Thanksgiving Part 2 of 4 (series: Lessons on 1 Co.)
by John Lowe
In everything has the meaning of "in everything that really matters." The Corinthians were of the same status as all of them "that know the truth". Although every Christian is required to study and learn continually, there is a certain body of truth that he must know before he can become a Christian; and that body of teaching having been acquired, and the believer having acted upon it by being baptized into Christ, he is at that point "enriched in everything." This was the enrichment enjoyed by the Christians at Corinth. Here, Everything has in view elementary knowledge and not the exceptional sense of knowing absolutely everything they needed to know, or else there would have been no need for Paul to write to them. The idea that Paul intended this verse as a compliment to the Corinthians for their ability to speak in tongues is evidently a false assumption.
Ye are enriched by him. (see Romans 2:43). The meaning of this expression is, "you abound in these things; they are conferred abundantly upon you." By the use of this word, the apostle intends to call attention to the fact that these blessings had been conferred on them abundantly; and also that this was a valuable endowment and treasure. The mercies of God are not only conferred abundantly on his people, but they are a gift of immeasurable value. (Compare to 2 Corinthians 6:104).
In the last part of this verse, he names two of those things that these Corinthians are enriched by; utterance and knowledge.
in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
About this we have two points to make:
1. That they had the knowledge of the truths and doctrines of the Gospel, concerning the person, offices, grace, and righteousness of Christ; and many of them had such large gifts of knowledge, that they were richly qualified to preach the Gospel to others. This church was rich in preachers and preaching of the word; and rich in knowledge or apprehension of it. All the truths of God relative to their salvation had been explicitly declared to them.
2. That they have the gift of utterance; which has a double meaning; some there had the gift of preaching, while others had the gift of tongues. Grosheide explained that this phrase, in all utterance means that "Their richness in Christ consists especially in the ability to speak well about the revelation of God." Again, they were blessed with some good preachers.
That the supernatural gift of tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance, was imparted to the early church is apparent from 1 Corinthians 12.8-105. This power was conferred on the church at Corinth, and that it was highly valued by them, is evident from 1 Corinthians 14 and 2 Corinthians 8:76. The power of speaking in other languages was regarded by Paul as a subject of thanksgiving, and as proof of God’s favor to them (See 1 Corinthians 14:5, 22, 396).
Where God has given these two gifts, utterance, and knowledge, he has given a great capacity for usefulness. Many have the flower of utterance but they don’t possess the root of knowledge, and their preaching is barren. Many have the treasure of knowledge, but they lack the utterance (speech) to employ it for the good of others, and therefore it stays dormant. But, where God gives both utterance and knowledge, a man is qualified for great usefulness.
Paul hopes to gain their goodwill by complementing them on having these two gifts, because shortly he will begin to speak on their abuse of these gifts on which they prided themselves.
6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
The force of the expression “Even as” seems to be this: “The gospel of Christ was at first established among you by means of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost. Those same gifts are still continued among you, and they give evidence to you of the Divine favor and of the truth of the gospel, even as—that is, in the same measure as they did when the gospel was first preached. The power to speak with tongues is just one of those gifts that would be a continued miracle, and would be a demonstration to them of the truth of Christianity as it was at the beginning.
By “the testimony of Christ” is meant the Gospel of Christ, which bears a testimony to His deity, his incarnation, his obedience, sufferings, and death, his resurrection from the dead, ascension to heaven, sitting at God's right hand, and intercession for the saints; to redemption by his blood, justification by his righteousness, pardon and atonement for sin by his sacrifice, and complete salvation by his obedience and death. This, as it had been preached to the Corinthians, was confirmed and established among them, by the signs and miracles with which it was accompanied; by the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, particularly of prophecy, which was bestowed on many of them; and by the internal power and energy of the Spirit, accompanying and applying it to their souls. The message of the gospel consists in
bearing witness to Christ and his work (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-47
; 2 Timothy 1:88
). Christ was the Gospel that the apostle preached.
Was confirmed, means that something was established, or proved; in this case that something is the Gospel. It was proved to be Divine, by the miraculous demonstrations of the Holy Spirit. It was confirmed, or made certain to their souls, by the action of the Holy Spirit, sealing it on their hearts. The word translated confirmed is used in the sense of establishing, confirming, or demonstrating by miracles, etc., in Mark 16:209
, Hebrews 13:910
The phrase In you means “Among you as a people, or in your hearts.” Perhaps the apostle intends to include both. The gospel had been established among them by the actions of the Spirit in the gift of tongues, and had at the same time taken deep root in their hearts, and was exerting a practical influence on their lives.
When the church of Corinth was enriched with all utterance and all knowledge, it was fitting that a large tribute of praise should be rendered to God, especially when these gifts were a testimony to the truth of the Christian doctrine, and a confirmation of the testimony of Christ among them.
So that ye come behind in no gift;
A list of those gifts bestowed on this church is found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-105
; by which it appears that they were not inferior in gifts to any of the churches; and this clause is synonymous with what he had said in 1 Corinthians 1:5, that they abounded in everything. They had all the gifts, but different persons among them had different gifts (1 Corinthians 12:411
); all the people did not have all the gifts. Nevertheless, every gift and grace of God's Spirit was possessed by the members of the Corinthian Church, some having their gifts after this manner, others after that; and in addition to the extraordinary and miraculous gifts, he bestowed endowments of kindness that produced in them peace of mind, faithfulness, humility, etc. And the apostle meant evidently to say that they possessed, in rich abundance, all those endowments which were bestowed on Christians.
In early Christian times, people must have seen all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the special ones as well as the permanent ones. As of yet, they were not differentiated as special or permanent, and the church was not aware that the special gifts were not going to remain.
7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
So that ye come behind in no gift
waiting for the coming
This is a reference to the Second Advent of Christ, indicating that the final redemption of people will take place then, and that we are living in the time of probation, which is essentially a period of waiting and expecting. There is no hint here that Paul or the Corinthians believed that the last Advent would come immediately, or in their lifetime.
Waiting for. Expecting, or looking for His coming with glad and anxious desire. This was, certainly, one of the endowments to which he referred; that they had grace given them to earnestly wish to see Him, and a confident expectation and a firm belief that the Lord Jesus will return. It demands strong faith, and it will do much to elevate the feelings above worldly desires, and to keep the mind in a state of peace.
The coming means the revelation and the manifestation of the Son of God. That is, waiting for His return to judge the world, and for Him to receive the praise of His people on that day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is both Lord and God. The earnest expectation of the Lord Jesus became one of the marks of early Christian piety. This return was promised by the Savior to his anxious disciples, when he was about to leave them, John 14:312
. The promise was renewed when he ascended to heaven, Acts 1:1113
. It became the well-known hope and expectation of all Christians, everywhere, that he would return, Titus 2:1314
; 2 Peter 3:1215
; Hebrews 9:2816
. And with the earnest prayer that he would quickly come, John closes the book of great inspiration, Revelation 22:2016
. The Greek verb that is used implies, "to expect constantly, not just for a certain time, but even to the end, when the expected event happens" (Romans 8:1917
It is no wonder that when they had such a foundation for their faith, that they should live in expectation of the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the character of Christians to wait for Christ’s second coming; all our religion has something to do with this: we believe it, and hope for it, and it is the business of our lives to prepare for it, if we are indeed Christians. And the more faith we have in Christ and in the Christian religion, the more firm is our belief in our Lord’s Second Coming, and the more earnest our expectation of it.