Divisions and Wisdom (Part 8a of 8) (series: Lessons on 1 Cor.)
by John Lowe
Paul here through this and the two following chapters, expounds a new dialogue—the effect of philosophy on the gospel. The reasons why he introduces this topic, and dwells upon it at such length, are not obvious, but are thought to have been the following:
1. He had incidentally mentioned his own preaching, and that he had been set apart for that purpose.
2. His authority had been called into question by the false teachers at Corinth.
3. The basis of this, or the reason why they undervalued him, was probably, that he had not spoken with the eloquence of manner and the graces of oratory which they held in such high regard.
4. They had depended upon their charm, graceful rhetoric, and subtle implementation for success in captivating the Greeks.
5. In every way, therefore, the high regard they had for rhetoric and philosophy in the church, had tended to bring the pure gospel into disregard; to produce factions; and to destroy the authority of the apostle. It was necessary, therefore, to thoroughly examine the subject, and to expose the real negative influence of philosophy.
cross of Christ--the essence and substance of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:2323, 2:225),
be made of none effect--literally, "be made void" (Romans 4:1426); namely, by men thinking more of setting forth the Gospel with human reasoning and eloquence, than of the Gospel of Christ crucified itself; the sinner's only remedy, and God's highest exhibition of love.
1 John 13:34 (KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
2 John 15:17 (KJV) These things I command you, that ye love one another
3 John 17:21-23 (KJV) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in
thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
4 John 9:16 (KJV) Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 5 1 Cor 11:18 (KJV) For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
6 Gal 6:1 (KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
7 Luke 6:40 (KJV) The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
8 1 Cor 7:1 (KJV) Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. The Corinthians in their letter had probably asked questions which tended to belittle marriage, and had implied that it was good to break it off when engaged or married to an unbeliever. good -- that is, “fitting,” because of "the present distress"; that is, the unsettled state of the world in general and the Corinthian church in particular, and the likelihood of persecutions tearing rudely asunder those bound by marriage ties. Heb 13:4, in opposition to ascetic and Romish notions of superior sanctity in celibacy, declares, "Marriage is HONORABLE IN ALL." Another reason why in some cases celibacy may be a matter of Christian expediency is stated in 1Co 7:34, 35, "that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." But these are exceptional cases, and in exceptional times, such as those times Paul lived in.
9 1 Cor 5:1-2 (KJV) It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from
1 Cor 16:17 (KJV) I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.11
Acts 18:24-25 (KJV) And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. Verses 24, 25. a . . . Jew named Apollos -- a contraction from Apollonius. born at Alexandria -- the celebrated city of Egypt on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean, called after its founder, Alexander the Great. Nowhere was there such a fusion of Greek, Jewish, and Oriental custom, and an intelligent Jew educated in that city could hardly fail to manifest all these elements in his mental character. eloquent – a product of his Alexandrian culture. and mighty in the scriptures -- his eloquence enabling him to express clearly and enforce skillfully what, as a Jew, he had gathered from a diligent study of the Old Testament Scriptures. came to Ephesus – we do not know what his errand was. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord . . . knowing only the baptism of John -- He was instructed, probably, by some disciple of the Baptist, in all of John's teaching concerning Jesus, but no more: he had yet to learn of the new light which the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost had thrown upon the Redeemer's death and resurrection; as appears from Ac 19:2, 3. being fervent in the spirit -- His heart warm, and conscious, probably, of his gifts and attainments, he burned to impart to others the truth he had himself received. he spake and taught diligently -- rather, "accurately" (it is the same word as is rendered "perfectly" in Ac 18:26).12
1 Cor 4:6 (KJV) And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 13
1 Cor 3:5-6 (KJV) For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.14
Gal 2:7 (KJV) But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;15
2 Cor 11:13 (KJV) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.16
2 Cor 11:22 (KJV) Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.17
John 19:36 (KJV) For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.18
Psalms 34:20 (KJV) He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.19
John 19:23-24 (KJV) Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.20
Acts 18:8 (KJV) And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Crispus the chief ruler of the synagogue—this person held an office of considerable consequence; and therefore his conversion to Christianity must have been very galling to the Jews. The chief ruler of the synagogue presided over all the assemblies, interpreted the law, decide what things were lawful and unlawful, punished the unruly, excommunicated the rebellious, legitimatized marriages, and issued divorces.