Jul 12 2008
Please Vote For This Post On Pickafig
1 Cor 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you. A thanksgiving usually follows the greetings in Paul’s letters, and are very important. Peter Ellis, in his SEVEN PAULINE LETTERS writes: The thanksgiving and prayer , containing an expression of gratitude and prayer to God, expressed in a long periodic sentence whose function, as P. Schubert says, is to ‘focus the epistolary situation, i.e., to introduce the vital theme of the letter’….As an aid to interpretation, the thanksgiving is valuable for the evidence it gives by anticipation of Paul’s purpose in writing as well as for its function in setting the tone the letter will take” (Ellis, P.F. Seven Pauline Letters [Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1981], pg 9). The Greek verb eucharisto used here suggests that perhaps Paul is speaking of his prayers at the liturgy. The reference to always is taken by some to mean that Paul had the mystical gift of continual prayer, but he probably means nothing more than “whenever I thank God, I thank Him concerning you.”
For the grace of God which is given you in Christ Jesus. As I noted in my treatment of the letter’s greeting, whenever Paul uses the word grace in a letters address, he is referring to the fullness of God’s salvific bounty rather than specific gifts (see following verses). Here, Paul appears to have in mind specific gifts (see following verses.
1 Cor 1:5 That you are in every way enriched by him, in all utterance and all knowledge. That in Greek is hoti, which is causal. What causes Paul to thank God is the enrichment he has bestowed on the Corinthians. The Corinthians have received many charismatic gifts, which Paul notes with the rather odd phrase “in every way enriched…” Sometimes the verse is translated to read “you have been completely enriched,” or “in everything thing you are enriched.” However, “in every way” is preferable given the circumstances of the letter. The phrase can imply order, and given the disorders in the Church vis a vis the charismatic gifts of speech (utterance) and knowledge, it is probably order which Paul wants to highlight (see 1 Cor 12:4-31). Every way, all utterance, all knowledge are totality words, emphasizing abundance. It appears that the Corinthians have become wise in their own estimation of themselves (1 Cor 1:26-31), the abundance of gifts which they have received are being viewed by them as some sort of an award from God (1 Cor 4:7), hence Paul’s insistence in verse 4 on “the grace of God which is given you in Christ Jesus”, and on “enriched by him” in verse 5. The verbs are passive, emphasizing the divine initiative. Further, “in Christ Jesus” emphasizes his mediatorial function (and consequent subordination of the Corinthians). “By him” emphasizes the Father as source of their enrichment. In light of chapter 12, utterance (speech) and knowledge appear to be the gifts most widely received and most widely abused.
1 Cor 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed among you. Even as is a causal construction (Greek: kathos). Paul continues his subtle critique of the Corinthians views here. The gifts have come about only as a result of the testimony of Christ; Paul’s preaching of the Gospel of the crucified and risen Lord. The message of the cross and the purpose of God’s ministers will form the subject matter of the first part of the body of the letter (1 Cor 1:10-4:16).
1 Cor 1:7 As a result you are not lacking in any gift. The gifts exist as confirmation (vs 6) of the Gospel, the power of God (1 Cor 1:18). It is only because of the Gospel which comes from God through Christ, that the Corinthians have the gifts they have.
As you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. I.e., his second coming. The gifts are oriented towards this event and ought not to be abused. Paul will on a number of occasions in this letter refer to the end time. One end time event will be his special concern in chapter 15, namely, the resurrection of the dead. Concerning that event, the Corinthians had some mistaken ideas.
1 Cor 1:8 Who shall also maintain you unto the end, that you be unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Continues the end time focus. Maintain is related to the word confirmed in verse 6. The verse emphasizes the faithfulness of Christ and should not be pushed into proving the idea of the “assurance of salvation.” Sinful and unfaithful Christians can hardly presume on the faithfulness of Christ or the Father (vs 9) at the judgment (1 Cor 10:6-13; 2 Peter 2:20-22).
1 Cor 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you are called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. God’s faithfulness is one of the dominant “God Motifs” of the Scripture. God who has called us to be holy (vs 2) has done so for the purpose of bringing us into fellowship (Greek: koinonia) with His son. Christians are called upon to maintain that fellowship (koinonia) among themselves by avoiding divisions (1 Cor 1:10-17), especially at the Eucharist, which is a participation (koinoneo) in the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor 10:16-17).