Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 Corinthians
Book: 1 Corinthians
Chapter: 1

A Salutation and thanksgiving. (1-9) Exhortation to brotherly
Love, and reproof for divisions. (10-16) The doctrine of a
crucified Saviour, as advancing the Glory of God, (17-25) and
humbling the Creature before him. (26-31)

1-9 All Christians are By Baptism dedicated and devoted to
Christ, and are under strict obligations to be holy. But in the
true Church of God are all who are sanctified in Christ Jesus,
called to be saints, and who Call upon him as God manifest in
the Flesh, for all the blessings of Salvation; who acknowledge
and obey him as their Lord, and as Lord of all; it includes No
other persons. Christians are distinguished from the profane and
atheists, that they dare not live without Prayer; and they are
distinguished from Jews and pagans, that they Call On the name
of Christ. Observe how often in these verses the Apostle repeats
the words, Our Lord Jesus Christ. He feared not to make too
frequent or too honourable mention of him. To all who called
upon Christ, the Apostle gave his usual Salutation, desiring, in
their behalf, the pardoning Mercy, sanctifying Grace, and
comforting peace of God, through Jesus Christ. Sinners can have
No peace with God, nor any from him, but through Christ. He
gives thanks for their Conversion to the Faith of Christ; that
Grace was given them By Jesus Christ. They had been enriched By
him with all Spiritual Gifts. He speaks of utterance and
knowledge. And where God has given these two Gifts, he has given
great power for usefulness. These were Gifts of the Holy Ghost,
By which God bore Witness to the apostles. Those that wait for
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be kept By him to the
End; and those that are So, will be blameless in the Day of
Christ, made So By rich and free Grace. How glorious are the
hopes of such a privilege; to be kept By the power of Christ,
from the power of our corruptions and Satan's temptations!

10-16 In the great things of religion be of one mind; and where
there is not unity of sentiment, still let there be union of
Affection. Agreement in the greater things should extinguish
divisions about the lesser. There will be perfect union in
Heaven, and the nearer we approach it On Earth, the nearer we
come to Perfection. Paul and Apollos both were Faithful
ministers of Jesus Christ, and helpers of their Faith and joy;
but those disposed to be contentious, broke into parties. So
liable are the best things to be corrupted, and the Gospel and
its institutions made Engines of discord and contention. Satan
has always endeavoured to stir up strife among Christians, as
one of his chief devices against the Gospel. The Apostle left it
to other ministers to baptize, while he preached the Gospel, as
a more useful work.

17-25 Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the Plain
preaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than all the
oratory and philosophy of the Heathen world. This is the sum and
substance of the Gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of
all our hopes, the Fountain of all our joys. And By his Death we
live. The preaching of Salvation for lost sinners By the
sufferings and Death of the Son of God, if explained and
faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way to
Destruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and
ambitious, alike see that the Gospel opposes their favourite
pursuits. But those who receive the Gospel, and are enlightened
By the Spirit of God, see more of God's Wisdom and power in the
doctrine of Christ crucified, than in all his other Works. God
left a great part of the world to follow the dictates of Man's
boasted reason, and the event has shown that human Wisdom is
folly, and is unable to find or retain the knowledge of God as
the Creator. It pleased him, By the foolishness of preaching, to
save them that believe. By the foolishness of preaching; not By
what could justly be called foolish preaching. But the thing
preached was foolishness to worldly-Wise men. The Gospel ever
was, and ever will be, foolishness to all in the Road to
Destruction. The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has
been a sure touchstone By which men may learn what Road they are
travelling. But the despised doctrine of Salvation By Faith in a
crucified Saviour, God in human nature, purchasing the Church
with his own Blood, to save multitudes, even all that believe,
from ignorance, delusion, and vice, has been blessed in every
Age. And the weakest instruments God uses, are stronger in their
effects, than the strongest men can use. Not that there is
foolishness or weakness in God, but what men consider as such,
overcomes all their admired Wisdom and strength.

26-31 God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, nor
statesmen, nor men of wealth, and power, and interest in the
world, to publish the Gospel of Grace and peace. He best Judges
what men and what measures serve the purposes of his Glory.
Though not many noble are usually called By Divine Grace, there
have been some such in every Age, who have not been ashamed of
the Gospel of Christ; and persons of every rank stand in need of
pardoning Grace. Often, a humble Christian, though Poor as to
this world, has more true knowledge of the Gospel, than those
who have made the Letter of Scripture the study of their lives,
but who have studied it rather as the Witness of men, than as
the Word of God. And even young children have gained such
knowledge of Divine Truth as to silence infidels. The reason is,
they are taught of God; the design is, that No Flesh should
Glory in his presence. That distinction, in which alone they
might Glory, was not of themselves. It was By the sovereign
choice and regenerating Grace of God, that they were in Jesus
Christ By Faith. He is made of God to us Wisdom, Righteousness,
Sanctification, and Redemption; all we need, or can desire. And
he is made Wisdom to us, that By his Word and Spirit, and from
his Fulness and treasures of Wisdom and knowledge, we may
receive all that will make us Wise unto Salvation, and fit for
every service to which we are called. We are guilty, liable to
just Punishment; and he is made Righteousness, our great
Atonement and Sacrifice. We are depraved and corrupt, and he is
made Sanctification, that he may in the End be made complete
Redemption; may free the soul from the being of Sin, and loose
the body from the bonds of the Grave. And this is, that all
Flesh, according to the Prophecy By Jeremiah, Jer 9:23-24, may
Glory in the special favour, all-sufficient Grace, and precious
Salvation of Jehovah.