1 Corinthians

Quotes From:

Drummond – Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World

EXP B.C. – The Expositor’s Bible Commentary EXP G.T. – Expositor’s Greek Testament

Fee – Gorden Fee, The First Epistle To the Corinthians

Gardiner – George E. Gardiner, The Corinthians Catastrophe

Getz1 – Gene A. Getz, The Measure of a Church

Getz2 – Gene A. Getz, Sharpening the Focus of the Church

Hodge – Charles Hodge – An Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians

Luck – G. Coleman Luck – I Corinthians (EBC)

Redpath – Alan Redpath – The Royal Route to Heaven

Vincent – Marvin Vincent – Word Studies in the New Testament

Wiersbe – Warren W. Wiersbe – Be Wise

Zodhiates – Spiros Zodhiates – The Complete Wordstudy New Testament with Greek Parallel


  1. Corinth was considered a prosperous and rich city. “At the peak of its power and influence the city probably had a free population of 200,000 in addition to half a million slaves in its Navy and in its many colonies.”

    EXP B.C.

  2. “The celebration of the Isthmian games at the temple of Poseidon made a considerable contribution to Hellenic life… but with the games there came an emphasis on luxury and profligacy, because the sanctuary of Poseidon was given over to the worship of the Corinthian Aphrodite whose temple on the Acrocorinth had more than 1,000 female prostitutes. Many people came to Corinth on account of these priestesses, and the city grew rich. Korinthiazomai (meaning to live like a Corinthian in the practice of sexual immorality) was the expression used at an earlier time by Aristophanes to describe a person of loose life.” EXP B.C.

  3. “Paul probably came to this important but immoral city in the fall of

    A.D. 50 after having preached the Gospel to the highly intellectual Athenians.” EXP B.C.

  4. Date: was written on the third missionary journey from Ephesus and in the spring of A.D. 55/56 (about 5 years after he had been there).

  5. Purpose: “In responding to the reports and answering the questions, it was Paul’s purpose to rectify certain serious doctrinal and moral sins and irregularities of Christian living, including disorderly conduct in worship.” EXP B.C.

  6. “The majority of the converts to Christianity were probably Greeks, as distinguished from Jews (12:1). In all ages the Greeks were distinguished by their fondness for speculation, their vanity and love of pleasure, and their party spirit.” Luck


    1. The outline of this epistle seems to follow 2 Timothy 3:16-17. He will begin with reproof and correction (chapters 1-6) and will follow up with teaching and training (instructions in reply to their questions) (chapters 7-16). But before he jumps into his subject he gives them a word of greeting that emphasizes their position in Christ, a position that they were not living up to.

    2. “In a most tactful way, Paul opens his letter by reminding the believer of the wonderful blessings they have in Christ. He does this before he reproves them for their sin; for they were living beneath their privileges as Christians. They were not walking worthy of their calling in Christ (Ephesians 4:1ff). He lists their spiritual blessings.” Wiersbe

    3. Verse 1 – Paul is a “called apostle”, just as the Corinthians are “called saints”. “He summoned to be herald and dispenser (vv. 17, 23), they were receivers of God’s Gospel (vv. 26-31). EXP B.C.

      “’Apostle’ – In its strict official sense it is applied only to the immediate messengers of Christ, the infallible teachers of his religion and founders of his church. In calling himself an apostle Paul claims divine authority derived immediately from Christ.” Hodge

      Revelation 21:14 points to the fact that there were only twelve apostles.

      “Paul begins by voicing his authority – he is a called apostle. Since his apostleship and ministry had been under fire, and it is now necessary for him to exert that authority in correcting the serious errors existing at Corinth, he commences by affirming that he is truly an apostle and that by no self-seeking of his own, but through the will of God.” Luck

    4. Paul has now identified himself and Sosthenes, who may or may not be the same Sosthenes, who was the ruler of the synagogue in Corinth (Acts 18:17). Now he spends the rest of the time identifying the church at Corinth. He wants them to know who they are, what their position in Christ is. Note five parts to their standing:

      1. Their calling (v. 2); Three descriptions:

        1. Church of God at Corinth.

          “It is called the church of God because it belongs to Him. He selects and calls its members, and, according to Acts 20:28 it is his, because He has bought it with His blood.” Hodge

        2. “Sanctified” ἡγιασμένοις part, perf. pass.

          “The perfect conveys the double notion of an action terminated in past time, and of its effect existing in the present.”Zondervan

          “The Corinthian Christians are described as set apart and in a holy position before God because of their spiritual union with Jesus Christ.” EXP B.C.

          “Comes from the same root as ‘saint’, the key thought is that of being set apart.”

        3. Saints by calling.

          NIV – called to be holy ἁγίοις

          “Sometimes signifies ‘sacred’, set apart to a holy use… In the New Testament the word is commonly expressive of inward purity, or consecration of the soul of God. Believers are saints in both senses of the word; they are inwardly renewed, and outwardly consecrated.”

          “In its present usage it refers to the position of all true Christians – separated – set apart for holy service to God and holy fellowship with God.” Luck

          “With all who… in order to become part of the church, sanctified, and a saint one must call upon the name of the Lord.”

      2. Had received God’s grace (1:3-4)

        1:3 “It was God’s grace that the Corinthian believers were saved, just as all Christians are saved, and through this

        redemption Jesus Christ purchased peace with God for the sinner.” EXP B.C.

        “Grace is favour, and peace its fruits. The former includes all that is comprehended in the love of God as exercised towards sinners; and the latter all the benefits which flow from that love.” Hodge

      3. Gifted (1:5, 7).

        1:5 “You were enriched in Him – Certainly does not refer here to conversion or to baptism, but rather to God’s blessing in knowing and speaking Christian things. This sums up God’s work in the lives of the Corinthians – God did it, He made them rich.”

        Knowledge is γνώσει “Paul is speaking of concrete knowledge based on the reality of Christ’s person and His death on the cross.” EXP B.C.

        “This verse us explanatory of the preceding. Paul gives thanks for the grace which they had received, i.e. that in everything they were enriched… in every respect they were richly endowed with the gifts of the Spirit.”

        “Speech λόγῳ relatively to γνώσει is the ability and readiness to say what one understands.

        Knowledge γνώσεις the power and ability to understand. “’Knowledge’ would naturally precede, but the Corinthians excelled and delighted in speech above all.” EXP B.C.

        1:7a “The strong assurance with which the Corinthians embraced the Gospel was followed by a shower of spiritual energies, of which they had a lively sense… No church excelled the Corinthians in the variety of its endowments and the satisfaction felt in them.” EXP B.C.

        “Gift” χαρίσματι.

      4. The testimony (1:6).

        “Paul is convinced that this was a real work of God’s grace because he saw his witness about Christ established in their lives at the time of their conversion and had heard of it since then.”

        EXP B.C.

        Everything Paul said that Christ could do for them came to pass in their lives. God’s word came true in their lives.

        “’The witness about Christ was made sure among you’, its reality was verified… At first discouraged, Paul had preached at Corinth with signal power, and his message awakened a decided and energetic faith.” EXP B.C.

        “The power of the ‘good news’ about Christ was amply demonstrated in the Corinthian Christians. They were saved and abundantly gifted.” Luck

        “The Gospel is called the ‘testimony of Christ”, either because it is the testimony concerning God and divine things, which Christ bore, or because it is the testimony which the apostles bore concerning Christ.” Hodge

      5. Hope from God (1:7b-9).

        “They were waiting for Christ to return, but not living in the light of His coming (1 John 2:28). Though they were sinful on earth, God was able to present them blameless in Heaven. This is not an excuse for sin; rather it is an encouragement that God is faithful even though we may fail Him.” Wiersbe

        1:7b “Awaiting eagerly” ἀπεκδεχομένους “expecting with desire, i.e., longing for”. Hodge

        “1 Corinthians 15:12 ,33ff shows that this expectation had been in many instances relaxed.” EXP B.C.

        “The Corinthians were richly blessed with present good, while expecting a good far exceeding it.” EXP B.C.

        1:8 God will.

        1. Confirm us βεβαιώσει “to make steadfast, preserve from falling.”

          “God had not only enriched them with the gifts of the Spirit, but He would also confirm them. The one was an assurance of the other. Those to whom God gives the renewing influence of the Spirit, He thereby pledges Himself to save… God is said to confirm His promises, when He fulfills them, or so acts as to prevent their failing.” Hodge

          “He will then confirm them and vindicate their character, as they have confirmed the testimony about Him.” EXP B.C.

        2. Present us blameless ἀνεγκλήτους “not arraigned or accused. He is unblameable against whom no accusation can be brought… God will confirm His people so that when the day of judgment comes, which is the day of our Lord Jesus, i.e. the day of His second advent, they shall stand before Him blameless, not chargeable with apostasy or any other sin.”


“Paul does not say the Corinthians are blameless now; he hopes they will prove so then.”

1:9 Before concluding this section of thanksgiving, Paul assures the Corinthians of God’s faithfulness. As God called them initially into fellowship with Christ, so He is faithful in completing the work, granting them every grace and gift for daily life (Philippians 1:6). EXP B.C.

“The ground of Paul’s hope for ultimate welfare of the Corinthians is God’s fidelity… God’s accepted call has brought the readers not ‘into a communion (or partnership) with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord’, but ‘into a communion belonging to (and named after) God’s Son’ of which He is founder, center and sum. In this fellowship the Corinthians partake with all those that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“The apostle’s confidence in the steadfastness and final perseverance of believers was founded neither on the

strength of their purpose to persevere, nor on any assumption that the principle of religion in their hearts was indestructible, but simply on the fidelity of God… To this they are effectually called. They are made like Christ.

Fellowship includes union and communion… Believers are called to be partakers of the glory of Christ (Romans 8:17, 23; 1 Thessalonians 2:14) is because believers are thus partakers of Christ, that the apostle was assured they could never perish.” Hodge

Summary of 1:7b-9.

“God is working in all true Christians to confirm, or guarantee, that we will all at that time be blameless (or unreproveable) when we stand before Christ. The Lord Jesus has borne the penalty of our sins; our failures will be dealt with at the judgment seat of Christ so that in the end we will be unreproveable. Though men may fail we can count on this promise for ‘God is faithful’. We have a glorious future!

Even now our position is wonderful. We are called by God ‘unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord’.” Luck

  1. Reproof and Correction (1:10-6:20).

    1. Divisions in the church (1:10-4:21).

      1. A report of divisions (1:10-17).

        “Paul could not honestly give thanks for the actual condition of the Corinthian church. The reason for this omission at once appears. The church is rent with factions, which range themselves under the names of the leading Christian teachers.”

        EXP B.C.

        1:10 “I exhort” Παρακαλῶ to implore or entreat. EXP B.C.

        “’By the name… Christ’ – their reverence and love of Christ, and regard for His authority as their Lord, should induce them to yield obedience to the apostle’s exhortation.”Hodge

        “’That you all agree’ τό αύτό λέγειν is a phrase of frequent occurrence to express agreement.” Hodge

        “’Divisions’ σχίσματα (lit. ‘tears and or cracks’) graphically conveys the idea of the dissensions that were rending the church.” EXP B.C.

        “’Be made complete’ κατηρτισμένοι A medical term that refers to the setting of a bone that was broken or out of place. Whenever Christians cannot get along, the body of Christ suffers.” Wiersbe

        “The context shows that the idea of union is what the apostle intended. They were not to be divided, but united. This union was to be both in mind and in judgment (νούς and γνώμῃ). The former term may refer either to the intellect or feelings. The latter in the New Testament always means judgment or opinion… The unity which Paul desired was a union in faith and love.” Hodge

        In Romans 12:2 the renewing of the νούς is urged as a necessary preliminary to a right moral judgment. Vincent

        νούς mind, intellect, understanding, reason, thought. It seems to be the understanding or thinking process that controls our lives.

        νούς in the sense of right understanding leads to a right attitude of mind. The heathen has a foolish attitude of mind because they lack right knowledge (Ephesians 4:17).

        Christians, on the other hand, must be renewed in the spirit of their mind (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2). (NIDNTT Vol. 3; pp. 122-130).

        “This does not of course mean that every Christian must or will agree with every other believer on even the minutest point. It does mean that those who agree on the essential doctrines of the Christian faith should give a united testimony to the unbelieving world, not quarreling among themselves… ‘In the same mind’ refers to the general

        attitude which should be one of humility. (See Philippians 2:1-8)” Luck

        “’Mind’ in Philippians 2:5 is φρονεῖτε meaning ‘what one has in mind’ – ‘think, judge, gives one’s mind to’. ‘Mind’ in I Cor. 1:10 is νούς denoting the seat of reflective consciousness, the faculty of knowing, the seat of the understanding.” Vine

        “There is but one exhortation in this verse, which is expressed first in general terms, ‘that ye all say the same things’, and is then explained in the negative form, ‘that there be no divisions among you’; and then positively, ‘that ye be perfectly joined together’.” Hodge

        “He explained why they were divided; they had their eyes on men instead of on Christ. They were trusting in the wisdom of men (2:5); they were glorying in the works of men (1:31); and they were comparing one servant with another and boasting about men (4:6).” Wiersbe

        1:11 “Chloe was a Christian woman well known to the Corinthians… This word ‘quarrels’ ἔριδες – strifes, wranglings, explains the nature of the schisms.” Hodge

        “The original word does not mean simply differences of opinion but speaks of open quarrels or wrangling.” Luck

        1:12 “The Christians at Corinth were grouping themselves around various human leaders, and at the same time were rejecting other leaders and their followers.” Luck

        There were four factions in the church; followers of:

        1. Paul – probably Gentiles since he was the apostle to the Gentiles.

        2. Apollos – the learned orator (Acts 18:24-28), probably because they enjoyed his wonderful messages.

        3. Peter – probably Jews since he was the apostle to the Jews.

        4. Christ – tried to prove it was more spiritual than the rest by following “Christ alone” – may have recognized no authority in the church. They were claiming a special relationship to Christ that they felt the others did not have. (See Wiersbe; EXP B.C. and Hodge)

          1:13 “With three simple questions, Paul shows the absurdity of believers dividing over such matters.

          1. ‘Is Christ divided?”

            “As Christ is incapable of division, as there can be but one Christ, the church cannot be divided. It is contrary to its nature to be split into hostile parties.” Hodge

          2. “Was Paul crucified for you?”

            Believers are called Christians because they worship and belong to Christ.

          3. “Were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

          “So that he should be the object of your faith and the one whose name you were to confess.”

          1:14-16 This shows that Paul was not baptizing people into his name. 1:17 “His one supreme work was to call men to Christ – to preach

          the Gospel. The sacraments themselves, important as they

          may be in their proper place, must remain secondary to this.” Luck

          “During the Apostolic Age, and in the apostolic form of religion, truth stood immediately above eternal rites. The apostasy of the church consisted in making rites more important than truth.” Hodge

          However, “while it is unscriptural to make baptism essential to salvation or a certain means of regeneration, it is nevertheless a dangerous act of disobedience to undervalue or neglect it.” Hodge

          Paul is saying “Christ sent me to preach, not with wise discourse, that is, not with human wisdom – not as a philosopher, but as a witness. His preaching therefore was the simple exhibition of the truth which God had revealed.”


          “Should not be made void” – NIV says “less the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

          “If Paul in preaching had either substituted human wisdom for the doctrine of the cross, or had so presented that doctrine as to turn it into a philosophy, his preaching would have been powerless. It would lose its divine element and become nothing more than human wisdom. Whatever obscures the cross deprives the Gospel of its power.”Hodge

          The Gospel is better proclaimed than explained.

          “’Void’ κενωθῇ deprived of activity, make impotent.”EXP B.C.

          “What he has to preach is not a philosophy to be discussed, but a message of God to be believed… to dress up the story of Calvary in specious rhetoric, or wrap it up in fine-spun theorems would have been to empty the cross of Christ.”

          EXP B.C.

          The following verses will explain why this is true – for the Gospel is foolish – it makes no sense rationally to the unsaved. They cannot be talked into salvation.

      2. A defense of Paul’s preaching (1:18-2:16).

        “The Corinthian believers were divided and not living up to their standing in the world because:

        1. They were mixing the Gospel with the wisdom of the world, and

        2. They were glorying in men and did not understand the meaning of the Gospel ministry.

          In chapters 1 and 2, Paul deals with the wisdom of the world versus the wisdom of God; and in these verses he gives seven proofs that show that the Gospel is all men need, not the wisdom of this world.

          1. Paul’s commission (v. 17) we must guard against mixing anything with the Gospel.

          2. Personal experience (v. 18).

          3. Scripture (v. 19) God does not need the world’s wisdom. In fact, He will destroy it.

          4. Human history (vv. 20-21).

          5. Paul’s ministry (vv. 22-25) God bypassed both signs and human wisdom to make salvation available through a crucified Christ.

          6. Their own calling (vv. 26-29) Trace through the Bible and see how God was able to take the nobodies of history and make great leaders out of them. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David.

          7. Christ’s sufficiency (vv. 30-31) “Whenever Christians get their eyes off Christ and start depending on men, trusting man’s wisdom, and seeking to glorify men, then there will always be divisions.” Wiersbe

        Note the constant use of the word “for”, (vv. 17-19, 21-23 – because). Paul is building an argument here. He is explaining why he did not preach in the cleverness of speech. He gives several reasons:

        1. It empties the cross of its power (v. 17).

        2. The Gospel is foolishness anyway (v. 18).

          “What Paul asserted in v. 17 as intrinsically true, he supports by experience (v. 18) and by Scripture (v. 19) combining their testimony in v. 20.” EXP B.C.

          “In this section, Paul emphasizes that salvation is in Christ and not in the wisdom of men… These verses flow logically from the proposition of v. 17 that Paul did not come preaching with human wisdom. As he avoids this human ostentation, he realizes that the straight-forward presentation of the message of the cross produces two effects. It is foolishness to those who are lost, but the power of God to those who are being saved (Romans 1:16).” EXP B.C.

          “This verse contains the reason why Christ sent the apostle to preach, and why he preached the doctrine of the cross, and not human wisdom. That reason is, because the doctrine of the cross alone is effectual to salvation. This proposition he proceeds to establish by a series of arguments designed to prove that the wisdom of the world cannot save men.” Hodge

          “’Foolishness’ μωρία from which we get our word moron. The word means ‘dull’ or ‘stupid’, not foolish in the sense of comical. Paul does not mean that because these people are perishing, they consider the Gospel stupid, but rather that because they are worldly wise and reject the Gospel therefore they are perishing.” Luck

          “The message does not make any sense to those who are perishing.” EXP B.C.

          “Those who are perishing… those who are being saved – the present tense used in both the participles emphasizes the progressive state of those concerned: those who think the message foolish are now on the way to a final lostness in Hell; those who respond are in the process of being saved by God’s power – they are declared righteous by God and are in the process of being made holy, a process to be completed when Christ comes again.” EXP B.C.

          “The power of God” – See 1:24; 2:4-5.

        3. Man’s wisdom is foolish (1:19-20).

          1:19 “God had taught by His prophets the insufficiency of human reason to lead men to the knowledge of the way of salvation.” Hodge

          “God will destroy and bring to nothing the mere worldly wisdom and prudence of unregenerated men.” Luck

          1:20 “Just where in fact can the wise man be found who is able to do what the cross of Christ has done?” EXP B.C.

          “What has worldly wisdom and human philosophy accomplished – has it ever succeeded in really making the human race better or nobler?” Luck

          “The world and God are at issue; each counts the other’s wisdom folly. But God actually turned to foolishness the world’s imagined wisdom: how verses 21-25 proceed to show.” EXP B.C.

          “’Age’ αἰῶν refers to the prevailing ideas and feelings of the present life, ‘world’ κόσμου, to its gross, material character.”

          EXP B.C.

        4. The world’s wisdom will not bring it to God (1:21). “’The foolishness of preaching’ means the preaching of

          foolishness, that is, the cross… The doctrine of the cross

          was foolishness in the estimation of men. God thus put to shame all human wisdom by making a doctrine which the wise of this world regarded as absurd the means of salvation.” Hodge

          “It is the preaching, or public proclamation (κηρύγμα) of that doctrine which is the great means of salvation.” (This includes any proclamation of the Gospel) – see Acts 8:35.

          “It is part of God’s wise providence that He will not be apprehended by intellectual speculation… [but] God’s sovereign grace rescues man’s bankrupt wisdom.”EXP B.C.

        5. Paul preached the power of God (1:22-25).

          1:22 “In explanation of the world’s seeking God through wisdom, Paul states that the Jews seek for ‘miraculous’ signs and Greeks seek wisdom and through these means they hope to find the answers to the questions about God and life.”

          EXP B.C.

          “That is, since human reason in all its developments, Jewish or Grecian, had failed, we preach Christ.” Hodge

          “Signs” – This was characteristic of the Jews. They required external supernatural evidence as the ground of their faith.” (Matthew 12:39; Mark 8:11; John 6:30; see Matthew 16:14).

          “The Greeks on the other hand, seek after wisdom. They require rational evidence. They would receive nothing as true which they could not understand, and see the rational grounds of. These are types of permanent classes of men.”


          1:23 “The Jews find it a stumbling block, that the Messiah should suffer and die on the cross of a common criminal. The Greek consider the message too simple, insufficiently intellectual, dull and stupid, in other words foolishness.” Luck

          “’But we preach Christ crucified’ – This doctrine met the demands of neither class. It satisfied neither the expectations of the Jews, nor the requirements of the Greeks.” Hodge

          “We preach… not a warrior Messiah, flashing His signs from the sky, breaking the heathen yoke, but a Messiah dying in impotence and shame.” EXP B.C.

          “’Stumbling block’ σκάνδαλον signified first the trap-stick, then any obstacle over which one stumbles to one’s injury, an offense.” = Scandal EXP B.C.

          “To Jews, Christ crucified announced the shameful reversal of their most cherished hopes; to Greeks and Romans it offered for Savior and Lord a man branded through-out the

          empire as amongst the basest of criminals; it was ‘outrageous’ and ‘absurd’.” EXP B.C.

          1:24 “In the Greek text, before the word ‘Christ’ a verb is understood. The verb ‘preach’ can be supplied from verse 23 with the meaning ‘we preach Christ as the power of God and the wisdom of God’.” EXP B.C.

          “Believing Jews found, after all, in the cross the mightiest miracle, while Greeks found the deepest wisdom.” EXP B.C.

          “The Jews desired an exhibition of power; the Greeks sought wisdom: both are found in Christ, and in the highest degree. He is the power of God and the wisdom of God… And those who are called not only see, but experience this. The doctrine of Christ crucified produces effects on them which nothing short of divine power can accomplish. And it reveals and imparts to them the true wisdom. It makes them divinely wise; it makes them holy; it makes them righteous; and it makes them blessed. It does infinitely more than human wisdom could ever conceive, much less accomplish.”


          1:25 “What Paul means is that God’s smallest, least significant thought is more worth-while than the wisest plans of mankind.” EXP B.C.

          “Perhaps one may suppose that the polemic of the apostle is directed against an over-subtle extension of the Sophia- Christology and the resultant disregard of the cross of Christ, along with the ensuing growth of factions. The Corinthians believed that they shared in the wisdom which came into the world in Christ. As the people who had reached perfection, they had been exempted from the degradation of the cross. They therefore strove for personal perfection in the gifts of the Spirit, in knowledge and in wisdom, neglecting their responsibility to build up the whole congregation (1 Corinthians 14). It was only Christ, who disregarded worldly concerns and drew others away from the world, who was of interest to them – not the Crucified One. Jesus thus served as an example of the earthly pneumatic (a point disputed by

          Paul in 2 Cor. 5). This foolishness leads to pride and party division in a community. The preaching of the cross is therefore the call to freedom from self-glorification and adherence to party division. It is thus the foundation and guarantee of the unity of the Christian community (1 Corinthians 3:18:23).” NTDNTT

        6. Because of their calling (1:26-31).

          1:26 “’Calling’ (κλῆσιν) Not condition of life, but your calling by God; not depending on wisdom, power, or lineage.” Vincent

          “God has call you into the fellowship of His Son (9); if His Gospel had been a grand philosophy would He have addressed it to fools, weaklings, base-born, like most of you… This argument cuts two ways; it lowers the conceit of the readers while it discloses the true mission of the Gospel.” EXP B.C.

          “That the majority of the first converts from heathenism were either slaves or freed men, appears from their names… The low social status of the early Christians was the standing reproach of hostile critics, and the boasts of apologists.”

          EXP B.C.

          The apostle introduces a new argument in proof of the uselessness of human wisdom. The argument is derived from their religious experience. ‘You see, brethren, it is not the wise who are called’.” Hodge

          “’Noble’ – εὐγενεῖς of high birth.” Vincent

          “By these three terms, then, Paul has given the sweep of all that men count socially, politically, and intellectually important.” EXP B.C.

          “The things which elevate man in the world, knowledge, influence, rank, are not the things which lead to God and salvation.” Hodge

          1:27-28 v. 26 tells us what God has not done, vv. 27-28 tells us what He has done, vv. 29-31 tells us why God has done what He has done. Note the three classes that God has chosen:

          1. The foolish in contrast to the wise of the preceding verse.

            “Foolish things” μωρὰ = foolish. “Wise” σοφούς = wise.

            “In this and in the following clauses the neuter is used although persons are intended, because the reference is indefinite.” Hodge

            Why did God choose the foolish – not because they were foolish but rather to shame the wise.

            “That is, that He might put them to shame, by convincing them of the little value of the things on which they prided themselves, and by exalting over them those whom they despised.” Hodge

            “That He might put to shame the wise and powerful by showing how temporary and insignificant as to salvation their achievements are.” EXP B.C.

          2. The weak in contrast to the mighty.

          3. The base and despised in contrast to the noble. “God is indeed even able to take ‘things which are not’ –

            people whom the world considers so insignificant as to be

            beneath notice, ‘nobodies’ – and to work in such a manner in their lives as to produce heroes of faith, who by deed and by word put to shame the proud and mighty of the earth.”


            God has chosen the lower class of people, and despised or hated, and those considered to be nonentities in order “to show to those who seem to be important that they can accomplish nothing for their own salvation because their

            wisdom, power, and importance are ineffective for this.”EXP B.C.

            “There is a climax here. God has chosen not only Plebeians, but of the Plebeians those who were objects of contempt, and even those below contempt, too insignificant to be noticed at all. These, and such as these, does God choose to make kings and priests unto Himself.” Hodge

            “’Nullify’ καταργήσῃ this is a stronger term than that used in the preceding verse, and here especially appropriate. God brings to nothing the things that are.” Hodge

            How interesting to note that God uses the “things that are not” to nullify or bring to nothing “the things that are”. God’s values are different from the worlds.”

            1:29-31 The reason God has chosen the weak and foolish.

            1:29 “God has worked this way – chosen men according to His grace and not according to their merits – to show that no man may boast in God’s presence that he has gained his salvation by his own effort.” EXP B.C.

            “No one can stand in His sight and attribute his conversion or salvation to his own wisdom, or birth, or station, or to anything else by which he is favourably distinguished from his fellow-men.” Hodge

            1:30 “Instead of boasting, redeemed men realize that salvation is all of God’s grace: it is because of God’s effective plan that they are in Christ Jesus.”

            EXP B.C.

            “Of this union with Christ, the apostle teaches us here, first, its origin, and secondly, its effects. As to its origin, it is of God.” Hodge

            The effects of this union, as here stated, are, that Christ is of God (ἀπὸ Θεοῦ), as the author, made unto us (or become for us-NIV).

            1. Wisdom – “Christ is the true wisdom. He is the LOGOS, the Revealer, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge… Union with Him, therefore makes the believer truly wise.” Hodge

              “The relative clause, ‘who was made wisdom’, etc., unfolds the content of the life communicated ‘to us from God’ in Christ. Of the four defining complements to ἐγενήθη μίαν σοφία stands by itself, with the other three attached by way of definition – wisdom from God, νιz both righteousness…”

              EXP B.C.

              (See NIV and EXP B.C., Vincent)

              “On σοφία the whole debate, from v. 17 onwards, hinges: we have seen how God turned the world’s wisdom to folly (vv. 20-25); now He did this not for the pleasure of it, but for our salvation – to establish His own wisdom (v. 24), and to bestow it upon us in Christ.” EXP B.C.

            2. “’Righteousness’ – δικαιοσύνη is that which satisfies the demands of the law as a rule of justification; … by His obedience and death He has fully satisfied the demands of justice, 2 Corinthians 5:21. When we stand before the judgment seat of God, Christ is our righteousness.” Hodge

            3. “’Sanctification’ – ἁγιασμὸς or holiness, is that which satisfies this law as a rule of duty… His Spirit dwells in all His people as the Spirit of Holiness, so that they are transformed into His likeness from glory to glory. Wherever the Spirit dwells there are the fruits of the Spirit.” Hodge

            4. “’Redemption’ – ἀπολύτρωσις this term sometimes includes all the benefits from Christ. When He is called our Redeemer, He is presented as our Deliverer from guilt, from Hell, from sin, from the power of Satan, from the grave. But when redemption is distinguished from justification and sanctification, it refers to the final deliverance from evil.”


            “Christ in God’s wise plan has become our righteousness and has taken our sin on Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ has become our sanctification and has made possible our growth in grace in the Christian life, (Romans 8:9-10; Ephesians

            2:8-10; 2 Peter 3:18). He is our redemption – the person by whom we have been delivered from sin (Romans 3:24), the Devil, Hell, and the grave (2 Corinthians 15:55-57).”EXP B.C.

            “These infinite blessings can be obtained only through Christ. Union with Him is the necessary, and the only necessary, condition of our participation of these blessings. And our union with Christ is of God. It is not of ourselves, by our own wisdom, goodness, or strength, but solely by His grace; and therefore, must be sought as an unmerited favour.” Hodge

            1:31 “Therefore the Christian who boasts should never boast of himself but rather glory in the Lord… In view of the futility of man’s wisdom, and of the fact that we are nothing in ourselves but rather find in the Lord Jesus all we need, how unwarranted and uncalled for are contentions and divisions among true Christians.” Luck

            “Because of God’s gracious provision of salvation in this way, all praise must go to the Lord… So, it is not through human wisdom, strength, or worldly position that one is saved, but only through God’s wise plan and power accomplished through the cross.” EXP B.C.

            “The design of God in making wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption dependent on union with Christ, and union with Christ dependent, not on our merit, but on His own good pleasure, is that we should glory only in Him; that is, that our confidence should be in Him and not in ourselves, and that all the glory of our salvation should be ascribed to Him and not to us.” Hodge

            “Worldly wisdom which rejects the cross, whether in its Jewish or Greek variety, in objectively proud to be that which it always was: foolishness, i.e. rebellion against God, in the form of human self-exalting and boasting

            (1 Cor. 1:29, 31). Men have closed their minds to the wisdom of God as they encounter it in the works of creation, and instead attempted to create their own wisdom (1 Cor. 1:21; Romans 1:18ff).” NIDNTT

            Wisdom is man’s approach to life. IBID

        7. So that a proper foundation would be laid (2:1-5).

          2:1 “As God had determined to save men not by human wisdom but by the Gospel, Paul, when he appeared in Corinth, came neither as an orator nor as a philosopher, but simply as a witness (vv. 1-2). He had no confidence in himself, but relied for success exclusively on the demonstration of the Spirit (vv. 3-4). The true foundation of faith is not reason, but the testimony of God (v. 5).”


          “Paul does not mean to say merely that he did not declare the testimony of God in a rhetorical or philosophical manner; but that what he declared was not the wisdom of men, but the revelation of God.” Hodge

          “The testimony of God” = Gospel (2 Timothy 1:8).

          “The message not fully understood by them before, but now explained by him an illuminated by the Holy Spirit (2:10-14).” EXP B.C.

          2:2 “Paul’s only design in going to Corinth was to preach Christ; and Christ not as a teacher, or as an example, or as a perfect man, or as a new starting point in the development of the race – all this would be mere philosophy; but Christ crucified, i.e. as dying for our sins.

          Christ as a propitiation was the burden of Paul’s preaching. It has been well remarked that ‘Jesus Christ’ refers to the person of Christ, and “Him crucified’, to His work; which constitute the sum of the Gospel.” Hodge

          2:3 “’In weakness’ – His conscious want of resources for the task before him.” EXP B.C.

          “’In fear and much trembling’ – The inward emotion and its visible expression.” EXP B.C.

          “Anxiety of mind arising out of a sense of his insufficiency, and of the infinite importance of his work.” Hodge

          “It was not in the consciousness of strength, self-confident and self-relying, that he appeared among them, but as oppressed with a sense of his weakness and insufficiency. He had to work to do which he felt to be entirely above his powers.” Hodge

          “This frank confession of the apostle should serve us both by way of encouragement and of rebuke. When we consider on one hand the supreme importance of the message, and on the other our own weakness and limitation, we ought always to be in an attitude of utter dependence on God.” Luck

          2:4 “In his endeavor to bring men to the obedience of the faith, he did not rely upon his own skill in argument or persuasion… But in the powerful demonstration of the spirit.” Hodge

          “’Demonstration’ – ἀποδείξει. “Exhibition of proof, Paul relied, therefore, for success, not on his skill in argument or persuasion, nor upon any of the resources of human wisdom, but on the testimony which the spirit bore the truth. The Holy Ghost demonstrated the Gospel to be true.”


          “The proof of the Gospel at Corinth was experimental and ethical, found in the new consciousness and changed lives that attended its proclamation (1:6; 6:11; 9:1; 2 Cor. 3:1ff;

          1 Thess. 2:13).” EXP B.C.

          “The spirit and of power” – The spirit, with His power.”EXP B.C.

          2:5 Paul’s purpose accompanying his humble presentation, is that their Christian faith might not be a superficial, misdirected belief coming from human wisdom, but a real Christian faith generated by the power of God, who also worked in Paul as he preached.” EXP B.C.

          “’The power of God’ – That exercise of Divine power, therefore, to which he refers as the ground of faith, is the powerful operation of the Spirit, bearing witness with and by the truth in our hearts.” Hodge

          1:18 says that “power of God” is “the word of the cross”. Therefore, it is not referring to miracles and healings but to the transforming message of the crucifixion of Christ.

        8. Wisdom is reserved for the mature (2:6-16).

          2:6 “In case some think that the Gospel is devoid of wisdom, Paul states that it involves a higher wisdom discernible by those who are mature – those who have attained the goal and are spiritually mature. Though some understand ‘the mature’ as referring to those far advanced in spiritual understanding compared with infants in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1), the context favors the conclusion that these spiritually mature were the saved – those enlightened by the Holy Spirit – in contrast to the unsaved.” EXP B.C.

          “’Mature’ τελείοις The Corinthians had by no means reached this, hence they failed to see where the real wisdom of the Gospel lay, and estimated its ministers by worldly standards… But amongst the qualified hearers – in such a circle Paul freely expounded deeper truths.”EXP B.C. Hebrews 5:11-14

          It means “full grown”. “It is not synonymous with the term ‘believer’, for sad to say some believers are not full-grown – 3:1 makes this quite clear.” Luck

          Hodge believes this is speaking of the saved in contrast to the unsaved.

          2:7 “This divine wisdom of Christ crucified was no mere after thought or last minute plan on the part of God. Quite the contrary. It was conceived in His eternal mind ‘before the ages’ and then carried out by His sovereign will. All was done ‘unto our glory’ because of what Christ has accomplished, we poor sinners that we are, shall receive glory, even as we glorify Him.” Luck

          “Having in v. 6 stated what this wisdom is not, he here states what it is. It is, first, the wisdom of God; secondly, it is mysterious, or hidden; thirdly, it is system of truth which God from eternity had determined to reveal for the salvation of His people.” Hodge

          “The wisdom of God” i.e. the wisdom derived from God, which He has revealed, as distinguished from any form of knowledge of human origin.” Hodge

          “’In a mystery’ – something undiscoverable by human reason.” Hodge

          “’Glory’ – is often used for all the benefits of salvation. It includes all the excellence and blessedness which Christ has secured for His people (Romans 5:2).” Hodge

          2:8 “Rulers of this age” – Worldly, unsaved leaders, especially the Jews in this context. These rulers did not understand the wisdom of God and the proof for this statement can be found in the cross.

          “’Lord of Glory’ – is a title of divinity. It means, possessor of divine excellence.” Hodge

          “It signifies the entire grandeur of the incarnate Lord, whom the world’s wise and great sentenced to the cross.”

          EXP B.C.

          δόξη = splendor

          2:9 “Paul is not thinking so much of the heavenly glory as of the magnificence of blessing, undreamed of in former ages, which comes already to believers in Christ.” EXP B.C.

          “That is, he preached truth undiscoverable by human reason, ‘To enter into the heart’ means to occur to the mind.” Hodge

          “Man has three channels for receiving knowledge: through the ‘eye gate’, through the ‘ear gate’, and through the reasoning of the ‘heart’ (or mind). In dealing with purely earthly things, these channels may be fairly satisfactory.

          They fail completely even to ‘scratch and surface’ when it comes to the things of God.” Luck

          2:10 “What was undiscoverable by human reason, God hath revealed by His Spirit ‘unto us’, i.e. unto those whom this revelation, was made, viz. ‘The holy apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5).” Hodge

          “Searches’ ἐραυνᾷ – explores, accurately and thoroughly knows. The word does not express the process of investigation, but rather its results, viz, profound knowledge.” Hodge

          “’The depths of God’ – the inmost recesses, as it were, of His being, perfections and purposes. The spirit, therefore, is fully competent to reveal that wisdom which had for ages been hid in God.” Hodge

          “’Revealed – ἀπεκάλυψεν is a strong term usually used in the New Testament to indicate divine revelation of certain supernatural secrets (Matthew 16:17; Luke 10:22). Or used in the eschatological sense of the revelation connected with certain persons or events.” EXP B.C.

          “Note also that throughout vv. 10-16, Paul speaks mostly in the first-person plural, ‘we’ (not ‘you’), strengthening the interpretation that he is referring primarily to divine revelation given to apostles. Later in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, Paul returns to addressing the Corinthians as ‘you’. But

          what is true primarily of Paul and the other apostles, is true secondarily for all Christians – the Spirit helps them to interpret Scripture. EXP B.C.

          “The latter part of v. 10 amplifies the first part by showing the extent (all things) and dept (the deep things of God) of the Holy Spirit’s revelation of God’s wisdom and truth.”

          EXP B.C.

          2:11 “This verse is designed to illustrate two points: first, as no one knows the thoughts of a man but the man himself, so no one knows the thoughts of God, but God Himself.

          Therefore, no one but a divine person is competent to make a revelation of the thoughts and purposes of God. Second, as every man does know his own thoughts, so the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God.” Hodge

          “God’s spirit must communicate His thoughts, or we shall never know them.” EXP B.C.

          “It is to be expected that the natural man is unable to understand anything about an infinite God. The Spirit of God alone is capable of such comprehension. So, it is quite logical that if these truths are to be known by man at all, they must be revealed by the Spirit.” Luck

          2:12 “’Spirit of the world’ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου Does not here mean a worldly disposition or temper; but ‘spirit’ is that which knows or teaches. The spirit of the world is therefore a paraphrase for reason, which is the principle of knowledge in men. When Paul says he had not received that spirit, he means that human reason was not the source of the knowledge which he communicated.” Hodge

          “We” here in the context must refer to the apostles.

          “’That we might know… God’ – This clause does not refer to inward spiritual blessings now enjoyed by believers, nor to the future blessedness of the saints, except so far as these are included in the general subject for Paul’s preaching. The connection is with verse 10. ‘What human

          reason could not discover, God hath revealed to us apostles, in order that we might know what He has thus graciously communicated’. The subject is the wisdom of God, the Gospel, as distinguished from the wisdom of the world. This is clear both from what precedes and from what follows.” Hodge

          “’The spirit that is from God’ visits us from another sphere, bringing knowledge of things removed from natural apprehension.” EXP B.C.

          “’Things’ is plural so it must refer to more than one spiritual truth, i.e. the Gospel only. Although the Gospel would be primary here surely it has reference to all that we have been given in Christ (see Romans 8:32).

          2:13 “Which things” – the things that the spirit teaches Paul and the other apostles speak. How:

          1. Negatively: not in words taught by human wisdom.

            “The words used by the apostles were neither such as the skill of the rhetorical would suggest, nor such as his own mind, influenced by the Spirit of God, suggested.”


          2. Positively: but in those taught by the spirit…

        “Paul affirms that his words in matters of revelation, as well as thoughts, were taught him by the spirit, he claims, in some sense, verbal inspiration.” EXP B.C.

        “Revelation is presented in v. 10, illumination in v. 12, and inspiration in v. 13.” Luck

        Combining spiritual… spiritual:

        Πνεύματος πνευματικὰ πνευματικοῖς

        “The apostles had said that the truths which he taught were revealed by the spirit; and that the words which he used were taught by the spirit, which he sums up by saying, he explained spiritual things in spiritual words.”


        2:14 The statement: a natural man… God.”

        “Although the ‘things of the spirit’, that is, the truths of His word, are so clearly revealed; and although they have been communicated in language taught by the spirit, yet by a certain class of men, they are rejected. That is, they are not believed, appreciated, and obeyed. This class of men is call ‘natural’.” Hodge

        “’Natural’ – Ψυχικὸς basically means ‘that which pertains to the soul of life’, a word used in the New Testament and patristic literature to refer to the life of natural world and so contrasted with the supernatural world and the spirit.”

        EXP B.C.

        “’Accept’ – δέχεται there is no receptivity.” EXP B.C.

        The reasons: three reasons the natural man does not accept the things of God:

        1. They are foolishness to him.

          “’Foolishness’ μωρία is that which is to us absurd, insipid, powerless, so it means that they are to him absurd, insipid and distasteful.” Hodge

        2. And he cannot understand them.

          “He cannot discern the truth, excellence, or beauty of divine things. It is not simply that he does not do it; or that he will not do it, but he cannot.” Hodge

        3. He lacks spiritual discernment.

        “’Appraised’ ἀνακρίνεται the idea… is to make intelligential spiritual decisions.” EXP B.C.

        “It must be distinguished from κρίνει (to judge); and from ἀνακρίνεται (to discern, distinguished). It signifies ‘to examine, inquire into’. It was an Athenian law term for a preliminary investigation… The Gospel appears on its trial before the natural man; like the Athenian philosophers, they give it a first hearing, but they have no organ to test it by.” EXP B.C.

        “That is, because they are discerned through the spirit. Therefore, those who have not the spirit cannot discern them.” Hodge

        2:15 “In contrast, the person who is guided by the spirit draws discerning conclusions about all things, that is, about all kinds of spiritual things, but such a spiritual man is not subject to spiritual judgments by any man, i.e. by any man without the spirit (v. 14). This is undoubtedly what Paul means by v. 15b, for he elsewhere teaches Christians to make judgments concerning the spiritual condition and actions of other Christians (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-12; 12:3; Galatians 1:8).” EXP B.C.

        “The spiritual man ‘is appreciated by no man who has not the spirit… Which only means that the spiritual man cannot be discerned or estimated aright by those who are not spiritual’.” Hodges

        2:16 “This is a confirmation of what precedes. No one can judge a spiritual man, for that would be to judge the Lord. The Lord had revealed certain doctrines. The spiritual discerns those doctrines to be true. For any man to pronounce them false, and to judge those who held them, supposes he is able to teach the Lord. As no one can do this, no one can judge those who have the mind of Christ, that is, those whom Christ by His Spirit has taught the truth.” Hodge

        “The quotation in the form of a question casts doubt on man’s knowing God’s wisdom, but the statement (v. 16b)

        gives reassurance that the Christian does know it. This explains v. 15b – the person who has God’s Spirit is not subject to judgments by one who does not have the spirit.”

        EXP B.C.

        “The verse implies that we and all God’s people can understand spiritual truths and spiritual wisdom in a way similar to the way the Lord knows them. Verse 16 climaxes Paul’s argument about his preaching God’s ‘foolishness’ (the cross of Christ) without ostentation. Let the philosophers of Greece and the Jews in their sign-seeking jeer and mock.

        They cannot really judge the message of Paul, who has the mind of Christ, because they do not have the Spirit of God and cannot judge spiritual truths.” EXP B.C.

      3. The cure for divisions (3:1-23).

        1. Maturity (3:1-4).

          3:1 “To the objection, that his preaching was too elementary, he answered, it was adapted to their state. He could only speak to them as to children.” Hodge

          “’Men of flesh’ σαρκίνοις ‘made of flesh’.” Vincent

          “They demonstrate, unhappily, the incapacity of the unspiritual for spiritual things.” EXP B.C


          “’Could not’ – suggests that Paul had attempted to carry his Corinthian converts further, but had failed.” EXP B.C.

          “In this paragraph (3:1-9), the apostle turns to apply the principles just enunciated in the previous chapter. The Corinthian Christians, who should be spiritual, are in fact carnal, and because of this are little better able to understand the things of God than in the natural man.

          Therefore, the apostle proceeds to accurately diagnose the real underlying cause of the divisions and dissensions in the church at Corinth, as well as in other churches elsewhere (1:2).” Luck

          “In this passage, Paul speaks to the Corinthians about the lack of spiritual discernment he has been discussing in chapter 2. This lack is seen in their misconception about those who are co-laborers with God (3:1-9). The correction is given in his later statements about the importance of working correctly for the Lord (3:10-17) and not depending on man or on human wisdom (3:18-23).” EXP B.C.

          3:2 “Every doctrine which can be taught to theologians, is taught to children… The difference between milk and strong meat, according to this view, is simply the difference between the more or less perfect development of the things taught… Thus Hebrews 5:11-14… The reference is there to the distinction between the simple doctrine of the priesthood of Christ and full development of that doctrine.” Hodge

          “Indeed… able” – Their condition had not changed.

          3:3 “Their unfitness to receive any other nourishment than that adapted to children, is proved by their being carnal; and their being carnal is proved by the divisions existing among them. ‘Ye are yet carnal’, i.e. under the influence of the flesh, or corrupt nature.” Hodge

          “Paul seems to hear the Corinthians denying the allegations made in v. 3a and so puts it to them again as a question.”

          EXP B.C.

          “Jealous” ζῆλος “The word means zeal, fervid feeling. Whether good or bad, and of what particular kind depends on the connection. Here ‘party spirit’ would seem to be the special evil intended.”

          “Strife” ἔρις This was generating the division. “Are you not walking like mere men?”

          “To be guided by principles which belong to men, as distinguished from the Spirit of God.” Hodge

          “It means to live only the way the ordinary sinful man lives – in selfishness, pride, and envy.” EXP B.C.

          3:4 “Whenever they thought of God’s work in terms of belonging to or following a particular Christian worker, they were simply acting on the human level and taking sides just as the world does.” EXP B.C.

          “Are you not mere men” – σαρκικοί.

          “Having the nature of flesh. In v. 1, Paul would say that he was compelled to address the Corinthians as unspiritual, made of flesh. Here he says that though they have received the spirit in some measure, they are yet under the influence of the flesh.” Vincent

        2. Proper understanding (3:5-9).

          3:5 “Ministers are mere instruments in the hands of God. The doctrines which they preach are not their own discoveries, and the power which renders their preaching successful is not in them. They are nothing; and therefore, it is an entire perversion of their relation to the church to make them the heads of parties.” Hodges

          “’Servants’ – διάκονοι Believers are to realize that Christian workers are simply God’s servants – agents through whom people believe in Christ.” EXP B.C.

          “’Even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one’ καὶ ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ Κύριος ἔδωκεν Even as the Lord gave to each one.

          They are all servants and each had his appointed work to perform, Romans 12:3.” Hodge

          “The above named are servants, each with his specific gift.”

          EXP B.C.

          NIV says: “As the Lord has assigned to each his task.”

          So much feel that this is not speaking of opportunity given but of gifts given to perform a specific task for the body of

          Christ. Verse 6 would seem to point to this for the planting and watering ministries would take different gifts.

          3:6 “Planted – watered – gave the increase ἐφύτευσα, ἐπότισεν, ηὔξανεν The first two verbs are in the aorist tense, making definite acts; the third is in the imperfect, marking the continued gracious agency of God, and possibly the simultaneousness of His work with that of the two preachers.” Vincent

          “This illustrates two points: first the diversity of service on the part of ministers, spoken of in v. 5, one plants and another waters; and secondly, the entirely subordinate and instrumental character of their service.” Hodge

          3:7-9 “He draws some conclusions from his basic premise: first, since we are merely God’s servants, we are really nothing in that we cannot ourselves produce any spiritual results.

          Rather, it is only God who can do that (v. 7). Second, Paul teaches that the servant with their various functions are really one, being united in God’s work (v. 8a). Third, though they are one in the work, yet they individually subordinate to God and responsible to Him who will reward them according to their faithful labor (v. 8b). Finally, Paul concludes (v. 9) that all is of God and that the church (God’s building) is His work. Yet He uses men of different talents and temperaments to help Him cause the church to grow.”

          EXP B.C.

          3:8 “In comparison with God, Apollos and Paul are nothing (v.

          7); in relation to each other they are not rivals, as their Corinthian favourers would make them to be (v. 4), but the planter and waterer are one – with one interest and aim, viz, the growth of the church.” EXP B.C.

          “The rule of reward is not the talents or gifts, nor the success of ministers, but their labours. This brings the humblest on a level with the most exalted; the least successful with the most highly favoured.” Hodge

          3:9 “’We are God’s fellow-workmen’ – employed upon His field, His building; and we are God’s fellow-workmen – laboring jointly at the same task.” EXP B.C.

          “Three times Paul says the word ‘God’. Realizing God’s all comprehending rights to His church the too human Corinthians will come to think justly of His ministers.”

          EXP B.C.

          “’Fellow workers’ – A labourer who does not labour is a contradiction; and a minister who Is not a worker cannot expect a labourer’s reward.” Hodge

          “’God’s building’ – A still more frequent figure; as the church is so often compared to a temple which is in the course of erection, and of which ministers are the builders, Ephesians 2:20-22, 1 Peter 2:5… The apostle drops the former, and carries out the latter figure.” Hodge

          “We are not workers with God. That is not the idea the apostle is here setting forth. We are fellow-workers who belong to God, and who are working with one another. As God’s servants we have a common task; it is to labor in the field which belongs to God, in the church.” Luck

          (See also Expositors)

        3. Quality service (3:10-17).

          3:10 “Paul now discusses how God’s servants can build the church of Christ. The foundation laid down through the preaching of the cross of Christ (1:18) is always the same – Jesus Christ.” EXP B.C.

          “Here, as elsewhere, he attributes to God all he was, and all that he was enabled to accomplish.” Hodge

          “Wise” σοφὸς i.e. skillful “Master Builder”- ἀρχιτέκτων

          “Was not a designer of plans on paper; he was like the old cathedral builders, the master mason, developing his ideas in the material.” EXP B.C.

          It also has the idea of head builder, contractor, or director of works. NIDNTT

          And therefore, could be one who supervised the other workers. “In a sense, this broad meaning applies here, for though Paul performed his task skillfully, leaving Apollos and others to do their own work, yet he felt responsible for the total work of the church.” EXP B.C.

          “’I laid a foundation’ – He had laid the doctrinal foundation of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” EXP B.C.

          “’Another is building” ἄλλος δὲ ἐποικοδομεῖ The present tense of the verb ἐποικοδομεῖ allows for the inclusion of other Christian workers besides Apollos. EXP B.C.

          Thus NIV = “others are building on it.” “But let … upon it”

          “Working upon the foundation, he must follow the lines laid down, he must use fit material.” EXP B.C.

          3:11 “Implies the reason for the warning: though the workers cannot lay a foundation other than Christ, they had better be careful how they build on Him. Any defects in their work will be their own fault. Christ cannot be blamed for it.” EXP B.C.

          “This may be understood either of the person or of the doctrine of Christ. In either way the sense is good.” Hodge

          “The work of the apostolic founders is done, once and forever; so long as the church lasts, men will build on what they laid down.” EXP B.C.

          3:12 “Instead of talking about the details of the building itself, Paul turns his attention to the kind of materials Christian

          workers are using: the materials of preaching the cross for the salvation, building up believers and living a Christian life that is commensurate with that preaching (2:2-4). The purity and depth of such Christian teaching and a life corresponding to it are crucial, for that kind of building material will stand the test of fire on the day of the Lord’s judgment.” EXP B.C.

          “In consistency with the context, gold, silver and precious stones, can only mean truth; and wood, hay and stubble, error… As the foundation which Paul laid is expressly declared to be Jesus Christ, or the truth concerning His person and work, the words above mentioned must refer to true and false doctrines… Wood, hay and stubble are the perishable materials out of which ordinary houses were built, but not temples… These materials, unsuitable for the temple of God, are appropriate symbols of false doctrines.” Hodge

          3:13 “The article with ἡμέρα (day) shows that Paul is talking about the specific time when judgment will come for Christians – that time referred to in 2 Cor. 5:10, when all Christians will appear before Christ’s judgment bench to give account of Christian service.” EXP B.C.

          “Fire in the Scripture is used figuratively in two ways: as a purifying agent (Matthew 3:11; Mark 9:49); and as that which consumes. So, it is a fitting symbol here for God’s judgment, as He tests the quality of the Christian’s work.”

          EXP B.C.

          “Every work will then be subjected to a test which nothing impure can stand.” Hodge

          3:14-15 “Just as a man who has built his house of combustible materials, though he may escape when the fire comes, his property is lost, and all his labour comes to nothing. The apostle is here speaking of those teachers how, although they retain the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, yet combine them with error… It is not enough, therefore, that a minster holds fast to fundamental truth; he must take heed what he teaches in connection with that truth. If he

          mingles with it the wood, hay and stubble of his own philosophy, he will find himself a loser on the day of judgment.” Hodge

          Hodge believes that Paul is speaking only of ministers and their doctrines, and not of believers in general. And while I would agree that certain believers have more responsibility than others in the building of the body yet chapter 12 will point out that we all have some responsibilities in this area.

          3:16 “’Temple’ ναὸς It is to be distinguished from ‘HIERON’, ‘the temple area’… Paul challenges the church with the fact that they together are the spiritual temple of God, because the Spirit of God dwells in them. Therefore, anyone who builds this temple in a shoddy way deserves the destruction of his doctrine and false testimony described in verse 15.”

          EXP B.C.

          “Beside the good and ill builders, who will gain or lose reward, there are destroyers of the house, whom God will destroy… There is an absence of connecting particles between verse 15 and verse 16.”

          ναὸς denotes the shrine, where the Deity resides; ίερόν the sanctuary, the temple at large, with its precincts.” EXP B.C.

          Vincent calls ναὸς the “sanctuary”

          “They are building the temple of God. This truth the Corinthians seem to have forgotten, for they regarded their teachers as men allowed to preach their own speculations, and valued them according to their proficiency in ‘the wisdom of words’.” Hodge

          3:17 “Destroy” – φθείρει

          “The phrase seems to be used here according to the Jewish idea that the temple was destroyed or corrupted by the slightest defilement or damage, or by neglect on the part of its guardians.” Vincent

          “Signifies ‘to corrupt morally, deprave, as well as to waste, damage’… This church was menaced with destruction from the immoralities exposed in chapters 5, 6 and from its party schisms (1-3), both evils fostered by corrupt teaching… The figure is not that of Levitical defilements; this φθερεῖ is a structural injury, to be requited in kind.” EXP B.C.

          “Has the general meaning ‘to bring into a worse state’. Ministers injure the souls of mean and injure the church when they preach false doctrine, and therefore they defile the temple of God, and will certainly be punished.” Hodge

          Why? Because God’s temple is holy and must not be violated with impurity.

          “And that is what you are.” Could refer to being a temple or of being holy. The word “temple” in the KJV is not in the Greek.

          3:18 “’The wisdom of the world’ which Paul has repudiated on behalf of the Gospel (1, 2) was at the bottom of the Corinthian troubles. Those who follow human wisdom exalt human masters at the expense of God’s glory, and there are teachers who lend themselves to this error and thus build unworthily on the Christian foundation – some who are even destroying, under a show of building, the temple of God (3:3-17).” EXP B.C.

          “’Let no one deceive himself’ – ἐξαπατάτω. The present imperative suggests that some in the congregation were already deceiving themselves and must stop doing so.”

          EXP B.C.

          The danger was self-deception. We cannot be wise in both worlds for God’s wise men are considered fools by the world. In order to become truly wise, one must denounce the world’s wisdom and depend upon God’s. The danger is that we begin to ignore God’s truth and embrace the latest views of the world.

          “Let him renounce his own wisdom in order that he may receive the wisdom of God. We must be empty in order to be filled. We must renounce our own righteousness, in order to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We must renounce our own strength, in order to be made strong. We must renounce our own wisdom, in order to be truly wise.

          This is a universal law… It is simply because they are in fact worthless, that we are called upon to regard them.” Hodge

          3:19-20 “He means to say that human knowledge is entirely inadequate to save men; because that end can only be accomplished by the Gospel. And he means to also to brand as folly the speculations of men about ‘the deep things of God’. In proof of the assertion that the wisdom of men is foolishness with God, he quotes to passages of Scripture.”


          3:19a “Gives the reason why the philosophy of the times must be renounced by the aspirant of Christian wisdom: for the wisdom of the world is folly with God.” EXP B.C.

          3:21-22 “The conclusion of the matter is that no Christian is to boast or glory in the wisdom and attainments of men – not even Paul or Apollos. We are not to put our trust in anything human. The reason is that all things – yes, all the blessing of God in the whole universe – belong to the redeemed church. So, the ministry of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and any other Christian worker belongs to God’s people. Also, the KOSMOS, the process of living and dying, the present and the future – all are to be viewed in relationship to God’s purposes and plans for His redeemed people. So, Paul can say ‘all things are yours’. Everything is for the believer’s benefit, everything belongs to them.” EXP B.C.

          To boast in any person or thing is to trust in him or as the ground of confidence, or as the source of honor or blessedness.” Hodge

          “’All things belong to you’ – means that all things are designed to promote the interests of the church. Paul often

          appeals to the dignity and destiny of the church as a motive to right action, e.g. 1 Cor. 6:2.” Hodge

          3:22 “This is the amplification of the preceding verse. In the ‘all things’ there mentioned are included:” Hodge

          1. The ministry – which belongs to the church.

          2. The world.

          3. Life and death.

            “Life and death are dispensed and administered so as best to fulfil the designs of God in reference to the church.”

          4. The present and future.

        “It is no temporary subjection of all things to the church which is intended. The plan of God contemplates the permanent exaltation of the redeemed.” Hodge

        3:21b-23 Form an unbroken chain, linking the Corinthians and their teachers to the Throne of God. Not till the last words of verse 23 do we find the full justification for the prohibition of verse 21a.” EXP B.C.

        If we belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God, then how absurd to waste our time boasting in men. Such boasting is far below the dignity of the church of God.

        3:22 “The right to use worldly goods, asserted broadly by Greek Christians at Corinth is frankly admitted; the church and the world both exist for ‘you’ – are bound to serve you.”EXP B.C.

        3:23 “The Corinthian readers, exalted to a height outsoaring stoic pride, are in a moment laid low at the feet of Christ: ‘Lords of the universe – you are His bondmen, your vast heritage in the present and future you gather as factors for Him… But, He reminds him, his wealth is that of a steward. Our

        property is immense, but we are Another’s; we rule, to be ruled.” EXP B.C.

        “’Christ belongs to God’ – Finally, Christ who demands our subordination, supplies in Himself its grand example.”

        EXP B.C.

        “Though all things belong to the Christian, they are not centered in him, for all things actually and finally belong to God. They belong to the Christian, then, as he himself belongs to God through the mediatorship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” EXP B.C.

        1. Pride (4:1-21)

          1. Exhibited in their criticism of Paul (4:1-5)

            1. Paul’s view of his ministry (4:1-2)

              4:1 “’Servant’ – ὑπηρέτας only here in Paul’s epistles.

              “Literally the word means an ‘underpower’, or common sailor; and then, subordinate servant of any kind. It is generally and properly used of menials, or of those of the lower class of servants. This is not always the case, but here the idea of entire subjection is to be retained. Ministers are the mere servants of Christ; they have no authority of their own; their whole business is to do what they are commanded.” Hodge

              “Here it means a subordinate servant functioning as a free man, not as a slave (DOULOS). Thus, Paul and Apollos were free servants of Christ, fully responsible to Him, and not to the Corinthians.” EXP B.C.

              “’Stewards’ οἰκονόμους were generally slaves appointed as managers or overseers. It was their business to direct the affairs of the household, and dispense the provisions. It is as dispensers, ministers are here called stewards. They are to dispense the mysteries of God, that is the truths which God had revealed.” Hodge

              “’Mysteries of God’ indicates those mysteries of salvation God has revealed in His Word – the things man cannot discover by his human wisdom.” EXP B.C.

              4:2 “The great requisite for the discharge of the office of a steward is fidelity. As he is a servant he must be faithful to his master; as he is a dispenser, he must be faithful to those subject to his oversight.” Hodge

              “The most essential quality a steward can have is not brilliance or ability, but faithfulness.” Luck

              The Corinthians had lost sight of that truth.

            2. The evaluation of Paul’s ministry (4:3-5)

              1. The evaluation by others (4:3a) “Examined” – ἀνακριθῶ

                “Fidelity is required of stewards: yet but who is the judge of that fidelity? Not you Corinthians, not even my own good conscience, but the Lord only… Paul is being put on trial at Corinth – his talents appraised, his motives scrutinized, his administration canvassed with unbecoming presumption.” EXP B.C.

                “It mattered little to him whether they thought him faithful or unfaithful. His responsibility was not to them. They had not sent him; they had not told him what doctrines to preach. He was not their steward, but the steward of God.” Hodge

              2. The evaluation by himself (4:3b-4a) Two thoughts:

                1. I do not even examine myself – this is not to say we should not examine our lives but that this is not the final judgment. It is so easy for us to justify our own actions, to not see ourselves clearly. That Paul

                  did examine himself to some degree is evidenced by his next statement.

                2. I am conscious of nothing against myself. “Acquitted” – δεδικαίωμαι (per. pass)

                  “Paul is speaking of his fidelity as a steward. He says, he was not his own judge, for though his conscience did not accuse him of want of ministerial fidelity, that did not justify him… My judgment of myself is not final.” Hodge

                  “He is not speaking of the doctrine of justification… All he means is, that the question whether he was faithful, was one not to be decided by his conscience, but by the Lord.” Hodge

              3. The evaluation by the Lord (4:4b-5)

                Only the Lord can evaluate our faithfulness properly. Because of this truth there are two practical applications that Paul gives to us:

                1. Do not pass judgment on the service of others.

                  “’Judgment’ κρίνετε The present tense is graphic and implies that the Corinthians were already judging. Paul is saying to them, ‘Curb your habit of judging’… In using κρίνετε instead of ἀνακρίνων Paul is saying that the Corinthians were actually making a final judgment regarding his faithfulness.”

                  EXP B.C.

                2. Wait until the Lord comes.

                  At that time two things will happen:

                  1. The Lord will expose our true faithfulness.

                    “This includes acts which are now unknown, and those principles of action which lie concealed in the recesses of the heart, where no human eye can reach them… The reason is that He alone can bring to light the secret acts and motives of men. These secret works and motives, and not merely outward acts, are the grounds of judgment. Whether a man is faithful in preaching the Gospel depends upon his motives, for some preached Christ of contention, Philippians 1:16.”


                    “These secret things are not necessarily evil things.” EXP B.C.

                  2. The Lord will reward.

                    “He is here speaking of the heart. The church cannot judge the heart. Whether a man is sincere or insincere in his professions, whether his experience is genuine or spurious, God only can decide. The church can only judge of what is outward.” Hodge

          2. Exhibited in their attitude (4:6-21)

        1. Evidenced in their view of themselves (4:6-13).

          4:6 “What Paul has said about not judging or misjudging Apollos or himself he wants understood as applying to the Corinthians’ attitude toward all of God’s people, they should not take pride in some and despise others… In using the expression, ‘I have applied these things to myself and Apollos’, Paul is saying that he is teaching them by personal illustration that ministers are only examples, and not merely teaching them abstract principles.”

          “’I have figuratively applied’ now these things I have adapted (in the way I have put them) to myself and Apollos… Paul has put in a specific personal way – what he

          might have expressed more generally; he has done this for your better instruction.” EXP B.C.

          What is he teaching them? “That they might not exceed what is written.”

          “That is, not to estimate ministers above the scriptural standard.” Hodge

          This phrase always refers to the Old Testament. “The Corinthians were not to think of their ministers more highly than the Bible authorized them to think.” Hodge

          “Keep to the rule of Scripture, not a step beyond the written word.” EXP B.C.

          “’In order… against the other’ the followers of Apollos exalted themselves over those of Paul, and those of Paul over those of Cephas. One exalted himself above another and against him. He not only thought himself better than his brother, but assumed a hostile attitude toward him.” Hodge

          “By going further in this than the Word of God authorizes, the Corinthians have become ‘puffed up’ and quarrelsome. The actual cause of these divisions is their own pride.

          Therefore, the apostle reminds them that any good gifts or abilities they may have are from the Lord. They should then be the ground of gratitude not of human pride.” Luck

          4:7 Three questions:

          Question #1 – “Who regards you as superior?” The NIV says “For who makes you different from anyone else?”

          Two views (note: Hodge):

          1. Who thinks that they are superior?

            ANSWER: They have no ground for thinking themselves better than others; and second, if they had any superiority it was due not to themselves, but to God. So

            that in either case their inflation was absurd and unchristian.

          2. Admitting you to be as superior to others as you imagine, to whom are you indebted for it?

            ANSWER: “All advantages are derived from God.” Hodge

            Question #2 – “And what do you have that you did not receive?”

            “Some Christians evidently were boasting because of their talents and because of their positions and parties. So, Paul puts the rhetorical question to them: ‘What do you have that you did not receive?’ The obvious answer is that they received all from God and had no right to boast.” EXP B.C.

            Question #3 – “The receiver may boast of the Giver (1:31) not of anything as his own.” EXP B.C.

            “Paul was as much self-formed as any man ever was, and yet he said, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am’.” Hodge

            4:8 “This is evidently satirical. Puffed up by their human wisdom and pride, these people imagine themselves as full, rich reigning like kings… [but] with true apostles suffering as they do now, how can their followers expect to be honored and glorified by the world, as the Corinthians seemed to think they should be?” Luck

            “Paul derides their conceit, he does this with irony by a series of dramatic boasts of theirs: they, so they think, have all they need; they are rich and are reigning like kings, even without any help from Paul. The Corinthians evidently thought they had reached full maturity and were ruling and reigning rather than walking humbly with God.” EXP B.C.

            “There is an evident climax in the verse. Ye are not only full, but more than full; you are rich, you have more than enough; and you are not only rich, you are as kings… The reference is to the benefits of redemption. Paul represents

            the Corinthians as thinking that they had already attained… full blessedness… and were already perfect.” Hodge

            “’Already filled’ ἤδη κεκορεσμένοι ‘to glut, feed full’ – so soon you have had your fill (are quite satisfied). The Corinthians reported themselves, in the church letter, so well fed by Paul’s successors, so furnished in talent and grace, that they desire nothing more.” EXP B.C.

            “So soon you grew rich” – ἤδη ἐπλουτήσατε

            Such an attitude is a sign of arrested growth. See Philippians 3:10-14.

            χωρὶς ἡμῶν ἐβασιλεύσατε “Without us (without our help) you have come to your kingdom. This, of course, can only come about when Christ returns; then His saints will share His glory (2 Timothy 2:10).” EXP B.C.

            4:9 “Paul’s allusion in verse 9 seems to be to condemned criminals who were brought out last in the great Roman spectacles, to fight unarmed with wild beasts, having no hope because they were ‘appointed to death’. The apostles are willing to be considered ‘fools’ for Christ’s sake, to be weak and despised. The Corinthians on the contrary, consider themselves wise and strong, deserving of honor in the world.” Luck

            ἐπιθανατίους “’Condemned to death’ – probably an allusion to the practice of exposing condemned criminals to the Amphitheatre to fight with beasts or with one another as gladiators. The gladiators, on entering the arena, saluted the presiding officer with the words, ‘We who are to die greet you’… [Note] the contrast of the selfish Corinthians sitting by unconcerned and unmoved by the awful spectacle.”


            “The irony is that the Corinthians were trying to ‘reign’, while their spiritual fathers and examples were far from reigning.”

            EXP B.C.

            4:10 Note three contrasts found in verses 10-13;

            1. Fools vs. prudent (4:10a)

              “We are fools for Christ’s sake”

              “Our devotion to the cause of Christ is such that you and others regard us as fools.” Hodge

              “You are prudent in Christ”

              He does not use the word σοφός but φρόνιμοι = “man of sense” – “no fanatic, rushing to extremes and affronting the world needlessly – This church is on dangerously good terms with the world.” EXP B.C.

            2. Weak vs. strong (4:10b)

              “They deem themselves ‘strong’ in contrast with the ‘feeble in faith’ (Romans 14:1), with whom Paul associates himself (9:22 etc.) able to ‘use the world’ (7:31) and not hampered by weak-minded scruples (6:12; 10:23; 8).”

            3. Distinguished vs. without honor (4:10c-13)

            “You are objects of respect, we of contempt.” Hodge

            “’Distinguished’ – ἔνδοξοι with a suggestion of display and splendor. Right honorable are ye!” Vincent

            Without honor ἄτιμοι is one actually deprived of respect.

            4:11-12a “That a man should freely subject himself to hunger, thirst, and nakedness, and submit to be buffeted, and homeless, for no selfish purpose, but simply to preach Christ, was indeed, in the eyes of the world, foolishness.” Hodge

            “Hunger, thirst, poor clothing” – signs of poverty

            “Roughly treated, homeless toiling” – specific hardships of Paul’s mission

            “Manual labour was particularly despised amongst the ancients.” EXP B.C.

            4:12b-13 Continuing his list of sufferings, “This time he mentions mainly the verbal abuse Paul and his friends took and their response to it.” EXP B.C.

            They described themselves as “scum of the world” περικαθάρματα τοῦ κόσμου and as dregs of all things περίψημα περι denotes the dirt or filth removed by thorough cleansing, περίψημα also indicates dirt removed by scraping. The use of both terms strongly emphasizes how the world has despised and rejected Paul and his friends.” EXP B.C.

            Note Paul’s reaction to adverse circumstances:

            1. When we are reviled we bless

              “’Reviled’ λοιδορούμενοι implies insulting abuse.”

              EXP B.C.

              “’Bless – to speak well of, or implore good upon. We return abuse with kind words, or with good wishes and prayers.” Hodges

            2. When we are persecuted, we endure persecution – “As the former term refers to injurious words, this refers to injurious acts.” Hodge

            “’Endure’ – patiently submit to it without resistance or complaint.” Hodge

            1. When we are slandered, we try to conciliate

            “’Slander’ – having evil deeds or motives ascribed to us.”

            “’Conciliate’ – we endeavor to meet with kindness such injurious imputations, instead of repelling them with anger and indignation.” Hodge See 1 Peter 2:23

        2. Evidence in their arrogance toward Paul (4:14-21)

          1. Paul’s relationship to them (4:14-16)

            4:14 “Paul concludes this section (4:1-21) with a challenge for the Corinthian Christians to be spiritually humble, and to this end he says that he has sent Timothy to help them and that he himself will come too.” EXP B.C.

            “’Warn’ νουθετῶν is that generally used to express parental admonition and instruction. His design was to bring the truth to their minds, and let them see what they really were, as contrasted with what they imagined themselves to be.”


            It has a lighter meaning than the normal word for exhort or warn, it is the idea of a fatherly appeal more than a direct rebuke or censure. (see EXP B.C.)

            4:15 “’Tutors’ παιδαγωγοὺς was not the schoolmaster, but the home tutor – a kind of nursery – governor – who had charge of the child from tender years, looking after his food and dress, speech and manners, and when he was old enough taking them to and from school.” EXP B.C.

            “He was a slave to whom boys were entrusted on leaving the care of the females, which was somewhere about their sixteenth year. He was often a foreigner, sometimes educated and refined, but often otherwise… The office was one of general guardianship, not of instruction, though sometimes they acted as teacher.” Vincent

            “The point of the contrast is not that he loved them, and they did not, or that they were disposed to arrogate too much authority, and he was not; but simply, that he was the means of their conversion, and they were not. His relation to

            them preceded theirs and was more intimate and tender. He was their father.” Hodge

            4:16 “Imitation is the law of a child’s life. See John 5:17-20.” EXP B.C.

            “He does not exhort them to become his followers or partisans, instead of being the followers of Apollos or of Cephas. But as he had spoken of himself as being humble, self-denying and self-sacrificing in the cause of Christ, he beseeches them to follow his example.” Hodge

            “’Imitators’ μιμηταί from which we get our word ‘mimic’ simply means imitators, a fitting description of the role of little children who naturally imitate the actions and attitude of their fathers and mothers.” EXP B.C.

            Since he was their spiritual father, he feels he can ask them to become imitators of him. (Cf 1 Corinthians 11:1; Galatians 4:12; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians


          2. Paul’s messenger to them (4:17)

            “The work which Timothy was to do was to remind the Corinthians of what they seem to have forgotten, viz, of Paul’s way which were in Christ, how he taught, etc.”


            Timothy’s qualifications for the job were that he was beloved by Paul, his spiritual father; and he was faithful in the Lord: i.e. faithful in the service of Christ.

          3. Paul’s visit with them (4:18-21)

        4:18 “These were the false teachers who were trying to undermine his authority (I Cor. 9:1-3; 2 Cor. 12:12) by saying he was unstable (2 Cor. 1:17) and weak and that his message was of no importance (2 Cor. 10:10). Hodge

        4:19 Power not words

        “That is, not what they can say, but what they can do. By power δύναμιν some understand miraculous power, which does not suit the context. Others confine it to spiritual power, that is, the power derived from the spirit. The word is sometimes used for the essential power, or true nature and efficacy of a thing. And this sense best suits the antithesis between speech and power. Paul meant to put to the test, not what these men could say, but what they really were and did; that is, their true character and efficiency.

        i.e. talk is cheap – let me see your life.

        4:20 “Paul uses the expression ‘kingdom’ of God in verse 20, not in its future eschatological sense, but, as the reference to the arrogant Christians here shows, in a present spiritual sense of God reigning over His people and demonstrating His power in their lives. The apostle is talking about the life that come from Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), the new birth and its power.” EXP B.C.

        “Paul says, I will know, not what these men say, but what they really are; for the Kingdom of God does not consist in what is apparent and outward, but in what is inward and real. It is not a semblance but a reality.” Hodge

        4:21 “Paul, so far from being afraid to go to Corinth, as his enemies imagined, was prepared to go there with authority. He was their spiritual father and ruler. He had the right and the ability to punish them. It depended on themselves in what character he should appear among them, whether as a punisher or as a comforter – whether in the exercise of discipline, or as a kind and tender parent… It is plain from this, as from numerous other passages, that the apostles exercised the right of discipline over all the churches.”


        1. A need for church discipline (5:1-13)

          1. The root of the problem: pride (5:1-2)

            5:1 “’Has’ – imply that an incestuous marriage and had already taken place… Notwithstanding the facilities for divorce afforded by the Roman law, and the loose morals of the Corinthians, for a man to marry his stepmother was regarded as a scandal.” Vincent

            “’Immorality’ πορνεία signifies any immoral sexual relations.”

            EXP B.C.

            “The woman was not a Christian, for Paul passes no sentence upon her.”

            EXP B.C.

            “That it was a case of marriage is to be inferred from the uniform use of the phrase ‘to have a woman’ in the New Testament, which always means, to marry.” Hodge

            “Cicero speaks of such a connection as an incredible crime, and as, with one exception, unheard of.” Hodge

            “The sin of sexual immorality and the church’s indifference to it is the second major evil in the Corinthian congregation that Paul mentions.” (The first was divisions.) EXP B.C.

            “’Fornication’, used in KJV for porneia, does not communicate today. Porneia conveys the idea of extramarital sexual relations of any kind, so the NIV translation, ‘sexual immorality’, is accurate.” EXP B.C.

            “’Reported’ ἀκούεται the present tense helps convey the idea that the report is continually spreading.” EXP B.C.

            “Such a marriage was strictly forbidden according to Leviticus 18:8 and Deuteronomy 22:30 and carried with it a curse (Deuteronomy 27:20).

            5:2 “’Mourned’ ἐπενθήσατε 2nd per. pl. 1st aor. ind. ‘Connotes funeral morning – over a brother dead to God, by sin, alas! Undone. The tense signifies going into mourning’ – ‘breaking out in grief’ when you heard of it.” EXP B.C.

            “They were puffed up, i.e. elated with the conceit of their good estate, notwithstanding they were tolerating in their communion a crime which even the heathen abhorred.”


            “’Mourned’ – i.e. grieved for yourselves. Your condition, instead of filling you with pride, should humble you and make you sad.” Hodge

            “The right of excommunication is here clearly recognized as belonging to the church. It is also clear from this passage that this right belongs to each particular church or congregation.” Hodge

            “’Arrogant’ – They were proud of themselves for being broadminded, as they thought, therefore deemed it a commendable thing to ignore this act of gross immorality.”


          2. Dealing with the problem (5:3-5)

            5:3-4 “In the name of our Lord Jesus – means by the authority of Christ, acting as His representative.” Hodge

            “The power of the Lord Jesus – church discipline is to be exercised carefully on the authority of Jesus’ name and the verdict given is accompanied by the spiritual power of the Lord Jesus.” EXP B.C.

            5:5 “’Flesh’ can mean the ‘sinful nature’ (NIV), but since ‘flesh’ in this verse is in contrast to ‘spirit’, the reference seems to be to the body… This bodily punishment by Satan, Paul hoped, would have the effect of causing the man to repent so that his spirit (his person) might be saved in the day of the Lord.”

            EXP B.C.

            Luck disagrees and says: “Paul’s thought seems to be that, cut off from any fellowship with true Christians and handed over completely to the flesh, the backsliding brother will eventually sicken of the flesh-life, and turn from it, that is, if he is truly a saved person.”

            Hodge agrees with Expositor’s Bible Commentary and says: “Most commentators, therefore, agree in understanding the apostle to threaten the infliction of some bodily evil, when he speaks of delivering this offender to Satan … As ‘flesh’ here stands opposed to ‘spirit’, it must naturally mean the body.”

            “’The flesh’ as antithetical to ‘the spirit’ is rather the man’s bodily nature; and physical maladies, even death, as ascribed in the New Testament to Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7; Luke 13:16; John 8:44; Hebrews 2:14).” EXP B.C.

            “The casting the offender out of the church involved casting him back into the heathen world, which Paul habitually conceives as under the power of Satan. That Paul has in view the reformation of the offender. This reformation is to be through affliction, disease, pain or loss, which also he is wont to conceive as Satan’s work.” Vincent

            “When a Christian is in fellowship with the Lord and with the local church, he enjoys a special protection from Satan. But when he is out of fellowship with God and excommunicated from the local church, he is ‘fair game’ for the enemy, God could permit Satan to attack the offender’s body so that the sinning believer would repent and return to the Lord.”


            So, this appears to be a bodily affliction. However, the point is this: the excommunicated believer is now in the realm of Satan – outside of protection of the Body. Satan can now afflict this person in any manner that he chooses – an awesome position to be in.

          3. The reasons for this action (5:6-13)

            1. For purification of the church (5:6-8)

              5:6 “The Corinthian might reply that the offence however shameful, was the sin of one man and therefore a little thing, Paul retorts, that it is ‘a little leaven’ enough to ‘leaven the whole kneading’.” EXP B.C.

              “Sin tolerated in the church (or in the individual life) has an insidious way to growing. The old leaven must be purged out. To make this warning more impressive, the apostle uses in their typical meaning two of the Old Testament feasts of Israel. The first feast of the Jews’ religious year was the Passover, which was to be celebrated on the fourteenth day of the first month. Immediately following, for the next seven days, was the feast of unleavened bread. During these days no leaven whatsoever was to be used or even kept in the homes. Now leaven in Scripture always typifies evil-false doctrine, false principles of life. Paul states that for us, in this New Testament age, the Passover is Christ. Our new life begins when we believe on Him and are cleansed by His blood. This cleansing should be followed in a spiritual way by the ‘Feast of Unleavened Bread’ – a separated walk, or life, on the part of the redeemed one. This means turning away from the old life of malice and wickedness to the new life in Christ of sincerity and truth.” Luck

              “That the church should allow such sin as that in the Corinthian church to go undisciplined would affect the attitude of the entire Christian community toward sin.”

              EXP B.C.

              “’A little leaven… dough’ – not intended to express the idea that one corrupt member of the church depraves the whole, because, in the following verses, in which the figure is carried out, the leaven is not a person, but sin. The idea, therefore, is, that it is the nature of evil to diffuse itself.”


              5:7 “’Leaven’ – not the sinful man, but evil of every kind, in accordance with the more general statement of the leavening power of evil in verse 6.” Vincent

              “So, the command is to get rid of such sin individually and in the church, for the believing community is an unleavened batch of dough, a new creation in Christ, who has been sacrificed as our Passover Lamb.” EXP B.C.

              “Clean out” ἐκκαθάρατε (aorist)

              “Get rid of completely” is very expressive here.

              “’Clean out the house’, get rid of any evidence of the old yeast.” EXP B.C.

              “Old leaven is afterwards said to be malice and wickedness. This leaven is said to be old, because in the present apostate state of our nature, what is old is evil.” Hodge

              “’New’ i.e. pure – as the new man is the renewed nature.”


              Two reasons are given here for cleaning house:

              1. Because of their position in Christ. Positionally as believers, they are holy, pure. Now they are to live up to their position.

              2. “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” Hodge says on this: “When the paschal lamb was slain, the Hebrews were required to pure out all leaven from their houses, Exodus 12:15.

                “The death of Christ imposes a similar obligation on us to purge out the leaven of sin. Christ is our Passover, not because He was slain on the day on which the paschal lamb was offered, but because He does for us what the paschal lamb did for the Hebrews. As the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the door-posts secured exemption from the stoke of the destroying angel, so the blood of Christ secures exemption from the stroke of divine justice. Christ was slain for us, in the same sense that the Passover was slain for the Hebrews. It was a vicarious death. As Christ died to redeem us from all iniquity, it is not only contrary to the design of His death, but a proof that we are not interested in its benefits, if we live in sin.”

                5:8 “Let us live the Christian life in holy consecration to God. This means, he says, that we are to live not with the old yeast of malice and wickedness, but on the basis of the unleavened principles of sincerity and truth. Therefore, such sins as

                incestuous marriage and the like cannot be tolerated or left undisciplined in the church.” EXP B.C.

                “A feast was a portion of time consecrated to God. To keep the feast means, ‘Let your whole lives be as a sacred festival,’ i.e. consecrated to God. As a feast lasting seven days was connected with the slaying of the paschal lamb, so a life of consecration to God should be connected with the death of our Passover – Christ.” Hodge

                “’Wickedness’ πονηρίας is a stronger word than κακίας, ‘badness’. Anyone who does wrong is κακός, bad, but he who does evil with delight and with persistency, is πονηρίας.

                Hence Satan is called πονηρίας, the evil one.” Hodge

                “Sincerity and truth are the unleavened bread with which the Christian’s life-long feast should be celebrated. Sincerity (εἰλικρινείας) is ‘purity’, transparent clearness; something through which the sun may shine without revealing any flaw. ‘Truth’ is in Scripture far more than veracity. In its subjective sense, it means that inward state which answers to the truth; that moral conditions which is conformed to the law and character of God.”

            2. Fellowship must not be maintained with wicked believers (5:9-13).

              5:9 “’Not to associate with’ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι not to be mixed up together with.” Hodge

              “It denotes not only close but habitual intercourse.” Vincent

              Could refer to church fellowship or more widely, as here, to any social contact. EXP B.C.

              5:10 “If Paul had meant that contact or even acquaintance with all sinners was to cease, then Christians could not live at all in the human society.” EXP B.C.

              “’Covetous’ – πλεονέκταις those who will have more, and especially those who defraud for the sake of gain… It is

              called idolatry, Ephesians 5:5 because wealth becomes the object supremely loved and sought. The man, therefore, who sacrifices duty to the acquisition of wealth, who makes gain the great object of his pursuit, is a covetous man.”

              Hodge “’Swindlers’ ἅρπαξιν those who seize with violence.”EXP B.C.

              “Those who exact what is not justly due to them, or more than is justly due. The sin is not confined to exactions by force or open robbery, but to all undue exactions. The man who takes advantage of another’s poverty, or of his necessities, to secure exorbitant gain, is an extortioner.”


              “’Idolaters’ εἰδωλολάτραις The New Testament usage does not confine the term to the worship of images, but extends it to the soul’s devotion to any object which usurps the place of God” Vincent

              Both Expositors and Hodge think that the opening phrase: “I did not at all mean” should be translated “Not absolutely or not altogether”. That is some association with the unsaved is necessary but even here we must be careful. He is not recommending a great deal of association with unconverted wicked people.

              5:11 “’So-called brother’ – the command is not to associate with anyone who is called a brother… A man in professing to be a Christian professes to renounce all these sins; if he does not act consistently with his profession, he is not to be recognized as a Christian. We are not to do anything which would sanction the assumption that the offences here referred to are tolerated by the Gospel.” Hodge

              Here Paul adds two other types of sinning believers to the list of verse 10.

              “’Reviler’ λοίδορος the foul-mouthed abuser of others.”

              EXP B.C.

              “’Drunkard’ μέθυσος a word bearing in earlier Greek a comic sense, ‘tipsy’, afterwards seriously used. These sins are companions.”

              “Not even to eat with such a one.”

              “Eating together is a sign of friendliness.” EXP B.C.

              “In sharing a common meal Christians show their union with one another. This eating is not to be understood as the Lord’s Supper, and probably indicates any meal… The application then and now is that Christians are not to have this kind of association, for if a believer does so, he may raise a question concerning the validity of his own Christian profession.” EXP B.C.

              “The command is simply that we are not, in anyway, to recognize openly wicked men as Christians.” Hodge

              5:13 “The terrible sentence of verse 13ff had not, in so many words, prescribed ejection, though implying it; and Paul needed to be very explicit. The formal expulsion must proceed from the Corinthians ὑμείς κρίνετε, the church is a self-covering body.” EXP B.C.

              “It is not the duty of believers to attempt to straighten out all the errors in the lives of unsaved people. But those who are ‘within’ – and by this is meant within the church – should be disciplined by the church and removed from fellowship if living in wickedness. Those outside the church we can safely and entirely leave in the hands of God.” Luck

        2. Sub Christian Living (6:1-20).

          1. Suing fellow believers (6:1-11).

            6:1 “’Dare’ is anyone so bold as thus to shock the Christian sense of propriety.” Hodge

            “What Paul complained of was, not that the Corinthians could not get justice at the hands of heathen magistrates,

            but that they acted unworthily of their dignity as Christians in seeking justice from such a source. Paul himself appealed to Caesar. It was, therefore, no sin in his eyes to seek justice from a heathen judge, when it could not otherwise be obtained. But it was a sin and a disgrace in his estimation for Christians to appeal to heathen magistrates to settle disputes among themselves.” Hodge

            “You treat the church, the seat of the Holy Spirit, as though it were without authority or wisdom; you take your case from the highest court to the lowest.” EXP B.C.

            “Paul himself appealed to Roman justice, but never in matters ‘between brother and brother’, nor in the way of accusing his injurers (Acts 28:19), only in defence of his work.” EXP B.C.

            “’Saints’ – ἁγίων indicates by contrast the moral dignity of Christians.” EXP B.C.

            “’Saints’ – the people of God, who are called saints because separated from the world and consecrated to His service.

            Those, therefore, who are the world and devoted to is pursuits, are not saints.” Hodge

            6:2 “Do you not know” (found six times in this chapter).

            A form of expression often used by the apostle when he wishes to bring to mind some important truth, which his readers knew but disregarded.” Hodge

            “The context and spirit of the passage require that it should be understood of the future and final judgment.” Hodge

            6:3 “As, according to Scripture, only the fallen angels are to be judged in the last day, most commentators suppose the word must here be restricted to that class. Not only men, but fallen angels are to stand before that tribunal on which Christ and His church shall sit in judgment.” Hodge

            See Hodge for the view that this could include good angels. Judge can mean rule so that we will rule over the angels.

            6:4 “Paul laments that there were litigations among them; but if they could be avoided, Christians should act in reference to them in a manner consistent with their high destiny.”Hodge

            “It is uncertain whether the verb KATHIZETE (appoint) should be taken as imperative with a sarcastic tone or as an indicative in a rhetorical question. In the first instance, the thought is this: ‘If you must have disputes about these mundane matters when you are destined to judge men and angels, well then go ahead and set the least esteemed members of the congregation to take care of these little matters’” (Supported by NIV). EXP B.C.

            “On the second interpretation, the emphasis is on the apostle’s surprise if you have such a case, do you set the least esteemed in the church in charge of it? The answer then is ‘no’, with the assumed concluding question as to why then they would turn these affairs over to the unsaved who know less about Christian affairs” (Supported by Hodge, Ryrie, Vincent). EXP B.C.

            Either way Paul is trying to point out how ridiculous it is to go before unsaved judges in order to settle a dispute between believers.

            6:5 “I say this to our shame” CP 4:14 where Paul was not trying to shame the Corinthians over their prideful ways but here Paul wants to shame them concerning suing one another.

            “Paul argues that if it is really necessary for such disputes to be handled, they should find a Christian wise enough to take care of them, rather than have Christian brothers opposed to each other in secular litigation. The apostle says they should be ashamed of themselves.” EXP B.C.

            “’To your shame’ – that is, I desire to produce in you a sense of shame… It was adapted to make them ashamed that they had acted so unworthily of their dignity as Christians.”


            6:6 “’And that’ – a form of expression often used when particular stress is to be laid on the circumstances indicated.” Hodge

            Paul has two complaints here:

            1. That they went to law against one another and,

            2. That they did it before the unsaved.

            6:7 “’A defeat’ ἥττημα signifies to be worsted, beaten in a suit… You are beaten before you enter court.” EXP B.C.

            “Does not mean fault but loss or evil.” Hodge

            It is better to submit to injustice and robbery than to dishonor Christ and His church.

            6:8 “Instead of having reached that state of perfection in which ye can patiently submit to injustice, ye are yourselves unjust and fraudulent.” Hodge

            6:9 “Paul concludes that in practicing such acts of wickedness toward others they must realize that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. They are in a dangerous frame of mind – they need to clear their heads and realize that if they at wickedly in this way, they are no better than the wicked idolaters and others who will not inherit Heaven.”

            EXP B.C.

            “Do not be deceived” – μὴ πλανᾶσθε.

            “The present prohibition construction with the verb in the middle voice may be translated ‘stop deceiving yourselves” (CP 1 John 1:8; 3:7-8). EXP B.C.

            “The tendency to divorce religion from morality has manifested itself in ages of the world, and under all forms of

            religion… This arises from looking upon religion as an outward service, and God as a Being to be feared and propitiated, but not to be loved and obeyed… So that to be religious and yet immoral is according to the Christian system, as palpable a contradiction as to be good and wicked. It is evident that among the members of the Corinthian church, there were some who retained their pagan notion of religion, and who professed Christianity as a system of doctrine and as a form of worship, but not as a rule of life. All such persons the apostle warned of their fatal mistake. He assures them that no immoral man, – no man who allows himself the indulgence of any known sin, can be saved.” Hodge

            6:9-10 Ten classes of sinners are distinguished, uncleanness and greed furnishing the prevailing categories. See 5:10-11 for a description of most of these sins. EXP B.C.

            6:11 “In describing their conversion, the apostle lists three transactions that occurred at the time when the Lord saved them. All this, Paul says, was done by God for them on the authority (in the name) of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God – the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.” EXP B.C.

            1. You were washed ἀπελούσασθε. They were cleaned by God; they were purified from those former sins.

            2. You were sanctified ἡγιάσθητε.

              “’Ye have not only been purified, but also set apart as a peculiar people’. In Scripture, anything is said, to be sanctified that is devoted to the service of God.” Hodge

            3. You were justified ἐδικαιώθητε.

            Pronounce righteous

            “The Corinthians had not only been purified and consecrated, but also justified, i.e. clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and on that account accepted

            as righteous in the sight of God. They were therefore under the highest possible obligation not to relapse into their former state of pollution and condemnation.”


          2. Immorality (6:12-20) Three lines of attack:

            1. Principles (6:12)

              1. Is it profitable?

                “It is both absurd and wicked to do anything which is injurious to ourselves or others, simply because it is not in its own nature sinful” (See Romans 14:15-23; 1 Cor. 8:7-13; 10:23-33). Hodge

                “All things are lawful” was a watchword among the Corinthians.

                “Profitable” ἔξεστιν signifies contributing to someone’s benefit – here one’s own in 10:24 one’s neighbor.

              2. Is it enslaving?

                “It is of great importance to the moral health of the soul that it should preserve its self-control, and not be in subjection to any appetite or desire, however innocent that desire in itself may be.” Hodge

            2. Purpose (6:13-14)

              “Some evidently used the argument that since the physical activity of eating and digesting food did not have any bearing on Christian morals and one’s inner spiritual life, so other physical activity such as promiscuous sex did not touch either on morals or spiritual life.” EXP B.C.

              “The Lord Jesus and πορνείᾳ contested for the bodies of Christian men; loyal to Him they must renounce that, yielding to that they renounce Him.” EXP B.C.

              “’Do away with’ καταργήσει lit. means to make ineffective or powerless.” EXP B.C.

              1. Our bodies are for the Lord not from immorality.

              2. God will one day resurrect our bodies.

                6:14 “God will abolish both the belly and its foods… But God both raised up the Lord, and will raise up us also through His power.” EXP B.C.

                Why live for that which will perish or that which will corrupt when we are destined to be raise with power by God?

          3. Possession (6:15-20) we belong to Christ.

        6:15 Paul shows how repulsive all this is by giving a concrete example. The two claimants for mastery of our bodies are Christ and immorality.

        “The design of these verses (15-16) is to establish two points. First, that the relation between our bodies and Christ is of the intimate and vital character which had just been stated. And, second, that the sin in question was inconsistent with that relation, and incompatible with it.”


        6:16 “They should understand that sexual relations involve more than a physical act – they join the two persons together.

        Since Christians have been joined in union to the Lord, they dare not form another union with a prostitute.”

        EXP B.C.

        6:17 “Adhesion by the act of faith establishes a spiritual communion of the man with Him.” EXP B.C.

        “Paul is not making the union of normal marriage mutually exclusive of the union of God with His people… What Paul is arguing against in 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 is that the unholy union with a prostitute is a wicked perversion of the divinely established marriage union.” EXP B.C.

        6:18 “’Flee’ Φεύγετε present tense meaning ‘be fleeing from’ suggests the constant vigilance against sexual immorality is called for.” EXP B.C.

        “Paul goes on to say that the one who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body – that is, by weakening and perverting the very life process, as well as human character. In contrast, other sins are outside the body.”

        EXP B.C.

        “This does not teach that fornication is greater than any other sin; but it does teach that it is altogether peculiar in its effects upon the body; not so much in its physical as in its moral and spiritual effects… Every other sin however degrading and ruinous to the health… is external to the body, that is, external to its life. But fornication, involving as it does a community of life, is a sin against the body itself, because incompatible, as the apostle the body itself, because incompatible, as the apostle had just taught, with the design of its creation, and with its immortal destiny.”


        6:19 “There are two things characteristic of a temple. First it is sacred as a dwelling place of God, and therefore cannot be profaned with impurity. Second, the proprietorship of a temple is not in man, but in God. Both these things are true of the believer’s body. It is a temple because the Holy Ghost dwells in it; and because it is not his own. It belongs to God. As it is a temple of the Holy Ghost, it cannot be profaned without incurring great and peculiar guilt. And as it belongs in a peculiar sense to God, it is not at our own disposal. It can only be used for the purposes for which He designed it.”


        “Now Paul talks positively about how the Christians should view His body.” EXP B.C.

        6:20 The price Christ paid for our bodies indicates the value at which God rates His purchase. See Romans 6:17; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 3:13; 1:14; 1 Peter 1 18-19.

        Therefore, we are to glorify God with our bodies. How? By living pure lives in this context.

        “And in your spirit” – not in καὶ ἐν σας πνεύματι

  2. Teaching and Training (7:1-16:4)

    Questions that the Corinthians had directed to Paul

    1. Question #1 – Concerning marriage (7:1-40)

      1. Marriage or singleness (7:1-9)

        1. Singleness is good (7:1)

          “In this section Paul begins to answer questions raised by the Corinthians in a letter they had written him (7:1)… The Corinthians had written, asking at least two questions concerning this subject that is the topic of the entire chapter. The first was whether a Christian should get married at all (7:1) and the second was whether virgins should get married (7:25).” EXP B.C.

          “’Good’ καλὸν not merely expedient, but morally salutary. The statement, however, is made in the light of circumstances, see verse 26, and is to be read with others such as 2 Corinthians 11:2; Romans 7:4; Ephesians 5:28-33; in which marriage is made the type of union between Christ and His church.” Vincent

          Luck says that two facts must be kept in mind:

          1. The apostle is not dealing with the subject of marriage in general, but is specifically answering direct questions

            the Corinthians and previously addressed to him, questions which we do not now have before us. Furthermore, these questions pertained to local problems with which we are not thoroughly familiar at the present day.

          2. The instructions Paul gives in this chapter were in light of special conditions existing at that time and place.

            Paul is not saying that it is wrong to marry. He explains himself in the following verses. In addition, in 1 Timothy 4:3 he specifies ‘forbidding to marry’ as one of the signs of the great apostasy which he predicted was to occur.

            “’Not to touch’ μὴ ἅπτεσθαι in the middle voice literally means ‘to touch, take hold of’, in this context it means ‘to have sexual relations with’. Since Paul has been arguing against illicit sexual relations in chapter 5, he obviously is referring here to legitimate marriage relations. This verbal expression is a euphemism for such relations.” EXP B.C.

        2. Responsibilities in marriage (7:2-5)

          7:2 “As a general rule, says the apostle, let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband… The great law of God (is), that it is not good for man to be alone.

          Celibacy is to be the exception, not the rule.” Hodge “Immoralities” – plural

          7:3-5 So that there will not be abnormal situations in the Christian marital status that may lead to sexual immorality (v. 5), the apostle gives instructions as to the normal sexual behavior and attitude that the Christian man and wife should have (vv. 3-6), and in doing so he argues against forced asceticism. He argues that they should normal sexual relations and he strengthens his argument by stating that the bodies of the marriage partners belong to each other.”

          EXP B.C.

          “There is abundant evidence in the New Testament of the early manifestation of those principles of asceticism which soon produced such wide-spread effects, and which to so great a degree modified the reigning spirit of the church. The idea that marriage was a less holy state than celibacy, naturally led to the conclusion that married persons ought to separate; and it soon came to be regarded as an evidence of eminent spirituality when such separation was final.” Hodge

          7:4 “’Authority’ ἐξουσιάζει lit. means ‘has rights over’ that is ‘has exclusive claim to’.” EXP B.C.

          “Normal sexual relations are considered by Paul όφειλε (an ‘obligation’, a ‘duty’) to meet the normal emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of the human being.” EXP B.C.

          7:5 “’Stop depriving Μὴ ἀποστερεῖτε is in the present tense and indicates that some at Corinth were practicing a kind of celibacy within marriage.” EXP B.C.

          One exception would be when a couple mutually agrees to separate for a short period of time in order that they may devote themselves to prayer. This must be a short period so as to give Satan no opportunity to tempt them in the area of immorality.

        3. The gift of celibacy (7: 6-9)

        7:6 “Let every man have his own wife and every woman her own husband, and let them remember their mutual obligations’, was permissive and not a matter of command. Marriage, in other words, is permitted, not commanded.”


        7:7 “A gift is special endowment for service in Christ’s kingdom.

        EXP B.C.

        Only those with the gift of celibacy would actually be able to serve Christ better single. Others would be distracted and tempted to commit immorality.

        7:8-9 “It is not necessary to assume that Paul had never been married. Marriage was regarded as a duty among the Jews, so that a man was considered to have sinned if he had reached the age of twenty without marrying. The Mishna fixed the age of marrying at seventeen or eighteen, and the Babylonish Jews as early as fourteen. A rabbinical percept declared that a Jew who has no wife is not a man. It is not certain, but most probable that Saul was a member of the Sanhedrin (Acts 26:10). If so, he must have been married, as marriage was a condition of membership.” (But see Ryrie’s note) Vincent

        “It is, he states, good or advisable for them to remain in their single state for the reasons spelled out in 7:26, 32-35. (Observe that in another situation Paul counsels the younger widows to marry (1 Timothy 5:14).” EXP B.C.

        “’To burn’ πυροῦσθαι ‘related to’ φρ (fire means ‘burn’ or ‘be enflamed’ and is here used figuratively of sexual desire.”EXP B.C.

        See Hodge to defend Paul’s view of marriage.

      2. Troubled marriage (7:10-16)

        1. The marriage of believers (7:10-11)

          7:10 “Referring to Christ’s declarations respecting divorce (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mark 10:1-12) not a distinction between inspired and an uninspired saying. Paul means that his readers had no need to apply to him for instruction in the matter of divorce, since they had the words of Christ Himself.” Vincent

          “The distinction intended is between what Christ had taught while on earth, and what Paul by his spirit was inspired to teach.” Hodge

          “’Leave’ χωρισθῆναι be separated… whether by formal divorce or otherwise.”

          “Leave” means divorce for two reasons: (1) The word means divorce according to Arndt & Gingrich who say that it was a legal term of the day often used of divorce in marriage contracts. In addition, Matthew 19:6 the word ‘separate’ is the same word. And it is obvious that Jesus understood it to mean divorce. (2) In the context here – a person could not be remarried unless they were married. And Paul says that this person is unmarried.

          7:11 That she is to remain unmarried if the leaves seem to imply divorce. If this is just separation, then she would still be married and thus could not remain unmarried.

          “’Send away’ ἀφιέναι ‘Divorce’ EXP B.C.

        2. Mixed marriages (7:12-16)

        7:12-13 Paul is placing his authority on par with Christ’s. If one spouse becomes saved and the other does not, they are not to send each other away (v. 13).

        ἀφιένα Same word is used in verses 11-13 and is translated “send away” in NASB and “divorce” in NIV.

        If the unbelieving spouse will stay with the believing mate, then the believer is not to divorce his mate. “For the sake, Paul implies, of the marriage bond God has ordained.”

        EXP B.C.

        “The present tense prohibition μὴ ἀφιέτω, stresses that the marriage relationship is not to be broken at any time. The literal meaning is ‘he (she) is not to be attempting at one point or another to divorce her (him)’.” EXP B.C.

        7:14 “Rather the Christian partner should think of the truth that the Lord can use him as a Godly, holy influence in such a mixed family relationship and in helping the family be consecrated (set apart) to God.” EXP B.C.

        “Sanctify”- αγιάζειν.

        Any person or thing consecrated to God, or employed in His service, is said to be sanctified… Persons or things not thus consecrated are called profane, common, or unclean. To transfer any person or thing from this latter class to the former, is to sanctify him or it… [concerning sanctified sacrifices in the Old Testament]. In none of these cases does the word express any subjective or inward change…

        Children born with Jewish theocracy, and therefore holy, were none the less conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity. They were by nature children of wrath, even as others (Ephesians 2:3) … But that they were sanctified by their intimate union with a believer, just as the temple sanctified the gold connected with it… Thus, the pagan husband, in virtue of his union with a Christian wife, although he remained a pagan, was sanctified; he assumed a new relation, he was set apart to the service of God, as the guard of one of His chosen ones, and as the parent of children who, in virtue of their believing mother, were children of the covenant.” Hodge

        See 1 Peter 3:1 and 1 Corinthians 7:16

        7:15 However, if the unbeliever leaves then the believers is to let them go for two reasons: “First, in this case the believer is not ‘bound’, for the unbeliever by willful desertion (the other legitimate reason for divorce besides sexual immorality – Matthew 19:9) has broken the marriage contract. The Greek perfect form of the verb is graphic – i.e. ‘the Christian brother or sister is not in a bound condition as a slave’. A second reason for allowing an unwilful partner to leave is that God has called His people to live in peace, which would not be possible if the unbelieving partner were forced to live with the believer.” EXP B.C.

        Christ’s law forbids putting away (10ff), but does not forbid the one put away to accept dismissal. Whether the freedom of the innocent divorced extends to remarriage, does not appear.” EXP B.C.

        “’Is not under bondage’ οὐ δεδούλωται a strong word indicating that Christianity has not made marriage a state of

        slavery to believers… The meaning clearly is that willful desertion on the part of the unbelieving husband or wife sets the other party free. Such cases are not comprehended in Christ’s words.” Vincent

        “Leaves” χωρίζεται = to separate

        7:16 “The force of verse 16 tempers any tendency to foster or encourage a rupture in the marriage. For Paul is teaching that the believer is to try to keep the mixed marriage together in hope that the testimony of the believer will be used by God to bring the unbeliever to Christ. The factual condition of verse 16 suggests there is a good hope that God in His providence will do just that.” EXP B.C.

      3. Living according to calling (7:17-24)

        7:17 “In extension of the principle that God has called His people to live in peace (v. 15), Paul teaches that the Christian should live contentedly in any station of life in which God places him. The example is that of living obediently to God with full confidence in His sovereign purpose, whether one is a Jew or Gentile, slave or freed man. It is not that Paul is for the subjugation or elevation of certain segments of society, but he wants individual Christians to realize and accept God’s sovereign purpose in saving and keeping them regardless of the level of society they are in. Paul is more afraid of the spirit of anarchy and rebellion, personal and national (Romans 12:3, 13:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 10:13) than of social inequality… Paul is expanding his thought of the Christian call to other areas besides that of marital status. The Christian should live for the Lord wherever he is.” EXP B.C.

        “Paul was not only averse to breaking up to conjugal relation, but it was a general ordinance of his that men should remain in the same social position after becoming Christians, which they had occupied before… It is not surprising, therefore, that men were in many instances disposed to break loose from their social ties; wives to forsake their unbelieving husbands, or husbands their wives;

        slaves to renounce the authority of their masters, or subjects the dominion of their sovereigns. This was an evil which called for repression… It mattered not whether they were circumcised or uncircumcised, bond or free, married to a Christian or married to a Gentile, their fellowship with Christ remained the same… The Gospel was not a revolutionary, disorganized element; but one which was designed to eliminate what is evil, and to exalt and purify what is in itself indifferent.” Hodge

        “The Christian revolution had excited in some minds a morbid restlessness and eagerness for change, which disturbed domestic relations, but was not confined thereto. This wider tendency the apostle combats in the ensuing paragraph; he urges his readers to acquiesce in their position in life and to turn it to account as Christians… Paul does not mean to stereotype a Christian’s secular employment from the time of his conversion, but forbids his renouncing this under a false notion of spiritual freedom, or in contempt of secular things as though there were no will of God for him in their disposition.” EXP B.C.

        7:18-19 “The rule of v. 17 applied to most prominent and critical distinction in the church, that between Jew and Gentile.”EXP B.C.

        “The Jews were won’t when they abandoned their religion, to endeavor to obliterate the mark of circumcision. The Judaizers were disposed to insist on the circumcision of the Gentile converts. Both were wrong… The Gospel has raised men above all such things… The things, therefore, about which the Christian ought to be solicitous, are not such external matters, which have no influence on his spiritual state, but conformity in heart and life to the revealed will of God.” Hodge

        “’Not become uncircumcised’ – the reference is to the process of restoring a circumcised person to his natural condition by a surgical operation.” Vincent

        7:20 “’Condition’ κλήσει always signifies the call of God into His kingdom through conversion.” Vincent

        However, Hodge and EXP B.C. agree that in this sense it means “vocation”.

        “This of course is not intended to prohibit a man’s endeavoring to better his condition… (But) that no man should desire to change his status in life simply because he had become a Christian; as though he could not be a Christian and yet remain as he was… This is illustrated by an extreme case in the following verse.” Hodge

        Note that this is a repeat of verse 17 and is again repeated in verse 24.

        7:21 “From the chief religious, the apostle passes to the chief social distinction of the times.” EXP B.C.

        “Paul is not speaking against human betterment or social service, but he is stressing that the Christian in Corinth is to live for the Lord without anxiety in his present situation.”

        EXP B.C.

        7:22 “The Lord has freed the Christians from the penalty of sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and from Satan and his kingdom (Colossians 1:13) and bound us as ‘slaves’ to Himself.”

        EXP B.C.

        “Christ buys us from our old master, sin, and then sets us free; but a service is still due.” EXP B.C.

        “Paul, in Romans 8:18-23, says that the afflictions of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glorious liberty of the sons of God, towards which the whole creation, now subject to vanity, looks with longing expectations.” Hodge

        7:23 “By the same act of purchase: the slave has been liberated from sin, and the freeman bound to a new Lord… [he is saying] let no human influence divert you from the service

        to God, or infringe on the devotion due to your Redeemer.”

        EXP B.C.

        This verse points up the priority of Christ’s authority over the Christian.

        “’Do not become’ μὴ γίνεσθε (Present imperative of the verb ‘become’) stresses the continual danger of becoming mere slaves of men. It might be translated, stop becoming.”

        EXP B.C.

        “Not referring to the outward condition of bondage, but to spiritual subjection to the will and guidance of men as contrasted with Christ.” Vincent

        7:24 “’With God’ παρὰ Θεῷ near Him, perpetually mindful of His presence and favour. In other words, in communion with God.” Hodge

        “Paul repeats the command of verses 17, 20 but adds the phrase ‘with God’, as though he is saying, ‘God is looking on and is there with you to help you.” EXP B.C.

      4. Marriage and serving Christ (7:25-40)

        1. Marriage under the circumstances (7:25-28)

          7:25 “He is not suggesting that his command is any less inspired but is only calling attention to the fact that what he is presenting is not derived from a direct teaching of Jesus Himself.” EXP B.C.

          “Now” δὲ he is now resuming his subject of marriage after a short digression in verses 17-24.

          “Virgins” παρθένων properly means maidens, though as an adjective it is used of both sexes.

          “In verses 1-16, Paul had spoken of the conduct of self- directing men and women in regard to marriage, there

          remains the case of daughters at home, for whose disposal the father has responsible.” EXP B.C.

          7:26 “’Distress’ ἀνάγκην pinching stress ‘present’ ἐνεστῶσαν signifies ‘present’ rather than ‘impending’ – the distress of the time, which Paul was feeling keenly at Ephesus, portended a speedy crisis.” EXP B.C.

          This is not a general statement about marriage but rather is dealing with a particular crisis that believers at this time were facing. Paul is saying that right now they have more important things to worry about than marriage.

          7:27 “Marriage, in the present circumstances of the church, will prove a burden. Although this fact will not justify the dissolution of any marriage, it should dissuade Christians from getting married.” Hodge

          Bound – δέδεσαι.

          Released – λύσιν translated divorce by NIV. Are you released? λέλυσα translated:

          “Are you unmarried?” NIV “Are you released?” NASB “Are you loosed?” KJV

          “Has thou been released?” Nestle Greek Text

          Ryrie says that this means the wife is dead but that would be pushing the word. The first λύσιν definitely means divorce as translated by NIV. Otherwise, it would be saying “Do not see the death of your wife.” If it means divorce in the previous sentence, then surely it would imply the same here.

          He is not talking to the unmarried (NIV) as such but apparently to widowers and men who have been divorced for Biblical reasons.

          7:28 Here he makes a distinction between the released brethren of verse 27 and the virgins (having never married) of verse

          25. Either group is free to marry, it is not sin, however at the present time it will add to the difficulties of life.

        2. The purpose of life (7:29-35)

          7:29 “The apostle explains that the time for doing the Lord’s work is short and is coming to an end. This does not necessarily mean that he is speaking of the second coming of Christ, for Paul may have been anticipating severe persecutions and a resulting of curtailment of freedom to witness. So, for the time remaining Paul admonishes them not to be overwhelmed by the social and material problems of the world but to live as for the Lord.” EXP B.C.

          “’Wives… as though they had none’ – He means ‘live for the Lord in marriage’.” EXP B.C.

          He is not teaching neglect for in 7:32-35 he shows that the married person is concerned for the welfare of their mate.

          7:30-31 “It is the design of God in allowing us but a brief period in this world, or in this state, that we should set lightly by all earthly things… We should set our affections on things above, and not on the things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).”


          “’Not make full use of it’ μὴ καταχρώμενοι means not to over use.” Hodge

          “Form… away” i.e. is in the act of passing away.

          “’Form’ σχῆμα the external form, the essence as it appears, the present state of things. The figure is derived from the scenes of a theatre, in the actual process of change. The fact that the present condition of the world is not to last long, and that our participation in its joys and sorrows is to be so short-lived, is the reason which the apostle urges why we should not be wedded to earthly things.” Hodge

          “Home with its joys and griefs, business, the use of the world, must be carried on as under notice to quit, by men

          prepared to cast loose from the shores of time… (These are) engagements not to be allowed to cumber the soul.”

          EXP B.C.

          “If life brings sadness, live beyond it, do not be bound by it. If things are joyous, do not be engrossed in them. Those who are blessed with material possessions are not to cling to them, as though they were to have them always. The reason for this challenge is that the material things of this world are changing and disappearing (Colossians 3:12-14).” EXP B.C. “Nothing must stand in the way of whole-hearted devotion to Him. Five things that often do are mentioned: marriage, sorrow, joy, business, material things. None of these five things are to come in between us and the Lord.” Luck

          7:32-34 “Paul goes on to argue that if they want marriage, they must realize that it brings extra cares. And he wants them to be free from concern… He must here be advising against marriage because of particular abuses and tensions at Corinth.” EXP B.C.

          “This is the third reason why Paul wished the early Christians to remain unmarried. The first was, the increased suffering marriage would probably bring with it. The second was, the transitory nature of all earthly things. And third, is the comparative freedom from care connected with a single life.”


          7:34 “And his interests are divided” Lit. – “Their interests are diverse”.

          “It is not in purity and spiritually that the virgin is said to have the advantage of wife; but in freedom from distracting cares.” Hodge

          7:35 “’Restraint’ βρόχον Lit. ‘a noose or slip-knot for hanging or strangling’.” Vincent

          “Paul does not wish by what he says to deprive the Corinthians of any liberty – to capture his readers and shut them up to celibacy.” EXP B.C.

          “’Undistracted’ ἀπερισπάστως see Luke 10:40. The same word compounded here with not, is used of Martha’s being cumbered or distracted with much serving.” Vincent

        3. Marriage or singleness (7:36-40) Two cases:

          1. Virgins (7:36-38)

        7:36 “’Acting unbecomingly’ – it was socially discreditable, both amongst Greeks and Jews, to keep one’s daughter at home, without obvious reason, for any long period beyond adult age. A Christian father might feel this discredit for his religion’s sake and might be reproached as doing his child and society a wrong.” EXP B.C.

        “’If she is of full age’ – the daughter must be full age; and secondly, there must be some reason why in her case marriage is necessary. The daughter’s happiness may be involved.” Hodge

        Hodge and EXP B.C. think that this verse is speaking to fathers. NIV and EXP B.C. thinks that it is speaking to fiancés.

        7:37-38 “In contrast, the man who feels no need to get married has done the right thing too. (The words, ‘who is under compulsion’ refer to outward pressure to marry, sure such as some prior engagement or the pressure of a master on a slave). However, Paul favors the man who does not marry.”

        EXP B.C.

        “’Heart’ καρδίᾳ Mind, the seat of thought and will, rather than the heart with its modern emotional connotation.”

        EXP B.C.

        “The will of the maiden is left wholly out of court. Social custom ignored this factor in marriage.” EXP B.C.

        “As there is no sin in marriage, and no superior virtue in celibacy, it is a mere question of expediency to be determined by the circumstances of each particular case.”


        2. Divorcees

        7:39 The rule of scripture is that marriage is for life. “No civil or ecclesiastical body can rightfully establish a different rule, or prescribe establish a different rule, or prescribe another (as they pretend) a higher rule of morality. All attempts to be better than the Bible, on this or any other subject, only render men worse.” Hodge

        “’In the Lord’ – means more than to marry a Christian but it means to marry ‘as becomes those who are in the Lord, i.e. in a Christian manner. She is to marry as become a Christian’.” Hodge

        “It also forbids any union formed with unchristian motives and otherwise than under Christ’s sanction.” EXP B.C.

        7:40 “’Happier’ – but more blessed she is not merely happier by exemption from trouble (v. 26ff), but religiously happier in her undivided devotion to the Lord (v. 32ff).

        “I think (δοκῶ) I have, is only, agreeably to Greek usage, an urbane way of saying, ‘I have’, CP Galatians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 12:22.” Hodge

    2. Question #2 – What about or liberty in Christ? (8:1-11:1)

      1. Knowledge must be balanced by love (8:1-13). (Major headings – the next four taken from Wiersbe)

        1. Knowledge (8:1-6)

          Eleven times in this chapter we find the word “know”, knowledge, etc.

          οἴδα is found in verse 1 ‘we know’ and verse 4 – ‘we know’ οἴδα expresses the fact that the object has simply come within the scope of the knower’s perception.” Vine

          γινμσκμ in some form is found in the other nine place and “frequently implies an active relation between the one who knows and the person or thing known.” Vine

          8:1 “We all have knowledge” Vincent believes that Paul is being sarcastic, i.e. he is saying, “We know, to use your own words, that we all have knowledge.” EXP B.C. agrees

          Hodge however says: “He begins the chapter with the admission, therefore, that all enlightened Christians have knowledge. He reminds them, however, that there is something higher than knowledge, that knowledge without love is, after all, only another form of ignorance… So here it is consistent to say that all Christians have a theoretical knowledge of the truth that there is but one God, and that idols are nothing, and yet say that this knowledge is not practical and controlling in all.” (EXP B.C. agrees)

          “’Knowledge makes arrogant’ = the article ‘the’ used with

          γνῶσις is demonstrative” ‘This kind of knowledge puffs up.”

          EXP B.C.

          NIV translates this: “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”. “The contrast is striking between puffing up and building up – a bubble and a building.” Vincent

          “Arrogant φνσιόι ‘inflate’.” EXP B.C.

          “To blow, to fill with wind, to inflate; and then, to render vain and conceited. Mere theoretical or speculative knowledge. That is, knowledge divorced from love, tends to inflate the mind, i.e. renders it vain and conceited.” Hodge

          “’Love edifies’ – It does not terminate on itself, as knowledge does, but goes out of itself, and seeks its happiness in another, and lives and acts for others.” Hodge

          Ephesians 4:15 describes the edifying power of love.

          8:2 “Paul now warns against dependence on simply knowing something, since a person never knows all he ought to know about a subject. Such an attitude exhibits a complete dependence on one’s own self-sufficient knowledge and illustrates what Paul means by saying ‘knowledge’ puffs up.”

          EXP B.C.

          “Knowledge without feeling is nothing… and in the following verse he teaches that love is the highest form of knowledge. To know God is to love Him; and to love Him is to know Him.” Hodge

          “Loveless knowledge is ruinous, more than that, it is self- stultifying.” EXP B.C.

          “’Suppose’ = δοκεῖ implies an opinion, well – ill-founded, and confidence in that opinion.” EXP B.C.

          8:3 I John 4:7-8 explain this verse.

          “The apostle in this connection interchanges love of the brethren and the love of God, because the love of the brethren is only one of the forms in which the love of God manifests itself.” Hodge

          “’Known’ – the perfect form here, ἔγνωσται goes beyond the idea, of ‘know’ to that of acknowledge or recognized, almost with the idea of ‘elect’. Recognized by God as His own.”

          EXP B.C.

          “Paul would ascribe nothing to human acquisition; religion is a bestowment, not an achievement, our love or knowledge is the reflex of the divine love and knowledge directed toward us.” EXP B.C.

          “True Gnosis consists not in the accumulation of so much data, not even in the correctness of one’s theology, but in the fact, one has learned to live in love toward all.” Fee

          8:4 “To determine whether it was proper to eat of these sacrifices, it must be determined, first, what an idol is, and

          second, what effect the eating would have. As to the former, Paul says, there is no idol, (or an idol is nothing); and as to the latter, that the eating could have no effect on our religious state; it could make us neither better nor worse (v. 8). From this it follows, that eating or not eating is a matter of indifference.” Hodge

          8:5 “The meaning is, ‘There is no such being in the universe as Jupiter or Mars; for although there is a multitude of supernatural beings, called gods and lords, not only by the heathen, but also in Scripture, yet there are no such beings as those which the heathen imagines. The whole heathen mythology is a fable, the work of imagination. There are no such gods in existence, though there are demons in abundance, of various ranks and powers, called gods. There are two things which the apostle means to deny: 1) The existence of such beings as the heathen conceived their gods to be. 2) That the supernatural beings who do really exist, and who are called gods, are really divine. They are mere creatures.” Hodge

          8:6 “Concerning the world, the Father is the source of all creation, and Jesus Christ is the dynamic One through whom creation came into existence. As for the Christian, he lives for God, the source of all, and has the power for so living through Jesus Christ. So why, implies Paul, should we be concerned with idols or meat sacrificed to idols.” EXP B.C.

          “’We exist through Him’ – does not mean creation for we are part of the things just mentioned. The meaning is, we as Christians, we as the children of God are by Him. We were redeemed by Him; we are brought unto God by Him.”


          NIV – puts “live” in place of “exist”.

        2. Love (8:7-13)

        8:7 “A weak conscience is one which either regards as wrong what is not in fact so; or one which is not clear and decided in its judgments… The conscience is said to be defiled,

        either when it approves or cherishes sin, or when it is burdened by a sense of guilt. The latter form of pollution is that here intended.” Hodge

        8:8 “It is admitted that meat does not commend us to God.

        Literally, does not cause us to stand near to God… It neither causes us to excel (περισσεύομεν) nor to come behind (ὑστερούμεθα).” Hodge

        περισσεύομεν – abound, exceed others. ὑστερούμεθα – inferiority.” EXP B.C.

        8:9 “’Liberty’ ἐξουσία lawful power of right.” Hodge

        “’Stumbling block’ = πρόσκομμα is an obstacle thrown in the way of ‘the weak’, over which they may stumble into a moral fall, not having the strength either to overcome their scruples or to disregard an example contrary to their conscience.” EXP B.C.

        8:10 Later in 10:21 Paul will point out that eating in an idol’s temple is wrong but here he is simply focusing on the offense that it may give to another. If our action causes another who is not persuaded in his own mind that this is right to partake then we cause him to sin (Romans 14:23).

        8:11 “’Ruined’ ἀπόλλυται carries not only the meaning ‘destroy’, in the sense of eternal destruction, but also the more qualified meaning of temporal ‘ruin’’ or ‘loss’ (cf. Matthew 9:17, of wineskins that are ruined; and James 1:11, of a blossom as it withers and its beauty fades, and in that sense is thought of as destroyed).” EXP B.C.

        “The stress is on weakening the faith and ruining the Christian life of the brother.” EXP B.C.

        Notice the threefold darkness of the picture: there perishes, thy brother, for whom Christ died. Paul appeals to the strongest feeling of a Christian – brotherly love and loyalty to Christ.” EXP B.C.

        Note the consequences of doing that which the conscience is not satisfied is right.

        Verse 7 – conscience defiled Verse 11 – he is ruined

        Romans 14:23 – He sins and is condemned

        8:12 “Speaking to the ‘strong brother’ Paul is saying, ‘If you cause the weak brother to stumble into sin, you yourself are sinning in a twofold way: 1) against your brothers and 2) against Christ in that you are wounding the conscience of those who belong to Christ. The plurals in this verse imply that Paul has in mind a sizeable group at Corinth who where both the offender and the offended.” EXP B.C.

        “He who thus sins against his brother sins against Christ. This is true in two senses. An injury done to a child is an injury to the parent, both because proper regard for the parent would prevent one from injuring his child, and also because the parent suffers in the child… So also, it is a manifestation of want of love to Christ, an insult and injury to Him, to injure His people; and moreover, He and they are so united that whatever of good or evil is done to them is done also to Him.” Hodge

        8:13 Paul lays down an enduring principle:

        “It is morally obligatory, therefore to abstain from indulging in things indifferent, when the use of them is the occasion of sin to others.” Hodge

      2. Authority must be balanced by discipline (9:1-27)

        1. Rights renounced for the Gospel (9:1-23)

          1. Paul’s rights (9:1-3)

            “This chapter deals with Paul’s policy of financial support, and it appears to be an interruption to his discussion of ‘meats offered to idols’. Actually, it is not an interruption, it is an illustration of the very principles that he presents

            in chapters 8 and 10. Paul used himself as an illustration of the mature use of liberty; he was free to receive financial support from the Corinthian church, yet he willingly set aside that right in order to achieve a much higher goal.” Wiersbe

            9:1 “In Corinth false teachers had accused him of not accepting money from the people because he knew in his heart that he was an imposter.” Luck

            People can twist things anyway they want to.

            “Am I not free” See verse 19 Paul had the same liberty in Christ that all Christians have.

            “Am I not an apostle”

            1. The immediate commission from Christ in the sight of witnesses, or otherwise confirmed.

            2. Signs and wonders, and mighty deeds 2 Corinthians 12:12.

            3. The success of their ministry.

              No man could be an apostle who had not seen the Lord Jesus after His resurrection, because that was one of the essential facts of which they were to be the witnesses, Acts 1:22. Neither could any man be an apostle who did not receive his knowledge of the Gospel by immediate revelation from Christ, for the apostles were the witnesses also of His doctrines, Acts 1:8, 10:39, 22:15; Galatians 1:12.” Hodge

              9:1-2 “’This is my answer to those that put me on my defense’, I point them to you.” EXP B.C.

              “’Examine’ means to make a searching scrutiny. It is the same word used of Pontius Pilate in his examination of Christ. Every Christian must accept the same treatment. We will be examined by people who do not accept the reality of our Gospel, we live in the glare of the searchlight.” Redpath

          2. Rights unclaimed (9:4-14)

            1. Food (9:4)

              “At the expense of the churches, CP. Luke 10:7.”


            2. Marriage (9:5)

              “Every Christian has a right to certain things in life. He has a right to food, he has a right to love, to a family, to a home; he has a right to decent pay; he has a right to recreation and physical activity. He has as much right to these things as anyone else. But Paul is saying that one mark of Christian discipleship is that he has completely renounced his right to these things.” Redpath

            3. Financial support in the ministry evidence for this right (9:6-14).

              1. Logic (9:6-7).

                9:6 This was many years after Paul had split from Barnabas but it is obvious that they were knowledgeable about each other and that they were still on friendly terms.

                The Greeks despised manual labor. They had slaves to do manual labor so that the citizens could enjoy sports, philosophy and leisure.” Wiersbe

                9:7 Three logical illustrations from life to support Paul’s right to be supported financially in the ministry:

                #1 A soldier – how absurd it would be to stop a battle while all the soldiers go to part-time jobs.

                #2 A farmer

                #3 A shepherd

                “The soldier, the farmer, the shepherd, all live by their labour; why should not the minister? His work is an engrossing, as laborious, and as useful as theirs; why should not it meet with a similar recompense? … It is not, however,

                the evil consequences, so much as the injustice of such a course, that the apostle has in view.” Hodge

              2. Scripture (9:8-10)

                9:8 “The Old Testament scriptures verify what Paul is saying, it is not just his opinion. St. Augustine said, ‘The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is by the New revealed’.” Wiersbe

                “The question introduces another kind of evidence – that from scripture. I will not confine myself to illustrations from human affairs. I will appeal to scripture.” Vincent

                9:9 “The reason for the command, Paul says, is not just God’s care for the cattle but because by it he wants to teach us a lesson about God’s care for us (v. 10).” EXP B.C.

                “If God requires that even the ox, which spends his strength in our service, should not be defrauded of his reward, how much more strict will he be in enforcing the application of the same principle of justice to His rational creatures.”


                9:10 “’Altogether’ πάντως should be rendered ‘assuredly’. This command was not altogether for the sake of men but it assuredly has application. It is intended to enforce the principle that labour should have its reward so that men may labour cheerfully.” Hodge

              3. The Lord’s direction (9:11-14)

            9:11 “In these verses, the same principles of the worker’s sharing in the results of his crop are applied to God’s spiritual work.”

            EXP B.C.

            “Material” (carnal KJV) σαρκικὰ.

            “Can refer to what is weak and sinful (1 Peter 2:11), but here it is to be taken as that which pertains to or satisfies the needs of the flesh, that is, ‘material things’.” EXP B.C.

            “If the benefits which we bestow are spiritual, such as knowledge, faith and hope, the fruits of the Spirit, and therefore of infinite value, is it much that we should derive from your carnal things, i.e. things necessary for the support of the body?” Hodge

            “This is an appeal to the sense of justice.” EXP B.C.

            9:12 Galatians 6:6-10; 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Paul did accept gifts from other churches (Philippians 4:15-16; 2 Corinthians 11:8).

            The Corinthians apparently supported some other Christian workers but not Paul who had more right to be supported.

            “’Hindrance’ ἐνκοπὴν a military term – to cut into, break up a road, so to hinder a march.” EXP B.C.

            “Under the circumstances in which Paul was placed, surrounded by implacable enemies, it would have hindered the Gospel had he done anything which gave grounds to question the purity of his motives. He was willing to suffer anything rather than to give his opponents the slightest pretext for their opposition to him.” Hodge

            9:13 “Observe that Paul does not quote Scripture here. His illustration is much broader. This argument has a particularly telling relation to the Corinthians with their former connections with pagan worship.” EXP B.C.

            9:14 “The Lord Jesus Christ has ordained, that this same principle should prevail in the present age (see Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7).” Luck

            “This is the law of Christ, obligatory on ministers and people; on the latter to give, and on the former to seek a support from the church and not from worldly avocations. There are circumstances under which, as the case of Paul shows, this command ceases to be binding on preachers. These are exceptions… the rule, as a rule, remains in force.” Hodge

          3. Reasons for not claiming rights (9:15-23).

            1. Reason #1 – To preach the Gospel without charge (9:15-18).

              9:15 “He did not want to give any person grounds for saying that he was teaching just for selfish purpose.” Luck

              “He did not have the right to give up his liberty in Christ, but he did have the liberty to give up his rights.” Wiersbe

              “The perfect tense of χράομαι ‘to use’ here conveys the idea that Paul had determined in the past not to use these rights and his resolve continues in the present.” EXP B.C.

              “What enabled Paul to face his enemies with joyful confidence, was his disinterested self-denial in preaching the Gospel without reward. And this he calls his καύχημά, or ground of boasting. That this, and not merely preaching the Gospel, was the proof of his integrity to which he could confidently refer, he shows in the following verses.” Hodge

              9:16 “Nothing could be a ground of boasting, but something which he was free to do, or not to do. He was free to receive or refuse a remuneration for preaching; and therefore, his refusing to do so was a ground of glorying, that is, a proof of integrity to which he could with confidence appeal.”


              See 2 Corinthians 5:11, 14

              9:17 NIV – … “If not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.”

              “’Entrusted’ – the perfect passive form πεπίστευ carries with it the idea of a trust committed and carried on in the present.” EXP B.C.

              “If he preached ‘willingly’, i.e. if it were optional with him to preach or not to preach, then it would be a ground of boasting; but if he did it unwillingly, i.e. if it was not optional

              with him, (as was in fact the case), he was only discharging an official duty, and had nothing to boast of. That Paul preached the Gospel willingly, that he esteemed it his highest joy and glory, is abundantly evident from his history and his writings. Romans 1:5; 11:13; 15:15-16; 1

              Corinthians 15:9-10; Galatians 1:15-16; Ephesians 3:8. The difference, therefore, here expressed between (ἑκὼν and ἄκων), willing and unwilling, is not the difference between cheerfully, and reluctantly, but between optional and obligatory.” Hodge

              “’I have a reward’ – He gained something by it. He gained the confidence even of his enemies. (By not accepting recompense).” Hodge

              “’Stewardship’ – οἰκονομίαν, however highly placed, is a slave whose work is chosen for him and whose one merit is faithful obedience.” EXP B.C.

              9:18 “Paul wants to prove to the Corinthians the genuineness of his ministry.” EXP B.C.

              “To do what he was commanded was no ground or reward; but to preach the Gospel without charge was something of which he could boast, i.e. make a ground of confidence… In other words, Paul’s reward was to sacrifice himself for others.” Hodge

            2. Reason #2 – In order to win people (9:19-13).

            9:19 CP. Romans 11:14; 16:18; 6:16-23.

            “Going beyond his right to financial support, the apostle now discusses other areas of life in which he had forfeited his right to freedom in order to win more to Christ.” EXP B.C.

            “’Win’ κερδήσω carrying out the thought of servant in verse

            18. He refuses payment in money that he may make the greater gain in souls. But the gain is that which a faithful steward makes, not for himself, but for his master.” Vincent

            “So long as things indifferent were regarded as such, he was ready to accommodate himself to the most unreasonable prejudices; but when they were insisted upon as matters of necessity, he would not give place, no not for an hour (Galatians 2:5).” Hodge

            “No one was more yielding in matters of indifference; no one was more unyielding in matters of principle than this apostle.” Hodge

            “In verse 1 Ἐλεύθερος (free) signifies freedom from needless and burdensome scruple, here freedom from entangling dependence. Paul freed himself from everybody, just that he might be everybody’s servant, had he been bound as a salaried minister to any particular church, his services would in that degree have been limited.” EXP B.C.

            9:20 “In discussing his self-sacrificing concern in verses 20-23, Paul mentions three groups – the Jews, the Gentiles, and those whose consciences are weak.” EXP B.C.

            “’Those who are under the law’ the distinction between this class and Jews is differently explained. Some Jews, viewed nationally; under the law, viewed religiously.” Vincent

            “There are two things, therefore, to be carefully observed in all cases of concession to the opinions and practices of others: first, that the point conceded be a matter of indifference; for Paul never yielded in the smallest measure to anything which was in itself wrong. In this his conduct was directly the opposite to that of those who accommodate themselves to the sins of men, or to the superstitious observances of false religions. And secondly, that the concession does not involve any admission that what is in fact indifferent is a matter of moral obligation.” Hodge

            “’Not being myself under the law’ it was important for Paul to say that although acting as under the law, he was not under it; because it was a fundamental principle of the Gospel which he preached, that believers are freed from the law.” Hodge

            9:21 “’Those without law’ are the heathen, who had no written revelation as the rule of their conduct” (Romans 2:12).


            “’Under the law of Christ’ this is ‘the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1ff), who dwells in the Christian (3:16), operating not as an outward yoke but an implanted life.” EXP B.C.

            “He recognized his obligation to obey Christ, whose will is the highest rule of duty. In other words, he was not under the Jewish law, but he was under the moral law.” Hodge

            9:22 “’Weak’ in faith and Christian discernment.” Vincent

            “Those with a weak conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-12), he also wants to be sure to win. He becomes ‘weak’ – that is, he refrains from exercising his Christian freedom, and acts as they do, respecting these indifferent things. He has forfeited his freedom for the sake of all, that by all these means some may be saved.” EXP B.C.

            “’Win’ κερδάνω the word means merely ‘to win over’, to bring to proper views, and therefore may be used inference to weak and superstitious believers as well as of unconverted Jews and Gentiles.” Hodge

            9:23 NIV – “I do all this for the sake of the Gospel that I may share in its blessings.”

            “Paul does all this for the sake of the Gospel that he might be a co-sharer (συνκοινωνὸς, ‘communion’, ‘fellowship’) with the Gospel, sharing in its blessings personally and in seeing others come to Christ,” EXP B.C.

            “Paul’s course in its chameleon-like changes is governed by a simple practical aim: ‘But all things I do for the Gospel’s sake’. His one purpose is to fulfill his Gospel stewardship.

            Philippians 3:7-14 presents the inner side of the ‘one thing’ he purposes.” EXP B.C.

            “To be a partaker of the Gospel means, of course, to be a partaker of its benefits; the subject of the redemption which it announces. It is necessary to live for the Gospel, in order to be a partaker of the Gospel.” Hodge

        2. Discipline necessary because of the Gospel (9:24-27).

        9:24 “The Isthmian games: the contests included horse, foot, and chariot racing; wrestling, boxing, musical and poetical trials, and later, fights of animals. The victor’s prize was a garland of pine leaves.” Vincent

        “By way of practical application, Paul gives a strong exhortation for Christian self-denial, using himself as an example and employing athletic figures familiar to the Corinthians at their own Isthmian athletic games.” EXP B.C.

        “It was not enough to start in this race; it was not enough to persevere almost to the end; it was necessary to outrun all competitors and be first at the goal. But one took the prize. ‘So, run that ye may obtain.’ That is run as that one runs, in order that ye may obtain.” Hodge

        “His reference is probably to the Isthmian games, named from the isthmus on which Corinth stood. These contests constituted a great national and religious festival, and every second year drew eager throngs to the city of Corinth. Only freemen could contend in these games, and the contestants must give satisfactory proof that for ten months they had undergone the necessary preliminary training. For 30 days before the contests, all candidates were required to attend exercises at the gymnasium, and only when they had properly fulfilled all such conditions were they allowed to contend in the sight of the assembled throngs. The herald proclaimed the name and country of each contestant and also announced the name of the victor, who was crowned with a garland of pine leaves or parsley, or ivy. The family of the victor was regarded with honor, and when he returned to his native city a breach was made in the walls to allow him to enter, the purpose of this being to indicate that a town to which such a citizen belonged had no need of walls

        for its defense. The victorious hero was immortalized in verse; he was assigned a foremost seat when attending all future contests.” Luck

        “Two differences are pointed out between the Christian race and an earthly contest. In the earthly contest, but one wins the prize; in the Christian life all can win. In the earthly contest, the prize is merely ‘a corruptible crown’, in the Christian life it is an incorruptible one.” Luck

        “Two similarities: things in the athlete which the Christian should imitate: he abstains from all practices which might hinder his winning the race, even though these things may be harmless in themselves. The athlete has a definite purpose in mind, and he is always concentrating on that purpose. Therefore, he mortifies the body and its natural desires.” Luck

        “Paul’s example should teach the Corinthians the need of stern self-discipline on their personal account, as well as in the interests of weaker brethren. From 9:24 onwards to 10:22 Paul pursues this line of warning, addressed to men who were imperiling their own souls by self-indulgence and worldly conformity. Of the danger of missing the prize of life through indiscipline Paul is keenly sensible in his own case; he conveys his apprehension under the picture, so familiar to the Corinthians of the Isthmian games.” EXP B.C.

        “Entering the race is not winning it: do not be satisfied with running, but make sure of winning.” EXP B.C.

        9:25 “An athlete must be disciplined if he is to win the prize.

        Discipline means giving up the good and the better for the best.” Wiersbe

        NIV – “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown of laurel that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

        “By the words ‘strict training’ Paul refers to the athlete’s self- control in diet and his rigorous bodily discipline.” EXP B.C.

        “’Striveth for the mastery’ (KJV) ἀγωνιζόμενος better ‘striveth in the games’, thus preserving the metaphor. The word was the regular term for contending in the arena or on the stage.” Vincent

        9:26 “’Without aim’ ἀδήλως he runs with a clear perception of his object, and of the true manner and result of his striving.”


        “’Therefore’ i.e. because so much effort is necessary to success.” Hodge

        “’Beating the air’ the man who aims at his antagonist, and fails to hit him, smites the air… nothing is accomplished. The effort is in vain… In 14:9 the apostle says of those who speak in the unknown tongue, that they speak into the air.

        That is, they speak to no effect.” Hodge

        Wasted blows do nothing but wear the boxer out. Too often we have spent all our time and energy on that which was a little value and we are too spent to apply ourselves to the race before us.

        9:27 “’I beat my body’ ὑπωπιάζω he states that he aims his blows against his own body, beating it black and blue (see the same word in Luke 18:5). The picture is graphic: the ancient boxers devastatingly punishing one another with knuckles bound with leather thongs and so by pummeling his body, Paul enslaves it in order to gain the Christian prize.”

        EXP B.C.

        “The word means to strike under the eye; to give one a black eye… The blow of the trained boxer was the more formidable from the use of the cestus, consisting of ox-hide bands covered with knots and nails, and loaded with lead and iron.” Vincent

        “I beat my body black and blue – a vivid picture of the corporal discipline to which Paul subjects himself in the prosecution of his work.” EXP B.C.

        “His antagonist was his body, which he so smote, i.e. so dealt with, as to bring it into subjection; literally, to lead about as a slave… The body, as in part the seat and organ of sin, is used for our whole sinful nature (Romans 8:13). It was not merely his sensual nature that Paul endeavored to bring into subjection, but all the evil propensities and passions of his heart.” Hodge

        See Colossians 2:20-23

        “’Make it my slave’ δουλαγωγῶ bring it into bondage.”


        “In Colossians 2:23, he guards against the ascetic extravagances with this passage perhaps even in his life- time was used to support.” EXP B.C.

        “’I have preached to others’ κηρύξας the herald at the games summoned the competitors and announced the rules of the contest.” EXP B.C.

        “But the Christian herald, i.e. preacher – not only announces the rules but ‘plays’ in the game as well. Paul had not only to preach the Gospel but also to live the Gospel.” EXP B.C.

        “’Disqualified’ ἀδόκιμος rejected, as unworthy of the prize.”


        This is the opposite of result of verse 23.

        “What an argument and what a reproof is this! The reckless and listless Corinthians thought they could safely indulge themselves to the very verge of sin.” Hodge

        “The thing he feared was that he might get into such a spiritual condition as to lose the reward he so much desired of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Luck

        “’Castaway’ is a technical word familiar to those who knew the Greek games. It means ‘disapproved, disqualified…’ the

        disqualified Greek athlete did not lose his citizenship, only his opportunity to win a prize. The whole emphasis is on rewards, and Paul did not want to lose his reward.” Wiersbe

        “The word translated ‘castaway or disapproved’ is used of metals, and his reference to that which, having been tested, fails to survive the test. It suggests something which has been rejected after testing because it has failed to reach the required standard.” (J. Osward Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, p. 152; 1 Corinthians 9:27)

        “He was willing even to give up his personal rights! He sacrificed immediate gains for eternal rewards, immediate pleasures for eternal joys.” Wiersbe

        See Hebrews 12:1-2

      3. Experience must be balanced by caution (10:1-22).

        1. Dangerous privileges (10:1-13).

          1. Israel’s privileges (10:1-4).

            10:1 Paul wants these Christians to be aware that their Israelite counterparts of the past all had the same glorious privileges yet most of them stumbled over their privileges and fell on their faces spiritually. They fell because they lacked the very quality of discipline that Paul has been talking about (9:24- 27). They allowed their desires and wants to control their lives and the end result was destruction. This illustrates Paul’s concern of 9:27 very well. The Jews felt secure, they didn’t think that they could fall (10:12), but they did.

            “There are dangers to maturity as well as to immaturity, and one of them is overconfidence.” Wiersbe

            “These illustrations concern people of God who started well, but through self-indulgence and lack of self-discipline lost the rewards.” Luck

            Note that the word “all” is used five times in these verses. The emphasis is on the fact that all of these people had the same privileges.

            “’For’ is not δέ ‘moreover’ (KJV) but γὰρ ‘for’ which marks the connection with what precedes. ‘We must use self-denial and effort; for, brethren, our fathers, not withstanding, all they experienced, perished.’… ‘All our fathers left Egypt; Caleb and Joshua alone entered the Promised Land.’… The Israelites doubtless felt, as they stood on the other side of the Red Sea, that all danger was over, and that their entrance into the land of promise was secured. They had however a journey beset with dangers before them, and perished because they thought there was no need of exertion.” Hodge

            “’Under the cloud’ not underneath it, but under its guidance Exodus 13:21.” Hodge

            10:2 “Since in this act they committed themselves to the guidance of Moses, entering through him into acknowledged fellowship with God, even so the Corinthians in the use of the same symbolic element had been ‘baptized into Christ’.”

            EXP B.C.

            “They were introduced into a spiritual union with Moses, and constituted his disciples.” Vincent

            “It simply means that they were initiated and inaugurated under God into union with Him and also with Moses and his leadership.” EXP B.C.

            “Quaint way of saying that God’s purpose for His people was that they should be united and disciplined, linked together under the leadership of one man.” Redpath

            10:3-4 “That the food and drink in the wilderness are called spiritual (vv. 3-4) means that these physical objects were to be a means of grace to God’s people. They were typical of Christ the true bread and drink to come (John 6:30-63). That the terms are to be taken as typical is seen in the statement

            ‘that Rock was Christ’. Who was with them to save them.”

            EXP B.C.

            “’Spiritual’ here means derived from the spirit. Spiritual gifts and spiritual blessings are gifts and blessings of which the spirit is the author.” Hodge

            “After deliverance came the question of sustenance. This was effected in the desert by means no less miraculous and symbolic.” EXP G.T.

            “The water which they drank was spiritual, because derived from the spirit. Whatever difficulties may be connected with the interpretations of this verse, two things are therein plainly taught. First, that the Israelites were constantly supplied in a miraculous manner with water; and secondly, that the source of that supply was Christ.” Hodge

            “The rock that followed them was Christ… It was He Who supplied their wants. He was to them the fountain of living waters… The expression is simply figurative. Christ was the Rock in the same sense that He is the vine. He was the source of all the support which was Israelites enjoyed during their journey in the wilderness.” Hodge

          2. Israel’s failures (10:5-11).

            10:5 “’Nevertheless’ ἀλλ’ strong negative ‘laid low’ – lit, they were strewed as corpses in the wilderness.” Hodge

            10:6a Twice, here and in verse 10, we are told that the Israelites were examples or warnings to us.

            “’Examples’ (τύποι) the word may either mean example, as 1 Timothy 4:12, or a ‘type’ of a fact or of a spiritual truth.

            Hebrew 9:24; Romans 5:14.” Vincent

            “The fall of the Israel of the Exodus was due to the very temptations now surrounding the Corinthian church.”

            EXP G.T.

            10:6b Craved evil things.

            “According to Numbers 11:4, the people lusted after, i.e. inordinately longed for, the fleshpots of Egypt, and said, ‘Who shall give us flesh to eat?’… God gave them their desire but Numbers 11:34. This was a perpetual warning against the indulgence of inordinate desires for forbidden objects.” Hodge

            10:7 Idolaters (See Exodus 32).

            “’To play’ παίζειν the merrymaking generally which followed the feast, not specially referring to the dancing at the worship of the golden calf.” Vincent

            10:8 Immorality (See Numbers 25).

            “Idolatry and fornication have always been so intimately connected that the former seldom fails to lead to the latter.”


            10:9 Tried the Lord (See Numbers 21:4-6).

            “’Try’ ἐκπειράζωμεν means ‘to put to the test’ – i.e., testing the Lord to see what He will do.” EXP B.C.

            “Is to try thoroughly to the utmost as though one would see how far God’s indulgence will go.” EXP B.C.

            10:10 Grumbled.

            The reference here is to either Numbers 14:37 or Numbers 16:41.

            “To murmur is to complain in a rebellious spirit.”

            Most feel that this refers to the rebellion surrounding Korah.

            10:11 These things have been recorded in order that we might benefit from their example.

            “To sin against the law is one thing; to sin against grace is quite something else.” Wiersbe

            “Upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” “That is upon us who live during the last ages… The

            meaning is that we are living during the last of those periods

            which are allotted to the duration of the world, or of the present order of things.” Hodge

          3. Application (10:12-13).

            10:12 “The warning amounts to this: do not be smug in your firm stand for Christ. Keep alert lest you fall.” EXP B.C.

            “This indicates the design of the apostle in referring to the events above indicated in the history of the Israelites. There is perpetual danger of falling. No degree of progress we may have enjoyed, can justify the want of caution.” Hodge

            10:13 Three parts:

            1. Our temptations are not uncommon.

              “The temptations that come to the Christian are those all human beings face – they are unavoidable.”

              EXP B.C.

              “’Overtaken’ εἴληφεν describes a situation which ‘has seized’ and holds one in its grasp.” EXP B.C.

            2. God is faithful; He is in control.

              “He has promised to preserve His people, and therefore His fidelity is concerned in not allowing them to be unduly tempted.” Hodge

              “Paul ascribes to God not the origination, but the control of temptation.” EXP B.C.

            3. Escape is possible.

              “He will provide a way out, not to avoid the temptation, but to meet it successfully and to stand firm under it.”

              EXP B.C.

              “’A way of escape’ τὴν ἔκβασιν in classical Greek, especially, of a way out of the sea. Hence, in later Greek, of a landing-place.” Vincent

              “’Endure’ ὑπενεγκεῖν not the same as escape. Temptation which cannot be fled must be endured. Often the only escape is through endurance. See James 1:12.” Vincent

              “Not the same as escape. Temptation which cannot be fled must be endured. Often the only escape is through endurance. See James 1:12” Vincent

        2. The facts about idolatry (10:14-22).

          1. Idolatry must be fled (10:14-15).

            10:14 “There is now a return to the subject with which this entire section of the epistle began – the eating of meat offered to idols. A further and final word on the whole matter is given. While the actual eating of such meat may be in the realm of doubtful things, we can know absolute certainty that anything which is really idolatry is wrong. From idolatry we should ‘flee’. In such matters it is best not to see how near to sin we can get without being contaminated, but rather how far we can stay away from it.”

            “There is the danger of going a step beyond just eating sacrificed meant to that of joining the pagan in the sacrificial feasts in their pagan temples. To do this would be wrong and sinful. Paul illustrates this by showing that participation in the Lord’s Supper signifies that the believer is in communion – in a sharing relationship (KOINONIA) with the Savior. So, participation in idol feasts in pagan temples means sharing in the pagan worship. Such participation is forbidden.” EXP B.C.

            “Verse 14 gives the final point to all that has been urged, from verse 1 onwards.” EXP B.C.

            “’Idolatry’ εἰδωλολατρίας notice the article: the idolatry, the temptation of which is constantly present in the idol-feasts.”


            “Paul, while admitting that there was nothing wrong in eating of such meat, exhorts the Corinthians to abstain for the sake of their weaker brethren. There was another reason for this abstinence; they might be led into idolatry. By going to the verge of the allowable, they might be drawn into the sinful… To convince his readers, that if the feast was held in a temple, attendance upon it was an act of idolatry, is the object of this section.” Hodge

            “’Therefore’ i.e. because such severe judgments came upon the idolatrous Israelites, because you, as well as they are in danger of being involved in that sin; and because your distinguished privileges can protect you neither from the sin nor from its punishment any more than their privileges protected them.” Hodge

            “’Flee from idolatry’ this included two things; first avoiding what is questionable, that is, everything which lies upon the border of what is allowable, or which approaches the confines of sin; and secondly, avoiding the occasion and temptations to sin; keeping at a distance from everything which excites evil passion, or which tends to ensnares the soul.” Hodge

            “Flee” φεύγετε pres. tense. Keep on fleeing.

            10:15 “’Wise’ φρονίμοις intellectually clever and shrewd, not σοφοι

            (as some of them thought themselves to be – 3:18.”

            EXP B.C.

            “’Men of sense’ men capable of seeing the force of an argument.” Hodge

          2. Illustrations to prove his point (10:16-18).

            Two illustrations:

            1. The Lord’s Supper (10:16-17).

              10:16 “’Blessing’ (noun) τῆς εὐλογίας ‘we bless’ εὐλογοῦμεν 1st per. pl, pres, ind, act. To speak well of signifies:

              1. to praise, to celebrate with praises

              2. to invoke blessings upon a person

              3. to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers, to ask God’s blessing on a thing, e.g. Luke 9:16; 1 Cor. 10:16

              4. to cause to prosper, to make happy.” Vine

                “Applied to is content, speaking well (eulogia) expresses praise and extolling. This praise can be of things, deeds, or persons… The blessing at meals gives thanks to the Creator for His material gifts.” NIDNTT

                “Our words ‘eulogy’ and ‘eulogize’ are derived from this Greek word… When God is said to bless man, euloged refers to the act of God in which He elevates man, make him great, gives him prosperity, confers benefits upon him. When man blesses God, it is an exaltation with words. When God blesses man, it is an exaltation by act, that of conferring benefits upon him. When man is said to bless his fellow man (Luke 6:28), he confers benefits upon him (Romans 12:14- 21) or speaks well of (Luke 1:28) … The word is also used in the sense of asking God’s blessing on a thing, praying Him to bless it to one’s use.” Wuest

                The other Greek word for blessed is μακάριοι “Some Greek writers used this word to describe the state of the Greek gods as distinct from that of men who were subject to poverty and death, denoting a state of being of the gods who were exalted above earthly suffering and the limitations of earthly life… Other writers used Makarios to describe the state of certain men as supremely blest, fortunate, prosperous, wealthy. Makarios was chosen by the Bible writers to describe the state of man who is the recipient of the divine favor and blessing… In the New Testament

                Makarios is quite a religiously qualified conception, expressing the life-joy and satisfaction of the man who does or shall experience God’s favor and salvation, his blessedness altogether apart from his outward condition… It always signifies a happiness produced by some experience of God’s favor, and specially conditioned by the revelation of grace. In summing up the meaning of the word as used of the state or condition of the believer, we would say that it refers to the spiritually prosperous state of that person who is the recipient of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, who is enabled to minister these blessings to him when the believer yields to Him for that ministry and cooperates with Him in it.” Wuest

                i.e. It is therefore not possible for the unsaved person to be blessed although they can be happy when conditions are right. Therefore, blessedness and happiness are not the same thing. Blessedness is always a result of spiritual life not of outward circumstances and is therefore something much deeper.

                “’The cup of blessing’ the cup over which the familiar formula of blessing is pronounced. Hence the Holy Super was often styled eulogia (blessing). It is the same as Eucharistic (thanksgiving: Eucharist).” Vincent

                “The ‘cup of blessing’ was a technical term for the third cup drunk at the Jewish Passover, the time when the Lord’s Supper was instituted (Matthew 26:17-30).” EXP B.C.

                (EXPOSITORS disagrees)

                “The phrase, therefore, the ‘cup of blessing’, so far as the signification of the words is concerned, may be rendered either – the cup of thanksgiving (the Eucharistical cup), or the cup of benediction, the consecrated cup. The latter is no doubt the true meaning, because the explanation immediately follows, ‘which we bless’. The cup, and not God, is blessed… The idea of consecration is necessarily included… So, the cup of blessing is the cup which by

                benediction pronounced over it, is ‘set apart from’ a common to a sacred use.” Hodge

                “’Sharing’ κοινωνία the bread is our fellowship in the body of Christ. By partaking of these symbolic elements, we proclaim that we are saved by the redeeming blood of Christ and have now become members of His body… It is unthinkable that those who have fellowship with Christ, and are members of His body should also have fellowship with demons.” Luck

                “’κοινωνία’ is the key word of this passage; the Lord’s Supper constitutes a ‘communion’ centering in Christ as the Jewish festival rites centered in the ‘the altar’ (v. 18), and as ‘the demons’ the unseen objects of idolatrous worship, supply their basis of the communion in idolatrous feast (v.

                21f). Such fellowship involves: 1) the ground of communion, the sacred object celebrated in common; 2) the association established among the celebrants, separating them from all others: ‘The word communion denotes the fellowship of persons with persons in one and the same object.” EXP B.C.

                “The word κοινωνία, communion, means participation, from the verb ‘to partake of’; in Hebrews 2:14, it is said, Christ took part of flesh and blood. Romans 15:17, the Gentiles took part in the spiritual blessings of the Jews.” Hodge

                “’The bread we break’ this is a repetition of the thought contained in the preceding clause… To partake of His body, is to partake of the benefits of His body as broken for us… The custom, therefore, of using a wafer placed unbroken in the mouth of the communicant, leaves out an important significant element in this sacrament.” Hodge

                10:17 “Paul is deducing the mutual communion of believers from the fact of their communion with their common Lord. By each and all receiving a piece of the one loaf, which represents Christ’s body they signify that they are all bound in one spiritual body, united to Christ and therefore, to each other.” Vincent

                “Verse 17 is parenthetical but… it is necessary to develop the idea of κοινωνία in verse 16, showing how vital to the church is the fellowship of the Lord’s Table, that was being violated by attendance at idol-feasts.” EXP B.C.

                “The design of the apostle is to show that everyone who comes to the Lord’s Supper enters into communion with all other communicants. They form one body in virtue of their joint participation of Christ. This being the case, those who attend the sacrificial feasts of the heathen form one religious body.” Hodge

            2. Israel (10:18)

            “In the case of Old Testament Israel, the priests and people who partook of the sacrifices aligned themselves with all that the altar stood for.” Luck

            “When the people of Israel sacrificed at the altar and ate part of the sacrifice (Leviticus 7:15; 8:31; Deuteronomy 12:17-18), they participated in and became a part of the sacrificial system and worship of God.” EXP B.C.

            “To eat of the sacrifices in the way prescribed in the law of Moses, was to take part in the whole sacrificial service… They become worshippers of the God to whom the altar is dedicated.” Hodge

          3. Application of Paul’s point (10:19-22).

        1. The truth in regard to idols (10:19-20).

          10:19 Although there are no such beings as those whom the heathen conceives their gods to be, and although their sacrifices are not what they consider them, still their worship is real idolatry, and has a destructive influence on the soul.

          How this is, is explained in the following verse.

          10:20 “The riot and debauch attending heathen festivals showed that foul spirits of evil presided over them… Heathenism

          Paul regarded as the domain of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2, 5:12), under whose rule the demons serve as the angels under that of God (2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Timothy 4:1), idolatry was, above everything, inspired by Satan.”

          EXP B.C.

          Earlier the Greeks considered demons as simply divine persons. “Hence Socrates called the mysterious guiding voice with in him δαιμονίοις.” EXP B.C.

          Later Judaism spoke of good and evil spirits and made δαιμονίων a general term for the latter… Hence its prominence in the Gospels, and the origin of the word demoniac. EXP B.C.

          “Verse 20 is calculated to bring home to the Corinthians the fearful danger of trifling with idolatry.” EXP B.C.

          “The heathen certainly did not intend to worship evil spirits. Nevertheless, they did it. Men of the world do not intend to serve Satan, when they break the laws of God in the pursuit of their objects of designs. He is therefore said to be the God of this world.” Hodge

        2. A choice to be made (10:21-24).

          10:21 “’Partake’ μετέχειν is used there, rather than κοινωνώ (used of a Christian’s fellowship with Christ) because the same mutual fellowship could not exist in sharing both the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” EXP B.C.

          “The cup of the Lord is that cup which brings us into communion with the Lord verse 16; the cup of devils is that cup which brings us into communion with devils… The whole service had a religious character; all the provisions, the wine as well as the meat, were blessed in the name of the idol, and thereby consecrated to him, in a manner analogous to that in which the bread and the wine on the Lord’s table were consecrated to Him… What the apostle means to say is, that there is not merely an incongruity and inconsistency in a man’s being the guest and friend of Christ and the guest

          and friend of evil spirits, but that the thing is impossible.”


          So, Paul is calling us to a choice.

          10:22 A motivation to make the right choice.

          “If those who are His servants should take part in idolatrous worship His anger would indeed be aroused. And, Paul asks, can we afford to arouse His anger? To incur His displeasure? Are we stronger than He!?” Luck

          “You cannot be at the same time in communion with the Lord and with demons, or will you ignore this inconsistency and provoke God?” Vincent

          “The conclusion is that if we are Christians share in pagan idolatry, we will ‘arouse’ (i.e. stir up) the Lord’s jealousy and thus incite Him to action in His hatred of sin and for mixed allegiance (Deuteronomy 32:21; Psalm 78:58).” EXP B.C.

          “If the Corinthians are daring Christ’s sovereign displeasure by coquetting with idolatry, they must suppose themselves ‘stronger than He’! As sensible and prudent men they must see the absurdity, as well as the awful peril, of such double- dealing.” EXP B.C.

          “Jealousy is the feeling which arises from wounded love, and is the fiercest of all human passions. It is therefore employed as an illustration of the hatred of God toward idolatry.” Hodge

          “’Or do we provoke’, i.e. is it our object to provoke the Lord to jealousy. The Corinthians ought not to attend these feasts unless they intended to excite against themselves in the highest measure the displeasure of the Lord. And they ought not thus to excite His anger, unless they were stronger than He.” Hodge

          10:23 Freedom must be balanced by responsibility.

          “It is a mark of maturity when we balance our freedom with responsibility; otherwise, it ceases to be our freedom and becomes anarchy, lawlessness. (See 6:12; 8:11-13).”


          “He had already warned against a believer publicly participating in pagan feasts (8:9-13), so now he deals with private meals.” Wiersbe

          “The apostle having, in the preceding paragraph, proved that eating of the sacrifices offered to idols under circumstances which gave a religious character to the act, was idolatry, comes to state the circumstances under which those sacrifices might be eaten without scruple. He begins by reverting to the general law of Christian liberty stated with the same limitations as 6:12.” Hodge

          “The maxim ‘all things are lawful’ was pleaded in defense of the use of the idolothyta, as of other Corinthian laxities; so, the apostle has to discuss it a second time. In chapter 6 he bade his readers guard the application of this principle for their own sake, now for the sake of others; therein the interests of purity, here of charity.” EXP B.C.

          10:24 The principles.

          Paul, in this section is dealing with three principles that he will state in these two verses:

          1. Principle #1 – all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable for others. (Seek to enrich others)

          2. Principle #2 – all things are lawful, but not all things edify others. (Seek to build others)

            “The uses of things indifferent is limited by two principles; first, a regard to the welfare of others; secondly, regard to our own welfare. The word συμφέρει (profitable) (means – be useful, beneficial).”

            EXP B.C.

            “Expresses the one of these ideas, and οἰκοδομεῖ (edify) the other. All things are not expedient or useful to others; and all things are not edifying to ourselves. The latter phrase might indeed have reference to others as well as to ourselves – but as contrasted with former clause, it appears to be used here with this restricted application. In view it agrees with the clause ‘I will not be brought under the power of anything,’ in 6:12.”


            Chapter 6 seems to deal with the same two principles as applied to ourselves while chapter 10 deals with these two principles as applied to others.

          3. Principle #3 – Seek the good for others (Live unselfishly).

          “That is, let every man, in the use of his liberty, have regard to the welfare of others… self, in other words, is not to be the object of our actions.” Hodge

          “Another’s wealth (τὸ τοῦ ἑτέρου) lit ‘that which is the other’s’. Wealth, inserted by A.V. is used in the older English sense of well-being.” Vincent

        3. The principles applied to a specific situation (10:25-29a) 10:25 “Meat, when exposed for public sale in the market, lost its

          character as a sacrifice, and might be eaten with impunity. The word μακέλλῳ (shambles, KJV) is a Latin word which passed into the Greek, and means a meat market.” Hodge

          “’Without asking questions for conscience sake’ when you go to the market, buy what you want, and make no matter of conscience about the matter. You need have no conscientious scruples, and therefore ask no questions as to whether the meat had been offered to idols or not.” Hodge

          “’Asking questions’ ἀνακρίνοντες it signifies inquiry with a view to judgment at the bar of conscience.” EXP B.C.

          The difference here would be like our difference between drinking a coke at a bar or at a neighbor’s house.

          10:26 “So, Paul, teaches, eat this meat without raising questions, remembering that meat and all things come from the Lord (v. 26). The Old Testament quotation from Psalm 24:1 was used as a Jewish blessing at mealtimes.” EXP B.C.

          “It was the recognition of God as the proprietor and giver of all things, and specially of the food provided for His children… Nothing, therefore, can in itself be polluting, if used in obedience to the design of its creation.” Hodge

          10:27 Verse 15 spoke of buying meat at the market. Verse 27 speaks of eating meat at an unsaved person’s home. “Paul assumes social intercourse of Christians with heathen – not with false Christians.” EXP B.C.

          10:28-29a “’Anyone’ some fellow-guest, probably a Gentile convert, but, at all events, with a weak conscience.” Vincent

          “’Informed’ μηνύσαντα it implies the disclosure of a secret which the brother reveals because he thinks his companion in danger.” Vincent

          “Though it is right to eat, and though you know it to be right, yet, to avoid wounding or disturbing the conscience of your weaker brother, it is your duty to abstain.” Hodge

        4. The objections raised (10:29b-30).

          “Paul anticipated the objections. His reply introduced the second responsibility we have. We are responsible to glorify God in all things (v. 31).” Wiersbe

          “In the close of verse 29 and 30, Paul either quotes from the inquiry addressed to him by the Corinthians or else puts himself in the place of the strong Christian who feels he can conscientiously eat the meat and asks why he should be judged by another’s conscience. In verse 31-33 he gives the answer to those inquiries. It is because the true Christian

          should want everything he does to be done to the glory of God.” Luck

          “’Slandered’ βλασφημοῦμαι the verb blasphemed means ‘to injure the reputation of’ or actually ‘to revile’ or ‘denounce’ someone who has presumably done wrong. So, the strong brother has the power to protect his ‘right to eat’ by not eating meat in such a case.” EXP B.C.

          10:29b-30Justify, in two rhetorical questions, the Christian’s deference to the conscience of another: a) for to what purpose is my liberty judged by another conscience? i.e. what good end will be served by my eating under these circumstances, and exposing my freedom to the censure of an unsympathetic conscience?… Question b) intimates that, instead of any benefit resulting from the assertion of liberty n face of conscientious condemnation, positive harm ensures – thanksgiving leads to blasphemy!” EXP B.C.

          Hodge says however that this means: “That is why should I make such use of my liberty as to give offence?… The very thing the apostle has in view is to induce the strong to respect the scruples of the weak.”

        5. The conclusion of the matter (10:31-11:1)

        10:31 “All the special directions given in the preceding discussion are here summed up. ‘Let self be forgotten’. Let your eye be fixed on God. Let the promotion of His glory be your object in all you do. Strive in everything to act in such a way that men may praise that God whom you profess to serve.”


        1 Peter 4:11; Colossians 3:17

        10:32 “It is not just the other brother who should be in view, but God the Creator and Giver of all things… But Paul says that doing all for the glory of God means thinking of the good of others, both Christians and non-Christians.” EXP B.C.

        “’Give no offense’ i.e. give no occasion to sin. An offense is something over which men stumble. The exhortation is to avoid being the cause of sin to others, 8:9; Romans 14:13,

        21… In other words, love to God and love to men should govern all our conduct.” Hodge

        10:33 “There is nothing in his power that Paul will not do for any man, to help his salvation.” EXP B.C.


        Speaking of the salvation of the “church of God” Paul must have in mind, as he did in 9:22 of winning the weak Christian over to proper views.

        “His object was not his own advantage, but the benefit of others.” Hodge

        11:1 “Paul does not point his readers backward to the historical model of Jesus, but upward to the actual ‘Christ’, whose existence is evermore devoted to God and to men.”

        EXP B.C.

        “Observe the occurrences of γίνεσθε = ‘Become’ (v. 32 ‘give, 11:1 – ‘be’) Christianity always presents the challenge of responsible Christian living.” EXP B.C.

        “It is present imperative and the literal translation is ‘ever become imitators’ (Μιμηταί English ‘mimic’) of me, is the literal translation. Paul is calling the Corinthians to the unity that has been disrupted (Chapter 1). EXP B.C.

        “In accordance with this principle, Paul does not live to please himself, or to seek merely his own selfish profit. He lives to please others, to bring profit to others and by this he means – to lead others to Christ.” Luck

    3. Question #3 – Conduct at the gatherings of the church (11:2-34).

      1. Dress and authority (11:2-16).

        1. Biblical basis (11:2-3).

          11:2 Traditions; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6.

          “In reference to the rule of faith it is never used in the New Testament, except for the immediate instructions of the inspired men.” Hodge

          δὲ ‘now’ introduces the new topic, marks also the connection between verses 1 and 2: Ibid you imitate me – but I am glad to know (from your letter) that you do.”

          EXP B.C.

          “Having corrected the more private abuses which prevailed among the Corinthians, the apostle begins in this chapter to consider those which relate to the mode of conducting public worship. The first of these is the habit of women appearing in public without a veil… The principle insisted upon in this paragraph is, that women should conform in matters of dress to all those usages which the public sentiment of the community in which all eastern countries was, and to a great extent still is, the symbol of modesty and subjection, for a woman, therefore, in Corinth to discard the veil was to renounce her claim to modesty, and to refuse to recognize her subordination to her husband.” Hodge

          “One of the biggest problems in the Corinthian church was disorder in the public meetings. Some of the women were assuming more freedom than they should have, there was disorder at the Lord’s Supper; and there was confusion in the use of the spiritual gifts.” Wiersbe

          11:3 “The head covering has been taken to be either a veil or shawl, or else hair – either long or short. As to the use of veils in public worship (as Hodge) or about women letting their long hair hand loose (a sign of mourning or the shame of an accused adulteress) rather than having their hair ‘put up’.” EXP B.C.

          “Before mentioning the thing which he intended to condemn, he states the principle on which that

          condemnation rested, so that, by assenting to the principle, they could not fail to assent to the conclusion to which it necessarily led. That principle is, that order and subordination pervade the whole universe, and is essential to its being… The obvious meaning of this passage is, that the woman is subordinate to the man, the man is subordinate to Christ, and Christ is subordinate to God. It is further evident, that this subordination is very different in its nature in the several cases mentioned.” Hodge

          Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23

          John 10:30; 16:32; 14:28 – Jesus Christ claimed to be equal with God but offered submission to God.

          For Matthew Henry’s quote concerning the creation of women see Redpath p. 128.

        2. The specific symbolism (11:4-10).

          11:4-5 “Having something on his head κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων lit ‘having something hanging down from his head’. Referring to the tallith, a four-cornered shawl having fringes consisting of eight threads, each knotted five times, and worn over the head in prayer. It was placed over the worshipper’s head at his entrance into the synagogue. The Roman’s like the Jews, prayed with the head veiled. The Greeks remained bareheaded during prayer or sacrifice, as indeed they did in their ordinary outdoor life. The Grecian usage, which had become prevalent in the Grecian churches, seems to have commended itself to Paul as more becoming the superior position of the man.” Vincent

          “’With those whose head is shaved’ which would be a sign either of grief or of disgrace. The cutting off of the hair is used by Isaiah as a figure of the entire destruction of a people by divine retribution (Isaiah 7:20). Among the Jews a woman convicted of adultery had her hair shorn.” Vincent

          “Amongst Greeks only the hetaerae, so numerous in Corinth went about unveiled; slave-women wore the shaven head –

          also a punishment of the adulteress; with these the Christian woman who emancipates herself from becoming restraints of dress, is in effect identified. To shave the head is to carry out thoroughly its unveiling, to remove natures as well as fashion’s covering (v. 15).” EXP B.C.

          “The Christian faith brought freedom and hope to women, children, and slaves… It was to be expected that there would be some who would carry this newfound freedom to excess… Some of the women flaunted their ‘freedom’ in the public meetings by refusing to cover their heads when they participated.” Wiersbe

          “Eastern society at that time was very jealous over its women. Except for the temple prostitutes, the women wore long hair and, in public, wore, a covering over their heads. (Paul did not use the word ‘veil’, i.e., a covering over the face. The woman put the shawl over her head, and this covering symbolized her submission and purity.) For the Christian women in the church to appear in public without the covering, let alone to pray and share the Word, was both daring and blasphemous. Paul sought to restore order by reminding the Corinthians that God had made a difference between men and women, that each had a place in God’s economy. There were also appropriate customs that symbolized these relationships and reminded both men and women of their correct places in the Divine scheme…

          However, rank and quality are two different things.”

          God’s order in the church is based on three fundamentals that Paul considered to be self-evident.

          1. Redemption (3-7) There is a definite order of ‘headship’ in the church… Some interpret head to mean ‘origin’, but this would mean that the Father originated Christ – something we cannot accept.

            It is God’s plan that in the home and in the local church, the men should exercise headship under the authority of Jesus Christ.

            This head covering would be a change for Paul, for devout Jewish men always wore a cap when they prayed.

            The temple prostitutes wore their hair very short and did not wear a covering. Their hairstyle and manner announced to others just what they were and what they were offering.

            “She glorifies God and brings glory to man by submitting to God’s order and keeping her head covered in public worship. Thus, Paul tied together both local custom and Biblical truth, the one pointing to the other.” Wiersbe

          2. Creation (8-12).

          3. Nature (13-15).

            It is shameful for the man to look like a woman or the woman to look like a man.

            “The woman’s long hair is her glory, and it is given to her instead of a covering (lit. trans.). In other words, if local custom does not dictate a head-covering, her long hair can be that covering. I do not think that Paul meant for all women in every culture to wear a shawl for a head-covering; but he did expect them to use their long hair as a covering and as a symbol of their submission to God’s order. This is something every woman can do.”


            “’Prophesying’ in the scriptural sense of the word, a prophet is one who speaks for another, as Aaron is called the prophet or spokesman of Moses. (Exodus 4:15-16; 7:1). The prophets of God, therefore were His spokesmen, into whose mouth the Lord put the words which they were to utter to the people to prophesy, in Scripture, is accordingly, to speak under divine inspiration; not merely to predict future events but to deliver as the organ of the Holy Ghost, the messages of

            God to men, whether in the form of doctrine, exhortation, consolation, or prediction.” Hodge

            “It is not to be inferred from what is here said, that the Christian prophets (or inspired men) had introduced this custom into the church. The thing to be corrected was, women appearing in public assemblies unveiled. The apostle says, the veil is inconsistent with the position of the man, but is required by that of the women. Men are mentioned only for the sake of illustrating the principles.” Hodge

            Disgraces his head means – “His own head” – see Hodge

            “It was Paul’s manner to attend to one thing at a time. He is here speaking of the propriety of women speaking in public unveiled, and therefore he says nothing about the propriety of their speaking in public in itself. When that subject comes up, he expresses his judgment in the clearest terms (14:35). In here disapproving of the one, says Calvin, he does not approve of the other.” Hodge

            “The veil worn by Grecian women were of different kinds. One, and perhaps the most common was the peplum, or mantle, which in public was thrown over the head, and enveloped the whole person. The other was more in the fashion of the common Eastern veil which covered the face, with the exception of the eyes. In one form or other, the custom was universal for all respectable women to appear veiled in public.” Hodge

            “Here έαντής is used, ‘her own’ head, not her husband, but herself.” Hodge

            11:6 “That is let her act consistently. If she wishes to be regarded as a reputable woman, let her conform to the established usage.” Hodge

            “’Cut off or shaved’ the latter is the stronger term; it properly means to cut with a razor.” Hodge

            As the women wouldn’t think of doing this yet in order to be consistent, she either must cut her hair off and identify with rebellion or be veiled this showing submission.

            11:7-9 From this point on Paul supports his teaching that a woman should wear a veil in the church. The first argument here is based upon the order and design of creation.

            11:7 “For a man to veil his head would be to veil the ‘image and glory of God.” EXP B.C.

            “In stating that a man should not have his head covered in church Paul argues that this follows from the principle that man was prior to woman and is the image of glory of God – that is, he is to be subject to and represent God in authority. The woman however is the glory of the man – i.e. she is to be subject to man and to represent him in authority.”

            EXP B.C.

            “The only sense in which the man, in distinction from the woman, in the image of God, is that he represents the authority of God. He is invested with dominion. When, in Genesis 1:26-27, it is said God created man in His own image, the reference is as much to woman as to man, for it is immediately added, ‘male and female created He them’. So far, therefore, in the image of God consists in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, Eve as truly, and as much as Adam, bore the likeness of her Maker. But in the dominion with which man was invested over earth, Adam was the representative of God… ‘But the woman is the glory of man’. That is, the woman is in this respect subordinate to the man. She is not designed to reflect the glory of God as a ruler.

            She is the glory of the man.” Hodge

            11:8-9 “The subordination of the woman to the man is here proved from two facts recorded in the history of their creation. First, the woman was formed out of the man, and derived her origin from him. He, and not she, was created first.

            Secondly, she was created on his account, and not he on hers.” Hodge

            Genesis 2:18-22

            11:10 A second argument involves angels. – “The probable meaning seems to be that angels are unseen observers of our religious services, and they are offended when things are not done ‘decently and in order’.” Luck

            “The interpretation is consistent which regards the angels as present in divine worship and offended by irreverence and misconduct.” EXP B.C.

            “By covering her head, a woman reverently shows her position as the angels look on.” EXP B.C.

            “’Symbol of authority’ ἐξουσίαν power, the apostle means the sign or symbol of authority.”

            As it was proper in itself, and demanded by the common senses of propriety, that the woman should be veiled, it was especially proper, in the worshipping assemblies, for there they were in the presence not merely of men but of angels. It was, therefore, not only out of deference to public sentiment, but from reverence to those higher intelligences that the woman should conform to all the rules of decorum.”


            “The key-note of Paul’s thought is subordination according to original divine order. Woman best asserts her spiritual equality before God, not by unsexing herself, but by recognizing her true position and fulfilling its claims, even as do the angels, who are ministering as well as worshipping spirits (Hebrews 1:4). She is to fall in obediently with that divine economy of which she forms a part with the angels, and not to break the divine harmony.” Vincent

            1 Corinthians 4:9 – Angels are spectators of the conduct of believers.

            1 Corinthians 6:3 – Believers will judge angels.

            Galatians 3:19 – Angels were involved in the giving of the law.

            Hebrews 1:4, 7 – Angels are ministering spirits.

        3. The interrelationship between men and women (11:11-16).

          11:11-12 “But lest he be misunderstood as wanting to demote women, Paul now argues that man and woman are equal in the Lord and mutually dependent.” EXP B.C.

          “What has been said in vv. 3-10 must not be over pressed: woman is subordinate, not inferior; the sexes are alike, and inseparably necessary to the Christian order (v. 11), and if man is the fountain, woman is the channel of the race’s life (v. 12).” EXP B.C.

          11:13-15 “’Nature’ φύσης the recognized constitution of things. In this case the natural distinction of the woman’s long hair.”


          “In this connection it points to man’s moral constitution rather than to external regulations.” EXP B.C.

          “Her hair is to ‘serve as a hood’ (ἀντὶ περιβολαίου) has been given her – not as a substitute for head-dress (this would be to stultify Paul’s contention), but in the nature of a covering thus to match the veil.” EXP B.C.

          “The instinctive sense of propriety in an eastern maiden prompt her when surprised by strangers, to cover her face. In a European, it would not produce that effect… Wearing long hair was contrary to the custom both of the Hebrews and Greeks. It was considered so much a mark of effeminacy for men to wear long hair, that it was not only ridiculed by Juvenal, but in after times seriously censured by church councils. To a woman, however, in all ages and countries, long hair has been considered an ornament. It is given to her, Paul says, as a covering, or as a natural veil.

          And it is a glory to her because it is a veil.” Hodge

          11:16 “Finally, Paul states that the churches and he himself follow this principle that in worship men come with short hair and women with long, and that the man exercises the position of authority. This, he implies, should deter those who would want to be contentious about the matter. In using ‘we’ (meaning the apostles), Paul teaches that the Corinthians are to take his statements given in the preceding verses as having apostolic authority, and not as pious advice.”

          EXP B.C.

          “Not the custom of contentiousness, but that of women speaking unveiled.” Vincent

          Principle: “On things not in themselves right or wrong, it is proper to follow local customs as to modest behavior, lest in any way we cast a ‘stumbling block’ before another.” Luck

          “In Judaism women were always veiled in public… The customs seem to have varied from place to place… Paul’s teaching here may have been influenced by the presence of Jews in Corinth who maintained Jewish practices in their synagogue worship and who may well have looked with a critical eye on what was going on in the church. Immediately before the present passage Paul has urged that no offence be given to Jews, the Greek or to the church (1 Corinthians 10:32), and that the church should follow him in trying to please all men and in being imitators of Christ (10:33-11:1)

          … He advances the following arguments for the subordinate role of women and for the veiling of the woman’s head which results from it.

          1. The hierarchy of the order (vv. 3-6).

          2. The priority of man in the order of creation (vv. 7-9, 12).

          3. The reference to angels (v. 10).

          4. The appeal to custom grounded in the natural order (vv. 13-15).

        The passage has been citied in support of the contention that women must wear hats in worship today. If this application were valid, the argument would support not the wearing of hats but veiling in the eastern sense. However, the above discussion has shown that its force depends upon the common understanding of certain premises which were valid in the context of Paul’s culture. Where these no longer obtain, the conclusion also no longer obtain, even though the motivating principle of maintaining the liberty of the spirit with due regard to the order of nature and society still holds.

        “head” NTDNT

        “’To cover’ καλύπτω ‘head’ ‘to cover up’.” Vine

        “To veil, or be covered.” Zondervan

        In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul deals with a woman’s position in the church in 1 Corinthians 14 he deals with their activity in the public assembly. “They had been claiming equality with men in the matter of the veil, by discarding this mark of subjection in church, and apparently they had also been attempting to preach… It is apparent that the early church did not allow its women to take part audibly in public worship. That included preaching, praying in mixed company, and teaching men in public.” Ryrie

        (The Role of Women in the Church by Charles Ryrie and Dorothy Kelley Patterson)

    4. Question #4 – Concerning the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34). “Since the beginning of the church, it was customary for the

      believers to eat together (Acts 2:42, 46). It was an opportunity for

      fellowship and for sharing with those who were less privileged. No doubt they climaxed this meal by observing the Lord’s Supper.

      They called this meal, ‘The Love Feast’, since its main emphasis was showing love for the saints by sharing with one another.”


      Problems at the love feasts:

      1. Cliques

      2. Selfishness – “The rich people brought a great deal of food for themselves while the poorer members went hungry. The original idea had been lost. Some of the members were even getting drunk.”

      3. Division – “Paul did not suggest that they abandon the feast, but rather that they restore its proper meaning.”

        “The communion is not supposed to be a time of ‘spiritual autopsy’ and grief, even though confession of sin is important. It should be a time of thanksgiving and joyful anticipation of seeing the Lord! Jesus gave thanks, even though He was about to suffer and die. Let us give thanks also… However, the value of the experience depends on the condition of the hearts of those who participate; and this was the problem at Corinth.”


        This section can be divided into three parts:

        1. Abuses surrounding the Lord’s Supper (11:17-22).

          11:17 In the early church, at least at Corinth, the church participated in a potluck called the “Love Feast” in connection with the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper was not observed with organ music in the background but rather in the most common and normal of human situations – around a table following a meal. The rich would bring much food to this potluck, the poor brought little or nothing. “It was, however essential to the very idea of a Christian Feast, that it should be a communion; that all the guest at the table of their common Lord should be on the terms of equality.” Hodge

          This is the setting for 11:17-22.

          “But in giving you this instruction” refers to the following verse (See EXP B.C.; also, NIV says “In the following directives.”)

          The Corinthians had apparently felt that Paul would commend them for their wonderful church meetings, however Paul says that he could not, for their meetings caused more harm than good.

          “The general profitlessness of the church assemblies reached its climax in the desecration of the Lord’s Supper.”

          EXP B.C.

          “He did not praise them for the manner in which they conducted their public worship. Their assemblies were disgraced not only by women appearing unveiled, contrary to the established rules of decorum, but also by the unfraternal and irreverent manner of celebrating manner in which they used their spiritual gifts. These evils he takes up in their order. Having dispatched the first, he comes now to the second.” Hodge

          11:18 “’When you come together as a church’ the meaning is, when you come together in convocation, or assemble as a church.” Hodge

          11:19 “’Faction’ αἱρέσεις parties or factions, as the result of the divisions.” Vincent

          The nature of the divisions is explained here. NIV says, “No doubt there has to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” There were cliques being formed apparently along the lines of 1 Corinthians 1, with each clique claiming superiority.

          Or he may be saying that such division will show believers up for what they are thus making evident which ones are really living for the Lord.

          11:20-21 The divisions “produce a visible separation at the common meal of the church, destroying the reality of the Lord’s

          Supper… The Corinthians intended (to eat the Lord’s Supper) but by unworthy behavior (v. 26f) neutralized their purpose.” EXP B.C.

          “Instead of waiting for one another (v. 33), the Corinthians, as they entered the assembly-room bringing their provisions, sat down at once to consume each his own supply, like private diners at a restaurant; προ suggests, in view of v.

          22, that the rich even hurried to do this, so as to avoid sharing with slaves and low people at the common dish (v. 22)… The scene of sensual greed and pride might well culminate in drunkenness. Of all imaginable schisms the most shocking: hunger and intoxication side by side, at what is supposed to be the Table of the Lord!” EXP B.C.

          “What Paul means is that in acting the way he is about to describe; they were not approaching the Lord’s Supper in the right manner but were nullifying its spiritual meaning.”

          EXP B.C.

          “By the time the Agape Feasts were over the people were in no condition to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Some were drunk, others selfish, other hungry and angry. The Council of Carthage prohibited these feasts because of the disorders attending them.” Hodge

          11:22 “In thus shaming their poorer comrades they imitated the heathen.” Vincent

          “If their action is deliberate – they must intend to pour scorn on the church and to insult their humble brethren.”EXP B.C.

          “The two grounds on which the apostle condemned that conduct of the Corinthians were, first, that it was a perversion of the Lord’s Supper; and secondly, that it was disrespectful and mortifying to their poorer brethren… They treated them as unfit to eat with them.” Hodge

          “To shame, i.e. to mortify and humble, by rendering conscious of inferiority.” Hodge

        2. Teaching concerning the Lord’s Supper (11:23-26).

          11:23 “’Received’ παρέλαβον denotes ‘receiving a deposit or trust’.”

          EXP B.C.

          Whether Paul is claiming that he received this message directly from the Lord or not is debatable. Hodge, Expositors and Vincent argue that he does. Expositor Bible Commentary believes that he received it as it was passed to him by others. I would side with Hodge. See Galatians 1:12.

          “I cannot praise you, for your manner of celebrating the Lord’s Supper is utterly inconsistent with its original institution… Their sin was one of irreverent disobedience, without the excuse of ignorance.” Hodge

          “’Betrayed’ παρεδίδετο imperf. Stresses that the betraying process was in motion when Jesus instituted the Supper.”

          EXP B.C.

          “I.e. while he was being betrayed – while the traitorous scheme was in progress.” Hodge

          “’Took bread’ it was unleavened bread since it was at Passover time. But as no part of the significance of the rite depends on the kind of brand used, as there is no precept on the subject, and as the apostles subsequently in the celebration of the ordinance use ordinary bread, it is evidently a matter of indifference what kind of bread is used. It was however, for a long time a subject of bitter controversy.” Hodge

          11:24 “’In’ (εἰς) remembrance – strictly, for, or with a view.”


          “The bread, standing for the body, ‘is the body’ representatively; broken for Christ’s disciples, it serves materially in the Supper the part which His slain body is about to serve spiritually, ‘For the life of the world’.”

          EXP B.C.

          “The bread is called the body of Christ in the same sense that the cup is called the new covenant. He who in faith received the cup, receives the covenant of which it was the pledge; and he who received in faith the bread receives the benefits of Christ’s body as broken for sin.” Hodge

          “’Which is for you’ the sacrificial character of the death of Christ enters essentially into the nature of this ordinance. It is the commemoration of His death, not as a teacher or a benefactor, but as a sacrifice; so that if this idea be kept out of view the sacrament loses all its significance and power.”


          “’In remembrance of me’ i.e. that I may be remembered as He who died for your sins. This is the specific, definite object of the Lord’s Supper, to which all other ends must be subordinate, because this alone is stated in the words of institution.” Hodge

          11:25 “’New’ καινὴ new in nature, contents.”

          “’Covenant’ διαθήκη the covenant idea is that of God’s sealing His agreements of salvation with His people through Christ’s blood. It is a new covenant in being the fulfillment of the covenant promises of God in the Old Testament exemplified in the sacrificial system.” EXP B.C.

          “’The blood of the covenant’ means here, as in Exodus 24:8, the blood by which the covenant was ratified and its blessings secured… This covenant is called ‘new’ in reference to the Mosaic Covenant. The latter was ratified by the blood of animals; the new, by the blood of the eternal Son of God; the one in itself could secure only temporary benefits and the remission of ceremonial offences; the other secures eternal redemption, and the remission of sin in the sight of God.” Hodge

          11:26 “The definite purpose of bearing their testimony to the great act of redemption, and to contribute their portion of influence to the preservation and propagation of the knowledge of that fact.” Hodge

          “As the Passover was a perpetual commemoration of the deliverance out of Egypt, and a prediction of the coming and death of the Lamb of God, who was to bear the sins of the world; so, the Lord’s Supper is at once the commemoration of the death of Christ and a pledge of His coming the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hodge

          “Reference to the Lord’s Table is to be found in only four books in the New Testament, whereas the coming again of the Lord Jesus is in 23 out of 27. Of the four in which there is no reference to His second coming, three of them have only chapter, and the other is Galatians.” (The Lord’s Table is a place of tremendous hope) Redpath

          “The Lord went out from the Last Supper with His disciples to die for them. The disciples went out, one to betray Him, others to be prayerless and forgetful, all to desert Him.

          Often, we have broken bread together around the Lord’s Table, and then we have gone out to do just what those disciples did – we have denied Him.” Redpath

        3. The Lord’s judgment (11:27-34).

        11:27 “Judge” or “judgment” is found six times in these verses.

        “’Unworthily’ ἀναξίως (in this context) does not at all refer to the character of the communicant, but to his conduct at the communion service… The rebuke is aimed at unruly conduct like that described in verses 20-22. So, the statement does not command true believers to abstain from the Lord’s Supper merely because they feel unworthy in themselves.”


        “Verse 27 draws the practical consequence of verses 20-26, stating the judgment upon Corinthian behavior at the Supper that a right estimate of the covenant – cup and bread demands.” EXP B.C.

        “’Guilty’ to outrage the emblem is to outrage its original – as if one should mock at the Queen’s picture or at his country’s flag.” EXP B.C.

        “That is, they contract guilt in reference to the body and blood of Christ. See James 2:10… He who treats the symbols of Christ’s body and blood irreverently is guilty of irreverence toward Christ.

        “’Unworthily’ it is not to eat and drink with a consciousness of unworthiness, for such a sense of ill-desert is one of the conditions of acceptable communion…To eat or drink unworthily is in general to come to the Lord’s Table in a careless, irreverent Spirit, without the intention or desire to commemorate the death of Christ as the sacrifices for our sins, without the purpose of complying with the engagements which we thereby assume.” Hodge

        11:28 “Now Paul shows how to guard against unworthy partaking of the Lord’s Supper. ‘To examine [oneself]’ is to put oneself to the test as to the attitude of his heart, his outward conduct, and his understanding of the true nature and purpose of the Supper.” EXP B.C.

        “’Examine’ δοκιμαζέτω it signifies not judicial examination (ἀνακρίνω) (4:3), not discriminative estimate (ἀνακρίνω) (11:31), but self-probing with a view to fit partaking.” EXP B.C.

        “In other words, let him ascertain whether he has correct views of the nature and design of the ordinance, and whether he has the proper state of mind. That is whether he desires thankfully to commemorate the Lord’s death, renewedly to partake of the benefits of that death as a sacrifice for his sins, publicly to accept the covenant of grace with all its promises and obligations, and to signify his fellowship with his brethren as joint members with himself of the body of Christ.” Hodge

        11:29 “’Judgment’ κρίμα is a temporary judgement, and so is distinguished from κατακρίμα ‘condemnation’, see v. 32.”


        “This ordinance exposed them for what they were.”

        “Originally and properly means simply condemnation, and not hopeless and final perdition… That is, he incurs the manifestation of God’s displeasure by the act of eating… The unworthy eater contracts guilt; he exposes himself to the judgments of God.” Hodge

        “’Does not judge the body rightly’ μὴ διακρίνων NIV: without recognizing the body of the Lord. i.e. making no difference between the bread in the sacrament and ordinary food; or, it may mean, not estimating it aright, not reverencing it as the appointed symbol of the body of the Lord. In either case, the offence is the same.” Hodge

        11:30 “’Many’ πολλοὶ a sufficient number – something like our ‘plenty of you’.”

        EXP B.C.

        “Both in the removal and infliction of physical evil, the inauguration of the New Covenant, as the old, was marked by displays of super-natural power.” EXP B.C.

        “’Sleep’ here simply as a synonym for ‘are dead’, without the peculiar restful sense which Christian sentiment so commonly conveys into it.” Vincent

        See John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60.

        11:31-32 “Here he quickly adds that even when a Christian is judged by the Lord, this judgment is not punitive to destruction, but a form of fatherly discipline (Hebrews 12:5), to bring God’s child to repentance, so that he will not be finally and totally judged with the unsaved world (Revelation 20:12-15).”

        EXP B.C.

        “’Judge rightly’ διεκρίνομεν adds a legal aspect to the thought that δοκιμαξω (examine v. 28) does not include.”

        EXP B.C.

        “The tense of the verbs παιδευόμεθα (present) and κατακριθῶμεν (aorist) contrast the present continuing experience of discipline with the final reality of the future judgment.” EXP B.C.

        “’We would judge’ (v. 31) this is the same word as discerning in v. 29 διεκρίνομεν ‘judge’ (NASB).” Vincent

        “’We should not be judged’ οὑκαν έκρινομεσα here judged is correct. A proper self-examination would save us from the divine judgment.” Vincent

        “Judged” v. 32 – correct. The same word as the last


        “Condemned” v. 32 κατακριθῶμεν signifying the final condemnatory judgment.

        Note the different words used for judge or judgment in verses 29-34:

        “Judgment” (v.29) κρίμα temporary judgment. “Judge” (v. 29) διακρίνων discerning. “Judged” (v. 31) διεκρίνομεν discerning.

        “It expresses a discriminating judgment by which the Christian rightly appreciates his own status and calling, and realizes his distinctive character.” EXP B.C.

        “Judged” (v. 31) ἐκρινόμεθα divine judgment. “Judged” (v. 32) κρινόμενοι divine judgment. “Disciplined” (v. 32) παιδευόμεθα.

        “Condemned” (v. 32) κατακριθῶμεν final divine judgment. “Judgment” κρίσις divine judgment.

        11:33-34 “The charge (v. 17) proceeds from inward to outward, from self-examination (v. 28) to mutual accommodation respecting the Lord’s Supper. Religious decorum depends on two conditions – a becoming spirit associated with fitting external arrangements, such as good sense and reverence dictate.” EXP B.C.

        Scripture is ever practical. A true inward change will result in a true outward change.

        “The church supper is for good-fellowship, not for bodily need, to eat there like a famished man, absorbed in one’s food.” EXP B.C.

        “’So that you may not come together for judgment’ that is, so as to incur the displeasure of God.”

        See Jude 12 – such abuses were widespread.

        “From regarding it as it had been in Corinth, little more than an ordinary meal, it came to be regarded as an awful mystery, a sacrifice which the people were to witness, and in which they were to adore the Redeemer as locally present in His corporal nature under the form of a wafer!” Hodge

    5. Question #5 – Concerning spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40).

      1. Unity and diversity of the gifts (12:1-31).

        1. The Holy Spirit’s influence (12:1-3).

          “It is important to note that the believer is always in control of himself when the Holy Spirit is at work (14:32) because Jesus Christ the Lord is in charge. Any so-called spirit manifestation that robs a person of self-control is not of God; for the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22- 23).” Wiersbe

          “What is the remedy for their divisions and carnality? The unifying life of the Spirit of God. That is Paul’s answer in chapters 12 & 14.” Redpath

          12:1 “Spiritual gifts’ is πνευματικῶν “spirituals” Paul now turns to spiritual things, matters related to the Holy Spirit in contrast to the carnal things discussed in the first twelve chapters.

          “The word ‘gifts’ is supplied by the translators and confuses the issue. The apostle is now going to correct this church in the area of the spirituals – all of them, just as he had been correcting them concerning the carnalities in the first eleven chapters. We are now at the root of the problems in the Corinthian Church – their lack of true spirituality evidenced by their preoccupation with the Charismatic. Verse 1 through 3 are foundational. Their ignorance was about the purposes of the gifts, not the possession. They already possessed all the gifts (1:7).” Gardiner

          “The operations of the Spirit who endows them are in question.” EXP B.C.

          “’I do… aware’ i.e. I wish you to understand the origin and intent of these extraordinary manifestations of divine power, and to be able to discriminate between the true and false claimants to the possession of them.” Hodge

          12:2 NIV: “You know that when you were pagans somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to dumb idols.”

          “In saying that they had been ‘led astray to dumb idols’ Paul implies that the Corinthians had experienced the effects of evil spirits in their former pagan worship. In contrast, he now stresses the twofold test of the presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. Negatively, no person by the Spirit can curse Jesus; and positively, only by the Spirit can a person openly testify that Jesus is Lord (v. 13).” EXP B.C.

          “Here, as in Ephesians 2:11, the apostle contrasts the former with the present condition of his readers. Formerly, they were the worshippers… of dumb idols, now they

          worshipped the living and true God. Formerly, they were swayed by a blind, unintelligent impulse. Now they were under the influence of the Spirit of God.” Hodge

          “’You were led…led’ they were controlled by an influence which they could not understand or resist.” Hodge

          “It pictures worshippers out of control, in ecstatic status. The historians of the mystery religions of Greek picture devotes caught up in emotional hysteria, shaking and falling prostrate on the ground and babbling in ecstatic speech.

          Plato records such scenes. So does Virgil, who lived and wrote just prior to Christ. Now Paul is saying, ‘That is the way it was when you were idolaters, but it shouldn’t be so now’.” Gardiner

          12:3 “Paul is not talking about the repetition of a phrase; he is insisting upon the sovereignty of Christ! Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would not speak of Himself, or promote Himself, but always speak of and promote the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 16:7, 13-14) … in other words, any movement, teacher or teaching which exalts the Holy Spirit is not of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always exalts Christ.” Gardiner

          “They knew how men could be ‘carried away’ by supernatural influences; they wanted a criterion for distinguishing those truly Divine. The test Paul supplies is that of loyalty to Jesus Christ.” EXP B.C.

          “’Accursed’ used to designate any person or thing devoted to destruction; and them with the accessory idea of the divine and displeasure, something devoted to destruction as accursed.” Hodge

          “Lord” Κυριος = God – See Hodge.

          “No one can truly believe and openly confess that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh unless he is enlightened by the Spirit of God.” Hodge

          See Matthew 16:17

          “The greatest work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus to us as the Lord (John 16:14).” Luck

        2. Gifts and the Godhead (12:4-6).

          12:4 “The Holy Spirit gives the gifts, Christ assigns the place of ministry of the gift and God the Father provides the energy. The whole Godhead is involved in my gifts and the place of service for those gifts.” Gardiner

          “’Varieties’ Διαιρέσεις it may also be rendered ‘distributors’. Verse 11 seems to favor this. Vincent

          “That is, the same Spirit is the Giver; it is He who is the immediate and proximate author of all these various endowments.” Hodge

          Ephesians 4:7-8 says that Jesus is the Giver of the gifts. So, the Holy Spirit is the instrument, not the author of gifts.

          12:5 “It is the same Lord in whose service and by whose authority these various gifts are exercised. They are all different forms in which he is served, or ministered to.”


          “Ministries” διαιρέσεις in the New Testament commonly of spiritual service of an official character.

          12:6 “And it is the same God the Father, who having exalted the Lord Jesus to the supreme headship of the church, and having sent the Holy Ghost, works all these effects in the minds of men. There is no inconsistency between this statement and verse 11, where the Spirit is said to work all these gifts; because God works by His Spirit.” Hodge

          “Operations” ἐνεργημάτων.

          “Workings” NIV – outward manifestations and results of spiritual gifts.” Vincent

          “If all we have comes from God then why glorify man.”


        3. Variety of gifts (12:7-11).

          “The gifts are given for the good of the whole church. They are not for individual enjoyment, but for corporate employment… We should not be so fascinated by the individual gifts that we forget the main reason why Paul listed them: to remind us that they unite us in our ministries to the one body.” Wiersbe

          “Gifts are for my service and for the benefit, not of myself, but of other people… It is not man’s natural gifts that God uses, but the gifts of the Spirit, which He imparts. Until we have received the gift of His Spirit for service, we have nothing to offer to which can be a help or a blessing to anyone.” Redpath

          “In speaking directly of spiritual gifts, the apostle is talking about capacities or abilities for service given by the Holy Spirit to individual Christian.” Luck

          “The extraordinary gifts, so far from making professors more peculiarly saints than in our day, did not always even prove that such persons were saved at all (Matthew 7:21-23).

          “When I use my gift as God intended, it promotes unity among believers, not divisions.” EXP B.C.

          12:7 “To each is granted some personal gift in which he shows forth the Spirit by whose inspiration he calls Jesus Lord (v. 3).” EXP B.C.

          This “is the truth of which this whole chapter is the exposition and the application.” Hodge

          “For the common good (πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον) i.e. for edification. This is the common object of all these gifts. They are not designed exclusively or mainly for the benefit, much less for the gratification of their recipients, but for the good

          of the church… When, therefore, the gifts of God, natural or supernatural, are perverted as means of self-exaltation or aggrandizement, it is a sin against those for whose benefit they were intended.” Hodge

          “Every believer already has his gift or gifts. They are sovereignly bestowed and were received when we were baptized into the body of Christ at our new birth (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The Corinthians in their selfishness, were seeking showy attention-getting, ego-building gifts when God had already given them the gifts He wanted them to have.”

          12:8 NIV – “To one there is given through the Spirit the ability to speak the wisdom.”

          “The gifts listed begin with the most important – the ability to express the message of God’s wisdom in the Gospel of Christ.” EXP B.C.

          “The word of wisdom, is the gift of speaking or communicating wisdom, and the word of knowledge is the gift of communicating knowledge.” Hodge

          “The word of knowledge was the gift correctly to understand and properly to exhibit the truths revealed by the apostles and prophets.” Hodge

          “Wisdom is the truth of God wrought into the man; knowledge is that truth intellectually apprehended and objectified.” EXP B.C.

          12:9 “The gift of ‘faith’ does not refer to the initial trust in Christ for salvation but to deeper expressions of faith, such as undergoing hardships, martyrdom, etc. and so πίστις (faith) can in this case be rendered ‘faithfulness’.” EXP B.C.

          “In the absence of distinct data for determining the nature of the faith here intended, it is safest, perhaps, to adhere to the simple meaning of the word, and assume that the gift meant is a higher measure of the ordinary grace of faith.

          Such a faith as enabled men to become confessors and martyrs, and which is so fully illustrated in Hebrews 11:33- 40.” Hodge

          “’By the one Spirit’ in His power and bestowment alone.”

          EXP B.C.

          “’Healing’ gifts by which healing of the sick was effected, Acts 4:30. Hodge

          “The next two gifts – the outwardly demonstrable ones of healings and miracles – belong together and were particularly applicable to the ministry of Paul and the other apostles (Acts 19:11-12; 28:7-9; 1 Corinthians 12:12).

          12:10 “’Miracles’ ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων first word is translated ‘effects’ and ‘works’ in verse 6. Literally means ‘acts of power’ (Acts 1:8), which here and in 12:28-29 specifically means miracles.” EXP B.C.

          “This is more comprehensive than the preceding gift. Some had merely the gift of healing the sick, while others had the general power of working miracles.” Hodge

          “’Prophecy’ the mention of the gift of prophecy anticipates 1 Corinthians 14 and seems to include an ability to give insights into, and to convey the deeper meanings of, God’s redemptive program in His Word. It is to be distinguished from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16) given the apostles’ office from that of prophets in 12:28 – where the prophetic office is listed between that of the apostles and the teachers and did not include in it, in this period of church development, the miracle-working function listed separately in 12:29.” EXP B.C.

          Hodge believes that the prophets were occasionally inspired in contrast to the apostles who were permanently inspired.

          “Not mere foretelling of the future. Quite probably very little of this element is contemplated; but utterance under immediate divine inspiration: delivering inspired

          exhortations, instructions, or warnings… The fact of direct inspiration distinguished prophecy from ‘teaching’.” Vincent

          “’Distinguishing of spirits” distinguishing between the different prophetic utterances, whether they proceed from true or false spirits. See 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 John 4:12.”


          “’Various kinds of tongues’ that is, the ability to speak in languages previously unknown to the speakers.”

          Four reasons for this view:

          1. The facts narrated in Acts necessitate the interpretation of the phrase ‘to speak with other tongues’ to mean to speak with foreign languages.

          2. The term for “tongues” is the same all throughout Scripture and therefore must have the same meaning throughout. CP Acts 10 where Cornelius had the same ability as in Acts 2 – languages.

          3. This view satisfies all the facts of the case.

          4. Those who depart form the common interpretation of the gift of tongues; differ in definitely among themselves as to its true nature.

            Tongues – γλωσσῶν

            “The ability to speak in different kinds of tongues has been taken to mean speaking in ecstatic, humanly unintelligible utterances, possibly similar to the ecstatic speech exhibited in pagan Greek Dionysiac expressions. In the light of Acts 2:4ff, where it is said that the Holy Spirit gave them ability to speak with different kinds of languages, i.e. known foreign languages, (we are safe to say that the ability mentioned here in 1 Corinthians 12:10 is the ability to speak unlearned languages). LSJ does not list under glossary meaning under the category of ecstatic speech. Rather, the emphasis of the word is ‘language’, ‘foreign’ language.”

            EXP B.C.

            See p. 263 of EXP B.C. for the refutation of several arguments against this view.

            See Schaff, History of the Christian Church Volume 1, chapter 4 concerning church history and tongues (pp. 234- 237).

            “The γλωσσῶν, ranked first by the Corinthians because of their sensational character, Paul enumerates last in regard of ‘profiting’. Chapter 14 will justify this relative depreciation.”

            EXP B.C.

            “’Interpretation of tongues’ Paul hastens to add that such speaking in tongues should be accompanied by interpretation or translation by someone with that ability.”

            EXP B.C.

            12:11 “Paul concludes that regardless of what spiritual gift each person has, the Holy Spirit has sovereignly distributed them to produce His own spiritual results (v. 11). Therefore, no one should despise another person’s gift, a gift given by the Spirit for the good of all (v. 7). This theme the apostle develops in verses 12-26.” EXP B.C.

            The Holy Spirit distributes these gifts as He chooses, i.e. “not according to the merits or wishes of men, but according to His own will.” Hodge

        4. The gifts and unity (12:12-13).

          1. The forming of the body of Christ (12-13).

            “Nowhere does the Scripture command us to seek the baptism because we have already experienced it and it need not be repeated.” Wiersbe

            The Spirit’s filling is different from baptism. “The evidence of the Spirit’s filling is power for witnessing (Acts 1: 8), joyfulness and submission (Ephesians 5:19ff),

            Christlikeness (Galatians 5:22-26), and a growing understanding of the Word (John 16:12-15).” Wiersbe

            12:12 The unity of the church comes from its diversity.

            “Every organism, or organic whole, suppose diversity and unity… and this diversity is essential to unity, for unless the body consisted of many members, it would not be body, i.e. an organic whole.” Hodge

            Paul used three analogies in describing Christian development and growth:

            1. A building (Chapter 3).

            2. A battle (Chapter 9).

            3. A body (Chapter 12).

          12:13 “The figure is not reversed – all the believers have drunk one Spirit; that is, each one has received the same Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 5:18-20).” EXP B.C.

          “At their baptism the Corinthian believers, differing in race and rank, were consciously made one; one Spirit flooded their souls with the love and joy of a common faith in Christ.” EXP B.C.

          “Unto one body means ‘so as to constitute one body’. No matter how great may have been the previous difference, whether they were Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, by this baptism of the Spirit, all who experience it are merged into one body, they are all intimately and organically united as partaking of the same life.” Hodge

          “We have all drank of one Spirit” ἑνὶ Πνεύματι one Spirit.

          “By baptism of the Holy Ghost we have all been united in one body and made partakers of one Spirit… The doctrine taught is clear, that by receiving the Spirit we are all made members of the body of Christ, and that it is in virtue of the indwelling of the Spirit that the church is one.” Hodge

        5. The necessity of each part of the body (12:14-20).

          “Those possessing the more spectacular gifts were evidently proud, considering themselves better than others. Those possessing less spectacular gifts were on the contrary inclined to be disgruntled and so to waste the talent they had. Paul shows graphically the foolishness of such an attitude.” Luck

          “Paul now emphasizes the necessity of having diversity in a body for it to operate as one. Each part (such as the eye or the ear) must be willing to perform its own function and not seek to function in a role for which it was not made.”

          EXP B.C.

          12:14 “The word ‘member’ means a constituent part having a function of its own… No one is perfect or complete in itself, and no one can say to the others, I have no need of you.

          Each represents something that Is not so well represented in the others.” Hodge

          12:15-16 “The first and most obvious conclusion from the view which Paul had given of the nature of the church is the duty of contentment.” Hodge

          “The foot or ear does not sever itself from the body by distinguishing itself from hand or eye; its pettish argument leaves it where it was.” EXP B.C.

          Paul is saying that we must face reality. It doesn’t matter what we claim, what matters is what is true. Some Christians will separate themselves from the local body of Christ because they can’t get along with believers, yet they want to go to Heaven when they die. We would have to ask, why?

          But more to the point. Here are those who feel that because they have insignificant gifts that they are of no use to the body. They feel that if they cannot do a big thing then they will do nothing. Paul’s point is that this is not true, that every

          member has an important part to play. And that God has sovereignly placed each of us in the body as He has seen fit.

          12:17 “The discontent of the lower members and the scornfulness of the higher are alike signs of a selfish individualism, indifferent to the welfare of the body ecclesiastic.” EXP B.C.

          “The obvious meaning of this verse is, that the very existence of the body as an organization depends on the union of members endowed with different functions.”Hodge

          12:18 “’But now’ – i.e. as the matter actually is.” Hodge

          “It is therefore as inconsistent with the idea of the church that each member should decide on his own position and functions, as that the members of the body should arrange themselves according to their own notions… We are contending against Him, therefore, when we contend against the position and the office which He has assigned us in the church.” Hodge

          “Dissatisfaction with one’s particular charism, or contempt for that of another, is disloyalty towards Him and distrust of His wisdom.” EXP B.C.

          Has placed ἔθετο see John 15:16 where the same word is used by Christ of appointing His followers. Vincent

          “The tense refers to the divine appointment constituting the body to past time generally – ‘has set’ rather than ‘set’.”

          EXP B.C.

          12:19-20 “A manifold variety of organs is indispensable for the existence of the church.” EXP B.C.

          “These verses are a repetition of the idea that diversity of organs in the body is essential to its nature as a body, i.e. as an organization; and that this diversity is perfectly consistent with unity.” Hodge

        6. The interdependence of the body (12:21-26).

          “Diversity in the body is an evidence of wisdom of God. Each member needs the other members, and no member can afford to become independent… Diversity leads to disunity when the members compete with one another; but diversity leads to unity when the members care for one another.”


          12:21 “Imagine an ear saying, ‘No one ever looks longingly into me and comments on how beautiful I am, like they do the eyes. I will seek to be an eye.’ So, the poor ear fasts and prays, prostrates itself, pours out its wax, seeking to be an eye.

          How ridiculous! An ear is an ear.” Gardiner

          “As in the body the eye cannot dispense with the hand nor the head with the feet, so in the church the most highly gifted are as much dependent on those less favored as the latter are on the former. Everything like pride, therefore, is as much out of place in the church as discontent.

          12:22-23 “’Weaker’ ἀσθενέστερα more delicate, such as the brain.”


          “The least attractive gifts are the most important. As in the human frame the heart is more important than the tongue, so in the church.” Hodge

          “’Honorable’ εὐσχημοσύνην meaning ‘presentability’ as with clothing, in this context becomes related to modesty.”

          EXP B.C.

          So NIV = “And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty.”

          “’We bestow’ περιτίθεμεν elsewhere in the New Testament the word is used, without exception, of encircling with something… The more abundant honor is shown by the care of clothing.” Vincent

          12:24 “The ‘but’ in the middle of verse 24 brings the argument back to God’s sovereign purposes. He has brought the members of the body together in perfect harmony.”EXP B.C.

          “’Composed’ συνεκέρασεν (mix together or unite) means that God has united or blended the members effectively into one body.” EXP B.C.

          12:25-26 “God tempered the body together in this way, that the members might have the same care for one another; the hand is anxious to guard the eye or the stomach, to help the mouth or the foot, as to serve itself. The eye is watching for every other organ; each feels its own usefulness and cherishes its fellows; all ‘have the same care’, since they have the same interest – that of ‘the one body’.” EXP B.C.

          “’Same care for one another’ that is, that one member should have the same care for another member that it has for itself.” Hodge

        7. God’s appointments in the body (12:27-31).

        12:27 “The entire Christian church is in mind.” EXP B.C.

        “Unity and diversity must be balanced by maturity, and that maturity comes with love (chapter 13).” Wiersbe

        “It is not merely the duty of one Christian to have sympathy with another, to suffer when he suffers, and to rejoice when he is honored; but such is the nature of their relation that it must be so. The want of this sympathy with our fellow Christians, no matter by what name they may be called, is proof that we do not belong to the body of Christ.” Hodge

        12:28 “’Appointed’ ἔθετο the middle voice implies ‘for His own use’.” Vincent

        “Paul is saying that it is the sovereign God who dispenses offices and gifts to His church.” EXP B.C.

        “The aorist form ἔθετο emphasizes the sovereign act of God in determining who will exercise which gifts in His church.”

        The gifts or offices are mentioned here in the order of their importance.

        “’Apostle’ – immediate messengers of Christ, rendered infallible as teachers and rulers by the gift of plenary inspiration.” Hodge

        “’Prophets’ – men who spoke for God as the occasional organs of the Spirit.” Hodge

        “’Teachers’ – uninspired men who had received the gift of teaching.” Hodge

        “’Miracles’ – note the change from endowed persons to abstract gifts.” Vincent

        12:30 “Healings” – healing diseases.

        “’Helps’ – persons qualified and appointed to help the other officers of the church, probably in the care of the poor and the sick.” Hodge

        “’Administrations’ – the gift and authority to rule.” Hodge “Administrators of church government.” Vincent

        “’Kinds of tongues’ – persons have the gift of speaking in foreign languages. This is put last probably because it was so unduly valued and so ostentatiously displayed by the Corinthians.” Hodge

        12:29-30 As in the body all is not eye, or all ear, so in the church all have not the same gifts and offices. As it would be preposterous if all the members of the body to aspire to the same office, so it is no less preposterous in the members of the church that all should covet the same gifts.” Hodge

        “By these rhetorical questions, all of which imply ‘no’ for an answer, Paul stresses the principle of divine selectivity.”

        12:31 “Desire” ζηλοῦτε “covet” (KJV) usually used in a negative way – See Romans 7.

        “Well, who wants the least gifts? Everyone wants the gifts that will get attention. Paul is saying, you are seeking the show gifts, but I am going to show you something better.”


        “Earnestly desire” ζηλοῦτε can be either in the imperative word and translated as here or in the indicative and translated as follows: “But you are desiring the greater gift.” And thus, this would be an admonishment not a command. This fits the context better. See 12:11, 18, 24.

      2. A more excellent way (13:1-13).

        1. Love contrasted (13:1-3).

          “’Love’ ἀγάπην is not of heathen origin. The heathen had no conception of the grace which in the Scriptures is expressed by that term.” Hodge

          “The word agape is used in the New Testament of the deep abiding affection of God and Christ for each other (John 15:10; 17:26), and for us (1 John 4:9). It is also used of Christians in their relationship with one another (John 13:34- 35).” EXP B.C.

          “When understood in context, we see that 1 Corinthians 13 is a rather unique condensation of nearly everything Paul had written to that point in the letter – a consistent reflection of their carnality. First Paul told the Corinthians (by inference) that they had lots of gifts, but they didn’t have love (vv. 1-3).” Getz1

          “We must observe Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13 in relationship to the Body of Christ, not just to individual Christians.” Getz2

          “The main evidence of maturity in the Christian life is a growing love for God and for God’s people, as well as a love for lost souls.” Wiersbe

          In these verses “love is contrasted with eloquence, prophecy, mysteries, faith, charity, sacrifice, martyrdom.”


          13:1 The more excellent way of 12:31 will be explained in verses 4-7 but first it is necessary to prove the value of love.

          Love is first contrasted with tongues since tongues was so important to them. Paul says that if I speak in tongues but lack love “I have gained by this admired endowment the power of making so much senseless noise. With love in the speaker, his γλώσσαις would be kept within the bounds of edification.” EXP B.C.

          “The mention of tongues in verse 1 shows that Paul is referring in these chapters to human foreign languages as well as intelligent angelic communication.” EXP B.C.

          “’The tongues of men’ are the languages which men speak. As this is the obvious meaning of the expression, it serves to prove that the gift of tongues was the gift of speaking foreign languages.” Hodge

          “Tongues of angels” – When angels speak they use the languages of men but they use them perfectly. Ordinarily angels do not speak with tongues for they are spirits and have no tongues.

          “’Without love I am become’, i.e. the mere want of love has reduced me, notwithstanding the gift in question, to a level with sounding brass; not a musical instrument made of brass, which has some dignity about it, but to a piece of clattering brass which makes a senseless noise, or, at least, to a tinkling cymbal, the lowest and least expensive of all musical instruments.” Hodge

          13:2 “’Mysteries’ are secrets, things undiscoverable by human reason, which divine revelation alone can make known. And the gift of prophecy was the gift of revelation by which such mysteries were communicated. All mysteries, therefore, here means, all the secret purposes of God relating to redemption… By knowledge is meant the intellectual apprehension or cognition of revealed truth.” Hodge

          “’All faith’ πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν all the special faith which works miracles.” Vincent

          “Prophecy in its widest range, and faith at its utmost stretch – in those lacking love, both amount to nothing!” EXP B.C.

          13:3 “The suppositions of these three verses cover three principal forms of activity in the church – the spheres, v. 1, of supernatural manifestations, of spiritual influence, of material aid (v. 3); loveless men who show conspicuous power in these several respects, in the first instance are ‘sound signifying nothing’, in the second, ‘they are nothing’, in the third, ‘they gain nothing’. Those who make sacrifices to benefit others without love, must have some hidden selfish recompense that they count upon, but they will cheat themselves.” EXP B.C.

          “Farrar says of his age (second century) ‘Both at this time and in the persecution of Diocletian, there were Christians who, oppressed by debt, by misery, and sometimes even by a sense of guilt, thrust themselves into the glory and imagined redemptiveness of the Baptism of Blood.” Vincent

        2. Love analyzed (13:4-7).

          “Paul told the Corinthians that everything they did reflected carnality – not love… rather than reviewing and cataloging their failures and reflections of carnality, he contrasted their weaknesses with reflections of love.” Getz

          Chapter 12 tells of God’s rich endowment of gifts to His people; Chapter 13 tells of God’s energy imparted to our lives, which makes it possible for us to use the gifts to His

          glory; Chapter 14 gives God’s instructions for the exercise of the gifts.” Redpath

          “’Agape’, from which we get our English ‘agony’. It means the actual absorption of every part of our being in one great passion. It is a word that speaks of complete self-denial. It is always used when the will is involved rather than the emotions.” Redpath

          “Every description of love in this chapter is applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ, e.g. Jesus suffers long.” Redpath

          Notice the 15 ingredients of love:

          1. Love is patient

            “In other words, have been wronged, love is patient and silent.” Redpath

            “Love can wait.” Drummond

            1:10-11 shows that the Corinthians lacked patience and kindness.

            μακροθυμεῖ Patient towards injurious or provoking persons, whereas ὑπομένει (endures), signifies patience in respect of adverse and afflictive circumstances.” EXP B.C.

            “It patiently bears with provocation, and is not quick to assert its rights or resent and injury.” Hodge

          2. Kind

            “Love not only takes the injury, but shows positive grace and kindness to the person responsible for it.” Redpath

            “Active love.” Drummond

            “The root of the verb χρηστεύεται from χραομαί means ‘useful’ and hence its primary sense is disposed to be useful.” Hodge

            χρηστεύεται plays the part of a χρηστεος one who renders gracious, well-disposed service to others.”

            EXP B.C.

          3. Not jealous

            “In 1:29; 3:3; 3:21 they were envious, proud, boasting, jealous.” Getz

            “It does not begrudge the greater privileges and gifts of others, or seek out gain for itself.” Redpath

            This is generosity; “Envy is a feeling of ill-will to those who are in the same line as ourselves.” Drummond

            “The word ζηλοῖ here used may express any wrong feeling excited in view of the good of other; not only envy, but hatred, emulation, and the life.” Hodge

            ηλοῖ is laudable ambition; directed toward persons, it is base envy; desire for excellencies manifest in others should stimulate not ill-will but admiring love.” EXP B.C.

          4. Does not brag

            χρηστεύεται a braggart. “He who is envious of superiority in others is commonly ostentatious of superiority assumed in himself, and arrogant toward inferiors.” EXP B.C.

            “Used for one who sounds his own praises.” Vincent “Love does not seek to win admiration and applause.”


            “Love makes no parade.” Redpath

            This is humility – “After you have been kind… go back into the shade again and say nothing about it.”


          5. Is not arrogant – see 4:6, 18-19; 5:2, 6; 8:1.

            “Of inward disposition, as the previous word denotes outward display.” Vincent

            φυσιοῦται “This is the root of the preceding. The man who has a high conceit of himself is apt to be boastful and desirous of praise. Love, on the other hand, is modest and humble; modest because humble.” Hodge

          6. Does not act unbecomingly (Is not rude – NIV). “Does nothing of which one ought to be ashamed. Its

            whole deportment is decorous and becoming.” Hodge

            “Love imparts a delicacy of feeling beyond the rules of politeness.” EXP B.C.

            “The Corinthians were putting each other down and using their gifts to glorify themselves. In addition, note their behavior at the Lord’s Supper (11:17-23).” Getz

            “This is love in little things.” Drummond

          7. Does not seek its own (It is not self-seeking – NIV).

            Is not selfish

            “The most obvious lesson in Christ’s teaching is that there is no happiness in having an getting anything, but only in giving.” Drummond

          8. Is not provoked (Is not easily angered – NIV).

            “Is not quick tempered, or, does not suffer itself to be roused to resentment.” Hodge

            “Selfishness generates the irritability denied concerning love in παροξύνεται intent on one’s own advantage, one is incessantly angered to find the world at cross purpose with him.” EXP B.C.

            Means is not provoked or exasperated (easily is not in the text).

            “’It is good temper’ it is not enough to deal with the temper. We must go to the source and change the inmost nature. Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid out but by putting something in.” Drummond

          9. Does not take into account a wrong suffered (keeps no records of wrongs – NIV).

            “It keeps no record of wrongs” In 6:5-6 they were going to court against one another.

            “It does not lay the evil which it suffers to the charge of the wrong-doer. Instead of being resentful, it is forgiving.” Hodge

          10. Does not rejoice in unrighteousness.

            The general sentiment of this verse is, that love does not sympathize with evil, but with good.

            The Corinthians were proud of their attitude toward sin – 5:1-2.

            “Does not delight in exposing the weaknesses of other people.” Redpath

            “This is guilelessness – The grace for suspicious people. The people who influence you are people who believe in you.” Drummond

            “To ‘rejoice at iniquity’ when seeing it in others, is a sign of deep debasement (Romans 1:32).” EXP B.C.

          11. Rejoices with the truth.

            “Love, on the contrary, finds her joy in the joy of the ‘the Truth’.” EXP B.C.

            “Truth is often used antithetically in Scripture to unrighteousness, as it is here… Hence it is commonly interpreted in such cases as meaning righteousness.”


          12. Bears all things (It always protects – NIV).

            “This may either mean, bears in silence all annoyances and troubles, or covers up all things (as στέγει may have either meaning). In the sense of concealing or excusing the faults of others, instead of gladly disclosing them. The latter interpretation harmonizes better with what follows, but it is contrary to Paul’s usage of the word.” Hodge

            “Suffers wrong without retaliation, but gets under the load of life and bears it to the limit.” Redpath

            “This verse speaks of sincerity. Love refuses to make capital out of others faults.” Drummond

            They were not protecting each other but were becoming stumbling blocks (8:9; 10:14).

            They were eager to believe falsehoods even against Paul (4:3-5; 9:1-3). Getz

            “It keeps out resentment as the ship keeps out the water, or the roof the rain.” Vincent

          13. Believes all things (Always trusts – NIV).

            “Not basically suspicious. It takes the kindest view of others in every circumstance, as long as it possibly can. Love will consider the motives and make every allowance for failure.” Redpath

            “Is not suspicious, but readily credits what men say in their own defense.” Hodge

            Gives the benefit of the doubt.

          14. Hopes all things.

            “Hopes for the best with regard to all men.” Hodge “Love never despairs of anybody.” Redpath

          15. Endures all things (Always perseveres – NIV).

            ὑπομένει “An advance on beareth, patient acquiescence, holding its ground when it can no longer believe nor hope.” Vincent

            “Love cannot be conquered.” Redpath

            “The word is properly a military word, and means to sustain the assault of an enemy. Hence it is used in the New Testament to express the idea of sustaining the assaults of suffering or persecution, in the sense of bearing up under them patiently. 2 Timothy 2:10, Hebrews 10:32; 12:2. This clause, therefore, differs from that at the beginning of the verse; as that had reference the annoyances and troubles, this to suffering and persecutions.” Hodge

        3. Love defended (13:8-13).

        “This evidence of genuine Christian experience is not what we say we believe, but how much we love.” Redpath

        “We will one day be asked – not what we accomplished in this life, but how much did we love.” Drummond

        “Paul implied that the Corinthians’ emphasis on spiritual gifts reflected immaturity, whereas an emphasis on love would

        reflect maturity (13:8-13). Gifts will pass away but love will remain and continue.” Getz

        13:8 “’Fails’ πίπτει Greek word means to fall to the ground like petals off a flower (because there is no trace of decay in love) … When we know and understand fully, when we see the Lord face to face, the partial knowledge we possess at present will be of no further concern.” Luck

        “In classical Greek it was used of an actor who was hissed off the stage.” Vincent

        “Love is permanent, in contrast with prophecies, tongues, and knowledge – all which will cease to exist because they will cease to be needed.” EXP B.C.

        “Love, that bears, also outwears everything. That πίπτει denotes ‘falling’ in the sense of cessation, dropping out of existence, not moral failure… The charisma of chapter 12 and 14 are bestowed ‘one the way’ and serve the wayfaring church, they cease each of them at a determined point; but the way of love leads indefinitely beyond them.” EXP B.C.

        “It is not knowledge in the comprehensive sense of the term that is to cease, but knowledge as a gift, as one of the list of extraordinary endowments mentioned in 12:8-11.” Hodge

        Both knowledge and prophecy will be done away καταργηθήσονται passing voice, active, transitive mood – until something else happens which causes them to cease. Something will cause these two gifts to cease. That something will be the second coming of Christ or possibly the eternal state since there will be prophecy during the millennium (See EXP B.C.).

        However, tongues will cease (intransitive mood, middle voice παύσονται) in and of themselves, nothing need to operate on it, it will reach a terminal point. This point was when the sign of 1 Corinthians 14:22-23 was fulfilled. (See Gardiner notes – pp. 12-13).

        13:9-10 Note that Paul separates tongues from prophecy and knowledge. Something must happen to cause these gifts to cease but tongues will cease in and of themselves.

        “This is the reason why knowledge and prophecy are to cease. They are partial or imperfect, and therefore suited only to an imperfect state of existence.” Hodge

        What is the perfect? Views:

        1. Ryrie, EXP B.C.

          The second coming of Christ

        2. MacArthur

          The eternal state

        3. Gardiner

        The mature church

        13:11-12 The apostle employs two illustrations to teach us the difference between the present and the future.

        Illustration #1 – The difference between childhood and maturity (13:11).

        When Paul was a child his language, feelings and thoughts were childish but when he became a man the former childish mode of speaking, feeling and thinking were put away.

        “The feelings and thoughts of a child are true and just, in so far a they are the natural impression of the objects to which they relate. They are neither irrational nor false, but inadequate… In like manner or view of divine things will hereafter be very different from those which we now have. But it does not thence follow that our present views are false. They are just as far as they go, they are only inadequate. It is no part of the apostle’s object to unsettle our confidence in what God now communicates by His Word and Spirit to His children, but simply to prevent our being satisfied with the partial and imperfect.” Hodge

        “I have abolished the things of the child such is the καταργηθήσεται which prophecy and knowledge as a present known, must undergo through the approaching ‘revelation’.” EXP B.C.

        “I did away” same Greek word as “will be done away” in verse 8.

        As maturity moves along, we put away the toys of the nursery.

        Illustration #2 – The difference between seeing a thing by imperfect reflection, or through an obscure medium, and seeing it directly (13:12).

        Verse 11 relates to verse 10, verse 12 relates to verse 9.

        “The metaphor is that of the imperfect reflection seen in one of the polished metal mirrors of the ancient world in contrast with seeing the Lord face to face.” EXP B.C.

        “Paul’s thought is v. 12b may be expanded as follows: Now through the Word of God, I know in part; then, in the presence of the Lord I will know fully, to the full extent that a redeemed finite human being can know and in a way similar to the way the Lord in His infinite wisdom fully and infinitely knows me. The Corinthians, Paul implies, must not boast now of their gifts for those gifts are nothing compared to what is in store for the Christians in Heaven.” EXP B.C.

        “’Dimly’ Lit. in an enigma. We do not see the things themselves, but those things as set forth in symbols and words which imperfectly express them.” Hodge

        “’But then face to face’ no longer through a mirror, but immediately. The Word of God is a mirror wherein even now we behold the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18), but what is that to seeing Him face to face.” Hodge

        13:13 “Faith and hope are elements of the perfect and permanent state… But love, both now and then, surpasses its companion, being the character of God.” EXP B.C.

        “By faith and hope remaining in eternity Paul means that trust in the Lord begun in this life will continue forever and that hope in the Lord begun now (Romans 8:24-25) will expand and issue into an eternal expectation of His perfect plan for our eternal existence with Him (cf. Revelation 22:3- 5).” EXP B.C.

        “Love is the greatest of these three graces because through faith, love unites the Christian personally to God (1 John 4:10, 19) and through God’s love (Romans 5:5) we are enabled to love one another (John 13:34-35). Love is communicating grace and identifies us as children of God (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:8).” EXP B.C.

        “The state of mind indicated by faith and hope as now exercised, will not continue in the future life, but the state of mind, so to speak, of the saints in Heaven, may be designated by these same terms, because confidence and expectation will continue forever. Faith in one form, ceases when merged in sight, but in another form, it continues; and the same is true of hope.” Hodge

        “Love is superior to faith because ‘faith saves ourselves, but love benefits others’.” Hodge

      3. Correction in the use of the gift of tongues (14:1-40).

  1. The superiority of prophecy over tongues (14:1-25).

    1. Tongues are not understandable by others (14:1-2).

      14:1 “If love is given first place then it is proper to be ambitious for spiritual gifts so that one may be of more service in the body of Christ. Prophecy is singled out as the best gift of all.” Luck

      It should be remembered that spiritual gifts have only one purpose: 12:7 – that is the common good of the body of Christ. Gifts are for service never for personal pleasure or edification. This is Paul’s major point in this section (14:1- 25). He will use the word “edify” seven times for it is the purpose of gifts: “seek to abound for the edification of the church.” (verse 12) “Let all things be done for edification” (verse 26).

      “The principle of love supplies a criterion by which the charism is to be relatively estimated.” EXP B.C.

      “Purse love” = follow intently, pursue, chase, hunt, run after.

      “Suggesting that love is elusive to the natural man; it will not pursue us, as the Devil does, but we must run after it.”


      “Love is exalted in the interest of the Charisms, not to their disparagement; it is not to be pursued by forgetting everything else, but opens the true way to everything else.”

      EXP B.C.

      Since Chapter 12 tells us that we have already been sovereignly given our gifts he apparently is not trying to encourage us to seek more gifts in this verse. Apparently, he is speaking to the body of Christ and as a church they should desire and honor prophecy above tongues.

      14:2 “’No one understands’ the meaning is, not that no man living, but that no man present could understand.” Hodge

      “Mysteries mean divine truths; things which God has revealed.” Hodge

      “One’s fellows receive no benefit from the tongues: except God, no one understands.” EXP B.C.

      The question here is why does God need to hear mysteries? Tongues spoken to God are of no value for at that point they

      are not being used as a sign and they are not serving or edifying the church.

      “Paul points out that the direction they were moving in using the gift was wrong. The gift was still in use. Israel was still in the land; judgment had not yet fallen. ‘Speaks not unto men’ and ‘speaks mysteries’ this is exactly the opposite of what God intended. Tongues were to be spoken to men, not God, see the three times it is used in Acts. No record anywhere in Scripture where tongues were commanded to be spoken to God. Cultural context: The Corinthians came out of Greek mystery religions where the mark of ‘arrival’ was to get in contact with the Gods on Mt. Olympus through incomprehensible ecstatic speech. The backslidden carnal Corinthians took this and added it to Christianity. They reversed God’s plan. By doing this they produced ‘mysteries’.” Gardiner

      “Spirit” most believe this is referring to the spirit of the individual. Hodge believes it refers to the Holy Spirit.

      “Unknown” is not in the text. From the very beginning tongues were known languages (Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 14:10-11, 21).

      Other references tongues are found only in Mark 16:17; Acts 2, 10, 19 and Jews were always present (1 Corinthians


    2. Tongues edify self not others (14:3-4).

      14:3 The one who prophesies is speaking to men for the purpose of edification. In 10:24 in a different context we are told to seek not our own good but the good of others. The principle is applicable to spiritual gifts. Paul is correcting the Corinthians throughout this passage for selfishness. They had been selfish in every area of life and that included their spiritual gifts. They majored on the one gift that edified no one, for its purpose was to be a sign. But they liked tongues because it edified themselves. Paul is not saying that this was alright, rather he is showing how wrong this is.

      “Prophetic speech serves for: a) the further upbuilding of the Christian life, b) the stimulation of the Christian will, c) the strengthening of the Christian’s spirit.” EXP B.C.

      “He edified the church either by exhortation or comfort; either by arousing believers to do or suffer, or by pouring into their hearts the consolation of the Spirit.” Hodge

      “’To edify’ means to build up and is an architectural term… The mistake the Corinthians were making was to emphasize their own personal edification to the neglect of the church. They wanted to build themselves up, but they did not want to build up their fellow believers.” Wiersbe

      14:4 “’Edifies self’ he does not say that this is commendable here; merely states a fact – that there is some edification in it, but it is exclusively for self.” Zodhiates

      That Paul did not approve of this self-edification is proven by such verses as 14:12, 26 where he commands us to use our spiritual gifts to edify the church. Tongues are not for the purpose of self-edification but are a sign.

    3. Tongues do not profit others (14:5-6).

      14:5 “The power to interpret superadded to the glossolalia puts the mystic speaker on a level with the prophet.” EXP B.C.

      “Speaking under the supernatural influence of the spirit was common to both gifts; the only difference was in the language used. If the speaker interpreted, then he prophesied.” Hodge

      “Since interpretation seems to be a prerequisite to speaking in an unknown tongue, it must be that the meaning of what is said is the important thing, rather than the speaking itself.” Zodhiates

      14:6 “Benefitting others should be the primary motivation of our behavior.” IBID

      “Revelation” divine truth made known directly by God. Knowledge – primarily of spiritual truth.

      Teaching – explanation of truth.

    4. Tongues confuse (14:7-12).

      Illustration #1 (14:7).

      “This shows a picture of utter confusion. See 14:23. Using the gift in a Christian assembly causes confusion.” Gardiner

      “Music is nothing more than senseless sounds without systematic differences in pitch, tone, and time.” EXP B.C.

      “His argument runs as follows: you say that speaking in unknown tongues has some value. But would you enjoy hearing a pipe or harp by someone who knows no music and produces only noise?” Zodhiates

      Illustration #2 (14:8-9)

      14:8 Even more serious is the case of the army bugler who doesn’t make a clear sound. “The trumpet may sound the battle call, but if that call is not understood, who will heed it? So, the speaker with tongues may announce the most important truths, he may unfold mysteries, or pour forth praises as from a harp of gold, what can it profit those who do not understand him?” Hodge

      14:9 “Applying the illustrations, Paul says that it is not the mere sound of speaking that is important, but whether the sounds can be understood by the hearers.” EXP B.C.

      To speak into the air means to have no effect. See Hodge on 9:26.

      Illustration #3 (14:10-12).

      14:10-11 “Paul speaking of the language of the world along with his reference to the foreigner (one who was not a Greek and did not speak Greek), substantiates the conclusion that in his discussion of tongues he has in mind known foreign languages. φωνή (languages) can at times mean ‘voices’, ‘sounds’ but here in connection with aphonos (without meaning), it indicates languages that can convey meaning by their systematic distinction of sounds.” EXP B.C.

      14:12 “The application is now turned into an exhortation. Paul leaves the last comparison to speak for itself, and hastens to enforce his lesson… The Corinthians have already the eagerness that Paul commends in verse 1; but it is not prompted by the best motive, nor directed to the most useful end.” EXP B.C.

      “Again, he reminded the Corinthians that it is better to be a blessing to the Church than to experience some kind of personal ‘spiritual excitement’.” Wiersbe

      Again, the purpose of spiritual gifts is never self-edification but the edification of the church. Verses such as 14:2 and 14:25 cannot be used as permission to use tongues to edify yourself.

    5. Tongues leave the mind unfruitful (14:13-19).

      “If one prays in a tongue he cannot understand, he may enjoy the emotional experience, even though failing to get real benefits from it through lack of understanding.”


      Even praying in a tongue should be interpreted (verse 13). There is nothing here to indicate that tongues have any value when used privately. All reference is to its use in public.

      The importance of interpretation is stressed in 14:5, 27- 28.

      14:13-14 Paul commands interpretation “not only so that those who hear but do not understand may know the meaning, but also that the speaker himself may be benefited by getting an intellectual as well as a spiritual blessing form the exercise.

      The expression ‘my mind is unfruitful’ means that the mind does not intelligently share in the blessing of the man’s spirit.” EXP B.C.

      Tongues are an inferior gift not only because they do not edify others but also because they do not even edify the speaker.

      “My spirit” – three possible meanings:

      1. Higher intellectual powers of the soul above our understanding.

      2. Affections

      3. The Holy Spirit in us, that is, the spiritual gift, or my spirit as the organ of the spirit of God… His spiritual gift is indeed exercised, in other words, the Holy Spirit is active in him, but others are not profited.” Hodge

        “There is no such thing as praying in tongues in the Bible. No prayer passage and teaching on prayer mention tongues.” Gardiner

        14:15 “I will not only pray in the exercise of my spiritual gift, but so as to be understood by others; i.e. not only spiritually but intelligibly.” Hodge

        14:16 “’By the spirit’ i.e. under the influence of the spirit, or in the exercise of your spiritual gift, as in the preceding verse.”


        “’Ungifted’ ἰδιώτης from which we get the word ‘idiot’. Here it is applicable to anyone who was ignorant of the language use by the speaker.” Hodge

        “’Amen’ a Hebrew adjective signifying true or faithful, often used adverbially at the end of a sentence to express assent to what is said, in the sense of so let it be.” Hodge

        We cannot agree with something if we don’t know who said it.

        14:17 Even if the tongue speaker is sincerely giving thanks to God never-the-less it is wasted for those who do not understand will not be edified.

        14:18-19 10,000 – highest Greek number. If Paul did not speak tongues in the church, where did he speak them?

        When were they able to accomplish their purpose as outlined in 14:21-25?

    6. The purpose of tongues (14:20-25).

      14:20 “There are two characteristics of children; the one a disposition to be pleased with trifles, or to put a false estimate on things; the other comparative innocence… They had displayed a childish disposition in estimating the gift of tongues above more useful gifts, and in using it when it could answer no good purpose.” Hodge

      “Malice κακίᾳ evil disposition.” Hodge

      14:21 “Tongues were not used for evangelism. However, they did have a message for the lost Jews in particular. They were a sign of God’s judgment.” Wiersbe

      “Paul quotes Isaiah 28:11-12, a reference to the invading Assyrian army whose ‘Barbaric’ language the Jews would not understand. The presence of this ‘tongue’ was evidence of God’s judgment on the nation. God would rather speak to His people in clear language they could understand, but their repeated sins made this possible. He had spoken to them through His messengers in their own tongue, and the nation would not repent. Now He had to speak in a foreign tongue, and this meant judgment. At Pentecost tongues was a sign

      to the unbelieving Jews. It aroused their interest, but it did not convict their hearts.” Wiersbe

      “The point of the quotation is that speech in strange tongues was a chastisement for the unbelief of God’s ancient people, by which they were made to hear His voice ‘speaking in the harsh commands of the foreign invader’.” Vincent

      “God enabled His people to speak in languages other than their own was for a witness to the unbelieving Jews.”


      14:22 “The design is to show, that as sending foreigners among the Hebrews was a mark of God’s displeasure, so speaking in the Christian assemblies in foreign languages would be a curse and not a blessing. This view is demanded by the whole context.” Hodge

      “The most satisfactory explanation is to take sign in the general sense of any indication of the divine presence… The meaning is, that when a people are disobedient, God sends them teachers whom they cannot understand; when they are obedient, He sends them prophets speaking their own language.” Hodge

      14:23 “If the tongues are, as many Corinthians think the highest manifestation of the spirit, then to have the whole church simultaneously so speaking would be NE PLUS ULTRA of spiritual power; but in fact, the church would then resemble nothing so much as a congregation of lunatics.” EXP B.C.

      “’Ungifted’ those who were ignorant of the language spoken.” Hodge

      “The ἄπιστοι (unbeliever) and the ἰδιῶται (one without understanding, the inquirer) are both in the unbeliever class in contrast to the saved of the Christian church.” EXP B.C.

      In Acts 2:13 some thought the apostles were drunk because they could not understand most of the languages that they

      heard. Those who could not understand were upset, those who could, were amazed.

      “’Mad’ μαίνεσθε to rave, being out of one’s mind. This does not refer to permanent insanity but to a temporary state of aberration in one who may be overcome by enthusiasm, or a desire to show off, against his better judgment. What Paul is actually describing here is a state in which self or the emotions take over and the individual loses control over them with his rational mind.” Zodhiates

      We get our words “mania” and “maniac” from this Greek word.

      14:24-25 “Speaking in language unknown to the hearers is not adapted to do good, speaking intelligibly is suited to produce the happiest effects.” Hodge

      “To convince men that ‘God is in the midst of her’ is the true success of the church.” EXP B.C.

      This would not mean that they all prophesied at once. The context of 14:26-33 would suggest that this would be done decently and in order. Even concerning tongues in verse 23, they could be spoken one at a time and still produce the same results in the hearer.

      “Tongues produce the scoffing remark ‘you are mad!’ Prophecy produces the awed declaration, ‘Verily, God is in or among you’.” Zodhiates

  2. Rules of worship (14:26-40).

    1. Rule #1 – Let all things be done for edification (14:26).

      “The Corinthian church was having special problems with disorders in their public meetings (11:11-23). The reason is not difficult to determine; they were using their spiritual gifts to please themselves and not to help their brethren.

      The key word was not edification, but exhibition.” Wiersbe

      Everyone was doing their own thing. Paul says let there be edification.

      “One person has this ability, another that one, but all together are to be used to build up the church.” EXP B.C.

    2. Rule #2 – Tongues are to be controlled (14:27-28).

      1. Two or three per meeting.

      2. One at a time, each taking his turn.

      3. An interpreter must be present.

      “Without an interpreter, there was to be no public tongues-speaking in the church. This apparently placed on the one speaking in tongues the responsibility of finding out first if an interpreter was present.” EXP B.C.

      “’Speak to himself and to God’ as according to Paul, all true worship is intelligent, it is evident that if in the exercise of the gift of tongues, there was communion with God, the understanding could not have been in abeyance.” Hodge

    3. Rule #3 – Prophecy is to be controlled (14:29-33).

      1. Two or three per meeting.

      2. Others judge the message.

        “These prophetic utterances are subject to being checked διακρινέτωσαν by other prophets for accuracy and orthodoxy.” EXP B.C.

        “Referring to the gift of the discernment of spirits (12:10).” Vincent

      3. Revelations must be given orderly (14:30).

        “The meaning may be, ‘Let the first be silent before the other begins’.” Hodge

        This was to keep someone from claiming that they had a revelation form God that could not wait and therefore they would interrupt the speaker causing disruption.

      4. The prophet is never out of control (14:31-33).

      “In the New Testament Paul lays down the principle that, in true prophecy, self-consciousness, and self- command are never lost.” Vincent

      Some were claiming that they had no control over this gift. That when the spirit came on them they had to speak. But Paul disagrees.

      “The Divine Gift is put under the control and responsibility of the possessor’s will, that it may be exercised with discretion wand brotherly love, for its appointed ends.” Vincent

      “The spirit, did not throw them into a state of frenzy analogous to that of a heathen pythoness. The prophets of God were calm and self-possessed.” Hodge

      “When we lack self-control, we cannot claim to be God- controlled.” Zodhiates

      14:33 “Here is what God is, he tells them. You are supposed to be like God gave you your mind and will in order to produce orderliness. Don’t quit using them. In other words, God expects you to exercise self-control.” Zodhiates

      “’Confusion’ ἀκαταστασίας the word is a strong one, indicating great disturbance, disorder, or even insurrection or revolution.” EXP B.C.

      “In James 3:15-16 we learn that this is the result of the wisdom that is ‘earthly, sensual, devilish!” Zodhiates

      “When men pretend to be influenced by the Spirit of God in doing what God forbids… we may be sure that they are either deluded or impostors.” Hodge

      “Paul says in other churches they have peace and edification and they are not doing the bad things you are doing. Take a look at your fellow believers who are spiritual.” Gardiner

    4. Rule #4 – Women are to be silent in the churches (14:34- 36).

      “The context of this prohibition would indicate that some of the women in the assembly were creating problems by asking questions and perhaps even generating arguments.”


      “Paul now turns to the role of women in public worship, the implication being that men were to lead in worship… The command seems absolute: women are not to do any public speaking in the church. Some have explained the apostle’s use of the word ‘speaking’ (v. 34) as connoting only general speaking and not forbidding public address. But this is incompatible with Paul’s other uses of speaking in the chapter (v. 5-6, 9) which imply public utterances as in prophesying (v. 5). See 1 Timothy where the ‘speaking’ of this passage is defined as ‘teaching’ or using authority over a man.” EXP B.C.

      14:35 “’Improper’ αἰσχρὸν which properly means ugly, deformed. It is spoken of anything which excites disgust.” Hodge

      The Corinthian women however raise an excuse: “You mean we can’t even ask questions? We can’t even try to learn?”

      14:36 “Paul’s rhetorical questions (v. 36) are ironical and suggest that the Corinthians had their own separate customs regarding the role of women in public worship and were tending to act independently of the other churches who also had received these commands. They were presuming to act as though they had originated the Word of God (i.e. The Gospel) and as if they could depart from Paul’s commands

      and do as they pleased in these matters of church order.”

      EXP B.C.

    5. Rule #5 – Scripture over experience (14:37-40).

14:37-38 “If any man, with or without just reason, assumes to be a prophet, i.e. inspired, or spiritual, i.e. the possessor of any gift of the spirit, let him prove himself what he claims to be by submitting to my authority. (See 1 John 4:6).” Hodge

“The professor of divine knowledge who does not discern Paul’s inspiration, proves his ignorance, his character as ‘prophet’ or ‘spiritual’ is not recognized, since he does not recognize the apostle’s character.” EXP B.C.

14:39-40 Tongues was permitted in the church when the above rules were adhered to although prophecy was preferred.

“’Properly’ εὐσχημόνως well-formed, comely, that which excites the pleasing emotion of beauty. The exhortation therefore is, so to conduct their worship that it may be beautiful; in other words, so as to make a pleasing impression on all who are right-minded.” Hodge

“’Orderly manner’ κατὰ τάξιν not tumultuously as in a mob, but as in a well-ordered army, where everyone keeps his place and acts at the proper time and in the proper way.”


F. Question #6 – Concerning the Resurrection (15:1-58).

  1. The evidence of the resurrection (15:1-11).

    1. The message of the Gospel (15:1-4).

      15:1-2 “In the beginning of his masterly discussion of the resurrection, Paul reminds the Corinthians that it is an integral part of the Gospel he had preached and they had received and believed.” EXP B.C.

      “The three relative clauses describe the inception, continuance, and progressive benefits of the faith of this church.” EXP B.C.

      “’Saved’ σῴζεσθε affirms a present, continuous salvation.”

      EXP B.C.

      “’If’ – the if clause of verse 2 implies that Paul believes they are really holding firmly to the Word of God and are therefore saved.” EXP B.C.

      “’In vain’ If, as the errorists in Corinth taught, there is no resurrection, Paul says, verse 14, our faith is vain; it is an empty, worthless thing.” Hodge

      15:3-4 “These things: He died, He was buried, He rose again, constitute the basic elements of our Christian faith.”Redpath

      “’Of first importance’ the stress is on the centrality of these doctrines to the Gospel message.” EXP B.C.

      “Paul cites two kinds of witness to the historic events of Christ’s death and resurrection (vv. 3-8), the Old Testament Scriptures and the testimony of eyewitnesses.” EXP B.C.

      “’Died for our sins’ ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν the phrase is theologically strong, referring to the substitutionary atonement: Christ died on behalf of our sins or in order to atone for (or, remove) our sins.”

      EXP B.C.

      “I also received’ by direct revelation form Christ Himself (Galatians 1:12).

      15:4 “There are two things taught in this, as in the preceding verse. First, the truth of the facts referred to; and secondly, that those facts had been predicted.” Hodge

    2. The evidence of the resurrection (15:5-11).

      “Testimony is now offered to establish the fact that Christ did rise in the body. This is both the great proof that the Gospel is true, and also the guarantee of our own bodily resurrection someday.” Luck

      15:5-7 “As the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact, it is to be proved by historical evidence. The apostle therefore appeals to the testimony of competent witnesses.” Hodge

      These witnesses all eventually died for their testimony. This shows the sincerity of the witnesses.

      15:8 “Last of all” Paul was the last to see the risen Lord. Note

      ἔσχατον πάντων “Whom having not seen you love.”

      “He describes himself as one born of a miscarriage, thus he conveys his feeling that he was not a ‘normal’ member of the apostolic group, but one who had been ‘snatched’ out of his sin and rebellion by the glorified Christ (Acts 9:3-6).”

      EXP B.C.

      τῷ ἐκτρώματι means an abortion, a still-born embryo… The rendering of the A.V. and Rev. is unsatisfactory, since it introduces the notion of time which is not in the original word, and fails to express the abortive character of the product, leaving it to be inferred that if is merely premature, but living and not dead. The word does not mean an untimely living birth, but a dead abortion, and suggests no notion of lateness of birth, but rather of being born before the time… Paul means that when Christ appeared to him and called him, he was – as compared with the disciples who had known and followed Him from the first, and whom he had been persecuting – no better than an unperfected fetus among living men. The comparison emphasizes his condition at the time of his call.” Vincent

      “But last of all, as it were to the abortion (a creature so unfit and so repulsive), he appeared also to me.” EXP B.C.

      15:9 “The least, not because the last in the order of appointment, but in rank and dignity.” Hodge

      “’Not fit to be called an apostle’ those of His children whom God intends to exalt to posts of honour and power, He commonly prepares for their elevation by leading them to such a knowledge of their sinfulness as to keep them constantly abased.” Hodge

      “In these verses (9-11), Paul reflects on his own unworthiness and on God’s matchless redeeming grace. Though he taught that all are unworthy before God (Romans 3:10-18) a fact to which the Twelve were no exception – he felt himself particularly unworthy because he had persecuted the church.” EXP B.C.

      15:10 “With true humility, he attributes all his hard work for the cause of Christ solely to God’s grace – grace that had saved him and enabled him to serve.” EXP B.C.

      “Christian humility does not consist in denying what there is of good in us; but in an abiding sense of ill-desert, and in the consciousness that what we have of good is due to the grace of God.” Hodge

      “’Labored’ κοπίασα connotes exertion, painful or exhausting toil.” EXP B.C.

      “Yet not I but the grace of God with me” God’s grace really accomplished the work, Paul was just the instrument.

      15:11 “With great emphasis he declares that all – both he and the apostles – preached the same Gospel with the same stress on the resurrection, and this is the message the Corinthians believed.” EXP B.C.

      “This verse resumes the subject from which verses 9-10 are a digression.” Hodge

  2. The importance of the resurrection (15:12-19).

    If there is no resurrection, then:

    1. Our faith is worthless (15:12-14).

      “Here Paul presents his major proposition. Some at Corinth had argued that there was no resurrection of the dead. He replies that this is absolutely contrary to the proclamation that Christ has been raised. The perfect tense ἐγήγερται (‘has been raised’), with the emphasis on the present reality of the historic fact is important to Paul (cf. Galatian 2:20). In the present context he uses the same verb form seven times, in each case in reference to Christ (vv. 4, 12-14, 16-17, 20).”

      EXP B.C.

      15:12-13 “The admission of the resurrection of Christ is inconsistent with the denial of the resurrection of the dead… Most probably, these objectors’ thoughts, that to reunite the soul with the body was to shut up again in prison; and that it was as much a degradation and retrocession, as if a man should again become an unborn infant. ‘No’, these philosophers said, ‘The hope of the resurrection is the hope of swine’. The soul having once been emancipated from the defiling encumbrance of the body, it is never to be re-imprisoned.”


      15:14 “This is the first consequence of denying the resurrection of Christ. The whole Gospel is subverted. The reason why this fact is so essential, is, that Christ rested the validity of all His claims upon His resurrection. If He did rise, then He is truly the Son of God and Savior of the world. His sacrifice has been accepted, and God is propitious. If He did not rise, then none of these things is true. He was not what He claimed to be, and His blood is not a ransom for sinners (Romans 1:4; Acts 1:22).” Hodge

      “’Vain’ κενὸν signifies void, unsubstantial, a hollow witness, a hollow belief.” EXP B.C.

    2. The apostles are false witnesses (15:15).

      15:15 “For the character of Paul and his fellow-witnesses this conclusion has a serious aspect: We are found moreover (to be) false witnesses of God – men who have been given lying

      testimony, and that about God, the worst sort of impostors.”

      EXP B.C.

      They were claiming that God did something that He really did not do.

      “’Against God’ κατὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ strictly means ‘against God’; that is, accusing God of doing what He did not do.”EXP B.C.

    3. We are still in our sins (15:16-17).

      15:16 “The repetition in this verse of what had been said in verse 13, seems to be with the design of preparing the way for verse 17.” Hodge

      “Verses 14-15 proved the witness untrue, if the fact is unreal; verses 17-18 concludes the effects unreal, if the fact is unreal." EXP B.C.

      15:17 “In Christ’s resurrection is the seal of our justification, and the spring of our sanctification (Romans 6:4-11); both are wanting, if He is still in the grave.”

      “In verse 14 it was said, your faith is κενή ‘empty’; here it is said to be ματαία ‘fruitless’. In what sense the following clause explains; ‘ye are yet in your sins’, i.e. under the condemnation of sin. As Christ’s resurrection is necessary to our justification, Romans 4:25, if He did not rise, we are not justified. To teach, therefore, that there is no resurrection, is to teach that there is no atonement and no pardon.” Hodge

    4. Dead Christians have perished (15:18).

      15:18 “’Have perished’ ἀπώλοντο (aorist – past – punctiliar) ‘They are lost forever’ is quite final.” EXP B.C.

    5. We are to be pitied (15:19).

      “For a hope without legitimate basis or ultimate fruition, Christians have sacrificed all material good.” EXP B.C.

      15:19 Expresses the infinite bitterness of such a deception.”

      EXP B.C.

      “’We have hoped’ the Greek is ἠλπικότες ἐσμὲν which, as the commentators remark, expresses not what we do, but what we are. We are hopers. This passage does not teach that Christians are in this life more miserable than other man.

      This is contrary to experience. Christians are unspeakably happier than other man. All that Paul means to say is, that if you take Christ from Christians, you take their all. He is the source not only of their future, but of their present happiness. Without Him they are yet in their sins, under the curse of the law, unreconciled to God, having no hope, and without God in the world; and yet subject to all the peculiar trials incident to a Christian profession, which in the apostolic age often included the loss of all things.” Hodge

  3. The sequence of the resurrection (15:20-28).

    1. The statement (15:20).

      15:20 “The but… indeed, is Paul’s emphatic and conclusive way of introducing some vitally important affirmations. Certainly, Paul implies, none of the Corinthian believers would deny that an integral part of the Gospel message is the resurrection of Christ (15:1-4). Therefore, they must now accept the sequel – Christ guarantees the resurrection of the Christian dead, as the word ‘first fruits’ teaches. By ‘first fruits’ Paul brings to bear the rich imagery of the Old Testament. The ‘first fruits’ – the first sheaf of the harvest offered to the Lord (Leviticus 23:10-11, 17, 20) was not only prior to the main harvest but was also an assurance that the rest of the harvest was coming. So, with Christ. He preceded His people in His bodily resurrection and He is also the guarantee of their resurrection at His second coming.”

      EXP B.C.

      “’But now’ Νυνὶ δὲ, i.e., as the matter actually stands. All the gloomy consequences presented in the preceding verses follow from the assumption that Christ did not rise from the

      dead. But as in point of fact He did rise, these things have no place.” Hodge

    2. The reason (15:21-22).

      15:21-22 “All who are represented in Adam – i.e. the whole human race – died. All who are in Christ – i.e. God’s redeemed people – will be made alive at the resurrection.” EXP B.C.

      See Romans 5:12-21.

      “The connection between this verse and the preceding is obvious. The resurrection of Christ secures the resurrection of His people; for as there was a causal relation between the death of Adam and the death of his descendants, so there is a causal relation between the resurrection of Christ and that of His people.” Hodge

      “The point is that as death in all cases is grounded in Adam, so life in all cases is grounded in Christ – no death without the one, no life without the other.” EXP B.C.

      See Hodge for support of this view.

    3. The final scheme (15:23-28).

      15:23 “’Order’ τάγματι meaning order of succession.” Hodge

      “’Coming’ παρουσίᾳ in the New Testament always signifies His future coming.” EXP B.C.

      15:24 “’He delivers up’ παραδιδῷ this is no ceasing of Christ’s rule, but the inauguration of God’s eternal kingdom… παραδιδῷ does not connote the losing anything; it is just the rendering to another of what is designed for him.” EXP B.C.

      “When Christ has subdued all His enemies, then He will no longer reign over the universe as Mediator, but only as God; while His headship over His people is to continue forever.”


      “’The end’ does not mean the termination of Christ’s sovereignty … but the termination of the reign of sin and death.” EXP B.C.

      “’Has abolished all rule’ refers to all hostile powers, whether demonical or human.” Hodge

      15:25 “Not till every enemy of God is vanquished can Christ’s existing kingdom reach its end. Paul is thinking of its culmination, not the cessation, of Christ’s kingship…

      Everyone of the foes prescribed in the Messiah’s charter must submit, before he can present to His Father a perfect kingdom.” EXP B.C.

      “He must reign until the purpose for which He was invested with his universal dominion is accomplished.” Hodge

      See Psalm 110:1.

      This reign according to EXP B.C. refers to the Millennial reign not to any present reign of Christ.

      15:26 “If all enemies must be subdued, and death is last to fall, then ‘the end’ (v. 24) cannot be until Christ has delivered His own from its power and thus broken death’s scepter.”

      EXP B.C.

      See 15:54-56.

      15:27 NIV – “It is clear that this does not include God Himself, Who put everything under Christ.”

      15:28 “Whatever glory Christ gains devoted to the glory and power of the Father, who glorifies Him in turn.” EXP B.C.

      “All this is to be done so that God will be recognized by all as sovereign, and He – The Triune God – will be supreme (cf.

      Revelation 22:3-5).” EXP B.C.

      “’That God may be all in all’ – God instead of reigning through Christ will be recognized as the immediate sovereign

      of the universe… In other words, the whole question, so to speak, is whose hands are to hold the reins of universal dominion. They are now in the hands of Christ, hereafter they will be in the hands of God as such.” Hodge

  4. The value of the resurrection (15:29-34).

    15:29 “’i.e.’ If there is no resurrection, why bother to witness and win others to Christ? Why reach sinners who are then baptized and take the place of those who have died? If the Christian life is a ‘dead-end street’, get off of it.” Wiersbe

    “In this passage (vv. 29-34), Paul asserts that if the great facts previously stated were not true, then it would be useless to live as a Christian now.” Luck

    “According to Meyer, this verse means that believers already baptized were rebaptized for the benefit of believers who had died unbaptized. This was done on the assumption that it would count for the unbaptized dead and thereby assure their resurrection along with the baptized, living believers.

    As Meyer put it, ‘This custom propagated and maintained itself only among heretical sects… At any rate, Paul simply mentions the superstitious custom without approving it and uses it to fortify his argument that there is a resurrection from the dead.” EXP B.C.

    “Concerning this expression, of which some thirty different explanations are given, it is best to admit frankly that we lack the facts for a decisive interpretation. None of the explanations proposed are free from objection.” Vincent

    “The death of Christians leads to the conversion of survivors, who in the first instance, ‘For the sake of the dead’ (their beloved dead), and in the hope of reunion, turn to Christ –

    e.g. when a dying mother wins her son by the appeal, ‘Meet me in Heaven’!” EXP B.C.

    “Most likely it means being baptized in the place of those who had died; i.e. new coverts taking the place of older ones who had died. Paul’s point is: unless one believes in

    the resurrection of the dead (rather than the Greek idea of ‘immortality’) what’s the point of such a practice.” Ryrie

    15:30 “Here Paul speaks for himself. With baptizing for the dead, he had nothing to do (notice pronouns ‘we’, ‘they’) … If there be no resurrection, on which all our hopes as Christians depend, why should we voluntarily encounter perpetual danger?” Hodge

    “Another argument for the resurrection is that if it is not true, then suffering and hardship ‘for the sake of Christ’ are useless (vv. 30-32).”

    EXP B.C.

    15:31 “I die every day – I mean that, brothers – just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NIV

    “Paul solemnly assures his reader that he was constantly in jeopardy, for, says he ‘I die daily, i.e. I am constantly exposed to death, 2 Corinthians 4:10.” Hodge

    15:32 “If there is no ‘day of Christ’ when His glorying will be realized, He has been befooled.” EXP B.C.

    “’Human motives’ κατὰ ἄνθρωπονas men ordinarily do, for temporal reward; and not under the influence of any higher, principle or hope.” Vincent

    “Merely human reasons.” NIV

    “With those views and interests which determine the conduct of ordinary men, i.e. without hope in the resurrection.” Hodge

    “’I have fought with wild beasts.’ On the assumption that he speaks figuratively, the natural reference is to his experience with the ferocious mob at Ephesus.” Vincent

    “’What does it profit me?’ If I have no other views or hopes than ordinary men, whose expectations are confined to this world, what is the use of incurring so many dangers?”Hodge

    “’If the dead … we die’ The natural consequence of denying the doctrine of the resurrection, involving as it does the denial of the Gospel, and the consequent rejection of all hope of salvation, is to make men reckless, and to lead them to abandon themselves to mere sensual enjoyments. If man has no glorious hereafter, he naturally sinks toward the level of the brutes, whose destiny he is to share.” Hodge

    “Cited, after the Septuagint, from Isaiah 22:13. It is the exclamation of the people of Jerusalem during the siege by the Assyrians.” Vincent

    “At the neighboring town of Anchiale, the statue of Sardanapalus, represented as snapping his fingers, and with the inscription upon the pedestal, ‘Eat, drink, enjoy thyself. The rest is nothing.’ Farrar cites the fable of the Epicurean fly, dying in the honey pot with the words, ‘I have eaten and drunk and bathed and I care nothing if I die’.” Vincent

    15:33 “Turning now to Greek literature, Paul supports his position by quoting a piece of practical worldly wisdom from Menander’s comedy, Thais, relevant to the situation in the Corinthian church. The ‘bad company’ points to those who were teaching that there is no resurrection and so were a threat to the testimony of church.” EXP B.C.

    “This warning flows naturally from what had been said. If the tendency of the denial of the resurrection be to render men reckless and sensual, then the Corinthians should not be deceived by the plausible arguments or specious conduct of the errorists among them. They should avoid them, under the conviction that all evil is contagious.” Hodge “It is only when men associate with the wicked with the desire and purpose to do them good, that they can rely on the protection of God to preserve them from contamination.”


    15:34 “Become sober minded” ἐκνήψατε means “awake from a drunken stupor.”

    “The call in verse 34 is for the Corinthians to stop sinning in denying the resurrection of the dead and, so by implication, the resurrection of Christ. A denial leading to lose living.

    There were some in the church who did not know God or the precious doctrine of the resurrection.” EXP B.C.

    “The contrast in the kind of action in the two imperative verbs ἐκνήψατε and μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε is graphic: ‘Come to your senses, fully and completely, and do not continue to sin.” EXP B.C.

  5. The body of the resurrection (15:35-49).

    “Resurrection is not reconstruction.” Wiersbe

    “Paul approaches the problem of physical death along three lines:

    1. Illustration of death (vv. 36-38).

    2. Points out an eternal difference (vv. 39-43).

    3. Points out an essential distinction (vv. 44-50).” Redpath

    “The point Paul was making was simply this: the resurrection body completes the work of redemption and gives to us the image of the Savior.” Wiersbe

    Three parts:

    1. The questions (15:35).

      15:35 “There are two questions: the first as to the manner, the second as to the form in which resurrection is to take place. The answer to the first. How, etc., is, the body is raised through death (v. 36); to the second, ‘with what kind of body’, the answer, expanded throughout nearly the whole chapter, is, ‘a spiritual body’.” Vincent

      “The sceptics advance their second question to justify the first: they say, ‘the resurrection Paul preaches is absurd.

      How can anyone imagine a new body rising out of the perished corpse a body suitable to the deathless spirit?”

      EXP B.C.

      “It seems that the great objection against the doctrine in the minds of his readers rested on the assumption that our future bodies are to be of the same nature with those which we now have, that is, natural bodies consisting of flesh and blood, and sustained by air, food and sleep. Paul says this is a foolish assumption.” Hodge

    2. The answers through illustrations (15:36-41).

      Illustration #1 – Answer to the first question (15:36).

      15:36 “It is, not, ‘Thou fool, but simply, ‘fool’! an exclamation both of disapprobation and contempt… It was the senselessness of the objection that roused the apostle’s indignation. The body cannot live again because it dies. Fool! Say Paul, a seed cannot live unless it does die.” Hodge

      “’Fool’ ἄφρων taxes the profounder of these questions not with moral obliquity, but with mental stupidity.” EXP B.C.

      “The seed analogy teaches that through dying (decaying in the ground) the seed gives birth by God’s power to a new and different ‘body’, yet one related to the seed it came from (vv. 36b-38).” EXP B.C.

      Illustration #2 – Answer to the second question (15:37-38). 15:37-38 “Meaning the objector’s assumption that either the raised

      body must be the same body, or that there could be no

      resurrection. Paul says: ‘What you sow is one body, and a different body arises,’ yet the identity is preserved.

      Dissolution is not loss of identity. The full heads of wheat are different from the wheat – grain, yet both are wheat.”


      “You cannot infer from looking at a seed what the plant is to be; it is very foolish, therefore, to attempt to determine from

      our present bodies what is to be the nature of our bodies hereafter.” Hodge

      Illustration #3 – Different kinds of bodies (15:39).

      15:39 “If even here, where the general conditions of life are the same, we see such diversity in animal organizations, flesh and blood appearing in so many forms, why should it be assumed that the body hereafter must be the same cumbrous vehicle of the soul that it is now?” Hodge

      Illustration #4 – Difference in Heavenly bodies (15:40-41).

      15:40-41 “So, Paul is arguing, God is able to take similar physical material and organize it differently to accomplish his purposes.” EXP B.C.

      “’Glory’ δόξα luster, beauty of form and color.” Vincent

    3. The revelation (15:42-49).

      1. Characteristics of the resurrected body (15:42-44).

        1. Imperishable

          15:42 “Sums up what has been advanced in vv. 36- 41, and presents it in six words.” EXP B.C.

          The sown here is not burial but our present life.

          “’Perishable’ is now a corruptible body, constantly tending to decay, subject to disease and death, and destined to entire dissolution.”


          “’It is raised an imperishable’ hereafter, it will be imperishable, free from all impurity, and incapable of decay.” Hodge

        2. Glorified

          “’Glory’ i.e. in that resplendent brightness which diffuses light and awakens admiration. It is to be fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Son of God (Philippians 3:21).” Hodge

        3. Powerful

          15:43 “The future body will be instinct with energy, endowed, it may be, with faculties of which we have now no conception.” Hodge

        4. Spiritual

          15:44 “A ‘natural body’ is a body of which the ψυχικόν, or animal life, is the animating principle; and a spiritual body, σῶμα πνευματικόν is a body adapted to the πνευματικόν rational, immortal principle of our nature.” Hodge

          “What a spiritual body is, we know only from Paul’s description, and from the manifestation of Christ in His glorious body. We know that it is incorruptible, glorious, and powerful, adapted to the higher state of existence in Heaven.” Hodge

          “There is also a ‘pneumatic body’; that comes from the Greek word meaning ‘spirit’. It is therefore a spiritual body, governed by the spirit, no longer under the complete control of the Holy Spirit.” Redpath

          “That by spiritual here Paul means completely nonmaterial is incompatible with the whole context, which discusses the differing organizations of material substance. The spiritual body is an imperishable yet utterly real body – one of a different order and having different functions from the earthly body; it is a body given by God Himself – a body glorified with eternal life.” EXP B.C.

      2. The distinction between the natural body and the spiritual body (15:44b-49).

        15:45 “’Last Adam’ – Christ, put over against Adam because of the peculiar relation in which both stand to the race: Adam as the physical, Christ as the spiritual head. Adam the head of the race in its sin, Christ in its redemption.” Vincent

        15:46 “This does not mean simply that the natural body precedes the spiritual body. But it announces, as it were, a general law. The lower precedes the higher – the imperfect the perfect. This is true in all the works of God, in which there is a development. Adam’s earthly state was to be preparatory to a Heavenly one. The present life is like a seed time; the harvest is hereafter.” Hodge

        15:47-49 Illustrate this principle:

        “He illustrates this in vv. 47-49 from Adam, who was made of the dust of the earth, and whose descendants (the whole human race) have natural, earthly bodies. In contrast, ‘the Last Adam’, Christ, came from Heaven into a human body (the incarnation), a body that was glorified following his resurrection (Philippians 3:21). He is the God-Man (John 3:13). Those who belong to Him, Paul says, are also ‘of Heaven’ and will ultimately be like Him (cf. 1 John 3:2).”

        EXP B.C.

        “’Image’ εικόνα is an ‘image’, like that of an emperor’s head on a coin, an exact likeness of someone.” EXP B.C.

        “’Earthly’ χοϊκός loose earth.” EXP B.C.

        15:48 “’The earthly’ is of course Adam, they that are earthly are his descendants. ‘The Heavenly’ is Christ. They that are Heavenly are His risen people. The descendants of Adam derive from him an earthly body like his. Those who are Christ’s are to have a body fashioned like unto His glorious body Philippians 3:21.” Hodge

        There were four things Paul wanted to teach the Corinthians: See EXP B.C.

        1. Some Christians will be alive when Christ comes.

        2. All Christians will receive changed bodies at the Rapture.

        3. The change will be instantaneous for both living and dead believers.

        4. The change will be from one body to another body.

          “’Mystery’ – something revealed, and which could not otherwise be known.” Hodge

          15:49 This is speaking of the future. See Hodge

          “’In victory’ εις νῖκος lit. unto victory, so that victory is to be established.” Vincent

  6. Victory over death (15:50-58).

15:52 “’Last trumpet’ i.e. on the last day. As the trumpet was used for assembling the people or marshalling a host, it became the symbol for expressing the idea of the gathering of a multitude.” Hodge

“’Moment’ ἀτόμῳ from ‘not’ and ἐγκόπτω ‘to cut’, whence our atom. An undivided point of time.” Vincent

“’Twinkling’ ῥιπῇ generally of any rapid movement, as of the feet in running, or the quick darting of a fish.” Vincent

The reference here is not to Christ’s incarnate body but to His resurrected body. See EXP B.C.

15:55 From Hosea 13:14.

“’Sting’ κέντρον in the Septuagint for the Hebrew pestilence. The image is that of a beast with a sting, not death with a goad, driving men.” Vincent

“At this climax Paul breaks into a song of triumph over death, in the strain of Hosea’s rapturous anticipation of Israel’s resurrection from national death.” EXP B.C.

“These are all different forms of expressing the idea that death and the grave are completely conquered.” Hodge

15:56 “The sting of death is sin.”

“That is, death would have no power to injure us if it were not sin. This is true for two reasons:

  1. Because if there were no sin there would be no death. Death is by sin Romans 5:12.

  2. Because sin gives death, when it has been introduced, all its terrors. If sin be pardoned, death is harmless. It can inflict on evil. It becomes a mere transition from a lower to a higher state.” Hodge

    “Death, while it is still death and naturally feared is robbed of its sting, viz, the sense of guilt and dread of judgment.”

    EXP B.C.

    “’The power of sin is the law’ it is the law of God with its stringent moral demands that strengthens the power of sin by showing us how sinful we are, and thus condemns us.”

    EXP B.C.

    “While death gets from sin its sting, sin in turn receives from the law its power… That the law of God, imposing on sinful man impossible yet necessary tasks, promising salvation upon terms he can never fulfill and threatening death upon non-fulfillment, in effect exasperate his sin and involves him in hopeless guilt.” EXP B.C.

    15:57 “But death does not have the final victory! Hear the glorious closing exclamation (v. 57).” EXP B.C.

    Cp. Romans 7:25a – “The believer’s ‘victory’ lies in deliverance through Christ’s propitiatory death from the

    condemnation of the law, and thereby from ‘the power of sin’, and thereby from the bitterness of death. Law, sin, and death were bound into a firm chain, only dissoluble by ‘the word of the cross’ – God’s power to the saved.” EXP B.C.

  3. A practical application (15:58).

    15:58 Four applications:

    1. “’Be steadfast’ γίνεσθε ἑδραῖοι stresses constant Christian stability.” EXP B.C.

    2. “’Immovable’ – the former (steadfast) refers to their firm establishment in the faith; the latter to that establishment as related to assault from temptation or persecution.” Vincent

    1. Always abounding in the work of the Lord.

      “In this work we should always be abounding… i.e. be abundant.”

      Work ἔργῳ ordinary word for work.

    2. Knowing that your toil is not in vain…”

“’Toil’ κόπος the addition of the word KOTTOS to ἔργῳ suggest that work for the Lord is to be hard work and that it involves hardship and suffering.” EXP B.C.

“’Knowing’ εἰδότες implies assured knowledge, such as springs from the confirmation of faith given in this chapter.” EXP B.C.

G. Question #7 – Areas of Stewardship (16:1-24).

  1. Money (16:1-4).

    “Apart from keeping his promise and meeting a great need, Paul’s greatest motive for taking up the offering was to help unite Jewish and Gentile believers.” Wiersbe

    Although this was a special offering we can learn some basic principles:

    1. Giving is an act of worship.

    2. Giving should be systematic.

    3. Giving was personal an individual.

    4. Giving is to be proportionate.

      “Paul made it clear in 2 Corinthian 8-9 that Christian giving is a grace, the outflow of the grace of God in our lives and not the result of promotion or pressure.”

    5. Money is to be handled honestly.

      2 Corinthians 8:16-24 gives more information on the ‘finance committee’ that assisted Paul. (see Wiersbe)

      “What a coming down to earth! Well, of course – because a Christian is as man whose heart is in Heaven, but whose feet are on the ground. Every glimpse of future glory is given to the child of God in order to encourage him to present-day growth in consecration and responsibilities.” Redpath

      16:1 “This section begins with the same formula, ‘no about’… that was used in 7:1 and 12:1. The Corinthians had evidently asked about the collection to be taken up for God’s people at Jerusalem (v. 3). Paul must have spoken to them earlier about it, as he also did later (2 Corinthians 8-9).” EXP B.C.

      “It is a very common opinion that the poverty of the Christians in Jerusalem arose from the community of goods introduced among them at the beginning; an error which arose from an excess of love over knowledge. In thirty years, that mistake may have produce its legitimate effects.”


      16:2 Every person was to give not just the rich. “It was the religious effect which these gifts were to produce in promoting Christian fellowship, in evincing the truth and power of the Gospel, and in calling forth gratitude and praise to God, even more than the relief of the temporal necessities of the poor, that Paul desired to see accomplished, 2 Corinthians 9:12-14.” Hodge

      “’Put aside and save’ – most modern commentators say, ‘at home’… To this interpretation it may be objected that the whole expression is thus obscure and awkward. ‘Let everyone at home place, treasuring up what he has to give’. The words do not mean to lay by at home, but to lay by himself. The direction is nothing more definite than, let him place by himself, i.e. let him take to himself what he means to give. What he was to do with it, or where he was to deposit it, is not expressed. The word θησαυρίζων means putting into the treasury, or hoarding up, and is perfectly consistent with the assumption that the place of deposit was some common treasury, and not every man’s own house… [Also] the end which the apostle desired to accomplish could not otherwise have been affected. He wished that there might be no collections when he came. But if every man had his money laid by at home, the collection would be still to be made.” Hodge

      EXP B.C. agrees.

      “’No collections… when I come.’ Christians beneficence is to be the outcome of a settled principle, not of an occasional impulse.” Vincent

      “’As he may prosper’ lit. whatever has gone well with him. Their contribution was to be in proportion to their means.”


      16:3-4 “It was to be properly handled by messengers approved by the Corinthians themselves (v. 3) i.e., those who, bearing letters of recommendation to the church at Jerusalem, carried the gift. Paul makes provision for approved

      messengers to avoid any suspicion of wrongdoing in connection with the funds (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:16-21).”

      EXP B.C.

      Acts 20:1-4 shows a large number of Gentile believers traveling with Paul no doubt for this purpose.

      “If the apostle deemed it wise to place himself above suspicion, and to avoid giving even the most malicious the opportunity of calling his integrity in question, as is intimated here, and expressly stated in 2 Corinthians 8:19-20, it must be wise for other men and ministers to act with equal caution.” Hodge

      Paul would either send these men on to Jerusalem with letters or possibly they would travel with him.

  2. Opportunity (16:5-9).

    16:5-6 “It appears from 2 Corinthians 1:15-16, that Paul’s original plan was to go directly from Ephesus to Corinth, and from there into Macedonia, and then back again to Corinth, and thence to Jerusalem. He now informs them that he would go to Macedonia before going to Corinth. So eager were the false teachers in Corinth to find grounds of complaint against him, that they made this change a grievous offense, and a proof that he was not to be depended upon either as to his purpose or his doctrine. This is apparent from the vindication of himself in the second epistle.” Hodge

    16:7-9 “His work, Paul feels, is not yet finished at Ephesus because there is a great door of opportunity open there for him…The reference to Pentecost (the Jewish festival held on the fiftieth day after Passover) means that Paul expected to stay at Ephesus till well on into spring, then go during the summer to Macedonia and finally spend the winter in Corinth. The following spring, by Pentecost time, the apostle was at Jerusalem (Acts 20:6-16).” EXP B.C.

    “’If the Lord permits it’ – emphasizes Paul’s complete dependence of God’s will for his life. The apostle’s plan for a

    future stay with the Corinthians is completely in the Lord’s hands.” EXP B.C.

    “There were two reasons, therefore, for his remaining at Ephesus, his abundant opportunities of usefulness, and the necessity of withstanding the adversaries of the Gospel.”


    “The door is open, and now what will it be like? Will there be overwhelming blessing, mighty revival? No, as a matter of fact, at Ephesus it was a battle from beginning to end. After it was over, Paul’s comment was, ‘I have fought with beast at Ephesus’ (1 Corinthians 15:32).” Redpath

  3. People (16:10-24).

    1. Timothy (16:10-11).

      “’Without cause to be afraid.’ It was not fear of personal violence, but the fear of not being regarded with respect and confidence… ‘For he is doing the work of the Lord,’ If they would recognize this, Timothy would be satisfied.” Hodge

      “Despise” See 1 Timothy 4:12

    2. Apollos (16:12).

      “The way Paul brings up the matter of Apollos suggests that the Corinthians had asked about him and had perhaps suggested that he visit them. The text implies that Apollos was working independently of Paul, for Paul could only strongly urge him to go.” EXP B.C.

    3. General conduct (16:13-14).

      1. Be on the alert.

        That their spiritual enemies might not gain an advantage over them.

      2. Stand firm in the faith.

        “Do not consider every point of doctrine an open question. Matters of faith, doctrines for which you have a clear revelation of God, such for example as the doctrine of the resurrection, are to be considered settled, and, as among Christians, no longer matters of dispute.” Hodge

      3. Act like men.

        “The circumstances of the Corinthians called for great courage. They had to withstand the contempt of the learned, and the persecutions of the powerful.” Hodge

      4. Be strong.

        “Not only courage, but strength was needed to withstand their enemies, and to bear up under the trials which were to come upon them.” Hodge

      5. Love.

        “The preceding parts of the epistle show how much need there was for this exhortation.” Hodge

    4. Household of Stephanas (16:15-18).

      “He urges the Corinthians to submit to the household of Stephanas and others like them because they were totally committed to serving God’s people… That this delegation had supplied what was lacking may be taken to mean that their coming had encouraged Paul by showing him that the Corinthians were at least willing to ask his advice.” EXP B.C.

      “Acknowledge” verse 18 – repeating in different words the instruction of verse 16.

    5. Aquila, Priscilla and others (16:19-20).

      “The kiss of respect and friendship was customary in the ancient East. When the Corinthians receive this letter and read it in church, Paul encourages them to give one another

      this kiss of affection as a pledge of their spirit of unity and forgiveness.” EXP B.C.

      “As all of the brethren in this verse are distinguished from the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla, mentioned in verse 19, it may be inferred that only a portion, and probably a small portion of the Christians of Ephesus were accustomed to meet in that place.” Hodge

    6. Conclusion (16:21-24).

16:22 “’Maranatha’ – means ‘The Lord comes’. It is a solemn warning. The Lord, whom men refuse to recognize and love, is about to come in the glory of His Father and with all His holy angels, to take vengeance on those who know not God, and who obey not the Gospel.” Hodge

Luck says this was a greeting among early believers and could either be a statement or a prayer.

“If any man loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, he shall be condemned at the coming of the Lord. Paul is just stating an inevitable fact.” Redpath

16:23 “As to be anathema from Christ, to be the subject of His curse, is everlasting perdition; so, His favor is eternal life.”



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