In this chapter the Apostle, after greeting the Corinthian Christians, warns them against sects and divisions, and exhorts them to unity.
1. Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes.
Called to be an Apostle by the will of God. Not by my own will, or yours, like the self-appointed teachers of whom I have to complain. St Thomas observes: Would to God all prelates could be said to be appointed by the will of God, and not his indignation and wrath, for the sins of those who are subject to them.
Our brother Sosthenes. He was the chief of the synagogue at Corinth, and was beaten by the pagans before the judgment seat of Gallio, in the tumult which preceded St Paul’s departure from Corinth, as related in Acts 18:17. He then attached himself to the Apostle and accompanied him to Ephesus. Being a person of influence and authority, well known in Corinth, he obtained the honor of being associated with St Paul in the title of this Epistle.
2. To the Church of God which is at Corinth, sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place, theirs and ours.
Called to be saints. Called effectually so as to be sanctified in Baptism.
With all who call upon the name of the Lord. It was thus a circular Epistle, addressed not only to the Corinthians, but to all Churches throughout the world.
3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, from whom are all good gifts (James 1:17); and from our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are given to us great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). He makes no mention of the Holy Spirit, because, St Thomas says, his presence is grace and peace.
4. I give thanks to my God always for you in the grace of God, which is given you in Christ Jesus.
5. That in all things you are become rich in him, in every word, and in all knowledge.
6. As the testimony of Christ is confirmed in you:
7. So that there is nothing wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8. Who also will confirm you to the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9. God is faithful, by whom you have been called into the society of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
(vss 5-9). That in all things you are become rich. This is the grace of God, given them in Jesus Christ, not that they are rich in worldly goods, as some of them were, but rich in the possession of Christ, in his faith, an din the communion of His Church, and of Christian hope; and rich also in every word, and in all knowledge, that is in the gift of languages, and in the knowledge of divine things, imparted by the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is doubtless said with special reference to the more perfect among them. There were others whom he addresses in a tone of charitable rebuke further on. These gifts, he continues in verse 6, are a proof and testimony of the truth of the Gospel you have embraced. There is no spiritual gift which God can confer on you, which he has not bestowed, until the second coming of Christ, for which you wait. This has a side-reference to some who did not believe in the resurrection of the body, and the coming of Christ at the last day. God give you the gift of perseverance, that you may be blameless on that day. And this I hope, from confidence in God’s fidelity in his promises, who intended your salvation when he called you to the high dignity of association and communion with his Son Jesus Christ. It would seem that at that period the Apostle expected a near approach of the coming of Christ, and the end of the world.