to you, etc., i.e., they are not inferior in grace to any other Churches or any other Christians.  That the term χαρισματι (translated above as “grace”) here does not mean only gratiae gratis datae (1 Cor 12), but also gratia sanctificans is evident from the fact that it enabled the soul to look forward with faith and confidence to the manifestation, i.e., to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as judge.

Here again the Apostle is speaking of the Corinthians as a body.  We shall see later (1 Cor 3:1 ff) that there were among them some who were far from perfect.

1 Cor 3:1:8. Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

After thanking God for the gifts already conferred on the Corinthians the Apostle proceeds to give thanks for those benefits which he trusts the heavenly Father is yet to grant them; or, according to others, he passes from an act of thanksgiving for gifts received to an act of petition for new benefits (cf. Cornely, h. 1).  God who has given the first blessings (verse 4) will also confirm you, etc., i.e., He will continue to keep you firm in faith and in the practice of Christian virtue.  Who, therefore, refers more probably to God (verse 4) than to Jesus Christ of verse 7, otherwise the rest of this verse should read: “in the day of his coming” (Estius).

Unto the end, i.e., to the end of your life, or to the end of the world, so that you may be found without crime, i.e., free from sin, when Christ comes to judge you.  In the Last Judgment the just will be free from all sin, venial as well as mortal.

Of the coming (Vulgate, adventus) is not represented in the Greek.

1 Cor 1:9. God is faithful : by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The fidelity of God is the ground of the Apostle’s confidence and hope.  He who began the good work of calling the Corinthians to the faith will also by His gace continue to help them to complete their salvation and to arrive at the judgment free from offence.  He will give them the helps necessary to work out their salvation, and to perfect their adoption through grace as His sons and as brothers of Christ.

By whom you are called, etc.  Better, “Through whom you have been called,” etc.

Fellowship of Christ is the natural consequence of the Christian’s adoption, through grace, as the son of God (Gal 4:5-6).