The Wisdom of God

1Corinthians 2:6-11 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. 

‘Perfect’ [Greek: teleios] mature and complete. Here it is used of full growth, as men, and not children, in Christian knowledge – thoroughly instructed and deeply experienced, as in 2 Corinthians 2:6; 14:20; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:28; James 1:4; 3:2; Hebrews 5:14 and 1 John 4:18.

‘Wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.’ The wisdom of God – the gospel of Jesus Christ, which was hidden up to the time of its revelation and which God ordained before this age for us. None of the rulers of this world knew this revelation. If they had known it they would not have crucified the Lord. Prophets searched diligently to understand what they prophesied about it, and even angels themselves desired to comprehend it (1Pet. 1:10-13). Such mystery is now made clear through the preaching of the apostles and the revelation of the Scriptures of the New Testament (Rom. 1:1-5; 16:25-26; 1Cor. 2:9-16; Gal. 1:12, 16; Eph. 3:1-8; Heb. 8:6; 2Pet. 3:16).

‘Ordained’ [Greek: proorizo] predetermine. God simply determined to bring about His plan for the good of all who would believe and conform to it.

‘Eye has not seen, not ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.’ This is the 4th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in 1 Corinthians (Isa. 64:4).

‘The things which God has prepared.’ Seven “things” of 1Corinthians 2:9-14: The things prepared by God (2:9); the deep things of God (2:10); the things of man (2:11); the things of God (2:11); things freely given by God (2:12); spiritual things (2:13); the things of the Spirit of God (2:14).

‘For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?’ This defines the human spirit as that part of man which knows – the intellect, mind, and will.

‘The spirit of man’ – three different spirits: The spirit of man; the Spirit of God (2:11); the spirit of the world (2:12).

In the Power of God

1Corinthians 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 

‘Excellency’ [Greek: huperoche] pre-eminence.

‘Testimony of God’ [Greek: marturion] Always rendered testimony (except in Mat. 24:14; Acts 4:33; 7:44; Jas. 5:3). In these passages, it is translated as “witness.” It refers to the gospel of Christ which Paul had confirmed to people in all places by the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:18-19, 29; Acts 15:4, 12; 19:11).

‘Determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.’ Paul was determined not to cultivate any other knowledge, or esteem any other doctrine as worthy of notice, save Jesus Christ and the benefits of the cross are: Deliverance from enemies (Luke 1:71, 74; 1Jn.  5:18); the mercy from God (Luke 1:72; Tit. 3:4-5; Eph. 2:4-9); justification by faith (Luke 1:72-73; Gal. 3:6-15); peace with God (Luke 1:74; Rom. 5:1-11; Eph. 2:14-18); holiness and righteousness (Luke 1:75; Eph. 4:24; Tit. 2:11-12); reconciliation to God (Luke 1:77; 2Cor. 5:14-21; Col. 1:20); light and guidance (Luke 1:79; 1Jn 1:7; John 16:7-14).

‘Weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling’ – This weakness could be physical, or an expression of utter dependence on God. If physical, it was no doubt the result of Paul’s stoning, beatings, and other sufferings of 2Corinthians 11:24-27 and Galatians 4:13. The fear and trembling could be a state of mind, dreading lest he should grieve God and bring reproach upon truth (1Cor. 9:27; cp. 2Cor. 7:15; Eph. 6:5). ‘Enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.’ Persuasive doctrines of human wisdom. I used none of the means of great orators to sway people. I preached under the anointing and power of the Spirit and confirmed what I preached with signs following (Rom. 15:18-19, 29; Acts 19:11). I used this method so that your faith might be in the power of God, not in human wisdom (1Cor. 2:4-6).

Glory in the Lord

1Corinthians 1:30-31 But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord. 

‘Made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.’ Things Christ is made to us: The power of God (1:24); the wisdom of God (1:24, 30); the righteousness of God, the holiness of God and the redemption of God (1:30).

Things he was made for us: He was made flesh (John 1:14); He was made of a woman (Gal. 4:4); He was made of the seed of David (Rom. 1:3); He was made in the likeness of man and of no reputation (Php. 2:7); He was made lower than angels (Heb. 2:7); He was made under the law (Gal. 4:4); He was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13) and He was made sin for us (2Cor. 5:21).

‘Righteousness’ – the righteousness of God is that righteousness which has been fully met and maintained in the atoning work of Christ on the cross, by which God is now able to save sinners and still be righteous in doing so (Rom. 1:17; 3:5, 21-22; 10:3). Under the law, God required righteousness from man, but the law, instead of giving it to many, only demonstrated that he was destitute of it and needed God’s righteousness, which He now freely gives under Grace.

‘Sanctification’ [Greek: hagiazo] to separate from a profane to a sacred use; to consecrate self wholly to God and His service. The primary meaning is separation, not making holy. It means to make holy only when the person or thing sanctified needs to be cleansed from sin or defilement in order to be fit to be separated unto God and His service.

‘Redemption’ – is explained best by looking at what the Redeemer did to redeem the world: by His sacrifice, the penalty for sin was paid, the sentence of the law was upheld, the offender was propitiated, the offended was satisfied, and His honour and Word were justified, the holy demands were met, man and God were reunited, the usurper was destroyed, and the whole creation was delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. This work of God and His only begotten Son was entirely a work of grace – unmerited favour, for the ruined race who possessed no legal standing or merit at all.

‘He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ The 3rd Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in 1 Corinthians (Jer. 9:23-24). Glorification is used of man giving glory to God. When applied to God it is not the adding of anything to His essential glory, for He is perfect and complete in glory. It means to ascribe to Him the glory that is due Him (Mt. 5:16; Lk. 23:47; Rom. 4:20; 1Cor. 6:20; 1Pet. 4:16; Rev. 4:11). Things men should glory in: That they understand and know God and that He exercises loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in earth and that these things delight God instead of human wisdom, power, and riches. Knowing God is the basis of all blessings of life, here and hereafter. It is the condition of trust in God; one who is unknown cannot be trusted at all. Lack of this knowledge led to universal corruption of the Gentiles (Rom. 1:28), and to Israel’s fall and dispersion (Isa. 1:3; Luke 19:42-43).

It Pleased God

1Corinthians 1:21-29 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

‘It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.’ It pleased God to confound the wise men of that day by the preaching of a crucified Christ. The Jews would not have Him because they expected the Messiah to come as a mighty conqueror to deliver them from the Romans and not as a poor man having no appeal to worldly people (2Cor. 8:9; John 15:19-23; 17:14-16).

‘Foolishness’ [Greek: moria] silly, absurd, foolish. The Greeks perceived Christ and His gospel as silly, absurd and foolish, more or less the same as most people do today.

‘Chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.’ Things God has chosen and the reasons: Foolish things to confound the wise; weak things to confound mighty; base things to humble the exalted; despised things to humble noble and powerless things to bring to defeat the things that are powerful.

‘No flesh should glory’ – People tend to glory in themselves or others’ accomplishments or station in life. The Word warns us against being proud [Greek: huperephanos] to endulge in pride or self-gratulation; be exalted; elated; glory in self; display or strut self before others; an undue sense of superiority; unnatural self-esteem; arrogance; wishing all people to receive their sayings as oracles (Luke 1:51; 2Tim. 3:2; Jas. 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5); or to be boasters [Greek: alazon] self-exalted, vain, and arrogant braggarts (2Tim. 3:2). We can do nothing good without God and boasting about things that are supposed to be to God’s honour; will lead to the downfall of others and the boaster.

Destroy… and Bring to Nothing…

1Corinthians 1:18-20 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 

‘Preaching’ [Greek: logos] meaning word. It is used 330 times with 3 main ideas of expression: In respect to speech: a word (Jas. 3:2); saying (Matt. 19:22); discourse (2Cor. 10:10); doctrine (1Tim. 6:3; 2Tim. 1:13); treatise (Acts 1:1); report (John 21:23); and discussion by which the inward thought is expressed (Heb. 4:2). In respect to the mind alone: the reasoning powers (Heb. 4:12). In respect to a person: the essential living Word of God (John 1:1, 14; 1Jn. 1:1; 5:7; Rev. 19:13); the embodiment of an expression of all wisdom and prudence (Eph. 1:8; 1Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:3)

Logos has to do with a concept, an idea; the Greek word rhema has to do with the expression of that idea in proper, intelligent, and grammatical form in words and sentences.

‘Foolishness’ [Greek: moria] silly, absurd, foolish. Only in 1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 23; 2:14; 3:19.

‘Us which are saved’ – For us who are being saved, salvation has a present and future aspect (Rom. 13:11; Php. 2:12; 1Thes. 5:8-9; 2Tim. 1:9; 3:15; 4:18; 1Pet. 1:5).

‘It is the power of God’ – the preaching of Christ, the gospel, and the cross save the souls of people (1Cor. 1:18-24; Rom. 1:16).

‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ This is the 1st Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in 1 Corinthians (Isa. 29:14). The characteristics of human wisdom, which is mostly false, are as follow: There is always bitter envying and strife in the heart (Jas. 3:14, 16); they glory in their profession (Jas. 3:14) and not in God (1Cor. 10:31); it is earthly, having only this life in view; it is sensual, living only to satisfy the animal appetites; it is devilish, inspired by demons (Jas. 3:15); it brings confusion and every evil work (Jas. 3:16). The characteristics of divine wisdom are: It is pure-chaste, holy and clean; peaceable (Heb. 12:14); gentle-meek, modest, and kind; easily entreated – not stubborn or obstinate, but yielding to others; full of mercy – always forgiving and performing acts of kindness; full of good fruits (Gal. 5:22-23); without partiality – having no respect of persons (Jas. 2:1-10) and without hypocrisy – open, honest, genuine, and true.

‘Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?’ this is the 2nd Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in 1 Corinthians (Isa. 33:18).

‘World’ [Greek: aion] age. The age was one of speculation (Acts 17:21). The word for “disputer” in Hebrew is darshan (from darash), and in Greek: suzetetes, meaning propounder of questions; the seeker of allegorical, mystical, metaphysical, and cabalistic interpretations of the Scriptures by Jewish rabbis and Greek philosophers.

Baptism

1Corinthians 1:14-17 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 

‘Crispus’ was the chief ruler of the synagogue and he believed in the Lord with all his house (Acts 18:8). The chief ruler presided in all assemblies, interpreted the law, decided what was lawful and unlawful, punished and executed the rebellious, solemnized marriages, and issued divorces. Upon his conversion, Sosthenes succeeded him (Acts 18:17). He also became a convert (1Cor. 1:1).

 ‘Gaius’ mentioned in Romans 16:23. He may be the Diotrephes whom John refers to in his third epistle (3Jn. 1:9), when he says that he wrote unto the congregation. If this is true then we could suppose that 3 John could be called John’s epistle to the Corinthian congregation.

‘Stephanas’ we read of in 1Corinthians 16:15-17.

‘Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.’ Seven important facts Paul notes on water baptism: Paul was thankful that he had not emphasized or practiced baptism (1:14). Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the gospel (1:17). Baptism is not essential to salvation from sin (1:17-24). It is merely a symbol of that salvation (1Pet. 3:21). Christ saves people before and without water baptism (1:17-21). The gospel were preached without the preacher being a baptizer (1:17; John 4:2; Matt. 4:17-24). The preaching of the cross, not baptism, is God’s power to save (1:18-21; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9). Faith, not baptism, saves the soul (1:21; John 3:15-20, 36; 5:24). It is important only after one is saved. Baptism into water is essential to obedience and to a “good conscience” after one is saved and in Christ (Mt. 28:19; 1Pet. 3:21; 1Jn. 5:6-10).

‘Not with wisdom of words.’ Human eloquence is no substitute for Holy Spirit anointing and power (2:1-5).

Divisions

1Corinthians 1:10-13 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 divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

‘By the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you.’ Three exhortations by Christ’s authority: That you speak the same things; that there be no divisions among you and that you be unified in all things.

Jesus prayed for the unity of believers (John 17:11, 21-22).

‘Divisions’ [Greek: schism] From a split or gap (“schism”), literally or figuratively: division, rent or schism.

‘Declared’ [Greek: deloo] ]to make manifest (3:13; Col. 1:8; Heb. 9:8; 12:27).

‘Them which are of the house of Chloe’ – perhaps the ones of 1 Corinthians 16:17 who had come from Corinth to make known the conditions of the congregation to Paul. They perhaps were sons of Chloe, a very prominent person in Corinth.

‘Contentions’ [Greek: eris] Strife (Rom. 13:13; 1Cor. 3:3; Php. 1:15; 1Tim. 6:4); contention (1:11; Tit. 3:9); debate (Rom. 1:29; 2Cor. 12:20); and variance (Gal. 5:20). These contentions were caused by the divisions of 1 Corinthians 1:10.

‘Every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.’ Four main parties in Corinth: Paulians – followers of Paul, because he founded the congregation (Acts 18:1-7), and because he was a special apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13). Apollonians – followers of Apollos, because of his eloquence (Acts 18:24-19:1). Cephians – followers of Peter, because he was the apostle to the Jews (Gal. 2:7-10). Christians – followers of Christ, because they would have nothing to do with parties that followed people (1Cor. 1:12)

‘Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?’ Paul, Apollos and Peter were followers of Jesus Christ and rebuked those who followed them instead of Jesus Christ. There can be no divisions in the body of Christ.

Romans 16:17 warns us to be alert for those who cause divisions and have no religious fellowship with them that the flock may be protected; 1 Corinthians 3:3 warns that envying led to strife and evil speaking, and that led to divisions and fixed parties; 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 talks about the divisions amongst the congregation of Corinth and that there must be heresies among them, that they which are approved may be made manifested.

The Testimony of Christ

1Corinthians 1:6-9 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 

‘Testimony’ [Greek: marturion] refers to the gospel of Christ which Paul had confirmed to people in all places by the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:18-19, 29; Acts 15:4, 12; 19:11).

‘So that you come behind in no gift’ – the gospel was fully preached and confirmed (1:6), to the end that believers come behind in no gift of the Holy Spirit (1:7; 12:4-11).

‘Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ …’ this is the first New Testament prophecy in 1 Corinthians verses 7-8, unfulfilled. [Greek: apekdechomai] eagerly expecting. It is used in nearly every instance of looking for the coming of the Lord or the future hope of salvation.

‘Coming’ [Greek: apokalupsis] unveiling, revelation, manifestation. Revelation – when used of a revelation it always denotes that which has had the covering taken off and the mystery removed, so that all can see alike what is revealed (Rev. 1:1; Rom. 2:5; 16:25; 1Cor. 14:6, 14:26; 2Cor. 12:1, 7; Gal. 1:12; 2:2; Eph. 1:17; 3:3). When used of a person it means his visible appearance and manifestation to others (Luke 2:13; Rom. 8:19; 1Pet. 1:7). It is used of: The gospel light (Luke 2:32); the coming judgment (Rom. 2:5); the unveiling of truths previously hidden but now revealed (Rom. 16:25; 2Cor. 12:1, 12:7; Gal. 1:12; 2:2; Eph. 1:17; 3:3; Rev. 1:1); the coming glory (1Pet. 4:13); the second coming of Christ (1Cor. 1:7; 2Thess. 1:7; 1Pet. 1:7, 13); manifestation of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19).

There are four Greek words used of Christ’s coming: (1) Apokalupsis: revelation (Rev. 1:1; 2Thess. 1:7; 1Pet. 1:7, 13). (2) Epiphaneia: appearing (1Tim. 6:14; 2Tim. 4:1, 8; Tit. 2:13; 2Thess. 2:8). Use also of the first coming (2Tim. 1:10). (3) Phaneros: to shine, be manifest, be seen (1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; 1Pet. 5:4; Col. 3:4). (4) Parousia: personal appearance, presence. The word is generally translated “coming,” hence it is used for both the rapture (coming in the air for the saints) and the second coming (coming from heaven with the saints to earth). The word is used of the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; James 5:7-8 and 1 John 2:28. It is used of the second coming in Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4.

‘Confirm you unto the end’ – As the testimony or the gospel of Christ was confirmed among you to attract you to Christ, so He will confirm you through this testimony until the end, that you may be blameless at His coming.

‘Blameless’ [Greek: anengkletos] not accused, unimpeachable.

‘Day of our Lord Jesus Christ’ – In the day when Christ comes to receive saints unto Himself (1Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2Cor. 1:14; Php. 1:6, 10; 2:16).

‘God is faithful’ – this was a favourite expression among Jews of the integrity of God (1Cor. 1:9; 10:13; 2Cor. 1:18; 1Thess. 5:24; 2Thess. 3:3).

‘Fellowship’ [Greek: koinonia] the communion, fellowship, and participation with Christ in His sufferings, in the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit in this life, and in the glories of the kingdom in the next life (2Cor. 13:14; 1Jn. 1:3; Php. 3:10).

For the Grace of God

1Corinthians 1:4-5 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge 

‘Grace’ – the primary meaning of grace in connection with God is: free, eternal, and unmerited love and favour of God toward free moral agents who are the product of His own creation, whether human or spirit beings, and who are capable of God; consciousness and moral responsibility. Grace is the spring, source, and the very fountain-head of all the manifold benefits and blessings of God to all of His creation (John 1:14-17; 3:16; Rom. 3:24; 5:17-21; 11:5, 6; 2Cor. 9:8; Eph. 1:6,7; 2:5-8; Jas. 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5).

All of God’s great benefits come through His marvelous grace. We deserve nothing but He gives us everything. Grace moves God to act in behalf of and for the best and eternal good of the whole creation. Grace is seen in acts of judgment as well as in acts of mercy. It works for the benefits of the few as well as of the many. All living creatures have an eternal guarantee of God’s benefits and loving providence through grace. We get through grace “every good and perfect gift” and “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (John 3:16; Rom. 3:24; 5:2, 17-21; 6:14; 8:32; 2Cor. 8:9; 9:8; Eph. 1:6-7; 2:5-8; Jas. 1:17; 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5; 2Pet. 1:3-4). Such benefits are received solely by free moral agents upon the principle of humiliation and entire dependence upon God by faith, realizing that the creature is nothing, and the Creator is all and the source of all Such blessings are wholly apart from works (Rom. 3:24-31; 4:1-4, 16; 5:15-21; 6:14, 15; 11:6; Gal. 2:16; 3:1-12; Eph. 2:7-9).

‘By Jesus Christ’ – Things by Jesus Christ: Righteousness (Rom. 3:22); the grace of God (Rom. 5:15); the reign of righteousness (Rom. 5:21); grace and truth (1Cor. 1:4; John 1:17); peace (Acts 10:36); creation (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16-18); reconciliation (2Cor. 5:18); revelation (Gal. 1:12); justification (Gal. 2:16-17); adoption (Eph. 1:5); exceeding riches of grace (Eph. 2:1-22); all needs supplied (Php. 4:19); salvation (1Thess. 5:9); spiritual sacrifices (1Pet. 2:5); a good conscience (1Pet. 3:21); calling to glory (1Pet. 5:10); utterance and knowledge (1Cor. 1:5).

‘Enriched’ [Greek: ploutizo] Enriched in all utterance: the vocal gifts of prophecy, tongues, and interpretation (1Cor. 1:7; 12:4-11; 14:1-40); enriched in all doctrines of the gospel, the testimony of Christ (1Cor. 1:5-6) and enriched in everything, including all the gifts and fruit of the Spirit (1Cor. 1:7; 12:4-11; 13:1-13; Gal. 5:22-23).

Called to be Saints

1Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

‘Apostle’ [Greek: apostolosa] delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians, it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. It is found 81 times and translated apostle 78 times; messenger twice (2Cor. 8:23; Php. 2:25); and once he that is sent (John 13:16). The last apostle [New Testament recorders] was John the apostle as John the Baptist was the last prophet [writers of the Old Testament]. Only twenty-four apostles are recorded: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 10:2); James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas (Matt. 10:3); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4); Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Titus (2Cor. 8:23); Jude (Jud. 1:1); Paul (Gal_1:1; Gal. 2:8); Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). For lists of the twelve apostles see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16 and Acts 1:13, 26.

‘Through the will of God’ – by God’s own appointment and will. ‘Sosthenes’ perhaps the same man as in Acts 18:17.

‘Corinth’ – the capital of Greece at this time and seat of the Roman proconsul (Acts 18:12), as Athens was its centre of learning. It was 74 kilometres west of Athens. The worship of Aphrodite [Latin: Venus] and the Ashtoreth of Judges 2:13 was carried on here, with all the Eastern immorality, probably introduced by Phoenicians (1Kin. 11:33). Paul started this congregation in about 52 A.D.

‘Sactified’ [Greek: hagiazo] set apart or consecrate Greek: hagiazo, to separate from a profane to a sacred use; to consecrate self wholly to God and His service. The primary meaning is separation, not making holy. It means to make holy only when the person or thing sanctified needs to be cleansed from sin or defilement in order to be fit to be separated unto God and His service.

‘Saints’ – the salutation is to: The congregation of God at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ and saints. All saved people are saints, so there are no grounds for making people saints after death (Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 6:1-2; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Php. 1:1; Col. 1:2; 2Thess. 1:10; Jude 1:3; Rev. 5:8; 13:7, 10; 17:6).

‘With all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord’ – this proves that Paul intended that this epistle should be the general property of all congregations.

‘Both theirs and ours’ Jesus Christ is the common Saviour of all people. He is not the exclusive Lord of any one nation or denomination.

‘Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ’ – this part of the salutation is in every one of Paul’s epistles except those to Timothy and Titus.