1 Corinthians 9.
The apostle now enters on the vindication of his office which some in Corinth had sought to undermine and of ministry in general which they tended to corrupt. Title is asserted, but with full room for grace. For ministry is of Christ the Lord, not of the first man, and the spirit of the world if allowed is its ruin.
“Am I not free?89 am I not an apostle?* have I not seen Jesus90 our Lord? my work are not ye in [the] Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet at least I am to you; for the seal of my apostleship ye are in [the] Lord. My defence to those that examine me is this. Have we not authority to eat and drink? have we not authority to take about a sister wife, as also the other apostles and the brethren of the Lord and Cephas? or I alone and Barnabas, have we not authority to abstain from91 working [lit. not to work]?” (Vers. 1-6.)
Most strongly had he declared his readiness to give up anything for natural life rather than jeopard his brother. Yet does he affirm his independence of human yoke as distinctly as his apostleship. Liberty thus went hand in hand with the highest responsibility. Nor was his office vague or secondary. He had seen Jesus our Lord. His detractors were thus far right: he had derived no degree from the apostolic college, no mission from Jerusalem. From the twelve others might pretend to succession, and falsely: Paul had his authority immediately from the Lord seen on high. Were the Corinthians the men to question this? — the “much people” whom the Lord had in that city? whom Paul had begotten through the gospel? Was this their love in the Spirit? If not an apostle to others, surely such should not deny it who were its seal in the Lord. But what may not the saint do or say who slips out of the Lord’s presence? Too, too like Jeremiah’s figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. In none is evil worse than in. the Christian. The corruption of the best thing is not the least corruption. Was it come to this, that Paul was put on his trial, on the preliminary inquiry at least, to see whether an action would lie against him, and that he had to make his plea or speech in defence to his own Corinthian children in the faith? He then asserts the title of an apostle, as we may say too in general of him who ministers in the word, and here in the gospel particularly. “Have we not authority to eat and drink?” that is, right to maintenance. “Have we not authority to take about a sister wife, as also the other apostles and the brethren in the Lord and Cephas?” that is, not only to marry a sister but to introduce her where he himself went, an object of loving care to the saints with himself. So it was with the apostles in general, notably with the Lord’s brethren or kinsmen and above all with Peter. (See Matt. 8:14.) “Or I only and Barnabas, have we not authority not to work?” This is the alternative ordinarily where support is not given. But the saints should never take advantage of the grace that foregoes such a title to relax in their own plain and positive duty. To cut off the plausible self-seeking of false apostles who wished to ingratiate them. selves and to insinuate evil against the true, the apostle did not use his title, especially at Corinth, but wrought with his own hands, as it would seem Barnabas did also. But he is careful to lay down as unquestionable the title of the spiritual workman to a living for himself and his family.
Very fittingly does this follow his exhortation in the preceding chapter, where he reproves such an use of liberty as might stumble the weak. It was certainly not so with him who did not even use his right to support when in their midst; so had he done as to marriage (1 Cor. 7),92 through all his career in order to serve the Lord the more undividedly; even as he could tell the Ephesian elders at a later day how they themselves knew that his hands had ministered to his wants and the wants of those who were with him, and had shown them every way that so toiling we ought to come in aid of the weak and call to mind the words of the Lord Jesus, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
But he proceeds to show that even nature teaches better than to neglect those who serve the Lord in His saints or gospel. “Whoever serveth in war at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of its fruit[93?]? or who tendeth a flock and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Do I speak these things as a man, or doth not the law also say these things? For in the law of Moses it is written, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that is treading out corn. Is it for the oxen that God careth, or doth he say it altogether on our account? For it was written on our account, because the plougher ought to plough in hope and the thresher [94?]in hope of partaking. If we sowed for you the spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others partake of the authority over you, should not we more? But we used not this authority, but bear all things that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of the Christ. Know ye not that those that minister about the holy things eat of the temple, and those that attend the altar share[95?] with the altar? So also the Lord ordained those that announce the gospel to live of the gospel.” (Vers. 7-14.)
All live on the return of their work, soldier, husbandman, shepherd. The propriety of this, according to man, is unimpeachable: did the law of God speak otherwise? It is even stronger in the same direction; and if He spoke of not muzzling the ox when treading out corn, He had not cattle in view but His people, His servants in the word. The figure is kept up accurately. The plougher ought to plough in hope, and the thresher (ought to thresh) in hope of partaking, the last phrase being more appropriate when the time for a share was obviously near.
There is also, it may be well to notice, in verse 11 a guard against him who would object that the analogy fails, in that the labourer thus specified received in kind, whereas the spiritual labourer might need help in the things of this life. The apostle meets the senseless or selfish cavil by showing the duty of a recompense à fortiori, as what is of the Spirit transcends what is of flesh. “If we for you sowed the spiritual, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal?” He appeals in verse 12 to their own practice as owning the title of others. “If others partake of the authority over you, should not we more?” He takes care however to show that he was wholly above selfish aims in thus pleading for the spiritual labourer and his title to support: “Yet we used not this authority, but bear all things that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of the Christ.” He would plead for others and their title, and the duty of the saints ministered to on a right consideration of the work done; but he used not the right for himself, on the contrary bearing all sorts of trial in order to afford no hindrance to the gospel.
Lastly the apostle draws a testimony from the Levitical system contrasted, as it is in many respects, with the gospel, in that it identified the ministrants with what was brought into the temple and laid on the altar. Jehovah being the part and inheritance of the priestly name among the sons of Israel, He gave them a share in His offerings and sacrifices. So now under the gospel the Lord forgets not those who preach it but appoints them to derive their maintenance from it, though there may be exceptional cases as in his who has written the rule for us.
The apostle had now affirmed the principle. It was for others however, not for himself. He is careful to make this understood by the Corinthians. He had written in love for the glory of the Lord, “but,” says he, “I have used none of these things. And I have not written these things that it should be thus in my case, for [it were] good for me to die rather than that any one should make vain my boast. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast, for necessity is laid upon me, for woe is to me if I preach not the gospel. For if I do this willingly, 1 have a reward; but if unwillingly, I have an administration entrusted to me.” (Vers. 15-17.) Divine love cares for others, and sacrifices self. The apostle was the living exemplification of the gospel he preached. There were rights, and grace does not forget them for others — does not avail itself of them. He is even warm in repudiating any such thought in the present case. It was living Christ so to feel and act, who taught that it was more blessed to give than to receive. His own life and death were the fulness of its truth; but the apostle was no mean witness of it, though a man of like passions with us. Nor has he been without his imitators in this, even as he also was of Christ. He would not afford a handle to those who sought it at Corinth. Others have had grounds equally grave for a similar course.
It is important to see also that to preach is not a thing to boast of. It is an obligation — a duty to Him who has called one, and conferred a gift for this very purpose. It is thus a necessity laid on all such, not an office of honour to claim, nor a right to plead. Christ has the right to send, and He does send, labourers into His vineyard. This makes it truly a necessity laid on him who is sent. According to scripture, the church never sends any to preach the gospel. Relations are falsified by any such pretension. Again He who sends directs the labourer. It is of capital importance that this should be maintained with immediate responsibility to the Lord. ,Therefore it is that the apostle adds, “For woe is to me if I preach not the gospel.” Undoubtedly he who does this voluntarily has a reward, and the heart goes with the blessed work, whatever the hardness and reproach which accompany it. But if not of one’s own will, an administration, or stewardship, is entrusted to one. Now of the steward it is sought that he be found faithful.
“What then is my reward? That in preaching the gospel I may make the gospel without charge. So that I use not for myself any authority in the gospel.” (Ver. 18.) It was meet that such an one as the apostle, extraordinarily called, should act in extraordinary grace; and this he does. He made the gospel without cost to others, at all cost to himself. He did not use his right to a support for himself. It is no question here of “abuse,” any more than in chapter 7:31. It is the giving up of one’s right for special reasons of grace, and it is the more beautiful in one who had as deep a sense of righteousness as any man, perhaps, who ever lived. The plea for the rights of others was therefore so much the more unimpeachable, because it was absolutely unmixed with any desire for himself.
“For being free from all, I made myself bondman to all, that I might gain the most. And I became to the Jews as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; and to those under law, as under law, not being myself under law,96 that I might gain those under law; to those without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain those without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak; to all I have become all things, that by all means I might save some. And all things I do for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow-partaker of it.” (Vers. 19-28.) How bright a reflection of the spirit of the gospel! The apostle was ready to yield at every side where Christ was not concerned. He was free, but free to be a bondman of any and everyone, in order that he might gain, not ends of his own, but the most possible for Christ. Hence among the Jews he raised no question about the law. His heart was set on their salvation; he would not be turned aside by legal questions. He became as a Jew; but while he declares that to those under law he was as under law, he carefully guards his own standing in grace by the clause left out in so many of the more modern copies, “not being myself under law,” that he might gain those under it. Such was the only gain he sought — not theirs, but them; and them for God, not to mould after any opinions or prejudices of his own.
He was just the same with the Gentiles. (Compare Gal. 4:12.) Such is the elasticity of grace. “To those without law, as without law,” while he carefully adds, not being without law to God, but duly or legitimately subject to Christ, that he might gain those without law. It is in vain to speak of natural character or education. If there ever was a soul rigidly bound by Pharisaic tradition within the straitest limits, it was Saul of Tarsus. But if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation. The old things passed; behold they are become new. Such was Paul the apostle; and so he lived, laboured, and speaks to us livingly. He would not wound the scruples of the feeblest; nay, to the weak he became weak, that he might gain the weak; in short, he could, and does, say, “to all I am become all things, that I may by all means save some.” It was not, as some basely misuse his words, to excuse tampering with the world, and so spare one’s own flesh, which is really to become the prey of Satan. His was self-sacrifice in a faith which had only Christ for its object, and the bringing of every soul within one’s reach into contact with His love.
“Know ye not that they who run in a race-course run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And everyone that contendeth is temperate in all things; they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, as not uncertainly — so combat, as not beating air. But I buffet my body, and lead [it] captive, lest by any means, having preached to others, I myself should be reprobate.” (Vers. 24-27.) The figure from these games would be most striking to the Corinthians accustomed to those of the Isthmus. Indeed the use is plain to anyone. Spiritually, the prize is not for one, but for all, if all run well. But even in the games the candidates must be temperate in all things, though theirs were but a fading crown, ours an everlasting.
The apostle then applies it with touching beauty, not to the faulty Corinthians, but to himself. His was no rhetoric of the schools or the law-courts, but the word of Christ for heaven. He therefore transfers the figures to himself for their sakes, if one may apply his own language in 1 Cor. 4. “I therefore so run as not uncertainly.” How was it with them? I “so combat, as not beating air.” To this alas! they were habitually prone, as the epistle shows throughout, especially 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Cor. 15. “But I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest by any means, having preached to others, I myself should be reprobate.”
Would that the Corinthians had so dealt with themselves! Alas! they were reigning as kings, while the apostles were, as it were, appointed to death. It is an utter mistake to suppose that the language of the apostle supposes any fear of perdition for his own soul. He had grave fears for those who were living at ease and carelessly. It is very possible for a man to preach to others, and be lost himself; but such an one does not buffet the body, nor bring it into subjection. Had the apostle lived without conscience, he must have assuredly been lost, as indeed one of the twelve was. Here we are shown the inseparable connection between a holy walk along the way, and eternal life at the end of it. Who can doubt it? and why should any man make a difficulty of the passage? There would be difficulty indeed, if the apostle spoke of having been born again and afterwards becoming a castaway: in this case life would not be eternal But he says nothing of the sort. He only shows the solemn danger a” certain ruin of preaching without a practice according to it. This the Corinthians needed to hear then, as we to weigh now. Preaching or teaching truth to men without reality, self-judgment, and self-denial before God, is ruinous. It is to deceive ourselves, not Him who is not mocked. Nor do any Christians more deeply need to watch and pray than those who are much occupied with handling the word of God or guiding others in the ways ‘of the Lord. How easy for such to forget that doing the truth is the common responsibility of all, and that speaking it to others ever so earnestly is no substitute for their own obeying it as in the sight of God! A spiritual walk is a different thing from sincerity; but high discourse without an exercised conscience exposes to shipwreck ere long.
1 Corinthians 10.
The apostle had warned the Corinthians against carelessness and self-indulgence, instancing himself as one who must be a reprobate if he preached without keeping the body under. He now makes a pointed application of Israelitish history in scripture to clench the exhortation.
“For97 I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were98 baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they were drinking of a spiritual attendant rook (and the rock was Christ); but in the most of them God had no pleasure, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. But these things happened [as] types of us, that we should not be lusters after evil things, even as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, even as some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, even as some of them committed, and there fell in99 one day twenty-three thousand. Neither let us tempt the Lord,100 even as some of them tempted, and were perishing101 by the serpents. Neither murmur ye,102 according as103 some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. Now all104 these things happened to them typically,105 and were written for our admonition, unto whom the ends of the ages have reached.” (Vers. 1-11.)
Israel are adduced as a warning to those who professed Christ. Did the Corinthians boast of their privileges and endowments? They are here shown how little security such institutions as baptism and the Lord’s supper confer on those who rest in them. “For [this is the true reading,
δέ, now, or moreover] I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” It was not only that preachers were in danger, but professors — not some, but all. Witness the ancient people of God, who similarly trusted not in God but in His acts and ordinances, their own special favours; and this from the beginning, not in days of cold and dead formality. So ready is the heart of unbelief to depart from the living God. To presume on institutions of the Lord, initiatory or even continuous, is fatal. A recent commentator regarded this passage as an inspired protest against those who, whether as individuals or sects, would lower the dignity of sacraments, or deny their necessity. To my mind the aim seems wholly different — to guard those who were baptized, and joined in the Lord’s supper, from the illusion that all was therefore right and safe, that such might not grievously sin and miserably perish. The apostle solemnly disproves the superstitious and Antinomian error that men must have life because they partake of these rites. Not so; they were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, they might all therefore be said to be there and then baptized to Moses; but what was the end? It is impossible however to suppose here an outward professing mass, who had the initiatory privilege, and no more; for he takes particular pains to show that they “did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink [
ἔπιον] the same spiritual drink; for they were drinking [
ἔπινον] of a spiritual attendant rock (and the rock was Christ).”
Here we have figuratively the highest outward sign, that which answers to the Lord’s supper, and not to baptism only. But the express point is to deny that there was necessarily life in the participants, still less efficacy in the signs. It is really the importance of the holy walk of faith in those who partook that the apostle is pressing, not at all to cry up the sacraments, still less to affirm the necessity of what nobody thought of denying.
But we must also beware of a mistaken notion which has misled most Protestants, some more partially, others completely, but all with inconsistency enough. They assume that by the expression, “all our fathers,” the christian church is regarded as a continuation of the Jewish, and the believer as the true descendant of Abraham. Whatever is taught elsewhere under certain limits, it is plain that here the apostle teaches nothing of the sort. “For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers,” etc., maintains the distinction which is sought to be got rid of. There is no fusion of the Jews of the past with the Gentiles who now believed. The same distinction is maintained in Ephesians and in Galatians. Within the church and in Christ the difference vanishes. There is oneness in Him, and such is the effect of the Spirit’s baptism, who forms the one body. But it is not true retrospectively, as is commonly supposed, and drawn unintelligently from such words as these.
Again, even so sensible a writer fell into the kindred but yet grosser view, that the apostle, by the words “the same,” identifies the sacraments of the old and of the new economies. “It is a well-known dogma of the schoolmen, that the sacraments of the ancient law were emblems of grace, but ours confer it. This passage is admirably suited to refute that error, for it shows that the reality of the sacrament was presented to the ancient people of God no less than to us. It is therefore a base fancy of the Sorbonists, that the holy fathers under the law had the signs without the reality. I grant, indeed, that the efficacy of the signs is furnished to us at once more clearly and more abundantly from the time of Christ’s manifestation in the flesh than it was possessed by the fathers. Some explain it to mean that the Israelites ate the same meat together among themselves, and do not wish us to understand that there is a comparison between us and them; but these do not consider Paul’s object. For what does he mean to say here, but that the ancient people of God were honoured with the same benefits with us, and were partakers of the same sacraments, that we might not, from confiding in any peculiar privilege, imagine that we would be exempted from the punishment which they endured?” 106
That the apostle is drawing an analogy between Israel and Christians is plain; but the very language employed, that their things were “types” or figures of us, should have prevented the identification either of them and us, or of the facts that resemble baptism and the Lord’s supper more or less. Doubtless the doctors of the Sorbonne were wrong in virtually denying quickening faith to the fathers under the law; but Calvin is ever, more culpably wrong, if deluded by their error of saving sacraments now, he conceives that the signs under the law were thus efficacious also. Christ alone, received by faith, has quickening power, through the Holy Spirit, either of old or now; but now there is accomplishment, as then there was only promise. Saints of old had pretermission of sins; now remission, and life more abundantly, and the gift of the Spirit. This is a vast deal more than a difference in degree only, as so many Protestants dream, not to speak of Popish darkness; but their legalism, where they are not the victims of rationalism, deprives them of perception as well as power. The veil is on their eyes, though not on their hearts.
As a question of interpretation, it is evident that by all eating the same spiritual meat the apostle is speaking of the fathers, not of the Corinthians or other Christians, the point of warning and instruction being, that in the most of them God took no pleasure, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. He is speaking therefore in these verses solely of Israel, and in no way predicating the sameness of their manna and water with our signs of Christ’s death, or what men call the sacraments. The sense then is, not that they were in the very same condition with us, or had the same sacraments with us, but that, though they all partook of the same spiritual meat and drink, in the most of them God had no pleasure. Title as God’s people, and participation in sacred privileges, which are expressly made like to the two institutions so familiar to us in Christendom, did not save the mass from being overthrown, by divine judgments, in the wilderness.
Next the apostle shows us how the things that happened in their case are “types of us (ver. 6), that we should not be lusters after evil things, even as they also lusted.” This is general; but those things are successively specified which were perilous to the Corinthians. “Neither be idolaters, even as some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” There was, in the first place, a yielding to fleshly gratification, then pleasurable excitement followed, which told the result one sees in the scripture cited — the judgment. Were not the Corinthians in danger? “Neither let us commit fornication, even as some of them committed fornication, and fell in one day twenty-three thousand.” In the history (Num. 26), where twenty-four thousand are said to have died in the plague, it is not said “in one day,” as here, where we hear of a thousand less. To me such a difference implies the greatest accuracy, nor have I named all the points of distinction which deserve the thoughtful reader’s consideration, small as the matter may seem, and to some grave men only a question of general numbers on either side of the precise amount. “Neither let us tempt the Lord, even as some of them tempted, and were perishing by the serpents.” To tempt was to doubt His presence and action on their behalf, as Israel, not only “ten times” (Num. 14), but also just before Jehovah sent fiery serpents to cut them off. “Neither murmur, even as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer.” This, if it be not more general, seems to allude to the gainsaying of Korah and his company, which so excited the evil tongue in Israel.
“Now these things happened to them typically, and were written for our admonition, unto whom the ends of the ages have reached.” There cannot be a more important canon for our intelligent and profitable reading of these Old Testament oracles. The facts happened to them, but they were divinely cast in systematical figures, or forms of truth, for admonishing us who find ourselves at so critical a juncture of the world’s history. They contain therefore far more than moral lessons, however weighty. They do disclose man’s heart, and let out God’s mind and affections but they have the larger and deeper instruction of events which illustrate immense principles, such as sovereign grace, on. the one hand, and pure law on the other, with a mingled system of government on legal ground, while mercy and goodness availed through a mediator, which came in when the people worshipped a calf at Horeb. There is thus an orderly, as well as prophetic, character in the mode these incidents are presented, which, when lit up with the light of Christ and His redemption and the truth now revealed, prove their inspiration in a self-evident way to him who has the teaching of the Holy Ghost. Israel only witnessed the facts, and the writer was enabled, by the Spirit of God, to record them in an order which was far beyond his own thoughts, or the intelligence of any before redemption; but now that this mighty work of God is accomplished, their figurative meaning stands out in the fulness of a wide system, and with a depth which reveals God, not man, as the true Author. Be it our happiness not only to know but to do the truth!
The scriptural history of Israel is thus exceedingly solemn as well as instructive. It was so recounted by the Spirit as to be typical of us. “So then let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. No temptation hath taken you save a human one: but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what ye are able, but will make with the temptation also the issue that ye107 may be able to bear [it].” (Vers. 12, 13.)
On the one hand the self-confidence of the Corinthians, as of every one else, is precisely the source of danger. In the world as it is, and in man as he is, there must be constant exposure; for evil exists, and an enemy is not wanting to avail himself of it; and the people of God are the especial aim of his malicious activity to dishonour the Lord by their means. If others slumber in unremoved death, those that are alive to God in Christ need to watch and pray. On the other hand they had been tried by no temptation beyond the lot of man: Christ was tried beyond it in the days of His flesh, not only at the end of His service but at the beginning; not only in all things in like manner, apart from sin, but beyond what belongs to man, tempted as He was for forty days in the wilderness. But we can only overcome in our little trials as He in His great ones by dependence on God and obedience of His word which the Spirit clothes with might against Satan. We may and ought to confide in God. If He is faithful who called us to the fellowship of His Son, equally so is He in not permitting us to be tempted beyond measure. It is His power by which the saints are kept through faith, not by their perseverance. Hence with the trial He makes also the issue or escape, and this not by removing the trial but by enabling His own to endure.
Now comes the special warning. “wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to prudent [men]: judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it108 not fellowship with the blood of the Christ? The loaf which we break, is it not fellowship with the body of the Christ? Because we, the many, are one loaf, one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” (Vers. 14-17.) To count idolatry impossible for a Christian is to trifle. This the Corinthians were doing. They knew, said they, that the idol was a nullity, and therefore it was nothing to them to eat meet which had been offered to heathen idols; nay, they could go a step farther and sit and eat in the heathen temples. The apostle on the contrary maintains the principle of partaking in an evil which you may not yourself do, and especially in things sacred. The true wisdom in such Gases is to keep wholly aloof. It is a misuse of knowledge to participate, or even give the appearance of participating, in what is religiously false. It is in vain to plead that the heart is not in what one allows outwardly, not only on moral grounds but because it slights Christ and ignores Satan’s wiles. Is not the Christian redeemed from bondage to the enemy? Is he not bought with a price to glorify God? At once the apostle makes themselves judges by putting them in presence of the central and standing institution of church fellowship. Where was their practical understanding now? “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not fellowship with the blood of the Christ? The loaf which we break, is it not fellowship with the body of the Christ?”
Clearly the apostle reasons from the public symbol of christian communion; he is not laying it down to correct any wrong observance: else he would not hays put the cup before the loaf here. He begins his appeal with that which had the deepest meaning as to Christ; he leaves for the next place what most impressively conveys the fellowship of the saints with Christ as one body. It is so viewed as to compare it best with the peace-offerings of Israel and the sacrifices of the heathen. Fellowship there is in each. The worshippers share in common what distinguishes them from all others. In the church’s case it is the blood and body of Christ. The blood of Christ awakens the gravest thoughts in the Christian; the body of Christ, the most intimate unity possible, “because we, the many, are one loaf, one body; for we all partake of the one loaf.” There is neither transubstantiation nor consubstantiation. It is the loaf that we break, it is the one loaf of which we all partake. Representatively it is the one body of Christ; and if the loaf be that body, just so we, the many, are that one loaf also. This scripture, like the rest which speak of it, is wholly irreconcileable with Romanism or Lutheranism, which here present mere superstitions, not the truth of God. The words on which they essay to base their errors do really refute them.
There is not a thought of sacerdotal consecration of the elements. “The cup of blessing which we bless,” “the loaf which we break,” prove that it is no act of one endued with extraordinary power and transmitted authority. It is “we” and “we, the many,” in the very context which speaks of “I” and “ye.” But all such individuality vanishes from this feast, as being radically opposed to its nature. None that truly entered into its spirit could have so marred the fellowship as to make the minister first receive in both kinds himself, and then proceed to deliver the same to the clergy if present, and after that to the people also in order. Who that is faithful to its scriptural meaning could say, The body . . . . which was given for thee, the blood . . . . which was shed for thee? Still less could there have been such a contrast with the Lord’s words in letter and spirit, such an oblivion even of the form as a wafer expressly unbroken placed by the priest on the tongue and no cup whatever for the communicant. These are the palpable and fatal signs of a Christendom at war with the Lord, of His word set at nought, and the Holy Spirit quenched. One of course may give thanks at the breaking of the bread; but in truth, if duly done according to Christ, it is all the saints that bless, all that break the loaf. Such is the essence of its meaning; and he who departs from it must account for it to the Lord who commanded all that are His to do thus.
It may be added that in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark we read of the Lord, after taking the loaf, blessing, and then giving thanks after taking the cup. In Luke He is said to give thanks after taking a loaf. The decisive disproof however of what gross ignorance mistakenly infers from it is that, on the occasion of feeding the multitude with bread, the very same language is used; that is, when a sacrament confessedly was out of the question, He took the five loaves and two fishes, and, looking up to heaven, blessed them. (Luke 9) It is not that
εὐλογέω is exactly equivalent to
εὐχαριστέω, but clearly they can be used to a certain extent interchangeably; they express with a shade of difference the self-same act, neither prayer for a miracle nor the form of effecting one, but very simply a benediction or thanksgiving. If our ordinary food be sanctified by the word of God and prayer, who could think of the supper of the Lord without blessing and thanksgiving?
Again that not faith only is possessed but the Spirit of God is supposed to have sealed the communicants is plain from all that is said. Nobody doubts that a hypocrite or self-deceived soul might partake; but the Lord’s intention is as clear as that the character of the feast excludes such. They may drink the wine or break the bread; but they are as distant as ever from the grace and truth therein celebrated, and only add presumptuous sin to the self-will and unbelief of their habitual life. Individually the believer has already eaten the flesh of the Son of man and drunk His blood; he eats it, knowing that he has eternal life in Him, and otherwise no life in himself. Together we bless the cup, together we break the bread in thanksgiving before Him who has blessed us beyond all thought; and herein is communion. To suppose that unbelievers share it is profanity, and deliberate profanity if we systematically open the door for them and invite them in.
But the point before the apostle was rather that the Christian cannot go out to another fellowship if he enjoy this. Communion is the joint participation of the blessing for all whom it concerns; but it excludes as rigorously those who have no part or lot in it. Further it forbids from any other fellowship those who share this. Even the Israelite after the flesh who ate the sacrifices was a partaker with the altar of Jehovah, severed thus in principle and fact from the vanities of the heathen. “See Israel according to flesh: are not they that eat the sacrifices in fellowship with the altar?” How much more did it become the Christian to judge and walk according to God! If they lived in the Spirit, let them walk in the Spirit.
“What say I then? that an idol-sacrifice109 is anything, or that an idol110 is anything? but that what they111 sacrifice112 they sacrificed to demons and not to God; and I wish you not to be in fellowship with demons. Ye cannot drink [the] Lord’s cup and a cup of demons; ye cannot partake of [the] Lord’s table and of a table of demons. What! do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (Vers. 19-22.)
To eat of sacrificial offerings was evidently then no light matter. As the Jew who ate was in communion with the altar, so he who partook of what was offered to an idol had fellowship with the idol. Such is its real meaning. Does this contradict the previous reasoning of the apostle as of the prophets of old, that the idol was a mere nonentity? Not at all. But if such products of man’s device have no existence and their images see not nor hear, demons are very real and avail themselves of man’s imagination or his fears and arrogate to themselves the idol-sacrifices. The emptiness of idols is therefore no ground for partaking of meats sacrificed to them; for “what they sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God.” (See Deut. 32:17; Ps. 95:6.) The idols and their sacrifices may be utterly powerless; but demons hiding behind can and do thereby shut out from souls the true God and usurp the homage due to Him alone. This is the effect of heathen worship, not the intention of the worshippers or of those who partake in their sacrifices. They no more purposed to revere demons (or fallen and evil spirits) than the unconverted now mean to serve Satan. But they did and do so none the less. The truth puts things in their real light which the reasoning, the imagination, or the indifference of man leaves in the shade.
The Corinthians loved ease and sought to escape the cross. Why trouble, they might argue, about trifles? The idol is nothing, nor its sacrifices, nor its temple. How unwise then to offend for nothing! Communion with demons, answers the apostle, is the result. He that eats and drinks where the Lord’s blessing is not partakes in the demon’s curse. We shall see in the next chapter what it is to eat and drink unworthily at the Lord’s supper. Here it is the real character of the evil where one partook of things sacrificed to idols, which the vain Corinthians prided themselves on doing freely because of their superior knowledge. But no one can have fellowship with the Lord and with demons: if he tampers with demons, has he not virtually abandoned the Lord? They may delight to have and harm the christian professor; the Lord refuses His fellowship to the idolater. If fellowship is inclusive, it is exclusive. “He that is not with me is against me,” said He Himself; “and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matt. 12) “What! do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” Love cannot but be jealous of wandering affections; it were not love if it did not resent unfaithfulness. And is He so powerless that we can despise Him with impunity? Are we stronger than He? Do we court destruction?
Thus had the apostle shown the danger of idolatry, from the inveterate tendency, not of the Gentiles merely in their habitual worship of idols, but of the very people separated to Jehovah as His witnesses against it. He had also proved that to partake of sacrificial feasts in a heathen temple is none the less idolatrous, because, if the idol is nothing, the demons are very serious indeed, as the enemies of God and man. The meat in itself may be harmless, but to eat it thus is to have communion with the demons behind the idol, and so to renounce the fellowship of Christ. For one cannot have both: Christianity, Judaism, heathenism, are exclusive of each other. The Lord must feel and judge such unfaithfulness on the part of His own; His love. and honour could not pass by a virtual renunciation of Himself.
But if a Christian should abstain from idol-sacrifice out of love to a weak brother, and yet more for fear of provoking the Lord’s jealousy, is it wrong in itself to eat such meat? Certainly not. As he began, so he closes. “All things are lawful,113 but do not profit; all things are lawful,114 but do not edify. Let no one seek his own [advantage], but his neighbour’s [literally, that of the other].” (Vers. 23, 24.) The principle laid down in chapter 6 is enlarged. It is not merely lawful “to me,” nor is it a question here of being brought under the power of any. There indifference as to meats exposed some to impurity, here to idolatry. The apostle urges not merely exemption from evil, but positive edification. This love alone secures; because it looks not at its own things and seeks the good of others. It would please one’s neighbour, with a view to good to edification. Even Christ, in whom was no evil, did not please Himself, but rather took on Himself the reproaches of those that reproached Jehovah. Thus it is not enough to avoid being brought under the power of anything, but one should seek the profit, not of self, but of others, and the building up of all.
Hence we have the principle applied in general, and tested particularly, in verses 25-30. “Everything that is offered for sale in the shambles eat, examining nothing for conscience sake: for the earth [is] the Lord’s, and its fulness. And if any of the unbelieving inviteth you, and ye desire to go, all that is set before you eat, examining nothing for conscience sake. But if any say to you, This is sacrificed,115 eat not for his sake that pointed [it] out and conscience,116 but conscience I say, not one’s own but the other’s; for why is my liberty judged by another conscience? If117 I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?” Thus the principle of God’s creation holds good for all that is on sale in the market, as well as for what might be on an unbeliever’s table, if one should go there, and one may eat in either case without special inquiry. It is otherwise, not merely in an idol temple but even in private, where one should say, This is offered to holy purposes, because he evidently has a conscience about it, though one otherwise might have perfect liberty. It is good in such a case to deny oneself, and not expose one’s liberty to be judged by another, or incur evil speaking for the thing for which I give thanks. One must in love respect the scruple of the weakest saint, while holding fast by the intelligence and liberty of Christ.
The apostle then lays down the still larger and golden rule of christian conduct: “Whether then ye eat or drink, or do anything, do all things unto God’s glory. Give no occasion of stumbling, either to Jews or Greeks, or to the church of God; even as I too please all in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but that of the many, that they be saved. Be imitators of me, even as I too am of Christ.” (Ver. 31; 1 Cor. 11:1.) Thus, if one does all to God’s glory, self is not sought to be gratified, but given up; and in this way is no stumbling-block presented to man, on the one hand, whether Jews or Gentiles, or to God’s assembly, on the other. Love alone so walks, seeking God’s glory and man’s good. Against the fruit of the Spirit there is no law, even among those who vaunt law most, and least love grace. So it was with the apostle habitually; the most uncompromising of all the apostles, none equalled him in gracious concession, where it could be consistently with Christ.
1 Corinthians 11
It is not without instruction for us that the apostle can praise in the midst of so much too justly merited reproof. He loved to approve all he could. In this too he surely was, as he had said, an imitator of Christ. So love wrought in Him who had not a particle of self. It left Him free to approve without reserve whatever was of God in those dear to Him, and none the less because they were themselves weak and faulty. But the apostle for the same reason was delivered from the fear of others imputing to him vanity or pride when he called the Corinthians to imitate him, as he too imitated Christ. Certainly in seeking the salvation of souls there was no self-pleasing on His part, but such suffering as could be borne only by One who was God judged, for the sins of those He was saving, according to the unsparing indignation and holy vengeance of God against that which is above all hateful to Him. This was His work and His suffering alone; but the apostle appreciated it profoundly; and such an appreciation forms the heart accordingly. The untiring and enduring devotedness of his life was the fruit. He desired that this should characterize the Corinthians, instead of the superficial abuse of knowledge, which in making light of idolatry lost sight of Christ and endangered souls precious to Him through the wiles of the enemy. Such had never been the apostle’s way who loved others and cared for their true profit that they might be saved. He could ask the Corinthians to follow him in this, as he too followed Christ. Yet he could praise them also.
“Now I praise you118 that in all things ye remember me, and hold fast the traditions according as I delivered [them] to you.” (Ver. 2.) Tradition in scripture is used, not only for the added maxims of men, as in Matthew 15, but for what the apostles enjoined on the saints, first orally, then in inspired writings, as also in both ways, while the canon was in course and not yet complete. Compare also Romans 6:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:15.
“But I wish you to know that the head of every man is the119 Christ, and woman’s head the man, and the120 Christ’s head God. Every man praying or prophesying with head covered [literally, having something] on [his] head] shameth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with the head uncovered shameth her own121 head; for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn; but if [it is] shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For man indeed ought not to have his head covered, being God’s image and glory; but the woman is man’s glory. For man is not of woman, but woman of man. For also man was not created on account of woman, but woman on account of man. On this account ought the woman to have authority on the head on account of the angels. However, neither [is] woman without man, nor man without woman, in [the] Lord; for as the woman [is] of the man, so also [is] the man by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman should pray to God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you that, if man have long hair, it is a dishonour to him; but if woman have long hair, it is a glory to her? Because the hair hath been given her instead of a veil. But if any one seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor yet the assemblies of God.” (Vers. 3-16.)
This is a most characteristic specimen of the apostle’s dealing with a point of order. He deduces the solution from first principles involved in divine dealings from the beginning. It is an admirable way of settling questions, not by mere abstract authority, even where the highest lay, but by conveying to others the ways of God in creation and providence, which drew out the admiration as well as submission of his heart. It is no question of new creation. There difference disappears. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. But here on earth there is a relative order established of God; and as the man is woman’s head, so the Christ is the head of every man, and God is the Christ’s head. It were still more perilously false to use these words to disparage Christ than to turn aside their force to deny the subjection of woman to man. The Christ is viewed as such, not in His own intrinsic personal glory, or in the communion of the divine nature, but in the place He entered and took as the Anointed. God therefore is the head of the highest; and as woman is bound to own the place given her by God, so is man to fill suitably his own assigned relationship. The principle is applied to correct some christian women at Corinth who outstepped the limits of propriety. The apostle puts the entire case, and even a man’s mistake as to it, though it would appear that it was as yet a question of the other sex. For a man to have his head covered would falsify his witness to Christ; so for a woman not to be. It is not argued on grounds of habit, modesty, or the like, but of the facts as revealed by God. It would be the sign of authority taken by the woman, of authority abandoned by the man. A woman without a veil is like a man, without being really so. It is to renounce, as far as the act goes, the subjection she owes to man; it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. Let her also be shorn, says the indignant servant of the Lord; but if either be shameful for a woman, he adds, let her be covered. (Vers. 2-6.)
There is a still further opening of the ground as to man and woman in the verses which follow. “For man indeed ought not to have his head covered, being God’s image and glory; but the woman is man’s glory. For man is not of woman, but woman of man. For also man was not created on account of woman, but woman on account of man. On this account ought the woman to have authority on the head on account of the angels. However, neither [is] woman without man, nor man without woman, in [the] Lord; for as the woman [is] of the man, so also [is] the man by the woman; but all things of God.” (Vers. 7-12.)
Thus the apostle points out man’s standing directly as God’s image and glory: woman is man’s glory, having no such place of public representation for God. Whatever she has relatively is essentially mediate and derivative. Creation is the proof, not of course the ordinary course of things since. It is impossible, therefore, to form a right estimate without looking to the beginning. If verse 7 then refers to the origination of man and woman respectively, verse 8 sets forth the making of the woman for, and subsequently to, the man, as grounds of woman’s subordination to man. It is easy to see that, where creation is denied, or even ignored, men naturally reason and labour for their equality. But there is another consideration, which only faith could admit — the testimony to divine order which should be given by man and woman to those spiritual beings whom scripture declares to have the most intimate connection with the heirs of salvation. (Compare 1 Cor. 4:9; Eph. 3) “For this reason ought the woman to have power on the head on account of the angels” — a sentiment entirely mistaken by the mass of commentators, who have gone off, some into degrading thoughts about bad angels, others into lowering the word to the sense of the righteous themselves, the christian prophets, the presidents of the assemblies, the nuntii desponsationum or persons deputed to effect betrothals, or mere spies sent there by the unfaithful.
So also the expression, “authority on the head,” has given rise to endless discussion. To have authority on the head unquestionably means to wear the sign of it in a covering or veil. On the other hand, in verses 11, 12, the apostle is careful to insist on the mutuality of man and woman, denying their independence of one another, affirming God the source of them respectively, and of all things.
Further, he appeals to the sense of propriety grounded on the constitution of both man and woman. “In your own selves judge: is it becoming that a woman uncovered should pray to God? Doth not even nature itself teach you,” etc. If it be as natural for man to have short hair as for woman to have long, is it not a revolt against the nature of each to reverse this in practice? God’s creation must govern where the word of His grace does not call to higher things, and this could not be pretended here.
Finally, the habitual usage of the churches, as regulated by apostolic wisdom, is no light thing to disturb, and this the apostle puts with great moral force. “But if any one seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor yet the churches of God.” It is a contemptible sort of independence which sets itself up, not only against the spiritual feeling of all the public witness in God’s assemblies, but above those endowed with heavenly wisdom to direct all. It is neither conscience nor spirituality, but a fleshly love of differing from others, and at bottom sheer vanity. The “custom” negatived was the Corinthian innovation, which confounded God’s order in nature, not disputatiousness, as many ancients and moderns strangely conclude.
The apostle had settled the point of comely order as respects women. He now turns to a still graver matter, the Lord’s mind about His supper. From this the Corinthians had sadly departed there and then, slipping into the grossest evils, as we shall see.
Yet is it important to take note before we go into detail that, according to the modern mode of administering the sacrament, such a disorder was impossible. The reason is beyond measure a grave one. Christendom has radically altered the supper — a more serious state of things than even the distressing and immoral levity which then disgraced the Corinthian assembly. The latter could be judged and rectified; the former demands a return to first principles which have been wholly given up, not merely as to the institution itself but as to the nature of both ministry and church, and their mutual relations.
What gave occasion to the grievous impropriety of the assembly in its then low and careless estate was apparently the mixing up the love-feast with the Lord’s supper. The love-feast (or Agape) was a meal of which the early Christians partook in common, the aim being to cultivate social intercourse among those who are strangers and pilgrims called to suffer on earth and to spend eternity together in glory with the Lord. The Corinthians however had lost the sense of christian strangership, and as they had let in from the world the rivalry of the schools in zeal for favourite teachers, so they degraded even the Agape by holding to class distinctions, the rich feasting on their own contributions to the meal, while those who had nothing to give were made keenly to feel their poverty. Thus the principle of christian society was destroyed at the very meal which ought to have displayed it in practice; and as they thus selfishly forgot wherefore they thus came together, God gave them up to the deeper sin of degrading the Lord’s supper, which was partaken of at the same time, by the effects of their licence in eating and drinking.
This doubtless was a scandalous irreverence; but the sacrament as now observed is the deliberate and systematic abandonment even of the form of the supper, the change of it into a superstitious ordinance from the thanksgiving of God’s family in view of the deepest solemnity in time, nay for eternity, the death of our Lord on which it is based with the remembrance of Himself in infinite love, humiliation, and suffering for our sins. Nothing but the appreciation of its spiritual aim preserved it from becoming a scene of shame; if not kept in the Spirit, it quickly passed into fleshly lightness; and this is the will of God in order that it may necessitate the looking to the Lord who promises His presence to those gathered to His name. It is with the supper as with all other parts of christian worship and service. They are nothing if not sustained by the Spirit according to the word of God. Change their principle in order to secure appearances, and all is ruined. This is precisely what tradition has done in the Lord’s supper as elsewhere. From the sacramental eucharist of post-apostolic times the Corinthian excesses were excluded, but so was the Holy Spirit from guiding the saints according to the word. Clericalism was introduced to preside, formalism and distance imposed on the rest, and the rite made more or less a saving ordinance, instead of the communion of Christ’s body and blood enjoyed by His members in His presence.
But let us weigh the apostle’s words. “Now in enjoining this I praise122 [you] not, because ye come together not for the better but for the worse. For first, when ye come together in an assembly, I hear that divisions exist among you, and in some measure I believe [it]; for there must be even sects among you that the approved may become manifest among you.” (Vers. 18, 19.) We have here important help toward deciding the difference between these terms as well as the precise nature of each. Schism is a division within the assembly, while they all still abide in the same association as before, even if severed in thought or feeling through fleshly partiality or aversion, Heresy, in its ordinary scriptural application as here (not its ecclesiastical usage), means a party among the saints, separating from the rest in consequence of a still stronger following of their own will. A schism within if unjudged tends to a sect or party without, when on the one hand the approved become manifest, who reject these narrow and selfish ways, and on the other the party-man is self-condemned, as preferring his own particular views to the fellowship of all saints in the truth. (Compare Titus 3:10, 11.)
They met in one place. “When ye come together therefore into the same [place], it is not to eat [the] Lord’s supper. For each in eating taketh his own supper before [others], and one is hungry, and another drinketh excessively. Have ye not then houses for eating and drinking? or despise ye the church of God, and put shame on those that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you? In this I do not praise.” (Vers. 20-22.) They had not as yet broken up into sects: this evil was reserved for a later and worse day. If however they did come together into one place, the apostle will not allow that it was to eat the Lord’s supper, but each their own: so utterly were they losing the truth of things while the form lingered on. Not only was Christ gone, but even the social element. They were a spectacle of greed; and, what made it more flagrant, those who had means were the worse, despising the church of God and putting to shame the poor. With all his desire to praise the Corinthians, in this the apostle could not.123
This leads to the revelation on the subject vouchsafed by the Lord. “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, in the night in which he was being delivered up, took bread, and, having given thanks, brake [it] and said124, This is my body which [is] 125 for you: this do in remembrance of me; in like manner also the cup after having supped, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink the cup, ye announce the death of the Lord till he come.” (Vers. 23-26.)
It is interesting to notice that to Paul was given a revelation of the supper, not of baptism. He was baptized like another himself, not by an apostle even, lest this might be perverted to make him dependent on the twelve, but by a simple disciple, Ananias. Baptism attaches to the individual confessor and would have its place as the sign of the great christian basis, the death and resurrection of Christ, if there had been no such thing as the baptizing believers by the Spirit into one body, the church. But the supper, besides being the memorial of Christ and emphatically of His death, is now bound up with the body of Christ, as we have seen in 1 Cor. 10:16, 17. This is so true that he who wilfully or under an act of discipline does not partake of that one loaf ceases to enjoy the privileges of God’s assembly on earth; he who partakes of it cannot free himself from the responsibilities of that holy fellowship. And as Paul was the chosen vessel by whom was to be revealed the mystery of Christ and the church, so did it seem good to the Lord that he should receive a special revelation of His supper, the standing sign of its unity and public witness of its communion.
It is striking to observe that, plainly as the Lord has revealed His mind here, even the Protestant Reformers failed to recover its lineaments. They have individualised the Lord’s supper. They make it “for thee.” “Take thou,” etc. This is consistent. They had not seen the one body and one Spirit. Even if they had limited it to those who were believed to be justified by faith, still this would have been only an aggregate of individuals. They never received the truth of the church as Christ’s body on earth. On the contrary they began the system of distinct or independent national churches on earth; they relegated the unity of the church to heaven. The one body, as an existing relationship to which the Christian belongs now, and on which he is bound to act continually, was unknown as a present reality; and this ignorance betrayed itself even in their mode of celebrating the sacrament, as it does to this day.
Even where there is no such form of individuality, there is as little sense or expression of the one body.126 The reason is obvious. They do not contemplate all the faithful, being avowedly associations of certain souls on the ground of points of difference (that is, sects), or embracing the world as well as believers. In either way dissenting or nationalist, being off the basis of God’s church, they naturally drop the words as they are revealed for God’s order of things, and change them, perhaps unconsciously, into what suits their own condition. Communion there cannot be but in the Spirit, who exalts Christ, not opinions, and goes out toward all saints, not some only, nor the world at all in such worship.
It is the holy, gracious, and deep meaning of the Lord’s supper, and in no way the elements or the ministrant, which invests it with such value and blessing. He is in the midst of His own to give them the enjoyment of His love in present power, but as recalling their hearts to the sacrifice of Himself for their sins to place them without charge or question before God. The bread remains bread, and so does the wine; the thanksgiving, or blessing, we find as at all times of ordinary life in receiving the creatures of God; of miracle at this time the word of God whispers not a word. The Lord breaks the bread and says, This is My body which is on your behalf: this do in remembrance of Me; in like manner the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood: this do as often as ye drink it in remembrance of Me.
The Lord’s supper then is to remind us of Christ, of His death; not of our sins but of our sins remitted and ourselves loved. It is in no wise the old covenant of condemnation, but the new covenant (God known in grace, iniquity forgiven, and sins remembered no more); not yet made with the houses of Israel set for ever the land under the reign of Messiah, but the blood shed which is its foundation, and we who believe, Jew or Gentile, having it in spirit, not in letter. (See 2 Cor. 3) Of this the cup especially is the pledge.
But Romanism takes away the cup from its votaries, and consistently enough; for as a system it supposes sacrifice going on, not finished, and consequently it administers a sacrament of non-redemption. The bread, say they, contains the blood, flesh, soul, divinity, all in the body; that is, the blood is not shed, and therefore no remission of sins, no perfecting of the sanctified, for the one offering is always going on and not yet accomplished or accepted. Romanism therefore stands in contrast with Christianity in the capital truth of the efficacy of Christ’s death, indispensable both to God’s glory and to the cleansing of the conscience of the Christian.
But Protestantism has infringed on Christ’s institution, not only by impairing the grace of God in the Lord’s supper, but by letting in the world as we have seen and by insisting for the most part on an authorised official to administer it. All these ruin its simple, profound, and most affecting significance. Not that one denies for a moment ministry or rule; they are of exceeding moment and will be treated of in their place according to scripture. Yet in the Lord’s supper, not only as He instituted it at first but as it was revealed by Him to the apostle in its final shape, none of these things appear. It is essentially as members of the one body that we communicate. Even the gifts are introduced separately and afterwards. Elders, if any, are ignored; and this is the more remarkable, as the occasion might have seemed exactly one to have reminded them of the disorder allowed at Corinth, if it had really been their duty to preside at the supper. But, instead of reprehending any one’s neglect as specially responsible, the apostle deals with the hearts and consciences of all the saints and brings out its true meaning, object, and guard for the instruction of the entire church of God. To discern the body, to appreciate the unfathomable grace of our Lord in His death for our sins, is the true corrective for all that have faith in Him who deigns to be in their midst as thus gathered to His name. To introduce a human order however reverent in appearance, without divine warrant, for the purpose of shutting out the Corinthian excesses or any others, is more offensive to him that trembles at the word of the Lord than any abuse of His supper as it was instituted. Even under such circumstances as those of Corinth the apostle adds nothing, takes away nothing, corrects nothing of that institution; in which we are called to announce the death of the Lord until He shall have come.
These last words convict of a great, perilous, and irreverent error those who count the Lord’s supper a relic of Judaism and argue for its disuse among Christians like the community of goods practised only for a brief space after Pentecost. A fresh revelation to the apostle of the Gentiles ought to have put such a notion to the rout, even apart from words such as those of verse 26 which suppose the constant and frequent observance of the supper till Christ returns in glory. And in fact the history of such theorists as the Society of Friends is the strongest proof of their error; for no christian sect has more thoroughly lost the force of the truth of redemption in discarding its signs. As is well known, they refuse as a whole (I speak not of evangelical individuals) both baptism and the Lord’s supper. In accordance with this they do not see death Healed on the race, nor the efficacy of Christ’s death in grace for the believer. They think of Christ as putting all mankind into a state of indefinite improvableness and so of saving those who do their best, Jew, Turk, or heathen; they repudiate therefore both institutions which set forth objectively that one can have no part with Christ risen but through His death. Subject to the word, we were buried with Him by baptism to death; and now continually announce His death till He come. Self is thus judged, yet are we kept in the constant sense of His grace. Is it not the truth as to ourselves, and due to Him? Is it not in perfect harmony with the gospel, which combines peace and salvation in Him with the confession of good-for-nothingness in those who are thus blessed to the praise of God’s mercy in Christ? Worship and even discipline only confirm this.
Such is the institution and the aim of the Lord’s supper. Let us pursue the consequences pressed by the apostle with his wonted fulness, depth, and solemnity.
“Wherefore whoever eateth127 the bread or drinketh the cup of the Lord unworthily128 shall be guilty as to the body and the129 blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he that eateth and drinketh130 eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body.131 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and pretty many are falling asleep. But132 if we were discerning ourselves, we should not be judged; but when judged we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when coming together to eat, wait for each other. If133 any one is hungry, let him eat at home, that ye may not come together for judgment. But the rest will I arrange when I come.” (Vers. 27-34.)
But the more precious the Lord’s supper is, as the gathering of christian affection to a focus in the remembrance of His death, the greater the danger, if the heart be careless, or the conscience not before God. It is not a question of allowing unworthy persons to communicate. Low as the Corinthians might be through their unjudged carnal thoughts and worldly desires, they had not fallen so grievously as that; they had not yet learned to make excuses for admitting the unrenewed and open enemies of the Lord to His table. But they were in danger of reducing its observance to a form for themselves, of partaking in the supper without exercise of soul, either as to their own ways, or as to His unspeakable love who was thus reminding them of His death for them. Hence the solemn admonition of the apostle, “Wherefore whosoever eateth the bread (for the added emphasis of the common text is uncalled for) or drinketh the cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.” To eat or drink it as an ordinary meal, or a common thing, without reflection or self-judgment, is to eat and drink “unworthily;” and the more so because it is a Christian who does so; for of all men he should feel most what he owes the Lord, and what the Lord expressly brings to his remembrance at that serious moment. It is to be guilty of an offence, not merely against Himself in general, but in respect of His body and His blood, if he treat their memorials with indifference. There meet together the extremity of our need and guilt, the fulness of suffering in Christ, the deepest possible judgment of sin, yet withal grace to the uttermost, leaving not a sin unforgiven: what facts, feelings, motives, results, surround the cross of the Lord Jesus! For this reason it appeals, as nothing else can, to the believer’s heart as well as to his conscience, and therefore does the apostle censure and stigmatize the Corinthians’ fault so strongly. How much for their and our profit!
“But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he that eateth and drinketh eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body.” Grace is thus maintained, but through righteousness, as ever. Each is to put himself to the proof, and so to eat and drink. The Lord would have His own to come, but not with negligence of spirit or levity; this were to be a party both to His own dishonour, and the deeper evil of his followers. Still He invites all, if He urges the trying of our ways. Self-judgment is with a view to coming, not to staying away. For it is a question of those whom grace counts worthy; whatever their past or personal unworthiness, they are washed, they are sanctified, they are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Having the Spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind, they are assumed to be in peace with God, and delivered from the law of sin; they are contemplated as jealous for the Lord’s glory, and hating what grieves the Holy Spirit of God, whereby they are sealed unto the day of redemption.
It is not supposed that they could persevere in evil that they discover themselves exposed to, or that they confess sin in which they begin again to indulge, as if God were mocked by an acknowledgment which would thus aggravate their wickedness. Grace strengthens the man who tries himself with integrity, and it emboldens him to come. Where there is lightness on the other hand, the Lord shows Himself there to judge. “For he that eateth and drinketh (most add “unworthily,” but the most ancient omit) eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body,” that is, the Lord’s body, as the mass add, in both cases needlessly, though right enough for the sense which is implied. To bring in the church would falsify the thought: the wrong was forgetfulness of the Lord’s self-sacrificing love. He instituted the supper to remind us of it continually.
But there is another error still more prevalent, and even long and widely consecrated, which has wrought as much mischief as almost any other single mistranslation of a scripture. It is not “damnation” of which verse 29 speaks, but in contrast with it judgment,
κρίμα. Yet all the celebrated English versions, from Wiclif downward, have sanctioned the grievous mistake, save the worst of them, the Rhemish, through its servile adherence to the Vulgate, which here happens to give judicium rightly. The curious fact however is, that of all systems none is really so tainted with the unbelief which led to the mistranslation as the Romanist. For it naturally regards with the utmost superstition the Lord’s supper, and with it interweaves its idolatry of the real presence. Hence its interpretation of guilt as to the body and the blood of the Lord. Hence its notion of “damnation” attaching to a misuse of the sacrament, followed by almost all the Protestant associations. But the Protestant is misled by his version, while the Romanist is the less excusable, inasmuch as his Vulgate and vernacular versions are so far right, yet he is even more deeply under the delusion which denies christian relationship and an atom of grace in God, as a fact now know to the heart by faith.
Here the Spirit really teaches us that, where the true and holy aim of the Lord’s supper is slighted, and the communicant does not discern the body (that is, does not discriminate between the memorial of Christ and an ordinary meal), he eats and drinks judgment as a present thing. He brings on himself the chastening hand of the Lord in vindication of His honour and His love. Hence it is added, “For this cause [are] many weak and sick among you, and a considerable number are falling asleep.” There sin, sickness, was to death, And there is still further instruction: “For if we discerned ourselves, we should not be judged; but when judged we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” This is conclusive. The express aim of the Lord in inflicting these bodily sufferings at the present is in order that His faulty saints may escape damnation. Condemnation awaits the world because, rejecting the Lord, it must bear its own doom. He has borne the sins of the faithful; but if they are light about His grace, they come under His rebukes now, that they may be spared condemnation by and by with the world which they so far resemble. If they discerned the evil in its working within, they would avoid, not only its manifestation without, but His chastening; if they fail in this self-judgment, He does not fail in watchful care, and deals with them; but even such judgment flows from His love, and takes the shape of chastening, that they may not perish in the condemnation yet to fall on the guilty world. How grievous on the part of the saints; how gracious and holy on His part! But it is evidently and only present judgment that they may not fall into future condemnation; that is, it is in contrast with “damnation.”
The apostle closes his grave censure and instruction with the exhortation to wait for each other when coming together to eat; self would thus be judged, and love in active exercise. “If any one is hungry, let him eat at home, that ye may not come together for judgment.” The indulgence of flesh in one provokes flesh in another, and the Lord must then judge more than the one who first dishonoured Him.
The apostle manifestly did not say all he might. “The rest will I arrange when I come.” It would not be for the best interests of the assembly if all were laid down formally. The Spirit in living power is the true supplement to the written word as the unerring standard, not tradition. We need and have the Holy Ghost as well as scripture; but scripture is the rule, not the Spirit, though we cannot use it aright without Him. This keeps up practical dependence on God, who would not have us to act either alone or together without the distinct light of His word, for which, if we have it not, we ought to wait. And waiting on God for light which we have not, though humbling, is ever wholesome, as God Himself is faithful who has called us to the fellowship of His Son. But it is evident that what despises the plain word of God cannot be His light, however high be the pretensions of those who are beguiled by it. No lie is of the truth, which surely hangs together as a whole. So it is in Christ; and not otherwise with the written word. It refuses the admixture of that which is not of God; and those who are led of the Spirit will prove the divine energy which works in them, not by presuming to bring in any thoughts of their own, as if scripture were at fault, but by a juster and fuller application of scripture than others could have seen till it was thus pointed out there.
1 Corinthians 12.
It may be well to remark here the wisdom of God in furnishing the revelation of the due object and order of the Lord’s supper before He treats of the Spirit’s presence and operations in the assembly. The observance of that holy feast is independent, not only of the presence of elders or bishops, as we have seen, but of the display of power in the assembly. Not that grace now withholds the Spirit’s working, but that God would have us to know that His saints are free, and bound, to remember Christ in this solemn and appointed way of His love, apart from this, or that, or any form of gift. The unfolding of the ways of the Spirit in the church follows as a fresh topic, and is thus kept quite distinct from the standing sign of our fellowship in showing forth the Lord’s death.
Nor can there be a doubt to the intelligent believer that an apostle had authority from Christ to act, speak, and write of Him in all that concerns the church, its doctrines and discipline, its order and worship; and that these regulations found in the written word bind the church at all times. It is in the despising of these institutes, and the deliberate abandonment of them, consists the sin and ruin of the church; as, again, those who have ears to hear prove it in their practical submission and obedience. For it is not enough to do the will of the Lord in our individual ways. After being awakened of the Holy Spirit, and brought to God, we find, if we believe scripture, that we are not units but living parts of an organic whole. We belong to God, but also are members of a body on earth — the body of Christ, the church, in which the Holy Spirit acts with a view to glorifying the Lord Jesus. We are not left to our own wisdom as to this, but instructed and directed by the word of God, and very especially by such apostolic epistles as the present. Hence the all-importance of diligent attention to these inspired words, with dependence on God and distrust of ourselves; for the aim of Satan is by all means to thwart what is so near to His glory, and so full of blessing to the saints themselves. Self-confidence may be the snare of some; others may be exposed to the influence of tradition, public opinion, and human learning. The truth is that we must be taught of God, though this be in the godly use of every means His word warrants for our help. But then we have the assurance that “they shall be all taught of God” — a word which our Lord drew from the prophets and applies to the present, so that we may confidently look for its verification in the measure of our waiting on Him in faith.
We shall also see, as we study this new section of the epistle (1 Cor. 12 - 14), how grace turns the errors and faults of the Corinthians to the standing profit of all who desire to learn and walk faithfully. Power is wholly distinct from spirituality. What assembly among the Gentiles surpassed that in the capital of Achaia for the display of energy evidently supernatural? Yet was their communion with God’s mind at the lowest ebb. This should have checked the yearning, in our day as in the past, after such manifestations of the Spirit as abounded in their midst; and the rather, as we live when Christendom has grown so inured to its own ways, that though God’s word seem to many saints peculiar and eccentric, they have forgotten, if they ever knew, that the most ancient tradition is but an innovation on the “old path” marked down unerringly in scripture. The Corinthians had slipped away from God’s end of glorifying the Lord Jesus in the assembly; and hence flesh was active, which forgets the common grace in Christ, and leads us to measure ourselves by ourselves, and to compare ourselves with ourselves. It is vanity, not intelligence; and the fruit is puffing up, not edification. But the watchful eye of the apostle was led to use it for God in his care for all the churches, yea, for the church at all times. Scripture meets every need. It is God’s word, and in view of all wants, though He availed Himself only of what then pressed, but after a divine sort.
There are indeed two great and widely prevalent snares: that of sacrificing the individual to the assembly; and that of forgetting the assembly for the individual. Romanism illustrates the former, as Protestantism the latter. In Romanism the church is all; there alone is the Spirit, the truth, holiness, everything: the individual is nothing, not even a saint. It were presumption; the church must settle it, if at all, fifty years after he is dead. The individual cannot even pretend to know his sins forgiven: anathema, says the Council of Trent, to him who says justification is by faith alone; anathema to him who says he can know it for his soul. Thus is the gospel ignored and denied in principle, and most distinctly, for every individual within the bosom of Rome; and this to aggrandize the church, which arrogates to itself alone to speak, but speaks here falsehood in Christ’s name. And as to any individuals pretending to say that their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in them, which they have of God, it could only sound still more awful presumption, if not blasphemy. And no wonder, for it is wholly inconsistent with the sacrifice of the Mass, or the subsistence of an earthly priesthood, which are the Jachin and Boaz of the Romish temple. It is of no avail that the apostolic doctrine is plain, precise, and conclusive that every Christian should know this transcendent privilege of himself now on earth. Romanism boldly sets it aside, and every other which belongs to the individual, in order to swell the church’s power and glory. “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:7-9)
But there is an opposite snare, not so destructive of man’s salvation, but equally at issue with God’s glory. It is the Protestant scheme, which rightly affirms justification by faith, and God’s title to address every man’s conscience in His word, though enfeebled and spoilt by putting it as man’s right to a private judgment on it. But Protestantism ignores the church of God, and in claiming a co-ordinate place for churches, national and dissenting and what not, virtually denies the one body on earth. It may dream of one body in heaven, where scripture never speaks of such a thing, but it recognizes ever so many bodies on earth, each independent, which scripture expressly sets aside.
The word of God guards the truth as to both points, and excludes all error. According to it the gospel deals with each soul first of all. By faith the individual has life and is justified, adopted as a child of God, blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Then, over and above his faith, he is sealed by the Spirit. In virtue of one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all given to drink into one Spirit. Thus, and thus only; is the body, the church, formed; it supposed the individual question settled by faith, and then the corporate relationship begins, and is established by the Holy Spirit; and this now on earth, as a privilege indeed of the highest kind, yet at once involving responsibilities thenceforth of the gravest. If the known individual blessedness by faith delivers the soul from Romanism, no less surely does the corporate place of the church, when understood, lift one outside and above Protestantism in all its manifold and varying phases. How could you, intelligibly or consistently, join this, or that body, when you are consciously of the “one body,” and responsible to walk according to God’s will in that relationship? If I hear God’s word, I am first in Christ, then in the church; I know the Spirit dwells in me, and know also that He dwells in the church, which is therefore one while on the earth, not merely alike in doctrine, discipline, and polity, which might be in many independent societies, but one body here below. And this is so true and grave, that the truth would call one out of Romanism, if Rome had not an Image nor a superstition, and out of Protestantism, if its sects kind not a single unconverted member or minister. All this, however, and more, will appear plainly as we pursue the teaching of the apostle.
“Now concerning spiritual things, brethren, I do not wish you to be ignorant. Ye know that, when134 ye were Gentiles, [ye were] led away unto the dumb idol as ye might be led. Wherefore I give you to know that no one speaking in [the] Spirit of God saith, Jesus [is] accursed, and no one can say, Lord Jesus,135 unless in [the] Holy Spirit. Now there are differences of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are differences of services, and the same Lord, and there are differences of operations, but the same God136 that operateth all things in all.” (Vers. 1-6.)
The Authorized translation, with almost all others, inserts “gifts” after “spiritual” in the first verse; but this is scarcely comprehensive enough, for it does not properly contemplate the presence of the Spirit Himself, which clearly is far more momentous than any gift, and in itself distinct from them, they depending on Him rather than He on them. Hence “manifestations” has been suggested. But this, though better, seems inadequate to express the great truth in question, as we may learn from verse 7, where “the manifestation of the “Spirit” refers to what is given to each, as distinct from the baptism of the Spirit, which forms all into one body. The sense is the entire range of what pertains to the Spirit; and if our language could bear “spirituals,” this would seem the best way of rendering
τῶν πνευματικῶν. A christian usage has already adopted “heavenlies” in Ephesians. There seems at least as much need for a similar modification here in Corinthians. There is no sufficient reason, with Locke and others, to suppose that spiritual men are meant here again, as in 1 Cor. 14:37, 1 Cor. 2:15; Galatians 6. Compare verse 31 and 1 Cor. 14:1. This would narrow the field even more than the common version, and thus be more objectionable still.
The apostle, then, would have them acquainted with the source, character, and object of all that flows from the Spirit in the assembly, and of His manifestation in each member of Christ. And, first, he reminds them of their pitiable condition when heathen. They were led away to the dumb idols so familiar to all, as they happened to be led. Their own will, doubtless, wrought and exposed them to unseen beings, who availed themselves of those senseless objects of adoration. The more, therefore, did they need to learn what had a wholly different origin and intent. This brings in the criterion of the Holy Spirit, the confession of Jesus as Lord, in contrast with the aim of evil spirits, who said, Curse on Jesus. Alas I this was not confined to Gentiles, for so cried the Jews under Satan’s influence at the late crisis of their history. It would be to lose much, however, to reduce this twofold test to such gross forms alone. We may justly infer that, as the Holy Spirit ever works to exalt Jesus, so does the enemy to degrade Him. And this appears to be the point here, not the ascertainment of true believers among professors, but the character of what is taught in the assembly, whether of God’s Spirit or of Satan. So it is even in 1 John 4:2, 3; 2 John 7.
Next, the apostle descends from this broad and absolute test, in which all true confessors must unite, to the varieties, and these in relation to their source and aim. “Now there are differences of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are differences of ministries, and the same Lord; and there are differences of operations, but the same God that operateth all things in all.” It is not, on the one hand, the Trinity, as such, which we have here, though unquestionably “the Spirit” and “the Lord” could not be thus introduced if they were not God equally with the Father. But it is plain that our Lord appears not so much in His divine glory as the Son, but rather in the official position conferred on Him. And God is spoken of as such, not in His personal distinctiveness as Father. On the other hand, it is not a division into three classes of gifts, but the same thing in substance viewed in three relations: gifts, in relation to the Spirit, through whom they come; services, in relation to the Lord, under whom and for whose glory they are responsibly exercised; and operations or workings or effects, in relation to God, for it is God, and not man, that works the whole in all. Thus, if by the Spirit there be a gift, its exercise is a ministry or service of the Lord, by whose authority it is carried on; and it is God who works it all effectually. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 and chapter 2.
We learn also how surely the action of the Holy Spirit in a Christian must be in communion in order to meet the mind and will of God. Powers, even of the most manifestly supernatural kind, may be exercised, as in too many of the Corinthians, to self-exaltation.
We come next to individual distinctions, the special forms of the Spirit’s working in Christians.
“But to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for profit. For to one, through the Spirit, is given [the] word of wisdom, and to another [the] word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;137 to a different one faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healings by the same138 Spirit, and to another operations of powers, and to another prophecy, and to another discerning of spirits;139 to a different one kinds of tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. But all these things operateth the one and the same Spirit, dividing in particular to each according as he pleaseth.” (Vers. 7-11.)
It is well to remark that the apostle is speaking only of the assembly, of each one there and not in the world. This might seem needless to notice, did we not know that a whole community in Christendom is based on the opposed assumption that a manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man on earth without restriction. Here the apostle is treating strictly of the church: to each within it is the manifestation of the Spirit given, and that with a view to the common good, not for personal influence or display. Chrysostom is quite in error in supposing that the term “manifestation” is here used because unbelievers do not own God, save by visible wonders. For it is not a question of miracles only, as the very first samples (the word of wisdom and that of knowledge) prove; nor is it a sign to unbelievers, but for the profit of believers.
The way of the Spirit too is not concentration of all His powers in a single person, but distribution to a variety of individuals; and this because the assembly is contemplated, not a chief man but the church, by the different constituents of which God is pleased to work for the good of all. “For to one, through the Spirit, is given [the] word of wisdom, and to another [the] word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.” The apostle takes care to begin with what would be called non-miraculous gifts, the better to counteract the fleshly mind, whether of the Corinthians or of any others, which sets an inordinate value on what strikes the eye, the mind, or the imagination by undeniable effects of power. Though not miraculous however, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge are as expressly of the Holy Spirit as the most striking sign-gifts. It is not through a commanding, or a merely “sanctified,” intellect that the word of wisdom comes; it “is given through the Spirit.” “According to the same Spirit” is given the word of knowledge. They are thus no less supernatural, though not in the ordinary sense miraculous. They are the fruit neither of innate powers nor of acquirement, but of the Spirit, just as is the new birth of every believer; and far more important than any miracle, grave as it may be and glorifying to God in its own place and for its own purpose.
What then is “wisdom” as distinguished from “knowledge?” Wisdom seems to me that moral discernment given by God of things as they are before Him, and consequently as they truly are in themselves, and in relation to one another, which is of prime value for practical judgment and conduct here below. Good and evil, right and wrong, are thus seen intuitively, because of familiarity with the presence of God, not only in their results but in their principles and springs. Knowledge is rather that understanding of revealed truth, which of course therefore is given through a diligent use of the scriptures, and is of great value for appreciating the ways as well as word of God, though the abuse of it issues in systems of divinity, of prophecy, and the like. The “word” in the two instances means or implies the faculty of communicating to others the wisdom or knowledge, as the case may be. It does not seem correct to infer that the prophets were characterized by the latter as apostles undoubtedly were by the former. It would be more according to scripture if one said that “the word of knowledge” pertained to the teacher, always remembering that an apostle or a prophet might also be a teacher and a preacher, as Paul himself was beyond all controversy. But his was a rare combination of gifts, and all of them rich, deep, and ample, in order to accomplish the special work for which he was called of the Lord.
But next follow very different manifestations of the Spirit. “To a different one faith by (
ἐν) the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, and to another operations of powers, and to another prophecy, and to another discerning of spirits,” etc. Clearly “faith” here, as sometimes elsewhere, does not mean a soul’s believing in Christ or the gospel for salvation, being a manifestation of the Spirit, and this to one here or there among the Christians. It is that distinctive gift from God which enables its possessor to face foes and dangers, and rise above hindrances or difficulties, and be assured of the issue, where others, even saints, are perplexed and disquieted. It is thus distinct from healings, powers, prophecy, etc.
There seems no need of dwelling on “gifts of healings in virtue of (
ἐν) the same Spirit,” further than to say that it is not more comprehensive, but less, than “faith.” There was faith in him who exercised spiritual powers in healing the sick, but gifts of healings were restricted of course to their own peculiar domain. “Faith,” as such, might be exercised in a great variety of ways besides that which strengthened some to be martyrs or confessors. Again, another might have “operations of powers” (erroneously rendered in the Rhemish and the Authorized Versions, “the working of miracles”), which were not “healings,” but such superiority to things material, or beings spiritual, as we see promised in Mark 16:17, 18, and illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles. “Prophecy” another might have given him, which was an energy of the Holy Ghost in the purely spiritual domain, enabling him to give out the mind of God as to the present or future. This definition embraces the twofold application of the term in scripture, whether to the narrow field of prediction, or to the larger one of declaring God’s mind and will, so as to act on conscience with unfailing, divine conviction. (See for the latter 1 Cor. 14; for the former Acts 11) “Discerning of spirits” is another gift, which means the faculty of deciding, not between true and spurious professors of the Lord Jesus, but between the Spirit’s teaching and that which simulated it by evil spirits. The general responsibility to try or prove the spirits if they are of God we see in 1 John 4, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Here it is a special gift. The danger, or rather the fact, of misleading some is also foreshown in 1 Timothy 4. The designed distribution of these gifts is strikingly shown in the last two, where “kinds of tongues,” or a variety of languages naturally unknown to the speaker we find distinguished from “interpretation of tongues” given to another, though 1 Corinthians 14:13 intimates the desirableness of their combination.
“But all these operateth the one and the same Spirit, dividing in particular to each according as he pleaseth.” (Ver. 11.) The unity of the Spirit, who not only distributes each to each but works all the gifts, thus keeping up dependence on His power, is thus set forth, no less than His sovereign activity as a divine person, however truly come down to work in subservience to the glory of the Lord Jesus. Evil and error may have as many springs as there are men and demons with their varied and often conflicting wills, lusts, and passions. But the self-same Spirit works all that glorifies Christ in these different gifts, distributed respectively at His pleasure to each servant of the Lord. How this diversity with unity characterizes the church will appear from the reason given in the subjoined comparison, as little understood in its force as it is familiar in its forms or phrases, yet of all moment for His glory and our blessing.
“For even as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the140 body, being many, are one body, so also [is] the Christ. For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all made to drink of141 one Spirit.” (Vers. 12, 13.) Thus the assembly, being an organic unity, while it consists of many parts or members, harmonizes with the various gifts which the Spirit distributes according to His will. Just such is, as the apostle pointedly says, “the Christ;” we would have said the church. The apostle looks at Christ and the assembly as one mystic man, which, while one, has many members, and yet all the members, many as they are, forming but one body. “So also is the Christ.” The assembly is identified with Him, and this because “by (
ἐν, in virtue of) one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
It is important to observe that it was not by faith, precious and mighty as it is, that this unity was formed, but by the Holy Spirit personally sent down from heaven. Faith is individual; it does not unite, though fitting for union morally. One believes the gospel for one’s own soul; and the believer receives life for himself in the Son of God, who is life and quickens the dead. But the baptism of the Spirit is over and above life, and is given therefore not to the dead unbeliever but to those already quickened, and the issue is the one body. So the Lord, who had already quickened the disciples, and this even with life more abundantly in resurrection (John 10; 20), promised them just before His ascension that they should be baptized with the Holy Spirit, which accordingly was fulfilled not many days after at Pentecost. (Compare Acts 1:6, Acts 2; also Acts 8:15, 16; Acts 10:44, 45; Acts 11:15-17; Acts 19:2-6.) The one body had never existed; from Pentecost it begins, as a present fact, on earth, because the Spirit is thus sent to baptize as He never did before; and this continuously, for He when given was to abide in and with us for ever. (John 14:16, 17.) No difference in religion or in social standing hinders. There is one body and one Spirit. The figures employed in the verse before us seem to allude to baptism and the Lord’s supper, the latter being the standing sign of the church’s unity.
But it must be borne in mind that scripture nowhere identifies water-baptism with the baptism of the Spirit. Thus, on the grandest occasion of all, the disciples in Jerusalem, waiting for power from on high, were not baptized with water that day; and the convicted souls from among the Jews were told to repent and be baptized each of them, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and they should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The disconnection of the two is still more manifest in the case of the Samaritan converts a little after, and of the Ephesian disciples long after. If possible more evidently false is the hypothesis which binds them together in Cornelius’ case, with his household and friends, who received the gift of the Holy Spirit before they were baptized with water.
It is not only Catholics then but Protestants also, who are utterly wrong in adducing this text for the effect of baptism. We are not, though Calvin puts it into the lips of the apostle, “engrafted by baptism into Christ’s body.”142 Baptism is not an engrafting into the body; it associates the believer with His death. It means that we were buried with Christ unto death, a strictly individual truth, and wholly distinct from making us members of His body, which is always attributed to the Holy Spirit, whether we were or were not baptized with water at that time. Nor is it possible to attribute to the cup the keeping up of the unity, or the conducting us by degrees to the same unity, for the phrase implies a single finished act (
ἐβαπτίσθημεν, both aorists). It is at most therefore a glance at the two institutions of our Lord, and in no way a doctrinal connection. They are separable, and in fact separated, even when true believers are concerned; and, blessed as is the aim and the effect of the Lord’s supper, it has nothing whatever to do with our reception of the Spirit, though doubtless the Spirit, when received, gives an immense accession to the enjoyment of the grace of Christ in the supper, and this in communion with one another. They are not sacramentally bound together, even baptism being to death with Christ, not to life, still less to union or the one body which is by the baptism of the Spirit.
Further, it will have been gathered by the thoughtful reader that the baptism of the Spirit is wholly distinct from the new birth, as in John 3. Hence it is incorrect to think that any communication of the Holy Spirit is called His baptism. Neither the new birth nor sanctification of the Spirit is so designated, any more than His inspiration, but only the gift, Himself personally received by the believer, not His quickening operation which makes a believer or gives one faith.
The apostle proceeds to employ the idea of the body to illustrate the assembly of God as now existing on earth. Doubtless it was in season for the state of things then in Corinth; but it is ever needed while we are here below, and never more so than now, when the state of Christendom renders it, on the one hand, harder to seize and apply the truth, and, on the other, still more imperatively due to the injured honour of the Lord, whose word and will are in general so grievously set at nought and ignored.
“For also the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, it is not on this account not of the body; and if the ear say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, it is not on this account not of the body. If the whole body [were] an eye, where the hearing? If all hearing, where the smelling? But now God set the members each one of them in the body according as he pleased. And if they all were one member, where the body? But now [are there] many members, and one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. But much more the members of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary; and those which we think to be less honourable [members] of the body, on these we put more abundant honour, and our uncomely [members] have more abundant comeliness; but our comely [members] have no need. But God blended the body together, having given more abundant honour to that which lacked, that there might be no division in the body, but that the members might have the same concern one for another.” (Vers. 14-25.)
The great and most obvious characteristic of the body is that it consists of not one member but many. This is so essential to its nature that it could not be called “the body” if it consisted of but one member, and not of many. It would be a monstrous formation, not the beautiful unity with diversity seen in the human body, as indeed in every other organization. It is exactly so with the assembly of God. It is not only His house, but Christ’s body in virtue of the one Spirit who has baptized all the believers, whatever their antecedent and their otherwise irreconcilable differences, into one: an unity which subsists now and not by-and-by alone, on earth and not merely in heaven. Indeed we may go farther, and say that the sole object of the Spirit’s instruction here is the church now on earth, and not at all in heaven, where we hear of the bride and the new Jerusalem, never of the one body or the many members.
But it is important to observe that the instruction has no bearing on denominations, save simply to blot them out. So far are they from being contemplated in the exhortation, that the truth of the one body utterly condemns them root and branch. In no extent or way then can the apostle’s words be applied to the different denominations which now exist. It is opposed to the fundamental unity of the body on which Paul insists, that one denomination stands in need of another. The body has many members, not denominations, which only exist antagonistically to that unity. Far from being necessary to the due working of the church, like the many members of the body, they frustrate the truth, allowed in theory perhaps, but always denied in practice, as indeed they are dead against the will of the Lord.
The first practical inconsistency with the church’s constitution which the apostle warns against (vers. 15, 16) is the discontent of inferior members with their position. They were in danger of ignoring and neglecting their own functions from envy of those who had a higher place. “If the foot say, Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, it is not [or, is it] on that account not of the body. And if the ear say, Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body, it is not [or, is it] on this account not of the body.” Such disaffection, if carried out, would destroy the church. Each has its own office, but for the assembly, not for itself; as the foot and hand, the eye and ear, act for the entire body.
Next the absurdity of such wishes is shown. If one member might desire lawfully some special place, so might all the rest; the consequence of which would be the ruin of the body. “If the whole body [were] an eye, where the hearing? If all hearing, where the smelling?” (Ver. 17.) The admirable co-ordination and sub-ordination of the various members in the one body would be at an end.
Nor is this a question of a true theory or of a wise practice, but of the divine will. God has so ordained it; and those who wish otherwise are fighting against His word.” But now God set the members each one of them in the body according as he pleased.” (Ver. 18.) It is not merely the providential fact of one being in the wilderness, and another in a city; nor is it one led of the Spirit to go here, and another there. As the assembly is according to God’s design and constitution, each is set in a place arranged by God in the body of Christ with a gift suitable for it. One’s own choice is excluded: and so is selection by other men. It is neither self, nor man, nor the church, but God, who can, or ought to, set the members; and He set them, each one of them, in the body according as He pleased. He determines for the least as well as for the greatest. Any other ordering is at issue with God’s ways and pleasure. It is God’s church; and He, not man, orders the place of each and all in it.
“And if they all [were] one member, where the body?” (Ver. 19.) It is the remark of another that as the former proof of absurdity (ver. 17) appealed to the concrete, so does this to the abstract. I add that as there is shown that the distinctness of the members would be destroyed by forgetting the truth, so here the completeness of the body. “But now are they many members, and but one body.” (Ver. 20.) The unity of the body perfectly consists with diversity in the members, and the diversity of the members with that one body. And so, in fact, it is according to God’s mind. It is the departure from this which constitutes mainly the present disorganized state of the church which we see in Christendom. For the most part all the gifts which can find expression must be in one member in a congregation, and there is not one body, as far as facts attest, but many bodies, differing and opposed. The root of the evil is that the one Spirit is not really owned, but human acquirement and appointment of varying form. And the eye does, in present practice, say to the hand, I have no need of thee, and the head to the feet, I have no need of you, the eye and head coalescing in the one sole minister.
Thus openly is the truth, enunciated by the apostle, set at naught; for he is proving that, as this cannot be without ruin in the natural body, so is the body of Christ framed in the grace of God. “And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” (Ver. 21.) Disdain is thereby put down even more strongly here, on the part of the higher members toward the lower, than was discontent, as we saw, in the lesser toward the greater. The highest cannot do without the least. God has made nothing, gives nothing, in vain; yea, the truth demands more than this. “But much more, the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those [members] of the body which we think to be lees honourable, these we invest with more abundant honour; and our uncomely [members] have more abundant comeliness: but our comely [members] have no need. But God blended the body together, having given more abundant honour to that which lacked, that there might be no divisions in the body, but that the members might have the same concern one for another.” (Vers. 21-25.)
By this instinctive sense implanted in us, we feel that the most attractive features can do without the care which is freely bestowed on the less comely; while we know that there are parts of the body which seem weaker, and yet are necessary to its wellbeing, or even life, which last is not the case with some possessed of show and strength, and having a good place, if not so essential. Nature itself teaches us to cover or adorn what is not pleasant or proper to see, while what is fair can appear freely.
So is it according to God with the body of Christ. Much that appears not is ,of the utmost importance; those that laboured like Epaphras are far more necessary than some who shone at Corinth with miracles or tongues. As we cover the feet, not the face, so it is that God uses and honours what is apt to be despised; and so should we, if we have the mind of Christ; and this is thus ordered of God to guard against the tendency to division in the body. Had the Corinthians heeded this, how much sorrow and shame would have been spared! The disorder, however, grace has turned to our account, who have been awakened to see and judge, and to have done with that which is so dishonouring to the Lord, but a state which is ever ready to repeat itself, and not least where knowledge takes the place of love, and saints condescend to form cliques with a favourite leader. to help them on in the sorry work of jealousy and detraction. Is this the members having the same concern one for another? or is it not schism, against which God tempered the body together so that there should be none?
We have seen, then, that God has so constituted the body of Christ, like the natural one, that there should be no division of interest, but the good of each in the good of all, and the care of each for every other member. It is His aim, but may not be the fact.
“And whether143 one member suffer, all the members suffer with [it]: whether a [or one] 144 member is glorified, all the members rejoice with [it].” (Ver. 26.) It is not said merely that they ought, but that they do. Whether it be good or ill, all that is according to God in one Christian goes out for blessing to all the rest; and there is not an ill or scandal in a saint at the antipodes which does not affect with its shade and suffering every other in these lands. We consciously suffer or rejoice, one may add, in the measure of our spiritual power. But the effect is real throughout the church. It is a body — the body of Christ — and as a whole it feels in joy or sorrow: else it were not a real organic unity. Undoubtedly also its present condition, with denominational barriers, which in all the saints sever into independent associations, as well as with the allowance of the world in most, reduces spiritual sensibility to the lowest: still, far from desiring otherwise, one dares not deny that it subsists, surviving these deplorable hindrances by its own vitality, as flowing from the Holy Spirit of God who dwells in the church.
See how the blessed apostle brings home the truth from the abstract to the concrete, applying this precious truth to the case before him. It is true that the state of the Corinthians was such that he would not go there. If he had gone, he must have taken a rod with him, and this was far from his heart. He would rather write, and wait; and God blessed his written rebuke to their restoration in measure, and he could rejoice as we see in the second epistle. But even here, before he was refreshed with the fruit of grace, while censuring severely their faults, he does not hesitate to say, “Now ye are Christ’s body, and members in particular.” (Ver. 27.) Such is the privilege, and such no less the responsibility of the local assembly; not independently of course, for this would deny the body of Christ, but representatively, for, if it were not so, the local assembly were not Christ’s body; and as this they collectively were, so also they were members severally.
It is very evident too that it is not an ideal or future picture. It is a living reality on earth, which every Christian is bound to walk in and manifest, abandoning at all cost whatever is inconsistent with, or destructive of, it. It is a state now on earth, not about to be by-and-by in heaven. There will be no such thing as the suffering of one and the sympathy of the rest on high. Unbelief shirks responsibility, and would like to conceive it another state, not yet practicable, because it does not like the trial. In heaven, no doubt, there will be perfect love, and all selfishness will be gone for ever; but it is quite a different state of things, and not once contemplated in these verses.
“And God set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then powers, then145 gifts of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all powers? Have all gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But desire earnestly the greater146 gifts, and yet I show you a way of exceeding excellence.” (Ver. 28.)
We see hence how completely the true thought is that God, not man, arranged the assembly, and the relative place of all in it. It is the same principle, from the highest to the lowest, from apostles to the least gift for the manifestation of the Spirit in it. And the Corinthians then, as others of late, had to hear, whether they heeded or not, that those striking displays of power in which they found their childish surprise and delight, like the world without, were not highest, that there were gifts relatively first and second and third, the last-named being the very one they had been abusing to no small disorder and hindrance of edification in the assembly. The apostles had a place of governing for Christ which prophets had not, though both constitute the foundation on which this building of God is built. (Eph. 2) Teachers were subordinate of course. “Helps” and “governments” are commonly supposed to be the gifts needed for the offices of deacon and elder respectively. It at least is certain, that there is no difficulty in understanding this of the presbyters or bishops, because these had to be
διδακτικοί. For “apt to teach” is not the same thing as a “teacher.” The ruling elders of Presbyterianism are very distinct from scriptural elders; and so still more is the one teaching elder, or the minister. Other societies diverge, if possible, farther from the principle laid down here and elsewhere.
But it is the Lord who calls, not the church. The church may be the sphere of the exercise of the gifts, never the source of the authority, any more than of the power, both of which come from Christ. It is He who gives mission, He who sends labourers to sow or reap. Nor does scripture ever assert it to be the church’s office to examine the candidate for the ministry, as it is called, nor authoritatively to declare its judgment. There is no appointed way for the church in either case, because it is not the church’s work or duty. The Lord qualifies the servant whom He calls for the work He appoints to be done; and He works by the Spirit, not only in this member, but in all the others, to have His call and work and workmen respected, though flesh and world be stirred up of the enemy to discredit all. Hence we find the church at Corinth, as well as those of Galatia, questioning, not declaring authoritatively (which God never asked any to do), the apostleship of St. Paul. Ministry, according to scripture and this very chapter in particular, is clearly the exercise of a gift from the Lord to a given end. So says the apostle Peter in his first epistle (1 Peter 4:10): “As every man [each] hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” There is therefore no real ministry according to God without a gift in the word; and where such a gift is exercised, it is ministry. Only there were also lower gifts of power, and these the apostle puts in their true place, as the Corinthians had put them out of it.
It is to be noticed too how, in verses 29, 80, the apostle’s questions suppose distribution of gifts among the members of Christ, and not their concentration either in one or in all. Neither have all the same functions, nor has any one all the functions which are expressly said to be distributed to each of the many members, to this one, and to that another.
The Corinthians’ folly was not greater in wishing all the gifts to be in each and all the saints, than the modern theory of arrogating all, as far as public ministration goes, to a single official. The one was ignorant vanity before the truth was fully revealed in a written form; the other is more guilty presumption in presence of the acknowledged word of God, which condemns every departure from His principles, and the great fact of the one body with its many members, wherein the Holy Spirit works to glorify the Lord Jesus.
At the same time the saints are encouraged to desire earnestly the greater gifts, but these were for edification, not for show. And yet he points out to them a way surpassingly excellent; not surely a mere way, however eminently good, to obtain these gifts, as some suppose, but a way for souls to feel and think, to walk and worship, beyond all gifts. It is the way of love, which he opens out in the next chapter.
89 The order is transposed in the vulgar text, following the mass but not the best MSS and versions, A B P, etc. Vulg. Syr Cop. Aeth. Arm., etc.
Ἰ. Χ., as in T. R., D L K L P, most cursives and versions; X. F G, etc.;
Ἰ. A B, a few cursives, some ancient versions, etc.
μὴ ἐργ. A B D F G P, etc.;
τοῦ μὴ ἐργ. the rest.
92 The ignorance of the plainest facts and statements of scripture which characterizes the fathers, even those who were comparatively near the apostolic age, would be scarce credible, if one did not see the same sort of haze over the eyes of almost all who read their writings. They seem incapable of a spiritual or even sober judgment. Thus Eusebius (H. E. iii, 30) cites from Clement of Alexandria (Strom. iii.) that “Paul does not demur in a certain Epistle to mention his own wife, whom he did not take about with him, in order to expedite his ministry the better.” This is a total misconception of Philippians 4:3 and of our chapter, neither of which supposes him married, whilst 1 Corinthians 7 proves he was not. Again, quite a crowd of fathers (Tertullian, Ambrose, Aug, Jerome, Theod, etc.), followed of course by Romanist theologians, even their two best commentators (Cornelius à Lap. and Estius), interpret 1 Corinthians 9:5 of rich christian females who accompanied preachers to help out of their substance. Possibly so gross a misconstruction flowing from a false system of thought as to celibacy led to the
ἀγαπηταί, ἀδελφαί, or
συνείσακτοι of early ecclesiastical notoriety, condemned by the first council of Nicea. One may add here the curious error in the Vulg. (not alone the printed editions but some good, if not most of the, manuscripts), hoc or haec operandi.
τὸν κ. Ε. p.m. A B Cp.m. F G P, etc;
ἐκ τοῦ κ. T. R. supported by the mass.
94 T. R. adds
τῆς ἐλπίδος αὐτοῦ with large but inferior authority.
παρεδρεύοντες p.m. A B C D E F G P, a few cursives, and many citations;
προσεδρεύ T. R. following a few uncials, most cursives, etc.
μὴ ὢν αὐτός ὑπὸ νόμον A B C D E F G P, many cursives, ancient versions, etc.; Dcorr. K and most cursives omit, as does Tex. Rec.
γάρ p.m. A B C D E F G P, ten cursives, the Latin and Egyptian versions, many fathers Greek and Latin;
δέ is read by corr. K L, most cursives, etc.
ἐβαπτίσαντο (= got baptized) B K L P and the cursives generally, and many Greek fathers;
ἐβαπτίσθησαν A C D E F G with some cursives and Greek fathers.
ἐν, added by most, is not in p.m. B Dp.m. F G, etc.
κύριον B C P, eight cursives, some ancient versions and fathers;
Χριστόν D E F G K L, most cursives, versions, etc.;
Θεόν Α, etc.
ἀπώλλυντο A B, the rest
γογγύζωμεν, ‘let us murmur,’ D E F G, etc., contrary to the general testimony.
καθάπερ B P,
καθώς the rest, as in Text. Rec.
πάντα is omitted by A B, etc.
τυπικῶς A B C K P, and many other witnesses;
τύποι, as in Text. Rec., D E F G L and most cursives, etc. For the Text Reel sunevbainon, supported by A D E F G L and most; -
νεν B C K (not L, as Tisch. gives by oversight on both sides) many cursives, etc. The force is greatest, when we see the facts in detail happening, (pl.) to Israel, but recorded (sing.) as a whole in scripture for us.
106 Calvin, Transl. Soc. in loc. Edinb. 1848.
ὑμᾶς (“ye”) is expressed in Tex. Rec. with large cursive support, but contrary to the great uncials, save in a correction of two.
ἐστίν stands before
τοῦ αἵμ. in A B P, etc., and before
τοῦ σ. Α, etc., contrary to all the rest.
109 corr. B Ccorr. D E P, some cursives, many versions, etc., have the order different from K L and most with Text. Rec., p.m. A Cp.m. omitting the second clause altogether.
τὰ ἔθνη A C L most cursives, the ancient versions, etc., as in Text. Rec., but not in B D E Fgr Ggr. etc.
θύουσιν A B a D E F G I’ etc.
θύει K L. most cursives. etc.
μοι is added by the correctors of and C, by H K L, most cursives, etc., contrary to the best authorities of every kind.
ἱερόθυτον, as a heathen would say, A B H S Sah. yr. (Pesch.); but all others,
εἰδωλόθυτον, sacrificed to idols, as a Christian might say.
116 The last clause of T. Rec. is omitted by the ancient authorities.
δέ (“For”) is added in T. Rec. by few and slight witnesses.
118 A B C P, some good cursives, and ancient versions, do not read
ὁ Χ. X. A Bcorr. Dcorr. E K L P, most cursives, etc.; but some good witnesses omit.
τοῦ A B D E, etc, the rest omitting the article.
ἑαυτῆς B Dcorr E K, etc.; very excellent authorities,
122 The readings here are singularly conflicting. Lachmann and Tregelles read
τοῦτο δέ παραγγέλλω οὐκ ἐπαινῶν, “This I enjoin, not praising [you]” on the authority of A Cp.m. F G, some cursives, the Vulgate, Pesch. Syr., and other ancient versions. Tischendorf had adopted this, but in his eighth edition he returns to the common text,
παραγγέλλων οὐκ ἐπαινῶ supported by and the mass of uncials and cursives, etc. The Vatican strangely gives
παραγέλλων οὐκ ἐπαινῶν, which can hardly be said to have any just sense and is probably a mere slip, one or other only being a participle, not both.
123 No wonder that Dr. C. Hodge remarks, “If within twenty years of its institution, the Corinthians turned the Lord’s Supper into a disorderly feast, although the apostles were then alive, we need not wonder at the speedy corruption of the church after their death.” The case is yet stronger; for the corruption began almost immediately after the apostle had planted the church at Corinth. It is only as walking in the Spirit that anything goes aright in the church. And so would God have it who has for us judged and ended forms in the cross of Christ.
124 The Alexandrian, Vatican, Sinaitic, and Palimpsest of Paris, with other authorities, have not
κλώμενον “broken” as in most followed by Tex. Rec. Still more largely do the witnesses reject
λάβετε, φάγετε, “take, eat.”
126 Early, in the Catholic days of Gregory, so little was the unity of Christ’s body apprehended that we find the form, “the body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul,” enlarged before the time of Alcuin and Charlemagne to “the body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul unto everlasting life.” The grace of the gospel had then also faded greatly, as one can see.
τοῦτον K L P, most cursives, several ancient versions, and so Text. Rec., contrary to AB1CDEFG, several cursives and ancient versions.
128 Dcorr. L and twenty cursives, add
τοῦ κυρίου “of the Lord.”
129 Text. Rec., with some cursives, omits
130 Text. Rec. adds
κυρίου with many MSS and versions, contrary to A B C, etc.
δέ p.m. A B D E F G, etc.;
γάρ corr. C K L P, etc. Text. Rec.
τοῦ B C, etc., which Text. Rec. omits with most.
133 Text. Rec. adds
δέ with most, contrary to p.m. A B C Dp.m. F G, etc.
134 It is clear that
ὅτε was omitted by mere oversight through the preceding
ὅτι in F G K and many cursives, followed by the Pesch. Syr., Cop., etc, but all the rest A B C Dgr Egr L P, etc., read it.
135 The Text. Rec. follows the mass in giving the accusative; but A B C, etc., the nominative.
136 B C, etc., read
καί “and;” and the Text. Rec. with most adds
δέ “and” is read by the majority of MSS and versions, but is not in p.m. B Dp.m. E F G, etc.
138 Or “one,”
ἑνί, A B, etc.
139 Authorities are pretty equal for and against
140 Text. Rec. adds
ἕνος, with two or three uncials and the mass of cursives, etc., contrary to the best MSS, versions, and other authorities.
141 A few uncials with most cursives insert E”, contrary to B Cp.m. Dp.m. F G P and the best of the other witnesses. A gives the strange reading
καὶ πάντες ἓν σῶμά ἐσμεν.
142 “Probatio est ab effectu Baptismi. Inserimur, inquit, per Baptismum in Christi corpus. . . . . . deinde ubi sacram Coenam percipiunt, gradatim rursum ad eandem unitatem deduci, quia eodem simul potu reficiantur.” (Calvini Opera, vii. 187, 188, Amst. ed. folio, 1667.)
εἴ τι B F G, etc., and versions, the rest
144 The second
ἕν is not in p.m. A B.
ἔπειτα (sic) ABC, five cursives, and several fathers;
εἶτα Text. Rec., with E L and most cursives, etc., while D E F G, etc., omit either.
μείζονα A B C, ten or more cursives, both Aeth., and many ancients;
κρείττ(σσ)ονα as in Text. Rec. DEFGKL and the great mass of cursives, most versions, etc. Chrys. and Theoph. expressly add even that he did not say
τὰ μ. but