« AnteriorContinuar »
tion grant you to be likeminded one toward | from Jerusalem, and round abont unto Illyanother 'according to Christ Jesus:
ricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of 6 That ye may with one mind and one Christ. mouth glorify God, even the Father of our 20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as should build upon another man's foundation : Christ also received us to the glory of God. 21 But as it is written, 'To whom he was
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minis- not spoken of, they shall see: and they that ter of the circumcision for the truth of God, to have not heard shall understand. confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 22 For which cause also I hare been
9 And that the Gentiles might glorify much hindered from coming to you. God for his mercy; as it is written, 'For this 23 But now having no more place in these cause I will confess to thee among the Gen- parts, and having a great desire these many tiles, and sing unto thy name.
years to come unto you; 10 And again he saith, 'Rejoice, ye Gen- 24 Whensoerer I take my journey into tiles, with his people.
Spain, I will come to you : for I trust to see 11 And again, •Praise the Lord, all ye you in my journey, and to be brought on my Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. way thitherward by you, if first I be some
12 And again, Esaias saith, "There shall what filled "with your company. be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to 25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to mireign over the Gentiles; in him shall the nister unto the saints. Gentiles trust.
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all and Achaia to make a certain contribution joy and peace in believing, that ye may for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. abound in hope, through the power of the 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their Holy Ghost.
debtors they are. For if the Gentiles hare 14 And I myself also am persuaded of been made partakers of their spiritual things you, my brethren, that ye also are full of their duty is also to minister unto them in goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also carnal things. to admonish one another.
28 When therefore I have performed this 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written and have sealed to them this fruit, I will the more boldly unto you in some sort, as come by you into Spain. putting you in mind, because of the grace 29 And I am sure that, when I come unto that is given to me of God.
I shall come in the fulness of the bless16 That I should be the minister of Jesus ing of the Gospel of Christ. Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gos- 30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the pel of God, that the "offering up of the Gen. Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the lore of tiles might be acceptable, being sanctified the Spirit, that ye strive together with me by the Holy Ghost.
in your prayers to God for me; 17 I have therefore whereof I may glory 31 That I may be delivered from them through Jesus Christ in those things which that do not believe in Judæa ; and that my pertain to God.
service which I have for Jerusalem may be 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of accepted of the saints; those things which Christ hath not wrought 3:2 That I may come unto you with joy by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by by the will of God, and
you word and deed,
refreshed. 19 Through mighty signs and wonders, 33 Now the God of peace be with by the power of the Spirit of God; so that Amen.
14 3 Or, after the example of.
8 Or, sacrificing 10 Or, many ways, or, oftentimes. 11 Gr. with you--verse 32. Verse 16. “That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified,” &c.—Whitby thinks there is here a plain allusion to the Jewish sacrifices, offered by the priest, and which were sanctified or made acceptable and savoury by the libation offered with them.
19. “ Illyricum.”—Paul's visit to Illyricum must have been when he traversed Macedonia, as this province adjoined that country on the north-west. Luke does not, however, notice in the Acts that he proceeded so far as Illyricum any more than he notices his proposed journey into Spain, or his actual journey into Arabia (2 Cor. xi). The precise limits of Illyricum cannot be defined with much precision, as some ancient writers assign it larger limits than others probably because the people by whom it was inhabited had extended themselves beyond its proper limits. Takea ia
4 Psal. 18. 49.
> Deut. 32. 43.
6 Psal. 117. 1.
Isa. 32. 16.
7 Isa. 11. 10. 1' Cor. 9. 11.
13 Or, are disubcdient.
an extensive sense, Illyricum may be said to have comprehended nearly all the eastern coast of the Adriatic Gulf, from Istria to the Strait of Otranto, and to have extended north-eastward and eastward to the borders of Pannonia, Upper Mæsia, and Macedonia. As thus described, it includes the coast countries of Liburnia and Dalmatia, which some exclude from it. Dalmatia is mentioned in 2 Tim. iv. 10; and is to be regarded as the name of the southern part of Illyricum. The whole was, of course, at this time a Roman province. In the second century we read of a church in Illyricum, whose bishop Eleutherius is mentioned as a noted teacher, a native of Rome, whose mother Anthia had been converted by St. Paul." We also find that there were Christian churches in Illyricum, with bishops over them, from thence onward to the eighth century. See Magdeburg's · Eccl. Hist.' in the several centuries.
24. “My journey into Spain.”—See the introductory note. The apostle's plan of taking a journey into Spain by way of Rome was frustrated by the circumstances which occurred to him in Judea, and by his appeal to Cæsar, which occasioned his being sent to Rome as a prisoner. Whether he subsequently resumed and accomplished his intention of visiting Spain, is very uncertain. Some think that he never performed this journey; but others affirm that he did, between his two appearances before Nero. One thing is observable, that just before (verse 20) Paul announces his intention, he says that it was his object to preach the Gospel where Christ had not been named, lest he should build upon another man's foundation ; which obviously enough suggests that the Gospel had not hitherto been preached in Spain ; and, so far, discountenances the legend according to which St. James had already been fifteen years in that country, and had established several churches there.
13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and CHAPTER XVI.
his mother and mine. 3 Paul willeth the brethren to greet many, 17 and 14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, adviseth them to take heed of those which cause
Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which dissension and offences, 21 and after sundry sulutations endeth with praise and thanks to God.
are with them.
15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, I COMMEND unto you Phebe our sister, which and his sister, and Olympas, and all the is a servant of the church which is at Cen- saints which are with them. chrea:
16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as be- The churches of Christ salute you. cometh saints, and that ye assist her in what- 17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark soever business she hath need of you: for them which cause divisions and offences conshe hath been a succourer of many, and of trary to the doctrine which ye
have learned ; myself also.
and avoid them. °3 Greet 'Priscilla and Aquila my helpers 18 For they that are such serve not our in Christ Jesus:
Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly ; and 4 Who have for my life laid down their own by good words and fair speeches deceive necks : unto whom 'not only I give thanks, the hearts of the simple. but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 19 For your obedience is come abroad
5 Likewise greet the church that is in unto all men. I am glad therefore on your their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epe- behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto netus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto that which is good, and 'simple concerning Christ.
evil. 6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour 20 And the God of peace shall bruise on us.
Satan under your feet shortly. The grace 7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kins- of our Lord Jesus Christo be with you. men, and my fellow prisoners, who are of Amen. note among the apostles, who also were in 21 "Timotheus my workfellow, and Lu. Christ before me.
cius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, 8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. salute you.
9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, 22 | Tertius, who wrote this epistle, saand Stachys my beloved.
lute you in the Lord. 10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. 23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole Salute them which are of Aristobulus' 'hous- church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamhold.
berlain of the city' saluteth you, and Quar11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet tus a brother. them that be of the 'houshold of Narcissus, 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which are in the Lord.
be with you all. Amen. 12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved you according to my Gospel
, and the prea Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. ing of Jesus Christ, according to the reve1 Acts 18.2, 26. ? Or, friends. 3 Or, friends. + 1 Cor. 16. 20. 2 Cor. 13.12, I Pet, 5.14 • Or, harmless. & Or, tread.
7 Acts 16, 1,
lation of the mystery, 'which was kept secret 27 To God only wise, be glory through since the world began,
Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. 26 But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the Written to the Romans from Corinthus, commandment of the everlasting God, made and sent by Phebe servant of the church known to all nations for the obedience of faith: at Cenchrea.
8 Ephes. 3.9. Col. 1. 26. Verse 1. " Phebe." - Phæbe was a name of the moon (Diana), as Phæbus was of the sun. It was therefore a most decidedly heathen name, being that of an idol. It appears therefore that the Christian converts did not think it nes sary, on principle, to change the names they had previously borne, when taken froin the heathen deities. We do not feel quite assured that, as some think, the name proves Phebe to have been a Gentile previously to her conversion; as it does not appear that the Jews residing in foreign parts had any objection to such names. One eminent disciple. who was certainly a Jew, bore a name, Apollos, taken from a very ancient idol, Apollo, or the sun.
" A serrant of ihe church."- Properly, a deaconess. The office of the deaconess, in the primitive church, was, for the women, analogous to that of the deacon for the men. She attended the baptism of female converts, if she aid est, as some think, baptize them; she visited the sick and poor females, and distributed to them the contributions of the church, and also, as occasion required, administered exhortation, comfort, and instruction. Such an office, beld ty females, was indispensably necessary in the churches of Asia and Greece, since the women lived in considerable sec.tsion, and for men to have visited and conversed with them at their own houses would have been accounted indecers, and might have brought a scandal upon the Christian profession. Phebe, it will be observed, was deaconess of a church in Greece, where this class of notions prevailed. Whether there were any in the church at Rome, we do not know. But if so, it was rot necessary that the women should be left so much to their care as in Greece ; as the intercourse between men and women was there under much less restriction. Cornelius Nepos speaks clearly on this point: “A great many things in our (the Roman) customs are decent, which are accounted scandalous among then the Greeks). For which of the Romans thinks it a shame to take his wife to a feast? or whose wife keeps not the best room of the house, and converses with company? But it is quite otherwise in Greece, where the wife is never admitie to a feast, unless of relations; and always keeps in a retired part of the house, which is called the woman's apartment,' whither no one comes to see her who is not her near relation."
3. “ Priscilla and Aquila."— It will be remembered that Paul became acquainted with this excellent couple at Coriath (Acts xviii. 2), to which city they had come ailer having been banished Italy. It now appears that they had returned to Rome. We do not know that the edict of Claudius for the banishment of the Jews was formally repealed; but ca his death, and when the government of Nero appeared at first so mild and humane, we may easily conceive that the Jews ventured gradually to return home; and the first who returned being unmolested, others would follow with less hesitation. Be this as it may, it appears that the Christian church, which during their absence must have cons:sted exclusively of the Gentiles who had been converted, was now restored to its former mixed condition by the return of the banished converts of Jewish origin. It seems probable that most of the persons named in this chapter were among those who, like Aquila and Priscilla, became acquainted with St. Paul during their exile, and were now returned to Rome. It is evident he names some of them as being personally acquainted with them. The other persons, appareaty Gentile converts, to whom his affectionate salutations are sent, are probably those of whose good report in the church he had been informed by the exiles.
11. " Them that be of the houshold of Narcissus.”_"The Christian religion had been received into some of the prin cipal houses in Rome, for instance in those of Aristobulns and Narcissus. It is true that the masters of the families are not saluted, but only those of the household: but under these we must not reckon merely abjeet slaves, according to the modern acceptation of the term, for in the great houses of Rome they who bore this name were frequently men of great importance. Of Aristobulus we have no knowledge ; but Narcissus, whose household St. Paul salotes is perhaps the same person as the freedman of Claudius of this name, who stood in high estimation with the empezu. and was appointed his cabinet secretary. The moral character of this man was not the best, and therefore it was a loss to Christianity that he was not among the members of the Christian community at Rome.” (Michaelis's • Introduction,' vi. 92.) This conjecture as to the Narcissus here named is a very common one, and its probability is strengthese by the fact, that Narcissus was not a usual name at Rome, being, in fact, not a Roman one; neither was Narcissus a Roman, as of course appears from his having been a slave of Claudius.
16. • With an holy kiss."- We have had more than one occasion to mention how common the kiss is in the East as an act of civil salutation. So it was anciently, among both the Jews and Gentiles. It was continued by the early Christians in their assemblies, as a token of their perfect love to one another, and it took place after the prayer, and before the celebration of the Lord's supper. Doddridge says, " Chastely and prudently as it was managed, it seems to have been the occasion of those false and scandalous reports which were so industriously propagated among the heathen of the adulterous and incestuous practices in the Christian assemblies; on which account it seems to have been land aside very early." We rather doubt that these reports had any such origin as this: for we agree with Whitby in eos cluding that, according to the practice of the Jewish synagogues, and the still existing practice of the Eastern churches, the men and women had separate places in the early Christian assemblies; and that "the kiss of peace " was given by the men to the men, and by the women to the women, apart from each other. To this effect Whitby cites a directioa from the so called, Apostolical Institutions, " These things being done, let the men apart, and the women apart, salute one another with a kiss in the Lord.” Indeed, Origen seems to say that the practice was peculiar to the men,
22. “ I Tertius, who wrote this epistle.”— It appears to have been the usual practice of Paul to dietate his epistles to an amanuensis, adding a few concluding lines with his own hand, which served to authenticate the letter to those for whom it was destined. There is nothing singular in this practice which was at the time—and at all times-common among men of learning or business. It is commonly thought that the “Tertius" who wrote this epistle, was Silas, who was certainly Paul's companion at this time, and whose Hebrew name is of the same signification as the Latin one of Tertius. it is very possible that Silas, in writing to the Roman Christians, should exhibit his name in a Latia form ; but it is impossible to arrive at any certainty in the matter.
23. “ The chamberlain of the city,” nixovopos ons Todios, answering to the Quæstor Urbanus, among the Romans, the city-treasurer or steward, whose office it was to receive and disburse the public monies. This was a civic office of great trust and honour.
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the After his salutation and thanksgiving, 10 he ex
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all horteth them to unity, and 12 reproveth their dis- speak the same thing, and that there be no sensions. 18 God destroyeth the wisdom of the divisions among you; but that ye be perwise, 21 by the foolishness of preaching, and 26 fectly joined together in the same mind and calleth not the wise, mighty, and noble, but 27, 28
in the same judgment. the foolish, weak, and men of no account.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of AUL, call- you, my brethren, by them which are of the ed to be an house of Chloe, that there are contentions apostle of
among you. Jesus Christ 12 Now this I say, that every one of you through the saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and will of God, I of Cephas; and I of Christ. and Sosthe- 13 Is Christ divided ? was Paul crucified nes our bro- for you? or were ye baptized in the name ther,
of Paul ?
say that I had bap-
ed in Christ baptized any other. Jesus, 'called to be saints, with all that in 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, every place call upon the name of Jesus but to preach the Gospel : 8not with wisdom Christ our Lord, both their's and our's : of 'words, lest the cross of Christ should be
3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God made of none effect. our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, them that perish foolishness; but unto us for the grace of God which is given you by which are saved it is the power of God. Jesus Christ;
19 For it is written, "I will destroy the 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nohim, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; thing the understanding of the prudent.
6 Even as the testimony of Christ was 20 12 Where is the wise? where is the confirmed in you:
scribe? where is the disputer of this world ? 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; wait- hath not God made foolish the wisdom of ing for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: this world ?
8 Who shall also confirm you unto the 21 13For after that in the wisdom of God - end, that ye may be blameless in the day of the world by wisdom knew not God, it our Lord Jesus Christ.
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching 9 ‘God is faithful, by whom ye were called to save them that believe. unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ 22 For the "Jews require a sign, and the our Lord.
Greeks seek after wisdom:
1 Acts 15. 9.
* Rom. 1.7.
8 2 Pet. 1. 16.
3 Gr. revclation.
10 Rom. 1. 16.
* 1 Thess. 5. 24.
5 Gr. schisms.
6 Acts 18. 24. 13 Rom. 1. 20.
7 Acts 18, 8. 14 Matt. 12. 38.
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto , and God hath chosen the weak things of the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the the world to confound the things which are Greeks foolishness;
mighty; 24 But unto them which are called, both 28 And base things of the world, and Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, things which are despised, hath God chosen, and the wisdom of God.
yea, and things which are not, to bring to 25 Because the foolishness of God is nought things that are: wiser than men; and the weakness of God 29 That no flesh should glory in his preis stronger than men.
sence. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who that not many wise men after the flesh, not of God is made unto us wisdom, and rightemany mighty, not many noble, are called : ousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish 31 That, according as it is written, "He things of the world to confound the wise; that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
15 Jer. 9. 23, 242 Cor. 10. 17.
I. Corinthians.—The church at Corinth was founded by St. Paul himself, under the circumstances related by S Luke in the Acts of the Apostles xviii. 1-19. It is there seen that he visited the city on his first journey in Europe
, and remained in it a year and a half. Silas and Timothy being his assistants. As was his custom, he preached the Gospel first of all to ihe Jews; but found them as untractable here as at Thessalonica: some of their principal persons did however join him, among whom were Crispus and Sosthenes, chief rulers of the synagogue. Seeing how obdurate the Jews were, and hearing the blasphemies which they uttered, the Apostle “ shook his raiment, and said unto then, Your blood te on your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles." Among the Gentia (including of course those heathen who had been previously converted to Judaism) he met with better success: and those who were added to the church from among them, appear to have continued his faithful adherents in the midst of the divisions which afterwards arose ; although when stimulated by the opposition of Judaizing Christians, they were led to push his doctrine of Christian liberty to an unwarrantable extreme, which occasioned him great regret, and drev from him the advice and reproofs which this Epistle contains. But this occurred after St. Paul had left Corinth. After having remained eighteen months in that city, he took a journey into Asia, visited Ephesus, Jerusalem, and 15tioch ; and then passing through Galatia and Phrygia, returned to Ephesus. He remained there three years, and it was towards the close of this period that the present Epistle was written. This appears from ch, xvi. 8, where he espresses his intention of remaining in that city till Pentecost; after which he proposed to re-visit Greece, and hoped ta spend the winter at Corinth. This consequently fixes the date of the Epistle to the year 57, in the third, or at the be ginning of the fourth year of the emperor Nero.
In the meantime great divisions had arisen in the church of Corinth, and a strong party had been formed against Paul and the views which the converts in that city had adopted from him. That these opponents were converted Jews, who insisted on the continued obligations of obedience to the law, in opposition to the Christian liberty which St. Paul advocated, is quite evident: but it is not so clear who they were. We are inclined to take Hug's opinion, that the converted Jews who declared themselves the promulgators and defenders of the doctrines of Cephas (Peter) and James (see the note on verse 12), had, since Paul's departure, come to Corinth from different places, - to all appearaa from Palestine (2 Cor. xi. 4), and could therefore boast of having had intercourse with the apostles at Jerusalem, and of an acquaintance with their principles. “They were not even,” adds Hug, “ of the better sort of Jews, but those who adhered to the doctrines of the Sadducees, and though they were even now converted to Christianity, while they spaše zealously in favour of the law, they were undermining the hopes of the pious, and exciting doubts against the resur rection: so that Paul, from regard to the teachers whose disciples they professed to be, was obliged to refute them from the testimony of James and Cephas.” •Introduction,' vol. ii. p. 371.
The disorders which attended this state of division, and ihe deplorable extravagancies which resulted from it, are fully described in this Epistle, and will engage our attention as we proceed through it. It appears that the Gentile converts warmly asserted, against their Jewish opponents, the soundness of the views they had received from St. Paul: but that they did not hold those views in a right spirit, or were carried away by the vehemence of their opposition, appears from the fact that the parties did not confine their dispute to words and reasonings, but that each party strofe in every possible form and with the most exaggerated effect, to display in its conduct the opposite principles by which it was actuated. To this end, the Judaizing Christians needed only to practise a rigid observance of the Law, as intes preted by the traditions. We can therefore guess tolerably well what they did: although it happens that the Epistle treats chiefly of the excesses of St. Paul's own adherents, and appears to have been addressed almost exclusively to them.
It appears that the apostle received the first distinct account of this state of affairs at Corinth from some members of the household of Chloe. He had also before this been joined by Sosthenes and Apollos (verse 1; ch. xvi. 12), who had doubtless supplied him with much information on the subject; and besides this, the Corinthians themselves had sent him a mission, consisting of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, with an epistle soliciting his advice ou ranous important matters. This he not only supplies, but takes notice of the other accounts which he had received. The second Epistle will make us acquainted with some of the effects which the one now before us was instrumental in producing.
Verse 2. “ Corinth."-This large and wealthy city was the metropolis of Achaia, and situated upon the isthmus of the same name which joins the Peloponnesus to the continent. Its situation was highly favourable for that commerce which ultimately rendered it one of the most wealthy and luxurious cities of the world. For being between two ports, the one of which was open to the eastern and the other to the western navigator, while its geographical situatioa placed it, as it were, in the centre of the civilized world, it became the point where the merchants from the three quarters of the globe met and exchanged their treasures. It was also celebrated for the Isthmian Games, to which the apostle makes some striking and remarkably appropriate allusions in his Epistles to the Corinthians. Nor should it be unnoticed that in the centre of the city
there stood a famous temple of Venus, in which a thousand priestesses of the